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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Au revoir to 2014

Christmas is over for another year.  A quiet time here for DH and myself, we knew this would  be so this year as my family had plans for other things.  We decided to buy ourselves a seasonal jigsaw puzzle to while away some of the time. 

A lovely old fashioned picture of families having fun, we had fun putting it together although there was a squabble who would put the final piece in!

I was very lucky and received wonderful goodies from online friends.  Thank you so much to Barb, Clare, Angi, Christine, Maggie and Karan for your kindness.  Here's what the lovely ladies sent to me.

I sent out two handmade gifts, you may remember at the beginning of December I said I was making a fantastic patchwork project that I couldn't share with you.  I can now .....

They are Origami Fabric Christmas Trees.  A lady at the Craftshare group showed us the instructions and that was it, I was hooked and loved every stitch that went into them.  They look so complicated but are in fact quite easy to make.

Here's a close up of the little triangles.....

Boxing Day we saw some snow in the evening.  Snow at Christmas.....perfect.  Just a sprinkling but so lovely to watch in the evening.  I was pleased to be inside and not having to venture out though.  I hope it didn't cause any of you troubles as you travelled this festive season.  Since then its been really cold and the frosts have been spectacular to wake up to, although I'm not sure those that have been back to work have loved them as I can hear them scraping their windscreens each morning.

The last Sunday of December has gone and that means its time to reveal the final Christmas ornament challenge of the year.  A challenge at Needlecraft Haven that Christine organises for us each month.  I've managed to stitch all 12 this year, some were sent as gifts and some adorn my own tree.  Decembers was just a small design of a pine cone, very effective though. 

Here we are now the very last day of 2014 and time to think back and contemplate what I've been up to over the last 12 months.

I've been looking back at my finishes for this year.   There have been 75 in all, a mixture of knitting, crochet, stitching and sewing.  Some sent as gifts, some as exchanges and a few purely for me to learn new and practice my sewing skills.   That was due to the start of the Crafthare group at our community centre - I've learnt a lot there.

One highlight was the SAL I did with Gillie of Elizabeth Designs Nature's Alphabet, that chart had been in my 'to do' pile for such a very long time.  Our SAL ended for me with a lovely meet up with Gillie when she came over from the USA for a visit to the UK, that's was real treat.

I've had a new sewing machine this year too, so hopefully next year will see me get to grips more with that. It did mean that I could finish off my Santa Village into the bunting I had hoped to make with it when I started stitching this with friends, that was started almost 2 years ago.  I think this is my most favourite piece of the year, it's taken so long to complete and looks splendid across my conservatory windows.

My book borrowers group is following a new pathway but I have still been reading for a short while both at the beginning and end of each day.  A lovely way to slowly start your day and finish it all calm and peaceful.  I finished my current book this morning so a new start for tonight and the start of the new year.  I notched up 49 books read this year, quite impressive i think and quite a selection of different reads too, not quite one a week.   I've read authors I would never have dreamed of picking up being part of the monthly book challenge at Needlecraft Haven - thank you ladies for your recommendations and thank you to Clare who runs the group.  I'm lucky and have had quite a few coffee mornings with Clare over the last year as she lives quite close to me.

Two lovely meet ups with online friends happened over the year.  It's always nice to meet friends you chat with who have the same hobby and enjoy the same things and another visit from an overseas lady, Dusty was at our autumn meet up.

Blog reading has been lovely too.  I'm all caught up with that and have seen some wonderful things come to life that you have all been working on.  Shared good times and bad times with you as you walk your own pathways.  My thanks to you for visiting here with me over the past twelve months and for your support when things have not been so good and comments and encouragement on my finishes/WIP's.

DH and I have had a few trips away this year.  Just a few days at a time but we have seen some wonderful sights and enjoyed some beautiful scenery and its nice to just relax and enjoy soaking up the peace and quiet.

As I enter this new year, I'm still undergoing some health issues that need resolving, life is going along at a much slower pace and I hope that I can make it a bit simpler as the days/weeks move forward. 

Craftingwise I have only one project that remains unfinished to carry over from this year.  Irish Garden my UFO that became a WIP project for a while that I carried over from 2013 - ooops, that didn't get finished but progress was made.  Here's where it stands now .....

....still another outer border all the way round to add and then I can pass on the chart to Dusty, she's been waiting a while for it.  Think positive and get on with it at the beginning of the year ... that's what i've told myself - will it happen?

My current WIP project is a pair of socks for DH. The gorgeous blue faced Leicester sheep wool was purchased at the NEC in November when I had a lovely trip to the hobbycraft show.  I started these over the Christmas holidays so they are my current knitting project, so not really a leftover WIP.  

I'm planning a new stitchy start for tomorrow, don't we all have a new start January 1st?  I have so many things in my stash that I want to do that like a lot of you I will not be buying anything new in 2015 unless I really need it and it's going to be stitched/used straight away, no point it gathering dust in a cupboard with all the other things I have.  There's also the monthly ornament challenge starting again this year and I have an exchange to stitch that needs to be received for opening beginning of February, my stitching/crafting diary has entries in already to try and keep me on track.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and craft filled 2015 with lots of good times ahead.  I look forward to visiting with each of you as the year progresses.

love and blessings to you all


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

Here in the UK it's dark, all preparations are complete and it's time to sit and relax on Christmas Eve.  Time for me to catch my breath and write a quick blog entry with some final festive finishes before the big day.

