Saturday, 27 November 2010

Re-living the 80s...

I first started to listen to music in the 80s. Now 6 was my first ever compilation album, and a year later I got Hunting High and Low for my birthday - the first real album by what is still a favourite band... I did actually keep buying a-ha albums longer than many, the last one I bought was Memorial Beach (although it seems to have been discarded at some point since I left Uni). My tape of Hunting High and Low has always remained a favourite... The writing wore off the cassette years ago, and I lost the case while at Durham Uni as an undergraduate, I think in my friend Phil's car, a fact he still denies... I never saw them live though, but would have killed to when I was in my early teens!!!

So when I realised (rather late on) that they were doing a farewell tour this winter, I HAD to go... a quick facebook call later, and Julia, Louise and I had tickets for the Manchester gig last weekend. We had great seats (especially given I bought the tickets 8 months after they went on sale) - a long way back and high up, but with a really clear view of the stage. A-ha were great, but the atmosphere wasn't amazing - I think the venue was too large for a band that isn't currently at the top of the charts (plus I've always preferred smaller venues anyway). The fact it was all seating didn't help - I felt a little odd when I was dancing... but having said all that I really enjoyed the gig...

The Sun Always Shines on TV

Living Daylights

Take on Me

Take on Me

Afterwards I bought a mug (felt a bit too old for a t-shirt with a photo of a young-looking a-ha on)... and had a giggle using it for a drink of coke on the train home!!

Me and Louise (and my new mug)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Making Lace in Sheffield

Well this weekend was really busy for me - What with Sheffield Lace Makers on Saturday, the a-ha concert in Manchester Saturday night and then a trip to York on Sunday I certainly kept myself busy... too busy as by the time I got home on Sunday I totally zonked out. I thought I was just shattered but Monday morning I woke up with what I would usually describe as a 'flu-like cold - but without the cold. Between Sunday night and Monday afternoon I slept for about 18 hours, with short breaks for food - and phoning work to say I was sick!! So apologies for not posting over the weekend... (I'm on the mend now, if still a little tired and achy).

Anyway, Sonia came round Saturday morning to head off to Sheffield. If you recall, this working day was planned to be an open day, with displays of lace and other crafts by the different 'groups'. As I've been on the Sheffield Lace Makers committee in the past, and Sonia is now on the committee, they suggested the pair of us should contribute a display. Initially this was very daunting - the other groups are much larger, and many have been making lace for years... what on earth could we do???? It soon became apparent that for us, variety is the spice of life... what with my lace, cross stitch, blackwork, tapestry, quilting and knitting, and Sonia's lace, embroidery, cushions, beading, spinning, weaving and bobbin turning, we had quite enough for a display... we were also aware that the other groups might have had a PLAN for their display, we just turned up with a box or two of things we thought might be useful - and as a very late (yet inspired idea), some fairy lights. Plus photos on my laptops of the many projects we have given away over the years. We were both REALLY pleased with our end result (and I took the opportunity to shamelessly promote this blog!!):

Jo and Sonia's Corner - you might recognise a few pieces ;)

I found all of the other displays really inspiring - lets just say that Sheffield Lace Makers are a really talented group of ladies!!!

Rockingham Lace Makers

Nene Lacemakers

Norton Interest Group

Rotherham Lacemakers

Phyllis' Tuesday night Group aka 'Tuesday's Child is full of grace'

After having a really good look at everyone else's displays, and the lace they were currently working on, I did get down to make a little lace, and completed 2 of the 5 petals on the flower I am doing, including my first (and second) ever raised leaves. Sadly there are so many pins on the piece I can't get anything like a reasonable photo of it just yet, so that will have to wait.

At about 3pm we had to pack up to leave - to make sure I got home in time for the gig.... more on that later!!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Peaceful stitching

I have to admit that I really am a stitching addict. A day isn't complete if I've not had some time to stitch!! I find it very relaxing and peaceful (even when frogs come to visit - but not quite as relaxing!). This week I stitched 'Peace' by Blackbird Designs, from the 2009 JCS ornament issue... the name really reflected my mood while working on it!

