Thursday, 20 December 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All!

This will be my last post for 2007 as tomorrow H and I celebrate our own little Christmas before heading off to Dublin for the holiday season. There's plenty to bring over with everyone else's presents, never mind our own for each other (especially since you have to now pay £4 per bag that you check on the flight!). So we'll have a quiet night tomorrow - I'm cooking a ham, and H will be busily wrapping all my gifts (well, I'm hoping that 'all' isn't too ambitious a word LOL) before heading off to family chaos on Friday.

My parents let me know that they received the little ornament I stitched for them this year. It was a Prairie Schooler design called 'Santa Rides', and I stitched with the recommended DMC threads on 36ct summer khaki linen. I think I took the photos in a darkening evening, so they're not great quality.

Also, my SIL let us know that they'd received Orlaith's stocking and were thrilled with it, which is lovely to hear as it was a labour of love on my part - and H's too as he followed every stitch that I put in! I also tucked in a small ornament for them - another Prairie Schooler design, Redwork Santa, again using the recommended DMC floss and stitched on 32ct antique white linen.

I'm going to bring a bit of stitching over to Dublin with me - notably the SBEBB Winter House Exchange which I really must get going on - but I'm going to lay Paradigm Lost aside as it's just too big to bring. I'll join back up with the Snowbird SAL stitchers on the first Thursday in January. I'll be back in the new year with 2008 stitching goals and very likely some photos from our holiday.

Oh - and one last thing - you may remember the wonderful stitched box topper that Saskia sent to me as part of the Crazy Exchange. I've finished off her return gift this evening and it will be in the post tomorrow.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and all the very best in 2008!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

A Little Experiment

I keep seeing these lovely photos on others' blogs of photos that are done up like collages, so after a small bit of internet research, I've treated myself to a new bit of software called PhotoMix, and here is my first 'go' at a collage.

Below is my Stitchers' Lottery piece, finally finished!, which is a stitcher's case design by C Mon Monde - it's called Trousse aux Roses. I'm still a bit of a beginner with the finishing - this is my first stitcher's case - so it's not perfect, but I hope that whoever wins the lottery will enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed stitching it! The case itself has a pocket and a scissors keeper (please don't mind my gargantuan scissors in the photos, I have yet to treat myself to a proper pair of embroidery scissors, and these are a pair of jewelry-making scissors I've had for years!), and I added in thread rings as well. There is also a scissors fob, and a pincushion which reads 'Meme si nous ne sommes pas soeurs je ne saurais trouver ailleurs une si tendre amie de coeur' which, roughly translated by my good self, so please feel free to correct me!, means 'Even though we are not sisters, I couldn't find a more kindred spirit'.

Finishing this took me pretty much all weekend, although I did manage to do all my Christmas wrapping and finish up the card-writing. Phew! Nearly all set for Christmas - and only 4 working days left for me - hurrah!

I'm off to be brave and be I think probably the first to post my photos on the Stichers' Lottery site - I know several of you have also finished your pieces but are waiting for someone to be the first, so hopefully you'll follow my lead :)

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Back to the SAL

Last week I didn't manage to stitch on Paradigm Lost for the Snowbird SAL, and this week I had a lot on, so I solved the problem by taking a day off to make room for everything :)

I spent the day shopping in Reading, buying gifts, fighting my way through crowds, gazing with bewildered confusion at all the displays of stacks upon stacks of things in the shops which surely nobody could find a use for... But after four hours, three dozen carrier bags, two aching feet, and one empty wallet - it's DONE, the Christmas shopping is DONE! Oh, well, except for all of H's shopping, which I'm leaving to him. Is that wise? His mum may not thank me, but frankly I don't intend to set foot in another retail outlet ever again. Until the January sales, of course.

So after the hubbub of the shops, I indulged in a little tranquility and 'me' time and pulled out PL - here is tonight's progress:

OK, now I'm off to celebrate being all organised for Christmas!! And I'm going to avoid looking at the large pile of unwritten Christmas cards, and the larger pile of gifts that now require wrapping...

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

I'm slipping up

I've been spending a wonderful number of hours reading all your blogs, and catching up with all your news, and whoops I've been slipping a bit in blogging myself! I've also been busy with Christmas shopping and secret stitching, so I haven't had many photos to leave you with.

My Christmas party went very well - we had it in a dingy art gallery in central London. It wasn't such a bad venue really - the dance floor was great (as was the DJ!), but the toilets (both of them, for a party of about 150 people) left quite a bit to be desired.

I've got Thursday off this week to finish off the last bits of my Christmas shopping (phew!) before we head off for our long break in Dublin on the 21st - I'm really looking forward to that (the break, not the Christmas shopping).

I still can't show much secret stitching, but I can share this Lizzie*Kate ornament with you - you may recall that I posted a photo of the finished stitching and was planning on keeping it for our tree. Well, I realised that I was one ornament short, so instead I have hurriedly finished it and popped it into the post for my great friend Nay who I know doesn't read this blog, so it's safe to share.

Merry by Lizzie*Kate

Stitched on 32ct Bourbon 'n' Cola linen from Country Stitch

Stitched with WDW and Carrie's Colours

Finished as pillow ornament

Also, the ornament that I stitched for my in-laws has been safely delivered, so I can now reveal that one too!

