Friday, 30 January 2009

Limited Progress

That's what I had this week on my Sea Stars piece during last night's SAL Night.

A little earlier in the evening I had a bit of a funny turn whilst serving up our evening meal - and it wasn't funny HaHa, either. I think it may have been down to a blood sugar dip, due to eating later than I'm used to these days, as I did feel a bit better once I'd eaten. Guess it could also be down to the Herbal treatment working and the Candida objecting - all I know for certain is that I felt as rough as a butcher's dog very quickly. I have to call in at the Clinic tomorrow anyway, to pick up some new stock of herbal teas, so I shall see if Jan is in and have a word if so.

Unfortunately feeling out of sorts with myself seemed to have an effect on my needle as I battled constantly knotting threads throughout the evening. Result: progress wasn't great.

The smallish motif, at the bottom on the far right, was the one that gave all the trouble - was so glad to get it finished. Also made a start on the larger motif bottom left. When I had a small frogging session on this (one flippin' stitch out on one of the "hooks") I gave up, put everything away and went to bed.

I feel OK'ish today and have pottered round doing a few things but energy levels aren't great, so have given myself permission to have a quiet afternoon. Consequently, when I've done here I'm going to put the TV on and make a start on one of the Challenge pieces. :0)

Our organic veggie box arrived earlier today and has another lovely selection of goodies in it. This time around it has, as well as the usual kinds of veg, celeriac in it - boy, is that one plug ugly veggie! LOL Had this included last time as well and added half to the beef and veg stew this week - very nice. The other half of that will get used tonight, with some beetroot, but this one I think I may well make soup with next week, from a recipe off the Veg Box web site. Two things that are new to me though are kale and Pink Fir Apple Potatoes - guess there'll be a bit more experimenting going on next week. LOL BTW, if anyone has any of their favourite recipes they're happy to share I'd really appreciate it, thanks - I don't mind trying new things (DH does too, within reason, but DS doesn't always) but it's also good to go with someone else's tried and tested recipes too. :0)

That's all for now...... the stitching is calling. LOL

Hope you're all enjoying some stitchy time too. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend all. :0)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

An Owl, Books and More....

It was UFO Night again over at JA/S&S Forum last night and, despite being tempted to get Mother Earth out for a change, I carried on with Night Watchman as I thought it would be nice to give him the rest of his body.

He's a handsome little chap. LOL

Yesterday saw the choices for February's Monthly Challenge being posted at JA/S&S by Karen. We can choose one of the heart design freebies from Elisa's Passions to stitch and finish as we want. A quick choice this time and the chart is printed off ready and I have a reasonable idea of what I want to do with it re: colours and finish........ which makes a nice change. LOL I've also decided on the design I want to stitch for the Challenge for a Finish piece, a redwork heart-shaped ornie: chart is printed out and thread and fabric chosen but I'm still trying to decide on how I want to finish this. Guess I'll just see if anything occurs to me whilst I'm stitching it. Unfortunately there won't be any pics of those for a while.

As there's a lack of any other stitching or craft pics to show I thought I'd share pics of my latest acquisitions. While I was in the Hospice book shop last Friday I spotted a set of books I'd had recommended to me some time ago by Lynn but couldn't get them at the time, as I knew I was going to be fairly loaded up between the new meds from the Herbalist and a Tesco shop. So, keeping my fingers crossed they were still there, DH and I called in on Saturday morning. Result - they were still there!

Three out of four of the Boudica books by Manda Scott. If I enjoy these as much as I think then they'll be joining my collection - meantime I'll be on the look-out for the fourth book, to go with them. Of course we had to have a really good look round while we were there and I ended up adding another four books to my haul:

Courtesans was from the Non-Fiction section and is about the lives of five specific courtesans: not just about who their lovers were but about the influence and power they held as leaders of fashion and society. The two books by Rosemary Hawley Jarman were recommended to me by one of the ladies in the book shop when there weren't any Philippa Gregory books to be found, as they are supposed to be written in a similar style - thought it was worth giving them a go. The Centurion book I was vaguely interested in reading but mostly got it as I thought it would appeal to DS - another prolific reader.

Meanwhile, DH had been rootling round the CD and DVD section. He'd found a classical CD he wanted and mentioned he'd seen a couple of CD's in there that I might like, so off I went for a rootle of my own whilst he looked at a book I'd spotted and thought he might like. Rootling was successful and I had these three CD's in my hand by the end of it:

I love the sound of panpipes, whether they are playing native music or a version of modern music (like these CD's), as I find them very soothing. I've been listening to them today as I've been doing a few things around the house and feel really chilled out now. LOL I love the songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and as I've not been able to listen to the cassette for ages, due to the player being broken, thought I'd treat myself to a CD version. They didn't break the bank either: they were only a £1.00 each. :0)

I'm afraid DH is a typical man and doesn't know how to shop: whilst I'd got myself a nice haul all he came away with was his classical CD and a book about WWII called Bomber Boys. He has such a fascination with that whole period of history, despite being a most extremely laid-back pacifist, that I'm sure he must have had a previous life then!

