Sunday, 29 December 2013

Last post of 2013 - how did I do?

Unfortunately I managed to miss out on the last WIPocalypse and IHSW of 2013 - I was too busy getting sorted for Christmas, but I did take photos of my WIPs even if I didn't manage to blog them at the time.

So I'll start by going through the goals that I set myself this time last year.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - page 3 was finished on 17 April and page 4 on 29 September 2013.  This piece has since been on hold whilst I worked on other things, but I plan to get back to it in 2014.

Turkish Challenge - we were given an extension on this piece, so it was finished on 11 April 2013.

5th birthday present - this was "Enchanted Garden", finished and framed by 8 June 2013, a week ahead of schedule.

Guardian Angels - this is still work in progress, with one angel complete bar beading and the second started - again to be worked on in 2014.

Bouquet pieces - this series of 6 smalls was completed on 11 October 2013 and made up into cards to sell for Marie Curie.

Train of Dreams - this is still work in progress - again to be worked on in 2014.

That's the update on 2013 goals.  I will set my 2014 goals in my next post.

Next comes WIP updates etc.

First, a couple of finish finishes - my niece's Christmas ornaments finished on Christmas Day itself.  Unfortunately for some reason I can't get them to fit side by side, which is most annoying.


This is the before Christmas shot of April. 

Followed by the post Christmas shot of April.  This piece is coming on nicely with only a small amount left to do on this bottom section before I can finish the back stitching, do the French knots for the birds' eyes and move on to the first angel.

 Finally the before Christmas shot of Train of Dreams - one more block completed in this session.

Followed by the post Christmas shot in which there are a further two blocks completed.

On the health front, I weighed in before Christmas at 11 stone 8.5lb, a total loss of 1 stone exactly.  There has been no weigh-in this week because it was Boxing Day, so I have a little extra time to try and get straight after Christmas.

Back to work tomorrow and the New Year will begin in a couple of days.  So here's hoping that you all had a lovely Christmas, and wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2014.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree ...

There's not a lot that eats up your spare time as much as Christmas does - writing cards, shopping for presents, attending the works do (or babysitting instead in my case), racking your brains for ideas for presents for other people to buy you, going to Christmas parties and so on and so forth.  And while you are doing all these things and worrying about last posting dates, you aren't stitching, or at least I'm not.

However I do have a couple of photos to show you.  One finish finish and one WIP.

 It was Patchwork Group on Thursday night and we exchanged our Secret Santa presents, which must not cost more than £3.  My partner was C, who loves Christmas and everything Christmassy.  So I bought her a Christmas needle minder and stitched together this little bag to hold it.  The little tree is a Mouseloft kit that I stitched in the autumn of 2011, but never made into anything.  The red felt was left over from the Christmas ornaments that I made for my nieces in 2010 and the gold cord was bought for Penguin ABC Christmas gift tags that I stitched in 2009.  So it was really a case of using up ends of stash to create something pretty and useful.  C liked the bag and the needle minder very much.

I received a patchwork needle book done in Cathedral Window pattern and a extendable magnetic stick with an LED light in the end for spotting and retrieving dropped needles.  Very useful and much appreciated.

The only other stitching that I have managed to do was on April.  I have made good progress on the left hand gate post, and hope to be able to crack on with this piece during this next week before the festive season reaches its peak.

In other news, due to Christmas festivities, I have put 2.5lb back on last week so am now back to 11 stone, 10 lb.  However, what goes on will come back off, so I am not particularly concerned about this.

As it is getting late and I didn't get any sleep last night for some reason, I am going to call it a day and hope to have more to show you next time.  With best wishes for whichever festive season you might be celebrating, and may the frog keep away from your stitching.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Lack of Stitching

Well, the good news is that somehow I managed to lose 3.5lb last week and received my 1 stone award. As of Thursday night, I weighed 11 stone, 7.5lb, so just 7.5lb to go to hit target.  However Christmas is a-coming and I have the work Christmas fuddle on Tuesday, when healthy eating will be the last thing on anyone's mind.  Weight loss and Christmas just don't really go together.

The bad news is that on Wednesday afternoon my fridge freezer was declared dead.  I've had it a number of years and it was second-hand when I got it, but it could have picked a better moment.  A replacement is on order but won't arrive until Saturday, so I'm working round the problem.  The contents of my freezer are in my Mum's second freezer and breakfast is porridge made with boiling water and a lot of sweetener.  You just have to eat it quickly before it sets and becomes concrete.

