Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - December Full Moon

I'll begin by hoping that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa brought you all that your heart desired.  He kindly brought me a new printer as my old one had become defunct, a book that I really wanted and lots of pairs of cosy socks for my perennially cold feet.

This being the last WIPocalypse report for 2012, I have just updated my finishes page for the year - link here.  They were fairly few in number and on the whole not for me, but the recipients liked them very much, so I will count 2012 as a success.

Stitching this week has been more or less completely overtaken by the festivities.  I was away for two nights staying at my parents and I have also spent a fair amount of time looking after my nieces.  I do have a couple of update photos to show however, so here goes.

As this has been my travelling piece, the watering can bouquet is now finished, apart from the backstitch - it does not look too bad now that the flowers are done, and will hopefully look better when the backstitch is complete.  The next one is flowers in a wheelbarrow.

Carnation has suffered due to my visit to my parents.  I have only managed to complete two blocks this week, but am not too worried as I am still on target having done an extra block back in mid November.  

I have already signed up for the 2013 WIPocalypse, and currently my plans are as follows:

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - finish page 3 on or by 25 May 2013 (second anniversary)

Turkish Challenge - start and finish by Easter - 31 March 2013

5th birthday present - start, finish and have framed by 17 June 2013

Guardian Angels - finish by 18 November 2013

Bouquet pieces - work on throughout year

Train of Dreams - work on throughout year

I also intend to continue participating in the International Hermit and Stitching Weekends.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year and may 2013 bring you more joy than 2012.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post with a finish finish and some WIP updates.

 Snowman A and Elf H are now finish finished, courtesy of Mum, using the cream fabric with gold stars shown.  They are slightly padded with wadding.  They are also wrapped and waiting for their new owners.  

Significant progress on the watering can bouquet over one lunchtime and one long evening's babysitting.  I'm still not overly taken with the colours but hope that the backstitch will improve it.

Despite all the Christmas shenanigans the usual three blocks on Carnation were achieved, with some nice overlap to make things go quicker in the future.

Anyway all the presents are wrapped - bar one which hasn't arrived yet :-(  I just need to pack my bag for an overnight stay at my parents.  And most importantly wish you all a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones!  

I'll see you again for the final instalment of the 2012 WIPoclaypse.  May happiness be yours.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

IHSW - December 2012 Report

Hopefully Joysze will forgive me for joining up last minute.  The stitching has been somewhat last minute as well.  Two reasons for that - the first being Christmas - the time needed to do the shopping, the card writing, the parties and so on and so forth.

The second - well, this is not a good time of year for me.  Things start going downhill when the clocks go back and only start to pick up very slowly after the Winter Solstice.  So Christmas comes round when I am already scraping the bottom of the barrel - Christmas, with its expectations of festive cheer and goodwill to all.  I am not a Scrooge or a Bah Humbug - I love my family dearly and enjoy spending time with them.  It's just that life would sometimes be easier if I could hibernate until the sun comes back.

I have some progress to show on the watering can bouquet, which still looks nothing like a watering can.  I hope to be able to give it a handle and/or a spout this week - at the moment, it looks like some kind of strange jelly!

Here is Carnation with the usual three blocks of progress.  Next week will see me into row 5 of this page, so steady progress.

I have a full week of work this week, but this does include our floor's lunch-time fuddle (faith lunch) and possibly a team lunch (should be tomorrow but apparently postponed due to demands of work).  The powers that be have given us Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve off extra - the cynics amongst us reckon that it's cheaper to give us the time off than to open the office for one day.  So I finish on Friday, am back in work next Thursday for one day, and then off until the following Wednesday - two five day weekends with only one day in the office - I might even manage to get some stitching done :-)

So I will wish you all the best with your remaining preparations (if you are celebrating) and all the best anyway if you're not.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The perils of the Internet ...

Unfortunately there isn't a lot to show you this week in the way of stitching. This is for a number of reasons.  

