Tuesday, 31 March 2009

March Roundup

Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Stitching Goals
1. Work on Scream House - worked on but no finish
2. Work on Coeur de Brodeuse - worked on but no finish
3. Complete C is for Cupcake - yep
4. Complete Lizzie*Kate Eek and Creepy - Eek done, Creepy started
5. Complete Two Snapperbet Letters - managed to complete four and start a further two
6. Work on Grandma's Thread Minder - yep stitching finished

Stitching New Starts:
C is for Cupcake

Stitching Finishes:
Grandma's Thread Minder
C is for Cupcake

Books Read
Danny the Champion of the World - Roald Dahl
Teatime for the Traditionally Built - Alexander McCall Smith

Quilting Goals
1. Make cushion covers for Lia's room - nope
2. Complete the Inspired by Rugs quilt top - yes
3. Work on the Mariner's Compass quilt top - nope
4. Start Lia's quilt top - nope
5. Complete the Quilter's Friend Sewing Kit - nope

Other Sewing
Lia's curtains - made a good start (thanks to my Mum)
Small bag (test run for several more I want to make as gifts)

New Stash Arrivals
Picture This Plus - FOTM (and a couple of pieces to keep it company en route)

WIPs Retired
Lost in a Blackwork Maze
Spring Lineup
Garden Party

Hmmmmmm, I fell behind a bit this month. I lost a bit of motivation on Couer and then hurting my finger and the great Maple Syrup hunt all took a bite out of my enthusiasm. However, all WIPs got some work and I had a couple of finishes so I'm not moaning, I'm sure most people would still see me as an over-achiever. Next month I'll be sewing and quilting a bit more than stitching I think but I'm hoping to get back on track, specifically getting Boo Club back up to date and chasing along with Snapperbets.

Oh and I'm sure my iPod Touch also had a lot to do with my lack of stitching progress (and it certainly ate into my reading time!) I even downloaded the next version of Virtual Villagers onto our PC (it's not available for the Touch) so I'm wasting time in the evenings playing that.

Monday, 30 March 2009

It's a bag!

Monday, 30 March 2009
I made this yesterday. It's an Amy Butler pattern and it was really simple to put together. This is my test piece as I intend to make several more for gifts - three before Easter (so no pressure then) and another three before July. At least all my friends having little girls makes life simpler when it comes to gifts, I struggling to come up with an Easter gift for my godson...

Anyway, here's the bag - it has a drawstring which meant I did my first ever button holes! It's approx 11" square.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Great Maple Syrup Hunt

Sunday, 29 March 2009
Well I totally failed to find the skein I thought I had, I obviously dreamt it's existence but one of the two skeins posted to me by my lovely stitchy friend was a match so I'm now a happy bunny once more.

I'm sure you'll all sleep better knowing that!

Saturday, 28 March 2009


Saturday, 28 March 2009
Good news, we got the school we wanted!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Mother's Day Quilting

Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Here's what I made on Mother's Day. It's the finished project from my last quilting course which was called 'Inspired by Rugs' and we learned to make the diamonds and also played around with patterned fabrics.

We've got a monks bench at home that's been handed down to me from my Grandmother via my Mum and my plan is to make this into a rectangular cushion for it as it's getting a bit battered by a certain young lady.

Apologies for the blurred pic and the odd white border on two sides, obviously my photographic and editing skills failed me somewhat!

Monday, 23 March 2009


Monday, 23 March 2009
Yesterday was Mother's Day here in the UK so I got spoiled (kinda). Normally at weekends DH and I take turns getting up with Lia so we have one lie in each - he does Saturday and I do Sunday but we swapped this week so I got to have a lie in on Mother's Day.

Did I lie in? No. But I did at least spend some quality time with my Touch instead. My little Villagers are doing very well for themselves and I got quite a lot of Weeks and GAST threads listed in my database.

I then ventured downstairs to find DH lying on the sofa with Lia on top of him watching CBeebies. So much for breakfast in bed...

Lia then gave me a card telling me 'Mummy this is for you because it's your last day...' No idea where that came from but she was insistent that it was my last day - 'it's not your birthday, it's your last day, Daddy said so' - if that's the case I'm kind of glad I didn't get breakfast in case he had anything sinister planned!

Anyway, I spent most of the day quilting or stitching and we watched Enchanted together in the afternoon which we all thoroughly enjoyed (even DH which surprised me). DH ordered my gift from the US and so it's still somewhere in the postal service but that's okay, I know what it is and I don't mind waiting for something so lovely.

