25. the one with the lawnmower




24. the one with the (factory) shopping spree

hey, today we did Normal People stuff!

i had some post office stuff to do today, and with mum & dad with me, it seemed a shame to walk past the thorntons factory shop without going in?

^ haha! no, but SERIOUSLY! :o

now listen, right, i’ve been obsessed with denby pottery for years, ever since i first coveted my gran’s stuff. i was drawn to the tactile quality, their simple design, the beautiful glaze and gorgeous colours. especially gran’s duck egg blue egg cups (now living in my kitchen cupboard – shhhhh).

so imagine my surprise, when i moved to derbyshire, and found out denby was an actual place! THE place! the place where all that awesome pottery came from!
(hey, i’m from africa – we didn’t learn this stuff at school).

just 15 minutes from my very house is the denby pottery visitor centre and factory shop, and that’s where mum said she’d like to go today. well, ok then :)
i honestly didn’t mean to buy anything.

but then i thought i’d just buy 2 mugs.

“look at these, dad. aren’t they pretty? i might buy a couple… and then next time, i’ll buy a couple in a different colourway… it’d be an affordable way to build up a nice little collection”

“look at these, dad. these are the ones i’m going to buy next time.
or… i might just get them now.
it’d be an affordable way of there not being a ‘next time’.”

oh and i had to buy the little milk jug too. at £5.00 it would’ve been rude not to

it is no wonder i’m too poor to afford kitchen tiles.

23. the one with the cupboard

working title: the one with the hospital.

when we downed tools on friday evening, my glorious future-cupboard looked like this:

unfortunately, it looked like that on saturday, sunday, monday and tuesday also.

dad took ill on friday night, so saturday was all about derbyshire’s finest emergency hospitals and pharmacies. and sunday was spent, gathered round his leg, watching infection receed from scribbly biro lines.

between thermometer readings, i managed to squeeze in 563468756375 hours on the internet dealing with my macmillan fund raiser.

30 brooches sold in under 24 hours and £125 raised :)

and between packaging and posting them all, we did manage a pleasant family outing to the doctors (as well as a trip to the pub for lunch).

so yesterday, under instruction, i took up the cupboard-building reins.
(actually, i had to pretty much wrench them from dad’s hands. he doesn’t do “invalid” very well. and i see who i inherited my control freak gene from…)
it was all going ok until the massive thunderstorm and torrential rain this morning.
(oh, but this is nothing…

…this is after it’d eased off, after i’d
1. rescued the power tools (who’d be dumb enough to work outdoors in late june?)
2. adjusted the guttering so it’d cope (a bit)
3. rescued my lilipopo lavender keyrings (again) after an(other) indoor lake

luckily the power went out, so there was time to mop up (front and back) before carrying on…

by 6pm i was up to here:

woodfillering and painting aside, my awesome bespoke fabric cupboard is almost ready.
goodbye 2364623746 ikea boxes of Stuff :)
hello ocd-ordered shelves full of well pressed fabric organised by colour and subdivided into weight :D

dad’s also built me a bespoke overlocker table (which i’ll paint up to match Sewing Table),

so i can have space and/or both of my sewing machines set up on the (other) table.
i’m now all set up to be super amazing productive multi-tasking creator & sew-er of many things at once…

…if only i hadn’t buggered up both my stupid rsi wrists on all that drilling and screwdrivering >:(

22. the one with the old folks at home

i bet when normal other people have their (pensioner) parents to stay for the weekend, they do nice stuff like gentle tourist-y sightseeing, and cream teas in the sunshine?

the other day, when i ocd-cleaned the ENTIRE HOUSE so that it gleamed, and arranged neat little piles of guest towels on the end of the freshly ironed bedding…
back then, somethingsomething *vague, hopeful, misty-edged dream sequence* …

…well anyway, not this:

it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s windy and it’s pissing down with rain.
so there was no option but to shove the couch up against the fireplace and accept a living room slash workshop.

hey, i like shuffling through sawdust in my pyjamas and bed socks as much as the next girl, but i much prefer to be around power tools when i’m awake.

*general chaos ensues*

leaving my poor dad to deal with the unforseen circumstance of not-ever-so-straight walls,

i eventually managed to sneak away to the relative quiet and Clean of my bedroom, and package up shop orders that’d come in overnight. and get dressed.
and then mum & i snuck off even more, into town, to do the essentials, like post office & thorntons emergency.

did i mention it was cold, dark, windy and pissing down with rain today?
the very best time for thin linen trousers and umbrella fail.

upon our wet return, dad’s scorpion had sawn its last length of wood (r.i.p. black & decker scorpion), and the job had ground to a frustrating halt. (unfortunately there is no power tools shop near my house).

so then, it was lucky his drill caught fire before he set off to buy a new saw (r.i.p. bosch drill).

in my haste to open all the windows i forgot to take a photo – so just *imagine* that my pristine sewing room slash guest suite is full of rancid black clouds of electrical smoke here:

you know that thing when you put a mint on the pillow?
cupboard doors and drill bits can be a lovely touch also


21. the one with the SuperProcrastinating

i have so much to do today…

i’m glad i started blogging – it allows a whole new level to the art of procrastinating.
i’ve even started thinking of it as a russian doll of procrastination: i should be doing this… so i’m doing that… except i’m actually just tinkering round the edges of that, so that i can do something else… and then to put off finishing the something else, I CAN BLOG ABOUT IT instead. matryoshkinating!

