Brown/Blue Spotty

28 February 2011

Washday Monday

I don't know about you but Monday was always laundry day in our house ~ rarely was laundry done except on it's designated day.  It was much more of a chore for my Mum ~ more labour intensive before automated machines became available and it was a job which took the whole day, especially in our house!  I remember having the job sometimes of shifting the loads between the tubs of the twin tub machine ~ even getting the machine out from under the kitchen counter was hard work.  I can also remember the machine before this, which lived in the wash house outside, I don't recall how that machine worked ~ it did only wash and I do remember helping to turn the handle on the mangle before the laundry was marched down the path and pegged out. 
There is no better aroma than line dried laundry ~ my Gran always thought that the laundry dried a little softer if there was a touch of frost ~ it's certainly easier to iron after a good old swirl around on the laundry whirly-gig in the garden! 
As I am not at work today laundry is what I am doing ~ the first load is swooshing around in the machine as I sit typing.  Sadly it will not dry billowing in the wind as I would like as it's too damp here today. 
Interspersed with this domesticity I am pottering at other things too ~ I may even manage a little stitching.

Happy week


27 February 2011

A Quick Thank You, Happy Accidents & Stitching Update

Firstly, Thank You for all the lovely comments that have been made about my finishing ~ it's humbling to be told such lovely things from people I consider to be beautiful stitchers. 
In answer to the question on colour co-ordination ~ my stitching so far this year has all been completed using stash I already owned.  Each of the birthday gifts were stitched using colours I thought appropriate to the designs, and in some instances to the recipients ~ when I started stitching I had given no thought as to what the final projects would be or what fabric would be used to finish them.  I was quite amazed that when I checked my fabric stash I was able to match the stitching perfectly!  LM was astounded when I showed him my choices, especially when he discovered that they were all waiting patiently in my fabric drawer!  How often would that happen - lovely happy accidents!

My stitching has almost ground to a halt this week ~ my only progress being on a secret project, a spring pincushion for an exchange on The Friendly Stitchers Group.  I have another exchange to start ~ also on the spring theme ~  a bookmark exchange on Needlecraft Haven Group.  I'm still deciding what I shall stitch for this.
One finish that I can now show ~ it was reveal day today for the monthly challenge on Needlecraft Haven.

Love by The Stitcherhood
Stitched on 28ct evenweave - an ornament cut
with Morning Glory by GAST and finished as a trinket tray.

This is not a finish I have tried before but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

The GB's return to school tomorrow after half term ~ GB1 has only 7 weeks left now!  Wow!
LM has travelled today to be insitu for tomorrow's job in Berkshire.  So I have spent Sunday afternoon catching up with emails, blog reading and the usual HW chores.
A new month will shortly be upon us ~ can you believe it? March already!
Have a fabulous week.


23 February 2011

Tuesday Stitching Group

It was my turn to drive tonight ~ we were a little late and parking was horrid, but we arrived to find almost a full house including our teacher from when we used to meet at the LNS which was a lovely surprise.  There was much industry tonight ~ applique work, knitting, assisi work, tapestry ~ I sat in an easy chair and chatted!  How bad is that?
Over the years we have organised Secret Santa presents which we have exchanged during our Christmas evening out.  We plan to have a stitched/handmade gift exchange this year by way of a change and discussions are already in full flow as to how this will work.  Usually we draw names in November giving us 5/6 weeks to arrange our gifts, this year needs to be different and I think our name drawing will be done before the end of March, giving plenty of time for hatching plans/crafting/stitching and finishing.  I took a basket of small finishes with me tonight ~ some exchanged, some gifted and some of my own ~ to give ideas for designs/finishes etc.  I think it was helpful.    
Also, four of the first five birthday gifts were ready to be re-homed ~ # 5 has been unavoidably delayed on the sewing table due to the temporary loss of the fabric to complete the finishing!  I could have used something else from my stash, however the original choice I made is such a perfect match I could not bring myself to veer off course.

First is Bluebird by Blackbird Designs stitched on 36ct cashel linen with Dragon Floss # 6 Clear Day and finished as a pin cushion

Then Plaid Greeting by Ladybug Lane Designs from the 2009 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Edition.  Stitched on 32ct Misty Blue Belfast Linen with WDW # 1304 Onyx and #2264 Garnet.  Finished as a scissor keeper with a homemade cord.

This one is Alphabet Tree a retired freebie from Blue Ribbon Designs.  Stitched on 36ct Antique White cashel linen with Dragon Floss #74 Ancient Oak.  Finished as a needle book.

And finally Love a freebie design from Debbie Draper stitched on an ornament cut of hand dyed 28ct evenweave with Dragon Floss #73 Sea Witch.  Finished as a pin cushion/floss tag.

