Monday, 31 March 2008

Biscornu Exchange and Goal Roundup

I had a nice email from Margie, who was my partner in the Hooked on Exchanging biscornu exchange – she was kind enough to let me know that she liked what I stitched for her, which is always a relief! Here are some photos of the biscornu I stitched, and as per usual I didn’t take a photo of the rest of the goodies, but she has some photos on her blog so go and check those out if you are interested (her photos of the biscornu are also much better than mine!!).

Biscornu for Margie (front above, back below)
Tudor by Cross Stitch Direct
Silkweaver 32ct Periwinkle Mist linen
Carrie's Creation 'Clouds in the Sky'

I’ve been busy with exchanges and finishing, so not much else to show you – I have just started re-stitching my SBEBB Here’s to Ewe exchange as I made a bit of a boo-boo with the finishing! Luckily it is not a large design, so I should have this finished fairly quickly – thankfully, as the sending date is looming!

Happy stitching!

Goal roundup for March

Stitch, finish and send the three exchanges due this month – yes, sent HOE biscornu exchange to Margie, SBEBB Spring Quaker and personal exchange with Becky
Start stitching for two further exchanges – yes, I started my SBEBB Here’s to Ewe Exchange (which, due to a finishing error, I now have to re-stitch – oops!), and one further exchange that I can’t talk about yet
Carry on stitching one gift – no, I didn’t manage to do this
Snowbird SAL - stitch Paradigm Lost on Thursdays – yes, every Thursday like clockwork
Awake the Dawning Day - stitch at least one day – yes, did manage just one day
Spanish Wine - stitch at least one day – no, unfortunately due to the SBEBB mistake above, I didn’t manage to fit this in
Mini-Christmas ornament SAL with Leena - stitch at least one ornament – yes, and I might even keep this one for myself!
Choose what I'm going to stitch for Fair & Square Round 6 once my partner is assigned – yes, and I even stitched 1 of the 2 squares
Start a mystery gift for a special birthday – yes, but haven’t gotten very far with it!
Sort-of-mini-quilting SAL with Nicki – get to grips with cutting and sewing – try to make a whole block?? – well, I’m going to give myself a big tick, because although I didn’t quite finish a block, I’m mostly finished 6 blocks, which is more than I thought I’d accomplish!
Start a sewing project – yes, and finished it too

I also ran a giveaway draw for my blogaversary, which Becky K won, so stitching that one will be included in April’s goals, which are:

Stitch, finish and send 4 exchanges due this month
Stitch, finish and send Becky K’s prize for winning the giveaway
Thursdays – Snowbird SAL – keep stitching Paradigm Lost
Christmas ornament mini-SAL with Leena – stitch at least one ornament
Keep stitching the special birthday gift
Keep stitching the other gift
Keep stitching Awake the Dawning Day
Keep stitching Spanish Wine
One new start
Finish the 6 quilting blocks

Sunday, 30 March 2008

And the Winner Is...

My lovely assistant, my husband, helped draw the winner this afternoon (you see, I told you he likes his sleep - he didn't quite make it out of bed this morning!). And the winner is...

Becky K! You've won the giveaway! Well done :) If you can send me an email (it's in my profile) with your snail mail address, I'll start stitching something for you and soon you can start hassling your postman!

This is the hat H pulled Becky's name out of - my mum made it for me about 15 years ago, and it's my gardening hat so I don't get too sunburned (I live in hope that I might actually be able to get a sunburn in the UK... LOL).

Happy stitching!

Friday, 28 March 2008

HOE Exchange Received!

Oh, wow, did I ever get spoiled! I was really excited to see Tuula’s name on the return address portion of the lovely fat envelope that made its way through our mail slot yesterday – I’ve been admiring her stitching so knew that I had a treat in store :) And I was right! She stitched me this gorgeous red biscornu scissor fob, taking the design from a Papillon Designs freebie, and using a beautiful Atalie thread called ‘Rubis’. I absolutely love it – it is so me! I’ve immediately looped this on to my scissors, and even H has commented on how beautiful it is :)


Tuula was also kind enough to include a number of wonderful goodies for me – linen, backing fabric, threads, pins – all the sorts of things that, as she rightly pointed out in her note, stitchers can never have too much of.

Thursday was of course my Paradigm Lost SAL night, and here is two weeks’ worth of progress – I didn’t get much done either last week or this week (mainly this week because we went out for a few glasses of wine at lunchtime, and one is my limit! So I was concentrating v e r y h a r d in order to see the chart, although it was still a bit skew-whiff – I’m hoping I don’t have to frog too much!).

