Tuesday, 30 September 2008

September Roundup and October Goals

Tuesday, 30 September 2008
September Roundup

September Stitching Goals
1. Work on Happy Haunting - yes just a little
2. Work on Grandma's Thread Minder - no
3. Work on small WIPs in order to get some finishes - Garden Party, Charlie is Born, Coeur de Brodeuse, Spring Lineup, Sizzle - yes but just Sizzle
4. Work on Cirque des Cercles - no
5. Start Scream House - yes
6. Finish the Tyre Swing part of the Big Zipper - yes

Stitching New Starts:
Sue Hawkins pin cushion
Just Nan - Scream House

Stitching Finishes:
Bent Creek - Big Zipper Tyre Swing
Just Nan - Over the Top and In the Tin Sizzle (stitching only, still needs to be made up)
Sue Hawkins Pin Cushion (stitching only, still needs to be made up)

Books Read
East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
The Love of Her Life - Harriet Evans

September Quilting Goals
1. Finish the flannel quilt top - no
2. Attend the Mariner's Compass workshop - yes
3. Work on a christmas quilt top - no
4. Work on the baby quilt top - no
5. Make a smaller project - no

October Goals

October Stitching Goals
1. Work on Happy Haunting
2. Work on Scream House
3. Work on one other WIP

October Quilting Goals
1. Start baby quilt
2. Finish Heart to Heart quilt for gifting
3. Start Christmas Quilt

Current Stitching WIP List

1. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
2. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
3. Shepherd's Bush - Happy Haunting
4. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
5. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
6. Just Nan - Four Wishes

7. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
8. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
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. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
13. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
14. Margaret Sherry - Santa's Journey Afghan
15. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
16. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds

17. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
18. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
19. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
20. Long Dog - St Germain
21. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
22. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening

23. Stitchy Kitty - Snowman Trio
24. Brightneedle - Garden Party
25. Millhouse Designs - Charlie is Born
26. Coeur de Brodeuse
27. The Trilogy - Spring Lineup
28. CCN - Joyful Summer
29. Just Nan - Scream House

Monday, 29 September 2008

*Sigh* I'm in love...

Monday, 29 September 2008
and it's with some fabric. Picture this Plus fabric to be precise.

A friend, L, was over keeping me company this weekend and she brought with her some PTP fabric she'd recently bought and it was gorgeous.

This morning I had a look at their website and all I can say is WOW! It's probably the best colour selection I've seen and the choice of fabric types is so comprehensive I wouldn't know where to start choosing. I don't actually have a huge stash of cross stitch fabric (probably the only thing I don't tend to go mad on) so I think that one or two of their fabrics might end up in my stash.

The problem is which one or two! First glance of the site my wish list now includes Aurora, Voodoo, Phoenix, Jazz, Midas, Monet, Jewel, Lava, Meditation, Phantom, Splash, Stellar, Tango and Whirlpool...

And then I have to pick a type of fabric and size - I tend to be a 28/32ct girl with Lugana, Belfast and Cashel the fabrics of choice so realistically I'll probably stick within my comfort zone and buy fat eighths or quarters.

I have actually put an order in with L to pick me up the PTP fabric for Murky Manor at Ally Pally in a couple of weeks (I'm not going this year, I'm being very good even if I have given L a small list) but that's for a specific design, I think that come the new year I'll treat myself to some fabrics just to have them on hand! I am also going to look through my charts and see if there's anything I think would look good on hand-dyed so I can actually better justify a purchase or two.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Still here...

Friday, 26 September 2008
So the PJ's of Power are holding their own, as are the Bra's of Destiny and the Clean Knickers of, well, of Your Mother's Nagging When You Were a Child, if I'm honest.

I've even been brave and dyed my hair despite the hidden dangers of being overcome by ammonia fumes whilst balanced over the bath semi-naked washing the stuff off.

It seems my twisted logic is working LOL.

One thing I haven't done though is stitch a lot. Weird. I figured I could spend whole evenings in front of the TV with guilt free stitching time but yesterday I didn't even pick up a needle. Today I will though but I'll be in bed early due to having been woken at 6.34am by a small voice saying 'Mummy I wee'd myself'...

By 8am I'd scrubbed her down, dressed her, given her breakfast (dry Shreddies due to an accident with a full bottle of milk last night but that's another story), stripped her bed, got the washing on, hoovered her room and then washed the carpet using our newly acquired VAX (bought for just this type of emergency).

Unfortunately being the lone parent I wasn't then able to crawl back into bed for a couple of hours, I had to be up and focus on being a responsible adult.

