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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Time for the challenge reveal

We're coming to the end of the month and that means the last Sunday has passed by and the finish of the free online challenge design Christine chose for us to stitch in January can be revealed.

This time the chart was Happy New Year, something a little different from Gazette 94.

I made a card with mine .....

Burns Night has also been celebrated by Scottish friends. I've seen some fun celebrations on blogs.  We are not Scottish but when doing the weekly shop last week DH picked us up a treat so we could sample some Scottish fare on the night...

A bag of Scottish crisps made using Scottish potatoes lol not quite the same, but enjoyable!

The usual SAL's have been worked on this week...

Irish Garden has the final border added

A new start for the LHN and CCN SAL on Wednesday with Barb and the ladies at NH.  This time I chose Winters Eve by CCN from the 2006 JCS ornament magazine.

It was a lovely day on Sunday.  The RSPB annual garden birdwatch done DH and I decided we would have a ride out to somewhere we have not been before.  Breedon Priory often advertises in the local newspaper.  The advert states antiques shops, tea room, golf, garden centre and crafts and more.

I met the lovely Tracy who runs the wool shop, it's called Knittiquip.  She also has a facebook page and there are classes that run each week for crocheters, knitters, Tunisian crocheters and spinners.

I took a couple of pics of the lovely little shop to show you, just in case you are ever in the area, a lovely place to browse and Tracy is so friendly.

I didn't buy any wool, nothing I needed right now, but I did get 6 perfect buttons to finish off Isabelle's cardigan.  I'm still procrastinating the neck and front bands - I don't enjoy the picking up the stitches bit, but hopefully this week will see it finished now I have the buttons - no excuse for not completing it now is there?  

I also found this lovely Peter Rabbit mug and plate - hubby thought I'd bought it for Isabelle (granddaughter) but you know how I love a bunny, so I might just keep it myself.

We also had a visit to the church.  St Mary and St Hardulph sits high on Breedon hill, the site of an iron age hill fort looking out over the three neighbouring counties.

It's a very interesting church, anglo saxon and originally a monastery founded in 676.  It has carved alabaster tombs which are magnificent in memory of the Shirley family. There is important Saxon relief sculpture, some of which may be amongst the earliest to survive in England   You can read all about the church here.

A very nice trip out and something we really need to do more this year.

Time to review last weeks book.  Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd.  Did you read her first novel Thursdays in the Park - about a grandmother of 60 who finds love in the playground when taking her granddaughter to the park?  That was very good and this one is just as good.

Annie Delancey has a wonderful life, a successful cake making business, an accountant husband who adores her and three grown up children.   She harbours a secret from the children though, her husband has been aware but they are not.  Out of the blue a letter arrives from Social Services to say that her son that she gave up for adoption when she was only 18 - some 35 years ago, would like to get in touch.  The story follows what happens when Annie meets Daniel and how she has to find the right words to tell her children of her past.  How and why it happened and also time to tell the biological father too, he never knew.  Hilary Boyd has the knack of getting to grips with emotions that are felt and you are carried away with this story finding yourself at times when not reading the book thinking about what impact it would have on a close knit family if someone told you a secret like that and how would you react, would it alter your view of your parent and rock the foundations of your family.  Its one of those thought provoking books. A good read.

Finally, at the craftshare last week I tried a new to me craft - decoupage.   A little birthday gift was made, a glass covered in decoupage paper and silk flowers inserted around the bowl of the glass.  We made the cardboard bottom that it all stands on too.  A thoroughly enjoyable and fun evening and the end result is something quite different.

Wishing you all a week full of fun and happy times.  Stay safe those of you who are overseas and in the throws of the winter storm that's coming your way.  For us, there was no snow last week,  just a sprinkling that lasted all of a couple of hours and was soon gone.

Blessings to you all

Monday, 19 January 2015

Snow - Have you got it? Have you been stitching it? or reading about it?

Brrrr its turning chilly....

Have you got snow?