We also had a flying visit from Dad's cousin who lives in Florida.  It was lovely to meet her, even if she could only stay overnight.  We had a very pleasant evening together with the family, and I think that she enjoyed herself, even if her train back to London was delayed by half an hour or so.

The combination of all the above, together with an encounter with the Black Dog yesterday, is that there has been very little stitching done this week.  The only stitching that has been done is the back stitch on April.  I have now stitched back to the middle and done as much of the gate as I can do before further cross stitching is required.  So here you are:

As of tomorrow, work will start on the left hand side of this piece.  I do think that the back stitch has made a significant difference, don't you?

I just can't keep my eyes open so I'm going to call it a day.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well away from your stitching.

Monday, 2 December 2013

For we all like a figgy pudding ...

I'm running late again and this week I'm going to blame it on the Christmas pudding.  When I was a child, Mum used to make our Christmas pudding.  I can remember them hanging up in the cupboard under the stairs.  Then as I grew older, we moved to shop bought puddings.  But Grandma's failing health brought us back into contact with one of my Mum's cousins, whose wife now makes us the most delicious Christmas pudding as our present.  Yesterday they drove up from the South to bring us our pudding, to have family Sunday lunch and tea, and then drive all the way home again - so big hugs to them.  Having family coming meant that all the Sunday jobs had to be rescheduled - grocery shopping, laundry and blogging.  So here I am on a Monday night.

Having family coming also meant less stitching this weekend, so I have no Guardian Angels to show you.

 However I did make good progress on April.  This photo shows all the cross stitching done on the right hand side of the bottom of this piece and the beginnings of the back stitching going back towards the middle.  And the back stitch is making it pop.  If I can only get the base line to run straight when it's finished, I'll be really happy!

Family coming to visit also meant that I didn't get an awful lot done on Train of Dreams.  I managed one whole block and a couple of rows of the next block, but any progress is better than no progress at all.

On the stash front, I've paid the lady at No More Lost Needles for my needle minders and now just have to wait for them to arrive in the post.  And today Heaven and Earth Designs are having a 50% off sale and I have succumbed. 

This is Aimee Stewart's Treasure Hunt Bookshelf - isn't it just gorgeous?  There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the pieces that I want to do.  I really need to win the Lottery, retire and stitch!

In other news, I put on 0.5lb last week.  I'm not kicking myself about it.  I had to do a spot of emergency babysitting which led to a visit to the chip shop, and I also went out for a meal with friends that I haven't seen for many months.  Having the family to visit has probably put the mockers on this week, but I'm hanging on in there.  

I would like to get the back stitching done on April to the point where I can start cross stitching the other side, but we have more family visiting mid-week, so this is a wish rather than a plan.  Right, late night last night so need to get to bed on time tonight, so I will love you and leave you, wishing you and yours all the very best and may the frog steer clear of your stitching!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Hark the Herald Angels ...

Yes, it is officially that time of year again. They had the grand turning on of the Christmas lights here in my little suburb on Saturday night with a craft fair, farmers market, live music, children's fairground and fireworks.

 And I do actually have some angel to show you.  That narrow column of stitching next to Serena is the left hand side of Angelique's skirt.  When there is a bit more to see, Serena will ease out of the picture, but I thought that she would lend a bit of context to an otherwise uninteresting photo.  There was serious frogging again with Angelique before reaching this point - I really must learn to read the instructions before putting needle to fabric!

Moving on to a piece which will eventually include angels, I have made good progress on April this week.  There is a largish plant in a pot still left to do on the right hand side before I start to back stitch back to the middle.  There is a lot of back stitch so it may take some little time :-(

This is a lighter picture than I usually manage to get of Train of Dreams, and it is technically poor, but it does mean that you get a better idea of the colours in it.  I got another couple of blocks done this week.

This last picture is of my Bouquet cards finally made up to sell.  Unfortunately the people who attended our Marie Curie coffee morning last week were obviously the wrong market as the cards did not sell.  However I will try them at work and see what happens.  They look good though, don't you think?

In other news, a very kind friend of mine has offered me her mum's sewing box containing a number of untouched skeins of thread probably dating from the 1940s/1950s.  I don't know what brand they are, but my mum will find a use for them even if I can't.