It was nice to relax as we ended up doing a serious amount of work in the garden on Saturday. It was such a glorious day that I decided to get started with clearing up a bit and started to seriously attack the ivy growing through from next door. We then started the bonfire that we'd had piled up for around six months and ripped out anything we could that would burn so the garden has much less junk in it now. We took out all the rest of the manky fence that separated us from our neighbour and will replace it with some cheap pvc covered wire fencing for now (eventually I want a low hedge). It's more to keep Lia from wandering over there than anything else because there's nothing stopping her from getting out into the road from next door.

We also spoke to the neighbour about the ivy and she was more than happy for us to rip it out and also get rid of her rotting trellis and stuff that was tied to our fence so we really went to town. We're now just left with a couple of fence boards and the main trunk of the ivy. Poor DH gets contact dermatitis from the ivy and it's so bad today that he's stayed home from work and is going to the Doctors - all of his forearms are red and swollen and he's constantly scratching.

Unfortunately the ivy is all over the side of our patio so if we don't get it out and killed off he'll keep having attacks (he got patches of it all the time last year).

So now we need to get on and clear up the boundary between the two properties and get the fence up which is next weekend's job if the weather is kind to us. It was nice too because Lia spent pretty much the whole weekend in the garden. Admittedly we have to keep an eye on her as there's so much rubbish around still but it's good to know we're working on getting it better and she'll soon be able to run around without us constantly shouting at her to be careful.

We had one quote for the garden that was extortionate! We're waiting to see if the second guy is cheaper. DH really doesn't want to embark on clearing, rotivating and laying the lawn himself with my help and it'd take us most of the rest of the year to clear all the stuff from the end of the garden so I'm hoping we can afford that work at least.

It was nice to get some quilting done yesterday, it's a while since I did anything, and my stitching is coming along. I haven't been quite as productive this month as in the last two but I have managed a fair amount of stitching. I know that my productivity will go down a bit now though as I'm determined to get as much done in the garden as we can so the better the weather and the longer the evenings (clocks change next weekend) the more I'll be outside.

Things are slowly moving with the front garden too. The builders came and assessed on Friday and will put their report and quote in to the insurance company who will then authorise the work. I need to get out the front clearing ivy too as there's a whole load of it out there. Again, it's next door's plant but it's taking over our garden. I know it's not strictly our problem but if they don't cut it back it becomes our issue - the old lady who lives there is 89 and certainly won't be doing the work herself or, I imagine, that able to pay for someone to do the work.

Finally, just to say we hear about Lia's primary school at the end of this week. Fingers and toes crossed it's the one we want!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Still Touching...

Thursday, 19 March 2009
Well I did a quick bit of research last night and it seems there is at least one text reader for the Touch - the Kindle iPhone app - and what's more, it's free.

I haven't begun to explore the full range of available apps yet. My main purpose (apart from obsessing about my little village) is to get my contact and calendar information on and then work on getting my stash list on there. When I say stash, what I mean is full lists of GAST, Weeks and DMC with what I have marked. Then minor lists of things I only have small amounts of like Anchor, Kreinik, etc.

Then fabric.

And then an ambitious projects list to show each project I have, what the requirements are and what I have or need

That'll take around six years I'm sure.

I've also noted a downside of my Touch which is that I now listed to my music at work (currently The Monkees) and have started tapping, and occasion dancing. Enough for my co-workers to mention it LOL. Still, as I said to them, there's always time to boogie and I'm sure they'd rather a happy Joy than a miserable one which I would be should anyone try and take my Touch off me.

In other, potentially less boring news, we're finally getting started on Lia's bedroom revamp. Tomorrow the electrician is coming in to move the ceiling light to the centre of the room (it's next to the window), put an extra socket in and move and replace the old sockets and light switch. Easter weekend is the big paint and paper weekend and her carpet is paid for an booked to be laid on 1st May. Oh and DH and I are going shelf and accessory shopping at IKEA the Thursday after Easter (we'll be dropping Lia at nursery on the way).

All that's left after that is for us to buy her bed but that will be done after the carpet is down, there's no rush. Plus we're asking for contributions to the cost for her birthday present and that's 1st June. Oh and I need to get on with all the soft furnishings. The curtains are more than half done and I intend to start on her quilt top this weekend. I'll probably make a start on her cushion covers too.

We've also got the builder coming tomorrow to sort out when they can come and fix up the front garden. The insurance company have appointed the building firm and agreed on the extent of the damage (for example there are two fence panels but the insurance will only replace one and the post because the second is undamaged, just leaning over because of the damage to the post) but we're going to get the builder to do a bit of extra work to complete the front garden as it seems sensible to do it whilst they're already working.

