Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Banana Muffins, Living on $50.00 U.S. Dollars per Week for Food, Seedlings

It's a banana muffin kind of day.  Hubby made these.  It's pouring of rain, cold and the need for a fire, where I am happily ensconced.

We're, that's three adults, still living on $50.00 U.S. dollars per week for food, paper goods, soaps, and toiletries.  Needless to say we watch every cent.  But it can be done.

I'm looking forward to my garden this year, but I'm getting a little concerned about my seeds that I potted.  Only the cabbage and greens have sprouted and it's been well over ten days since I planted them.  They are under a glass cold frame, but the weather has been quite cool, so probably not to much accelerated growth.  Some of the seeds I planted were for the 2010 planting year and only a few 2011, so I hope that the older seeds germinate.  But seeds can last for thousands of years, but I am concerned about seed viability.

If they don't germinate I'll have to dash out and buy more 2011 seeds, this is not on my agenda money wise, so let's keep positive.


Thyroid Cancer

I meant to write this post last week, but time flies by.  Why a post on thyroid cancer.  Well several things came together.  I was with an old friend who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year ago.  Just recently she mentioned one of the questions they asked and that was "Where was she when Three Mile Island had their reactor leak."  This question coupled along with the terrible nuclear reactor explosions in Fukushima, Japan, and the fact that I have a thyroid problem, made me do a little research on the matter.

The tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania has the densest number of nuclear reactors in the States and this is reflected in the higher number of thyroid cancers in Pennsylvania than the rest of the USA.

My friend was about thirty miles away when Three Mile Island went up and was in the wind path.  I missed both explosions, as when Three Mile Island went up, I was in the UK and when Chernobyl went up I was in the USA.  But nuclear power plants, or as ex president Bush would say nucular plants are always letting of radiation in what they call controlled venting.

Read the complete information on the above PDFs "Geographic Variation on US Thyroid Cancer HERE"


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Nice Day To Go Biking

One of the few nice days we have had this Spring and Rob manages to get out on a bike ride.

Plus a view of my back garden with cold frame and seedling planted.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness

When the girls are let out of the house, either front or back door, during the winter they keep close to the house, by the wall under the eaves and we have noticed that a padded down pathway has appeared in the garden.

Plus my beautiful blooms, snowdrops and crocuses, they brighten the day.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spoonflower Swatches

I received my Spoonflower Swatch Book; which only cost $1.00.  It was nice to feel all the different fabrics.  If you put together a Collection you can have the group printed up in 8" squares as a pre-print sampler and it's reasonable, this is what I hope to do.

As you can see above I've come up with three materials with my Logo on.  I like the top and middle one.  I think there's too much spacing on the bottom one.  I think they'd make great lining materials for a project, or just for a pocket.

Can one have creative overload?  There's just so much your mind runs riot but time and finances don't.  Although I think it's more time than finances.  Love the fabric shop near me, Jomar, always a bargain there.

On another note I planted more seeds today and my cold-frame is full.  Now I'm going out to look for some different flowers I haven't planted before.  It's tough sticking to a quarter per pack of seeds, but maybe I'll find something new and I might even splurge up to a $1.00 if I really want them.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


If you're skint ask yourself  "Do I need it? Can I afford it?" If you aren't skint ask yourself "Will I use it? Is it worth it?" If the answer to any of these questions is no, don't buy it!

Adj.1.skint - lacking funds; "`skint' is a British slang term"  

My friend posted this saying as a comment on my being thrifty post, I think it's a great saying.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Potting Seeds

At last I got out to sew a few seeds.  I have a lot of seeds from previous years so I planted those along with some new seeds bought this year.  I only potted about a third of the seeds I want to grow as I ran out of potting soil.  Plus the sun went in and it got quite cold.

I think I got carried away on all the different types of squash seeds I have and will never find enough space in my garden to grow them all.

I recycle all those plastic trays and pots you get from the nurseries with bedding plants in as now I do almost everything from seed, I've done that for the last two years and it's so much cheaper.

We made ourselves a very easy cold frame out of breeze blocks and old windows, so I'm eager to see how that works out.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


Surprise gift from my spouse.

Just love the combination of red and white roses.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was the worst ecological disaster of all time.  It lasted about ten years, from the early thirties to the late thirties, and it extended up into Canada.  How people lasted on their farms all this time I cannot imagine.

People were urged by the government to have this last free land not settled in the USA.  The first two decades of the 1900s, had higher than normal rainfall which was deceptive to these new farmers; who had been given 150 acres and in the higher plains 300 acres to turn and farm.  When they first turned the soil they said it was so rich it looked like chocolate.

