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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

February's Challenge

The gallery is now open for February's Christmas ornament challenge at Needlecraft Haven, the challenge is run by Christine.

This challenge is to stitch the given free design each month using whatever threads you like and finish it any way you choose.

This time, the chart was from Steekjes & Kruisjes van Marijke and the design can be found here.

There were lots of finishes this month and you can see them all in the gallery.  Well done ladies!

Most were similar to the charted design but mine was very different.

I made a little Christmas stocking, hand drawn and little bit of a funny finished shape, but you get the idea of what it's supposed to be .....
and as I was cutting the backing piece of fabric I noticed it fell right across the saying "Special Present."  Quite perfect and not planned at all, although the little stocking doesn't contain a present,  the stocking itself will be a present at Christmas for a family member in their Christmas parcel. 
It says on the border of what's left of the fabric fat quarter I have that this fabric design is "exclusive to Joann's."  It came to me in a little parcel from across the water a while ago.  I've received some wonderful and beautiful fat quarters over the time I have been blogging and making overseas friends in exchange parcels and as gifts, they are such a useful and precious thing in an exchange parcel.
The design for March has been chosen and is soooooo cute, but if you are not a member at NH you'll have to wait until the end of March to see which one Christine's chosen for us this time.  I'll give you a clue, it's a snowman ..... lol.
Thank you for all your anniversary wishes for hubby and myself and also for your expert advice on the bunny button situation in my last post.
A very well known online stash shop here in the UK has the Elizabeth Designs Nature Alphabet chart for sale and they have a kit list for it.  On looking it's not the brass charm, what they have is another type of button with only one hole in it.  I've decided I'm going to wait till I've finished stitching it and try and find a little hare in the meantime. You never know I might just see a link to a shop I have never visited before on a blog and come across the perfect thing.  Last night was supposed to be SAL night will Gillie on NA...... but I have been sitting on the naughty step today and emailed Gillie to say I didn't stitch on it.  I had an appointment with a bedtime story and a little lady instead and was late home.  Tonight it's The Little House in the Country with the Sampler Girl SAL (in other words, parlour night with Barb and the ladies at NH stitching on a design by LHN, CCN or Sampler Girl) so my Santa's Village Candy Cane Cottage will get the roof mended now I have found the missing thread to repair the roof tiles and i'll probably be having a fall of snow there too.  I'll be stitching on Nature Alphabet on Thursday this week instead.
Well done to all those in the Stitch from Stash, I've caught up on some blog reading this afternoon and you are all doing so well with it for the second month.
Happy Stitching and crafting everyone.

Monday, 24 February 2014

What a blooming week ...

Two days of bright sunshine mixed with some duller moments and bits of colour are popping up in the garden again, beautiful!  I hope you had some of the sunshine where you are, it certainly lifts the spirits and puts a smile on your face.

The cyclamen outside our south facing front door have perked up and welcome our visitors.

Spring is springing, my first little crocus is blooming, with others in bud and a few daffodils showing signs of fat buds too.
We are blooming inside too ... but not at the time it usually does.  My Easter cactus is a little early this year, must be the warm weather, it's been lulled into thinking winter has come and gone.
Another dose of pink petals too.  A beautiful bouquet of flowers to celebrate my wedding anniversary which hubby and I celebrated last Wednesday.
together with this little treat.  What I would like to know is.... How does the soft chocolate inner remain so cold and yummy when you suck one and the outer has melted? Have you tried them, if not perhaps you should, although I will take no responsibility if you become addicted to them!
A little knitting this weekend instead of Irish Garden stitching.  Not enough brain cells working to concentrate on the counting, especially as DH was watching a film with subtitles.  You just can't read them and count at the same time and I didn't want the frogs to be in residence or that would have put me off the project again. 
Just the two front bands to add now and Isabelle with have a new little cardigan to wear.
A new start on the next Santa Village cottage. This time it's number 8, Candy Cane Cottage.
Another new start for a friend who is the hugest Pooh Bear fan ever.  She has a big birthday coming up soon and as a quilter I thought she might like a personalised pin cushion with her name on using the Winnie the Pooh alphabet.  One letter down, 2 more to go, i'm not a fan of stitching cutesy, at least she has a short name! 
Progress with Gillie on our Tuesday SAL of Nature's Alphabet.
I finished off the H for Hare ...
and added I for Ivy.

