Wednesday, 21 May 2008

May's Ornaments

This month, I didn’t have so much time to stitch ornaments for Leena and my ornament mini-SAL. I chose to stitch Tournicoton’s Petit Noel design, which is really cute - see the finished model here - but essentially it's 4 ornaments in one. I managed the ‘N’ and the ‘O’, so next month I’ll be stitching the ‘E’ and the ‘L’. Here’s what I managed so far (albeit without beads and charms, which I’ll add when all the letters are stitched):

H and I are off to Ireland this weekend to celebrate two happy family events: his youngest sister’s 21st birthday (the main event), and the return of his brother from four years’ sojourn in Australia. We also hopefully get to meet two new extended family members: H’s brother’s girlfriend (she’s English, but they met in Australia), and our new nephew, Darragh Patrick, born the day after my birthday (I kept telling his mother to push harder, so he could be born on my birthday, but he missed it by just half an hour!). So I’ll definitely have the camera charged and ready to go on Friday.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

WIPping along nicely

I managed to put some time in on a few WIPs this past week - Thursday of course was devoted to Paradigm Lost. I promised myself I would finish this medallion this week, and I have! I didn't have time for much else though, as I was late home - work, trains, occasionally everything conspires against me! So here is my progress thus far:

I also managed to get some time on Spanish Wine. I stitched the red flowers and the gold accents around the first red flower (okay, yes, not much progress, I think that was another night hijacked by work).

I am beginning to realise that starting a lot of big projects and then only stitching on them occasionally is not really working for me. I like variety, so I like to have several things on the go, but equally I am only a medium-paced stitcher and I get frustrated by something that takes too long to stitch (especially if I'm only stitching it once a month, and I never seem to get anywhere on it!). So I think my solution is going to have to be to only have 1 large project on the go at any one time, supplemented by some smaller projects for exchanges and such. Theoretically, this should mean I finish the large project much quicker (because my effort is more focused), but don't get too bored stitching on the same thing day after day. What works for you??

Oh, and here are some improved photos of the lovely ornament that Leena sent me for my birthday - the weather has vastly improved today, so the photos turned out a bit better.

Happy stitching and wishing you all a prosperous week ahead!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Another Wonderful Gift!

Lucky me, my birthday keeps going on and on! I got home on a very dreary Thursday afternoon following a delay on the trains to discover a wonderful parcel from Leena waiting for me - I don't know what it is about you wonderful people, but you always manage to arrange for lovely packages to be waiting for me when I've had a particularly bad day!! And Leena cheered me up no end with this birthday treat. In fact, as I opened it, a big smile came to my face - you will probably remember that Leena and I stitch a little mini-SAL with each other once a month, and we stitch Christmas ornaments in the hopes that we'll have some nice things to give away at Christmas time without all the last-minute panic (and maybe even a few nice things left over for our own trees). So, of course, Leena mailed me....a Christmas ornament :) I was laughing when I read her lovely note, it's just so apt!

Now, the weather has been gorgeous and beautiful and hot and wonderful right up until Wednesday this week, and now it's grey and grim and grungy, so the photos I've been able to take this evening are...well they're not great. So hopefully in full and proper daylight tomorrow, I'll get some better ones and share them with you later this weekend.

Leena stitched the Scandinavian Stitches' contribution to the 2007 JCS issue, with mainly Atalie threads - I love how she managed to stuff it, yet keep it relatively flat - it's so gorgeous!

Leena stitched our initials on the back, and went to some trouble to get them right - I know how she feels as I was born with a straightforward surname and my initials were always SM, but then I married a Mc and now I regularly flop back and forth between SM and SMc, depending on mood, size of area to be stitched, and frankly whether I can be bothered to put the 'c' in :) In fact, shortly after getting married I did check with H about what my new intials were, and he said SMcA, but let's face it, I'm a lazy simple girl so I've never ever used that one!

So thank you once more Leena - I love my ornament :)

Now, off to kit up another ornament, because it's our ornament weekend this weekend - see, perfect timing yet again, isn't she great?!

