Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Final Post for 2008

One of the books I got for Christmas that was missing from the picture in the earlier post was the book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas as I was reading it at the time. After two nights of reading it before we turned the light out it got to the I have to finish this stage and so yesterday afternoon was spent reading the book to the end. Now I haven't seen the film, as we couldn't get tickets for it at our local cinema (which we like to support) and having read the book I'm glad I didn't as I'm sure I'd have needed a box or two of hankies.

The book looks like it is written with young adults in mind, but it is a fascinating read and is the first book in a long time that, at the end, had me holding my breath and really and truly not wanting to read on because I was dreading what I was going to read next. I'm not going to give the plot away but suffice to say I actually had to go back and read the last two chapters again because I was so caught up with hoping my expectations weren't going to come true that somehow the words skipped in front of my eyes without really being read, although I was taking in what was happening. If this doesn't make sense read the book and then I promise you it will.

Some Goals for 2009

At the start of 2008 I set myself a list of goals that related to walking and getting fitter and up to May I was actually achieving them but then I injured the ligament in my ankle and everything fell apart. Just as I was starting to get back on track with regards to a fitness regime Husband lost his job and priorities changed and once again my fitness regime fell apart. So my primary goal for 2009 is to reduce my weight by 3 stone and to get back to the level of fitness I had achieved when I first knew Husband 5/6 years ago.

Now I know if I can just get myself into the habit of going to the gym etc that I will actually stick at it but I also know that research shows that it takes up to 2 months for something to become so habitual that it is automatically part of your life. So I am hoping that the first two months of 2009 will see me set up the habits fitness-wise that I want to achieve:

Swim - Twice a week
Gym - Visit twice a week
Walking - To get out onto the hills twice a week

2008 has also seen me acquire the very bad habit of letting the posting of walks onto my website become delayed. Until last year the only walks that weren't posted within 24 hours of the walk being completed were the ones from walking holidays. This year I intend to get back into the habit of posting walks within 24 hours of completing them.

Of course 2008 was also the year when I set up my blog after finally getting round to buying myself a magnifying lamp and picking up my needle and thread for the first time in a couple of years. Hopefully the blog and the stitching will continue and this year I am planning on having more than one finish. Stitching wise I hope to finish the two big projects I'm currently working on, take part in the 2 new SALs I've joined as well as complete some smaller projects.

This years sewing will hopefully include work on:

Love Songs - to a finish
Celtic Autumn - to a finish
St Petersburg
Cirque Des Triangles

Weihenburg Christmas Quaker SAL - to a finish
Me Myself & I Round Robin - to a finish
Start another Celtic Lady as part of the Celtic Lady SAL

Complete & finish as many JA Monthly Challenges as possible
Complete and send my PIF to Robin Titan
Stitch several squares for SOLAK
Stitch Xmas gift tags/cards for my family

I am also planning on getting out in my garden far more often than I did last year, although what I actually do in it will depend upon finances so more of an update on that once I get a better idea of where we stand money-wise.

So that should be enough to keep me out of trouble for 2009.

Monday, 29 December 2008


Well I hope everyone had a good Christmas ours was a little mixed, started out well and sadly went downhill for Daughter from early evening onwards.

After a late start to the day we eventually managed to drag Son and Daughter out of bed so as that we could open the presents.

In amongst the many presents under the tree were several books and Cd's for me. One of which was an Osmonds CD which has the two albums Crazy Horses and The Plan, it was a surprise gift from Husband and I'd forgotten just how good they were. Nice to know my first taste in music was actually quite good lol!! My brother had got me a book voucher so I have also ordered The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Nigella's Christmas and the second book in the Martin Edwards Lake District thriller series.

As you can see there were also several cross stitch related presents, including from Husband the Thea Governeur kit St Petersburg, which I'm itching to start. My dad ordered me all of the Celtic Lady charts thinking I'd missed out Celtic Autumn from the list so I'm hoping I can swap that for Cirque Des Triangles when Thread Bear opens next Friday. The Little House Needlework's chart was from Daughter.

Husband's speciality is wrapping presents up in strange ways and this 'spade' was for me but it had absolutely nothing to do with gardening and most certainly wasn't a spade. In fact it was an add-on for my digital mapping and only the bit at the bottom was the present the rest was cardboard.

Once the presents were all opened it was time to start thinking about the dinner, which went without a hitch, a big relief after Monday when my oven had packed up.

In the evening I was meant to be picking up Daughter's boyfriend put he then decided not to come over, so of course we had tears and then the next day he very kindly broke up with her.

Then as if she wasn't having things tough enough yesterday somebody broke into the 'crew-room' at MacDonalds, where she works, and stole her (favourite) bag with her I-pod, Blackberry, purse, keys and favourite make-up bag with her (naturally) expensive lip-stick in it, think Chanel and Dior. Whilst her purse, keys and cards were found and later handed into a local police station we have still had to stop all of her cards, lock her phone and replace the front door lock. Tomorrow we are going shopping for a new Blackberry for her and I think after the rough deal she has had I might even stretch to replacing one of her lipsticks for her and a new handbag. You may of course recall that I hate shopping and shopping during the sales is definitely not how I want to spend my time but in these circumstances I'll try my hardest not to moan when Daughter, who's number one favourite past-time is shopping, is dragging me all over Derby tomorrow.

What I haven't yet mentioned is that the week before Daughter came home she had a more expensive I-pod pinched from her handbag whilst she was Christmas shopping on Oxford Street and of course her friend died a couple of months ago. I really wish I could stop all of this happening to her, I feel so completely useless at the moment. She is feeling so low that last night she opted to spend the evening with Husband and I watching TV in the living room rather than be in her bedroom!! Thankfully she has plenty of friends who are also supporting her and keeping her company so hopefully the smile will back on her face soon.

Today in an attempt to stop me putting anymore weight on during Christmas I dragged myself out of bed early and headed for the pool and managed 50 lengths. I haven't been for a while due to the fact my swimming costume had become very, very baggy and needed replacing, which I finally got around to doing yesterday. One of my goals for 2009 is too reduce my weight by at least 3 stone and to get much fitter, so not gaining any over Christmas is a good start, I think.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My Oven Blew Up

Yesterday (Monday) when I had 8 people for dinner my oven packed up. Having put the pork in the oven to cook I went and sat down to talk to my guests for an hour. I returned to the kitchen around 5:30 pm to put the potatoes in and thought; "This oven isn't very warm!" Felt the pork, which was warmish and got a little worried, removed it from the oven, cut it in half to find it was still raw and that yes my oven had stopped working. The pork was hurriedly moved to the top oven to cook and Husband was dispatched across town to his Fathers with instructions on how to cook both lots of potatoes.

Now no doubt you, like me, are now thinking; "What about the Christmas Dinner because there is no way the turkey will fit in the small oven?" This is one of those times when having a Husband who knows everyone comes in useful. Before disappearing across town Husband rang his cousin who immediately diagnosed the problem as the element having gone and confirmed that he would be round first thing tomorrow morning (today) with the replacement part. Not sure who was meant to be first on his list for visits that day but I suspect he was very late for them. I'd apologise but it wouldn't be in any way sincere as I was more than a little worried I'd have no oven for Christmas Day.

