Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you are all having a lovely and relaxing festive season and making the most of time off, family etc.
Today has been a good day so far and has far exceeded my expectations as although I love the concept of Christmas, restrictions in drink and not really getting a break as I still have to dialyse tomorrow I was starting to feel rather Bah Humbug like. But today I woke up feeling alot more positive and determined to make the most of it and have really enjoyed it. I have had lots of lovely presents and spoken to my family on the phone so know my nephew is having a great Christmas and loved my presents which was great too hear.
I am off now to do some more stitching and watch the evening's television but again Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all my blog readers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas elf fairy

I have finished Mirabilia's Christmas elf fairy and I am really pleased with how she turned out. I started her a good while ago but due to overexcited kittens my stitching time was seriously curtailed but she is done in time for Christmas. Hooray!! She is on a Silkweaver hand dyed linen so I will also be entering her into their competition this year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Shopping

I have finished it and in a record time too. I am usually a very last minute shopper but with having lots going on it has really focused my mind and I am all done. Now there is the small matter of wrapping and writing cards and I can relax completely knowing all is done.
However there is no real rest for the wicked as the OU have decided we absolutely must have an assignment due with a cut off date straight into the new year. It isn't too bad as I am working on it in parallel to the reading and managing quite well, but you would think they could have given us at least a weeks grace. I decided to miss the tutorial today as some of it was covered last time, the weather is fearsome and I am rather tired and a little stressed at the moment. I don't think any harm will come of it as I seem to be getting on ok and the tutor is very approachable by email if any problems should arise so a quietish day won't hurt for once.
Just to make you smile I took some pictures of Mack and Mabel this week and here is one of the very few of them not only together but actually keeping still.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bah humbug!!

I have to blog this as I am really fed up with how this country is turning into the nanny state. Now dialysis appears to be affected by it and maybe in some ways this isn't a legitimate moan as it isn't actually affecting our treatment. But as dialysis patients we never get any time off which includes Christmas, but the unit does move shifts around so everyone gets two days off together at Christmas and no one ever goes in on Christmas day. All fine but the one thing I like about our unit is that they try and make it as festive as possible and sometimes it can almost be like walking into Santa's grotto-ok a slight exaggeration but they do put lots of decorations up. Thanks to the health and safety police it seems like we are not going to be like that this year and they are fighting to even get a tree let alone anything else. It might be a sign of the times, but I don't know where it is all going to stop and it is like we don't have minds or personal responsibility anymore.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Long time

Sorry it's been such a long time between posts on here but life has been extremely busy. So much has happened that I really should have blogged but now it all seems so long ago there seems little point mentioning it now.
Anyway a couple of things of significance I am writing about are partly due with the lack of blogging are that my course is rather more time consuming than I thought it would be and my motivation for things is somewhat lacking. It isn't for the course as such but just well everything, and I am feeling more tired and although physically and mentally I am doing so much better I just want to veg. I don't think the time of year helps for this either as it is dreary and cold out there now, but it has struck me that maybe I feel like this because I am better. I was so physically and mentally wired to getting through the days that now I am not on red alert all the time maybe I am just relaxing a bit.
However it is impossible to relax here lately as after the sad loss of Taffy in August we have given a home to a couple of bundles of fluff and they are keeping us very busy. Here they are when we first got them 6 weeks ago:

They settled in really quickly and although you can only just see them here the following were taken on the same day as they got used to their new surroundings.

This one is called Mack and he claimed the bed very early on as his but he is very close with his sister so does share it with her too.

This photo is of Mack's sister Mabel and she is alot smaller than him but we gather more of an average size as Mack is apparently going to be a big cat. You can't really tell from this picture but she was ever so tiny when she came here and I was so scared anything would hurt her.

