Thursday, 31 July 2008

A Card

Many thanks for all the kind comments regarding Guen. Thanks for the two week pass Mr Stick - will come back ready to tackle that whip stitch. :0)

Well, as I haven't any stitching to show - had planned on trying to do some last night but it didn't happen - thought I would show a pic of the card I made and sent to Julie for her recent birthday.

I used one of the new brass stencils and threads I bought from QVC a while back. It's a mix of paper pricking, embroidery and dry embossing with peel-off images coloured with chalks and
I enjoyed making it - paper pricking is quite soothing to do and chalking is my favourite form of colouring. :0)

Well, it looks like the overall view is to take as many projects on holiday as I think are needed to keep me occupied. Fair enough..... I can do that. :0) When sharing this info with DH he gave me a real beady look and grunted something about will they all fit in the one bag? (real emphasis on one). Course they will: it's a big bag and I know how to pack the optimum amount into it, don't I! ;0) So, the goodies going for a holiday with me (so far) are: Night Watchman; Moorish Woman (small version); a plastic canvas Santa ornie; Copper Beech hardanger piece and LHN Always and Forever, with fabric and choice of three threads (will choose one when I want to start it), plus all the necessary tools needed. HAED Mother Earth is still calling, so I may just have to squeeze her in as well. Reckon that little lot should keep me out of mischief, don't you? LMAO

The rest of the packing is going slowly. DH decided he needed to have a play with the empty cases, cool box, plus the fishing gear and fold-up seats etc to see how things will fit in the back of the Honda. It's got a bit smaller boot than The Tank (we could take everything and the kitchen sink in that) so fitting everything in needs some planning, apparently. That lost us about 45 minutes. He then decided to take the new Mini part out to the workshop to get it out of the way........ then promptly decided while he was down there he may as well check it out and grease up all of the moving parts. That lost another 30 minutes or so, by the time he'd cleaned himself up afterwards. He's now cleaning out the washing machine's filter. It's not getting the ruddy packing done........ and he's in the way, so I can't finish the job I was doing in the kitchen......... so I've come on here for a moan and a de-stress. Men!

DS disappeared off to Meadowhall his morning. We got a phone call about an hour after he'd gone: it seems they took the wrong turning and ended up on their way to Wakefield. As they didn't have a map or sat nav between them they rang up for directions to get back to Meadowhall - instructions were duly given. We got a phone call a while later to say they'd finally arrived. So it seems it's not just DH who has the knack of going places via the scenic route! LOL Let's hope they find their way home OK - DS still has all his packing to do.

Well DH has finally finished tinkering with the washing machine so I'd best go and carry on with the packing. This will be my last post before our holiday and I won't be able to post again until I get back....... unless I can manage to find an internet cafe. ;0)

Be good while I'm away - will catch up with you all again in a fortnight's time. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A Goal Reached

I set myself a goal earlier in the month: to have the dress pattern on Guenevere fully done before going off on our holiday. I managed to stitch all of the remaining black work pattern and all bar about seven of the metallic infill bits during Tuesday UFO Night and was determined to achieve the goal, so I sat and did those last few infills on Wednesday night. Here's a now fully clothed Guenevere:

I am hoping that Julie and Mr Stick will grant me permission for two weeks leave of abscence from UFO Night. :0) I promise to come back refreshed and ready to tackle the whip stitch that edges the dress and defines the folds in it. LOL

Actually, I had planned on doing the stitching on Guen in the afternoon but a combination of a walk with DH down our local High Street in the morning, when it was that sticky, breathing treacle kind of muggy, and the bright sun we had in the afternoon did for me: not long after sitting down in my armchair I fell asleep and didn't properly wake up until after DS got in from work. How bad is that?

The High Street visit was the result of the optician phoning the day before to let me know that my glasses broke as they were attempting to take out the old lenses, so could I come in to choose a new pair (at a discount) and have them fitted. As these are having much-needed transitional lenses in them and I want them back in time for my holiday doing this was pretty urgent, so DH took the morning off to take me there. I was really boring and chose my usual beigey coloured frames in a similar shape to what I've had countless times before, although these ones have a bit of gold fancywork where the ear post hinge meets the frame. I just don't like anything too flamboyant - the glasses are there to help correct my vision so I can see OK to stitch etc, not take over my face. LOL They've said the glasses should be back Friday afternoon, so fingers crossed! After that it was a trip down to the Building Society, then back up to Tesco Express to get some shopping on the way home. DH left me to put the shopping away so he could get to work.

The Mini is still off the road. Finding a replacement arm thingy has been difficult, thanks to the old style "real" Mini's parts being classed as obsolete by most parts stockists and getting what we need from the place we bought the Mini from is too much hassle this late in the day. Luckily a chance chat DS had with one of the drivers where he works turned up trumps: the drivers DS runs a small garage and he has the part we need, so it's being delivered to DS at work today. DH was hoping to get it fitted tonight but the weather has now broken and it's raining. DS and DH are both off work tomorrow but DS is having a trip to Meadowhall with his friends, to do some clothes shopping, and DH will be helping me pack and doing the thousand and one things that have to be done before we go away.......... so it's doubtful it's now going to get done this side of our holiday. Talk about carp timing!