‘cos here’s the thing; mum & dad are coming to stay tomorrow, so i need to turn the sewing room back into a guest room, and move all of the boxes so i can hoover up all of the thread.
this meant i only had 3 sewing days this week, and intended to be super productive.

i have some new fabrics and a new floral design that’s selling well at the moment…

…but instead of making more of them, i thought i’d do something else.

something quite labour-intensive and time consuming to please my obsessive nature.

these are going to become little fabric brooches that i’m hoping to sell to raise money for macmillan cancer care. i “just” need to sew all of the fronts onto all of the backs and attach all of the pins and…

so instead of making the most of my last sewing day today, and getting the brooches finished off, i thought i’d do some long overdue housewifery instead.
i mean, it’s not like dad will even notice, but mum might think twice about wanting to eat anything that’s been prepared in my kitchen.

so just clean the kitchen. just a bit. no need to go crazy.  <— me talking to myself
hoovering the spiders out of the cupboards, and wiping the dog fur out of the fridge is the least i can do for my guests, right?

but my ocd kicked in.
so whilst polishing the cooker hood and chatting to myself, i remembered this one time when i agreed to be a ladder model…

now, this is a true story, not from my imagination or anything!
a couple of years ago i was asked to be one of those morons in a ladder advert. you know the ones on the packaging? who are fake-cleaning their windows or fake-changing a light bulb or fake-reaching for something.
well i had to do all of those things ^ as well as fake-cleaning the cooker hood!

this is me:

so while i was doing the REAL cleaning today, i was thinking about how unnecessary one of those little ladders would be in my tiny cottage kitchen.
the ceiling’s so low that, at best, tiptoes will suffice, and at worst i can pull up a chair.
and my kitchen’s so narrow that… oh wait, lemme just show you real quick…

*goes to recreate the scene of fake cleaning the cooker hood*

this is me:

oh everyone does their very best ocd procrastination cleaning in their pyjamas, right?

20. the one with the bathroom fails?

all i had on my To Do List today was
1. catch up on internets and emails

all i had to do today was sit here.

but whilst hoovering the ceiling in the upstairs loo, a sudden emergency occurred which involved a panicky phone call;
“Husband! HELP! i was just putting blue in the toilet and now the macerator won’t shut up! plus the cistern won’t stop filling! it’s 2 emergencies in 1, i don’t know where to Stop the things, so you NEED TO COME HOME IMMEDIATELY!”

potential disasters averted, you’d’ve thought i’d learnt a lesson & reverted to my (safe) To Do List, right?


…it could be the very best time to start stripping flaky paint off the bathroom walls!

19. the one with the funeral

despite my awesome actoring skills to the contrary, i haven’t had much enthusiasm for stuff lately. my aunt died last month and i’ve been moodswinging, in misery-limbo, waiting for the funeral to occur.

since it’s now summer, glorious june, i thought it’d be rather lovely to stay with my parents for a whole week. *dream sequence: brilliant sunshiney weather on the east coast = lazy days and long warm evenings…*   <– i packed accordingly.

but the weather’s been vile all week, and with 327453676547 other people staying at mum & dad’s, i didn’t achieve much relaxing. (it takes an awful lot of concentration and effort to fake Being Normal so i find social situations exhausting.)

the funeral was as nice as such things can be. aunty j. was pretty rock ‘n roll so a eulogy featuring cigarettes & vodka, and annie lennox’s ‘thorn in my side’ instead of a hymn, was all very fitting.

we used to stay with aunty j. whenever we visited england on holiday, and when we first emigrated from south africa we lived with her until our tat was shipped here. i think i was about 22 then? anyway, after durban, her not-so-nice village in rural-ish lincolnshire, with its one a-little-bit-rough pub felt awfully remote. in fact, that time would’ve been a complete headf*** if it hadn’t been for her & “uncle” f.
and all of the alcohol.
but after i left for university in ’95, i never went back there.

the wake was held at that very same a-little-bit-rough pub and i was dreading going back there.
i knew it’d bring back so many memories; of aunty j., of past UK holidays & family reunions, of people that’re gone, and of that weird time when i’d just moved to a whole ‘nother continent.

but the sun showed itself that day, and, filled up with brandy instead of with sad, i couldn’t help thinking that aunty j. would’ve got a kick out of seeing her family & her friends drunk & chainsmoking in that carpark :)

i’ve pixellated our happy faces because i don’t know what is proper family photo / funeral etiquette. probably not this?

17. the one with the 16ft scones

i have a ton of stuff i need to do before i go away.
*mini panic attack*
(like, for serious)

so i thought it’d be the very best time to try out lemur lady’s scone recipe from the other week.
this is the recipe i’ve been failing at for (approx. 20) years.

honestly though, with instructions like “enough milk” – wtf kind of measurement is “enough” – it was hardly idiot-proof.
i think the hand written measurements are from 2 or 3 years ago when i decided “enough was enough” and rang mummy for help.
of course, those ingredients were clearly faulty too, producing fail scones that didn’t even measure as tall as the metal bit of the tape measure.

lemur lady’s recipe was much more specific:

… but “fl oz” confused me. i don’t know what in my kitchen might have that kind of measurement written on it.


i took the most popular oz numbers from all of the other recipes, and, because i happen to have that other stuff (bicarb & tartare) i thought it would be nice to add them too.
i don’t really know what they are or what they do, but my mum bought them for me once (because of all the baking fail tantrums, i assume) and i feel a bit bad that they still have their protective plastic seals in tact.
sympathy ingredients, if you will.

12 minutes of Hot later, scones of win occurred!
look! look! their pointy tops are WAY above the metal fail marker on the tape measure!!! :D

*high five*

fiona’s some kind of scone recipe.

8oz self raising flour
2oz butter
2oz sugar
1/4 pint of milk
(+ 1 tsp cream tartare, 1/2 tsp bicarb, pinch o’ salt)

chuck ingredients into bowl
mix until dough occurs.
be gentle! flatten so it’s about 1cm? then use them cutter things to make round shapes.
place on greased baking tray.

make hot!
oven them at 200 degrees for 12-ish minutes