Sunday, 21 December 2008

Stitched Christmas Card Exchange.... and More

Reveal Day for the JA/S&S Forum Stitched Christmas Card Exchange has been and gone so I can now show you all the beautiful card I received from Rebecca (no blog, as far as I know).

I love it and, after the festive season is over, I plan on taking the card apart and turning the stitching into an ornie, so I can bring it out and see it every year. :0)

My partner was Dusty and this is the card I made for her:

  • Design taken from a chart in Cross Stitch Collection magazine, Issue 162;
  • Fabric:16ct white aida;
  • Threads: recommended DMC.

Dusty was my partner last year and I stitched one of the Lavender & Lace angel freebies for her, finding out afterwards that she actually collects angel ornaments. This year I decided to stitch something typically British - hope she likes it. The stitched area is only stuck down with glue dots, so it can be removed and turned into an ornie.

I do enjoy this Exchange and have my fingers crossed it will be run again next year. :0)

During that busy Friday I had I managed to get my cardmaking stash out to make a couple of cards. I seem to have been very disorganised this year (more so than usual) so hadn't managed to make more festive cards earlier in the year, as is usual. Thank goodness for ready-made embellishments is all I can say! Here's the one I made for my friend Alex and her family:

This one I made for my Pen Pal Maggie:

Very simple and easy to make - am quite pleased with the outcome. The cardmaking stash has been out again since, this time to make a birthday card for Alex but I won't post a pic just yet as it will spoil the surprise, as she occasionally reads my blog. ;0)

Sea Stars still hasn't had any attention so far this week and isn't looking likely to, I'm afraid, due to too many other things to do on the lead up to the festive season. As next Thursday is Christmas Day I won't be SAL'ing then and on Boxing Day we are spending the day with my DSis, so won't be stitching then either. Currently I'm trying to get another little ornie done: the little DMC Baubles kit I bought from Ribbons & Bows on Monday kept shouting too loudly. LOL Am hoping finishing inspiration kicks in when it's done so I can finish both this and the internet freebie one I stitched the other week. Watch this space......... LOL

Saturday I had my second Reiki session with Aureen. I started out with plenty of time beforehand but it seemed to disappear very quickly and it ended up a bit of a rush to get there - I don't think that helped, as I struggled to relax as fully as I did the first time. It was still a positive experience though and I shall go back again, when I feel the need. DH met me in Il Sorriso afterwards, where we had some dinner, before venturing further down the street so we could buy a present for my niece, Erin - result, so that's a biggie crossed off my list. When we got home DH went off to join DS at a local school hall to set up for the Rising Stars Christmas panto (children's version of the LTC)........ that was the last I saw of the pair of them until just after midnight. As everything went so well, and because the meal provided wasn't a big one, they decided to go off for a late dinner in one of the Chinese restaurants in town after they'd finished.

Sunday DH had to work again, so disappeared first thing, and DS went off to the LTC Guild Room mid-morning, to do some jobs. I pottered around doing various jobs, filled all the bird feeders in the garden (taking my time, as it was surprisingly mild out there), made the birthday card for Alex, read a little of my latest book, spent time on the computer and with DH and DS when they came home. Perhaps it may seem boring to some but as it was Yule everything I undertook on that day has an extra meaning for me, as I count each thing I do as a Blessing and thank the Universe for them. Though I don't practice the full-on rituals many Pagans and Wiccans undertake I do feel each thing I do on the Festival days has an element of ritual about it when it is consciously done, to the best of my ability and with gratitude. :0)

Today is my usual jobs day and Alex will be coming round for a coffee and natter this afternoon, a little earlier than ususal as it's now the school holidays. So far I've had my breakfast, prepared all the veggies and meat for a beef stew that's now going in the slow cooker, tidied up after that, have washed out the bathroom, tidied round here and there and cleaned the kitchen sink and am now having a chill out with a ginger and apple herbal tea whilst blogging. Rick and another chap turned up around 9am and set to with the carport roof - it's gone quiet while they have the hot drink I made them, so it's currently nice and quiet...... though that won't last for long, you can be sure. LOL

Many thanks for all the help with the fennel. Great website link, thanks Karen - lots on there I fancy trying. Am much happier now I know what to do with it. :0)

Well, I've got a downstairs loo that needs the attention of some Harpic and a loo brush so I'd best be off.

Hope you all had a great weekend and a pleasant start to the week. Many thanks for visiting. :0)

Yuletide Blessings To All

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Surprise Post Week

It has been a really good post week with some very nice festive surprises arriving. First to arrive was a package from Julie. She said it was OK to open it early so I was quite happy to oblige. ;0) Inside was a cute Christmas card and this gorgeous ornie:

My photography skills leave alot to be desired but I hope this close up pic will do it a bit better justice:

This is the back, which has a cute Santa and sleigh fabric:

It's so beautifully stitched and finished. Thank you again Julie for such a lovely keepsake - every time I look at it I remember the friendship it was sent with and am grateful for that Blessing. :0)

There were two more surprise packages later in the week. Here's what was in them:

The very cute snowman card and gold gift was from Karen and the lovely Wise Men and silver gift was from Helen. Thank you so much for your kindness. :0) I love both cards and the gifts have gone into hiding, to keep temptation away. LOL

I also received my card for the Stitched Christmas Card Exchange on JA/S&S Forum but I shall leave that and the card I sent for another time - stitching has been somewhat sparse lately, so I need to keep something back to post on. ;0)

I also had another surprise when Barb (no blog), a fellow JA/S&S Forum member and friend who very kindly RAK'd me with the Sea Stars chart, phoned me yesterday. A total surprise but a very welcome one - it was so good to put a voice to the name. I'm not sure how long we chatted but it must have been a while...... we certainly laughed a lot. If you're reading this Barb: did the christening go OK? Hope you were wearing thermals...... and so hope the babies didn't get dunked in the duck pond! Oh, and I did finally make myself eat that unnamed fish and salad. LOL

The Tesco delivery came last night. DH had forgotten it was coming and only beat it home by about ten minutes, so hadn't had time to eat his tea. So DH and DS helped unload everything into the house then DS shot off to his friends house (arranged before he knew this was coming), which left DH and I to put all of the frozen and fridge goodies away. DH then went to have his tea (as a diabetic he was pushing it eating that late as it was) so that left just me to carry on putting things away. It took a while - there was a lot of it. Then there was some laundry to sort and put in the tumble dryer after that. Outcome: one very tired short person because my stamina is shot to pieces at the minute. So no stitching done, even though it was Sea Stars SAL night. Bummer!

Today has seen waaay more happening than what usually does in this one horse neighbourhood. First up was a delivery of wood for the carport, followed a little while later by a delivery of guttering and UPVc panelling - former for the workshop and latter for the bit up the side of the sun lounge that still needs to be clad. Just as I'd taken my third mouthful of dinner a chap knocked, asking if I knew where the two Pete's lived, so I sent him next door - not easy when you're trying not to spit food all over and swallow without choking. LOL. Some time in the afternoon a delivery of our first organic vegetable box from Woodlands Farm was delivered - we'd been threatening to sign up for a while but the change to healthier eating prompted us to extract our digits........ anyone know what on earth you do with bulbs of fennel? Then Rick called round to check everything had been delivered OK and hefted the timber down the side of the house for me (delivery chap hadn't knocked, had just left it on the front drive where it could easily have been stolen!), so it's now safe behind the locked sidegates - Rick's fetching the roof panels and starting the jobs on Monday. In between I fielded several phone calls, made a few cards and scanned them, sorted laundry out of the tumble dryer and put it away, washed the pots, answered emails, checked the Forum and am now sat blogging. I so hope that little lot has burnt off a few excess calories! LMAO. I still need to write a letter to my PenPal, make a birthday card, sort out a package for posting tomorrow and cook/eat tea, so it's not looking very hopeful for a stitching session tonight. Oh well, DH is working again this Sunday so I guess I can have a catch up on Sea Stars then. :0)

Thank you for visiting and for all the lovely comments and if you're a newbie please say Hi - I don't bite. LOL :0)

I'm Still Here.

