Saturday, 30 August 2008

Seeing Stars?

No, not quite......... but you can see my first Thursday Night SAL WIP pic of Sea Stars by Ink Circles:

The colour isn't quite right but it will give you the general idea. Unfortunately the scanner has come out in sympathy with the printer....... it's also gone on the blink (it makes a couple of crunching noises and I get a pretty rainbow band across the middle of everything that is scanned) so I had to take a pic with the digicam in the evening with poor lighting and the flash going off.

The fabric is one of Jayne's own hand dyes (like a tropical sea) and is from one of my favourite colour ranges (the other being autumnal colours). Jayne also did all of the hard work by converting the colours to Carrie's Creations for me: the one I'm currently using is Antique Slate and that's the motif in the top left corner of the design.
Barb and Rosanne have made good starts too: all three of us are using quite different colours, so it's going to be fascinating watching the pieces develop each week. :0)

Last night was the first of a three night Most Haunted Live event which gave me a perfect excuse to sit and stitch in front of the TV for much of the evening (yeah, like I need an excuse! LOL). The project receiving some attention was the Ozark Mystery SAL. I started the first band a little earlier in the week, so completed that and went on to stitch all of the second band:

Again we could choose two out of six different band patterns to stitch with the two threads from the pack: Blueberry and Spring Green. I opted for the ribbon band, to slightly echo the scrolls in the border, and hoping it wouldn't end up looking like an epileptic tapeworm..... think it's avoided that. The top band was a no brainer: a thread with the name of Spring Green meant it had to be the leaves border. LOL I like how it's worked out to having alternate bands of nature motifs - that's happened more by pure luck than actual design. :0)

MH Live is on again tonight, so that'll be another evening of stitching, but am not sure yet which project to do. It's tempting to carry on with Sea Stars because it's a lovely stitch but, as it's a once-a-week SAL, it's a no-no. As I didn't do lots on Night Watchman earlier in the week that should probably be my focus......... another stitching session should make it worth doing a pic then. Guess I'll see what mood takes me later. LOL

Helen asked to see the crystal wand I mentioned in my previous post. I'll just point out that a crystal wand in no way resembles anything as seen in any of the Harry Potter movies, so I hope you're not going to be disappointed. ;0) Crystal wands are generally worked and polished lengths of crystal, usually no more than 6" long, which can have pointed ends (for focused use) or rounded ends (gentler). Some Pagans and Wiccans do use such crystals as wands, charging them with their intention so it enhances their spells, assisting them in achieving what they wish for, but I'm not into spellwork or heavy rituals and prefer to use mine for healing......... and sometimes just for pure decoration because they are naturally beautiful. :0)

The large piece at the top is a rose quartz point which I keep on my bedside cabinet - a gentle, loving, soothing crystal that helps with sleep (it's also the best crystal for soothing babies and children). Below that is a rutilated quartz point and to the right of that is (if I remember rightly) a smokey citrine (a bit of an unusual one that I can't find a listing for, but it's popular with healers) and both of those sit on my bedroom altar - I haven't worked properly with these yet, I mostly just enjoy looking at them. The rose quartz and fluorite wand is bottom right: not only has it the rounded ends but it also has a worked twist along it's length - this I have used and it worked wonders on my neck and shoulder and sleep! :0) The bottom left piece is a kyanite blade that is useful in meditation and is another piece I seem to have an instant reaction to when handling - sort of a quick swirling sensation, mildly disorientating, similar to what you get when you stand up too quickly. I guess it's a sign they are working. :0)

Apologies for the not very good pic - it's hard to catch the inner look of a crystal on a camera that isn't that great, especially when it's being used by an inexperienced photographer. Guess I could do better if I actually knew what I was doing, for a change! LOL

DS was up and out first thing this morning to take Alex to a hospital appointment and he hasn't put in an appearance since, so she must have fed him afterwards. DH and I were going to go out to a garden centre for dinner but changed our minds when we realised how warm it was today. Staying in has it's benefits: the lawn has been mown and the edges strimmed and a little weeding has been done and I've had time to blog. If he feels really enthusiastic we may even get a bit of conifer trimming done too. Tomorrow we are off to visit my DSis as I haven't seen her since about a week before we went on holiday......... it's been a while so there'll be loads to catch up on. :0)

Thank you for the kind comments on Guen. :0) It will be good to have her as my first HD in September............ the HD's have been few and far between in 2008, due to having quite a few BAP's on the go, so it's been nice to spread them through the year. ;0)

Many thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope you are all enjoying a happy weekend. :0)

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Deja Vu?

You may get a slight feeling of deja vu between this post and the last one, as Guenevere puts in yet another appearance.......... those Tuesday nights seem to be whizzing round at a seriously fast rate of knots (who can believe it's almost September already!). There are some differences though: she's now gained a chain stitch collar to her dress and about two thirds of the border has been stitched since the pic in my last post.

Both are in sparkly metallic rainbow thread, so it was slow going...... which means the anticipated HD won't be happening just yet. Hopefully there will be one next week - I've even got a new Egyptian-style music CD for the occasion. :0)

As for other stitchy things:
  1. I've completed all of the stitching on the plastic canvas Santa, got all the pieces cut out and picked out a backing fabric but haven't managed the finishing, so far, as things got a bit busy over the Bank Holiday weekend.
  2. I couldn't start the next part of the Ozark SAL as the charts were too small to see clearly so I had to wait until DH could get them enlarged for me - he's brough them in with him tonight, so I may start that tonight.
  3. No start on the Monthly Challenge piece either and I'm fast running out of time - I love the chart but think I may just have to bow out this time round.
  4. I picked up Night Watchman a couple of nights this week, saving him from neglect, but there's not really been enough progress to make a pic worthwhile.
  5. Have now got everything for Ink Circles Sea Stars and the SAL starts tomorrow (Thursday), so the next job is attaching the fabric to the scroll frame.

I've almost caught up with all my blog reading and commenting - only a couple more to get to now. Quite an achievement in itself, as there was loads to read.

Hope all in the UK had a good Bank Holiday weekend, as we did.

Saturday was Brigg Farmers Market, so DS was up and out to that with Alex first thing. DH and I went to a Mind, Body and Spirit event over at Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley. The centre itself would be worth a day trip on its own (we plan on doing that some time) but all our time was spent at the event. We didn't have any treatments - it was too busy and neither of us would have felt comfortable being on show to so many folks - but we did do a little shopping. I treated myself to a lovely incense burner from the Spiralling stall - where I also buy my incense from - and a 2009 desk top diary from the Magik Thread book stall; DH bought a second hand copy of a Culpepper's Herbal book; there were two blouses from an ethical clothing stall (this particular Cinderella shall be able to go out in those) and I couldn't resist a crystal wand of rose quartz and fluorite. An unusual combination and a talk with the stall holder revealed why I was drawn to it: fluorite is good for working on bad shoulders and neck and rose quartz is good for emotional balancing. As a 40-something pre-menopausal female who regularly suffers from shoulder and neck pain it explained why I had to pick it up and then felt an instant reaction to it - it is also a very pretty piece to look at. :0) I also had my Tarot cards read but with a different reader to usual (she was fully booked). It was interesting: many things she mentioned tallied with what I'd been told by the reader I usually go to and it was also good to compare someone else's style/technique. That night I handled the crystal and used it on my shoulder and neck as I laid in bed - I went on to have the deepest, soundest sleep I've had in a long time. :0)

Sunday DS was up and out early for a swimming session with Alex and her kids. DH set to changing the tap on the bathroom sink......... it took him most of the day, as he was feeling a bit "off". I pottered doing jobs in the house and garden, supplying DH with warm/cold drinks and having a blog reading catch up.

