Saturday, 25 December 2010

Season's Greetings to All

Hope you are all having a happy & Blessed festive season. :0)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Being Snowed Under.... Literally

The main topic that's on everyone's minds at the moment here in the UK is the unprecedented early start to the Winter snows we've been having. Now I know there are a lot of folks out there who have probably witnessed much worse but for this neck of the woods it has been exceptional, as we usually have the mildest weather in the country. We'd been having some snow for a few days and things managed to carry on just about as usual..... until yesterday (Tuesday) evening, when things took a turn for the worse. It just didn't stop snowing, then the temperature dropped and the slight thaw during the day time began to freeze..... the main roads just became sheets of ice, including the one outside my house, and there wasn't a gritter or snow plough in sight. So most of the roads became gridlocked at rush hour and the few hills we have round here (Lincolnshire is known for being flat) were gradually being closed by the Police as too dangerous to drive.... people were abandoning their cars and either walking home or finding a nearby friend/relative's house to stay in. A couple of my DS's friends actually dossed down in the theatre bar last night, rather than risk the journey home - very sensible, as the Police had asked the radio stations to tell people to stay indoors, rather than risk travelling. My DS had to leave his car at a friend's house and walk home last night... the Mini is still there now, as the snow is above its bumpers.

It continued to snow for much of the night and this is the sight that met our eyes when we looked out of the bedroom window this morning:

The road out the front was a mix of snow and ice, barely discernible from the pavements. It was obvious that, even if DS had been able to drive home last night, there was no way he could make it into work... he would have had to negotiate one of the hills and drive out through a couple of villages to the wharf. If you think the road in front of our home is bad the villages are even worse, as they are even less of a priority for snow clearance. Then DH realised that there was no way he would be able to get into work either, despite being only a ten minute drive away.... the car needed digging out before he would be able to even try the roads.... and he'd had a couple of hairy moments getting home the previous night.... and now there'd been a whole lot more snow. Phone calls from work colleagues soon let them know that no one else was able to make it in, so common sense prevailed and they both stayed home.

Here's a slideshow of some of the views from various windows in the house. Take note of the depth of snow on the bin lids - I'd cleared them off the previous evening when I'd put some stuff in them, so that is the depth of snow that fell last night.

All three of us have done various bits of snow clearing during the day, so we could negotiate the trip to the bins and the workshop freezer without needing to wear snow shoes or skis and so DH could get his car out in an emergency. Unfortunately my poor baby isn't going to be going anywhere any time me, she's stuck in for the duration..... and it's been snowing on and off again since this afternoon, so there's about an inch and a half layer already over everything we'd cleared. Goodness knows what we're going to wake up to tomorrow (Thursday) morning!

On the up side: the lack of traffic going past has meant that it's been pleasantly quiet for a week day; I've never seen so many people walking, so it must be good for their Carbon Footprint; most of the folks that are about are surprisingly chatty, which is unusual for round here; we won't go hungry, as the fridge and freezer are well stocked, thanks to last weekends Farmer's Market shopping, and it's been nice having the two chaps around, mucking in whenever an extra pair of hands have been needed.

So what does a body do when the weather outside is abysmal? What else, once the jobs are out of the way, but do online shopping and stitch, of course! LOL I can't tell you about the online shopping because much of it is for Christmas gifts.... I'm just hoping that Santa's substitute - the Postie - can get the goodies here in time for me to get them wrapped and posted out to the recipients, so they get them in time. Guess it serves me right for not getting organised sooner... and this year I don't have the excuse of an ovarian cyst and an op! LOL The Seba SAL is growing nicely. Here's a pic I took of it pre-snow:

Another bad pic that had to be taken in poor light but at least it gives you the general idea. Here's how far it's progressed post-snow:

Yes, I've made a start on the fun bit - the blackwork that's actully in blue. The colours are much nicer irl, honestly. I decided not to complete the large box at the bottom just yet, until I figure out what I want to do: the original has two lines of cross stitch along the bottom, to make the patterns fit, and I'm not too sure if I like it that way, so am trying to decide if I have the confidence (and patience) to do a bit of a redesign on it. The jury is still out on that one. ;0)

So what else, other than the weather and its effects, has been happening here? Not a great lot really. The trench work and drilling is stalled big time... too cold for outside work and DH is trying to reconcile himself to having to buy a bigger drill bit - £40 for one bit of metal seems an awful lot and it's breaking his heart to have to do it. LOL The greenhouse is going to need two new roof panes, as DS caught the plastic shovel right between the overlap and broke them... didn't have the heart to bust his chops about it, as he worked so hard at clearing everywhere. DH has done a hasty covering up job until we can get it sorted properly.

My DSis came back from her cruise earlier in the week. She had a good time, though would opt to go on a smaller ship, should there be a next time - 4,000 people got a bit much. She and her friends were lucky enough not to have too much weather to deal with on the jouney back from Southport, initially, and she drove home from her friend's house in Barnsley before the worst lot started - she's not had her car out since though. The shopping Outlet she works at was closed today due to the snow (though she is still on holiday) but the management are wanting it open tomorrow, when she's supposed to go back to work.... but things aren't looking promising for her being able to get out of her drive, let alone the street. £££££'s seem to be more important than the safety of the retail staff, it seems.

Development Circle was cancelled again this week, this time due to the weather - good call, as we would have struggled to get there, and if we had managed to make it there we probably wouldn't have been able to get home again. I certainly wouldn't have, as Mortal Ash Hill (dual carriageway out to the villages) had been closed by the Police. I've been keeping up with the meditation and practising some of the techniques whenever I can at home but it's not the same as being in Circle.... and I miss the girls. There's no acupuncture this week either - another casualty of the lousy weather, as the acupuncturist lives out in one of the villages and both routes into the town from there have hills that have been closed. She almost had to spend the night in the Clinic Tuesday night - it was only because a Policewoman friend rang to let her know when Mortal Ash Hill had been briefly opened that she made it home. I don't blame her for not wanting to risk the journey or the possibility of having to stay at the Clinic tomorrow (Thursday) night... though she now knows there'd be a bed here for her, if ever she does get stuck, as my house is just a few minutes walk away.