After a few days of not feeling all that great (sore throat problems and fighting off a cold plus start of a new food regime and taking herbal medicine) combined with a bit of a low I'm now feeling a bit more like being sociable and more in the mood for blogging again. A big thank you for all the well wishes and hugs for my Mum's recent anniversary - they really do mean a great deal, especially when I know several of you are also going through your loved ones anniversaries too. Big (((((((((HUGS))))))))) to those that need them - you know who you are. :0)

Now for a bit of a catch up. First up is last weeks progress on Sea Stars:

Things more or less went to plan: I got the larger motif finished, as I wanted to, then also added a tiny and a small motif and another fish. The plan went slightly awry when the frog came for a quick visit on the small motif: I stitched the outer edge first and didn't realise I was one stitch out until about three quarters of the way round. Bit annoying as I'd hoped to add another small motif. Oh well, that'll teach me not to double check these things earlier in the proceedings *sigh*.

Last weekend was a very quiet one by our standards. Saturday was foul, with the rain stair rodding down for much of the day, as well as being bitterly cold....... nope, we just weren't going to venture out into that except in an absolute emergency. Luckily one didn't happen so we stayed in watching cheesey old films on TV, pottering doing jobs and generally chilling. DH was so chilled he was almost comatose in his armchair. LOL He needed the recuperation after the week he'd had and with having to work on the Sunday. Whilst he was working I did a few house jobs, pottered doing a few other things and also finally made that new start I'd been threatening to have. Yay - about time too! I completed the stitching for that earlier this week and it's now waiting for me to add the charms and buttons, then find some inspiration for the finishing. Pic will come when it's done. :0)

Monday was my rescheduled Herbalist consult appointment. I made it down there on my own and had a two hour session with Jan and came away with a bottle of herbal medicine, a better idea of what to do with my food regime, a recipe sheet and another appointment with her in two weeks time. I'll post a bit more in depth about that on my other blog in the next day or so. I also made an appointment for a second Reiki session with Aureen, for this Saturday, so am looking forward to that.

Afterwards I went in to Il Sorriso for some dinner, as it was after 1pm by this time - the beef stew just gets tastier. When I'd done in there I walked further down the street to retrieve DS's waistcoat from the Dry Cleaners (furthest I've been down there on my on, so the comfort zone was stretched a little further), then called in at Ribbons and Bows for a look-see at the craft area. I had a lovely natter with the owner (used to be a regular in there, pre-agoraphobia days) and came away with these goodies:

Thought I'd try out the DMC dissolving canvas stuff that's being heavily plugged at the moment, so bought the Cinderella kit. Normally I don't do Disney but my niece Erin has a bit of a Princess thing going and I thought this would be nice to stitch on a piece of clothing for her. The little bauble kit looked a quick stitch and I fancy turning it into an ornie for my tree..... though I'll change the wording to suit. The ribbon is a lovely deep purple and was so cheap I had to get a couple of metres, as it'll come in useful for something at some point. LOL I also called in at Tesco Express for a few bits on my way back home.

I did some of my jobs before going out and did more when I got back in, ready for Alex coming for a coffee and natter. It was a shorter visit though, as she had to be back at school later for the concert. It's so frantic at the moment she's hardly got time to turn round but she has made the most fabulous fabric origami card that is finished with beads:

My picture is the best one of three I took and it doesn't do it justice at all. The card on the right is another handmade one that I received from Lynn - many thanks again Lynn. :0)
I love receiving handmade cards of all kinds. :0)

Rick, the fascia chap, came on Wednesday to measure and price up for the carport roof and for replacing the guttering on the side of the workshop with some decent stuff. Currently that has no down pipe and every time it rains it gushes off the end onto one of the paths - not very good when we have a frost soon after because when I need to go up there to get something out of the freezer and don't realise what's happened I end up slipping all over the place and almost falling. I've told my two they aren't getting their hands on the insurance money that easily, so it's getting sorted. LOL It's having guttering along the full length, with a section of downpipe that will have a barrel under it to catch the water, for watering the garden with........ should we actually have any hot weather next summer. He'll be here Monday or Tuesday to do the jobs as he wants to get it done before Christmas. After a week off sick and two lots of anti-biotics the poor lad has finally got his voice back and is feeling OK again and wants to make up for lost time.No stitching that night as we did an online Tesco shop and that seemed to take ages, as it was a combined cupboard restock and festive order.

Today I was at the GP's for the second fasting blood test...... only they didn't have a record of my appointment. Luckily I didn't have to tell the receptionist that if it didn't get done today I wasn't going back - she fit me in. So I should think, as it was their cock up and I've got the appointment slip to prove it! A different nurse this time and not a bruise in sight, despite filling three test tube thingies with blood. LOL I have to phone back next week for my results - any problems/shonky readings and they'll tell me the Doc wants to see me. Fingers crossed I don't need to go back, then! Tesco are delivering tonight so I doubt much else will get done - although it's Sea Stars SAL night. Will have to see what time they turn up and how shattered I am after putting everything away.

I've been really spoilt with some nice post days this week too but I shall do another blog post about that in the next few days - this one is already another epic! LMAO

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to visit, especially as it's such a busy time of the year. Hope you're all having a good day. :0)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Ups and Downs

The new start still hasn't happened! By the time we'd prepared, cooked and eaten tea and I'd had a chat on the phone with my DSis (she's currently having her bathroom revamped and was totally unprepared for the mess that sort of job entails) and did a couple of other things I was shattered on Monday night. Bedtime came early for me - I went up around 10.30pm after realising my head was nodding whilst I was trying to answer emails!

Tuesday I pottered around but my head was a shed, so it was a case of starting something, then wandering off to do something else, then coming back to finish the first job. To be honest getting anything done at all was an achievement, with the anniversary of my Mum's passing on Wednesday and I was struggling to focus on much else beforehand - it's par for the course, judging by previous years experiences. I've learnt to just go with the flow.

With that in mind I got my cardmaking stash out on Tuesday and made the tag to go by Mum's name plaque:

I'm not totally happy with how it turned out (I didn't have a cream coloured tag and probably should have inked the lacy border with brown ink, not green) but inspiration was slow in coming. Still, it was made with love. :0)

Whilst I'd got the cardmaking stash out I remembered to make a card for Eleisha, DH's youngest niece.

Sorry about all the extra background - still trying to tame the scanner....... and failing miserably. DH posted it that night, so it will arrive in plenty of time - it's got to go all the way up to Glasgow, in with all the Christmas post.

The Christmas card writing didn't get far initially: I got the air mail ones and all those that had to go in packages written and sorted and then it all sort of stalled after that. DH thought he had done his bit........ he got me several books of second class stamps, for posting them. LOL I finally bit the bullet on Tuesday night, when I got fed up of the guilt trip every time I saw the box of cards, and got them all done. That was one marathon session and it meant I didn't do any stitching for UFO Night. Oops! Am hoping the extra I stitched on him earlier in the week will count towards it so Julie won't send Mr Stick round for a visit. ;0) LOL

Wednesday we were up bright and early to go over to Doncaster, posting all those cards on the way. We went to my DSis's first. The new flooring in the living room is lovely. The bathroom is a re-boarded and plastered shell with just a loo in it at the moment but the chaps are getting on with things fairly quickly, so it should be all done in time for Christmas. We went to the Servery for dinner (saved her cooking when the house is upside down) then went on to Rosehill to lay some flowers and clean the plaques. I also took a small windchime with me and hung it from the big blue spruce tree that's close to where Dad's ashes are. It's lovely to hear all the windchimes playing in the wind. It was bitterly cold, with frost still on the grass, so we didn't spend as long as usual there. When we'd had a coffee and a defrost back at DSis's we did a couple of runs to the amenities site, loading up The Tank with all the old living room flooring and rubble - as the workmen get charged if they take it, it seems they now leave it for the householder to dispose of. That's OK if you're a big strapping bloke with a large car or van, or someone with deep pockets who can afford to hire a skip....... not so great when you're a lone female with a small hatchback and a tight budget! DH then broke up the pieces of old cast iron bath into more manageable bits and left them down the side of the house for the local gypsies to take - they're always trawling round for metal so it won't be there for long. We didn't get back until late, so no stitching done at all.