Yes, I did say the weather has finally broken today. It's still somewhat muggy but is getting gradually cooler as another lot of rain falls. I can almost see the flowers doing a Happy Dance and the lawn seems to get greener each time I look at it! LOL I also feel like doing things again, so have made a start on the non-clothes packing and putting bits we need to take in the hall, ready to go in the back of the car. Plus I am going to finally sort out the stitching projects to take with me: Night Watchman is definitely going and I shall take Alchemy's Copper Beech, in case I fancy a change from cross stitch, but fancy taking a small new start as well. Mother Earth keeps calling too........ do you think taking four projects is a bit O.T.T? Bear in mind that, as well as keeping busy with some evening stitching, DS has said he'd like to go fishing at least once, so I'll need something to do while he and DH are doing that, plus DH and DS plan on doing a couple of bigger walks that not even in my wildest imaginings could I tackle these days, so I shall be spending those times on my tod - no computer access (*sob*), so it's got to be stitching. I don't want to get bored by just stitching on a single project for the fortnight............ hhhmm, maybe I should take a fifth project, just to be on the safe side? LMAO

Many thanks for the kind comments re: the Ozark mystery piece. There seems to be a mixed response to my question about mysteries. I guess it's all down to a case of either not doing them at all, or making a judgement call going by a designers previous pieces - I only decided to do this piece once I knew who the designer was. I've mostly enjoyed this mystery, have been happy that the thread colours have been some of my favourite colours and the patterns have been interesting to stitch and pretty to look at but I think it was a lucky choice, so will still remain cautious about signing up for any more. Call me boring but I definitely prefer seeing the whole design before choosing to stitch it. :0)

Many thanks for taking the time to visit (*wave* to newbies) - hope you're all having a good day, whatever the weather and whatever you're doing. :0)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Mystery

The Ozark mystery SAL, that is. Thought it was about time, after all the previous mentions, that I finally posted the promised pic:

This section consisted of the top two bands in the central panel. I decided to stitch the two bands that were on the main chart, rather than the alternatives supplied, as I liked the look of them the most. As I wasn't too sure about the Emerald Green thread, thinking it would dominate the piece a bit much, I stitched the little flowers in the same colour thread as the scrolls in the border to break it up a bit. Am still quite taken with this and glad I overcame my usual "What if I hate it when it's finished?" reluctance to sign up for paid mystery pieces.......... but it's doubtful I would rush into another one when this is finished.

Why? Well I've come to the conclusion that my stitching gratification has to be more instantaneous than a drawn out monthly drip feed. Whilst receiving the section and pretty threads each month on a mystery is OK (who doesn't like getting a stash surprise every month? LOL), there's nothing that beats seeing a design in its entirety and getting that immediate "Wow - I've just got to stitch that" itchy fingers reaction..... with the extra satisfaction of adding it to your stash. I don't know, maybe it's just me being weird again - my DH and DS certainly think I am at times! LOL I'd be interested to know what you folks think about paid mysteries.

I am currently in hot weather stitching slump mode: keep picking bits up with the intention of stitching but putting them down again because I just can't be bothered after all. It has got worse since I completed the Ozark section....... even the thought of a new start seems like too much bother right now and I really can't decide which, if any, projects to take on holiday with me. How bad is that?
Am hoping that tonight's UFO Night stitching will break the slump and get my mojo going again. There's absolutely no way I'm not taking part in UFO Night: apparently the hot weather has made Mr Stick cranky and I do not want a run in with a cranky Mr Stick! LOL

The Mini is still poorly, sick and balanced on the jacks: the arm thingy lost a bolt and DH bought a replacement for it yesterday but he's now decided it'll be best to replace the whole arm thingy (around £12, so not expensive - just means DS will have £12 less to spend on holiday). DH is currently having to run the lad into work for an 8.30am start....... and it's in the opposite direction to the steelworks....... and involves negotiating rush hour traffic on a main route into our town. DH was a mite cranky this morning so I don't think the earlier starts and extra running around are much to his liking. Roll on Saturday and the start of our holiday! :0)

Many thanks for the kind comments about my Challenge piece, they are very much appreciated. I've found they help as a very good motivator and encourage me to keep on trying new finishing techniques, so am especially grateful to you all for that.

Thank you for taking the time to visit - hope you are all having a happy, stitching-filled day. :0)

Monday, 28 July 2008

July Monthly Challenge Reveal

It was the Jayne's Attic/Stitch&Stasher Monthly Challenge Reveal Day yesterday (Sunday) and the album was open to view. What a visual feast again: another rainbow of different thread and fabric colours and lots of different finishes. There were a couple of finishes I hadn't seen before: a "pencil case" style bag for one and another member stitched other pieces and finished the whole as a cube-shaped hanging. It's always a fantastic source of inspiration and I love taking part. Many thanks to Karen and Julie.

So what was my finish this time around? Would you believe, yet another first - a tin finish:

Debbie Draper Designs: Love freebie;
Fabric: 28ct cream evenweave;
Thread: Carrie's Creations Grape Medley.

