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!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

One foot in front of the other

It's been one of those weeks where you just have to keep plodding on, putting one foot in front of the other to get to the end.  I went back to work on Tuesday (Monday was a Bank Holiday) and had difficulty finding my desk after my week off.  Luckily the big boss was off so there were only two of them to field for.  By the end of the week, I'd cleared the backlog but still have a couple of things to do on Monday which were dropped on me late on Friday.  This had an impact on my stitching in that I did none at lunchtimes and so have no progress to report on Bouquet 5.

In addition we had a family outing today to Sutton Bonington Show, which meant that chores such as shopping and laundry had to be rescheduled, which also affected my stitching time.  The Show was great as usual - crafts, livestock, birds of prey, biggest vegetables, vintage cars and motorbikes etc - a local agricultural show at its best.  My nieces got up close and personal with thousands of honey bees and took their Granfer on a fairground ride.  A good time was had by all.

This weekend I started working on column 2 of Train of Dreams, again using the parking method.  I completed three blocks and am very pleased with the way that this piece is now coming together.  I know that I really should be working on Mum's Angels, but Train is just so much easier to face.  It is far more straightforward, being pure cross stitch, and I can just take it out of its bag and get on with it.

Working steadily on Carnation during the week brought me to the end of row 7.  Three more rows to go - that's 1620 stitches before I finish page 4 and have to scroll up to start the next section of this huge piece.  Ideally I would like to complete page 4 this month, but am somewhat hampered by a centenary street party, Mum's exhibition and the Patchwork Group's 30th birthday party.  Well, we shall see.

In other news, I maintained this week so am still at 12 stone.  I was not surprised because being away from work meant that my days had no structure to them.  When I'm at work, I eat and drink at approximately the same time every day, I'm up and down to the printer, photocopier, fax machine etc, and am generally more active and more timetabled than if I'm sat at home stitching or playing on the computer.  I get weighed on Thursday nights, which meant that I had only had three days back at work this week before weigh-in.

Anyway the big boss is back tomorrow, so here's hoping all is well with you and yours and that the frog is steering clear of your WIPs.