Sunday, 31 August 2014

Marbles - little balls of beautiful glass

The last two days have been spend at The Sands Centre in Carlisle, at the first Carlisle Arts Fair.

I was there accidentally as there was a spare table, so a blagged myself it, but Hubster was there with his marbles doing his very first fair.  He sold quite a few of his rounded pretties.

I thought you might like to see some photos of his stand, taken when I could actually get in as he was often surrounded by people.

The displays were plastic boxes covered with white tissue paper and an LED battery powered light underneath.

You can find his Facebook Page HERE if you would like to see more  :)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Carlisle Art Fair

Today (Saturday) and tomorrow (is it too obvious to put 'Sunday' here?) is the first 'Carlisle Art Fair'. Held in The Sands centre, a rather nice roomy venue with lots of light' centrally based in the City and with good parking right outside.

Hubster was going with his marbles, so I thought I'd tag along and help him sell them.

When I got there there was a couple of no show exhibitors leaving some empty tables. So I cut a deal and blagged them for myself & within half an hour Hubster had rushed home to pick up my stock & I had my stall set up.

Daddy L offered to watch it for a little while whilst I had a wander around the other exhibits.

Let me share a few with you, click on the links which will take you to their own websites.

A lovely lady that does the most wonderful small art pieces on.......... TEABAGS! 

Some fabulous glassy goodness.

The most amazing sculptures, so much detail you need to see them in the flesh.

Some wonderful wall hung and ornamental ceramics.

Really clever & unusual wooden clocks.

Loads of fabulous art works, including these from Oliver Pearson. Breath-taking pieces of work.

Handmade books & cleverly folder book art.

Instrument making! The smell of planed wood is delicious, don't you think?

Ceramics and general prettyness.

Come and watch Irene paint a lifelike Collie dog. Such skill.

Or watch Peter working on his wonderful hand driven sewing machine using reclaimed materials.

But hey, don't take my word for it about how good this show is, come on down and see for yourself, I've only featured a very small amount of actual stalls in this post. 

10.00-4.00 Sunday (remember to come and say Hi :) )

Friday, 29 August 2014

Upcycled Shabby Chic Mirror

I bought an old mirror last year at a car boot sale, and it has been hanging behind my workbench waiting for someone to come along and give it a new lease of life.

When I was moving craft rooms i came across it and thought it was time something was done with it.  

So off I took it to Daddy L's garage for some beauty treatment from the man himself.

Do you remember these from the 90's?  Floral frames.   Classy  :)

It came back to me yesterday, all shabby chic and looking rather nice.   Daddy L gave it a coat of paint, then scrubbed it slightly in places to allow the colours underneath just to sneak through a little.

It's now up on my craft room wall, and although it doesn't look very exciting in the photo, it is actually really lovely.
 Can you see my yarn stash in the reflection?   :)

Thanks Daddy L - what can I find him next to do I wonder?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

One birthday, two cakes.

Last Tuesday was my daughter's 21st birthday (my youngest child, gulp!!)  and she requested a "Barbie" cake - 'like what she had when she was young'.

Well, she actually had two Barbie style cakes over the years (other fashion dolls are available) -  a Mermaid and the Princess style with a ballgown.

Marie, her partner, decided to make her the mermaid style.  This was for the Sunday when they were having a small house party.

So, she popped round to my house, as they have an electric oven which they haven't quite worked out how the temperatures work on yet, and of course I have all the gadgets too - the electric whisk, the pipping bags etc...

So I guided her with hints and tips and off she went.

Didn't she do a marvellous job?  Just look at all those fish scales piped on with precision.

(Although dolly did have to have her legs amputated for the changing into a mermaid event  :) )

On Tuesday, I thought Shona should really have a cake for the actual day too, so off I went to buy another dolly, this one has managed to keep her legs though, although she was a bit tall for the cake I had made  (next time I will buy the doll first).
I had to build the waist area up a little bit with extra fondant so she looks a little strangely shaped around the waistline.

Still, she liked it  :)

Happy 21st Shona :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Gnocchi

This dish is just delicious!  I love Gnocchi anyway, but made with Sweet Potato and stri-fried - what could be better?