Furthermore I somehow managed to lose 2.5lb last week, bringing me down to 11 stone, 10.5lb.  I'm not sure whether I will be able to maintain this loss as a spot of emergency baby sitting last night led to a stopoff at the chip shop on the way home, and I will be out for a meal on Wednesday night.  I'm wondering if the weight loss may have been partly due to expenditure of calories on keeping warm as I only just put the central heating on this morning.  Any biologists out there with a view on that?

It's getting chilly now and I need to put the kettle on for my hot water bottle, so will love you and leave you.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog keep away from your stitching!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - November Full Moon & IHSW - November Report

This is becoming a bit of a habit, combining my WIPocalypse and IHSW reports - obviously the full moon likes to hermit and stitch too.  However I wouldn't say that it has been a particularly productive weekend.  I do have some stitching to show you, but not a lot.

This is my new start - "Mouse & Robin" by Margaret Sherry - a cover kit from World of Cross Stitching.  I realised that I needed something small to take to Patchwork Group this week.  I couldn't take April as that is for one of the other members, and everything else is either too big or takes up too much space.  I'm not enjoying this - I have remembered why I don't like cover kits - the fabric is too small and the threads are poor quality.  However I'm sure that I will be able to find a home for it once it is finished.

Speaking of April, it is coming on quite nicely. The only problem is that the linen is dragging down to the right hand side.  I have tried taking it off the frame and putting it back on, but it hasn't made any difference.  I am hoping that this is an issue which will be rectified once the piece is finished, washed and pressed.

Finally, Train of Dreams.  Not a lot of progress this week - one block and three rows of the next block - but that is better than nothing.

It's been one of those blurgh weeks where getting out of bed and dragging myself to work has been an achievement.  Actually doing anything non-essential has more or less gone by the wayside - which is why no progress on the Angels.  

On the weight front, I put on another 1lb this last week.  People keep leaving munchies on the desk behind me - if they were at the other end of the room, they would be so much easier to resist!

The weather man is now proffering sub-zero temperatures and possible snow in the near future, so  I may have to succumb and put my central heating on soon.  

I'm sorry that this has been a bit of a whinge this week.  What can I write that is positive - I made a casserole in my slow cooker this week and I unexpectedly had tea at my sister's tonight with hugs and kisses from my nieces.

Right, time to put the kettle on for my hot water bottle.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Light the blue touch paper and retire ...

There's been no such thing as a quiet night in this week - it's been one explosion after another.  The Hindu festival of Diwali started last Sunday and finished on Thursday, and it was Bonfire Night on Tuesday.  So every night has been firework night!  I went to one myself on Friday night at my sister's - just a small gathering of family, neighbours and friends, including the most gorgeous and placid six month old baby girl, who just watched the pretty lights and smiled.  I'm hoping that things calm down now for a bit.  There will be fireworks again later on this month when they have the official Christmas lights switch-on, but at least that is only the one night.

On the stitching front, I have a start and a sort-of finish to show you.

I'm starting with my finish - here is Serena with all her backstitch completed.  When she is beaded (eventually), she will have beads down the centre of her skirt, beads in her collar and hair, and beads round her head and at the bottom of her wingtips.  I think that she looks good now, but will look even better when she is really finished.

I did start the next angel, but having had to frog every stitch that I'd done twice, firstly because I'd not read the instructions properly, and secondly because the blending filament was not co-operating despite a liberal coating of Thread Heaven, I gave it up as a bad job.  The current plan is to start again at a different point on the chart to avoid total frustration, so hopefully I will have something to show.

This is a not very good photo of my new start, April.  The ecru is not standing out from the sand coloured linen very well, so I am hoping that when I backstitch it, that will make it pop.  I had to start this twice as well.  The first time I was using two threads over two, but the coverage was not what I wanted, so I had to frog and re-start with three threads.  It's going to use a lot more thread than I am used to, and as I had to 'borrow' some skeins from other projects, I can see some thread purchasing in the not too distant future.

Last but not least, Train of Dreams.  This benefited from my frustration with the angels as I got a whole block stitched last night.  Today I stitched the two whole and one partial blocks required to finish column 3 and got a few stitches in at the top of column 4.  So good progress this week.

In other news, I maintained at Slimming World last week, so am still weighing in at 11 stone, 12lb.  There are two factors at play here.  Firstly, although I like eating, I don't like cooking - to me it seems a waste of time that could be spent doing other things.  That is why I eat a lot of pasta - it's quick and easy, and it doesn't matter if you don't stir it all the time.  