They are pictured to show the finishing fabrics too.  All were well received by their new owners.  Once I have #5 completed and re-homed I can start on the next batch of 4 which are due May/June.
I have a Christmas dinner Wednesday evening ~ yes I know it's February ~ it was originally scheduled for early December but was postponed due to bad weather.  
GB1 & GB2 are sleeping/gaming/eating us out of house and home and generally slouching around the place due to half term holidays this week and LM has business out of the area the next couple of days.  I have an offer of a trip to the Spring Quilt Festival in Edinburgh at the weekend ~ not sure if this is feasible yet but here's hoping.

Happy Tuesday Wednesday ~ hadn't realised it was so late!


21 February 2011

Weekend Review

Snow was not very far away from us this weekend, I saw white covered cars and a little on the roadside while out and about.  We however have a surplus of the wet stuff ~ I can tell you LM was not amused.  Outside enjoyable car tinkering had to be postponed on Saturday and instead the paintwork sanding in the en-suite called his name!  And what a fine job he did too. 

I attended my first Embroiderer's Guild meeting for the year on Saturday with the lovely C.  It was a cold one, no heating in the hall, and a technical hitch prevented us having full view of the slides that accompanied the speaker's talk.  That said it was a good afternoon and an interesting subject ~ tapestry weaving.  As usual C managed to find some bounty on the sale table and came away with a batch of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly magazines which she has generously shared with me together with a few american crochet magazines.  I found a lovely DMC book which I will share another time as I have not managed to photograph this yet.

Stitching and finishing were slower than I expected ~ On one of the birthday projects I found that some 1/1 work that looked really nice was in fact incorrectly placed and had to come out, this held up progress quite badly.  It's hard enough to remove 1/1 but it was stitched in quite a dark colour which left deposits.  Once the corrections were made and the addition of one of the final motifs I set this aside ~ I really don't like working on something I feel has become a chore - I shall return to this soon.

My new love, The Sampler Lady by LHN, was given quite a lot of attention as you can see from this photograph. 

Aside from changing the actual size ~ I'm stitching 1/1 ~ I had to change the Ecru as it did not show up sufficiently well on my fabric, I still have the left cuff to remove.  I tried 712 but this also failed to bring anything to the party so I finally settled on a nice buttery shade (I think 677 ~ but will have to check!) for the alphabet, cuffs, ruffle and petticoat and I'm quite pleased with the results so far.  I have stitched my initial in Manor Red ~ this will be my signature on this piece.

I also made a start on a spring pincushion for an exchange that I have signed up for on the Friendly Stitcher group ~ I can't show you anything of this one until after it has been received by my partner.

Monday has arrived all too quickly ~ as usual.


18 February 2011

Lovely Blog & Giveaway

I was ambling from blog to blog - as you do - when I came across this lovely one ~ Feathers in the Nest.  Jennifer is currently having a Spring Fever Giveaway ~ pop over to check it out!  There's lots of lovely reading and photographs ~ I found this and liked it ~
I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions ~~ Augusten Burroughs

How appropriate is that?

Tomorrow is the weekend - yippee!


15 February 2011

A Very Special Anniversary

Today is the most significant date in my life ~ the anniversary of the beginning of my world. 

70 years ago today my WP's met for the very first time, a momentous event!

You hear about those chance meetings, love at first sight etc, this is how their story began ~
Dad agreed to accompany a friend of his who was too nervous about going on his date alone and that's where they met, my Dad, and his friend's date.  Short and sweet, with no hard feelings from the forsaken friend. 
I discovered a saying that relates perfectly to this, to them and to us ~

"The roots of a family tree begin with the love of two hearts"

This beautiful couple are responsible for 11 children, with 10 partners/spouses, 21 grandchildren currently with 9 partners/spouses and 14 great grandchildren - 65 lives growing from a chance meeting.  We are very fortunate to have grown from these great roots.

Happy Anniversary Folks

Kate ~ #8 of 11

14 February 2011

A Very Meagre Weekend Report

There was the promise of much progress this last weekend, LM had many car jobs to keep him occupied and this usually leads to me being able to potter to my heart's content, either with housework, stitching, shopping ~ whatever takes my fancy really. 

Grocery shopping was manual again this week and quickly crossed off the to-do list.  My lovely Sis2 & her DH arrived for a spot of lunch, a brief but very enjoyable visit due to their other commitments.  They usually have 101 things to fit into their weekend when visiting the North East and this visit was no exception.  We are lucky in that we take regular trips to their lovely part of Scotland ~ the last was over the festive period where we attended the ceilidh in their village hall to bring in the New Year ~ not for the faint-hearted I can tell you! 

After lunch LM went back to headlights & re-aligning doors and I went to sleep!  Aside from a little dabbling with laundry sleep has been my main activity ~ I have thought about stitching/crafting unfortunately none of these thoughts have been carried out.  I hope to fair better this week at moving a few things on.


