Thursday, 30 April 2009

At last - some stitching!

I have a stitchy photo to share:

As you can see, I'm not going to get the border finsihed this month, but at least it's moving in the right direction. I've also done about 1/3 of my TOP SECRET PROJECT.

On Tuesday night I hosted a Stitch and B**** evening. Chrisse was teaching Emma and Jo how to crochet:

Everytime she told Jo something I got really distracted - on some occasions I even jumped. Both Emma and Jo did a great job with the crochet, I'm sure they'll be creating all kinds of exciting projects soon!

Sonia was busy working on the waistcoat she's been making Terry for years - the end is definitely in sight:

This weekend Sonia and I are off to Stratford. I'm doing a Bedfordshire lace course with Christine Springett, and Sonia is learning to turn lace bobbins with Stuart Johnson. Tonight I need to wind another 50 pairs of bobbons and pack my things - we'll leave immediately after work tomorrow! So soon!!!

Monday, 27 April 2009

A bit of fun...

I found this while wandering through a random selection of blogs and thought it would be fun!

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Go on, have a go and see which Austen heroine you are most like. I have to say I'm very pleased with the outcome - Marianne is one of my favourite characters - especially as played by Kate Winslet! I LOVE that movie!

Yesterday I started my top secret project, and did about half of it - mostly done in front of our new flatscreen TV. Nothing too flash by modern standards, but it's a big difference from our old square analogue TV! I'm planning on stitching on FT tonight - want to get more border done. I just need to pick the TV to go with the stitching!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

It's those little froggies again...

I'd nearly done the bottom half of the border on FT when I realised the area I was wroking on (tracery wood on the knight panel) was darker than the other 2 panels. I'd stitched everything one shade darker than I was supposed to. Teaches me that, however much I think I know what the symbols are, I really must double check, even if I can't reach the key. This is someone's way of telling me to not be lazy and get off my bum to find things.....

Monday, 20 April 2009

Elliot and Buttons - half way!!

Finally I have a stitching photo to share - I have finished all the xs on Elliot and Buttons Wedding Day.

As this is one of those very sketchy looking Anchor kits I'm expecting the bs to take just as long as the xs! I plan on picking up FT tonight (it being TW Monday!) and sticking with that for a while. I think I'll leave the bs on this until May, and have comnpetion of the wedding sampler in May as a goal - I need a break from it!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Gardening extravaganza!!

Well this Easter break has been pretty busy! Many UK Universities give us extra holidays (Good Friday, Easter Monday AND Tuesday), so Eddy and I decided to take the rest of this week off. We thought if the weather held we'd be able to do some gardening, our main aim was to sort our veggie patch. Of course being us, we decided on an elaborate plan which took much longer than we thought, all week basically!

Friday started with clearing the area we wanted to work in, mostly weeding, but also potting on some strawberry suckers which spread from last years strawberries (we had 9 plants... which produced over 100 baby plants between them. We chuched the small ones, potted on 90 plants, and worryingly we haven't tackled those that have set themselves in the original bed!

We then set about de-turfing some lawn to make more room. Of course we didn't want to throw the turfs away, but are using them as the base for another raised bed - so we dug a trench to save some topsoil, which we'll use to bury the turfs. Then Eddy de-turfed while I moved the turfs away. Then we dug the entire area over to one spade's depth. Not easy on clay... Then we had to break up the clods of earth more. Then build the raised bed frames and put them in place, fill the 5 beds (we bought lots of bags of topsoil - as we don't have a wheelbarrow it was much easier than getting a ton or so delivered to our drive - we could just carry the bags to the right place and open them out. Then we covered the paths with a thick mulch od bark chippings, planted Eddy's apple tree (my birthday present to him 15 months ago, but only bought yesterday - my tree will arrive later on this year.. after more major gardening). We also planted a few part-grown veggies as we haven't started many seeds yet... Overall we spent 7 days and a ton of money (mostly birthday and Christmas presents in the form of cash and garden vouchers), and we did 8 trips to garden centres/DIY places to get materials and have a good look around... I'm shattered, looking forward to work on Monday for a rest, but boy, what an achievement!

Area as it was early last summer

Dug over...

Bed frames in place and filled with soil

planted up!!

Our herb garden which we built last year is doing well, we just bought some more herbs to plant in it...

I've been doing a little stitching on Elliot and Buttons in the evenings, but less stitching than I planned to do this week! I'd share a photo but the camera battery is charging.