Firstly, after I finished last week's post, I got sucked into the Internet and didn't manage to escape and turn the computer off until 5.15am on Monday morning.  This meant that I got no sleep, did no morning stitching, was too blurry eyed to stitch at lunchtime and proceeded to have an early night in order to lower my sleep deficit.  

I did get some stitching done through the week, but then on Friday I had a day off to go to Newark Antique Fair, so I was gone nearly all day and it was so bitterly cold that I developed a really sore throat which meant no stitching in the evening and very little sleep at night.

Then on Saturday it took a while to get going, followed by a somewhat futile trip into town to attempt some Christmas shopping so no stitching at all that day.

 I did get a little done on the watering can bouquet during the week.  The colours aren't coming up very well - the pinks are a lot more lurid than that.

I finally managed to get this week's block 3 on Carnation completed just before tea tonight, but there is some helpful overlap into the next block to give me a bit of a head start in the morning.

Neither Train of Dreams nor Serena were touched this week for the reasons given above.  Also I'm fairly sure that I have a touch of the winter blues - my daylight bulb is helping when I'm at home, but I get no natural daylight at work and find this time of year really quite hard to cope with.  On the bright side, Dad is still not smoking!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - November Full Moon

Apologies that this is a few days late but I would have had nothing to show you if I had posted on Wednesday.

However this is my new start.  It doesn't look like much now, but it will eventually be a bouquet of flowers poking out of a lurid pink watering can.  I am hoping that it will look more attractive once it is finished and made up into a card.  It is the first of six designs from a World of Cross Stitching magazine, which I am stitching for my Marie Curie group.

Moving on to Mum's angels, I have made some progress on Serena.  There is a column of plaited stitch in DMC 3743, which required a lot of concentration to work correctly.  There is also a column of normal cross stitch and some stitches at the bottom in 3042.  The stitches at the bottom mark are the bottom edge of Serena's dress.  I am not making the progress that I would like with this, mainly because I only work on it once the week's blocks on Carnation are done, but also because it is a bit scary with all the special stitches, the Kreinik threads and the beads, so I procrastinate about it.

Today saw another two blocks finished on Train of Dreams.  The blue bell in the top right hand corner is starting to come in quite clearly now.  This one is also a slow burn.  Considering that I started it in mid August and have only done 2000 plus stitches (mainly on Sunday mornings between loads of laundry), I'm not really doing very well.

And then there is Carnation - another three blocks done and into row 4.  This is the one that really matters to me - the one with a real deadline to hit - finishing page 3 by the second anniversary in May 2013.

And then there are all the other projects that I want to do - the Joan Elliott Renaissance ladies, Lesley Teare's recent bird series, my HAED purchases and so on and so forth.  Looking forward into 2013, I also have to bear in mind that I need to sort out my niece's 5th birthday present and my piece for the Turkish Challenge.  There just aren't enough hours in the day, especially when you work full-time.

Update - Dad is still not smoking and I'm so proud of him.  Mum overheard him telling my uncle on the phone that you just smoke the last one and then don't buy any more!  Love him to bits!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Christmas finish

Despite the somewhat nasty weather we have been experiencing this week, I have a finish to share with you.

 I'm pleased to be able to introduce you to Elf H, my Christmas 2012 ornament for my eldest niece.  I stitched most of him at the Patchwork Group's Sewing Day earlier this week.  The original motif to accompany the H was a robin, but I didn't like it so swapped in the Elf.  The intention is to finish finish him and Snowman A into hanging ornaments backed with a cream fabric with golden stars which I bought a couple of weeks ago.  Just how this is done will have to be discussed with Mum.  I'll show you a photo when they are done.

Next up is Serena, the Guardian Angel.  Work on this is progressing slowly due to the special stitches and the special threads.  This week I learned how to do Crossed Rice Stitch and used Kreinik thread for the first time.  The  colours are not photographing brilliantly, but I will keep trying.

Some nice progress on Train of Dreams this week.  I completed another two blocks and have started work on the blue bell in the top right hand corner.  I'm currently thinking that the best plan is to work down the right hand side until I catch up with the left hand side.  However things may change.

