Monday, 28 April 2008

Oh My, It's a Long One! (With LOTS Of Photos

It seems like an age ago, but our short break to the Cotswolds last weekend was amazing – the weather didn’t do much, but the village we stayed in was so peaceful and small, we couldn’t help but relax. H mastered the woodstove, and I got to be toasty warm for 4 days (this is a bonus, as my hands and feet are usually like blocks of ice, regardless of the season).

Our cottage (above), below, a view across the fields to the village

Below: looking up the only street in the village

And, of course because I had 4 days at my leisure, I found lots of time for stitching – I managed to finish three, yes THREE ornaments for the mini-SAL that Leena and I have together:

Heart in Hand - Winter Forest

Sam Sarah: Winter Love

Prairie Schooler: Blackwork Angel (with trumpet)

The holiday does seem like a while ago because I’ve been so hideously busy at work, but I was cheered up immensely by finding a mystery package on the doorstep this evening on my way in from work – Suzanne sent me this adorable bourse as a Crazy Exchange, so now I have 30 days to send her back something nice. I will get my needle to the ready! Here is the bourse, and also the extra goodies she put into the parcel for me – thank you so much Suzanne!

I heard from Becky K that she received the giveaway treat that she won about a month ago – sadly, her father passed on this week, so she has not been posting much. My thoughts are with you Becky at this difficult time. But she did find time to send me a very nice email to thank me for the floss tag I made her (but really, it’s me should be thanking her for reading my blog, LOL!). It’s a C Mon Monde design from Boite a Tresors, and the B on the reverse is from an A Mon Ami Pierre alphabet. I think purple is a big favourite of Becky’s, so I changed the pattern to suit.

I also heard that Melissa received the Fair & Square Round 6 squares that I posted her – these are one of the extra little pillow designs from one of the LHN Dear Diary series.

Oh, and I had a wonderful email from Heather letting me know that she got her birthday parcel from me – she was my partner for the Stitching Bloggers’ Birthday Club this year. It was a real delight getting to know her on her blog, and following her quilting and stitching exploits. Check out her blog for an extremely cute photo of her daughter burrowing into some of the extras I put in the parcel for her :) I stitched her the In My Garden needleroll by Shepherd’s Bush.

And, speaking of Heather and quilting, I managed to find some time to quilt this weekend, and finished off my first 6 blocks – whoop whoop! So now I have just to square them up, add sashing and corner blocks, and 3 borders. It’s a snap, eh?!

Last week I managed to find time to stitch a bit on both Awake the Dawning Day and Spanish Wine – my two long term projects (along with Paradigm Lost) which really aren’t that big, but which sadly I don’t seem to be able to find much time for. I seem to be always stitching for exchanges or other people, so stuff for me tends to quickly make it to the bottom of the pile!

And, lastly (sorry, I did say it was going to be a long one!) here is the progress from my last session with Paradigm Lost, which was actually now nearly 10 days ago as I was working late this past Thursday night and didn’t have time to haul it out.

Thanks for bearing with me for this long – it’s difficult to find time to stitch, blog, clean house, work full time, commute, bake, cook, quilt and have 3-hour conversations on the phone with my sister – I don’t know how we all manage!! :)

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Exchange - And What an Exchange It Is!

Yesterday a lovely big box was waiting for me at home – Becky and I did a personal exchange, and it had arrived! On Becky’s instructions, I opened it very very carefully, and you will just about never believe the amazing exchange she sent me – I am still having trouble believing it now, because it is perfect and beautiful and gorgeous. Really, I am overwhelmed by the time and effort she has put into this! We had agreed a Spring theme, and you can see that Becky stuck to that to the letter – this is what she stitched for me:

The box is so beautifully lined with a gorgeous green fabric (green is one of my favourites, hurrah!)