I used Mill Hill beads instead of the individual cross stitches in the border. I didn't have a suitable piece of fabric to cover the whole tin, so compromised by using ribbons and some funky fibre round the edges (yes, there's a bit of glittery stuff in the fibre):

To the right you can just see the ribbon that goes round the lid. I used some Kates Kloths hand dyed felt to line the inside of the lid, base inner and outside base:

Once again my digicam pics have come out a bit blurry but they give you a reasonable view of everything. It's far from perfect but it was another invaluable learning curve, so I hope to do better next time. Thanks again for the tins Julie. :0) Now looking forward to seeing what the choices for August will be - am hoping to take part, despite having our fortnight's holiday. How's that for keen? LOL

I got the Ozark SAL section completed, despite the frog visit, but shall save the pic of that until another time - got to save something to show you because the stitching has slowed right down, thanks to the hot weather. Yes, we are having something of a heat wave at the moment as the sun is still shining down on the UK and looks set to stay for another few days. The electric bill is going to be a horror this time around, thanks to rising prices and the extra used by the electric fans we have to keep running. So glad we're not on water meters: with all the extra cool showers we've all been taking that bill would have been a bad one as well. As we are off on holiday next Saturday what's the odds on that the weather breaks before then? LOL

We didn't do a great deal over the weekend, thanks to the hot weather. DH took the opportunity to paint sealant on the concrete that butts up to the sun lounge roof, in an effort to stop the rain leaching through every time it rains. DShad a trip to Brigg Farmers Market - although he was under strict instructions to only bring back as much as we can finish up this week. So it's our favourite cold smoked salmon and salad for tea tonight. :0)

Sunday we went to my DSis's, had dinner at The Servery then back to hers. Later in the afternoon, when it was marginally cooler, he helped sort out the wooden base struts under DSis's new shed so it sits flatter and is better supported. After our holiday we'll go back so he can make sure it's all screwed down properly and put some more wood round the windows to make sure the windows can't be popped out - then DSis can start transferring things over from the old shed.

Sunday DS had been to Castleton (Blue John Caves area in Derbyshire) for a walk with some of the more energetic LTC members. Good job he took the sun block....... and went in someone else's car! When he got back he was going to drive to a friends house but, when he started to reverse out of the drive, one of the something-or-other arms (real technical! LOL) broke on the front passenger side wheel - it wasn't going anywhere with the wheel at that angle, so he abandoned it and walked. When we got home DH had to get the car jack out to put it under the Mini to support the weight, to stop any further damage to it. He's had a trip to DC Cook's today to get a part for it. Guess what those two will be doing tonight? LOL

Today I got as many of my regular Monday jobs out of the way as I could before it got too hot - the hoovering can wait until it gets cooler. Alex will be here shortly and, as it's the school holidays, she's bringing Grace with her this time, so I'd better be off.

BTW, Dani: I love your blender approach to the flippin' frog. LMAO.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and a quiet start to the week - will catch up with all your news later. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Friday, 25 July 2008

That Flippin' Frog........

is definitely doing the rounds at the moment and the little so-and-so landed at my house last night! :0(

I started the next part of the Ozark SAL on Wednesday night and got about half of the first band done, no problem. Last night I started merrily stitching away, determined to get the other half of the band completed, and was on the final couple of stitches when I realised it wasn't going to fit because I was one flaming stitch out. Let's just say that what left my mouth next definitely wasn't "Oops, oh dear, never mind" and let's leave it there! Every stitch done that night was promptly frogged, then a certain level of bloody-mindedness set in - I was not going to go to bed without having any real achievement to show, so promptly set about re-stitching it all.

I eventually got to bed around 2am.

An accurate description of the state of me today would be: eyes like yellow snow holes......... if you get my drift. LOL

Am now hoping to get on with the second band today and, sorry folks, I am sooooo hoping that the little green peril has decided to hop off and wreak havoc elsewhere. I shall show a pic of progress when it's all completed. It'll certainly be interesting to see everyone's versions of it this month as there is a choice of six different band patterns and two thread colours and it is up to the individual stitcher what they do. What a good idea. :0)

Wednesday night was a productive night really (waaay better than Thursday night for sure!) as, before starting the Ozark SAL, I finished embellishing the Berries and Leaves ornie. Here's the completed item:

The tassle was one of those ready-made ones that are such a blessing for folks like me who don't know how to make them. :0)
This is how the back looks:

It's nowhere near perfect - that slightly bowed edge attests to that - but I'm pleased with it, especially as it's not that long ago that I was too scared to even try these things. So that's three items from the finished items drawer finally completed and only another ??????? to go. Definitely keeping that info to myself as it's much too shaming to fess up. LOL

A BIG thank you Karen and Julie for starting the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge - without it I wouldn't ever have got up the courage to try these things. :0)

Many thanks, too, for all the kind comments on Guen and to those who mentioned books and their authors: I've made a note of those and will be looking out for them next time I go to the library. I especially like the sound of Labryinth by Kate Moss - I love Bonekickers (reckon it's one of only a very few good offerings on TV at the moment), so if it's like that it's a must read. In the meantime I've started reading Big Chief Elizabeth, which is written by the same chap who wrote Nathaniel's Nutmeg, and it's proving to be another good one - although I do have a bit of a "thing" for the Tudor era (second place to all things Egyptian though) so am probably biased to start with. ;0)

