Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Awards Come Flooding In

Well the weekend started so well and ended with disaster.

On Friday and Saturday I was nominated twice for the I Love Your Blog award by Elisa and Redwitch. Thank you both so much.

The rules are as follows:

1. The winner can put the logo on their Blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other Blogs.
4. Put the links to those Blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the Blogs of those you've nominated.

My nominations are:

Jayne - The View From Bag End
Becky - BeckyBee's Stitching Hive
Hazel - Quietly Stitching
Karen - Little Cat Blogs
Stephanie - In Stitches
Helen - Stitchery Nook
Rachael - Rachael's Stitchabilities

The first two blogs have been picked because they are the ones that inspired me to start my own blog. I know Becky's is possibly the most visited cross-stitch blog about but it is an absolute inspiration. Without Jayne's blog I would never have even got involved in the world of blogging. Whilst her main blog is gardening related if you check out her other blog, The Other View From Bag End, you'll see that she too is very handy with a needle and thread.

Hazel's is included because she has given me so much advice in translating the acronyms used and explaining how SAL's etc work. So it is nice to be able to say thank you.

The rest are blogs that I enjoy looking at and haven't been nominated for the award recently. There were one or two others I was considering nominating but they have recently been given awards, so, I decided to give the awards to blogs that hadn't had one recently.

Much of the weekend was taken up with the Olympics, catching up on my website and housework. I had planned to spend Monday evening stitching and was just taking a load of washing downstairs, to put on before I settled down to stitch, when disaster struck. As I walked into the dinning room I noticed a strange pattern on the table which I quickly realised was rather a lot of water. The shower in the bathroom had leaked. This isn't the first time and we have known it needed doing, but our temporary fix has now packed up, so we are going to have to bite the bullet and get it sorted.

To explain briefly, when we had the extension added three years ago the work loosened the bathroom tiles, eventually (2 years later) the shower started to leak through the back of the tiles via the loose grouting. In addition the day before we got married (three years ago) Husband was cleaning the bathroom and dropped a glass saucer into the sink. The saucer was fine, but it made a hole in the sink, which as it's fitted into a run of units and a rather expensive worktop isn't a straight forward replacement job. Despite all of this I did still marry him the next day!!!

Last week Daughter also managed to drop hair dye all over the bathroom carpet and I can't get it off. To put it mildly the bathroom needs a lot of work doing on it. We have been putting it off for a whole host of reasons but now we have got to get it done.

I am really not looking forward to it as I got so fed up of workmen in the house when we completely changed the layout of the house and had a two storey extension added. The original 6 months and it will be finished before we got married, ended up dragging out for 2 years and way past our first wedding anniversary. Whilst I can now say it was worth it and as nice as the various workmen were, I hated the lack of privacy and the constant stream of people in and out of the house. This is the main reason I've put up with the frankly, very grotty but clean, I hasten to add, bathroom for so long, but now needs must.

Having mopped up and put the chairs out to dry I really wasn't in the mood to sew. Today I plan on working on the Jayne's Attic Monthly Challenge which I doubt I'm going to get finished in time for the reveal day on Saturday. The stitching I'll get done but finishing it into something is unlikely. We will just have to see how I go.

Needless to say the Olympics has completely undone all my good work fitness wise so today I'm also getting back into the gym but first I need to contact everyone about their awards.

Friday, 22 August 2008

A Nice Surprise

Yesterday didn't turn out at all as expected. For a start I actually did catch up on the much delayed housework and ironing, mainly because it only the athletics I'm really interested in now so ironing and watching athletics go together quite well. As usual once I'd made a start on one job I got onto a roll and jobs started to get ticked off the list. The only negative is that now I've caught up with the washing I have another big pile of ironing to do again.

With a clean house all to myself and nothing worth watching on the telly last night the choice was between sewing or reading. On this occasion A Matter Of Honour won and early this morning I finished it. A good read, but the ending was a little weak, almost like the author ran out of ideas. Lorna Doone is next, I think. A book I have owned for a long time and never got around to reading. The print is very small, as it's a very old copy, so I hope I'm not going to struggle too much with it.

No progress on the sewing front although this beautiful fabric and thread has arrived from Jayne's Attic, ready for the Good Friends Count SAL which starts at the end of the month.

The material has the delightful name of Chocolate Crush even though it looks pink to me.