Did I tell you DS had a job interview? I can't remember. It seemed to go much better than the previous ones and DS feels they have reassessed their view of him since.... no news yet, as to whether or not he's made it into the second round, but they are notoriously slow at these things. If he gets the job it would mean some changes, as he'd be working shifts.... but the better wages and opportunities for promotion should make up for that.

Think that's about all. It's freezing in here, so it's time I was away into a warmer room - and the stitching is calling. :0)

Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. I hope all those who are getting similar bad weather are staying safe and warm. :0) 

Monday, 22 November 2010

Pumpkins, Blackwork, Digging, Chat and Another SAL

It's well past time I put in an appearance on this poor blog... it does seem to get put to the back of the queue on the list of things to do these days and I have no idea why. So, what have I been up to this time? Well, believe it or not, a second Happy Dance has followed hot on the heels of the Tiger - I guess that goes to prove that the sttichy mojo is definitely back from it's holidays and here to stay. Yay! It did help that the piece I picked out was an absolute joy to stitch..... and here it is, in all it's unpressed glory:

Design: A Spot of Halloween
Designer: Midnight Stitching
Fabric: Sparklies 28ct evenweave, Pumpkin Patch
Threads: DMC B5200 & 310

Apologies for the slightly blurry pic - the weather here has been dull and dismal much of the time and the digicam isn't that good.... and neither are my photography skills, to be honest. LOL This one was the best of the lot I took. It didn't get finished for Samhain (Halloween) this year...... but I am well organised for the next one..... providing I can decide how to finish this up before then. I'd like to finish it as a wall hanging but my sewing skills aren't up for it - the darned sewing machine will insist on galloping off and doing it's own thing, no matter what I do. I shall get to the other side of Yule (Christmas) and into January and go find out what sewing courses, if any, are available via the Adult Education classes or the local Colleges - it's way past time I tamed that darned machine and cured my terror of it, once and for all. School sewing classes have got an awful lot to answer for!

As soon as I got Spot of finished I picked a new WIP progress out of the To Stitch pile.... sorry Julie and Mr Stick, those UFO's are just not grabbing me at the moment and not even Wanda brandishing her broom at me has worked - though I have got rather good at ducking and diving! LOL I bet you're all wondering what the new WIP is, aren't you? I did wonder about leaving that until the next post - then remembered that poor Tina (no blog) has been itching to see what it is and I've been tormenting her for long enough now. So here's the first update pic:

Design: Blackwork Mystery SAL
Designer: Seba Designs
Fabric: 28ct evenweave, Vintage Blue
Threads: Thai Variegated Silk (so far)

It's another really naff pic too, due to the same reasons as above. :0( The fabric is actually a lovely pale blue, in a Vintage style, and the silk thread is graded from a lovely deep blue to a pale blue. Strictly speaking, the Mystery and SAL are no longer relevant, as the SAL finished long since and it's no longer a Mystery as I have all the parts... but I won't go splitting hairs. ;0) It has grown a bit more since this and would have grown even more if that darned frog hadn't come a visiting. What was so annoying about it was that I was just half a stitch too low. Yes - not even a whole one, just half a bloomin' stitch! So it got frogged, then restitched in the right place, with the satisfaction of adding a couple of extra stitches, just so it seemed like some progress had been made overall. Sheesh.... when I think that without that mistake I could have had two squares stitched, not just one, I could spit like a camel. Well, I did have the hump big time afterwards.... does that count?

Now let me cast my mind back and see if I can remember what else has been happening since my last post. Eeerrrrmmmm..... well, I've had a few sleeps since then, so it's a bit of a struggle. The poor wee brain cell is on overdrive, trying to keep up with the regular stuff, and this might be a step too far. LOL

DH and I attended the Mind, Body and Spirit event at the Lincolnshire Showground on Sunday 7th and had a great day. I attended three of the workshop/talks: Past Lives; Meditation with Instruments and Healing with Crystals - DH came to the second and third ones with me. They were all very interesting. We also had a little retail therapy, though not as much as previous times, and I also underwent a Crystal Healing session, from one of the stalls..... now that was a great experience and further proved (not that any was needed) that I have an affinity with crystals and need to develop this further. It also helped me to go straight to a crystal stall and pick out a new Pendulum, for use in Dowsing specifically for health related matters. This event was the last one in this area for this year.
Oh, I know what else: the chaps decided that, with the help of one of DS's mates, they would lay the new waterpipe. You know how these things go with the male of the species..... they get a professional in to give them a price; they then see a large amount of £££'s on a quote and go: "You what? How much? I can get it done cheaper than that"; then they start the job, all enthusiastic..... and very soon realise that, actually, it's a hell of a lot more work than they'd realised and it's going to take them longer than they thought and, then they go: aaahh crap - wish we'd paid somebody to come and do this.
Seem familiar? Yup, that's about what happened here.

Getting the slabs up was relatively easy.... it was the bloody horrible clay stuff they had to dig out that was the problem, especially as it all had to be done by hand because we weren't 100% sure where or how deep the existing water and gas pipes were. Here's the front all dug up (one days work) with the sand layer in and the new pipe loosely laid (the second day):

This and other pics had to be taken for the benefit of the Water Board, to prove that we'd done it correctly - as we need the drive for parking our cars on, it all had to be backfilled and the slabs put back down afterwards, all before they could come out to inspect it and connect it up. Waiting for them to do that can take around six weeks (or more) and we weren't prepared to leave the trench open that long.... someone was bound to "accidentally" fall in it and try for a nice bit of compensation just before Christmas, weren't they? (Yes, I am a tad cynical. LOL). Our neighbours, the Pete's, got their trenchwork and piping done on the Saturday - lucky so and so's had proper soil to dig through and a couple more helping hands than we did - but they very kindly came round and helped us finish up the front on the Sunday.

