Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stitching and recovery

My recovery from surgery has been way too long, for my liking. I know, I didn't stay home and rest as long as I should have, but I needed to be at work and couldn't do it from home. I'm almost completely healed now though. The other disturbing thing was for the first month I didn't want to stitch. That's never happened in 20 odd years. It was just too uncomfortable to stitch. I finished a little project Sis had started and gotten frustrated with. She asked me if I would complete it. I should take a pic, but it's really not mine to claim, as she did most of it.

Then I started back on The Sistine Chapel Ceiling I'm doing. It was just too much, so I had to let it go. I went back to work on Pompeji Garden. This project is taking forever to get done. It's just beautiful, make no mistake, but every section is repeated 4 times and it gets quite wearing. Well, I've now completed 3 sections totally. I just have the top left portion to do the trees and columns in, along the the scrolls in the corner. Then....all the beading. I can't even count how many beads I have to sew on. Maybe yet this decade I'll be able to post a finish in this one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Trip Out on a Soggy Saturday!!!!!

Yes folks it's another soggy Saturday in the UK - cat-on-your-lap and crumpet weather!!!!! Mandy and I braved the rain to visit the Courts Garden at Holt and the wonderful tea room there run by Jackie and Richard. Jackie's food is truly memorable; all homemade from best ingredients and made with care. Yes, it's a tad expensive but then this is a treat and you're paying for the whole experience and service. Although having to pay to get in as it's a National Trust property (£6 per adult entrance charge) does make a trip there expensive but we're lucky in that Mandy has a pass and we get in free!!!! My view is the National Trust tends to overcharge on everything then whines that visitor numbers are down . . . slashing entrance fees to its many properties across the UK by £2/£3 would bring visits into the range of a lot more families but then what do I know!!!! However, a large field mushroom baked with Stilton cheese served with a little salad and granary bread along with a steak & mushroom pie topped with mash and a side plate of carrots, savoy cabbage and leeks went down a treat along with coffee milkshakes, then we managed to save room for chocolate-orange bread pudding and icecream and hot chocolate fudge cake with icecream AND a second round of milkshakes on the house!!!! Our hosts work very hard and deserve their Winter breaks . . . the season finishes next weekend and they are away to Cyprus then spending a month in Antigua before opening up again in mid-February. I've attached a pic of the house and gardens although it was a grey rainy day and does not do the gardens justice. I SOOOOO wish Big Sis was there too - it's the kind of place she would enjoy and not just for the wonderful food!!!! The gardens have little paths that lead into different "rooms" and have quite a number of old-fashioned apple trees as well as a couple of medlar trees which you don't often see now. The medlar is a quaint little fruit, needing to be almost rotten (bletted) before being edible and has a taste quite unique, although it has been likened to apple sauce. I have made medlar jelly years ago and it is equally good on crumpets or to give flavor to stirfries or casseroles. Big Sis and I are having a stitchalong weekend and of course the UK clocks go back tonight, with the US

Summertime ending next Saturday. Happy stitching everyone and stay snug!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunny Fall Saturday

And it's real Fall now both sides of the pond. Today is kind of chilly although bright sunshine and that iceblue sky peculiar to Fall. I was out and about in town today having a haircut then heading to the bank. I see in the High Street there is a new milkshake bar offering all kinds of gourmet shakes . . . not quite sure how well this will do given it's two doors down from Starbucks and hardly the weather for milkshakes but you never know. I'll give it a whirl next time I'm in the High Street although I did have my usual treat this morning - a hotdog from the market lady and a caramel latte from Starbucks. Big Sis and "our" Mom are having a trip out this morning involving lunch which is real nice for them - I don't think Big Sis has had lunch out since recovering from her op and they both work very hard and deserve a treat - LOL!!!!! I plan on stitching this afternoon . . . I have meals for the week done - cauliflower cheese with onion as well as peppers, tomatoes and onions roasted in olive oil with a little thyme and seasoning over couscous AND roast chicken. All this with plenty of fruit and good bread will be meals for the weekend and in the week leaving me plenty of time for stitching!!!!!! Of course we are on countdown to vacation and I bought the first Christmas present today - go me!!!!! My grocery store is already stuffed with Christmas goodies, never mind Halloween!!!!! And at my hair salon today I have only one appointment now at the start of December before vacation - YAAAAAAAYYY!!!!! It is a treat to have a hair trim . . . the salon I go to is very professional yet very friendly and my stylist knows what suits me and doesn't try to make me change from this. Head massages are standard after washing and I could easily drift off to sleep having one of those!!!!! Fortunately I keep to a short style and it only takes my stylist moments to snip and snap this into place. They had Halloween decorations up and it looked really good with bats and ghosties fluttering here and there!!!!! A good professional cut means that when my Big Sis picks me up at the airport I don't look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards!!!!! Of course some travellers don't seem to care - I've even seen a few arriving at US Visitor Immigration wearing PJs and wrapped around with an airline blankie which I think is a tad excessive but each to their own!!!!! Now back to stitching and hot chocolate!!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Greetings!!

A Happy Stitching Saturday to all stitchers out there!!! Big Sis and I have declared this to be a Stitchalong Weekend and I'm just taking five for a snackie, drink and a blog post. It's a real chill damp Fall day outside in Darkest Wiltshire . . . the kind of drizzly rain that gets into your bones if you're not careful!! My friend Mand and I visited an old market town near to where we live and treated ourselves to a full English breakfast in the Polly Tearooms!! Very old-fashioned and wonderful!!!! The town itself is old-fashioned and the stores reflect the fact that the town is in a "moneyed" area and near to racehorse breeding country which means folks who live in and around the town have ooodles of dosh. There's a real nice old-fashioned butcher's shop in the High Street which, although the prices are somewhat eye-watering, the quality of the meat is first-class and a little will go a long way!!!! There's also a high-end grocery store for more treats and quite a few interesting little stores for clothes and other stuff. If you cut through a little alleyway and walk past where I used to work you end up in the watermeadows behind the High Street and can feed lots of ducks, moorhens, cootes and other wildfowl as the River Kennet winds its way leisurely. In many ways it's a timeless place - my parents enjoyed visiting and the Polly Tearooms has been in the High Street forever and its Cream Teas are legendary!!!! Years ago when I was small there was an old-fashioned sweet shop in the High Street which sold the best sugar mice in the world but now this is long gone although you can still get sugar mice in the Polly along with lots of other cookies and cakes and candy - all homemade!!!! However our visit today was short as the drizzly chill rain was not conducive to window shopping or feeding ducks!!! Big Sis has the same weather and we both agree this is cat-on-your-lap weather and just perfect for stitching!!! Dinner tonight was comfort food courtesy of one of Nigel Slater's supper recipies . . . leftover roast chicken with couscous, chives and peas in a dressing of lemon, orange and good olive oil plus a little seasoning. He used pea shoots in his recipe but I had peas and it's all about making use of what you have on paw!!! It was very good and I think some of my sourdough bread would go well another time. It was also quick to put together which is what I wanted . . . sometimes you need something good but which doesn't take ages to make!!! Enjoy the weekend folks and happy stitching!!!!