The nice surprise was that I have had one of my photos published in our local paper.

The irony being that of all the photos I have sent in I consider it the least interesting one, but if they used it I'm not going to moan. You don't get warned that they are using your picture it's just a case of opening the paper and finding it there. I took the picture in May and had forgotten they had it, looked at it and thought that looks familiar, I wonder who took that, to find my name underneath it.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

I Knew I Shouldn't Have Done It

I meant to be good and keep it for our camping trip to the Lakes in September but it was sat on the bookshelf tempting me.

I finished The High Places - Leaves From A Lakeland Notebook last week and needed to find a new book to start. A few weeks ago I picked up two books in Sainsbury's, one of which was Jeffery Archer's A Matter of Honour. Now as this is essentially a cold war, spy thriller story I knew it would be a page turner, as far as I was concerned. As far as possible I try to avoid reading these at home as it means reading into the early hours of the morning or ignoring everything else until I have finished it. Books like this are normally kept for camping trips where there will usually be a day where either it rains or we simply don't want to go walking, instead we have a lazy day around the site reading, drinking coffee and eating cake. On days like that it is perfectly possible for me to read one book from cover to cover and then start another in the evening.

High Places, whilst interesting wasn't what I would call a great read. It was OK for reading last thing at night, as each article was generally very short, but it was too disjointed for me. I enjoyed reading about the hills and lakes as I could visualize them as I read the book but it just didn't grab me. Properly explains why as a regular Guardian reader I'd never read the articles when they appeared in the paper. I only picked the book up because it was about the Lake District and I had heard others talking about Harry Griffin. I guess it's a case of curiosity satisfied but I won't be reading anything else by him.

After reading such a dry book I was keen to read something I knew I would enjoy. For two days I ignored the Jeffery Archer book but in the end it just had to be started. As I thought, it is turning into a real page turner and the bed-side light is still on in the early hours of the morning. It must be good because it is being picked up at every spare moment.

Oh dear, I don't think my house is going to get the good clean I had been promising myself I'd do once the gymnastics had finished. Well not until I've finished the book.

Monday, 18 August 2008

The Olympics is Killing Me

Well OK not literally, obviously, but it is definitely reminding me that I'm not as young as I used to be.

Considering the gymnastics and swimming finals have been on at silly o'clock in the morning I have been very good and only got up for the Women's Team and Women's Overall gymnastics competitions which started at 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. respectively. Now I fully expected to be shattered on those two days, but no, days later I'm still falling asleep at the slightest opportunity. Now if there is one thing I can't do, it is nap, instead of waking up refreshed I simply walk around like a zombie for the next hour or so. Husband, of course, is a professional napper. I'm sure it's a man thing.

To make matters worse the house is slowly falling apart around me. With all the action in the rowing, cycling and athletics to watch this weekend, on top of the gymnastics and swimming, when were you meant to do simple things like get dressed and eat, let alone do any housework? The sum total of my housework effort over the last 4 days is emptying the dishwasher, twice, managing one lot of clothes washing, cooking Sunday dinner and going to Sainsburys. I wouldn't have got to Sainsburys but for the fact that the Olympics finished at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. I didn't dare move away from the telly on Saturday in case I'd miss another medal for team GB.

On top of that there has been no stitching and no trips to the gym or pool, I'm too shattered. It must be bad because I haven't even got any withdrawal symptoms from not walking the hills. I'm a bit of a hill junkie, if I don't get out walking and see a hill I get very irritable. Some people get high on drugs, for me it's hills. It's no accident that my desk looks out over the Chevin, which is the ridge overlooking Belper.

I actually need to walk and see hills. When I was in plaster with a broken leg Husband had to take me to Carsington Water so as that I could go round it on crutches, obviously not the whole 8 miles but I did a good few. As soon as the plaster was replaced with a splint he took me to Barber Booth in the High Peak so as that I could walk along the Jacob's Ladder path and get to look at some proper hills. I got some very strange looks I can tell you but oh boy did I feel a lot better.

The one good thing, is that at least the fact my computer has blown up, again, isn't bothering me too much. I haven't got time to do the things I should be doing on it anyway!! I've borrowed Husband's computer to post this entry.

Well I guess now that the action has finished for the day I'd better go and see if I can find my kitchen, especially as Son has just been cooking in it!!!