Today I'm currently melting in a third day of hot and sunny weather. Is this our summer at last? LOL Great drying day, so there's two machine loads of washing out there at the moment and that means I've finally bottomed the laundry basket. Yay! Bet you my two manage to fill it by the middle of next week though! My ankles and feet are a size or two larger than usual now - par for the course in hot weather these days - which was certainly not helped by having to walk down the High Street with DH yesterday for a 4pm appointment. At least we got to stop off at Il Sorriso on the way back, where his tea and my apple juice were a life saver. I shan't be repeating the experience in a hurry though: feet up, with a cold drink to hand, electric fan blowing and stitching in hand is about as energetic as it's going to get this afternoon. Feel free to join me.

Helen: sounds like you're going to be very busy over the school holidays. Give me a shout if Ozzie starts to wear you out - there's an emergency can of Red Bull here that I can send you. LOL. Seriously, I hope you all have a wonderful time. :0)

Well that cold drink etc are calling, so I'm off.........

Thank you to all those, regular and newbies (Hi Clare *wave*), for taking time to visit - hope you are having a good day and that you also have a lovely weekend, whatever your plans. :0)

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Another Royal Visit

As yesterday was that time of the week again - Tuesday UFO Night - Queen Guenevere had another outing. I got into the flow of the pattern quite nicely, so that meant I had a good stitching session on her. Here's how she looks now:

This time I also stitched the metallic thread infill, rather than leaving it for next time, which makes it feel like I achieved more. Another couple of sessions and she'll be fully dressed. LOL

My plans to finish the third Christmas ornie on Monday night didn't quite work out, not even getting as far as sorting the right colour beads for it, because after I'd had my tea I promptly fell asleep. When I eventually woke up I just wasn't in the mood for much more than watching a bit of TV before going to bed. Sheesh, sometimes I am more like a geriatric then a woman in her 40's! Am hoping to make up for it tonight.......... that's if the warm day and hanging out and bringing in two loads of laundry hasn't totally wiped me out, so I end up falling asleep after my tea again. LOL

To be honest, when I've had the chance, I've sat with my feet up today (in an effort to stop my ankles from ballooning in the heat) reading my latest book: The Ambassador by Edwina Currie. First one of hers I've read and it was an enjoyable one - although the concept of genetic manipulation being used to that extent and it being considered not only the norm but highly desirable, within a consolidated Europe of the future, was pretty unnerving. Will definitely be keeping an eye open for her other books now. I shall have to choose another read for bedtime tonight...... hmmm, wonder what to go for? :0)

Ooo, nearly forgot: after we saw Alex off on Monday night my neighbour called to us. He's now a proud Dad for the third time, this time to a bouncing baby boy......... and I say bouncing because he was a whopping 9lbs 13oz at birth! (Makes me wince!) Must admit I'd suspected baby had arrived: I knew she was due this month, had heard a baby crying last weekend and we'd spotted there were a lot more visitors than usual. Not that I'm seriously nosey or anything - it was a no brainer. ;0) In true Blue Peter tradition I sent round a Congratulations card that I'd made earlier. LOL Hoping we'll get to see the little one soon - he's no name yet, as they are still trying to decide.

I am now off to get myself yet another cold drink and look for something to make for tea.

Hope those in the UK are enjoying the change from rain to good weather. Thanks to all for visiting. :0)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Wow - A Brace of Awards

I am still reeling from the surprise and honour of being given not one but two awards. Wow! It's really made my day....... well, the year actually. :0)

Thank you to Elisa who gave me this award:

The rules of the award are:

Now I need to pick my 5 nominees with the following rules:)
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

The second award is from Christine:

These are the rules:
1. The winner can display this award on their blog.
2. Display a link to the person you have got the award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs you like.
4. Set the links to the blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a comment on the blogs you have chosen

This is where I am seriously struggling: I enjoy reading lots of blogs (way more than are in the Blog Roll) and for many different reasons, so it's really difficult to choose a limited number - how do I choose? How can I leave anybody out when they all give me such a lot of enjoyment? Then there's the fact that many of the blogs I read have been nominated for the awards already: is it OK to nominate them again or will it get annoying? Will they have trouble choosing too?

I really can't decide soo, like the big chicken that I am (squawk!), I've decided to give the award to all those whose blogs I read and comment. So: please consider yourself awarded my friends and help yourself to the logos. :0)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

A Brace Of Christmas Ornies

Many thanks for all the kind comments about Cleopatra, they are all very much appreciated. :0) She's now gone in my finishes drawer, waiting for the other pieces to be completed.

So what did I get up to this weekend? Didn't go out anywhere after all: DH's late night meant a late start on Saturday and the sneaky so-and-so made sure he rolled out of bed with just enough time to wash, dress, go downstairs to make himself a meal and coffee and park his behind in his armchair ready for the start of Grand Prix qualifying. I soon realised there wouldn't be time to go out anywhere afterwards, so I settled in for the day with a forum and blog reading session, followed by making a start on some Christmas ornie finishing.

