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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Stitch from Stash 2014

Just a quick post to say that I'm participating in the Stitch from Stash 2014 group next year... I'm very good at buying charts and kits that I really want to stitch, and then they end up in my stash cupboard for years, either unopened, or as UFOs!  I'm sure many of you can relate to this... Mel has started the Stitch from Stash group for the very purpose of only working on items that are currently in your stash, with only a small monthly 'allowance' for threads, charts, etc.  As Mel suggested an allowance of $25, I'm going to give myself £15 a month...

If you would like to join the group, click the link above (or in the sidebar) and let Mel know before the 2nd January.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and are now getting ready for the New Year celebrations!

I had a minor operation on Monday, to remove two suspected Basal Cell Carcinomas.  I have a syndrome that these are a 'symptom' of, and I've had several removed from my face.  The dermatologist has also removed other lumps and bumps - "just in case" - resulting in several scars all over my body.  The two lumps removed this week were on my neck and thigh...

Christmas Day was quiet here, as my eldest isn't coming home until next week, and the other two were quite happy to sit and watch TV or go to their rooms to play on their PCs... We had hoped to go and see my parents, but as most of us have a cold, we couldn't go - my mum mustn't come into contact with any type of virus due to her radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.  We are hoping to go sometime before the New Year, though, but will have to see if the colds go away.

I stitched on 'Mermaids of the Deep Blue' again last week:


I enjoy stitching on this - there's lots of Kreinik #4 braid, and there will be lots of beading to do at the end!  I've also managed to frame Lavender & Lace's "In the Arms of an Angel" this week:


My framing skills seem to be getting better - the mount cutting went much more smoothly than my last efforts, but I still need to practice putting my stitching on the board, as it isn't quite centred!

I'm now stitching an ornament for an exchange, and I also need to start my RR piece (both with the Needlecraft Haven Yuku group).  It takes me forever to choose designs for this sort of thing, and then I end up doing stitching marathons to get them done!  The ornament is for someone who was on the Nuneaton meet-up back in November, and the RR is a "Welcome" one... I've finally picked a Jeremiah Junction design for the RR - I did want to do an Irish 'Welcome Friends' design that I have as a kit in my stash (Design Works), but it is much too big to split into 5 sections for the RR participants!

I won't be able to post a picture of the ornament until after the opening date of 10th January, but I'll post a picture of my progress on my RR next week...

Happy New Year (and Happy Stitching!) to all my blogging friends!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

One Week to Go!

Is it really only a week and a half to Christmas..?  It seems to creep up on me every year!  One minute it's September (when the shops start putting Christmas goodies on the shelves...), and the next thing you know is it's only a week to go!  I'm usually very last minute as far as Christmas shopping goes, but I'm actually pretty much sorted this year.  The only thing I've not done is the Christmas cards...Oops!  Sammy will be putting the tree up later today - a bit early for my liking (would prefer to do it on Christmas Eve!), but she came home from Uni yesterday, so I've got to let her do it...

I've had a very busy week - even though it was only a 3-day work week!  I have delivered some more Functional Skills sessions, involving a lot of driving, and my normal day job has been quite chaotic, too!  The two days off at the beginning of the week seemed to fly by, as I was running around doing all sorts of chores...

Craft-wise, I have done very little.  I have stitched a little on Margaret Sherry's "Crafty Cat", and I have been crocheting Owl Doorstop number 2, which still isn't finished!

Margaret Sherry's "Crafty Cat"


My random number generator tells me that I'm stitching on "Mermaids of the Deep Blue" again next week...  This is where I was up to when I stitched on it the other week:

Mirabilia's "Mermaids of the Deep Blue"
This will be the last week on my rotation until after New Year, as I have to start a new RR piece, and also have an Exchange piece to stitch.  I have 2 weeks off work for the Christmas holidays, so thought that would be the perfect time to do these extra things, and then get back on the rotation on week beginning 6th January 2014.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Framing...

An early post - I'm on leave from work, and have been attempting my own framing:

Lancashire Map by Heritage Stitchcraft

Moments that take our Breath Away by Designs by Lisa
They are by no means perfect, but I will get better at it!  The mount was the toughest part - I didn't know how to cut it at a 45 degree angle, but trusty Google helped out, and a trip to Hobbycraft for a mount cutter followed!