Peace, (c) Blackbird Designs
Stitched on Sparklies 'parchment' using the recommended threads.

Tomorrow I'm off to Sheffield, for a Sheffield Lace Makers working day. Each group will put on a display of things they have made - not just our lace. Our 'group' - me and Sonia - are hoping to wow with the wide range of crafts we do. I'm also hoping that my recently completed Fantasy Triptych will help with the wow factor!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Lots of scarves...

Remember those scarves we were knitting for RAW - who have been trying to get enough scarves to wrap them around the walls of York?? Well our little stitch and b**** group knitted about 12 (I think) - 10 are pictured here:

Julia's husband Ian dropped them off in York - they've had loads of scarves (over 3000 now) and therefore have enough to completely encircle the walls. I really hope we can get to York on Sunday and see this (and get lots of photos).

This week it's been all change at weight watchers - I'm loving the new pro points system (especially free fruit), and lost a whopping 3.5 lbs at the scales. Only 2 more lbs to hit the 4 stone lost mark. Woo hoo!!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Fairy fun

At the weekend I said I fancied a change... so I looked at my WIPs and decided to pull out Wild Thyme Fairy again. I've made great progress, finishing her leg and getting going with the thyme and grasses to the right of the fairy. The last progess photo I posted (back in March) shows what she looked like when I picked her up this weekend. Is it really 8 months since I last worked on her???

I've done almost all of the stitches in the bottom left corner, and am making good progress with the bottom right. The top half is less intensively stitched, so once the thyme and grass is done it should come along quickly. Well it would do if I'd not decided to stitch the areas of skin over 1...

I've finished the stitching on the second ornament for the TWCOE. I just need to get them both finished ready for posting by the middle of next week.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Saturday stitching

Today I finished stitching the TW ornament for the TWCOE. I need to get both of the ornaments I have stitched finished by next weekend for posting. I think I'll have to stick to a simple finishing style!! Sadly I can't share a photo of either just yet, but I can give a quick update photo of Peacock Firescreen:

Sorry, it's dark again (why do I never think of taking photos in the daytime??).

Had quite a lazy day today - went over to Hebden Bridge to pick up a wall light we ordered (just need to organise an electrician now, and my new lighting scheme for the living room will be sorted - have I ever ranted about the dreadful lighting in here? Who puts halogen lights in a living room??? I understand halogen lights as a spotlight, and in kitchens, but not as a central light in the lounge...). Anyway, we had a lovely lunch in a little cafe, mooched around a couple of shops and came back so Eddy could watch the rugby. I mostly stitched :)

Now I need to decide what to stitch on tonight. I fancy a change from the peacock, not sure what I'll pull out. Probably ought to work on a WIP though, I'd like to get another one finished by the end of the year.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tulips (but not from Amsterdam)

I have literally just finished the tulip scissor keep by Sue Hawkins!! I took it to my parents' house as planned, finished the main stitching areas on Friday night, made the cord, tassel and started stitching it together on Saturday then... not a lot!! I'll explain why shortly!

I had a lovely weekend. Friday night we ate at home, and chatted in front of the TV. Saturday mum and I left the men in front of the rugby and headed in to Lincoln for a spot of shopping. I needed some tops and jeans another size smaller (yes, I've now got to the point in my weight loss journey where I've run out of smaller sizes in my wardrobe - this is going to get expensive!!). I work out my current size in Monsoon, my favourite shop. I started out struggling to fit into a size 22 top (US size 18), and a comfortable size 22 bottom (always needed a larger top, shall we just say I'm quite well endowed?). Anyway, I tried on (and fitted in) size 16 bottoms (US size 12) and size 18 tops!! I even found a size 16 tunic that looks great - I suspect a size smaller fits because it's baggy though. I should stress this is Monsoon sizes, I'm a size 20 top elsewhere still. BUT I've not bought ANY clothes in a size 16 in maybe a decade. I dutifully put the £45 jeans that looked fabulous back on the rail, and bought a pair for a tenner in New Look :)

That evening we went out for pizza to celebrate my Dad's birthday. Pizza Express in Newark doesn't really live up to their usual high standards, and the upstairs section has dreadful acoustics - you can hear the conversation on the table opposite perfectly, but not the person next to you... Made for an interesting evening, especially when my Dad and Eddy started to talk about the table opposite to see if they could hear us!! Nutters.