Now the side of the house, behind the wooden gates, is a whole different story. That had to be left in this state:

That bit is from the side gates and almost to the back door and the next pic is from the back door to the back end of the house (the wooden board is so I can come out to put stuff in the recycling boxes without falling into the hole):

Since then DS and another mate have dug it all down even further (has to be a certain depth, by law) , so the clay heaps are even higher. DS then went out and backfilled the stretch from the back of the side gates to just short of the first carport upright post:

Saturday (20th) I thought I'd show willing and I shovelled and ferried two half barrows of sand round from next door (can't lift a full barrow of wet sand) and then shovelled a layer into the bottom of the trench, from just after the carport upright up to the back door and tamped it all down - it's now ready for the chaps to lay the pipe, stick a sand layer on top and backfill, whenever the mood takes them. After that I was mildly cream crackered. ;0)

DH spent much of the first weekend taking apart a kitchen cupboard, to access the outside wall, and drilling through, for the new pipe to come in.

That bit I don't mind..... it means the kitchen refurb has just been bumped higher up the Must Do list. Yay! LOL I spent most of that weekend making cuppas and a combination of bacon/egg/sausage butties - the fuel that keeps the British Workman going. The only bit about that was that I couldn't eat any of it, due to the food intolerances/special diet - bum!

This weekend, as if there hadn't already been enough destruction, DH had to dismantle some of the downstairs toilet and uncover the wall, so he could drill through for the new pipe to come in there too (it has a separate pipe system to the rest of the house, as it's in an extension). This is what it looks like at the moment:

Yup, it's definitely out of commision for the foreseeable future - we're all getting a little extra exercise going up and down the stairs, to use the updstairs loo. LOL The little white "lump" in the right hand corner of the pic is a piece of kitchen roll blocking the hole to the outside. The outside bit now looks like this:

Thankfully we have a pile of bricks at the bottom of the garden, some of which can be used to repair the bashed out area there, plus the matching bashed in bit to the kitchen. We have no idea what that random bit of brickwork is to the right of the trench: the proper manhole and sewerage pipe is further over, running straight between the houses and out to the main sewer under the road - that bit is totally out of alignment with our house and the neighbours house. All we can think of is that the builders got that bit wrong and decided it was too much hassle to rave it all out again, so just left it in situ. You find some weird bits and pieces when you start dismantling or digging bits up in and around this house. LOL Fingers crossed (and everything else!) that this job gets finished before Christmas because the level of muddy footprints that are getting traipsed through my house is now starting to give me a decided twitch.

Development Circle is going OK, though there wasn't a session last week as Aureen was undergoing some hospital tests for a couple of ongoing health isues she has. Lots of healing vibes have been going her way. My acupuncturist is currently on holiday, so I booked myself in for a couple of Reflexology sessions - those have been very interesting, not just for the healing but also for the chat with the practitioner, B. She is undergoing training in Hypnotherapy... so I've requested that she lets me know when her training is complete, as I would like her help with a couple of things: to get me back on track with my diet, as that's gone to pieces since my op; help with learning some self-treating techniques, to help me tackle the last couple of post-agoraphobia/panic attack things that still give me a little anxiety and to aid meditation; wanting to remember a couple of childhood incidents that could have a bearing on issues I have now and, the main thing, to undergo a Past Life Regression. B should receive her certificates in January and will be able to give Hypnotherapy treatments from then, so 2011 looks set to be an even more interesting year than this one. :0)

Oooo, I nearly forgot: the lovely Tina (no blog) will be running a Shores of Hawk Run Hollow SAL over at the Stitch & Stash Forum but it's not just for stitching Shores - folks can join in with any Carriage House Samplings piece. So I went rummaging in my stash and found three CHS charts lurking in there and this one shouted the loudest:

Enchanted... and, as you can see, I've already got the fabric chosen and done a floss toss. I've been extra good, as everything is from stash. I think the SAL starts in January 2011 (best check, hadn't I? LOL), so it'll be a nice way to start off the New Year and, hopefully, I'll manage to keep up this time... unlike with the Just Nan SAL (sssshhh, don't let Mr Stick know! LOL).

Oh, and before I forget again: someone asked about the new header pic. It's a view of the Langdale Pikes, as taken from the path between Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater, in the Lake District. It's one of the pics I took when DH and I did the walk on our summer holiday this year. :0)

Thank you for taking the time to visit... and especially for the lovely comments you leave. Welcome to newbies to my blog too.. please say Hi. Have a good week folks. :0)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Stash Acquisition and the New Start

Well, despite it not being gardening weather, I still don't seem to have got back into the swing of this blog thing at the moment. I am gradually catching up with everyone (still got a few to get to though... I will, so bear with me please) but the writing seems a bit of an effort at the moment and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because the stitching mojo is back and I'd rather be with my needle and thread in hand? :0)

I mentioned in my last post that I'd been acquiring new stash, courtesy of eBay..... despite the fact that I'm actually supposed to be selling items that I'm clearing out. Ah, well.... I don't drink or smoke, so take it as read that this is my harmless little vice. ;0) Here's what I succumbed to:

The two charts are courtesy of Christine. I couldn't resist the Honey one: it's for me, as I turn 50 next year... so when DS makes the inevitable cracks about it I will just point to this piece, as it says it all... although I will admit that I will be pointing with one very expressive finger LOL. ;0) The other chart is because I love reindeer and stag designs. The little kit is so I will have somewhere to put my MP3 player when I'm working around the house... most of my trousers and cardigans don't have pockets, so I don't have anywhere to put it at the moment and it would be nice to listen to some music to drown out the sound of the Dyson whilst vacuuming.

