Monday, 31 March 2008

Monthly Challenge Reveal - March

First of all: apologies to some of those who left comments for me recently, as I managed to accidentally reject them. That's what happens when you get clickitis or "bull in a china shop" syndrome! Thought I'd learnt my lesson the first time that happened but apparently not. :0(

It was Reveal Day on Saturday for the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge and there are some gorgeous finishes again. I seriously underestimated the time it would take to assemble my piece, so ended up missing the deadline. Then I had to have an unexpected visit to The Range yesterday to get some beads for it - all that stash and still didn't have the right colour or size! Still, I'm not complaining as I love going to that place: the crafts section is great and I ended up coming out with a lot more than was on my list (more later)! So here is my version of Alphabet Tree (a retired design) from Blue Ribbon Designs, finished as a mattress pin cushion:

I've used: 28ct Brittney evenweave fabric in cream and the thread is Kaalund silk Silky Oak. The ribbon was a find in my local sewing shop and the beads were from The Range. When I first saw this design it made me think of the Tree of Life. The Eureka! moment I had the other day had me developing that idea further: instead of backing the piece with fabric, as originally intended, I decided to turn it into a memorial piece by adding my Mum and Dad's initials and the years they passed. The colours will go perfectly with my DSis's living room colour scheme, so I shall ask her if she wants to keep it at hers. :0)

There was another steep learning curve: when I use this type of finish again I shall make sure the sides are done in one long piece of fabric, so there aren't so many extra bits of fabric at the corners to trim and squish in. I am also going to make sure I have some of that Warm & Natural cotton batting several of the girls on the Forum have mentioned - the synthetic stuff I had to use sheds bits all over and had me coughing like crazy and it was a pain to layer up. I also need to find somewhere that sells fine curved needles, to make sewing ribbons on much easier.

A BIG thank you to Karen for arranging it so we could use this chart and to the designer for allowing us to use it - it's such a pretty piece and I enjoyed stitching it. :0)

The weekend plans partially went to plan: Saturday was a wash out, literally, as it rained for much of the day - not the best weather to go out looking at cars. When DH asked if I wanted to go out I fixed him with a beady eye and, in best Compo/Last of the Summer Wine tradition told him to "Bog off" which he thought was hilarious. The fact that my back and shoulder were playing up, giving me a lousy headache, hadn't helped my mood none. :0I A couple of pain killers and a quiet sit down helped and once the worst of the headache had gone I carried on with the finishing on the Challenge piece.

Sunday I felt a lot better so we had the trip to The Range first. As well as the beads I got some more storage boxes: A4 clip-boxes for card and papers; rectangular boxes for storing ribbons and trims; a crocodile file for my 12x12 papers; a small compartmented box for storing brads, eyelets and similar small bits and pieces; some round and square glue dots; an A4 expander file for storing my ready-made cards in; three packs of Dovecraft small clear rubber stamps (only 99p a set - brilliant value) and, finally, a Dovecraft Goody Bag that has some really sophisticated 12x12 and 8x8 papers in it among other things. Not a bad haul that. :0)

After that it was on to a couple of big garages (car lots) to have a look at what they had on offer. Let's just say that an awful lot of cars were crossed off the list as unsuitable for what we need. We are now trying to decide whether to go for another (smaller/more economical) 4x4, an estate or even a 5-person people carrier. I did spot a little two-door Volkswagen Lupo I was half interested in, as a run-around for me, but when I sat in it I couldn't see the front bonnet at all, let alone the front end - if I'd raised the seat enough for me to see it I wouldn't have been able to use the steering wheel, as my legs would have been trapping up against it. How badly designed is that?! Most of the cars today seem to have such sloping bonnets you can't see where the front finishes - is it just me, or does that seem really stupid? I mean: how can you judge distances from other cars when you're parking up at the supermarket, parallel parking in the street or pulling up behind another car at traffic lights if you can't actually see where the car ends? Maybe I'm being super picky but I want a car with good all-round vision so I feel comfortable and safe driving it! Methinks this car search thing is going to take a while......... unfortunately.

As I'm now - for the first time ever - up to date with my three SAL's and the Challenge piece is completed (the next Challenge is still being voted on) I brought Night Watchman out to stitch on last night whilst watching the final night of Most Haunted Live. So glad I persevered with MH as the final night made it all worthwhile: it may just be my warped sense of humour but watching Yvette Fielding, little Kath and Lesley Smith on a vigil, getting unnerved and edging towards hysterical, was a laugh but hearing Yvette admit on national TV that she had snotted and slightly wet herself was priceless. I laughed so hard I almost had an accident too!
Not a lot of actual stitching got done with that going on, so no update pic yet. Will carry on and concentrate on this until another SAL part comes out.

Well I am off to do some more stitching on Night Watchman now before having an early night. I have managed to get behind with Blog reading/commenting again over the weekend, for which I apologise, but I'll start with the catch-up tomorrow and see what you've all been up to.

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

Friday, 28 March 2008

Be Prepared!

As my next door neighbours are expecting their third baby some time in July I thought I would, just like the Scouting motto, be prepared. As the gender is a surprise (she's had scans but hasn't asked for details) I've made one for either eventuality. Here's the baby boy version: Here's the baby girl version:
As with all of my cards, details of what I've used are included in my Webshots albums for anyone who wants to know more.
Why do I do that? Well, I love viewing other people's cards, scrapbooks and ATC's in online albums and blogs: not only is it a lovely way of gaining ideas and inspiration, it's also a great way to spot some gorgeous papers or embellishments etc etc but I have often looked and wished that they'd also added details of what they used. How can you go shopping for that must-have item when you don't know who makes it? LOL So I always include details, just in case anyone wants to go shopping. :0)

As for the Monthly Challenge: I completed the stitching on the back piece last night, after a couple of minor frog visits. If I can get my butt off this chair and out from behind my computer I fully intend to make a start on the finishing.............. except I'm trying a new finish, am not feeling that confident about it and so have resorted to prevarication. Despite knowing that I'll be really annoyed with myself if I don't make the deadline I'm still prevaricating. Sad, innit?

