Friday, 9 August 2019

Second Childhood?


We paid a visit to a large garden centre recently.  There were various retail outlets under the same roof and shopping was done!   We are not permitted to keep a pet in these flats and I don't think I would want the worry of one any more, and can get plenty of real cuddles with my daughter's dog.


However, at the garden centre there was a huge display of dogs and cats, some of which were so lifelike.  I think they have been cast in resin or something similar.  I would normally choose a dog as a pet but the best ones were too large for a tiny flat, or not really lifelike.  I walked past this puss several times telling myself not to be silly.  When it neared the time to leave I thought 'will I regret not buying it when I get home'?   Obviously the answer was yes.

The top photo is nearer the true colouring but the bottom one shows a bit more detail.  I have called him Orlando, after Orlando the Marmalade Cat from the books by Kathleen Hale which I had as a child.  My neighbours have asked me if he has settled in well.  No need to put butter on his paws.

No, I haven't lost my marbles - just enjoying revisiting childhood.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Rain, Lovely Rain.

I thought I needed a beautiful accessory to show off my new chair, so I borrowed this one.
She is very good at sharing it with me!

I started making this little book ages ago and came across it recently so decided it was time I finished it.  The theme is Spring and I seem to have reverted to childhood and rediscovered all my favourite wild flowers that evoke so many memories.  It must be all this talk of wildflower meadows and roadside verges.
  I didn't much like some of the coloured pages, and found them difficult to paint over.  That is why some pages have the motif painted onto a scrap of plain paper.




I think I had better leave wildflowers alone for a while and find another theme, otherwise everything will get very samey.  Several ideas are churning around in my head - it is just a case of picking one to start with.

I hope your gardens are enjoying the rain.  Someone has told me that next week will be another scorcher.   Summer may have arrived late this year but it is certainly making up for lost time.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

I forgot a very important part of my previous post!

I forgot to say that after lifting the keys from the fabric after it has been steamed, it needs to be rinsed in salt water to neutralise the vinegar.  It would be wise to wear rubber gloves during this bit as the keys are black and need washing too.  When dry they will still be rusty and can be used again, as can any rusty metal bits you may have.

I think that is everything this time!

Rust Dyeing.

I have been a collector of old keys for some time and have some rather nice ones.  Recently someone offered to add to my collection but when they arrived they were so rusty I couldn't think what to do with them and just put them in a drawer.

 I then came across a video on Pinterest showing how to do rust dyeing and suddenly remembered my rusty keys!

I had to adapt the method slightly as my kitchen is minute and I have no designated craft pots or pans.  As only white vinegar, salt and water were the main ingredients I was not too worried.  I dampened my strips of old sheeting and spread them out onto an old plastic cloth.  The rusty keys went on next, just in rows with space in between and the second and third strips with keys on top.   Then the strips are rolled tightly into a single bundle and fastened with string or elastic bands.

The bundle was then placed into a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water - enough to cover it - and left overnight.  Next morning nothing seemed to have happened except that the water had taken on a slight rusty tinge.

I found that my unused and unloved (until now) plastic microwave steamer sat perfectly on top of one of my larger saucepans.  The bundle fitted nicely inside it, and I made a lid from two layers of kitchen foil pressed tightly round the rim of the pan.   All that was needed now was to let it steam and simmer for an hour.  It worked a treat and here are the results.   Each strip is about a yard long and six inches wide.




Even the reverse of the fabric gives a good result though a bit gentler.

This one seems to have snuck in twice.

I keep seeing different images among the key shapes, predominantly tree trunks and old sepia drawings.  I have no idea what to do with my strips but will enjoy thinking about that.

I know I am weird but am really pleased with such a good result at my first attempt.  I shall scavenge my way through life now, looking for rusty bits everywhere.  I hope I don't get arrested.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Comfort Plus.

Yesterday I took delivery of my new bed and reclining chair from a wonderful family run company called Comfort Plus, based in Letchworth, Herts., but they seem to travel all over the country.  Just over  five weeks ago, a member of the firm came my block of retirement flats to demonstrate various available products, the chair being one of them, and when no-one else volunteered to sit in the demo chair I offered my services.  If I hadn't done so and found just how comfortable and versatile this chair is, I might never have bought one.  Each one really is tailor made for the customer and every one of their items comes with a lifetime guarantee.

I have lymphoedema (I hope that's the right spelling) and this chair seems to be the only one on the market which raises my feet higher than my hips when in reclining position.  I sit with my feet raised but the rest of me is upright, unless I fancy a snooze.  There are other tiny adjustments that I can make to provide better support for my back, shoulders or neck if needed. 

Likewise with the bed, I can sleep with my feet raised each night and if I ever need it, I can raise the top of the bed too.  The bed came with two memory foam pillows and two underbed storage boxes. I can set the bed to the position I want and do not have to do anything more.

I can thoroughly recommend this company for their polite, friendly and professional treatment of customers.  I have no affiliation to them - I am just a very happy customer.


The chair is less cumbersome than my previous one, which alone is a bonus in a small living room. I think it is a very good thing that I have just enrolled in a keep fit class, or I could see myself lolling about in bed or chair and getting no exercise at all!

Friday, 5 July 2019

A good haul.

This morning I found all this fabric for £3.99 in our Oxfam shop.

It was all stapled together with goodness knows how many staples - I lost count - and most of them were rusted into the fabric.  Some of them were huge, but no blood was spilled during their removal!

It is always worth taking a look to see what has come in, and I have found several treasures in there.

Sadly the colours are rather washed out in my photos but there is a good range of soft blues, greens and neutrals which will make lovely strong covers for books.  Some pieces are quite generously sized and would make bags.

 I vacuumed before I went out and then spent a couple of hours this afternoon wresting with the staples and sticky strips round the edges of each piece, sprinkling myself and the carpet with little white flecks.  Oh well, I can vacuum again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Only a drop in the ocean, but ...........

I have just done my first anti-single-use plastic shopping today, and found it far less daunting than I feared.  As it becomes a regular habit I will get more efficient.
I found the staff at my local Tesco supermarket very helpful and understanding, allowing me to use my own containers for some items or wrapping items in greaseproof paper, and accepting my returned unwanted non-recycled plastic when I handed it in to customer services.
I found the re-usable zip fastened freezer bags more useful than some containers so will take more of them next time.
A little more thought is required to make sure I get better results, but as I live alone I have no excuse not to put the effort in.
I understand that working mums would find it far more difficult.  To quote the Tesco slogan 'Every Little Helps'.