I've put a countdown clock on the side bar here to count down the time until New Year.  This year has been horrendous for myself and my family, and I cannot wait for it to be over!  The only other year that can anywhere near match (and actually beat) this one is 1992, which was Queen Elizabeth's "Annus Horribilis" too!  I know it probably has nothing to do with the actual year, but (as the saying goes) New Year, new start...

It still feels strange to me having time off work.  Having worked in schools for several years, and therefore only taking time off at the same time as all my colleagues, my being at home when I know everyone else is still in the office makes me feel quite guilty... I'm sure it will pass as time goes on!

Happy Stitching!


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Happy Dance!

I have finished one of my UFOs!


This is Moments that take our Breath Away by Designs by Lisa.  I finished it tonight :-) It is stitched on 28ct Jobelan using Gentle Arts threads.

The next piece to be worked on in my rotation is Margaret Sherry's Crafty Cat.  This is how it looks before I start the week's stitching on it:


The last week has been quite hectic.  I have taught two Functional Skills sessions - one in Carlisle (a 200-mile round trip) and one in my workplace.  I do enjoy doing the sessions, but it is quite tiring when I do a session and then go straight back to my admin job...I'm doing two more next week - another in Carlisle, and one in Blackpool.

My mum started the next stage of her treatment this week.  She had an operation to insert a PEG into her stomach, ready for the start of her radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.  The treatment will be on her neck, so it may become difficult for her to swallow.  The PEG allows liquid food to be passed into her stomach if swallowing becomes impossible.

I was supposed to be having a minor operation on Monday, to have two suspected BCCs removed, but the hospital decided to rearrange it to an earlier date and neglected to inform me...so I got a telephone call the other day, telling me that I hadn't turned up for my surgery...Needless to say I wasn't happy!  It has now been rescheduled for the 23rd December, but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets rearranged again...At least I now have Monday and Tuesday off work (booked to give me chance to recuperate)!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mermaids and Moments...

Not much stitching has been done this week, as expected, due to our trip to Dublin...


This is my progress on "Mermaids of the Deep Blue" by Mirabilia.  I am stitching it with a purple conversion, on Polstitches 'Aphrodite' 32ct fabric.  It is lovely to stitch, but it is time to move on to the next piece in my rotation.


This week's piece is "Moments that take our Breath Away" by Designs by Lisa.  I'm hoping to finish this, but I'm doing several Maths and ICT tutoring sessions this week, and my mum will be starting her next stage of treatment, so I'll see how it goes.

Whilst I've been off work this week, I've managed to almost finish my Christmas shopping!  This is a novelty for me - it's usually a mad dash on Christmas Eve to buy presents and food...and every year I say I'm going to be more organised next year...I finally managed to do it!  A nice refund from the taxman definitely helped... :-)  I also treated myself to a digital SLR camera, as I enjoy taking photos (not being in them, though!) and wanted a good camera to do it.  The difference in picture quality between this new camera and my old compact camera is amazing!  Here are some pictures of my cats taken with the new camera:

Dizzy

Dizzy

Phoebe

Luna

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I've had a fun week off work this week!

My husband and I went to Dublin on Monday for a couple of days.  Our journey there involved a train ride to the airport, a flight over to Ireland, and then a bus ride into the centre of Dublin...

We stayed in the heart of the entertainment area, Temple Bar, and had a fantastic time!  We met one of my husband's Irish relatives (second cousin) whilst there, and visited several of Dublin's main attractions:


Kilmainham Jail was very thought-provoking.  The guide was excellent, and provided lots of information about the uprising in 1916 and the Civil War in the 1920s.




Christ Church Cathedral was a lovely piece of architecture, with lots of classical stoneware and tiling inside.



The Ha'penny Bridge is an unusual bridge going over the River Liffey... and people have left padlocks on the bridge - many of which had names and dates on them.



We had a look in the Jervis Shopping Centre, and their Christmas decorations were fabulous!


