Friday, 29 January 2010

A Frustrating Week

Firstly, Sophie…………

is in season and because she only had these……………

4 months ago, obviously we did not want her to have another litter so soon after. But the logistics of keeping Max and George away from her have been a real headache (literally, 3 migraines in one week). Additionally, M&G have learnt to open doors (after scratching them to buggary first) whilst howling and crying all the time. Consequently I’ve been stuck indoors the whole week trying to save my girl’s honour!

Secondly, I only completed one cushion. I cut out the cushion backing 3 times as I made a mistake with the measuring. I decided to make a button fastening as I had loads of buttons, but no zips. The buttonhole foot on the new sewing machine bore no resemblance to the one in the manual. The manual assured me a buttonhole was an automatic one step manoeuvre – yeah right. After about an hour, I did work out how to do this and proceeded to make 9 buttonholes. Next, I tried to sew the decorative braiding, but the zipper foot could only be used one way (on my previous machine the foot would slide either to the left or right). By this time I was seriously missing my old machine and wondered if I had made a big mistake in buying, what seemed, a totally inferior model. Cup of tea and biccies at this point.

Then, with only about 6 inches to sew to complete the cushion, I ran out of cotton. I couldn’t believe it; I had no other cotton in my stash that remotely matched the colour of the fabric, so I ended up robbing off the bobbin (sounds like a dance doesn’t it, lol!) and hand sewed the last bit.

But, I must admit, I am very pleased with the result…………

Also, I finished this…………………

But run out of wool for this…………………

Can’t wait to hand over the dog-sitting (or no-more-puppies-please-sitting) reins to Mr. P so that I can escape my prison and replenish my stash.

Sorry about the quality of the piccies, such a drab rainy day! Also the mauve colour on the ripple and hex is more of a burgandy colour.


Saturday, 23 January 2010


Our TV gave up the ghost between Christmas and the New Year. This was the first TV me and Mr. P have ever purchased. Well that lasted a long time, you may ask? But no, it did not, barely 5 years. Up until that point we had always accepted, very gratefully, Mr. P’s parents’ cast-off TV’s. The TV had been going wrong for months, the on-off button was jammed and if anyone’s head appeared in the top half of the scene they looked like the incredible hulk, very green indeed. Also, George (the technophobe German Shepherd) had demolished the remote control, so all in all, the TV was hanging on by its last thread.

Exit 32” TV, to be replaced with the kitchen TV (also kindly donated by Mr. P’s parents). I envisaged a few problems here. Firstly Mr. P and I have separate rooms. He sits in the kitchen of an evening and I take to the living room. Please do not think that he has been banished, because this is not so and I think it would take the incredible hulk himself to banish Mr. P. anywhere (Leo, don’t you know).

Mr. P is quite happy in the kitchen whereby he has a choice of TV or computer and sometimes both at the same time. Except when Manchester United are playing then he really pulls rank and insists that he watches on the ‘big’ telly. Now all us ladies know that men are fixated with size, but I could never understand why I would be ousted from my nest so that he could watch an extra 4” of TV. You see, the TV that used to be in the kitchen is 28”!

Well, I must admit, aesthetically. the 28” was more pleasing, fitting into the fireside alcove very nicely without the 32” big fat bottomed, flat screen sticky-outedness. Unfortunately 3 weeks after this swap-around, 32” + stand are still sitting in the middle of my living room. Why I would need to ask Mr. P to dispose of it is a very perplexing conundrum!

28” obviously did not like Law & Order, Escape to the Country or even Criminal Minds, because it too packed up last Sunday. Enter No. 1 son’s TV, the 17”. Where is 28”, yes you have guessed, Mr. P put this about 2’ in front of my chair which blocks the remote control signal to the Virgin Media box, but makes a very useful foot stool. Now, as I have a prolapsed disc, I did ask Mr. P to move this after a couple of days assuming that even he could see there was some definite overcrowding going on – which he did and 28” now sits on the floor about one foot from where he moved it from.

It must be said, I have never been more pleased that we are skint, because I know Mr. P has his eye on a 50” monstrosity and, of course, that would mean that we would have to share a TV, a room and we all know where that leads, yes, compromise. Such a horrible word, such a let-down word, such a grey, insipid, halfway word!

There is a 12” portable waiting in the wings, but is there enough floor space for 17” too, would a 12” seem palatable to technophobe George, would I even be able to see it (I

suppose Mr. P might be persuaded to move 28” back and then I could rest it on the top) or should I get busy crocheting some doilies to adorn all my new free standing object d’art? Find out in the next thrilling episode of the TV Graveyard saga!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A Huge Desire

This last couple of days I've felt a huge desire to sort things out. To bring past creative excursions to fruition.

