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Saturday, 28 April 2018

Points Card

Here in the UK we have two particular stores that I use regularly, the  Co-Op is a local grocery store just down the road from me, it is close to Becontree Train Station and several bus stops so it does get busy at certain times of the day.  My local Boots is also a pharmacy and if you google it, it will give you a long history of the company.  The one I go to is at Heathway and it sells toiletries, baby products, make-up and some diabetic foods.

The reason I am speaking about these stores is because I have a Points Card for each of them, have done for a long time, and when I spend you hand over your points card and you get points on the card for every purchase.  Sometimes its 1p per £1 spent and other times you get points deals which, when money gets tight or you want to buy a special treat you can use your points to purchase and it does not cost you anything.  I was wondering if other people use something similiar in other countries, I know my cousin in USA uses coupons cut from newspapers or given at the time of purchasing products but is there a points system too.

The store that I go to sometimes called Roomes of Upminster has a Habadashery Section where I have purchased yarn and when you spend money you get a paper card with squares on and they stamp a square when you spend.  When it is full (8 stamps) you get £5 off your purchase.

Can you imagine the amount of plastic cards in your purse if you had one for all the stores you use on a regular basis, that would drive me nuts.  I have saved a fair bit for Co-Op and when I have had £10 worth of points I have bought tins of baby milk, box of chocolates for a gift or just had it taken off a shopping bill.  I think it is a brilliant idea and will continue to use my Points Cards but what I would like is a points saving system for an online yarn store.  I would use it regular, especially now that I want to stop using acrylic yarn and will start purchasing a more natural fibre like wool.

Today is Saturday and both myself and Frank have not been feeling our best so we only popped to Heathway to the Library and took a few things to our local charity shop.  I purchased some bedding for a single bed.  Then I got the bed all made up to look cosy and comfy for when my Grand Daughter stays over.  The bed was given to use by one of Franks work friends, its made of iron and the mattress was in really good condition so I bought a waterproof mattress protector from a store called Wilkinsons and then put some blankets on it, especially Myas new blanket I made called Magics Summer and threw a lot of cushions on there too.

I was planning on painting 3 of the walls in the bedroom, just white to spruce it up a bit, but I have to be in the mood to decorate so it can wait a bit longer.

Tomorrow is going to be a lazy day, I want to do a bit more designing and then in the afternoon my Grandson will be visiting with my brother and sister in law.  We have not had great weather this week and the forecast is not looking good for the next few days.  I cannot believe that last weekend it was very warm and sunny and was going out without any coats on.  Crazy British weather.

Oh well, I am off to do some crafts and maybe watch a few podcasts.  Hope everyone has a good week and if you do have any thoughts about Points Cards, please comment below.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Since February

Since February I kind of lost my interest in my crafts and was just picking it up for the sake of it, I got fed up with sock knitting and once I completed the last pair I had decided to not do anymore for a while.  I also felt quite tired most days, I still do, and cannot work out why.  I then got a part-time job working as a Receptionist in a Medical Centre which I started mid March and is absolutely exhausting, especially after a 10 hr day.

It is also a sedentary job so sitting down is a big part of the day which is not doing my knees any good, my feet and weight control.  I use to walk at least 10,000 steps a day making an effort to walk the 2 miles to work and 2 miles back but this job is too far away for that so I have decided to actually re-do the Couch to 5K exercise but more in line with walking distances rather than much jogging.  I do not want to aggravate my Plantar Fasciitis and go through that pain again.  I am also trying to control my eating again because I am comfort eating and also when I finish work late, I am eating dinner late which to be honest I do not really want so I need to look at my diet.  I am not eating enough fruit again and also found out that eating a portion of nuts is suppose to be good for you.  I do have a Doctors appointment on Monday to request a full blood test.

So what have I been up to, well as you can see in the photo below, I turned 50 the other day and I got such a lot of Birthday Cards which compared to few last year, was good going and much appreciated.

I got lots of lovely gifts and a surprise dinner part at a Harvester Restaurant in Gidea Park which Frank had organised with my Sister-in-Law and Brother.  My two Grand children were there too and my neice Adele.  We had my Grand Daughter over the weekend and on the Saturday we took her to Southend for a few hours where we both got spoiled again with clothes, shoes and jewellery which was not expected.  I knew we were going to buy Mya some new clothes because we bought her brother Martyn some the weekend before.