Don’t forget to sign up for the Giveaway – leave a comment on this post by Sunday morning UK time – I’m giving away a stitched item by me as a thank you to all my wonderful readers out there as a celebration of my recent one-year blogaversary. Good luck!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Brrrr – it was really cold this weekend – we had snow flurries and hail flurries, mixed in with sun (albeit cold wintry sun) and rain all weekend. So my plans to get out into the garden and tidy that up and our idea of going golfing – nope, all didn’t happen. So the weekend became mostly about indoor pursuits – stitching, quilting, sewing, baking, (and, yes, the ubiquitous laundry), and of course sampling the gorgeous Easter egg that the Easter bunny brought! How did he know my exact favourite?? :)

Now, I believe I may have mentioned recently that my blogaversary is upcoming…well, I didn’t manage to post on the actual day (which was Saturday just gone) – but don’t think I’ve forgotten! And because it’s all of YOU who make blogging so rewarding (let’s face it, I’d be doing the stitching anyway!), I think you should be the ones to get a big thank-you, so I think a giveaway is in order, don’t you? If you want to be entered in the draw for a stitched item (which I have yet to stitch, so I can’t tell you much about it at this point LOL) to help me celebrate one whole, full, satisfying and very exciting year of blogging, leave a comment on this post and I’ll enter you in the draw! H will help me draw names on Sunday morning (30th March) UK time, so you have until then to enter (he likes his sleep, so it’s likely to be quite late morning LOL). Good luck!

Now, Nicki and I agreed that we were going to use the Easter weekend to, in her case catch up with her quilting project(s), and in my case start my very first ever quilting project. And I have to say it was quite a learning curve! I managed to rack up about 5 hours on the phone over several days with my mum, my personal quilting guru. I thank the stars for digital cameras and instant messaging, because we spent a lot of time saying ‘What? I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me …MSN me a photo of what you’re talking about.’ Here is what I managed to achieve – 6 blocks that are nearly complete. I have yet to attach the last two strips to the top and bottom of the block, and then it’s on to the sashing and corner blocks (yes, you can see I’ve been trying to pick up the lingo from my mum as well!). I am only praying at this point that the blocks are somewhat straight, or I’m going to have to claim that it was a crazy quilt pattern to start with!

In addition to quilting, I managed to put in a few stitches on both ADD and PL, but the emphasis is definitely on ‘few’ – even with side-by-side ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos you’d be hard pressed to identify any progress – so I’m just telling you about it, and not posting any photos. Hopefully next time with each of these I’ll make better progress and have something worth showing!

Much of the weekend was spent sewing and stitching for exchanges – my HOE biscornu and SBEBB Spring Quaker were posted, my personal exchange with Becky is finished ready to post, SBEBB Here’s to Ewe is stitched and sewed and ready to finish – so I haven’t much in the way of photos that I can yet share. I’m going to slow down on exchanges after April to focus on one bigger project. I haven’t decided whether I’ll be posting about it or not (as it’s meant to be a surprise), but I think perhaps I might – you’ll see soon enough :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter break – happy stitching!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Happy Noel!

Well, it’s a tiny bit out of season, but this weekend was the mini-SAL that Leena and I have to stitch Christmas ornaments. I know that Leena is secret stitching – her ornament is for an exchange with a group of Finnish stitchers who are all busily stitching for a Christmas ornament exchange at the moment. I managed to finish a gorgeous one this weekend (if I do say so myself LOL):

Design: Just Nan ‘Holly Noel’
Fabric: Country Stitches 28ct Lugana ‘Kiwi’
Floss: DMC as charted

I’m thinking this one is going to be a flatfold for myself – I don’t know if I can bear to part with it :) All this Christmas stitching throughout 2008 will have to bear some fruit for me!

Now, I’m just about to post off my HOE biscornu exchange, and I’m just waiting on one piece of mail to post off my SBEBB Quaker Exchange. So soon I shall have more photos to share.

Happy stitching!

Friday, 14 March 2008

More Paradigm Lost and a bit of STASH!

It was a bit of an anniversary for me and Paradigm Lost this week – I started it a year ago on Tuesday! Now, I am a slow stitcher to be sure, but to be quite fair to myself, I stitched one test skein’s worth back in March 2007, decided I liked the colour (Crescent Colours Bejeweled), and then ordered a whole batch of it (I think around 35 skeins) to make sure they were from the same dye lot – after a bit of an escapade, that didn’t arrive with me until late June. I guess that means that really I’ve only been stitching on it for just over 8 months. (8 MONTHS??!!!!) And, to celebrate my PL anniversary, I actually managed to stitch over the halfway point! (Just to clarify, that would be, the linen rests on my WIP pile folded in half widthways and so after a year has a bit of a crease in it, and I stitched below the crease! This is not in any way a statement that I have finished half of the project, which would be a blatant lie as you can see from my progress photo.)

My bit of stash arrived from Carol at Heirloom Embroideries – and I must just show you a photo of the chart – Embroiderer’s Huswif – which is so beautifully presented! The covers are laminated, the whole thing is bound, there are colour photos of each portion of the huswif, the charts are partly in colour, and there are two copies of the chart – one for keeping, one for working from. Yet another urgent thing to start, I have so many things I want to stitch! (Sorry for the flash glare in the photo.)

Hopefully I’ll have some exchanges to show you soon – I’m imminently going to send off my HOE Biscornu exchange and my SBEBB Quaker Exchange. I’m being held up by waiting for some goodies to arrive in the post. I really don’t want to have to send the exchanges off without some of the goodies, but I’m being foiled by…weather? postal delays? shipping delays? bad post karma? Something, anyway…

This weekend is Leena and my ornament mini-SAL this weekend - so I'm about to sit down with Just Nan's Noel ornament design. Hopefully I'll have photos for you at the end of the weekend.