I thought I would start with these ........................

These 3 tapestry canvases and one cross-stitch linen were made some time ago (when I could actually see what I was doing). All four were made with the intention of making into cushions for my sofa.

BUT and this is a real biggie, Mr. P hates cushions!!!

To my way of thinking, sofa = cushions. Whats not to like?

But, dear reader, I feel in a rebellious mood and am going to assert myself and make them up anyway.

The compromise being, that I won't put one on his chair, over his head maybe, but not on his chair. Wish me luck!


Friday, 8 January 2010

Why is nothing straighforward?

A truly momentous occasion ruined by apathy and poor customer services!

The love of my life expired in the Summer. The unfeeling and insensitive words to crash my world being "I'm afraid it cannot be repaired, its obsolete and we cannot get the spares". My dearest friend was to be relegated to the scrap heap after 30 years of tender loving care. You may think I'm silly, but I cried, yes cried in the shop. What is she talking about, you may ask? My beloved sewing machine, I was absolutely bereft.

My machine had been used almost every single week throughout all those years and only let me down once. The perfect marriage. Only those of you who has an older style machine will know that comforting, robust sound it makes whilst sewing and I was convinced that I would not get that with a plastic covered new machine.

Anyway, after much research, picking of likeminded brains, I eventually decided on a Janome. But I couldn't afford it, but Mr. P promised to buy me it for Christmas. He did not, seeming to think that I might like a couple of DVDs instead! Now I know how that little boy who Santa Claus forgot felt!

But, just after Christmas, I popped into Dunelm Mill and there she was, half-price, reduced from £150. There was only one left, my heart started to beat faster as I put my protective arms around her, lest someone would try to steal her from me. They packed her up for me, but I noticed that the instruction manual was missing, they assured me that I could get this easily online or at Janome - this is the exact point where things started going wrong.

Its true, I was very pleased when they offered me a further 10% discount, leaving me to pay just £64.05. Such a small price to pay for something that would give me such pleasure.

I rushed home, unpacked her and felt that my face would break from smiling so much. Jumped on the computer to source the manual, but after 2 hours, despair set in. I couldn't locate it anywhere. Decided to try again the following day when I was feeling calmer. Spent the evening admiring my new friend and giving her a loving stroke everytime I passed her.

Upon closer inspection the next day, I was horrified to find that the machine did not have any bobbins, or even a bobbin case. The machine was incomplete and could not be used.

I rang Dunelm head office and spoke to Brian and was astounded at his bored unhelpfulness. He told me to go back to the store and get a refund. Tears of frustration at this point.

Up until recently I worked as a legal advisor for Trading Standards, so I was well aware of my statutory rights - but I did not want to exercise these, I wanted my bargain sewing machine. Off I went back to the store, asked to see the manager, explained, but he too was most unhelpful and offered a refund. I did not and could not accept this.

At this point I was on a mission! I rang all the local Dunelm stores, but none had this particular machine. I then tried the Broadstairs (Kent) store and a man named Lloyd reinstated my faith in commercial human nature. Yes, Lloyd had just one left, he would save it for me and as the box was still factory sealed all the parts should be intact, but he would check it with me when I collected it.

Now Broadstairs is an 80 mile round trip for me, the roads are excellent and there is a very special point, just entering Thanet where the light is always beautiful, so off I went. The lovely Lloyd, true to his word, saved it and checked it with me. Reason to start smiling again - until I got to the customer services desk. Because I had received an extra 10% discount, they wanted me to repay this. I asked to see the manager, but Lloyd said he would do this for me. After 10 mins, I could see that Lloyd was not having much luck with the manager, at this point, I admit, I pulled rank, told the customer services lady about head office and the previous manager. Informed her of my Trading Standards background and she bolted off, horror-stricken to the manager/Lloyd conference. Needlesstosay, a straight swap was agreed.

A long post, but the moral of this story is, that it is true that all Dunelm had to do was refund my money (put me back in the position I was in as if the contract had never existed). But, in law, there something called 'loss of bargain' and I would have pursued this course if I had not got satisfaction.

Also, it seems that my complaints did not fall on deaf ears as Brian rang me back and was almost as helpful as the lovely Lloyd! I can assure you, dear reader, that I graciously accepted Brian's apology!

Customer service is very important to me and poor customer service is one of Trading Standards biggest complaints.

Will I shop again at Dunelm, probably not, unless of course the lovely Lloyd serves me. But an 80 mile round trip is an awful long way to buy some spare bobbins!

But here my beauty is and we quickly got acquainted. Joy restored again

Don't you think she sits very prettily on this lovely old singer treadle table!


Thursday, 7 January 2010

My First Ta-Dah!

At first an apology. Due to being technically challenged (using one desk-top computer, one notebook computer and an external hard-drive - all at the same time) I got in a right mucking fuddle yesterday in banjo city waiting for deliverance. In my defence, it must me said that "I am woman", therefore I can multi-task. Unfortunately the above were designed by men, for men, nuff said really!

Anyway, the Lloyd Loom. Because the LL was so disgusting and to save me from Mr. P's wroth, I set about its makeover straightaway. Armed with an upholstery tool thingymebob for removing tacks, I removed 92 of them. After taking off the rather fetching brown/cream spot fabric, a 'Colmans' coloured curtaining material was next, followed swiftly by some 60's plastic pale blue quilted stuff. Finally came some rather nice pink floral fabric, which looked and felt like silk. Guessing this was probably the original covering, I decided to leave it for posterity.

Off then to my workshop, loosely known as the garage (but this was about 17 years ago), I proceeded to spray LL gold. When dry, I removed the lid and covered in some fabric that had been in my hoard for about 10 years (because I knew I would NEED it one day). Stapled it on, re-attached the trimming, and .................

I made the decorative tassel faceplate from a Sizzix die and dipped into UTEE.........

Purchased the tassel for £2.49 at Dunelm.........

Which I think finished it off nicely..............

I'm really amazed with myself that I actually 'turned a piece around' within 2 days of purchase, normally my rescued 'must haves' languish forlornly waiting, sometimes, years for attention. But this one was far too ugly to remain in this world without absolute TLC.

Sorry about the photo - my excitement probably made my hands shake. Also, I'm sorry that I could not show you LL in situ, but my bedroom is only 10' x 12' and I would have had to get on top of the wardrobe to take any decent sort of photo.

I already had the fabric and gold spray paint, so apart from my £5 eBay layout, tassel and petrol to and from (said with utmost relief) Deliverance country - a real bargain.

To close, I would like to say thank you to all you lovely Folksies for following me and your lovely comments.

Now to go play in the snow.

Taken late yesterday afternoon (it started snowing about 3.30 p.m.).

The sight that greeted me this morning.


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy 2010 and here goes!

Well, this is my very first posting to my blog. I have only just got into blog-world and have been so wonderfully surprised and honoured to have a peep into other people's lives and to have it so beautifully photographed. I suppose, in this day and age, that not many of us have the time or energy to be more involved with our neighbours or community, so the blogging world is a great place to find like minded people and read all about them.

You are warmly invited to a cup of tea (a.m.) or a glass of wine (p.m.) and if you're sitting comfortably, then I will begin.

Just need to work out Facebook, Flickr and so on and so forth!

Its so difficult to know what to talk about first. A recent, project, I think.

I recently purchased a very old Lloyd Loom blanket box, as storage of bedding, towels, etc., was becoming a real headache. I had been after one for absolutely ages.

I purchased it off eBay for a fiver and nearly fainted with delight when I won the auction. Collection of it was a whole different story.

I had to travel to a little village on the Dover side of Canterbury. A very pretty village, but the seller seemed very elderly and his directions were impossible. We travelled up hill and down dale, asked loads of locals which just sent us further into a deserted countryside, occupied only by wooden houses (like great big sheds really) and I was not about to knock on anyone's door.

Eventually we happened upon some sort of residential establishment. Some of the residents were sitting outside smoking and I was led into a kitchen, by the hands, whereby a kindly member of staff lent me his mobile phone (mine was dead, as usual - another story) to ring the seller. By this time I really felt that I was in 'Deliverence Country' and I could have sworn that I heard banjos playing!!!!

Eventually, up some farm track (with the underside of my car bashing against the ground) we were met by a man waving furiously at us. He was not elderly (but sounded so), probably about my age I suppose, who promptly loaded up said Lloyd Loom into my car and wanted to the chew the fat awhile. I wanted to escape as soon as possible, as the banjos seemed to be getting louder and louder. It was so surreal and I was so glad that I had the twin brother with me.

At this point I was going to show you some photos of the Lloyd Loom in all its disgusting bad taste - but I can't find them anywhere (blimey, I can hear those banjos again). Just to say that it was painted in a 'Colmans' english mustard shade, but the back was still the original pink colour and the seat (well the first layer anyway) was dark brown with cream spots.

Pictures of the finished item tomorrow.

And, Mr. P's comment - well it cannot be repeated in polite company!