Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Generous Friends...... and More

Our festive season was very quiet this year, partly due to my recuperation but also because DH caught some kind of lergy and wasn't feeling too great. I knew he was ill when I cooked him a lovely meal, gave it to him and he just sat there, with his head in his hands, looking at it....... not the usual approach at all. He eventually ate it but it took him about an hour to get through it, Bless him. He's now feeling (and eating) much better but has been to the GP, due to still coughing and having a sinus infection, and has some antibiotics to take. So far, thank goodness, I've managed to avoid it....... probably due to the no kissing ban I put in place as soon as his sniffles started. LOL

Santa, in the guise of a postman, came to visit several times on the run up to the 25th and brought several packages from kind and generous friends, so I had a lovely time opening them all on the day. I have to share, as they are all lovely. :0)

Remember the Santa in the previous post that Julie sent? Well she had also been very busy with her knitting needles because inside Santa was this fab stocking and inside that were some extra surprises:

I do love handmade gifts, appreciating the time and skill used to make them, and this one was a very festive gift indeed. The stocking was hung from the wrought ironwork piece that stands on the hearth in our living room (the piece you get a glimpse of when I take pics of hanging ornies) and it will be coming out every year from now on. Thank you again Julie. :0)

The surprise package that came from Sew & So was courtesy of Barb and she knows my tastes so well:

I have had my eye on the blackwork Angel chart for a while and Barb very generously included not only the threads to stitch her but also the lovely and seriously cute Cherubs hanger to display the piece on, once completed. I didn't know you could get that hanger so it was a double surprise. Oddly enough, I've been fancying starting another larger blackwork piece for a while but just couldn't settle on which one to do......... now I have. LOL Thank you again Barb. :0)

To continue in the Angel theme, here is the fab gift I received from Karen:

Sorry about the poor pic - the light here has been bad and my digicam just can't do close ups. This was another goodie I'd had my beady eye on for some time.... and kept on resisting temptation, because the money was needed elsewhere, so you can guess how delighted I was on opening the wrapping. *big beaming smile* And guess which project I will "christen" it on? Yep, on Barb's blackwork Angel piece, of course. LOL Thank you again Karen. :0)

The delights just kept on coming too. Remember the Mary Queen of Scots sampler chart I received in a trade a few months back? Well guess what I got from Helen that go with it perfectly?

I really like a lot of Mary Hickmott's work, especially the Tudor age range of cross stitch and blackwork pieces she's produced, and this one is no exception. I have plans to eventually stitch this and the sampler and display both together, so that'll keep me nicely occupied for some time. LOL Thank you again Helen. :0)

Last, but not least, of the gifts from Forum/Blogger friends was received from Clare and it had a selection of goodies inside:

The lavender and lilac pot pourri smells gorgeous and I plan on sharing it between my Craft Room and bedroom. The fabric is perfect for my favourite type of designs (a fairy, snowman or Angel) and the thread is an absolutely gorgeous colour. I shall enjoy choosing just the right projects for these. Thank you again Clare. :0)

I felt very spoiled after opening them. Thank you to each of you for your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity - I consider myself truly Blessed to call you all my friends. :0)

Another parcel was from my long term PenPal Maggie (no blog):

Aren't those rose petal soaps just so pretty? Far too pretty to use, so I've decided to have them on a shelf in my Craft Room (when it's completed) to look at, until I can bear to use them. Look at the trendy jewellery too. I don't know how Maggie did it, as she didn't know about it, but they go perfectly with a blouse I bought at the last M,B&S event I went to, which is another floaty sleeved top in a rich brown, with black hints - not a Jordash one but in a similar style.... but no shisha mirrors in sight this time. LOL

DH will be giving me money, as I asked for, as I'm still saving towards the Shamballah Healing Course, based at the local Alternative Healing Clinic I go to, that I want to do in the Spring. DS gave me the latest Tudor series DVD, to go with the full series of Rome DVD's that were shared between my birthday and Christmas. Christmas will be extended for us this year too, as we have yet to exchange gifts with my DSis, the in-laws and my aunt, uncle and cousin. Due to my recuperation, the lergy and the weather we had to postpone the planned trips to see them all - gutted, as I was looking forward to see them. Hopefully the weather will let-up before too much longer and we can go visit soon. :0)

As we were indoors for much of the holidays it meant a reasonable amount of stitching got done. The focus piece was Mother Earth, as I wanted to have a reasonable amount done, ready for the first posting date (January 3rd) over at the 2010 Weekly SAL Blog. It worked well...... though I doubt there'll be quite so much progress to show in successive weeks, as 1 over 1 stitching just doesn't grow very fast. I shall post a pic of ME another time though, as the updates haven't yet been posted on the SAL Blog.