Saturday Eddy and I went into Nottingham and did a little more shopping, did a few errands, including a brief visit to Eddy's flat and his work before heading back to Leeds. Thankfully with Eddy in tow - when we got back we discovered the back door had expanded badly in the damp and it took 45 mins to chisel and pull bits of wood off the bottom so we could shut it. So Monday morning we had to order a new door before heading off to work (it's very rotten). Last night I did a few stitches in a second ornament for the TWCOE. So I didn't finish the tulip scissor keep until tonight. And here is it in all its glory:

I really enjoyed stitching this piece, and might have to buy another Sue Hawkins piece next time I see her at a needlework show (Harrogate perhaps?).

Thanks for popping by my blog - I've been looking at the stats recently, and am amazed how many people seem to pop by my little corner of the internet!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Happy Bonfire Night!!

To my UK readers - have a happy and safe bonfire night. To everyone else, have a great night also, and ponder why us Brits feel the need to celebrate the date someone tried to blow up the houses of parliament!!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend - I'm off to see my folks (leaving as soon as I've posted this). It was my Dad's birthday 2 weeks ago, so we are going out for dinner tomorrow night. And yes, I have parcels for him in the car. I'm looking forward to driving down tonight - if the A1 is dark I should see lots of lovely fireworks, which will break up the monotony of the drive.

I packed Pooh and Eeyore and the Sue Hawkins pieces which I hope to finish this month, just in case I get the chance to stitch!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Peacock progress

I've made quite a bit of progress with Peacock Firescreen this week - I've done almost all of the top right corner, apart from the extra side panel. Given there's a lot more stitching in the top half of this piece I'm probably at least 1/4 done(well, apart from the BS). It's odd, I've really hated this piece when I've been stitching it before, but at the moment I am loving it. I hope that feeling sticks around a bit, as I'd like to get quite a lot done before the end of the year!

Sorry, the photo is very dark - it's quite late and very dark!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Christmas is coming...

I hate to say it, but Christmas is really beginning to loom. What has made me acutely aware of its loomingness? The fact it's time for the TW Christmas Ornament Exchange again. I've taken part for the last 3 years, and have really enjoyed both sending and receiving the ornaments.

Last night I stitched a non TW ornament for the exchange (which means no photos for this post). I also want to stitch a TW one, which I'll start tomorrow. By TW standards my choice is quite simple (but very beautiful), so it should be a quick stitch. I'm really happy \i signed up again this year!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Scarf finish

Although I finished this at the weekend, I've only just sewn in the loose ends and taken a photograph tonight:

The scarves out stitch and b**** group have knitted will be heading off to York next week, ready for the wrapping of the York walls on the 21st.

This month is NatBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) - although I suspect national to the US or Canada, rather than the UK... Anyway, I know I won't manage to blog everyday, but I'm going to see how often I can manage it!!

Monday, 1 November 2010

November goals

It's time to recap those goals and set some more. So how did I do in November?

1) Finish FT YES
2) Finish my scarf YES
3) Knit 2 chunky scraves for a charity event YES
4) Stitch an ornie YES - Snowdon by Jemini Designs
5) Work on another WIP - YES - Peacock Firescreen
6) Buy my 3 stone lost stitching treat - YES - not what I'd intended (A BBD Loose Feathers chart, fabbie and threads), but some lovely speciality threads for Christmas ornament stitching!!

I also made the lovely quilted mat at the weekend.

I don't think I've ever met all of my goals before :)

So, what do I want to achieve in November???

1) Make good progress on Peacock Firescreen
2) Finish Pooh and Eeyore
3) Finish Tulip scissor fob by Sue Hawkins
4) Stitch two ornaments
5) Work on my lace project
6) Work on another WIP.

Should be a busy month!!!