Monday, 31 December 2007

I'm on a roll...

Monday, 31 December 2007
Yesterday I finished a quilt top. Okay, only a small one, but a finish nonetheless. I don't have any pictures as yet but I will try and get one loaded soon.

It's a small piece, one of the 'Quilts in a Tin' from Moda and it measures 20" x 20". I could finish it as a cushion but Lia loves it (it's very bright) so I think it'll just end up as a blanket for her animals.

It's a step towards my 2008 goals as it was one of the quilting projects I had started (I'd done the cutting) but had stopped when my old sewing machine died on me. Talking of which my new sewing machine is fandabidozi! I had lots of fun over the weekend playing and the best part is that the slowest stitch speed is quiet enough that Lia doesn't complain (she absolutely hates noise from electrical stuff).

I've also made good progress on my WIP 'Ginny' and hope to have her finished by the end of the week. I won't get any stitching done tonight as we have friends over but tomorrow it'll just be the three of us so hopefully I'll get some more done.

I've also been grouping my WIP list into bunches of 5 and thinking about new starts I can include. Can you tell I'm bored at work today? LOL

Group 1

1. Just Nan - Secret Snowdrift
2. Ginny
3. Red Threads Redwork
4. Stitching Shed - Santa Cushion - completed 28/10/07
5. Newton's Law - Keep Calm

Group 2

6. Pulled Thread practice piece
7. Blackwork Maze
8. Row of Christmas Fairies
9. Garden Party
10. Charlie is Born

Group 3

1. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
2. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
3. Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
4. Grandma's Thread Minder
5. Victoria Sampler - Lavender Hearts

Group 4

1. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
2. Bent Creek - Red Threads
3. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
4. Just Nan - Four Wishes
5. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill

Group 5

1. Santa's Journey Afghan
2. The Big Zipper
3. Handmade Houses 4
4. Snapperville
5. St Germain

Group 6

1. Be Attitudes Afghan
2. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds*
3. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan*
4. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet*
5. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening*
6. Noah's Sub*

I'm thinking that, given the size of some of the projects, I'm going to have to include some smaller projects that I can start and complete as a reward system otherwise I'm likely to get bored.

So my current thinking is that I can pick one additional small project to start per month as long as I have stuck to my goals and made significant progress on my WIPs.

The list I can choose from is:

Bent Creek
Cold Snowman
First Moon Colony
Long Winter
Peaceful Forest

Eliza Jane's Needlekeep

Lili of the Valley

The Trilogy
Spring Line up
Autumn Line up
Summer Line up
Winter Line up
Halloween Line up

Teresa Wentzler
Needle Guardian

Barbara Thompson - Around the World
Meineck Design Group - Brockley

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Is this what they mean by Over-Achieving?

Saturday, 29 December 2007
I've completed my first WIP!

DH and I watched 'The History Boys' last night and I got on with The Stitching Shed's Santa Cushion and here he is:

I don't have a before pic but I did his hat, the star, the green border and the backstitching last night. He needs to be finished into a cushion so he's now part of my 'complete finishing' list.

I have now taken pics of the other four WIPs in my first list:

Red Threads Redwork

The Trilogy's Secret Snowdrift

Newton's Law - Keep Calm at all Times

Simply Heritage Cats - Ginny

I also had a small HD over Christmas - the Bent Creek Zipper 'Tis the Season

And finally for this pic filled post, here's our Christmas tree :)

Friday, 28 December 2007

Getting Organised

Friday, 28 December 2007
I decided that, in order to best get on with my 2008 crafting plans I'd better get organised.

So, today I have put all my working copy charts into one display book so I can easily find them when I'm switching between projects. I've also packed up all the kitted WIPs into bags that are labeled and organised the WIPs themselves into a box with a second box for items that need 'finishing'.

I'm in a sorting out mood (it's the New Year, it does strange things to me LOL) so I'm going through all my stash and organising it properly. We've got a garage full of things to go in the loft so we're going to sort those out this weekend and all of my scrapbooking stuff will go up there as there's just not enough space for all my hobbies!

Thankfully the loft is easily accessible so I can zoom up and down and get things when the mood takes me. I will be focusing on my stitching and quilting this year but I also want to get on with putting some photos in albums - I've got none of Lia's pics in albums and I also haven't done our wedding album yet either.

One of the things I received from Santa was a gardening journal so I shall be working on that as we work on clearing the garden. I've got very little knowledge of plants and so the journal will be a good way of recording my learning curve as well as the garden's progress.

And of course all of the above is a sideline when it comes to organising the house and life in general (oh and not forgetting work) LOL.

I also remembered whilst organising my stash that I have an important project to stitch this year as it's my sister's 40th Wedding Anniversary in September and I have Victoria Sampler's Lavender Heart's I want to stitch for them. Typically for me I'm being very ambitious as I've never done pulled stitches or hardanger before so I'm going to have to have some small practice pieces in my WIPs in the first half of the year...

Still, the good news is once I've mastered them and done Lavender Hearts I can then do the Heirloom Christmas Sampler for myself.

So in the light of this I've decided to focus on finishing the following in January:

1. Just Nan - Secret Snowdrift
2. Ginny
3. Red Threads Redwork
4. Stitching Shed - Santa Cushion
5. Newton's Law - Keep Calm

They're all small and should be achievable in January. Once they're done I can include a small pulled thread piece in my WIPs and then get started on Lavender Hearts once I've completed the next five WIPs which are (for the moment)

6. Pulled Thread practice piece
7. Blackwork Maze
8. Row of Christmas Fairies
9. Garden Party
10. Charlie is Born

After that little lot I'll have another look at my plans and see how I'm going. I think I'll then focus on getting Lavender Hearts done (I'd like to finish it in good time and get it framed) as well as Sleigh Ride, Cirque des Cercles, Dilly Bag and Grandma's Thread Minder. Those five are all large projects which means I'll be busy for quite some time (no kidding right LOL)

I think that's all the organising I need to do for now - but at least it's focused me on one of my plans - posting to this blog more!

The only other piece of news is that my new sewing machine was delivered half an hour ago. Why am I here posting instead of playing? Simple, I want to wait till Lia's in bed so I can focus properly which makes this a good diversion tactic

Thursday, 27 December 2007

'Tis the Season to be Jolly...

Thursday, 27 December 2007
So did you all have a good festive season?

Christmas chez Family V was quiet and pretty stress-free. Lia had great fun with the pressies - she hadn't been excited at all up until the day itself (I don't think she'd really grasped the concept of Santa and Gifts) but she soon worked it out when presents were being passed out LOL.

As you can imagine she was very spoiled - we asked the Grandparents for money to put towards a wooden playhouse for the garden but even so she ended up with about 25 parcels under the tree. The parcel opening was staggered throughout the day to make sure she got a chance to play with things. Her two favourites were a junior etch-a-sketch and a dress up dolly (very clever - it has plastic clip on clothes so they a) won't break and b) can be put on by small hands. Now I just have to hope that they don't c) get lost LOL.