I had a surprise phone call from Jayne this morning. I fell in love with this months COM fabric, a pretty shade called Jonquil, which instantly shouted Papillon's freebie Garden piece at me. Jayne very kindly said she would have a go at dyeing a suitable sized piece in the same shade and she was checking if I still wanted her to do this. I love chatting with Jayne as it feels like I've known her forever and always end up laughing so much! I've also got some useful new goodies winging their way to me, so it's back to my favourite occupation of postie stalking tomorrow morning. :0)

You've probably seen my previous posts about the Most Haunted Live five night event in Turin. Has anyone else been watching it? If so, what do you think? So much hype and yet I can't help being disappointed with it so far: this new medium seems to be a bit of a drama queen at times, loves making sudden moves and noises that puts everyone on edge (reminds me of Derek Acorah!) and doesn't seem to come up with many hard facts that the historian can verify. All I can say is: please bring back David Wells!

Today is my DS's last day of work at the Pharmaceutical Warehouse. He's been going into the new place for an hour each morning this week for training, before going on to his current job - the earlier start has been a bit tiring for him but he should adjust to it before long, especially as it means he finishes work sooner from next week. He will have to go for a medical soon - a requirement for anyone working in that environment, presumably a Health and Safety ruling. They are also honouring the weeks holiday he had booked off for the Canterbury Tales Show Week in May, so that's a relief - as Stage Manager he has to be there and it's getting a bit late in the day for getting someone else in to take over. Fingers crossed all goes well next week!

Some of the weekend plans consist of looking for a new car for DH: we've had The Tank (Isuzu Trooper 4x4) for quite a while and it's starting to show its age and is developing odd knocking noises in the engine. Things like that usually end up getting really expensive (found that out already, when it broke down on the motorway on the way back from Sheffield hospital one evening a couple of years ago) so it's time to trade in. He had planned on doing this some time ago but had to put it on the back-burner when Dad was diagnosed. Hope DH doesn't opt for his mid-life crisis car, a Subaru sporty job - it may look good and go miles faster on the motorway than is actually legal but it's not a great tow car........ or particularly ideal for loading up a good Tesco's shop!
We're also going to look around at new kitchens, to get some ideas of styles and layouts, ready for having ours re-done. It's very dated (and looks it) and is falling apart and should we ever decide to sell up and move it would definitely not be a strong selling point! We are trying to decide whether or not we want the hassle of having a builder in to take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room (it's a load-bearing wall), so we can widen the kitchen, or leave it as it is (long, thin galley type). Ten years ago I'd have jumped at the bigger scheme - now I'm not so sure.

Right, that's enough prevaricating.......... and more than enough for you all to read. Hope you made a coffee and put your feet up first! LOL

Whatever your plans are, I hope you all have a very good weekend. :0)

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Not A Lot....

to share, stitchingwise, today.
I sat and stitched the back for the Monthly Challenge piece last night, whilst watching the first night of the Most Haunted Live five-day event, and it's about two thirds completed......... but you'll have to wait until the 29th to see that. Sorry!

As there aren't any stitching or card pics I thought I'd share some other pics instead. Here are some very useful My Big Toe Accessories I bought from The Attic recently:
Two Thread Pickers and a Thread Hopper - aren't they pretty? The first Picker is intended as part of a gift for Alex, the one with the blue beads is mine (and it's been put to good use already!) and the Hopper is for me too - thought there would be less chance of losing this down the side of the chair, compared to individual counting pins which would disappear in seconds! I shall have to have a go at making up a stitching tin soon, so I have somewhere suitable to keep these dinky little items. :0)

Today I actually worked out how to snag a picture from an online site, get it onto my computer and then find it again so I could post it on here. WOW! I think it's probably a fluke though, as I doubt I'll be able to remember what I did next time I want to do it! LOL Thought I'd share a pic of the mini radio/Hi-Fi system, as I like it so much:
It's a Matsui and both speakers are covered (like the left one). I listened to Radio Gold all afternoon yesterday as it plays only 60's, 70's and 80's music - great listening to sounds that are a reminder of my younger days whilst cooking and cleaning!

Sally was good enough to send me a link to the Google reader yesterday (thanks again Sally) and I've been trying to suss it out and set everything up whenever I've had a spare few minutes. It's in the hopes that it will save me some time: instead of trawling through every single blog to check for updates, this will do it for me. Maybe then I can spend less time in front of the computer and more time sat stitching???? Unfortunately it keeps giving me a little message that feeds aren't available to some of the blogs I like to check most frequently and I haven't a clue as to why. One of the other weird things: Lynn, I can now see your posts including pics via the Reader, so that's an improvement, BUT I'm still trying to suss out if I can leave a comment for you from there.

Actually, I think I'm spending more time at the computer at the minute! I will get there in the end...... I'll just be taking the longer scenic route on the way. LMAO

I've managed to do a shed-load of jobs so far today, thanks to being up at the crack of dawn (well, it feels like it anyway), so I'm going to reward myself with an afternoon of crafting..... if I can stay awake for long enough! I bought four lovely handmade toppers from a lady on eBay, which arrived on Tuesday, so I intend turning those into cards and then follow it up with more stitching on the Monthly Challenge, in the hopes that I can do all the finishing and send a pic to Karen tomorrow.

