Friday, 30 December 2011

Stitching WIP List

Friday, 30 December 2011
 General Projects

1. Bent Creek - Snapperbets
2. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
3. Prairie Moon - Thine is the Trick and the Treat
4. Tournicoton - Coeur de Brodeuse
5. DebBee's Designs - Hot Stuff
6. Just Nan - Counting Bats
7. Margaret Sherry - Santa's Journey Afghan
8. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
9. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
10. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
11. Mill Hill - Winter Wonderland
12. Lizzie*Kate - 6 Fat Men
13. Raise the Roof - Witchy Washy
14. Hob-Nobb Designs - Snowflake Snowman


1. Lizzie*Kate - Christmas by the Letter
2. Ink Circles - Cirque des Cercles
3. Glendon Place - Murky Manor
4. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
5. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
6. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
7. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
8. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
9. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven Above
10.The Primitive Needle - Witches Hollow
11. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds
12. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride

I'm pretty sure this is the complete list - I've searched around and can't find or remember any other new starts I've had in the last couple of months so now it's organising the folders with charts and floss and taking pics of them all.  I'm at 26 WIPs which is better than the starting total of 2011 which was 32...

Thursday, 29 December 2011

2012 WIPocalypse Plans

Thursday, 29 December 2011
So as I've mentioned several times I've signed up for the 2012 WIPocalypse - WIP stripping for the year.

My 2011 plans worked pretty well up until the last month.  I started the year with 32 WIPs and, of those, 9 are now finished, 1 has been abandoned and 3 have had significant work.

The problem is that I've had about 5 new starts recently, all small projects, so my current WIP list is probably still around 27 - I am in the process of tidying everything up and doing an official count.

However, what I do have are several BAPs (that's Big-Arse-Projects for those not in the know) so my main plan for 2012 is to work on those in a monthly rotation.  So each one will by my focus piece for a month and I will work on that and possibly some smaller projects during that month.

So the monthly rotation is:

Jan - Cirque des Cercles
Feb - Be Attitudes Afghan
Mar - Murky Manor
Apr - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
May - Wild Ones Alphabet
Jun - Heaven Above
July - Tradewinds
Aug - Christmas by the Letter
Sep - Noah's Sub
Oct - Witches Hollow
Nov - Dragon Virtues Afghan
Dec - Sleigh Ride

Trust me when I say that not one of the above will be even close to finished after 2012 (well maybe Cirque but it depends how distracted I am this month).  However I'm thinking that if this rotation works for me I should keep it up until all of the above are completed.  What I'm not sure if I'll do is give some projects two months when others are finished or start other big projects.  Still I'm pretty sure I have plenty of time to decide that LOL.

So over the next three days I'm going to compile a complete WIP list (again) and photo each one as well as make sure each has it's own project bag kitted up so I don't have to hunt around for stuff when I decide to get stitching on something.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

'Tis the season...

Sunday, 18 December 2011 be extremely busy!

We've had nativities, pantos, christmas meals, discos, carol singing, parties and visiting friends.  We're just about finished - we just have a Christingle service and a Carol Singing to go and then school is out and we're headed full steam into Christmas.

It's been manic keeping track of everything - even Connor was involved in a Nativity and a Christmas party - plus all the normal things like Beavers, Ballet, Greek School, etc. but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.

I'm pretty much ready for Christmas.  All presents are bought and about 2/3 are wrapped.  I'm waiting on three parcels, two for DH's birthday which is Boxing Day that are waiting to be picked up at the post office in the morning and the last one is an additional stocking filler for Connor so, should it get held up, it's not really a disaster.

We're just back from a pre-Christmas visit and present swap with my family and now I have a mountain of gifts for the kids.  DH's parents arrive on Thursday to spend a week here and I know they want to take the kids shopping so I'm going to have two very spoiled children in a weeks time.