Other than those gifts she got a Pingu house playset, several books, some jigsaws, 2 Pingu DVDs, a cuddly polar bear, some clothes, a bracelet, a colouring book, a bath toy and a game.

We also braved the sales yesterday and got her quite a few items of clothing (from the Pumpkin Patch - sales in there bring the clothes down to reasonable prices!) and a few toys that will be put away for her birthday.

DH is happy - it was his birthday yesterday so he had double pressies. His main present was a DS Lite with the accessory kit and three games (Zelda, Hotel Dusk and 42 Classic games). He's just about to start a new job with a longer commute so the DS should keep him happy on the train.

As for me, I was definitely spoiled. I'll admit that I chose most of my gifts (or gave damn good hints!) but at least it meant that I got what I wanted. My gift list was:

A clover mini iron (great for seams)
Bothy Threads Row of Christmas Fairies
Stitchin'Spirations Lost in a Blackwork Maze
Two skeins of Dinky Dyes Illawong
Ink Circles Kaleidoscope
Left handed dress making scissors
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 DVD
A kit to make these two cuties:

They're called 'Too Pooped' and 'Jingle Your Own Darn Bells' LOL

Oh and not forgetting a brand new sewing machine!

After much discussion with DH and the sewing machine man (one of the owners of the shop that holds the Quilting classes) the decision was made that I should get a new machine rather than spend money repairing the old one. The cost of repair was likely to be heading towards half of the cost of a new machine and, given that the old one is seven years old, DH felt it better to get a new machine that is covered by a warantee.

So we have ordered a new machine from Brother. My old one was also a Brother so the extras that I bought from the old one will fit the new one which is cool. The only bad thing about the order is that it is placed directly with Brother and they deliver to me so I'm not sure exactly when the machine is going to arrive given Christmas working hours (we bought the machine on the 22nd). Still, it'll arrive soon I'm sure.

So that's our festive news. We're having a few friends join us for New Year's Eve and then it's back to business as usual.

I intend to use the long dark evenings to get on with my Stitching plans, especially as DH may be home later than usual once he's started his new job. I keep telling him he's lucky to have a wife with hobbies who can amuse herself while he's away ;)

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

2008 Stitching and Quilting Plans

Wednesday, 26 December 2007
Well I didn't really manage to stick to my 2007 plans but hey, who's to say 2008 won't see me more organised LOL.

So my stitching plans are:

1. Stay on the Wagon - I'm only allowed to purchase the last parts of the Bent Creek Series' I'm stitching which means 4 x Red Thread Charts and 5 x Big Zipper Charts.

2. Finish Sleigh Ride

3. Finish Cirque de Cercles

4. 'Proper' finishing of items already stitched and also any WIPs that get finished (See list below)

5. Two new GFJ starts - Stitchin'Spirations Blackwork Maze and Bothy Threads Row of Christmas Fairies

5. Allow myself one new start for every five WIPs finished (see WIP list below) until all I'm left with is the BAPs (marked with *)

6. Okay this one may be a bit ambitious but I'll put it anyway, to work on each of my WIPs at least once during the year.

Quilting plans are:

1. Attend more classes and get lots of practice

2. Make the following quilt tops - Spring Sunshine, Dancing Pinwheels, Ohio Star Medallion, Monkey Button's Star Medallion, Road to Ireland (all of which I have the fabrics for).

3. Finish and quilt the projects I've started already.

Other Projects:

1. Country Folk - Simply Pooped Out and Jingle Your Own Darn Bells

2. Country Folk - Willy Melt

Stitching WIP List

1. Stitchy Kitty - Snowman Trio
2. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
3. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
4. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
5. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
6. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
7. Be Attitudes Afghan
8. Santa's Journey Afghan
9. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
10. The Cat's Whiskers - Grandma's Thread Minder
11. Bent Creek - The Big Zipper
12. Bent Creek - Red Threads
13. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
14. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds*
15. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan*
16. Rosewood Manor - Red Threads Redwork
17. The Stitching Shed - Santa Cushion
18. Simply Heritage - Ginny
19. Brightneedle - Garden Party
20. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet*
21. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
22. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
23. Anchor - Keep Calm
24. Millhouse Designs - Charlie is Born
25. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening*
26. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
27. Long Dog - St Germain
28. Noah's Sub*
29. Just Nan - Four Wishes
30. Just Nan - Secret Snowdrift

Things that need finishing list:

1. Redwork Pinkeep
2. Alyssum Scissor Pocket
3. Spring Fever Bourse
4. Birds of a Feather Accessories

I can't believe I have 30 WIPs. I'd like to get that down to under 10 by the end of 2008 with significant progress on all five of the BAPs.

Of course that plan doesn't include all the other things I'd like to do such as gardening, reading, cooking, etc but I really need to decrease my stash so I want this list here to focus on.

Oh and the one final plan is to post more progress pics here. Every WIP I pic up with be photo'd before I work on it and after I finish my 'session' with it so I can look back on what I've achieved over the year. This will also help me post more to this blog.

Oh and finally I shall review my progress on a monthly basis

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Christmas is Coming...

Wednesday, 5 December 2007
And I'm getting excited! I love christmas and we're having it at our house this year with my parents. We got all the decorations out yesterday and the tree is going up tonight, it's nice to finally be in a house that we can fit the decorations in without losing a huge chunk of living space!

Last month I made christmas puddings for the whole family (including one to post to Greece!) and will be making mince pies at some point. Turkey is ordered from M&S (pre stuffed and in it's own roasting tin) and I'm busy making a food list for my Mum to check over. Not because I can't order food but because my StepDad can be a bit fussy and I want to make sure there's plenty of stuff he'll eat.

Lia's been singing Christmas Carol's for weeks as they're practicing for a Carol Concert next thursday. I asked if she should be wearing anything particular (stupid me) and they said if she had a white dress because they're supposed to be angels. What parent in their right mind has a white dress for a 2 1/2 year old???? Someone at work says they have an angel costume that might fit, otherwise I'm going to try and find a white nightie somewhere.

She's still not really aware of the whole presents part of Christmas (yes I am making the most of it) but she's loving the lights and decorations, especially the 8 foot inflatable snowman they have outside nursery.

Crafting wise, I thoroughly enjoyed my quilting class and have almost finished my quilt - just two sides to have the binding stitched on. I've been waiting since the class for the quilting foot for my sewing machine to arrive - it turned up yesterday but now my machine is playing up big time and I'm going to have to take it for repair I think. It's eating the thread somewhere between the reel and the needle - basically the thread seems to get stripped thinner and thinner until it snaps and I'm left with a 'spring' of thread where it's been gathered.

