Tuesday, 15 March 2011

It's Been A While...

Yes, folks, it's been a while since I last put finger to keyboard to do a Blog post, partly due to being busy and running out of time, as the days keep flying past (who can believe it's the middle of March already???!!! Not me, that's for sure) and also because the blogging mojo went awol for a while. Still, it's better it was the blogging and NOT the stitching mojo - right? :0)

OK, so where do I start? Hhhhhmmm... first off I have to show you all the lovely belated half of the Christmas gift I received from Barb - only belated due to the weather and poor Barb's ill health preventing her from getting and sending them. They were well worth the wait, I can tell you - lookit the pretty wrapping in my favourite colour:

Inisde were these gorgeous goodies:

Barb tells me that the bag was printed by one of the ladies who is on a dig that she told me about some time ago. The image is of a Roman torq which was once worn by a Roman lady - this is much more vivid in colour than my pic shows. There were also some Piecemaker needles for me to try, now I've found my missing mojo. LOL The card is so pretty and looks great next to my Kwan Yin statue. Thank you again Barb, I love them - you know my tastes so well. :0)

Now let me cast my mind back again and try and remember what else I've been up to. Well, I made a stack of cards, ready for the Birthday Thread Exchange that I joined over at Needlecraft Haven... but I can only show you the ones that have been sent. There were two birthdays in February, one for Sheila:

and one for Kathy:

No more of those until April now. Though I did take part in the NH Forum's Sweet Feet Sock Exchange, with opening and reveal being on St Valentine's Day.. and that was alot of fun. Unfortunately I got a bit previous and managed to delete the pics I took of the socks I sent to Jaclyn (no blog, as far as I know)... but here's a pic of the accompanying card I sent to her:

Here's a pic of the lovely card, thread and fab pair of socks I received from Lindsay:

NH Forum: Sweet Feet Sock Exchange 2011

Another pic I'd managed to delete - thank goodness it was uploaded to my Webshots Album! I enjoyed this exchange so much it would be great to do it again some time (Hint! Hint! LOL)

I did make some other cards but this is going to be a pretty pic intensive post as it is, so I won't post them -  but if you're interested.... or just plain nosey and need to know (like me LOL), then you can see them in my Webshots Album.

It's good to report that the stitching mojo has stayed around - and that's another reason for the lack of blogging. There are only so many hours in a day and any spare time has seen me sat in my favourite armchair, plying my needle. I've been so keen I've joined the Monthly Challenge at NH Forum and a number of SAL's, as well as stitching gifts (like the Polar Bear and Tiger) just because I want to. It's been a reasonably productive year so far. :0)

First item for your delectation is the January Challenge piece:

Design: Petit Chat, internet freebie
Designer: Tralala - Des Filles et une Aiguille
Fabric: Zweigart 28ct Brittney, Antique White
Threads: Dragon Floss, Barrels of Laughter (blues); Carrie's Creation, Rose
Finish: Pinkeep style Scissor Keep

I had wanted to finish this as a cube (it would have been a first for me) but the polystyrene stuff I'd been hoarding had disappeared and I couldn't find any foam shapes online any bigger than 2cm sq, so this didn't get finished in time to go in the album... in fact I only got around to finishing it this month, after doing the finishing on the February Challenge piece. It took that to get the cube finish out of my head and give an alternative I was going to be happy to do. LOL

Then I finally got around to stitching a piece that was a previous Monthly Challenge on JA/S&S Forum.. it had guilt tripped me for long enough:

Design: Mr Penguinee, internet freebie
Designer: Mary Olson and Candy Scott of The Work Basket
Fabric: Zweigart 32ct, White
Thread: Carrie's Creation, Raven
Finish: good old Pinkeep

It came out quite a bit bigger than anticipated, so there was only just enough of the thread to complete it (anyone know where I can buy Carrie's threads from in the UK, please?). It was lovely to add another design to the finished pile though. And soon after that followed the NH Forum's February Challenge piece:

Design: Love, internet freebie
Designer: The Stitcherhood
Fabric: Polstitches 28ct Jobelan, Ice Ltd Ed
Thread: Carrie's Creations, Wedgwood
Finish: Pinkeep style Scissor Case

Now this one was a must stitch and I knew immediately what to use and which finish to do. Those are my Ann scissors, bought because I loved the colour and due to them having the same name as my Mum, now in Spirit... so now my Ann scissors are wrapped in Love. :0) Then I had a rare sleepless session one night so, instead of tossing and turning and disturbing DH (who had to go to work the following day and wouldn't have thanked me), I headed downstairs and grabbed a small project from my stitchy bag.... and got it fully completed. That was my January Christmas ornie:

Holly & Robin Tuck Ornie

Design: Robin and Holly
Designer: unknown, pullout from a magazine
Fabric: 28ct Brittney, Antique White
Threads: DMC oddments from my scrap box
Finish: Tuck Ornie (pre-finished tuck pillow)

Another pic I've managed to delete.... thank goodness for my Webshots Album! The tuck pillow was a pre-finished bargain from that well known auction site... wish I could find a few more of these, as this type of finishing is beyond me at the moment - and it's sooo quick! LOL

In between some of the smaller pieces I'd been stitching away at my piece for the NH Forum's Quaker SAL, Quaker Winter Slumber by Midnight Stitching. It went from this, which I started on the 6th of February:

To this, towards the end of February:

But soon became the first Happy Dance of March:

Design: Quaker Winter's Slumber #020
Designer: Midnight Stitching
Fabric: 32ct opalescent Lugana, Wind (unknown make)
Thread: Thai silk, Navy - very fine, stitched 2 over 1
Finish: to be finished as a Bellpull

The pic makes the fabric look a bit pink but it's all a greyish blue, very wintery... and very sparkly. There wasn't much sunshine when I took the pic, so it's not come out that well. This was an absolute joy to stitch and I'd love to do the other seasons at some point. The chart will be winging it's way to Tina (no blog) soon - hope she enjoys stitching this as much as I did. :0)

It was then time to choose a new project.  Clare is running a Prairie Schooler SAL on her Forum, Needlecraft Haven, and it was impossible to resist.... especially as it gave me an excuse to buy a gorgeous piece of sparkly fabric for it. Yes, that MS piece has set off a new love for opalescents... why have I not tried these before?! So here's the small start made:

Can you tell what it is yet? ROFL For those folks that aren't members of NH: I shall torment you a little longer with this one and only tell you that the fabric is Polstitches 32ct opalescent, Mummies Curse. Eheheh.

Also on the cards is another new start: Sampler au Bouquets by Jardin Prive. It was too late to join the SAL blog, so some of the memberss over at NH Forum are having a SAL with this. I've opted to stitch all three designs as one piece and am eagerly awaiting the release of part III this month. The NH SAL starts today (Tuesday 15th) and it's a "go at your own pace" one, so no pressure, for anyone that might be interested. Still waiting in the wings is my Enchanted piece, for the Carriage House Samplings SAL (another NH activity), but I don't have a suitable size of scroll frame for it at the moment. I could use a Siesta Bar Frame but I do not want to use drawing pins to attach this fabric to the frame and risk damaging it.... especially as I was a bit frugal on the extra for framing/edging. I can't help it - it's the Yorkshire blood in me. LOL ;0)

Oh, I nearly forgot! Whilst I was in a finishing mood I dug out an ornie I stitched back in 2009 and completed it - yes, it's taken me this long to get around to it *blush*. Here's the result of that:

Design: Holly Reindeer, internet freebie
Designer: Sharon Bennett, Daffycat
Fabric: 32ct linen, Mocha (unknown make)
Threads: Carrie's Creations, Buffalo Fur and Frosty Pine; DMC: 498
Finish: Pinkeep style Ornie

Many thanks Sharon - I love these little reindeer and it was another lovely piece to stitch... I just need to be in the right mood for finishing.... and it took a while *blushing again* Right, I think that's all the stitchy bits up-to-date now. Phew!