The second factor is the time of year.  Once the clocks go back, I tend to suffer from seasonal depression, and for me symptoms include tiredness, apathy and a generally negative viewpoint.  I do have a daylight lamp at home, which does help, but I work in an office with no natural light, and that doesn't!  So things which require a positive effort, like slimming, become much harder this time of year.  Stitching helps, because I have to concentrate on what I'm doing and therefore am not thinking negative thoughts.  And every year is different, some better and some worse.  At this point though, there's a long way to go before the sun comes back, so please bear with me.

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog keep well clear of your stitching!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

When did it get to be November?

This year seems to have gone really fast - I can't believe that it is already November and Christmas is just around the corner.  Time to start thinking about posting dates, where did I put the Christmas card list and what does the family want in the way of presents?

I am however doing some extreme forward planning.  Next year two members of the Patchwork Group have birthdays with noughts in them.  As both ladies have an abundance of quilts already, we are making them 12 inch bound squares, one for each month of the year.  I have April for one lady and November for the other.  In my last post, I was wittering about fabric for the April piece.  Well, that problem is now sorted - I'm using 28 count Zweigert Cashel linen in Sand.

This is a scan of the magazine picture of the piece that I am going to be stitching.  The text reads "Let Heaven & Nature Sing".  I am going to take this out and stitch "April" instead.  It is a piece designed by Sandy Orton of Kooler Design Studios.  V, the lady who is going to receive this piece, likes American folk art, so I hope that she will like this.  Her birthday is in August, so I shall start this tomorrow now that I have fabric and threads sorted out.

The other lady, whose birthday is in September, tends to be quite quiet and doesn't say much about her likes and dislikes, so I am having more difficulty working out what I am going to stitch for her.  However, between working on these two pieces and trying to get the Guardian Angels done for Mum, I am not sure when I am going to get back to work on Carnation, which is a shame.

The only piece that I have stitched on this week is Train of Dreams, with another three blocks completed on this column.  The moon now has two eyes, a nose and the beginnings of a mouth.  Both with this piece and with Carnation, it always amazes me how such complex pictures can be created using only needle and thread.

In other news, I put on 1lb last week, which I put down to the close proximity of birthday cake during a time of stress at work.  This is unfortunate, but not the end of the world.

Short and sweet this week, but work looms tomorrow so I shall finish here, and wish all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well clear of your stitching!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Stormy weather ...

The Met Office are promising us gale force winds and associated havoc, so I've battened down the hatches and will wait and see!

In the meantime, I have stitching to show you.

This is the snowman ornament for my youngest niece.  I went for a singing snowman because she would like to sing in the school choir.  Another quick start and finish for me - started on 21st and finished on 25th October.  Now I just need to get my iron back from my sister so that I can wash, press and finish finish both ornaments.

Moving on to Serena, she now has both wings, eyes and a mouth.  There is some more back-stitching to do on her gown, but I have finally decided to leave all the beading to the end.  That way, the process can only drive me mad once and I only get the one opportunity to drop beads all over the floor instead of four!  Now that Serena is nearly finished, she's looking quite pretty.  I am now tossing up between Grace and Angelique for my next angel.

Finally on the stitching progress front, here is Train of Dreams.  I got another three blocks done today and am now on the bottom page for this column.  The green book is now completely finished and the next column will see me start on some new features.

I am however frustrated because I am having difficulty tracking down the fabric that I need for my next project.  It is in an old issue of Cross Stitch Gold dating back to August 2002 and calls for 28 count Zweigart Cashel linen in beige.  In the magazine it looks a sort of sandy colour, but there is no number listed to help me identify it on the Zweigart website.  I confess that I am a bit OCD about this sort of thing - I need to be using the right fabric and threads, and find it difficult to make changes to projects.

On a brighter note, I lost 0.5lb last week, so still heading in the right direction, and am now down to 11 stone 11lb.  Unfortunately there is likely to be cake or sweets this week as two of my colleagues had birthdays while they were on leave last week.

It still seems to be quite quiet outside but I am going to call it a day and turn in.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Monday, 21 October 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - October Full Moon & IHSW - October Report

Once again the WIPocalypse and IHSW fall at the same time.  This is good because it saves me from having to think up an enticing title for this post.

