Sunday, 25 July 2010

On the road again...

No not me, but the lady in Fantasy Triptych!! Last week I celebrated hitting the 20 inches mark with the lace garter with a couple of evenings of TW heaven - and have now completed the road in the maiden panel:

Sorry, it's not the best photo. I'm leaving the unicorn and maiden til last, as I just love the colours and would rather finish on a high than with lots more green :)

This weekend has been busy - I was working all day Saturday, manning a stall at the Pontefract Medieval fair - in a lovely fetching yellow t-shirt. We were discussing medieval food and had a re-enacter recreating medieval dishes which people could try out. My favourite was Black Poray - basically cook cabbage or kale in a little salted water (so it's mostly steaming). Fry some bacon pieces. Once both are cooked combine with each other. Season to taste. This dish comes from the Forme of Cury - the oldest cookery book written in English, written by Richard II's cooks in the 1390s. And it's really tasty!!!

Today I did the grocery shopping (was too tired on the way home last night), Eddy cooked a fabulous veggie lasagne, we watched the Grand Prix (naughty Ferrari at it again...), tidied the house a bit and made some lace...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Happy Christmas Jo!!

When we moved into our house (the move from rental land to mortgage joy), we had quite a blank canvas as a garden. It was lacking in plants, and really lacking in height, just one laburnum in the back left corner, and an elder in the back corner of our neighbours garden:

Summer 2008, we'd not done much to the back garden at this point

So we decided for our first Christmas in the house, we'd buy each other a tree... that was nearly 3 years ago (we moved in September 2007). Last summer I bought Eddy an apple tree, but we'd still not worked out exactly what tree I wanted, and more importantly where we'd put it. When our neighbours cut down the elder we realised we desparately needed some height... so we started to look at trees. I fancied something native, a silver birch or a rowan perhaps. Two weeks ago we were at our local nursery, which specialises in trees - and bought one of each!

Rowan tree
We planted the taller Rowan in the middle - and then replanted some montbretia around it - it really doesn't look like it was planted on Saturday!

Silver birch
The silver birch we bought was a much younger tree, so we planted it in the back corner, in a raised bed we are busy building. It's tucked in behind our raspberry canes (which are doing brilliantly this year), and will grow into the space well, we think.

We do spend a lot of our time (and money!!) in the garden - this year we have been busy cutting down the ivy growing in the laburnum tree (it now sways in the wind - compare it with the congested mass in the top photo!!), have dug and extra bed into the lawn and planted it up, started to de-turf on the other side - we are adding an archway half way up the lawn to divide the garden a bit. Oh, and our veggie patch (created last Easter) is doing great things this year!!

And that is why I never get as much stitching done as I'd hope at the weekend. But best of all, although Eddy does pretty much all of the hard work (de-turfing, heavy digging, construction etc), it's all activity points for me with weight watchers, which has really helped with my weight loss!

We've not really decided if the rowan or the birch is my tree - but they are both in our garden, so that doesn't really matter!!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Not quite 20 inches!!

If you've read my last post you'll know I'm determined to make great progress on the lace garter I'm making Krista - so much so that I've vowed not to pick up Fantasy Triptych until I've got 20 inches of lace made...

It's quite tricky to measure lace in progress, as you work on a diagonal, but I think I've got 19 inches done. The lace is living on my lace table, I put a tea towel over it when I'm not working on it. Here's a pic of how the whole pillow looks:

I use large safety pins through the spangles to keep the bobbins in order in the areas I'm not working on currently.

This is a close up of the actual pattern - much better now it's long enough to photograph on the blue cloth of my lace pillow, rather than on top of the pattern!!

We're about to watch a movie (Revolutionary Road - our latest rental from Lovefilm), if I really work well tonight I might hit the 20 inches mark... just another 8-10 inches to go!!!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Weekend fun and weekend stitching

Last week I took 3 days off work, and ended up being about as busy as I would have been if I'd been to work - but busy doing fun things!!!

On Wednesday I pottered around the house, did some stitching and lace making, and cooked a lovely asparagus tart for tea (Louise came over to make lace). Thursday Eddy was also off, and we spent much of the morning in the garden and at garden centres - I bought (and planted) 3 parsley plants, a potentilla, an achillia and a lovely new rose (Lichfield Angel - a lovely creamy colour). Eddy bought us 2 (small) trees - a rowan and a silver birch - which are being delivered on Thursday (another job for the weekend). That afternoon I went to Leeds for a much-needed shopping trip. On Friday morning, not being able to keep up with our raspberry canes, we made a moderately small batch of raspberry jam (yum). We then headed off to Hardwick Hall, near Chesterfield, and looked around both the old and new halls - something we've been meaning to do for years - the tapestries and embroideries in the new hall were simply STUNNING.