I'm not sure if that makes sense but it wasn't doing it before, I've cleaned and oiled the machine, used different threads, different tension, different stitch lengths and it still happens. It's incredibly frustrating as I've got so much I want to get on with.

Anyway, here's two more quilt tops I've finished that are awaiting quilting. Thanks everyone for you kind comments re my first quilt top (here and in the other places I posted it in my finishing excitement LOL). I'm having so much fun with all of this and have just ordered a whole load of fabric having sold some stuff on eBay (so it's not real money I'm using!)

Both quilts are using the colour schemes I chose for the first two quilting courses. My next course is 5th January and I've paid a deposit for another three - one in Feb, one in March and one in May!!!

Stitching wise I haven't done much (I'm sure you can understand why) but I did manage to post an update of my Cirque des Cercles on the Snowbird SAL. At least I'll get some stitching done while my sewing machine is out of action LOL.

Finally here's some pics of Lia

Saturday, 17 November 2007

My First Quilt Top

Saturday, 17 November 2007
Okay it's not brilliant but here it is, my first quilt top...

I've got the next course a week today and have to have at least one quilt top done for it so I'm ahead of schedule :)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Time Flies...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Firstly, how can it be nearly a month since I posted here? I'm constantly mooching round other peoples blogs wishing they'd update theirs and yet here I am just as bad. All I can say in my defense is that time has flown since my last post and I'll try to do better.

So what's been happening with us?

Well, it's not just the last month that's flown by it's the last 10 years. Last friday DH and I celebrated 10 years as a couple! I can't believe it's been that long, especially as he only came to this country for 11 months to do his Master's Degree. When we got together it was only supposed to be short term, a bit of fun really, but somewhere along the line he forgot to go back to Greece and here we are, 10 years later, married and parents!

To celebrate the momentous date we left my parents babysitting and we headed to London for a meal and a show. Foodwise it was nothing spectacular - Tapas at a chain restaurant that we like - but the treat was not having to worry about making sure the wet wipes were on hand LOL. As for the show, we saw Avenue Q which we'd wanted to see for ages and was fantastic. I can't imagine it's to everyone's taste but if you like musicals, Sesame Street and your comedy a tad un-PC then this is the show for you.

We had fantastic seats in the Royal Circle. I was on a course in London the week before and had picked up a copy of Metro (a free London newspaper) one morning on the way in. Inside there was an advert for discounted tickets to see Avenue Q making the top price seats almost half price so, whilst it still wasn't what you'd call cheap, we did have a bit of a bargain.

That course is another reason I've been away from the net for a while. It was a technical course for work and was actually a lot of fun. My work bulk buy training with a company called Learning Tree and are pretty good at making sure we all get some training every year. Pre Lia I'd done three courses there but until June this year I'd not been back so I've done two courses this year and have another one booked for March.

It's not quite the same experience as I had previously as before I stayed in London so could go out and about, meet friends, etc but now I'm going up and down each day on the train as my Mum has Lia during the day and I need to get home to relieve her. Still, the courses are good and I passed this one with 88% so it all looks good on the CV.

Lia's doing fine - she had a nasty tummy bug on Halloween that she was kind enough to pass on to me. Unfortunately I woke up on 5th November thinking 'I'm going to throw up' and proceeded to do that for the next six hours. Not too nice and we had to cancel our Bonfire Party that I was so looking forward to. We had two sets of friends coming, both of which we hadn't seen for ages, but as there were lots of kids around I certainly didn't want to risk passing the bug on. As it was I didn't make it out of bed until the Sunday lunchtime so I wasn't really in any fit state to be a hostess.

Crafting wise I've been focussing on my quilting this month as I'm attending the third course on the 24th which is for finishing. I've got one Advent Calendar panel done that I want to finish as a wall hanging, I'm nearly done putting together one small quilt top and I'm hoping to have the blocks done for a second quilt top with the idea that I can get some tips on different ways to put them together.

I've got my wadding and backing fabrics so I'm good to go. I have ambitious plans for a third quilt top but I'm not sure I have enough time to get it done. DH is being really good about it - I've told him that I have to focus on quilting for the next ten days otherwise I'll be wasting the money for the course LOL.

As for stitching, I'm still getting on. I've joined a SAL for Cirque des Cercles and have done some stitching on that (which reminds me I have to post a progress pic on that blog). I've got the next part of Bent Creek's Big Zipper and have made a start on that, I've done all the stitching on the Cat's Whisker's Spring Fever Biscornu and almost finished the stitching on their Alyssum Scissor Pocket (both shown at the bottom of this page). I'm hoping to get a few more smalls done between now and Christmas and have a finishing session over the festive period. I've got a pinkeep ready to do plus the accessories for the Cat's Whisker's Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag and I hope to get at least one ornament done and maybe even something that I can finish into a bourse.

I'm actually starting to really enjoy sewing as opposed to dreading it which is fantastic. I have two other Cat's Whisker's projects - Grandma's Thread Minder and the Dilly Bag itself - that need the stitching finished and I'm aiming to get them done early in 2008. For some reason I'm not that bothered about big designs right now but I'm hoping that once I've completed the finishing for all the above I'll get back to working on Sleigh Ride. The Cirque des Cercles SAL is at least keeping me focused on one of my other WIPs.

Whew, see I don't post for weeks and now I've written a small essay! LOL

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A Lia update

Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Seems my plan of keeping track of Lia's milestones has slipped a little...

Still we're currently in the middle of a couple - potty training and the final teeth appearing - so things are moving on.

She's back to her perky self after the chicken pox episode. In case you're in any doubt here's a pic of her testing out the new sofas:

As you can see she I finally achieved my goal of doing something 'girlie' with her hair. This was the first time she allowed me to put her in bunches and I've managed twice more since.

Potty training wise we've been doing a bit at home and she's quite adept now at stripping from the waist down and announcing 'Lia do wee wee'. Nursery and I had a chat yesterday and from today she's moved up to 'serious' mode which involves no nappies, training pants, etc, just several extra pairs of trousers, knickers and socks together with plastic shoes...

I'd forgotten all about teething so it took me a while to attribute the symptoms she's been displaying with the notion of teeth appearing but I finally checked at the weekend and it appears that the final top two are though and the final bottom two are just about visible under the gum. No wonder she's been grumpy and slightly off colour.

Her speech is coming along in leaps and bounds now and she chatters almost constantly. A lot of the words she got wrong or stumbled on are now coming out clearly and she's much more interactive in conversations now.

We've also (with the help of friends) cleared a lot of our back garden so she's able to get out more and explore a bit. She loves being outside and she also loved helping when we were doing some clearing up. I've probably mentioned before that the new garden was incredibly overgrown but in the course of six weeks we've gone from this:

to this:

to this:

with a bit of help from Lia and Neh-Naw

The front garden has had even more of a transformation going from this:

to this:

As you can see we still have a really long way to go but now we've made such a good start it's not quite as daunting. Even better we've got enough stuff to burn we can have a fantastic bonfire on November 5th.