My Amazon order came in two parts this week, with the first half arriving yesterday and the second half today. The Candida diet recipe books are great: full of useful info as well as lots of tasty recipes, so I shall enjoy having a play around in the kitchen with those. The other goodies I got were these DVD's:

All of them were in the sale and all were under a fiver. As you can probably tell by the first three I love a good costume drama and these will be watched many times......... obviously when the menfolk are out. DS gave me the Elizabeth, The Golden Age DVD as a gift a couple of years ago so I had to get the first one to go with it, as I have a passion for the whole Tudor period and like these renditions of Elizabeth's story (those beautiful dresses!). The DVD at the end is for DH - part of his belated Christmas gift. He finally chose what he wanted last weekend: a screwdriver kit, complete in it's own tool box, from Screwfix - not much, or very exciting, so I've added this to go with and will be keeping my eyes open for other bits that he will like. I tell you, he just doesn't know how to shop at all - even when he doesn't have to pay! LOL

Well I've got a beef and veg stew going in the slow cooker that needs checking and a couple of Challenge pieces that need a start making, so I'd best get on.

Many thanks for visiting - hope the waffle hasn't bored you. LOL ;0)

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Promised Update

Here's that update I promised.

First up is the January ornie I've finished for the JA/S&S Forum's Monthly Christmas Ornie SAL:

DMC Kit: #K4864 Baubles - Christmas Mini Range
White 14ct aida, as supplied
DMC threads, as supplied
Backing: Kates Kloth hand dyed felt

I changed the wording slightly. I'll admit to cheating with this. The stitching was completed back in December, before my mojo disappeared - as that was slow in returning and I was fast running out of time to stitch and make up one from scratch I thought it best to get around to doing the finishing on this. As it's a pretty simple design I decided to try the Prairie Schooler style of finishing for the first time - really pleased with the results and will use this finish again. I have a decent pair of pinking shears on order from The Cotton Patch, to make a better job of the edges next time round - fancy-edged cardmaking scissors (which is all I had to hand) really aren't up to cutting felt! LOL
I shall do better for next month - fingers crossed! - as I've already made a small start on February's ornie.

Next up is the card I made for my nephew Finlay's birthday:

He's actually in to robots and Dr Who and things like that but I didn't have anything suitable in my stash, so decided to use this simple balloon theme instead. What kids don't like balloons though? :0) It went in the post last Friday so should have arrived in plenty of time for his birthday this Thursday.

The next update is of Night Watchman, who got some attention again last week for UFO Night:

His body is filling in nicely and I love how the colour changes are used to give the effect of feathers - he's really standing out from the background now. I got myself a sale bargain with this kit but have to admit I probably would have given in and bought him if he'd still been full price - he's got such a sweet expression I wouldn't have been able to resist him!

Finally here's a pic of the birthday card I made for my DSis:

This is a rubber stamped image, stamped on the card with clear embossing ink which was then dabbed with chalks. I love this technique as it's easy to do and also gives a soft, dreamy look to images. I would love to eventually get some metallic and pearlescent effect chalks/powders to achieve a different look, as I enjoy using this technique.

Unfortunately there's no Sea Stars update this time around as I never did manage to stitch on it on Friday or over the weekend: I was too antsy to settle to stitching Friday night after the good news. Saturday day time DH and I were out and about: a trip down the local High Street in the morning, with dinner at Il Sorriso afterwards, then a trip into town in the afternoon - that left me too tired to concentrate in the evening. On Sunday we went to my DSis's for the day and these days I prefer to take just a small project with me (next SAL ornie, this time round) - although it's not often I get the chance to stitch whilst there as there's usually lots of news and things to catch up on.... too much of a distraction and that usually results in a frog visit, doesn't it?

The readings for Carpe Jugulum went well and rather surprised DS: he read for three roles and had two of them as his first and second choices (would have been happy with either), thinking he didn't really stand a chance at the third as it was for a fairly main character - but he was game to read for it anyway. He was stunned when he got the main character role - his face was a picture when he came in and it's one of the few times he seemed lost for words! LOL So pleased for him. Am pleased for Alex too: she read for the role of the Countess and got it! :0) From bits that DS has been telling us about the storyline it has us hooked already, so it's one we definitely want to go and see.

