Saturday, 19 December 2009

A PIF and an Exchange

Over the last couple of weeks I have heard that my Xmas ornie exchange arrived safely at it's new home with Angela and I received a lovely surprise in the post in the shape of a PIF from Rachael.

Angela had sad that she liked snowmen and Prairie Schooler designs so I stitched her a design from Christmas Trees II.

Design: Christmas Trees II by Prairie Schooler
Fabric: 32 ct Belfast Linen Amsterdam Blue
Threads: DMC
Backing Fabric: Snowmen

Secondly here is the PIF Rachael sent me. It is a personalised Christmas ornie with my initials stitched on it. The design is from the Black Velvet Inscription Sampler.

As you can see it is already on my tree, although this isn't where it is living, I moved it to get better light for the photo. Thank you so much Rachael I love it.

Also thank you for all the replies I received about storing my beads. After reading them all I went into the bead shop which we have in my town and looked at the containers they had. In the end I purchased this bag which has a great set of lockable containers.

When I get a few minutes to spare I will print up some labels and move my beads into it.

Hopefully I will be back early next week with not one but two finishes to show you, both of which are for me and have a Christmas theme. I also need to take a picture of my jar for the TUSAL.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Advice Please

I have just had my first experience using beads, which I found painless enough but it has left me having to solve a dilemma I have been thinking about for a while. How do I store the beads once they are open and know which beads are which.?

I bought a circular container where the top rotates so as the beads can be accessed in their individual compartments but that doesn't have the means to label the beads easily. How do you store your beads?

Friday, 20 November 2009


The postman has been rather busy, visiting our house 3 times today. Most of the stuff was Christmas presents, which I have since wrapped and hidden away ready for the big day, but in amongst the parcels was one for me. Thread Bear have been extremely quick and got the order I placed late on Wednesday afternoon to me already.

There is some more linen, three lots of backing fabric, along with some ribbons and braid which I expect to use over the weekend.

Anyone who is from the UK is surely, by now, aware of the flooding that has taken place in Cumbria. I have both friends and family who I was unable to contact earlier, so forgive me if the Christmas wrapping seems a little early, but it, like blogging, was keeping my mind distracted from worrying about them. I have now heard that my sister and her family are all safe and well, with the children quite pleased that they got to miss school today.

On a Christmas note if anyone, like me, makes their own Christmas pudding and cake be aware there is a shortage of currants, apparently the crop failed in California and so Sainsburys and Morrisons don't have (m)any in stock. It appears that Tesco gets theirs from Greece and so as Son has just bought some for me I can now get my puddings started tonight.

I love the smell of the house when the fruit is steeping.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Xmas is Coming

OK so I accept that for some of you the title of this post will be far too early for mentioning the festive season but I love it. It's the only time I year I enjoy shopping and I've been getting my Christmas plans into place now for the last couple of weeks. Mind maybe one reason why I love the shopping is that I will have it all done by the first week of December, so no crowded shops for me. In fact, if I'm honest, the postman will be bringing most of my shopping to my door as it is largely done online these days.

Anyway back to some stitching related talk. Monday was the date for posting on the TUSAL so I took this photo yesterday of my latest additions to my collection

There aren't many threads added as I was so late posting last month. The few that have been added are from an exchange piece I'm working on.

To be honest I really have had very little stitching time as I seem to be incredibly busy with work at the moment, even more so since I picked up the paid employment I mentioned a few posts ago. Not that I'm complaining. After the year we have had it's so nice that all of a sudden Husband has websites coming in on a regular basis and I'm busy with a variety of different jobs. I've had to register as self-employed but as that would have been on the cards for next year anyway it's hardly a hassle.

Do you remember me saying I had plans to start my own business well I've ended up doing just that it's just not the business I expected to be running. All of a sudden the notion we had of setting quizzes has taken off and so I'm now a professional quiz setter. Along with that all of a sudden I've found myself doing some book-keeping for someone other than Husband and they pay me in money instead of raspberry turnovers!! I'm still hoping to get my original idea of the ground but for now it's simmering away rather than being brought up to boiling point.

As part of my Christmas preparations I made sure this year that I got on the Jane Asher website early enough to order a load of edible Christmas decorations ready for my Christmas baking. last year when I tried to order them at the start of December they were out of stock. I ordered a variety of Christmas coloured sparkles as you can see below.

I was going to show you them on the fairy cakes I made and decorated on Sunday but by Monday they had gone. They clearly tasted alright.

Finally here is my Christmas Ornie Exchange from Angela P. She posted them out early and mine arrived on Friday. It really is very pretty, especially as the fabric is all sparkly.

Cranberry Christmas by Prairie Schooler

She has finished it so delightfully. I just need to finish stitching hers now and hope that the finishing materials I have ordered for it arrive in time before I need to get it in the post next week.

