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)


Daffycat said...

Oh, Karan...it's good to see you back, hon!

Wow ~ you have been keeping busy! Look at all these projects. Such lovely finishes. Goodness, and you finished my little reindeer so beautifully! Thank you! I really have to be "in the mood" for finishing. Sometimes all it takes is a deadline!

Miss 376 said...

Love the challenge pieces, they make great scissor keeps

Rachael xxx said...

Glad to see you back! And lots of lovely pics, those cards are pretty.
And lots of lovely stitching, I hope you will share pics when your kitchen etc are done

Christine said...

You have been busy! All your finishes are great, but I'd guess you already know Mr Penguinee is my favourite ;)
By the way, it is NEVER too late to get your finishes added to the Monthly Challenge albums

Sally said...

Its good to see you back Karan. I was beginning to wonder where you had got to with your blog!

You have been very productive. Love all your finishes. It's nice to Winter Quaker Slumber finished up. The fabric you've used is gorgeous.

Lovely start on your PS piece. I think mine will be an April start as I'm waiting for my chart to come into stock and be delivered to me :) Again lovely fabric. I love the look of it; I might have to go look at that one.

Cath said...

Good to see you back Karan , love all of your finishes .
You can get Carries threads from Polstitches. X

Barb said...

Shes back!!!!She is back!!! whoopee shes back,can you tell I am excited there is a blog post with all your stitchy and general news .
Oh how I have missed you my friend.
Love the sparkly fabric and design of Slumber. I think I have the right title dur.
You have been a busy Karan haven't you some lovely pieces done there.
Are you going to visit Fobbles again?!!I can hear the crystal shop calling to you too.
I deleted your last pm on NH by mistake can you resend?
Take care

Lisa said...

Nice to see you back Karan, you definitely have been busy while you've been away.
Lovely gifts from Barb, I have a thing about bags lol.
Such pretty cards, I wish I had your talent for card making!
What gorgeous finishes, I especially love the Petit Chat and Love finishes, will have to try one of those soon.
Not seen Midnight Slumber before, what a fab design.

jane said...

Lovely to see you posting again Karan, and what a lot of beautiful finishes you have to show us. Everything is lovely but I think what you did with the January challenge is my favourite.
Hope your Circle doesn't have to fold or if it does that you find another door opening.

Tina said...

Nice and chatty post Karan,some super finishing skills there and some pretty designs.Love the scissor keeps and winter slumber has turned out fab

Mylene said...

Good to see you back, Karan.
You sure been busy, beautiful finishes and good start on your new projects.

Such lovely gifts received, enjoy and goodluck with redoing the bathroom and kitchen.

Siobhan said...

It's good to see a post from you, Karan!

What lovely work you've been doing. Wonderful finishes!

Andrea said...

Good to see you back again. Lots of great finishes.

Jade said...

Great post and an extra thanks for the freebie site!

Julie said...

A lovely catch-up blog post Karan

Lots of lovely stithcy pics, WIP's and finishes, the mojo is certainly on full tilt right now. I'm looking forward to seeing your Jardi Prive when that gets started. NH certainly seems to have motivated a lot of us LOL

Lovely gift from Barb, what a super bag

Great cards, very pretty

totallythreadup said...

You've certainly found your blogging mojo and what a lot you have to report. If you are still looking for Carrie's threads I have bought some previously from Polstitches


Hope this helps


Virpi said...

Oh, those scissor keeps are amazing! Really beautiful...

Brigitte said...

Thank you so much for commenting on my blog.
You show some very nice WIPs here. And oh, I love the scissor keep finishings very much. Great stitching!

Stitchingranny said...

Hi Karan, well I have been AWOL too so I know the feeling about catching up with blogs. I am just reading one or two of what were my favourites each day and the rest - well the rest will probably never get read lol. You have been busy, I love the little freebie cat pic and what you did with it, so pretty and very very useful too.

Hugs Helen x

Sheilasembroidery said...

Smile :) and now it's been even longer since we have been able to read your crafting stories. Thank you so much for the lovely comments you have made on my blog. Hugs, hope all is well.

Vinniey said...

All your finishes are beautiful. How are you? I was thinking about you and drop by your blog. It has been a long time didn't hear from you. I hope everything are fine with you. {{{Hugs}}}