So what else has been keeping me busy? Lots of fun over at the NH Forum for one thing.... and my home. Yes, DH finally realised that the bathroom and kitchen need a total overhaul, so we've been planning and choosing what's wanted and getting quotes. The bathroom suite and a plumber to fit it have been chosen - he'll hopefully be starting in April (unfortunately that was the earliest he could fit us in, as he's popular). The kitchen maker/fitter has been chosen and we'll be in the process of finalising everything for that soon. The bulk of the waterpipe trench has now been backfilled and some of the slabs have been relaid... that's an ongoing job, as the weather doesn't always play ball when we have a free weekend to do jobs. I booked our summer holiday (vacation) - the same cottage we've stayed in the last couple of years... looking forward to recharging my batteries in my favourite place. :0)

DH and DS are still busy with the theatre stuff. DS has a part in the May production, Jekyll & Hyde, and DH is Stage Manager - he's popular for that job, as he gets everything and everyone organised well in advance, so everyone knows what they're meant to be doing and when. I shall probably be going to the performance... another solo seat at the back. LOL

I've been continuing with Development Circle meetings... but I don't know for how much longer, as one of the ladies has just dropped out. It has never been a large group anyway, so every member counts, and we suspect that it won't be long before a second member drops out - if that happens it won't be viable any longer. I shall be gutted if/when it does fold.... but I know that these things always happen for a reason... and when one door closes, another one invariably opens. I just have to be patient and see what the Universe has in store for me. :0) One door that has opened already: I will soon be going to a new monthly Meditation group that's being held locally - just a small group of women who wish to develop their Meditational skills. It starts in April... am looking forward to that.

DH and I have been to two Mind, Body and Spirit events so far this year, the first in Grimsby in January (the first time we've been to that event in a while) and, most recently, to the one in Elsecar, near Barnsley. They are always interesting.... and a lot of the stallholders now recognise me and say hello, which is nice. The main pull these days are the talks/workshops they hold, rather than going for the lovely goodies.... though I am now saving up for a Native American style flute, as that instrument is calling strongly to me. It helps that you don't need to read music to be able to play a passable tune. LOL

Well, that's not all of the news but it's the main happenings... enough there for you to have needed to make a coffee and put your feet up for a while. ROFL I will admit that I'm now extremely far behind on the blog reading/commenting but it's got to the point where it's unmanageable.... so, I don't like doing it, but I'm going to have to admit defeat and start again with many of your blogs, for which I apologise. I hope you'll all understand.... but I really don't want to be chained to this computer for the next month or two, trying to catch up. DH and DS would soon complain if there were no clean undies in the drawers or food on the table at mealtimes. LOL

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by... hope to be paying a return visit shortly. :0)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Santa Was Really Kind

Hope you all had a good festive season and enjoyed time with your families and friends... and hopefully managed to fit in a little crafting here and there too. ;0)

Our festive season was a little on the quiet side but that's how we prefer it... although it did get exciting one night, when the electric power cut out all over the house. We soon sussed that it wasn't a powercut but was actually caused by the breaker reacting to my switching on the washing machine.... because DS did it again, just to prove it, and all the lights went out again. The washer's element was shot and caused a problem with the earthing, which meant one dead washing machine and a trip to the January sales.... the new one has now been delivered and I've been on laundry catch-up ever since. That washing basket had been full to overflowing, so - as I flatly refused to hand wash their undies and socks because I value my health and sanity and don't love them that much - DH and DS had to pop to the main Tesco just after Christmas to get some emergency supplies. So far I haven't killed off the new machine, or the tumble drier, whilst doing the multitude of washes to catch up with the backlog! LOL

