Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Dried up

We've (by which of course I mean 'DH has') made loads of tomato passata, so we're good for at least a year.     There are still some tomatoes left,  and we decided to have a go at drying them.

I started with the big plum tomatoes.   Dip in boiling water for a few seconss, until the skin splits,   then plunge in cold water. Slip the skin off (or faff around trying to get it off),  then cut the tomato into 1/4 inch slices.  Dry the slices.

I realised that I should pribably have cored the tomatoes before slicing but, by the time I realised,  it was too late.

I had four trays of tomatoes, which took a loooooong time to dry thoroughly.  I now have a pot of crspy tomato bits, and a small tub of i'm-fed-up-waiting mostly dry bits. 
I'm going to grind then and make some super concentrated tomato powder which I can add to tomato based dishes (ooh, and pasta.  and bread).

The dehydrator is on again, with loads of sliced chillies.

I might do the catnip while we're in drying mode.  I should have done it a week or so ago while the atmosphere was drier.  It's surprising how much the ambient atmosphere affects the drying times.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018


Wash, our 14 year old male ginger cat,  is diabetic.  He has insulin twice a day,  and visits the vet  for six monthly checkups.     

At the last checkup, we commented on his gums.  Th eVet did a close inspection, and told us that Washy was suffering from tooth reabsorption.  Apparently it's very common (as many as 1 in 3 cats apparently).     It was likely that he had problems below the gum line,  and we needed to book him in to have it looked at.

Yesterday was The Day.

Wash has a fear of going to the Vet. I know that most cats don't like the  experience, but Wash is very distressed by it.   He's had a few traumas in his life which have resulted in him having extended hospitalisation, and he's always afraid he's going to be left.     His diabetes was stress induced, from his last stay (when he was hit by a car, had his paw crushed,  and then was having liver failure).

We starved him from 10pm the night before.  He didn't notice until 7.30 when he was demanding breakfast,  and was looking for the bowl of dry food which is otherwise always available.  We felt dreadful handing him over,  but of course we knew it was for the best.     The Vet knows about Wash's issues,  and planned to do him as the first of the dental ops that day.

The Vet rang late morning to let us now that the Xrays were better and worse than he had anticipated.  One of the suspect teeth was fine,  but there were two others which needed dealing with.  Of course we gave the go ahead.

I phoned at 2.30pm to hear that he was awake, and had eaten, and was being Wash.

We collected him at 5.30, and were shown the xrays.  We were happy to hear that his teeth were in good condition, very little scaling and tartar.  There wasn't anything we'd done or not done that had caise the issues with the dodgey teeth.   

We brought him home.  He ate the bland fish and chicken as if he hadn't eaten for a week.    

This morning we had to give him his antibiotics,  and we decided to see if he would just eat them.  He did.  He's such a lovely boy.

He's not quite himself and I guess he won't be for a few days.  The cat flaps are blocked up, he has a litter tray (which he used without any fuss), and the dry food will stay locked away until his gums have healed.  

He'll feel much more comfortable without the teeth.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Happy Dance!

I've been having some trouble with leggings.  I haven't been able to work out what is wrong with them, or even where the problem is. I've checked the pattern template, and I just can't see it.

I decided that I needed to make a pair out of squared fabric.  This would make the problem immediately visible.  I bought some inexpensive, Rupert-Bear-esqe fabric from Coalville Fabrics,  and looked at it for a few days.

And then I did it.

The leggings pattern I'm using is a self drafted one from my SureFit Deigns trousers blue print.   There are two pieces per leg (rather than 1 piece that you get when you buy a leggings pattern from, say,  Patterns for Pirates or Halla or LoveNotions (I have kids leggings patterns from those).    I had tried the P4P adult leggings,  but the shape just didn't suit me

Normally, I cut each pair of pieces in one go,  with the fabric folded.   This saves time,  and it means that when I put the two legs together and sew the crotch seam,  the two fronts ar identical and the two backs ae identical.      Where pattern matching is needed, this approach doesn't work. 

So, I had to cut each of the four pieces separately.   I'm using stretch fabric, of course,  so this also added a little extra complication.    It took a lot of time and patience,  and involved quite a lot of rude words,  but eventually I cut my pieces.     I also identified what was causing my problem,  even before I'd done any sewing,  so that was a bonus.

I basted one leg together,  and I was amazed to see that I'd got the pattern matched on both seams!   I did the second leg and discovered a missing bit of fabric.  I couldn't face trying to cut another whole piece, so I decided to patch it.  It worked.   Then I decided to overlock the seams, before I actually joined the two legs together. 

And then I pinned the two legs together,  and kept my fingers crossed. Well, kept them crossed in my head. Obviously.

The pinning looked good,  so I went ahead and sewed.   And I was amazed.

I did a happy dance.  I showed DH, having briefed him on exactly what was amazing about what he was about to see, and letting him know exactly what sort of reaction I was looking for.

I tried to take pictures, but that proved a bit of a challenge.  Here are a couple of them.  Please note that I hadn't put the waistband on,  nor had I adjusted the length of the legs.

But look!  All the seams match. The two legs are even, front and back.


Will I wear them outside?  Nope.  I won't even wear them in the house.   I'm just going to keep them as a reminder of an achievement.