Thank you for visiting - hope you are all having a good day. :0)

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Memories and ET

It seems like I'm on a roll with the stitching plans at the minute, so am making the most of it while it lasts!
I sat and watched Dawn Bibby's two hour slot on QVC yesterday afternoon - partly for the inspiration (no buying, despite plenty of temptation) and partly to have the chance to finish Part 3 of Jayne's Memories SAL. It worked quite nicely and here's the result:
It was a nice, quick section to do and I really enjoyed stitching it. Fanfare, please: it means that I'm now right up-to-date with all three SAL's for the first time ever since starting them. Toot! Toot! LOL

As it was UFO Tuesday yesterday ET saw the light of day again, as promised......... well, the light of my daylight bulb, anyway. :0)
In case you can't tell: I completed the backstitching on the first three bands, and made a start on the fourth, on the right side of the collar. Not as much progress as I'd hoped (wanted to complete the first five bands) but I had to stop as my eyes had had enough yesterday. Sorry to disappoint you Lynn and Julie: there's at least one more, if not two, UFO Nights worth of work to go before it's done and there's a HD. ;0) Warning: I have dug out my Egyptian music CD's, all set to go - I wasn't responsible for the last earthquake in this area but I will be for the next...... and it'll be more than a 5.3'er! LMAO

Speaking of CD's and dancing: I now get music while I work. :0) I suggested to DH a while ago that it would be nice to have something in the kitchen so we can listen to music while cooking/cleaning etc in there. If we've wanted to listen to something previously we've had to put the main Hi-Fi system on in the front room and whack the sound up so we can actually hear it in the kitchen - well that's OK until someone knocks at the door or phones, then there's a mad scramble into the front room to turn the music down/off, risking twisting an ankle or breaking my neck in the process, then answer. It was too much hassle, so I didn't bother much of the time but long sessions preparing stews for the slow cooker get seriously boring! DH has now bought us a mini Hi-Fi/DAB Radio combi and he set it all up last night - it's just the right size for sitting on top of the microwave, so it doesn't take up valuable worktop space and it's easily switched off when I need to answer the door or phone. I've discovered the Gold radio station which (so far) seems to play a lot of music I like, so I'm a happy bunny.

BTW Lynn: I've been trying to get on your blog to catch up and leave comments the past few days but am having problems doing so. For some reason the pics on your blog won't download for me: my computer keeps churning away trying to get them then locks up, so I have to Ctrl/Alt/Del and get back online again afterwards. I can see the wording OK - although I can't leave a comment. Absolutely no idea what's going on, so I'll have to get DH to have a look, in case it's a problem at my end. :0( Just wanted you to know, so you didn't think I was being rude and ignoring you or anything. Hope it's a quick fix, as I'd like to see all your pics - you've been real busy since my previous visits! :0)

Right, I am off to carry on with the Monthly Challenge now. As I said before, I changed my mind (again!) on how to finish this and had a basic idea tumbling around in my head (not much there to stop it these days LOL) but just couldn't get started with it. Glad I didn't because I had one of those sudden Eureka! moments this morning for exactly what to do on the back of the piece and, as it involves further stitching, I need to extract my digit and get on with it. All will be revealed on the 29th (thanks for confirming that Karen) via the album link on JA/S&S and I'll post pics and explain here in my blog then. :0)

Thanks again for all the lovely comments you take the time to leave, they are very much appreciated and make my day. Brightest Blessings to you all. :0)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

For Amanda and More Cards

The Ostara (Easter) weekend was very productive as I also managed to finish Part 2 of Carol Tinson's For Amanda SAL, which was another lovely section to stitch. Here's a pic of what would fit on the scanner: I love it when everything goes to plan and another stitchy goal is put to bed, don't you? It's also nice to know that I am up to date with almost all my pieces now - will post a pic of Memories next time. :0)

Thought I'd share pics of the rest of the cards I made during my mammoth session last week. Here's another male card which will come in useful for one of DS's friends:

I thought of my MIL when making this, as she's a keen gardener:
This girly fairy card is for my niece Erin:
I have another set of these embellishments so will probably use them to make a similar card for my neighbours little girl. Lastly here's a wombled card I made a while ago: the main piece on the front was taken from a card my DS was sent, as a thank you note from the chap he bought his masked ball outfit from:
I wasn't about to throw away anything so pretty and useful! LOL No wording on the front of this one, as I'll add that when I want to use it, whether it be as a Thank You, Get Well, Thinking of You or a Birthday card. Hopefully I'll get round to making a few more of these open cards, as they're useful to have around. :0)

Tonight's plan is to dig out ET and tackle the backstitching. YooooHoooo Julie and Mr Stick: yes, you read that right, I will be stitching on ET tonight. LOL

DS went in to his new place of work for an hour this morning, before going onto his current job, and will be going in again tomorrow morning for a bit more training with the chap who is leaving. While he was there a ship came in to the wharf, so he got to see some of the operation first hand. He's really looking forward to it and reckons that, although it's different to what he's currently doing, he should be able to pick it all up fairly quickly. It's good to see him all enthusiastic again. I've passed on the well wishes and he's asked me to thank you all on his behalf - and a big thank you from me too. :0)

This week can only get better because.......... guess what? There's a five night stint of Most Haunted Live, based in Turin, on Living TV which starts on Wednesday night. Yay!!!!!! Looks like I'll be getting a bit more stitching done 'cos I ain't going anywhere until it's all over. When I told DH and DS you could see the look of joy in their eyes......... not. As DS is out most nights at rehearsals or at Alex's and has his own TV and DVD player in his bedroom I can't see why he should be complaining. As for DH: well I did ask if it would mean some of the outstanding (quieter) DIY jobs would get done, as he wouldn't be watching it. You could hear a pin drop after that remark, so guess that's a NO then. EhEhEh! ;0) Oh, and the new series is currently running and that's on tonight - SIX nights of Most Haunted then. Double Yay!!!