I got the usual three blocks done on Carnation, but they were finished earlier in the week than usual, thanks to having some time off work .  This next week will see me into row 4 ahead of schedule thanks to the extra block that I managed last week.

Good news to report on the family front - Dad has given up smoking again.  He had to see the doctor about his lung function test results because the nurse didn't understand them.  It turns out that his bronchial tubes are now permanently narrowed due to all the years that he has smoked.  Even using an inhaler only slightly improves his results.  So on the way out of the surgery, he told Mum that he had given up.  That was over a week ago and he has stuck to it.  I'm really proud of him and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he manages to carry on.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

IHSW - November 2012 Report

Well, I have quite a lot to report this time.  A finish, a finish finish and a new start.

"I'm Snowman A and I'm very pleased to meet you.  I hope that you will soon be meeting my good friend, Elf H."  So that is one 2012 Christmas ornament for my nieces off the blocks.  The plan is to start Elf H during my lunch break tomorrow and then take him to Sewing Day on Thursday.  The only change made to Snowman A is to backstitch the outline of the white areas to make him stand out better - he was designed to be stitched on pale blue aida rather than white.

The finish finish is Little Miss Gorgeous' Teddy stocking to go on her first Christmas tree.  I'll give him a press before I send him off, but I think that he has come out nicely.  Her parents love the Noah's Ark, so I think that they will appreciate this piece too.

This is not a good photo of my new start but as it is being stitched on 28 count white linen, I think that the fabric doesn't help with photos at this early stage.  This is Just Nan's Serena, being the first of four angels that I am planning to stitch on one piece of linen in response to a request from my Mum.  This is going to tick off a number of firsts for me - first piece on linen, first piece using special stitches, first piece using Kreinik threads - and second piece with beading.  I'm using a 30 inch frame with my Lowery floor stand, so another BAP to join Carnation and Train.

Another block completed on Train and some good overlap into the block below.  I lost the morning light again today due to having to make an early shopping trip to accommodate Mum's birthday tea, but still some progress made.  Despite the issues of using 25 count fabric, I do like the way this looks and how close it is to the original picture.  

Lovely progress on Carnation this week.  In to row 3 and it was so nice and straightforward that I got four blocks done instead of my usual three.  That puts me a tiny bit ahead of my deadline of finishing page 3 by the second anniversary.

So for this week coming, I have a Sewing Day with the Patchwork Group on Thursday.  My plan is to take Elf H and crack on with him with the hope of getting both ornaments made up by the end of the month.

Hope all is well with you and yours, and that you are keeping snuggly warm in this wintry weather.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Slow and steady does it.

This is not going to be a long post tonight as we had family visiting this weekend, which affected the amount of stitching done, but a baby is a lovesome thing, God wot.

Starting with my Christmas snowman, I took him to Patchwork Group this week.  I had to frog his hat almost immediately because I had gone one stitch to the left too many.  However by the end of the evening, he had hat, face and a good start on a body.  The remainder of his body and the start of his blue A got done on Saturday night.  I rather think that I am going to have to backstitch him as well as his A - he was designed to be stitched on pale blue aida rather than white, so does not show up brilliantly.

Train has really suffered this week.  Due to my cousin's visit, I have only put half a dozen or so stitches into this today, but I have completed another block, bringing the total to 17.  Hopefully better luck next week.

On to Carnation, which got its regulation three blocks again this week.  One more block on the current row and then down to row 3 next week.  My camera lost the plot taking this photo - I took the picture and a message came on the screen - "Blink detected".  If you can see anything in this picture capable of blinking, then you have better eyes than me!

Next, my frames came for Mum's Angels and for Four Seasons.  The Angels will have to come first, but it did take two of us to get the fabric onto the clip frame properly.  Now I just have to get my thread organisers sorted and get started.

Finally I had a quick word with my littlest niece today when she came round to my parents' house to see the baby.  It turns out that she wants a picture similar to the one I did for her big sister (see Sunflowers on my 2011 Finish page).  This means that Mum and I will have to do some serious adapting of the Sunflower chart - reversing it is just going to be the start as I really don't want to do the exact same piece.