Thankfully I now have an oven that is working. I'm sure you can imagine my relief.

Dinner, although an hour or so later than planned, was enjoyed by all and my guests eventually departed at 10:30 p.m. to drive home. Husband and I finally sat down at 11:00 p.m. having just finished the washing up.

My parents, who were 2 of the guests, having dropped my aunt off, called into Tesco in Coventry on their way home to find that it was very busy at MIDNIGHT!! They only called in to get the last minute bits for Christmas Day because they were passing and it would save them getting up early today mind they did expect it to be quiet, but no, apparently they were queuing at the tills. How mad is that!!

Well I doubt I'll be posting on the blog tomorrow,as there is plenty to do in preparation for the big day so I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas.

Friday, 19 December 2008

My First Exchange

I took part in the Stitched Christmas Card Exchange on Jayne's Attic and today was the day for opening our cards. As I know Ursh has opened hers I'll post the pictures of the two cards.
This is the card I stitched for Ursh and its the only card I actually got around to stitching this year. Try as I might I couldn't get all four sides of the border to line up with the edges of the card. Next year I'm setting myself the target of one Christmas card and gift tag a month.

Prairie Stars
Prairie Schooler
Linen 32 ct

This is the card I received from Angi whom as far as I know hasn't got a blog. Isn't it pretty and I picked up a few tips from her as well. I shall be on the look out for all the gold bits she has used inside the card and on the front of it for any cards I do in the future. It also has lots of beading on it which is extra useful as I've got to start the beading on Celtic Autumn soon and as you may know I've not done any beading before so now I have an example to follow. Thank you Angi it's lovely as are the two little pins you sent with the card.

No sewing today. Husband and I were at Sainsburys for 8:30 to do the big Christmas shop and that was after a night when I had less than 4 hours sleep, no reason for it, just one of those nights!! We have also put the tree up this afternoon which involved an interruption to buy new lights as the old ones had finally given up the ghost. Fortunately I'd made the meat pie before we started so it was then just a case of putting the pie, croquet potatoes and jam tarts (spare pastry always turns into jam tarts) in the oven before I collapsed onto the settee to watch Strictly Take Two. Later we will be watching the original terminator on Sky although I suspect I'll actually be asleep on the settee long before it finishes.

Go Tom Go.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

One Day of Stitching

As planned yesterday afternoon was spent working on Celtic Autumn and as you can see I've made quite good progress.

As there is so much gold braid stitching to do I always try to start by doing some of that and then moving onto some other stitching. At the moment I'm trying to fill in as many of the gaps as possible so as that I can avoid having to fix her to my roller frame for as long as possible. I'll also have to pluck up the courage to start adding the beads to the dress, something I've never worked with before, so that should be fun.

Not quite sure how I've managed this but I have another free day today so hopefully I'll get some more stitching done this afternoon, although I might let Husband drag me down to the pool this afternoon. Before then I think I feel the need to go and bake some chocolate chip muffins and maybe do a tiny bit of ironing so as that I don't feel like I've done nothing but stitch all day.

Edited: Here they all are before Husband gets home and has one with his lunch.
Click on the link above for the menu

P.S. It's very quiet here today. Son's telly is down very low in his room (next door) as he has a hangover after his works Christmas Party last night. To be fair to him he very rarely drinks so Husband and I are finding it quite amusing. Does that make me a bad parent?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

At Last Some Stitching

Over the last few weeks I have managed to do some work on Celtic Autumn. Each session has been quite short so it didn't seem worth posting pictures but when I looked back at the last picture I posted I realised I have actually made quite good progress with her.

Most of the stitching has been on the swirls on her dress, which means lots of short bits of stitching, so progress seems quite slow at times, but I'm still enjoying her. In fact I'm off to do some more work on her now as the housework is done, Husband is cooking tonight so I have the whole afternoon to stitch, what luxury!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas Preparations

There has been very little time over the last few weeks for any sewing, although I have made some progress with both Love Songs and Celtic Autumn. As you might expect my time has been taken up with Christmas stuff. Most of my shopping this year has been done over the Internet with a massive order to HMV, several orders to Amazon and others to the clothes shops Daughter's presents are coming from. I actually got away with only spending half a day in town shopping. Apart from one parcel, which is on its way from the US, everything has arrived safely. Last week our poor postman had to knock on the door every day because he had too many parcels to get through the letterbox easily!! In amongst those parcels were two for me, two small additions to my stash.

Some 28 count even weave and two threads that I need for Love Songs from Country Designs and a chart from Thread Bear. The linen was bought using my £5.00 voucher, which expires at the end of the month, so I don't feel too guilty about getting it.

I have been busy doing or planning all of my Christmas baking. The cake was made a couple of weeks ago, it's a Chocolate Fruit/Christmas cake based on a Nigella recipe. Her recipe uses prunes which I replace with mixed fruit as the thought of eating prunes fills me with horror. For years I made a traditional Christmas cake which would still be here at Easter but since I've made this one it's gone by New Year. You can't taste the chocolate and it tastes just like a Christmas cake but is just that bit lighter. You can find the recipe for the cake here.

I will be adding the marzipan this week and icing it earlier next week.

The Christmas puddings were also made last weekend, although the second one had to wait as I needed to order a part for my pressure cooker after it boiled dry when I made the first one!! I didn't turn the gas down low enough - oops. I did the same thing last year and it didn't effect the taste and the pudding looked moist enough when I but fresh baking paper and foil on it so I think I've got away with it. These are based on Delia's recipe and for years now I have always made two, the second gets eaten on Easter Sunday.

I love Christmas pudding and Christmas cake and even made them when I was a single parent and Son and Daughter didn't really eat them. I can't wait for my Christmas dinner. Or even better Boxing Day breakfast, toast and turkey dripping mmmmmmmmmm.

I'm just about at the stage where I can really start to look forward to Christmas and all the get-togethers that we have planned. The presents are all wrapped, the cards are written and posted and all the food for the Christmas fortnight is planned. I spent Saturday afternoon surrounded by recipe books planning the various meals and putting together my big Christmas shopping list which I will be doing on Friday with husband. Once that is done Christmas will officially start. I'm so far ahead that I've even given the oven its pre-Christmas clean and already washed all my crystal, a job that is normally done on Christmas Eve. I'm feeling very virtuous at the moment.

On Friday evening we will put up the tree, Saturday will see Husband and I doing our traditional pre-Christmas walk and on Sunday daughter returns from uni for the holidays. On Monday my parents are visiting along with an aunt and I'm planning a special meal, pork in fennel sauce (Jamie Oliver) with all the trimmings, Chestnut Cheesecake and Bakewell Tart (both Nigella). I've even been able to purchase some gold sugar stars to go on the Bakewell Tart from a new shop in town. On Boxing Day we will make a return visit to my mums where hopefully I'll get to meet up with one of my sisters and my brother. The following Sunday Husband's dad is joining us for dinner as he is spending Christmas Day with Husband's sister. So lots to look forward to and lots of baking to come.