Today I'm more my usual self again......... not sure if that's a good or a bad thing though. LMAO The fascia chaps mate has been to collect his ladders so I can now put things back to where they should be down the side of the house. We'll also be having an amenities site run of our own at the weekend, to get rid of all the old guttering etc and the off-cut waste from the new stuff that went up - no metal among it so our local gypsies aren't interested, unfortunately. LOL It's my neighbours eldest girls birthday tomorrow so I shall be making a card for her shortly and it's also Sea Stars SAL today - still no new start but at least I'll be stitching. :0)

Many thanks for the kind comments on SS and Night Watchman, they're very much appreciated. I've caught up on some blog reading/commenting but still have a ways to go - please bear with me, I'll catch up eventually. LOL

Thank you for taking the time to visit. Hope you're all having a good day and managing to get lots of stitching done. :0)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Updates and Wafflings

Not sure where the back end of last week disappeared off to. I had all good intentions of blogging again before the weeks end but it just sort of didn't happen. Oh well, I'm here now. LOL

Thursday night came and went, with Sea Stars growing a little more....... though not as much as I'd have liked as I just don't seem able to get a good flow going with this particular motif. Am hoping I can get it completed this Thursday, then I can start on some smaller motifs and add a few more fish to give the whole thing a quick growth spurt. LOL

Rosanne is doing really well and has got quite a bit done but poor Barb has had a dreaded frog visit again - though she's still also doing really well........ I'm an "also ran", trailing behind them both. LOL

Friday's new start didn't materialise. It didn't help that I kept dithering between which piece I wanted to start: I originally picked out a cute San Man piece but when it came to sorting out what I needed I just didn't fancy it. Off back to the NAY basket and Option 2, a Val's Stuff design, came out. OK, that had me wanting to pick up a needle, so I grabbed my DMC threads to sort out what I needed, with a view to having a floss toss and making a start........ and soon realised that I didn't have three of the colours needed for it. Why does that always happen, no matter how many flippin' threads you've got? Disgusted, I gave up the whole idea and went back to reading my book instead.

Saturday we had an early start: the Fascia guy and his mate turned up at 8am to make a start. Mid-morning DH and I left them to it whilst we popped down the local High Street to do a little shopping, call at the Building Society and post some parcels. I also took the book Chocolat with me so I could do a wild release - it was left in the sitting area in the Duke of Boot, while we were in there buying sausages and some gammon steaks for Sunday dinner. We got everything done but the parcel posting: when we saw the length of the queue in the PO we abandoned the idea and headed home. Once we dropped the shopping off we jumped in the car and headed off to a PO a little further afield which is always less busy. Packages all got sorted in time to go in the 12.30 collection, so perfect timing - Santa should be making an early visit to a few folks this week. :0) We had dinner at home then spent the rest of the day pottering round the house doing jobs. The guys had done the bulk of the fascias etc by the time the light was going - the young chap was coming back on Sunday to finish off the remaining bits.

Sunday the chap didn't turn up but I got a phone call from his Mum mid-morning: he had had to go to casualty to get checked out as his throat, which had been playing him up last week, was now so swollen he couldn't even swallow water. No worries - we'd half expected it, as he'd mentioned to DH the day before that he was struggling a bit (though it never once affected his work). DH and I spent a quiet day at home getting a few things done. The festive decorations didn't make it out of the loft but I did have three small stitched ornies to hand, so hung those from the door handles of three of the doors into the hall. When DH asked about them I said those were the decs for this year - job done! Bah, Humbug! LOL

Sunday night I really wanted to stitch and, as that new start was out of the question, I picked up Night Watchman. Here's the latest update pic:

It's all shaping up nicely, though I doubt he'll be a HD this side of the New Year.

Today has been my usual jobs day, though Alex won't be coming round for a coffee and natter as she's currently down with a bug and off sick - it's definitely that time of the year again. I got a surprise mid-morning when the fascia chap turned up to finish off the work - I really hadn't expected to see him. Poor lad could barely get a word out and definitely didn't look great but he's kept a steady pace through the day, just breaking off for his dinner, and now it's all finished, despite the rain starting around 1.30pm. He was off home to have a warm bath and planned on dosing himself up and going to bed - I reckon it'll be a few days before he'll be up and about again, bless him. We wouldn't have minded if he'd waited to finish the job until after he'd recovered but he's self-employed, so needed to get it done and get paid so he can pay some bills, then go on to buy the bits for his next job. I'll find out how he's doing some time next week though, as he's going to pop back when he's feeling better, to give us a price for re-doing the carport roof - the main roof pieces have got rot in them and the plastic sheets are damaged in a couple of places, so we thought it best to get it done before it falls down.

The next dry day we get I shall pop out and take some pics of the house with all it's nice, new posh bits and post them so you can have a nosey........ although the bits that still need painting will let it down a little.

I also spent some time this afternoon sorting threads for an internet freebie. I'd printed out the chart a while ago and came across it again today - it only uses five colours and whaddya know..... I've got them all. Yay! If I feel inspired tonight (and not too tired) I plan on starting it - it's a fairly straightforward festive design, so it shouldn't take long to stitch. Depending on how I decide to finish it, it should be just right to hang from the fourth door handle on the hall side. :0)

Hope you all had a good weekend and are managing to stay warm and dry on this very wet start to the week. Many thanks for visiting. :0)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Best Laid Plans?

Up until today it seemed to be one of those slightly frustrating weeks where not much was going to plan....... although it seems too much hassle to get bothered about it - methinks the Reiki has helped me stay chilled (or is that down to the bitter weather we're currently having? LOL).

The Fascia guy didn't turn up on Tuesday to review what was needed for the job and revise his costing (we'd asked him to add an extra job to what needs doing). OK, no sweat, he seemed to want the work so I figured he'd contact us eventually and left it there.

Wednesday morning I'd got my head round having the walk down the High Street to see the Herbalist for our two hour session..... only to get a phone call first thing, from the receptionist, to cancel the appointment. Poor Jan seems to have come down with one of the bugs that's doing the rounds here at the moment and is off sick - she'll be phoning me when she's back at work to reschedule. OK, I didn't mind too much: people can't help getting sick and the weather was blooming freezing, so it wasn't exactly filling me with enthusiasm about venturing out in it, but I really would like to know what I'm doing with my diet, so I can make those needed changes and get used to them a little before the festive season starts properly. I want to know what I am OK to eat and drink and what I have to avoid. Oh well, I'll just stick to doing the little things I'm currently doing, as they seem to be working for now.

With not having to go out Wednesday I got some extra time for reading and managed to finish Picture Maker by Penina Spinka - more about that in the side bar and on The Reading Corner. Another enjoyable read and again I've registered it with Book Crossing and also added it to my list of swaps - it's open to anyone that wants it, so give me a shout if you'd like to read it next. :0)

In the afternoon I got a phone call from the fascia guy to apologise and explain he'd been ill, losing his voice for a few days. I could tell that was genuine, as I had to ask him to repeat some of what he'd said - he was so hoarse I struggled to make out what he was saying. He arranged to come round Thursday morning instead.

I didn't pick out another book straightaway in the interests of my stitching mojo which, up until Tuesday UFO Night, seemed to have gone awol in protest. Subsequently Night Watchman came out of the bag on Wednesday night as well this week and here's where I got up to:

I got some more of the background done on the right hand side and also stitched a little more of the Watchman himself. I love the way this is turning out...... although I am biased, as I do love owls. :0) At bedtime I finally chose my next book: Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine, and made a start on it before settling......... am hoping I can better balance the reading and stitching this time round, so I can have a new small start on Friday (Sea Stars SAL today).

This morning started off well, with the arrival of a chart from my last Thread Bear order. The first one went missing enroute, unfortunately, and Kate had to wait for new stock coming in before she could send out a replacement for it.

Couldn't resist this, as I thought it would make a nice Spring/Oestre picture. :0)
He may not be a white rabbit but he seems to have brought a little Luck with him: not only did the fascia guy turn up today but he's having everything delivered tomorrow dinnertime and is hoping to make a start on the job in the afternoon, if not then definitely on Saturday. Yay! Come Summertime we'll only have the windowsills, back door header and bay tiles to repaint to make it look all fresh and tidy again. :0) I must say, though: I do not envy the guy his job at all at the minute - working out in this weather would finish me off for sure. I'll keep him well supplied with warm drinks while he's here - he's a young lad about my DS's age so the instinct to mother him is strong, especially as he's been poorly, bless him. LOL

I've also dug my box of Christmas cards out from the bottom of the wardrobe, ready to start the marathon writing session it always involves. At the moment I'm hovering between prevarication and total avoidance - there are other things I'd much rather be doing than working towards a bad case of writers cramp. Yes, folks, I'm in a full on "Bah, Humbug!" frame of mind and that despite the messages from Dad. I can't help it: I love the quiet celebration of the Yule Festival, which is far more in keeping with my beliefs and outlook on life, and just can't abide all the hype and hysterical frenzy that seems to be mandatory at this end of the year. Right, I'll stop there and climb down off me soap box before I thoroughly depress anyone who has managed to get into the Spirit of the Season. LOL

Whatever you are doing, I hope you are all managing to stay warm and cosy now Winter seems to have got underway. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Monday, 1 December 2008

My Other Blog

Just a quick message: apologies to those folks who were having difficulties reading my other blog because of the background/colours and thanks for letting me know, just hope you didn't end up as goggle eyed as the little cutie in the pic (snagged from the www).
I've now given the blog a new look for the festive season which should makethings much easier - please have a wander over to read my latest post and let me know if it has helped.