Anyway, here's wishing you all well for another week, especially anyone still suffering from Sandy chaos.  And as it is Remembrance Sunday, at the going down of the sun, we will remember those who gave their lives that we might live freely.  Willie and Jack, your names live on in our hearts.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Help needed!

I have a little problem relating to the fabrics that I have so badly photographed here.  Z, the honorary member of our Patchwork Group, came back from Turkey with a range of fabrics, including these.  As a result, the group is now faced with a challenge.  By Easter next year, we have to create a piece 6 inches by 24 inches (approx. 15 cm by 60cm for metric people) using our selection of fabrics.  Personally I wasn't keen on any of them, so ended up with these florals.  I have thought long and hard, and the only thing that I can think of is to stitching a climbing rose incorporating the colours in the fabrics and then get Mum to combine my stitching with the fabrics to create the right size piece.  The problem is that I cannot find a suitable chart of a climbing rose.  There are issues about width, complexity (I have limited time to do this in) etc, etc.  So can anyone out there suggest something that I could use or adapt?  All suggestions gratefully received.

Right, moving on - I have both a finish finish and a new start to show you.  Here are my Delft pieces made up into cards to sell for Marie Curie.  It isn't a brilliant photo because I forgot to leave them unbagged so that I could take a photo without glare.  I think that they look just fine and am hoping that someone will take a fancy to them at our stall later on this month.

The festive season fast approaches and therefore so does the need to start work on this year's ornaments for the girls.  This start will eventually be a snowman with a red scarf standing next to a blue A for my littlest niece.  This is taken from an alphabet in the current copy of Cross Stitch Collection (issue 216).  Eldest niece will have a green and red Christmas elf standing next to a bright orange H.

On to Train of Dreams.  Just a little progress here due to this morning's expensive excursion, about which I will say more in the Stash section of this post.  One more complete block and a couple of nearly completed blocks, courtesy of last night's late night waiting for the fireworks to calm down.

Carnation got its regulation three blocks but also quite a bit in the next block, which should speed things up this coming week.  It's very satisfying watching this lovely painting emerging under my needle.

Now - the Stash Update.  As some of you may know, HAED's Halloween Sale expanded from 35% to 50% off.  I had a couple of items in my wishlist and thought why not?  So I did.  As a result, my chart stash now includes Golden Wood by Ruth Sanderson, which always reminds me of the fairytale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Birthstone Sapphire by Rachel Anderson.

This morning Mum and Z and I went to a fabric warehouse in Leicester.  I don't really go for the fabric but they do stock some DMC threads and other stitching bits and pieces.  Today I spent £137.13 - aren't 0% purchase credit cards so useful some times?  On this occasion, they had far more DMC threads than usual at 40p a skein (85p each in Hobbycraft).  I just went along the rows taking one of each colour that they had in stock - 300 skeins later, I was not massively popular with the people on the checkout - it took three of them to count up how many I had.  The remaining £17.13 was aida, waste canvas, thimble, needle threaders etc.  But as I pointed out, I don't smoke, very rarely drink, don't go clubbing, and so on and so forth - and all those threads will keep me going for quite a while!  Carpe diem, as they say!

Monday, 29 October 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - October Full Moon

Golly, its gone cold round here! Hope you are keeping warm wherever you are and wishing New York and the US East Coast all the very best of luck! 

Despite having very cold fingers, I have a WIPocalypse stitching finish to show you. Finished just before I turned the computer on, here is Teddy.  Apologies for the dodgy photo - I had to rotate it and the definition went a bit blurry.  However I will show you another hopefully better picture when it is finish finished.  It now needs a wash and to be made up into a little Christmas stocking ornament to go on my cousin's baby's first Christmas tree.  I hope that she will like it.

