Monday 28 March 2022

Still Croaking.

It's been almost 4 weeks, and I am beyond had enough. Some days it seems like I am improving, then as I said to Chooky in an email, every time I let myself get optimistic, I go down hill again. Three steps forward and two steps back. After waking up at my normal time over the last couple of days, I slept way past nine again this morning. When I spoke to the cat I sounded almost normal. I managed to make the bed and get the washing machine on without too much puffing and wheezing. Sounds good right? Surely that means I'm improving? And now for the two steps backwards. Speaking to Tony when he was home for lunch my voice deteriorated back to the croak and after making Tony some lunch and putting our plates into the dishbasher, I'm exhausted and feel the need to curl up and snooze someplace. Maybe I will, after I get this post written. 
Lucy Blue has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few days. I felt like I was spending a little too much time sitting in my armchair sewing while the TV burbled away, keeping me company.
 If you remember Tony did some shopping for me when he was away on one of his work trips last year. He not only purchased some beautiful blue fabrics, but also a jigsaw puzzle. Those of you who have read my blog for a few years will know that this is not new for me, though I have not done one for over 10 years.
This is probably not a puzzle that I would have chosen for myself, the dark background would probably have put me off.  Although it has many beautiful flowers, butterflies and moths, which Tony knows I love. So I pulled it out on Friday morning and made a start soon after lunch.
By bedtime I had completed the edges and even put some of the bugs and flowers together.
Here is a closer look at some of those bugs.
There are two of these cute little golden bees.
And some very bright and colourful caterpillars.
I was rather nervous about leaving it uncovered on the table. You see there were boxes involved and lots of little bits and pieces. And I saw a certain someone sitting on the window sill, looking intently at the table...
And, well, you know how cats are with boxes, and how they like to concern themselves with everything that we do. I'm happy to say that if she did hop onto the table for an inspection, she did not appear to have disturbed anything.
Things progressed over the weekend, with a little help from Tony and in spite of two nasty headaches. One each on Saturday and Sunday.
This is where I left it Saturday.
I forgot to get a photo of where we left it last night. (Sunday).
Tony was surprised to come home at lunchtime today and see that I had not touched it this morning. and was delighted to fit two or three pieces before returning to work.
I completed it about 30 minutes after he left
All of the flowers and bugs are native to New Zealand. 
Tony went off into town on Saturday, in search of a special pen that he needed/wanted for one of his model aircraft, while he was in the stationery shop he spied a jigsaw section and wandered in to have a look, and came home with this one.
Another puzzle that I probably would not has selected myself. 
But it is lovely. There is a huge amount of detail and at 500 pieces larger than the NZ natives, it might keep me busy for a couple more days.
I'll try to resist starting it though as I'm still nervous about Miss Belle giving in to her desire to investigate so I have ordered one of those fold away jigsaw boards. I used to have one, they are great, not only for protection from pussycats, but also good if you need your dining room table back to full seating capacity in a hurry. 
I was sorry to find that I had missed out on a chance to zoom with Chooky on Sunday. Between the headache and the puzzle I was away from my laptop nearly all day.  I hope you all had fun.
Speaking of headaches.....
I'm off to find panadol. 


Tuesday 22 March 2022

More Kitchen Happenings.

When we still lived in Ramsey on the Isle of Man, Tony and I both enjoyed visiting one of the local Chinese Take away stores.  We have been disappointed not to find a good replacement here in Timaru. So we have been trying out various recipes for some of our favourites.  Tony especially misses his Deep fried crispy shredded beef. We've tried one or two recipes that I have found on the internet, then this one popped up on Pinterest.
This recipe got a big thumbs up. I tweaked it a little the second time we made it by adding the carrot pieces.  Oh my goodness, even I have to agree, it is very tasty and we will be making it again.
This morning I came across a yummy looking slice recipe and just had to give it a go.
It took a little longer to bake than the recipe said, but it is incredibly good, tasty, moreish and chewy just like it's name says.
I highly recommend both recipes. 
My mystery illness seems to have turned a corner. My voice is improving, I sound almost normal at times. I still sleep late and take naps, but I'm feeling better.
Thank you to everyone for your get well wishes, it really does mean a lot.
Time to go and play with Lucy. 