I'll also be looking for a new, easier on the eye, background for 2009. :0)

Friday, 28 November 2008

A Gift and an Update

Last week I had a lovely surprise gift arrive from Barb (no blog), a fellow member of JA/S&S Forum. I was amazed when I opened the box and found these three Barbara Erskine books inside:

If you're reading this: thank you again, Barb, for your wonderful generosity. My DH thanks you too - for the many peaceful hours he will get while I'll be busy reading them. LOL :0)

I completed making the card for the Stitched Christmas Card Exchange over on JA/S&S Forum and that is now winging it's way to my partner. Unfortunately I can't post a pic yet but will do so when I can. I also posted off my parcel to my No Stash For Christmas Exchange partner at the same time. Opening day isn't until Christmas Day, so I'll be living on tenter hooks until then, waiting to hear if I got things right for my partner. I didn't think to take a pic of that.

Apart from the stitched card and Sea Stars SAL night, the distinct lack of stitching has continued. I am, on the other hand, continuing to get quite a bit of reading done. I recently finished Chocolat by Joanne Harris - please see The Reading Corner blog for more on that. It's now registered with the Book Crossing site and is up for grabs, if anyone wants it, and I've also updated my book list on the Swap Blog. I'm now reading Picture Maker by Penina Spinka which takes the story through several Native American tribes and their cultures and is a fascinating read - any spare minute has me reaching for the book rather than my stitching. Oh well, at least I'm slowly whittling away at the mountain of books I've acquired recently. LOL
Lelia: There's a bit more about the Kate Morton book over on The Reading Corner blog here. I'm still working my way around to reading it. :0)

As for Sea Stars, here's where I got up to after last Thursday night's stitching session:

I just couldn't seem to get a decent flow going with the motif at all, so didn't get as much done as I'd have liked. I guess the sleep deprivation, whilst DH was in Italy, didn't help - I wasn't going to bed until around 2am each night, occasionally going on to read until 3am. At least when I eventually did go to sleep I got through the night reasonably well, only waking up a couple of times (usually it's about every hour). DH got home on Friday: they almost missed their flight, due to a bad crash on the Italian motorway which held them up for an hour and a half. Thankfully they didn't, as it would have entailed a much later flight to one of the London area airports and an overnight stay down there - the trip had already been a very tiring one, so none of them fancied that scenario.

My latest order from Sew & So arrived last week too but I can't show any of that as all the items are intended as gifts. I have to make a comment about the great customer sevice I received though: one of the Glass Treasures I ordered arrived broken, so I emailed them to let them know and asked for info on returning the damaged item and getting a replacement. I received a very quick response to say that there was no need to bother with returning it and that a replacement would be sent out the following day - it arrived safely the day after that. Top notch! :0)

The weekend has been a busy one again: Saturday we went to Uncle Henry's Farm Shop to get some shopping and managed to get a couple of small gifts and some nice nibbles for the festive season (a fruit and nuts mixed platter plus a savoury nibbles platter - a little healthier than the usual very high calorie stuff we used to get. See, I'm learning. LOL) As the cafe was very busy we opted to go back through Kirton to go and eat at the Garden Centre cafe instead. Good call, as we managed to get a couple more gifts there too. :0)
Sunday was the Food Fair at Lincolnshire Showground and DS came with us to that. It was quite busy but am pleased to say I coped fine with it and we had a very good day out. We also came away with some gifts too. I'll write more about it on my other blog. :0)

Today has been my usual Monday routine. Alex came for a visit and this time brought four of her latest embroidered patches with her - they're gorgeous and I can't wait to see how she finishes them. Unfortunately I forgot to take a pic, as we were busy nattering. :0)

I haven't made any stitching plans for this week....... will just go with the flow.

Christine: The Crystal Skull DVD was OK but both DS and I thought that it wasn't up to the previous films - though not bad for a couple of hours escapism, LOL. There's a bit of an element of Close Encounters meets Indiana Jones which is rather surreal and left us looking at one another and saying: What the?! What were they smoking when they wrote that? It also seems to be a bit of an intro for a younger model for future films....... but I can't say any more without spoiling it for you. Would be interested to know what you think, if you watch it. :0)

Thank you all for stopping by, especially as it's a busy time of year. Hope you all had a great weekend and a good start to the week. :0)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ship Ahoy?

Not quite, though there is a whole ships wheel with an octopus wrapped round it to be seen on my Sea Stars now, after that extra night of stitching I did last week. :0)

Yes, there's also another little fishy made an appearance too. I seem to be a fair ways behind both Barb and Rosanne now, who seem to have smokin' needles, but that doesn't bother me - am so enjoying stitching this design it'll be one of those pieces that I'll be sad to finish because the enjoyment will be over. This Thursday I shall be making a start on the bigger motif that will fill the gap on the left side.

Apart from this piece and Night Watchman (SAL night and UFO Night pieces respectively) I haven't done a great deal of stitching lately, despite the plans made. Thankfully that hasn't been through loss of mojo but through distraction, due to what the Doc told me last week..... have been doing a lot of thinking, to get my head around a few things, so I can make decisions on those much-needed lifestyle changes. As a first step I've already more than halved my choccie biscuit intake and have cut down on portion size for my evening meal and have also asked DH and DS for their support, with a view to us cutting down on take-aways and generally eating healthier - that makes me feel I've taken a couple of small but positive steps towards losing the weight. It can only do DH good with his diabetes and will hopefully help DS avoid similar health problems later in life. :0)

Saturday I went for the Reiki treatment. That was a very good/positive experience I intend repeating next month, to allow the practitioner to complete the healing process she started. The Tarot and Angel Card readings she gave me afterwards were also extremely good and I also received messages from my Dad, then my Mum - I hadn't expected those, as I was unaware the practitioner is also a Spiritualist. I shall post more about all of this on my other blog in the next couple of days because it deserves a post all of it's own. :0) I should have been in there for a two hour session but it all took three and a half hours!

Afterwards I spoke to the Herbalist: I'm booked in for a two hour consultation on the 3rd December. In the meantime I am filling in a food diary, with any symptoms I feel (bloating, gas, stomach upsets, headaches etc etc) and taking a Chromium Complex, which is aimed at addressing my blood sugar problems. That's to see how it affects my next blood test result - if my level has dropped then the remedy is working. On the plus side: it looks like I won't have to bother with Slimming World, as the Herbalist is going to tackle my diet as well...... and she's pretty strict, by all accounts. By the time I came out it had gone dark and DH had given up and gone home - that was after he'd been to the local Community Hall to have a long look round a Model Exhibition (train track layouts, miniature fairgrounds and the like - very sophisticated ones), popping back to ask the Receptionist how it was going, then having a drink in Il Sorisso. Rather than bother DH I sent him a text to let him know I'd done and was coming home - yes, I walked home in the dark! LOL

Sunday, as Il Sorisso was open, we went there for dinner then afterwards carried on down the High Street to the shops that were open. We managed to get a few small Christmas gifts, a nice gift box for sending my Exchange gifts to my partner, some cards (I don't make all of the Christmas cards we send out - too many to make for) and some food shopping. Basically doing what we had planned on doing Saturday, after my session at the clinic, but subsequently didn't have time for. We had a nice lamb dinner at home in the evening and a quiet night in watching the latest Indiana Jones DVD.