Oh, and remember how I said that I wasn't going to sign up for too much in the new year because I didn't want to pressure myself too much? Eeeeerrrrmmmmm........ weeeelllllll......... that resolution kinda didn't last too long. Honestly I just couldn't help it. I mosied on over to Stitcher's Showcase yesterday and spotted that Elisa was organising a SAL for the lovely piece A Bouquet for Cheryl. Just one look at that design and an image of some gorgeous silk threads I had from eBay's thredfairy - just absolutely perfect for it - popped into my mind. That was it........ I found I'd posted a request to join the SAL and Blog before I'd had chance to draw breath again, let alone think it through. So it looks like I may just have to work out some kind of rota to make sure everything gets fitted in, doesn't it? LOL

The plan to catch up with the Christmas ornie SAL almost worked: I got up to November, as far as stitching went, but only managed to finish a couple of them. Hopefully the finishing mood will take hold soon and then I shall share pics of them.

As for other things....... DH, once he felt a tad better, got on with the flooring in my Craft Room and has half of it laid so far. Today he cut the board that fits up to the door jamb and did the edge sealing on that (all edges are having watered down PVA glue daubed on them, in case I spill anything in there - he's a belt and braces type of man). The final half should go pretty quickly now.

We have had a couple of trips out. One of them was to a DIY store where we bought a light fitting for the CR and discovered they'd sold out of the computer table I wanted, so we had an unexpected drive over to the Doncaster branch to pick up the last one in the whole of this area. No time to call in at my DSis's though, as DS had to be back for a Panto rehearsal. I was really glad to get the table though, as I haven't seen another one that I like half as much....... needless to say, both DH and I were shattered afterwards. I fell asleep in my armchair for two solid hours after that and slept solid when I went to bed that night! I may be nicely healed now but the stamina is slow to improve, so I very easily get tired at the moment - very frustrating. I go to see Jan, my Herbalist, tomorrow (Monday) so I shall discuss that, and the "tropical moments" I am now having, with her and see what delightful concoction she comes up with to sort me out this time around. :0)

DH is off back to work tomorrow (Monday) so I shall be able to go back to my regular routine and start having a catch up with all your blogs then - though with all the snow we've had it does get bitterly cold in here, so it may well end up taking a while as I'm limiting the amount of time I spend here. Thankfully that will greatly improve once the Craft Room has been commissioned - there's a BIG radiator in there, so it stays nice and warm. :0)

Thank you for all the festive greetings and I hope that you also had an enjoyable festive season and that this New Year brings much Peace, happiness and prosperity to one and all. :0)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Santa and Sea Stars

As promised, another post to show the early Santa deliveries I received during the week, along with that Sea Stars update. I wouldn't want you to think that I'd just been pulling your leg about it. ;0) Well, it's been that long since I have worked on it you would be quite within your rights to think I was kidding. LOL

First up is the adorable surprise I received from Julie:

Isn't he a cutie? He is now hanging on the door handle of the living room, making the place look festive. There's also another surprise inside but I am being good and have left it in there, to be opened on the 25th. Thank you Julie, I love him and am looking forward to finding out what secret he's hiding. :0)

There were a few other surprises arrived too, from Helen, Clare, Karen and my PenPal Maggie:

There was also an intriguing delivery from Barb which didn't make it onto the pic and I daren't get it out of the wardrobe to take one now as I'll be able to see what's in there and I want to keep it as a surprise until tomorrow. Roll on tomorrow, when I can open them all! Yes, I know - I'm a big kid really. LOL Thank you again ladies. :0)

As for the festivities: all the preparations that needed to be done are now done. DH popped down the street for a couple of last minute bits and pieces, then drove out to one of the local farm shops to pick up our New Year turkey and other bits and pieces, the Veg Box lady brought our veggies earlier and the duck is defrosting nicely, so all the foodstuffs are organised.
The tree hasn't made it out of the loft this year but DH and DS did get on with cutting to size all of the new flooring for my Craft Room instead, so I'm not complaining. Unfortunately a case of man flu has stalled the actual laying of the floor for now but it won't take long to do, once DH feels better..... and hopefully we shall hit the sales and get the new computer desk between Christmas and New Year, ready for starting the mammoth task of moving things in there in January. Yay!