We're heading down to Canterbury on Thursday as it's the second of my trio of Quilting Courses. My parents are away so my sister is babysitting for the day. I'm not quite sure how she'll cope or what kind of mood Lia will be in as she misses my parents (they've been on holiday for weeks!) and this will be the first time she's been to their house with them not there. Still, my sister has three dogs that Lia adores so I'm sure they'll be a good substitute. Plus it's only a few days after that we'll be back down there to see my parents on their return (and to collect the one or two bits of stash they picked up for me in the US!)

Talking of Stash, several of us went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally last Saturday and a fab day was had by all. I spent a fortune (I had been saving up) and bought way too much stash and found at least one more fantastic shop to lose money in - Here's some pics of my stash purchases:

Thursday, 11 October 2007

A Stitching Update

Thursday, 11 October 2007
Just to prove I do get time to stitch...

Here's Bella, my latest HD from a Simply Heritage kit. I've done all four of the dogs now and have one cat left to complete the set and then I can frame them for Lia's room.

And here are my current WIPs

Dimensions Sleigh Ride

The Cat's Whisker's Grandma's Thread Minder

The Cat's Whisker's Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag

Bent Creek's Red Thread

Bent Creek's Big Zipper

Ink Circles' Cirque des Cercles

On the quilting front I spent a happy evening yesterday cutting up bits of material to put together my first quilt top. No pics as yet but I'm now going to have to be really brave and set up my sewing machine LOL.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

So what happened to September?

Wednesday, 26 September 2007
It started off promisingly - a friend and I did a beginners quilting course that we'd enrolled on back in June and were eagerly awaiting. It was held a tiny shop in Canterbury and was great fun. There were six of us on the course which is the maximum the room can hold and we learnt about piecing, cutting and sewing together basic nine patch pieces in squares and triangles.

Here's my first four squares made during that day:

We're booked to go on the second Beginners Course next month which teaches smaller triangles and the 'flying geese' blocks. After that it's a 'finishing' course at the end of november.

I'm already hooked just from this initial course and have about a dozen quilts planned LOL. There's also another 12 courses run at the shop all of which I'd like to do so I'm hoping I manage at least a couple next year. Of course I need another hobby like a hole in the head.

Anyway, after the course I came home picking my in-laws up en route as they came over for five days to see us (well DH), Lia and the new house. Thankfully they weren't staying with us so I was able to hold my temper better than previous visits but it was a relief when they left. I don't understand why they're such hard work. We constantly try and come up with things to do when they're around and they never seem to enjoy it but they never seem to enjoy just sitting around either.

DH finds them even more frustrating than me which doesn't help as I have to put up with them AND him being in odd moods. The only thing that caused issues this time was my refusal to let my MIL wash up and clean. I know that sounds like bliss to some people but having her walk into the house and immediately start cleaning and tidying drives me nuts. I can live with dirty dishes sitting waiting to be washed - they're not left more than a few hours and only if we're heading out or busy elsewhere - and it always makes me feel like she's criticising me by implying I don't run the house the way she would (god forbid anything dirty is left out for more than 30 seconds in her house).

Anyway, this time I was super-woman. I went to work, cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed and looked after the baby. I also haven't slept as well for weeks as I did those five days LOL.

And then, on the day they were leaving what did I notice on Lia? Spots. Only one or two but by Monday morning there were lots and lots and lots...

Chicken Pox!

Nine of the children in her room at nursery had it last week too. I had to take four days off work to nurse her (DH did one day as I had to be in a meeting) and for the first three days she was pretty miserable and kept asking me to wash the spots off for her. Thankfully child antihistamine worked wonders for the itching and by thursday she was on the mend. This pic was taken on friday and as you can see she was feeling a lot better!

So that was most of September gone!

Other good things that happened this month were our new sofas arriving. They're scarlet leather and sooooooooo comfortable but we have been warning friends that they may need sunglasses when they come and visit

We also saw lots of friends we haven't seen for ages and my sister came to stay to help us get started with sorting out the garden. She and my BIL delivered some furniture including a piano which is fantastic. It's in need of a tuning but other than that is in perfect condition and I can't wait to start playing again (yes, that is another hobby to add to the list LOL).

I also held a small stitching GTG - smaller than originally planned as only those prepared to brave the chicken pox came. It was fun though and some of us ended the day off with a trip to Kristina's house which holds all the stock for Lekker Threads. Much stash was purchased and a great time was had by all (except maybe her DBF who was trying to watch TV!)

Do go and check out her site as she has some fantastic items for sale (no affiliation etc, just a happy customer).

So that's it. September is almost over and the shops are starting to display Christmas items so I'm left wondering what happened to the bulk of 2007!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Stitching Project Plan

Wednesday, 5 September 2007
This is a list of my current projects that I want to focus on between now and the end of the year.

Bent Creek Red Threads
Bent Creek Big Zipper
Cirque des Cercles
Heaven Above
Grandma's Thread Minder
Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
Sleigh Ride
Santa's Journey Afghan
Be Attitudes Afghan
Cottage Garden 2

All are current WIPs that I love and so deserve attention from me. I hope to get better about taking WIP pictures to get my motivation levels up so I'm going to start by taking a picture of all of them at the weekend so I can compare them all on 31st December. I'd like to think I will have a couple of finishes by then but given there's so much to do in the new house I'll be happy if I've just managed to get a bit further on with all of them.

If I do start any other projects I will keep them small - probably some quick finishes such as ornaments, biscornus, etc.

Also I want to get practicing with drawn thread work too as I have a sampler I'd like to get stitched for my Sis and BIL who celebrate 40 years of marriage next September. I think I should get moving on this now just in case Baby 2 comes along as all stitching plans go out of the window with a newborn in the house!

The Tale of the Paint

The first job on the list for the morning after we moved was a trip to B&Q to get all the paint, brushes, etc required for us to get on with decorating. Our car was still pretty full of stuff from the move but we didn't really have anywhere to put it in the house and, as the bulk of it was my stash, I wasn't putting it in the garage (there's A LOT of spiders in there and I'm not risking one jumping out and attacking me the next time I go on a floss hunt...)

Anyway we bought all our stuff and as we came out of B&Q DH saw the icecream van that was stationed at the exit to attract all the bored and whiney kids who had endured DIY shop hell with their parents. Cue much searching of pockets for enough change to buy and icecream for my slightly less bored and whiney husband.

I purchased the icecreams while he packed the stuff in the car (hey, I was bored and whiney too).