Well now I've stated in writing for all to see that ET is getting some attention tonight I'd best go get on with it.

Many thanks to all for visiting - hope you're having a good week so far. :0)

Monday, 24 March 2008

Ozark SAL and Something For The Men

I still haven't had any lessons on how to get pics off the digicam and on to the computer so am still using the scanner at the minute. As promised, here's a pic of what would fit on the scanner of the Ozark SAL after I completed Part 3: That section was enjoyable to stitch and the band is so pretty - can't wait to see what next month will bring. :0)

Here's that something for the men - pics of some of the cards I made last week. Although it's a male themed card this one will be for our friend Alex, who is a keen cricket fan - she's the only person I know who actually understands the rules and scoring system (it's gobbledigook to me) and doesn't fall asleep while watching cricket (it's better than a sleeping pill, as far as I'm concerned!):
I shall probably save this one for DS's birthday:
I have a feeling DS may pinch this one for his Dad, either for Fathers Day or his birthday:
This one is a possibilty for FIL, although the card I made for his previous birthday was on a cricket theme, so I may well change my mind before then:
I shall post pics of the other cards I made another time, along with a pic of Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL, which I completed on Saturday night.

I shall start on Part 3 of the Memories SAL tonight. DH and DS are back at work tomorrow, so my days will be my own again and my plan is to concentrate on finishing the Monthly Challenge piece in the daytime, as it needs to be ready for Reveal Day on the 29th (I think). It will also be UFO Night tomorrow night, so ET needs to come out of hiding after a couple of weeks break - it would be nice to have a Happy Dance some time soon!

Well yesterday saw around 4" of snow on the ground here but it didn't hang around for long, so our trip over to see my DSis went ahead as planned - it was good to see her and catch up with everything. She showed me the two Scrapbook Albums she's bought recently: DSis is known as the "keeper of the photographs" in our family and she has decided to start scrapping the best ones into Memory Albums, keepsakes to be passed down through the family. :0)
We attended the Memorial Service in the evening: nowhere near as well attended as the pre-Christmas one but, in some ways, it was more moving. Instead of placing our candles on the steps to the altar area, like last time, we were invited to place them on a wooden cross that was laid on the floor in front of the altar and when we had all returned to our seats the lights were turned off, leaving the candles to shine forth. It was another magical moment.

Today has been sunny but bitterly cold. DH ventured down the local High Street to do a little shopping this afternoon but I've stayed indoors all day, where it's warm, getting a few jobs done. The Benylin only seems to be taking the edge off the cough and not really shifting it so Alex has recommended I try taking thyme tea. That involves taking some leaves of the herb thyme, steeping them in boiling water for several minutes, straining it, then drinking the herb water. The herbalist recommended this when she had a lingering cough earlier in the year and it worked for her, so I am going to give it a go........... providing my thyme has made it through the winter. I'm afraid I'm a sad excuse for a gardener and whatever is planted in my garden has to fend for itself (blushing with shame).

The Memories piece is calling so I'd best be on my way. :0)

Thank you to all for taking the time to visit and for leaving comments, they are all much appreciated. :0)

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ostara Blessings or Happy Easter

Ostara Blessings to all Pagans and a Happy Easter to all non-Pagans. Hope you are all enjoying the holiday. :0)

Sorry for disappearing but I just haven't felt much like blogging lately: still have occasional bouts of coughing (usually when I get chilled) so have been staying warm as much as I can - which means not spending too long on the computer at a time, as it's in the coldest area of the house. It was also the first anniversary of DH's DSis's passing this month and it will be Dad's first anniversary next month - didn't want to post and go depressing anyone else, so have been keeping myself busy with my crafts until I felt like being sociable again.

Here's a little sample of what I've been doing:
The yellow one I sent to my DSis.
The two blue ones are "spares" that will do for another time.
This pink one I gave to my neighbours for their two little girls. I really enjoyed making these, so carried on the following day and made lots of other cards too (will show pics in my next few posts).

Helen: I buy the triangular cards (from my last post) ready made. They are produced by Paper Mania and are available in most craft shops (I know The Range stock them). They also look really effective for Egyptian themed cards (pyramids) as well as Christmas tree cards.

Stitching wise: I've completed the Ozark SAL Part 3 section but will post a pic of that another time. That was pretty straightforward and didn't need much thinking about - just what was needed and I enjoyed stitching it. :0)
Am currently trying to finish Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL: I've just got to do some half diamond eyelet stitches and it'll be completed. Unfortunately I'm not sure if they're to be done with one or two threads, so have posted on the forum and am waiting for a reply before continuing - have already had a flippin' frog visit and don't want another one! Will post a pic of that when it's done. Helen: the thread you asked about is green and red (not grey and red) and is Dinky Dyes silk #75 Bush Christmas.
After a couple of false starts (the first got frogged, the second over 1 piece I'll carry on with at a later date) I completed the Alphabet Tree for the Monthly Challenge but got stumped trying to decide how to finish it - had bought a nice fabric for backing it but wasn't sure whether to use it. Tonight I decided not to and am hoping to get a back and the finishing done next week. I may yet make the deadline Karen. ;0)
Next up for some attention is Part 3 of the Memories SAL which I'm looking forward to - I think most of the stitches will be new to me.
Unfortunately I didn't touch Egyptian Tablet on UFO Night as I wasn't feeling too great (sorry to disappoint Lynn - no finish yet. LOL). Fingers crossed for making some progress next Tuesday!