Remember a while ago that I was searching for two reindeer ornies that had disappeared into that blackhole called "a safe place"? Well, I'd given up on ever seeing them again, especially as an appeal to the angel of lost property didn't throw any light on things (most unusual, as that usually works). Well, as I was scrabbling down between the side of the little cabinet beside my armchair and my big sewing basket the other day, looking for something else, Lo and Behold: there they were! I swear I looked there several times previously and they definitely weren't there. Anyway I decided it was best to make them up before they could disappear again. The first one is Saturday's result, a beaded pillow finish:

Back view:

All of it was sewn by hand, as I couldn't face wrestling with the sewing machine - I got real satisfaction from stitching it the slow way and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It wasn't all computer and stitchy stuff though: some of the afternoon was spent helping DH in the garden.......... after the GP qualifying had finished, of course. Both the lawnmower and the strimmer had an outing. We would have got a bit more done but got rained off, thanks to some of that typical British summer weather.

As DH and DS disappeared off to the theatre Saturday evening - it was Get Out after the performance, where all the set etc has to be dismantled and removed from the theatre - I made a start on the second ornie. This one I made up using pinkeep finishing instructions, as a practice run for making an actual pinkeep at some point: two matching pieces of card with wadding glued to them, then cover one with backing fabric and the other with the stitching, then glue them back to back. I used a hot glue gun, for an instant fix: it can get a bit stringy and the ruddy glue burns like merry hell if you're not careful but it does give quick results. I left off after this, as it was quite late, and my finger ends had had enough burns.

Sunday we didn't go out either as I wasn't feeling too great - felt as shakey and weak as a newborn lamb until I'd had something to eat and drink, then I felt better but not 100% (so hope I'm not coming down with something so close to our holiday!). Decided a quiet day in was best (much to DH's relief as he got to watch the Grand Prix), especially as the weather was so unpredictable, and went for distraction as the best medicine: over stitching the edges of the second ornie, then sewing on the corded edging. This was the result:

Back view:

The cording just wouldn't lay right at the bottom when knotted, no matter how many different types of knots we tried, and it started to get a tad frustrating - then I had one of those rare Eureka moments and fished that bead out of my stash. It's wire-wrapped with loops of wire either side and was ideal for slotting the cord through and holding it in place. Am quite pleased with both end results and especially with the learning curve on the second one...... pinkeep finish here I come! LOL

The design is called Reindeer (as if you hadn't guessed), kit #EXM 103 by Fleur de Lis. There was enough thread in the kit to stitch both pieces plus some left over - that's what I call value for money.

Sunday evening I made a start on finishing a third ornie, believe it or not. It's the berries and leaves piece some of you helped me pick the backing fabric for (red with gold leaves) a while ago. That ornie had disappeared into the blackhole for a while too and it resurfaced in the afternoon, again whilst I was looking for something else - as with the others, I decided it was best to make it up before it could go off travelling once more. It's all sewn up, I just need to decide how to embellish it. Almost three ornies in two days: now that's what I call being on a roll. :0)

BTW, I take absolutely no responsibility for anyone who was tempted by the Cotton Patch fabrics - I only posted a link so you could see where I got my goodies from. ;0)

Dani: I have got the Arabian woman (larger size) in my stash but the little one is called Moorish woman. There's a little similarity in style but the headgear and poses are different.

Jane: thanks for the thread suggestion. Unfortunately I only have a couple of OWS and they're not the colour you mentioned. :0( I mostly have Carrie's cottons and DD silks plus good old DMC.

Well, as Alex will be round a little later, I'm off to carry on with some jobs for now. I plan on carrying on with the third ornie tonight, while the finishing mood remains, then hopefully get around to some stitching - the next Ozark pack has arrived and I'd like to get that done and out of the way so I can concentrate on sorting things for holiday packing.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Thanks for taking the time to visit. :0)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Belly Dancing Time

Yup, the Egyptian Belly Dancing CD's had another outing yesterday for another Happy Dance. LOL

Here is Queen Cleopatra, in all her unwashed and unpressed glory, thanks to me being too excited to wait before posting a pic to share:

As ever, the scan makes the colours look a little washed out - they are more vivid IRL and so typical of Ancient Egyptian colours. I enjoyed stitching her and am now trying to decide if I now fancy starting one of the sister kits to go with this. No, not another Egyptian one: there's a Venetian and a Moorish woman to go with. I thought there was a fourth as well but I must have imagined it, as I couldn't find it when I looked (sheesh - yet another brain fart moment!).

Then again I may opt for something completely different. I've been eyeing the LHN chart Always and Forever as a potential start. I've got some R&R 30ct fabric in Goldfinch to stitch it on but am dithering over a thread colour, as I don't have the recommended one (Belle Soie in Mer Blue). It doesn't necessarily have to be blue so, folks, to help get my imagination going with this: what thread/s and colour/s do you suggest?

I had a stash package with a difference arrive this week, with no threads, no charts and not a single evenweave or linen in sight. What kind of stash do you call that? Patchwork and quilting stash or, to be more precise, fabrics and wadding samples that I bought from an online patchwork and quilting shop called Cotton Patch:

Aren't they lovely? No, I'm not taking up yet another hobby (mighty tempting as it is, as I've always fancied taming the sewing machine and having a go at P & Q). These 9" x 11" cotton fabrics and the wadding were bought solely with the intention of using them to make up cross stitched ornies of varying kinds. I enjoyed the browse through all the fabrics on the site and will most probably go back there again at some point....... there were lots more lovely fabrics that were mighty tempting. :0)

Tonight I shall be phoning my DSis, partly to check if she's got over her trauma (LMAO) but mainly to see how her day of babysitting our nephew Fin went yesterday - his teachers were on strike and DBro and SIL were working, so DSis stepped in to help out as it was her day off. She was well prepared for it: DBro was leaving Fin's booster seat, in case they decided they wanted a trip out in the car, and she'd also bought a packet mix to make some choc chip muffins and a badge making kit. Nice - brings back memories of when my DS was little! :0) I did ask if I could go for a play too but she wasn't having it and reckoned I'd probably eat most of the choc chip muffins. Huh! Right cheek, I told her - I'd probably have to fight her off first so I could get a look-in! LOL

Other plans for tonight? Well DS will be at the theatre again, as he managed to get roped in to helping out with a dance schools production of Mouline Rouge all this week, and DH will be out on a works male bonding night out in town (an excuse to go for an ale or three, as he'll not be driving)........ so I shall be in sole charge of the TV remote and have a selection of stitching projects that need some attention. Night Watchman is feeling neglected, as I haven't had him out of my work bag for ages and the same with Mother Earth; then Memories is waiting for me to get round to stitching the final part, as is For Amanda, and there's the thought of a new start beckoning. Guess I'll wait until after I've had tea and seen the two fellas off and then see what mood takes me. :0)

Weekend plans haven't been decided on yet. My DSis is working, so we'll not be going to hers, so I guess it all depends on what the weather is doing...... if the last couple of days are anything to go by, then it'll be more rain showers. Still, there are enough DIY jobs to do in the house to keep DH going for a very looooooooong time. LOL

Julie: if I suggested that DH would still be running next week - and not because of the beetle! LMAO ;0)

Well, that's it for today. Hope you are all having a good day and have a fun weekend planned. Enjoy! :0)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Here's The Proof.....

that I did actually stitch on Guenevere this Tuesday UFO Night, after a lack of stitching on her during the previous two weeks: I don't fancy tackling lots of metallic thread stitching right at the end of this, so decided to do all of the infill with it this time around - it really sparkles IRL.

Actually I stitched on her Wednesday night too, as I had numerous interruptions on Tuesday night and didn't get much done. DH kept wanting my input for various things on the computer - shouldn't complain, as he was sorting things out for me but it did get frustrating as I only got the odd few stitches in here and there.
Then I had a long phone call from my DSis. She was all traumatised from having a large beetle drop down her cleavage while she was sat watching TV! Apparently that had had her jumping around like a whirling dervish and speaking in tongues, although I reckon what she yelled would have been far from Biblical and the racket she made would definitely have had her next-door neighbours wondering what on earth she was getting up to. She said it was a good thing that the blinds were shut, especially by the time she'd done fishing the beetle out. When I stopped laughing for long enough I rather helpfully pointed out that she probably wasn't as severely traumatised as the poor beetle......... what she said next was most definitely Anglo-Saxon in origin. LMAO
Actually she was quite restrained: after she'd put all her clothing back in place, said beetle was scooped up in a newspaper (not flattened with it) and rapidly evicted from the house into the garden....... so he lives to tell the tale to all his pals. Wonder what they'll make of all that, then? ROFLMAO When my poor DSis rang off she went to have a bath. :0)

By the time I'd done with Guenevere last night there wasn't time to pick up Cleo again, so no HD just yet. I plan on making up for that today though, so watch this space..........

Pics of my Monthly Challenge piece have arrived with Karen and gone in the album - now it's a case of waiting for Reveal Day to see all the finishes. Can't wait!

Helen: hope you enjoyed the coffee, toast and peanut butter. :0) The optician told me that my eye muscles were doing something they shouldn't be doing (over compensating or something) and that was likely responsible for some bad headaches I'd had (in the eye exam it also meant that the vertical black line didn't stay central to the white dot but kept looking like it was wandering off). The prisms are to stop that from happening and help the eye muscles go back to doing what they are supposed to do. Despite the weird optical illusion with flat surfaces my eyes are much better now and there's been no sign of a headache since the first couple of days of wearing them (touch wood!). I'm a happy bunny because I can, once again, see to stitch and watch TV when there's a really good programme on, like Lewis or Bonekickers. :0)

Thank you for taking the time to visit and especially to those who leave comments - it's lovely to get the feedback and know I'm not just rambling away to myself. Hope everyone is having a good day. :0)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Belated Birthday Post

My DH has finally transferred everything, including my pics, to the new computer tower, given me a lesson on how to transfer pics from the digicam memory card to it (correct slot now found!) and I'm rocking and rolling again. Yay! So where do I start?

DH and I went to my DSis's on the Sunday 6th - DH went home in the evening but I stayed until the evening on Tuesday 8th, my birthday, when DH came over to take me home again. It was a good break and DSis took us out and I was very good when it came to helping her spend her money. LOL She bought a new fridge/freezer, a TV for her bedroom, a set of bedding, a vase and other household odds and ends. My tiny haul included some hair scrunchies, stickers and some make-up applicators (these are for cardmaking, as they're very good for chalking with!) - DH sighed with relief when he heard that's all I bought. ;0) I'm not very familiar with the roads around my home town any more (many changes since I left when I married) and my DSis openly admits that she can't navigate her way out of a paper bag......... so we went the scenic route a couple of times, which added to the fun. :0)

I had some lovely cards and gifts for my birthday and I thought I'd share a few pics. Here are the lovely cards I received from Sally and my PenPal Maggie:

A seriously cute bunny. Thanks again Sally. :0)

I also received this stunning handmade card, along with some lovely Polstitches threads, from Helen:

I hope my pic shows the glossy look of the mount and the sparkle of the metallic threads that are in the stitching. As I love all things to do with Ancient Egypt this is so me! Thanks again Helen, my friend, I love my card and gift. :0) In anyone needs to know: the figurine is Isis/Hathor.

Next up is a pic of the lovely card and gifts I received from my friend Alex:

The centrepiece of the card is made up of pieces of handmade paper made to look like patchwork with the addition of rub-on "stitches". There are also added brads and motifs - I love it and it makes me think of Alex's stitched patches. The fabric is Polstitches Stormy Skies, the Caron Wildflowers thread is Morning Mist and those black threads are different thicknesses of Mulberry Silk, ideal for blackwork. I also received some DD silks from DH (lush!), the DVD The Other Boleyn Girl from DS and my DSis gave me a gorgeous bracelet watch (the bracelet part is made up of Picture Stone) and a gorgeous handpainted Memory Box - that will be going on my downstairs altar and I shall probably keep my crystals and precious keepsakes inside.

Since getting home I've been "breaking in" my new specs. Not pleasant initially: for two days I could actually feel every single one of my eye muscles, as they ached badly, and I felt quite queasy, especially as the prisms ensure that flat surfaces do not look anything like flat but look to have a downward slope away from me. No stitching got done during those few days. :0(

Glad to say I seem to have adjusted to them now - although the downward slope sensation will not go away - and have been making up for lost time since. I can see my stitching and watch TV once more. Yay! The Monthly Challenge piece is now finished and, now I know what to do with the pic transfers, a pic will be winging it's way to Karen shortly. I also hope to be having a HD by the end of the week too: I've made Cleo my focus piece since Sunday and it's paid off well. :0)

DH and I were out and about quite a bit this last weekend, shopping and visiting a garden centre where we managed to get another pot for the other fuschia plant Dad gave us, and we got some jobs done in the garden. We also celebrated our Wedding Anniversary on Monday - that's 24 years together. As I said to DH: do you know, you can commit murder and get less time than that and you're let out even sooner for good behaviour. I thought I heard him mutter something along the lines of if only he'd realised that much sooner but I must be mistaken. LMAO. Guess I'd better make a start on a 25th Anniversary piece for next year........ I had initially fancied doing a red piece but that's more apt for a Ruby anniversary, so I'm now thinking of stitching the Elizabeth's Designs piece "Love Grows Here". Better extract my digit - initially I got the maths wrong and thought there were two more years to go, so hadn't factored this in to my stitching plans! Doh!

If I can find the wedding pic I know was on the old computer, but can't currently find on here, I shall post a pic another time......... and thoroughly depress myself on how young we both looked back then and how slim I was. ;0)

Well I guess that's enough for now, especially as I've just spotted the time - I really should have been in bed around two hours ago, at least!

Many thanks for visiting and especially for having the patience to read that little lot....... I so hope you made a coffee and put your feet up first! :0)

Friday, 4 July 2008

Weekend Witterings

Thank you for all the lovely comments about Alex's fabric box, she will really appreciate them. It's such a shame she doesn't get as much time as she would like to indulge her passion for embroidery.

No stitching pics of my own to share yet. I've completed stitching the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge piece but can't share any pics until Reveal Day, later this month. So far I'm pretty pleased with how it looks and I know how I want to finish it - just hope my skills are up to the new finishing technique I'll be trying!

I've stitched a bit more on Cleo but not enough to make a pic worthwhile. Here's one of a card I made the other day instead:

It's for my next door neighbour's youngest DD. I bought a Fiskars circle punch whilst at The Range last weekend and making this card was the ideal opportunity to have a play with it. I love those funky 3-D butterfly embellishments too and think they should appeal to my neighbours little girl. :0)

This morning (Saturday) DH and I had to pop down the local High Street. No fun at all, as it was absolutely persisting down with rain at the time. Despite using brollies we still got quite wet plus I also found out that my showerproof anorak isn't any more! Anyways, the errands got done and we also picked up our glasses from the opticians.......... and went home quite a few quid poorer for it. DH seems to be getting on with his new vari-focals OK but my new lenses made me feel nauseous and I couldn't focus properly, due to them having prisms in them, so they will take some getting used to. As we are going to my DSis's tomorrow and, in all likelihood, I'll be staying with her for a few days (she's got the week off) I've decided not to permanently change to the new lens specs until after I come back. If we are going to be out and about I have to be able to see OK, so I can give total concentration to the full shopping experience, don't I? LOL
Hopefully, once I get used to the new lenses, I'll once more be able to see clearly to stitch with my specs on and keeping them on means I'll also be able to see the TV. Yay!