Anyway, the route home involved, unsurprisingly, turning a few corners and whilst turning the fourth corner there was an ominous thump from the back of the car. DH yelled at me to stop the car but in order to do this safely (it's lucky I'm not a nervous driver) I had to turn two more corners.

We opened the boot to discover that the tubs of paint that DH had carefully stacked in the back of the car had fallen over and the top one had hit the side of our newly purchase mop bucket, opened and dumped a large amount of it's contents around the back of the car.

So we're stuck with paint dripping everywhere, nothing useful to use to clear it up and me having a minor fit regarding the close proximity of paint and stash. Oh and I hadn't finished my icecream either.

We mopped up as best we could and headed home (which was just around the corner) with DH muttering about how he shouldn't have stacked the tubs, how he shouldn't have shopped with the car full of stuff, how the whole world was against him, etc etc etc, and me resisting the urge to say 'but there was more than enough room to put the tubs side by side' (which there was)

In the end the damage was minimal - a couple of unrescuable garden rubbish sacks, the mop bucket (which did a super job of catching the bulk of the paint and ensuring it wasn't a lot worse) and one of my framed cross stitchings.

Swirly Sampler to be precise. DH cleaned it up as best he could but I'm not sure that it is going to be okay. It's a bit damp round the edges and it's difficult to get to all the paint without risking more damp. I've been way too occupied with other things to spend time trying to clean it up properly but thankfully, whilst I did spend time stitching it, it wasn't hours and hours of work.

Yes I am taking it quite calmly but there's nothing I can do. If I'd gone on a total rant we'd have had a huge row (in front of Lia and my parents) and nothing constructive will have been achieved. I've chalked it up to 'accidents happen' but I have learned that golden rule - never let your husband load paint in the car whilst distracted by the thought of an icecream...

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Never let your Husband load paint in the car whilst distracted by the thought of an icecream

Wednesday, 29 August 2007
And other lessons learned while moving house...
  • Dulux Once is a misnomer
  • Getting three coats of paint on three rooms in three days is possible but not recommended
  • Removal men are worth every penny
  • Two year olds never fail to surprise you
  • No matter how organised you are when you move the phrase 'where's the tin opener' will always strike fear into your heart
  • Other people are skanky
  • And strange
So we're moved. Finally.

Friday dawned bright and sunny and the removal men arrived half an hour early. Which was fantastic apart from the fact that they couldn't drive the very large lorries up our very narrow street... Many attempts were made (that thankfully did not end in destruction of other people's vehicles) and just when it seemed we were going to have to admit defeat the owner of the offending truck/jeep/huge vehicle in the way appeared and moved the huge thing out of the way.

As I said the removal men were worth every penny of the many, many pennies they cost. My parents were great - they took Lia out for the morning so we were able to get on with the business of emptying the house without having to worry about where she was. The packing up took just over four hours and the unpacking about three. Not one thing got broken (I was hoping it might slim down our mug collection a bit but no such luck!) and although we were tired by the end of the day at least we weren't exhausted as we would have been had we had to do it all ourselves (in fact I'm sure we wouldn't have managed even with all the friends that volunteered to help).

I picked up the keys just as the last few bits were being loaded up and we were told that it would be another two hours before our vendor was gone. We headed round to the new house with me worried we'd have to camp outside the place but there was no sign of her so we just got on with moving in.

Unfortunately she had completely failed to clean anything before she left. My Mum (bless her!) rolled up her sleeves and cleaned the bathroom (although she refused to do the shower, that involved bleach and re-grouting!) and then the kitchen. I got the job of cleaning the fridge which stank due to the crusted milk products on the shelves and also the oven which wasn't pleasant either.

I knew the carpets needed a good clean because I'd noticed when we looked round so I'd booked professional carpet cleaners to come in the following tuesday and thank god I had. Once the furniture had been removed they were even worse than I remembered!

The dirt wasn't 'I've sold the house I won't bother cleaning' it was 'I generally live in squalor because I'm a skanky cow'. Now I'm the first to admit that cleaning isn't the top of my agenda but I don't leave spilt food on surfaces, stains on carpets etc. I'm more of an ignore the dust and mess kind of home owner.

Still, we'd have cleaned the carpets anyway as well as everything else - what bothered me was the need to disinfect and 'deep clean' because she hadn't bothered. I felt bad because I didn't get to hoover round the whole of our old house before we left but I'd cleaned the bathroom and kitchen.

We'd also planned on painting rooms as soon as we moved (before they filled up with furniture etc). Lia's room was an attractive darkish blue, ours a darkish peachy/orange and the lounge had one wall that was eau-de-nil (ish) which wouldn't go with our bright red sofas that are on order...

So brush in hand I tackled the rooms (DH hates painting) and I managed to get three coats on all three rooms leaving just the skirting to do. I've suffered for it ever since as my arm has ached constantly for the last 10 days but it was worth it to see the rooms finished.

So with a thorough cleaning, carpets cleaned and walls freshly painted the house is now almost pristine and is great to go home to.

Lia's been a total champ. She kept herself amused most of the first weekend when I was painting and DH was pootling about doing jobs and she's slept just fine since we moved in - I was worried that she'd have problems adjusting but she's been absolutely terrific. She seems to be happy in the new house and will be even happier when she finally gets let loose on the garden (at the moment it's so overgrown that we'd lose her!)

Unpacking wise we're getting there. We need our friendly neighbourhood electrician to do a bit of work before we can put up our wardrobes and sort out the lounge so a lot of stuff is in boxes. Thankfully the kitchen doesn't need any work so we're living in there for now.

I'm trying to unpack at least one box a night at the moment and we should have Lia's room finished by the end of this coming weekend so all her stuff can get sorted and put away. The electrician is coming in early next week which means we should be almost sorted by the following weekend (although DH's parents will be here that week so I'm not sure exactly how much work we'll get done).

The only other saga with the house is that all we received were two back door keys. No keys for the front door or the patio doors. After much chasing the vendor told us that she'd never had keys for the front doors - they hadn't been supplied when she bought the house!!! So not only did she fail to mention this to us, she didn't chase it up at the time she bought the house AND she didn't get the locks changed during those three years.

As I said, people are strange...

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Thursday, 23 August 2007
Blimey it's come round fast.

We're pretty much all packed. DH speeded up considerably over the weekend and we've been matching each other box for box for the last few days.

All that's left now are the last minute things that we keep looking at and thinking 'we can't pack that we'll still need it'. The Removal Men are turning up at 9am tomorrow so we'll be up much earlier getting the last bits done.

My parents are arriving this evening and will be round in the morning to take Lia off our hands and entertain her whilst our lives are packed in the vans. She's coping well at the moment and I found a way to keep her entertained while I packed - she's given crayons and allowed to decorate the packed boxes as much as she likes.

We've only had one night of not sleeping this week so hopefully she'll sleep tonight as I can't face tomorrow with sleep deprivation.

