Sunday, 31 January 2010

Still here!!!

I am still here, just rushed off my feet! I've been meaning to post for over a week, and even took photos ready to share, but just didn't find the time. Work has been busy (it always is!), but this semester I'm also busy advising an archaeological excavation - which means a long day once a week driving to site (2.5-3 hours), advising, excavating (if I get chance) and having meetings before driving home - 13-15 hour days, which do leave me a little tired for a few days afterwards. Not that I'm complaining - it's years since I've worked on an excavation, and I am loving it!!

The other thing that's kept me busy is planning our trip to the US in April. Yesterday I finally got our flights booked (and from our local airport at a not too bad price, which is unusual - usually I have to drive to Manchester). The bad news is a 6am departure, which means we should be at the airport by about 3am... thank goodness it's only 15 mins away! My conference is in Albuquerque, and this seemed a good opportunity for a road trip to see some of the SW. So we are flying to Vegas, visiting the Grand Canyon, Mountain Valley and the Mesa Verde, then Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Ed's coming along for a 2 1/5 week holiday... hopefully he'll find things to do in Albuquerque while I'm working. Any tips on places to visit (and needlework shops especially) gratefully received!!!

I also joined weight watchers. 2 weeks in (I weigh in on Mondays). I lost 3.5 lbs last week, and now my (admittedly always baggy jeans) are so loose I can take them off without undoing them. I don't think they are decent enough for anywhere other than in the house now!! Hopefully my smaller jeans will start to fit soon - most now do up, but are a little snug!

Anyway, with all that going on I've not done a huge amount of stitching, but I have done more than these photos, which I think I took last Saturday:

Fantasy Triptych - I've been working on the background today, and will go back to it as soon as I have posted this

Postman Pat - worked on this during the week (a little) - he has a face now!

In my last post I said I'd share my latest 2 framed projects:

Elliot and Buttons Wedding Day - for Jane and Keith. I really love the way the 'aged' silver frame sets this off

You were hatched birth sampler for Jamie and Matt - again I'm delighted with the framing job

I'll take new photos of FT and PP when it's light - I forgot today. But they are coming along brilliantly. Neither will be as far along as I hoped at the end of the month (ie bedtime!), but both are much further along than at the start.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Pat Progress

This weekend we made a flying visit to my parent's, via the framing shop in Lincoln, where I picked up a few things - which I'd left to be framed back in October... luckily they know me in Speed Frame (I've been using them for nearly 20 years I guess), and they know we travel there from Leeds, so there was no problem. I've not had time to take pics yet though.

I took Postman Pat with me - I've been working on this since Friday (before pic here), and have made some good progress:

I'm not a fan of stitching blocky areas on aida, so he's getting a little tiresome, but I am determined to finish him this month... Hopefully this week I'll finish his feet, his other hand, and mnake progress with his neck/face. I still need to chart the personalisation, but that won't take too long.

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and comments on the last post. I think it would have been much scarier had Eddy been back in Nottingham as he should have been - thankfully for me he was also off sick (tonsilitis), so I wasn't on my own... now that WOULD have been scary! All better now :)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

January Happy Dances

I've not been blogging much recently - last Monday night I had an allergic reaction to something, not sure what, and had hives across my entire body for a week. Not a pretty sight! The highlight came late on Wednesday when my face started to swell up... not sure if this was the hives or a reaction to one of the many drugs I'd been prescribed, we had to trawl across Leeds (by taxi - I was in no fit state to drive) to the out of hours doctors, with strict instructions to call for an ambulance if I started to have breathing difficulties ... £30 in taxi fares later I had yet more meds and a diagnosis of 'probably the hives, perhaps you have had an allergic reaction to a cold virus'... I can safely say the trout pout is not a good look for me!

Anyway, Thursday the hives were getting worse (cue more meds...) and worse of all I don't know what to avoid to stop it happening again. I've been told I probably never will but the 'best guess' is a virus... how do I avoid viruses??? Anyway, all in all a terrible week (I was too itchy to stitch... now THAT'S a bad sign), but I am totally fine now...

As I started to recover on Friday night I decided to start an ornament - something little and not too taxing, and on Saturday I finished this little stocking by Blackbird Designs (from the 2008 JCS ornie issue):

(c) Blackbird Designs, stitched on bone Jobelan from my stash in the required speciality threads.

The I picked up Pomegranates and Pears again... I had a short break while waiting for beads to arrive from Sew and So, no doubt held up slightly by the snow, but I finished it last night:

Pomegranate and Pear Stitches (c) Jeannette Douglas. Stitched on Sparklies Parchment in the required speciality threads.

I even put a few lengths in to Fantasy Triptych, but not enough to photograph...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Even compost bins look good in the snow...

Having a snow day today... I took this about 1/2 hour ago. The snow is deeper now. Hmmm, my meeting in Birmigham tomorrow is not looking cracking...

Monday, 4 January 2010

January goals

Hmmm, I didn't have time to set any goals at the beginning of the month - too busy recapping the last year! I also didn't set any in December, so I'll take my November goals as November/December goals:

1) Finish waiting for ships yes
2) stitch an ornie yes, two for the TWCOE
3) work on Fantasy tripych yes, finished the knight, apart from his face
4) work on Gaelic banner yes
5) a new start, yet to be determined! yes, two - Postman Pat and Wild Thyme Fairy

January goals:
1) start new project on Jan 1st yes, Pomegranate and Pears Stitches :)
2) get 1/2 of Pomegranate and Pears done almost there already...
3) Pick up SOMETHING other than P&P for stitching this week...
I'd also like to
4) finish the knight panel on FT
5) stitch an ornie
6) make significant progress on Postman Pat
7) stitch on another WIP, if I find the time

So, guess what I was unable to put down yesterday:

I had a long first day back at work today, but after I've posted I'll pick up some stitching. It's Monday so it should be FT, but I suspect it will be P&P...