I found this recipe in a Morrisons magazine - adapted it ever so slightly as it didn't work too well for me as it was.

Taking two decent sized Sweet Potatoes I stuck them in the oven to bake.

Then split them open and scooped out all the delicious orange flesh.  (It could be worth waiting until they have cooled down a little or you may end up juggling and cursing just like me)

Pop the flesh in a bowl and mix in an egg yolk.  If you have a dog give them the white, they like it lots  :)

The recipe calls for 150g of plain flour.  I found this was no where near enough as it was way to sticky to handle. More like 200g would work better in my opinion.

Form it into a good firm lump of dough, wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge for ages.  (or as long as you can manage, but at least half an hour)

Take it out and divide it into 4 equal parts.  Roll each part into a long sausage.  This bit is tricky, it's not like plasticine.  I ended up just squeezing and stretching until it looked long enough.

Then chop it up into bits. 

Each of the quarters will serve one person with added veg etc... you will need 2 quarters if you are not adding extras to it.  Any extra can be frozen by popping it on a tray so the bits do not touch each other, and popping the tray straight in the freezer.

When frozen, bag the bits up into portion size.   Excuse my "cones" they are actually icing bags as I had no food bags left in my draw!  But don't they look cute?

Back to the job in hand.  Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil and pop in your Gnocchi.  Remove it after about 3 minutes when it has floated to the top.

Keep to one side.  You can do all this as early prep and just fry it off when needed if you prefer.

Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan - I like this Chilli infused oil, you can use any  :)

Chuck in some cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms. and fry for a few minutes.

Add the Gnocci and continue to stir-fry until all veg is cooked through and tender and the Gnocchi is just starting to 'catch' and turn brown.

Eat and enjoy  :)  Easy peasy  Gnocchi.

Monday, 25 August 2014

An Endometrial Ablation - my experience.

Before I start this blog I would like to offer you a get-out clause.  If you don't want to read personal stuff about me, or about "lady bits" then click away from this page and go and find something else to do, coz this blog might not be for everyone's eyes to read  :)   (Dad, that means you!!)

Now, I am not usually one to share such personal news, but I find when it comes to medical things that no one really likes to talk about, it can often be hard to find information without Googling it and scaring yourself stupid.

Which is EXACTLY what I did!!

So, to skip past the years of misery and endless attempts to put a stop to lady issues that are supposed to occur monthly, but in my case forget to leave, I ended up at the GP's for yet another "please help me" visit, which resulted in a referral to Gynaecology.

Using the "choose & book" system that our area now runs, I could choose between the local hospital and others within a 60 mile or so radius.  The website gave all the stats of how quickly people are seen, processed and sorted.  I decided to go with Hexham hospital which is 40 miles or so away, rather then Carlisle.  But I won't go into hospital politics on here.  It was a bit of a pain doing an 80 mile round trip for each appointment  (4 in total) but totally worth it in the end.

Appointment number one was a rather nice chat with a lady consultant, who decided that having been through lots of other 'treatments' it was now time to try an Endometrial Ablation - basically, they burn away the lining of the womb.

Appointment number two was for a quick peep up the nether regions with a camera and a small biopsy.

My daughter, Shona, came with me to this one, and instead of her waiting in the waiting room, and because we hide nothing (very little) from each other, I invited her into the consultation room with me - not realising that it was actually the room where the procedure would be carried out.   Before she realised, the poor girl was ushered to a chair (at the top end, luckily) and blocked from coming out by a trolley and a nurse.

I smiled at her with a kind of "sorry" smile at her having to sit there while her mother had her bits examined.  Next time I will make her take a book and leave her in the waiting room, she is 20 years old after-all!!

"Would you like a look"  said the nurse as she went to turn the monitor to face me (and Shona).... "Em.. no, thank you"  I replied.

A look at what?  Did I want a look?  No, I think I made the right choice.

So, the camera thing was fine, you could feel it rooting about up there like a space probe on the moon, but not uncomfortable at all, just weird.   But then the nurse got hold of my arm and said "This bit might hurt a bit" and at the same time a searing pain shot through my bits as they cut of a chunk of something.  Apparently they just suck a bit out with a pippette, but you could have fooled me!