DH is having fun although he's sick, but that's okay because his Mama is taking care of him (good for her, here's hoping the snot is all cleared up before he gets back to me). He's had very little sleep in the last 72 hours - he arrived in Athens at 3.30am (our time) after a full day's work the day before then had approx four hours sleep last night before getting on a flight to North Greece at 5.30am this morning (3.30am our time). He's going to be a bundle of laughs at the wedding tomorrow!

I'm having fun too and have a weekend full of visitors to look forward to including my first meeting with a friends baby (2 months old) tomorrow lunch time. I'm also getting my hair cut tomorrow - the first time I've had to take Lia with me and get her to behave for 45 mins. I think I'll have to resort to bribery!

Have a good weekend everyone

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The PJs of Power...

Thursday, 25 September 2008
DH flew to Greece yesterday, he'll be gone for eight days. Despite my griping about trips to Greece I am sorry to be missing this one as he's gone over for a family wedding and will be going to North Greece for part of the trip (the wedding is in Alexandroupolis which is so far north east it's almost in Turkey)

It's DH's Godparents daughter that is getting married, she's also a not-so-close cousin (DH's Mum and Godfather are cousins) and I would love to meet that part of the family. I've met his Godparents twice now and they are lovely so I'm sorry not to be with him. However, I have no holiday left and we can't afford for me to take unpaid leave so he's gone on his own.

It does also mean that he can spend some quality time with his Dad and his Grandmother, both of whom are not in the best of health, without worrying about keeping Lia and I entertained. It also means that when it comes to planning next years trip to Greece I have a good argument for us spending a week in Kavala (DH's home town where we have a house) so we can make a trip to Alexandroupolis and visit his Godparents and extended family. We can spend our second week in Athens with family there but a week in Kavala will make it more of a holiday for Lia and I.

There is one major side effect of DH going away though and that's my irrational fear of something happening to me whilst he's gone and Lia being left in the house to fend for herself. It's mad I know - before Lia was around it never crossed my mind to worry about anything happening to me but now that little voice in my brain occaisionally pipes up with 'what if you fall down the stairs?'

Don't get me wrong, I'm not constantly dwelling on it to the extent that I see danger everywhere but I think it's the same part of my brain that, the minute the lights go out shouts 'ghost!' LOL (and yes, I sleep with the landing light on when DH isn't around).

However, I have discovered the 'Pj's of Power' cure. At the risk of TMI I'm a girl who doesn't usually bother with nightware as I tend to get too warm in bed. I do own PJ's though and they get worn when we have visitors (so anyone who stays at my house and reads this can be reassured) but I'm now wearing them at all appropriate times because that way nothing can happen to me.

Why you ask?

Well it's a bit like the argument that if you're going to fly somewhere you should take a bomb with you because statistically, the odds for there being two bombs being on the same plane are waaaaaaaay longer than there being one, and you're not going to detonate yours (I would hope) so you're actually much safer. Using this logic, whatever the odds are of me falling down the stairs and breaking my neck, they're a lot shorter if you factor in me being naked whilst falling because that would be much more embarassing and therefore much more likely.

See, total logic. And even if it isn't it's enough for my brain to be comforted which is all that matters...

Monday, 22 September 2008

When is a job not a job?

Monday, 22 September 2008
Answer? I have no idea.

It now looks like I am not going to be made redundant but I still don't have any official word either way. I have a meeting this Wednesday with my Boss and her Boss so I am presuming it'll confirm things one way or another.

Apparently the CIO wants to bring in a technology that I am the team expert in and what she wants usually happens which means I'm not going anywhere. But in these times who really knows what is going to happen from one day to the next.

All this waiting about is really annoying!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A New Look

Saturday, 20 September 2008
Given I never got round to sorting out the last blog template properly I had been thinking I should find something ready made I could use. How fortuitous that I stumbled on a link to some fantastic blog templates!

I might tweak this one a bit but I love it (and there were half a dozen more on the above link that I loved too so I might play around with the look every now and again. Anyway I have to load up blogrolling again and tweak my widgets (oo-er!) but other than that I'm a happy bunny.

Oh and an update on the LNS story, they called back and informed me they'd still not received any of the kit in stock (I placed the order on 31st May, surely they might have mentioned it?) So I requested a refund and ordered the kit from Sew and So. It arrived this morning.

At least now I don't have to worry about what to get my Stepdad for Christmas.

Friday, 19 September 2008


Friday, 19 September 2008
Last Saturday we went to Leed's Castle in Kent as there was a fundraising day for the Chicks Charity that included a kite flying world record attempt (the largest number of kites flying simultaneously). DH is a recent convert to the fun of kite flying so he was eager for us to join in.