Today has been my usual jobs day before having a coffee and natter with Alex. Don't know if it's a result of the Reiki but I feel as if I've got more energy than usual and seemed to get a lot done in a shorter space of time, without flagging as badly as I usually do. Hope that continues...... although DH flies out to Italy tomorrow, on another work trip with some of his colleagues, so sleep deprivation may just put a stop to that during the next few days. LOL Fingers crossed I can now catch up with some of that stitching that hasn't been getting done these last few days. :0)

Thank you for taking the time to visit. Hope you all had a good weekend and are managing to stay warm in this current cold snap. :0)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mini Rollercoaster Days

There's been quite a bit happening these last few days so it feels a bit like I'm on a mini rollercoaster ride - and I hate all fairground rides except the dodgems! LOL

Tuesday evening was the JA/S&S UFO Night again and, as I'm making real progress, decided to continue with Night Watchman. His face is so cute I wanted to see the rest of it. :0) Here's where I got to:

Even got some more of the trachea stitched too. LMAO

Wednesday dawned bright and early....... too flippin' early for me, as we had to be at the Doctor's for 8.30am. The nurse was able to tell me that my test showed I had slightly raised cholesterol (5.3) and blood sugar (7. something) levels, plus the blood pressure was showing as still raised. It was then I realised this appointment should have been with the Doctor, as there was nothing else she could tell me.... only the receptionist wouldn't release an appointment for me and said I had to phone in the morning. Annoyed, we left!

I got DH to drop me off part way down the local High Street on his way back to work. Yes, I had another trip out on my own. Yay! A bit too early for most places but the RSPCA shop was open and I found a couple of goodies in there:

The frame is still wrapped and was just 80p - it will be ideal, turned the other way up, for framing a band sampler. Yes, that's another book...... and no, it's not another murder mystery. LOL

After that I popped into the Alternative Therapies Clinic for a chat with the receptionist and booked myself in to have a Reiki treatment on Saturday afternoon, followed by a Tarot reading afterwards by the same person - I didn't manage to get them read at the M,B&S event, so thought I'd give this one a try. It's interesting to see the different styles each reader has.

From there I popped into Il Sorriso for a coffee and a toasted tea cake. It was a little busy but this time I deliberately sat facing everyone, though I did bury my head in the book I'd just bought from the RSPCA shop. By the time I'd done in there the Hospice Book Shop had opened, so I had a look in there for some of the books recommended by the girls on The Reading Corner blog and those that follow on from some of my recent reads. No success with the follow-ons but I did get these:

Yes, Julie, I managed to get the Kate Morton book. :0) I read an Alan Titchmarsh book ages ago and enjoyed his style, so grabbed that. Queen of Camelot seemed an interesting one and the Picture Maker says it's similar in style to the Jean M Auel books (Clan of the Cave Bear etc) which I thoroughly enjoyed, so thought I'd give that a go as well. From there I popped into the library, to see if they had any of the books I wanted, but there was no joy there at all. After that I went home, to find that my package from Sew & So had arrived.

Later on I sorted the goodies into bags, along with the charts, so everything for each project is together in one place. No stitching that night though - too tired. LOL

Up early again Thursday morning for making the Doc's appointment. Couldn't get in with the female GP I wanted but we got one with a male Doc at 11.20am. The male Doc was good though, with a no pressure but straight talking style I liked, and he laid my options on the line: it's not urgent but I have to do something about the BP soon. If I'm not happy about taking pills I have to make some lifestyle changes and the first is to try and lose 2 stone, in the hopes the blood pressure etc will then drop back to normal. If I don't he guaranteed that in under 5 years I'll be a pill-popping diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol too - that will be a minimum of five lots of pills to take every day. The knock on effects of those health issues will be increased risks of strokes, angina and heart attacks, so this is a warning I have to listen to if I want to avoid all that. Right....... can you all please send me some willpower so I can lose that 2 stone........ it looks like the local Slimming World will be gaining another customer soon. LOL Meantime, there's that Reiki treatment to have and an appointment with the Herbalist to arrange and I'm already cutting down on the McVities Chocolate biscuits (sob).

That afternoon Maxine came for another visit. Lots of stitchy chat and another look at her stunning Paradigm Lost, which has gained another motif and another critter - I so love this piece and the colours used. I also saw one of the wedding pics she's stitching and a cute finish: Housework never killed anyone, stitched in silks, over 1 on 36ct. Wow! I'm now working up towards having a visit to Maxine's house at some point. :0)

I stitched on Sea Stars Thursday night but was so distracted I didn't manage to finish the octopus and wheel so have decided to try and finish that tonight, then post a pic. Next job is to stitch the card for my Exchange partner, as I now have all the threads needed for that but there won't be a pic of that for a while. After that I shall make a start on the NAY basket projects. :0)

Many thanks for all the well wishes and kind comments, they're much appreciated. Hope you all have a good weekend. :0)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A Catch Up Post

Finally I get a decent day to take a pic of the latest progress on Sea Stars and what happens? I get camera wobble and by the time I'd realised it the light had gone, so I decided not to bother trying to take anymore and just go with the best of a bad batch. So here's where I got to after last weeks stitching:

Two more small motifs added to the left and more of the octopus and ship's wheel stitched. Hopefully this weeks SAL Night will see the completion of that and the start of the larger motif on the left.

There's nothing else stitchy-wise to show at the moment. I've been carrying on with getting projects sorted for my NAY basket and also chose the design I want to stitch for my Christmas Card Exchange partner, so I put in a small order to Sew & So last night for some of the threads, charms and a fabric needed for all of those. All those stash buys and I still don't have everything I need when it comes ot starting new projects! Once that order arrives I shall make a start on the card and then start whittling away at the NAY projects. :0)

Thanks for all the well wishes concerning the blood test visit. I don't know if it was because I hadn't eaten but when I caught sight of the size of the needle she was going to use I felt quite queasy. Needless to say, I kept my eyes shut through the whole thing and got out of there as quickly as I could. Once home I felt better........ once I'd had my toast and honey and cup of coffee I felt waaaay better. LOL Unfortunately my arm didn't - she managed to give me a good bruise and it felt uncomfortable for a few days afterwards...... thankfully it's much better now. I go for the results tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and to hear what they have to say about my blood pressure - am not looking forward to it at all but I need to know what they have to say before I can decide what my next step is. Wish me Luck!

Although there's not been a great lot of stitching done here recently I have been reading quite a bit instead and on Sunday night finished Raven Black by Ann Cleeves, a murder mystery based on Shetland, and also today a Children's fantasy fiction book called Ingo by Helen Dunmore. Both interesting reads, in their own ways - you can find out more from the Books I've Read section in the side bar or over at The Reading Corner, if you wish.

Speaking of books: DH and I had a day out over in Market Rasen on Saturday and I took the Candace Robb book with me to do a wild release for Book Crossing. We had dinner in the Joplins cafe and whilst there I popped into the Tourist Information Centre area in there and left the book on a table for someone to find and, hopefully, they'll take the time to make a journal entry on it and pass it on. None of my wild releases have been successful so far but I still live in hopes of one of them journeying soon. The controlled release book is the only one that has been successful so far, as it has travelled and been journalled on. So..... currently I have on offer to anyone who would like to read them: Ingo, Journey to the River Sea and The Champion, all I ask is that you be willing to make a journal entry on Book Crossing and subsequently pass the book on, once read. Just send me a separate message via the comments section. :0)

Whilst in Market Rasen I also managed to get all the bits I wanted for exchange gifts, as well as a couple of crystals and a meditation CD for myself. The meditation is one for Angel Healing - something the Aura photographer told me I need to ask for (more over on my other blog about that and other happenings at the M,B&S Event). I listened to it today and it's a good one which left me feeling lovely and calm afterwards - let's hope it brought my blood pressure down nicely, too. LOL All in all it was a good day out. :0)

Sunday we visited my DSis for the day. I took my stitching but didn't do any - spent much of the day chatting, catching up on all the news, and looking at some brochures, to see pics of the new bathroom suite she's chosen and should be having fitted before Christmas. She's also having to have the laminate flooring replaced in her living room, due to a radiator that burst one night and left the room looking like she'd got a paddling pool in there - it left the flooring quite warped and the joins have become tripping hazards. Luckily her insurance will cover the bulk of the cost of that. Poor DSis - the downside of owning a house have gradually been revealed to her since our Dad passed away.

Monday was DH's birthday and he had the day off. Unfortunately he was feeling tired and I wasn't feeling that great so, rather than taking him out for dinner, we ended up staying in. I got my jobs done, then gave in and had some Ibuprofen - thankfully they started to kick in just after Alex arrived for her visit. DH disappeared off onto the computer and left us to natter. Wise choice, as we started discussing some female health issues at one point. LOL No stitching again last night, as I felt shattered and ended up having an early night.