I liken it somewhat to getting your ear pierced, you know that jumping pain that is over in a second, but you really are not looking forward to having the second one done?  Like that.

Actually, I don't think it would have been so bad if the warning hadn't been there - I told her so too.

Appointment three was a pre-opp assessment - nothing much to report there.  ECG, Swabs and Blood Tests, nothing painful, nothing remarkable - although I do think that blood extraction needle was barbed.

Question:  How can someone with so many tattoos be so wary of blood test needles?

Appointment four was the operation itself.  I had read all the literature given to me, sounded good, but then I did something REALLY stupid.  I Googled it for reviews.  That Google search very nearly made me cancel the appointment there and then  (this feeling carried on right up to the moment I climbed on the theatre bed).  Of course when you Google reviews which ones do you read?  The negative ones of course - which I did, for ages.  I am not going to go into those reviews, and I suggest, if you are thinking of having this procedure yourself, you do not Google it either. 

So, it was with trepidation that I went into the hospital on Friday morning  (7.45am)  A.M. Leaving the house at with no brew inside me, certainly no food, and not even water.

I got to hospital and was admitted to a little 'bay' with a bed, chair and locker, and got assigned my very own nurse called Ann, who was lovely.

I got given a pair of support stockings  (oooooo, trendy) and some slipper socks so I could walk down the ward without slipping.   Everything and everyone was ticking along like clockwork as first the anaesthetist came in to see me, then the surgeon, then my nurse again.  There was no time to sit and think as it was just Bish Bash Bosh - job's getting done.

Then I saw the bloke who I knew was going to take me to theatre, I thought if I didn't make eye contact he would miss me out.  When he asked if I was "Susan" I shook my head furiously and pointed at Hubster.  He calmly asked if I wanted to go home, I said I did, he shook his head...... and like a child I trotted off, in my slipper socks and doubled up gown  (to hide the bum), behind him, towards theatre.

The second you walk in the theatre doors your 'person' kind of leaves your body as you get twisted and turned and tourniqued and arm-banded, almost like a well choreographed dance, you just get swept along with it all.  Everyone has a job, and everyone knows what to do.

From one side - "Just putting the cuff on",  I turn and nod.
From the other side "Just putting the cannula in",  I turn and nod.
From the bottom end "Just taking your pants off"  (I'd forgotten, sorry.)
From the second side  "This might make you sleeee.........."

I woke up in a panic as the anaesthetic run out and I was going to feel EVERYTHING!
I was yelling, but I could hear myself not making any sense, but in my head I knew if I screeched loud enough they would realise I was awake and put me back to sleep.
A nice nurse said, "It's ok, it's all done, you are back on the ward"

Oh, relief flooded through me, I tried to say something else, so she removed my oxygen mask and I told her I had a puppy at home  ;)   She fed me water and left me to sleep it off.

An hour later I wake up again to tea and toast.  Nambarrie tea - as Hubster took in my tea bags and told them exactly how I like it  (just water, leave the bag in, please).  Brown toast with real butter, for a treat.  Proper mug too, no plastic jobbies at Hexham.


So, I was feeling ok, much better than expected.  This had to be a false sense of security didn't it?   
As I cannot take Co-Codomol or Tramadol pain killers, I knew I was going to have to rely on Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, having asked what pain relief was in my system I was ready for it to wear off and hit me like a steam train.  But apparently it should have all worked through by then... and I have had nothing since, not even a solitary paracetamol.

I had a bit of cramping on the way home, nothing worse than a regular period pain, which followed on into the evening, still not bad enough to need to take anything for it.  

I feel as right as rain today, apart from being very tired, which is the anaesthetic wearing off, no cramping, no pain, still wearing silly support socks, but they are growing on me  :)

As for other details, seems like it might have been a success, and I hope I am not speaking to soon, but so far so good.  I was even up and about making a party buffet on Sunday, feeling better than I have in ages.

I have written this as I know a couple of people in the same boat who are considering the same procedure, I wish I had read something "real" on the internet instead of snippets of horror stories then I wouldn't have been quite so nervous.  Right now, at this moment, knowing what I know, I wouldn't hesitate to have it done.

But foresight is a precious gift  :) 

Feel free to ask me any questions either in the comments or privately if you prefer.