Thursday, 29 January 2009

A Double Happy Dance!!

Well today I've actually managed TWO happy dances!! The first was Sonata - I'd nearly finsihed it yesterday when faigue hit me, so I finished it (last 2 strands) over my lunch break:

Sonata, Abbey Lane Designs, stitched on 32ct platinum cashel with Belle Soie silk 'blue lagoon'

After tea I went to Louise's for our lace night - and put the final stitches into the piece of Milanese lace I've been making for nearly a year (my first ever attempt at Milanese - it's pretty ropey in places). Tomorrow night I'll take the pins out and take a photo, so you'll have to wait for that one!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Back from a mini trip (or two)

Wow, January is flying past... This weekend we went down to Birmingham to celebrate a double 90th birthday party! Eddy's grandad turned 90 early in the new year, and Marie, his neighbour/girlfriend turned 90 last week. Needless to say the balloon shop were impressed when Mat and Wendy went in for TWO 90 balloons! We had a lovely lunch at a pub just south of Birmingham, and ate so much I just had a slice of toast for tea!!

Paul (Ed's Dad), Marie and Bill (Ed's grandad)

I got back Sunday tea time, and after a swift visit to the gym (well, I went as soon as I got back, but did a full hours' workout) I had to pack again, this time for a 2-day training course on 'Radiation Preotection' (another addition to my job). It was my intention to go for a swim on Monday morning on my way into work, but I just couldn't find the energy. After a long days work I drove over to Lymm in Cheshire, and settled into my (rather lovely) hotel room. The course was lots more fun that I expected, athough I think I was a bit of a novelty - only female, archaeologist, vaguely in charge of some rather unusual radiation sources! The best bit of the course was the food. Truly delicious. BUT, the major downfall of the course was the amount of food - full english breakfast, scone with morning coffee, three course lunch, huge slices of cake with afternoon coffee. To be honest I left most of my lunch, and kept the cake until the evening - and skipped tea! It was pretty much the same today, but I leanrt from yesterda7y and ate a lot less!!! I still feel very full though, and am pondering wether a visit to the gym will make me feel worse or better. I suspect it's a bad idea on this full a stomach, so I think I'll go tomorrow for a long workout. Unless I feel more energetic later. Needless to say I won't be eating a huge amount of tea tonight!!!

So, my plans for the evening are doing laundry, a little housework, and cross stitch of course. I may even manage a HD - I thought I'd do it at the weekend, but had to frog a section. Then I thought I'd finish at the hotel, but the frogs came to visit on another section... Maybe tonight???? I'll have to see what's on TV, and settle in for a long stitch!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

busy month!

January is turining into a busy month, although I have to admit a lot has been self inflicted! The main reason I've not had chance to blog, is that I (whispers) joined a gym. I've been fed up with my weight and fitness level for a while (well, most of my life to varying degrees, but really fed up of late). Since we moved to Leeds and bought a car my exercise levels plummeted. I was a member of a gym nearby, but eventually I lost my motivation, so I quit 18 months ago (needed to use the gym membership for house-buying related expenses, but really I just wasn't going). About 2 months ago I got motivated again, but needed to get past Christmas (and buying the new car) before I could afford to join.

I have to say I'm doing quite well so far. I joined a week ago Saturday, and since then I've done 2 yoga classes (which made my ribs really ache - I couldn't laugh for 4 days!), done 4 sessions of 1 hour each at the gym, and been swimming 3 times. I'm planning on trying aqua aerobics tonight. I already feel healthier, which is my aim. But this is cutting into my stitching and (more significantly) my blogging time quite a bit.. so fewer posts here.

Anyway, I have made some progress stitching wise. Sonata is about 3/4 done - I'll take it away with me this weekend, and am hoping to finish it then. I've actually stitched on FT for 2 Mondays running (and for part of last week), and somewhat amazingly I've picked up Las Vegas - I'm going to try and focus on this until the end of the month, and hopefully get the first page or so done.

I also picked out and started soemthign new, to replace Phoenix - I chose Mirabilia's Waiting for Ships - I've had it fully kitted up for a while now. I bought the fabric (PTP's Fathom) on my first trip to St Louis to see Amanda and Phil, and it was my first piece of hand dyed fabbie. I chose WFS to go with the fabric. I just hope I'll have enough contrast with the dark areas of stitching. It looked OK on a floss toss, but you never quite know! Luckily most of the design is quite pake in colour. Anyway, this is where I've got to so far:

Happy Stitching everyone!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Better late than never!

ooops, I seem to have forgotten to postred my January goals (they have been in my head for a while!). So I'm not cheating with the first two, honest!!

1) start a new project on the first - I started sonata
2) finish Phoenix - oh look, I did that already :)
3) finish sonata (well it's going so quickly!!)
4) spend the remaining Mondays with TW's Fantasy Triptych
5) work on Las Vegas
6) start something new (guilt-free January remember)
7) organise birth sampler for Monty and possibly start that too (see note above).

Boy, I'll be busy :)

Thanks Karoline for your comments on Birth Band by the Drawn Thread - that's my chosen sampler for Monty. He's only 1... so no real rush :lol

Thanks everyone for your kind comments re: my knee (it's better) and my sister's friend. And also about the Pheonix - thanks for popping by, your comments always make me smile

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

First Happy Dance of the Year

Hurrah! I just finished the Phoenix (Dracolair), and I totally adore him:

Apologies for the over exposed image, I had to use the flash as it's very dark, and the photo's quite washed out. He's stitched in DMC and Krenik with Mill Hill Beads, on a Stitches a Spice linen 'Tundra'.

I have a few other photos to share, first the Candy Cane Dragonlet by Dragon Dreams, which I made into an ornament for Ed's Christmas stocking, and forgot to take a photo:

And finally a whole series of photos of the wonderful Richard Gravestock workbox which I bought with my combined birthday and Christmas money. I've been meaning to share photos for a while! It's made from English Yew (sourced from a National Trust property). Richard was wonderful and made sure the top was extra knotty for me, as I love the knots in yew. There's a small ebony edge on the lid too. As you can see, it's perfect for storing speciality threads and hand dyed fabbies.... (thankfully I don't have so many it's overflowing!).

Right, off to bed, it's nearly midnight, on a work night too, tsk tsk...

January blues, great friends

I have to say that 2009 isn't being kind to my friends. Three work colleagues lost a loved one over Christmas, two have injured their ankles (one was sleep walking, the other 'fell out of a gay bar' - my knee is still bruised - it's getting bigger and blacker as it reaches the surface - but is essentially fine). Not a great start to the year all in all.

Then yesterday I had some shocking news. Ed phoned me because he saw a news item on the BBC web site about a woman killed in a car/train crash in Lincolnshire, and he was pretty certain it was one of my sister's friends. How many 30 year old teaching assistants called Moira live in Spalding? The photo was a match too. But we didn't know her surname so I phoned Michelle, partly to check but mostly to make sure she knew. She'd spent most of the previous night phoning friends to let them know. Moira had a car accident in icy conditions on a level crossing, and as she tried to move her car, was hit by a train. The theory is that she was trying to stop her car from derailing the passenger train, but we'll never know. I didn't know Moira very well - just a few drunken nights out at Michelle's Uni, and later on in London for Michelle's birthdays - but she was a lovely woman and a good friend to Michelle. I'm still quite stunned really. My heart goes out to Moira's family and fiancee, and all her friends.

Thankfully last night I was hosting a stitch and bitch - just 4 of us this time - and I have to thank Emma, Sonia and Pam for cheering me up. We can all be very materialistic at times, but family and friends really are the most important things in the world.

Friday, 2 January 2009


Today my usual clumsyness returned... As I was getting in the shower (over bath shower) my foot slipped on the bottom of the bath, and I went flying. Luckily I managed to grab the side of the bath, but not before landing on the edge on my knee. Eddy heard the bangs, clatter and (shortly afterwards) screaming and dashed in to help (it hurt so badly I didn't have the energy to worry about how undignified I looked, naked, in a crumpled heap). He helped me to the bedroom to sit down, looked at my knee and immediately went to get a cold compress. By the time he got upstairs the bruises were beginning to show. I spent most of the morning resting it then had a shower (although I had help getting in and out of the bath...). Ed has been wonderful, making me lunch, changing movies for me, going to the shops and feeding me tea and biscuits. He even tackled the mountain of washing up we'd ignored since yesterday. And he only laughed at me the once (with me would be more accurately). My knee is still throbbing, is swollen, and only some of the bruises are showing - the most painful, swollen area hasn't changed colour - yet! But I think I'll live...

So I've had some quality stitching time today. Albeit a little uncomfortable as I can't easily curl up on the sofa and REALLY can't cross my legs. SO I picked up Phoenix as I really want to finish it. The small flames/teardrops are taking an age, but I've only got 6 more to go before I can start the BS.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my first photo of Sonata - after just one day of stitching I'm almost 1/4 done!! I absolutley LOVE stitching in silk, and for once my hand are quite soft (on my last attempt it kept catching on dry skin on my finger tips - an occupational hazzard for me. Further proof work is bad for you. I'm still trying to blank out that I have to return to work on Monday...

Sonata, Abbey Lane Designs, stitched in Belle Soie 'Blue Lagoon' on Platinum Belfast

Cherylann asked which fabric I'm using for Phoenix - it's a Stitches and Spice linen called Tundra, but the colour was discontinued earlier this year. I think the chart called for a silkweaver - sparkling sundown or something similar

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Yesterday I tried to finish the xs on Phoenix. I failed. The bit where the tail meets the flames totally stumped me, after several hours of solid stitching (and NO frogging) I'd barely made headway... Eventually at 12.45 (so 2009 anyway) I gave up and went to bed. So Phoenix will be my first happy dance for 2009...

This morning I got up bright and not so early (11.10!!!!), and started to think about my new year start. I had been so focussed on Phoenix yesterday I hadn't really thought about it. So I decided it was time to be ORGANISED with my stash, at the same time as stash diving for my next project. SO... I made a list of all my WIPs (5), kitted up projects (6), kits (14) and charts (39 - and a few of these have mre than one design in - Best of TW Fantasy for example, was counted as 1). Not too bad all things considering? I also made a list of my fabbies, and measured the pieces, as many are offcuts from larger pieces. I didn't measure the tiny bits though. Hopefully I'll type these up at some point, before I lose the hand written notes. I already have a good list of DMC and Mill Hill Beads, and don't have enough of anything else to be worried.

Eventually I got my choice of new start to a reasonable number, then rationalised that a smaller project might be a good idea... so I chose Sonata by Abbey Lane Designs. I'm stitching it in Belle Soie silk 'Blue Lagoon' as I loved the colour. So not red at all...

Anyway here are photos of my WIPs (I forgot to take a new one of Eeyore's problem, but think nothing's changed since the the last photo, so I used that one here):

Dracolair's Phoenix

Peacock Firescreen by Barbara Thompson

Las Vegas (designed by me from photo)

Fantasy Triptych (TW)

Eeyore's Problem (Designer stitches?)

Yearly Recap:
In 2008 I finished 26 xs projects (don't gasp though..). I did 8 medium to large projects, 2 bookmarks, 1 small project and 15 ornaments. I also finished 1 lace project. Of these, I did 3 birth samplers, 3 exchanges and gave one item as a blog giveaway. The lace project was also a present. Of the remaining 11 ornaments, 10 were given as Christmas presents. So quite a few were gifts, which was nice.

I didn't set any yearly goals and I won't this year, as I prefer my stitching to be for fun, and not to deadlines. I do want to sort out more gifts though, so in 2009 I want to complete:
1) Las Vegas (wedding sampler for Jane and Keith)
2) Postman Pat (birth sampler for Riley - nephew of Leanne)
3) Birth sampler (possibly 'Birth Band' by the Drawn Thread) for Monty (Michaela and Stuart's son)
4) Possibly birth samplers for other friends, but I must try and chose small, simple designs (eherm..)
If I miss these it's not really a problem, they are all late anyway :)

I'll think about my January goals and post those later this week.
Happy stitching :)