Saturday, 28 February 2009

Change of plans...

In the end I didn't go to my parents last night, I'm going shortly. The plan was for Eddy and I to stay in the flat in Nottingham last night, then go over to my folks today, but Eddy's flu came back with a vengence and I was tired after work - so I stayed at home overnight, and really enjoyed the extra stitching time - I didn't go. to bed until 1am!

Here's a photo of Waiting for Ships (I did a little more this morning):

A big difference from the photo I took for this post. I don't think I'd picked it up in between either!! Irritatingly I seem to have lost 2 spools of Krenik Braid. I'm sure this was fully kitted up, but can I find any 829 ~8 braid anywhere in the house??? If I'd not ordered Jane's wedding sampler already I could have just added it to the order, but I did that on Thursday and I'm loathe to pay postage again. Grrr.

I also took a photo of my new lace project, sea monster. As you can see it's quite small. Yes, those are pin heads. This is after 2 evenings work, although both were a little less productive than some!

Right, better head off to the car...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

March goals

I've been so busy the last few weeks I've hardly had time to post. Mostly work unfortunately! I'm away again this weekend, so thought I'd post my goals in good time. Mum had her knee replaced on Monday, so I'm off to visit her - it's also her birthday on Saturday. She's doing really well and will be coming home tomorrow - she's doing so well she's taken the doctors by suprise - she was fit enough to come home today, but all the paperwork wasn't in order! We really expected her to come out on Monday, although we did know if she did well she'd be out tomorrow. I'm so pleased she's getting around so well, and proud of her ability to do all her physio exercises to levels that exceed expectation!

Yesterday I was in Reading for a meeting, but took the opportunity to see my good friend Jane and meet her baby, Molly Emma, for the first time. Jane's cat is also called Molly, I wonder when they'll let her know she was named after the cat... Anyway, we laughed over the idiocy of my plans for the Las Vegas picture - I took along all that I'd done, plus the 8 pages of chart. Seriously, I do wonder about my sanity some days... Anyway we picked out a different wedding sampler, Wedding Day in the Elliot and Buttons range by Anchor. I ordered it today, and hope to start next week.

Today I hit the gym in earnest (thanks for asking Dani!), I needed to work of the cake consumed yesterday! I did just over an hour in the gym, then went for a short, relaxing swim and enjoyed the steam room and Jacuzzi too. Sadly this left me ravenous, I seem to have eaten all day. Hopefully not too badly - there was lots of veggies and fruit in there! I'm not getting to the gym as much as I would like at the moment - work keeps getting in the way, and I've also been away most weekends. My plan is to swim tomorrow morning and have a proper workout on Sunday when I get home - which will be a total of 2 swims and 2 gym visits this week, and a vast improvement on last week when I only made it in once! I was a little lighter when I weighed myself today... but given what I've eaten this week I suspect it won't stay off. On Monday Chrissie asked me if I'd lost weight, so maybe I've toned up? (unless I'd chosen to wear especially flattering clothes that day!)

Anyway, goals. This is my recap for Feb:
1) finish the centre panel on FT - done the xs, will tackle to bs on Monday
2) finish birth band - yes
3) finish ornie and start another small - yes, started and finished J'taime
4) work on Waiting for Ships - not yet but taking it away for the weekend.
5) work on Peacock Firescreen - a little tonight
6) start new lace project - yes, I must take a photo...
7) pick out a new wedding sampler for Jane - yes, we chose this one

That's pretty impressive, as the list was ambitious to say the least! I also worked on Eeyore's problem a little.

March goals:
1) bs centre panel and do xs of border on FT
2) continue with my lace
3) start Elliot and Buttons Wedding Day, and make good progress
4) sort out chart for birth sampler for Jamie's son, possibly kit up
5) stitch a little of waiting for ships
6) stitch a little of Peacock firescreen
7) stitch a little of Eeyore's problem

Sunday, 15 February 2009


I forgot to share a photo of this lovely tape measure which my mum bought me when we were shopping last weekend. It's from Monsoon, home of all things lovey (and expensive...)

Thank you mum!!

Today I had a lovely treat too. When I joined the gym I got a voucher for 50% off at the beauty salon. I decided against using it for something dull and treated myself to a half price back massage this afternoon. When I got there, they had had a cancellation for a body scrub, and not wanting to waste the ready-prepped scrub, I was treated to a free salt scrub on my back - lovely!! I now feel wonderfully chilled out and relaxed, so am off to find a DVD that suits my mood - very lighthearted. The Princess Bride is winning at the moment...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

First, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind comments re: birth band - I really enjoyed stitching this piece, especially all the speciality stitches - it's me second Drawn Thread finish, I did First Snow just before Christmas, and I am really enjoying their designs. Which is why I was so pleased to find 'J'taime', their Valentine's freebie, at the beginning of last week - just in time for me to stitch it for Eddy:

J'Taime, by The Drawn Thread. Stitched in DMC on Antique White Edinburgh

We had a very simple Valentine's Day - lazy morning, simple lunch. This afternoon Eddy was watching the rugby, and as part of a deal brokered during a Rugby friendly this Autumn, I went into Leeds for a little retail therapy. Not especially successful - nothing in Monsoon (my favourite shop) was quite right, I tried to get some make up with my Boots points, but my card was unreadable (so I left them at the till), and my new watch strap just wasn't going well, so I left it with the repair guy, who's going to have a second attempt... But I did get us a new mattress, some pillow cases and kitchen scales. Just nothing nice for me. I wasn't even inspired by the magazine collection in Borders!! When I got back, not long after the start of Rugby match #2, we had a quiet cup of tea, and then I cooked us dinner - asparagus and cheese 'pasties' with potatoes boulangerie - two of our favourites from Delia's veggie book. Amazingly, for the first time in years, I managed to cook both dishes without losing track of one of the two (and burning or otherwise ruining it) - Eddy was very impressed!

Stitching-wise, this weekend I'm focusing on Fantasy Triptych, as part of my attempt to finish the centre panel in February. This is where I'd got to last night:

Tonight I filled in quite a bit of the bottom left corner - I'm aiming to hit the tree trunk just left of centre by bedtime tomorrow!

Finally, I have a new project idea to share. My good friend Jamie (she's actually a Susannah, but I call her Jamie - it's a hangover from our Uni days) - had a baby boy at Christmas. We generally communicate by letter, which is really rather fun in this digital age, and she'd not mentioned her pregnancy before my birthday letter in early December - so it came as a bit of a shock to me!! Anyway, in my last letter I offered to stitch a birth sampler for baby Tom (warning her I have a long waiting list) and asked her what sort of thing she fancied - and she replied 'a smaller version a dragon like the one on that sampler in your living room' (Fantasy sampler) - so now I'm planning a TW dragon birth sampler. I was so pleased she picked that theme - I'm going to really enjoy this one!!! Anyway, I'm thinking about utilising one of the miniature dragons (Rampant? Stretch? Futurecast) and probably the lettering and border from Needle Guardian.... any ideas gratefully received!!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Birth Band Happy Dance

Yeah!! I finished it last night, but was too tired to blog before going to bed.

Birth Band, The Drawn Thread. Stitched on Edinburgh linen in silk

The photo was a bit dark, so I altered the contrast in Photoshop - it looks more like the real colours now. I need to try and get it framed quickly so that I can give it to Michaela and Stuart.

Not much else to report - work has been hectic and I'm still tired after a busy weekend. I'm planning to stitch a small card for Valentine's over the next 2 nights (before Eddy comes home), and then pick up FT.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Nearly there!

This weekend we went to back to my home town, for my school friend Leanne's birthday celebration. On Saturday I went into Lincoln with my mum for lunch and a little shopping, then in the evening Ed and I met up with everyone. I have a close knit group of school friends, who I try and see as often as possible. We never manage all 6 of us though, and sometimes we manage to miss seeing one person in the group for a couple of years, but the most wonderful thing about these friends is, even if we haven't seen each other for ages, nothing has changed and we always have a good laugh. Saturday was no exception - 4 of the group made it - me, Leanne, Anne and Michaela - along with a few other friends, and we had a great evening - a mini bar crawl followed by some dancing. A copious amount of alcohol was consumed (very little by me, in comparison to the others) and we talked and laughed all night. Even when we had to shout over the volume of the music! Anne and Michaela stayed over night at Leanne's, and this morning Ed and I went over to share their cooked breakfast - boy does Leanne make wonderful sausage and bacon baps!!

I drove home this afternoon, and managed to get back to Leeds just as the next lot of snow started to settle. Last week's snow is still on the ground and has frozen to ice, so I expect tomorrow morning will be fun-filled, watching people failing to drive safely on the roads. It's quite pathetic really! Dani - I know people who panic over 1" of snow and won't drive or walk anywhere. I've never really seen why they are so wary, having always just got on with it. But I'm not very sure-footed at all, and usually end up on my arse at some point. So far only once this year...

Anyway, I didn't get any stitching done this weekend until I got home, but I have taken some photos to share:

Birth Band - as you can see I've nearly finished this. I stitched on this a bit more after taking the photo, I've only got one final band and a tiny amount of BS to go. Maybe a happy dance for tomorrow?

This is the ornie I finished last weekend - 'Golden Tree'. These Anchor 'quickies' really do live up to their name. If anyone wants the pattern for this (and the left-over thread - I suspect more gold is needed to make a second, but there is lots of green and black left) - then I'm happy to pass it on.

Finally Fantasy Triptych. I'm going to focus on this as soon as I've finished Birth Band - my aim is to complete the centre panel this month. I may be being a little optimistic here!!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

London Snow

This week has been a little busy, and a little disrupted! I had meetings in London on Monday and Tuesday - a perfect opportunity to catch up with Michelle and Julian! I travelled down Sunday night, slightly concerned that the forecast snow had started to fall at midday in Leeds.

Sure enough, on Monday morning London was snowy:

View from Michelle's flat.

Not lots of snow, but enough to send our capital into meltdown! NO buses. Not many tubes. AND (importantly for us) - no tesco food deliveries!! My Monday meeting was a wash out - I managed to get to the Museum, as did a colleague from Birmingham, but no one we were meeting made it. I did fall on my bum due to extreme wear on my shoes - they had worn flat and would probably be best described as 'slicks' - not to self, must buy new shoes suitable for snowy weather, or better still if going away while snow is forecast REMEMBER TO TAKE HIKING BOOTS!!

Anyway, we had coffee at the musuem, bought books, then headed out into the snow to find a suitable restuarant. We ended up in an Italian called Bertorelli's. It looked familiar to me - because it appeared in Sliding Doors (one of my favourite films) - although the deco had changed a little in the intervening 10 years, and the entrance has moved to the other side of the bar!

Tuesday was more productive - I had my meeting as planned and also got these fun shots:

The Natural History Museum

St Pancras Station. This photo looks a little odd without a blue ford Anglia flying past...

While I was away I finished the ornie I'd been stitching (sorry, no photo yet) and started a Winnie the Pooh that came on the front of a magazine. A friend gave it to me, but we'd not realised that the chart was in the magazine, but luckily it's a very simple design and I'm following it from the photograph!

Of course when I got back t' north there was just as much, if not more, snow than in London, and everything was running pretty much as normal... I drove to work on Wednesday with no problems at all, and had a planned working at home day today. Since I've been back I've been working on Birth Band and am over half done now. I'll try and post some photos later. That St Pancras photo has inspired me to pull out the Chamber of Secrets on DVD, so that's my evening planned!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

February Goals

I did quite well this month:

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!!) - yes, finished it last week
4) spend the remaining Mondays with TW's Fantasy Triptych - I missed the Monday I was in Cheshire, but spent quite a few extra nights on FT in the middle of the month
5) work on Las Vegas - yes, but there's a problem, which I'll explain in a bit
6) start something new (guilt-free January remember) - started Mirabila's waithing for ships
7) organise birth sampler for Monty and possibly start that too (see note above). - started this yesterday
I also completed my lace project, and started an ornie

As I said above, Las Vegas is a bit of a problem. 18 months ago my friend Jane got married in Vegas, and I said I'd do a wedding sampler for her. She wanted a picture of Vegas, and (not finding anything at all available commercially), I used a friend's XS software to create a chart from a photo. I decided to stitch it over 1 on black lugana, but I underestimated the scale of the project. Quite frankly, 8 pages of over 1 is a much bigger commitment than I'm really prepared to make. Plus it's all confetti stitching - not exactly fun (although I love the confetti on a TW - maybe it's just the piece?). I spent 2 weeks solid working on it this month, I've still not done 1/4 page, and it doesn't look that great anyway. So LV is being abandoned for somehting more practical. This is the first time I'll have not finished a project, so it's denting my pride. A LOT. But stitching is a hobby and should be fun - even when it's obligation stitching - by comparison I'm loving the birth sampler for Monty. I want Jane to get a gift from me that I enjoyed making to give her, not something that's driving me insane...

So, new Feb goals:
1) finish the centre panel on FT
2) finish birth band
3) finish ornie and start another small
4) work on Waiting for Ships
5) work on Peacock Firescreen
6) start new lace project
7) pick out a new wedding sampler for Jane

Nothing like optimism, is there?

Lace motif and a new start

Here is the photo I promised of the lace motif I've just completed:

It's my first ever attempt at Milanese lace, and too nearly a year, despite being exceedingly small... Oh well. This week I plan to start a larger piece of Milanese lace, from the same book (Read and Kincaid, Intro to Milanese Lace) - a lovely swirly sea monster. I've decided to work him in 2 shades of blue/green, which I bought from Pipers Silks at the Christmas Lace Makers fair.

Yesterday I started the birth sampler for Monty (he's about 15 months old now!!). Monty is the second son of my school friend Michaela - we'd not really been in touch much around the time Monty was born, which I guess is why I didn't start anyhting sooner. We met Monty for the first time at Christmas, which reminded me I needed to stitch somehting for one - I did a blackwork wedding sampler for Michaela and Stuart (stitched in dark red - coincidentally the colour of her wedding dress!!), and a birth sampler for Monty's older brother, Toby.

As Michaela and Stuart live in a lovely cottage I felt traditional styles were called for, so I picked out 'Birth Band' by the Drawn Thread for Monty. Here's what I've done so far:

Caroline told me this was a fairly quick project, and boy is it working up quickly - not bad progress for 1/2 a day!! At this rate I'll have it done in about 2 weeks, even alongside other projects! I'm really enjoying the finer count fabric (36 ct Edinburgh linen, antique white) and the silk threads, and as for the speciality stitches - wow!! I've done a few eyelets and smyrna crosses before, usually as called for in a TW, but no satin stitch since I was a little girl, and double back stitch was completely new to me too.. all great fun!

I'm off to London tonight for a couple of days - work related, but I'm staying with my sister, which will be fun - so probably lots of wine drinking and little stitching - but Birth Band will be back in my hands as soon as I return.

I've not thought about goals yet, I'll post some later today, or maybe when I get back.