Some startling statistics are these:
  • The dirt that was lost would fill the Grand Canyon half way up
  • Six tons of dirt for every citizen in the United States
  • Black Sunday Blizzard 1935 more dust went into the sky in one day than dirt dug out of the Panama Canal in seven years, it blew all the way to Washington DC
Many people got what they called dust pneumonia, but it was really a form of silicosis.  Many children died.  On Black Sunday many people died or went blind, if caught out in it. The death of live stock and wildlife was over-whelming.

Outside the Southern Plains few understood the scale of the disaster, it was over shadowed by the Depression. 

See a program on it Surviving the Dust Bowl

Is this being repeated today, yes in China and sub-Saharan Africa.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

English Words with Nordic Derivation

There are so many words in the English language that have a Nordic derivation, but one I had to share with you is Thrift.  

Thrift in the Nordic is Prift, meaning Prosperity.

So the original thought there was obviously if one is thrifty you will be prosperous.  Not that I think any of us think that in this day and age, we will be prosperous from being thrifty, but it will certainly help one out. 

I was just saying to a friend the other day, with the job market as bad as it is, the only way our income will be increased, is by squeezing every bit out of every dollar and if you don't need it don't spend it.  Make every dollar work harder.  In fact if you make less you pay less taxes, so already you've got more out of your hard earned money and you have more time.

Plus what ever you have is an asset, recycle and use what you have, plus it's fun, it makes the little grey cells work.  

Here are some thoughts on being thrifty.

We do recycle our paper, but also one can use old paper and magazines in a creative way.

Definitely repair or recycle ones clothing by using the fabric, buttons and zippers for another project.

Plant a garden it not only saves money, but it's therapeutic for the soul and will save on doctors visits.

Combine your shopping trips and save on petrol/gas

Preserve, can, freeze, make wine have fun, grow it yourself

Winterize your house, think about fuel heating sources, we use wood


P.S.  I'm always telling my son the words I learn and he always says,  "mum you should have been an English teacher."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rob's Artwork Transformed to Fabric Design

Optical Cat

Optical Cat

Pencil Fruit

Pencil Fruit

Robot Man

Robot Man

Well this is Rob's artwork from early last year.  Studies in pencil and pen drawings, with different shading.  I like all of them.  I was going to enter his Robot into a competition until he told me it was not his design, he copied it, so I can't enter this, but I think it would have made a neat little boys fabric.  The cat is a repeat pattern, the fruit is a half drop pattern, The robot is a repeat pattern.  My toadstool house designs was a mirror pattern.

I like the cat, but since it is a very large drawing I wasn't able to scan the complete cat.  I do rather like the pencil fruit drawing.  My favourite is the Robot, oh well!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spoonflower, A Fabric on Demand Printing Company

Have you ever heard of Spoonflower?  Well this is an on demand fabric printing company take a look at the Spoonflower website here.  I ran across it in Tiny Happy's Blog.  You upload your own designs.  The idea of designing ones own fabric and actually have some yardage produced is amazing. 

So I looked up some water colours that I painted several years ago.  Scanned them into my computer and then uploaded them.  I think I am going to produce some 8" square swatches, at $5.00 each.  

I played around with mirror images and the size of the repeat patterns.  

So which ones do you like the best?

I think Toadstool Village might look better with a smaller repeat.

I also have some black and white images that Rob did in art class which I think would look great.

Toadstool Cottages 

Toadstool Village 

Toadstool Village

Toadstool Homes

Toadstool Cottages and Picnic by the Pond

Toadstool Cottages and Picnic by The Pond

On demand digitally printed books, business cards and now on demand digitally printed fabric such creativity and fun.  Doesn't it appeal to your childhood wish list?  All the things you dreamed of doing; some dreams do come true.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Serving Skills

The boy showing off his serving skills.  He'd just got himself a snack from the kitchen and said "I always carry a tray likes this now, it comes naturally."  Well that's because of his part time job as a server at an upscale senior center.  So I said let me snap a shot.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Choice of India, North Wales

I was talking with friends, they said they were going out for an Indian buffet lunch.  I said "I love Indian" I was not hinting, no truly I wasn't, but was invited to come along.  So with last minute arrangements I joined the group.  

The Indian food here is great and I thought I'd share the menu with you.  I tried a little bit of everything, I love samosa's with tamarind sauce yummy.  I always think of them as the Indian version of a Cornish Pasty.

We ended up with hot chai tea served in those glass mugs, just right on a rainy miserable day.

Good food and good friends.


01 09 10