I've also pretty much completed the food shopping, I'll be up and out at stupid o'clock on Christmas Eve to get the turkey and veggies/fruit but everything else is here.  I'm hoping DH will take the kids and his parents into town that morning so I can have some last minute Mum time to get things ready.  Or, if I'm organised, to sit and stitch in front of a Christmas movie LOL.

I have been stitching a bit but not as much as I'd like as evenings have been taken up with chores so I've not made too much progress.  I've been working on L*K's Christmas by the Letter and will post a picture soon.  I have also cut out the squares for a Christmas table runner and place mats but whether or not I'll manage to get them sewn together in the next week is another matter!

I do intend to get a post together charting my crafting successes of 2011 and my plans for next year.  I've signed up for the 2012 Wipocalypse so I'll be documenting that too.  I'm hoping I'll manage some progress on my BAPs next year but also, after a year that mainly involved abstinence I think I'll be starting one or two (or four or five) new projects next year as I'm in need of some variety.  I also intend to get back to my Baby Jane quilt blocks. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Another Advent Calendar

Wednesday, 30 November 2011
I have been busy since my last post but given I've made three more identical advent calendars I didn't really see the point in posting pictures LOL.  Plus I had to get them in the post for the children to have in time - two arrived today so nothing like cutting it fine!

Tonight I've finished off my fifth, and final, advent calendar for 2011 and, given it's a different one I thought I'd share a picture.  This one is being donated as a raffle prize at Lia's school Christmas Fair.

DH is already talking about me making one for the Scouts Christmas Fair next year (he's just been invested as a Cub Leader) and Lia is telling everyone about how I'm going to make one like Connor's for her next year too so I have a backlog of orders already. I need at least 6 months free from box pleats to recover from this intense period though so we'll see what gets done next year.

In other news the Christmas decorations came down from the loft tonight so there'll be time spent decorating the tree tomorrow after school.  Not too much time as I have my first meeting as a school Governor tomorrow evening.  Not for Lia's school, I'm on the PTA there, but a totally separate school about 20 mins away by car.  It's going to be a lot of hard work but I'm looking forward to getting involved.

I was going to say that not much else is going on but given we're stupidly busy between now and Christmas that's a total lie.  I have managed to get most of the Christmas gift shopping done though and I think I'm ahead of the game with most things.  It's time to start writing lists and making sure about that though...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Advent Calendar

Thursday, 17 November 2011
I'm not going to make any further excuses about my lack of blog posting - I'll just get on with sharing some stuff and pretend the gap never happened LOL.

I've just finished up this advent calendar panel for Connor.  I made Lia one (different design) years ago and of course now she wants one like his because it's bigger.  Pointing out that the pockets are the same size hasn't changed her mind LOL.  So I've told her she can't have one this year as I'm in the middle of making three more of the same design for my nephew and two great nieces...

I'm pleased with how this came out as I did a lot of the quilting by hand- the holly leaves and stars (which I did with glittery gold thread) and a few other little bits.  You can't really see from the pic but I put a hanging sleeve at the top so it's all ready for two weeks time.

I have another seven of these panels (not all the same design) but I'm totally box-pleated out for this year so the other kids destined to have one will have to be patient.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Remember me?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011
I hope so LOL.

So what happened to October?  I'm not entirely sure although I know I was sick for almost a week (gastroenteritis) so I can account for that time and I know I have five days of the month left so it's not gone from me completely.  After that I'm not sure where the time and my blogging inclination disappeared to but here I am, back and hoping I've still got one or two readers.

So what have I been doing?  Well I've been stitching but not that much as I had very little enthusiam for it.  I made a bit of progress on my second fat man but wasn't really in the mood - I think the unseasonal high temps here dulled my excitement about Christmas (plus I got a bit bored with all the white).  I then moved on to Just Nan's Counting Bats which was a WIP but given I frogged everything I'd previously stitched (around 50 stitches) I'm not sure if it now counts as a new start LOL.

