Friday, 29 April 2022

Quilting Update

The last few weeks have seen quite a bit of activity on the quilting front. The Diamond Garden quilt that I started several weeks ago, has really come on and I just have to add to the edges to level them all around the quilt, then maybe add a border and the top is done. I think I've just about got enough fabric to complete it.

Here's a picture of it as it is now:

I don't know what I'm going to use to back it. Probably quite a heavy fabric, as I may not actually put any wadding in the centre, because I don't actually have anything I could use at the moment. I may find or think of something suitable.

The small hexies are also mounting up as you can see from the photograph above. I took them with me on our recent weekend away and managed to get quite a few made. That is the great thing about a project made with such small pieces. You can take it anywhere. I remember taking a similar project to America with us several years ago and sewing them in the campervan en route to the Grand Canyon. 

The picture below gives you an idea of the size of each one.

There is currently a preponderence of brown fabrics amongst them, but there's still plenty more to make from different coloured fabrics before I start to sew them together. I have no idea what I'm going to make with them yet, but that's all part of the fun.

I enjoyed watcing the first episode of the Great British Sewing Bee this week. Looking forward to coming episodes. Hoping to get my sewing mojo back sometime soon.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

A Busy Week

This week got off to a busy start on Tuesday. I returned to work after the Bank Holiday weekend feeling a bit rejuvenated and keen to get stuck in. I decided to go up to the shop floor for once and take out all of the clothing that had been in the shop too long. Call it a Spring reset if you like. It's not something that I've done very often in the last two years, as very capable volunteers have taken on the task, but as no-one had done it the day before, because the shop was closed, I decided to do it myself.

It was nice to be on the shop floor for a couple of hours. It makes me realise how much I miss having contact with our customers, the vast majority of whom are lovely. It makes me feel more connected than when I'm just downstairs working away in the basement, so that was good.  In the afternoon, I was back downstairs getting stock ready to send upstairs. It felt like a very productive day. 

On Wednesday, I stayed home. When I got up, I did a few small organising jobs that I've put off for ages and put away various things that had just been thrown to one side until I got the time to deal with them. Baby steps of progress, but there is just so much to do at home at the moment. This is why I need to get a work/life balance.  At the moment, most of my time and energy goes into work and I'm tired on my days off. It's not how it should be.

I wandered out into the garden in the morning and it was lovely to see things growing and it greening up. Such a tonic. Several of my dahlias are starting to sprout.  After walking the dog, I came home and spent a couple of hours in the garden. 

Firstly, I attempted to tidy out and mend our mini greenhouse. Quite a few of the plastic joints had split, causing the frame to collapse in places, so I had ordered some new ones on eBay and they'd been sat on the kitchen table for weeks. I finally managed to fit them where I thought they were most needed and then ordered some more, as there were several more that needed replacing. They'll take a few weeks to arrive as they're coming from China, but that seemed to be the only place I could get them from on eBay.

Next, I used the large pot I found on the dog walk the other day, to plant out some sweet peas that I bought from outside someone's house near Spurn Point, when we were there the other week.  Here's a picture of them planted up and my attempts to protect them from birds, etc.

In amongst the sweet peas were a few pansy and foxglove seedlings, so I transplanted them into pots too.


Free plants make me very happy, I can't see them go to waste. I also planted up the last dahla tuber that I had bought. If they all grow well, I should have a lovely selection of colours this year, to keep the house looking cheerful in late summer.

Later in the afternoon, I hung out some laundry, had a nap for an hour, read a chapter of my current book and then I attempted to tackle the ironing mountain. I have way too many clothes and the ones still in the ironing basket are probably things that I no longer need to keep, as I just keep leaving them there. I need to sort through it and possibly send some of it to the charity shop.

It felt like this was my first day off in weeks, where I had been productive at home and it felt good.

Thursday, I was back at work. When I got to work there were quite a lot of donations to process, so I just got on with those. Donations kept coming in all morning. Anyway, eventually, having done as much as I could, I then moved on to another job that needed tackling and that I don't get time to do every week. This felt quite satisfying.

On Friday, I decided to take action about a health issue I've been having lately. I've had a cough for the past six weeks or so, which seems to be getting worse and it was particularly bad on Thursday at and after work. I'm starting to think that I might not be taking good enough care of my health and need to make some changes.  I decided to ring the doctor on Friday, as I am an ex-smoker and I wanted to be sure it's nothing serious. It could just be allergies connected to pollen in the air or even clothing fibres at work, but I wanted to get some advice, as I never normally have health problems like this. 

After a conversation with the doctor, she sent me for a chest Xray and advised me that until the results come back, I should try some steam inhalation and hayfever/allergy medication to see if this helps.  She was super nice and very thorough in her explanations of what could be causing it, which was very reassuring. I decided to go for the chest Xray the same day, so that I can get the results as soon as possible.

I also went to Home Bargains today, to pick up some bits we desperately needed. It was a bit of a drive, but I needed it just for a change of scenery and to clear my head.