I've set myself a target of getting all my commitment stitching done by the end of the year. The way things are at the moment I doubt I'll achieve it but I shall try. On that note I'm off to grab a few moments of stitching time.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I Promised You A Finish

First of all a very, very late posting of my latest TUSAL.

Most of the threads added this month come from my latest finish.

This is the first of six Santas that are a freebie design on the Gazette 94 blog. I don't know if I'll get them all done but I'm hoping to use this one as a Christmas Card for someone.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Hard Day at Work

Yesterday I got an email asking for another walk for a magazine so today I had to go out and do the walk. Given the weather forecast for this week I certainly wasn't expecting to get shots like these.

This was my lunch spot, looking along the River Derwent towards Chatsworth House. If you click on the picture it should enlarge where you will be able to make out the Emperor Fountain on the right and Hunting Tower above the house.

These are the reflections I was lucky enough to capture in Swiss Lake.
More pictures from today can now be found on my website.

I do have a genuine finish to show you but as the light is fading now I shall wait until tomorrow to take a photo of it.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

We Have A Winner

Congratulations to Fiona from My Stitching Corner who correctly guessed Ecru.

I sent you my email address Fiona so as that you can let me have your snail mail address. I'll get your prize into the post as soon as the postal strike is over and the backlog cleared. I don't fancy putting anything I don't have to in the post at the moment as who knows when it will get delivered if it ends up as part of the backlog.

Friday, 30 October 2009

A Finish of Sorts (Edited)

A rare event in this household. I have actually finished a skein of thread, it's only the second time this has ever happened to me. As I sat sewing with it I thought up a silly competition.

If you can guess what colour thread I have finished I will send you a small and appropriate (to the competition) prize. Naturally this will involve something stitched by myself.

The only clue is that it is a DMC thread. Not much of a clue is it.

Someone is close and you can guess again.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

I'm Afraid .....

.... that this is one of those I'm still here posts.

Over the last few weeks I have been somewhat busy setting quizzes and meeting publishing deadlines for the magazines I write for. Just as I'd got on top of the quizzes the postal strike started so I've had to get further ahead in order to get the quizzes posted early to beat the strike. So far we have succeeded in beating the strike and getting the quizzes to the relevant towns and cities before they are needed. It has meant using the Special Delivery Service which naturally costs more but as I don't want to upset our new customers it's a price well worth paying.

After spending days slaving over the computer and reference books the last thing my eyes wanted to do was start sewing. In fact I was that fed up with being on the computer that I have only made a handful of comments on the blogs and websites I usually visit on a daily basis. I have been looking at them though as they have made a very welcome break or distraction when I was 'brain-dead' and couldn't think. You have all been my moments of sanity and inspiration over the last few weeks.

Mind I did find time to go to London with Daughter and watch the World Gymnastics Championship at the O2. Although we were up high we had front row seats and the view was fantastic. I've started saving for the Olympics already and I'm still considering getting tickets for the Europeans which are in Birmingham next year.

Now that things are back under control I've been able to pick up my needle and do some sewing. Sadly I can't show you it as it is all secret stitching, well it is that time of year!

Now did I say things are back under control, well I'm hoping it won't last. I had a meeting today that will hopefully result in paid employment, so that will make life even more hectic should I get it.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Not a Happy Bunny

I have just got in from a delightful walk around Carsington Res and jumped in the shower, to find there is no hot water.


British Gas were here earlier and serviced our boiler and guess what, they left it not working.

No hot water, no central heating, just a flashing red light on the boiler

After Husband rang them and insisted they returned today and not tomorrow (which was what they wanted to do) they are coming back in an hour. They are not leaving until it is working, even if I have to hold them hostage!!

In the mean time I'm waiting for the immersion heater to kick in so as that I can get the shampoo out of my hair!!

British Gas returned later and discovered they had left a valve shut that they closed as part of their tests. I guess that's what happens when you decide to supervise someone instead of just letting them get on with the job. In this case two heads were not better than one.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Some Stitching

As I've said in an earlier post there hasn't been a lot of stitching done since I got back from the lakes but I have made some progress with Celtic Autumn.

I have started to work on the letters. For some reason I found them quite frustrating, probably because I'm now having to use my scroll frame and I had them too high up it. I can see a stand for holding the frame being added to my Christmas list. I saw the perfect one late last year but really couldn't justify spending the money on it.

I have also started my Christmas sewing. I know I have plenty of other things to finish but you know what it's like. This will eventually become a Christmas card and having started it I'm wondering how many of them I will actually get stitched this year.

I have also committed myself to a private Christmas Ornament swap with Angela at Hooked on Stitches I must get started on that soon as well. Later today I'm heading out to Alfreton to visit my LNS as I need some supplies but I also want to take the time to have a really good browse around the shop. I hope I don't spend too much!! On the way I shall have to a pass the shop in Heage where I get some of my supplies from. It's really aimed at people who make curtains and clothes but I spotted some lovely Christmas ribbon in there earlier this year so I shall go and purchase some before it sells out.