My stitching has been going much more smoothly. Yes, the mojo has definitely had enough of its wanderings and has decided to stick around. Double Yay! LOL The first thing to benefit was Sea Stars which has now had the rest of the left hand frogged motif re-stitched in the right place and here's the proof:

In the post-frog lull I'd forgotten just how much fun this piece is to stitch. I've been a member of the Ink Circles SAL Blog, run by Rachael, for a while and have enjoyed watching everyone's progress on their various IC pieces (would you believe, I'd forgotten all about this SAL when I did my previous post - another brain fart moment!). This year Rachael has altered the blog to make it a monthly SAL update, so this will make doubly sure that I make progress on Sea Stars now. As an added bonus and incentive for all those participating: those members that post an update pic on the blog at least 10 months out of the twelve will go into an end of year draw for a little prize. How nice is that? :0)
So if you are an Ink Circles fan and have a piece you'd like to see progress well in 2010, why not come on over and join in the fun?

Whilst I was taking the above pic I got curious and wanted to remind myself of how much I'd actually stitched on it already, so had a bit of an unroll of the scroll frame. I can't unroll the whole lot as the fabric is stitched onto the frame but this should give you a general idea:

Way more than I remembered! LOL There's still quite a bit to go yet though, so those UFO Night and SAL girls will have plenty of chances to kick my butt into action, should it start flagging again. ;0)

In the meantime I've been cracking on with those Christmas ornies, in an effort to catch up. Would you believe that there is just one more, for December, left to stitch? Mind, there's still a whole lot of finishing off left to do..... so there aren't any pics to show just yet, as I prefer to leave those until they are all proper ornies. Guess what I'll be doing over the holidays? Guess I'd best go make a start then, hadn't I?! LOL

Thank you to all those who visit and to those that leave comments. May you all have a happy festive season full of Blessings, however you choose to celebrate it. :0)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Happy Yule

Yuletide Blessings to one and all.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Stitching Plans - 2010 SAL's

Now I'm feeling more like my usual self I thought I'd share a few stitching plans with you in this post, so you'll have an idea of what will be in store for the coming months, especially in 2010.......... which, I guess, will let you decide whether it's worth sticking around. LOL

As I mentioned in my last post I've joined the 2010 Weekly Stitch Along Blog, thanks to Gaynor, and I nominated my HAED Mother Earth piece. When I checked back for a pic I got a real shock when I realised that the last time I worked on this was way back in October..... 2008. Ooooopps! Now when I started this project I knew it would be a long term one but hadn't reckoned on it being quite this long term.... and heading towards official UFO status. So it's a good job I nominated it, isn't it? Here's where the stitching stopped back then:

There's an awful lot left to go but am sure the Blog Ladies will keep my nose to the grindstone with it. LOL Plus, the fact that I've now got the magnifier lamp will help things along too. It does help if you can actually see what you're stitching! The first official update for this is Sunday 3rd January, so guess how I'll be seeing in the New Year. ;0) If you haven't yet checked out the SAL Blog please have a look, as there are lots of beautiful projects that the members will be stitching on - very nice eye candy. :0)

As Mother Earth will be going into the Weekly Blog SAL slot that leaves Tuesday UFO Night, over at JA/S&S Forum vacant. Now some weeks I may just carry on with ME for this but there are a number of other projects I'd like to see progress now, and one in particular....... so for this I'm going to bring Sea Stars out again. (About time, I can hear Barb say. LOL) This fell by the wayside after a particularly sickening frogging episode that really spoilt the fun of the piece (anyone else feel like that?). This is where it was left off, post frogging session:

This is another piece that really needs to progress - it is now embarrassingly overdue, as Barb and Rosanne, the other SAL members, have long since finished theirs. Could this be my first large finish of 2010? That would be so good! :0)