We're supposed to be hooked up to the internet at the new house by 8pm tomorrow evening but I'm not holding my breath. I'll be back at work on Tuesday and so should be able to cope for three days without access - it's not like I won't be busy with other things!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

One Week To Go

Thursday, 16 August 2007
Well we're about 2/3 packed. And most of that has been done by me. DH has absolutely no sense of urgency and I know that in his head there's plenty of time left which is why he lazes around and I pack boxes...

To be fair, I spent a large part of Sunday packing up my books whilst he did the parental duties but it's the evenings where I'm packing 5-6 boxes a night and he's not that are starting to bug me. So I've rebelled and demanded that he packs tonight while I sit on my bum stitching and watching the TV.

To be honest I'm so anal that I prefer to be the one that does the bulk of the packing because then I know where everything is. All I'm asking him to be responsible for is his stuff. I tell you they're not wrong when they say Moving House is right up there with Death and Divorce as the most stressful things life can throw at you - there's a fair chance this house move could result in either of the above!

Having said that I guess I could be accused of not supporting DH in his early forays into packing and so actively encouraged his lack of motivation. The following is a conversation we had on the phone about three weeks ago while I was at my parents:

DH - I've packed the first box!
Me - Cool
DH - Some of the stuff from the office. I've worked out the best way to label the boxes is to use my spray glue and then stick some paper on it.
Me - Okaaaaaaaay
DH - So I put the label on and wrote Office on it
Me - But we don't have an office in the new house
DH - Yes I know but I figured that we could tell the removal guys that when it says office we really mean Bedroom 3.
Me - Here's a radical idea, how about you don't write office on the box but write bedroom 3 instead?
DH - Okay but I'll have to glue another label on
Me - Whatever you think best dear...


Not only that he decided his next attempt would be the DVDs. It took him almost an hour to pack one box as he had to work out the best way to get the most DVDs in one box...

Still we're slowly but surely getting there, I'm certainly not about to panic that there's too much to do and not enough time.

I've phoned all the utility companies, re-arranged furniture deliveries that were ordered before our completion date changed, organised the family menu for the next week so we take as little food as possible (and I can get the oven cleaned at the weekend) and also organised the carpet cleaners to come in to the new house on the tuesday after we move.

Lia's settled down again which is good. Poor thing has even less space to play in than normal as there's an awful lot of boxes around. Still, most evenings it's home, dinner, bath, In The Night Garden (CBeebies) and bed. Once we get past this weekend it won't be too bad for her as next weekend she'll have a huge amount of space to run around in. Fingers crossed for some good weather so we can take her out to the park a lot.

DH's parents have finally booked their flights to come over and see us. They won't be staying with us, they've booked a hotel, and they'll only be around for five days, one of which I'll be working, so fingers crossed we manage a visit without a row! We're going to take them to the Berkshire County Show which will be something completely different for them. I'm also thinking we could go to Legoland on the only other full day they're with us that I'll be home. That way we should manage to keep them occupied.

Still it all depends on the weather I guess.

Anyway, this weekend I'm seeing a couple of friends which will be a nice break and I'm sure next week will pass in a flash.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Finally - we've Exchanged!

Monday, 13 August 2007
Last minute on Friday. Literally. The cut off time is 4.30pm and I think ours went through at 4.25pm!

We are all set to be moving a week on Friday (24th) which is the friday before a Bank Holiday here in the UK - the particular Bank Holiday that one of the biggest music festivals in the country is held at the town we live in...

I'm pretty sure we'll be okay, the festival is the other side of the town and, apart from a couple of hours panic when my parents (our child care) couldn't find a hotel, it's better than I'd hoped for.

We're now about half way with the packing. We got rid of some of our unwanted furniture this weekend and then promptly spent an absolute fortune in IKEA replacing it LOL. We went with a list of items we wanted but ended up buying a new dining table and desk as well. It was a bit of a nightmare getting it all in the car but one of DH's top skills is packing so after three loads and unloads we got it all in.

We're using this move to replace a lot of the old furniture that I've had for years or we bought cheaply when we had a lot less spare cash. We're also 'inheriting' a few things from my Mum as she's moving in three months so apart from our beds, Lia's furniture and some shelves it's all going to be new. I even found a great unit at IKEA specifically for having my stitching stuff in - DH hates it lying around (I'm terrible at leaving it on the backs of chairs and stuff).

So it's going to be a manic 10 days. Poor Lia seems to be a bit unsettled. We moved a futon out of her room on Saturday and she's had two terrible nights sleep since then (I'm running on reserve power after about four hours sleep last night). Hopefully she'll settle down quickly after we move but it's going to be hell trying to move and cope with not much sleep if she keeps this up for the intervening time.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Ho Hum

Monday, 6 August 2007
I like to be in control. I'm a very organised person. I write lists. I have a great memory for dates, times, appointments, etc. I'm very rarely late.

To put it another way, I'm not the kind of person who should ever consider moving house...

We're still waiting for our Completion date to be confirmed. We're hoping it's the 13th - yes, just one week from today - which is the date that I thought everyone was working towards but late on Friday our sellers solicitor stated the 28th. This morning I spoke to our Solicitor who has faxed over letters to the other two referencing 13th and now I have to wait to see if it is agreed.

Half my life is packed into boxes. The house is completely upside down. I have removal men booked for the 13th (the fourth date I've given them). I have furniture ordered that will be delivered before the end of the month (to either address but obviously it would be better to have it delivered straight to the new house) and I have no idea when I'm likely to be moving.


I hate my life being out of my control. I hate walking round boxes, constantly trying to remember where things are. Realising something is packed that I need. Not having a clue how to schedule things because nothing is certain.

We could be moving in a weeks time and I haven't even begun to let the utility companies know. Or the post office. Or the milkman.

To add to all of that Lia has been car sick several times over the last couple of weeks. At least I'm almost certain she's being car sick as she's absolutely fine one minute, chucks up and is then absolutely fine again. I've been cleaning her up and continuing to nursery where she's shown no further symptoms.

It's only happened in the mornings (stop start traffic) so I'm hoping it's not too bad but given my ability to throw up in stationary vehicles (yes my travel sickness is that bad) I'm certain that's the issue. I'm going to move her car seat into the front of the car tonight to see if that helps.

On a less stressful subject I've been back in the family fold twice in the last fortnight and so have had plenty of cuddles with my Great Niece who is gorgeous - here's a pic to prove it...

Mother and baby are fine although my niece is still learning how to live on absolutely no sleep LOL.

My poor sister has had a tough few weeks. She had a big birthday at the beginning of July where she officially became a pensioner, she then became a Grandmother for the first time nine days later and then her mother died five days after the baby was born.