While most of my WIPs haven't changed since I last photographed them, I did make some progress with Wild Thyme Fairy over Christmas, mostly with the left foreground...

Thanks for popping by :)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Jan 1st start...

On Jan 1st I wasn't sure what I wanted to start, so did a little stash diving.I took the opportunity to update my online stash list (which I started last year), with the aim of keeping track of what stash I have.... I also added a wishlist (which was my intention last year). The TW section is lengthy, but this is so when Ed buys me something as a surprise off Ebay (I think Teresa Wentzler is one of his favourite searches...) it isn't something I've already got... I have 3 versions of somethings...

Anyway, the project that jumped out at me was Jeanette Douglas' Pomegranate and Pear Stitches. I first saw this on Dani's blog, and LOVED it. Last Christmas (2008) my sister got me the chart and thread pack (and was alarmed at how much the small amount of thread costs. I assured her she hadn't been ripped off...). I got a lovely fabric called Parchment from Kate at Sparklies when I was at Harrogate, as a Christmas present from Margaret, and a quick floss toss showed it was perfect.

I have to say I'm loving this piece. The perle thread used for the border was a PITA as the end kept unravelling, but other than that I've really enjoyed the speciality threads so far, and also the speciality stitches... so much so I've not been able to put it down. The over-one pears took a lot of time, but I love the way the turned out. I started it at 5pm, or thereabouts, on New Years Day, and spent most of yesterday with it. I have a stinking cold, so my afternoon will be spent with it on the sofa, hopefully in front of a good movie.... (although I'm enjoying this piece so much I don't care what's on TV, and was quite unaffected by Eddy's channel hopping last night).

I'm really pleased with my progress so far, and plan to stitch some of the pomegranates next....

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year!!

Over the last week we've been pretty busy, but having lots of fun - we had a quiet Christmas Day and Boxing day at home, then headed down to Newark to see my family - it was lovely to catch up with everyone - and had a lovely evening with my old school friends. We came home yesterday for a quiet new year. I've caught a bit of a cold, so we didn't quite make it until midnight!!

I got some lovely stash for Christmas - Willow Fairy (DMC Flower Faries) and the chart of Dracolair's Noon Basking from Eddy, and some DMC thread in my stocking from my mum.

Before Christmas I didn't have time to share the photos from the Teresa Wentzler Christmas Ornament here they are:

Byzantine Ornament 1 by Teresa Wentzler. Finished as a pinkeep (fabric in the background used for the back). I sent this to Paula for the TWCOE.

Norwegian Reindeer by Scandinavian Stitches, I made this into a double-sided ornament with Swedish Hearts:

I sent this to Terry for the TWCOE.

These are the lovely ornies I received:

TW's Father Christmas ornament, from Melissa.

Peace 2009 (Sue Hilis Designs) from Natalie.
Both ornaments are wonderful, thank you Melissa and Natalie!

I also sent a pinkeep to Phil and Amanda a bit before Christmas, but never had time to share the photos (I occasioanlly mentioned this last Spring/Summer as a 'top secret project' as Amanda reads this blog!):

Blossoms and Blackbirds by Little House Needleworks

Reverse side - the border from Blossoms and Blackbirds, with my initials and the date. This was my first ever pinkeep, and I was really pleased with the results.

Yearly recap
2009 was a busy year for me, but I achieved lots of finishes.

Medium-sized and larger cross stitch happy dances (9):
* Phoenix
* Sonata
* Birth Band (for Monty)
* Wedding Day
* You were hatched
* Coffin Buzz
* Birth Band (for Hugh)
* Blossoms and Blackbirds
* Waiting for Ships

Ornaments and other small cross stitch (6):
* Golden tree
* J' taime
* Mill Hill Snowflake
* Byzantine ornament 1
* Swedish Hearts
* Norwegian Reindeer

Lace finishes (2):
* Milanese motif
* Bedfordshire heart

That's not as much as last year when I completed 26 projects, 8 larger and 18 smalls/ornaments, but I did finish one more larger project.

At the start for 2009 I had the following WIPS:
* Eeyore's Problem - made some progress
* Fantasy Triptych - made lots of progress
* Las Vegas - abandonned, stitched Wedding Day instead
* Peacock Firescreen - made some progress
* Phoenix - COMPLETED

So most of those are still with me! My current WIPS are:
* Eeyore's problem
* Peacock firescreen
* Fantasy triptych
* Gaelic banner
* Wild Thyme fairy
* Postman Pat

I did achieve most of my goals, vague as they were:
1) Las Vegas (wedding sampler for Jane and Keith) Stitched them Wedding Day instead
2) Postman Pat (birth sampler for Riley - nephew of Leanne) - started
3) Birth sampler (possibly 'Birth Band' by the Drawn Thread) for Monty (Michaela and Stuart's son) - completed
4) Possibly birth samplers for other friends, but I must try and chose small, simple designs - stitched birth band again for Hugh, and you were hatched for Thomas

This year I'd like to:
1) finish Postman Pat
2) finish Fantasy Triptych
3) finish at least one more WIP and make good progress on all of the rest
4) start another large TW
5) stitch lots, on what I want, and enjoy it!!

I've not picked a new start for 2010 yet... it's 4pm so I'd better get cracking...