And it didn’t finish there – she spoiled me absolutely rotten (and far more than she needed to!!) by filling the box with all sorts of wonderful bits and bobs, just look:

There was linen, silk Mori, a pincushion, a thread holder, a little scissors holder and fob kit, a calendar, some Altoids, some Hershey’s kisses (okay, take a quick breath...), some Mary Englebreit post it notes, a cute Easter bunny, a whole boxful of buttons and charms, a notebook, and a tuck pillow. Whew, it was like a never-ending Aladdin’s cave opening up this box! Thank you Becky, from the bottom of my heart – you are a special person.

It’s our holiday weekend this weekend, so once I finish gazing admiringly at the box Becky sent (I can’t help it, I just keep staring at it in wonder!), I’m going to get busy with dinner, packing and of course sorting out a couple of small stitching projects to bring with me – perfect timing that it is Leena’s and my mini-SAL this weekend, so I can dig out a couple of Christmas ornament designs and hopefully stitch at least one of them!

A special happy birthday to my mum today!

I’ll post an update when we’re back – until then, happy stitching!

*** Thank you for all the comments on the exchange to Vonna, particularly the sheep! I forgot to include the details, so if you are thinking of making one for yourself (and let’s face it, if I can do it, you definitely can do it!), it is a book by Tone Finnanger called Crafting Springtime Gifts and is available from Amazon either UK or US and likely its other regional sites as well. Let me know how you get on! ***

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Here's to Ewe Vonna

I had a very kind email from Vonna to let me know that the Here’s to Ewe exchange I sent has landed with her. I hope that she is able to get some good photos – in my rush to re-stitch this because I messed up the finishing the first time round (I didn’t centre the tin top properly – but I’ve kept it to finish one day for myself, factory second, ha ha) I didn’t remember to take any photos! So you’ll have to believe me when I say it was a tin finish :) This is the photo of the original stitching, before I started finishing it

I also was inspired by CathyMK’s blog to try my hand at a bit of dollmaking – Cathy’s lamb is here and here is ‘Mama Sheep’ (as named by Vonna’s daughter). I had difficulty in making myself actually put her in the parcel!

I finished stitching my SBEBB Garden Exchange piece, and have even managed to get a few stitches in on Awake the Dawning Day. It has been a while since I posted a photo of ADD, so here’s one more to remind you what it looks like than to show any progress (a bit more house, a bit more door – you wouldn’t notice really!). Someone asked what fibres I’m using: the answer is the charted Weeks floss.

Happy stitching!

Monday, 14 April 2008

A Finishing Weekend

This weekend we had guests over so I didn’t have a huge amount of time to stitch, but I did find the odd few minutes here and there to finish a few things – two you’ll have to wait to see until they make their way to their new homes, but the third I can share with you. If you remember, Annemarie sent me some gorgeous squares for the Fair and Square exchange we were in, and I rescued them from my ‘to finish’ drawer yesterday. I so love this design that Annemarie stitched, and (even if I say so myself) I think the pinkeep that they became turned out quite well!



There wasn’t a PL update last week as I spent an awful lot of time at work (much more than usual), and my Thursday was completely given over to other endeavours. But I’m hoping to be back on track with it this Thursday.

It’s H’s birthday coming up next week, and we’re going away to the Cotswolds this weekend to celebrate. Obviously the first thing I’m packing will be my stitching, and then my hiking boots and the golf clubs! I plan to bring a little ornament with me to stitch, as it is also Leena’s and my mini monthly ornament SAL this weekend. Perfect, as it will be small and portable! Hopefully I will be able to show you photos on our return (if I manage to finish it).

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

MORE Exchanges!

Well, my plan to do some gardening at the weekend was foiled by the weather in grand style – this is what we woke up to on Sunday morning!

Luckily it has all melted and gone, but the temperatures are set to remain chillingly low, so the seeds are staying in their packets for the moment.

I had a lovely surprise on Monday – Karen K was revealed as my partner for the SBEBB Spring Quaker exchange. She stitched me this gorgeous pinkeep by Milady’s Needle. The weather may not be particularly Spring-like, but this pinkeep surely is!