Finally yesterday a surprise package arrived for me in the post. It contained a cap keeper for my lens cover. Bilbo had read about me losing my wide-angle lens cover when we were at the top of Knock Murton during our holiday. If you want to know why I didn't go back and look for it take a look at the steepness of the hill on my walking website.

Right, time to head out to my LNS.

Don't forget to sign up for my PIF which is two posts down and closes on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Green Shoots of Recovery

Since getting back from the Lakes I have hardly had any stitching time at all. I have a long list of jobs that I'm slowly getting through, but as fast as I do one another two or three seem to get added to the list.

Whilst out flyering for Husband last week I got the opportunity to do some delivery work for someone else and as they were going to pay me and let me drop off flyers for Husband at the same time I took the job. Getting paid for doing something I was going to do anyway was too good an offer to turn down! Over the last two days I have therefore delivered booklets and flyers to over 750 houses and I have just been too tired to do any stitching in the evening. Today is Son's 20th birthday which means there are no longer any teenagers in our house, where did the time go! To celebrate I am having the day off from flyering, but tomorrow I will be back at it as I still have another 390 booklets to drop off. It has turned out to be a good move for Husband. If I hadn't agreed to drop off the booklets I wouldn't have been flyering the area of town I did for another couple of weeks and he has already taken two phone calls from people wanting websites.

The quiz league season is also about to start and so last Saturday was spent setting the first quiz of the season. We have known we had a contract for one league for some time but this week we picked up another league contract and a local pub also wants us to start supplying them with a weekly quiz. All of a sudden I have not one but three quizzes to set a week.

All I can say is if this household is anything to go by it would appear that the recession is coming to an end and the green shoots of recovery are definitely in evidence.

Friday, 25 September 2009


Before I went away on holiday I was lucky enough to be picked to receive a PIF from Chris.

In the spirit of PIF's I am therefore passing the PIF on

If you would like to be entered into the draw to receive a piece of my hand stitched work within the next 12 months then please leave a comment on this post. I will then draw the winners and reveal who they are on Tuesday 6th October. A special date for me as it's the anniversary of my first date with Husband. As is traditional we will be going out for a meal to celebrate.

If you are chosen as one of the winners then you must offer the same on your blog to keep the kindness going.

Good luck.
If you haven't seen it Patricia at Tapestry of Dreams is having a mega giveaway for her third Blogversary. It ends on the 29th September.

Monday, 21 September 2009

TUSAL & Framed

A couple of days late, due to post holiday sorting out and a visit yesterday by my parents, but here is my update on my TUSAL.

As you can see there hasn't been much added as I haven't had much sewing time in the last month. The only threads added are those from my Blogversary stitching and the ones left over from the cord I made for Jennifer's pin cushion.

I also picked up my Mum's birthday present in time for her visit for dinner yesterday.

I was really pleased with the way it looked and will certainly be going back there with any future framing I have. Mind yet again it proved expensive as the frame is resting on a piece of linen that I purchased to add to my stash collection. I have also found out that they have framed St Petersburg twice before and that it will cost me over £100.00 to frame it. It's just as well it's going to be a long time before I finish it. I'll need to save up, mind I already know where in the house it is going.

Whilst I was away on holiday I read The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. A fascinating read for me as it was set in Chatsworth House, a place I know well and Wingfield Manor, which is just down the road from me. In addition it made several references to embroidery,what more could you want from a book.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

RAK for Jennifer

We are just back from the Lakes after 5 great days away. We went away a day late when we were confident Daughter was OK, knowing that Son was on hand in case she did get ill again. I rang her on Monday and got no reply so I knew then she was definitely OK. Having walked in the door and just seen her I can indeed confirm she looks the picture of health again.

Not too long ago I was looking at the Gazettte 94 blog and spotted a delightful free design for a lighthouse. Straight away I thought about Sweet Pea and knew I had to stitch it for her. Jennifer has now let me know that it has arrived so I can show you what I stitched for her.

Designer: Gazette 94

Design: Grille Gratuite 87

Fabric: 28ct Brittney linen Shade - Iced Blue

Backing Fabric: Coast - Seagulls

Threads: DMC

I decided to finish it as a pincushion. I found the finish I used quite fiddly as I had to hand stitch rather than machine sew it. I also had a go at making some cord to edge the piece with, another first for me. I have to say Husband Son and Daughter came in very useful here as it took several goes and each of them ended up holding the threads at one end whilst I twisted at the other. I hope Jennifer will forgive me for the imperfections in the finishing.

I backed the pin cushion with the seagull fabric you can see under the pin cushion.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

I Shouldn't Be Here

Well the sun is shining outside, the weather is set fair and I should currently be pitching my tent in the shadows of Blencathra and heading out for a short afternoon stroll. Needless to say I'm not. Daughter had other ideas. Last night I got a blue light trip in an ambulance and a visit to the new A&E Department in Derby and no sleep. Not an experience I'm in a hurry to repeat. Daughter who was in a great deal of pain and vomiting doesn't recall much of it as she was completely out of it and that was before she had any morphine.