I should say that she's my half sister so we have the same Dad but different mothers (mine is still very much alive and kicking). That also explains the huge age gap as my sister is 24 years older than me (so no, I'm not anywhere close to becoming a pensioner LOL). Still this weekend was quite an emotional one as my sister and I are very close and I spent quite some time with her.

While we're on cute babies here's a pic of my Greek Nephew Lefty...

As you can see he too is thriving. I've yet to meet him in person and won't until sometime next year now as the house move has dragged on so long that we're not going to be out in Greece this year. DH's parents should be visiting us next month as soon as we're settled in the new house.

Stitching wise I've been getting on with Bent Creek's Big Zipper project but haven't taken a WIP picture. I also finished up Luisa's birth sampler:

I may never stitch another Tatty Teddy design as the back stitching is truly horrible! However, my Niece loved it so it was worth the effort. I stithed it on a piece of 'Sparkling Fairytale from Sparklies
and it's as charted apart from I used an Old Willow Stitchery thread for the text and corners to brighten it up.

All of my stash is packed now apart from four not-too-large projects that are my focus pieces between now and being settled in the new house. I'm itching to start Sleigh Ride again but the chart is packed deep in a box somewhere so I'll just have to be patient.

Finally for Even-Star, the bookmarkers are from a Sue Hawkins kit which you can order from her website. Once I'd mastered the kit I just bought more Perle No 5 and kept going...

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

I Should Moan Here More Often!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Shortly after posting that last update I had an email from our Seller saying that she had instructed her Solicitor to go as fast as possible so we can meet the 6th August Completion date.

Then this morning at 5am my Great Niece Luisa Marie was born weighing 8 pounds 1 and a half ounces. Mother and baby doing just fine.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A Newsy kid of post

Tuesday, 17 July 2007
In which the news is that nothing much is happening...

House move - still nothing happening. Our seller is the elusive woman and all we're waiting for is her to get on with things. We're ready to Exchange with our buyer but we're waiting and waiting and waiting for the paperwork from our seller. I've emailed her again today to chase but she's not responding to us, the estate agent or her solicitor so there's only so much we can do.

DH is talking about starting to look at other properties but I'm hanging on in there for a while as we've invested quite a bit of cash in this sale and I don't want to just give up.

It's disheartening though as I'd hoped we would be in the house by now - we've already missed two potential moving dates and the third (suggested by our seller) is likely to be missed too.

Stitching - I'm going great guns on documenting my stash (the link to my stash blog can be found towards the top of the right hand menu) and it's certainly focussing me on staying on the wagon!

I've spent a lot of time making bookmarkers from a Sue Hawkins kit. I made a load last year and gave them to all the women that came to our wedding - my English SIL asked me to make some more as her friends had been admiring them so I ended up making another 19! Here's a pic of 15 of them

and here's a picture of one so you can see how they look not all tangled up!

I've also just completed Bent Creek's Snowbound stitched on a piece of the sparkly blue fabric I dyed at the Weekend GTG. I changed the colour for the snow from DMC 644 to WDW Whitewash but other than that it's as charted. Apologies for the truly awful picture, I'll try and get a better one during daylight hours

I'm currently stitching on a Tatty Teddy birth sampler for my Great Niece which is almost done - I'm just doing the backstitching which, as anyone out there who has done one of these desgins will know, is just awful!

The baby is now officially 9 days late and my Niece is showing no signs of producing anytime soon. She's had one 'stretch and sweep' and is due for another on friday if nothing has happened and an induction on Monday if the baby is still not willing to come and meet us. My poor niece is not only huge and fed up but July is birthay month in our family and she's desperately hoping that the baby doesn't end up sharing a birthday. She's missed her Mum's, her sister's is today, my brother (her Uncle, obviously) is next tuesday and her Dad is the 27th. Her BIL's is also today.

It's a family joke that we should all avoid having babies born in July or December but my niece obviously just forgot how to count. For me I have my Sister, Brother, Younger Niece, two BILs, one Step Sister and Two Nephews in July as well as the children ot two of my close friends. And of course Great-Niece whenever she decides to appear. December is DH, Elder Niece, English SIL, Step Sister and Two BILs.

I'm now determined that I'm going to have my next one in July just because it's a family tradition LOL.

In other less interesting news we bought new sofas (so we need to get in the new house by the end of September!) and we're looking to find a desk - we think we've found one but as we've only seen it in a catalogue we're going to see it IRL this weekend.

I'm eagerly awaiting the final Harry Potter book this weekend. I read the first book soon after it came out (but not soon enough to have a first edition to sell for loads of money) so was a fan before all the hype. I'm only really determined to read it asap because of all the spoilers that will be floating around. DH has promised to do childcare for the weekend (luckily he's not a reader) so I can immerse myself.

We saw the latest film last weekend and really enjoyed it. DH hasn't read the books and hasn't liked the films that much up until now but was really positive about this one. I've read a lot of comments about how much was missed out or changed but there is never, ever going to be a film of a book that is able to stick totally to the text so for me, as long as the essence of the story is the same, then the two should be enjoyed as completely separate entities. If you spend all your time looking for what's missing you're going to enjoy it less and less.

So that's about all the news from here. At the moment we're treading water until the house move is confirmed so I'm getting on with stitching as much as I can as I know there'll be much more to take up my time once that really gets moving.

Monday, 2 July 2007

A Pretty Picture

Monday, 2 July 2007
We were at a friends wedding at the weekend and my little tomboy was all dressed up!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Good, The Bad and the Downright Frustrating...

Wednesday, 27 June 2007
The Good:

I love tennis. This fortnight of the year is always bliss for me as the BBC have great coverage of Wimbledon with their interactive service and DH knows that he has no chance of watching anything else. Not only that the IBM scoreboard that can be accessed through the Wimbledon Site is even better this year so even when I'm at work I can keep up with games in real time.

The Bad:

The weather. God it's awful weather here in England and whilst we thankfully live away from the worst of it, the news is full of awful pictures and stories and four people have died due to floods so far.

The Downright Frustrating:

Solicitors and Estate Agents! We've ground to a halt with our house move due to our Sellers Solicitor not having answered a request from our Solicitor first made on 1st June! We've been held back for four weeks for the want of one response - everything else is in place. Now it looks like we won't be moving till mid August, which is so frustrating. I've asked the Estate Agents to put our desired moving date of 16th July to the other two parties but given our seller needs a rocket up her a*se to do anything I can't see her agreeing.

Damn, damn, damn...

In other news I've started cataloguing my stash with the idea that seeing exactly what I have written down will scare me to not fall off the wagon. It's working so far as I'm shocked at the amount of fabric and threads I have (I've had a list of projects for a while so that's not too much of a surprise).