I had my usual jobs day yesterday (Monday) but Alex didn't come for her regular natter as she had her first rehearsal to go to, so I spent some of the extra time having a blog reading catch-up. Still a ways to go to get round everyone's but I will get there eventually. :0)

Thank you for taking the time to visit and a big thank you for the lovely comments on my Challenge piece - they made my day. Hope you're all enjoying the day. :0)

Reveal Day

It's Reveal Day for the Monthly Challenge over at the JA/S&S Forum. I so love Reveal Day and looking through the album at all the lovely pieces all the participants have stitched and finished - really inspiring.

We were given quite a choice, as we could choose any of the Papillon Creations freebies. I chose the blackwork Celtic design and this is how I finished it:

Hearts and Flowers by Papillon Creations;

Fabric: Polstitches 32ct Stormy Skies;

Thread: Carrie's Creation Twinkle;

Finished as a hanging pinkeep.

Unfortunately this just wouldn't photograph crisply enough so I took a closer view, in the hopes it will show the detail a bit better:

On the back I used a cotton fabric from the Leafy Glade Autumn range that I bought some time ago from The Cotton Patch:

Round the edge I twisted a sparkly silver and a lavender ribbon together and pinned it with cream pins. This piece is so me, as there are many aspects behind the choices I made: it incorporates two of my needlework loves - blackwork and Celtic designs; the design greatly appeals to me as a Pagan, with it's four sides and four "corners" - the four directions; because it's an interwoven design it has no beginning and no end, so makes me think of the eternal cycle (life, death, rebirth); the Celts were a very Nature orientated peoples and their Druids/Druidesses worshipped in the open air, in sacred groves - which decided the choice of the leafy glade backing fabric - which also continues the Nature theme of the stylistic flowers in the design - and silver is sacred to the Goddess, hence the silver ribbon. The hearts need no explanation. :0) It's now on display in our living room, hanging on the wrought ironwork fire "guard" that you can see in two of the pics.

Enjoyed this Challenge and am now looking forward to seeing what Karen has in store for us next month. Thanks Karen. :0)

Meantime I have joined Elisa's Challenge for a Finish blog. Each month Elisa will nominate a finish for us to do which I thought would be a good way of making me try a style of finishing that I haven't done yet....... or that I've been avoiding doing because it's a bit more involved than I've fancied tackling. Like the JA/S&S Challenge, there's no pressure either: if you can't fit it in it's OK, which I think is pretty good, and was the final decider for me. February's Challenge is a redwork heart shape finish. The one I did last year for the JA/S&S Challenge was my first such finish and it was a bit of a steep learning curve which left me wanting to do another one - mostly in the hopes that something was actually learnt from it and that a better job would be made of it second time round....... but I never got around to it. So now's my chance. LOL I shall start looking for a suitable design on Monday as I've been busy with other things today and we're out visiting my DSis tomorrow.

Am hoping to do a catch up post next week with some pics of recent card makes, another NW update and a pic of the ornie finish for the JA/S&S Monthly Christmas Ornie SAL (though I reckon quite a few folks will have seen that already LOL). There isn't another SS update though: I just haven't managed to stitch on it again yet, unfortunately.

Thank you for all those lovely, kind comments and for taking the time to visit. Hope you're all enjoying the weekend. :0)

Friday, 23 January 2009

A Surprise

I have had a wonderful surprise gift sent to me by Barb (no blog). On opening the Jiffy bag a lovely smell of roses wafted out, then I pulled out a very pretty drawstring bag and a card...... intrigued by the bag I opened it up to find a beautiful scissor keeper, matching fob and a lovely set of scissors, along with a friendship magnet inside. Just had to share some pics with everyone.

So wish I could take better pics, as these just don't show how those beads sparkle.

Here are some close-up pics - hope they show just how beautifully these are stitched and finished.......

........ and how pretty the colours of the fabric and thread are.

Aren't they gorgeous? I keep looking at them and still can't believe they are for me. The friendship magnet has a lovely sentiment and is now displayed on the freezer door with my small collection of other magnets - all of which have a special memory attached to them.

Thank you again for my wonderful surprise Barb (((((hugs))))) - I am so thrilled with everything. You made more than just the day for me. :0)

Today I had some great news but I shall keep that for my other blog. I will also share update pics and other stitchy things another time too.

Thank you for visiting and the kind comments - they are very much appreciated. Hope you all have a very enjoyable weekend. :0)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Walkabout Over

No, I've not been disappearing off to Australia (I so wish! LOL)..... that elusive stitching mojo, which had me wondering if it was gone for good, has now definitely returned and, as I thought you might need some proof of that, I'm back with those pics I promised.

