1000000 steps?

I’ve just discovered the 1 Million Steps challenge set up by Diabetes UK – don’t know enough people well enough to ask for sponsorship, so I’ve sponsored someone I do know, and committed to support her by doing the 1000000 steps along with her.

It starts tomorrow, and lasts until the end of September. Rather than add daily posts here, I’ll set up a temporary page on the blog to record my progress. All ready for the off tomorrow. It sounds like a great way to increase the amount of walking I do in a sustained way (works out at only 11,000 ish steps a day, providing I stick with it!


Wherefore art thou, Shakespeare’s Pedlar?

Back in the days when I could see well enough to attempt (and finish) fairly fine cross stitch pieces, I came across, and often used a rotation system. The idea was that when a stitcher had several different pieces on the go at once, working in a rotation would facilitate each of the pieces being completed, and not destined to become UFOs (UnFinished Objects.)

I seem to recall that I first found the ten hour rotation system on a site called Shakespeare’s Pedlar, but a search this week has failed to retrieve the original post. Basically it involved working on one piece for 10 hours before putting it away and moving onto the next for the following 10 hours of stitching. Provided the stitcher didn’t start any new pieces, real progress could be seen on each piece, and gradually the pieces would be completed.

This week I decided it was going to be a good idea to adapt the system for my patchwork. At the moment I have four pieces started, and each time I work on one, I want to just keep going. Whilst I’m not following the 10 hours guideline, I am making myself stop when I get a unit finished on each piece. The end result for this week is that I have measurable progress on three of the four pieces, and the fourth one to work on this evening.

Long may it last!

“Learning by doing” Harry Dean

‘Learning by doing’ is a phrased taken to heart by my eldest offspring.

Not satisfied to be taught be someone else, he’d much rather have a go, make the necessary errors to learn the best way to do the job, and know what he’s doing next time around.

This week I need to be able to join a bunch of mixed files together into a .pdf file.  I knew it should be a fairly simple process, but it was outside my experience, and I didn’t want to have to ask for help, so I set off yesterday with a few sample files to see what I could achieve.

It took me most of the afternoon, one way or another, for what was essentially a two or three minute job, but I got lots of practice and now feel like when I need to stitch the real files together later in the week, it will be straightforward.

I found a nifty online tool called  Combine PDF, which essentially does everything for you – and it’s free, which is an added bonus. What I hadn’t realised until I tried to upload the first file, was that the system doesn’t support .xls files, so the first task was to convert the 12 files I’d chosen to .pdf format.

Actually, the first task should have been to double check that the files were exactly how I needed them to be so I didn’t get the . pdfs combined, then see the flaws – but that’s another story…..

Having converted the files to a usable format, all I had to do was drag and drop them into a box on the webpage, re-order them and press ‘combine’.

Easy Peasy – and it worked first time; except that one of the files had a rogue entry on page 2, which meant it spread onto another page.  Back to amend that file, convert to .pdf then do the ‘combine ‘ thing again.

Then when I went to check the resulting single file, I realised that i’d missed out step one – First check your files!  There were a couple of formatting issues, and some capitalisation errors that needed correcting. Frustrating, but great practice; by the time I’d deleted the whole lot, corrected the errors and gone through the ‘combine’ process again, I felt competent to do this another time without needing to ask someone else.

End result of the afternoon’s activity:

1 new skill learned

1 set of twelve Harry Dean files checked, corrected and combined into a single .pdf

1 happy bunny


Plan, part two


The last few months have been very much focussed on a sizeable research project, which has seen me putting in regular 50 hour weeks- great fun, but tending to push other activity out of the window. I’ve been working on a plan to rebalance my activity for 2017. The genealogy plan has been described earlier, and one I’ve just stumbled on a crafting plan.

Thanks to an inspired Ravelry member, I’ve just signed up to her 2017 challenge, and mean to get my thinking hat on before the weekend to decide at least one of the items before New Year. The list comprises:

A pattern from your queue

A pattern you previously tried and didn’t complete (could be a WIP)

A pattern you were inspired to make by someone else’s beautiful FO

Something from stash

A pattern involving a technique that is new to you

An accessory that you haven’t made before

A pattern recommended to you by somebody else

A pattern from a book/magazine you own but have never used

Something for somebody else

A project using more than one type of yarn

I’m not sure if one item can tick off more than one of the criteria, but I don’t see why not. If I get desperate to complete, I could always make somebody else something from stash, which is in my queue and was inspired by someone else’s FO……….

Whilst still on a crafting theme, I did manage to get a couple of cross stitch pieces framed before the end of the year, and with thanks to Jen, now have a sensible way to display them in the craft room.




I believe this might be the beginning of a plan

After a bit of pondering it’s starting to look like I may have the beginnings of a plan for 2017 blogging.

Aside from occasional random posts, there will be at least one family genealogy based post each month.  This will make sure that I do actually make time for personal family history amidst the mass of research on the group project I’m working on.  I’ll use some of the prompts previously mentioned, and in the interests of protecting the privacy of others I won’t include/mention living people unless I have their specific permission.

In addition I’ll add posts relate to other genealogical research which may, or may not relate to the Lych Gate research project.

There will probably fewer craft related posts, but I will make some, if nothing else, to make sure I have the motivation to actually do some crafting, which has been woefully neglected these past few months.

52 weeks, 52 ancestors?

As an addendum to the post about the 2017 genealogy challenge, an alternative challenge, and the one that prompted the challenge on Ravelry, is the one from 2014 and 2015 called 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.

Whilst one person a week sounds daunting, and might be too ambitious to succeed for the whole year, there are some great themes which could be added to the prompt list in the post about a monthly posting.

Ten days before I have to settle on a plan. I will, honestly.

Hadens and a few more besides

As 2017 approaches at a great rate of knots I’m still unsure how my genealogy writing will work next year. What prompted me to decide to do something was a post in a Ravelry group where we were invited to write a blog post about one ancestor each month.  At the moment that looks likely to be what I’ll aim to do – albeit a year behind the rest of the group  (there was no point in joining in in December and hoping to catch up!) Things may well change if there’s another challenge for 2017, but I will at least try to keep up with this one too.

There are prompts to help the authors choose their focus for the month, so some of these will, no doubt be used – though I will be substituting 2017 for 2016 where appropriate!

Most (in)famous ancestor
The war veteran
The head scratcher / your worst brick wall
She had HOW many kids
Ancestor with the most amusing tale
Ancestor with the most depressing tale
Most unexpected find
Family lore vs documentation
Ancestor with the most interesting and/or funny picture
Most unusual/unexpected/interesting occupation
Top 10 : Your Top 10 of anything … use your imagination. e.g. Top 10 Favorite Ancestors, Top 10 Most Mysterious Ancestors, Top 10 Favorite Places to Research, Top 10 Male/Female Names in your family, etc.
Word of the Year : What’s your genealogy research word of the year? How will you apply that word to the research of specific ancestors?
New Year’s Resolutions : What are your family history research resolutions for 2016?
Goals for 2016 : What are your family history research goals for 2016?
Self-improvement : Write about an ancestor who demonstrated an interesting self-improvement story.
Tell an ancestor’s interesting story related to winter.

Looking at the list, it seems that the New Year Resolutions one is the place to start – maybe that will save me doing the usual ‘lose weight’ ‘get fit’ and ‘declutter’!

Self-fulfilling prophecy?


It appears that the title of my previous posting was prophetic – three months since this blog has been updated, and no excuse, other than having too little week to pack my list into.

Knitting has been virtually non existent.

Crochet hasn’t happened.

The usual four Christmas cakes have been reduced to two.

Family tree has been sporadic at best.

On the other hand, I’ve been putting in excess of a forty hour week into a project that I’ve managed to get myself involved with, and which will be high on the agenda for at least the next eighteen months.  It’s great fun, and very rewarding, but is in danger of taking over more than it should.  With that in mind, I’ve decided that after the Christmas break, there’ll be a bit of a change here.

Firstly, there will be a change of emphasis – I know that crafting time will be much reduced throughout 2017, so I will deliberately curtail my to do list, and make it achievable. This will mean less crafting posts – whether that is a bonus or not; we’ll see.

Secondly, because I’m really not prepared for the family history to take quite such a back seat, I’ll be taking part in a genealogy challenge through blogging.  Not yet sure what form that will take, but all will be made clear in the first week of 2017. [That will give me chance to make some semblance of sense of what is, at the moment, just the germ of an idea that hasn’t had chance to develop in the scramble of my brain!]

In the mean time, there are 3 weeks left of 2016, so I’ll commit to at least three more posts; if nothing else, to get back into the routine of blogging a bit.

There will be pictures – we need pictures.



36 hour day required

Only one more full week and we’ll have Easter upon us – I must be getting older than i give myself credit for; the weeks are just disappearing before my eyes.  I’d thought finishing work would leave hours ahead of me to do all of those things that I have on my ‘to do’ list. In some ways it did – in others, it gave me the opportunity to add more to the list, and, let’s face it, there are just too many interesting things to do!

Last week I managed to tick off something that I’ve been trying to get around to for months – ventured out half an our or so up the M54 to the outskirts of Wolverhampton to visit the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church.  Armed with a list of 26 relatives to hunt for, I was convinced that none would have a headstone and I would be coming home with several pictures of random grassed areas (bearing in mind our previous trip to Merridale).  The volunteer staff at the Open Church morning were super, giving me plot plans for the two main parts of the churchyard that I needed, and we were rewarded with finding several family members with headstones, as well as being able to mark this without a headstone onto the plot plans. Even better, we ‘found’ two plots that marked the final resting place of family members I hand discovered yet!

The latest Futurelearn course started up this week, and is accompanied by a particularly active group on Facebook – yet another way for the hours to pass me by…..  Add that to my now regular Tuesday morning at the pub with a newly discovered genealogy/WW1 addicted pal, and the week feels pretty full.  I have lost count of the new projects these Tuesday cuppa have inspired, and just hope that I manage to see at least one or two of them through!

Family members should also be warned that I’ve ben directed to a genealogical codicil which has duly been printed off and will be filled in imminently.  Thanks to the Devon Family History Society for that, it’s a cracking idea. Now would be a good time to let me know if you want to be on the ‘first refusal’ list, as it doesn’t look at this stage like any of my offspring will be interested in the mounds of information I’ve unearthed!

Updating the ‘interminable list’, and the 2016 stash down makes me realise I’m never going to get everything done, but hey, it’s fun trying 😉

just to add a little colour to this post, here’s a view of the gaffs and crocus in the local park where we walked Jess this morning, and a teaser till next time, to see if you can imagine what Bob was up to last week….