I see some of you have snow in the UK, hope you stay safe and warm and don't have to venture out in it.  It's predicted to come my way mid week.  A stack of wood for my open fire and the cupboards have plenty of food and I have lots to keep me occupied if it does arrive. 

Have to admit, it will be nice to see some winter weather as its been so mild, lets hope the drop in temperature kills the bugs and germs that seem to be still lingering with many friends and family.  Get well wishes being sent to those who are feeling poorly.

Reading about snow?

This weeks reading gave me food for thought, especially as it talks about being snowed in when living the middle of nowhere.

A Croft in the Hills by Katharine Stewart, first published in 1960 and now in its seventh reprint.

The true memoirs of Katharine, husband Jim and their little daughter Helen, a family of three.   They love the outdoors and spend all their spare time in the countryside.  When Jim's work takes him from the confines of the city to a small town in north Scotland they decide its time to 'go for it' and try and make a life of crofting.   They buy a small hill croft with land at Abriachan, high up and close to Loch Ness.  Katharine writes about their lives as they make new friends, fit into the community and how everyone respects and supports each other and how they learn about Highland lore.  Neighbours are few, but their generosity and the support for each other sees them through some very tough times and Jim does have to go and seek work elsewhere to help support them.  A tale of life in the wilderness and how you can live life to the full and enjoy all that nature has to offer when its on your doorstep, it just depends what happiness means to you and how you go about finding it for yourself.

A lovely book, something a little different and I'm glad that I was given it to read.

Saturday was a new experience, a new craft to try.  I went to a mosaic workshop for the day.  A flower bed has recently been upgraded at the community centre and there was space left for 4 paving slabs to be laid with a mosaic to be added to them.  Saturday was the day the tutor came along to give instruction and help us complete it.  A design was chosen, and we set about fitting the chipped tiles into place.  A bit like a jigsaw puzzle and very enjoyable.  The finish looks good but until its laid and revealed, unfortunately I cant show you the finish.  A fun day and something I would like to try again sometime perhaps.

I can show you what other stuff I've been crafting this week ...

Isabelle's cardigan now has 2 sleeves and almost a front -

Stitching snow?

LHN Winter Sampler, the stitchings finished -

The Happy New Year wall hanging at the community centre will be taken down soon and a winter themed one will take its place.  I've stitched a couple of children having a snowball fight as my contribution to it this time.  (see still on the snow theme lol)

My UFO/WIP Irish Garden got another border added at the weekend -

I've also finished the bookmark from the meet up exchange in November.  Posting for that is very soon. Once its been received I can share that with you.

Of course there is also the monthly challenge I've stitched, reveal for that is next Sunday...... which means we are going to be coming to the end of the month, and I've been stitching snowflakes on this too...... mines stitched, it just needs making up. Bet you can guess what i'll be doing this week.

I hope you have enjoyed a good week and that this coming week brings peace and tranquillity your way and maybe snow if you want it.

I came across this saying last week, it made me smile.   

Love and blessings to you all

Monday, 12 January 2015

How is your January shaping up?

Are you beavering away enthusiastically on all your projects?

There have been lots of blog posts with all the new things happening. The challenge in memory of Debbie, starting a new project each day, a lovely way to remember a much missed friend/blogger.  Jo's gifted gorgeousness year long SAL has been mentioned on a lot of blogs, ORTs are being saved to report that each month too. Some bloggers have returned to writing again after time away and it's been lovely to see all the new things that you are all working on. Some quick finishes and some older projects have come out to play too. 

This past week I've had a couple of new starts, a finish and something of a challenge too.

The finish ..... Lizzie Kate Inspirational Boxer.  I just need to make a final decision on the finish finish now the stitching is completed. 

A new start with knitting needles and wool. An aran cardigan for my granddaughter Isabelle. She specifically asked for a red cardigan this time.

The back is completed, aran does knit up so quickly!

A new start for the parlour stitching with Barb and the ladies at Needlecraft Haven on Wednesday evenings. You can choose a design by The Sampler Girl, Little House Needleworks or Country Cottage Needleworks.