Other news: My DS decided he'd had enough of his job this month (bang goes the discounted medicines - need to get better fast now! ROFL) . Once he'd made up his mind he didn't hang around: he updated his CV last week and sent it in to a couple of agencies; he then had a couple of phone calls and an interview at one to get on their books at the start of this week, then applied for several of the jobs that were advertised; he then had a job interview on Thursday morning and was offered the job and accepted it in the afternoon; Friday he handed in his notice to his boss at his current job. Next week he's working his notice but has an early start or two, going in to the new place for an hours training before going on to work, because they want him to start a week on Monday with his feet hitting the ground and running! Luckily he's a quick learner!
The new job is at one of the local wharves, working for an international company dealing with the import/export of steel products and the like - he'll be in the office and the word logistics came into it (I think that means making sure things are delivered to where they need to be as cost efficiently as possible but don't quote me!). It's a drop in money but he's OK with that: the potential and prospects are better here, they take part in team building exercises (he's looking forward to that as well) and it's more in the engineering side of things, which is where his interests lay. He's been like a dog with two tails ever since Thursday - a great improvement to how he was prior to that - so fingers crossed all goes well when he starts.
I have to admit I was a bit gobsmacked initially but, looking back, the way everything has just fallen into place, and so quickly, makes me think the Universe/Fate has stepped in to help things along - one of those freaky events that occur when something is meant to be. :0)

Barring any problems with the weather (snow forecast!) we are off to my DSis's tomorrow - I haven't seen her in over a fortnight, thanks to this bug I've had. I'll be wrapping up warm and fleecy blanket will be travelling as well! There's also an Easter Memorial Service at St Peter's Church (they provided the lay preacher for Dad's funeral service) in the early evening that we'll be going to. I hope they do the candlelighting bit again, as that was such a lovely, magical moment last time.

Many thanks to everyone for stopping by, and for the kind comments. I hope you are all having a happy Ostara/Easter break. :0)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Funky Flowers and a SAL

I shouldn't have bragged about the chestiness being more of an inconvenience than anything: yesterday my chest decided it wanted company and dragged my sinus into it. Result: every time I cough it feels like they're going to explode. So the best mate list, as it stands at the moment, is: Lemsip Max; Nurofen; Meltus; Olbas Oil and fleecy blanket. LOL

As I wasn't feeling up to much of anything yesterday I sat and watched Dawn Bibby's two-hour slot on QVC in the afternoon. I admit to being a bad lass, as I ordered two items: a set of jewel highlights, great for highlighting cards/scrapbook pages, and a kit with brass stencils, metallic threads, printed pics and instruction booklet for combining dry embossing, paper pricking and embroidery on cards. I've had my eye on that kit for a while and decided to give in yesterday - well, I needed cheering up! ;0)
Seeing all the lovely card examples was good too. One particular card gave me an idea and I finally set-to and made this funky flowers birthday card for DH's eldest niece. It's always awkward to decide what to make for his nieces as I really don't know what young girls of their age are in to these days.
The example I saw used papers as a background but I didn't have anything like them, so used my chalks instead. I have a "thing" with triangle cards - I can't leave the other two sides bare, as the cards just don't look finished to me that way, so here it is opened out so you can see all of them:
I love using chalks, as you get some really nice effects without having to try too hard....... and it meant this was a very quick and easy make.

It was Tuesday UFO Night last night but I had to beg off, as I just didn't have the concentration or stamina needed to tackle that backstitching on ET - hope Mr Stick doesn't mind! I carried on with Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL piece instead, as the stitches were all ones I've done before and they didn't need much thinking about. Here's where I left off:
Over the two nights of stitching I added the cross stitch design in the inner corners, the satin stitch bands in between, a rhodes stitch band across the top and made a start on the cross stitch letters and numbers band. Still to come is a row of herringbone stitch under that, then a band under that which consists of three different stitches.......... but you'll have to wait and see what they're like 'cos I'm not saying any more. LOL

I haven't started making up the Christmas ornie yet. The red fabric goes great with it but the beaded trim is the wrong red: this is more of a Christmas red but it needs a deeper, more burgundy colour - or maybe an old gold colour instead. The local sewing shop hasn't got any of either colour, so I've put it on hold until I can find some elsewhere. I've stopped looking for the reindeer ornies........ got fed-up of finding other forgotten pieces that need finishing (guilt trips galore!) and lurking killer dust bunnies (obviously hadn't been in those corners for a while - oops!). ;0)

Have now checked in my stash for fabric for the Challenge and none are quite what I had in mind, they're either too dark or too light - now trying pieces against the trim I want to use to come up with the next best option. Am going to get threads out in a bit, in an effort to make my final choices - all of this is the bit that takes the longest and is the hardest part for me, as I'm not good with colours. You should see some of the interesting combinations I wear on occasion! LOL
I may yet end up putting the trim back in my stash and starting again with another colour scheme that's totally different...... watch this space.

The windy weather is continuing here - everything seems to be staying in place on the house so far, fingers crossed. Hope it settles down soon as I really don't like it. So hope everyone else is faring OK with it, especially those living on the coast. Karen: hope the killer hounds aren't making you take them for beach walks at the minute! Sally: Glad to hear you're OK and not been blown out to sea either. :0)

Well DH has just phoned: he's leaving work early to go pick up a bit of shopping, then coming home to cook tea for us all! Flippin' heck: I must be sicker than I think! ROFLMAO. Guess I'd best go and make it look like I've done more than sit at me computer today then. ;0)

Thanks again for all the well wishes and for the kind comments on my cards and stitching - you all help make the world a brighter and happier place. :0)

Monday, 10 March 2008

Night Watchman and Windy Weather

No, not a new job but the project I concentrated on over the weekend, in between coughing bouts. Looking on the bright side, there are some benefits to not feeling too great: you aren't expected to shift yourself to go out anywhere; you're not expected to do any jobs around the house instead and there's a perfectly valid reason to sit and stitch for as long as you feel like it, totally guilt-free. ;0)
All that guilt-free stitching has seen Night Watchman develop quite nicely - here's a pic of where I left off last night:
The problem with it being an "as and when" project meant it didn't grow overly fast for much of the time, so it actually feels like I'm getting somewhere with it now.

