Friday, 28 November 2008

A Gift and an Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ship Ahoy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mini Rollercoaster Days

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

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

Even got some more of the trachea stitched too. LMAO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A Catch Up Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Bright Eyes and Birthdays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 10 November 2008

Stash, Sea Stars and a RAK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Owl Be Seeing You....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Mystery Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 1 November 2008

A UFO and a SAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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