However both are much bigger now and have completely made themselves at home. Although they can go out now they are not keen on the concept at the moment. But I am not suprised with this weather as it isn't inviting for anyone especially kittens who are used to the warm and dry. They are pretty well behaved although like any kitten they have their moments too, especially where wallpaper is concerned but on the whole we have a couple of lovely, friendly cats.
There isn't much more news but I hope to be back sooner next time and with any luck a Christmas stitching finish too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Apple kissed autumn

I finished this just a couple of days ago and I have to say I was slightly disappointed with it. It is mainly because the fabric from the kit is a wee bit dark for it and some of the very pastel tones hardly show up. The scan of it has come out really well and doesn't show this at all, but then my mum suggested it was the brightness behind so might look at putting something white behind when finishing it off. I haven't decided how it is to be finished or when so for now here it is:

This was the focus piece in my rotation and I figured that if I want to get my stash down then some new starts were in order. But I also want to get my number of projects down, so as I have lots of smaller ones I decided to put them in as focus pieces. Next up is Mirabilia's Christmas elf fairy, but I am also knitting a pair of pink trainer socks inbetween too.
My new course also officially started last Saturday although I was doing some studying before that so my time is going to be curtailed from now on so I will see how I get on with this new rotation. I am enjoying the course so far and Literature has always been an interest of mine so I am looking forward to really getting into it this year.
However instead of hitting the books I went to the Exeter craft show on Saturday with my mum and we had a really great time. I didn't spend much but there was such an aray of demonstrations and displays it kept us both happy for a fair while. I actually took some great pictures on my phones camera but am currently trying all ways to get it on line but a friend mentioned a dongle might be needed so although the mind boggles I will do a bit of investigating on that front this week. For those who asked we didn't go to the NEC in the end as my mum was taken ill that morning and it wasn't right to leave her, even though dad was here so neither of us went in the end. Without going into details she has had several problems this year and it has been a worrying few weeks but all is now getting sorted.
Finally I am really missing Taffy at the moment. It seems to have built up in the last week and not sure why as I have been relatively ok up until this point. I think maybe it is finally sinking home now as the memories start coming back. am a bit of a blocker when it comes to sad stuff then unfortunately at some point down the line
it is like a cork being released and I have a big reaction to it. I have a feeling that is what is happening now, but as several things are happening at the moment that cork has alot of pressure behind it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A stitching finish-with a picture

After my last update with lack of pictures and Nichola saying she wished to see them here is my latest finish:

This was a class piece by Judy Dixon which I attended with Gina and although a while ago now I remember it was a really great day. I am seriously considering finding a floss box to mount this in as I love this design and it is also the first Hardanger I have done with little easy to sort out mistakes.
Life carries on quite normally here really but although my next OU course doesn't officially start until the end of the month I have made a start today. This is so that I can hopefully keep slightly ahead and also because we don't have even one month from the start date until the first assignment is due-no pressure or sense of easing us in gently then is there? What I did today made sense and I enjoyed it so that is a good start I would think.
All being well me and mum are going to the Knitting and Stitching show at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday. It is quite some time since I went to a major show but I am trying not too get really excited about it as I know my health could prevent it right up until the last minute. That is one of the major things which gets to me about my illness as although I enjoy life and try and embrace it I can't allow real excitement even about the immediate future just in case it doesn't work out. But then sometimes excitement leads to disappointment so taking as it comes is not always a bad thing but hoping fervantly this is going to be a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Time for a general update