The weather was good to us (although not that good for kite flying as there was very little wind) and we had a lovely time as Leed's Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in England. Whilst we were there Lia got her face painted (she insisted on a pink cat design)

It was really great but she decided about half an hour later she didn't want to be a cat and she rubbed most of it off leaving herself with black smudges - a very attractive look!

They have a large number of black swans at the Castle, descended from ones brought over from Australia so I told Lia that when they honked they were actually saying 'No worries Mate!' just like our Aussie cousins taught Lia to say when they were over last month. Cue Lia repeating this phrase to the bemused birds for the rest of the day and providing amusement for a group of Australian tourists.

The record attempt wasn't successful (472 kits flying but they needed over 600) but it was still a lovely day out and if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Leed's Castle then do consider going as it's one of the best places I know to have a picnic on a sunny day (I'd definitely recommend taking your own food, like most places in England a couple of sandwiches costs the earth...)

On the Sunday it was my Sis and BIL's Anniversary party which was great - an opportunity to catch up with family we don't see very often and they seemed really happy with the sampler which is good.

This weekend we're just having a quiet time at home as DH is off to Greece on Wednesday for a week. The weather here today is glorious and here's hoping it stays that way for the whole weekend so we can enjoy it.

On an entirely different topic, thanks Jennifer for the link to the Stitcher's Report card. Unsurprisingly others seem to have had similar issues with the stores I mentioned and I shall make my complaints there too. On the bright side one of the parcels I was waiting for finally arrived today which is great. I've chased again about the book and have left a phone message at the LNS asking for someone to contact me with an update on my order.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Customer Service

Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Or rather, the lack of Customer Service.

Why oh why is it so hard for some people who run or work for businesses to provide a decent level of customer service these days? Even just being polite can be beyond some of them.

I may have mentioned before that my family have a shop, a business we've been running successfully for 41 years now and assisting the customer and providing what they want has always been the number one priority because without customers you don't have a business.

I've currently got issues with three online sellers - one big ONS who never send out shipping notices and if you dare to ask if something has been shipped you are either ignored (which is currently happening to me) or you get a snotty email back informing you they don't have time to send shipping notices (happened to me in the past). I haven't bought from these people in a long time because of this issue but I pre-ordered something from them that I couldn't find anywhere else and I can't get any information from them as to whether or not it has been sent to me yet.

I also pre-ordered a small kit from another ONS back at the beginning of June (my Stepfather asked if I'd stitch it for him and I hoped to have it done for his birthday which was two weeks ago). My first enquiry as to the status of the order in July got a response saying they had no idea when the kit was going to be released but my last two have been ignored even though the kit is now available to order on their site. Again, I've had snotty responses from this ONS in the past but it was the only place I could locate the kit back in June.

And finally a book seller I purchased something from through Amazon sent a book that was not in 'new' condition (spine broken, pages turned down) despite advertising it as new. They were okay to replace the book (not happened yet after 10 days mind you) but implied that the damage done to the book had been caused by the post office! I guess some bored postman steamed open the envelope and read part of the book but didn't bother to finish it and sent it on to me.

I know that shops are busy but I've left more than enough time between email enquiries for them to respond. And so many of the online stores get it right I fail to understand how the few that don't can really justify their actions.

Rant now over for the day. I'll probably get home and find all three items on the doormat and I'll have to eat my words!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Finishes and WIPs

Wednesday, 10 September 2008
It's picture time again.

Here's my framed Lavender Hearts all ready to be gifted on Sunday

Here's my completed Goldwork kit

And here's the Mariner's Compass block I made at Saturday's class. I need to unpick the last seam and get some bulk out of the middle so it sits a bit flatter

And here's the status of the WIPs I've just got out to work on:

Wild One's Alphabet


Handmade Houses 4 (at least I think it's 4!)

Four Wishes (and yes, I am embarrassed to have done so little but I had to frog lots of the border and so put it to one side in disgust)

Cottage Garden 2

Monday, 8 September 2008

WIP Rotation

Monday, 8 September 2008
I'm bored with my stitching projects. Or at least I can hear some of the others calling to me from the WIP box which suggests it's time for a change.

I've dug out Snapperville, Four Wishes, Cottage Garden 2, Wild Ones Alphabet and Be Attitudes as WIPs that I'd like to work on. All of them are relatively new starts (I'll take some pics this week) and I'd like to get some work done on them - Wild Ones especially is huge so it'll take quite some time to finish, I'm only at the letter 'C'!

The Be Attitudes are a series from Shepherd's Bush and I'm doing them on an Afghan so now the days are getting colder I can pick it up again knowing it'll keep me warm. It's also good because I can have 12 mini finishes so that should keep me interested. I have more Michael Powell designs in my stash than any other designer so I need to get on and finish some - I have two MP WIPs currently so my ideal is that when I get my WIPs down to a more managable level I'll always have one of his designs on the go.

