Saturday, 28 February 2009

February Roundup

Saturday, 28 February 2009
Stitching Goals
1. Work on Sleigh Ride - yes a little
2. Work on Charlie is Born - yes and he's completed
3. Complete B is for Bee - yes
4. Lizzie*Kate Boo Club - two more words done
5. Complete two Snapperbets letters - yes, 3 done
6. Work on Cirque des Cercles - yes

Stitching New Starts:
B is for Bee

Stitching Finishes:
B is for Bee
Charlie is Born

Books Read
Winter Holiday - Arthur Ransome
Pigeon Post - Arthur Ransome
The Picts and the Martyrs - Arthur Ransome
Dead Lovely - Helen Fitzgerald

Quilting Goals
1. Start Lia's curtains - nope due to me being ill at the beginning of the month but they will be started tomorrow
2. Work on the Quilter's Friend Sewing Kit - yes, lots done so it should be finished in March

Other Quilting
Quilting class attended - 'Inspired by Rugs'

New Stash Arrivals
SamSarah - Alphabet Baubles D
Picture This Plus - FOTM (and a couple of other pieces to keep it company on the way over!)
Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons
The Cat's Whiskers - Scissors by Any Other Name

So another successful month. My only regret is that Sleigh Ride didn't get as much attention as I'd have liked but given there was almost a week where I got no stitching done I shouldn't complain, at least I did a teeny bit on it.

I want to get a bit more quilting done in March so my stitching productivity may drop a little but given I'm steaming ahead on most projects I'm not too worried. I just want to get on with Lia's things for her room so the curtains will definitely be done (Mum is going to assist while she's staying this week as I've never made curtains before) and I want to get some cushion covers done too.

No WIP pics for a bit as DH is in Greece with the camera - I'll hopefully get them loaded next weekend.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Spring Cleaning

Thursday, 26 February 2009
Something I've never bothered with before but I'm aware that the house hasn't had a seriously serious clean since last summer so I'm in the mood to clean up.

First thing will be the kitchen - a serious clear out and re-organisation as things are still in the cupboards we threw them in when we moved in and I'm sure they can be organised a bit better. Then a total clean up and tidy (it's a real 'dump the junk' area in our house). I'm starting next week when DH is away as it'll be much easier without him moving things around.

After that it's the lounge which will mean a big stash tidy up and (shock horror!) a spring clean of my stash. I've already been through my hand-dyed fabric box and looked out 12 pieces that I know I'll never stitch on, I'm even considering going through my projects and linking fabric to charts in an attempt to clear down my stash a bit but that might be going a bit too far!

The next stop will be Lia's room. Only this morning she was complaining that her top was too small (I swear it wasn't last week) so a clear out of clothes is necessary and a real tidy up of toys as it won't be long before we're redecorating her room. Weve just arranged for the electrician to come in a couple of weeks to do a few jobs in her room so a good tidy up is necessary.

After that who knows? Probably our wardrobe which is a haven for all things that seem to have no other place to go - stash, toys, bags, books, you name it, it's dumped in there. Even a few clothes LOL.

I'm also nagging DH to finish boarding the loft so we can properly sort out up there and finally finish unpacking (yes there are boxes in the garage that we haven't opened since we moved). De-junking will definitely be the theme of the next few months.

ps Day two of no pepsi and chocolate and I'm still coping...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

mmmmmmmmmmm pancakes...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Boy do we love pancakes in our house and yesterday, as always in our house on Shrove Tuesday, dinner comprised just of pancakes - savoury followed by sweet.

However, more importantly, this year I've decided for the first time to give up something for Lent. Those who have spent time with me IRL will know that my drink of choice is diet pepsi, it has been for at least 20 years and I drink far too much of it. What they don't know is that I've been cutting down significantly over the last month and now I'm going to give it up completely for Lent.

I have been having the odd one or two - if we're out I'll 'treat' myself and occasionally I'll get a can or two at home but no more, I shall spend 40 days pepsi free and come Easter I may just decide to keep it that way. DH is convinced that I'd lose weight easier if I stopped drinking fizzy drinks and he's probably right so we shall see how it goes.

