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)