Thursday, 30 December 2010

Been poorly

We have both been very poorly over the Christmas period. This is the first day I have had enough energy to write anything. We didn't go down  to Sarah's on Christmas Day as we were too ill. All we did all day was watch TV. I cooked a roast dinner in the evening and that was it. I had hardly eaten since the previous Tuesday. I spent most of 3 days in bed while Phil fed the cats and bunnies. Then it was his turn so I had to get better quick, although I didn't feel at all well still. Christmas Eve he cleaned out no. 1 shed and I did no. 2, although we only cleaned out their worst sides. The weather has been bitter cold again with overnight temperatures down to -10. Although I turned off all the water pipes in the outhouse, they still froze up and when it thawed on Tuesday we still had more burst pipes. Steve the plumber came out this morning and found 4 new leaks, 2 in the toilet, 1 in the outhouse and 1 in the coal hole. Then he discovered both the water hoses for the washing machine had shattered so they were leaking as well. We had to go out and buy new ones before I could do any washing. I have no idea how we are going to stop this happening. The only thing I can think of is to line the wall behind the sink unit and washing machine with inch thick polystyrene sheets glued to the wall round the pipes and the same in the coal hole before we put a unit in there for making soap. The outside toilet is the main problem as the stop tap is in there. We still have a top level cistern so we can put in a low level cistern which means less pipework, and maybe box in the stoptap and cistern and surround them with either glassfibre insulation or polystyrene.

We were supposed to be going down to Sarah's tomorrow, New Year's Eve, but Phil is not well enough to drive all that way so we are saving our present giving for another day when we are completely recovered. I have repaired Rowan's wooden pram and nearly finished the bedding to go in it. Knitted her a cardigan in pretty random yarn on the chunky knitting machine which I hope will fit her. Casie's scarf is finally finished and I have started a hat with the leftover Big Wool.

Denise our neighbour down the road phoned up lunchtime to ask if we still wanted some of her Dad's  chickens (he died a few weeks ago and her Mum can't look after the chickens as she is not too steady on her feet). We went down and had a look and have decided to take 1 lavender Araucana cockerel and 2 hens, plus 2 black bantams, not sure what breed. We are going to use one of Chris's old sheds to make a coop for them. We still have chain link left over from the fence round the bird garden so all we need to get is 4 posts for the fence. We will put it beside the big greenhouse so they will get some shade from the cherry tree in the Summer. All the sheds will be being pulled down and burnt, so there should be plenty of leftover wood to repair the shed we are having. Doris won't know what's happening to have all her garden back, although I'm sure she would rather have Chris back instead. It must be a terrible loss after 70 years together.

Off to feed the bunnies now, then have something to eat, then probably bed as I still feel very weak and tired.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas coming too soon

I bought an electric Hague linker at the local auction last Thursday, picking it up tomorrow. It doesn't look as if it has ever been used. Today I have been making tensions squares on the chunky Brother knitting machine. First one was grey pure wool chunky. Because I replaced the sponge bar it is a bit difficult to push the machine with chunky wool. I think I will have to rewind and wax the wool before I use it for a sweater. I plan on using the gray to make a sweater for Sarah for Christmas, with a dark red band of Fairisle above the ribbing on body and cuffs. It should look quite nice. I also have a chunky beige to make Casie a similar sweater. I will post some pics when I have finished them.

I have a nice heather colour yarn in DK (I think). I'm using that to make a cardi for Rowan. All these yarns came with the chunky machine so haven't cost anything. I hope to be able to spin some wool but need to get these sweaters finished before Christmas.

I have been trying to reveneer a treadle top but it is not easy. I think it will be OK in the end but there is a lot of work involved as it looks as if someone tried to saw off part of the top so I also have to fill in the saw cuts. The veneer I have is not quite wide enough, I think I left one of the sheets down at Sarah's when I took all my woodworking stuff down to repair a case. I will have to find it Christmas if we manage to get down there.

The forecast seems a bit uncertain. It is - 9 here tonight, possibly colder, that was at 7pm when I fed the bunnies. I am back to defrosting their bottles twice a day again. I brushed 3 of them today in number 2 shed. We don't have as much snow as London, only about half an inch.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas presents

Finally the Christmas soap is all finished. Now I can concentrate on making Christmas presents. Lots of spinning, knitting and crochet in the run up to Christmas. Casie's scarf to finish with a matching hat. Rowan's pram to repair and make bedding for. Sarah wants a book on sheep.

I also have to spend time with the bunnies, they have been a bit neglected lately because of the amount of time spent soap making and restoring sewing machines for sale. I cleaned out number 1 shed today and noticed Thistle was walking a bit oddly. I took her indoors and brushed her and trimmed her claws then put her down on the floor.She was walking as if her hips were a bit stiff. I'm hoping it's down to the recent very cold weather followed by damp weather which rabbits hate. I will increase her green stuff and bring her indoors every day to walk around, hopefully this will ease the problem. I have read up on rabbit joint problems and they can be caused by damp conditions. They can also get arthritis and other joint problems. Apparently you can give them glucosamine like humans, cats and dogs. If it doesn't improve next week I will take her to the Vet's.


I haven't posted for a week or so, too busy making soap for Christmas. Now that is all done I can concentrate on making Christmas presents.I will be spinning a lot in the run up to Christmas.I also have a wooden pram to repair for my Granddaughter Rowan for Christmas. The pram hood and dowels were damaged but it is an esay fix. I just had trouble finding the right size wooden beads for the dowels. I finally got some a few weeks ago.

I have to spend some time cleaning and brushing the bunnies as I haven't spent much time with them lately due to the soap making. Thistle is having problems with walking, she keeps slipping sideways, it looks as if her hips are a bit stiff. It may be down to the cold weather over the last 2 weeks and the damp this week. She was fine last week before the really cold weather and it has been very damp today. I will keep an eye on her

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I haven't posted for over a week now as I haven't been doing much except making soap. I have been getting up at 7am the last 3 days to get some spinning done. This morning I finished a whole spool of Leicester Longwool. Then I thought I would try spinning the Angora. The last time I tried I couldn't do it, it kept slipping and not gripping. Today it spun straight away, a little thick and not terribly smooth, but I can do it. I 'm so pleased, Now I can get the 2 bin bags of Angora down from the loft and start using it. I want to make Rowan a hat for Christmas and then a little coat in the chinchilla colour.

I have made soap the last 2 days to try and get the Christmas orders done, and I will make it every day this week, 20 blocks in total to take down to Sarah's on Saturday. We are going to the ISMACS Christmas lunch Saturday in Tooting. I haven't been there for many years, used to go through Tooting Bec on the way to my Gran's in Mitcham.

I have finished re-veneering the Singer 99 sewing machine base which I started last week, it has turned out quite well. I stained it this morning. I have another one the same to do. I am also repairing the base of a pretty Frister & Rossmann Transverse Shuttle sewing machine. The machine needs quite a bit of cleaning, the underneath is rusty although not seized. I have taken the needle bar apart for cleaning already. Unfortunately the handle on the case is missing and I don't think I have another the right size or shape. This one will be going on eBay. I have several very pretty German TS machines to restore, I can't decide whether to sell them down in London or on eBay.