I finished another couple of blocks on Train yesterday morning and put stitches into several new blocks.  However I think that progress on this is going to be hampered by the clocks going back and the increasingly dodgy weather because I really do need good light in order to work on this one.  I may have to move operations into the lounge where I have a daylight lamp, instead of working in my bedroom where the morning light is usually good and I have plenty of space to spread out on the bed.

Progress on this one includes last week's regulation three blocks and the stitches put into this week's first block before work this morning.  I was really pleased the other week when a friend of mine recognised which painting it was just from the corner of it that I had stitched.  

In other news, I have been enabled, or why blog hopping is a bad idea.  I have a number of blogs which I always visit and then some of these have nice lengthy blog lists on them, so I hop from one blog to another, admiring people's work and reading about their lives.  The problem is that often the bloggers out there have some seriously enticing stash and The Crafty Princess is one of them.  Thanks to her, I am now in possession of a new HAED chart, "Four Seasons" by Jacek Yerka (bought in the Halloween Sale), and a massive piece of 18 count Magic Guide aida.  It is going to end up about 30 inches square so I am going to have to invest in a new 39 inch rotating frame to put this on.  It is going to take forever to stitch and then I will somehow have to frame it and then find somewhere to put it - I must be mad!

My stash buying from the other week has started to materialise.  Not just the fabric for Four Seasons, but also the fabric for Mum's Just Nan guardian angels, the beads and the special threads, and the card blanks for the Delft pieces.  I'm still waiting on the DMC threads for the angels, but as I'm out tomorrow at Pilates and again on Wednesday for Mum's Halloween party, nothing is going to happen until the end of the week anyway.  Hopefully I will have some finish finishes to show you in my next update, but until then keep warm and carry on stitching!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

IHSW - October 2012 Report

Evening all!  Hope all is well with you and yours, and that your stitching progressed nicely this weekend.

Right, I have a new (to me) car.  It is an 03 plate Fiat Punto which I collected on Tuesday lunchtime.  On Thursday morning, the battery was flat owing to me accidentally turning the interior light on (probably with my head) when I got out of the car on Wednesday night.  On Friday morning, I was stood in the office car park reading the manual to work out how to lock the petrol cap.  Talk about a steep learning curve!  Other than that, it drives very nicely and I am quite happy with it.  And best of all, I am no longer dependent on anyone else to get around.  I now need to invest in flowers and chocolate for my colleagues who made my life easier when I was without transport. 

Stitching progress has been good this week.  I took Teddy to my blood donation appointment on Monday amongst other things.  He himself is finished apart from the backstitch.  This week's plan is to stitch the stick of rock that he is holding in his arms and the sweet which is at the bottom left in the foot of the stocking.  That will leave the background stripes, the backstitch and Little Miss Gorgeous' name between the red lines.  Then I just have to wash it, make it up and decide whether to send it before Christmas to put on the tree or with her Christmas present.

Train has also come on nicely this morning.  In another block completing session, I got five blocks completed and put a dent in some fresh ones.  You can now see a green book spine starting to come through next to the red one.  Slow but subtle progress.  However I do think that I might do my next HAED (whichever one that is) on a slightly lower count - 18 count perhaps?

Another three blocks completed on Carnation and if you look closely in the right hand corner, quite a few stitches in the next block.  This next week will see me complete the top row and move into row 2.  A rough and ready calculation at three blocks a week should see me completing page 3 by or before this piece's second anniversary next May.  There is however still my littlest niece's birthday piece to locate and stitch before next June - the problem is that I want something that she will both enjoy now and that will grow with her.

I have Friday off this week and there is another sewing day coming up towards the end of next month, so hopefully things should be looking good by Christmas.

Monday, 15 October 2012

On the Up!

Today I'll start with the good news and then go on to the stitching.

Firstly Dad went back to the hospital last week and they have discharged him back to his doctor.  The biopsies that they took during the endoscopy came back clear and any thickening of the stomach wall is probably due to the aspirin he takes.  They told him to have some coronary function tests because they now think that taking up smoking again (boo, hiss!) may have altered his metabolism and caused him to lose the worrying amount of weight.  Since he has started eating more, it appears that his weight has stabilised.  He has had the tests done and is now waiting for his doctor to come back off holiday.  Basically they have tested everything and found nothing wrong with him that is not normal for a man of his age and general state of health.  So we are breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward.