The bunny is just placed on there for show.  I already have some of these in different colours in my stash.  It should be a brass hare charm like it shows on the design - see the pic from the chart in the pic below.
I need your opinion please.  What do you think to the bunny?  Should I source a brass hare charm (and risk other stash that i don't need falling into the basket or pay the extortionate postage just for a charm) or save my pennies and add the white rabbit?  Hubby thinks he fits in well in the gap left for the charm, but says he looks a little too stark with the other colours in the design.  It's always nice to get thoughts from other stitchers, you are always so helpful. What do you think?
Here's the whole design so far with the bunny still on ...
As it's coming to the end of the month, it's time for the reveal of the monthly ornament challenge.  Christine hasn't opened the gallery for us to see yet, so i'll share my finish with you next time. 
I hope you are finding time to enjoy your crafting hobbies and lots of {{get well hugs}} to those in need.  I've read a few blogs where ladies and their gentlemen partners are suffering with these lingering germs and such.
Take care, see you soon

Monday, 17 February 2014

Happy Birthday Barb

 I sent a little parcel along to Barb to help celebrate her birthday on Saturday.  I stitched this little something to add to the parcel, a little noteblock.   I forgot to take a pic of the goodies I sent, some sheepie things to satisfy her love of them, but I'm sure Barb will blog her lovely parcels sometime soon.   I hope you had a wonderful Birthday Barb and were thoroughly spoilt by friends and family.

I love to send a little handmade gift to friends for their birthday.  A little 60th birthday bunny has been born ....

and they multiply so fast don't they .... we soon had two!  Two friends with 60th birthdays coming up soon.

Stitchy finish - Christmas Tree Farm had the final stitch added on Wednesday in the parlour SAL at NH. This makes 7 finished now, still another 5 more to go with Candy Cane Cottage being the next one, i'll start that on Wednesday.
Tuesday Gillie and I SAL with Nature's Alphabet by Elizabeth Designs.  Last week my daughter stopped by with some flapjacks she'd made for us to enjoy.  Here you are Gillie, as promised, here's yours ..... (although I have to admit I did eat one for you on the day as well as my own!)
and here's my progress for you to see, the letter 'G' added this week.  Lots of smyrna's in those grapes, very effective they look.
I was a little naughty though.  I stitched the borders of the next box as I was enjoying it so much and there was a while before bedtime AND I was too lazy to get out of my comfy chair and get something else lol.
The UFO project Irish Garden came out at the weekend again. Lots of half and quarter stitches in the bottom left hand iris border.
It's growing well ...
I hope you are all ok after the high winds and stormy weather again this past weekend.  The fields are still flooded locally, but we did have some sunshine on Sunday which was very welcome.  I was able to go down the garden and survey the damage from Friday evenings high winds.... oh dear 2 fence panels fallen down .... the cats are loving it, they don't have to jump the high fence anymore!

Enjoy your week and thanks for stopping by, its always nice to have new people come and visit.  Waving a hello and welcome to the new folks who have come along from the blog hop organised by Jo for Valentine's Day.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching has some wonderful ideas for differing occasions to help ladies come across new and interesting blogs and to add a little fun to life. 
For Valentine's Day she has organised a Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop. 
 18 ladies have taken part this year, you can check out their blogs on the list over at Jo's blog post today.   We had to send a picture of a stitched heart/valentine design and Jo randomly sent it on for us to our secret partner.
Today all 18 blogs are listed on Jo's own blog for everyone to go and browse, find new friends and when you come across your own stitched design, you can 'confess' and reveal you were their secret Valentine stitcher.
Such fun!
Here's my secret Valentine ......

Thank you secret stitcher, it's beautiful.
Please step forward and reveal yourself......
of course it could have come from anywhere in the world, so I could be waiting all day to learn who you are depending on your time frame...... no clues either, no postmark, no handwriting to try and decipher... i'll have to be patient.... lol

Time for me to go investigate and see just where my little stitching ended up and reveal myself.
(I do know that Jo has one of them as I was the lady who couldn't make the decision and ended up sending her two designs, one of which she kept for herself so she could take part this year, see, I told you she's a clever lady is Jo).
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day, hope your day is filled with love.

Monday, 10 February 2014

A bit of blue sky... yes really!

Quick, don't blink ... we had a bit of blue sky at breakfast time and some sunshine this morning and very welcome it was too.  It was only short lived though as we are back to dark clouds, grey skies and the wet stuff again now.
My thoughts are with all those who are suffering in the recent bad stormy weather and flooding here in the UK.  I know quite a few bloggers who are being affected in the areas they live.  Please do take care ladies and stay safe.  The fields local to me are under water, the canals and rivers have burst their banks.  Mother Nature is certainly playing some strange games right now and the weatherman tells me its not going to be nice week either, more rain and high winds to come.
No new starts in the crafting department this week, I've had another busy week, not so busy as last week though.  Another meeting with the council and i've been told at present there are to be no cuts at our community centre - hooray!  In fact there might be something nice happening - the council library services are considering being installed to enhance my book borrowers group.   Better not hold my breath till all the consultations/costings have been done and it's a reality though.   But I am secretly excited about it and the new things it might bring.
A little stitching has been happening.....
Irish Garden - Weekend UFO - 2 rhododendron bushes added to the north and west triangles.
CCN Christmas Tree Farm - Parlour evening on Wednesday - Christmas trees have been planted. Now, it's just the bottom border and the snow to add, so I'm looking forward to a finish this week.
Nature's Alphabet - Tuesday is SAL with Gillie, this week F for flax was added.
It's growing well and is such a lovely design to stitch.  Each week the little square is like a mini finish.  I'm having to be really good and not stitch on this all the time, its so lovely to do.
A little making in the cooking department too.  Hubby is partial to homemade marmalade and he finished off the last jar.  A new batch to keep his breakfast time happy.
A little treat for myself was to purchase these at the weekend just to remind me that spring is definitely only round the corner and will soon be here, a lovely cheap bunch of daffodils.  They make me smile every time I walk into the room.....little things!
Wishing you all a lovely week full of happiness and good things.
Love and {hugs} to you all

