3 December 2014

A Little Bit Of Seasonal Craftiness and a Bit of a Bargain

Well, my printable fabric arrived and I finally managed to have a play with it. It's amazing! It's so easy to use and the results were fabulous. I printed off a little picture that I found on the internet and added some wording to it and made a cute little sign to hang on the bedroom door on Christmas eve. It's for a friend's grandchildren. 

It's hard to believe that this picture is actually printed onto fabric! The other good thing is that the fabric still feels like fabric, it doesn't have any of the stiff, plasticky feel to it that you seem to get from the iron on sheets that you can print and you can even hand wash the fabric once you've printed it. I have actually read on the internet that you can wash it in the washing machine, although it doesn't recommend this on the instructions. So, after Christmas, I think I will do a little bit of experimenting with a couple of printed pieces of fabric to see how they stand up to being machine washed.... it's always good to know. I have to say, though, I am so impressed with it. Just print, leave to dry, peel off the paper backing, rinse under a cold tap and then dry. It's so simple. I will definitely be ordering some more. The only limitation is the size of the paper. It's A4 width and it comes in either A4 sheets or, like the stuff that I bought, on a roll so you can just cut however much you need. 

I also nabbed another massive bargain this morning. I was rushing around Liskeard posting parcels and running errands when I saw a sign for a craft sale at Stuart House, a lovely old building in the centre of Liskeard. Of course it was totally impossible for me to ignore the prospect of a sale so, off I went to seek out some crafty bargains. 20 minutes later I emerged triumphant, with several lovely pieces of fabric for between £1 and £4 per piece and considering some of those pieces are at least a metre in length and some of them are pieces of cotton velvet and silk, I was incredibly pleased with myself. 

I also discovered that Stuart House is actually rather old. King Charles stayed there in 1644 and Liskeard is in fact over 1000 years old and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. 

I think I shall be exploring this in a bit more detail over the next few weeks .... I find it totally fascinating. 

1 December 2014

It Never Rains But It Pours!

You remember my post yesterday which stated, in a very irritatingly philosophical manner, that things could be worse ....... well ....... they got worse! I went to the kitchen about 8.30pm yesterday evening to put the kettle on for a nice hot cuppa, only to find that I had no water. I have been having a problem with my water treatment system, which is used to purify the drinking water we get from our borehole and when we investigated on Saturday, we fused something in the loft while we were trying to figure out what the problem was. After checking all the lights and plug sockets in the house and not finding anything wrong with them, we concluded that it must have just been the treatment system itself that had fused and that it was not a big deal because we will have to have a new system put in after Christmas anyway. Turns out, it wasn't just the treatment system that had fused, it was the water pump as well so after several kettle-fulls of water for tea throughout Saturday and Sunday and several loo flushes, the tank was empty because the pump wasn't working to fill it up. I was in a panic thinking that there might be something seriously wrong with the electrics because it's an old house and some of the wiring is a bit dodgy. It was done by the person who converted it from foundry cottages into a house about 30ish years ago and he was, shall we say, a bit of a cowboy. I was hoping and praying that it was just the fuse because I don't have the money for an expensive wiring job so I set off this morning to try and find a shop that stocked fuse box fuses of the right size in the hope that it would sort out the problem. When I got to town, I realised I had a flat tyre! I had put some air in it on Friday lunchtime because it was looking a bit deflated and it had seemed fine but by this morning, it was getting flatter by the minute and I was forced to drive to my local tyre supplier and camp out and wait for them to open so I could get them to have a look at it. It certainly looked as if today was shaping up to be a really expensive day. Fortunately, the good luck fairies were smiling on me and it turned out that my tyre didn't have a puncture, it just needed resealing around the rim of the wheel and I managed to find an awesome little hardware shop that sells absolutely everything, including ginormous fusebox fuses, which has fixed the problem of no water. I am beyond relieved. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to fix the hole in the roof that we discovered when we went into the loft at the weekend, keep boiling my drinking water until I can afford and new treatment system and keep all my fingers and toes crossed in the hope that nothing else will go wrong this week! 

30 November 2014

Boy It's Cold Outside!!