Happy Valentine's Day

We're a little on the soppy side in our house ~ I love most things that are designed around love and especially hearts.  The tin plaque above was an impulse purchase as I thought it would be perfect to hang above our bed.       The collection of hearts on the left have been included with birthday & Christmas presents to my LM.

LM commissioned a local artist to make these enamel hearts for me for Christmas a couple of years ago.
I stitched this for LM for our first Valentine's Day in our home.

These are just a few examples ~ there are many more hearts around our home ~ we don't need them, we just like to have them.
Here's hoping that today brings love and affection your way.


12 February 2011

Birthday Gifts......

...and awful photographs, so apologies in advance.

My lovely friend C had a special birthday last week ~ I can't tell you anymore for fear of the consequences.
I can however show you my present to her.

 A needle book, a roll to store crochet hooks and other necessities, some machine thread and a Nancy Halvorson book with patterns for needlework accessories.

The crochet accessories roll was made from an online tutorial found here.  I discovered this through Tipnut which has a whole host of great ideas and tutorial links.

Needle book with stitched "Black Needles" design from Simply Necessaries. Stitched on 40ct antique white linen with WDW #6850 Bluecoat Red.  I added some Kelmscott Designs MOP thread rings and some pretty pins.

The fabric is a range called Marakesh from Maywood Studios which I found at my favourite LQS Just Quilting ~ I used this to make C's Christmas present too

This picture really shows the true colours of the fabrics!

Today Sis2 and her DH will be calling in for lunch ~ they are down from Scotland to visit the WP's this weekend.  LM is hoping for the rain to clear so he can get outside to work on his car and I hope to be finishing more small projects as I plan to give out the first batch of birthday gifts on Tuesday at stitching group.

Have a wonderful weekend


10 February 2011

Procrastination & Tears

Delaying, dilly-dallying, postponing ~ call it what you will ~ I'm guilty! Yesterday LM left at stupid o'clock to travel to London for 3 days, the GB's were in school and I was not working ~ perfect conditions for getting to grips with the finishing of "The" valentine project. Did I manage this ~ No, did I attempt to start ~ No. The whole Blue Peter scenario, of templates, cutting, lacing and the dreaded glue makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention ~ so I bunked off!

First visit was to see the WP's ~ can't really be pilloried for this. You won't know this but my Dad is a proponent of natural/herbal remedies ~ admitting to ailments within his earshot is to be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately for me some kind sibling of mine had dobbed me in so I was rewarded with a 60 capsule bottle of "maintenance for the body" pills. They may bring tears to my eyes when taking them as they are huge! Lovely really but................
Next visit was to cash and carry for some necessary supplies that we were out of, I was good, I stayed on list and avoided browsing.
Then it was on to the Metro Centre - not really essential but something I had ordered was ready to be collected. This is where the tears come in, in the main square the British Heart foundation were campaigning, and selling CD's ~ they had two guys signing and I was passing they were signing this:

My favourite piece from Opera, I could not stop the tears as they were singing it so beautifully.  And so the procrastination was further extended as I needed a coffee and a sit down in order to compose myself!  The last visit before home was to drop a couple of LM's suits into the dry cleaners.  By the time I was done it was getting close to school finishing so not really worth starting on the project as the table would be required for eating.  Shameful really as it would probably be done had I just started on it ~ note to self ~ Just get on with it!

A birthday gift I was working on has now been received so I have photo's to share next time.

Happy Wednesday.


8 February 2011

Weekend Report

Tuesday arrived and I realise that I have not reported on my weekend stitching yet. 
Firstly I would like to thank all those who have taken the time to read and comment on my posts - until beginning this blog I didn't realise how much people visiting and moreover leaving lovely little messages could mean so a huge thanks to all of you.  A special note to those who have commented regarding my LM and his scissor purchasing capabilities - we have a trade with birthday/Christmas gifts - I like needlework bits and pieces and he likes....... car parts!

Once again the weekend raced by, I managed a fair amount of stitching/crafting:
  • Completed the stitching for the monthly challenge on Needlecraft Haven - this month is Love (freebie) from The Stitcherhood.  No picture of this until reveal day at the end of the month.
  • Finished off some stitching for a birthday gift which I can't show until after it has been given to the birthday girl.
  • Completed the stitching on Jingle My Bells from Poppy Kreations - this will be my Christmas ornament for the month 

Stitched on 28ct evenweave, unknown colour with DMC 500.
I added the metal snowflake in place of the charted wreath and candy canes.

I'm not happy with the bow for the bells so will be re-doing this - perhaps with some #5 perle cotton.

This was another Harrogate purchase, I believe from 2008, I have the special frame for it where the design fits into an aperture in Santa's hat - update will follow once framed.