Blackwork Angel from Prairie Schooler

Stitched on 32ct Antique White linen

Stitched with DMC and Kreinik

Happy stitching and as ever thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Crazy Exchange from Saskia

Thursdays are supposed to be my night for stitching Paradigm Lost with the Snowbird SAL group - but as my Christmas party is tomorrow, and I didn't have a dress as of 6pm tonight, H and I headed into Reading to do a bit of emergency dress shopping. Oh, and suit shopping for him, and shoe shopping for us both. His Christmas do is tomorrow too (in Dublin though, far distant from mine!) and all his suits are, well, well worn in let's say :)

Essentially, this means that I was going to quickly put a few stitches in PL tonight and hopefully finish the huge medallion I'm working on, but instead, I'm blogging because all plans went out the window when I got home!

This is what I love about the Crazy Exchange - you're having a bit of a manic day, everything's going a bit crazy and the Christmas anxiety is starting to set in (although, yes, I did get a dress in the end!). And then you come home, and guess what, there is a mysterious and wonderful little box sitting on the step! Saskia stitched me this wonderful wonderful box, and I am so in awe of her amazing finishing and gorgeous stitching! Oh, and look - she's stitched her initials in the bottom right hand side of the design, and guess what, they are my initials too - how perfect! (Well, ok technically speaking my initials are actually SMc, but my maiden name also started with M, and not Mc, so I'm inclined to swap between the two as the mood suits me!)

And guess what, it's filled with - tea! I love tea!

She also sent a lovely little card and some Christmas decorations, below being modelled by my tree.

So thank you to Saskia, for making my day bright, and making me forget (however temporarily LOL) that there are only a handful shopping days left until Christmas, and the posting dates are looming (having all your family living out the country can make for some interesting and especially anxious days!). Now I'm going to put on my thinking cap and dream up something worthy to send back to her!
Happy stitching!

Monday, 3 December 2007


Oh my, this is SO SO exciting! It works, it works, the broadband is ALIVE! Okay, well, connected anyway. I'm sitting at home, in my stitching room, ahem, sorry, H's office, typing away with all the time in the world - what a feeling :) I'm so looking forward to catching up with what you all have been up to - I've missed you!!

Firstly - a huge thanks from me to the mysterious stitcher who so kindly sent me a secret package with a Christmassy mitten button, and a skein of lovely Carrie's Creations thread. I know from the postmark where my mystery benefactor lives - Belgium - but not who it is. I would love to know who you are so I can say thank you properly - it was such an unexpected and kind thing to do! Stitchers are such wonderful people - even if it wasn't you, give yourself a pat on the back, because I have just found so many wonderful and lovely people through stitching and blogging.

Now, a quick update from me. I've been madly stitching on Annemarie's squares for Fair & Square Round 4, currently underway. No photos though, as I think she's been loitering with intent round here recently :)

I've also been working on Paradigm Lost of course, because Thursday just gone was my SAL night, and here is my progress - I had a stonking night, and finished all the arms of the medallion I'm working on, and have only the double-headed bird to complete this Thursday, before I start a new medallion. Finally, I'm feeling some progress!

And, as it became December at the weekend, I insisted on heading straight out to buy a Christmas tree. Being Canadian and from a land of plenty (when it comes to trees, anyway), I definitely won't stand for anything but a real tree - I find the fake trees so depressing somehow. So here is our tree in its wrapper, just after we got it home:

And, after I'd had a glass of wine, and nearly killed myself getting the decorations out of the cupboard upstairs, here is the finished product. In my defense, it looks much nicer IRL - Christmas trees are not the easiest subject for the (very) amateur photographer! I wish the photo could convey just how heavenly it smells...

As I was feeling so inspired, I quickly got out some fabric and a few skeins of thread and knocked up this Lizzie*Kate Christmas ornament - I've stitched a fair few ornaments this winter, none of which are for us! I've been so inspired by the recent JCS Ornament Issue (which I only received last week, so is still new in this part of the world!) and also the latest Gift of Stitching which I took a swift peek at this afternoon and intend to peruse more fully once I've finished with this little (and growing) update.

Design: Merry by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on: 32ct Kiwi Illusions Linen - Bourbon 'n' Cola
Stitched with: Carrie's Colours and Weeks Dye Works
Will be finished as a Christmas ornament

Now, just before I do my goal review from November (because I think you might just skip down to the end at this point) I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful people who commented so kindly and complimentarily (is that a word?) on my stocking finish for our niece Orlaith. I'm really looking forward to her birthday now - although I fully expect that because she's two, and that's just the way of the world, she'll enjoy the box I'm going to pack it in more than the stocking :)

Goals Review - November

Finish-finish Christmas gifts - Yes!
Snowbird SAL - stitch Paradigm Lost on Thursdays - Yes!
Carry on with Awake the Dawning Day - Yes!
Carry on with Northern Lights - No, I didn't find time for this
Carry on with Spanish Wine - Yes!
I also finished Orlaith's Stocking ahead of time - Yes!
And, I also finished stitching my Cross Stitchers' Lottery piece - Yes!

So, for December:

Finish and send Annemarie's Fair & Square Round 4 Squares
Finish and post photo of Cross Stitchers' Lottery piece
Stitch and finish at least 2 ornaments - for us!
SBEBB - stitch and finish the Winter House Exchange
Snowbird SAL - carry on stitching Paradise Lost on Thursdays
Crazy Exchange - instigate a Crazy Exchange with ??
Stitch on Awake the Dawning Day
Stitch on Spanish Wine
Stitch on Northern Lights
Stitch on AMAP pinkeep

Phew, that should keep me busy! Well, so much for a short update - I'm impressed you made it this far :)

As ever, thanks for stopping by - happy stitching!