Thankfully she didn't need to stay in hospital and today is fine, moaning that she can't afford to miss work, on the phone and Internet whilst also watching TV. So, as I said everything seems normal. Husband and I simply didn't have the ability to pack the car, drive for 4 or 5 hours and then spend an hour or so setting up the tent and everything that goes in it. As long as Daughter remains OK we will instead head off early tomorrow morning and should the weather remain OK come home a day later than we originally planned.

I have no sewing to show you as I have been working on my Blogversry pieces for Conny whilst also finishing off an RAK which is now on its way to the USA. Hopefully when we get back from the Lakes I will be able to reveal the RAK to you all.

Thank you to everyone who made such nice comments about my Mum's birthday present and to all the people who commented on the LNS which was new to me. It's very reassuring to know they come highly recommended, especially when the first task I have given them is to frame something for my Mum. I was actually back there on Tuesday buying some threads to finish my RAK with. It really is too close to home for me. I can see a lot of trips to Alfreton in my future. Which reminds me I now have time to make enquiries about a photography course that is running there.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Finish & A Great Find

On Tuesday I finished stitching Gentle & Kind.

Designer: Little House Needleworks
Fabric: 28ct Cream Linen
Threads: Belle Soie Silks

It is now at the framers from where I will be collecting it from on my Mum's birthday. She will be getting it two days later when they come for Sunday dinner.

One of my design ideas is for something similar in size for my dad which he may well get for Christmas. I have the idea all mapped in my head, I just need to pluck up the courage to start putting it down on paper. I think I might be asking for a cross stitch designer package for Xmas. I've been playing with the sample version of PC Pro to see what I think of it but I'm undecided at the moment.

Anyway my great find is a new, to me, needlework shop. If anyone lives in or near Derby there is a really great shop in Alfreton that you really do need to explore. For anyone in my area I'd say it's probably better than Wye Needlecraft. If you park in Tesco's car park, which is free for 3 hours, it is a few minutes walk up the hill, on the left. The shop is called Sew-n-Sew Needlecraft and is open Mon-Sat 9:30-5:00. I have to admit that Husband found it for me and my first visit was yesterday when I took Gentle & Kind to be framed but they were really friendly and happy to talk to you. For anyone travelling out of Derby it is really easy to find. From the A38 just take the main road into Alfreton and you won't be bale to miss Tescos on your right at the second set of traffic lights.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Expensive Thread Arrived.

Last week saw three shopping sprees which added to my stash haul.

Firstly I had an order arrive from Sew & So which was less than 36 hours from being placed to arriving. I also managed to break my daylight bulb so as I was out walking in that area I headed to Bakewell and Wye Needlecraft. For the first time in about a year they actually had the bulb I needed in stock so I went mad and bought two. I also picked up a piece of hand dyed fabric which I just couldn't resist.

The rest of the picture is my Sew & So order. Elisa had recently bought some Floss-A-Way bags from there and with the Belle Soie thread being so expensive I thought they would be ideal for keeping it safe and clean. I especially wanted to keep the red thread separate from the rest of my threads as when I was using it I noticed it bleeding into the white. The rest of the order will be used for stitching family Christmas cards.

On Saturday the Belle Soie silks and the fabric I ordered to justify the postage arrived. I have to say the fabric is gorgeous.
]This afternoon will be spent finishing my Mums birthday present then I will take it to the framers and hope that it will be done in time for her birthday.

There hasn't been much sewing over the last week as I've been busy working on my walking website, along with planning and writing up walks. Last week I was asked to contribute walks to a second local magazine, which is great news, but meant I needed to sit down and work out what walks I was doing when. It might sound daft but I spent a good few hours planning which walks I would be doing for not only the 2010 editions but also some of the 2011 editions. For some of the walks I need to take the photos nearly a year in advance in order to meet printing deadlines e.g. I can't take pictures of snowdrops in December 2010 to meet the January 2011 deadline for the Feb/March 2011 edition.

I have also more or less decided to set up my own business, which is going to take some planning and preparation. As the business revolves around walking the first task is for me to get much fitter. The second is getting my website converted to php and some new sections developed. On top of that I also need to acquire some qualifications, more for insurance purposes than anything, but they will require time commitments as well.

As if that's not enough I have also got some ideas for designing my own cross stitch charts and want to get some of them down on paper and stitched up. Not sure if this will come to anything but I did come up with a name. What do you think of 'Titch Stitches'. No prizes for guessing how tall I am or what I was called at school.

I think I need the days to get much longer!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Thought I'd share two conversations I've had with the 2 male members of my family/household in the last 48 hours regarding washing.