Well, another frosty morning yesterday had me hunting frantically through my drawers for my thermal leggings and shirts. It gets very cold at the market in winter and thermal undergarments, while not especially glamorous, are pretty much essential. The last few days have been quite sunny but bitingly cold and I'm now up to three layers of clothes and a sleeveless puffa jacket meaning that I resemble something along the lines of a Michelin man! Still, if it keeps me warm I don't really care how ridiculous I look. After 3 or 4 very quiet weeks at the market, this week has been a very good week. It seems that the people of Cornwall are now in Christmas present buying mode and quite frankly, it couldn't have come at a better time. I discovered yesterday that the water treatment system that we have in the loft, that makes the water we get from the borehole safe to drink, has stopped working and I am now having to boil all my drinking water before I drink it. It's not really such a hassle because most of it is used in tea or coffee so it's boiled anyway and I have just nipped out and bought some 5ltr bottles of water for actual drinking water for me and the dogs and cats. The problem is that it's going to cost at least £500 to replace the system so I'm going to have to wait until after Christmas to get it fixed. Never mind, in the greater scheme of things, it's a trifling matter and things could be a lot worse ..... gosh I'm philosophical today :-)

It's starting to feel quite festive at the market too and you can always tell when it's getting close to Christmas because one of the lovely ladies at the market suddenly turns into this mad, wreath-making lunatic who runs around the place armed with secateurs and bags of foliage constructing gorgeous wreathes form holly, ivy, tree branches and pretty much any other greenery she can get her hands on. By Christmas eve, her hands are chapped and sore and full of holes from being pricked by the vicious holly leaves and she is totally sick of the the sight of wreaths. Last year, she made almost 400 in the month before Christmas!!

She basically turns this 

 And this
Into this
And then this 
All in about 10 minutes :-)

I've asked her for a wreath with carrots and sprouts and broccoli on it this year and I get the feeling she isn't quite sure if I'm joking or not ..... I'm not :-) I really want a quirky wreath this year and I can't think of anyone better to make it. 

Oooooo and guess what arrived in the post on Thursday morning, right before I left for the market ....... my printable fabric. I am so beyond excited to give it a go I can't tell you but so far, I have been utterly thwarted in my attempts to have a play with it. People kept buying loads of stuff from my market stall on Thursday and Friday and I had to spend both evenings frantically sewing like a mad woman to make more things to sell. I will be putting everything on hold on Monday, though, to print my first piece of fabric. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. I will of course, be posting pictures of whatever comes out of the printer ..... good or bad ..... hopefully good so fingers crossed :-)

26 November 2014

Mid-Week Frustrations

Well, It's been a frustrating week so far. My iPad, my lifeline at the market for checking facts, reading the paper and general online boredom-reducing activities when the market is quiet, has had to go back to be fixed ..... TWICE!! It sort of freezes if you touch the screen too fast and then I can't turn it on or off. Despite the fact that I paid an extra £58 for an extended warranty, they didn't actually fix it the first time it went away and when I got it back, it lasted a grand total of 7 minutes before it froze again while I was trying it out. It went back again the very next day and it's due back again this afternoon so I guess we will see if it's fixed. I intend to video the opening of the box and the testing of the iPad this time because I got the impression that they didn't believe there was anything wrong with it. 

I'm also still waiting for my printable fabric to arrive. When I ordered it from Amazon, I didn't realise that it came from America. It was only after I had paid for it that I noticed the delivery date was quite long, a major giveaway that it's coming from far away. I do think that they should make it much clearer up front when the item is not coming from the UK because if I had realised, I would have chosen another company to buy it from, a UK based one. I have so many ideas that I want to get started on and it's frustrating to be waiting for it to arrive. I know .... I'm too impatient :-( Trust me, I do realise that these are all very small and petty things in the grand scheme of things but added to everything else that's gone wrong in the last two weeks, these just feel like the last straw. 

I'm also starting to panic about Christmas. I can feel it rapidly creeping up on me and I'm nowhere near ready for it to pounce. There are Christmas adverts all over the TV, the shops are full of Christmas gifts and toys and cards and food and booze and not 1 but 4 Sky Christmas Channels have suddenly appeared in my movies package ..... it's all very disconcerting! I'm not a Grinch ....... honestly I'm not, but when I have very little money, like this year, I find Christmas very, very stressful indeed. 

And, to top it off ....... I have rats in the garden! They have taken up residence in the bank that houses the borehole pump so I am now faced with the task of getting rid of them! I live in the middle of the countryside and as such, I know that there will be rats and mice and bugs that I don't particularly like and I accept that but, although I know they're there and although I know it's part and parcel of country living, I'm sorry but I don't want them in my house or even my garden if I can help it! Luckily they aren't near the house at the moment but it's getting a bit too close for comfort and I need to sort them out before things get any worse. I spoke to a farmer friend of mine who said that the weather had been perfect rat-breeding weather this year and that there had been a bit of a population explosion. I am loathe to put down poison so, unless I can man up and bring myself to kill them that way, I will need to come up with a plan B. Maybe humane traps. I don't know. The only thing I do know is that they have to go! Actually, any helpful tips from you people out there in Blogland who have dealt with this kind of situation would be very much appreciated. 

So .... that's been my week so far, what have you all been up to? Hopefully yours has been a better week so far than mine :-)