Friday, 31 August 2007

Winner of Medical Bills Competition.

And the winner is......Auntie Kay with a guess of £150,000! The actual total was £153,355.15. Auntie Kay shall be receiving a box of chocolates or sweeties or whatever she chooses very soon. Well done Aunty Kay! :0)

Oh. My. Goodness!

You probably all know by now as I think I have told the world. This morning I had a surprise delivery. The doorbell rang and when I answered it the delivery man plopped two parcels inside the door. It was a Brother Innov-IS 400 computerised sewing machine and a full set of Brother embroidery threads! I just clamped my hand over mouth and burst into tears! The poor man was most befuddled as he didn't know what he had given me. I explained that it was a sewing machine and he said 'You must have wanted it for a long time then?' I said 'No actually, it's just that I had absolutely no idea I was getting it!'. He went away smiling.

I immediately rang Gary who is now away til Monday night and blubbed and snivelled my thanks to him. I said I was worried about the money it cost, but he said I mustn't worry my pretty little head about it as he had it covered. So I shan't worry. :0) I know he's doing nights next week and overtime at the weekend, so I guess that's how he's paying for it. Bless his heart. I was so touched to know how much he must love me!

I didn't open it immediately as I wanted to have all my chores done first so that I'd have the rest of the day to play. I was so excited when I did eventually get to open it that I was actually shaking!

This box is double sided. See how ridiculously excited I am? It was a free gift and retails at £159.99!!! Look at all those yummy quality threads.

Look at all the stuff that came with it. There were loads of different feet and tools, an extension table that clips on and a hard cover.

After about two hours I managed this! It was all so confusing. You'll see that I still need a bit of practice, but I'm getting there. :0)

Look at the pretty lighty-uppy bits!

See how it glides with the greatest of ease.

This is what I did today. All that smashing gold stitchery. Doesn't it look pretty?

And here's the tiny chain stitch I've been doing. It gets a bit lost in the felt, but is effective from a distance.

And the Spoiled Brat of the Year Award goes to............SINDIE!!!!!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Happy Monday!

Emily's friend Basher came in on Tuesday with this lovely present for us! It's a sponge cake with chocolate cream filling, iced in mint green with pastel coloured flowers and Happy Monday spelled out with metallic sugar balls on top. All finished off with a pretty silver ribbon.

If you're wondering who Basher is, it's Katie. We call her Basher because she once decked a girl who slapped Emily. So Basher is our hero. :0)

Livvie was so impressed with Basher's cake that she decided to make some cakes of her own. She made them all on her own and even tidied up after herself bless her. The recipe was for feather cakes, but she decided to drop them like cookies. They were absolutely delicious. :0)

Tomorrow I shall continue with my quilt. I have already stitched the facial features with the teeniest chain stitch. I'm quite proud actually! It's all coming together quite well considering that I still don't have my new sewing machine. I mean, c'mon, I've been wanting it for five whole days now! I wonder if I have a rich old Great-Aunt ready to pop her clogs any time soon?...

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

News On The Sewing Machine Front

There is none. I am devoid of luxury sewing machines. Yesterday I spent a very unhappy 1 1/2 hours unpicking all the awful machine embroidery done on my old machine. Isn't it funny that when you want something new, the old thing that has served you so well all these years is suddenly 'an awful old thing'? The trouble is, I didn't know how badly my machine sewed until I had a go on the new machine that glides effortlessly over everything! In truth, my old machine is very nice and was quite expensive when new. It just can't handle the fancy stuff I am now wanting to do. My old machine does all the normal stuff OK.

Quite simply put put, we do not have £500. Of course I knew that as I look at our bank statements regularly. However, I will have finished paying up the leather suite in two months time so I could always buy it on tick? Also, my car loan is finished very soon so we'll be a bit better off each month. But I don't want to wait. I want it NOW! *stamps foot in childish tantrum*

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Medical Bills Competition.

My medical insurance company have been messing me around again. On the whole they're great, but quite often they send duplicate invoices, send me invoices on a fictitious membership number and their current favourite is asking me for £100 excess which I already paid at the beginning of the year. Today I have a demand for another £100 and final notice to pay a bill that should have been sorted weeks ago!