Since my last blogpost I had been crocheting on and off a design of my own so that Mya had a Summer blanket for the bed that we are setting up for when she stays and below is a photo of the design.  It is using Paintbox Simply DK and I call it Summer Magic.  I have not written up a pattern for it yet, I just need to bring myself to get round to doing it.

I have also been listening a lot to documentaries and articles on the news about how much plastic we use and what effect it is having on our planet.  The damage to our sea life is just so upsetting to see and realising that Acrylic yarn is not very friendly to our environment, I have decided to give up using Acrylic yarn. I am using up everything I have of Acrylic and then will look at using a more natural fibre.  That being said it has to be budget friendly too and am looking at the Shetland Spindrift Yarn which is a natural wool blend by Jameson & Smith in the UK.  

So I have been working on another scrap project using my last Acrylic and below is a photo of it for you to see.  On the negative side I am finding I can only crochet for a few hours at a time because it effects the base of my thumb quite badly.  It becomes painful to grip anything and is sore which is concerning me.  However, a little bit at a time I will get the project done.

Finally, I got a bargain at Hobbycraft about a month ago and it is a wool blend aran by Patons.  I think it is a discontinued yarn and the blue tweed effect caught my eye.  I am hoping to make another nice blanket but for Martyn and I have an idea for a design but just got to get it right in my head.  I will do a swatch sample of the pattern to see if it will work.  It was £2 a ball for 100g so could not miss out on that bargain.

Today is Wednesday morning and I have to be in work a little later. I have done housework and now going to watch a podcast called Fruity Knitting (an Australian couple who live in Germany) which is on Youtube and also one called Brooklyn Knitfolk (a lady living in New York) which is also on Youtube.  

Hope you all have a good sunny day and be back soon.

Friday, 16 February 2018

February 16th, 2018

I have been a busy bee since I posted last time, I have been monogamously knitting on my latest design and I finished it yesterday.  I have spent the past 2.5 hrs writing up the pattern and then sent the PDF to my son for him to take a look at the format and layout.  He agreed that it was good and so I published it today.  Here are a few photos.

It has used nearly 5000 yards of Paintbox Simply DK so is a good stash buster because I used two colours together.  I randomly picked the colours because I wanted it to be a bright and colourful rug for my living room.  Plus I want to stop having cold feet from the laminate flooring.

I have put a link above to the rug pattern above if anyone would be interested in purchasing it.

Today is a very sunny but cold day and the forecast for the evening is even colder, it is going to get to about 1 degrees so warm pyjamas tonight.  I have been planning what to cook for a meal tonight too, Frank is popping over and after much deliberation I am going to cook a fish meal with rice and vegetables.  I would not say I am enthusiastic about cooking, I do not cook many meals but when I know I am getting a visitor I will make an effort.

It is 12.30pm and for the rest of the day I intend to watch a few podcasts and cast on a new project called Reyna by Noora Laivola which is a free pattern on  I am going to use some stash yarn that I have called Louisa Harding Amitola.  It is a lace kind of shawl pattern and will be my first lace project.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, 5 February 2018

February 5th, 2018

Hi there,  just popping in to bore you about the freezing weather here in my part of the UK.  It is 11.30am right now, I got back from my interview this morning around 11am and I still cannot get warm.

It is just one degree above freezing here and when I left at 08.20 this morning I had my shawl, woollen coat, large cabled scarf, hat and gloves on and it started to blinking snow heavy.  I just thank the Lord that it is not very windy today because it would have been much colder.  My interview was at 09.30 and the bus journey became horrendous.  The traffic at the Heathway was really bad, the roadworks at Morrisons was even worse and then to top it off, the bus driver changed shifts so I rang and left a message with the Secretary that I could be late for my interview.  I have never been late and get anxious about it and so ended up getting there at 09.36.  They were ok about it thank goodness and my interview went well, they said they will contact me by the end of the week for their decision.

By the time I got home it started snowing again, just a little bit and I made a coffee and started to write this and update my Job Search Journal.

I have had my central heating on all weekend but last night felt so drafty and Frank and I decided to get a couple of blankets on our laps.  Frank has got the crocheted granny square blanket and I have the mitred square blanket.  You can just see the back of Tammies head where she is always laying.