Of course all of this organisation could come to nothing if we should win the lottery next weekend or even the jackpot (£500.00) at the pub quiz tonight as then I'll be out shopping for presents for all the relatives that aren't getting any this year due to Husband's lack of employment. Keep your fingers crossed for the jackpot at the quiz as nothing would make me happier this year than to have to do some last minute shopping.

Being so far ahead with Christmas I'm now hoping to catch up on some sewing so maybe I'll have pictures to post tomorrow. I had planned on doing some sewing yesterday but woke up with the most horrendous sore throat and earache which preceded to get worse throughout the day. By the end of the day I felt quite achy and this morning felt even worse but strangely have felt a lot better as the day has progressed, maybe it was some weird 24 hour thing. I hope so as I haven't really been visiting the gym or swimming pool recently, it was so cold last week that I couldn't drag myself out of bed to go and if I don't go in the morning I never seem to get round to it later in the day!! I really would like to get back into it before Christmas and all that eating starts.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Spiced Butter Cake

I've been waiting to try out this recipe for over a week now and have finally got around to it today. I should have been doing my Christmas baking but I forgot to add the list of ingredients to my shopping list last week so that will have to wait until this weekend.
This butter cake is so easy to make, that the most awkward bit is lining the cake tin.

The recipe comes from Donna Hay's book Modern Classics Book 2

125g /4 0z very soft butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour - sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 cup / 4 fl oz milk


Put everything in the bowl and mix it together until it is smooth. If like me you use an electric mixer start of slowly and then speed up until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking paper and cook at 150 C for 1 hour 5 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
For a plain cake you can omit the mixed spice or indeed add any flavouring of your choice.

You can ice it but with Christmas just around the corner I'll leave it plain.

Next time I think I'll make it as a lemon flavoured cake and try it in a loaf tin instead of a round cake tin.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Custard Anyone?

Thanks to Son we now have rather a lot of custard to eat, in fact we have that much to eat I think we'll need to buy a cow for all the milk we are going to need! Son is an Adult Instructor with the local Army Cadets, the idea that my son is an adult is a concept that I still struggle with but I digress!! Last weekend he was away on a training course and returned on Sunday with a 3.5 kg pack of custard powder, yes I got that right 3.5 kg. Guess I won't be buying any custard at Sainsburys for the next year or so.

The kitchens at the camp were closing that day for an upgrade and giving away all the food that they couldn't use and he grabbed a 'bag' of custard. Not sure how many years it will take us to use it up but if I was to make the whole bag up at once I would need 46.5 litres or 10 gallons and 2 pints of milk and 2.3 kg of sugar. Mind if you think that's bad one of his friends went home with 12 bags of the stuff in the boot if his car, apparently they eat an awful lot of custard in their house!!!

Sewing wise very little has been done during the last week as most of my time and energy has been spent getting the flyers out to promote Husband's business. Thankfully they have worked well and the leads, meetings and quotes are happening at a fantastic rate which is great news.

The other good news is that I have lost weight, not sure if it's the exercise or worrying about loosing the house that is doing it, I suspect the latter. I currently go from thinking everything will be alright to feeling really worried that we will loose the house etc, etc. The reality is that the business is starting to take off and Husband has jobs to apply for so no doubt everything will be OK but I just can't shake off the feeling that we could end up loosing everything. It doesn't help that Christmas is coming, a time of year that I absolutely love but this year I hate the fact that we are having to say to everyone, "Sorry no presents this year". For someone who hates shopping this is the one time of year I adore it as I love choosing and wrapping the gifts for my family and this year I just can't enjoy it as I'm just thinking of whom I'm not buying gifts etc for.

Needless to say my sewing mojo has also disappeared but I have managed to do a small amount of work on Love Songs. Aside from the flyering working on Love Songs is the only target from last week I managed to achieve so I shall roll most of them over to this week.

It felt strange to be working on aida after so much time spent working on linen but my eyes were grateful for the rest, especially as I was often shattered from the hours spent flyering.

Hopefully this week I'll feel a little more inspired and get on with the things that need doing such as starting my Christmas shopping and making my Christmas Puddings. The day I steam my puddings is normally the day I start wrapping my presents so I'd better go and buy some. Mind the turkey is already in the freezer as they were half price at Sainsburys last week so I grabbed one before they sold out!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A Goals Catch Up & Flyering

Setting goals on a weekly basis is defiantly more successful than setting them by the month. That said I'm still too ambitious with how much I try to achieve so it's not surprising that I didn't do as much as I hoped. I also have to admit that when I made these goals I wasn't expecting to see Friday and Saturday become days spent flyering for Husband's business.

Swim - Twice a week (60 lengths) - Done
Gym - Go three times - Done
Walks - At least once a week - Done
Website - Post last 3 walks - No although I did get one walk posted
Love Songs - Work on it at least once -Yes, I worked on it for two evenings
Celtic Autumn SAL - Stitch on it at least once - Yes, worked on it for two evenings
Good Friend's Count SAL - Finish - No
Christmas Cards - Finish second one - No
Greenhouse - Clear out & clean - No

There will be fewer goals this week because most of my time is going to be spent flyering but as it has already produced several new leads I'm not complaining, although it was pretty miserable flyering yesterday in the rain by myself. Today in the sunshine and with Husband for company it was quite pleasant. Needless to say the goals aren't going to include many to do with getting fitter as the 3- 5 hours flyering each day are more than enough exercise, especially when you consider that where I live is essentially a collection of hills with lots of slopes and steps up to letterboxes.

Next weeks goals are:

Swim - One session of 60 lengths
Walking - Hopefully I'll be out walking on Friday
Flyering - Get them all out by the end of next weekend
Christmas Cards - Finish 2nd one
Love Songs - Stitch on it at least once
Celtic Autumn - Stitch on it at least once

I plan on doing some more work on Love Songs tonight, if I can keep my eyes open long enough, so I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Blue Sky

With yesterday originally forecast as the only dry day of the week Husband and I headed for Milldale and ignored Dove Dale instead opting for a walk through Wolfscote Dale. We certainly picked the best day of the week and the right location as we enjoyed blue sky, the last of the autumn colours on the trees and a found a lunch-spot where the sun and shelter meant we were as warm as toast.

Reflections in the River Dove

Limestone caves at the entrance to Wolfscote Dale

Even better when we got home I was inspired enough to post all the pictures from the walk onto my website straight away, which is how it always used to be. Mind that did mean there was no stitching done yesterday and it's not looking good for today either as tonight is quiz night and this afternoon we will be starting to tackle getting rid of the 10,000 flyers Husband has ordered to help advertise his website design business.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Letters From America

I arrived back from the swimming pool this morning to find the mat covered in post and two of the letters were from America.

I entered a draw for some floss on Jennifer's site and was lucky enough to win some of her hand-dyed floss.

I haven't decided what I'm going to stitch with it yet but I suspect that it may well end up travelling back across the Atlantic as part of the thread I use for my PIF winner.