Considering all this, I decided to sort out my 121 invoices dating from the Jan 2005 - Aug 2007. I know that all of them aren't there as I sometimes get invoiced direct from an NHS hospital and I have to send that to the insurance company myself. The rest of the time the insurance company are invoiced directly by the private hospital. So quite a few of the invoices are missing from my stack.

Anyway, once me and Emily spent ages sorting them chronologically, we totalled the bills up. Here's the fun bit. Me, Emily and Livvie made guesses before we started as to what the total would be. Emily is the winner so far. I say 'so far' because I am throwing the guessing game open to everyone. Here are a few points that we were already furnished with:

1. There are 121 invoices.
2. They date from Jan 2005 - Aug 2007.
3. We previously thought that 2005 totalled about £40,000.
4. 2005 was the year I was diagnosed.
5. 2006 was a calmer year.
6. 2007 I was diagnosed with another nasty so more treatment.

Everyone is welcome to guess, but bare in mind that those who know me personally might have an unfair advantage as they know more details. I will give a prize to the winner, even if it has to be diabetic or sent to Spain! I must say though, it is an astonishing amount of money.

'Because I'm worth it'. LOL

Monday, 27 August 2007

Spiders, or lack thereof.

Me and Gary have just spent two days clearing out the shed, sorting through damp boxes of 'stuff', sweeping 6" deep leaf debris and tidying. I wore flip-flops, a sleeveless shirt and 3/4 length trousers. I know this will freak certain people. Then all the unwanted rubbish (and believe me it was rubbish) was hauled to the Dumpit Site. Then Gary spent today erecting racking shelves and sorting again and categorising etc. Through all of this, not one, single, solitary spider was seen. To all of you arachnophobes that are continually reporting huge spiders attacking you in your homes, I say PAH in your general direction!

Freecycle Freebies and Lost Things

Just a quick note to tell you about my latest Freecycle 'gift'. I have just collected from Rotherham a carrier bag full to the brim of cotton threads.

I misunderstood the original offer and thought I was going to collect cotton fabric, but was delighted to find it was spools of thread instead! If anyone reading this has never heard of Freecycle, then take a look:

It's a fantastic way to recycle unwanted stuff and also to receive some great free bits and bobs. I have given away so much stuff now that I can't remember it all, but some of the things I have received have been a table top cooker for the camper van which is fabulous. A bag of cotton scraps and buttons for my sewing. A stack of paperback books. All of the chrome light switches, plug plates etc for the kitchen which all seemed brand new and then today all the cotton threads.

Talking of old stuff, I found two precious things today that have been missing for ages. We have been clearing out the shed these past couple of days and amongst Gary's stuff was this old knitting needle case that his mum made at school. Can you imagine a daughter being so disrespectful of something of such sentimental value? SHAME ON YOU GARY!

It was totally smelly and damp. It has been duly laundered with love and now I shall keep it somewhere safe and dry for one of my girls to inherit one day. :0)

Something else I found was a crazy memory quilt I made when the girls were small.

It is made up of patches from Emily's and Livvie's toddler dresses, Livvie's favourite jim-jams from when she was about two, mum's old duvet cover, and several pieces of Gran's lace and trim from her sewing box. It's only small and was made for Livvie's birthday for her dolls. Livvie had stuffed it at the bottom of her wardrobe so I have confiscated it now and it shall reside with the needle case in happy retirement. :0)

Sunday, 26 August 2007

A message from beyond the grave?

A funny thing happened to me the other day. It may be a coincidence or it may be Granny sending me a message.....

I have been having a devil of a time with my blasted sewing machine. As lovely and expensive as it was, it's had it's day. It is now 15 years old and I am having to have it serviced about twice a year. Bits pop off, the tension goes awry and it gets jammed. When it is working though it's still lovely to use. Anyway, my little experiment with the credit card as a feed cover didn't work and I'm afraid that I have probably ruined my beautiful quilt. My machine is supposed to be able to do free motion embroidery, but it's having none of it! Anyway, I thought that this weekend we might nip to a lovely sewing machine shop that I know of in Woodseats to buy a real feed plate cover and darning foot to make the job easier.