It's been so long since I last blogged that I am trying to order my thoughts as to what has been going on.
In general I have been enjoying my time off studying and taking the time to chill out and stitch or knit. In fact I have finished a few things but instead of posting pictures to bore you all I will just say you can see the links in the sidebar. But from now on I am going to try and post pictures and blog more often.
We have also been decorating my room which is now looking fabulous. I now have a pink theme with soft pink walls and a fushia on the woodwork. I chose the bedlinen first which I got on sale and that is white with a panel containing fuschia embroidery. The curtains are plain fuschia and have a panel which has fuschia embroidery down the side so it is like an embossed effect. I also got pillows the same as the curtains although it's all from the same range and found a fab cushion-one of those very hairy ones which luckily matched the bedlinen. I then managed to get the lighting at a great price and have a chandelier and a table lamp that moreorless matches. Finally the carpet has gone down which is like a dark cream and although the medittaranean colours of before gave the room lots of light this is even better.
I also passed my OU course at the begining of the month and although I just missed the score I really wanted I was more than happy with what I did get and now it's onwards and upwards to the next one. I should be receiving the materials soon although it doesn't officially start until the end of next month, but I have time to get organised at least. But as it is a literature course I am pre-reading the first lot of books which I am enjoying but hope that some of them will make more sense when I start to study them.
However this summer has been darkened a bit by the very sad news that we have had to put Taffy to sleep. I can't believe it is two weeks already since he left us, but it was the best thing for him. The weekend before he kept disappearing and when we eventually found him on the Monday he went wild at being dragged away from his shelter. We managed to get him to the vets and they kept him in for blood tests and some fluids, but when we rang on the Monday they said his kidney function was off the scale and they could make him feel better for a few days with steroids but it was only a temporary measure so he would not live any longer than that. We decided as he certainly seemed very unhappy and wasn't eating to not put him through that so we decided to let him go. My dad was the one to go and sign the papers and be with him-me and mum are never quite brave enough but we would if we had to, but apparently it was quick and peaceful so I don't think he really suffered much.
Thats it for now folks but I will try and write more often if I can from now on.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Yesterday I registered for my next course and this time I am going to do Approaching Literature. It took awhile to decide but Literature has always been my subject and when browsing the online forums I realised that the structure of the course really appealed to me. I wasn't sure for awhile as the write up on the main website is sketchy, so there is nothing like going to the heart of it and seeing what the students who have done the course think and what information they have left.
However it isn't always a great guide as many people were not totally happy with my last course but I loved it-I knew when I signed up it was on the harder side than others at this level, but it so neatly followed on from the one before that I decided to risk it. They were right about the hard work but I felt that I kept up with the workload and got good enough grades that I am interested to see how the Literature one compares in work.
But the hard work has had one very nice bonus and that was in the shape of my latest bank statement which was extremely healthy. I am not a reckless spender by any means but I got to wondering why it was so healthy and realised that although I have gone out I tended to focus on what I needed to buy rather than buying on a whim. So now I am in the process of treating myself to something nice but can't decide what I want so will maybe save it for a rainy day.
That rainy day may come sooner than expected though as my digital camera is starting to play up a bit-I am hoping it is only the settings that are out, otherwise my money will be spent on a new one. It seems that there are not many pictures which come out crisp and are really blurred which is not like that camera at all, but on the whole I love my Nikon and would consider getting the same make again if it came to it.
Finally my friend is alot better but isn't quite right still but I think it is more after effects and being pregnant that are causing it but for the moment for both our sakes I will keep clear.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good morning

Hello all

It seems strange to be typing this still in my nightwear at this time of the day but the simple fact is I have nowt to do today, because I took my exam tuesday so I am now free.:-)
I have many plans for my time off including stitching, reading, shopping and seeing friends/family. I have neglected most of these I studied this year but I do feel that it has been so worth it and the exam although not exactly going swimmingly in all areas went pretty well overall. I am determined not to read my notes for the less good parts as I can't change anthing now so there is little point.
So today I am going to get myself sorted and then do some stitching and this afternoon me and mum are off to the local gardening center which also sells lots of gifts and craft items too. We are looking for a birthday present for one of my close friends but it is a lovely place to browse anyway so should be a nice afternoon.
I have to admit to being a bit worried about this friend as she is pregnant and not had a good time and I found out she has had a very nasty infection. I knew she had been poorly so I was concerned but when I heard what it was she had conracted it made me even more so. But she does seem to be on the mend now, the baby is ok and kicking like mad so all appears ok. Anyway I will try and get her something nice for her birthday to hopefully pick her up a bit-I was planning on seeing her soon but I won't be able to go any time soon, because this bug could be quite dangerous to me. I need to make sure she is clear of it before I see her, but know she will understand too as it is the kind of friendship where we do anything for each other but if it puts one or other of us at risk we draw the line.
Right thats it for now-better make a start on this day and hopefully I will have some more time to write from now on.

Have a good day all.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Google blogger

I finally got round to getting it so I won't appear as anonymous on comments and look like a crazed stalker. Everytime I tried to change in the past it would play up or something went wrong, but today it all worked fine.
I have to say I wrote and published my previous post using it and have to say it all seems much quicker and simpler than the old version. Happy days.