First of all is Night Watchman. Here's a reminder link as to where I left off last time out...... and here's what he looks like prior to last night's UFO Night stitching:

More tree and more body has appeared. As I was well engrossed in last weeks Most Haunted Live 7-Night special this was a good one to work on, with it being so easy on the eye. Suddenly I remembered why I like stitching this so much, mojo kicked in, and it got some attention on Wednesday night, as well as on Tuesday UFO Night. Hope that makes up for forgetting UFO Night the week before (Oops!). Julie can you call off Mr Stick now, please? LOL

Thursday was Sea Stars SAL night but we were out at the Panto (Most Haunted got taped, though I've still got to watch it) so picked it up on Friday night as well. Again the enthusiasm for this piece kicked in once I started....... Here's a link to where I left off last time and here's what it looks like now:

I enjoyed it so much I carried on with it on Saturday and Sunday as well, to make up for not having touched it in a while. There's still a fair way to go before I catch up with Barb and Rosanne but at least I don't feel like I'm seriously lagging behind any more. LOL

As if to really prove the mojo is back to stay I carried on with the Monthly Challenge piece last night and actually got it finished. WhooHooo! I'm really pleased with the thread and fabric colours I chose, especially as I didn't ask for any input from DH or DS (like I usually do). The problem I have now is trying to decide what to finish it as. Oh, hum!

Haven't done the finishing on the Christmas ornies yet either, as yesterday sort of got away from me. Sheesh, if only flippin' housework wasn't necessary I could have got so much more fun stuff done......... though I must say that the idea of all three of us having to walk around buck naked due to a lack of laundry being done really does NOT appeal. Getting arrested for indecent exposure doesn't appeal much either. ROFL I know how I want to finish one ornie but not the other, so it looks like a trawl for inspiration on The World's Largest Collection of Smalls blog and it's sister site is on the cards....... and a nosey round the Freebie Gallery too, for good measure. Looks like another day might just get away from me a bit too. ;0)

DS will be busy with theatre things again soon, as the readings for the LTC's next production - Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum - are on this week. The performance is in May so that's why the reading and casting has to follow so quickly on the heels of the Panto run. I have a feeling DH may get a bit more involved too - though on the behind-the-scenes technical side, rather than treading the boards. One theatrical type in the family is plenty. :0) Alex also read for a part on Monday night so I'm keeping my fingers crossed both she and DS are lucky enough to be cast in the parts they would like. Final Casting is on Friday night.

DH is being kept busy and out of mischief by work and by a sudden rash of School Governor meetings. They're a bit like buses - don't have one for ages then 3 or 4 appear all at once. LOL He's also had to run DS in to work the past 3 mornings before going to work himself: the Mini failed it's MOT and has been having the work and a re-test done. New exhaust, new brake pads, a caliper (or something or other) freed up and a new switch fitted, among other things. The biggest problem was the new switch: it wasn't a standard part so the garage had to contact BMW and get them to send one out and there's been a wait until they posted it. Hopefully that should be received and fitted today so DS can pick up his baby this afternoon and be mobile once more. He's not looking forward to opening his CC bill next month. Oh, the joys of car ownership!

Jane: there's no need to go buying the Kate Morton book - I'd be happy to post this on to you when I've finished with it, if you don't mind sending me your snail mail details. All I ask in return is that you please journal on it on the Book Crossing web site when you've read it. :0)

Right, I'm off to get a few things done today (Wednesday) - some ornie finishing being one of them.

Many thanks for visiting and for all the kind comments - they're much appreciated and do make my day. :0)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A Wombling We Go.....

Oops - it's been a while since I've blogged again. Can't really blame one particular thing - more a combination of things that meant I had less time to spend on the computer than usual. Still.... I'm back now. :0)

Whilst DH was helping with the Panto Get In two weekends ago I spent some time with my cardmaking stash, having fun. So what has Wombling got to do with that? Well, being the frugal Yorkshire-born woman I am, as well as a keen recycler, I used various wombled items from other Christmas cards to make new ones. Yes, I finally got in the mood for the festive season! LMAO

These are the first three I made:

All the main elements are wombled bits and everything else (cards, paper, vellum, ribbons, backing card, peel-offs etc) is from my stash.

These were the next three:

All those metal tree trims were on one card - I cut them out and made three individual ones out of them. That's how you make a little go a long way! LOL

Next I took the cut out wording and a parcel from another card and made another two cards from those:

I love productive days like that. :0) The cardmaking stash got put away after that and I finally got back to stitching again. Yay!