Santa was kind to me again, thanks to my forum friends and family. Here's a slideshow of the lovely handmade Christmas cards received this year:

And, as I like adding these little slideshow doohickys now I've worked out how to do them, here are the lovely goodies received:

Thank you again ladies for your kindness and generosity - hope you all had a lovely festive season and Santa was kind to you too, and that the thank you cards have arrived OK. :0)

We didn't get out and about much over the holidays, thanks to the cold weather and residual problems from all the snow we had, but did manage to get enough of a break in it to go and see MIL on New Years Day. The fluff ball kitten is now a fluff ball adolescent and looks like she'll always be petite. MIL is doing OK and spent her first solo Christmas with various friends, with lots of other invitations she didn't take up... though she did say that having Ally (the fluff ball) has been a real Blessing and says she's helped a great deal. Thank goodness for BIL and his family having the idea to do this. :0) So here's a pic of the little fluff ball:

It was taken with my phone, so not a great pic, but it captures her cuteness. She was so curious about what I was doing, which is why she was there long enough for me to take it.... because she's normally flitting around like a mad thing. LOL BTW, those are MIL's feet in the shot.

So what else have I been doing since my last blog post, apart from killing a washing machine, opening fab gifts and cards plus visiting MIL and admiring the fluff balls cuteness? Well.... I kept myself out of mischief by having a few cardmaking sessions at various times, with these results:

Sorry about some of those scans - my scanner doesn't like the 3-D bits on some of the cards, so makes them look all out of focus. Some of you may just recognise some of the cards too. LOL Yes, three slideshows in one post might seem a bit excessive... but not as excessive as posting every single pic would have been. ;0)

I also found time for a bit of stitching too. Bet you were thinking I'd never get round to that bit, weren't you? LOL Well I delved into my stash and started a kit of a polar bear, or rather its head, another one from the same range as the tiger I finished a little while ago. This is another piece stitched specifically for one of the girls in my Development Circle, as the polar bear is her Power Animal. I'd hoped to get it finished before the New Year started but there was just too much left to do...... so it became my first finish for 2011 instead.

Design: Polar Bear, kit
Designer: Roger W Reinardy, for the Janlynn Wildlife Series
Fabric: swapped the aida for 28ct white evenweave, unknown make
Threads: as supplied in the kit, unknown make

He was lovely to stitch and I'm sure he will be well received - just got to find a suitable frame..... or pluck up courage to make it into a wallhanging, as I have a fabric that would go really well with this.

As soon as that was finished I'd planned to do a fox design for another of the Circle girls... but the Seba Designs SAL blackwork piece that I started a while ago suddenly started to shout really loudly and wouldn't be ignored, so I picked that up instead - I'd almost forgotten just how lovely this was to stitch. Add in the fact that the new Seba 2011 SAL piece has been released.... well, I thought it best to get last years finished first. I put the last stitch in it last night (Sunday 16th January) and here's a bad pic taken in poor light, as the bright days are few and far between at the moment:

That's two finishes in a month! Wow! Keep going at this rate and the bellydancing CD will be worn out LOL. It sure does make a change though, after all those months of missing mojo that made 2010 a poor year for finishes - my album has a grand total of...... three pics in it. *blush*

I will now admit to hitting the January Sales for a little more than a washing machine. Yes, I got a few small stash additions:

I couldn't resist - they were real bargains. LOL Actually, I was quite restrained, considering the price the HAED charts were going for... though, admittedly, I already have plenty of those in my stash. Yes, I know, I should have thought of that before buying another one.... but it's an Angel! :0)