And one quick celebration – H passed his driving theory test! Yes! He’s since booked his practical test (on my birthday – I’m hoping that’s a good omen) and now has just over 7 weeks of driving lessons to go… Fingers crossed for him!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Return Crazy Exchange Arrived!

I got home to a wonderful package from Virpi in Finland today - I had sent her a Crazy Exchange earlier this year, and her return exchange arrived today! She stitched me a truly gorgeous piece - the satin stitching is so beautiful! I have decided to use it as a liner in my basket of pinkeeps - the basket is smaller than the stitched piece, so the borders hang over for all to admire :) It is really lovely - thank you again to Virpi!

She also treated me a number of wonderful goodies in the envelope, so I've included a photo of those as well. I am a lucky stitcher :)

PS I have looked up my blogaversary - it's imminent! I'm going to do a giveaway, so check back in March :)

Happy stitching!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Squawking in the Kitchen

I’ve been busy with lots of mystery stitching – most of it for exchanges. So I don’t have much stitching to show you. But I did find a spare hour on Sunday night to finally finish up the patchwork chickens my mum made for me. If you remember, she knocked up the log cabin squares, added in the comb and beak, and sewed them together, leaving me one seam open to stuff the chickens with rice. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to pay to post a load of rice from Canada to the UK :)

So, half a bag of Sainsbury’s Value Rice, several stitches and 4 black plastic beads later, the chickens are done, ta da! They’re now happily clucking on the kitchen windowsill.

And, of course, here is this week’s instalment of my progress on Paradigm Lost. I’ve been stitching for 16 weeks on this SAL – and still very motivated - so I'm grateful to Dani and Kathy for persuading me to join. I’m about 25% done – so it looks as if I won’t be finished this until early 2009. Phew, what a project! In the more short-term, I should be finished up page four a bit later this month.

Happy stitching and enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, 2 March 2008


Just a quick post today, with a summary of how I did against my goals last month:

Snowbird SAL - stitch PL on Thursdays - yes!
Fair & Square Round 5 - stitch and send squares to Marg - yes - and also received Marg's squares to me
Crazy Exchange - initiate one exchange - yes, sent an exchange to Iris and awaiting return exchange
Christmas ornaments - stitch at least one ornament with Leena on our mini-SAL - I stitched two!
More exchange stitching - make a start on 5 exchange projects, and send the one with the February sending date - I started 4 out of 5, and I did send the one with the February sending date, so nearly met this goal
Spanish Wine - spend at least one day stitching this - yep
Awake the Dawning Day - spend at least one day stitching this - yep
Gift - carry on with stitching one gift - yep, did this too

So, here are March's goals:

Stitch, finish and send the three exchanges due this month
Start stitching for two further exchanges
Carry on stitching one gift
Snowbird SAL - stitch Paradigm Lost on Thursdays
Awake the Dawning Day - stitch at least one day
Spanish Wine - stitch at least one day
Mini-Christmas ornament SAL with Leena - stitch at least one ornament
Choose what I'm going to stitch for Fair & Square Round 6 once my partner is assigned
Start a mystery gift for a special birthday
Sort-of-mini-quilting SAL with Nicki - get to grips with cutting and sewing - try to make a whole block??
Start a sewing project

Phew, that feels, um, like a stretch challenge! We'll see how far I get - as long as the exchanges are finished on time and out the door, the rest is just a bonus :)

And, in honour of Mothering Sunday here in the UK and Ireland today, I'm going to share my favourite chocolate recipe with you (I should say, my current favourite - being a chocolate addict means this can change at very short notice!). Happy Mother's Day!

Truffle Chocolate Puddings
Makes 6
Takes about half an hour to forty minutes to make and bake (allow time after for cooling)

(For the Americans - sorry, being an English recipe, it's in weights, not volumes)

150g butter (plus extra for greasing ramekins)
150g caster sugar (normal white sugar) (plus extra for coating ramekins)
150g good quality dark chocolate, broken up into manageable pieces
3 large eggs
50g flour, sifted
6 x milk chocolate truffles (use what you have available - Hershey's kisses would work well - anything smallish and pure chocolate will fit the bill)

Preheat the oven to 200C (that's Gas 6 or 400F). Lightly grease 6 ramekins with butter, and then coat with caster sugar. On low heat, melt the chocolate and 150g butter together. Set aside to cool. Whisk 150g caster sugar into eggs until pale and thick. Stir chocolate mix into egg mixture, then fold in the sifted flour. Spoon half the mixture into the 6 ramekins, drop in a truffle (or whatever small piece of chocolate you are using) into each ramekin, and top up each ramekin with the remaining mixture. Transfer the ramekins to a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until risen and coming away from the edges. Cool on racks, and serve when they are still a bit warm. Serve with your choice of double cream, vanilla ice cream or whipping cream. Enjoy!!