When we'd finished down the High Street we went to a local garden centre for dinner and came away with a bird seed feeder, to replace the grotty old one, and a new pot. This pot is for a small fuschia bush my Dad gave me - it's currently in a plastic pot he set it in but it now seems to be struggling in that, so we decided it's time to give it a bit more room to grow. Hopefully it'll like it's new home and start to do as well as the one that is currently planted in the garden.
I have to say I enjoyed the trip to the garden centre more than the trip to Wickes DIY we had afterwards but, thankfully, it was a quick visit for a couple of items. Next was Brantano: I went in for a pair of slippers and some canvas shoes, didn't see any I liked, but came away with a pair of very comfy Skechers shoes instead - DH didn't spot any trainers he liked. We came out to bright sunshine and when we got home DS was pretty pleased with the change in the weather: it meant he and DH got to sort the fan belt on the Mini......... meantime, I fell asleep in my armchair. It seems I can no longer stand the pace! LOL

Well I have got a bag to pack so I'd better go get on with it. I will have a catch up with everyone after I get back from my DSis's - hopefully she won't walk my little legs off too much! LOL

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

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Miss376

1. What were you doing 5 years ago?
Sheesh, I struggle to remember what I was doing 5 days ago, never mind 5 years! LOL. Absolutely no idea.

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list today?
Wash the pots; do some laundry; potter in my garden; carry on stitching the Monthly Challenge piece and Blog. Not very exciting but it keeps me busy, happy and out of mischief. :0)

3. What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
McVitie's Milk Chocolate digestive biscuits; melon; Doritos & dip (don't have very often); crisps (occasionally); cheese and biscuits (occasionally).

4. What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Pay off my DBro's mortgage; help my DSis refurbish her home; totally refurbish our house and give it to DS; get DH to retire to our new bungalow and buy a motorhome so we can travel the country; plus I'd help as many cancer charities as possible, especially the hospices.

5. What 5 jobs have you done?
Shop assistant in a toy department; untrained nursery nurse in a private day care nursery; nursing assistant in a residential hospital for residents with learning difficulties; playgroup supervisor and, last but not least: housewife and mum.

I won't tag anyone, as I know some of you have been "got" a few times lately, but if you want to take part please feel free. :0)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Alex's Fabric Box

Here it is in all it's glory, Alex's Japanese kimono silk fabric box:

Unfortunately the camera flash has bleached the colours a little, as they are a bit darker than shown - the blue is actually navy.

The inside of the box has a removable inner that is lined with a contrasting fabric (again it's quite a bit darker IRL):

The back of the lid and an overall view of the beaded edging:

The beads used are: malachite chips; freshwater pearls; fimo leaves and some tiny pinky brown beads (that I can't remember the name of) and they go with it so well.

Each side has a different part of the silk fabric pattern covering it:

Every piece of the card and fabric for the box was cut out by hand, the card was then covered with the fabric and handsewn in place and all the individual pieces were then handsewn together...... for which a curved needle came in extremely useful. Not a drop of glue in sight! There will be a small knob on the lid when just the right thing for it has been found/made.

Alex made this at a workshop run by the local branch of the Embroiderers Guild, of which she is a member. The box feels as lovely as it looks too, as the silk is just gorgeous, and every time I looked at it I saw something different.

Many thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope you've enjoyed seeing this as much as I did. :0)

Some Tasty Treats

Not of the food variety but of the needlework kind - much kinder on the waist I find. ;0)

First up for viewing are the contents of this morning's pinkie:

July's Fabric Club is a piece of Polstitches 32ct Mythical Mermaid (Jayne knows me so well) and another stunning rainbow of Carrie's Creations. My favourite has to be Sea Mist and I really want to stitch a design using only this thread. What a great way to start the day. :0)

The seriously tasty treats are courtesy of my friend Alex, who not only brought her gorgeous stitchwork with her yesterday but has kindly let me hang on to them, so I could take some pics to post on here. Remember those little embroidered patches I mentioned in a much earlier post? Well here are my rather poor pics of them:

Whilst some stitched areas on the patches may be repeated on more than one patch no two are alike. Aren't they so pretty? Her plan is to put all the patches together onto one piece of fabric, using bands of black dupion silk between them but, as they are all different sizes, they won't be in a strict geometric pattern, as you get in a patchwork quilt. I am so looking forward to seeing it when it's finished as it will look amazing and yes, I will take a pic. :0)

I'll put pics of the fabric box up another time - it deserves a post all of its own.

Today has been a long, hot day and I'm really tired so I'm keeping this short and sweet, for a change, and going for an early night. I can hear the cheers from here. LOL

Wherever you are I hope you've all had a lovely day and thank you for visiting. :0)