Thankfully the Olympics does end this week and after tomorrow the only sport I'm really interested in is the athletics, so hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I am That Mad Person

With so much of the Olympics on in the middle of the night have you ever wondered who actually bothers to watch it then, apart, obviously, from the family of those competing? Last night it was me, up at 3:30 a.m. to watch the Women's Gymnastic Team Final. In my opinion it was well worth it and will no doubt be repeated for the other women's finals. I must be getting old as I simply can't bring myself to get up in the middle of the night to watch the men's finals, they have to wait for the repeats. Sexist I know, but middle age appears to bring a modicum of common sense with it.

Under normal circumstance I'd also watch the Swimming Finals live but the I.O.C. caved in to pressure from American TV and moved the finals from the evening session to the morning session so as that it would be on at prime time in America. Like many, many swimmers I think this is wrong. To me part of the charm of the Olympics is the fact that, depending on where it is located, you might have to watch at weird times of night. I well remember screaming at Steve Redgrave at midnight when he was on his way to winning his 5th gold. We live in a very well detached house so me screaming at anyone at odd hours in the morning is only going to wake up Daughter, whose bedroom is above the living room. There is definitely something wrong with the world when age-old traditions are changed because of TV companies.

Yesterday I did make it to the gym but couldn't actually do my full routine as I had a time limit because I was due at a family funeral in the afternoon. I hadn't realised, but the time I went was during a GP Referral session so the treadmills and bikes were full of people doing gentle exercise but the weights were free, which made a change. Hitting the gym at a time like this certainly makes you think, as so many of the GP Referrals are there after they have suffered a heart attack. Not a fate I fancy for myself, especially as I plan on living to 130.

With everything else that was going on yesterday turned into a no sewing day. Today I plan on doing some work on the Jayne's Attic Monthly Stitching Challenge and if I can ever wake up properly, going to the gym.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Threads & Nails

Why is it that your nails always seem to split just when you least want them to?

Just as I was planning on winding all my newly purchased silks onto their bobbins one of my nails had to split so, of course, I had to file them or the thread would have kept snagging on the broken nail. If I'm going to file one nail then I might as well get it over and done with and file them all.

Now as you might have guessed, from a previous post, I don't go in for all the make-up, shoes and clothes thing. Don't get me wrong I do have make-up, but it only goes on for special occasions and then under sufferance. Sometimes I feel like I misled Husband into a relationship with me. When we were first going out I always put make-up on for our dates but once he'd decided I was the one, so to speak, I increasingly couldn't bring myself to do it. Mind as we met in the swimming pool it wasn't like he hadn't seen me without make-up.

I do have one make-up weakness, I paint my toe-nails. This is a relatively new habit and I blame it on Husband and Daughter. It was Husband's fault I broke my leg. I was admiring one of his physical features, when we were on our first holiday together in the Lakes, instead of watching the path, when I slipped and broke my leg. This was then followed by six weeks in plaster, with the toes of one foot on public display. I was bored one day so raided Daughter's large supply of nail-varnish and started painting my toenails. Somehow the habit has stuck, although I do tend to only do them about once a month now.

It should be noted here that Daughter does not take after me, she thinks nothing of spending £12 on mascara, correction getting me to spend £12 on it as a Christmas Stocking Filler for her. She also buys more clothes and shoes in a month than I do in a year. In fact if it wasn't for the fact I usually wear out one pair of walking boots a year, when it comes to shoes that would be in the last decade.

Anyway back to the sewing.

After about an hour of winding threads, in between watching the swimming and cricket, I was able to establish that I now have all the threads for Celtic Autumn. I'm going to be good and not start her just yet.

Going to the gym is also becoming far too easy to not do. Yesterday I was working on Love Songs and kept saying, just one more bit and ended up missing two slots when I could have made the gym. So I'm going to correct that right now and go to the gym before I do anything else.

Monday, 11 August 2008


Saturday saw me making a trip to Bakewell to the Wye Needlecraft Show and then into the Wye Needlecraft shop to pick up the threads for Celtic Autumn and my Christmas Cards. Whilst I was at the show I picked up a piece of hand-dyed linen from the Bedfordshire Embroidery School stand. I was very good and only bought one yellow piece, although I had a hard time choosing which one as I also liked the blue fabric as well.

