Tuesday, 24 April 2007

It's a Goal! (or 2 or 6)

This is how I did for April:

Their Song - yes - and have brought it on holiday with me, so progressing nicely
Fond Hearts - no, I had a few problems sourcing the fabric so haven't started this yet
Folk Art - no, I ended up putting this aside before I even got going because the charting was proving too fiddly
Find and start a scissor fob design - yes, Heart Throb by Drawn Thread, and also have this in BC with me, so half finished
And also started a 'Moroccan' style Biscornu which is underway

Mum's Heart II - yes, only have about 3 days left on this
Northern Lights - yes, still going
Paradigm Lost (pending thread arrival) - no, thread hadn't arrived before our holiday, so no progress on this
Silver Needle (pending more thread arrival) - yes, thread arrived and worked on this

Mum's Heart I - yes, brought it to BC safely - photos imminently!
Mirabilia 'Titania' - just about - brought it to BC rolled up in a cardboard posting tube, and have delivered it to the framers here - also photos imminently

And now for May's Goals:

Busy Bee
Heart Throb Scissor Fob
Moroccan Biscornu
Mum's Heart II

Their Song
Northern Lights
Paradigm Lost (pending thread arrival)
Silver Needle

START: (three of the following, I can't decide which!)
Irish Blessing - Sweetheart Tree - kitted
Spanish Wine - Wild at Heart - must kit
An Open Heart - Drawn Thread - pending getting fabric in BC (have thread/charms)
Fond Hearts - Blackbird Designs - pending getting fabric in BC (have thread)
Happy Hearts Sampler - Birds of a Feather - pending kitting fabric/thread

Mum's Heart II
Busy Bee

I had a lovely long update post going, with lots of photos of WIPs and gifts and a couple of snaps from our holiday so far, and Blogger decided to crash right as I was typing the final sentence. Grrrr. Once I stop sulking with Blogger, I will re-write the post as best I can and get the photos all up for you.

Tendrils and a Frame-up

Wow, what a weekend! We went over to Dublin for H's surprise 30th party, and we had a fantastic time. He had no clue (men don't, do they) and thought that we were just going out for a nice quiet dinner with the family. We did do that, but then we got him to the local pub, which we'd spent the day decorating with balloons, streamers, banners and a photo montage of H's first 30 years. All sorts of family and friends turned up, and it was a great night! I was especially glad to get my hands on a few of the more embarrassing photos from his younger years :)

I didn't do any stitching at the weekend as I was revelling in my role as bossy party coordinator, but picked up my needle once again on our return home. I've been working away at Busy Bee fairly steadily recently, as one of my April goals was to finish it, and it seems a shame to not make a concerted effort to achieve my goals in the very first month I have ever set any. You can see from the photo that I've got on really well, finishing the pulled thread band all the way down through the tendrils and to the pair of eyelets, which are technically a row of their own, although they will be surrounded with yet more tendrils and a diamond with one last bee. Then I've just to attach the paillettes, which will be a new one for me, and the small bee charm at the top.

The frames I ordered for my two Mum's Heart projects also arrived yesterday, so I spent some time framing up the first (and completed) Mum's Heart for my mum - it's to be a mother's day gift for her. Although Mother's Day is in March here in the UK, I generally wait until May to give Mum gifts and cards as she's back in Canada. It took an hour or so, with lots of tugging and un-sticking my fingers from tape, but the result is beautiful and I'm really pleased with it! As usual, I won't post the photos yet until I've actually given it to Mum, but we've only 3 sleeps until our trip to Vancouver Island, so it won't be long before I'll finally upload all those, including progress on Mum's Heart II, which is for H's Mum's birthday, only a couple of days after Mothers' Day back home. I know that my mum-in-law only logs on to her email once every six months, so the chances of her stumbling across photos of her gift are pretty minimal!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Checker Stitch and Snow!

Tuesday night was spent on Silver Needle. I'm finding it really difficult to photograph properly, I think because of the colour of the fabric, which is a dusky pink colour. The stitching never seems to show up properly. I'll have to try and get some brighter light I think. I finished off the lettering, and completed the row below, which is 'checker stitch', or alternating blocks of diagonal satin stitch and blocks of over-one stitching. Somehow what I've accomplished doesn't look like much, but it took hours!