At the same time a postcard arrived from Daughter who spent last week in New York and yes her and her friend did plan the trip to coincide with the election. The text message I received at 5a.m. (GMT) last Wednesday from her just after Obama had been declared the President-Elect said that NY was insane. She is of course now home, or rather back at Uni in London, having visited the one place in the world she has always wanted to visit.

No stitching yesterday, Son occupied the living room in the afternoon to watch a film with a friend and then I was too shattered and in too much pain to want to sit and stitch during the evening. I have somehow managed to pull a muscle in my side which meant every time I moved my arm it was agony. I suspect it was caused by a combination of doing a different set of exercises at the gym and hoovering upstairs yesterday afternoon. As it only came on in the afternoon I reckon the hoovering must have aggravated it. Sadly as I managed 60 lengths in the pool this morning I can't use that as an excuse to get out of cleaning downstairs so I'd better get on with it but at least once that's done I have all afternoon and evening to sew.

Monday, 10 November 2008

The PIF Winner Is .........

As Robin Titan was the only one person to sign up for my PIF she will be the recipient of some of my stitching in the next year. Robin has asked if she could pass the PIF forward in the form of e-books as she doesn't sew so it will be interesting to see how that works.

If anyone else wishes to sign up and feels they have missed out because they haven't visited my blog over the last week get in touch as I'd like to honour the PIF and pass on 3 stitched gifts rather than just the one.

Filling in the Gaps

A change of location for my stitching yesterday so Husband and Son could watch the first Star Wars film, i.e. episode 4 meant that I got more stitching done than I expected. Partly because Husband spent the evening watching two episodes of Cold Case that I'd already seen so I carried on sewing. Normally I sew in Husband's chair so pack up sewing if we watch TV in the evening.

I worked on Celtic Autumn and whilst she has grown a little most of my time was spent filling in the gaps on the yellow part of her dress.

The big gap between the yellow and purple parts of her dress will remain until I'm close to the end of her as that is a large section of white and I like to keep white until the end to try to stop it getting grubby.

I have also been working on some Christmas Cards but I can't show them yet. I picked a piece of linen to work on that I have had for years and so had no idea what size it was, other than very small. Having stitched the first card I measured the number of stitches yesterday and it's 30 count. Is there a 30 count? I counted the number of stitches per inch several times and each time I had 15 stitches stitched over two so that must mean there is a 30 count or am I counting wrong? Anyway one thing is for sure working on such a small count makes my eyes ache after a while but I love the way the tiny stitches look so perfect.

Not sure what will jump into my hands later today.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Setting myself monthly goals isn't working as I'm tending to find that unexpected events like impromptu holidays throw all my plans out of the window. Also since Husband is now working from home my routine is fast disappearing. In an attempt to get back into the habit of achieving things and so as that I can account for the current lack of routine in my life I've decided to make weekly goals/targets instead. Here are this weeks goals:

Swim - Twice a week (60 lengths)
Gym - Go three times
Walks - At least once a week
Website - Post last 3 walks
Love Songs - Work on it at least once
Celtic Autumn SAL - Stitch on it at least once
Good Friend's Count SAL - Finish
Christmas Cards - Finish second one
Greenhouse - Clear out & clean

With my recent bouts of arthritis and two days of doing nothing last week due to a really bad migraine my fitness regime has suffered a bit of a set-back. Also with Husband now working from home I'm finding getting up early enough to go for a swim or to the gym before it gets busy very difficult. I gave myself a good talking to this morning and dragged myself down to the gym before breakfast and plan on going again tomorrow before breakfast.

As Sunday dinner is cooked and eaten and Husband's washing up, the rest of the day is going to be spent working on Celtic Autumn and watching the Strictly Come Dancing results show. Nothing against John Sergeant but I really hope he goes today as it would be a travesty if one of the other celebs went when he really was doing little more than walking around the dance floor last night.

Friday, 7 November 2008

PIF Reminder

I was lucky enough to be drawn in Rachael's PIF last week and so now make the same offer on my blog.

The closing date is this Sunday so if you would like to recieve something hand-made by me in the next 365 days please sign up at the link on the 3rd November. The only condition is that you Pay It Forward by making the same offer yourself.

This PIF is open to everyone.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

1/8th Completed

All of my stitching time over the last week has been spent working on Celtic Autumn and I can see some real progress with her. I was getting a little bit fed up of the fiddly bits in the yellow so opted to start on the purple part of her dress which gave me plenty of long stretches in one colour. Despite getting on so well with her I was still surprised to find, when I worked it out last night, that I'd finished 12.5% of her already.

I think she's going to have to go onto my roller frame soon as I don't want to risk crushing the braid in the hoop I'd also like to start putting the beads on so as that I don't end up with them all to stitch on at the end and I don't think they would survive being caught in the hoop.

She's going away now until the weekend and I'm planning on finishing Good Friends Count and getting some more stitches into Love Songs.

Monday, 3 November 2008


I have been chosen to be one of the lucky recipients of Rachael's PIF. This is the first time I will have taken part in a PIF and having seen how beautiful Rachael's work is I can't wait to see what she makes for me.

I was a bit nervous about taking part as I have to make the same offer in return on my blog and I've never actually given any of my stitching to anyone outside of my family.

If you would like to receive something handmade by me within the next 365 days, please comment on this post to say that you are interested. I will then draw 3 names out of a hat on Sunday 9th November (GMT). If you are one of the chosen three then in return, please post the same offer on your blog.

This PIF is open for everyone!

I have been working on Celtic Autumn over the last few days although i had to frog two rows last night after I spotted I was a stitch out on one row and found a knot in another row. After I have put a few more stitches in her tonight I plan on taking a photo of my progress and then putting her a way for a few days whilst I work on something else.

Friday, 31 October 2008

A Reading Catch-Up

Whilst we were away in the Lakes I got into the Ruth Rendell Wexford story 'Not In The Flesh' and as usual it became a page-turner and was finished shortly after we returned from the Lakes. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the book, I've not watched the series on TV so I didn't come to the book with any pre-conceived ideas but somehow the characters seemed too weak. Maybe the problem is that I met them when they have become well established in earlier books but should an author assume that their readers have met the characters before. There was one story line which came across as little more than the author using the book as a means of expressing an opinion about female circumcision which whilst I agree with the views expressed contributed nothing to the main storyline. I also found it very difficult to believe the main character was a top detective when I'd worked out many chapters before him what had happened. This is something Husband goes mad about me doing when we are watching films etc but it's very rare for me to do it in a book. An interesting read but I don't think I'll be buying another Ruth Rendell in a while, there are far better crime writers out there, in my opinion.

Some while back Karen offered a book she had just finished 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' free to a good home with one condition that the new owner promised to register their ownership with the Book Crossing website and then launch the book into the open for a new owner to find. I have done the first part but the launch into the open will be delayed as I promised to launch it in Cumbria which will be done on my next trip north.