Last night's sleep was a bit disturbed, thanks to both the windy weather and my chest. I got woken up around half a dozen times by some of the bigger gusts of wind but went back to sleep straightaway when they weren't followed up by any sounds of something having dropped off the house, thankfully. Woke myself up another few times by making the weirdest noise when breathing - it made me wonder if DH should go and fetch the WD40 because it definitely sounded like something was squeaking badly and in desperate need of oiling! If that's what having a couple of spoonfuls of Meltus at bedtime does for me I reckon I'd best leave the stuff well alone. ;0)

The yukky weather is continuing here today with occasional rain and more gusty wind - definitely not conducive to having a lay-in, so I was up early and have been getting on with my usual Monday jobs, ready for in case Alex comes round. I've just been taking things at a slower pace than usual so I don't cough too much and do myself a mischief. LOL Thanks to all for the well wishes: as you can probably tell I'm not too bad in myself, the chestiness/cough is more of an inconvenience than anything else - having a quiet weekend seems to have helped. I've got a bit behind with blog reading but hope to catch up in the next couple of days.

I hope all in the UK are OK and haven't suffered any problems/property damage in this latest bout of bad weather. Stay safe all. :0)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

As Promised.........

Digicam port thingies are fully functioning and pics have now been transferred. Yay! So here you go Julie, as promised, pics of Santa on his broomstick flying up the bannister at my house, as he's done the last two years at Yule. :0) A close up:
He's one of my alternative festive decorations - most of the others are more traditional, such as stars (which are representative of Pagan pentacles) and reindeers (which look awfully like stags - a potent image for the goddess' consort) with the usual pine tree, holly, ivy and mistletoe (all Pagan symbols used to decorate Christian homes at Christmas, as well as Pagan ones at Yule). If you look deeply enough, there are an awful lot of similarities between the two celebrations. :0)

Here's the pic of my DS in his outfit for the masked ball themed 18th party he went to the other weekend:
Unfortunately I couldn't get far enough away to get a full length view, so you can't see the great boots he had on. I was lucky to get the pics I did though, as he was itching to get off to the party.

As you've probably guessed we've stayed home this weekend. Whilst the weather has been better than expected (so far) I'm still not feeling great and have been having quiet days and curling up with my best mate, Lemsip Max, at night.

DH spent much of yesterday in the loft. No, I hadn't banished him there - he was doing the final fitting on the expansion tank for the central heating boiler. As it meant the boiler had to be turned off while he was doing this it didn't help my chest much. He did fetch in the little electric heater we use in our caravan but, whilst it keeps the caravan toasty warm, it only just about kept the chill off in the living room and didn't do much for the rest of the house at all - going to the loo felt like trekking through the Siberian Wastes. Bbbbbrrrrr! I didn't hang around! LOL Thankfully he got it all sorted by teatime, so when I'd warmed through I spent the evening stitching on Night Watchman - will post a pic next week.

The house is much warmer today but that's not stopping the irritating tickly cough I've now got. I keep thinking about rifling through my stash for fabric and threads for the Challenge piece but that's as far as it's got - thinking about it. The lazy option of finding a Miss Marple or a Poirot to watch and getting Night Watchman out again appeals more at the moment.

So far today DH has had a trip to the Amenities Site and back, taking a car full of broken and damaged stuff DS and fellow LTC folk had cleared out of their props cupboard yesterday, and that's about it. Exciting life we lead, ain't it? ;0) LOL

Right, I'm off to re-acquaint myself with the honey and lemon linctus, cuddle up with my other best mate, fleecy blanket, and get some worthwhile stitching done.

Thank you to all for visiting and taking the time to comment, it's very much appreciated. :0)

Friday, 7 March 2008

It's Friday Again!

Yesterday got off to a good start with the arrival of a pinkie from Jayne containing the Bianca's Scissor Pocket Ltd Ed chart from The Cat's Whiskers, with the recommended Dinky Dyes silks, that I pre-ordered earlier in the year. Isn't it a pretty design? I fell in love with it as soon as I saw the pic - it's so joyful and is a nice reminder of Spring. It also looks like it will be a fairly quick stitch and with straightforward finishing too. :0)

I had the stitching session on the Ozark SAL the previous night, as planned, then followed it up with an afternoon session yesterday and finally got it finished in the early evening. Here's a pic of what will fit on the scanner:

Pretty colours on this too but Boy, was I glad to finally finish with that border! Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL is printed out, ready to go, and so is the Monthly Challenge piece: haven't decided on colours for the Challenge piece yet (still playing with a couple of ideas), so shall stick with the SAL stitching for now.