We continued down the motorway to Birmingham to stay with Eddy's parents. Regular readers of my blog will know that Paul has dementia, and Margaret is very busy caring for both him and her father, who is blind. Saturday was Margaret's birthday, and we wanted to make sure she had some fun, so we went out for lunch in Aston Cantlow (where we did the lace making and bobbin turning course back in May) then spent the afternoon at Mary Arden's Farm - the home of Shakespeare's mother on the outskirts of Stratford. That evening it was Eddy's cousin's 30th birthday party, and I drove to make sure Margaret was able to have a drink - this having the added bonus that I could slightly keep my weight watchers points in check!!! We had a nice evening, but dealing with Paul at a party with lots of strangers was a little tricky, even as a team effort. Some of the people he went and talked to certainly looked very bemused!! On Sunday we went to see Eddy's Grandad, had lunch, watched the Grand Prix then headed home.

Although we were pretty busy, we did spend quite a bit of time sitting chatting - so I made great progress on Sunflower Charms:

Sorry, the photo is a little dark, and the lovely yellow colours are a bit washed out.

This week I'm attending a conference in Leeds (and working from home when the conference is dull)... and in the evenings I'm doing my best to progress Krista's wedding garter - I really need to get a wiggle on. So sadly my TW is being neglected, even though it's shouting to me... it's too big for a travel piece and when I'm at home I need to focus on the lace... Hmm, I'll treat myself to some TW as soon as I hit the 20 inches point!!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Flying post

I've had a busy few days, and for once it wasn't work!!! I took 3 days leave last week to just potter about - which turned out to be quite a busy 3 days, but with a good amount of stitching - which included finishing Santa's Buddies by Angel Stitchin:

I only bought one pack of snowflake charms - didn't realise the pack only had 4 in when the design required 5... so I just missed out the snowflake on the left of the tree. I also just realised the charms are wonky in the photo - oh well...

This weekend we went to stay with Eddy's parents, and I took along Sunflower Charms, but I'll post about that some other time - it's late now and I'm ready for bed!!!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Summer Startitis

This summer I've been suffering from a serious bout of startitis... Essentially, nothing in my WIP pile is really grabbing me, so I'm pulling out other things. Thankfully I've managed to limit myself (mostly) to small items.

In June I started A New Beginning.

I also pulled out a small tapestry I'd bought at a lace fair - Tulip Scissor Keeper bu Sue Hawkins. I've actually completed one side now - so half way (less the edging of the complete piece to make it up):

One of my goals for June was to start a Blackbird Designs piece, from the selection I bought on holiday. I chose Sunflower Charms (Loose feathers #15):

I've only put in a few lengths of thread so far, but I'm enjoying the wonderfully summery colours - just perfect for the current weather!

Last night I wanted another change of scenery, and decided to start an ornament (given I failed to stitch one in June). I picked out Santa's Buddies by Angel Stitchin from the 2009 JCS ornament issue:

I'm stitching it on 32 count linen, so decided a single strand of Gentle Arts Wool was enough - I'm really enjoying using the wool. This is a really cute and fun stitch - I hope to finish him this week!

With 2 new lace making starts since May (Bedfordshire flower and the garter for Krista), I've got quite a few things on the go. Not sure that won't stop my itchy fingers from wanting to start something else though!!!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

July goals

I've had a busy week at work, and I've been so tired it's really affected my stitching mojo - not good when you have a deadline to meet...

So how did I do with my goals? In June I wanted to:

1) Start A New Beginning (Abbey Lane Designs) - yes
2) Complete 15 inches of lace (I have a deadline after all) - done about 12 inches, so not bad
3) Stitch an ornament - no
4) Work on a WIP - yes picked up Fantasy Triptych again
5) Start one of the Blackbird Design that I bought on holiday - yes, I've started one - will share a photo tomorrow!

In July I'd like to:

1) work on at least 2 WIPS
2) complete 25 inches of lace
3) stitch an ornament

I'm keeping it simple as I really need to get Krista's garter done before her wedding!!!

Last weekend was Krista's hen weekend - and it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my school friends, Leanne, Julie, Anne, Michaela and Krista. On the Friday night Leanne, Julie, Michaela and I went to a barn dance in Anne's village, partly organised by her husband. The wine flowed and we were all really giggly all night - it was wonderful fun. The highlight was eating THE BEST LASAGNE we'd ever tasted (from the deli Anne works at) at about 1 in the morning in Anne's garden!! Julie, Leanne and I crashed at Michaela's, but didn't go to bed until the sun was beginning to creep over the horizon!!

The next day we'd organised a little surprise for Krista - she'd split her hen do into 2 halves - Julie and I had decided to join her for a spa day on the Sunday, the others were going to see a show at the local theatre. Krista's mum and sister organised surprise drinks for her before the show - the first time all 6 of us have got together since Anne's wedding 7 years ago!! Krista's mum managed to get her out of the house unawares we were waiting for her in the pub with balloons, presents and kir royale. It was a really fun evening:

Me, Michaela, Julie, Krista, Leanne, Anne

The next day at the spa was wonderful too. I had an amazing hot stones massage, then chilled out in the pool and hot tub til lunchtime - a wonderful 3 course extravaganza - in the afternoon we sat in the sun with a cuppa, enjoyed the saunas and steam rooms, swam again and sunbathed. Bliss!!!