Been too long

Well I am still here but taking a few minutes out from the busyness my life is to just say hello and to post a picture of my latest finish. I completed The castle by Teresa Wentzler a couple of weeks ago after many a long year of working on it. You can see how old it is as I bought it in kit form and stitched it on aida. I did however take inspiration from the forum and added some sparkles and some of the idea for which to use were helped by a grab bag I got on ebay. So here it is in all its glory:

A quick update on other news brings a mixture of good and bad. I spent a short while in hospital recently which was for something and nothing but it has had a bit of a knock on for some of my blood results. I got quite upset but luckily my consultant was visiting the unit on the day I wasn't there so he left a message with them about what was going on as they also saw the changes. It is not anything serious and although I am anaemic it isn't affecting how I feel and I am now getting a good course of it with possibly more to happen to boost it all up.
It is a good job I feel ok though as I have my exam soon and I am literally cramming for it as much as I can. I am enjoying the process but it is relentless at the moment and all I can hope is that this work pays off. I did get slightly behind when in hospital but I got an extension on the last assignment and have now caught up. I have now got that result and it was better than I hoped and means I have passed that component of the course.
Finally we have sadly been told our cat Taffy probably is living on borrowed time now. His kidney function is declining and depending on how fast it does it really depends on how long we are looking at. He has been put on a diet for it which could give him double the time-and luckily he seems to not mind it, but the last couple of days his appetite has gone right off again. This could be a bad sign I know but also he does this sometimes especially with the thyroid and his tablet dose has changed so it could be that too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Embroidery finish

Yesterday I finished my first proper embroidery piece. This was taken at a Judy Dixon class with my good friend Gina and I am thrilled at how this one came out:

What I particularly love is all the yummy silk flosses and special threads Judy adds to her designs which make them extra sumptuous. This one is designed to be made into a lid for a jewellery box and I am not sure at the moment if I am going to do that yet-I am frightened of ruining it in the process.
As a quick update I will let you know that after much faffing about at the unit my blood results are back and are ok but things need to be looked into a bit more. My inflammation markers are at an ok level, but so far my haemoglobin hasn't shifted so my consultant wants some more detailed tests done. But and this is the thing that annoyed me was that it was decided yesterday but they hadn't made a note in my folder so the blood didn't get taken. And with bank holidays being when my next shifts fall it won't be done for a week-I am trusting he didn't want it urgently but it really ticked me off.
Also I got a letter yesterday informing me to ring the dental hospital to book in for the wisdom tooth removal and after hours and talking to so many people on the phone I got nowhere. Today mum rings the number whilst I dialysed to get in early and got through straight away and got me booked in for next week. What happened when I rang I have no idea but it was really like the twilight zone for a few hours and it drove me crazy.
Anyway it's nearly easter and we have had a phone call that my brother and family are coming to visit on Saturday-I get easter cuddles with my nephew which is a lovely suprise.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This rotation lark is paying off

Well I was always very sceptical I could design and stick to a rotation but for over a year now I have done so and have to say it is starting to reap rewards. This is especially so this year as I have also introduced a focus piece which I stitch on between every rotation piece and I am now very happy to announce that Paisley is finished:

I am really pleased with how this one came out and a good friend has agreed to make it into a cushion for me. This is good as it will match in with our lounge and will be a nice size for the sofa.
In other news my study is going better now after a bit of a blip where I received a really rotten assignment result-well rotten for my great expectations of what I would wish to achieve, but I still passed which is the main thing. However it really knocked my confidence and I was dreading getting the latest assignment back as I could see my results nosediving if I wasn't careful. But after receiving my highest result of the course when I got the assignment back and a good tutorial yesterday I am starting to get back on track. Also for this course they do allow the worst result to be made up to the average result at the end so as long as I don't have anymore blips I will be ok.I have to say that my tutor is very good and put everything into perspective yesterday and although I think at times he marks a little hard on reflection I think that might be better as you know when you reach a higher grade it does reflect the progress being made. Then there is just the not so small matter of the exam to be got through and we are finished with this course. I really cannot believe how quickly this course has gone and I have really enjoyed it, learnt loads and made several new friends-so really glad I picked it. Next year I am looking at doing a specialist course of some kind and at the moment it is a toss up between literature and classical studies.
In other news I am having some tests tomorrow to make sure my mouth infection isn't causing my body problems. One of my nurses told me the mouth has a good blood supply so it would be wise for me to check that the infection isn't sneaking around my body too much. I have to say that I don't feel ill as such despite being on almost permanant antibiotics this year but some of my results indict otherwise. My haemoglobin has been dropping despite the injections to stop it being increased this could be a reason for it. So I need that checked as well as a few other things to determine if I should be doing anything else. The only solution is having the tooth out and the cogs of the NHS move so slow and even though I am chasing it up nothing happens that quickly despite the extra risk factors, such as not being able to have a transplant whilst I have this infection.
Anyway thats it for now and Easter and better weather are fast approaching so have a good one all.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Funky socks