Today I've been catching up with a couple of jobs and some blog posting, with a view to stitching on Night Watchman again for UFO Tuesday. The earlier part of the day had a good development: the young couple next door are having some work done on their house, some of which is having the guttering, fascias & oojamaflips (it's all gobbledegook to me - haven't a clue which bit is what) done. As the chaps needed access down the side of our house to do the bargeboard on this side of the house (needed to unlock our sidegates so they could bring their ladders round) I got talking to them - as you do - and the upshot of that is that they're going to do a quote for our house for me. DH has been promising to have someone round to do this for aaaaaaaaaages and conveniently never got around to it - I've now had enough of waiting and have decided to take the initiative. The quote will be ready tomorrow, so Fingers (and everything else) Crossed that I can finally get DH to dip his hand in his wallet to get this much needed job done. :0)

I still haven't caught up with all of the blog reading - hopefully I'll manage that during the rest of the week.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and for the kind comments. Hope you're all having a good week. :0)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Bright Eyes and Birthdays

Another UFO Tuesday has been and gone and Night Watchman stayed out of the bag so I could finally work on him, not the background. By the end of the session there were a couple of bright eyes staring right back at me:

Didn't quite manage the full face but there were quite a few fractionals in there, so I took my time to make sure they were right - didn't fancy a frog visit for those. Christine: I hope this means that it no longer looks like a trachea and a pair of lungs. LOL

Today was another good post day due to the arrival of a pinkie from Jayne. This one had my COM fabrics for this month and next:

I'm a very happy bunny as I love both of these colours. No idea what designs they'll be used for yet but am sure something will jump out at me before long. For the moment it's just nice to know they are residing in my stash. :0)

I now have my partners details for both of the JA/S&S exchanges I joined........ and let's just say I have deja vu with one of them. LOL I already have a couple of goodies for the No Stash for Christmas Exchange and have ideas for the others, so that's nicely in hand. No idea yet what design to stitch for the Christmas Card Exchange but I know what my partner likes, so will go chart hunting tonight. I'll be much happier when I know what I'm stitching and have the fabric and thread sorted, ready to go. :0)

There are two birthday's looming large in this house, so I had a play with my cardmaking goodies this afternoon. First up was the card for DS, as his birthday is on the 14th:

I love that swirly "beer" backing paper - hope I can find some more of it soon, as there's only a small amount left now.

Next up was a card for DH, who's birthday is on the 17th:

Unfortunately not the right colours for Lewis Hamilton but I don't think he'll mind that too much. I found that printed backing paper in a pack I bought a while ago from the sewing shop down my local High Street - had no idea it was in there but glad it was, as it's perfect for the card. :0)

The cardmaking was also a distraction: I'm on a fast from 8.40pm tonight, ready for having some blood taken by the Nurse tomorrow morning, round at the Doc's Surgery. Trying very hard not to get wound up about it as she's also checking my blood pressure again - fingers crossed it isn't too high and the blood tests come back OK or they'll be shoving pills at me on my next visit for certain. :0(

I also had a bit of a ferret through my stash this morning with a view to setting up a NAY (Not Another Year) basket. I first saw this mentioned on Lelia's blog and she is having great success stitching up all kinds of lovely pieces that had previously been long term residents sitting in her stash, just waiting for her to get around to them. I love the idea, so I'm now going to gradually pick out small designs from my chart stash that I really want to get stitched soon and get them kitted up with all that's needed, add in a couple of small kits from my kit stash........ then gradually work my way through them when a break is needed from the larger projects I'm stitching. Hopefully the result will be a gradual whittling down of my stash and a growing stack of assorted finishes. Wish me Luck! LOL

Well DS has had a pitstop long enough to be fed and watered, use the facilities and get washed and changed before shooting off to a Panto rehearsal - just call it Hotel Smith. LOL DH has phoned and he's going to be home late, so I'd best go and get myself something to eat so I can enjoy it before my "Nil By Mouth, apart from water" deadline. Think there might be something of a stitching frenzy going on here tonight, don't you. ;0)

Many thanks for all the kind comments, they are very much appreciated. Hope you're all having an enjoyable and productive stitchy time. :0)

Monday, 10 November 2008

Stash, Sea Stars and a RAK

Thursday night's curry and a DVD was fun: we watched Ironman. I shan't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet - all I will say is that there was plenty of action and there are some really funny one-liners in there, so we'll be watching it again some time, to pick up on the stuff we missed through laughing. It also meant I didn't get quite as much done on Sea Stars but hopefully I'll make up for that this week:

The stash I ordered from Sew & So arrived on Friday morning - boy, is that place speedy! Here's the accessory pack I ordered........ the chart just sort of fell into my basket while I was there. Well, you can't just order one item from there, can you? LOL

It's to stitch the Winter Garden Sampler which you can see here Helen. :0)

DH came home Friday night around 8pm - only about half an hour earlier than he usually gets home after a trip there, so the Winter timetable hasn't made much difference to that. He wasn't swinging his bag much: he'd brought back three bottles of his favourite wine, stocking up for Christmas.

Saturday morning the accessory packs from Cross Stitch Stuff arrived via First Class Recorded - another speedy despatch. Very impressed with the service, so I shall be going back there in the future. :0)

I think you've seen the Birds of a Feather design but the Gingerbread Garden Sampler can be seen here Helen. :0)
There was also a pinkie from Jayne which contained my November Clubs of lovely Polstitches fabric and Carrie's Creations threads:

As DH was a little jet-lagged and had had a brain-hurting session over in Italy we had a quiet day at home. He fell asleep on the sofa in the afternoon, bless him. I kept myself amused with the computer, a little stitching and some reading. I finished reading the Barbara Erskine book - there's more about that over at The Reading Corner.

Sunday we went to the final Mind, Body and Spirit event of the year, held at the Lincolnshire Showground - so glad we were inside as the weekend's weather was awful. I didn't manage to have my cards read, as my usual reader was fully booked, so I opted for having an aura photograph taken instead..... which led to some healing from the very nice couple who took my pic, which was a lovely experience. DH had some electronic acupuncture done and we also bought a few things too..... but I shall go into the day in more details over at my other blog, as it would all take up too much room here. :0)

This morning I had a nice surprise in the post: a chart from Val which made me smile big time.
Another one that I shall be aiming to stitch for next Samhain. :0)

Most of today has been taken up with house jobs, getting things straight before Alex's visit. It was good to have a catch up. Tonight DH went to the local IEE lecture but is back now, so it's a quiet night in front of the TV - after yesterday's day out we need the rest. LOL

Christine: re: your comment on Night Watchman. I'd just like you to know that that mental image will probably stay with me for a very looong time. LMAO

Hope you all had a good weekend and gentle start to the week. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Owl Be Seeing You....

in my dreams at this rate. Yes, Night Watchman had another outing for UFO Night, as well as the other couple of nights stitching already done on him, so I've been seeing a lot of him lately. I'm enjoying watching this develop, so wanted to keep going with it and reach the small goal of filling in the background up to the owl. Goal achieved:

This bit of the background has been easy to do, with it having blocks of colour, so was just what I needed - something that doesn't need too much concentrating on, as I'm not doing very well at the concentrating bit this week. Yes, sleep deprived zombie mode is kicking in - that's combined with PMT brainlessness/clumsiness so I'm a total hazard and feel like I should have a Government Health Warning slapped on me at the minute. I'm avoiding handling sharp implements, apart from stitching needles, as much as possible...... but those needles are getting me big time though, so I'm starting to feel a bit like an over-used pincushion! Shame DH doesn't have a spare diabetic testing kit here, as I could have checked my blood sugar levels nearly every day this week. LOL

Last night was the exception to that, as I couldn't settle to stitching - not helped at all by the Bonfire Night fireworks. Why do folks insist on getting the noisy ones that sound like a bomb has just gone off? Even the lousy weather didn't put them off! I jumped so often it just wasn't funny, so deemed it safer not to pick up a needle and add to the pincushion feeling in my fingers. Instead I buried my head in the Barbara Erskine book I'm currently reading: Daughters of Fire. Wow, is this book so me! Spooky happenings based around a current day female archaeologist, a long dead Celtic Queen and a cursed brooch - so many things in it that interest me it's getting hard to put it down. A big thank you to the girls over at The Reading Corner blog for recommending BE - I am definitely going to be keeping my eyes open for more of her books. :0)

I had a good post day yesterday, with the arrival of the outstanding charts from my last Thread Bear order - they'd been waiting for them to arrive from America. I can only share one though, as the others are intended as gifts.