As with most books that I read this turned out to be a bit of a page turner that has a great storyline which proves that children's books shouldn't be ignored by adults. The story is told by the main character Christoper who has Asperger's Syndrome which leaves you with a greater understanding of how other's who are different view the world. Don't make the mistake of thinking the book is using Asperger's Syndrome to make you sympathetic towards the lead character, it isn't and in my opinion would be a great read even if Christopher was 'ordinary'.

I have just raided Daughter's room and picked up The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker, one of the books I had to buy her when she was studying for her English Lit A Level. It is a thick book think Lord of the Rings and you'll not be far off, so I don't think this will be a quick read, but you never know.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

She Was Screaming To Be Let Out - Honest

At long last I have done some stitching and oh boy did I enjoy it.

Even though the weather has been turning increasingly colder I have been trying to avoid putting the heating on during the day but I was starting to suffer with arthritis. Last weekend it was in my neck and shoulders so stitching wasn't really possible, well not without considerable discomfort. Yesterday was so cold I gave in and put the heating on in the morning so as that house got nice and warm and then spent the afternoon and an hour in the evening stitching. Mind my toes were still cold so I sat sewing with my usual two pairs of socks on (one is a thick pair of walking socks) and a blanket folded over my toes. During the winter a blanket is frequently to be found in our living room often wrapped around me, sometimes even with the heating on I'm still cold. Husband, of course, is walking round moaning about how hot he is. I have always said we live in different climates. One day I'm going to have quilt to wrap around me like you see Amy doing in the TV program 'Judging Amy', until that day arrives I make do with a blanket.

How nice it was to get my needle and thread out. There was never any doubt in my mind as to which of the pieces I'm working on I was going to do. Celtic Autumn has been screaming at me to have some more stitches put into her dress. Last time I stitched on her I used gold braid for the first time and had real problems with it constantly coming off the needle. When I mentioned this on the Celtic Lady blog Valerie gave me a great tip which I was able to put into practice yesterday and it certainly solved my problem. Instead of dreading using the braid I quite enjoyed stitching with it so thank you very much Valerie.

I must have done a lot of stitching with it because Husband commented on how sparkly she looked and he rarely makes any comments on what I'm sewing other than to make a polite enquiry about what I'm doing.

Elsewhere I have decided that there is no way I'm going to get Love Songs finished in time for it to be my sisters' Christmas present so I now have another 12 months to complete it, in time for next Christmas. Even if I did finish it I couldn't, at this moment in time, justify spending the money getting it framed so there really is no point in rushing it.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A Sewing Update

This is a bit of a cheat as I haven't picked my needle up for what seems like an age but I thought I'd post a picture of the JA SAL that I was working on before my sewing went AWOL.

This is part 2 and some of part 3 of the SAL. I was really enjoying this piece and even though the SAL has long since finished I have every intention of finishing it, although I'll have to learn how to doing beading first.

Thanks for all the messages with regards to the last post. We are over the shock of it now and trying to make the best of it.

Yesterday Husband and I enjoyed a long day's walk on Eyam Moor and on Monday he joined me for an afternoon around Brassington when I was making notes for the next walk I'm publishing in All Things Local, a local publication I write for.

The one advantage of him working for himself is that we can often make the most of the good weather and get out walking when we want to. Yesterday despite it being cold and the paths being very muddy we did enjoy some great Autumn colours.

Highlow Brook

Bamford Edge

It does mean he then spends evenings and weekends working but it is the lifestyle we are hoping to achieve in the end, we just didn't plan on having to rely on the business to pay the mortgage just yet.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

How Not to End a Holiday

Husband and I had a long weekend in the Lakes starting on Saturday and returning on the Tuesday. Despite all the rain and wind that was about we managed to fit in 4 walks that were predominately done in the dry. Enjoyed 3 great meals out with excellent company on the Sunday night and a great night at the theatre on Monday night.

The drive back was good with no delays on the M6 and so at just gone 6:00 pm I was driving out of Stoke towards Derby when my mobile rang. Husband answered it find Daughter in tears on the other end as one of her friends from uni had died earlier that day. I felt so sick not only because I couldn't comfort my daughter but also for the lad's parents whom only a few weeks ago dropped their son off at uni for his final year to have him tragically die in what at this moment appears to be a side-effect of a broken leg. Needless to say I had very little sleep that night worrying about my daughter and also feeling so sorry for her friend's family.

The next day Husband dropped his car of for an MOT (which it passed) walked into work only to walk out again 15 minutes later minus a job. Claiming a need to cut costs, Husband was 'let go' with one week's pay, very conveniently a week before he would have been employed there for a year and so have more rights than he does this week. Sadly despite the fact the company (and I am finding it very difficult here to not swear) has a long history of doing this and even worse the law allows them to do it, he can do nothing about what is in effect a case of unfair dismissal. The opinion of the lawyer we spoke to today, not mine. It should be noted here that the Managing Directors/owners of the company can still afford to buy second Ferrari's and second homes in the Lakes, take the senior management on jollies to London, amongst other things and only a couple of weeks ago were telling everyone how business was booming for them despite the looming recession. Any thoughts in my head about them at the moment are completely uncharitable and involve every unpleasant event that could occur to them occurring. Needless to say I had even less sleep last night than I did the night before.

Trying to stay cheerful, at least Husband's website design business is picking up orders and he has put in for 3 jobs already and is very hopeful, after speaking to the agency of an interview for at least one of them.

Strangely I haven't felt much like sewing and even less like sorting out the pictures for my website. When my head stops spinning hopefully I will be able to settle down to doing some of the things I enjoy. At least my stash means my sewing will remain free for some time to come.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Lists & Christmas

I have always been a bit of a list maker, usually of jobs to do but they do come in other forms as well. I have some lists that I keep permanently on my computer which I print off as and when they are needed:

1. A list for all the items we need when we go camping.
2. A list of everything we need when we go on a walking holiday that isn't in a tent.
3. A list of everything I need to buy for Christmas.
4. A list of possible birthday/Christmas presents for me.
5. A list of everyone to whom we send Christmas cards, with addresses. Very useful when you can't remember what someones child is called and haven't got the card of them yet.

It is of course that time of year when (well mine does) thoughts turn to Christmas. I start to prepare for Christmas once Son's birthday is over. Remember I hate shopping and it is always my mission to have all my Christmas shopping done by the first week of December. My sister-in-law isn't a list maker and Christmas always seems to be a big surprise to her and she ends up shopping for everything in December and then she wonders why she hates Christmas!! A few years ago, because she doesn't like driving into Derby, I took her in to finish her Christmas Shopping in the last few days before Christmas. It was manic, she couldn't get what she wanted and the shops were full to over-flowing, never, ever, again, in this lifetime will I be repeating that experience.

After 20 odd years of organising Christmas I know what food to buy so if it's on offer in Sainsburys and preservable it gets bought and stored away for the big event. Last week it was the Quality Street (reduced), the week before Terry's Chocolate Orange (3 for 2), one each for the kids and one for me when I'm wrapping presents. I reckon I save a fortune just by looking out for the various items early and only buying them when they are reduced. Mind maybe my Christmas list making does have one downside as both Son and Daughter have for a long time when opening their presents in the morning gone through them putting aside the items they know appear each year in favour of the ones they can't account for. Also if any item doesn't appear it is likely to be noticed. They are 20 and 19 and will still moan if a tub of Haribo doesn't appear but I am hopeful that this year I might be able to stop buying them selection boxes.