On the car front, Dad and I went car hunting on Saturday and I have put a deposit down on a car.  I won't say that I have a new (to me) car until I actually have the keys in my hands.  However, it is an 03 plate Fiat Punto in silver with less than 50,000 miles on the clock.  I got a bit of a discount and it is costing me just slightly more than I got back from the various insurers.  I can't wait to be properly independent again and not have to rely on family and colleagues for transport!

Last week was slightly traumatic at work as we have had a new computer system installed.  We have moved to Windows 2010 and have had new PCs and larger monitors.  So I went back to work last Monday straight into a training session.  For the next couple of days, the air was ever so slightly blue as I tried to work out how to do all the things that I was used to doing on the new system.  Things are a little calmer now as the IT folk work through getting everyone up and running and people get more accustomed to the way the new system works.  But it was fun for a while, not!

In my last post I promised you a new start this week and here it is.  This is a teddy bear Christmas stocking ornament from Cross My Heart Inc. which will be a first Christmas gift for my cousin's baby.  I have had this chart for a very long time, along with similar ones showing a toy soldier and Father Christmas.  It should be stitched on ivory aida but I don't have any, so am doing it on 14 count white aida.  It's coming along nicely and is my current traveling piece.

I was determined to complete a few blocks on Train of Dreams this Sunday in the hope of showing at least 1% completed in the side bar.  So I worked on the black section towards the top right and completed a block there.  I also worked on the left hand side and completed a block there.  I probably would have got more done, had I been able to stick to my usual Sunday routine.  Unfortunately because of needing to borrow Mum's car to go shopping, I had to go in the morning instead of the afternoon, and as a consequence lost the best stitching light.

On to Carnation.  I've reduced my target to 3 blocks per week for this page.  There is a lot of confetti and also the festive season looms ahead.  Furthermore I also have youngest niece's birthday chart still to find - she wants to be like big sister which makes it hard to find out what she really likes and dislikes.  I am still enjoying Carnation very much - the charting is so cleverly done that when you see it at a proper distance, it looks almost like the real thing.

There was a 25% off Columbus Day sale at Heaven and Earth Designs last week and I succumbed to another Randal Spangler chart.  This one is called Home is Where the Magic is.  Just when I will get round to it, I do not know as I still have to get to grips with the Just Nan angels that Mum wants as well as everything else on my to do list.

However, I do think that I can say (fingers firmly crossed) that things are generally On the Up!  My best wishes and Zen hugs to all who want or need them.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Definitely short and sweet!

There's nothing much to report this time because I went away for a few days as I normally do to celebrate my birthday.  So there has been no progress on Carnation or Train of Dreams.  However I do have a finish to show.

I took the train to visit my cousin and took Delft 4 with me to pass the time.  While I was away, I completed the inner border and stitched the second flower head.  The outer border and the last of the back stitching got done when I came home.  Now all I have to do is wash all four pieces and make them up into cards.

I spent a lot of daylight hours last week cuddling and playing with Little Miss Gorgeous, and spending time with my aunt and my cousin.  It was wonderful to see them and to get caught up with family news.  I'm hoping to see my cousin again soon as they are planning to come up next month to stay with my parents.

Nothing new to report on Dad at the moment - he has an appointment with the consultant this week so hopefully there will be an update in my next post.  On the car front, I've settled with the garage so have a date with Dad to go car hunting on Saturday.

There will be a new start to show you as I am planning a Christmas ornament for Little Miss Gorgeous' first tree.  I also have to start planning for my nieces' Christmas 2012 ornaments, so I really do now need to use my lunch hours more profitably than I have been doing recently.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - September Full Moon

This is likely to be short and sweet as I have been somewhat occupied this week and will be out tonight.