So what have I been stitching? Well, I finally chose my fabric and threads and made a start on the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge piece - there's still some to stitch on that, as it seems to be slow going/hard work on my eyes for some reason, then there's the finishing to do too...... once I've made my mind up what to turn it in to. Better extract my digit though, as it's Reveal Day this Friday! Also got an ornie stitched for the JA/S&S Monthly Christmas Ornie SAL too.... but again, it's waiting for finishing inspiration to kick in. Pics to come later.
I've also had a two day stint on Night Watchman: Tuesday UFO Night (yes, I actually remembered last week! LOL) and again on Wednesday night (to make up for not stitching the week before). Then Sea Stars finally made it back out of the bag again last week. I didn't stitch on Thursday SAL night as we went out to see the LTC Pantomime Little Red Riding Hood that night but made up for it by stitching on it Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. You never know: if I can keep this up I might just stand a chance of finishing this not too long after Barb and Rosanne finish theirs, rather then lagging waaaaay behind. LOL I'll post pics of both next time round.

Reading wise: I've now finished two books and started a third this year. There's more information in the side bar and on The Reading Corner blog on the finishes. My new book (which I'm just over half way through) is The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, as recommended by Julie. Thanks Julie: it's a great read and I'm thoroughly enjoying it..... have yet to discover the secrets, though I can guess at one (Grace's Daddy). I'll be looking out for more of KM's books in future. BTW, Rachael Midnight is still available if you want it - please let me know your snail mail details and I'll send it off to you.

As for other things: DS had all of last week off as a holiday so he could concentrate on the Pantomime. It was weird having him home during the day but it was nice to spend some time with him. As I said, DH and I went to see it Thursday night and what a brilliant time we had! This was the best Panto yet, with a good story line, top acting, some nice songs and very funny one liners throughout (as in the Three Little Pigs: Laurence, Llewellyn and Bowen LOL)..... with lots of "Behind You's", Boo'ing at the Big, Bad Wolf and cheering for the goodies, which no Panto would be complete without. Word spread quickly about how good the Panto was because they were fully booked for every performance from Thursday night onwards: when a quick poll was taken from some of the adults about where they'd heard about the Panto nearly every one of them said they'd had it recommended to them by someone who'd already been to see it. Not bad going at all for an amateur group performance. :0)

The blog reading catch up was going really well..... until last week. As lousy weather is forecast I won't be tempted out of doors until I have to go out on Friday (monthly consultation with the Herbalist), so I shall spend a fair few hours of those indoor days re-catching up again. I need to see what you've all been busy with. :0)

As for the new eating regime: it's going fairly well so far. There was one slight hiccup on Thursday when DH took us to Uncle Henry's for dinner and shopping after: I got quite despondent when I realised there was absolutely nothing on the menu that I was allowed to eat! Everything had got at least one banned item as an ingredient, many had more, so off I trotted to see the lady behind the counter to explain my problem. I shouldn't have worried: after asking me what foods I could eat she popped into the kitchen to talk to Chef and they made up a lovely ham salad with a small jacket potato and a little rice salad for me. How good is that? Today I'm a happy bunny as I can now reintroduce some fruits into my diet: I love berries on my morning porridge and really missed them during the two weeks "NO sugar at all" ban. Welcome back berries! LOL I can also have apple, kiwi fruit, mango and papaya so we need to go shopping for those this week. My current food favourite is a rice flake milky pudding - no added anything, just as it is. Yum! I think I've lost more weight, as a few clothing items that were previously tight on me aren't any more and I'm going to need the reassuring security of a belt for my jeans and trousers soon. The problem is, after the first reappearance of facial bone structure and a waist, I can't actually see where the weight is going from now - the flabby bits are still flabby and don't look any different to me! I shall ask Jan, the Herbalist, to weigh me on Friday and see what the scales have to say about it. So wish I'd thought to take a tape measure to my body before starting all this - any change in those measurements would make it obvious where the flab is going from! LOL

In the interests of a little exercise, and a much needed tidy up, DH and I managed to spend a few hours out in the garden on Sunday, pruning back various things that needed it and shredding the trimmings. All that bending, there's no wonder my back and legs are aching today! We still need to attack the triffids at the bottom of the garden but we ran out of time and daylight - though we did manage to fill the brown bin and four bags before we gave up and went in. Not sure when we'll next be able to get out there as the weather has turned really foul now.

Today is my regular jobs day, ready for Alex visiting. I can tell something is definitely working with this new regime: I whisked round everything that needed doing in less time than it usually takes me, then added a couple of extra jobs to the "done" list too. That's despite the back and leg twinges. How cool is that? LOL That's it: a very shortened version of what's been happening since my last post.

Many thanks for taking the time to visit. Hope you all had a great weekend and a good start to the week. :0)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Last of the Old and First of the New

Meaning the last of 2008's received items and makes and the first finishes of 2009. Yes, it's back to the crafts at long last. LOL

I had to share a pic of the lovely decoupage card my PenPal Maggie sent to me:

Unfortunately my pic just doesn't do this any justice at all, as it's much more layered and dimensional than you can tell from the pic. So pretty. :0)

Another card, this time one I made for my friend Alex's birthday on the 23rd December:

As you can see I've still not tamed that flippin' scanner and it's left the card looking very "flat", so I shall be taking all pics with the digicam from now on. The image and wording were stamped then heat embossed with carbon and silver embossing powder - it and the darker backing layers glitter much more IRL. I do like the romantic look of this and was fairly pleased with how it turned out.