Saturday 19 March 2022

I did it!

What did I do?
Well, if you remember in my last blog post I had talked myself in to purchasing the Inklingo Lucy Boston Booklet and templates, so that I could try printing and cutting my own papers as each time I order a top up, I end up waiting for them to be imported. So I did it, I purchased and downloaded the PDF booklet and had a good read. Mostly it says the same as the paper booklet I already own, but, it also contains countless pages of printables, so that you can make the quilt top using various methods to join your fabric pieces, not just the Inklingo method. It took me a while to find them, but eventually I found the no seam allowance section which would enable me to print my own papers.
Every single shape required to complete a Lucy top is included, full shapes, half shapes and even some quarters.
I practiced on plain old paper to ensure I had things set up correctly and then popped my card into the printing machine.
I printed just one page, to see how things would go.
I figured the best way to cut them would be with a roller blade and ruler, so I sacrificed a cutter, wrapped some tape around the handle as a reminder that this one is for paper only, and went for it.
In no time at all I had 20 new papers. One $7NZ pack of 210gsm papers will yield 240 honeycomb papers, saving me lots of money and zero wait for new papers.
I sat last night and basted fabric on to my home made papers.
I may not be a convert to the full Inklingo method of printing onto fabric and joining with a running stitch, but I am happy to continue printing my own papers using the templates provided in the pdf booklet and will probably buy other booklets in order to print other shapes. Who knows, one day I may even give one of the other methods a try.
So while I sat with Grans tray in my lap and a glue pen in my hand a certain furry member of this household decided that she has had enough of my sheepskin pouffe and she might try out Grandads stool.
Excuse me, just move over a little please...
Just a little more, I want to lie down.
So I was back to using my pouffe last night.
I went to the hospital on Thursday for my x-ray and had bloods drawn while I was there. No results from any of that yet. 
I had a telephone conversation with yet another Doctor yesterday. Dr P. She said that given my responses to her questions and the notes that her colleagues had recorded, she feels that I have viral Laryngitis which usually clears up in 2-3 weeks, but sometimes can take longer. She suggested that as the antibiotics are clearly not helping, I should stop taking them. Stay home, drink plenty of water and rest. 
Sounds like the perfect excuse to sit and sew.
So that is what I shall do.
But first, Tony brought a load of tomatoes in from the green house, so I'll chop them up and make relish, or sauce, or something. 

Wednesday 16 March 2022

A post about Doctors and papers.

So I had another carpark visit with the Doctor. The sun was shining this time, so he didn't get wet. Last week in the rain, Dr F came outside in his shirt sleeves wearing a blue surgical mask. This week on a lovey sunny day Dr D came outside in a yellow floor length surgical gown, with sleeves, a surgical mask, a face shield and a plastic apron and gloves.  He took my temp, looked in my throat and ears and stuck the oximeter on my finger. He said very little except that he would order blood tests and a chest x-ray., he took a PCR swab and he then gave me a script for more of the anti biotics that are not working and told me to isolate until I got the results and said goodbye!
So I went home to isolate.
I just got the results of the PCR test this morning and it's negative. I still don't have covid.
But I still don't know what IS wrong with me.
Within an hour of getting my negative result today I had the radiology department on the phone asking me to make an appointment. That will be happening tomorrow afternoon. I may as well visit medlab and get my bloods done while I am out. 
So, now that all of that is dealt with and out of the way, lets get on with the fun stuff.
As you know, I've been pottering in the kitchen and doing a few domestic duties but I've spent a lot of my time resting in my chair working on Lucy. I sit with my feet up on Grandads stool and have Grans tray in my lap. I've been adding the white honeycombs to the blue blocks.
Once I have a few done, or if I need to move, I open up Grandads stool and pop the finished blocks inside.
It's the perfect size. All was going well, until I ran out of basted white honeycombs.
That brought me screeching to a halt yesterday.  I have been removing papers where possible and had a few ready to be reused, but not many. So I set about checking the backs of everything and was able to free up some more. Yesterday evening was all about cutting and basting.
Some of these papers are getting to be pretty tired and ready to retire, more than a few went into the bin, but there is still no word yet on the papers that I ordered two weeks ago, so I'm making do with as many as I can rescue.
I managed to salvage about 100 and got them basted and into my box.
(Yes, that is Belle on my pouffe in the back ground. Well actually I think it is hers now!)
While I was pulling honeycomb papers I also pulled squares and reused those also.
So my bag of 1 inch blue squares has been topped up too. 
I'll need those today as I plan to add the next row of square blocks.
I have selected and labelled them  so that they go in to the right space, I just need to add their blue inchies and get them sewn in. 
The supply problems with papers has sent me looking for a ways to print my own. I already own the Inklingo Lucy Boston book.
Has anybody used this method?
The book says that if I prefer EPP then I can use their templates to make my own paper pieces. 
So lets say I decide to try that. It costs $30 US for one of Linda's shape collections and PDF booklets, so about $45 NZ 
plus a package of good 120gsm paper $8-9 NZ 
and some ink. Call it $60 NZ all in.
A packet of papers costs between $9 and $12 NZ , by the time I add postage I've probably already spent more than $60 on papers and still need more. And if the papers are not in stock, I have to wait for them to be imported, some are imported from the US, others from Australia.
 I think I might just try printing my own. 
Now that we have definitive proof that I do not have covid and I am allowed out in public, I can go buy paper after I'm done at the hospital tomorrow. I could be printing and cutting my own papers by tomorrow afternoon.
And if it works..... Linda says on her website that if we want any other beautifully designed quilts converted to the Inklingo system we just have to ask and she will get on to it!  For example she has already worked with Willyne Hammerstein to produce downloads for many of the Millefoiri projects, and there are many projects already listed on her site that I would love to stitch as well as shapes for projects already on my to do list.
I think I may be spending some money on the Inklingo site.
The results of Sundays labours.
The spiderlings have been planted. There were six babies all up, the other two pots wouldn't fit in this dish.
Tony found two ripe chilli in the green house, so I added them to the relish.  
1.5 kg of tomatoes made 4 jars of relish.
The remainder of the tomatoes went in to the sauce pan.
I got 5 pots of sauce for the freezer.  That doesn't sound like much, but I let this reduce down a long way before I decided it was ready. The more I reduce it, the bigger the flavour.
Today I made ANZAC slice and I have bread proving, it will go into the oven soon. 
We have a bread machine, but we don't like the hole that the paddle leaves in the bottom of the loaf, so we just use the dough cycle, then pop the dough in to a loaf tin, prove it and pop it in to the oven. Perfect bread every time and no hole in the bottom. 

Sunday 13 March 2022

In the kitchen

Just as a change from Lucy, I thought you might like to see what else is going on here at my place.
Although I'm off work with something respiratory I have been able to get on a do a little bit in the kitchen. Tony as you know is partial to some home baking and has been known to devour a whole slice in less then 16 hours!
I'm happy to say this latest slice is in to it's second day.
I wonder if he hopped on the scales recently?
This tasty wee treat is called magic slice.
It's one of those recipes where you pretty much dump everything into the tray and let it sort itself out.
Very tasty. It was a new to me recipe and will be a keeper. I'd better have a look about and decide what to make next as it is almost gone now.
A friend recently asked if she could have a baby off my spider plant. The plant was pretty heavily laden and many babies broke off easily as I tried to prise out just two or three pieces. So I popped them all in to water. They only took a few days to grow roots.
A job for today will be to get them potted and ready to go to new homes. 
There are still plenty of babies on the mother plant, but it is getting a little late in the season for propagation, so I'll leave them where they are until spring. 
Before I get all green fingered though a must do job today is to use up some tomatoes.
The weather this summer has been changeable to say the least. Hot one day, cold the next followed by a few days of mediocre. A recent spell of warmer weather brought on a whole bunch of tomatoes.
Added to the few that were already in the pantry I have enough to make a batch of relish and also a small batch of sauce. Hopefully Tony will volunteer to help chop and stir again today.
With frosts forecast for next week we had better make the most of what we have as I don't think there will be many more batches of sauce or relish this year.
It was good to see those of you who made it into Chookys impromptu zoom session on Saturday. I still sound weird and get out of breath over nothing, so will be on to the Doctors office again tomorrow. (Monday) Though I did sound almost normal when I was talking to Tony early this morning.
Well that's my news, I'm off to get busy in the kitchen. 
Hope you're all having a good weekend. 