I've had the winter ornaments from previous years JCS ornament magazines on my list for a long time so this year I've decided to do them.

This one is Winter Sampler by LHN from the 2009 edition.

UFO/WIP - this week saw another outer border added to Irish Garden.

The challenge was given out at the Craftshare Christmas party. We were all given a little handwrapped gift. Inside was a cotton bandana measuring approximately 22"(55cm)square. They were all different colours.   Mine was this beautiful blue and white.

You had to use the fabric to make something over the Christmas holidays.  You could do anything you wanted with it.

Last week was the first week back and there were some great ideas. One lady had cut hers into rectangles and added a border to serviettes. A small bag was made and a tissue box cover. A few ladies were absent due to this awful cough/cold germ thats doing the rounds so we will see theirs when they return.

I made mine into a drawstring bag. A simple finish, different on both sides.

Reading finish -  I was recommended the book The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke. I finished it this morning.

It's about 2 sisters who were born and brought up on the beaches of Cornwall. After their mother passes away they move to London but one is not happy and sets off on her travels across the globe with a life long friend. The other sister then receives a visit from the police to say Mia has taken her life and jumped off a cliff in Bali. The story follows Katie as she reads Mia's travel journal and retraces the last few months day by day through the journal and walks the exact same pathway, experiencing everything her sister did as she tries to come to terms with her sisters death. A good read, I enjoyed it.

Wishing you a week filled with lovely moments to treasure.

Blessings to you you all

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A week into 2015 already?

The start of a new year and as we all do, I've been thinking about trying to be more organised.

To plan my time better and be more productive and also make time to sit and relax and enjoy the simple things much more and hopefully get out and about breathing the fresh air and taking notice of nature and all it has to offer.

I was having a quiet  moment re-reading some pages in a book I was kindly sent last year by Barb.  A beautifully illustrated handwritten diary by Susan Branch.

It charts her trip from the USA to England for her 25th wedding anniversary aboard the Queen Mary 2 and all that she saw and did in England during her visit.  A thoroughly fabulous book and one I often delve into, the pictures and wording are so beautiful. 

I often think that perhaps I should try and do a journal of my year with little snippets of information, pictures, tickets etc from adventures.  Perhaps I will ....

This time I opened the page and there was a list - new rules it was titled, very apt for the start of a new year.  A great list of new rules, i had better look at this page more often and take note .....

If you get the opportunity to see a copy of this book I highly recommend it.

I've beavered away on DH's socks which I told you about last time and they are my first finish of 2015.  The wool is from West Yorkshire Spinners and is from Blue faced Leicester sheep, spun and dyed here in the UK in Yorkshire.  Nice soft wool to knit with.  My wool was purchased at the NEC and was on offer.

A perfect fit apparently and really keep your toes nice and cosy warm.
January 1st I had a break from the socks for the 'must do' new year new stitching start.  I'd had a Lizzie Kate Inspirational Boxer for Christmas from Kathy - no blog, but she does read mine, so thank you again Kathy for your kindness.
I really wanted to stitch it straight away.    Here's a little progress pic...
The weekend is UFO stitching time at Needlecraft Haven.  The only stipulation is that you make a little progress on a UFO you have sometime over the weekend.  So, seeing as i run the activity, i have to play nicely and show willing don't I?   Therefore, Irish Garden has also had some attention last weekend.  **was that a sigh of shock I heard, i know its been ages since I added a stitch to it**
The top outer brown border was added this time.  This outer row is as big as it gets, so perhaps i'll add the other 3 borders and it will inspire me to get them filled in and get it finished. 
A little reading still happening at the start and end of each day and I've finished a book this week too.  Cecilia Aherne always makes me smile when I read her books, they have a sense of magic about them.  The Time of My Life was my latest read, all about Lucy Silchester meeting 'her life' after a series of lies and untruths and being forced to work out what she wanted for herself in her life - it was her choice.
I hope the first week of the new year has been kind to you and you have settled back into your routines of school, work and such.   Of course, you'll have had plenty of crafting time too (i hope!).
Blessings to you all