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!