The acquisitions didn't stop there though... Sally decided to put temptation my way too, when she added a couple of Must Have charts to her sale album, right when I just happened to have some money in my PayPal account. It must be Fate says I..... so here they are:

Thanks again Sally.... delighted to have got my hot little hands on these. :0) Thankfully I do still have more items going than coming back in, so the space I cleared hasn't been filled..... well, not just yet, anyways. LOL

So that leads me to the new start. About flippin' time, I can hear you all muttering. LOL I must say I am really enjoying this stitch and it really has helped to kick start the old mojo again... and it's another item that's been in my stash for a while, so it's good to be crossing it off my Must Stitch Soon list. So, for your delectation, here it is:

Design: A Spot of Halloween
Designer: Midnight Stitching
Fabric: Sparklies 28ct evenweave, Pumpkin Patch
Threads: good old DMC 310 and B5200

 And to prove just how much I am loving this, here's the most recent update pic:

And it's grown a bit more since this pic was taken, thanks to another episode of V to watch. Yup, that mojo is definitely back. LOL

So what else have I been up to, apart from trying to catch up with a mammoth amount of blog posts? Well... I finally bit the bullet and had a drive out to The Range last week, extending my comfort zone even further. So, now I've done it once I can do it again... and the trip took me past the main Tesco, which means I know now that I can get there when the mood takes me. It may not seem a lot but this is another step in the long road of recovery from agoraphobia and panic attacks and getting back to normality... though me and the word normal don't quite equate somehow. LOL I bet you're all wondering whether the crafts section was the pull... nope, I needed some cereal boxes and other household bits and pieces, as well as a new address book for my craft room:

I spotted this one and a notebook that would go in there perfectly (though couldn't find a matching pair anywhere). Why do I need an address book in my craft room? Because it has a section in it for adding occasions, so is perfect for all the addresses and important days of my stitching and blog buddies, that's why. ;0) Though I do admit to buying a couple of items from the craft section whilst in there: some mount board card, to make those drawer dividers, for organising my kits into the filing cabinet, and some Duflex stickers that were in the sale. I call that being very restrained. LOL
Not a lot happening in the garden at the moment: too flippin' cold! Just a bit of trimming going on, weather permitting. Not a lot happening on the DIY jobs front in the house either: DH seems to be doing a fair bit more at the theatre... he'll be crewing for another groups performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard. Then he's been asked to Stage Manage the LTC's pantomime (that's in January)... he's getting a good reputation for being well organised and efficient, so they want to work with him. Meantime, I'm looking for a versatile handyman to do all the jobs he's not getting done. DS has a small part in the panto... but he gets to have a swordfight, so he's looking forward to that. His job hunt is continuing.
The Circle is going OK. We've done some lovely meditations recently, based on unconditional love, and they seem to be helping, as I was delighted to receive messages from Sh's Dad in Spirit last week that I could pass on to her. Unfortunately I haven't been able to discover whether this is me finally tuning in properly or just a fluke, as this weeks session has been cancelled - Aureen had a last minute hospital appointment to attend and wasn't going to be back in time. Never mind, it gave me the chance to have another trip out in the car during the day, this time to a different Post Office (more eBay packages to post), and then to Aldi to do some shopping, catching the edge of the school run traffic on the way home... good practice for me! Tomorrow I'll be getting my hair cut, which is much needed.... those curls are more like rat tails at the moment so, if I remember, I'll get DH to take a pic. No, I haven't totally forgotten that I'd promised to inflict show you a pic of me wearing my new specs. LOL
Right, I'm away to wrestle the TV remote out of DH's grasp and find something to watch so I can do some more stitching.... as I'm in on a Tuesday night I'd best show willing and go grab a UFO, otherwise Wanda and Mr Stick will be on my case. LOL
Thank you for taking the time to visit and for all the lovely comments about the tiger. Hope you're all staying warm and cosy and stitching aplenty. :0)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

It's Officially Official......

Yup, it definitely is...... after not one but four night's of stitching this week..... the mojo is finally back and looks like it might just be staying around for the forseeable future. Yay! That is worth a Happy Dance all of its own! LOL

So what has had me sat and busily plying my needle on those four nights? Well... there's the start of the new series of V, a couple of documentaries on Ancient Egypt that I hadn't seen (a feat in itself, as I have usually watched everything there is about that era several times over), a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds I hadn't seen before, plus a new Sunday evening historical drama on Channel 4, called Pillars of the Earth... worth watching just for the main character of Tom Builder! LOL And which one, out of several WIP's and UFO's, received my attention, I hear you all asking.... it was the Janlynn Tiger I've been stitching for my Development Circle friend G. In fact I got so much done, this was the result:

Yes, folks, we have an actual finished piece..... and there's a major Happy Dance going on here at the moment. I can't tell you just how good that feels after such a very long hiatus! LOL It is so good to finally be back stitching again.... I feel like throwing a party for that long-gone mojo.

Soooooo....... now that the Tiger is completed, a frame has been freed up..... and I've already got the fabric for a new WIP on it, ready for tonight. Fingers crossed there's something good on TV, to ensure my butt stays firmly in my armchair to make a good start on it. Yes, I know you're all wanting to know what the new WIP is going to be.... but you're just going to have to be patient until next time, when there'll hopefully be enough stitching done to show you all a pic. Cue *evil laugh* here. ;0)

So, what else has been going on since my last post? Well, the play my DS was in and DH was Stage Manager for went well - not the greatest aucdience turn outs each night, but not bad for an am dram production. The book An Inspector Calls is currently on the high school curriculum, so it was nice to see one of the schools sending along the students to watch the play - and the cast did a post-performance Q&A session with the kids and teachers who attended. Methinks the grades for that particular school might just be up this year, as they got a lot out of it. :0)

Right when the post-show blues hit my DS, he got a letter to say he didn't get the job he'd applied for - that's the third (or is it fourth?) time this has happened and it's not doing his confidence any good at all. The feedback he was promised from certain of the interviewers hasn't been forthcoming either, so he doesn't know what the problem is, if any (there does seem to be an awful lot of in-house moves going on... kinda seems a waste of his energy applying if he doesn't stand a chance from the outset). So he's now extending his search for a new job outside of the company he currently works for. Fingers crossed he gets something soon. Meantime, the readings for the Panto have been and gone and it's now cast - DS has a minor role in this but he does have a sword fighting scene to do, so he'll have fun with that. The rehearsals will be starting shortly, so it should help to take his mind off the recent disappointment.