Wednesday I moved on to Northern Lights, as I feel I've slightly abandoned it recently. I finished off the pine tree band, and began the snow band, which is about 1/3 complete now. The blue fabric as ever is difficult to count on, and I'm very glad it is 28-count and not any finer as already I have to stitch slowly on it or risk a banging headache. So this project is going to take me quite a while I suspect.

I haven't let this put me off, though, and have just put in an order with Janice from Traditional Stitches for another chart in the series - Northern Shield. That one is luckily on a much lighter linen.

We're heading off to Dublin tomorrow for H's birthday weekend - his 30th, of which I am fleetingly jealous, and then I remember that I'm only 32, so I can't really be too worried about it. If I was really truly concerned, I'd probably be investigating lots of really expensive skin cream, which I am determinedly avoiding for at least several more years! I'll post another update after the weekend, and maybe even a few birthday party snaps!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Buzzing along

Another glorious weekend in ol' Blighty - spring is really here and the weather has been amazingly bright and warm. It's actually a bit uncomfortable sleeping at night, which is unknown in April in these parts.

We spent Friday night madly cleaning the house from top to bottom - we were having a small dinner party on Saturday night so of course all the little jobs that had been stacking up over the week suddenly became priority urgent. It doesn't matter how mouth watering your chicken wrapped in parma ham is if your bathroom sink has the remnants of last night's toothpaste stuck to the rim; your scrummy pots au chocolat are forgotten in light of the large tear-shaped red wine stain on the hall carpet. So it was off to work scrubbing high and dusting low, spray bottle of Flash in my hip holster. Next time, I vow to keep on top of these jobs so that there isn't a mad panic next time we have people over for dinner. (Really.)

After the success of Saturday's dinner, our happily stuffed guests headed off bright and early on Sunday morning, leaving us to tidy up the mountains of dishes/crystal/silver/trays/pots/every single useable piece of crockery, and then I spent a happy few hours on Busy Bee - progress to your left - while H sat and watched several hours of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He finds it compelling viewing, dare I say addictive. I, however, cringe and try to block my ears every time Ty starts talking/bellowing, and poke fun at the poor people who get their homes re-built. It's not very nice of me, I know, but I find it so hokey and sickeningly Hallmark-sentimental. Anyway, luckily I can concentrate on my stitching and can ignore the programme for hours on end, which is a key skill when they run an 'Extreme Sunday' and it's on for endless hours.

Only 11 days until we head off for Vancouver Island - I absolutely cannot wait! First, there is the small matter of H's 30th this weekend, so a short trip to Dublin is booked and family ready for a small knees-up.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Their Song - a new start!

Last night I started 'Their Song', the first Loose Feathers chart for 2007 - it's so gorgeous! This is my first Loose Feathers chart, and I love not only the beautiful design but the obvious thought and care which have gone into the creation of it. I started off last night in the middle of the design, and finished the main arcing branch, a couple of leaves and half of two berries, as well as the flower motif to the right. I'm using the recommended threads and fabric - the colours are really muted, but really beautiful, and they really have that true sampler feel to them. I've lent my digital camera briefly to a friend who is selling her flat so that she can take lovely photographs to entice buyers, so no photos of my progress thus far, but I should get the camera back by the weekend and hopefully I will be able to put up some progress photos by Sunday. If Blogger cooperates, and if I can get H's laptop to play nicely with the digital camera...

We've house guests over for the weekend, so I'll probably not post again until Sunday, as I will be either entertaining or madly cleaning the house from top to bottom until then...

I wish everyone a happy and healthy weekend!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Happy Happy Easter!

Sorry I've been away for so long - the Easter weekend was absolutely gorgeous, so we spent lots of time in the garden, in the park, in the house spring cleaning... I just couldn't bear to get the laptop out (we are not particularly good friends, the laptop and I), but today I'm feeling up to the task, so here is the weekend update!


It was 20C! Gorgeous for April, so H and I headed off to the park for a picnic lunch and a lazy afternoon. Truly a spectacular day. I love spring, I just feel like I suddenly have bags of energy! We bought some flowers for the house to cheer it up - tulips, my absolute favourite. I spent my stitching time working on a sweet pea bookmark as a birthday present for my mum - it only took me a couple of days, and I hope she'll love it! Also, I've had a bit of trouble locating enough Crescent Colours 'Bejeweled' to finish Paradigm Lost (although at this stage finishing is a LONG way off), and the very kind Sharon at Crescent Colours pointed me in the direction of Attic Needlework in Arizona, who agreed to take my very large order, and send it on to me as soon as possible. Hurrah, there's one project nearly unblocked!


