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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Challenge reveal and the card SAL

The last Sunday of January and the first month of 2012 is fast drawing to a close. This month seems to have whizzed by doesn't it but i have found time each day to craft a little. Are you all all still keeping up with your new year resolutions?

The last Sunday of the month does mean today is reveal day for the challenge design chosen by Christine at Needlecraft Haven and i can show you what i did with it.

I had a birthday gift in the summer of this little basket that contained two beautiful guest hand towels. The design is the perfect fit and looks real nice atop it. The fabric is a small piece from my 'oddment and no name' box but i was really pleased with how the anchor threads were bright and colourful on it. You can see the other finishes in the album.

I have been really good and also stitched my card for the monthly card SAL - with just a few days of the month to spare, must do better in February there are not so many days. I've had the three Heartfelt designs by Just Nan in my stash for a very long time. This one is perfect for an elderly relative who loves to receive a handmade card. Pretty and simple and just beautiful, i'm sure she'll love it. Yet again another scrap of fabric but this time using the asked for DMC colours.

Wednesday is SAL night in the parlour with Barb and the ladies stitching a Sampler Girl design. Unfortunately i didn't get a stitch put in on that day. It's my stitch club night and we were signing condolence cards, sorting out floral tributes and making arrangements for travel arrangements to attend our friends funeral. We had our candle lit on the table for the evening to remember her and some lovely cakes as it would have been her birthday yesterday (Saturday).

We had a new young lady (24 years) start at the club in the autumn of last year. She is a stitcher but wanted to learn to crochet. I pointed her in the direction of the online sites that had helped me to get started and sat next to her and gave help and advice when i could.

She's been so busy and practising like mad at every opportunity. I am so proud of what she has achieved, i asked if i could take a picture and share with you. Here's the blanket she brought this week to show us. She was just finishing off the final edging. It's a gift for her boyfriends mum. Well done Rhia, you have mastered this craft and i'm sure you'll be whipping up lots of lovelies in the future too.

I did get an evening on my Sampler Girl design at the end of the week. This is where i am after 3 weeks. It's a lovely design to stitch. It was too late to carry on so my lady is just sporting a pair of bloomers so far .... oooops!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, ours was very relaxed and quiet, just what we needed after a busy week. Isabelle has another 2 teeth so that makes 8 now and there are several at the back that are giving her real trouble. Sleepless nights for mummy, daddy works the night shift so it's a little tough on them and hubby and i have been over there helping out a couple of evenings/nights this week. As i said to my daughter 'welcome to the parent club, it doesn't get any easier as they get older' i'm sure you all have tales of sleepless nights over the years with your own children.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Highs and lows....

I live in a very multi cultural city. There is always a celebration going on and this weekend was no exception.

The Chinese new year was celebrated on Saturday with dragon dancing at the Market Corner. (pic from the Leicester Mercury)

Out with the year of the rabbit - which was my year - and in with the year of the dragon. Which Chinese animal are you? Happy Chinese New Year to foreign visitors.

Friday i was having a blog catch up session and arrived at Lucy's Attic 24 blog. There was a pic of an empty tuna fish tin, a hook and some wool and she was asking ladies to guess what she was doing. The only thing i could think was that she would be covering the tin, but i had no idea why, so i posted that my brain would be wondering all day what she was up to, but my guess was a covering for the tin. I left the computer some time later to do some housework jobs (i know bad naughty word to crafters lol) but returned with a cuppa for a break. On opening my emails, i was so excited, i had an email from Lucy herself. Happy heart-skippy moment when i read that i was right and she had kindly added a preview pic of what she had been making for me to see. Feet stamping on the floor with excitement, i had to stop myself opening the window and shouting to the world "I had an email from Lucy" I loved the covers she had made for her tin and decided there and then that my little pot of daffs could do with being taken out of the old cat food bowl that they were standing in and being put into something a little more crafty.

Tuna fish for sandwiches for us and i whipped up this by guesswork and embellished it with some buttons and crochet leaves. It could have done with being a little taller and maybe a couple of stitches smaller to get a tighter fit, but for a first attempt i am happy with it. Lucy has now put up a proper 'how to' tutorial and lots of pics of the ones she has made, so i will follow her expert instructions and make myself another one at some time.

Thanks Lucy for taking time to email me, you have no idea how happy i was on Friday and i wished i could explain to all the shoppers when i hit the supermarket why this strange woman had a silly grin on her face all day.