New for 2010 is the JA/S&S Forum's Just Nan SAL. Now this particular SAL was inspired by seeing Julie's progress on her beautiful JN WIP piece Lady Scarlet. The SAL is an open one - in other words, you can stitch any JN design you want to - and the choices are varied. This is going to be another lovely one to watch, as well as participate in, whilst all those beautiful pieces develop. So what was my choice for it? This:

Flora, one of the Angels, which I chose because she will look lovely in my new Craft Room (whenever it gets finished! LOL). I'm using all the recommended DMC threads and Mill Hill beads - the only change I've made is to the fabric, which is Polstitches Sky High 28ct hand dye instead of the Antique White evenweave. Quite appropriate, I thought. :0)

I am going to be really careful of how many Challenges and other things I sign up for in 2010 as I don't want to overload myself and end up with the disappearing mojo problem again. If there's a Christmas ornie one going I will probably succumb to it, as my eventual aim is to have enough handmade ornies to fill our big tree, leaving the little metal tree for just blackwork ornies. The LHN ornie SAL tempted me but I decided to pass on it because the mojo was still awol and my cash is currently wanted elsewhere. Hopefully the one on JA/S&S Forum will continue..... and hopefully I'll actually keep up with it too. LOL

Health wise, as I said, I am doing better. Going upstairs no longer feels like a trek up the face of Everest and it doesn't hurt any more when I do it - good job because I've not been taking any painkillers for about 4/5 days now (started to get a paracetamol induced headache). The only thing that does hurt is sneezing, so I try not to do that too often. ;0)
Lifting and carrying is still banned, so I leave the heavy stuff to the menfolk - that includes asking the parcel delivery folks to bring boxes in for me, which they are happy to do when I explain that I've had an op and still have stitches in that I really don't want to pull. You can almost see some folks faces go green, so it's quite amusing really. Eheheh.
I go to the GP tomorrow for my post-op check up, seeing the nurse I know, as I'm comfortable with her....... and she'll take the time to answer any questions I have. She's also had the same op, so I know, from her own experiences, that she can give me a good idea of what to expect next. Although I have been having a few of those "power surges" already, though thankfully they are fairly mild at the moment. Maybe I won't need those Damart thermals after all. ROFL Fingers crossed for a clean bill of health. :0)

The blog reading catch up is almost complete - if I haven't visited yet I will be doing soon. Then there's an ornie finished, some cards made, a Sea Stars update pic and some nice post to share but I'll show those another time.

Thank you for visiting and for your lovely comments. Hope you've all got the bulk of your festive preparations completed and are now able to enjoy some "me" time. :0)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Slowly, Slowly.....

No, not catchee monkey....... slowly, slowly getting back to my usual self as things heal, the pain recedes and the painkillers are dropped, thus helping my befuddled brain gain some semblance of normality. Well....... what passes for normality for me, anyways. LMAO I am getting really fed up of seeing the same four walls now, so I guess that's another good sign of improvement too. :0)

I have to show you the fab decoupaged card that Julie kindly sent to me last week:

Unfortunately the scan makes it look all flat and lifeless and it's not like that at all IRL: the nurse and teddy are 3-D and the whole is very beautifully made. Thank you again Julie, I love it. :0)

I have also been slowly, slowly trying to catch up with some of those things that went on the back burner whilst my mojo took quite a long holiday without me. When I checked I got a bit of a shock....... I haven't actually completed any ornies for the JA/S&S Forum's Monthly Christmas SAL since May! Ooooooppps! As it so happens I had a bit of a stitchfest after my first hospital stay and completed two small designs suitable for ornies....... it just took me a little longer to get round to the finishing..... as you do. ;0)

So, for your delectation, here is June's Ornie:

Design: Blackwork Partridge, kit
Designer: Carol Leather, for X-Calibre Designs
Fabric: 14ct white aida, as provided
Thread: black and gold metallic, as provided
Finish: pillow style ornie with ruched ribbon edging.