I love Saturdays, because we get post on a Saturday, and this Saturday's post held a special surprise! After waiting for nearly 6 weeks, my backordered Waterlilies thread FINALLY came through the door! So I'm no longer stalled on Silver Needle, and to prove it, this is what I accomplished over the weekend - not bad considering I had only part of the 3 large flowers at the top completed prior to the weekend. (I also worked a bit on Mum's Heart II, but for some reason the colonial knots have got me in knots - I actually threw the frame across the floor - very carefully mind you - in frustration because I can't get them to work properly. And last time I stitched this, I had absolutely no problems at all - sod's law I reckon.)


Easter Sunday - after Easter Mass, I made H his easter treat - he's not over fond of chocolate, so I baked him a cake instead, which turned out beautifully, but was very very rich, so there is still tons of it left as we can only eat a sliver at a time. He, I'm quite happy to report, bought me a lovely huge egg made of dark chocolate which also came with three further bars of chocolate. Gorgeous! We spent the day spring cleaning and pottering in the garden - I planted the sweet peas for the summer, and potted up some bedding plants, and cleared the garden of a couple of minor pests - we bought the house about 8 months ago, and a previous owner had put in a vinca minor and it was rampaging around most of the very small plot. It's now history!


The last day of our magical weekend saw me finish up the bookmark for Mum and spend lots more time in the garden and with H - a truly lovely end to the weekend. In fact, we were so relaxed that we weren't even disheartened when we realised, halfway through building our new BBQ, that the instruction booklet is missing pages and skips from step 9 to step 14! Such is life, and I'm sure the manufacturer can send us a fresh copy. I hope you all had magnificent Easter weekends!


Back to work today, but a treat on my return home - my stash enhancement parcel has arrived from Traditional Stitches! I'm very excited about my first packet, which contained:

3 beading needles
2 charts (one tulip, one birds and balloons - of the hot air variety)
1 project for a stitched fortune teller - you remember folding up squares of paper into those four-cornered cone shapes, flipping up the flaps to tell your friends their fortune?? I do, and this is a neat fabric version - including charms
3 cute stitching-themed fridge magnets

I can't wait for next month's!

Well, that's enough for tonight - happy Easter to all!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

In April, I will...

Goals for the month:

Their Song
Fond Hearts
Folk Art
Find and start a scissor fob design

Mum's Heart II
Northern Lights
Paradigm Lost (pending thread arrival)
Silver Needle (pending more thread arrival)

Busy Bee
Birthday bookmark for mum

Mum's Heart I
Mirabilia 'Titania'

That should be enough to keep me busy...

More Charts

Great news - Kate from Thread-Bear has been in touch and I should get three charts in the post today as well as the first Loose Feathers chart and fabric. Hurrah! Can't wait! Still no word on the outstanding thread I'm waiting for, so I may have to find a short-term solution (i.e. buy some more thread now and put the ordered thread in my stash when it arrives) as I want to get cracking with the stuff that's on hold. Stitched a bit on Mum's Heart II last night - it's now about halfway done, so will be done in plenty of time for mum-in-law's birthday, even with our 2-week break in Canada factored in. That reminds, I must really investigate stitching on airplanes, although I can't imagine that in the current climate this would be allowed...

I had a glass of wine in Gram's honour last night - she would have been 86, and is daily missed.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

No Time No Time

It's been one of those weeks - I never seem to have enough time to turn around, nevermind blog! Or, perhaps I've just been loathe to give up stitching time to type? In any case, I'm back and here is my progress over the last few days. Left is my progress (not quite up to date as I did a couple more hours on it last night) of Northern Lights - I put the fabric on a proper roller frame rather than a hoop on Friday night, and I'm now whizzing through the satin stitches, so that seems to be that problem solved (phew). I'm on to the second row now - pine trees.

This is my progress on Busy Bee - as expected, this one is stitching up very quickly. What you can see is the top half of the design, and the partially completed honeycomb in the middle forms part of a large central motif, including lots of honeybees, then the bottom part is a similar size to the top. So even though I'm only stitching on this once or twice a week, I think it'll be finished very soon.
I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me on Thursday when I got home - my package from the States!! I had treated myself to a number of charts, and I spent a very enjoyable evening reading them all through :) This is what arrived:
Apple Sampler - Birds of a Feather (has anyone else noticed the incorrect punctuation - that drives me nuts!!)
So now I just need to kit them all out ... :)