Thursday, 28 February 2008

Brownie Points?

Another Tuesday UFO Night has been and gone, Egyptian Tablet saw the light of day after a two week absence and reasonable progress was made. It helped that, on checking the chart, I spotted that the top five bands of the collar are backstitched in good old DMC cotton, not metallic thread, which cheered me up no end. I was so happy about it that I continued with the backstitching on Wednesday and completed all five bands on one side. Am hoping that Mr Stick is now happy with me and I've regained some of the Brownie Points I lost by not touching ET the previous two weeks! Am planning on making a start on the metallic on the same side of the collar next week.

I stayed up watching X-Files whilst stitching on ET but missed the end of the programme when it was rather rudely interrupted by what turned out to be an earthquake! Measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, the epicentre was in Market Rasen - in the same county and not very far away from us.
It started with a low, deep rumble that I initially thought was a big tanker going past on the road outside but it quickly developed into actual movement, with the house shaking. That made me wonder if there'd been a blast furnace explosion at the nearby steelworks. The house seemed to give two huge "wobbles" and then the shaking and rumbling rapidly diminished - it actually only lasted around 8 to 10 seconds but felt longer. Oddly, nothing actually fell off shelves or tables. I shot upstairs to DH and DS shouting "Did you feel that?". DS was asking what the hell was it and DS was heading to look out the window. My comment was that we had two options: it was either the steelworks going up or it was an earthquake. We discounted the first, as there'd been no bang - that's when realisation hit us! I went outside to look up and down the road but couldn't see or hear anything and no one else had come out but when I turned back to the house my neighbour Emma was looking out of her bedroom window. She'd felt it and said her DH thought it was an earthquake too - we were scared and shaken up but unhurt, thankfully. Back in the house DS had turned the TV onto the 24 hour news and DH had got the radio on, I headed for the computer. It wasn't until we tried the US Geological survey site that it was definitely confirmed it was an earthquake, at that time believed to be 4.7 - Radio Humberside had been about to go off air when it struck but decided to keep broadcasting to give people info. It took at least 45 minutes to an hour for the BBC to cotton on to what had happened and start giving out details.
DH went back to bed immediately, it took DS and me a bit longer to go up: having been watching an X-Files that mentioned Armageddon when it all kicked off hadn't helped - at the same time DS had just finished watching the latest Resident Evil film! LOL that'll cure us!
It was the scariest and weirdest thing I've ever felt/been through and certainly don't want to repeat that experience in a hurry! Realising that the good solid ground under your feet actually isn't that solid is pretty unnerving. The little sleep I had was full of dreams about the roof falling off the house or the house collapsing - not nice!
My DSis had felt it over in Doncaster: it woke her up. Her house started shaking, the radiators rattled and stuff fell out of the airing cupboard. She'd been watching Most Haunted DVD's before bed - she thought a poltergeist had moved in and started wreaking havoc! When she got to work she was relieved to find out it was only an earthquake! LOL
Have checked round and don't think the house has suffered any structural damage but guess we'll find out for certain when the next high winds hit us!

After all that, when it came to bed time last night I was somewhat reluctant to go up. >rolleyes<
I continued stitching on Night Watchman (rather appropriate, eh? LOL) whilst watching Bram Stoker's Dracula (Gary Oldman as Dracula: phwoar!), then the end of a film with John Travolta in it (double phwoar!).
To say I spent a reasonable amount of time on this it doesn't seem to have grown that much but every little helps, I guess. :0)

Today's plans are to make a Mothers Day card for MIL and get it in the post then make a start on Part 2 of the Ozark SAL. Oh, and have an earlier night tonight! Weird how things carry on as normal after such an abnormal event, isn't it?

I hope those of you in the UK who also felt the earthquake are all OK and that your homes and property haven't suffered any damage. Take care all and thanks for visiting. :0)

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Memories Part 2

Last nights' plan of carrying on with the Memories SAL worked out nicely and an uninterrupted evening of stitching resulted in a Mini HD when Part 2 was completed:This is a dream to stitch and I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far, so roll on Part 3!

Today's stitching plan is to finally tackle some of the dreaded metallic backstitching on Egyptian Tablet, as it's UFO Tuesday today. I've had two weeks off, so I could catch up with my SAL's, but I now get the feeling that Mr Stick is on the look-out for me and is in no mood to take any prisoners this week...... so I'd best be good and definitely get some done. When that's out of the way it's on to Part 2 of the Ozark Mystery Sampler. :0)

I had been thinking of having another trip to the library today, to take back one of the books I've finished reading, then to the sewing shop for some cording but with a combination of waking up with a touch of sinusitis/headache and the weather turning cold and windy again soon changed my mind. Quite a few of the properties down the High Street have old slate roofs which have a nasty habit of losing the odd slate in windy weather, so it's best avoided on days like today. It's not horrendously windy: just fierce enough to skittle the plastic watering cans (since been filled with water, so they ain't going anywhere now) and free-wheel the empty compost bin around the garden (not bothering rescuing it, as it'll just be off again in the next good gust). It does feel like it's building up though and I've heard that some other parts of the UK are getting it much worse, so I hope everyone is OK and staying safely indoors.