The one problem with making lists of jobs to do is that invariably they get half done but then new jobs come along so you either end up with two lists or making a new one. This at times can get disheartening because you don't get the delightful feeling of completing the list. Anyway this week I came up with a solution which I am amazed it has taken me so long to think of. I now have a To Do list on a spreadsheet on my computer. By using strikethrough I can still look at the list and see the jobs being completed, add new jobs as and when they need adding and if its one of those jobs that needs repeating remove the strikethrough. As my computer is on all day it's great for when your doing something and remember that job you have been meaning to do for ages and keep forgetting about, a quick entry on the computer and the job isn't forgotten. Mind maybe it's sad that one of the jobs on this list is to update my Christmas List but there again as everyone knows I make lists they always start asking around now what I want for Christmas so maybe I'd better get it done.

A sewing update will follow. I plan on watching the Olympic Parade either with my sewing or if I'm feeling good I'll do the ironing first, cross it off the list and do some sewing this afternoon.

Must remember to print out the walking list as we are heading to the Lakes again this weekend!!!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Still Here

A very short post to say I'm still about. I was so fed up with being so far behind on the walks on my website that I promised myself I wouldn't blog until my website was up-to-date. Yesterday I finally got it up-to-date and caught up with another couple of jobs that were starting to bug me. Mind we are heading back up to the Lakes for (hopefully) 4 days of walking so I'll have to be equally as disciplined when we get back.

There hasn't been much stitching since my last stitchy post but I'm hoping to correct that later today. Husband is out tonight and I feel a stitching session coming on. First though I need to get some other jobs done so I can have a really guilt free stitching session.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Yes, Yes, Yes

Anyone who knows me will know that gymnastics is my first love so when I heard the World Gymnastics Championship was coming to London next year I was determined not to miss out.

Over the last few months I have been Googling it to check out dates and when tickets went on sale. They went on sale today at 9:00 am and having already done my research I knew there was no point going via the Internet as I wouldn't get the location I wanted and Daughter had requested. It's the best location in front of the beam and floor. Armed with the phone number and the seating plan at 9:00 am I started dialling and hitting redial until I finally got through. I am now the owner of two front row, yes front row tickets right where I wanted to be in Block 402 for the Final of the Women's Overall Gymnastics Championship on 16th October 2009.

We couldn't get a good location on the lower tier and when I asked the gentleman on the phone to check availability in Block 402 and then asked which row when he came back and said Row A I snapped them up straight away. I can't wait, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning looking at all the presents with my name on them.

I can only hope I'll be so lucky when it's time to buy tickets for the Olympics in 2012.

Off to try and calm down.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Better Late Than Never

Today was Son's birthday and so naturally I had to bake him a birthday cake. I'll leave you to work out how old he was but the way his face dropped when I suggested this morning that maybe he didn't need a birthday cake this year was priceless.

Today I finally started on the Jayne's Attic SAL 'Good Friends Count'. To say I'm way behind is an understatement, the final part (5) comes out this week and I've just completed Part 1.

I did it because it was an opportunity to try out new stitches and by and large it has worked out OK. There are to my knowledge at least 2 errors in it and I had to frog the whole of the top row but I'm pleased with it. At least the next two parts will be a lot easier as they are mostly cross stitch. I'm hoping to work on them tomorrow when the plumber arrives to disconnect the shower in the bathroom.

Husband has already done a lot of work in there, stripping the tiles and plaster, which was rotten where the water had got behind the grouting. With any luck I might actually get it finished before Christmas.

Monday, 29 September 2008

All Things Yellow

Yesterday I managed to fit in a couple of hours on Celtic Autumn. I finally took the plunge and started some of the stitches using the braid which is new to me. Not sure that I'm going to enjoy working with it as it seems very fiddly to use and it was for ever coming out of the needle. Maybe I should use a needle with a smaller eye but then threading the stuff which is difficult enough already would become even harder

Regardless of the trouble I had with the braid I'm finding this an easy piece to work on and still enjoying it. However I'm going to reluctantly put her aside for the rest of the week and do some work on the JA SAL that I have done nothing on yet.

Yesterday whilst I was killing a bit of time and following a link on the computer I finally found a good reason to stitch one of the Ink Circles designs. I quite like these designs but couldn't see the point of stitching one if I couldn't think of a home for it. Whilst I was on the Ink Circles website I came across one of the designs used as a footstool which is something I have wanted to do for ages.

I have decided I'm going to add the Cirque Des Triangles design to my wish list and I will probably do it on a dark, possibly black, linen with gold or orange thread, which means it will fit in with the colour of our settee. Its quite appropriate as if I doddle I tend to create patterns out of triangles so I think I will enjoy this far more than doing the circles.

A word of warning to anyone planning on buying an orange/reddy coloured 3 piece suite - DON'T. The suite was purchased by Husband before we lived together and as it was in far better condition than mine moved in with him. When we had the house extended and hence the living room decorated it took me months to find the right colours to go with it. The wall behind the settee looked like a display area for Dulux as I'd bought that many different colours and shades before we finally found the one that worked. If ever we sell the house and the new owners strip the walls they are going to be amazed at how many different coloured squares they will find on one wall. Actually thinking of that I wonder how many threads I will purchase before I find a shade that goes with the settee!!

I think I have also finally decided on which of two kits I would like for Christmas. As they retail at £70 plus each it has to be a Christmas present as even I can't justify spending that much on a cross stitch design everyday of the week. A few months back I fell in love with two Thea Governeur designs, one of St Petersburg and a Tutankhamen design as well.

I've been tossing around between the two but the St Petersburg one has won this round. Mind that doesn't mean that old Tut won't make it onto a birthday or Christmas list later on.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A Little Bit of Stitching

At last I have managed to find some time to do some sewing. I have been able to sit down for an hour in the morning before work on Thursday and Friday and made some progress with Celtic Autumn.

As long as I stitch on her during the day I'm enjoying working on her. I did try stitching on her one evening a week or so ago and wasn't happy with what I did.

I have also made some progress with Love Songs but nothing worth taking a photo for. Hopefully I will make some progress on it this weekend so maybe there will be a picture or two on Monday.

I have given up on Lorna Doone, I just can't get into it and the print is so small it makes reading it last thing at night a real chore. Ruth Rendell's, Inspector Wexford novel 'Not In The Flesh' kept calling out to me, so I have caved in and started that which is much more enjoyable.

Fitness wise I did 70 lengths in the pool for the first time on Friday and my sessions at the gym are slowly getting longer and involving lifting more weights. At last I have also been able to do what I call my 'long program' at the gym. This one involves running on the treadmill whereas my 'short program' just involves walking on the treadmill at different gradients. They differ in other ways as well but that is the difference that had stopped me doing my long program since my ligament was injured. I have deliberately avoided my long program because of my ligament injury but on Thursday I did it for the first time in about 6 months with no ill-effect on my ligament.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

A Lot of Driving and Not Much Stitching

It's Wednesday already and I haven't done any sewing for over a week. Time seems to be disappearing at the moment.