The next card I made for Karen:

The roses and butterfly are decoupage, so are 3-D. Karen's card was the last make of the old year and was a pleasure to do - I love those cards that just flow nicely and come together just as they've been pictured in my mind. :0)

So....... drum roll, please...... now we have the first finish of 2009:

Kit AY10 - Rose & Ribbon
Mini Motif range - Graphworks International
14ct cream aida
DMC threads
Charity stitch for Treetops Hospice, Derbyshire
Aperture card kindly donated by Claire

OK, so maybe a drum roll is a bit OTT for such a small finish but getting this done was a bit of an achievement with my mojo going missing during the festive season...... I actually started it back on the 23rd December but didn't pick it up again until a few days ago, when it finally got finished. Weirdly enough the renewed interest in stitching seemed to coincide with the day that the festive decorations got taken down and packed away. Go figure! LOL

To keep the renewed interest going I started another small card the same day and finished it up on the 6th:

Kit - The Medieval Knight
Medieval Miniatures range - The Textile Heritage Collection
Designed by Ann Orr
16ct? Royal Blue Aida
Possibly DMC threads

This one will probably be for my DS. Both kits I rediscovered after rootling around in my stash boxes, so that's two less guilt trips in there. Actually that was quite a useful voyage of discovery, as there are quite a few small festive kits in there that will do nicely for the JA/S&S Monthly Ornie SAL that Karen is running (thanks Karen!). Yes, I signed up for that because: 1) although I may not always manage to join in every month, at least it'll give me the incentive to stitch some ornies through the year; 2) it's a good way of getting through some of the stuff in my stash boxes; 3) my special tree still looked awfully bare again this year, despite a couple of nice additions to it - I'd love to get enough done to fill it this year. :0)

Another new year restart is the JA/S&S Monthly Challenge. This month we can choose any of the Papillon Creations freebies we want to stitch and then finish however we like. I like quite a few on there so the decision is a hard one to make - I've managed to whittle it down to three that I've printed out ready, so I shall have to make the final decision soon, pick out my fabric and threads and make a start. No sharing of that until after Reveal Day though.

Also restarting after the holiday break is Tuesday UFO Night and Thursday Sea Stars SAL Night. Unfortunately I got carried away with finishing the Knight card and totally forgot this Tuesday...... despite spotting the reminder on the Forum earlier in the day. A decidedly Doh! moment. Sorry Julie and Mr Stick - I promise to do better next week and dig Night Watchman out of the pile. Reckon he'll be glad of the outing, don't you? LOL

I think all that little lot will keep me busy and out of mischief so I'm not making any goals as such. I just want to keep up with the Monthly Challenge plus the Ornie and Sea Stars SAL's as much as possible and take part in UFO Night to get those UFO's completed. Oh, and keep up with the new dietary regime so I can get my health on an even keel and be a bit less fat. LOL

Whilst the mojo was intermittent then missing I did get a bit of reading done and finished a few books. You can see which ones in my side bar, if you're curious, and there's more info on The Reading Corner blog. I've also added another post to my Moonglow blog too. The blog reading/commenting is going well too, though I've still to make it to a few more yet - please bear with me.

And because it's a new year - and because I felt like a change - it's been out with the old look and in with a new one on my blogs. Not sure I'm totally satisfied with this one yet, so may still have another play with colours and things. Hope you approve. :0) BTW, can anyone tell me how I put a banner in my side bar, to show it's an Izzy Grace background, please? Tried several times with various "Add so & so" bits and it just won't have it. Ta very muchly. :0)

Many thanks for taking the time to visit. Hope you're all managing to stay warm and toastie during this cold winter weather. :0)

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

More Wonderful Gifts

This time I had to share with you a pic of the very lovely amber and silver brooch which was my main gift from my DH:

We spotted this whilst in one of our favourite shops: The Rainbow Room, in Market Rasen. It makes me think of the Tree of Life when I look at it and amber is considered to be protective and is often referred to as the Witch's Stone. I love the different colours of amber on it and am now waiting for the right opportunity to wear it. :0)

My Aunt and Uncle, knowing that we wouldn't be able to eat the biscuits and chocolate liqueurs they usually give us, gave DS cash (always useful), DH some whisky and these were for me:

Aunty D knows I'm a Pagan, so she chose something that was sure to appeal. I shall enjoy reading them and finding out more about Feng Shui and about labyrinths - especially the latter, as we have a very old turf cut labyrinth in Alkborough called Julian's Bower. The pic on that site is a little old: the labyrinth has been recut several times since then, so it sits much lower in the ground; the view out over the rivers has changed too, as they are now returning the farmland to floodplain, making pools and adding reed beds for the plentiful bird life and it's true - on a clear day you can see York Minster in the distance. We love visiting this place and whilst there I also love to indulge in a little game of "Spot my fellow Pagan". LOL

Earlier in the year I signed up and paid for Jayne's special hand dyed Christmas Stash Pack and, unusually for me, saved it to open with my other gifts. A gift from me, to me - to guarantee that I'd have some stash to open. LOL Here are all the lovely goodies that were inside:

This year the theme was Panto Time and all the colours have been dyed with that in mind. Very appropriate for this time of year and with DS being in the LTC Pantomime. :0) The fabrics are Count On Me Dick Whittington, Streets of Gold and Polstitches Cinderella and Prince Charming - reckon you can work out which is which in the pic. LOL All the threads are named for various panto characters and make a gorgeous rainbow. I'll enjoy using them, eventually....... for now it's just nice to admire them in my stash. :0)

Just in case you were wondering, the festive season wasn't all about sitting on our bottoms in front of the TV or doing jobs: we took some time out to hit the Sales, though not the usual ones. Nope, I opted for the craft stash sale at Brigg Garden Centre. LMAO. Here are the bargain goodies I came away with:

The Fiskars pieces are a shape cutter and some circle templates to be used with it. Those will make cutting out circles much easier - though I do need some smaller circle templates for them to be any use for making ornies. I shall use all of these at some point except the vellums, as they are intended as part of my PenPal Maggie's birthday gift, which is later in the year.

Today I've been a busy bee, getting up early to do all the prep for a venison stew to go in the slow cooker. The diced venison packs we got from The Pink Pig (another trip out while DH was on holiday) and the veg are a bit of a hotch potch, as it was a case of wanting to use up things before they spoilt. The last of the red onions, the second fennel bulb (finely chopped) and some leeks from the organic veg box went in there, along with some fine beans I found in the pantry and a couple of cauli, broccoli and baby carrot mixed packs DH grabbed from the Tesco Express (no stew packs so he got them instead). Added some hot veg stock, a good handful of pearl barley, a bay leaf and a sprinkling of other herbs and voila: one venison stew. No idea what on earth it'll turn out like but I had fun making it (I find chopping veggies whilst listening to chill-out music very therapeutic), the smells wafting from the kitchen are Mmmmmm and I guess we'll be finding out later. ;0) I stripped our bed and the bedding is in the washer, the Dyson has had an outing upstairs, the bin and recycling box are on the front, ready for emptying tomorrow, the bird feeders are filled, the tumble dryer emptied and the clothes put away/on the ironing pile and all the pots done. I reckon that's enough of the virtuous housewife bit for today, don't you? LMAO

I finished a small stitched card last night (my second finish of 2009) but I shall leave pics of those for another post - yep, I totally forgot it was UFO Night, despite spotting the reminder on the forum earlier in the day. Doh! Guess what I'll be doing tonight, then! Meanwhile I've made a start on the blog reading/commenting catch-up but it's going to take a while for me to get around everyone's blog - boy, have you lot been busy! ;0)

Rachael: it's sort of a table under the deer that I took the pics on. It's a really small one (17" high x 15" wide, side to side) with an inlaid surface and when you lift the top up there's a little storage inside and it's musical, so plays a tune when it's wound up. My DBro gave it to me years ago - he bought it whilst on a foreign holiday (can't remember where), back in the days when he was young, free and single and could afford to do things like that. LOL It certainly comes in real useful for taking stitchy pics.

Many thanks for visiting and especially for all the lovely comments - they are very much appreciated. :0)

Wonderful Gifts

First of all: I hope you all had a lovely festive season and that 2009 will bring many Blessings and much Happiness to you all. :0)

I hadn't realised it had been quite so long since I last blogged. Unfortunately, between my DH being off work for the holidays, having chronic indigestion after starting the acidophilus capsules (replacing the candida with good bacteria) and it being so cold in my computer room, despite the thermostat being turned up, I was struggling to find both the time and the inclination to put fingers to keyboard. I'll admit to being a total wuss when it comes to cold as it makes the arthritic joints in my fingers ache, so I was limiting myself to emails and keeping up with the JA/S&S forum before rushing back into the much warmer living room. Thanks to my wussiness there's an awful lot of catching up to do, so my apologies in advance - I'll have to spread things over a few posts as there are already quite a few pics in this post. :0)