I haven't checked the silks off against the charts yet but as there was only one silk that wasn't in stock I'm fairly confident I have everything I need to get started on Celtic Autumn.

Thankfully the shop did have the one silk I was desperate for in order to be able to continue on the part of the piano I'm doing on Love Songs. On my last two trips there they didn't have it in stock so there was big sight of relief when I saw it was in stock on Saturday.

Between the qualification rounds for the gymnastics, the swimming at the Olympics and the cricket I didn't think I'd made much progress with Love Songs but looking back at my last post I'm surprised by how much progress I have made. Just as well as this one is on a deadline and needs to be finished by early November if I'm going to have time to get it framed and wrapped in time for Christmas. Not sure I'm going to make it but I'm going to give it my best shot.

I had planned on going to the gym yesterday but between the Olympics and cooking Sunday Dinner I couldn't get there before it closed so I shall definitely be going today before not going becomes a habit.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

One Target Met

Today I met the first of the targets I set myself for the month. It was the target I expected to possibly not meet or at least not until the end of the month, which it makes it all the more surprising. This morning I swam 60 lengths and more significantly, for me, the first twenty of those were all front crawl. My ultimate aim is to get my swim back up to 100 lengths and that starts with 40 lengths front crawl so it feels like I'm well over half-way there.

Later I had a trip to the Wye Needlecraft show, I was a little disappointed with how few stalls/exhibitions there were, but by going to the shop in Bakewell I did manage to get the threads and material I was after for my Christmas Cards and Celtic Lady

There has been a bit of progress on Love Songs but the Olympics has started and as the gymnastics and swimming are both in the first week they are getting my full attention. My usual habit is to sew whilst the cricket is on in the background. If anything important happens I can always look up from my sewing and watch the replay, but these are my sports so the sewing will just have to wait.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

A Bad Hair Day & Chocolate Cake

There are three things I truly hate doing:

1. Having my hair done - it's seems such a waste of time as it will only grow again and go grey again.

2. Clothes shopping - yes I know I'm female and meant to like it but I hate it. This might have something to do with the fact I'm quarter of an inch under 5 foot and therefore most items have to be taken up or are just too long, but nevertheless it is something I only do when I really have to. There is one exception to this; shopping for walking stuff is fine, mainly because I only shop in two places, Fishers in Keswick and Outdoor something or other in Hathersage and when I go in either of these places I know exactly what I want and they always have it in stock.

3. Food shopping. If you ever see someone dashing round Sainsbury's in Ripley or Matlock like they are competing in the 100 metres sprint it's probably me trying to get the dreaded weekly ordeal over and done with. Yes I've tried on-line shopping, it was great when I had a broken leg, two children and no husband but I got fed up of never getting everything I'd ordered and what often seemed like the worst fruit and veg in the shop.

Anyway today it was a hairdressers day, even worse it was the once every three months hair colouring day. Now I hate spending anything up to two hours in the hairdressers but I especially hate it when I come out with a colour that I'm not happy with and the only alternative is to spend another two hours having it redone.

Disasters such as this call for chocolate or wine or even both. Now I'm not a big chocolate bar fan but chocolate cake I like. I blame my mother who makes the most lethal, sickly sweet but totally delicious chocolate cake out. I've tried doing it myself but I can't get the icing right so instead thanks to Nigella I have found a great alternative - Chocolate Malteser cake. Now I left the hairdressers planning to be good but then Son rang up to say he was coming home from Cadet Camp a day early, so that was the perfect excuse to make the cake. Add to that his phone call came just as the rain fell in the cricket and they went in for lunch, so it just had to be made.

I'm definitely going to have to go to the gym tomorrow!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A New Start

With enough housework done on Saturday to mean the house was more than clean enough for me and no-one in the house for most of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been days spent doing exactly what I want.

Monday saw me making quite a bit of progress on Love Songs. I did some of the back stitch on the piano and as always I always find it so satisfying as all of a sudden the stitching comes to live and seems to have another dimension to it.

I have also started doing some of the ivory keys but, as usual, they don't show up very well in the photograph.

On Tuesday I started the Jayne's Attic Monthly Challenge. I have decided to do it on linen which is a first for me. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to see the threads well enough to work out where my needle should go but I quickly picked it up. By the end of the day I had got both borders done and they matched up which meant I hadn't made any mistakes. No photos of this piece as it shouldn't be revealed until August 30th.