Some of you are already celebrating Christmas Day, the wonders of modern technology where we can interact in a split second and be in touch across the globe, some will have their Christmas Day start a while after I do tomorrow.

This past week I've been busy getting things finished in time, but I did make time to go and have a word with Santa's reindeer when I visited the garden centre to make sure his santa-nav had my address in it!

My sewing machine has been out.  Santa's Village finally got made into the bunting I had planned for it  (about time too I hear you all say lol)

I'm so pleased with how it looks and so is DH, he's asked how many hours stitching there is in it?
 I've no idea, a lot was my answer!

My daughter Amy's Christmas stocking was also made up on the sewing machine after I added the final stitch.  She is thrilled with it and it hangs on her fireplace next to my granddaughters which I made last year.
A little handmade gift for my granddaughter Isabelle's stocking.  A fairy doll which is a free pattern from Deramores.   After 3 attempts at the wings they are nothing like the pattern says I made them up myself as the original ones were huge.
and finally a little felt pillow kit that I picked up at the NEC stitching show in November.  I loved making this and have kept the pattern to make more next year.
Earlier this month I was stitching away on a little birthday gift for Sally.   A free design from the Snowflower Diaries. There is a witch for each season, this one being Winter witch, Sally's favourite time of the year so the perfect design.   Just a little pillow edged with some snowball trim.  I loved this and struggled to put it into the envelope to send to Sally.
Someone has been stitching something for me too.  Gaynor over at Stitchers Anon sent me the most beautiful handmade ornament using one of her lovely designs with Holmsey hare on it.  

It arrived on the very day that I had been to school to see Isabelle in her first pre-school nativity play and she actually sang that very Christmas Carol 'Away in a Manger' during the performance.  Each year when I put this onto my tree I will be reminded of that very emotional day.  Thank you so much Gaynor for your kindness, its such a wonderful, special and perfect ornament and I love it.

I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas

I hope you have a fabulous time with those you love and hold dear.
My thoughts are with those of you who like me will have an empty place at their festive table as we remember loved ones that are no longer with us.
Blessings to you all

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Festive stuff...

Advent santa is out and a nice little treat each day for me of a lindt choccie, it's a busy time for wives, mothers and grandmothers this month and we deserve a little luxury at the end of the day don't we?

The tree is up .....

My late MIL's hand knitted nativity scene is out of the box again. A very special part of our Christmas decorations .....

and at the community centre the Craftshare have put up a little advent too, no gifts in this one, just a little something to brighten up the lounge.  Another one for New Year being created.

The November challenge was completed in time. A lovely design last month found by Christine here.  Only 3 in the gallery this month.  I decided on a simple finish for mine as the stitched area was quite busy.  The hanger using some of the ribbon I purchased last month at the NEC finished it off perfectly. The fabric it sits on was used for the backing.

A gorgeous ornament arrived for me in the annual Christmas ornament exchange at NH.  Jaclyn (no blog) sent to me.   Thank you Jaclyn, its beautiful and sits on my tree looking fabulous.

I sent out to Deb (no blog).  The first time I have done this finish having seen it when one of the craftshare ladies brought in one she had created.  Very simple, just 2 squares stitched a bit like a biscornu square - although you have to make sure the design goes towards the corners as when you whip stitch it together and then sew halfway along the folded edges and turn it inside out that is the part that is visible.  A beaded dangly bit added to the middle, a ribbon hanger and hey presto a little if a bit fiddly pretty ornament.  Deb loved it so that pleased me.

My bunny made a safe journey over the pond to Dusty.  She's named her Miss Thistle Sage Bunnyton of England.

Back in the autumn I won a gift voucher at a local harvest festival.  You had to name the scarecrow and I guessed correctly her name.  £25 to spend at the Royal Horticultural Society website.  Having browsed the site I came across this lovely figgy pudding apron, I don't have a Christmas apron

and lookie ...... the little figgy pudding is hand crocheted.  It's so delightful and being a little handcrafted makes it even more lovely.

This past week I've been stitching a little birthday gift so no pic of that yet and I've done more on O Holy Night, I forgot to take a pic of that as its on the frame so i'll wait to show you that next time, this posts seems to have got a bit long as it is.

Hope you are all progressing with Christmas plans and are calm and relaxed.  All's going well here and I seem to be quite organised so far which is a surprise to me, parcels posted, cards written and posted.  A few gifts left to deliver and a couple of Christmas parties next week to celebrate with friends which will be nice.

Love and blessings coming your way

Thursday, 27 November 2014

At last i can post pics!

Blogger has not been playing nicely, I've been trying to add pics to my post for what seems like forever and it's very frustrating and annoying. It's not the same writing a whole load of waffle with no pictures to accompany it.

Here we are almost the end of the month and my first post this month... I had some really nice things to tell you too.

A couple of weekends ago it was the autumn meeting of the ladies at Needlecraft Haven and one of them, Dusty, had flown in especially all the way from the USA. She spent a lovely week with Clare (lots of pics on Clare's blog of what they got up to and more of the meet up too, pop along and have a look).

We had a group pic on the day...

A book exchange - Choose a raffle ticket and you get the wrapped book corresponding. Mine was from Ursh. Thank Ursh, it looks an interesting read.

Good bag exchange - This time the theme was Saints as the pub we meet has been refurbished and changed its name to Saints. Clare had made cakes and under each cupcake was a ticket corresponding to the lovely selection of bags that had been filled with goodies. You chose between lemon cake and chocolate and orange - the theme for these being "Orange and Lemons say the Bells of Saint Clements"

The goody bag I received was from Angie and the Saint she chose was St Clare of Assissi. Thanks Angie, such lovely contents.

Hubby had a good idea for mine, the high street retailer Marks and Spencer has the tradename St Michael so I was able to get some things to go into my parcel with their brand name and as he is the archangel Michael I was able to add some angel goodies too. Angie received my bag, but I forgot to take a pic of what I put in it.

A raffle is always held and the proceeds are used to make the forum ad free for however long the money lasts, usually it lasts till the next meet up which is great.

We all contributed a small gift and I made a little bunny and chocolate treat parcel.

Dusty was desperate to win the bunny but it was not to be. She is a whizz with hardanger stitching so we decided to do an exchange.  I'd knit her a bunny in colours of her choice and she would make me a hardanger angel. My bunny bought its plane ticket earlier this week and is winging its way over the pond to her.

The gift I chose when it was my turn to win was these lovely earrings made my Angi, cute little owls and so sweet.

We had a wonderful time meeting Dusty. Unbeknown to her each of us had stitched a coaster with a theme of something British as a reminder of her trip.  I chose to stitch a little thatched cottage for mine. Dusty was thrilled with her surprise parcel.  (Pics of all the surprise coaster collection on Clare's blog).

It's always a lovely day meeting online friends but this time it was extra special to be able to meet Dusty, I had a great time and thanks ladies for the fun and friendship.

Early November I had another exciting day out. A trip to the NEC to the Hobbbycraft show.

An early start to join the Craftshare ladies on a bus trip. The place was heaving with people so no pics of the stands and there were quite a few that had 'no photographs please' signs up.

I did take pics of the goodies I bought whilst there.

A few little craft items and some lovely Blue Faced Leicester sheep wool to knit DH a pair of socks ....

A goody bag of things for a small cost, lots of papercrafting items that will come in handy at future craft sessions.

I do have a few pics of finished items to share with you...

The October challenge finally got made up and the pic sent to Christine for the gallery.   The design is from Little House Needleworks and can be found here.

I've been knitting quite a bit instead of stitching and have made 2 sets of covered coat hangers.

One for a Christmas gift and one for the Craftshare Christmas Fayre stall.

A little fairy doll in the making, ready to be included in Isabelle's Christmas stocking.  A lovely free download pattern from Deramores.

A bit more stitching on O Holy Night - I've done quite a bit more to it since this pic was taken.

A couple of patchwork projects are finished but i'm not able to show you those as they are gifts and I have another one in the making too. It's that time of year when we are all making secret stuff to send out as little gifts to friends and family.

A stitched Christmas ornament exchange is happening, opening day for that is Dec 1st so not long to wait. My parcel has been posted, but none received here as yet. Something to show next time.

I've also had another little early Christmas pressie treat. DH and I visited the Fabric Guild and he has bought me a self healing mat, rotary cutter and ruler as I am determined to make more use of the sewing machine next year. A few other things dropped into the basket as well ... as they do!

There is also the challenge for November, reveal day for that is Sunday, I've got a bit more stitching to do and also make it up before then, so yet again I'm running a little late and will be cutting it very close to reveal day.

There have been a few things going on at home and healthwise that have been taking my time and also things out in the wider community too this month. Another appointment arrived for further investigations for my heart at the hospital, that's next week.

The library arrived in all its glory at the community centre, things certainly have changed for the Book Borrowers with some not nice and rather spiteful and nasty comments being made and causing some trouble. There have been a few hiccups as with all new things, and we now know the local main library will be closing Dec 1st for 4 months for a big refurbishment and that's caused a lot of unrest with people who live near that and the motives of the council have been questioned why our little self service one was put in.

It's also that time of year when we all have things that really must be done ready for the 'big day' next month and computer time becomes limited a little for us all.  I'm all up to date with blog reading, you've all been so busy creating lots of lovely things and exchanging goodies. It's been nice to see what those who attended the Harrogate show bought home with them.

Today, not a lot is planned as my darling granddaughter has shared her cold germs with and I really need to get rid of it before next weeks hospital visit.  

I'd like to end by wishing all my US readers a very happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you are having a wonderful time celebrating with your families and loved ones. 

I am very thankful today to have finally been able to actually complete a blog post with pics and not walk away from the computer feeling aggravated by blogger!   Has anyone else been having problems recently?

Thanks for stopping by

Blessings to you all