Thursday 10 March 2022

Still Isolating and Lucy is Growing.

 So even though I do not have Covid, I'm still doing the right thing and staying at home, isolating.
I managed to see a Doctor on Monday. That was a mission. I phoned and asked in my croaky tweenage boy voice if I could see someone, after explaining that I had called last week and been sent for covid tests and had since returned three negative RATs. 
The receptionist said I should go for a test! 
So I explained again that I had negative tests and have been ill since last week, I really need some help please. 
She said that they could arrange a telephone appointment. 
I asked her how the Doctor was supposed to look at my throat and ears, and listen to my breathing over the phone?
 Her response was, "well we don't want sick people in our waiting room."  
I asked if not their Doctor then where sick people are supposed to go? How can a Doctor diagnose something he cannot see?  What did she suggest? 
She got snarky with me at that point and said "I suppose we could do a carpark appointment." 
So I saw a Doctor in the pouring rain in the carpark.  I parked as close to the door as I could get. I wasn't too bad in my car, but the poor Doctor got soaked. 
His diagnosis? There is definitely something going on in my glands, I need antibiotics and I did the right thing insisting on seeing him in person. I guess his receptionist had complained about me.
I wasn't allowed in to the pharmacy either, so the lovely lady ran outside with my prescription and the card machine. At least she had a brolly. 
Thank you to everyone who sent lovely get well thoughts and wishes. A couple of days on antibiotics and I'm improving. I still sound a bit odd, but way better than I did. And I made it through yesterday without naps and snoozes. But I still slept late this morning. 
So what have I been doing to keep myself busy, while not snoozing?
Working on Lucy of course.
I've been removing papers as I add blocks, so that I could make up more white pieces. I spent some time last night removing more papers, so today I'll be basting more white fabric and I do still have plenty of blue squares I could make up. 
That's about all the excitement I can manage at the moment, so I'm off to make a cuppa and settle into my armchair to play with fabric. 
Thank you once again for all the good wishes.

Monday 7 March 2022

Weekend progress

Thank you to those who sent get well wishes. 
We've established that it is not covid!
But what ever it is, it got worse since Fridays post.  I sound like scooby doo, or a tweenage boy.
It's making me just ill enough to sleep in past nine and run out of energy very regularly.  But I have been able to carry on crafting. I thought about playing some more with my rulers, but decided that required too much brain power, next I thought I might try cross stitching, but that just didn't appeal. In the end I spent some time with Lucy, it really does not take much thought or effort to cut and baste plain white honeycomb pieces. So I did that, until I ran out of papers.
Next I started sewing some blue squares together, and adding white honeycomb pieces. After joining the first row of crosses together on Friday, I was able to free up some more honeycomb papers. It feels a little like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but at least I was able to make progress.
So here is a whole weekends progress, in between naps and snoozes. There are a couple more square blocks that were completed, but I forgot to take a picture of them.
Honeycomb papers are hard to get hold of in NZ at the moment, everywhere I look has them on order and is awaiting delivery. So in order to free up some more, I'll have to finish the row of squares and add another row of crosses. 
It wasn't all about Lucy. 
On Saturday I made a batch of tomato sauce for the freezer. Well I ended up as more of a supervisor really, I set out with good intentions but after chopping all the onions, a carrot and some celery, Tony helped out by chopping the massive bowl of tomatoes and volunteered to stir the pot while I had a rest.
On Sunday I made a flapjack. Tony helped again. Weighing all the ingredients as I read them out.
Although I've made flapjack many times before this is a recipe I had not tried previously. 
It was a little dry, maybe I'll tweak it and try again.
It must taste good, there are only three pieces left!
Well that's my news. How was your weekend?