Unfortunately not in time for me to get it done this year but there's always next Samhain. :0)

Yesterday I spent a little time surfing ONS sites. I've dug out a couple of Victoria Sampler charts from my stash that I'd like to stitch soon and went looking for thread packs for them. As well as ordering one from Sew & So I've also ordered from a place that's new to me called Cross Stitch Stuff. Whilst there I spotted they also do the pack for Birds of a Feather, the chart that was in the October issue of The Gift of Stitching online magazine, so ordered that as well. More good post days due. :0)

There was one big event this week I have to share. On Tuesday I met a fellow stitching blogger, Maxine, for the first time. She lives locally, just down the road a ways, around a ten minute walk from my house. Maxine was kind enough to come here - although her house is only a ten minute walk away it's in the opposite direction to the High Street, so beyond my comfort zone at the moment......... but I so hope to work up to that walk soon. :0)
I admit to having been seriously nervous, as I am so out of practice with this visiting business, but that was soon forgotten when we got to talking cross stitch and I got to see her beautiful stitching. All her pieces are gorgeous but the absolute highlights for me were her Paradigm Lost in a VC HDF silk in a blue/green colour and Mirabilia's Rose of Sharon, stitched over 1 and converted to a red colourway - both jaw-droppingly stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope that we have another meet-up soon. :0)

Tonight DS is having a rare night in, so we are having a chill out: a take-out curry for tea, my treat, and watching a DVD. Not sure which one it'll be yet but there's plenty to choose from. We love sci-fi/fantasy stuff, which DH isn't so keen on, so we may opt for something in that line, as it's not often we get to indulge in it. It's also Sea Stars SAL night, so I hope to get more done on that, too.

Many thanks for all the kind comments - each one is greatly appreciated and means a great deal to me. Best wishes to all. :0)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Mystery Over

The Ozark Mystery that is. The last part of the Sampler was finally completed on Saturday night and yes, those bellydancing CD's got an outing for another Happy Dance. It was lovely to take this off the scroll frame and see it in it's entirety for the first time:

Ozark Mystery Sampler 2008
Designer: Debbie Draper
Fabric: 28ct hand dyed evenweave - Polstitches?
Ozark Threads: Blue Ivy; Mountain Violet; Mimosa; Blue Jeans; Emerald; Rose of Sharon; Spring Grass; Blueberry; Teal Kiss and four unnamed colours.

I still wonder if I did the right thing stitching those numbers in that thread - although they do show up better IRL. I think I'm about the third to finish this on the JA/S&S Forum. The other ladies have posted their pics and it's lovely to see the different choices that were made by each stitcher - although we have all opted to stitch the central heart motif, rather than the bird, rabbit or squirrel that were the alternatives to choose from. Although I liked the rabbit motif I really didn't fancy seeing a purple one - it would be almost as bad as seeing pink elephants! LOL

I picked up Night Watchman again last night but there's not enough progress to make another pic worthwhile yet. I may just do more on him tonight - although I now have a large scroll frame that's sat empty and is begging for a new start....... ;0)

On the reading front: I finished The Champion by Elizabeth Chadwick last night, the book that Karen very kindly sent to me. There are more details in the side bar and on The Reading Corner blog about the book, if you're interested. I've registered this with the Book Crossing site and it's now available, so please shout if you would like it. My next book is one by Barbara Erskine, which has the historical figure of Cartimandua in it, a contemporary of Boudicca - this will be my first BE book, so am looking forward to seeing what I've been missing out on. This is already spoken for by Julie and I'll be sending it to her as soon as it's finished. :0)

Sunday was a horrible day weatherwise but we popped to the Silica Lodge garden centre for dinner anyway. Good move - there weren't many brave (or should that be foolhardy?) souls about, so it was pretty quiet. After eating we had a look round their Christmas and gifts display - glad we did, as I found the first item for my Exchange partner in the No Stash For Christmas Exchange. No, I don't know who my partner is yet, but it's a universal/useful item that will suit anyone so I couldn't resist getting it - once I know who my partner is, and their likes/dislikes, I shall concentrate on finding specific things for them.
Next stop was Wilkinson's for a look round and we scored again: as well as the toiletries and household goods we wanted, I finally found somewhere that sells decorative Crimbo card holders that are of a suitable size to hang on the hall doors - they'll save having to damage anything by using drawing pins. Yay! Now I know they are the right size I shall go back for a couple more and we're all set to go when the festive season arrives.

We got back home in time to watch the final Grand Prix race of the season and what a race it was! Yes, it even had me watching some of it - something of a rarity. A shame for Massa, who was obviously gutted, but it was fantastic to have Lewis Hamilton, a British driver, win the Championship - that's one in the eye for all his detractors, especially those negative beggars in the media. Well done Lewis! :0)

Today has been my usual jobs day. Half term is over and Alex is back at work now, though she didn't visit today because of that. Roll on next week and a mega news catch-up! LOL

DH is off to Italy with two colleagues tomorrow. The regular flight they've been taking from East Midlands is no longer running, due to them changing to their winter timetable, so they have a very early start, due to having to travel down to Stansted instead. It's going to be a long week........ I expect I shall be doing my usual sleep-deprived zombie impression for much of it. Roll on the weekend! As he's not back until Friday I guess it'll give me more time this week to have a blog reading/commenting catch up, as I seem to have got behind again - so if you've nt heard from me lately, I will be by soon.

Many thanks for visiting and for all the kind comments. Hope you all had a good weekend and an easy start to the week. :0)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

A UFO and a SAL

Just in case anyone was wondering I did take part in Tuesday UFO Night and Thursday SAL Night this week....... I just got distracted by other things and struggled to find the time to post pics, so I'll make up for that now.

This week, as I didn't want too much distraction from watching Most Haunted Live, I chose the easiest cross stitch piece to stitch: Night Watchman. OK, so he's not strictly a UFO but it's been a while since I last picked him up, putting him in severe danger of becoming one. It reminded me how much I love this piece, so he got an outing on Wednesday night as well. Here's where I left off:

The plan is, next time I pick this up, to infill the background up to the start of the owl then make a start on the owl himself - a nice reward for persevering with all that background first. :0)

Sea Stars went very smoothly on Thursday night with only one brief frog visit, mostly due to becoming engrossed in a scarey bit on MHL - I miscounted and was one stitch out on one section but it was quickly spotted and only involved around a dozen or so stitches, so soon sorted. That'll teach me! LOL Here's where I left off:

Not a great pic as it had to be taken in artificial light again. As I thought, I got the left hand motif completed and also managed to do a little more on the octopus as a bonus. Don't you just love it when things go to plan like that? :0)

Last night was Samhain. I lit my candles and incense then settled down in front of the TV to watch the final night of MHL and the stitching piece that got some attention was the Ozark Mystery Sampler. I really like the central motifs and how this is stitching up. There's still one more bit to stitch before this is completed so I'm afraid you're going to have to wait a little longer for a pic of that.

The Yule/Christmas season is fast approaching and I've signed up for the Stitched Christmas Card Exchange and the No Stash For Christmas Exchange over on the JA/S&S Forum and am also debating whether to join the Christmas Ornie Exchange too or if that would be putting too much pressure on myself.
Normally I'm extremely reticent about joining exchanges as I worry so much about them I bottle out of signing up. You know what I mean: will I choose the right piece for the person? Will it get there OK? Will they love or hate it? Is it good enough? Should or shouldn't I send extras? If I do, will the extras be OK/enough? If I don't, will they think I'm mean? Knowing I'm not the only one who worries like this doesn't make it any easier, so I usually just avoid the stress. It wasn't helped by my first ever exchange last year taking so long to get from here to my partner in the USA I thought it had been lost, so hurriedly stitched and sent a second so they wouldn't be disappointed. The second arrived within a few days and the first one finally turned up on Christmas Eve - talk about cutting it fine! It definitely made all the initial worries worse and put me off signing up again...... until now. Can't think what's suddenly changed (maybe the trip out has gone to my head? LOL) but hopefully the worry will keep to a minimum this time round so I can actually enjoy them as they should be enjoyed!

My DH booked the day off yesterday. We went to a local garden centre for dinner then to Tesco afterwards, as I wanted to have a look at some mobile phones without having any pressure from salesmen. The battery on my old one is fast giving up the will to charge, as well as being on a lousy package, so it's in need of replacing. While we were there we decided to get a bit of shopping done. Bad idea! It was heaving........ not only was it heaving but half the people in there seemed to have left their brains at home....... added to that most of the aisles were cluttered with trolleys of stock and staff refilling shelves which made it even harder to get round......... and there were several demos on. I could actually feel my blood pressure rising and my worry stone almost got a layer rubbed off it in the process. Back in the car and making our way slowly out of an almost grid-locked car park I asked: which bloody idiot suggested coming here on a Friday afternoon? DH: Errrrr, you. Me: well if I come up with any more bright ideas like that just bloody well shoot me, will you? It took me a couple of hours to settle down again but, despite this, was glad at another sign of improvement: though I was decidedly wound up and actually verged on the edge of a panic attack a couple of times, due to the busyness of the place, I managed to keep the lid on it and get out of there OK. :0)

The seven nights of Most Haunted Halloween Live finished at midnight last night and I must admit I breathed a sigh of relief......... my stamina just ain't what it used to be and after all those late nights I'm well and truly knackered! It was good while it lasted but I so hope they don't do a session like that again. DH and DS were overjoyed to hear that the new series starts next week....... NOT! LOL

As it's brass monkeys out today it's not tempting us to venture out further afield, so it's a jobs at home day. DH is having a play with his new toy and blowing the tyres up on The Tank. It's a compressor unit thingy (sorry: I don't do technical/mechanical speak) and it's one of his birthday pressies from me. It isn't actually his birthday until the 17th but the tyres need doing, he feels the need to try it out, to see how good it is......... and it gets him out from under my feet for ten minutes, so I'm not arguing. LOL I shall be off to put some ironing away in a minute and am sure I'll manage to find the time to get the Ozark piece out again - it's so close to a HD I can taste it! LOL

Many thanks for visiting and for all the kind comments on my bellpull, they're very much appreciated. Hope you are all having a lovely weekend. :0)

Friday, 31 October 2008

Samhain Blessings

Remembering and honouring all my loved ones and the ancestors who have crossed to the Otherworld.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Double Fanfare, Please....

Quite a bit has happened lately, so where do I start? LOL

First up, thank you for all the reassurances about the waffle on my blog, it helped me to get things straight in my head and decide that I would continue in my usual way on here (I wouldn't want anyone to feel deprived LOL) but that I would also go ahead and start the second blog anyway. That will be a purely no stitching, in-depth waffle blog....... so it's up to individuals as to whether or not they want to go visit that. For those that would like to have a nosey you can find it here.

The weekend was a mix of busy and quiet spells. Saturday saw us finally getting rid of some of the bigger pieces of our clutter via the local amenities site (more about that on the other blog), some pruning going on in the garden and some stitching going on in the house. As DS had been shopping at Brigg Farmers Market when he came home there was also that little lot to inspect and put away. I do like a fridge and cupboards full of tasty foods from there. :0) Sunday's bit of excitement consisted of a Tesco delivery. LOL DH and I weren't feeling 100% all weekend (he's still adapting to the new tablet regime and it's taking a while for his system to get used to them - I was still recuperating from the cellulitis & flu bug) so it was about all we felt up to coping with. It made a nice change and gave us time to recharge our flagging energies.

I'm still watching the Most Haunted Live week long marathon - I'll probably be all ghosted out by the end of it but those four hours each night have done my stitching production a power of good. :0) The Heartwarmers Bellpull is now finished and I completed making up the actual bellpull yesterday. So...... Fanfare number 1 please:

Design: Heartwarmers Bellpull

Designer: Lorri Birmingham Designs

Monday I managed to do most of my usual jobs, although Alex didn't come for her visit as she's still recuperating from her op and it's half term break so her children are home. I do miss those visits though - for the general chat and for our shared love of needlework.

Today I had to go to see the Nurse at 9.10am for the second blood pressure test. It's still over on the high side so she wants me to go back again in a fortnight's time, this time for fasting blood tests and another BP check. Oh, joy! Yes, weight was mentioned and so was medication. I am not happy going down that route at all, if I can avoid it, as I saw what those meds did to my Dad..... and I said so. Guess it's a case of seeing what the outcome of the blood tests are and see what she (or the Doc) has to say next time around.

Afterwards DH drove us to a nearby Post Office so I could send a couple of packages then, as it was a sunny day and I felt pretty good, I asked if he'd drive back to work via our local High Street and drop me off part way down. Yes, folks, second Fanfare, please......... I have been out on my own again! WhooooHoooo! And I enjoyed myself big time. LOL First off I called at one of the flower shops and bought a small bunch of beautiful bright yellow carnations, so we'd have a little sunshine indoors. Next I called in at the RSPCA shop and spotted these two books:

They'll do nicely, thought I, especially when told they were 20p each! Next off was the Hospice Bookshop. It's never been open recently when DH and I have been in the vicinity on a Saturday, so I decided to take the opportunity for a good browse. It also ended up as a good spend too and here's what I found:

Yes, Karen and Julie, that is a Barbara Erskine book on the left, unfortunately the only one they had in there. That'll be going on the Swap site when I've read it. The Jean M Auel book is the most recent one in a series set in the Stone Age and that's going in my permanent collection, along with the others I've already got. The one on the end is a Non-Fiction book about Elizabeth I and Leicester, the Royal favourite - anything to do with the Tudors being another one of my interests, so another to join my collection. Think we could do with another room adding on the back of the house at this rate! :0)

I also couldn't resist these:

Both new authors to me, so it'll be interesting to add them to my reading list and see what I make of their styles. The two by Paul Doherty sound like they might be leaning towards the Gothic horror genre, though set in the medieval period - normally I don't read horror books but as Julie and Karen recently read a scarey book I decided I wasn't going to wimp out but would give them a go. LOL The Ann Cleeves book is another murder mystery. Yes, I do seem to be reading quite a few of those lately so I'd just like to take the time to reassure everyone that no, I'm not developing any homicidal tendencies......... well, not until the next time either DH or DS ticks me off big time, anyway. LMAO Once read all three of these books will probably be going on the Swap List too.

After browsing the fiction books I wandered over to the Non-Fiction section. That's where I got the Elizabeth I book. As my eyes wandered along the shelves I did a sudden double-take at what I spotted next. Eyes opening wider I went for yet another look....... yes, I did see what I thought I saw and I quickly grabbed and added it to my haul:

This book is one of the crystal bibles, written by a crystal worker, and usually costs a small fortune to buy new - if you can get hold of it. Not only is it the updated version but I paid a grand total of........... £2.00 for it (bear in mind it's big doorstop size too). I almost danced out of the shop, despite the weight of the bag I was carrying. Funnily enough, just a couple of days ago Jane had mentioned wanting to know more about crystals and I had thought about that and this book, one I've wanted for a loooong time. It had only come into the shop recently - this was the first time I'd been in there for quite some time. Don't you just love those moments when you know Fate has stepped in and given things a little helping hand! :0)

The morning wasn't over yet. After dithering a little I decided to call in at Il Sorriso for a cappuccino and a toasted tea cake, as breakfast had only been one quick slice of toast and half a cup of coffee. I sat on a table for two, at the back of the cafe, with my back to the main body of the place - anti-social I know but it's one of the coping strategies I've developed and it helps not to see how busy a place is and how many strangers there are in there. Good job I did as it quickly filled up after I'd ordered. I dug out my crystal book and started reading and continued to do so all the time I was in there - it was enjoyable and I'd like to do it again some time. That's another first. :0)

As the Alternative Therapies Clinic was just next door I though "what the heck" and popped in there to ask about alternative treatments for high blood pressure. I got to talk to the herbalist herself, a very nice lady, and she gave me a quick run through of what a proper consultation would involve, the types of things she would check for (including allergies and candida), treatments and what the cost would be. It was interesting and, though it will be a little costly initially, I think the long term benefits will far outweigh that. I will wait until after the blood test etc and the chat with the GP before making a final decision but have to say I feel much happier at the thought of taking a holistic view: treating the whole body and mind and putting natural remedies, rather then more chemicals, into my body.

I made my way home after that but after dropping off the books I popped back out to Simpson's (just on the corner a few yards away from our house) to buy some feed mix for robins/songbirds, as well as sunflower kernels, for the feeders. Back home I sorted out containers for the new bird foods then filled up all the feeders - those ram-raiding sparrows are gobbling up everything that's put out, fattening up big time, so it looks like they're expecting a bad winter.

All in all it's been a very good day and several barriers were broken through. Yes, when I make up my mind to go and do something I don't do it by halves! LMAO

I did stitch for UFO Night last night but I won't post a pic until tomorrow as I want to stitch some more on the piece tonight.......... and this post is already a large mug of coffee and doorstop slice of cake long. ROFL

Many thanks for taking the time to visit, for the lovely comments you leave and for getting this far - please award yourselves a well earnt medal! :0)