Things are a bit up-and-down with the Development Circle - sometimes I do well and others not so great..... the weeks I do well keep me going back for more. LOL I am really getting into the Pendulum Dowsing and am practising that a few times a week. My DS bought me a great Reiki manual recently (a belated Birthday gift), so I'll start reading that before too much longer, ready for when I eventually train to do Reiki. I had the Reflexology session... and what a treat that was. A lovely foot massage and manipulation that left me feeling great. It was also very interesting when it came to the effects of the manipulation - I could actually feel a gentle movement in the various areas of my body that corresponded with the areas on my feet that were being pressed.... and several times I could actually feel pops in my feet as the blocks were cleared. The practitioner could also tell me, from the feel of my feet, what my problem areas are: my neck and shoulder and part of my back; hips (I've suspected for a while that some of my back trouble is originating from my hips) and breathing/the lung channel (I struggle to co-ordinate the meditation breathing/pulling in energy exercises) and a couple of other things. All told I was really impressed and would recommend this treatment (providing you get a good practitioner). It was interesting chatting to the practitioner too and I like her approach to healing and hope to go back for some more sessions before too long. Meantime, the acupuncture Clinic has re-opened for business and it looks great.... and the feel of the place is so much higher and lighter, iykwim. It was so much more relaxing, I had just about fallen asleep by the time the acupuncturist came back in to remove the needles.

As for the weight: I have been off the tortilla chips for over a week now, going cold turkey. The cravings seem to have hit me hard this last few days. Unfortunately our scales are on the blink so I have no idea if I've actually lost any of the regained weight..... guess I'll know I have when my jeans aren't quite so hugging any more. LOL I'm not going to beat myself up about this though.... I'm still far lighter and healthier than I was. :0)

There hasn't been much progress in the DIY jobs department lately, as DH has been quite busy at work and the weather hasn't been that kind. He has been up on the extension roof today (Sunday) giving it a bit of a clean and adding some sealant along various bits, to try and stop the rain getting in. I gave the lawn what I hope will now be its final mow of the season. Various bits of cutting back and the like have also been done at various times, as well as some weeding, to try and get it looking half way decent before it gets too cold and wet to go out there at all. I've moved the blueberry bush into the greenhouse already, as the first frosts of the year are threatened this week... the baby fuschia will be joining it and so will the larger one, once it's been dug up from the garden and potted up.

The auction selling has been continuing, as the free listing has been coming along regularly... and I've been really good, as I've only bought a couple of items. Must remember to share pics of those next time round too. I've also been having a steady catch up with blog reading too. I know I still owe quite a few of you a visit and I will be by soon, it's just that there's a huge backlog to catch up with.... and I can't just scan through, as I'm real nosey and like to catch up with all of your news.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and for the kind comments you leave. Hope you've all had a good weekend and have a gentle start to the new week. :0)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A Little of This... A Little of That

So much for coming back soon and sharing a few things with you.... not quite sure what happened or where the time went and here we are in October already. I guess that some of the blame can go to eBay, as it's prompted me to have a sort through some of my stash and have a bit of a clearout (of those things I know I'll never stitch and those things I have stitched and won't do again), so I could take advantage of the recent free listing weekends they've been having. Of course, you can't just go on there and list your goodies and not have a good old nosey round to see if there are any amazing, gob-smackingly cheap bargains to be had, can you? Well I obviously can't. ROFL It kind of defeats the object of having the clearout in the first place..... so, thankfully, there haven't been too many, so the spaces haven't been filled.... yet! I've been lucky enough to have made enough money to be able to buy a few crystals though, ready for the future. :0)

Anyways, that's not why you're here..... you'll be wanting to know all about that stash I acquired, won't you? LOL First up is a kit I spotted ages ago on eBay and just couldn't resist... and I certainly didn't pay the price on the sticker for it, either:

He doesn't look like my Spirit Guide but there's just something about him that struck a chord when I saw him. Hopefully the stitching mojo will kick in and stay around permanently, as I really want to stitch this soon. :0)

Then there were the Wimble Bees bargains I picked up. A few finishing items:

A few charts that just had to make it into my stash:

Am thinking that the JN 12 Days would be a good one for an ornie a month stitch, through next year. Anyone fancy a SAL? That is.... if the missing mojo ever turns up for it. LOL And you just can't buy charts without buying a few fabrics as well, can you?

It's a mix of 28, 32 and 36ct fabrics and they've nicely enhanced my fabric stash. And the beauty of this little lot is... my lovely DH very kindly paid for it all. Yup, he's a keeper. LOL

What else was I going to share a pic of? Oh yes, the tiger. Now the intermittent mojo did pop in for long enough to get a bit of this stitched, making it worth showing you all a pic:

Not much more to go to finish that fancy border bit but, unfortunately, the mojo hasn't bothered putting in an appearance since, so it hasn't grown any further..... and neither has any other stitchy project. Mind, I have been catching up with a bit of blog reading lately (something else I fell waaaay behind with) and seeing all the lovelies you've all been stitching on, especially the new WIP's, is starting to make my fingers itch to pick up a needle once again. Watch this space.... ;0)

One of the main things to happen since my last post is the acquisition of our new greenhouse. Luckily I took a few pics before the weather turned. Looking across the garden at it:

The area between the slabs, inside the greenhouse, is going to have a wooden slatted floor put in (think wooden pallets), which will enable water to run off. Unfortunately the weather has stopped us from getting out there to do much of anything with it now we've got it. We did have a trip to the garden centre for a water butt (to catch the run-off from the guttering, for watering with) a couple of weekends ago and, whilst there, I spotted a few alpines and a succulent that will look nice in the little alpine garden I plan on planting around the slabs - all I need now is some nice weather (and a bit of enthusiasm!) to get out there and prepare the soil.