Due to having been out nearly every night this week, there is not a lot of stitching to report.  There has been a very little progress on Delft - a bit more work on the border, but nothing else.  I have nothing to report on Train as it has not seen a needle this week.

However I am delighted to announce that page 2 of Carnation Lily Lily Rose is now complete!!  I didn't manage to get it done for my birthday, but put the last stitches in this morning.  I'm really pleased with myself and looking forward to what page 3 will bring.

I have also worked out how to put progress markers on my blog.  I'm only counting completed blocks, which is why I'm showing no progress on Train - there are only about 6 completed blocks and lots of partial blocks.  I just can't face counting all the odd stitches.

In other news, Dad went for his endoscopy yesterday.  They found a little irritation at the base of his stomach which they reckon is due to him taking his aspirin before meals rather than after.  They also removed a couple of small areas for testing where they thought that the stomach wall looked thicker than normal.  So we are now back to wait and see.  He has an appointment booked in already which means that we don't have to wait for that to come through.

I find that I'm really struggling without a car.  I have to think twice about everything I do because I can't just hop in the car.  I've become so much more reliant on other people's good nature as well as on public transport.  For example, we had our Marie Curie ceilidh last night.  In order to help with the setting up, I had to cadge a lift to the location, and then a lift home to get dressed, another lift back to the location and a lift home at the end of the night.  The ceilidh went very well, people thoroughly enjoyed themselves, it looks like we made quite a bit of money and learned some valuable tips for future events.  But it would have been so much easier and much less stressful if I had still had a car.  I've had the money from the insurance but am still trying to sort out with the garage, so it will be a little longer before I can go car hunting.

Wishing all of you the very best - keep calm and keep stitching!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Walking in the rain!

It is coming down heavy outside and now that the courtesy car has gone back to the garage, I am going to be getting up close and personal with the weather for the time being.  

Taking the car back took up the whole of yesterday morning.  It took over half an hour to get to the garage, including a slight detour at the end due to bad signposting.  Then I had to be taken to the compound to remove all my belongings from my now ex-car - I had forgotten quite how much stuff I had been carrying around.  Next the garage guy drove me into the town centre to catch a bus back to my town - the bus journey took about an hour.  I got off the bus, hauled the bag full of car stuff into the theatre booking office, bought Mum's Christmas present, and then hauled the bag several hundred yards down the main road to catch the bus home. 

When I got back to my suburb, I hauled the bag into a local bakery to buy some lunch and then continued hauling the bag the rest of the way home.  When I say "haul", this means frequently putting the wretched thing down, changing hands and moving on until my carrying hand objected too much.  Fortunately I met my sister's young lodger in the car park and he carried the bag up the stairs for me, for which I was very grateful.  Having set out at 8.45am, I got in about 12 noon.  I had my lunch and then vegetated for the rest of the day.  I now have no car and no prospect of being able to sort out a new (to me) car for at least the next couple of weeks - and all this due to an accident that was not my fault!

In brighter news, Dad has his appointment for his endoscopy later this week - if this comes back clear as well, I haven't got a clue what else they can possibly do to find out what is wrong with him.

On to stitching.  There has been very little progress on Delft - a bit of backstitch and a start on the bottom border.  I just can't seem to get motivated to work on it in my lunch hour when I do have some free time.  Gotta get a grip!

Slightly more progress to report on Train of Dreams.  After yesterday morning's excursion and knowing that I was going to have to walk to my parents today to borrow the car to take Dad shopping, and then walk home again afterwards, I wasn't really in the mood for confetti stitching, so I worked on the black in-fill at the top middle.  Coming along slowly!

 Having said last week that I needed to try and put in extra time on Carnation in order to have a happy dance for my birthday, I am pleased to report that I completed five blocks this week and put several stitches into block six.  This means that I only have three blocks to do this week.  As I am going to be busy, busy, busy, every spare second will have to be put into Carnation, so no reading, no surfing and much stitching as can be fitted in.  The next update is also September's WIPocalypse and I would be over the (full) moon to be able to announce a page finish!

