Sunday, December 25, 2011

No Cats Were Harmed

What a nice collection of presents! Thank you to everyone whether you've sent gifts, cards,emails, tweets or blog comments, or even just holiday vibes! It's been a nice year full of quilty crafty friends and family!

Here's a photo of a selection of the gifts ... a tasty stack of chocolate, namely some bars of Dairy Milk and a box of Thornton's mints, which I have tested and can confirm are very tasty, indulgent and definitely very more-ish! My spies tell me that my mum and dad got themselves a box too, to make sure they were good enough quality ... don't I have considerate parents?!

photo of some of our Christmas gifts.

There's a bamboo bowl which comes collapsed in its stand, so you swivel the bowl and let it unfold and then the stand is a rooster! I know, that sounds a crazy description,and my first thought was "does it come with instructions" ... I mean, how hard can a wooden bowl be? lol

There's also a very cute wooden coaster set from Cyprus, well actually it's from mum and dad but they got it on one of their jaunts to Cyprus! The coasters are nice, but doubly so is the wooden teapot shaped stand they come in!

And the sharp eyed amongst you may notice a furry animal! Well I am informed it is synthetic (no cats were harmed in the making of this hat) ... it's a hunter's style hat with ear flaps and believe me you need that kind of headgear in these temperatures! I have a woolly hat with ear flaps already and vowed that I will never be photographed alive in it ... I feel pretty ... pretty silly wearing it that is, but can't escape the practical necessity! ... you are unlikely to get a photo of me in this furry one either, because you will spend the rest of the day, if not all next year, laughing at me!!

So here's a photo of the Christmas cake instead!it's always a race to see which comes first, the last crumbs or the New Year!

photo of a Christmas cake, brimming with fruit and nuts and a good dollop of brandy, and plety of marzipan atop. Yum!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Power Up That Snowing Machine

According to the local radio, the chances of a white Christmas have diminished to pretty much zero. Bearing in mind that this comes from a radio host who has been known to make up her own forecast when the previous day's has transpired to be way different from the official forecast, this could be subject to change!

The temperature has however been a good dozen degrees higher than usual, though that's not saying a great deal ... hot it's not! In fact for the last couple of weeks I've been wearing my beloved warm winter coat. This was bought in Swansea, South Wales, many moons ago, but it was handmade somewhere in South America... Peru is most likely. I can always imagine myself as a shepherd in the Carpathian mountains of Romania, huddled in my coat in the middle of the night, watching for bears and wolves ... ok, with my eyes I don't think the sheep will be feeling too safe, but you get the idea!

So here's a picture of me in the coat! I've got the brown Levi's cord trousers on that I picked up in the recent post where I'd almost lost my phone ... and then my Perry Ellis patchwork style jumper - a combo I think that complements the coat well!

photo of me wearing my thick white woolly coat which has a few thick dark brown stripes running horizontally, and then my brown patchwork effect jumper and brown cord trousers

Talking of warm, here's a quilting idea from quilt club! I haven't been involved in these yet, but they make quite a lot of quilted covers for the local meals on wheels service deliveries! They're apparently very popular, and quick to make, and I have to say it sounds a superb idea of a useful charity project! ... Once I've tried making one I'll post instructions!

Well that's about all my news ... no snow in the forecast! I'm done with work for a few days and go back on the 27th ... I'm going to enjoy the time off, and maybe I'll make a dent in some of my planned quilting projects! ... Step one has got to be mastering the basics of this sewing machine ...

And as an extra note, I was getting very frustrated because my new free screen reader wouldn't insert images in Blogger using either IE8 or Mozilla. So I upgraded to IE9 and that still didn't work. Neither did anything work with my Jaws screen reader. So in desperation I tried Chrome, which to this point has been totally inaccessible to Jaws, but to my surprise seems to work perfectly with the free screen reader! So that's the way forward, at least when I need to write a blog post! Three cheers for Chrome, hip hip, hip hip, hipopotamus! And a merry snowy Christmas to you and yours if I don't speak to you before the big day!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

I forgot to mention! ... if you're following my health progress which I sometimes mention .. I haven't done an update since I had minor surgery to bury a catheter just under the skin in my stomach, ready for when I need to start dialysis. (If you want to know more about this variety off dialysis, ask Wiki about peritoneal dialysis) .. when my kidneys have no useful function left the doc will make a small incision and pop out the catheter and I'll be good to go!