Here's a pic of the back view, so you can see the gorgeous gold on black fabric that I got from Thread Bear:

The chiffon ribbon was a 5m reel of Anita's Ribbon that I got from The Range for 99p - bargain! There's plenty left of both the fabric and ribbon for finishing more blackwork ornies, which I plan on doing at some point as I really like the combination. :0)

For July's ornie it was a reasonably quick little DMC design - I bought the kit from a shop in my local High Street that sells some cross stitch goodies, back when I had my first venture down that way earlier in the year. It was designed to be finished as a card but I had other ideas as soon as I saw it:

Design: Snowflake, from the Mini Kit Christmas Range
Designer: DMC
Fabric: good old white 14ct aida, as supplied
Thread: DMC 825; 932; 3752; 3756
Finish: Prairie Schooler style ornie

I added some glass bicone beads (another eBay bargain) and Mill Hill seed beads to the corners to give it a little festive sparkle. And yes, that is some actual, genuine sunshine you can see in that pic........ but, despite it being sunny out, it is also decidedly chilly, as the deep frost we had last night is still on the ground in the sheltered places, like my garden. Ise a stopping in today, where it's nice and warm! LOL

I've also picked up a needle again and have been making headways into the JA/S&S Challenge piece that was supposed to be done in October (I think), then there's November and December's pieces to do...... they are all lovely festive designs, so they will double up as pieces for the Christmas ornie SAL............ and that will take me up to October for ornie's. So that leaves two more to complete to make it a full year of ornies. Reckon I'll manage it? Nah, not too sure either but will give it my best shot. :0)

In the meantime I had a think (yes, it did hurt - my poor brain wondered what was happening! LOL) and decided that my HAED Mother Earth piece has been very sadly neglected of late and is in real danger of becoming a UFO....... to rectify that I asked to join Gaynor's Weekly SAL Blog for 2010 and she very kindly let me sign up and nominate Mother Earth as my SAL piece. Now I have to make progress on it. Yay! That leaves the JA/S&S Tuesday UFO Night and I reckon Sea Stars should put in an appearance for that......... plus there are a couple of other pieces that have been waiting to have beads added for some time, so they would be good candidates for then too. Slowly, slowly the stitchy bug is returning. :0)

As for other news: DH is in the middle of the big Outage thing at work so he's been working late all week, though has been compensating by going in a little later in the morning's so he can make sure I am up and safely downstairs and has chance to do any bits of shopping or jobs for me. Thankfully he still has a job: he has essential knowledge on the Instrumentation side (please don't ask what that means - I don't know!) that the steelworks can't afford to lose, as he's one of only a few remaining chaps that have it, so they aren't letting him go..... yet. DH prefers it that way - it should be a better package when he's 55 years old..... he's got another 2 years to go. Hopefully there'll still be a steelworks here for that long.

DS is busy with rehearsals for the Pantomime, as well as seeing his DGF and friends. I am getting lots of quiet evenings and you know what that means folks.......... yes, I am in charge of the TV remote! Mmmmmwwwwwaaaaahhhhhaaaaaahhhhhaaa! (evil laugh, in case you were wondering). Unfortunately there hasn't been an awful lot on in the evenings worth watching lately and the plans to watch all those DVD's just hasn't happened...... it's either been reading (finished a couple more books - see side bar), a minor trawl of eBay or sleep that has won out. Hopefully, now the stitchy bug seems to be returning, I shall be sitting and stitching a bit more instead, so I may well get to see those DVD's after all. LOL

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to visit and for all the lovely comments. I will be stopping by to visit blogs in the coming days, as I have a catch up with all your news. :0)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Just a Quickie....

to say a big thank you for all the well wishes. Not only are they greatly appreciated but they seemed to have worked well, as I was allowed home on Sunday night. :0)

The operation went well, with no complications, and the wound looks to be healing OK - very neat and tidy. Just a tad sore and when I walk I do a very good impression of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is playing havoc with my back, otherwise I don't feel too bad at all.

Unfortunately I haven't yet managed to keep my eyes open long enough to tackle anything stitchy related..... but that will come. Whilst in hospital I actually found myself wishing I'd packed a small piece to do in there! The lack of stitching to hand did mean I got another book read from cover to cover though: another Angel book by Jacky Newcomb (see side bar)....... which I left with the young lass in the next bed, as - after she told me her story - I felt she could do with a little Angelic intervention, Bless her.

Right, I'm away to the sofa and my fleecy blanket as I am now feeling shattered. I haven't done much but am getting tired very easily. Time to catch some z's again. LOL

Thank you again for all your kind thoughts and prayers, they really have made a difference. Hope to have a gradual catch up with you all in the coming days. :0)