Right, I'm off to try and gain back some of those lost brownie points with Mr Stick. ;0)

Thanks for visiting and stay safe. :0)

Monday, 25 February 2008

Next, Please!

Well, after finishing Part 1 of the For Amanda SAL and completing the finishing on the monthly challenge the next item on the list was Part 2 of the Memories SAL, which I finally got around to starting last night. Thoroughly enjoyed stitching the three bands and the alphabet is stitching up much quicker than expected. Here's where I left off last night: No stitching during the day today, as it's my regular Monday routine of getting jobs done ready for Alex popping in for a coffee and natter, but I hope to get back to this tonight to complete it. :0)

Next item on the list is Part 2 of the Ozark Mystery SAL and I really should start on the backstitch on Egyptian Tablet, especially as it'll be UFO Tuesday again tomorrow. Mr Stick has been pretty lenient with me so far - don't want to push my luck any further! ;0)

I've also been playing around with various ideas for making up a couple of Christmas ornies I stitched some time ago and want to do them at some point this week too. Taking part in the monthly challenge is doing my confidence a lot of good as I now want to try different finishing techniques: instead of thinking "Oo, that looks hard - I can't do that" it's more a case of "I like the look of that - I want to have a go". Many thanks Karen and Julie: this change in attitude is down to you both and my drawer full of sad, neglected little stitched pieces, once transformed and on display, will also be eternally grateful! :0)

Yesterday didn't go quite as planned but was a good day anyway. We had been thinking of having a trip over to Newark to visit the Mind, Body and Spirit event on there but when it came to it we decided we didn't fancy the travelling. DH had had a horrendous week at work - with no end in sight for the problems just yet - and instead of just a morning at work on Saturday it ended up being most of the day, so he was shattered. The project he's involved with is called Caster 5 - it's now more commonly known across the works as Disaster 5!
I shared my day between the computer, my stitching, pottering and making tea and, after a quiet morning, DH disappeared into the loft in the afternoon to continue fitting the overflow tank for the boiler. He claimed it was a nice distraction from the stresses of work - who am I to argue? Whatever floats your boat! LOL

As for the tagging: thanks for the comments. I guess, after reading the tag post, it's a case of all those who thought I was a bit weird having their suspicions confirmed for real now. LOL ;0) I've enjoyed seeing what others have posted too: it's amazing how much some of us have in common - although not referring to weirdness here, just general similarities. Wonder if it's the stitchy gene that promotes that? :0)

Thank you again for taking the time out of your day to come visit - hope you're all having a good start to the week. :0)

Sunday, 24 February 2008

TAG, You're It!

It's definitely the month for firsts! I've just been tagged for the first time ever by Mylene and have to name seven weird or random facts about myself. Hope I've figured this out properly and get it right!

First, the Rules:

1 Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2 Post the Rules on your blog.
3 Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4 Tag 7 people and link them.
5 Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Second, 7 weird or random facts about me:

1) I can read things even when they are upside down or back-to-front (although that excludes GP's writing - I defy anyone to decipher Doctors writing any which way up it is!);
2) I hate all fairground rides, apart from the Dodgems, and won't ride on them for anything (not even for mega-bucks!);
3) I love the smell and feel of clean bedding on my bed - bliss!;
4) I openly confess to being a sci-fi buff and a Trekkie and can do a Vulcan "Live long and prosper" salute with either hand (am also ambidextrous when flipping the bird too LOL) :0) ;
5) I love my garden and pottering around in it but am not much of a gardener and don't plan: if a plant is pretty and smells nice it gets in, usually the nearest available space, then it has to fend for itself;
6) I believe in ghosts/spirits and love watching anything about them (especially Most Haunted) but don't like watching horror movies because they are too scary!;
7) When I was a very small toddler I tripped and fell hands first into an open fire at my Gran's house - don't remember anything about it but I was scared of fires, especially big bonfires, and wouldn't hold sparklers for a long time until Mum told me what had happened when I was about 10 or 11 - been OK ever since, though still have some minor scarring on both hands as a reminder.

I have tagged:

Claire; Helen; Julie; Karen; Elisa; Dawn and Sally.

My apologies if you've already been tagged - I'm new to this and not sure of what the etiquette is. If you do participate, please come back to my blog and leave a comment. I look forward to reading your posts. :0)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

A Thank You, an Update and a Reveal

First of all I'd like to thank all you lovely ladies for the kind comments and well wishes re: my first solo excursion. It was a big hurdle for me and it's taken a long time to get to this point, so your kindness means a great deal. Knowing you're there "cheering me on" will help me go out on my own again and to start venturing further afield - so a BIG thank you to you all. :0)

When he heard DH was so pleased he took us out to the Malt Shovel that night for a celebration meal. I was boring and had the poached salmon in dill sauce again (it is rather good) :0)

Yesterday I felt a bit like I'd run a marathon so had a quiet day. After discovering it was reveal day for the JA Monthly Challenge I had a bit of an "Oh dear" moment ;0) and set to stitching the back of the piece and getting it ready for making up. Guess who thought reveal day wasn't until next week? Double Doh! In the evening I felt quite tired and didn't want to risk making a mistake on that or on Part 2 of Memories SAL so decided it was the turn of Night Watchman to grow a bit, as it's fairly straightforward to stitch:

Not huge progress but it's more of an "in between" project so am not in any rush to finish it.

As DH was up and out early, due to having to work today, and DS shot off a bit later to the monthly Farmers Market in Brigg with Alex, I decided it was the ideal time to tackle the Challenge finishing. It's the first time I've done a heart-shaped finish and it's nowhere near perfect in shape, but am pretty pleased with how it's turned out, more or less as I'd visualised it....... especially as it took me most of the flipping afternoon and several false starts/unpicks to finally decide how to sew the two halves together!

It was stitched 3 over 2.
On the back I stitched the bottom heart motif from the front (2 over 2) and added a cherub charm, then took the letters (mine and DH's initials) from a freebie chart here (1 over1) and the rose motif (1 over 1) from another freebie here. Thanks to those ladies for them. :0)

The fabric is Polstitches 28ct evenweave in Pearl; thread is Rajmahal art silk #379 and the chart is a freebie by Kristine Herber of Dragonfly Stitches. Many thanks for the chart Kris - it was lovely to stitch. :0)

I love the reveal and so enjoyed looking at all the pics of the pieces the other Challenge stitchers had done: so many pretty colours of fabric and thread and it's amazing to see how different the same design can look just by changing these. There were some interesting finishing techniques used too and quite a few I'd like to try out at some point.

The three freebie choices for next months Challenge are now up for voting. It's been made seriously hard this time around, as I love all of the designs and would like to stitch them all, but my vote has been cast. Can't wait to find out which one we'll be stitching. :0)

Well if I'm going to get any of Part 2 of Memories stitched today I'd better go and get on with it.

Hope you're all having a good weekend and thanks for taking the time to stop by. :0)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Putting the Flags Out!

WhooooHoooo! Am putting the flags out and celebrating: I did it! I did it! I did it at last!
After two days of failed attempts to get out of the house and walk down to the library on my own I finally managed to do it earlier this afternoon. WhaaaayHaaay!
My heart was bumping so fast it felt like it was going to burst out of my chest when I first stepped out of the door but I asked my Guardian Angel to walk with me and give me strength to do it, kept my mind focused on each step and before I knew it I was walking in the library and getting my books re-stamped. Then browsed the talking book section and took out one of those to try, then, as it was only on the opposite side of the road, walked over to the Tesco Express store and got a few groceries for tea before walking back home again. Not a panic attack in sight either!
OK, it ain't as exciting as climbing Mount Everest or walking the wilds of Outer Mongolia but it was one of the main hurdles to overcome in a long, slow recovery from agoraphobia/panic attacks and it feels like I'm now finally going to get my life back to normal. :0)

I realised late last night that I hadn't posted a pic of the surprise package I received from Dusty last week. The Valentine's card is fun and sings "Who let the dogs out!" when opened (made me jump a mile the first time LOL!). The Emie Bishop hardanger heart is very pretty and is going on my "To Do" list straightaway, the buttons are so sweet and I haven't got many DMC variegated, so will enjoy trying that out at some point. If you're reading this Dusty: thanks again, you made my day. :0)
Last night was good too, as I finished the pulled thread inner border on the Amanda SAL, so Part 1 is now completed. Mini HD for that. :0) DH still hasn't sorted out the digicam port thingy (yeah, real tech speak! LOL) and it won't all fit on the scanner but you'll get an overall idea of what it's like from the pic:
Apart from a couple of minor frog visits (miscounting due to tv programme being too interesting) it was a joy to stitch - definitely 10/10 for Carol. Love those DD silks too - they're definitely next in line for a Monthly Collectors Club once I've got all of the Carrie's threads in my stash. Today's stitch will be Part 2 of Jayne's Memories SAL, so I can catch up with that before the next part of the Ozark SAL arrives (any time now).

Have you all seen Christine's new releases over at Alchemy Stitchcraft yet? They're all gorgeous but I just love Knot Garden - so much so that I've ordered the chart from Jayne and can't wait to get my hot little hands on it! WTG Christine!

My DSis has had her thumb checked over and the nurse said it's healing well, with no sign of infection. :0) The butterfly strips come off Monday or Tuesday next week and the nurse said she could do that herself, especially as she also has some spare bandages to re-dress it at home. Saves her having to make the trip to the surgery so she's a happy bunny.

Rebecca: many thanks for posting the info on the shop in Grimsby. I shall keep my eyes open for it next time we go. :0)

Well I reckon I've now settled down a bit, after being as high as a kite since my trip out, so I reckon a little stitching may be in order, don't you?

Thanks again to all those who take the time to visit my blog - hope you don't get too bored with all the waffling on. :0)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Frost, Fog and Fun

We've been having hard frosts for days now, making it bitterly cold, but the last couple of days the fog has descended in the early evening and has been hanging around most of the next morning too. I hate fog! Before I married I worked in a residential hospital that wasn't on a direct bus route, so I had a 25 minute to walk to get there. The morning shift began at 7.15am. Imagine the walk to work when the fogs were pea-soupers and you could barely see a foot in front of you........ then you hear footsteps. You can hear them but the fog muffles them, so you can't tell which direction they're coming from, and you can't see who or what is making them.
I tell you, it cured me of reading scarey books and watching horror films because it's just not nice remembering every single gory detail in circumstances like that! I reeeeeeaaaalllly hate fog! LOL

Am having a fun day, despite the hated fog. I got a really nice surprise when a pinkie turned up on the doorstep. Had I ordered something from Jayne, then developed a sudden bout of amnesia? No, Julie had recycled the packaging and very kindly sent me a couple of Cafe Creme tins so I can have a go at tin finishing. Thank you again for your kindness Julie - I shall enjoy expanding my finishing techniques with these. :0)

I also got a package from Jenny, a fellow member of the Stitch'n'Stash Forum. She's been having a stash clear out and I just had to re-home this little fella for her:
I haven't yet stitched a Newton piece but I love the little chap and have got quite a few kits in my stash waiting to go. Why haven't I stitched one yet, when I like him so much? Well, I've been playing around with the idea of stitching my favourite designs from the range on an afghan, rather than as individual pictures, as I shall run out of wall space otherwise! What do you reckon?

I also got this particular kit from Jenny to stitch as a surprise for my DH:

He's had quite a few working trips to Italy this last year or so, mostly flying via Venice airport, and actually managed a little sight-seeing on a couple of occasions, which he thoroughly enjoyed. I though it would make a nice memento for him. Plus stitching and framing it will solve the birthday present dilemma this year! :0)

I've also had fun making a card for my MIL, who has her 70th birthday later this month. As it's a milestone birthday, and due to it being her first birthday since she lost her DD to cancer in March last year (those firsts are always hard), I wanted to make it a little extra special. It's got a layer of glitter card, as well as glitzy sequins and gems on it, so sparkles much more IRL. She loves her garden and flowers, as did her DD, so the theme was easy to choose. I love those cards that just fall into place as you go. :0)

I carried on with the Amanda SAL last night, so now have all of the green cross and backstitch bits and some of the cross stitch berries completed. There are a few more berries to do and a pulled stitch inner border, then that's Part 1 completed - won't post another pic until it's all done. Next up will be Part 2 of Jayne's Memories SAL - can't wait! Oh, and I guess I'd better get on with doing the finishing on the Monthly Challenge too. I know what I want to do, I can see the picture of it in my head....... it's transferring that into a reality that's stumping me! >rolleyes<

Update on my DSis: her thumb and arm (where she had the anti-tet shot) are sore but she's doing OK otherwise. She goes to see the nurse on Thursday to have it checked and the dressing changed. She's stated she's not going to be buying tins of corned beef any more. Don't blame her!

Many thanks to all who visit and for the kind comments - they make my day. :0)

Monday, 18 February 2008

Amanda and a New Start

Back after the weekend and now trying to catch my breath.
Friday and Saturday I managed to concentrate on my stitching for a few extended periods and the Amanda SAL has seen the benefit of that. Here's where I got up to by Saturday evening: It's a little bit fiddlier than I expected, so it seems to be taking a bit longer to grow than I'd hoped. Got to get it done though, as Part 2 of Memories is already waiting and Part 2 of the Ozark SAL is due out any time soon.

DH didn't mind me stitching on Saturday as we decided to stay in so he could get on with fitting an exterior expansion tank for the central heating boiler. Not sure quite how this works but it goes up in the loft, plumbed in next to the other water tanks, and replaces the internal expansion bag that isn't working. Currently if the boiler pressure drops below a certain amount it cuts out and we freeze our butts off until someone tweaks a small tap next to the boiler to increase the pressure again. Fixing it this way was the cheaper option - those internal expansion bags for condensing boilers cost an arm and a leg and don't seem to last long at all. DH seemed to spend an awful lot of time searching for bits he needed for fitting it and not much time actually working - don't think he fancied being up in the rather cold loft, as we've had so many hard frosts lately it makes you glad you're not a brass monkey! Wish I knew a plumber - I'd have him in while DH is at work, get it all sorted in an hour or two and save a lot of hassle from yet another long drawn out DIY job!

I also had a new start over the weekend. Well, I had to test out the No-Sew Clip frame, didn't I? Can you guess what it is? No, I guess not - even I can't from that little bit LOL.
It's Night Watchman, the beautiful owl kit from Heritage Stitchcraft that I got in a sale earlier this year - it's been calling loudly to me ever since I got it and I couldn't ignore it any more. I swapped the Aida in the kit for some 28ct cream Brittany I had in my stash - those weird fractionals Heritage love are definitely best done on evenweave.

Sunday we went to my DSis's for the day, as she needed help moving a huge wardrobe so she could continue painting the box room. I did a little stitching on NW whilst there but had to drop it when we had an unexpected trip to casualty. DSis had a fight with a corned beef tin, lost and got a nasty deep gash across her right thumb pad - haven't seen that much blood in a long time! Several pieces of kitchen roll and lots of compression later and the bleeding had slowed down a little but would start again as soon as she moved it. Off to DRI to be told there was a three to four hour wait (too many people using it as a Doctor's surgery and not as an A&E, methinks!). Luckily the nice woman we spoke to told us there was a Small Injuries Unit at a small hospital in Mexborough, so a 25-30 minutes journey later we were there and DSis was seen and treated in under 35 minutes. She had it butterfly stripped and bandaged and had an anti-tetanus shot. Back at hers and I told her we were lucky: she hadn't bled on the corned beef, so we could still have it for tea. LOL Her reply is unrepeatable in polite company but at least it brought back some colour to her cheeks and got her laughing again. When she realised it would get her out of doing pot washing and cashing up at work she was definitely in a happier frame of mind. LOL

It's half term here, so Alex hasn't been for her usual Monday natter, but I did my regular jobs anyway and a few extras. I'm now feeling quite the virtuous housewife (doesn't happen often) and shall reward myself with a quiet evening of stitching in front of the TV. ;0) It looks like DH will have to work late, so I'll get to watch whatever I want as well - and there's a Most Haunted on. WhoooHoo! :0)

Hope you've all had a good weekend and that the week has got off to a good start for you. :0)

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Mine got off to a good start with a lovely card from DH that looked like a handmade one - very pretty it is too. We're not doing choccies or flowers but have decided we're going to splash out between us on a flat-screen monitor for the PC. Practical, yes - with the added bonuses that it'll last waaay longer than flowers and doesn't do any damage to my hips like choccies would ('cos DH is diabetic - I'd have to eat them all). LOL

Next was a pink parcel from Jayne with the COM Monthly fabric Violets which is a sweet blush of subtle colour - I love it and already know what I shall be using it for: My Big Toe Designs Angels Watching. That was also in the packet, along with the other MBTD charts I'd pre-ordered last month: Cheaper Than Therapy; Friends and Anniversary - Eat The Chocolate is to follow. There was also the cutest little mermaid fob ever which is now attached to my DD Ann scissors:

What a great way to start the day and, despite having a lousy sore throat (now I know why I've been feeling so tired this week!) am in a happy mood. DH is glad that I no longer feel like planting him under the patio. ;0) ROFL

No, that place is reserved for the Gas Man who didn't show up yesterday to change the meter. I rang up to complain at 10 to 8pm last night, to a bored and couldn't-care-less female who said he went to a house with a white door and blue garage but no one was in. I don't have a garage, let alone one with a blue door, as I pointed out. Oh, he must have gone to the wrong house, was the reply. It sounds like he went next door but what kind of muppets do they employ that can't tell the difference between number 29 and 31? Both houses have a number plaque on the wall and mine also has brass numbers on the door. Duuurrrr! Methinks it was more that the fella wanted a flyer, so he could get home quick! They can make me another appointment, narrowing it down to a two hour slot, but not on the days I want. Fine: send me a letter with a date he can come round and I'll ring and cancel if it isn't convenient. It seems so few Companies actually want to give a decent Customer Care Service these days, or their employees to do a decent job! OK, rant over. ;0)

Despite that minor annoyance last night wasn't so bad. DH went to have another go at DS's computer to see if he can get it to work properly and get all the updates/downloads to make sure it stays working. I found a Most Haunted repeat and continued with the Amanda SAL and here's where I got to: It's nice to bring that bit more colour into it and it looks lovely on the Georgian fabric. Well pleased with how this is turning out. :0) Got to extract my digit though, as Part 2 of Memories is printed out and ready to go....... and Part 2 of the Ozark SAL is due out any day now too and there's still the finishing to do on the Monthly Challenge piece. Best get off here and go do some stitching then, hadn't I?

Hope you're all having a Happy Valentine's Day - thanks for stopping by. :0)

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Love is in the Air

First it was the Love Is You SAL piece I was working on earlier in the week and now today I've had a Valentine's card making session, ready for the day tomorrow. There must be something in the air this week, other than the usual household cleaning fluid and cooking smells that is.
Here's my card for DH: It didn't quite start out like that in my head but am reasonably happy with it and think DH will like it.

Now how many of you are looking forward to Valentine's Day tomorrow and are in the mood for luuurve? And how many of you are more in the mood for planting their OH under the patio? ROFL. ;0) I'll leave you guessing as to which way I'm leaning at the moment. LOL

The clip-on magnifier was well and truly christened last night when I used it whilst stitching on the Amanda SAL piece and what a difference it makes! Yes, I know - it was Tuesday UFO Night and I should have actually been stitching on ET, doing the dreaded metallic backstitch, but really couldn't face it. Plus there was a Most Haunted Almost Live on that I hadn't seen - not good for concentration levels and I didn't want to risk making a mistake..... or go missing a good bit of MH. Plus I am getting behind on the Amanda piece, which will hold up all my SAL pieces and the Monthly Challenge if I'm not careful, and this section is so straightforward, now it's started, it was ideal to do while watching TV.
There Julie........ is that enough excuses for Mr Stick? ;0) I promise to make up for it pretty soon.
Here's the latest Amanda pic:

Not as much as I'd hoped to do because, although I can now see much more clearly with the magnifier, it seems to have slowed my stitching speed a bit - it definitely slows things up when it's time to fasten off or start another thread length but I guess things will pick back up once I've got used to it and learnt the knack of handling the frame with the cumbersome bit attached to it. It's certainly made me realise I should have got one of these much sooner!

Today I am waiting for the Gas Man to turn up. We got a letter last week to tell us that they want to come and change the meter - something about "accuracy", "safety" and such like. Fine, I don't mind, but I do think that saying the chap will be here "some time between 8am and 8pm" is taking a bit of a liberty. I've been up since the crack of dawn, in case he came early - he didn't. Been scooting round getting a load of jobs done, as well as making DH's card, and am now shattered and need matchsticks for my eyes....... and he still ain't here. Bet he turns up when I'm trying to cook tea. >rolleyes<

Lynn: sorry, but I don't think the Love Is piece is on Carol's site. It's a Ltd Ed design and was only available to forum members just before Valentine's in 2006 (I think).

Thanks to every one for stopping by and for leaving comments. Hope you're having a good day. :0)

Monday, 11 February 2008

Flippin' Frogs and Stitchy Bugs

Have got the feeling I have been well and truly bitten by the stitchy bug at the moment, as most of my projects seem to be growing well and benefiting from some attention, despite the flippin' frogs best sabotage efforts. So if you've lost your bug girls: sorry, I think he's moved in here! LOL

On Saturday night I carried on with the Amanda SAL's outer borders but realised I was a stitch out, so the bottom edges weren't going to meet. A quick count made me realise I was one stitch too short on the right side, so in came that darned frog and a few choice words, out came the thread back to the corner so I could correct it. All OK now but that made me decide to put it to one side for a while before starting the inner flowers and leaves border - I went to bed.

Sunday was a lovely day, weatherwise, and an enjoyable one. DS went out for the day with some friends so. DH was fully recovered from his Friday night over indulgences so we went to a local garden centre for dinner and a look round. We wanted some plants to replace the ones in my Arthur and Guinevere pots that are on the wall either side of the back door but it's too early for marigolds and we didn't spot anything else that was suitable - will have to wait until later in the season and possibly temporarily plant herbs in them instead.
On to Dunhelm and The Range afterwards, where we managed to get a couple of items we needed then we decided to have a drive out to Alkborough, to visit the turf cut maze site called Julian's Bower. There were layers of mist on the horizon, which obscured much of the views, but the tops of trees and the occasional electricity pylon peeped out, making it look quite eerie and mystical - even more so when the sun began to set and streaks of red, pink and orange blazed across the sky as well. Why is it you never have a camera with you at such wonderful, awe-inspiring moments?
We then went home and from there walked down to the local pub, The Malt Shovel, for our tea. I can highly recommend the poached salmon in dill sauce. :0)

I was feeling quite tired in the evening, so decided to leave the Amanda SAL well alone (need to do some counting and didn't want to risk messing it up) and opted to pick up Love Is You, a Carol Tinson design, instead. Here's the latest pic. Two thread lengths later and the top corner was finished and a start made on the right side - that was enough eye strain for one night though.

Am glad to say that my Sew and So order arrived today, with the magnifier. Yay! As I was busy earlier doing the usual Monday jobs, ready for Alex coming round for her usual coffee and a natter session, there's been no chance to try it out yet........ but that will be rectified tonight. ;0) Will let you know how I get on with it. Helen: I have a feeling I may feel the same and use your solution for the extra little magnifier.

Claire: I'm afraid I don't know what the place in Grimsby is called, that's half the problem. If I did I could probably find it. All I know is that it's a lighting place and it sells all kinds of hobby style lamps as well and at a cheaper price than most specialist needlework places charge. A lady from Freecycle mentioned it - so wish I'd written the details down at the time! >rolleyes< Don't suppose you would have an idea of what it's called and where it might be?

The breadwinners have returned and need feeding so I'd better go. Will catch up with everyone's Blogs later.

Hope you all had a good weekend and enjoyed the fine weather. :0)

Saturday, 9 February 2008

A Finish, A Start and A Late Comer

Last night's finish was the Monthly Challenge........ well, the stitching bit of the front anyway. Well pleased with how that has turned out, despite having "fun" with the new thread (although I was warned that it could be awkward to use, so was prepared for this), and am now trying to decide if I'm up to the finishing technique. I'm waiting for a couple of bits I bought from that well known auction site to turn up before making final decisions, as I may well change my mind again - nothing new there, then. LOL

The new start, also last night, is the For Amanda SAL piece designed by Carol Tinson. It won't all fit on the scanner, so here's a pic of what will:

The fabric isn't the recommended one: it's Pol's Georgian Linen, as suggested by Jayne. These are the two outer borders, stitched in Dinky Dyes silk Eungella, and I've completed the top and half of both sides so far and will carry on with this tonight. Am enjoying this piece and loving the effect of the silk/colours on the fabric - they are all a joy to use.

The late comer is the last of the charts outstanding from my Thread Bear order which came this morning, along with the no-sew roller bars. It's a Milady's Needle chart by Gloria Moore: It's such a sweet design, how could I not get it? LOL Whilst Yule celebrations are more my thing we still keep a traditional Christmas for my DH so it'll be a nice piece to make and display for him.

I had a nosey round at various craft sites yesterday and finished up ordering one of those clip-on magnifiers to try out. It's No 7 on this page if you want to have a look-see. Thought it was a good way of keeping me going with the fine work, as what I would eventually like is one of those big, floor-standing adjustable ones that has the lens in the middle and a light round the outside. I definitely would prefer having a try-before-you-buy session before paying out that amount of money though. Still haven't found out where the place in Grimsby is so I guess I shall have to get to a stitching show this year, in the hopes that someone there is selling them.

Well today hasn't gone quite as planned. Last night DH went out to a Retirement Do for one of the higher-ups at work, a meal out and drink - only a group of them went on into town to a late opening pub afterwards as well, with my party animal DH among them. Guess who didn't get back in until gone 2am? Guess who'd had a few more jars than he's used to? Guess who's been feeling as rough as a badger's bum today and spent most of it in bed, feeling sorry for himself? And guess who wasn't too happy about it?
OK, if he was feeling poorly, sick and dying from a bug I would have the compassion and kindness of the sainted Mother Teresa herself and do all the looking after required. It's not though, it's self-inflicted - be prepared to feel the awesome wrath of Sekh'met the avenger!!! Guess who won't be doing that again in a hurry? ROFLMAO
Actually, he's been looking and feeling so rough I didn't have the heart to present him with a greasy fry-up or bend his ear about having more sense at his age - I know he won't be in a rush to feel that bad again any time soon. ;0)

Meantime I've kept myself busy and spent some time in the back garden, filling the brown recycling bin with yet more conifer clippings (they will keep growing! LOL). It was a pleasure to listen to Poppa blackbird singing his heart out at dusk, almost as if he were serenading the new moon. It lifts my heart so to hear him. Hopefully the weather will stay dry so I can spend some time pottering around out there tomorrow as well.

I hope you're all having a good weekend, whatever you are doing, and thanks for stopping by. :0)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Not A Lot......

to share today. :0(
Can't show any progress on last night's stitching as it was on the Monthly Challenge piece and that has to stay a secret until later in the month. The other pics I'd like to share are still on the flippin' digicam because DH still hasn't transferred them over for me - if I knew which cables had to come out so the camera could be plugged in I'd do it myself but I don't, so daren't take the risk. If I screwed up my computer so I couldn't get online I'd freak big time! Although, looking at it from another angle, I guess I'd probably get a whole lot more stitching done instead. LOL

Due to this problem I've asked DH if we can do something to make transferring pics much easier. He waffled on about ports and docking and.......... nah, sorry, I just don't do that computer-speak stuff - a mind-fog quickly settles in and I end up virtually comatose. Basically, when I got him to speak in plain English again, yes there's something we can buy to add to the computer that will make transferring pics from the camera much easier because I'd just have to attach or plug in the camera to this specific piece of kit and it will do the transfer. Right, says I, find out how much and where from and lets get one because I want to be able to get pics on to my computer myself whenever I want. Research is ongoing - fingers crossed it gets sorted this weekend, then I can show pics of my Ink Circles Blackstone Fantasy Garden finish and the promised one of Santa on his broomstick. It would also mean I'd be able to take arty pics of my smaller pieces and cards, rather than having to scan them. :0)

Speaking of pics: can anyone tell me (in an idiots guide to...) how I go about putting in a pic as a header to my blog, please? Although I will have to actually go looking for something suitable first - any suggestions?

Mylene and Karen: definitely NO invites because you really wouldn't want to see me doing a bellydance, as it wouldn't be good for your mental health to witness it - you'd need years of therapy afterwards, if you did. DS and DH aren't daft either: they would definitely be running for the hills. ;0) ROFL

Well I've got a sink full of dirty dishes and a tumble dryer of clean clothes that need my attention so I'm off to sort them, then I can have an hours stitching this afternoon with a clear conscience. ;0)

Hope you're all having a good day, whatever you are doing. :0)

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Egyptian Reggae

That was my mini Happy Dance choice for Tuesday UFO Night because I did finally finish all of the cross stitch on Egyptian Tablet and here's the pic to prove it: So glad to get that done. Next week it's on to the backstitch which is in DMC's gold metallic thread....... best get Mr Stick limbering up for then Julie because I am not looking forward to it at all - that metallic is awful and there's lots of it.
There'll be one big celebration in this house when it is finally completed but be warned though: when I do finally get this finished it won't be an Egyptian Reggae HD but a full on bellydance I'll be doing which may result in news reports of earth tremors in this area. LOL ;0)

It's back to the Monthly Challenge piece today. Yay! Must admit that I was enjoying this so much I didn't want to break off to do ET last night but needs must - plus that Mr Stick is a scary dude when he wants to be! I did a little research on the Web yesterday, looking for pieces in a similar style to how I want to finish mine but didn't find exactly what was wanted - saw lots of other inspiring pretties though, with finishing techniques I'd like to try at some point. Although I'm in awe of how many talented stitchers there are out there and the wonderful items they've made - if my pieces end up just half as good then that'll be me very happy.

Glad to say the weather here today, although cold, is actually quite sunny. It seems to have affected the birdies because they are zipping about in hyperactive mode, ram raiding the feeders in my garden then zipping off and squabbling in the bushes. Poppa blackbird has already staked his claim to our garden again and is defending it against all comers, including the neighbours scabby tom cat. Methinks they are full of the joys of Spring already and there may well be some frantic nest building going on soon. As for the plant world: winter flowering pansies and jasmine are still in flower, snowdrops are in various stages of bloom and the crocus are fast catching up but the daffs and narcissi are trailing behind, as per usual. Yes, Mother Earth is gradually waking up after her winter sleep. Am looking forward to warmer days, lighter nights and soon being able to spend more time in my garden. :0)

Hope you're all enjoying nicer weather and having fun, whatever you are doing. :0)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

No-Show Tuesday

No picture of the Amanda SAL to show today because I changed my mind (I'm a woman - I'm allowed to ;0) ) and made a start on the February Challenge piece instead.......... which I can't show until the reveal day. I've got about half of it stitched. It's another enjoyable one, plus it's a piece that's giving me the opportunity to try out a thread that is new to me so it's another learning curve. I've sort of got an idea in my head for finishing this but it's a case of if my skills are up to turning it into a reality.

As I haven't got a stitchy pic to show I thought I'd share one of this month's Monthly Club stash from Jayne instead.
I love receiving the pretty rainbow of Carrie's each month and the fabric is a Sassy's called Khaki - can't wait to find a suitable design for this as it's a gorgeous colour. I've also been mulling over what thread to go for once I've got all of the CC's and decided I would like some silks: there are Dinky Dyes in the Memories and Amanda SAL's and they feel gorgeous, as well as being lovely to use, so they are the strongest contender so far. Any other suggestions?

It's Tuesday again, which means it's UFO Night so bet you'll all be able to guess what I'm stitching on tonight. :0) Wonder if I can have a mega-stitch session and manage to get all of that last bit finished?

Well, what was bright and sunny weather this morning is now back to more rain but I've just seen the most glorious rainbow arching across the sky, with a faint secondary one above it - so not complaining about the weather when it brings a sign of the Goddess Iris, a good omen. The last time I saw such a wonderful sight was while we were on holiday in the Lake District last year, so it's brought back a few nice memories. :0) Of course it didn't last long enough for me to grab the digicam and have a go at taking a pic! LOL

Nicola: thanks for the tip re: getting paragraphs when Blogger is playing up. It works! Thank you. :0)

Many thanks to all for the encouragement about going out to the library - it will help me to achieve that goal and go on from there. :0)

Thanks to all for visiting and for taking the time to comment, it's very much appreciated.
To any newbies: don't be shy, please say Hi! :0)

Monday, 4 February 2008

Days Out & Days In

I'm still here - although the trek down the windswept High Street on Thursday did almost take my breath away! It was productive though, as we stopped in at the local craft shop and came away with two thicknesses of Vilene and various lengths of pretty trimmings for finishing items and a good idea of what else they stock for future reference. :0) I also re-joined the local library (just a couple of minutes walk from our house now) and took out a couple of books - one of which is about Boudica, which is very interesting. There's method in my madness here: now I've got the books out I've got to take them back - a nice incentive to break that final barrier, left over from the agoraphobia, of going out of the house on my own. It'll be just far enough to be a challenge but not too far that I can't see myself ever doing it. :0)

Friday we went to my DSis's in Doncaster for the day. The weather was still a bit wild, with occasional downpours, but no snow. We took her out to a garden centre for dinner as a belated birthday treat and so she could spend some of the garden vouchers she was given for Christmas and her birthday. She came away with a ceramic hanging bird bath, a pole to hang it from, a suet slab and a holder for it. No garden pots, as they didn't have a matching pair in a design she liked. DH got a few bits, including a book about the Spitfire, and I couldn't resist this coaster:
It appealed to my sense of humour - although DS swears the only one who isn't normal in this family is me. I really don't know what he means. ROFLMAO

The weekend was down for more lousy weather so we opted for staying in and getting a few things done. Saturday I decided to finish the Ozark border so set to with determination.......... only to realise that I'd made two mistakes: one on the left side and one at the top, right near the start. After frogging what I'd done on the left and taking the top back from the beginning - around three lengths of thread (definitely a cross stitch moment) - the top mistake was corrected (this would've made the border one stitch too short and put everything else out) and the rest was re-stitched. That mistake meant it didn't get finished Saturday, as planned. It did get finished Sunday afternoon though: It won't all fit on the scanner, so the pic is of the bit that will, just to give you an idea of colours etc. The amount of thread given for this was very generous and there's loads left over. :0)

Sunday evening was the turn of the Amanda SAL: fabric marked with the top corner starting point and tacked onto the scroll frame ready to make a start whenever the mood takes me.

Guess I could've got more done but I had to keep breaking off in the afternoon, which set me back. DS finally got round to boxing up the Lego models and other bits that were left in the little bedroom (my future craft room) and I was helping him seal the boxes and mark them, ready for them going in the loft until he gets his own place. Then I was on veg peeling and prep duties for our dinner - whilst I would've much preferred to have continued stitching I do like to eat occasionally and, as it was roast lamb with all the trimmings, it was well worth giving up the time for. ;0)

Alex isn't coming for her usual visit today so, once I've done all the jobs and caught up with blogs I'm hoping to get some extra stitching time in. The choices are: making a start on the Amanda SAL or on the February Challenge, which is a beautiful heart design by Kris of Dragonfly Stitches. Decisions, decisions!

Despite all the forecasts for lots of snow over the last few days we haven't had any here, just a tiny amount of hail and lots of wind and rain. So, the question is: who kept all the snow then? LOL

Hope you've all had a good weekend, despite the weather, and that the week has got off to a good start for you. :0)