Sunday evening Husband is collecting together his ironing, whilst I'm doing something on the computer:

Husband: Have you washed my shirt?
Me: Which one?
Husband: The light blue one.
Me: Yes ...................... pause and then think
Me: When did you last wear it?
Husband: Wednesday.
Me: No. I usually wash light blue stuff on a Monday/Tuesday with the towels.
Husband: I didn't know you were that organised.

Now I know he pays no attention at all to what I do. For years now he has been emptying the washing machine and putting the tumble dryer on overnight. Has he never noticed that because between them he and my two children have very little other than black clothes I rarely do a mixed/coloured wash!! I reckon I do 2 dark washes to every white or mixed coloured wash and that includes bedding.

P.S. I refused to iron his shirts long before he moved in as he's so fussy about them. I could iron my late Husband's shirts well enough for the Royal Air Force but apparently not well enough my for current Husband.

Earlier this evening I realise I haven't done any of Son's shirts for work over the last few days and he's at work tomorrow.

Son is a shift manager at MacDonalds which means he gets to wear a white poly-cotton shirt that generally gets covered in tomato stains, grease and black stuff from the grills (I think). As they are poly-cotton I can't wash them on a hot wash, so I have to treat the various stains overnight, before they go in the wash. He has four of them and I try to wash them in batches of three, which usually allows me to stay well ahead of his shift pattern. The trouble is he's just about to do the 5th day in a row and I forgot to sort any out last night.

Me: Dashing into his bedroom and desperately hoping that he has a shirt in his wardrobe. There is after all only one in the washing basket.

Son: I used the last shirt this morning.
Me: Well there is only one in the washing basket.
Son: They're on my floor.
Son's Friend: It's such a tip on your floor, how's your Mum meant to see them?

Thank goodness for tumble dryers as at least I can wash and dry his shirts in time, but I love the fact that it wasn't the fact he hadn't put his dirty clothes in the washing basket that Son's friend commented on, but rather the fact I couldn't see them on his bedroom floor.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Gold, Ashes and Hair

Last week was spent doing very little other than watching TV and stitching. With the World Athletics Championship on most mornings and every evening I was already going to be spending a lot of time in front of the TV, but when you add to that the final test match in the Ashes series, then clearly, not a lot else was going to be done. As both of these sports are good for stitching and watching I decided to get going again on Celtic Autumn.

I set myself the target of doing her hair, so as that in the future I could combine working on the border with doing the few bits, other than the white stitches, I have left to do on her dress. I have got that far with her now that I can almost feel a Happy Dance coming on by the end of the year.

I also received some stash last week, the two snippet charts I purchased from Elisa and some books I ordered with the last of the Waterstones voucher my brother gave me for Christmas. The books are being saved for when we go camping in the Lakes in a couple of weeks time. I'm planning on stitching up the snippets as Christmas cards for my young nieces and nephews.

I have heard from Thread Bear that the silks I need to finish my Mum's birthday present need to be ordered from the States, so it may be another 2/3 weeks before I'm able to finish her present. I only have one corner of the border to do but it's unlikely it will be framed in time for her birthday.

Having done very little last week I now need to catch up with everything else I neglected to do, so as today I have the house to myself, I'm going to get all of the housework out of the way. Then I have a long list of jobs I need to tackle that will involve a lot of time on the computer. We won't mention the weeds in the garden that seem to have appeared over the last week.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Totally Useless SAL

As it's the 22nd August and I joined the Totally Useless SAL, here is my first picture of my orts and ends.

The bottom layers relate to some secret stitching that I have been doing and really must get around to making up.

The red threads come from the Little House Needlework design that I have been working on for my Mum's birthday.

The final layer, of mainly orange threads, are a result of my work on Celtic Autumn. I have been stitching on her whilst I have been watching the cricket and World Athletics. Once they have finished I'll post progress pictures for her.

Monday, 17 August 2009

So Frustrating

My plan for the weekend was to work on and hopefully finish Gentle & Kind so as that I could take it to be framed today. I had a weekend of watching the 20/Twenty Finals and the World Athletics Championship along with a bit of ironing and a lot of stitching planned. I managed to achieve all 4 but hadn't counted on not being able to finish the piece because I ran out of thread.

I have completely run out of the light brown and the green threads and suspect that I will also run out of the red thread before I finish all the lettering. In each case I'm a maximum of two strands of thread short. I am so frustrated.

I wouldn't mind if I'd wasted the thread but most of the time when I'd finished with each strand there was barely enough thread to secure the stitching with and no frogs that resulted in wasted thread. All I can say is that someone was incredibly tight with the amount of thread they allocated to this Thread Pack.

As it turns out I love Crescent Colours, so I don't mind buying the threads, as I'm sure I'll use them again, but from now on I'll be buying the charts, not the thread packs, whenever that is an option.

Now to place my threads order, which no doubt will mean some extra additions to my stash as I'm not paying for postage for just 3 threads.