We couldn't go to Dublin without going in The Temple Bar pub...even though the price of beer was quite ridiculous - nearly 7 Euros for a pint!  The pub was nice, though, with traditional Irish music being played.


We stayed at the Temple Bar Hotel, right in the middle of the Temple Bar area.  It was an excellent hotel, although I needed earplugs during the night due to the noise from the club nearby (I am a light sleeper...).

Our final place to visit in Dublin was the National Leprechaun Museum...It was a bit of fun, and we learned a lot about Irish folklore from the guide!  There was a Giant's living room, where (if you could jump high enough...) you could 'climb' onto the furniture and pretend you're a leprechaun:



We also visited Trinity College, where the Book of Kells is on display, and Dublin Castle.

The rest of the week has been spent shopping for Christmas presents, stitching and relaxing...but the week seems to have passed so quickly, and we're back at work on Monday...

I'll post my usual weekly stitching update tomorrow when I change my rotation piece.

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Me First and Mermaids


This is DMC Country Companions' "Me First" as of today - Sunday 24th November.  I haven't managed to spend much time on this, due to different things going on this week.

I'm starting a new design this week, as I have got the fabric I wanted for it, and I am keen to get started.  The design is Mirabilia's "Mermaids of the Deep Blue":


I'm stitching it using a purple conversion on Polstitches 'Aphrodite' fabric...

I'm going to Dublin tomorrow for a couple of days with my DH, and I'm off work for the whole week.  We are flying from Manchester, so I won't be able to take any stitching with me...but I'm sure I'll have lots of other things to keep me occupied!  I'll have lots of photos to show in my post next week :-)

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Hmmmm....

It's been one of those weeks...in one of those years...

I was ill for a few days at the beginning of the week with a kidney infection again.  The doctor gave me two weeks' worth of antibiotics, and told me that if I get it again, he's going to send me for a scan to check for a kidney stone.

The infection prevented me from doing the tutoring I was supposed to do last week, and also prevented any stitching from happening for a couple of days, so I didn't do as much as I'd hoped on Heirloom Christmas Sampler:


...and here is the actual section I completed this week:


I do enjoy stitching on this piece, but the hardanger parts can be quite scary!

This week's piece is 'Me First' - a DMC Country Companions design that has been a UFO for a very long time - in fact, I think I actually started it when my children were very young, and they are all now in their 20s!

This is how it looked before I started stitching on it yesterday:


I have cut down my rotation list to 18 items - mainly to make sure something gets finished at some point, but also for a Facebook group that encourages members to complete some WIPs in 2014...  I intend adding others to the list as the original 18 start getting finished - especially Mirabilia's 'Mermaids of the Deep Blue', which I am keen to start as soon as I get the fabric I've requested...so I think I'll have to have one day a week which is specifically for working on that!

My youngest child turned 20 this week...a milestone she didn't want to reach ("I'm 19 again"), and one that has made me feel quite old...although I suppose I'm quite young at 45 to have 3 children in their 20s!  I think the thing that will make me really feel old is when I become a grandmother - and I hope I have a few years before that happens!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

My Stitching Week

I'm quite happy with the stitching I've managed to do on HAED's "QS Scarlet Witch" this week:


This is being stitched on 25ct evenweave, 1 over 1, using full crosses.  I actually enjoyed stitching on it as the week went on, but was getting fed up by the end of the week - this is why I change the design I stitch on every week!

Next week's stitching will be on Victoria Sampler's "Heirloom Christmas Sampler".  This is how it looks before I stitch on it this week:


As far as other parts of my life go, my mum is having to have radiotherapy following her surgery to remove a tumour out of her mouth.  She was diagnosed with mouth cancer, and had to have the tumour and some glands in her neck removed.  She now needs to get a PEG put in her stomach to allow a feeding tube to be inserted while she has the radiotherapy treatment.  This will all probably happen before and over Christmas...

I'm having problems with my kidney...  I had an infection in one kidney back in September, and I now seem to be getting another infection in the same kidney.  I'm really hoping it's not another stone - I had one back in the late 90's, and was doubled up in pain by the time I actually got it sorted out.  I ended up going to A&E, and staying in hospital for a week, as they needed to operate to blast the large stone with a laser... I'll be phoning the GP in the morning, and hopefully going to see him tomorrow evening.

I'm going to do some tutoring this week - some extra work that I'm doing for one of the teams at the company that I work for.  It means driving a 200-mile round trip to get to one of the venues, and then going back to work at the end of the session, so I'm going to be tired by the end of the week!  The extra cash will come in handy at the end of December, though...

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 4 November 2013

What a Year!

I have totally lapsed on my Blogging!  Yet again, it is several months since I posted on here, but I do have lots of reasons why...Most of which can't be aired in public...

I finally got back to work at the beginning of May, after 9 long weeks off with my broken ankle.  It was such a relief, although I had to ask colleagues to give me a lift there and back for a couple of weeks until I could drive again!  It was a nightmare time...and I wouldn't wish a broken ankle on anyone!  I am still suffering with it - it swells up when the temperature is warm, and it aches when it is cold.  It also can get quite stiff and sore if I'm sat down for too long, or if I walk too much...and I've been told that this will be the case for years to come!!!

Since breaking my ankle, I've had a few issues to deal with, and some serious illness in the family, so I will be so happy when we say goodbye to 2013 - it has been another "annus horribilis"...

As far as stitching is concerned, I have continued to do some, although not as much as I would normally have done in the time.  I have finished "Tree of Stitches" by Abi Gurden, made a crocheted Owl door stop (and have 2 more to make after receiving requests), and knit a wrap.  I have also made good progress on "A Good Marriage" by Lizzie*Kate, which was my rotation piece for last week:

WIP: A Good Marriage by Lizzie*Kate
Finish: Tree of Stitches by Abi Gurden




Crochet finish: Door Stop Owl

Knitted finish: Wrap
 I have only just resumed my rotation over the last couple of weeks, after all the 'fun' of the last few months...My rotation piece for this week is HAED's "QS Scarlet Witch".  This is how she looked before I started stitching on her this week:

WIP: QS Scarlet Witch by HAED


I have also started going to 2 different Craft Clubs.  One is in Burnley, which is about 15 miles from here, and that is on a Thursday evening for 2 hours.  I am the youngest member at that club!  The ladies take different crafts - knitting, crochet, cross stitch and patchwork - and we sit crafting and chatting for the session.  The other club is at my LNS in Darwen on a Saturday morning.  This is a new club, and I haven't been able to go for a couple of weeks, due to going to Warwick for the weekend, and then meeting up with the ladies from the Needlecraft Haven forum in Nuneaton last Saturday.

Since my youngest daughter went off to Uni in Cardiff, my husband and I have decided to go away for the weekend at least once a month.  We went to York to start with, as it was somewhere that we had never been, even though it is only a couple of hours away!  We then went to Warwick, and we are going to Dublin, Ireland, at the end of this month...  We are hoping to go to different places in Europe in the new year...

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Ankles and Marriage!

Things are finally starting to happen regarding my ankle!  I was at the physiotherapist on Friday, and he had me walking without the boot (with one crutch).  He has told me to keep practicing over the week, with a view to losing the boot next week.  I'm so happy with that news!  It actually feels like I'm getting better now, after 2 months of nothing happening and keep getting knock-backs.  I'm going back to work on the 7th May - more than 9 weeks after I broke my ankle!  I won't be able to drive then, so will have to have a lift to work and back, but at least I'll be back in a routine...

I was supposed to be going down to Nuneaton this weekend, spending a day with some fellow stitchers from the Needlecraft Haven Yuku forum.  However, due to my inability to drive, and lack of funds (due to being off work...), I had to make the decision not to go.  I've really missed the opportunity - there aren't any stitchers around here (or at least none that I know of!), so I go to the meet-ups to chat to like-minded people and get enthused by their stitching/stash.  I therefore spent today stitching on a project that I started the other day (Yes, I started yet another piece!) - Lizzie Kate's "A Good Marriage":

This was the progress made on the first day of stitching...


...and this is how it looks now, after stitching all day today on it.