So I had my latest set of blood tests last week, and the kidney doc called yesterday and said that since I'm not experience any symptoms (which can include lethargy, nausea and excessive itching from high phosphate levels) then there's no need to rush into the dialysis yet.

My kidney function has slowed from 12 in September to 8 and now 6.5, so my simple linear regression suggests they'll stop working effectively in January or February next year! ... not complicated mathematics that one!

In the meantime the only noticeable side effect is that my feet swell a bit, which is making it tricky to put my shoes on ... but apart from maybe a bit of extra shoe shopping (and how bad is that?!) it's not a bad problem!

So there you have it. to be honest I'd rather get hooked up to the dialysis system and in to the new routine of being connected to the system overnight ... rather than wondering when I'm going to have to fit in the training sessions and whatever else is involved! ... but the doc said I can just increase my diuretic pill to reduce the swelling in my feet / ankles, and if that's the only symptom I won't complain!

It can be very odd feeling sometimes having the catheter under the skin ... some times it's barely noticeable and others you can feel it through a thick sweater! Magpie Mimisuggested it probably reflected how much chocolate pudding I had in my tummy, and I suspect she is very correct on that!


I read on a blog I just followed, that there is a Fabric Tuesday group! I may have to join in on that one, because my rate of fabric aquisition is putting my rate of actual sewing to shame! ... and I don;t mean a kind of gentle embarrassment I mean a deep red flush and the feeling that there's nowhere big enough to swallow you up!

This is not only an emotional issue, it also has practical consequences! Firstly my cute little picnic basket is only so-big, and before long I can see a point where the lid ain't going to close! Secondly, not really being able to see what's what, means I have to work on some kind of organisational system! ... and anyone who nows me knows that I'm great at organising things in spreadshheets, but in ractice you're much more likely to find something in a nice neat pile on the floor!! ... so the more fabrrics I get the less likely I am to be able to remember what colors and patterns are on each, nor where in the pile they actually are or what will compliment them!

But it was sew night at Irondequoit Quilt Club last night and I did get through a dozen squares, which isn't a bad rate of hand stitching for a couple of hours work. :) .. it's a block for a charity quilt and I suspect I'm lagging way behind other block makers! I'm also horribly unaware of exactly how to construct my block ... I'm just pairing up squares at the moment, but should I be sewing 3 together in a line so that I can then do 3 x 3 squares to a block? This whole block system is new to me and I don't really know wat I'm aiming for!! any suggestions would be super helpful! :)

Meanwhile, a woman who sleeps in a cupboard asked me, and a few others have wondered similar things, about how easy it is to learn to recognize people when you can't see them (or in my case can't see enough detail to recognize their faces ... I just see a general outline, even as close as over the table) ... so here's is a little insight into why I'm liable to walk past you in the street unless you shout out and say "hi, it's Ms So--and-Sew from quilt club" ... or unless you wave a piece of cake in my general direction, in which case I'll stop on a dime or a sixpence, depending in which country this is happening!

Anyway, enough of the rambling, here's what I said ... and then you can get back to your cups of tea, your cakes and biscuits, and even a bit of weekend quilting, if you're not heading out to buy more fabric ....

As with everything there are some
blind people who are really good and quick at learning new voices. It
took me about 6 months at work until I really started recognising most
of the people (obviously the ones in my little team I learn more
quickly) ... the biggest challenge really is recalling which name goes
with which voice - once you begin to identify the voice you've
forgotten the name it originally came with! ... it's very helpful if
people say " hi, it's ..." rather than just hello, because often I
just end up saying hi back without really knowing who I'm talking to!
If they stop for a conversation I can ask the name but if they're just
walking past I really have no idea!

I think people who have been blind from birth are often much better at
remember all kinds of things, I guess simply because that's what you
have to do. For somebody who has been sighted most of their life, it
can take a while to train your memory to work in that way!