The dizzy heights of happiness on Friday were to be stamped out on Saturday by the news on the death on one of my stitching club ladies. She was given the all clear from cancer in late autumn but it seems that this was not to be and she was taken into hospital earlier this month and unfortunately at 74 her body was too weak to continue with treatment. Joan was a wonderful stitcher and knitter and has made some amazing things over the years i have known her. She was the winner of the handicraft category at last years fruit and veg show with her stitch-a-photo of her 5 grandchildren. God Bless you Joan you are going to be very much missed.

MY RR is all ready to fly the nest.

Here's Page 8 from my design, Debbie Draper Designs - My Little Book of Stitches, i wont see this again until it returns to me mid September. Safe travels little robin.

Wednesday last week i did take The Sampler Girl with me to the stitch club and managed quite a bit of stitching. We had a visitor. One of our ladies has a friend who has a visitor over from Tobego for 6 months and she is a crafter and wanted to come and see our group and join in. She brought some wonderful hand embroidery that she was doing and told us all about life in Tobego and the craft groups she attends. It was a very interesting evening for us. Hopefully Esther (thats her name) will join us again this week.

I've also finished off this months challenge this week, but as reveal isn't until the weekend i can't share that with you yet.

My blogoversary gift has arrived safely with Carol. I received a lovely email today to let me know.

As you probably guessed by the shape of the wrapped up secret parcel, i had made one of my bunny's. I knew Carol's favourite colour was blue, so thats the choice i made for her.

She just needs Carol give her a name. I think that makes over 50 bunny's that are out in blogland now.

Happy crafting, i hope you are all having a lovely week. Here in the UK the weather is yeuck... rain, rain and more rain and the temps are nowhere near what they should be right now, whatever happened to winter this year?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Past Times

Here we are well into January and the relaxtion time it still happening each day, amazing what you can achieve with a bit for forethought and planning.

We have even managed some time out and on Sunday, DH and i had a trip to Newarke Houses museum. Sports fans will no doubt have heard of the Leicester Tigers famous rugby team, but we went to the museum to see a different type of Leicester Tigers, the army regiment.

It was a fantastic exhibition, and DH got some much needed info for his family history research.

The regimental flags and band equipment is very impressive and yes you can actually see a stuffed real tiger head/skin on the top of the big drum.

There were lots of old soldiers medals on display together with their service records and also some on screen accounts of their times at war.

You can dress up as a soldier if you want to.

A recreation of a First World War trench was very strange, eerie sounds of what they would have heard and how they would have lived in there, so cramped.

Lots of cabinets full of memorabillia, a fantastic exhibiton and well worth a visit.

A couple of the exhibits i found really interesting as a crafter.

A stitched Christmas postcard sent home to a soldiers mum.

That was really lovely and must have been so lovingly kept all these years.

So beautifully stitched.

A german prisoner of war had made a mat whilst he was in a camp.

It was very impressive and so beautiful.

I wonder where they got the wool from to make that??

Another part of the museum has an old street reconstructed with cobbled stones and old shops.

There is a drapers shop, exciting stuff for a stitcher.

I loved this shop. The track around the top is where the money would go along to the cashier and the change returned to the customer.

Lots of lovelies to see in this shop.

Bolts of fabric wrapped in brown paper just as they would have been delivered to the shop.

Wooden glass fronted boxes with threads inside.

Samples of embroidery, i took some close up pics of that, i thought you might like to have a look.

There were some names that are still going today, like Silko and Anchor.

It did sadden to me to see that in the pawnbrokers shop there was a cantilever wooden sewing box.

I couldn't imagine how anyone could have pawned that.

I guess when the direst of circumstances happen to you and you need money to feed your family, anything that would get you a few coppers would have been fair to be pawned.

We had a really lovely time. I hope you have enjoyed the pics.

I have been stitching. Page 8 of the RR is completed so thats all ready to be sent on to the next stitcher next week.

I've also started the challenge design for this month, a lovely design and it's stitching up nicely.

Tonight it's the stitch club and being Wednesday it's The Sampler Girl SAL night, so i'll be taking that with me.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon with the RR pic.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

RR and a new SAL

I finally decided what to do for the RR. You would have laughed at me, sitting in bed with morning cuppa, a thought of the perfect chart randomly popped into my head, jump out of bed, race downstairs and search the stash box for the chart. No luck, i was sure it was in there, i remembered printing it off. Where was it, had i dreamed the chart? Quick breakfast and i unearthed my collection of Gift of Stitching magazines safely stored on disc. After some searching - was it really that long ago i first saw this one - there it was, press PRINT and yippee there it was in my little mitts.