On Saturday, I was back at work. We are quite short of volunteers on Saturdays at the moment, but we managed to get through the day okay and also to get quite a lot of stock onto the shop floor. I was glad to get home though and just chill for a couple of days, it's been a busy week.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Easter Weekend

This Easter we stayed put in London, as we'd only just returned from a trip to Yorkshire the previous weekend. I've had a lot on my mind this last week and been very distracted, so I was looking forward to the Easter weekend. I've been back to my normal days and hours at work this week, which has been good.

I was working on Maundy Thursday and took the bus in to work, as I just wasn't feeling like cycling in.  Sometimes, I just need a break from it. Getting into work was a bit of a nightmare, as I had a long wait for a bus. I was instantly regreting taking the bus, but not enough to go home and get on my bike. I eventually got to work with just a minute to spare.

Work was busy as usual. We're getting a lot more donations at the moment, so I spent most of the day working my way through them and pricing clothing. I felt physically and mentally drained when I left work and looked forward to a Good Friday at home with no plans.  

Good Friday was a chilled day at home. OH was cycling at the local velodrome all day. I could have gone with him, but I had a few things that I needed to do, including completing LB's student finance application, after finally getting the information that I needed from work. I was happy to get that done at least. Both OH and I have now completed it, so she should get an offer at some point in the near future.

On the dog walk on Friday night, I picked up a couple of pots on the route, that someone had left outside their house with a note saying 'Please take'. This big pot will come in useful for a fruit bush, tree or shrub at some point, although it does need holes drilling into it.

The woven basket, I thought was pretty and was in great condition, just a few leaves and a bit of soil in the bottom. I may put one of the plants in the living room into it. Great freebies. 

Saturday, I was back at work. Central London was very busy with people visiting the capital over the Easter weekend. The shop was steady but not super busy. I got quite a bit of work done today, but I wasn't really in the zone, like I usually am. OH came into town to pick me up from work, as I'd bought a few bulky items and needed to get them home.  I was really tired on leaving work and OH parked up and we stayed in town for a drink and pie and mash at a pub near the shop. It was nice to eat out together, to get a lift home and for us not to have to cook supper for a change.

The rest of the Easter weekend was spent just chilling at home. With travel chaos everywhere, I was glad that we didn't need to go anywhere. On Easter Monday, I attended my usual class at the gym in the morning, which was good. I was very happy to hear that my instructor had finally successfully managed to get her mother over to the UK from the Ukraine, which must have been a massive weight off her shoulders.

OH came along with me to the gym and walked the dog in a nearby park until I was finished and then we both headed off together to do the weekly shop, which made a change. Whilst I did the shopping, he filled the car with petrol and put it through the car wash, as it was filthy, and then went to buy a few things he needed from B&Q. A pretty boring but chilled weekend at home. Nothing exciting happening here.

I hope you guys had a lovely Easter weekend.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

This Week

This last week has been altogether more agreeable. I finished work on Thursday of the previous week. I was pretty tired after working 6 out of the previous 8 days, so the first couple of days I just chilled and did some work on my current patchwork to help me relax. I had to take naps in the afternoons just to get me through the day.

By Monday, I was feeling a lot better and headed off to my Zumba class. Our regular teacher was back and it was great to see her and take her class again.  After class, I headed off to do the weekly shop, but once again I had to be back home in time to do another online course for work. This time it only took an hour, thankfully, especially as I was on leave.

I had the week off work this week, and I really needed it.  I decided to use some of the time to try to get updates on my workplace and state pensions. I managed to get a couple online, but I had to send off an email requesting an update on another workplace pension. It's only small, but I like to know what is due to me, especially at the moment, so that I can plan ahead.  I'm currently looking around to see what other jobs are out there, so personal finances are important at the moment. 

There's a lot of stuff going on in the background in our lives currently. OH's parents have caught Covid recently and we've been concerned about them, as his father in particular is very vulnerable. They have recovered well though, which is a relief. My sister's husband has also had some serious health problems in the last few weeks and I was very concerned for him too, but luckily, he too is recovering well. At times like this, things like problems at work seem to pale into insignificance. Life is too short to be unhappy where you spend many of your waking hours. It's not as if I'm earning a huge wage, I'm not.

A bit of good news did drop into my email inbox this week. I won two £25 prizes on the Premium bonds.  Definitely not to be sniffed at. I have my account set up so that any winnings get reinvested into more bonds, to give me more opportunities to win in the future. This is only the second time I've won in the last year, the last time was in September 2021, but £75 in prizes in one year is way more than I'd get in interest on the amount I've got invested, so it's working for me so far.

Towards the end of the week, we travelled up to Yorkshire for a few days. I hadn't been out of London since mid December and I definitely needed some time away. Getting back to where I grew up on a regular basis is important to me and helps me stay grounded. Despite the Easter holidays being on the horizon, we managed to hire a cute cottage that was perfectly adequate for our needs, at a reasonable rate, in Holderness in East Yorkshire and we had a lovely few days relaxing, exploring the surrounding area and visiting family. It was just what we needed.