Our festive season was quiet but enjoyable, due to spending lots of time with my family, and I was also well and truly spoilt rotten with all the lovely cards and gifts from friends and family. The first thing I'd like to share with you all is this lovely surprise RAK that Karen spied on my Wish List and sent:

Thank you so much Karen: I shall enjoy stitching this design and it will be a lovely reminder of your kindness and generosity. :0)

The No Stash for Christmas Exchange on the JA/S&S forum was a lot of fun and I enjoyed choosing goodies for my partner, who was Jayne herself. Being my usual self, I forgot to take a pic of what I sent. Doh! Here's a pic of all the lovely goodies that Clare sent to me:

I only managed one of the Ferrero Rocher before having to start the full-on candida diet, so the other three and the box of choccies are waiting in the pantry - they'll do nicely as an occasional reward when I'm OK to have sweet things again. :0) Meantime the diary has come into use, the aromatherapy oil scenter (the bottle and sticks) is wafting a lovely aroma around my kitchen and the bedsocks are wonderful at keeping my feet warm and toastie - they're already in danger of being worn out! The gold and scented (Lavender Water and Orchid Breeze) candles I've added to my stash for future use, as have the Jasmin and Neroli incense sticks. I'm waiting for some slightly warmer weather before using the gorgeous scented bath salts, so I can enjoy a long soak without freezing those bits of me that won't be under water. LOL Thank you so much Clare for the thoughtfulness you've shown in choosing and sending all the wonderful goodies. :0)

This gift was from Karen:

My jaw dropped when I opened the wrapping and saw the beaded bookmark inside. Isn't it beautiful? The large glass bead is one that Karen made herself and when I first saw it on her beading blog I fell in love with it - it reminds me of a planet. :0)

Here's a view of the other side:

The smaller beads look like rose quartz, amethyst and clear quartz, my favourite crystals, and they compliment the large bead wonderfully well. Thank you so much Karen - it's a truly beautiful piece and I shall treasure it. I will also say it again: you really should start selling your pieces soon. :0)

Last but by no means least, and as if I hadn't already been spoilt enough, I also received a beautiful stitched gift from Helen, a covered tape measure. Here is the front view:

I'm not sure how well the pics have turned out and I'm sorry if they don't do it justice - try as I might I couldn't get the digicam to focus properly to take a clear pic. These were the third lot I did! The oak leaf and acorn is so me! Here's the back view:

So very pretty and not only blackwork, which I love, but also autumnal colours which I also love. Here's a side view with another look at the oak leaf and acorn motif:

I'll share something with you now: my wedding ring, chosen and worn long before I realised I was a Pagan, is engraved with a running pattern of oak leaves and acorns. Thank you again, Helen, for your beautiful and very appropriate gift. I know you said I should use it but I'm afraid I still plan on displaying it in a basket for stitched items. :0)

Then there was also the very lovely ornie that Julie stitched and sent (which I was allowed to open early, to put on my special tree - see this post). Wow! Thank you again my friends, not only for your wonderful gifts but for your friendship, thoughtfulness, generosity and kindness. :0)

There are more things to share with you all but I shall save them for other posts, as this one is already quite long as it is.

As for other news: I am now on the full-on candida diet (more on that on my other blog, when I get a chance to do a catch up post) and am now waiting to see what happens. As I've already said, the new capsules I'm taking seem to be encouraging bad indigestion at the moment but I was warned that I'd feel worse before I felt better. Food shopping takes more time, due to the constant packet reading that has to be done these days, but that's OK when you can do it online in the comfort of your own home. LOL On the plus side of things: weight is slowly but surely being lost and my last lot of blood tests came back as normal..... whatever normal is. I go back to the Herbalist again at the end of this month for another check up and more medicine and will have a weigh-in then. Hopefully by then I'll have managed to get to the Doc's to get a printout of my test results and my initial weight, so the figures can be compared - if it's a good weight loss I'll share. :0)

DS is now having almost nightly rehearsals for the pantomime, as the run for that starts next week. It's get-in at the theatre this weekend so I reckon DH will be helping out with that - at least he will be providing he doesn't have to work again this weekend, the same as he did the last one. I didn't mind that too much last weekend, as I wasn't feeling too great and didn't fancy going out, especially when I found one of the channels was showing the whole of the last series of House back-to-back. Had a lovely time watching that and doing a little stitching. Yay!

Sorry but I am seriously behind with blog reading and commenting but I shall make a serious effort to catch up with everything I've missed whilst I've been offline so much (cold hands permitting) this week. I've missed all the news....... guess I should think about investing in a basic laptop so I could stay in the warmer living room at this end of the year. I wonder if DH would go for that?

Many thanks for persevering and continuing to visit. Hope you all had a happy festive season and a great start to 2009. :0)