I'm really pleased with myself over this piece.  This will be a Christmas ornament for my eldest niece and is actually a start and a finish!  I started it on 14 October and finished it on 19 October, which is really good going for me.  He comes from Issue 130 of Cross Stitch Crazy.  Eldest niece actually learns recorder and keyboards, but the closest I could get was a flute playing snowman, who actually looked like he was chewing a stick, so I went for cheerful, happy cymbal snowman.  Littlest niece would like to sing in the school choir so my next piece will be snowman with song book.

Train of Dreams is coming along nicely.  The green book is very nearly finished - just a few stitches remaining in the next block or two.  I'm looking forward to seeing the moon ornament develop as I move down the page.

Nothing to show on Serena this week because on Saturday Mum and I went to a local patchwork exhibition.  The patchwork group holding the exhibition includes some of the members of the group that I belong to, so several of the pieces on show were old friends.  There were some stunning quilts, including a fabulous Chinese dragon, and as usual other pieces that just didn't inspire at all, but everyone has different tastes.  We had a very nice time, meeting several people we knew, but Mum was feeling a bit under the weather so went for a nap when we got home.

However I did promise you stash pictures.  I tried to get it all into one photo, but failed miserably.  Anyway this is the insanity part of my stash purchase - two Teresa Wentzler charts.  I took everything to Patchwork Group the other week and as soon as I showed Peacock Tapestry, one of the other members said that she knew someone who had done it!  I would dearly love to have a look at their finished piece for guidance, but unfortunately they are not very well at the moment.

Next comes the cute part of my stash bonanza.  Two charts by Valerie Pfeiffer of Heritage Crafts.  I do think that the Christmas Chick is by far the nicest of her Chickadee series - there is something about the way the eyes are done on the others that doesn't appeal.  And the Chorus Line is just so sweet - I don't normally do cute, but I just couldn't resist.

Last but not least a Joan Elliott Design Works kit and a Just Nan chart with charm.  These come in the more challenging but not insane category, between Peacock Tapestry and Christmas Chick.  Speaking of Just Nan, I sent her a query about beading Mum's angels, and she replied that she normally beads as she goes along, but that she stitches her angels singly rather than in a row.

So that's stitching and stash - what else can I tell you?  Well I lost another 1lb last week so I'm down to 11 stone 11.5lb, so another 3lb to go before I've lost a stone.  I know that it's slow but I also know that it works and I will get there eventually, so I'm not too worried.  It's school half-term here so work is quite quiet - I'll have two days on my own this week so will hopefully get some backlog cleared. 

Now I really must go and put my tea on, so all the best to you and yours and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

More happy dancing!

Despite the distinct downturn in the weather which makes me want to crawl under the covers and stay there, I have another finish to report!

 Bouquet 6 is finished!!!

So I can now show you all six Bouquet pieces together.  As soon as I get my iron back from my sister, these will be washed, pressed and made up into cards which will hopefully sell at our Marie Curie coffee morning next month.  I will have a photo of the finished finished pieces in due course.

Moving on to Serena, I have made some good progress here.  She now has a wing, so just the other wing, the backstitch and the beading to go.  I'm still not sure about when best to do the beading, and will need to make up my mind in the next week or so.

And last but not least, Train of Dreams.  I am pleased to report that column 2 is now completed and column 3 has been started.  

What else?  Well, having lost 1.5lb unexpectedly last week, I put it back on again this week.  I'm not worried about this - I have had a vile cold which is still lingering slightly, and consequently was not exactly concentrating on what I was eating.

I meant to show you the stash that I received from Ebay this week, but forgot to take a photo so will have to do that next week.

Having finished the Bouquet series, I have my next project already set up.  As Christmas is beginning to loom over the horizon, I have chosen the pieces for my nieces' tree ornaments and will soon be starting work on a couple of musical snowmen.  After that, Mum has reminded me that two of the Patchwork ladies are celebrating birthdays with a 0 on the end next year.  We are not making them quilts as they have so many of their own already.  Instead we are making 12" bound blocks representing the months of the year to be presented with a hanger so that they can rotate them as appropriate.  I have to stitch April for one lady and November for the other.  Time to put my thinking cap on.

I can hear the rain on the windows again, so time to put the kettle on for a hot water bottle and then turn in.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

To bead or not to bead ...

now - that is the big question!