I'm finishing here because its getting late, I've got to walk to work tomorrow, and its feeling chilly and damp tonight so I need to make a hot water bottle to take to bed. 

Happy stitching, folks!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

IHSW - September 2012 Report

Well here we are after another weekend of hermitting and stitching.  I'll start with the stitching and then go on to the other news.

 Starting with Delft 4, some nice progress on this courtesy of Patchwork Group on Thursday and babysitting last night.  I had hoped to get a bit more done but was hampered by the onset of earache in small person.  There is one more flower head to do, plus the backstitch on that and the stems, and then the border.  After that, I need to buy the appropriate cards to put them in and make up all four cards.

A bit less progress on Train this week, but that is also down to last night's babysitting stint which was a late one and required a lie-in this morning.  We have some leaves coming in on the left hand side and I have also done a bit more of the solid black at the top, just to make a change from the confetti on the left.  I took this piece to Patchwork with me and passed it round - the general consensus of opinion was that I am stark staring mad!

Work on Carnation saw the completion of the week's four blocks and also the beginnings of the first block on the top row.  Basically I have a few things in the diary over the next couple of weeks which mean that I may be pushing it to have a happy dance on my birthday unless I move this on as much as I can when I can.  So I did all the confetti in the first block and only have one colour left to stitch to complete it, which I hope to do tomorrow morning before work.

In other news, Dad's CT scan came back clear, for which we are most truly grateful.  However, we are still none the wiser as to the cause of his weight loss so they are now going to do an endoscopy to see if there are any bacteria in his guts which might be responsible.  After that, who knows?

On the car front, the insurers have written off my car.  I have not had this in writing yet, just a phone call from the engineers, so I am waiting until I get a letter before I make up my mind what to do next.  However as my car has required a lot of work this year, I am veering towards taking the money and running, rather than having it back and getting it repaired myself.  I still have the courtesy car so am not without transport at the moment.  

One step forward, two steps back.  Keep calm and carry on stitching. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Delft finish and start

Shall I say that this last week was marginally better than the previous one?  

I still have no idea what is happening with my own car and am still driving the courtesy car.  However my old garage has made an offer in relation to the fuel leak but wants further information regarding the excess oil issue.  

Dad went for his CT scan on Wednesday and now has to wait three weeks for the follow-up appointment - keep calm and carry on!

Things went better on the stitching front.

 I finally finished Delft 3.  The corners of the border were slightly fiddly, but it is now done.  However I still have no idea what sort of flower it is.

On the same evening I started Delft 4.  I know that this is a snakeshead fritillary because they grow in Mum's bog garden and come in both purple with white splotches and white with purple splotches.  I'd like to get this done quite quickly and then all four made up into cards, so that I can then start on Christmas pieces, either cards for Marie Curie or ornaments for my nieces.

Nice progress on Train of Dreams.  You can see the top of the spine of the first book on the left.  There's quite a lot of confetti to contend with as well as the 25 count fabric, so it is stitching up quite slowly.  As I am doing this using the English method (one x at a time), the back is solid, even more so than Carnation because of being 25 count rather than 16.  I am now using both thimble and tweezers to finish off my threads on the back.  This has not stopped me jabbing myself hard in the left thumb, although I did manage not to get any blood on my work.

Carnation is still going to plan.  I am hoping to have a serious happy dance in three weeks time.  I have started looking at page 3 already and there seems to be a lot more confetti and a lot less blocks of colour than on page 2.  As the only deadlines on this piece are the ones that I set myself, and as at some point I am going to need to find time to stitch for my younger niece, I am considering cutting back to three blocks a week on page 3.  

Finally, someone wrote on their blog last week that they had put some of their stash on Ebay, so I thought that I would take a look.  While I was looking, I noticed that I hadn't actually bought anything since May.  For some strange reason this meant that I had to go mad and bid on loads of vintage cross stitch magazines.  My stash has now increased by assorted older copies of Cross Stitch Gold and Cross Stitch Collection, not all of which have arrived yet.  Next time someone mentions Ebay on their blog, I am going to turn and run the other way!