We had a couple of gardeners come round last weekend to give us quotes for clearing the back garden so we're just waiting for those and keeping our finger's crossed we can afford it. We want them to clear the garden completely and lay a lawn but it's a big job - several nasty tree stumps, an old pond to clear out and loads of brambles, rubble and debris everywhere. I have however accepted that if DH and I were to try and do it we'd be looking at the best part of 12 months work and I'd rather pay someone to clear things than have that amount of DH complaining!

ps Re the floss dye lot, a wonderful friend has posted me two skeins of Maple Syrup in the hope that one is a match (apparently they are both quite different) so all fingers are crossed here. Lisa your idea would be a good one if I hadn't completely finished the old skein before looking for the next one...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I'm Touched...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009
As in I am now the owner of an iPod Touch.

A long time ago DH got me a PDA type thing as I wanted something I could use as an organiser. I used it a bit and then gave up on it because I didn't use it enough and it kept running out of battery completely and deleting my stuff.

Then DH got me an iPod which was great but I used it so infrequently that whenever I needed it there was no battery.

Also, over the years we've had various Nintendo consoles that I've played with a bit but never had serious time to invest in playing games on.

However, I still like to play games, listen to music and organise things so when a mate was telling me about her new toy, an iPod Touch, I was instantly hooked. I got together an awful lot of stuff - DVDs, CDs, the iPod and Organiser mentioned above and a couple of computer games and sold them. Then I emptied my money box where I collect £2 coins and voila, enough money to get me an Ipod Touch too.

And I'm hooked. I've loaded up my music, added a pic of Lia as my wallpaper, downloaded an App that will allow me to build up a database of my stash and started to add my address book in. It's wi-fi enabled so I can check my email without logging onto the PC at home and I can surf the web (okay I haven't yet but the point is I could if I wanted!)

More than that I downloaded a sim game - Virtual Villagers 2 - and have been obsessively looking after them and building up my village.

Finally, I have one item that does everything I could want. I'm so not a gadget freak (I leave that to DH) but this one has really been a revelation for me.

And, even better than all of the above, when DH asked me what I want for my birthday next month I could ask for an iPod docking station! Normally I order some stash and he gives it to me. He doesn't mind so much but I know he'd prefer to be the one choosing and stuff so now he's in seventh heaven, he keeps emailing me asking questions which means he's doing what he does best, researching all the options and comparing the tiny technical details of each one before picking something.

To be honest, I'm not going to be that excited about the present other than I really need a docking station but knowing he's happy about it is the best thing.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Dye Lots

Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I swear I had another skein of GAST Maple Syrup somewhere that matched the one I was using for Snapperbets.

Can I find it?

Of course I can't.

Are the two new skeins that arrived today significantly different?

Of course they are.


And of course it's the border so it will show.

So, my options are:

1. search for the skein I think I had
2. complete the border with the un-matched colour
3. rip out all the border I've already done and use the two new matching skeins
4. shop around to see if I can find a more matching skein

Given I've already stitched almost half the border I think ripping is out of the question, I'd rather have it un-matched! (At least I think I would, the anal retentive in me knows there's a good chance I'd finish it, hate it and rip...)

I think for now, I'll keep hunting round the house - I don't want to buy loads of skeins on the off-chance I find a match and I won't be anywhere near an LNS till June. I can stitch up all the letters and leave the border for now (although it'll take all my will power to then go back and stitch it afterwards).

Oh well, I've learned my lesson, I'll gather all my floss together before embarking on a project like this again!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

It's my own fault...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009
I had to cut some fabric up last night to get it in the post today. I lined it up on the cutting mat, put my hnad on the ruler and let blast with the rotary cutter only to cut a large chunk of skin and nail off my index finger!

Luckily I didn't bleed on the fabric but it took around three hours for it to stop bleeding and I'm now nursing a very sore index finger and discovering that it's very hard to type without it.

See, if I hadn't moaned about stitching on Coeur I'm sure I'd still have a whole finger. I can stitch but Coeur was too small and the frame was bashing my finger so I did a bit on snapperbets instead.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Isn't it weird...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009
How some things you just don't enjoy stitching on?

As I'm going through my WIPs I'm remembering why some of them got put aside. For example I'm currently stitching on Tournicoton's Couer de Brodeuse and I'm really struggling to get motivated with it. I love the finished piece but the stitching is a real bitch.