Until I went down with a streaming cold in the last couple of days, I was making good progress on Serena, the first of my four Just Nan angels.  She still needs wings, back stitching and beading though.  My question is this - on the basis that I have three more angels to stitch on this piece of linen, should I bead each angel as I complete her, or would I be better off waiting until I've done all four and then bead the whole lot at the same time?  Some advice would be very much appreciated as this is a whole new ball game to me.

Although I can't work on a complicated piece like Serena with a cold, I can work on Train.  I got another two blocks done this morning between loads of laundry, taking about 2.5 hours.  All being well, my next session on this will see me finish column 2 and start column 3.

 I've also made good progress on Bouquet 6.  The bottom of the piece is now complete.  It just needs flowers, leaves and back stitching.  With any luck, another couple of weeks should see this done and I can start work on Christmas ornaments for my nieces.  So I ought to start wading through my magazines now for suitable pieces.

I also had a successful Ebay session this week - specific old cross stitch magazines that I've been wanting for ages, two Teresa Wentzler charts, two Valerie Pfeiffer charts, a Just Nan chart with charms and a Design Works kit.  An array of interesting parcels should be arriving at work for me over the next week :-)  I'll hopefully be able to show you my haul in my next post.

What else?  I've had a lovely week off (apart from my cold) - lunch out with my sister and nieces when the schools were on strike, lie-ins when it was raining, both the new books I was after being in the shop rather than having to order them in, and also miracle of miracles, a 1.5lb weight loss despite coffee mornings, parties, lunch out etc.  The only drawback is that when I drag my cold-ridden self into work tomorrow, the chances are that I won't be able to see my desk for files and from past experience I may not even be able to sit on my chair without having to move some files first.

Right, I am going to dose myself, set my alarm clock and go to bed.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Major Happy Dance!

I'm so happy and pleased with myself!  Page 4 of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is now finished!

I started this piece on 25 May 2011, but have had two breaks in stitching since then - one to finish my cousin's baby sampler and one to finish my younger niece's 5th birthday present.  So this photo shows the top section completed.  I have to do this much again twice and then the final row of pages is 6 blocks deep.  Carnation is 294 stitches wide by 350 stitches deep, so 102,900 stitches in total.  The section shown in the photo is 294 stitches wide by 100 stitches deep, so 29,400 stitches completed, plus whatever has overlapped into the row below.

I feel really proud of myself - the patience and determination and sheer sticking at it that has gone into this piece so far has paid off.  And to have a page finish on my birthday is icing on the cake!  As per my last post, Carnation has now come off the stand and Angels has gone on for the next little while.

It has been a busy week this week - Pilates, babysitting, Slimming World, colleague's leaving do, coffee morning, Patchwork Group 30th birthday party, my birthday - so Carnation is really all that I have to show you.

 While I was babysitting, I did put some initial stitches into Bouquet 6, but then I got distracted by Great British Bake Off on iPlayer, so there is very little to see.  On the other hand, I now have the possibility of a venture into basic bread rolls running around in my head.  I haven't made bread rolls since Home Economics at secondary school well over 20 years ago, so this might be interesting :-)

When I weighed in last week, I found that I had put on 0.5lb.  I wasn't surprised - I'd been skimping on my weighing and measuring etc.  I won't be surprised if I put on this week as well - there's been a lot of cake and other non-slimming foods packed into the past few days!

I have the plumber coming tomorrow morning early to service the boiler before the really cold weather kicks in, so I need to take all the gubbins out of the cupboard so that he can get to it.  I will leave you all with best wishes for you and yours and may the frog stay away from your stitching.

Monday, 23 September 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - September Full Moon and IHSW - September Edition

I know, I'm late again, but I do have a good excuse.  I meant to post last night, but I had to go and help my Mum take down her patchwork exhibition and when I got home, the lock on my front door had jammed!  By the time that I had fought with it, gone and got my Dad, he'd successfully fought with it, and then I'd taken Dad home again, I was completely stressed out and too knackered to post.  So here we are tonight.

 I have a finish to show.  Bouquet 5 is done and dusted.  As always, the backstitch makes it shine.  I must admit that the tulip type things make me think a bit of Martians.  Just one more of these pieces to go before I can make them up into cards for Marie Curie.

I also have two more blocks of progress to show on Train of Dreams.  Another three and a bit blocks to the bottom of the piece.  As always, seeing a photograph of the piece gives you a better impression of the actual picture.