We went Saturday morning and as we arrived I pressed my nose against the window as it was lined with amazing super-fandango machines! Inside was like an Aladdin's' cave of all things sewing machiney. I tried to ignore the shiny machines and asked for a feed plate cover and a darning foot. The owner sucked air through his teeth and declared that they were very hard to get hold of because my machine had a slant needle shank unlike all other machines. Trust me to buy a Singer experiment in slanty technology! He said he could probably get hold of what I wanted and it wouldn't cost more than a few pounds anyway.

That out of the way I started to ooh and aah over the shiny machines. Of course I was drawn to biggest and most impressive looking. He said I didn't need that for what I was doing and anyway it was £5,000! He told me to come and look a machine that would be perfect for my needs. has to be the coolest thing EVER! It has 294 decorative stitches, a computer screen, a needle threader (SCREEAAMMM) and a little button that cuts the thread! Best of all, I did free-motion embroidery on it and it zoomed like a dream. I sewed through four layers of denim straight onto slippery satin without any adjustments! I then programmed it to stitch my name. This would be excellent for the girls school gear. But alas, it was £500. :0( I asked Gary jokingly if I could have it and he just smiled a sad smile. Sigh.

That aside I still haven't found my sketch book! I have had the place upside down. I was looking again on the bookshelf when I came across Granddad's life story that he wrote in 1985. I picked the book up and amazingly it fell open at this point:

We got up early on Saturday, had breakfast and cleared away. Lollipops (Grandad's pet name for Gran) asked me if I was still going to Gravesend. 'Of course, I have to get you your present' I replied and told her to get ready. We caught a train and were soon there. We made our way to Singers and I walked in. Nan (Gran's name) was looking in the window. I called her in and told her of my surprise. She almost cried with joy. I asked the assistant to show us the latest model. It was lovely. I asked if it was complicated to use, and they said no, but that in any case, they would call at the house and give Nan a couple of lessons. I asked Nan if she liked it. She said of course she did, but it would be too expensive. I told her to let me worry about that, and told the assistant that I would buy it if they could deliver it that same day. She went to see the manager, who came out and said that he would do his best. I explained that it was Lollie's birthday, and he said in that case he would deliver it himself on his way home at 5.30 that evening. I thanked him, took out my cheque-book and made a cheque out for £100. I signed papers for the other £110. I asked him to make out a bankers order then I would not forget the payments. We stayed a while and they showed Nan the machine. It all folded away into a nice smart cabinet.

They then continued their shopping and had coffee and cakes before catching the train home....

When we got home, Lollipops couldn't wait to tell the girls. She said it was the best present she had ever had in her life. I told her she had never had someone who loved her so much before. She laughed at this, and gave me a big kiss of thanks. I told her we would have fresh bread and cheese for lunch and fish and chips tonight, and they all agreed about this. When lunch was over, Nan started to make room in the sitting-room for her sewing machine. She cleared the bay window stating that's where it would go. At five o'clock sharp the machine arrived. The manager brought it in, along with a girl to show Nan again how to use it. I took the plug off the Hoover for the time being, and fixed it on the lead of the machine. (Do you remember the days when you didn't get a plug with an electrical purchase?) They started Nan off and after a short while she was managing well. They gave her a book that showed all the different stitches. The machine could sew buttons on and do embroidery.

Nan and Sandie spent most of the evening sewing little bits of rags together. Lollipops told me that she would go to the market on Thursday to get some cheap material for new bedroom curtains.

In a previous paragrah Grandad talks of the house next-door-but-one coming on the market. He says the asking price was £2,000. Mum and Dad bought that house. It was about 1964. By my reckoning, if the house was £2,000 and the machine was £210, then if a house today is about £200,000 then a sewing machine now should be about £20,000! How does that work then? Did Grandad really spend that sort of money or am I getting confused by inflation and the out of control house prices? Anyway, I digress....

So I was totally amazed that the book fell open at that point. Then this evening as Gary was dictating this so that I could type I reached for a bookmark to hold the page and absent mindedly grabbed a business card. The card was for the Woodseats Sewing Centre! I keep telling Gary that Gran really wants me to have this machine! She's practically shouting at him to buy it for me. :0D

Lookie lookie:

So, is it a coincidence or is Gran showing her approval?