So what else has been happening? We still have the caravan in the front garden. We had several interested people have a look round it and make all the right noises... but none of them have been interested enough to come back with the cash, to take it off our hands. As the caravan is still there it's meant the replacing of the water pipe and brickpaving have had to be postponed for yet another year. We've left the For Sale sign in it but now the weather has turned it's unlikely anyone will be interested now. Fingers crossed for a sale next year, so the front garden and drive can finally be tackled! :0)

Development Circle is going OK. The past few weeks we've been concentrating on the clairs: clairsentience (feeling - this is my main sense and why I do OK at psychometry) and then clairaudience last week (hearing - my secondary sense) and this week it will be clairvoyance (seeing - not so hot with this). I also attended the monthly session, this time at the home of one of my fellow Circle members, where we discussed numerology and Pendulum Dowsing - a great session that has helped me to begin working with my own Pendulum, a natural amethyst crystal... it seems I have a bit of a knack for it and it's something I'm developing further. :0)

The acupuncture sessions are still ongoing, though I shall be having a reflexology session instead this week - the clinic is closed for refurbishment, so no acupuncture, and I wanted to try out this treatment. It's mainly being done as research, as I want to know what happens during a treatment and what - if any - effect it has.... and it will help me to decide if it's another form of healing I would like to study and go on to give to people. Meantime I've decided to tackle the weight gain that's happened since my operation last year - the rolls are back and I feel so uncomfortable, and it doesn't help my knees any, so those lbs have just got to go. Am hoping to lose around a stone in total.... but getting back to my pre-op weight of 11 1/2 stone would also be acceptable. :0)

The rehearsals for JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls gathered momentum the last couple of weeks. Sunday (3rd) was the Get In at the theatre and tonight is Full Dress Rehearsal - tomorrow is the first performance. DH is Stage Manager for this and DS plays the part of Gerald, the fiance, in it. I've asked DH to get me a ticket for Wednesday night - yes, I'll be going on my own again, as I really want to see it. It would be nice to have someone to go with but after doing this once already it isn't anywhere near as intimidating to do this time around. Apart from going to Circle on Tuesday evening and the theatre on Wednesday evening I'm home alone in the evenings...... and in total control of the TV remote once more. Shame there's just not that much on worth watching! LOL

And I think that's all of the main events so far - hopefully it won't be so long until my next post. :0)

Thanks for visiting.... & I'll be stopping by your blogs for a visit in the coming days. Meantime: hope you're all keeping well and happy. :0)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Feeling More Sociable

As the heading says I'm now feeling much more sociable than I was, so it's time to return to The Land of Blog. I've missed you all and all your news. :0)

Thank you for all of your caring comments and condolences, they mean a great deal. The funeral for FIL was conducted by two Minister's who knew him, so it was both a personal and moving service and a fitting goodbye to someone who gave a great deal of his time and energy to his local community and Church. MIL was appreciative of the start we made on clearing out the garage for her over the weekend. We tackled slightly less than a quarter of it and still managed to totally fill the back of the estate car with stuff to go to the amenities site. Thankfully DH only brought back two small items, both of which will be used... believe me when I say that that was very restrained, for him. BIL, his wife and two girls had the idea of buying a kitten, as company for MIL - a stroke of genius, as it was love at first sight on both their parts.... and that tiny little furball seems to know why it's there and would go to MIL as soon as she sat, climbing up the armchair and into her lap where she'd sit purring and happy, bringing much comfort.

I have some more thanks and birthday gifts from way back in July to share with you which didn't get posted about before this hiatus.

First of all I need to put Barb's curiosity to rest by sharing what I used her garden voucher birthday gift for:

I love lavenders, and love the fact that the bees love it too, and have always wanted to add more varieties to my garden and when I saw this French Lavender: Deep Rose at the garden centre it had to come home with us. So there you go Barb, that's what I got, and thank you once again. :0)

The lovely Clare sent me this:

Her own lovely bookmark design and the fabric and threads to stitch it. I often have several books on the go at once, so if you knew how often I have to go hunting for bookmarks you'd have an idea of how appreciated this is. A lovely handmade card too. Thank you again Clare. :0)

Next is another lovely surprise from Tina (no blog), a fellow member of the Stitch'n'Stash Forum:

Don't you just love that cute owl. The times I've almost bought it then changed my mind... and now it's in my stash. Yay! Another project will be grateful for the needle magnet, as it'll stop me from parking it in the fabric. The charm is an owl and the thread is a Polstitches called Friendship. Thank you Tina (hope you saw my post on the forum!) - think you read my mind with these goodies. And now the mojo seems to be putting in an appearance (at last!) the owl is hooting at me to stitch it. LOL

There was also a package from Dusty, in the USA:

Dusty read my post on the forum about my having difficulties getting hold of this magazine, now that Jayne's Attic is closed.... and kindly sent me a copy for my birthday. Thank you so much Dusty, you're a star.... and my Must Stitch List has increased since seeing several of those ornies. LOL

Last, but by no means least, was the parcel of goodies from my long term PenPal Maggie (no blog):

A very useful mix of cross stitch and cardmaking goodies. She must have read my mind, too, as I was looking for a coaster and fridge magnet in my stash beforehand and had come up empty (was sure I had some too), so now I can go ahead with those projects. :0)

There was also a birthday in the blogging world and this was the card I made and sent to Helen:

While I was in the mood for cardmaking I set to and made another one for my "Just in Case" stash:

Sorry, the scans aren't that good.... but you get the general idea. LOL

I've also been doing a little stash acquisition at times, courtesy of the Wimble Bees closing down sale - nope, I just can't resist bargains! LOL - and good old eBay... but I'll share those another time, as this is going to be a long post as it is.