Ouch - just ordered the threads they were the Belle Soie Silks at nearly £5.00 each. If I had a safe I'd be keeping them in it when they arrived!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009


I have just heard that my RAK has arrived at it's new home. Bilbo has assured me that she likes it. As the theme of the design suggests Bilbo likes to make quilts, when she's not in her garden.

Little House Needleworks: Quilting
Fabric: Hand-dyed 30-count Summer Sunset evenweave from Chameleon
Threads: Crescent Colours

It was my first attempt at a mattress style pincushion and also my first time using hand-dyed floss.

I decided to repeat the border for the back and used some of the detail from the border on the sides.

I had ummed and arrghed for a while about what colour to use for the edging and eventually settled on yellow. Shortly after which Bilbo started her latest quilt Yellow Peril, which was very weird, or fate, depending upon how you view these things.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A New Start

Late last week my order from Down Sunshine Lane arrived.

I have no plans for any of the Summer Showcase charts, although I'm sure I'll find a use for them soon. The LHN Gentle and Kind chart is planned as a birthday present for my Mum.

As her birthday is in September and I'd like to get it framed, I thought I'd better get a move on, so I started it last night. Fortunately I'm fast becoming a LHN fan and know that they stitch up very quickly, so, hopefully, it will be finished and at the framers by next week.

I also have a parcel in the post, so there will be a reveal coming up soon of some of my secret stitching.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pattern - Is on the Move

Sharon has finished stitching the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pattern and so she is ready to head off to a new home. If you'd like her to visit you next follow the link below the picture.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Last week the chart for my Blogversary Giveaway arrived which meant I needed to order the fabric and threads for it. Whilst I was at it I also ordered some fabric I had spotted which I though would make the ideal backing fabric for one of my RAK's.

After exchanging a few emails and one telephone conversation with Kate at Thread Bear I was able to get a fabric that was a good match for the 30 count R & R Sheep's Straw that the chart called for, but my budget didn't stretch to. Kate had two pieces of linen in mind but once I explained that the thread I was ordering was for the same project she decided upon the 32 count Permin/Wichelt linen. I have emailed Kate to find out the name of the fabric as it didn't say what it was called on the receipt.

Having seen the fabric and thread together I think she made an excellent choice. Now I just need to get started on them or it will be my 2nd Blogversary before Conny gets them.

Before I do start on them I'm going to have a finishing off session. I have a few more stitches to add to one of my RAK's and then I shall start making them up. One of the recipients of the RAK's now knows who she is as I had to ask her for her address but the other hopefully doesn't. If I get a wriggle on I might be able to post pictures by next week.

I have also have some more charts on order from Down Sunshine Lane and yesterday I couldn't resist snapping up two Lizzie Kate snippets in Elisa's sale. So that's me spent up for August.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


The last few days have been rather busy as on Friday it was not only Daughter's Graduation Day but also Husband's birthday.

The day after her graduation was also Daughter's 21st birthday. She had a big family do for her 18th birthday so this time she celebrated with her friends. She had stopped in London following her graduation ceremony and went out for lunch with all her friends from university and then travelled home to spend the evening celebrating with her friends at home. We saw her for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


First of all the winner of my Blogversary Giveaway is Conny. I used a randomiser to create the list and then asked Son to pick a number between 1 and 20, he picked 19 (his age) thus making Conny the winner. Husband acted as an independent adjudicator.

1 Mainlely Stitching
2 Angela P
3 Jo
4 Broken Fairy
5 Patti
6 Always Smiling
7 Daffycat
8 Maggee
9 Lynda
10 Dera Dera
11 Nina
12 Karen
13 Stitching Kath
14 Deb
15 Jeanie
16 Hazel
17 Lula
18 Sally
19 Conny
20 Lisa

Thanks to everyone who took part, better luck next time.

I have also been lucky enough to be given a Friendship award by Patti . Thank you for thinking of me.

I have to nominate 8 other peoples blogs as part of the award so the 8 additional winners are:

Barbara at Mainley Stitching - I love your mix of family life and stitching. How you ever find time to stitch amazes me.

Anne-Marie at Orts & Ends - I suspect Pantoef is about to become the new star of your blog.

Angela at Hooked on Stitches - The flat fold queen.

Nina at Between Crosses with Nina - Your stitching is beautiful.

Paulette at Plum Street Samplers - Another great mix of family and stitching. This site should come with a bank account health warning, her samplers are beautiful.

Andrea at The Craft Room - More beautiful stitching, with stitches that look oh so perfect.

Elisa at Old Ragged Threads - More inspirational stitching.

Sally at Stitchyangels Treasures - Anyone who tackles as many Haeds as you do deserves an award, just looking at the chart of a small one is enough to send my head into a spin.

As ever it's hard to pick out just 8 as all the blogs I read are great, if they weren't why would I read them.

This reminds me that I really must update the blog list on my sidebar. I have to admit I use it as my way of speeding up looking at my favourite blogs as if your blog is on there I can tell instantly if it has been updated or not. Am I the only one who does this?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

One Year Old

Today my blog is one year old and so tomorrow I will be doing the draw for my Blogversary Giveaway, if you've not entered sign up for it today.

Sadly as of yet the chart hasn't arrived but as soon as it does I will get stitching.

I have just taken a quick look back over the first years entries and now realise the following:

Blogging has definitely resulted in me spending more money on stitching, all the blogs I read lead me to investigate new suppliers or designers. At the start of my blog I kept my stitching in one small drawer. All my stash now occupies a much bigger drawer and I seriously need to start looking at some sort of storage system for it all. Well it's that or evict one of my children and turn their bedroom into my sewing room!!

On the other hand it has meant I've tried out, or will be trying out, lots of different ways of finishing and displaying my work.

There is no point in me joining SAL's or exchanges that have tight time deadlines as I just can't stitch to order. As much as I love stitching Celtic Autumn I can't force myself to stitch on her every week or on a set day, sometimes other things just appeal more. I've also failed with the only other SAL I joined, the piece is sitting in my drawer waiting for me to return to it, 8 months after the SAL finished.

PIF's and RAK's are definitely the way for me to go. I then have time to feel inspired and pick a chart that I think will reflect the intended recipient's taste and the time to work on it as and when I feel inspired to do so.

There is no point in me collecting too many big projects. I have now been working on Celtic Autumn and Love Songs for nearly a year and for both it will probably be another year before they are finished. I reckon St Petersburg could be a ten year project.

I haven't done nearly enough walking this year. That is for a whole host of reasons but there is no doubt the desire to stitch in the afternoon has meant I've not suddenly had an irresistible urge to head for the local hills. This is going to have to change as Husband and I are currently discussing a possible way I can finally achieve one of my lifetime ambitions, which is to make a living out of walking.

My garden is not getting enough attention, again the temptation to continue the stitching I started in the afternoon means I haven't spent as many evenings in the garden as I normally would. The evening being my favourite time to garden, not too hot and no worries about stopping to get the dinner on etc.

It's time to do some baking, I have been craving chocolate gingerbread for a week or so now and having just realised that I haven't posted that recipe on the blog. Whilst I'm at it I'll also get the Potato Gratin ready for tonight's dinner, a ridiculously extravagant way to have potatoes mid-week but birthdays and anniversarys are always celebrated in this house so my blogversary sounds like the ideal excuse for chocolate and cream.

Last but not least, thank you for reading my ramblings for the last year, it's been great getting to know everyone via their comments and blogs. I just hope I haven't bored you all too much and that you've enjoyed sharing my world as much as I enjoy sharing what you are all getting up to.

Monday, 20 July 2009

I Have a Finishing Pile

Over the last few weeks most of my stitching has been the secret kind. Whilst two of the pieces are now stitched and awaiting finishing one of them was just started late last night. As it will be at least a week before I even have them ready to go to their new homes and even longer before I can show you them in full I thought I'd offer a few snapshots of the different pieces.

Some of you may recognise what I'm actually stitching but please don't let on.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

A Great Giveaway

Paulette is having a great giveaway for blogversary so head over to her blog now to have a chance of winning 5 of her gorgeous charts.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

SAL's and Stash

When I got back from my holiday I found out that Kathy is trying to get the Celtic Lady SAL going again and it was just the excuse I needed to do some more work on her. Previously I was finding that I liked to work on her on Sunday but the Wimbledon Final got in the way of that so I picked her up again on Monday. I set myself the target of finishing off one of the braid cards I had and getting the trim on the bottom of her dress done.

As you can see I actually ended up doing a little more than that, but that was because I didn't achieve everything I wanted on Monday so I worked on it yesterday as well. On Monday it was put aside so we could watch Torchwood and I wasn't sorry I did so. As I write Tuesday's episode is on the video to be watched later tonight along with tonight's episode, so no spoilers please. Thursday and Friday's episodes will also be watched together on Friday night so again don't tell me what happens, please.

Before I went to the Lakes I received my order form Thread Bear.

Just about everything in here will be used for one or other of the PIF's I am currently working on, although I couldn't resist the backing fabric which is 'just' a stash addition.

As of yet I haven't received the chart for my planned Blogversary Giveaway so whoever wins it may have to be patient. If you've not entered you've still got time as the closing date is the 21st July just add a comment to the relevant post.
I have also been working on some PIF's but no pictures yet. I must get one made-up, now that I have all the materials I need for it.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Rankin's Addictive

There is no doubt about it, Ian Rankins' Rebus novels are proving addictive. I finished a second one on Saturday evening having started it whilst away on holiday. When I went to the library last week I had hoped to get the first in the series, but was unable to, so I settled for Strip Jack, which was the earliest book in the series they had on the shelves.

As with the previous Ian Rankin book it was a real page-turner and yet again I didn't work the plot out, a rarity for me. Very funny reading the series out of order though because you know where some of the characters relationships or careers etc are heading. When I next return to the library I think I shall be getting a couple more in the series, it will cut down on the number of trips to the library.