Monday, 3 February 2014

Just the odd stitch or two...

Phew ... what a week last week was, lots of things happening here, busy, busy, busy. 

I was out every night last week so not a lot of stitching happened. Monday was something new.  I was invited to a knitting group at the café in a local supermarket.  It's been running for over 8 years and I never knew it was there. A good evening meeting some new people and I'm looking forward to going again.  I was knitting one of my little bunnies, and we chatted about how many are around the world, over 70 at the last count!

I had an email from Gillie over at Random Thoughts from Abroad.  After seeing my Nature Alphabet start last post, she made a start on hers and we are now SAL'ing on Tuesdays.  **Waving to you Gillie**  You can see Gillie's progress on her blog. I added the letter 'E' to mine this time with an couple of hours stitching after my evening tai chi class.

Wednesday... ahhh a quiet evening.... but no.... that didn't turn out as it should.  Our individual meeting with the councils head of services that had been arranged for Tuesday at the Book Borrowers had to be cancelled so I went along to a meeting about neighbourhood services in our area Wednesday evening.  With the major budget cuts to local councils there will be changes to our community centre and that might involve my Book Borrowers and the volunteers who help and lots of the other services and groups that meet.  A long evening with some irate people who feel so very passionate about their own centres and the services that happen there and are not happy at the cuts that have been proposed. 
Not a stitch Thursday either..... a craft group meeting at the Community Centre in the evening putting together a project that sadly didn't go as planned in the first place.  The working party are doing well and all is moving along nicely with that now.  I was crafting, but with a wider group of people on a final piece that will be hung at the Community Centre.
I'd missed parlour evening with Barb and the girls on Wednesday so Friday evening, after an afternoon at the hospital with DH whilst he had his brain scan and then a couple of hours babysitting my granddaughter I spent some time on my Santa Village - Christmas Tree Farm.  The top border and the chimneys added this time.
The weekend came around again and it was time to pull out the UFO Irish Garden but I wasn't well on Saturday and then Sunday i spent the day sleeping off a migraine so no update on that this week.  Oh dear, what a poor show of stitching for a whole week.
I have been having a crafting fix though, with a magazine instead, the March issue of Style at Home. 
I was given an annual subscription to it and when it dropped through the letterbox and I looked there were some crafting things this time....

There are also some recipes for quick and tasty meals to make for your family.  It's not a very expensive magazine and even cheaper if you have the annual sub and it has some good things in it.

Last time I said I would share with you the series of books I've been reading recently.

The Poor Relation Series by M C Beaton.  They are old books and were written 1993/94 but have been re-released. They are set in the regency period about a group of people who themselves are 'the poor relations'.

What do you do if you are of noble stock - but impoverished, and living in London with a certain style to maintain?  One has to work... but One's relatives will be appalled when One turns One's hand to trade - and opens a hotel, The Poor Relation, offering employment to others of the same social standing and in the same awkward situation. This is precisely what Mrs Fortescue decides upon and, together with friend Colonel Sandhurst, transforms her decrepit Bond Street home into a posh hotel, offering guests the pleasure of being waited upon by the nobility.

Easy reading but funny, the folks involved do get up to some strange and quirky antics.  If you are a fan of Agatha Raisin you'll love this collection from M C Beaton, I did.  But you do need to read them in order beginning with Lady Fortesque Steps Out.  

What are you reading at the moment?  The BB choice for February is The Thread by Victoria Hislop, that's the book I've just started.  I loved The Island and am hoping this one will be just as good.

I've seen some lovely pictures on blogs from people's windows looking out at snow and beautiful sights in their gardens.  Not a pretty sight outside my window with the arrival of these yesterday......

and some signs that say 'Road Closed'  oh dear, it's going to be a noisy week around here with workmen replacing the speed humps that have not stood the test of time.  Perhaps i'll be able to have a quiet week and get lots of crafting done if I can't get my car off the driveway ..... a girl can hope!

Enjoy your week, whatever way you plan to spend it.