Thanks for taking an interest! :) :) :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Will the Quilter in Red With the Fluffy White Beard Please Stand Up

So on Monday I went to the Irondequoit Quilt Club Christmas pot luck meeting, armed with a large bowl of pasta salad with sundried tomatoes (purchased not made I'm ashamed to say), and the Free Motion Machine Quilting book by Mr Quilt for the Secret Santa game.

Let me start by saying I still haven't started to be able to put voices to names, so I don't really have any idea who is who at QC meetings! ... I guess this is the blog entry that reveals to them that I can't see a jot! (unless they've noticed the white stick ... haha, yeah, I guess there's not much doubt about that!)

Let me also say that next year I'll be aware that the $10 value suggestion for Secret Santa gifts is pretty much followed ... my book was a $25 value, even though it was 50% off, it still seemed a bit extravagant compared to most other items! However I certainly don't feel hard done by because I picked up a lovely selection of random gifts from a few people who shall remain nameless (see above) and I was very happy with what I came home with in exchange for my book!

I'll describe everything first and then give you a photo of the collection. First up I was given a fat quarter. It is a dark background with widely spaced pairs of lines, a bit like narrow railway tracks. I'm told it's a red fabric with gold lines. I'm sure it will complement either one of the black / white fabrics that Thearica from Pigtales and Quilts sent me in a giveaway, or with one of the fabrics in the photo from my recent sale shopping session (see Cyber Shopaholic recently) ... then I was given a bag of home hand-dipped pretzls (which I can confirm on tonight's tasting are yummy!) and a jar of peppermints and chocolates, and finally a lovely lovely handmade snowflake... I can't remember what technique was used to make it, but it's very pretty and I believe took a couple of hours to make each one... I'll be hanging it on the tree when I finish writing this!

Finally the Secret Santa game! All the presents were spread across 5 different tables and we had to stand at the table our gift was on ( or which we were told it was on and kindly directed to!). Then we counted around the table so we each had a number. Number 1 opened a present, then number 2 opened a present and decided if they wanted to keep it or exchange with number 1... this continued aroundthe table with each subsequent person deciding whether to keep or swap with a previous gift. The only rule that once a gift had been swapped twice it couldn't be swapped again. In reality this proved quite complicated to grasp so most people kep what they opened! I got a little box containing a reel of thread, a needle threader (was of a type I haven't tried before) and a pack of needles ... now if the threader proves to be one I can operate, that might be very handy! and a few more needles and thread will never go to waste!!

So here is the photo ... a pile of fabrics recently purchased and a collection of lovely Christmas gifts sitting on top. If I ever found out who made the pretzels I may have to hold them hostage for a few more bags!! ... right, now I'm off for a soak in the bath before bed, night night!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pot Luck

No photos tonight because it's getting late! I just wanted to do a quick post so you didn't think I'd been kidnapped by aliens looking for quilts! (it can get cold in space apparently!!_

I've still been very idle on the quilting front ... haven't done anything since my last post! Even my best intentions to participate in Thearica's 24 days of Christmas block-a-day counting down to Christmas! I do hope to catch up, but as the days slip by the odds aren't improving! lol

It's the quilt club pot luck Christmas night tomorrow (Monday) which should be fun! I'm taking a pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes and I have a book for the Secret Santa ... I'd quite like to have kept it for myself butI don't think that's in the rules!

We went bargain hunting this afternoon ... there's a rather nice Goodwill store out at Macedon (not sure how that's spelled!) ... I got a nice blue Perry Ellis shirt with white stripes and cufflink cuffs (I'm really liking this designer's clothing . I also got a blue jumper range!) with a shallow v-neck (I'm not a big fan of v-necks, but this seemed nice, and at $2.50 you can't really go wrong can you!) ... and I also got a pair of brown Levi cords, so that was a nice haul for less than $10!

When we got back I found I'd lost my phone, and a process of simple deduction revealed I'd probably left it in the store fitting room! We called the store and nobody had turned it in :( ... however a bit more deduction revealed it was happily snuggled in the pocket of those brown cords I'd been trying on at the time! Yay!

So I'm going to be a party animal for the next 2 days (it's the work do on Tuesday!) ... so if you don't see me you know I'm out enjoying lots of good food and soaking up the Christmas spirit! :)