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.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Great Excitement

I've finally bitten the bullet and bought some new walking boots.

Except for the colour they are exactly the same as my old ones, which were the best pair of boots I've had in years, so I'm very, very happy.

I actually took my old pair with me to make sure I got the same make. I was quite surprised they were still available as usually I'll find the pair I have just worn out will no longer be available.

They now need wearing in as the ankles feel very tight compared to my old pair but at least they have been stretched around the toes so there shouldn't be any blisters there. They are actually an early birthday present. I plan on being in the Lakes for my birthday so I needed to get them early enough to wear them in a bit.

Whilst I was at the shop I took the opportunity to check out walking poles and rucksacks. Lexi have actually started making a short pole again, which is fantastic. As Son refuses to give me money for my birthday I'll be passing the make and model name onto him with the money off voucher I received from an online store yesterday.

Seeing as Husband is currently taking new website orders by the day (long may it last) I might even push my luck and let him know about the rucksack I've seen. Well a girl can dream.

I have been stitching, but some of it is for a PIF and the rest is just the border on Celtic Autumn, so I'll take a picture of that when I've done some more of it.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

In Despair

So there I am thinking well I've been good this week, increased the distance I've swam, done more of the annoying, but effective (for walking) Rosemary Conley exercises and been out walking, more of which later. Avoided all the unhealthy stuff, eaten in moderation and what have I got to show for it? I've lost the weight I put on last week and not one bit more. Can't decide if this is good or bad, but either way it still feels like I'm doing a lot and achieving nothing.

I really could have done with better news than that after the events of yesterday.

Yesterday Husband and I went for a planned 8 mile walk in the Manifold Valley.

The Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave

As it was going to be hot I took my smaller rucksack and asked Husband if he'd carry my walking pole on his rucksack. Parts of the route were new to me so although I don't use it that much I like to have it with me in case I need it.

The walk itself was delightful until about a third of the way round Husband asks me if I can see my walking pole on the back of his rucksack.

Answer: NO.

Decision time, do we go back and look for it or carry on and hope it will be wherever it came off his rucksack. My choice, I decide we'll carry on, after all most people are honest and if anyone finds it will leave it alone or somewhere obvious. We are both confident it came off at the start of the walk so this makes the most sense.

Thorpe Cloud & Bunster Hill from Slade House

After we finish the walk we drop the rucksacks in the car and head out to where we think we lost it, on route from Wetton to Thor's Cave. No sign of it, so Husband goes back to the car and takes it down to the bottom of the Manifold Valley and I carry on walking downhill, expecting to meet him at Weag's Bridge. Get to Weag's Bridge no husband, car, walking pole or phone signal.

What do I do?

1. Sit tight and wait for the car to arrive.


2. Start the steep walk up the road to Wetton.

I opt for the first option and only by chance see Husband walking away from me at Weag's Bridge, he's gone down the wrong road and is parked 20 minutes away. In the end our 8.5 mile walk became a 12.25 mile walk and I've lost my walking pole. Even worse it's a compact pole that was just right for me, as I'm quite small, but of course they don't make it anymore.

Just as well it's my birthday at the end of the month, I'd already instructed Husband to tell everyone I'd like the money this year so as that I could replace my walking boots which couldn't be repaired. I was hoping it might also stretch to a new rucksack, the zips are going in that, but now I need a walking pole as well!! Hope everyone is feeling generous.

Husband is feeling very guilty, I'm just annoyed that the one person who felt they could take something that didn't belong to them had to be walking in the same place as me yesterday.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Decision Made

Thanks for all the advice.

I've decided that I'm just going to stick with one design and repeat the border on the back. Of course I made that decision after I'd ordered the other LHN pattern, but I already have a potential 'victim' lined up for that one.

Elsewhere I'm sorry to say that although I've been busy stitching I can't show you anything as it's a PIF. I know how I'm finishing this one but may have to order some fabric for finishing it with. I'm going to wait until I've done the border before I make that decision.

I finished another book yesterday Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

You may recognise him as the author of Angela's Ashes and this book finishes off his life story. It follows on from 'Tis and recounts his experiences as a teacher in New York. As an ex-teacher I found it a totally fascinating read that really does capture how lonely and intimidating it can feel standing at the front of a class, along with those magical moments that make it a wonderful place to be.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Dilemma

I have been working on a LHN piece for the last couple of weeks and I have always planned on finishing it as a mattress pincushion. However now I need to make a decision and any thoughts would be more than welcome.

I also have to be cryptic because it may well end up as a gift for someone who reads the blog. I keep umming and arrghing about this as maybe it would be unwelcome. This isn't a reflection on them, more on my shyness as I can't imagine why anyone would want something from me.

I've decided to not use any of the fabric I brought for backing it, instead I'm going to use the linen for all of it so I need to create a pattern/border for the sides which isn't really a problem.

However what I do with the back is.

I could easily create something simple for the back and make up the pincushion or I could be patient, order another LHN pattern for the back, which will compliment the one on the front. I'm tempted to wait as with both LHN designs it would reflect the possible recipients two hobbies well.

What do you think?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Stash & Books

As promised a picture of what the postman brought yesterday from Thread Bear.

There are 3 fat quarters of fabric for the backing of projects. I was actually just looking for something for one particular project but I couldn't resist the blue one or the pins one. Having seen them all now I'm not sure I'll use my original choice for the project I had in mind. I hope to get that project finished this week and once it has reached its new home you'll be able to see what I decided to do.

The DMC and Krenik threads are to enable me to get on with two other projects, one for Daughter and one of my PIFs.

The linen is a pure extravagance on my part. As soon as I saw the colour on the site I had to have it. No idea what or when I will use it but hey isn't that what stash is all about. I'm considering it an early birthday present to myself.

I've not done much reading over the last few weeks but before then I finished a couple of books.

I have now read the final book in the Martin Edwards series set in the Lake District.

I have to say I thought this was the best one by a long way. A really great plot which had me enthralled from start to finish.

I have also tried out a new author Sophie Kinsella. It seems that most of her books are about a shopaholic which given my aversion to shopping absolutely don't interest me at all.

When I started this book I didn't think I was going to like it all but I have to say once it got going, which took a while, it was a great read. It kept me up until 2:30 a.m. and then I had a quick 30 minutes of reading before I got up the next morning in order to finish it. Can't see me ever reading her Shopaholic books but any others by her will probably get picked up.

Finally I have a gift from an Aunt. She was clearing out her house and found this cross stitch book which she has given to me.

It has some nice projects in it and I think I'll stitch her up something from it as a thank you.

A quick thank you to everyone who posted such encouraging comments on my previous post.I'm not giving up on the exercise, in part because I have a more immediate goal than just losing 3 stone this year. I'd like to be able to get into and look good in a certain skirt for Daughter's Graduation ceremony .

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A Celebration and A Moan

The celebration first.

Today is officially my Daughter's last day as a student and so yesterday two big cars went down and brought all her stuff back from her halls of residence in London. She is actually coming back home on Tuesday. None of us can believe the 3 years are over, it still seems like only yesterday we went down to visit Roehampton University with her when she was still doing her A levels.

On the way back from London we got a phone call to say she got her results, she had passed all her exams and has got a 2:2. She hasn't had the best of luck this year, getting stuff stolen at Christmas and also being dumped by her boyfriend on Boxing Day followed on from a friend dieing in October so this has effected her grade but Husband, Son and I are so very proud of her. So on the 24th July we will be back down in London attending her graduation ceremony.

Now the moan.

Now what is it the Governments current TV ads say:

Move More Eat Less to get fitter and loose weight.

So this week:

120 lengths/3 km swimming, one 8 mile walk, one 30 minute aerobic session and several walks of about an hour

surely qualifies as moving more

Not one chocolate biscuit, no snacks and generally cutting down

surely qualifies as eating less


I've put 1kg or 2lbs on

My weight has actually gone up not down.

I'm incredibly pi**ed off.

Just been interrupted by the postman

Now I'm a bit happier my parcel from Thread Bear has arrived so a stash picture on the next posting .

Thursday, 4 June 2009

An Old Finish

As I haven't done any sewing that I can share with you for a while now I thought I'd share with you something I stitched years ago.

When I was training as a teacher we were set a task of designing and making a fabric container as part of the Design & Technology course. This was a great excuse for me to spend some time cross stitching, but as we only had a week it had to be something small. I came up with a needlecase stitched on a scrap of aida that I had lying around and used DMC threads.

It was definately the smallest fabric container produced in my group as it only measures 3 cms by 5 cms. I think the patterns for the scissors and thread came from one of the many copies of Cross Stitcher that I had lying around.

It still makes me smile whenever I see it in my sewing box.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

I Ache...........

............ but I really don't mind as today I swam 60 lengths which seems much more like it to me. The 10 minute walk home from the pool was a very slow one and I'll certainly sleep tonight but at least I'm starting to see the benefits of the past weeks activity.

Perhaps I should point out that as a teenager I did train fairly seriously as a swimmer getting up early and swimming before and after school, hence the ability to do what to others seems like a silly number of lengths. Yes that does mean most of them are front crawl, with head in water and tumble turns at each end ,which explains why my arms are aching like crazy at the moment. However the words of my swimming coach are ringing in my ears:

"You only get out of the water what you put into the water."

I could also apply that to walking as yesterday I went for a walk in Lathkill Dale. I knew I was moving fairly fast but it was only when I got home and worked out that the route was 8 miles that I realised how fast I was moving, I did it in just over 3 hours.

Lathkill Dale

Limestone in Lathkill Dale from Cales Dale

Last Friday Husband and I did a 10 mile walk that included two climbs, one to Shutlingsloe and then a climb up to Shining Tor right at the end of the walk.


The last climb to Shining Tor was a real effort for me and I was really struggling as my legs really didn't want to go up, on the flat they were fine but lifting them uphill wasn't good.

That last climb to Shining Tor

The lack of hill walking was showing, time to get the Rosemary Conley DVD out. I find doing the exercises tedious but I have to admit the programme is great at building up not only stamina but also the leg and thigh muscles that are essential for saving knees going up and down hills. It seems that the combination of the DVD and some easier daily walks around my local streets is already paying dividends. Now lets just hope that the weight starts to disappear as well.

A few weeks ago Son finally removed his train track from the lofts floor and so I was able to get to my jigsaw box which I haven't been able to reach for the last few years. So last week I enjoyed an old hobby and did my Charles Dickens jigsaw.

I'd forgotten how addictive they can be and found myself suddenly having spent an hour doing it when I was only going to put one piece in. Sorry Bilbo put your definitely taking the blame for this, posting pictures of your completed jigsaws on your blog started me off on this jigsaw. I daren't start another until I've got a few jobs out of the way.

I have been sewing but I can't show it as it will be a gift for someone who reads this blog, I just haven't decided who yet.