I've also been spending quite some time out in the garden, whenever the weather permitted - it helps me greatly, especially when grief comes to call, to connect with Mother Nature, bringing a timely reminder of the cyclical nature of our existence: life, death and rebirth. When we visited the garden centre the French Lavender seemed awfully lonely on the trolley, so we added a couple of other plants that were also a magnet for the bees and hornets:

The purple one is Stokesia: Klaus Jelitto and the one to the right/front is a Dianthus: Raspberry Sundae... and the only reason I know their names is because I kept the labels. LOL The one in the middle is one that my Dad gave me the year before he passed away. Am glad to say that all seem to be thriving and enjoying the nutrients from that well rotted horse manure I dug in, earlier in the year. And, because I'm really pleased with it, here's a pic of the alpine pot, now it's better established:

We dug up the smaller of the two fuschias from the garden and put it in a pot and will be doing the same with the larger one (again, given to me by my Dad) and have bought a pot, ready for it to go in once it's finished flowering. We decided they would probably do much better if they were in pots, so they could be overwintered in the greenhouse. DH has been busy laying the greenhouse base (pics next time) and the greenhouse itself is going to be delivered and erected on Sunday 12th. Yay!

DH and I had a trip over to the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley, to go to a Mind, Body and Spirit event over the Bank Holiday weekend. It was a last minute decision but we were both happy we'd been. We attended two talks, one by Barbara Meiklejohn-Free and another by George Fryer. The one by Barbara was about us all being psychic... and she surprised us by making us move round, so none of us were sitting next to people we knew, and getting us to do some psychometry. I was so glad when I managed to pick up on some things for the lady who let me hold her gold chain and crucifix, despite the fact that it wasn't in Circle and was noisy.... a sign that my skills have improved a tad. :0) DH also picked up something relevant for the person he was sat next to... this being the man who is very scientifically minded and a bit leery about things like that. I also had a Spirit Guide portrait done... and got a surprise. Not much retail therapy, compared to usual, but it proved to be a very interesting and enjoyable day all round. :0)

I've been having my usual weekly acupuncture sessions, to help with the menopause and arthritis symptoms as well as helping me Spiritually, and have just had my monthly Reiki session. I also attended the monthly talk session, that's held at my Herbalist's home, on Bank Holiday Monday. This time we were to discuss dowsing rods, pendulums and numerology.... but the dowsing rods and general chat proved to be so interesting we didn't get onto the other subjects. We've already arranged the date of next month's meeting... to talk about pendulums and numerology, to make up for not doing them this time. :0)

As well as buying on eBay I also dipped my toe into doing a little selling, thanks to a recent free listing day. I'd got quite a few craft items that I no longer wanted, so added them and hoped I'd sell a few. It was a good idea, as over half of what I put on went to new homes........ unfortunately what I made has almost been spent. Not all on replacement craft goodies though..... I bought several crystal/gem items that I've had my eye on for a while. Will post a pic when they arrive. :0) The unsold goodies have gone into my Webshots trade album, along with a few more things I've sorted out since. Now roll on the next free listing day. LOL

The stitching mojo has been on a looooong holiday, only putting in the occasional appearance. I put a few stitches into the Tiger over the weekend at MIL's, then did a bit more a week or so later.... then picked it up on Friday night (3rd) and had quite a good session on it... and that's been it since. BUT the thought of wanting to stitch is there, so it's not a total abandonment this time...... fingers crossed! I shall keep you on tenterhooks for a little longer though.... this post is already pretty photo intensive and long, so I'll save a pic of the this until next time. * evil laugh* ROFL

As you can probably guess, from the lack of comments recently, I'm waaaaay behind on blog reading (over a 1,000 posts in my Bloglines list!). I'll be having a gradual catch up over the coming weeks, so please bear with me while I get round to each of your blogs..... it may take a while but I will get there in the end.

Thank you again for all your kind thoughts. Hope you're all well and have lots of finishes and new WIP's under your belts since my last visit. :0)

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Quick Update

Just so you don't think I've done a disappearing act again: my FIL passed away on Wednesday 4th August at 2.05pm in Derby Hospital. He'd had to be re-admitted to the hospital that morning, due to a chest infection he'd developed not clearing up. His end was very quick, which left us all somewhat stunned, but also Blessedly peaceful. We were relieved that he'd suffered none of the excruciating pain usually associated with cancer and feel he left this life the way he wanted: without fuss and on his own terms.
What more could one ask?

The funeral service is tomorrow (Friday 13th) and we'll be spending the weekend with MIL, doing whatever she needs doing.

Will be back blogging again when I feel a bit more sociable.

Take care all.

Friday, 30 July 2010

A Holiday and a Birthday

Bet you thought I'd been and gone and emigrated and not told you. LOL No such luck... we've been on our annual holiday (vacation), spending two weeks in the fabulous Lake District, followed by a mammoth laundry and cleaning catch up. All the usual boring things that keep you from getting back to the fun stuff.

Am glad to say that the weather, though it had its moments, was waaay better than last year... thought we were going to grow webbed feet then. LOL Here's a pic of the back view of the cottage we stayed in:

It's a truly lovely home-from-home... but I'll not go boring you rigid by posting too many holiday pics, especially as I haven't gotten round to uploading them all to the computer yet. If I ever do get them sorted I'll post a slideshow into another post.... that way you can have a nosey or leave well alone, your choice. I can hear the collective sigh of relief as you thank your stars for that lucky escape. ROFL

It was my birthday whilst we were on holiday. That hasn't happened before and it felt a bid odd... though it was lovely to have the cards on display whilst in the cottage and then come home to find more goodies waiting for me to open. I felt like Queen Lizzy, having two birthdays! LOL As there were some lovely goodies and this post was going to be picture heavy I decided to share these via a slideshow:

As you can see, I received lots of lovely gifts and cards and felt truly spoilt. Thank you again my friends for your kindness and generosity - I loved all of my gifts and cards. :0)

So what else did we get up to whilst we were away? Well we did some walking and had quite a few trips out and about, ate some tasty meals at some lovely pubs, had a friend of DS join us for the middle weekend and they both walked the Langdale Pikes, DH and DS had a trip to Rookin House for a quad biking session, then the three of us went back the following day for archery and air rifle shooting sessions (great fun), trips to Keswick, Grasmere, Hawkshead, Coniston and Kirkby Stephen, a couple of visits to the Rhegged centre, a walk on the shore of the much depleted Thirlmere (some of the old building foundations were uncovered) and, as a birthday treat........ a trip to Fobbles.