I didn't get that much done before that too didn't appeal too much so I assessed myself and realised the problem was that I am totally bored with my WIPs.  I have been really good this year so far but I decided enough was enough and I needed a pick me up.  To that end I dug out and kitted up Witchy Washy by Raise the Roof.  I've made a start and have that familiar happy feeling back when stitching it.  I've done the first tree and made a start on the broom and am hoping it'll stitch up quickly.

Quilting has suffered big time because of the TV.  I like to have a whole evening to get focussed and there seemed to be something every night that I wanted to see.  I know I could tape things but we just never seem to get around to watching taped stuff so I sacrificed the sewing machine for the goggle box.  That should hopefully change after next week as two of the programmes I've been watching finish then so I'll have Tuesdays and Thursdays as my quilting nights.

It's half term here this week so I'm home with the kids.  Tomorrow we're off to visit my family for a couple of days so don't expect another update here before the weekend but I will absolutely get some pictures posted to prove I've been doing something while not around on here.

The only minor issue is that Connor has been sick the last few days (tonsilitis and a head cold) and I am starting to suffer tonight with a runny nose.  I've been trying to ignore it all day in the hope that it'll give up and go away but I have an awful feeling I'm going to wake up tomorrow with a head full of snot and in that case we're not going anywhere.  I'm praying that doesn't happen because I'm not sure I can cope with a) Lia's disappointment b) another damn cold and c) being at home with the kids while I'm feeling dreadful.  Unfortunately I just haven't managed to stop Connor coughing in my face so I suppose it was inevitable, just bad timing.

I will try and catch up with all of the blogs I read too.  I'm still playing that damned Adventure World but have tried very hard to limit my time doing so...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

September Roundup

Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Oooops, I'm a bit late with this. My main reason is Adventure World on Facebook - it drains my time and all of a sudden I've got no additional time for blogging or reading blogs or working or reading or sewing LOL.

Okay maybe it's not that bad but it does tend to eat up my internet time and I'll confess I'm behind on my blog reading as well as posting. I have been stitching and reading and sewing and I will try and post more in October.


1. Blog more - The numbers are still holding up but September wasn't the best month
2. No stash purchases - managed this one
3. Reduce my stitching WIP list - yes! Two finishes (one that was a new start)
4. No new stitching starts in the first half of the year - n/a
5. Find the quilting bug again and reduce my quilting WIPs - yes, some tops were indeed completed
6. Read at least 50 books - 4 read this month taking my total to 28 so far this year.
7. Reduce the clutter in the house - yes, more rubbish left
8. Lose weight - pass
9. Stick to the household budget and find ways to reduce expenditure - pretty much but I do need to get better
10. Work on the garden - nope

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sucked in...

Sunday, 25 September 2011 a game on Facebook - Adventure World. I obviously have an addictive personality as I just get obsessed with these things LOL. I'm still playing Angry Birds too but there hasn't been an update to that for a while so I'm focussing on exploring the jungle right now.

In other news I have had a stitching finish - Lizzie*Kate's Halloween Sampler - a long standing WIP on my list so it's good it's finally done. I lost count how many times I had to frog this one though, it was a real nightmare. No pic yet, I'll try and get a decent one this week.

I've also be doing some reading - I saw a recommendation for the Aunt Dimity series of books on a blog I read and decided to give them a try. I really enjoyed the first one and am now on number three with number four in my too read pile. I wasn't supposed to be buying any more books so I've failed there LOL. Number five in the series is called Aunt Dimity's Christmas so I've decided I should be good and then I can treat myself for the festive season. Besides October sees the release of the latest Terry Pratchett novel so I'll be buying and reading that...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Another quilt top finish

Friday, 23 September 2011
This was officially my oldest quilt top WIP.  I cut and made up the blocks around 3 - 4 years ago and it then got put to one side (I made 4 smaller versions using the same fabric and was supremely bored with it all LOL).

It's huge - around 60 x 90 inches - and is for Connor (he can grow into it).  I now have to dig out the backing fabric I have and keep my fingers crossed it's enough...