Now for the fabric and thread. Chart asks for Dinky Dyes and I only have a couple of those, so that wasn't going to happen. I did have a coupe of skeins of Threadworx 1157 in a very nice purple/green mix, would that do? It didn't have the blue that was in the DD Yallingup but i liked it. I matched up the colours in it using DMC for the other symbols in the chart, found a large piece of jubilee in cream and we were all set to make a start.

Here i am rambling away, of course you want to know what it is don't you. The chart in question is My Little Book of Stitches by Debbie Draper. I cannot believe it was way back in Issue 19 (August 2007) that this was in the GOS online mag. There was me thinking the brain couldn't hold a thought for 5 minutes, this one must have made an impression back then to have been stored and filed just for the right stitching project.

A perfect ready edged piece of cream jubilee measuring 18 x 27 was in my stash too, this project was just meant to be. Fabric was gridded into the 8 pages needed and i've stitched up page one. I'm going to do page 8 also before it heads off to the next person. There are 5 other ladies in this RR so that means they will all get a choice of page and when it returns i can stitch the final one (unless anyone loves it so much they decided to stitch on 2 pages for me LOL).

In my quest of looking through the GOS mags to find the RR chart i came across something else that i loved when i first saw it (i'd forgotten about this one!). Wednesday evening at NH is The Sampler Girl SAL night and as you will perhaps remember i've stitched a couple of Tanya's designs with the ladies last year.

This one was in issue 28 (May 2008) and is In The Garden with Jane Austen.

If you like it but don't have this issue the chart is available here at The Sampler Girl. A pretty hand dyed piece of 28ct brittney fabric called gladioli was in my stash and called out for this project and here's last nights progress.

Postie arrived this week too and brought me the giveaway win from Mary Ann's blog, Just Stitching.

The lovely JCS Christmas Ornament Preview edition. Thank you very much Mary Ann, i have enjoyed browsing through this and am sure i'll be stitching up some of the lovely designs in there. Stiching ladies are so kind and friendly, it sure makes me a happier person meeting and chatting to like minded ladies and share my crafting interests.

I hope you are all having a good week.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

First finish 2012

A week into the new year already, how time flies. Why is it we all decide to make changes to our lives only when the new year begins and not continually through the year? In our home, DH and i talked about things that we wanted to change this year and so far during the first week we have made some little changes that directly affect us and how we manage our time better and get some quality relaxation time each day and not be chasing around late into the evening.

With this new found pace of life, i'm fininding small things fill me with glee and bring a smile to my face. Right now this old radio design tin that had biscuits in is doing it for me. Everytime i see it, i just smile and get that happy felling. Who would have thought an empty tin (yes, we ate all the biccies over the festive season) could bring such giddy delight to my life. This is going to be filled each weekend with homemade cakes or biscuits for us to enjoy - thats the plan!

Relaxation time each day means i've been busy hobbying too.

My Christmas decorations were still up prior to twelth night when i finished January's monthly ornament so i was able to photograph it on my tree.

Prairie Schooler ~ Christmas Favourites is from the 2011 Just Cross Stitch ornament edition and was finished just as it is in the magazine with the addition of the two little buttons to help me easily add on the rustic string hanger.

I'm hoping to make all 12 ornaments this year from this edition as there are such a lot i really love inside it.

Surprise, surprise and Shores of Hawk Run Hollow has also been off the floor stand and on my lap for some attention.

A good start on the double biggie middle block but this is going to take some time to complete as we have the big masted ship in this one too, lots of while sails, how exciting!

After my first ever try and a successful RR last year i decided to jump in and join another for 2012 with 5 other stitchers at Needlecraft Haven. The first post out isn't till the third week of January so a while yet, but i have finally decided what i want to do and have it all kitted up to make a start this week. I'll show you that next time when there's something stitched on the fabric.

How are you getting on this year so far with your crafting plans? Everything going well? There are so many different challenges and SAL's going on on the web for people to join in with, blogland will be buzzing with exciting designs for me to drool over.

Late December was my blogoversary, the 28th to be exact. I've been blogging for 5 years, it really doesn't seem that long. I've always had a draw to celebrate and made something for the winner. This year i decided instead of asking who would like to be included in the draw, i would only add the names of the regular commenters during the last 3 months to thank them for their continued visits and support and taking time of out their busy lives to leave me a little word or two. It does make a difference to know people enjoy what you write and coming to visit.

DH chose Carol at Stitching Dreams as the winner out of all who were entered. Here's the little surprise that will be winging it's way to you Carol, please could you let me have your address and i'll get it in the mail when i next visit the post office. I'll reveal what's inside when Carol has safely received it.

This next bit is just for my future reference, i wanted to list my finishes in the Journal for 2011 as i want to delete it from the side bar, so skip this bit .....

64. Crochet blanket
63. Lighthouse pillow - FOR Angi
62. Elizabeth Designs - Dear Friend - FOR Tina
61. Windy Willows - Petite Lapin - FOR Sally
60. Childrens Christmas Stockings
59. NH Ornie Exch - FOR Lindsay
58. Crochet cushion
57. Wedding card
56. Crochet cushion
55. 3 more Christmas Ornaments - fundraiser
54. 3 Christmas Ornaments - fundraiser
53. Witch's Kitchen - Primitive Hare
52. October monthly ornie - Stitching with Susan - Angels Sent
51. Ripple cushion
50. The Sampler Girl - In The Meadow
49. Isabelle's aran cardigan
48. Granny cushion (back)
48. Granny cushion (front)
47. Sept monthly ornie - Lizzie Kate - Love
46. Isabelles cardigan
45. Aug challenge - Le Temp des Cerises - Le Chalet des Perelles
44. Aug monthly ornament - Blackbird Designs - Peace
43. Book front for Best Flower Arrangement in Show
42. Book front for Best Flower in Show
41. Caoster for fruit & veg show local celeb prize giver
40. Fruit and Veg 'Best in Show' Sampler
39. Baby cardigan
38. Crochet baby blanket
37. DH's funky socks
36. Bookmark - Karan's b/day
35. June monthly ornament - Primitive Threadworks - Merry Christmas
34. Hazel's RR
33. May monthly challenge - Free design by Sablaise
32. Bunny for Hazel
31. Amigurumi Ballerina Bunny
30. The Sampler Girl - At Home with Jane Austen
29. Mrs Tape Measure Bunny
28. My monthly ornie - Midnight Stitching - Snowmans Quaker Christmas
27. Blue Tit tape measure - FOR Kathy b/day
26. Floral covered tape measure
25. Jackie b/day - covered tape measure
24. April challenge - Chroniques de Frimousse - Easter
23. Just Nan - Floral Fifteen
22. Tina's RR - Hillside Samplings
21. April monthly ornament - Plum Pudding Needlearts - Fa La La
20. PS covered tape measure - FOR Barb
19. Lesley's b/day gift
18. Maureens b/day card
17. Pink baby cardigan
16. Mothers Day bookmark
15. March monthly ornie - Elizabeth Designs - Christmas Greetings
14. Miss Tickling Stick bunny
13. Flower crochet mini blanket
12. Feb monthly ornie - Brittercup Designs - Consumed by Gifts
11. Feb challenge - The Stitcherhood- Love
10. My square on Clare's RR
9. Shepherds Bush - February - Barb's b/day
8. Lilac baby cardigan
7. Peach baby cardigan
6. Jan monthly ornie - LHN - Happy Skater
5. Pink baby cardigan
4. Jan challenge - Tralala - Petit Chat
3. Blogoversary bunny for Cathey
2. Isabelle Vautier - Grand Marquoir
1. 3 covered tape measures - b/day

I had 8 crochet, 11 knitted and the rest stitched finishes. A productive year i think considering a little munchkin came into my life and took up a lot of my hobby time, not that i mind that though, in fact a lot of the finishes were for her.

I have a few plans for 2012, the RR has deadlines and lasts until September, DH would like a crochet blanket for himself this year and i really would like a pair of handknitted socks for me. I don't have any as yet so that needs to happen this year. I've joined a card a month SAL, this can be any craft and also will be doing the monthly Christmas ornament and if times permits there is also the monthly challenge that i enjoy doing. I've 2 WIP's in my workbox, Shores and Irish Garden that i would really like to finish this year too. A UFO remains in there that hasn't seen the light of day for a while so i might just get that out and try and make headway on that. Otherwise, if there is time, i have a 'few' (cough, splutter) things in my stash that i really would like to do this year too. Like a lot of ladies i'll be stitching/finishing from stash as much as i can to save on funds.

If you've got this far, i thank you, what was going to be a short first finish post has turned into a marathan one. Who would have thought i had so much to say this time.

Make crafting time in your day every day if you are able, it frees the mind from stresses and strains of daily life and gives you a little much needed happy time.