Yes, after reading all about Fobbles on Su's blog and not getting the chance to visit last year, it was definitely on the cards for a visit this time round.... especially with some birthday cash burning a hole in my pocket LOL. It was a bit of a trek from the Langdale Valley but well worth the travelling: the lady who owns it was lovely and the place, though small, was jam-packed full of tempting goodies - so if you're ever up that way it is definitely worth a visit. If only I'd won the lottery and been able to buy all of the fabulous charts I picked out! Unfortunately I hadn't, so had to whittle down the haul from all of the ones I would like to the absolute must-haves. It was really tough going, was that, but I got there in the end. Here's the haul that made it home with me:

As you can probably guess, that wasn't all that came home... they had a nice selection of fabrics too.

Oh yes, and some lovely scissors. The stitching fabrics are a couple of 32ct and a 36ct and you can never have too much backing fabric, now can you?! ;0)

I got a few non-stitchy goodies too. As you have all probably realised by now I do have a bit of a thing about books (as well as stash LOL) and there were a few opportunities to indulge this passion too, at Rhegged, Grasmere, in a discount bookshop in Hawkshead and in the 2 Ravens in Kirkby Stephen. Here's that haul:

The bookshop in Hawkshead also had some other interesting goodies I couldn't resist, especially at the prices:

I don't really need any more Oracle cards but those Grail Code ones screamed "Buy Me". I absolutely love Pre-Raphaelite paintings and the cards are based on them. They are visually stunning, give accurate readings and also have lovely meditations to do in the enclosed guide book. It was also the only set they had... reckon it was waiting for me. :0)

One of the trips to Rhegged had DS buying me a belated Mother's Day gift and DH an anniversary gift (it was a holiday of celebrations: it was also our 26th wedding anniversary whilst we were there). These were the lovelies they gave me:

The one on the left is from DS and connects nicely with the garden and the one on the right is from DH and has a dove with the word Peace on it and also a tiny little elephant with a little flower on its flank.... a nice way of linking in with my Power Animal. :0)

The trip to 2 Ravens had DS and I indulging in our passion for crystals and gems. DS got a lovely haul of all kinds but I was restrained and just bought the one.....

A gorgeous Sheen Obsidian crystal ball.... which was an absolute bugger to photograph because of its reflective qualities (as you can see). It isn't as plain as it looks, as it has areas that have a beautiful golden sheen to them. I didn't go with the intention of buying a crystal ball but DH had a particular drawer out, I saw this and as soon as I picked it up it called to me. I tried putting it back but it wouldn't have it, so it came home. The wonderful chaoroite crystal ball was still there and the owner kindly let me hold it again. It gutted me to leave it last time and it did again... but this time I have left her my details and asked that if they sell up (the shop is on the market) before our next visit to please phone me so I can have first refusal. I am now saving my pennies. :0)

In all the time we were away I seemed to be in reading mode, as I read two books and started a third, and only once managed to pick up a needle and stitch. The mojo obviously decided it deserved a longer holiday! LOL Here's the small progress I made on the tiger:

In case you were wondering: more of his throat area has appeared and a start made on the fancy border. Unfortunately the mojo is still intermittent and I've only picked up a needle once since, putting in some stitches on Mother Earth for the JA/S&S UFO Night, infilling more of the tree background:

So now I'm all caught up with the laundry etc and another weeding session had to be done on the border... those weeds decided it was a free-for-all party while we were away and tried to reclaim the bed. I was having none of that and gave them short shrift. Since then Garden Pete has kindly brought the sacks of well rotted horse manure for me and I spent a morning this week spreading two and a quarter sack fulls of it on that bed this week:

Thankfully the well rotted manure is nowhere near as stinky as the fresh stuff, so it made the job less of a trial than it might have been. LOL The greenhouse was ordered last weekend and that has a four to five week delivery date, so we need to get the soil properly levelled and compacted and some slabs laid... we had a rethink on the base and have decided that laying a square of slabs will give more leeway for errors on squareness than bricks and we can then fill the middle with more soil (allowing water run off inside) and around the edges, to stop any tripping hazard. There's enough excess soil in other areas to do this. DH is busy at work, working late and over the coming weekend, so isn't able to do much towards getting it sorted at the moment so I am now making like a chjain gang member and breaking up the hoarded concrete and broken bricks whenever the mood takes me, to give a solid layer under the slabs. It's very good for those "wings".... and for letting off a little steam. LOL

DH and DS did have a bit of a sort through some more of the metal cabinets DH has down the side of the house last weekend, ready for more to go. DS and I spent last night sorting through all of the stuff in the cupboards, moving some of it up by the shed, binning some and bagging up other bits, ready for an amenities site trip this weekend. After all that we moved the scrap into the front garden:

One of the local registered scrap places has come and taken it away today (Friday), so that's even more of the heap gone. Yay! We need a new water pipe laying and that can't be done until the drive between the two houses is clear.... we've made a good start. :0)

I also had a small cardmaking session last weekend, ready for Julie's birthday. A cute card for a special lady:

Not too obvious from the scan but it's a decoupage card, so has several layers. Hope you're having a lovely day Julie. :0)

I had so much fun making Julie's card I followed it up by making a card for my niece:

Then made another, for my "just in case" stash, whilst still in the mood:

Unfortunately I have to end on some sad news: my FIL has been diagnosed with cancer and, because it's well established, he hasn't had any symptoms or pain, and due to his age (86, going on 87), they feel it wouldn't be in his best interests to put him through the hell of chemo. They haven't done any further investigations either, as they feel these could trigger the cancer into faster growth/spread. He's had another stay in hospital, due to the fluid building up again, but is now back home. We visited him in hospital last weekend and we'll be going over there as often as we can manage, to help out and spend time with him and MIL. We hope he will continue to be symptomless and pain free for as long as possible. Make sure you give all your loved ones lots of hugs and tell them how much you love them... because you never know what's around the corner.

Thank you for visiting - may you all be Blessed with good health and good fortune. Take care and have a good weekend. :0)