Elsewhere I have managed to get two more walks onto my website which only leaves me three behind. I'm catching up, all be it slowly.

Fitness-wise I have reached the can I really be bothered stage. The novelty of being good has worn off and as I'm still terribly unfit and it's hard work it would be very easy to stay in bed. Yesterday I had to drag myself to the gym in the afternoon having stayed in bed when Husband went swimming. I had intended to go down to the gym when he went swimming before work but told myself my shoulders were too sore from the swim the day before. This morning I did drag myself down to the pool, but again it would have been very easy to have just stayed in bed. At least today I knew that I get tomorrow off, I do 5 days of exercise than one day off. On the positive side I know that I am getting fitter and although it might be my imagination the waist band on my skirt does seem a little looser.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Mam Tor

Saturday was one of those days when somehow or other you get an awful lot done and you wonder why it doesn't happen like that all the time.
For once I could sit down in the evening knowing that the house was completely clean, the washing and ironing was up-to-date and there was fresh batch of gingerbread muffins ready to take walking with us the next day. Yet despite achieving so much I had also managed to watch a considerable amount of the cricket, go to the gym and fall asleep in the afternoon and fit some stitching in during the evening.

Sunday saw us heading towards Castleton to do a walk that Husband picked which is very unusual these days. Normally when I ask him where he wants to walk I get; 'You decide'. When I asked him the same question on Saturday the reply came back instantly: 'Lose Hill, Mam Tor & Cavedale'. So that's where we went, not somewhere I would choose to do on a Sunday in the middle of the summer holidays but as it is Husband's favourite walk how could I refuse.

Looking along the Mam Tor ridge from Back Tor.

Cavedale with Peveril Castle above it.

One advantage of all the weekend's housework is that now that I have done a bit more catching up on my website and already been for a swim (54 lengths today) I can spend the afternoon stitching.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


Two packages dropped through the door both with stitching goodies for me.

One from Thread Bear contained the charts I'm planning on using to make my family Christmas cards from so now I need to start looking out for some suitable material for them.

The second from Country Designs contained the beads and material for Celtic Autumn so now I only need to get the threads sorted and I'll be able to start her. Luckily it's the Wye Needlecraft Show next weekend so I'm hoping to on stock up on everything there. No doubt I'll come home with some extra stuff as well!!

Excellent service from both places as I only ordered the goods on Thursday. Even more impressive when I spotted the error in the order from Country Designs and emailed them about it they replied very promptly, amended the order and have sent me exactly what I wanted.

The mystery of why I can't see as well with the new bulb in my magnifying lamp was also solved. It's not a daylight bulb but an 11 watt energy saving bulb. No wonder my eyes were feeling so tired last week. Another thing to purchase at the show next week.

One good thing about being woken up early by the postman was that it got me to the gym first thing this morning. I left feeling really happy as I was able to increase times, weights and speeds on different exercises, a sure sign that all the exercise is having an effect and I'm getting fitter.

Friday, 1 August 2008


I have managed a few hours of stitching on Love Songs over the last few days and made some progress with the white keys on the piano.

I'm not sure if I need a stronger bulb in my magnifying lamp, it's only 20 watts, or if it's just working with lighter colours but I have found it more difficult to see to sew these stitches at night. A bit worrying if it isn't the bulb as there is an awful lot of lighter colours in this piece. I'm hoping to buy a stronger bulb later today.

I have also made some progress with my website and got the walks from our last trip to the Lakes posted.

Wednesday saw me out walking again this time on Win Hill, then along Hope Brink to Hope Cross and returning via Ladybower. I was lucky enough to get the top of Win Hill to myself and I only met a few people along Hope Brink (above). For once the weathermen had it correct and it was cloudy to start with but by the time I was walking alongside Ladybower (below) the sun was out, along with the crowds.

Once again the walk had no effect on my ankle so it looks like I can get back into longer walks over the next few weeks. Just as well as I'm joining a friend on her ascent of Scafell Pike at the start of September. On the down side I now have 4 walks to get posted over the weekend.

Elsewhere on the fitness front the gym is having no effect on my ankle and when I went swimming yesterday morning it felt more like runny syrup than treacle so that's better.

Thanks to all who have posted comments over the last week. Nice to know someone is reading my blog.