In between the two Rebus novels, or should that be trips to the library, I started a light-weight novel Revenge of the Wedding Planner by Sharon Owens. Set in Northern Ireland it was a very good read, where the direction of the story wasn't always obvious, but amusing enough to ensure you stuck with it.

I've since found out this appears to be the second in a series of books on the same theme so if I see some of the others I may well pick them up.

Last night I started a rather big book, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I've only read the first chapter but I think this is about to become another page-turner so I may be returning to the library sooner than expected.

Friday, 3 July 2009

How Long Can A Birthday Last?

So it was my birthday on Tuesday and as planned we were away on holiday in the Lakes, just in time for the heatwave and midges!!

On Saturday evening, before we went away I was given my birthday presents and allowed to open them, as it would mean I could make good use of them whilst we were away.

Husband, Son and Daughter clubbed together to get me a rucksack. My father-in law gave me a new walking pole to replace the one I lost a few weeks ago. Earlier in the week my parents had given me some money towards my new walking boots.

On my actual birthday I was able to open my cards and Husband and I went for meal that evening at the Brook House Inn.

We came home the next day and there were a few more cards to open.

Then yesterday Son purchased a birthday cake and Husband, Son & Daughter all sang 'Happy Birthday' to me and I had to blow out some candles.

I think I've now finished celebrating my birthday!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Blogversary Giveaway

I will have been blogging for a year on the 21st July and have decided to celebrate the event with a giveaway.

Yesterday I was somewhat naughty and went shopping at Thread Bear. Now I foolishly had a look at the new charts and couldn't resist buying the new Quaker Love Letter Accessories chart by R& R Reproductions. Love Letters itself has been added to the wish list

I've decided that I will stitch one, or maybe more, of the accessories for my blogversary giveaway. Now you will probably have to be patient, as I haven't got the chart yet or started to kit anything up, but if you would like to enter the giveaway you have until the 21st July to enter.

I will pick the winner after the 21st and I might even have started the stitching by then.

The Falls

For the last week I have been reading The Falls by Ian Rankin. It's one of the Inspector Rebus series and the first Ian Rankin book I've read. I have to say it is one of the best finds I've had in a long time. A book, that despite my best efforts, took me nearly a week to read and that includes several late night reading sessions. A plot that I couldn't figure out and a storyline, with characters, that had me gripped from start to end.

When I return the book to the library later this week I will be getting another in the series out, hopefully the first. I foresee a lot of Ian Rankin novels in my future. I love it when I find a new author like this, especially when it means I have lots of high quality reading ahead of me.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

My First PIF

I heard from Kath that she has received the PIF I stitched for her. As it was the first one I've ever done I relieved to hear it had arrived safely and that she likes it.

Lizzie Kate - Friendship Grows

Stitched on linen with DMC threads

It's a Lizzie Kate freebie called Friendship Grows. A quick search of Kath's blog had revealed that she liked Lizzie Kate designs and when I saw this design I thought of the lovely pictures of her garden that she has also posted on her blog. I stitched it on some unidentified linen that I had in my stash and backed it with the Pins and Needles fabric I bought a few weeks go.

You may well observe that there is no bow on the top of the pinkeep. This was only my second attempt at a pinkeep and after spending an hour trying to create a bow I gave up, I hope Kath doesn't mind. Something I will have to work on for any future pinkeeps.

Friday, 19 June 2009


I have some stitching to show you.

As promised a picture of Celtic Autumn.

I have started working on the border but now she is on the scroll frame I'm finding it very difficult to work on her. This is the first time I've combined a scroll frame with my magnifying lamp and it isn't working. I need to buy a stand to hold the frame. I've seen the one I want, in fact I nearly bought it last year, but I'll have to wait until finances allow the purchase of it. I suspect progress on her will be slow for a while, we will see.

In the mean time I've picked up St Petersburg again. I was inspired by Jacky who has recently been there.

I'm actually working on part of The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. If you follow the link I'm currently doing the blue and green dome on the left of the church. This small bit of stitching is just one of the swirls and represents about 5 hours of stitching. There are an awful lot of sections of two or three stitches in this part.

As you can see I have a long way to go. I have finally sorted out how to handle this amount of fabric. I'm stitching using a hoop and rolling up the rest of the material and pegging it hence the state of the fabric. Whilst this will work for now eventually I'm going to have to find a better solution. Does anyone know where I can buy a massive roller frame?

I had hoped to be able to show you one of the PIFs I was working on, but I haven't heard that it has been received yet. I'm starting to get worried as it was posted on Monday by Husband, although he did send it 2nd class so maybe that explains the delay.

The new boots have been out for a test drive on a local 2 mile walk but it wasn't a great day so although the pictures are on my website I'll not put any on here. I'm hoping to fit a couple more walks in next week as we are going to the Lakes a week on Sunday for my birthday.