One final piece of niceness for this post is that the wonderful ladies who joined me on the Stitching Weekend were incredibly generous in their thanks (I did the organising) and I got four Flower Fairy Lili of the Valley Cross Stitch Kits and a £25 gift voucher for Lekker Threads!!! To say I was stunned is an understatement. I've said it elsewhere but it's worth saying again, thank you to all of your for your generosity. I used the voucher to buy four more charts and some red threads for a redwork design I want to start so my projects list has increased yet again (but at least I'm not out of pocket)

Monday, 18 June 2007

A Cracking Good Weekend

Monday, 18 June 2007
The weekend before last 17 women descended on a group of holiday cottages on the Staffs / Derby border called Dove Farm Cottages for a long weekend of stitching and nattering at it was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

We're all members of an online community and have met up before in smaller groups but we took a gamble that we could all survive a weekend in each other's company and it was a good gamble because we had a fantastic time.

Firstly the cottages are amazing. Clean, well equiped and in the middle of the most gorgeous countryside you can imagine. Not only that they have alpacas, one of whom was kind enough to have a baby shortly before we arrived - if you go to the website I linked to above and click to read their blog you'll see some pictures of Cocoa. We had various plans to steal him but we figured as we want to go back next year we'd better leave him behind.

As well as forays to Wye Needlecraft and a local Patchwork shop Kate from Sparklies did us proud with a floss / fabric dyeing class and I can safely say I haven't had that much fun for years. I regressed to childhood and behaved like a two year old - the immersion dyeing was good but the sponge dyeing was terrific fun. And yes, I'll admit to it being me that named a fabric colour 'basically bonkers' but in my defense Kate used the description for me first so she should take the ultimate blame.

It was late nights, too much food and not much stitching but we shared WIPs and HDs, wish lists grew and Sparklies sold about half it's stock. I did manage a small HD (pic to follow) but generally I was laughing too much to be able to stitch - 'I can't get it in the hole' was the recurring shout over the three days and yes, we were talking about needles...

One of the great things about the cottages is they come with a Seminar room big enough to house 18 people (the maximum who can stay in the three cottages) so we were able to all sit together and chat and stitch. Having said that the weather was wonderful for us and we did spend a lot of time sitting outdoors.

Anyway, we're booked again for next year and I can't wait. I'm currently trying to work out how to schedule a pregnancy around the chosen weekend LOL

Monday, 4 June 2007

Where does the time go?

Monday, 4 June 2007
On Friday 1st June my baby was 2!

Not only that the previous Sunday was our first wedding anniversary.

Here's some pics of the birthday girl:

Meeting the horses

Jumping with Mama and Grandad

I'm so grown up!

We've actually had a week away from home - four days in Brussels and then we spent some time with my family and celebrated Lia's birthday with them before heading home and having friends to stay for a couple of days. All in all I'm glad of the rest now I'm back to work LOL.

Brussels was great fun. I spent too much money but as it's more than likely our only holiday this year I don't care. Plus the budgeting will be tight after we move so I thought I'd make the most of the gorgeous toy shops and kitchen shops we found before I have to feel guilty about spending money. Lia did very well out of us, we found two amazing toy shops where I could have bought one of everything but limited myself to a set of plates, bowls and a cup, a doll, a wooden shape puzzle, a set of stackable boxes and a small dolls house. Yes I know that's a lot but most of it has been put away for her to have between now and Christmas. Plus I used some money that the Greek relatives sent for her birthday so it wasn't all from us.

She also got spoilt with presents from others. Greek Yaya sent a set of wooden animal dominoes - not like the game, animal shaped pieces that you line up in a row and knock over. I'll take a picture when we get them home (we left most of the stuff at my parents), my parents gave money for new curtains and furniture for her new room, my sister and niece bought several sets of Early Learning Centre HappyLand toys and other relatives gave money.

I also bought a few things in Brussels for our new kitchen as it was hard not to. I know we've not exchanged contracts yet but we're still heading in the right direction and I'm so excited about the space I'll have that I want to fill it with pretty new things.

Talking of the house move, the surveys have been done and all is progressing as it should although our Vendor seems to like to take her time over things. She's had two jobs - engage a solicitor and fill out some forms. Both have taken her two weeks (and that's consecutive, so four weeks in total). However, now that's done we should be able to gee up the Solicitors to get on with the sale. Our hopeful completion date is now 16th July

Coincidentally, not only has my brother already moved house this year my Mother and Step-Father are now going to be moving too. They're buying a new-build flat not far from their current house but as well as downsizing to a more managable size for two septagenarians they'll be right next to a bus route instead of a mile up a country lane.

The only downside to them moving is that now my Mother is attempting to get rid of all her junk (sorry, unwanted items) onto me. I made DH promise not to say yes to anything while we were there and I've told her she'll have to wait until we're in the house before I commit to having anything. Don't get me wrong, there's things I'm more than happy to have but until we actually live in the house we won't know for sure what we need.

I'm starting to worry about packing. How come we manage to accumulate so much junk? I'm quite glad we'll be budgeting hard in the new house as I need to use up the Stash I have before getting more (both stitching and papercraft) and I'll have to stop bringing more into the house. I'll also be gaining a new hobby of gardening so there'll be less time to devote to my other hobbies, not more.

We had several long talks about what we want from the next few years and we've got three long-term goals:

1) Pay off as much extra on the mortgage as we can
2) Do a loft conversion in the new house to make a fourth bedroom
3) Have the holiday of a lifetime to Kuala Lumpur, Oz and Disneyland

And of course, baby number two is the next work in progress after the house move.

We're lucky in that we should be able to knock several years off our mortgage by overpaying. We can't afford for me to now work right now but with me working we have spare for overpayment. I'm hoping that I may be able to drop down to part time at some point so packing extra cash into the mortgage now is a good plan. The good thing about us overpaying the mortgage is that the money comes off the capital and interest but sits separately so we can get at it if we need to.

As for the loft conversion, we need to get it priced up and then work out how long it'll take us to afford it. It's not necessary straight away but we'd like to be able to do it in around five years (cue laughter!)

Finally, the holiday is something that will be done when the kids are old enough to appreciate it so again, we're looking six or seven years in the future at least. I've always wanted to go to Oz (and was close to booking a ticket before finding out I was expecting Lia) and DH loved Kuala Lumpur when he was there in 2005 and wants to go back and take me. I added Disneyland as, if we're going that far, we may as well come back via LA and really finish off the kid's holiday in style

So, with all of those things PLUS a second baby there'll be very little spare cash floating round the Family V. This means I'm going to bow out of the 50 project challenge and go full time onto The Wagon. I've talked about it before but now it's essential. I'll just have to use birthdays and christmas for stash acquisition.

So that's you caught up with us. I'm away on a jaunt this weekend leaving DH to look after Lia for four days - it's a weekend GTG of stitchers (around 20 of us) which should be great fun. After that I'm back down staying with my parents as I'm booked on a four day course in London and they will have Lia for the days. It's useful as it means DH gets a break after exhausting himself as a sole parent.

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