I'm also going to give up chocolate - again I don't actually eat that much of it so I'm hoping I'll cope. In my head giving things up for Lent means I can start having them again afterwards but I'm hoping that come Easter I'll be so used to not having them I won't bother. Follow that logic? DH says it's girl logic but hey, if it works, why not just go with it.

Please note I'm not planning on giving up stash or anything crazy like that...

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Road Trip!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009
So a good friend has just got engaged and there's a good chance the wedding will be held in Toronto (where the bride is from). DH and I have been talking and we both want to go - the date hasn't been set yet but it won't be this year and given the best man is a teacher it will have to be in a school holiday.

So, IF the wedding is next year, IF it's in the School holiday, IF it's in Toronto and IF there's nothing stopping us we're going on a Road Trip! Yes I know that's a lot of IFs in there but remember I'm a woman whose holidays don't get any more exciting than two weeks stuck in an appartment with her Mother-in-Law.

The thing is that I have a Cousin who lives in Toronto who I haven't seen for years, Cousins who live in Maine and a real desire to see New York. Hence the Road Trip. We'll fly to Toronto, attend the wedding, hopefully catch up with my Cousin, drive into the US via Niagra Falls, head across country to Maine and the other Cousins, head down to Boston then finally to NY for a couple of days before flying home. Obviously depending on the date of the wedding that trip might be reversed (we have to be back in the UK in time for school starting).

And as the one who will plan the route and give directions (DH will do the driving as it's the correct side of the road for him) I imagine we'll be stopping at several stitching and quilt shops along the way.

I'm trying not to get too excited as there's so many things that could stop it happening but we have to start saving now so I can't help but get planning. And if the wedding plans change I can still try and persuade DH we need to do the trip (I won't mention how many quilting shops we're likely to find along the way!)

So anyone out there reading this who knows of any good Stitching / Quilting shops in those areas please let me know so I can collate all my options.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blah Blah Blah

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Well I'm still waiting for the Insurance Company to call about the damage to the front garden, I guess I should be used to things taking so long but it's ridiculous.

We buy our insurance through our bank but it's supplied by an insurance company so I phoned the bank the morning after it happened and gave them all the details - they said they would register the claim and I would get a call within 48 hours. Sure enough I got a call on the Monday but only to tell me that because the claim was complicated (ie we had to claim on someone elses insurance) the bank couldn't deal with it, they would send it on to the insurance company who would get back to me asap.

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon, no call. I called them and they said 'oh, we have the details of your claim but didn't get any notification of it so didn't know to call you'. The woman then said they would need to get a loss adjuster to speak to us and she'd mark it urgent given we'd already been kept waiting. 30 mins later I got a call from the loss adjusters saying I would get another call from them asap (yes I'm not sure I understood that bit either). That was Thursday pm and I'm still waiting.

At least the Council have been pro-active for once and the sign post that was knocked down is now standing and the pavement is fixed.

If I don't hear anything from them today I'll chase again tomorrow but I resent having to pay for phone calls when it's their job to be contacting me.

Rant over for now.

We just had a lovely weekend with friends we hadn't seen for a while. They've got a couple of girls aged 7 and 9 who Lia loves playing with so it was nice for us as they were perfect babysitters whilst we adults had a good old natter and catch up.

DH is off to Greece on Friday for a weeks holiday. My holiday doesn't reset until the end of March so I don't have any days to take to go with him but really it wouldn't be practical because of MILs leg. The good news is that she finally had the metal cage removed from her leg last week (after five months) but she's going to have the leg plastered on Wednesday and that will be on for at least another month. MIL and FIL are due over here in July for a weeks holiday in Devon with us so we're all hoping her recovery continues well.

My Mum is coming to stay again for the week to babysit Lia and I. As last time we'll be at work and nursery but she'll be company in the evenings and it'll be good for her to be out of the flat as she's been feeling a bit low recently. It's a bad time of year as the weather is not great so there' even less motivation for her to get out and do things.

Crafting wise I've done a bit more on my Quilters Friend but it won't be finished this month. There's not too much left though so I'm hoping it'll be done next month. My rotation has gone okay so far but due to me being ill for almost a week Sleigh Ride isn't going to get as much attention as it might have done. Still, it'll get some work done on it which is the main thing, and all my other rotation goals have been achieved again so I can't complain.