The New Year brought a few other new things too. Firstly, Clare took the plunge and started her very own Forum: Needlecraft Haven. It's a lovely, friendly place to hang out and chat and there are a few activities to join in too, in case you haven't already got lots of stitching planned: the RR's are already off to a flying start (sorry, couldn't resist. Eheheh); the Just Nan SAL is ongoing; there's a HAED SAL (any HAED piece you are stitching and would like encouragement with - Mother Earth is demanding attention); the Carriage House Samplings SAL starts in February and some of the girls are stitching Shores, whilst others are stitching smaller designs (I'm joining in with Enchanted); there's a Quaker SAL, again you can join in with any Quaker piece you like. There's going to be an Advent Exchange later in the year and then there are the regular features: UFO Night, watched over by Julie and Mr Stick, is there to help us all get those UFO's finished; a Monthly Christmas ornie section (stitch any ornie you like) and the Monthly Challenge SAL... this months stitch is a cute cat freebie by Tralala. I'm stitching this for MIL... but I can't tell you any details until Reveal Day, sorry. 

Soooo, at some point I shall be getting back to my JN piece, Flora, as the plan is to give it to Aureen, who runs the Development Circle, once it's finished. As I haven't stitched a larger Quaker style piece and have a couple of suitable designs in my stash, I'll be joining in the Quaker SAL. This piece shouted the loudest:

This was the initial floss toss, with a Thai silk thread, but am not sure about it, so will be trying DMC 820 instead. I'll be stitching it 1 over 1. Once I've completed the Challenge piece will probably be the ideal time to start this little beauty. So that's covered quite a few of my stitching plans for this year, though they're not set in stone and could be changed at some point.... it's allowed, as I'm a woman and it's part of the job description. ;0)

As for the Development Circle - it restarted last Tuesday (11th) and it was so good to be back and see the girls again. There was only one member missing and we've got our fingers crossed that she'll be back soon too. We were all a little rusty but it was a good session anyway and we're looking forward to the next one.
Then my monthly Reiki session was on Saturday (15th) and that was lovely - such a calming session. As DH and DS were out all day I did some shopping then had my dinner afterwards, in the local Fish and Chip restaurant (though I opted for chicken, chips and salad). It's so good to be so much better that I can do this kind of thing now. :0) Though this year has seen me have my first ever Hypnotherapy session - there are a few residual issues from the old agoraphobic/panic attack days that need to be dealt with, along with my wanting help to get back on track with my weight/diet (gone off the rails since my op last year), and I felt this was the best way to go. Eventually I plan on having a Past Life regression done too, something I've been interested in for a while now. It's going to be an interesting journey in the coming months. :0)

Last week was a time of being in charge of the TV remote every single evening too, from Sunday 9th to Saturday 15th - the Panto was on at the Theatre, with Get In and Get Out at either end. DH was Stage Manager and DS was in it. I tell you, the power almost went to my head! LOL It also meant quite a bit of stitchy time too, hence that Seba blackwork piece getting finished fairly speedily. Of course, the fact that they've been doing the Panto means that the pipework job hasn't progressed, despite the slight improvement in the weather, so there's still that open trench down the side of the house. Fingers crossed that something gets done next Sunday... although that depends on how DH is, as he managed to pull a muscle or trap a nerve or something in his back yesterday (Saturday) morning and has had to rest up today. Yesterday I suggested he went to the GP but wasn't holding my breath as far as him actually doing it.... but he surprised me and went this morning. I won't know what the outcome of that was until he comes home tonight - yes, he's gone into work for what he hopes will be an office based day. Fingers crossed it's just something that a little rest and Ibuprofen will sort out... soon, as I've been having to do all the lifting and bending and it's starting to tell on me too.

I am still waaaay behind with blog reading and commenting, thanks to it being so cold in here during the bad weather - even wearing the fingerless mitts didn't help. I will gradually do a catch up in the coming week or so.... but I've now got so far behind with some blogs I may just have to give in and admit defeat and just catch up with the most recent posts. So sorry, but even my nosiness can't cope with over 150+ blog posts from one single blog on top of all the others... especially as I still want time to do other things. LOL

Thank you for all your visits and kind comments. May 2011 bring you all much happiness, good health and plenty of time to stitch. :0)