Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for January, 2021

Books- January 2021

I shall carry on with my Reading my way across Europe this year, fortunately it wasn’t effected by Brexit. One more country was added- Iceland this time, and I’m currently reading Thomas Mann’s collection of short stories Death in Venice, here representing Germany for me. The challenge I’m interested in starting next month is to read the ten books I haven’t yet read from Channels Five’s 30 best British books- I’ll include their list next month.

This month I have enjoyed four very good books, I recommend them all.

Kate Morton- The Secret Keeper- A wonderful book to start the year with. A love triangle, betrayal, revenge a secret kept for 70 years and murder, all set in the present day and WW2 and the 1960s. Really enjoyable, glad I found this author and all thanks to my son gifting me The Clockmaker’s Daughter two years ago.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir- The Legacy- Set in Iceland, a murder mystery. It was very good indeed, I didn’t see any of the twists, not one. Only draw back were the gruesome murders, which I only skim read.

Natalie Haynes- The Children of Jocasta- I really enjoyed this book, which tells the familiar story of Oedipus and Antigone from the perspective of two people who barely feature in the traditional renditions. Jocasta is ordered at a young age to marry the King of Thebes to produce an heir for him. Ismene is her youngest daughter. There is also a Reckoning, which sounds remarkably like the plague and a Lockdown. Ms Haynes writes well, the two stories are told side by side and she allows herself the freedom to change things round a bit. Thoroughly recommend this one.

Liane Moriaty- Nine Perfect Strangers- I read this in only two days . I am now rethinking my dream of one day taking a retreat, maybe I won’t. It was a jolly good read and I’m not saying anything else about it for fear of spoiling any of it for you.

I averted a near catastrophy for me this week. A chance comment last week from the librarian who phoned me to say I had one book awaiting collection , and I should really try to collect it as soon as possible, stopped me in my tracks. I had noticed that all my recent borrowings were being issued into March- February had been missed entirely. It dawned on me- they are going to close the library again. Oh no. Fast forward to the evening and I sat down and requested masses of books. Joy of joys, six came through for me this week. I received an email to say that indeed only the central library is going to remain open, all the others are closing for 8 weeks as library staff are needed elsewhere to provide Covid cover. Phew I collected them in time and have plenty to read!

I wondered are the libraries near you still all open? Have you read any of these books, what did you think? What are you reading today?

I’m still wondering what other duties within a Council a librarian could do- will they be on refuse collections I wonder- or maybe something to do with the last census to be done in the UK?

Anyway stay warm if it’s Winter/ not too hot if it’s Summer, and have a good weekend.

Cathyx

Bees Wax Wraps

Beemindfulbuzziness. What I hear you ask?

This I answer- my Christmas present from my lovely daughter-in-law and son. Link for you all here-https://www.facebook.com/beemindfulsansior/

Created as a business venture by a teacher and her pupils in Wales. The little bracelet comes with a poem. It reads

When you’re feeling rather sad,

And want to feel happy and glad,

Wear this bracelet every day.

And happiness will come your way.

Do look at their Facebook page- they give their profits away, and it is really heart warming to see.

Inside my re-usable cup is a tea bag and a packet of cookies.

So to the wraps. They are to replace cling film or tin foil you may be using to wrap sandwiches or leftover nosh you pop in the fridge.

Inside the box these pretty blocks of wax, almost too pretty to melt.
And really pretty fabric.
Almost too pretty to melt wax onto.

I gave myself a good talking too- well several because as always it took me several readings of the instructions and a few sleeps, until yesterday when I was mostly grating wax.

Me grating wax with the cheese grater.
Sprinkling wax prior to melting it in the oven.
Followed by brushing wax, re- melting wax, wafting fabric around to harden wax
Until I had four small wraps
And one big wrap

It was great fun- the smell of the wax was delicious, and the only downside was cleaning the grater afterwards- chipped off with a knife and wiped down with boiling water, and the fact that’s too cold for a picnic and we are not allowed one anyway.

So I have wrapped up the wraps till a warmer day, and I have of course got tea and biscuits to enjoy now. I really enjoyed this present.

Has anyone else made bees wax wraps? How did you get on? Now what shall I scare myself with next?

Snow Sunday

All it took was a bit of snow and everyone was so happy- sledging, snowmen, blokes showing off, dogs doing mad circular runs, and us quieter types with our cameras, everyone was so happy- it won’t take much to resume normal when we are able, we are all so poised for the off. Enjoy my walk..

The Stitchbook

For the last 18 months I have been taking part in a Stitchbook Collective. I wrote about my progress on my other blog, and have just written my final review for the book as a whole- should you be interested it can be read here-https://avoicethroughstitch.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/the-stitchbook/

If you pop over do please let me know what you think- please be nice.