I seem to have got back into reading (I've certainly got back into buying books) as I picked up a book last night and had to force myself to put it down after 100 pages as it was far too late for me to still be awake on a work night. I'm hoping that means my mojo is back (it certainly means it's a good book LOL).

My other focus is still the furnishing of Lia's room. I know what bed and dressing table we'll be getting her but I want better storage options so we went to IKEA on Saturday for some inspiration and there were several fantastic items including wall shelves that match her wardrobe and book shelves so DH and I will be going back on a week day so we can get some bits and pieces.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Friday 13th!

Saturday, 14 February 2009
Okay so I'm not superstitious at all - I even go out of my way to walk under ladders (although I haven't recently, honest) but last night I was just settling down to watch a DVD and get on with some stitching (DH was on a works night out) when there was a loud bang outside the front of the house.

It wasn't actually loud enough to freak me out but I figured I should have a look so I pulled the blinds back and this is what I saw:

The driver had failed to stop at a t-junction and had clipped another car and smashed into our garden!

We're all okay and I am trying not to think about what would have happened had he been going any faster as he may well have smashed into the house itself and Lia was asleep in the front bedroom upstairs.

Looking on the bright side, we've been wanting to get the front sorted for quite some time and at least now we can do it on somebody elses expense!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Working Hours

Thursday, 12 February 2009
Regular readers will have noticed that Lia starts school this year - I might have mentioned it once or twice!

I currently work full time with one day a week working from home but I want that to change because I'm determined that I want to be picking Lia up when school is out, not having a child minder pick her up. I would hate to be picking her up at 5pm, throwing dinner together, bathing her and putting her to bed without time to take a breath - I know it's the reality for some people but I don't want to be that kind of mother.

So my plan is to request a drop down to part time so I work the equivalent of four days a week but spread the hours over five days - four days is 30 hours so over five days that 6 hours a day plus a 30 min lunch break meaning I can do 8am - 2.30pm five days a week.

Legally work has to be flexible for parents so I'm hoping they'll go for the idea. At a push I could maybe do 8.30am - 3pm but that would make it tight for me to get to the school in time (it's about a 20 min drive if there's no traffic).

I'd then have Lia home straight from school, time to do homework with her, cook dinner, play etc before bedtime. Perfect.

The downside of this is that DH would have to do the morning drop off at 8.30am and, given he has a 1hr train journey to work he'd not arrive at the office until 10am. His work would be okay with that as some of the guys there already start at that time but it would mean him not getting home till much later in the evenings which isn't great for him.

However, he's been talking recently about looking for work closer to home so maybe this will be the push he needs to do just that. He could even afford to drop his salary slightly as we'd be saving a huge amount not paying his train fare every month. He's also in the lucky position of being able to be choosy about jobs as he's quite settled where he is so can afford (all going well in this economic climate) to hold out for the perfect job.

Another option might be a morning childminder that will have Lia for an hour, give her breakfast and drop her off to school which wouldn't be perfect but would still be better than having DH lose his evenings.

As for the drop in my salary, it won't be close to the amount we pay for the nursery so we won't be any worse off financially, even if we pay a morning childminder.

Once we get confirmation of which school Lia will be attending (and therefore what the hours will be) I'll make my application to work and see what they say.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I caved...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009
I've ordered the Just Nan Harmony tin. In my defence I haven't ordered the sampler though LOL.

The Just Nan site now has pictures up of all the upcoming releases and, whilst I like the design of the sampler, I don't like the colours and you can only buy it as a chart with the floss and embellishments for $50.

I have to say that I'm a little bit disillusioned with Just Nan and their decision to make everything limited editions and selling things as kits etc. I know it's my choice to buy or not but $50 is too much for me right now especially when I really don't like the colour choices (or the idea that if I did stitch it there would be exactly 999 identical copies out there LOL). Stitching is a craft and even though we're following a designed pattern it is always nice to be able to put one's own mark on one's work, especially with sampler type designs.

Oh well, I know that they have their reasons but I read quite a number of stitching boards and I know I'm not alone in my feelings.