Front of pinkeep:

Back of pinkeep:

She also included lots of wonderful extras for me, which I can’t wait to use. Oh, and did I mention that she handmade that lovely little card?!

As well, I heard from Becky that she had received the parcel I posted over to her for our personal Spring-themed exchange. It was a real challenge stitching something for Becky – I was quite anxious about my finishing – but she has reassured me that she loves the stitched pieces, and will get use out of the extras I sent too. There are more (and better!) photos over on her blog.

Drawn Thread 'Spot of Spring'
36ct Stitches 'n' Spice 'Celtic'
DMC floss
Finished as: pinkeep, needleminder and scissor fob

Oh, and I have to report that my horse was pulled up with just a few fences to go in the Grand National on Saturday (not that he was in contention) so no contribution to my retirement fund from my winnings LOL!

Happy stitching!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

More Exchanges - Keeping Royal Mail Busy

Well, my postie is surely being kept busy by all these stunning packages being delivered to my door! It turns out that Andrea was my partner for the SBEBB Here's to Ewe exchange, and her parcel to me arrived last night (and has spurred me on to finally get the last finishing done on my exchange so my poor partner can finally receive hers!). Andrea is a big fan of The Drawn Thread, which suits me fine because so am I, and stitched me a truly gorgeous pinkeep - the finishing is really really beautiful, my photos don't really do it justice!

Designer: The Drawn Thread 'Two Friends'
Linen: 32 Water Lily Jobelan



Isn't it just stunning?? And, of course, being the wonderful person she is, Andrea included lots of brilliant extras (it's not easy to tell, but the fluffy object on the left of the photo is actually a pen, complete with its own stand and topped with a marabou feather arrangement and a sheep!!), for which I am truly grateful. Thank you so much Andrea, I love it all!

Now, off to send off that exchange!

Happy stitching!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Weekly PL Update

Well, this kind of snowflake-y medallion is coming along nicely. I really long to finish PL this year. I may perhaps think of adding another half day to PL each week… I keep thumbing through my stash and really want to start something new (for me!), but I’m trying to abstain (except for exchanges or gifts) until I’ve finished a WIP. Must stitch faster! By the way, you can see the (very attractive) crease through the middle of the linen, which I’m very relieved to report is nearly through the centre of the design – I had a few moments of panic recently, thinking I’d started the whole thing too far down the linen and would run out before I finished stitching the bottom of the design – can you imagine?!?!

It’s the Grand National this weekend and I’ve managed to pull an Irish horse, Dun Doire, out of the sweepstakes at work. This means that tomorrow I will make my annual pilgrimage to the local bookies and put a few quid each way on a horse. Last year I won nothing (one of my horses fell at the 1st!) so this year I’m hoping for a bit better return on investment ;)

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

I'm Delighted!

I think we all know what troubles Annemarie has been having – and how she was struggling to even be able to stitch at all late last year and early this year. Thankfully, she is recovering and has found renewed joy in her stitching. The point of the story is, Annemarie was my partner for Round 4 of the Fair and Square Exchange back in late 2007, and I was acutely aware of how awful she felt at not being able to stitch my squares for me – not a problem from my point of view, as squares can always be stitched whenever, but health is a much more precious commodity, and I just hoped she would quickly recover and feel her old self.

Well, clearly, she’s feeling much better, because I had a mystery package drop through my door yesterday, and boy was I ever delighted with its contents! Look at these simply stunning squares that Annemarie stitched for me:

They are a design by Christiane Dahlbeck and Annemarie couldn’t have chosen better – I absolutely LOVE them – I can’t wait to finish them into a special…well, I haven’t quite decided what yet, but definitely something special! She also included a bag of yummy loose tea and a sweet postcard – I’m going to have to ask her about the fairytale of the root children as that’s not one I’m familiar with. Thanks again Annemarie, I truly am delighted!

Happy stitching!