I love my blankets and will keep on making them, I do not think you grow out of a blanket like you do with clothing styles and it is so comforting to have a warm cover to give you that extra bit of heat.

I certainly do not intend to go out again today, other than walk Tammie, I have just seen the Gritter Trucks go past so must be getting more snow soon.  I think I will just do a little tidying up and then get some more work done on Strip No.5 of the rug.  I am enjoying it so much.

I did finish one of Franks socks the other day but when I got him to put it on it seemed quite small in the foot. I could not work out why it came up short because I always do 70 rounds for his foot length so I unpicked the toe and got him to put it back on and blimey, it was about an inch too short.  I added another 10 rounds and it was better and so am now leaving to do the toe until I finish the second sock. I was puzzled why it was so short and then occurred to me that I am using size 2mm dpns and knitting quite tighter than normal.   

I am also trying to alternate the way I knit through each knitting session that I do, I am quite concerned about my thumb and the pain I am getting.  I will put on a support to see if that helps and take little break too.

Oh well, I am off to get another coffee and try to warm up.  Have a good day and will be back with good news about the job soon.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

February 1st, 2018

Today is a very cold (4 degrees) but sunny day and I did not want to go out  but I told myself that the dog loves her walk and so I put on a shawl under my coat and my big cable scarf on top, plus a hat and gloves and went outside.  I just about managed to miss most of the school kids going past and there were only a few screaming teenage girls to blot out the noise from.  I was not out for very long, literally posted a letter and was back again much to Tammies dismay.

Yesterday I was up bright an early at 6am and walked to the Heathway to catch the bus to Harold Hill.  I got to Michelles house around 07.15 and got a lovely greeting from my Grandson.  We spent the day together while Michelle went to work, we played, chuckled, he can sit up now on his own most of the time with just a little wobble now and then.  He loves his racing car walker and his jumperoo but also gets a lot of floor time rolling around, talking and being quite vocal.  I managed to get a bit more knitting done on my latest socks whilst he slept and I watched a couple of podcasts like Fruity Knitting and Skeindeer Knits and then at 4pm I put on a quiz programme called Tipping Point. Now for some reason my Grandson likes this programme, he will watch it intensely at times and all I can think of is because of the bright red colours on the machine.  You can see this quiz programme on Youtube if you want to see what I mean.

My niece came in from school and then my brother came in from work and we had a coffee together. My brother David beams at my Grandson when he walks in and Martyn just beams back at him as if to say Where You Been.  David says that it makes his day when he sees him.  David goes back out around 5pm to get Michelle and they go on to a cleaning job that they do together and then by 7pm we sat down for dinner which consisted of Cornbeef, Chips and Beans which was yummy.   Shortly after Dave takes me home in his car and Michelle gets Martyn bathed and ready for bed.

So that was yesterday and as I said it is freezing today with a chilly wind that needs to blow away fast.  I did turn my central heating off for a few days because it has been so mild around 10 degrees but today, it went straight back on.  I got up around 8am today and spoke to Frank on the phone for a while and then I ended up giving my bedroom a good clean and tidy and got some washing and ironing done.  Michelle rang to say that Martyn had cut his first tooth which explained his sleepless few nights poor thing.

Housework lasted till about 11.30 am and then I did some job searching and applied for a few jobs.  I checked my emails and have been invited for an interview on Monday so am looking forward to that. I then finished off knitting the 4th strip for the rug and whilst watching The Grocery Girls Podcast on Youtube, I sewed together the 4 strips that were completed.

You can see it folded on the back of the chair and it is rather big.  I was going to take a photo of it on the floor but I will wait till I have completed it because I am hoping to turn it into a knitting pattern on Ravelry.

It is now 1640 hrs and just starting to get dark so the candles are lit and the lamp is on and am now enjoying a cuppa and some rich tea biscuits.  
Tammie is waiting patiently to be offered some biscuit and you have to dunk it in the tea or she turns up her nose at you. Rather spoiled I am afraid.

I am going to spend the rest of the evening working on my 5th strip for the rug, do a little dinner and maybe see what is on the tv. I am hoping to get those socks finished this weekend because after having a tidy up in my room I have put aside my next stash of yarn for a project and would like to crack on with that soon.

