I started off at 7.30 am by working on the bag for DS2’s girlfriend’s birthday present. I need to get it sent off tomorrow as she lives in north Kent and her birthday’s on Friday. I’d cut all the pieces out last night and ironed the interfacing on to the main pieces and the straps, so today was all about sewing it together. I managed to get the straps, the main bag pieces and the lining all stitched before I had to go out.
Sadly, not having a dedicated sewing space where I can leave all my bits and pieces out for future use, and having to do my crafting on the dining table, I have to pack everything away each time I’ve finished or the kitties would have such fun playing with all my goodies while mum’s out. So, everything got put in my storage boxes and then I braved the rain, wind and cold to go to my local Pitman Training Centre to start my Learndirect computing course. I wasn’t looking forward to it as this was my third visit since completing the Employability course (which was great), and my 3rd attempt at getting started on the course. No fault of mine, I hasten to add, but each time I’d gone there they’d had problems connecting to their server so I couldn’t get online to access the study materials.
And this time was no different. At least when I first arrived. Surprise, surprise the server was down yet again, so I decided I’d give it half an hour and if there was no sign of any improvement I’d come home and get on with more important work…more important than sitting around watching the staff fiddling about trying to get a connection, anyway. Half an hour later and finally there was some hope and, after a change to another machine, I finally got started. I used my own headphones as I prefer the in-ear bud ones and I made sure I used a lot of sanitising solution on my hands before touching the mouse and keyboard that had been used by I don’t know how many people before me. I’m not a clean freak or germophobe by any means (as the state of my house will attest) but in the season of coughs and colds I wasn’t taking any chances. So, then I was all ready…at last.
The system was maddeningly slow, each new page taking an age to load, and I’m not a very patient person, plus I found a lot of the material quite patronising, more suitable for kids than adults with its cartoony presentation, but that might just be me. It was also really boring as I found myself having to work on areas of using a computer that I’d already been doing for years…like sending an email and even how to switch the thing on. So, not impressed really, but I’ll stick with it because there’s a certificate to be had at the end of it, and then I can go on to the next stage and hopefully learn stuff that will be useful in an office situation and maybe I’ll stand a chance of finding some admin work.
I spent 3 hours working hard at the course, then back out into the cold, into Morrison's for a couple of Toastie loaves for the freezer (2 large sliced white loaves for £1) and finally home. As soon as I got in I put all the bits in my slow cooker for a leek, potato, pea and ham soup and got a crusty loaf of bread from the freezer to serve with it.
I had a bag of diced leek and potato in the freezer (reduced to 19p in Morrison’s), a couple of potatoes leftover from yesterday’s dinner (20p), 2 gammon steaks from Farm Foods (6 large ones for £4.50 or 2 packs for £8, so approx £1.50 for the 2), 4 oz pearl barley (probably around 20p can’t recall the cost as I got it ages ago from Approved Foods – its dated March 2011 but is still fine), couple of stock cubes from a bulk buy from AF (approx 10p), and a small white crusty loaf (2 for £1 in Morrison’s so 50p for 1). Total cost approx £2.70 for 5 servings or 54p each.
I used to buy bacon hocks for a few pence, cook them in the slow cooker and strip all the meat off but now they're around £2 each the gammon steaks are a cheaper option and easier to prepare ( I just cut them up raw into pieces and add them in with everything else).
I have 3 gammon steaks left and will either use them to make a bacon roly poly or a couple of quiches later in the week.
Once dinner was on the go, I got back to finishing off the bag. This is the 5th bag I’ve made since I took a 'get to know your sewing machine' course earlier this year. I've even made one as an order for someone at my DD2's work. I’m getting more proficient at the process so it doesn’t take quite so long and I feel more confident with each one I do. DS’s girlfriend loves her goth stuff so I hope she likes it. It’s fully lined and has an inside pocket and the straps are also made with 2 different fabrics. I bought the main fabric from Ebay (half a metre for about £6.50) but the lining material cost £4 for over a metre from a braderie in Deal earlier this year. I only used about a third of it so have loads left. I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I bought it, but like a lot of things if you hang onto something a use for it generally pops up sooner or later.
So, I’ve been busy, busy, busy for most of the day, even if I did spend 3 hours sitting on my backside in front of a computer screen at Pitman's. Tonight I might do a bit of knitting while watching TV. True Blood is on at 10pm, so vamps and knitting needles anyone?!