Scrap Happy day- January 2021

This one’s a bit different. I’m trying to keep myself amused during Lockdown the third, and I have turned to a list I wrote when reading the early chapters in Julia Cameron’s book about being creative in retirement. The list begins If it weren’t too late I would…. well that list has grown over the weeks and some things I can do during lockdown in lieu of ” an artist’s date” ( an outing you take by yourself to kindle interest in life). So last week I tried chopsticks. Then I was faced with what to do with the leftover pineapple chunks which had gone into my meal, and there underneath 1 Learn to use chopsticks, was 2 Make a pizza. Many years ago when my sons were little I had supervised them with a ready made pizza base and toppings, but never had I made onw from scratch. Time to get to work.

One pizza base made, off to rise for 15 minutes in the airing cupboard.
Leftover pineapple chunks, scraps of ham, grated cheddar.

I remembered many years ago chatting to a fellow student in my college days and him explaining to me that Pizza in Italy is a peasant food, made from leftover scraps of food from the week before, so there is no right or wrong way to make one, everyone has their own preferred method, and anything can go on a pizza, you jst use up your scraps.

One ham and pineapple pizza.
with leftover tomatoes and cucumber from my Christmas fridge.

I quite fancy making another with mushrooms- do they have to be leftover mushrooms, or could I just buy some…

I wondered what everyone else likes on a pizza, do you make your own or buy one?

Please pop over to Kate to see other scrap happy projects- link here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/scraphappy-january-5/

Yarning Along – January 2021

I took this picture ready for Yarn Along, But Ginny being otherwise busy ( she announced a new baby is on the way ) , meant she didn’t put up the link this month. That however doesn’t mean I can’t share my lovely yarning, so here it is.

I am really enjoying this Kate Morton book- The Secret Keeper, set in London and WW2 and the present day, we have a story of love and mystery, perfect Winter’s reading with a nice mug of something hot.

As to knitting, this is to be a sleeveless cardigan for my granddaughter, who doesn’t like sleeves. The pattern is an 8 row repeat and I have to concentrate or I get lost! But at least it’s not scary, unlike cutting fabric…… you can’t frog a cut piece of material.

The above are the two paragraphs I wrote last week, since then I have finished the book and returned it to the library, read another book and started my current read “The Children of Jocasta”- early days but shaping up nicely.

As to the knitting I finished the left front and started on the right side. Clearly the pattern writer and testers found it a confusing pattern too- they got it wrong- several pieces of paper, some head scratching and a good nights sleep later I got it sorted. I shall write and tell them in due course.

Meantime the January blues started, which happily coincided with the Winter sales. Hurrah.

BOXES OF GOODIES FOR ME.

Inside enough yarn and patterns for two cute dinosaurs.

Inside the other, something to brighten the days for grandchildren and some yarn to make a Harry Potter bobble hat.

Happy Days!

I wondered how everyone else had cheered themselves up in Winter?

Playing with my food

I am not sure when I got so scared of new things, but undoubtably at some point I did. One thing that always terrified me was Chopsticks- not the plinky plonky chopsticks, because somewhere along the line at school someone taught me to play that, but I forget now. No, I mean the eating kind- the no knife and fork kind. I never tried them so frightening were they, after all I manage to get food down my front all the time. Then in the Autumn when we were allowed I shared a Chinese take away with my family- humilation was mine- my 9 year old grandson can use chopsticks. So for Christmas Mr E kindly gave me some, and this week the time had come, after all how hard can they be, and I was still high on my ability to cut four strips of fabric, and I was searching for an “Artist’s Date” which is jolly hard during lockdown. No more excuses.

You tube to the rescue- chopsticks to the ready.

They make it look so easy!

Right start cooking.

Ready, steady, EAT.

Undoubtably easier with the spring loaded sticks, but I did use both.

One clean plate, and only one noodle down my front! No knives or forks either.

I almost feel I could challenge a monster to a fight! Getting braver..

Love to know if anyone else is trying new things this year, and being a little bit braver. Do tell. And can you use chopsticks?

First walk of the Year

All by myself- Lockdown Three cometh.

Taking in a river

A bridge

A lake- Mouldon Hill, Swindon

A field

Wonderfully shaped trees

Some survivors.

My favourite Silver Birches and

Whatever this is. Any ideas?

And Lockdown three has come……………………….

First Finish- 2021

One upshot from doing morning pages is that I have been tackling a reluctance on my part to make progress on projects. When you move house, or rather when I moved house, I was slightly, no incredibly, shocked by the number of stalled and not yet started projects I had hidden away in boxes and bags.

75 days of morning pages, and some heart seaching has led me to know that if things look a bit difficult I panic, big time, that is why constructing the spice rack a nut at a time was such a big deal. So after the success of that- and it is still up, I moved onto thinking about the quilt I promised my oldest grandson a year ago featuring the Oxford Utd football mascot- namely the Ox.

One Ox

And the part I had stalled at for nigh on nine months- cutting the binding- not stitching the binding, but cutting it. Cutting four strips of fabric threw me into turmoil- when it comes to measuring my mind goes blank. It’s hard to describe to anyone just how hard for me it is- but it is. So I decided to take baby steps, and summonsed up courage to bind the coasters I had started for my last Scrap Happy post.

Not so hard after all.

Deep breathes then, and one morning later I had the yellow binding strips cut out. And on the following day, I had them sewn on.

Needs a good press.

But there we are, one finish! What next I wonder?

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