Happy stitching!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

More and Further Birthday Presents for MEEEEEE!

Well, you all know how much I love a Saturday delivery here in the UK, and today is especially good, because the postie brought even more presents for me!!

First, my birthday exchange from Jacqueline came through the door. And what a great birthday present she made me!! She has clearly been hanging out on my blog, finding out about my love of sheep and Drawn Thread, because she made me this amazing wall hanging, and this fob:

And do you think she stopped there? No, of course she didn't! She also made me this very sweet gingerbread pincushion man:

And of course, she was kind enough to put a few stitchy presents in the package as well - some fabric, some buttons, a Shepherd's Bush kit, and some yummy chocolate! I am so spoiled :) Thanks Jacq, I totally love it! Now I just need to find a pretty hanger so that I can hang the wall hanging in the bedroom...

And, because I am the most lucky girl, the birthday presents didn't end there! After a somewhat painful trip to the local Post Office...

('Hi, I'm here to pick up this parcel.'
'We don't have this parcel.'
'Are you sure, the card says you have it?'
'I'm sure, trying ringing the depot.'
'Hi, depot, where's my parcel?'
'Your local post office.'
'Are you sure? They say they don't have it, can you double check?'
'They signed for it on Thursday, they have it.'
'Hi, I've just tried to collect this parcel, and the guy couldn't find it, but the depot assures me that C Fox signed for it on Thursday, so you should have it.'
'We don't have a C Fox.'
'Oh. Well, where do you suggest I look for the parcel?'
'I'm not really sure.'
'Can you check one more time, just in case?'
'I guess so. [Pause while she goes and checks.] Here's your parcel for you.'
'Erm, thanks.')

...I finally got my package and it turns out that it's my SBBC birthday exchange from Anna! She is an amazing crafter, not just a stitcher, as I was quickly to discover! I knew it was gonna be good when I opened the outer parcel, and found this:

She made nearly everything in the parcel herself, including the card:

and the stitched scissor fob (I think it's a Ewe & Eye & Friends design - and I love it!):

AND the beaded scissor fob:

AND this wonderful bag (it's all very chic, with pintucks and EVERYTHING). I tucked the front edge down on the photo, so you can see the lining:

And it didn't end there, she included some DMC variations thread, 2 small Prairie Schooler charts, 2 fat quarters, some linen, and some very clever finger grips for needles (oh, and the scissors that the fobs are attached to, those were in there too!).

Phew, what an amazing birthday day for me!! I've got such a huge smile on my face :) I can't wait for H to come back from Dublin, so I can show him all the wonderful things I got. I am really such a lucky, lucky girl!

And just one stitching update - my progress on this week's instalment of the Snowbird SAL - I really wanted to finish this medallion I am stitching on, but I was so tired after this super long week at work (even though it was only 4 days), that I fell asleep on the couch before I could finish it. Next week, it will be done!

Thank you Anna and Jacqueline, and also all of you who have left birthday wishes for me over the last few days - I love you all!! :)

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Happy Belated Birthday to ME!

Happy birthday to me! It was my birthday yesterday (I've reached 34, I cannot believe it!), and I had a wonderful day with lots of lovely little presents, and H took me out for a yummy dinner last night to celebrate. In fact it was a double celebration as he passed his driving test earlier in the afternoon - well done to him!!

I have seen that Mylene received the SBEBB Garden Exchange that I sent her - I stitched her Peony by Country Cottage Needleworks and finished it into a pinkeep. Now, clearly I on the one hand I did my research well, because Mylene loves CCN, but on the other hand I was somewhat disappointed in myself to hear that she had received the exact same design, also finished as a pinkeep, for her birthday last year. So somehow I feel I've short-changed her - sorry about that Mylene, I intend to do something about it over the coming months, hope you don't mind waiting! Here is the pinkeep I sent her:

Peony - Country Cottage Needleworks/Crescent Colours Threadpack
Linen: 32ct Antique Rose by Stitches 'n' Spice
Floss: Crescent Colours as charted

I have been very busy with stitching secret things and also extremely busy at work. In fact chaotically and quite exhaustingly busy at work :( So I haven't been posting as much as normal. I did, however, find time to put in a few stitches on Awake the Dawning Day, and would you believe I have finally finished the house - what a big job that was! So now I just have a couple of birds to finish off, the eyelet border and all the text, which actually feels like I'm nearly done. Definitely this will get finished 'soon' (like before autumn...).