We are off to see family this weekend, hopefully I'll share photos early next week. My mum just rung to say I've been sent a voucher for 25% of framing at my favourite framers in April, so we'll go tomorrow, I've pulled out a pile of backlog framing that needs doing - may as well take advantage!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Chicago part 2!

One of my favourite parts of Chicago was all the skyscrapers. I have hundreds of photos of them! We thought about going up the Sears tower, but $12 for a ride in a lift seemed a bit steep... Then my friends George and Svenja told me about the John Hancock Tower. Almost as tall as Sears tower, with a bar on the 96th floor... well it just had to be done, didn't it? I thought a free lift ride and cocktails for $13 was a much better deal. We headed off early on Friday evening, keen to get a seat by a window - we'd heard this was THE place to see the sun set over Chicago, and it was spectacular!! Of course one Margarita turned into two, and we ate dinner very late that night, but I think it was my favourite part of the whole trip (much better than conference papers at any rate!!!)

So these photos show the views as the sun slowly set and the lights came on

Angela, Jelena and Sarah ehjoying their cocktails


Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Wow, this Easter break is very busy... we have an enormous project in progress, which I'll share in a few days (we both took the rest of the week off) - I'll just say it's been hard work, it's not finished and it's left me so tired I've hardly stitched all week.

So instead I'll share a few photos of my trip to Chicago:

View from our bedroom window

Jelena on Navy Pier

Me and Sarah at Navy Pier

Jelena and Sarah downtown

Me and Sue the T-Rex at the field museum

The El (elevated railway)... we went on a ride on it, just for fun

I have lots more photos to share - of cocktails on the 96th floor of the Hancock Tower at sunset..., the stained glass museum (lots of pretty windows), of the architectural tour of Chicago (lots of skyscrapers) and the Tartan festival in St Charles...

Right, back to the BIG project...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

I'm Back!!!

Well I had a fabulous week in Chicago and weekend in St Louis. I have lots of photos to share, but am very jet lagged (really want my bed right now... I need to stay awake for another 4 hours minimum though), so this will be a short post!

As the beginning of April came and went while I was away I missed setting my goals for the month, so here we go:

March goals (recap):
1) bs centre panel and do xs of border on FT I did the bs and some of the border
2) continue with my lace yes, not as often as I'd have liked, but I'm very happy with the progress
3) start Elliot and Buttons Wedding Day, and make good progress started just before I left and I took this to the States with me
4) sort out chart for birth sampler for Jamie's son, possibly kit up nope!
5) stitch a little of waiting for ships I stitched on the A LOT!!
6) stitch a little of Peacock firescreen didn't touch it
7) stitch a little of Eeyore's problem or this...

So, what to do in April???

1) complete xs on Elliot and Buttons
2) finish FT border (but not bs)
3) work on Waiting for ships
4) stitch a small (top secret) gift
5) anything else I feel like

I won't say anything much about my trip, but I do have a short stash report.

We were disappointed by City Stitches in Chicago - mostly needlepoint, much less xs than their website made me believe, but I picked up 1 spool of the Kreinik I needed for WfS, and an old copy of Stitcher's World (Nov 2004) - which has some nice Christmassy stuff in
Stitches etc in St Charles was MUCH better!! I LOVE that shop. I came away with 4 charts:

Woolen sheep (The cricket collection)
Heartstruck friends (Midnight stitching)
Heartstruck Quakers (Midnight stitching)
Quaker Pin Cushions (Milady's needle)

I would have spent longer in the shop and way more money if I wasn't in the middle of my little patch of bad luck... While in Chicago I realised my visa card was being used fraudulently. Luckily only £150 had gone through before I noticed, and it looks like I'll get that back, but cancelling your visa just before paying a hotel bill of $500 is pretty scary stuff... Then my flight home yesterdays was cancelled. All of the alternatives were full, then I remembered Delta fly to Manchester from Atlanta - and luckily there were seats left (very comfy ones at that), so I got home on time to meet the boiler guy who was supposed to fix my boiler. Except he cancelled today, the spare part will be another 1-2 weeks. So we still don't have heating or hot water. Boy am I pleased I joined that gym... just around the corner from home too!! Oh yes, and the freezer decided to defrost itself (it did need defrosting, but preferably without all of the food in it). This is going to be an expensive month...

But on the plus side I snapped this lovely rainbow out of my frotn door this afternoon!