Last week I did manage to do some work on Celtic Autumn on Monday although I'm fast realising that I need to work on her during the day as I seem to make more mistakes working on linen at night. I haven't had time to pick her up this week but I might set some time aside to work on her tomorrow morning before work.

I have also done some more work on Love Songs although I had to frog a bit that I had done ages ago as I discovered a mistake, which didn't make me vary happy.

Daughter has returned to University which meant that Wednesday saw us making a trip to London and back and not getting home until 11:00 pm. We took her stuff down and she went on the train as we can't fit her in the car. We also had to pick up four boxes we had stored at a friends house over the summer. Of course we also had to take her shopping to stock up on food etc which was very expensive. It was a very, very long day.

On Thursday Husband decided he'd like to go camping for the weekend so we booked a campsite for Saturday night planned two walks and headed to the Lakes for the weekend. We left at 7:15am Saturday morning and returned at 10:30 pm Sunday night. I reached a significant milestone in my attempt to complete the Birketts (a list of 541 tops over 1000 feet in the Lake District) as I reached the half way point of 271 done, 270 to go, on the last top on the Sunday. The first summit of the weekend was not gained easily and my knees and shins are covered in bruises but we had a fun, if somewhat exhausting, weekend.

Having looked at my list of plans for the month I realise I'm going to fail miserably at most of them but maybe I'll let myself off as I did make the list before I started my new job. This weekend we have said we are having a quiet weekend at home so maybe I'll get to tackle some of the jobs in the garden then. I might even find some time to do some stitching.

Monday, 15 September 2008


So I was hoping for a weekend that involved a bit of sewing, gardening or even walking, instead I got a weekend with some sort of 24 hour bug and none of the above.

When I was swimming on Friday I thought it seemed much harder work than usual but put it down to being tired from not sleeping well. Saturday morning at the gym I thought I was starting with a cold as my chest felt tight and I was coughing a lot. By the time we were coming out of town after doing some shopping I was starting to feel more like collapsing than walking. By Saturday evening I was moaning about being cold despite being under a blanket on the settee and we had the heating on for an hour to warm me up. By Sunday evening I felt fine but I'd done very little of what I wanted to do over the weekend. What I had got done was some housework but no sewing, gardening or walking.

On a positive note I have made a small bit of progress with the planning of my neighbourhood. Friends who live in the Lake District have been kind enough to send me a picture of their cottage so as that I can use it in my neighbourhood. They have actually sent me several pictures so first of all I have to decide which to use and then convert it into a pattern I can stitch. It has also occurred to me that, unlike most things that I stitch, I'm going to want to keep this piece so I need to decide where it is going to live once it is finished, as that will determine its finished size and shape. I've also been thinking about the border, should it contain the name of my favourite fells, the names of the lakes, or the names of the villages in the Lake District. I think I'll know which of those it will be once I've got a better idea of the overall design in my head.

Seeing as it's Monday I'm off to spend a couple of hours working on Celtic Autumn before I go to work.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Where Has The Week Gone?

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who posted a congrats on the new job.

I've survived the first week at work which in actual fact was 3 days, or more accurately 3 afternoons. I have some idea of what I'm meant to be doing but I'm constantly getting lost using the computer systems I need to use. Thankfully the girl who is currently doing the job doesn't leave until next Thursday so I have a few more days of her rescuing me before I have to survive on my own. Needless to say it is very strange having to go to work after nearly 3 years of not doing so, which followed on from 2 years of working for myself. As my hours are 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm it also cuts right into the day and I seem to have got very little done at home. Did anyone besides me notice the difference I wonder!!

Last weekend was spent in the Lake District visiting friends, family and walking. We should have been camping but with the terrible forecast we abandoned camping in favour of a B & B. We only managed one walk, but as it was one that has been on my to do list for a long time it was great to do it.

For over two years now I have wanted to walk up the nose of Fleetwith Pike (above) and on Monday that's how we started out 7 mile walk that took in Haystacks as well. We didn't leave the pub in Buttermere until 6:30 pm and finally got home shortly after 10:15 pm.

Naturally neither child was in the house, although the evidence of the party they didn't have was. It was just as well it was re-cycling the next day as the glass container was already full, but they didn't have a party!!!

Although they had made some attempt at tidying up there was still plenty for me to do.

Why is it teenagers:

Can fill & run the dishwasher but not empty it.
Fill the bin to almost overflowing but not empty it.
Pile the recycling by the door but not actually take it outside.
Walk past the milk that has been delivered but not bring it inside.
Bring games consoles, DVD's etc downstairs but not take them upstairs again.

I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.

Anyone with teenagers old enough for parties etc can probably add to it. Or maybe I'm just a complete failure as a parent. Although the conversation I had with my sister and her friends on Sunday night would suggest this is just normal behaviour.

So not only have I started work but I've been trying (and failing) to get my house back into some sort of order. This week I've also had to meet a deadline for a magazine I write walks for and attend a committee meeting for the Quiz League. Needless to say there has been very little time for sewing.

However yesterday I did spend a couple of hours on Love Songs. I also did some stitching on it last week so there is an update below.

Sadly I haven't yet started the JA Sal 'Good Friends Count' or the JA Monthly Finishing Challenge. I'm unlikely to get the second done now but I must get on with the SAL as I'm now two weeks behind.

I have also had two of the Little Women charts that I ordered come today.

I've only posted a picture of one, 'Reading' as the other is planned as a present for someone that I know reads my blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Like plenty of others I have signed onto the Me Myself and I Round Robin and finally decided what type of neighbourhood I'm going to do. For anyone who knows me it won't be a surprise that I've decided on a Lake District village now I just have to design it.

Working has one big advantage, money. I decided after one week (yes I know its only a few hours ) I deserved a reward. I gave into temptation and ordered two My Big Toe Design charts from Jaynes Attic. I have been resisting them since she first posted but today I crumbled and ordered the Quaker Seasons and the Give Me the Cookie charts.

The one major disadvantage of this job is that if I want to get fitter I now have to get up earlier as the only time I can realistically get to the gym or into the pool is first thing in the morning i.e. by 7:30 a.m. So far I have been good and made it to both the gym and into the pool but next week will be the real test.

I'm hoping for a quiet wekend with plenty of time for sewing, gardening and maybe even some walking but first I'd better clean the house before someone does notice it's a tip.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Isn't it funny how life can change in a few minutes. OK sometimes that isn't for the better but this time it is.

I applied for a job yesterday when it appeared in our local paper, posted my CV in the afternoon, exchanged emails during the evening and at midnight and had an interview today. This evening I have just heard that I have got the job. I applied for an admin job but the position I'm being offered is less admin and more organising events which I'm really looking forward to. A few years ago Husband and I organised gigs as a hobby/business and because of that experience I got the job.