Not that I could really tell you why of course, it's nothing spectacular but maybe it's the fact there's a lot of little motifs scattered around so the floss changes are constant plus it switches between over one, over two and speciality stitches all the time.

Whatever it is I am definitely not enjoying this weeks rotation piece! However, the good thing is that the rotation will keep me stitching on it till it's done which never used to happen. I'm pretty sure that I can get on and finish the stitching by the time it's slot is over (Saturday) so if I keep on keeping on I won't have to bother with it again.

I felt a similar thing with Charlie is Born, he's a lovely finish but he wasn't great to stitch - the charts were a bit jumbled and there were lots of half stitches that were easy to miss. It's a shame because there's three more designs in the series that I have to do!

I've also decided to retire a couple of WIPs this month. I've been looking at them all in the light of 'not enjoying stitching on them' and I think the reason that some were put aside was that I just didn't like the fabric / floss choices. Lost in a Blackwork Maze and Spring Lineup have gone and I think I'm going to ditch Garden Party and Cut Thru Fairy Hill too. This leaves two free 'WIP' slots in my rotation so I'm going to have a look at what isn't on the list to get a turn this year and slot a couple of the others in - probably Heavens Above and Be Attitudes.

This is the first time that I'll have given up on stitching something but I think for my sanity it's probably the best thing to do.

Monday, 9 March 2009

A March Finish

Monday, 9 March 2009
So here's my first finish for March, my fifth of the year and the third WIP off my list (sorry it's a bit dark).

I'm hoping to get round to doing some 'making up' of projects in May (I have to slot some time in my rotation) and this is on the list for then.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

For Courtney...

Sunday, 8 March 2009
My Cirque des Cercles floss choice is Silk n Colors 189 'Aurora's Flame'. I have enough of it (and enough of the black Murano) to do Cirque des Carreaux if I ever get up the courage.

Thanks for the great comments everyone.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

February Rotation Photos

Saturday, 7 March 2009
Sleigh Ride



Charlie is Born



B is for Bee

Lizzie*Kate Boo Club






Cirque des Cercles



Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Quilting BOM

Wednesday, 4 March 2009
That's Block of the Month in case you're wondering...

So I've signed up for a BOM quilt. It wasn't my fault, a friend signed up and then pointed it out on a message board I frequent and I fell hopelessly in love with it at first sight.

With what I hear you ask.

With this (you can click the image for a bigger version):

See, I said it was gorgeous.

As a Block of the Month you get 10 blocks a month - there's 225 blocks in total so it's a 2 year project (if I keep up!). There are no repeated fabrics either so I get 225 different fabrics (at least a fat eighth of each) and the finished quilt is 84" square.

It's good I like a challenge!

Luckily the friend also recommended a blog - That Quilt - whose author is currently doing the quilt and who has fantastic instructions for each block. The quilt is actually called Dear Jane and you can buy a book with it all in but the version I'm doing is called Rainbow Jane and the BOM comes with the fabrics and the appropriate sections of the book. Beware if you follow any of those links as they take you to places you can buy and sign up and I take no responsibility for your actions!

Roll on April when the first blocks arrive, I can't wait to get stuck in.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Spot the Difference

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

So is it me or does the Dog design look wrong? Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I'm a bit confused as to why it's different to the rest.

I'm working on the Cupcakes this month and I'm thinking that I'll skip D and wait and see if any more are the same when they're released. I'm sure I can rechart the dogs heads to fit them into the same style as the others but I don't want to do that and find there's another design later that can't be altered. On the whole I'd rather have them all the same or with several different, not just one different from all the rest.

It offends my sense of order LOL.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

March Goals

Sunday, 1 March 2009
Stitching Goals
1. Work on Scream House (hopefully finish the stitching)
2. Work on Coeur de Brodeuse (hopefully finish the stitching)
3. Complete C is for Cupcake
4. Complete Lizzie*Kate Eek and Creepy
5. Complete Two Snapperbet Letters
6. Work on Grandma's Thread Minder (hopefully finish the stitching)

Quilting Goals
1. Make cushion covers for Lia's room
2. Complete the Inspired by Rugs quilt top
3. Work on the Mariner's Compass quilt top
4. Start Lia's quilt top
5. Complete the Quilter's Friend Sewing Kit

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. The Trilogy - Spring Lineup

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

15. Just Nan - Four Wishes
16. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
17. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
18. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
19. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4

20. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
21. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
22. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds
23. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening

24. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
25. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
26. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
27. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
28. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill

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