I've also had a look through my unstarted projects list and identified five projects I'd like to start soon - probably closer to the end of the year for the first one and then staggered starts over the first six months of next year as I'm finishing other projects. They are Bent Creek's Spring Snapperland, Victoria Sampler's Heirloom Christmas, Teresa Wentzler's Tempest, Glendon Place's Murky Manor and the Windswept Santa Tree Skirt.

I am not going to ignore my current focus WIPs, I'm still determined to get more of the small ones finished but I think it's time for a bit of a change. Realistically I think I can get Snowman Trio, Happy Haunting, Garden Party, Charlie is Born, Coeur de Brodeuse, Spring Lineup and Joyful Summer done before the end of the year as well as having some progress on larger WIPs.

Sleigh Ride, Cirque des Cercles, Grandma's Thread Minder, Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag and The Big Zipper will all be put away for a bit so I can regain my enthusiasm for them (and I can't work on Big Zipper until Bent Creek release the last parts anyway).

And of course there are all the other small projects that I slot in - I'm stitching some of the Sue Hawkins kits during my lunch breaks at work and doing the Just Nan tins (I've finished the stitching for Sizzle). I think I'm going to have to find some more hours in the day LOL.

I attended my last booked quilting course on Saturday for the Mariner's Compass block and had a great time. I managed to get my compass finished but because I was in a hurry to get the last seam done I didn't line up the two sides quite as well as I could have so I will need to unpick it and try again. Unfortunately I left my 1/4 inch foot at the quilting shop (I find it easier to use than the programmed 1/4 inch on the machine) so I can't do anything till I get that back next weekend.

I absolutely love the Mariner's compass block, it's one of the main reasons I wanted to quilt, so I'm so happy to have learned it now and am busy planning a quilt to include it.

As well as having a house guest for the weekend I've had (and still have) a horrible tickly cough that's been making sleep difficult so I've not taken any pics yet but I will tonight or tomorrow so I can show of what I've been working on.

My quilt class companion and I have identified three more courses we'd like to try (the teacher does 19 in all and we've done 8 of them in the last year) and the teacher is going to confirm some dates for them from Feb next year so we're having a mini break from the classes which is not such a bad thing, but we at least have some to look forward to next year.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A Post in which I confess to falling off the Wagon (again)

Thursday, 4 September 2008
But it's not all my fault. The person who is supposed to be on the Wagon with me keeps tempting me and I'm too week to resist. So it's partly her fault.

It's also the fault of Just Nan for releasing limited editions. Cute limited editions.

Oh and it's also Lia's fault because I was never bothered about Halloween but now I have a child I'm thinking that it'll be nice to celebrate so I'm now looking at Halloween designs in a whole different light.

So when Just Nan released their Boo! Limited edition tin how could I help but fall in love with it, especially with the cute needlebook. Also, I know that I love JN's christmas designs so the final tin is bound to be instantly on my wish list and given they are a series of four I should really have them all right?

Then there's the Just Nan Halloween etui that's a Silver Needle Limited Edition (scroll down). I did confess this bump off the wagon a while ago but I'm trying to remind myself of just how badly I've fallen off the wagon recently.

So after those purchases I was determined to stay on the wagon but then the friend I mentioned above emailed me about a note on the Needlecraft Corner site re another Just Nan Halloween limited edtion (bottom of the page if you're interested). Said friend and I normally place joint orders at NC to save on postage and she asked me to add one of these to our JCS Ornament Edition order. And of course given she has one on order I have to order one for me too right...

Oh well, I'm sure I can manage to get back on the Wagon again - maybe trying for a week at a time might be a good idea LOL.

On another topic, I seem to have picked up a few new readers lately which is lovely and I'd like to thank everyone for the kind comments left about my finishes etc. It never fails to surprise me that people read my witterings and on a regular basis too.

Also, Lindsay nominated me for an 'I love your blog' award a little while back which I completely forgot to mention here so a big apology to Lindsay and a thank you as well. Given I nominated a few blogs a while back I'm not going to nominate a list this time but I will point you all towards a blog I was recommended recently - Spinster Stitcher - if you don't already read her blog give it a go as she does some fabulous work and it's also a fun read.

Finally, our guinea pigs are settling in nicely and have become indoor pets (DH's idea). If I'd have known this I'd have probably bought a more suitable inside cage rather than the huge hutch but it fits inside so we'll stick with it for now and maybe, once we litter train them, they can have more of a run inside and the hutch can be outside for the warmer months.

Oh and it seems likely that there'll be a slight renaming given Lia calls them 'Toast and Trumpet' most of the time LOL.

Total Pageviews