And I'm steaming ahead with Carnation.  I managed another four full and one partial blocks this week so row 9 is finished and I'm into row 10.  If I can just get some consolidated time into this, I might have a page finish for my next post.  

At that point, Carnation is coming off the stand and the Guardian Angels are going on for a long stint.  I happened to mention to Mum yesterday that I was working on Train of Dreams and there was just something in her voice when she replied which made me feel really guilty about not working on her Angels.

In other news, I lost 1.5lb last week which brings me down to 11 stone 12lb - another 1.5lb off will mean 1 stone in total.  We had a few more computer problems at work last week, which was very annoying.  And I even did some cooking - I made a sweet potato curry with chickpeas and spinach, which was nice if a bit bland.  If I make it again, it will be with pre-peeled and chopped sweet potato (you need 2lb for the recipe) and I will spice it up a bit.

Right, time to go and put my tea on, so big Zen hugs to you and yours and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching!

Monday, 16 September 2013

It's getting a bit chilly now

Earlier this year I was complaining that it was too damn hot, and now here I am a couple of weeks into September sitting at my computer with my dressing gown on over my clothes.  I have the feeling that it might well be a long cold winter this year.  There are lots of berries on the trees still and the weather has turned temperamental.  Maybe it's just me, I could be wrong, I hope so.

So what can I say on the stitching front?

I have some nice progress to report on Bouquet 5, courtesy of a couple of lunch time stints and a Patchwork Group meeting last week.  All that is left to do are the flowers, a couple of leaves and the back stitching.  If I can just get a grip, I should be able to show a finish in the next week or so.

I should really be showing you a progress picture on Serena, but I had a bout of the blues at the weekend so did very little stitching at all over those two days.  I did put in a couple of hours on Train of Dreams on Sunday morning and completed another block.

Work on Carnation went very well this week.  I finished row 8 and completed the first two blocks on row 9.  A page finish and scroll up is just around the corner.

On the weight loss front, I put 3.5lb back on this week.  However I'm OK with this.  When you lose weight quickly through illness, it's bound to come back and I'm still 0.5lb lighter than I was before I was ill.

I'm going to cut this post short cos I'm cold and tired, so I wish you all the best and may the frog stay away from your stitching. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Every cloud has a silver lining!

This week's cloud was the unpleasant stomach bug that I went down with shortly after my last post.  It could have been worse in that it only lasted about 48 hours but you will appreciate that not a lot happened on the stitching front until the cloud had lifted.  The silver lining was the 4lb weight loss that the scales revealed when I went to Slimming World later in the week!  I probably won't be able to maintain this loss, particularly as I was at a street party on Saturday, but it made up for spending two days mainly in bed.

On the stitching front, some pieces did better than others under the circumstances.

Bouquet 5 only got about half an hour's attention, but you can now see the basic shape of the basket.  I really must stop surfing the Net at lunchtime and get on with this, as there is still one more piece to do and I also need to start thinking about Christmas ornaments for my nieces.

Over the weekend I managed another three blocks on Train of Dreams.  The yellowy browny bit in the bottom right hand corner is part of a moon ornament.  I do enjoy working on this piece - I sit on my bed in the morning sunshine with everything laid out beside me and work steadily down the page, one line at a time, watching the picture come to life.

Carnation creeps closer and closer to a page finish.  Another three blocks done this week and then the coming week should see the end of row 8 and the beginning of row 9.

I want to tell you a bit about the street party that I went to on Saturday.  The street that I grew up on celebrates its 100th birthday this year.  The first five houses were built in 1913 and the last house was completed 43 years and two World Wars later.  A final addition was made when I was at school when a property with a double plot (tennis court on the side) was split and a brand new house built on the tennis court part in the 1980s.  The party was held outside the oldest houses with the road closed to traffic.   We had live music from residents, a special birthday cake baked by a teenage resident, the street archive (a work in progress), children's games, a massive faith buffet, visits from previous residents and so on.  The local paper came and have done a full page spread on it today.  The party was opened by the longest residing resident, a gentleman who has lived on the road all his life and who will be 80 in the New Year.  His father had the house built and the family has lived there ever since.  A great time was had by all and it was especially satisfying to see all the children playing in the street, something which the increase in traffic has prevented for quite a long time now.

Anyway my tummy is rumbling and I ought to do something about tea, so all the best to you and yours and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching!