Happy Easter.

Happy Easter. I got a beautiful bunch of yellow tulips yesterday from my son, they are so bright and cheerful, and will hopefully encourage some spring sunshine to come to stay.tulipsyellow

Having sent off for the jeans foot I decided to have a better look at the presser feet that came with my machine and to my surprise found a box of additional feet I’d forgotten all about – and no, there isn’t a jeans foot among them. When I first bought the machine I joined a sewing club at the dealers and would send off for new embroidery disks occasionally and new presser feet too apparently. To my shame, some have never even been unpacked so I spent a pleasant hour or so looking them up in an online accessory catalogue (more up to date than the one that came with my machine) and plan to try them out over the next few days. I also found a box of floppy disks (remember those) with embroidery designs on them. The disk reader in my machine is less reliable than it used to be and won’t load any new disks but hopefully will still read the old ones as there are some unusual designs – including one of the Pope, the one before the one who has just resigned, no I can’t remember why I have it either!



Foot envy

A while back reading a blog about Bernina sewing machines I saw mention of a jeans foot, for non sewers this means a sewing machine foot designed to aid the production of flat fell seams like those on the sides of jeans. I was jealous, I wanted one but looking in my (admittedly elderly) Husqvarna accessory book it appeared that Husqvarna did not make one to fit my machine. I looked at the Bernina foot and wondered if I could adapt it to fit my Husqvarna machine, I toyed (briefly) with the idea of buying a second hand Bernina machine but that seemed a bit drastic then I got on and made wobbly seams in the jeans skirt I was making and got over myself. Then tonight idly reading through emails I saw an advert for a Husqvarna foot I hadn’t seen before to help you sew multiple rows of fancy embroidery stitches, clicked the link and there beneath it was a jeans foot, a Husqvarna jeans foot that will fit my machine. I don’t want to sew multiple rows of fancy embroidery stitches but I do want to make good jeans seams so I have ordered one. I am unreasonably excited about it, and am planning projects already!

Heart Scan no 2, transplants and Vogue 1087 Tamotsu top

Today began with the Nuclear Medicine department phoning me to say they need me to do another nuclear heart scan, not the best start to a morning! The new appointment is on Thursday next week right before my yearly transplant clinic visit so I had to call that department to let them know that I might be a minute or two late but would definitely be coming – don’t want another doctor assuming I’m a no-show if I’m late, especially not the transplant doctor! This of course means it is my second anniversary of acceptance onto The List. Statistically the average wait for a kidney on the list is 3 years so I’m getting closer.  Hopefully the heart scans won’t show anything which would affect my chances of a successful transplant but I have to admit to being a little concerned about why I’m being asked to come back for a second one.

After all the medical arrangements I needed a bit of diversion so I began making the top 1087from the Tamotsu pattern. It is a fairly basic T-shirt shaped top, the pattern suggests a zip in the centre back but I decided to make a button and loop fastening. I had some Hyacinth blue coloured Cupro fabric which I hadn’t enough of to make a blouse but with a bit of creative pattern cutting was just enough for the top. I love sewing with Cupro, it handles beautifully and is easy to iron. Sadly it is very seldom available in the local shops but I have one more piece left which will be enough to make another Tamotsu top. I got both pieces in a closing down sale of a designer fabric shop but they were end of rolls and were much shorter than I’d realised.

Nuked and spooked.

Today was a strange day, not least because I was having a nuclear heart scan which meant more time walking on a treadmill then an injection of radioactive dye (sadly I’m not glowing in the dark) and, after a wait and a cheese sandwich, a session being scanned with a huge scanner that looked like a huge open book. nuke The worst part, I’m getting used to the treadmill now, was having to lie still with my arms over my head in the scanner. (The lady in the photo is bending her elbows but my arms were kept straight to enable the scanner to move up and down without crashing into them.) The more I tried to stay in one place the more I itched (another side effect of end stage renal failure is the interminable itchiness of legs, arms and hands) and although the test takes only around 30-40 minutes it felt like a lifetime. I did remember to dress warmly this time though and wore my beautiful Owling mittens to keep my hands from turning blue (thank you Julia!).

Afterwards I had an hour or two at home without the dogs – they were in daycare so I was able to have a rest and do a bit of sewing in peace before picking them up. And it was so quiet without them, it was spooky. I’m used to having two constant companions underfoot, barking at passers by, snuffling at whatever fabric I’m trying to wrestle with, asking to go into the garden just as I get to tricky bits of machining.  This afternoon without them I managed to sew both back and side seams of the Cupro blouse I’m making, sewed the sleeve seams and put the neck facing on. I was able to set up the iron and ironing table nearby without the fear of a ball chasing dog knocking it over and I listened to a chapter of an audiobook while I did the hand sewing. At one point someone posted the new copy of the Phone Book through the front door and I jumped a mile, the combination of lack of dog early warning system and the murder mystery I was listening to did my heart no good at all!


Mother’s Day

Yesterday was a lovely day, P was out in the morning so I pottered around getting things MDtulipsdone, reading my new recipe book, planning the evening meal etc. In the afternoon he arrived complete with a selection of tulips in pinks and purples, a beautiful pair of silver and amber ear-rings earrings(which I totally forgot to include when I wrote this post originally even though I was wearing them in my ears at the time!) a lovely card (when I used to be looking for Mother’s Day cards for my own Mum I could never find anything different but P manages every year to find something that appeals to me.) and the suggestion that we go for a walk together without the dogs just to enjoy the afternoon. We drove up to Scorton, Scortonwell I drove – I value my sanity more then to suggest he drives on Mother’s day when the world and their dogs will be out as well as all the usual Sunday drivers, and had a lovely if cold walk through the village and along the river. He even left his phone in the car so he wouldn’t get the usual heap of calls and texts …it felt extra special to have his undivided attention. When we got back to the car there were a list of missed calls and texts so it was a good plan! We planned to go to Scorton Barn to look at the plants but were disappointed to find that they seem to have become mostly a tea and gift shop – the garden part looked very bleak and unloved. The tea room was packed so we came home and had tea and biscuits before he took the dogs out for a good run while I made our evening meal.

I treated myself to the book Truly Tasty – a book written by chefs with meal suggestions and recipes for people with kidney failure. TTSounds like an oxymoron but the book contains some excellent recipes all worked out so that they can be adapted to suit the specific renal diet needed but are tasty and attractive enough to suit those on normal diets too.  All the dietary exchanges are highlighted so by eating very bland meals earlier in the day I was able to enjoy tagliatelle with poached salmon, broccoli spears and asparagus  with a dill cream sauce and a delicious blueberry sponge. My portion had only minimal amounts of salmon, broccoli and asparagus and a lot of pasta and I didn’t get many blueberries either  but it was the tastiest meal I’ve had  in quite a while. I’d have taken photos but I was too busy eating it! The book is full of imaginative ways of making a little of the phosphorus and potassium containing foods go a long way and I’m looking forward to testing a few more. It is definitely special occasion food, even with the restrictions, but makes the daily diet feel more bearable. I have nothing but praise for the chefs who took the time to work on the project and do feel that renal units should tell patients about it at the same time as giving out the daily guidelines. I’m now planning a birthday meal to enjoy with friends next month – having thought I would either have to eat something completely different or forgo the occasion.

Not quite a hat-trick but…

january 2013 009I received my results from the World’s Original Marmalade Awards this morning, I received a Merit for the Fine Cut Seville with Orange Blossom, the children at school received Bronze for their Children’s Marmalade and … drum roll please… I got a SILVER for my Blood Orange Marmalade.

Thank you to the willing testers who helped me choose which of the marmalades to enter this year!

Happy Birthday to Skye

Today is Skye’s second birthday, she has enjoyed a happy day playing ball with what is left of a basketball (she chews a hole in any hollow ball then spends days trying unsuccessfully to bounce it) and flinging her hard rubber Kong ball at me to throw back for her.

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She also loves collecting spoons, she will sneak off with a teaspoon whenever she can. She has taken over Nino’s place as resident tea drinker – and she can reach places that were safe from small dogs!