The only other new release I've seen that I love is 'Scatter Snowflakes' from Shepherd's Bush so that's been added to my wishlist for a future purchase.

On and entirely different note, I've been watching the news of the Australian Bush fires and am heartbroken by the devastation out there. I have a lot of family around the Melbourne area and my thoughts are with everyone out there at this time.

If anyone is looking for a way to help Melly and Me are having an online auction to raise funds for the disaster appeal. They're auctioning off 8 lots between now and Saturday - some cute handmade critters, patterns, etc so go have a look and maybe make a bid or just a donation.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Where did the week go?

Monday, 9 February 2009
Those readers who don't stitch should probably skip the first bit of this blog post as I'm sure you'll find it really dull. For those who do, have you seen the Nashville releases?

I'd pre-ordered the Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons chart sight unseen as I liked the sound of it and boy am I glad I did as I love it. I intend to slip it into my rotation when Snapperbets is finished.

I also pre-ordered The Cat's Whiskers 'Scissors by Any Other Name' which I intend to do in my own colourway as the charted colours are so not me.

Of the other new releases I like the Quaker Seasons of Friendship (I have no idea why, it's not my usual style at all!), I think I like the new Just Nan tin - I like the tin itself, I'm not too sure about the stitched part. I'm also not sure about the Just Nan Harmony Sampler (matches the tin) but I think it's because the only picture I've seen is the one I've linked to and it's not that clear.

ABC Stitch Therapy have a pretty comprehensive list of the releases if you want to look at more.

I think that unless I fall hopelessly in love the Just Nans when I see better pics of the sampler I'll leave my purchases to just the two I've already ordered. However, I'm sure there's more to see so I reserve the right to change my mind LOL. I am also glad that I'm not head over heals for the new colours from Picture This Plus - a bit too subtle for my tastes!

I'm finally starting to feel better - the only day I managed to get into work last week I ended up heading home early after throwing up. I've been quite woozy ever since - headaches and throwing up - which has meant not much crafting. I have however completed two and a bit letters on Snapperbets and last night put about 20 stitches into my Charlie is Born WIP which is my focus piece this week.

I also did some work on my quilting project - The Quilter's Friend Sewing Kit. I've found a pic of the finished piece to show you -

I bought the full kit at the NEC Festival of Quilts last year so I'm doing it in the colours above. I bought the kit because there was a lot of fiddly bits in it that I wasn't sure about so I thought that I could make it once in this colourway and then, when I'd recovered, make it again in a more 'me' set of colours.

The only change I'm making is that I'm not putting on the Angel on the front panel (top right). I'm going to put the quilt star in but I'm going to applique my name on the front instead of the Angel. I'm still undecided as to whether to put the other Angel in - the one sitting on the cotton reels - but I think I will.

My progress so far is that I've completed the left hand side of the inside (so bottom left section). You can't see from the picture above but it is a zipped pocket (my first zip!) just to the left of the cotton reels, the striped bit is another pocket as are the triangular bits. I've also completed the large pocket in the middle inside section and the little heart needlekeep which is top left above the middle pocket. I've cut out the parts for the picture holder that is next to the needlekeep and hopefully will get that put in this week.

The right section of the inside has another zipped pocket (zip hidden by the ric rac) and two more pockets that need to be made up! It is a really challenging project but I'm enjoying it a lot as I'm learning lots of new techniques - hopefully I'll manage to finish it up this month.

In other news DH finally spoke to the woman who runs the Greek Church near to where we live about Sunday School / Greek School (I've been nagging him for weeks) and he's going to take Lia this Sunday to see. Apparently they usually start children there at the age of four so Lia's a bit young still (she's four in June) but as long as she doesn't disrupt the others she can join in.

It's actually a school for Greek rather than a Sunday School. Language students from the Uni teach the kids right up to GCSE level and they also can sit the exam which is great. I intend to go with Lia so I can work on my Greek too and the plan is that Sundays become Greek day in our house so we all speak it all day. It's about time I learned a bit more!

I tell you my life is more and more like My Big Fat Greek Wedding all the time - I can just hear Lia whining 'I don't want to go to Greek School...' LOL

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Wednesday, 4 February 2009
I've been wishing for snow for weeks and weeks and what happens when we finally get some? I'm was in bed suffering from a nasty head cold that was making me throw up.