Didn't feel too great last night and went to bed around 10pm (not like me at all) and woke up wheezing like a set of old bellows today, so not fit for much of anything at the minute. My DSis is to blame: she wasn't feeling well when we were with her on Sunday, so I've obviously breathed in her lergy. She had to go see her GP on Monday and is currently on anti-biotics and has been told to go back in a couple of weeks for asthma tests, as her oxygen level is lower than it should be. I shall phone her tonight, see how she is doing and let her know I've gone right off her - she's only supposed to share good stuff! LOL ;0)

DS is rather busy again: the rehearsals for Canterbury Tales are now in full swing, ready for Show Week in May, so he's out most nights. Strange how much quieter the evenings seem! LOL
DH is still busy at work, thanks to Disaster 5, which is still continuing to throw wobblers at regular intervals - it certainly seems to be one of those jinxed jobs that everyone will be glad to see the back of. Roll on his retirement! He's managed to have a play with the digicam port thingies, got them working properly (guess who hadn't realised they weren't!) and has had a go at transferring pics - still don't know how to do this yet, as I left him playing while I went to bed. Hopefully I shall get a lesson on it all tonight.......... my lergy and his job permitting!

We were planning on having a busy weekend, getting a few jobs done here on Saturday, then going over to Doncaster to take my DSis out on Sunday but between me and her not feeling too great and the weather warnings in the UK for severe gales on Sunday night and Monday morning (potential gusts of up to 80mph - forecasters are warning people not to travel!) we may have to have a re-think. It keeps going dark and dingy today, with occasional gusts of wind, so guess it's either already on a slow build up or just giving a warning of what's in store. :0(

Many thanks for visiting and hope you all have a good weekend, whatever the weather. Stay safe! :0)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Cardmaking and Backstitching

After I got the house jobs out of the way yesterday I decided to watch Dawn Bibby's 2-hour craft slot on QVC, for the first time in what seems like ages. I didn't order anything but did feel inspired to do some cardmaking.
I started out wanting to make a card for my DBro's birthday but this card seemed to happen instead:
Not sure how good the scans are, as the scanner seems to be flaring and leaving lines on everything at the minute. The gold peel-offs I used are much shinier IRL and the wording is on chipboard pieces that are much more 3-D.
Once I'd got that card out of my system I had more luck making DBro's birthday card:

Men's cards always seem harder to make, for some reason. As he's a keen DIY'er (unlike my DH!) it's a good theme for him. :0)

It was also reveal day for finding out which design we are stitching for the March Monthly Challenge on JA/S&S: it's a retired design from Blue Ribbon Designs called Alphabet Tree which the designer, Belinda Karls-Nace, has very kindly allowed us to use. It's such a pretty piece and is another one I shall enjoy stitching. So hope the other two designs come up again in another month, as I'd love to stitch both of those as well. :0) So far I have the chart printed out and that's it: still trying to decide what colour theme to go with and what finishing technique to try next. Decisions, decisions! LOL

As it was UFO Tuesday yesterday it was time to haul out ET and tackle some of the dreaded metallic thread backstitching. It was every bit as lousy as I was expecting it to be! There's loads of the thread supplied in the kit but there needs to be, as it's horrible stuff that starts to stretch and unravel as soon as it's threaded in a needle - the amount that ends up being wasted is appalling! Not sure if you can tell in the scan but all of the left side of the collar is now backstitched: the bottom two large rows were stitched last night.

One thing is certain: as soon as this piece is finished I will be investing in some Guttermanns metallics and won't be touching DMC ever again!

It seems the consensus vote for the ornie finishing fabric (in my last post) is the red fabric, so that's what I'll be using. Thanks for the comments ladies and wish me luck! LOL ;0)

The reindeer pieces are still missing in action! Have now looked in all the obvious places, made a start at looking in the not so obvious ones and got totally frustrated with the search, so guess it's time to send up an appeal to the Angel of Lost Property. That's not as weird as it may sound - it's worked every time I've done it previously.

DH fitted the new port thingies last night, so the computer is all set to rock and roll with the digicam for uploading pics.......... unfortunately he didn't actually show me how to use the darned things, so I still have no idea how to transfer them over. Sorry Julie: the broomstick pic is going to have to wait a bit longer but it will be posted............................ eventually! LOL

Tonight's plans are to get DH to show me how the port thingies work and transfer the pics, print out Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL piece and to carry on with the Ozark SAL stitching. Fingers crossed the Ozark inner border is finished soon - I'm starting to lose the will to live with that! LOL

Thanks again for taking the time to visit and for the kind comments - it's especially nice to know when folks share a liking for the same things (think there'll be a few of us watching The Other Boleyn Girl film!). Have a good day all. :0)

Monday, 3 March 2008

Gifts, an Opinion and a SAL

Hope all the Mum's out there in the UK had a lovely Mothers Day. :0)

We picked up my DSis and had our trip to Rosehill Crem yesterday, meeting up with DBro and his family there: we left some flowers and the tag I'd made by Mum's name plaque, then some flowers by Mum and Dad's plaque on the new monument and some near where Mum and Dad's ashes are. It was cold and windy there but it didn't seem to have put off all the visitors, as it was very busy, and all the flower offerings were so lovely and such a joy to see.
We spent the rest of the day at my DSis's. When I got home my card and gift from my DS were waiting for me - didn't get them before we left as he was sleeping off a late night at a friends 18th birthday party! Here's a pic of my card:
Inside it says: ME! with his name. DH swears it's me he takes after in the sense of humour department. LOL
My gift was the new Elizabeth dvd:

Can't wait to watch this, although DS has made me promise it will be on a night when he's out - he doesn't mind buying these things for me, he just objects to being forced to watch them, the Philistine! ;0) I think I'll be treating myself to "The Other Boleyn Girl" dvd as it's another one I want to watch/own. As you may have guessed by now I have a bit of a fascination with the Tudor era........ have always wondered if I had a previous lifetime back then. :0)

Alex isn't coming for her regular visit today, as she's currently on sick leave, after having a minor surgical procedure last week. I've still got most of my regular jobs out of the way though and have also carried on with the great safe place hunt - still haven't found those elusive reindeer ornies for finishing but I did find another piece that screamed "finish me":