There is something about me that many of you won't know and it is that I am a secret sock fancier. I love funky and unusual socks and anew pair can do wonders to cheer me up. I have no idea why as they are just a thing to put on the feet, but they make me feel all cosy and secure.

With this in mind and the fact that there are loads of gorgeous sock wools around I decided to have a go, but me being me I didn't check the tension was correct. The first pair of stripy ones which I got from a secret stitcher although lovely would have proudly fitted the Jolly Green Giant and absolutely swamped my tiny feet. My mum is now the proud owner of them but as I haven't seen her wear them I think the word proud is a contradiction in terms. So after much advice I tried again and finished a pair that fitted me tonight and in it you get the double pleasure of seeing a glimpse of my leg-steady everyone out there as I know it is a new experience as they are firmly covered usually but hope you can all cope.

They are absolutely me don't you think and are so warm and toasty and I am pleased and proud that they fit.

Other than that life is hectic with study and more study and the most ill thought out question in the universe for my latest assignment has had me scratching my head for many a day. I thought the last one was bad which is when I posted last but this one was evil and even the tutor thought so too. I am hoping it will be better than the last as I got my worst ever mark and it really was overly waffly. This time I stuck to hard facts and managed to back them up. I know there are areas I could have improved on but that is the same everytime and this course is a massive learning curve and apart from the last assignment is going ok. However I am relieved it is done and are we ever rocketing through this course at a rate of knots-there are also too many slips of paper with the word exam on coming in the post lately-all rather scary.

One other thing to mention is that I so far haven't switched to Google blogger as every time I try it won't let me, which is why when I am replying to posts I have to show as anonymous and then state who I am.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Finally finished

I am what you might call a bit cream crackered tonight as I have spent most of the weekend finishing my latest assignment. I seem to have been making notes for weeks but it seemed relatively straight forward and I even had quite a bit drafted out. But no alas it took hours, but part of the problem was on Thursday I couldn't find any motivation to do it whatsoever, which means alot of the weekend was taken up by it. Also I had that annoying thing that seems to happen with Word when you go back to change something and it eats the words already on the page. Some thought that would be a good thing to add into the programme it seems, but it only adds to the workers stress and shouldn't be allowed.
Therefore not much stitching has been done over the last few days but I am slowly plugging away on my rotation and I can see some benefits for my hard work. I have around three pieces which should hopefully be finished over the next few months and my goal is to finish them by Easter. I also have a few snaller ones which will be added in soon so I am really hopeful that I can get my projects down this year.
However although there hasn't been much stitching recently last weekend was a real stitching treat. I attended a Judy Dixon class in hardanger and drawn thread with Gina and some of her friends and I had a great time. I have been to Judy's classes before but this was the best yet, despite a rather big mistake by me which involved alot of frogging out it was just a great day. Also I stayed with Gina the night before and got a fair amount of stitching in then on my rotation piece Elizabethan embroidery which is another of Judy's class designs:

I am hopeful this will be finished when it next comes up in rotation, but even if it doesn't at least it means I get to enjoy more time with it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Quality of life

This is something I blogged on myspace yesterday but due to problems with picture uploading it's taken a day to reach here:

This subject has been on my mind since I took this lovely picture of Taffy this afternoon:

Although he is much better in himself since the tablets he isn't quite right and I think as a pet owner you have the chance to question their quality of life and whether it is worth it. I think anyone seeing this photo would agree it is more than worth it and even with his daffy ways he is totally loveable and doesn't seem to be suffering at all. I thought last week it was time to say goodbye but he has proved us wrong I am pleased to say and I think we will instinctively know when that time comes. It is not going to be easy but he has had the most wonderful life so far and although I hope he has awhile to go yet it is a great comfort to know he is happy with us.
This inevitably led me to think about how there is no such luxury for us humans and we have no say when our time is up and maybe in a way that is no bad thing. But some of the suffering I have seen does make you wonder if it is fair that we as humans have to go on living in a way you wouldn't allow a much loved pet to endure.
I am not trying to say that I want out-not in the least it has just got me thinking about it all today and wondering what quality of life consists of. My life has it's ups and downs as everyones and the last couple of years I can honestly say have been pretty bad on both a pysical and a psychological level and yes a couple of times I did wonder if it would be easier to simply go to sleep and not wake up as the stress was just too immense and was making me ill.
Now I am coming through slowly to the other side I have had time to reflect on a few things and I realise that I have been given awful odds before and beaten them and I want to again. But if as is quite possible I never get a transplant I will survive and live my life to the full and although I won't always accept my limitations I will never allow myself to fester either. I didn't have particular dreams or ambitions as I wondered for awhile if it is worth it when an emminent doctor tells you how long you have. But isn't that reason to prove them wrong and even if they are right to make the most of that time? So yes I have started going after the things I want for myself now but his words still haunt me and that is what I struggle with simply because he did take my future away from me for awhile and led me onto a path that has been enormously difficult to handle. Not least because there is a chance things could have been very different now.
But they say things happen for a reason and in some ways it has made me a better person. I am sad to say I was much less than I could have been when I was at my worst but possibly when dealing with all that it was inevitable, but that doesn't make me feel better for it though. I am starting to regain some of my old spirit although I think some it has probably gone forever I realise life isn't so bad and many go through worse. Someone on a bulletin board I go on said it was the simple pleasures she revelled in when times were hard so with that in mind I aim to enjoy them too. This afternoon I uploaded some more pictures of myself and some of my stitched pieces and enjoyed generally messing about on here and tonight I will chill out and just enjoy being.
I know many of you don't know the full story behind this but it was something I had to post whilst it was in my mind as although I grapple with it most days, today I had a different perspective.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Quick update on Taffy

The vet had his results back today and gave us a ring. He has got an overactive thyroid and in cats in can make them quite poorly, so it explains alot about how he has been. He has to take a tablet every day for a month and then get his bloods done again to see how he is doing.
He has been eating loads better again and has already filled out from how he was. Whether this is down to an injection of a vitamin to boost his appetite up I am not sure as he was slowly improving anyway.
Overall I think it is probably the best outcome of all the scenarios as it was obviously something that needed treatment this time and at least it is easy to sort. I have every reason to hope he will be with us for a fair time yet.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another finish

Firstly I must apologise for not blogging for so long. I attempted one a few days back but it errored and disappeared so I am trying again now. Christmas and New Year were so long ago but it really was a lovely one this time and I had a throughly good time eating and drinking too much. Since then it has been a case of knuckling down with the course and carrying on with normal life. It has been hectic but actually not alot has happened. I did however finish my nephews birth sampler last Friday and here it is before the details were put in. I do have to say the writing on this is a lovely style so I am going to keep the alphabet for future reference:

The only other piece of news is that our cat Taffy is a bit poorly at the moment. He went off his food just before the weekend. As he looked quite a bit thinner and was looking unhappy he went to the vets on Monday. So far the verdict is that he has impaired kidney and liver function and I think this rather suprised the vet. She felt it could be his kidneys as he has had these episodes before but nothing wrong was ever found. She thought it was possible that at these times his toxin levels were a bit high and then his kidneys sort of kicked back in and washed them away and he improved. However she said the fact both levels are not normal can actually be because of a thyroid problem, so his blood is on the way to another lab to be tested. He goes back on Friday for his results and although I think overall it would be a better prognosis if it was his thyroid he is still well enough to have some time left. It is something I have prepared myself for for awhile but it is still a shock and a horrible feeling when you know there is something wrong and all we can do is hope for the best.