Poor Lia didn't get a snowman this time although she did have some fun outside but I wasn't in any state to join her, DH was working hard and my Mum is a little old to be risking slipping over outside, so all she really got to do was run around and throw snow about. Still, she had lots of fun which is the main thing.

I'm up and about again, and back to work, and the snow has all but gone with no more forecast in our neck of the woods. I'm kind of disappointed but also a bit relieved as we have a 100 mile drive on Friday to take Mum home where I'll be attending a quilting class on Saturday and then we're visiting friends on the homeward trip on Sunday. I think I'd be more disappointed to miss that lot than not to have more snow.

I have managed a bit of stitching and have almost completed the next two words on the Lizzie*Kate Boo Club - I just have to finish off the little spiders and do a bit more border and I've completed that part of this months rotation. I'm then going to stitch on Snapperbets till the weekend before moving on to my small WIP next week. One disappointment is that Mum and I were supposed to work on the curtains for Lia's room this week but I've not been in any fit state to do so but she's coming back at the end of the month so hopefully we can get them done then.

A piece of good news is that when all the legal stuff is sorted out from my Stepdad's death I will get a bit of money. I kind of knew about it but it's all a bit convoluted due to changes Mum and SD made for inheritance tax purposes etc and I had no idea as to what I would get or when I would get it (it may have passed to Mum first).

It's enough that we can get quite a bit of work done on the house so DH and I are currently making a wish list of everything we'd like to do which we're then going to cost out and prioritise but I think if we're careful we can completely re-do the bathroom, replace the front and back doors, replace our crappy patio doors with french doors, repave the patio and get most of the back breaking garden work done by professionals.

Add to those major jobs some changes in the kitchen, a couple of new internal doors, some new skirting, minor electrical work and some painting and the house will be transformed! Obviously it's a bit of an open ended wait for the money as these things can drag on a bit but half the fun is in the planning and anticipation.

Thanks to all of those who have commented lately with kind words about my stitching and hugs for my moping! Apart from my physical bleugh of the last few days I'm feeling in a much better mood generally and have lots and lots of plans running round in my head for the months to come. Our social diary is filling up at an alarming rate which is always nice and I'm starting to feel the 'spring cleaning' mood which is good as the house is stuffed full of junk and could do with a serious sorting out.

Oh and finally, yes Sheila, Swallows and Amazons are just as good a read as an adult, I re-read them quite regularly and I hope that Lia enjoys them as much as I do when she gets to the right age...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

January Rotation Photos

Sunday, 1 February 2009
Apologies for the totally crap photos!

Snapperbets Start

Alphabet Bauble A

Boo Club Start

Joyful Summer Before

Joyful Summer Finished

Grandma's Thread Minder Before

Grandma's Thread Minder After

Scream House Before

Scream House After

February Goals

Stitching Goals
1. Work on Sleigh Ride
2. Work on Charlie is Born (hopefully complete)
3. Complete B is for Bee
4. Complete Lizzie*Kate Black Cat (and maybe Spiders)
5. Complete two Snapperbets letters
6. Work on Cirque des Cercles

Quilting Goals
1. Start Lia's curtains
2. Work on the Quilter's Friend Sewing Kit - hopefully complete it but it's very complicated so I'll be taking it slow!

Current Stitching WIP List
1. Lizzie*Kate - Boo! Flip Its
2. Bent Creek - Snapperbets

3. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
4. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
5. Margaret Sherry - Santa's Journey Afghan
6. Stitchy Kitty - Snowman Trio

7. Shepherd's Bush - Happy Haunting
8. Glendon Place - Murky Manor
9. Just Nan - Scream House

10. Brightneedle - Garden Party
11. Millhouse Designs - Charlie is Born
12. The Trilogy - Spring Lineup

13. Tournicoton - Coeur de Brodeuse
14. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
15. The Cat's Whiskers - Grandma's Thread Minder

16. Just Nan - Four Wishes
17. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
18. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series

19. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
20. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
21. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
22. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
23. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
24. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds
25. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
26. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
27. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
28. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
29. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening


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