Friday 4 March 2022

An armchair, a cat, some rulers and Lucy.

When I was out op shopping with Debbie last week, we spotted the cutest wee arm chair. We both tried it out and agreed that it is very comfy and perfect for a shorty like me. I walked away thinking about it and had a chat with Tony. We agreed that if it was still there on Monday morning I should buy it.
And it was still there. As it's only little, we were able to get it into the back of Debbie's car and brought it right home. It fits beautifully in to the corner of my sewing room. It's predecessor was a little on the large side, but this one is perfect. 
Even Belle approves!
My blanket fits nicely over the back and the sewing caddy that Janice made for me fits on the arm and I've refilled the pockets with all those useful little items. Belle is all curled up on my old dressing gown, she loves it and if I leave it anyplace other than the back of the bedroom door, I know I'll find her on it. I am supposed to be making it into a bed for her, so it was lying in my room, waiting. I'm sure she thinks I put it on the chair just for her. 
On Tuesday my awaited Ruler foot for Sally Skyline arrived but I didn't get a chance to play, until yesterday. I had fun practising making pretty flowers. 
This was flower number 2. There was a lot more experimenting, but no photos, sorry.  A little more practise methinks. But it was fun and easier than I thought.
I have crumb blocks all ready to play on. They will make good placemats for Tony and I.
I didn't spend all day playing with my rulers, I moved to the sitting room to prepare more papers for Lucy. And ended up getting a little carried away.
I've joined the first row. 
Not the best picture, taken at night in artificial lighting with a reluctant quilt angel holding it up for me.
I was rather pleased with it last night and looking at it in daylight this morning happier still.
I'll need to hop online and buy some more papers for it. Why do they sell packets of papers in such tiny quantities, when you need such huge quantities for even a small quilt top? 
I'm off work sick for a couple of days. I'm pretty sure it's just a head cold, but I have to do RAT tests anyway and I don't want to share even a cold with the residents at work. 
More time to sew.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

A foodie post

 I often think to myself  while I am baking...
'I should get a photo of this and blog it'.
And then I usually forget.
I know many of you do post blogs about food, especially new recipes.
Recently I have been remembering to get photos while I was creating in the kitchen. Here are the last two days worth.
Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day. I'm not really a religious person, but do like to note some of the tastier traditions, and pancake day is one of them. I made a yummy batch of buttermilk and bacon pancakes for lunch.
Tony very much enjoyed them.
Prior to making the pancakes I had made an ANZAC slice.
It's always a winner too.
We had a slice each after lunch, while it was still warm.
Then I tucked the remainder in to the red baking box, before heading off to work.
By the time I got home from work at 10.30 pm, there were three slices left!!!
Tony said he wasn't sure if it was up to standard and had to carry out extensive trials.
We polished off the last slices for supper.
So today I needed to refill the box. I had some buttermilk left over from making the pancakes, so used it up in some cheesey scones.
Another of Tony's favourites, I wonder how long they will last?
Then as a reward to myself, I made myself a chocolatey treat.
Do you like chocolate?
How about hot chocolate?
Do you like these little treats?
This is a new to me recipe.
I really don't recall where I saw it, but someone on the WWW suggested warming some milk and dropping two or more of these little balls of bliss in to it.
It doesn't have to be the red ones, it can be any of the flavours, but my fave is the red.
I find that the boxes and sachets of instant hot chocolate have added sugar or sweeteners and they are just too sweet for my taste, but two of these is perfect.
What a yummy treat.
A day off work.
Tony will not be home for lunch.
What's left of the day is mine.
I'm off to sew.