Have a good evening and hopefully be back soon. 

Monday, 29 January 2018

January 29th

Hi I thought I would finish up January blogposts today and hopefully have a more productive and interesting crafty February.  Since I wrote my last blogpost which was around 10 days ago there has been a fair bit of knitting on my rug project using 2 double knit yarns together and I am currently ready to finish the 4th strip.

It is turning out to be a complete mish-mash of colours without any planning of what colours to use together and at first I thought that it was not going to look ok but to be honest, the more random colours the better.  The 3 that are complete are currently rolled up on my dinner table and they make me fancy a swiss roll cake.

The only negative that I have to say about knitting with 2 strands of double knit yarn held together is that I have been getting a nasty pain in the lower part of my right thumb and when I compared it to my left thumb, the base is quite swollen.  It has woken me up at times and so I have been trying to knit continental to ease the repetitiveness.  I have picked up speed with continental knitting but it does still feel rather odd to me knitting this way but I will do whatever I can to ease the discomfort.

As you can see from the above photo, this is a few of the colours that I want to incorporate into the rug and I intend to add a few paler colours that I have sitting upstairs in my plastic storage container.  

I have been thinking about how I want to complete the rug namely, an edging and I am leaning towards an I-cord edge all the way around because I thought that it would give it a much more sturdy support.  I do intend to wash it now and then but also I have visions of hanging it over the washing line and bashing it a bit to get any dust out.  Lets face it, dusting is not on my priority list.

I have not knitted much on the red, white and blue socks because I only save them for either on the long bus ride to look after my Grandson or I may knit on them whilst in bed.  So it is not worth putting a photo of them here,  I am still on the first sock, I completed the heel the other day and am only a few rows in for the foot.

So as a quick update for January on the job searching front, I am still applying for lots of jobs and barely getting any replies.  I see my work coach every week and also received support to update my cv to tweak it a bit.  I do hope something comes along soon, I have decided to broaden my horizons with what I want to do as a job and realise now that I do not want to have a lot of stress in my life workwise and the only possible career choices that I can think of is working part-time for a while.  To be honest I have been looking at doing cleaning jobs because you work on your own, no stress, no deadlines or office red tape and that sounds attractive to me.  So we will see what February brings.

My crafting plans for February are to just finish this rug and to finish the one pair of socks I have on the needles.  I really do not like having a lot of projects on the go, I like to see the finished product and I hate having projects laying around incomplete, especially if it is expensive yarn.

So, I will say goodbye to January 2018 and hope that those who read this have had a pleasant January.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

January 18th

Hi, I have not been doing anything of interest to blog about the past few days so I thought I would just pop in some photos.

This first one is of a lap blanket that I crocheted back in November 2012 and completed it in January 2013.  It is made with acrylic yarn and is just simple granny squares with a white border.  I then put crocheted the squares together into strips, did a red border between the strips and then went around the outside edge to finish off.  I have currently got it over my lap because it is quite chilly here today and am feeling the cold.

The next photo is of a sock that I have started. In fact it is Franks 18th pair of socks, I did make 17 pairs for him last year and I hope to make the same amount again but with different yarns and hopefully a few designs of my own.  The yarn that I am using at the moment is called Zig Zag and it is lovely to work with.  I am using my Knit Pro Zings, size 2mm and they are begining to be my most favourable needles.

I have been visiting my Grandson the past few days and I am thoroughly enjoying my time with him, he makes me smile so much and is learning new things every day.  The past few days he has realised he can shake his head and also found his screechy voice which he thinks is highly hilarious.

Today we have had a whole mixture of weather, at 2am there were gale force winds which blew down a few trees, broke my neighbours fence two doors away and then blew over my small little plastic greenhouse that I use to put in garden pots etc.  I do not understand how it can blow over though because I have a marble hearth at the bottom of it to weigh it down but it still gets blown over at times.

Then we had a heavy downpour about 3pm when the school kids came out and now it is just cold, dark and damp.  The news report is saying that there has been a lot of snow all over the country and lots too in USA.  Blimey, I hope it does not cause any problems for people.  

Oh well,  I am going to watch a podcast and do a little knitting on the 3rd strip of the rug I am making.  My thumb is still quite sore after a little bit of knitting but am trying to alternate my technique to ease the pain. 

Have a good evening!