Happy stitching!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Exchanges and Monthly Goal Roundup

I’ve been away for a couple of days on a work strategy event (yawn), and I was delighted to find a package waiting for me on my return home – it was my SBEBB Garden Exchange from Mama Joan! I’d been admiring Joan’s stitching and finishing, and her trademark project bags and chicken pincushions, so I am extremely pleased to report that I now have my very own samples of all three!! Joan made me a terrific project bag, and stuffed it with not only this gorgeous pinkeep that she stitched – LHN’s Cottage Garden is the design – but also lots and lots of goodies (including the chicken!) – hand cream, some of the same backing fabric she used on the project bag and on the pinkeep reverse, some cute little notecards, a garden-themed teatowel with a stitchable band on the bottom, a little needleminder and a chart with all the floss and buttons required to stitch it. Joan, you have been so generous and kind, and I really love it all!!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, this morning (I so love Saturday mail delivery here in the UK!) another package came through the door – this time it was Melissa C’s Fair & Square Round 6 squares for me – she stitched Lizzie*Kate’s ‘Life’s a Stitch’ which is just perfect, and included some backing fabric, pins, needles and a small tin which had a little surprise in it – a beaded scissor fob! Thank you so much Melissa :) I intend to finish the squares into a pincushion or pinpillow – more photos eventually when I get around to doing it!

There was a special birthday last month – my mum’s! I decided to stitch her something for it, and although it didn’t quite arrived in time (oops), she let me know the other day that it arrived and that she loves it – I stitched Time to Quilt: Winter by Jeannette Douglas as my mum is a talented quilter, and I finished it into a bourse (my first) because I thought she might be able to use it to pop bits and bobs in it when she lugs her sewing machine off to her weekly quilting gatherings. I chose the Winter design in the series because it had the most green in it (my mum’s favourite colour), and also because, being a dedicated golfer, I think she probably quilts far more in the winter (relatively, that is – she pretty much does it constantly!). Enjoy mum :)

And because it’s the beginning of the month, here is April’s goal review, and I’ve of course set a few more for May:

April’s Goals:

Stitch, finish and send 4 exchanges due this month – Yes, sent Vonna the SBEBB Here’s to Ewe exchange, sent Melissa C the Fair & Square Round 6 exchange, sent Heather the SBBC birthday exchange, and sent the SBEBB Garden exchange, which is still en route
Stitch, finish and send Becky K’s prize for winning the giveaway – Yes
Thursdays – Snowbird SAL – keep stitching Paradigm Lost – Yes
Christmas ornament mini-SAL with Leena – stitch at least one ornament – Yes, I stitched three!
Keep stitching the special birthday gift – Yes, I stitched and sent mum her bourse
Keep stitching the other gift – Yes, I did
Keep stitching Awake the Dawning Day – Yes
Keep stitching Spanish Wine – Yes
One new start – Yes, but it’s a secret so can’t tell you about it
Finish the 6 quilting blocks – Yes

Here is what I have planned for May:

Stitch, finish and send Suzanne’s return Crazy Exchange
Stitch, finish and send the HOE Freebie exchange
Stitch the SBEBB ABC exchange
Thursdays – Snowbird SAL – keep stitching Paradigm Lost
Christmas ornament mini-SAL with Leena – stitch at least one ornament
Keep stitching the other gift
Keep stitching Awake the Dawning Day
Keep stitching Spanish Wine
Keep stitching the secret project
Finish at least one thing from the ‘to be finished’ drawer
Quilt – start the sashing and corner blocks
Make a patchwork bag

Phew, that should keep me busy...

Happy stitching!