Monday we all went to a local garden centre for dinner, then had a look round: I'm still looking for a tree for the back garden and some of the pansies have now died off, so we wanted something to replace them. We came away empty handed because the sun was so hot it made us all feel a bit iffy. DS spent a quiet afternoon on his lap top (well, as quiet as any shoot 'em up strategy game can be) whilst DH went for a lie down and I sat out in the back garden, in the shade, with a cool drink. Still can't believe that: Bank Holiday Monday and it was sunny and hot! LOL Refreshed by his nap DH then went on to taking out the bathroom sink plug hole and replacing it with a new one that has an integral pop up plug.

Tuesday: DS was back to work and DH (he gets an extra day off for this one) nipped to Screwfix first thing for some bits to finish the plumbing job, then finished it. We've now got nice, shiney new fittings on the sink that all work properly - unlike the bits he took off! ;0) He then got ready and went off to a fishing pond out at Messingham for another of those man-bonding sessions with his work colleagues. He's getting a dab hand at this fishing lark too, catching 7 or 8 reasonable sized fish this time out (which made up for the zero catch on holiday). Meantime I was busy doing all the jobs I usually get done on a Monday, as Alex was coming round for a natter a day later than normal. Alex stayed a couple of hours and left around 6pm then DH got back around 6.30'ish feeling nicely chilled out. As all the fish he caught went back into the pond at the end of the day we had smoked salmon from the Farmers Market for tea instead. LOL

DH was back to work today, so it's back to being on my tod again. I've been sorting through all the stuff DH took out of the bathroom cupboard so he could do the sink jobs and all I can say is: how on earth did we manage to fit all of that in there? Plus: yuk, time for the congealing out-of-date stuff to go before it gets up and walks out all by itself! If I don't post again you know it's got me. LOL

Thank you for taking the time to visit and for all the lovely comments - very much appreciated. Hope you're all having a good week. :0)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Stitching - Yay!

You will all probably be relieved that this blog will now be getting back to the more relevant and serious things in life once again: stitching! LOL

Another JA/S&S Tuesday UFO Night has been and gone and Guen was glad to receive some attention after two weeks of neglect (got a queenly strop on about not coming away on holiday with us LOL). This time around I managed to complete all of the outlining of the dress and the folds:

That called for stem stitch - not whip stitch as I kept thinking (in brain fart mode again!). Good job I checked the instructions before starting or I would have been spitting - and frogging! I managed to find a bookmarked link to a site that has short video clips for various embroidery stitches, so I watched it a couple or three times before starting: glad to say it helped and I felt more like I knew what I was doing and made a much better job of the stitch this time around. :0)

Next Tuesday there's a chain stitch collar to do in metallic thread and some background, which I think is also in metallic. A HD is so close now I can almost taste it! LOL

I haven't, as yet, started the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge piece for August due to technical problems: my printer quit just before our holiday and it looks like it'll be having a one way trip to the great printer graveyard........... more commonly known as the electrical goods skip at the local amenities site. :0( DH is dithering over whether to network my PC to DS's printer or give in and buy an upgraded model that scans and does a few other things and sounds like it's only just short of having a built in coffee maker. ;0) Hope he decides soon because a printer is desperately needed now for a backlog of chart printing that's fast beginning to resemble a full-on log jam.

Wednesday got off to a good start with a pinkie from Jayne. Inside was:

On the left is this month's COM fabric called Gladioli, which is much more vibrant IRL (the digicam flash has washed the colours out a little). The goodies on the right are the fabric (Chocolate Crush - yum!) and threads for Jayne's new SAL piece called Friends Count that's due to start shortly. Can't wait to receive the pdf and start it, as it's a beautiful piece and sentiment......... and that's another reason for the urgent need of a printer!