I'm stitching this on a piece of lavender 28ct linen, using Crescent Colours, GAST, and DMC threads, and I'm loving stitching it!

Anyway, I'm hoping to arrange a meet-up at Nimble Thimble (Oswestry) again this year, so will be able to see all my stitching friends then...

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

No Pictures...

But I have been doing a lot of knitting this week...I'm just finishing off the sleeves, and then it's the collar and bands to do on my long-length cardigan.

I've been making progress on my recovery, too!  I can now potter about the house without crutches (but with the boot on), so can get my own drinks and food - I hate having to rely on people for anything, so it's good to finally have some independence again!  Next: either lose the boot or the crutches altogether...and go back to work (after the May Bank Holiday)...

Happy Stitching!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Tree of Stitches and some knitting!

It has been an odd, but busy and enjoyable week...

My friend, Vicky, moved down to Rye (South East coast of England) a few years ago, but still comes up here to see her friends and her two sons occasionally.  She came to stay at my home for a few days last week, and it was really good to see her and catch up on some gossip!  I'm going to stay with her in July, when it's the annual Hastings Pirate Day - much fun to be had with lots of other people dressing up as Pirates (and lots of alcohol consumption)!

I have been away for the weekend in Bedfordshire for the GirlGuiding Trainers Conference.  I am so glad I went, and that I had a lot of help from two friends...I would have really struggled to do things without them...and the whole experience made me realise how I would not have coped if I had gone back to work with the crutches/boot!!!

As for stitching, I had a couple of days with no stitching while my friend was here, and over the weekend, but I have worked on Abi Gurden's "Tree of Stitches":


I am using a variety of threads, in shades of blue, for this: Caron Threads, DMC Light Effects, DMC cotton, and Weeks Dye Works cotton.

I also picked up my knitting this morning.  I had finished the back of the Long Jacket that I had chosen, so started the right front side:


I'm a bit hit-and-miss with knitting...I get easily bored with it (especially when it's just knit a row, purl a row...), so it takes a while to actually complete anything, and I HATE the making up part, even though that is the final thing to do!!!

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Midweek Progress

I'm making good progress with my current pieces.  ByGone Stitches' "One Nation" is a BAP, being stitched on a metre length of linen with Crescent Colours threads:

Before stitching this week...

...and as of today.

I'm definitely not going to finish this one in a week!!!  I'm also doing a blackwork piece as a model stitch, so trying to work on both every day, but some days I'll just work on one and then work on the other on the next day...

I've now got an appointment to see the Physiotherapist about my ankle.  Hopefully this means that I'm going to be back on my feet soon...and I can't wait!  You can only sit in a chair for so long without going stir crazy - even with the stitching...

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Hikers Finished

I've finished The Hikers by Heritage Stitchcraft!


As expected, I struggled with row upon row of the same colour in the sky, but I persevered, and it's done...

My eldest daughter and her boyfriend have just left for their train back to Cardiff.  It has been lovely seeing them, but my immobility really got on my nerves!  We've arranged to go down to see them for the May Bank Holiday, when I should be fully mobile again...

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Progress...

I've been working on two pieces this week - one is a model stitch, so can't show it here, and the other is The Hikers.  Progress has therefore been slower, but I'm still on course for finishing The Hikers at the weekend:





I need to frog the extra stitch on the left hand side...but it looks like I need to redo the whole row, due to how I stitched it originally!

I've joined a SAL, through Facebook, to stitch on One Nation.  I have got this in my UFO box, and thought it would give me the incentive to finish it!  The SAL starts on Monday, and this is how it looks now:



I was at the hospital again on Tuesday about my ankle.  I now have a leg brace on for the next 3 weeks:


It seems to support my ankle better than the cast was doing at the end, but I have to take it off at night and this causes pain when I'm moving around in bed...I'm also off work for another 3 weeks, which I'm not too happy about.  I'm usually a very busy person, rarely in the house, and this enforced rest is driving me crazy!

My son is home for the holidays, and my daughter is coming up from Cardiff tonight with her boyfriend to spend Easter with us.  It's going to be a very full house, but then there will be more people to help with things around the house (I wish!).

Happy Easter!