I can't believe how lucky I appear to have been with this job. It's local to me, is paying far more that I hoped for and they are prepared to let me be flexible so as that I can go walking during the week. I have been applying for various admin jobs for a while and whilst I was getting interviews I wasn't getting the job offers. Now I've finally landed a post that really interests me and is paying far more than any of the others were offering. I'm just grateful I got moving yesterday and sorted out my CV quickly.

Mind my chances of completing that list of targets for September has just decreased drastically but now I can afford to buy more stash.

Off to put some stitches in Love Songs in celebration.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Top Notch Service

I wasn't going to post today, as the only stitching I did yesterday was the back stitch on the piano of Love Songs, but the postman brought me goodies.

My orders from Country Designs and Thread Bear turned up today. I only placed the order with Country Designs (CD) yesterday afternoon so that really is excellent service.

I ended up ordering some Christmas Red Aida along with the Beatrix Potter chart and now I've seen it I'm so glad I did. I can definitely imagine one or two of my Christmas Cards being sewn on it instead of the green linen I'd bought for them. I also have a £5:00 voucher to spend at CD which will probably go towards a Lavender & Lace or Mirabella chart. I can't use it for the DMC threads, which it looks like I'll need more of for Love Songs. I may well order them from CD anyway as going to Bakewell just for threads is a ridiculous expense. I love the fact Thread Bear send their parcels wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon, which I then keep and add to my stash, it feels like I'm getting a free gift

Fitness wise, I've made my minimum two trips to the gym already this week and this morning I was back in the pool and quite surprised myself by managing 60 lengths after 3 weeks off. Even better I'm just back from one of my 6 monthly appointments at the doctors and I've lost weight since my last visit, not much, but some, which is nice.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my recent posts.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Old & New Targets

When I set August's targets I thought they were quite ambitious. My biggest mistake in setting them was not taking into account the effect of the Olympics. As you can see I didn't do very well.

Get swim up to 60 lengths - 9th August
Get 1/3 of Love Songs finished - No 19 % done
Complete Jayne's Attic Monthly Challenge - No, stitching done but not finished
Make a pinkeep - No
Start Christmas cards - No
Read Lorna Doone - Started but finding it hard going although improving
Get website up-to-date - No one walk behind now, so an improvement
Fit in at least one 10+ mile walk - No
Attend the gym at least twice a week -

Never one to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble here goes with a new set for September

Swim - Up to 70 lengths
Gym - Go at least twice a week
Walks - At least one a week
Walks - Build distance up to over 10 miles again
Website - Get & keep up to date
Reading - Finish Lorna Doone
Love Songs - 40% completed
Celtic Autumn SAL - Stitch on it at least once a week
Good Friend's Count SAL - Keep up to date on it.
Christmas Cards - Finish two
Greenhouse - Clear out & clean
Back Garden - Plant bulbs, remove buddleia, paint fence
Front Garden- Weed, plant up tubs for winter

That should keep me out of trouble. Especially when you take into consideration that we hope to get away on holiday twice this month and the Quiz League starts again soon, so as Treasurer I'll have accounts to sort out.

A New Start, Progress & Being Led Astray

Yesterday was the new start date for the Celtic Lady SAL and I spent the afternoon working on Celtic Autumn. As with all new starts there isn't a lot to see but I have started with her dress.

I'm very glad I didn't start with the border, which was my original plan, as I found out once I'd started stitching that I'd not got one thread which is needed for the border. It is now on order with Thread Bear which also led to me ordering a chart I simply love.

One reason for so little progress on Celtic Autumn is that I really wanted to get the cross stitch on the bottom part of the piano in Love Songs finished.

I spent the evening working on it and today it will be the back-stitch and onto a new part of the design. Mind I might find it hard not to pick up Celtic Autumn again.

At last we have started to get people coming round to quote for the different jobs on the bathroom no dates yet but at least progress of sorts is being made. I hope we can get it done for Christmas. The joiner, who is going to replace the floorboards for us, is a neighbour and cousin of Husband and his daughter is expecting a baby in 8 weeks. Now it just so happens that I have a nearly completed Beatrix Potter Birth Sampler sat in my study, so you know who's going to be getting that.

I started it years ago and all it needs is a bit of back stitch finishing and the name and date etc adding. I have lost the chart but thanks to the internet located a copy of it, so it will be on order later today from Country Designs, no doubt along with something else as well. If I'm going to spend £7.00 on the chart I might as well order something else to push my order over the £10 mark for another point towards my £5.00 voucher.

The lovely Redwitch also led me astray yesterday. She has been posting her finishes of the Little Women designs, which I love but haven't been able to find the charts for. She sent me the link to a company where I could order them from so I ordered my two favourites yesterday. To top it all of I gave in to temptation and joined one of the Stash Collectors Clubs at Jayne's Attic. After today the plastic is going back into my purse and collecting cobwebs for the rest of the month.

I've just had to stop halfway through this post to let the man read the electricity meter which means all three bills, gas, electric and phone will be landing on the doormat soon. I can't wait!! Daughter has also managed to miss the bus for work so guess who's going to have stop again to take her!!

I think it's going to be one of those days. Will I actually get any stitching done at all I'm beginning to wonder.

Monday, 1 September 2008

JA Monthly Challenge & Love Songs

With 16 days of watching the Olympics and a few days off for depression it will be no surprise that I didn't get the JA Monthly Challenge finished. I completed the stitching on Friday but I haven't yet had a chance to make it into the planned pin keep. I need to get to the local fabric shop and buy some material for the backing, a job I plan on doing later today. As the reveal day was Saturday I haven't posted any pictures of my progress but here it is below.

Day One - 5th August

Border Detail - 5th August

Day Two - 26th August

Letter Detail - 26th August

Hearts Detail - 26th August

Day Three - 27th August

Day Four - 29th August

Bird Detail - 29th August

As you can see it actually stitched up relatively quickly and if I hadn't got side-tracked I'd have easily have completed the whole thing. I'm hoping to make-up the pin-keep later this week.

On Friday I started on Love Songs again but ended up unpicking everything I did. It was just one of those times. I sat down to stitch for an hour before The Tudors and ended up knocking over a drink, getting knots in my thread and then just as I thought I'd finish for the evening I found a second knot at the back of my work. To get rid of it I ended up taking out everything I'd already stitched. Thankfully Saturday and Sunday were more successful and I'll soon have finished the bottom part of the piano.

Sunday had been set aside to do the Jayne's Attic Good Friends Count SAL but the first set of instructions never arrived and I'm still trying to find out what happened to them.

Today is the start of the Celtic Lady SAL so I'm definitely going to be working on that as I've been itching to start her. However I shall be good and go to the gym first as my fitness has suffered enough during the last few weeks. Thankfully as the scales proved I haven't actually gained any weight, instead I've just lost muscle tone, which is why I have felt so fat lately. Yesterday's trip to the gym also showed that, whilst I have lost some of my fitness, I'm not back to where I started from in July, which is good. Even better the rest has allowed my ankle to recover properly. Now if only the forecast would improve I might make it up Scafell Pike on Saturday.