Inside the pinkie was a sample swatch for another of Jayne's beautiful hand dyed fabrics that she kindly sent to see if it was what I was looking for for Sea Stars. It's perfect: just the right colour mix, shade and mottling (to suggest a moving sea) that I wanted. In fact it's so spot on I'm beginning to wonder if Jayne is psychic, as it isn't the first time she's been able to come up with the perfect fabric for me just when it was needed.......... it's getting spooky now. LOL I'm going to be a tease and not share a pic though - will wait until all the threads are chosen and it's been started. Well, a girl has to have some secrets. LOL

Thanks for all the kind comments re: my knee etc. The knee is now down to a dull ache (so long as I don't kneel on it or crouch down) and I only occasionally feel the need to take pain killers. I can even tackle the stairs without too much hassle - good job really, with the amount of laundry/ironing I've had to ferry up and down them this week! Oh for the convenience of a separate ground level utility room - a girl can dream! LOL

Angela: Fortunately our 'van wasn't as scarily propped on bricks as some were. Mind, if I'd known the site was like that I wouldn't have booked it (despite DH and DS). Would go back to the Valley again (out of season) but doubt we'll stay at the site again. BTW, you're already doing what Book Crossers do. :0) Registering and adding books doesn't take that long, plus you can even get an explanatory bit to print out and stick in the front of the books before you launch them into the wild. So hope someone picks Labyrinth up soon.

Thanks for all the kind comments - hope you've enjoyed your visits. :0)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Awards and a Tag

I still can't believe my blog has been given more awards and I can't tell you how grateful and honoured I feel that those who have given them think my wafflings are worth them. Thank you so much! :0)

Both Edda and Julie have given me the Brillante award.

Once again I will have to chicken out of nominating blogs for this one because just about all of the wonderful blogs I read have already been awarded it already. If I read and comment on your blog and you are one of the few who haven't already received this award then here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Please consider your blog nominated by me. :0)

Mylene has very kindly given my blog this award:

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated

As I didn't nominate any blogs for the Brillante award I will nominate extra blogs for this award, to make up for it. The blogs I'm nominating are, in no particular order:

  1. Julie's;

  2. Helen's;

  3. Karen's;

  4. Rachael's;

  5. Elisa's;

  6. Christine's;

  7. Sally's;

  8. Karen's;

  9. Dawn's;

  10. Miss376;

  11. Lynn's;

  12. Nicola's;

  13. Kyrie's;

  14. Edda's.

I could go on because there are so many more lovely blogs I read and enjoy, and I also hate leaving anyone out, but I guess I must stop somewhere. :0)

I was tagged by Miss376 Rules:You must answer the questions using only one word. Tag four others.

Here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? Downstairs

2. Your significant other? Working

3. Your hair? Greying

4. Your mother? Passed

5. Your father? Passed

6. Your favorite thing? Stitching

7. Your dream last night? Forgotten

8. Your favorite drink? Coffee

9. Your dream/goal? Wisdom

10. The room your in? Unfinished :0(

11. Your hobby? Lots

12. Your fear? Loneliness

13. Where do you want to be in six years? Alive :0)

14. What your not? Thin

15. Muffins? Chocolate

16. One of your wish list items? Motorhome

17. Where you grew up? Doncaster

18. The last thing you did? Text

19. What are you wearing? Clothes

20. Favorite gadget? George

21. Your pets? None

22. Your computer? Working

23. Your mood? Happy

24. Missing someone? Yes

25. Your car? Honda

26. Something your not wearing? Blouse

27. Favorite store? Range

28. Like someone? Certainly

29. Your favorite color? Many

30. When is the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? 11th

Have you any idea just how difficult sticking to just one word answers is for me? LMAO
BTW, No 20 is George, as in George Foreman Lean Mean wotsit grill and therefore totally innocent. LOL

I won't nominate anyone as I know tagging isn't to everyone's taste but if you want to take part, please consider yourself tagged and feel free to snag the questions etc. :0)

As this has been a word intensive and non-stitching related post I thought I'd lighten things up a little by adding a photo of the new family member we gained whilst on holiday:

He's quiet, is cheap to keep, makes himself very useful by propping open the living room door. His name is Baa-rry. ;0)

Many thanks for visiting and for taking the time to comment - hope you're all having a good week. :0)

Monday, 18 August 2008

More Holiday and Afterwards

Do you like the new header? It's a pic DS took whilst on his walk around the Langdale Pikes. He took it from the "path" that goes up between Harrison Stickle and Pavery Arch and it gives views of Stickle Tarn to the left, looking down Great Langdale Valley to Lake Windermere in the distance - Elterwater looks like a little puddle in front of it. Stunning view!

As there were quite a few long, soggy nights - and some days - to fill on our holiday I got a reasonable amount of reading done. I finished Big Chief Elizabeth by Giles Milton, which I enjoyed more than Nathaniel's Nutmeg (just me being true to form, as I love anything to do with the Tudors and especially the Elizabethan era). Next up came Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, another enjoyable one (thanks for the recommendation!). Finishing that had me finally joining the Book Crossing site, as I didn't want to cart it home with me (have you seen it? It's like a flippin' doorstop!), and the thought of launching it into the wild to see where it travelled really appealed. Once all the details were registered I was initially going to leave it in the Stickle Barn but then changed my mind and left it in the Brambles Cafe instead. So, if any of you are in the vicinity and you fancy a free read...... LOL.

By the time Labyrinth was finished we'd had the trip to Rheged and, as well as the cardmaking goodies from The Paper Shop:

I came away with a Pagan book and another one on the Pendle Witch Trials which became my next read.

It's quite a fascinating piece of social history that gives an insight into the prevailing mind sets and the religious upheavals at the time, both in Britain as a whole and particularly in that area, which gives a new slant on what led up to the trials and subsequent hangings. I finished that today, so have to decide what I fancy reading next - there's plenty of choice with all the books I bought from charity shops in May, plus what I also bought from Rheged and the 2 Ravens:

Remember all that holiday stitching I took with me? Well.......... in the end I didn't touch any of the ongoing projects at all *blush*
I did start on some early Yule/Christmas stitching though, does that redeem me any? LOL I started the plastic canvas Santa ornie kit and really got on with it the first week, then the knee pain kicked in and put me off everything, so progress seriously dackered off after that. Here's where I got to with it:

I picked it up again on Sunday night, whilst watching the Batman Begins DVD, and have done a bit more of the backstitching but not enough to make another pic worthwhile.

When I returned home there were two surprises waiting for me from stitching friends:

Helen had kindly offered to send me the chart of the AOY Sailor Boy design she knew I wanted to stitch as a memorial piece to my Dad, which is to be a companion to the Raggety Ann design I stitched for my Mum. When I opened the package I found that Helen had also very kindly sent the fabric, threads and needle to go with it, so I could start stitching it straightaway.
The other surprise was from Barb who had very kindly RAK'd me this chart from my Wish List:

It seems I enabled her at the same time, as she was browsing through my WL for a look-see, as you do, and fell in love with the design too. :0)

The generosity and kindness of stitching friends is amazing: they always have the knack of knowing what to say, or they do something really kind with perfect timing, that helps give you a boost and cheers you up. Thank you so much Helen and Barb (((((hugs))))) - every time I look at your gifts I get a big smile on my face and know I am Blessed by your friendship. :0)

I also came home to find that my blog has gained three more awards and I've also been tagged - more of that in a separate post, as this is already another long one. (Helen: it will be a dinnertime sandwich with two coffees read at this rate! LOL)

Thank you for taking the time to visit and if you've got this far you deserve a round of applause. ;0)

Holiday News

I'm back from our fortnight's holiday. If you find holiday news and pics boring you can skip this bit. :0)

This year we thought we'd do something slightly different and holiday on a static caravan park - partly due to the fact that DH didn't get round to servicing our tourer (and was too tight to pay to have it done professionally) and that we'd left it too late to book a cottage (most were fully booked, some only had a week left, which wasn't any good to us). The site was in the Langdale Valley and here's a view of where we stayed:

That's our car at the top of the hill and our static is to the right of it. When the guy said it was up the top of the site and out of the way he wasn't joking - we were on the highest point on the site and that hill is even steeper than it looks. Seriously hairy coming down it forwards in the car and even more so when you do it backwards....... I swear my hair is even whiter now! LOL

This is the free water feature we had at the back of the 'van:

On drier days, of which there weren't that many (perhaps 4 full days worth, if you add up the odd hour here and there), it was a trickle but on wetter days it could go to a full-on waterfall in a short space of time. The double bedroom DH and I slept in was at that end, closest to the waterfall - quite soothing most of the time....... with the exception being those occasions when I woke up with a full bladder! LOL Visions of being washed down the site during the worst of the downpours didn't happen, thankfully.

Whilst we could cope, just about, with the lousy weather - that was the worst we've ever experienced in all the years we've been going to Cumbria - the health problems I had whilst away were more of a struggle. Just a couple of days into the holiday I got a niggling ache in my right knee, though didn't think much of it and carried on with things: a food shop at the local Co-Op, a short walk in Elterwater, a trip on the ferry over Windermere to Coniston for an amble round (Ambleside was grid-locked, so we had a change of plan), a trip to Rheged Visitor Centre for a spot of shopping at The Paper Shop and the book shop, a meal in Sedbergh and a spot of trout fishing near Hawkshead. By the Friday (trout fishing day) the knee had me limping quite a bit and was getting much more painful - Saturday, Sunday and Monday it was agony to walk and I was popping pain killers like sweeties. Just to add in extra misery I got an iffy stomach Sunday and a bad stomach upset during the night - no fun at all on a gimp knee.

On Monday DH and DS had booked themselves into the Rookin House Activity Centre for archery, clay pigeon shooting and quad biking sessions. I was gutted at missing out, as I love the archery and shooting. They didn't get back until around 6.45pm. I think you can probably guess how I felt. The following day my stomach was OK but my knee was still painful, so we got in the car and had a drive over to Kirkby Stephen for the day and I popped to the Health Centre and saw a GP whilst there: he diagnosed Bursitis and I got some Cocodamol to take, as well as the Ibruprofen, and the rest of the holiday went a tad better after that.

On the Wednesday we had a trip to Castlerigg Stone Circle, not far from Keswick:

It's a lovely place to visit with some stunning views. I'm the one in the purple and green waterproof jacket who's trying hard not to put any weight on her right leg. LOL No idea who the chap is, I wasn't even aware he was there - not sure if that was down to the beautiful scenery or the pain killers. LMAO Had a trip into Grasmere after this but it was busy so we didn't stop long.

We had another trip to Kirkby Stephen on Thursday and this time our favourite shop, the 2 Ravens, was open. As well as having a good natter with the owners, I came away with a couple of books and a CD whilst DS bought more beautiful crystals and DH treated himself to a book. Afterwards we drove to Pendragon Castle:

It's linked with the Arthurian legend, though I'm not sure how much of that link is real or imagined. It does, however, have a romantic air (if you ignore all the sheep droppings in and around the ruins) and has great views up and down the valley.

Must say, though, that none of us fancied the idea of being around this place in the dark as it would be far less romantic and much more spooky then. :0)

On the Friday DS packed his case first thing then set off on a walk up the Langdale Pikes on his lonesome. DH and I did our packing, then drove into Chapel Stile for a little present shopping at the Co-Op, a coffee and toasted tea cake at the Brambles Cafe and a wander by the river. We spent a lot of time there on various holidays when DS was little, so it holds lots of good memories for us. We then set off to the Stickle Barn pub to wait for the wanderer to return....... which he did about half an hour later. Hot, sweaty, tired and with two blistered heels he was well ready for a pint and steak dinner! It was the first time he'd done a big walk on his own so it was quite an achievement.

Saturday we finished loading the car, then drove down to Chapel Stile for breakfast at the Brambles Cafe. Dinner was at a Country Harvest place near to Ingleton, followed by a short rest stop at the M180 services before finally making it home around 4pm.

Despite taking my walking boots, and even buying a new pair of hiking socks, I didn't once manage to put them on to go for a decent walk thanks to the knee problem. It put a real downer on things and it kind of defeated the main purpose of us going there. Still, at least DS managed to make up for it by getting his good walk!

There's lots more to share but this post is already long enough, so I'll save it for next time. I'll also start having a catch up with everyone's blog news from tomorrow - it may take a while but I'll get there eventually. :0)

Hope you are all well and having a great day. :0)