I'm looking to make a new start soon, yes even with all the other WIP's and UFO's!, and will probably choose from a number of LHN designs that are in the pending pile, The Sampler Lady, Necessities Sampler and Home of a Needleworker are currently in the running.

It's stitching group tonight, not sure what I will be taking with me.

Enjoy your day - tomorrow brings the joy of being half-way to the weekend!


5 February 2011

All You Need Is Love

Just a quick photo post to show the finished stitching.......

All You Need Is Love by The Drawn Thread

....and my gorgeous Elizabeth I scissors that my LM gave me for christmas.


4 February 2011

Unofficial TUSAL

So yesterday was the reveal day for TUSAL which runs on Daffycats blog - my posting is "unofficial" as I missed the deadline to join. 

Here are my ORTS collected between 1 January and 3 February - slightly longer than the official SAL.
I have been collecting them in my pincushion/ORT bag which sits next to me when I stitch but is not the most attractive way to display for this purpose.

So, this pile of gorgeousness was evicted from it's usual home of the glass lidded jar above in order to obtain a pleasing image of ORTS!  Don't you just love buttons and beads? 

GB1 missed school yesterday due to sickness but is back larger than life, this being a relative term as he stands 6' 3" and at 16 doesn't really need to be any larger!  Sleep & fluids were the required medicinal compound ~ does anybody still remember Lily the Pink? ~ which saw him back to school today.
Appointments and errands filled my day yesterday, however I did manage a visit to The Hill to see Sandra and her apprentices ~ inspiration is always available in this special place and yesterday was no exception ~ minature bear quilt and hanger, new shape of the month, deck of art.  There's even a picture of our Tuesday stitching group and one (welcome) interloper during the workshop Sandra organised for us prior to Christmas.
I have a couple of stitching finishes to show which will have to wait until next time as poor light thwarted the production of any decent photographs.

Enjoy your day ~ the weekend is almost here.


2 February 2011

Tuesday Stitching Group

Tuesday's are quite often my favourite day in the week, not so yesterday.  It started well I managed to complete all the HW quite early and I had a friend come for lunch and a catch up.  After that the gremlins crept in ~ The dishwasher didn't clean things, our internet was acting like a petulant teenager, I ran out of sugar (not a good place to be with biscuits to bake) and on the way to get some I got a flat tyre!  I limped it to the petrol station and it wouldn't inflate at which point I became all girlie and pathetic.  I ended up abandoning little Jazzy and walking home!

Well the Ladies came and stitched, a few were missing due to holiday and family commitments ~ but we had a lovely evening.  We have some quite diverse work going on at the moment, applique work towards quilts, cross stitch, canvas work etc it changes from time to time.

This was my planned stitching ~ Natural Bows Sampler by Sunken Treasures ~ a kit purchased at Harrogate last November and my New Year's Day start

This picture shows progress to date.  The kit came with the linen and all the threads and beads to complete.  It's a lovely piece to stitch and I plan to frame this for our room.

I decided instead to work on All You Need Is Love ~ I'm down to the last 3 heart motifs now.  As LM will be away on business for 2 days next week I plan to complete the finishing then ~ just hope I'm up to it!
Lemon biscuits turned out to be quite yummy and so simple ~ sorry no photograph ~ I will be baking them again though and will try to remember then.
My LM recovered little Jazzy after changing the wheel, he thinks a new tyre may be required so we're off to the garage this morning.  She looks a little sad with the space saver wheel on, a bit like a discarded toy!
Till next time


1 February 2011

January Christmas Ornament

I joined 2011 Christmas Challenge as an incentive to stitch at least one christmas ornament each month this year.  January's is complete however I am ashamed to say that I have failed.....
This ornament was offered as a freebie on a kind soul's blog and what did I do, yes you guessed it I forgot to keep a note of where I downloaded it ~ don't you just hate that.  Bloggers & Designers are kind enough to share their talent and I can't give credit to the person who offered this.  So profuse apologies, and if anyone does have the details please drop me a comment so I can edit this post to give the deserved credit.

Here is my January Ornament ~ stitched on 18 ct Natural Aida with WDW Brick, Mocha, Curry, Juniper and Carries Creations Sneezy.  I added a plaited hanger made with #12 perle cotton.
It's the small one at the bottom!

I don't care for Aida but somehow it works really well with this little design.

The framed piece behind was stitched last year and is Old Time Christmas by Poppy Creations.  I bought this chart at Harrogate in 2009 and the buttons and frame came with it. 

And this is the back simply finished with the same framing stitches, name and year.

Now it's time to sort things out for this evening's visitors ~ our stitch group are meeting here tonight.  So I need to ensure that there are no signs of birthday gift stitching on view.  I'm also making lemon biscuits for coffee time ~ a new recipe ~ hopefully they will be tasty!

Happy stitching!