Am debating making this up into a small fob-type ornie, backing it with one of the two fabrics in the pic but can't decide which, if any, would suit it best. What do you all reckon? Have also got some nice Christmas red fine bead trim that would look nice with it and/or some gold ribbon. Please leave comments or email me on what you think. :0)

I managed to do one threads length worth of stitching on Love Is You whilst at my DSis's yesterday but it's not worth showing a pic of - didn't manage more as the fresh air got to me and I fell asleep, as did DH and my DSis (think we're all ready for the knackers yard! LOL). Thought I'd show you where I've got to with Part 2 of the Ozark SAL instead:

Can't fit the whole width on the scanner (DH hasn't had chance to fit the new bits to the computer yet, so can't use the digicam) but it'll give you an idea on the design and colour - isn't it pretty? Must get on and finish this as Part 2 of the For Amanda SAL is now out and I want to start that soon. We should also be finding out what the Monthly Challenge piece is today and I'm determined to complete it on time this month - not bothered which piece it is, as all three were lovely pieces and all ones I would love to stitch.

Usually I stitch in the evenings (seem to get more done then), with an occasional afternoon session when the mood takes me, but I think I may have to start with a few more regular daytime stitching sessions until the SAL's are completed, in an effort to keep up with everything. I would dearly love to start the mixed stitch Papillon SAL, as it's so pretty, and the Loopylou Elegance SAL that's soon to start over at JA/S&S is also mighty tempting - that design got my vote when the SAL was first suggested, as it was one I wanted to stitch - but have finally had to admit defeat and tell myself no: got enough to keep me busy already and any more would be just too much pressure. It's supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, not a pressurised chore. :0)

BTW, the 18th birthday party DS went to on Saturday night was a "masked ball" and he went in fancy dress and a Venetian style hat/mask combination. As he got ready here, rather than at a friends house, I actually managed to get a couple of pics this time and plan on sharing those as soon as the new bits are fitted to the computer. :0)

Thanks for all the kind comments and sorry if I haven't commented on your blog lately: have got a bit behind with blog reading but hope to catch up with everyone's news in the next couple of days.

Hope those who are currently having snow are staying safe and warm, that you've all had a good weekend and all are having an easy start to the week. :0)

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Off To A Good Start.....

this weekend with the arrival of a pinky from Jayne first thing this morning.Inside were my monthly clubs goodies: Sassy's fabric, with the odd name of Gray Flannel, and another rainbow of Carries threads. The one at the bottom of the pic is called Pina Colada, my favourite this month - a bright splash of Spring-like colour, just what was needed on such a dreary windy day!
There was also the lovely Knot Garden chart inside, a new release from Christine of Alchemy Stitchcraft:

I think I may well stitch this in the same colours as in the pic, as they really "pop" on the black fabric. This was one of those "must have" charts for me as I like interwoven knot/Celtic/Mandala designs - this piece works on so many levels, it will be a fascinating one to stitch. :0)

The day continued on a high note, as DH decided to take us to the Pink Pig for dinner. The food was as tasty as always - I love their tuna melt paninis, served with homemade coleslaw and salad that has their own-brand honey and mustard dressing drizzled over it. Especially glad we went, as I found out they're going to have another Psychic Evening in May: there will be a two-course meal, followed by an evening with psychic Ian Lawman giving messages to members of the audience. We went to one of these evenings a few years ago and it was brilliant and my DBro was one of those that Ian gave messages to. It got even better today when the guy actually walked into the restaurant while we were having our meal - he's got the most gorgeous eyes!

After that we had a trip down the local High Street so I could go to the sewing shop. I got some ready-made cord, some beading strip, red ribbon with bead hearts attached and a couple of fat quarters of Christmas fabric. The cord, beading and fabric are for finishing a couple of ornies I stitched ages ago and the plan was to finish them tonight.......... unfortunately I seem to have put the pieces in a safe place - yes, the one that you just can't find when you need the things you put there! Sheesh, those brain fart moments are coming so often it's starting to get worrying!

Next we popped to Cram's (a local computer shop) and came home with the goodies DH promised to get: a port for the digicam and another bit that you can slot the card in. Don't ask me to do tech speak, please, as I've no idea what they're called but one is so I can plug the digicam cable in to download a couple of pics from it to the computer, the other is so I can download all of the pics from the memory card to the computer. It means I'll soon be able to retrieve those pics I've been promising to share for ages, as well as being able take proper pics (instead of scans) of my stitching etc to post on here straightaway. Yay! We also got the flat screen monitor, our belated Valentine's gift, and that's all set up and I'm using it now. Wow, does it make a difference! No more squinting at the screen or having to constantly scroll up/down/left/right to see everything on a page - much easier on my eyes. :0)

While DH was setting up the new monitor and trying it out by playing a few games of Spider Solitaire (well, he said he had to make sure it was working properly LOL) I made a Mothers Day card and tag, ready for us visiting Doncaster tomorrow. This card will go on the hearth at DSis's, with some flowers: This tag will go by Mum's name plaque at Rosehill:
We've also got some pretty carnations: white ones that have deep pink petal ends. Mum loved her flowers. :0)

Stitching: I didn't touch the Ozark SAL last night but continued with Night Watchman instead. Will show a pic another time, as it's only growing slowly. None done tonight as I've been searching for that safe place! LOL.

Many thanks for all the kind comments, especially after the earthquake, and about Memories and ET - very much appreciated. :0)

Hope you are all having a good weekend and are staying safe through this windy weather. A Happy Mothers Day on Sunday to all those in the UK. :0)