It's an old Moda fabric range called Silly Safari.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mermaid Quilt Top

Thursday, 15 September 2011
I can't remember when I started putting this together but I know it's been knocking around in the WIP pile for a while just waiting for the two outer borders to be added.

Tonight I added them and now it's ready for layering and quilting:

I don't suppose I need to tell you who it's for...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

2012 WIPocalypse

Tuesday, 13 September 2011
So rumours abound that the world will end in 2012.  In the spirit of panic that all those WIPs will never get finished Measi has come up with the 2012 WIPocalypse - a year of project stripping before the world ends.

I've signed up (at least I hope I have - I thought I already had but checking back I couldn't see my post so I've tried again).  I'd already been contemplating another year of working as much from my WIP list as I can cope with so this'll be a good motivator.

It's a simple process - sign up and then post your progress every full moon in 2012.  She even provides you with the dates.

Monday, 12 September 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 12 September 2011
- won £15 on the lottery!
- decided not to bother retiring on my winnings LOL
- nagged DH into the loft to get more boarding done
- despaired that we need to buy yet more boards in order for him to finish (it's been 3 years!)
- realised we need to get Lia a new ballet leotard as she's grown quite a bit
- finished my 1st Fat Man
- frogged my Halloween Sampler after deciding that the 'yellow' thread used was much to dark
- played on Pottermore A LOT
- had a nice afternoon out in town where with the family
- spent my in-laws money on things we needed for the kids
- bought me a new bag (half price in the sales)
- had a good lie in
- ate too much junk food
- decided to get back focussed on my diet plans
- did an awful lot of ironing
- bruised the bottom of my foot on one of Connor's building blocks
- started getting the first tingles of that Christmas feeling
- resolved to get on the sewing machine this week

Sunday, 11 September 2011

1st Fat Man finish

Sunday, 11 September 2011
A better picture this time although the fabric colour is still washed out.  'Snowed In' by Lizzie*Kate stitched on a one-off hand dyed fabric.

I shall be putting him aside now and picking up a WIP again.  If I can get another finish this month I'll do the next Fat Man...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

1 Fat Man

Thursday, 8 September 2011
Yes, yet again, apologies for the totally crap picture.  It was dark outside when I took it and the flash did nothing to help the situation.  You can at least see some of the sparkly bits in the fabric even if it isn't even close to the actual colour.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A new year

Wednesday, 7 September 2011
I guess once you become a parent of a school age child it's inevitable that your new year point shifts to early September and, as of yesterday, I am the parent of a Year 2 child as Lia went back to school for her third year (1st year is reception and doesn't count in the year numbering system - very confusing) .  She was a very excited six year old as she loves school.  Well, apparently she loves school apart from assembly which is boring.  I presume because she actually has to sit still and listen as opposed to talk, talk, talk which is her favourite thing to do LOL.

Connor too started his 'school' again this week and has pretty much settled in although he has been reluctant to be left in the mornings, but once they offer him food he's a happy boy and settles into his day. 

As for me and my 'new year', well it's a strange time for me.  I had a fab couple of weeks at home with the kids at the end of the holidays and now I'm back in the office kind of in limbo.  I'm now five weeks into my 'at risk' period, so almost half way, and, as you can imagine, I'm not exactly motivated to be doing anything.  I am trying because, let's face it, sitting at a desk for five hours doing not much is boring in the extreme but I have no projects to get my teeth into and nothing on my to do list is in any way inspiring or exciting.

So I'm focussing on home for my new year.  I've given DH an ultimatum that he must get the loft boards finished this weekend.  We have no other plans apart from Lia's ballet and Greek school commitments so he is going to be up there until it's done.  Once he's done that I can then get up there and sort things out as I have no idea of exactly what is up there!  Some of the boxes haven't been touched since we moved four years ago and we need a good clear out because once the loft is organised we need to move on to sorting out the garage.

I also want to clean up the house.  I talk about it all the time but all I really do is surface cleaning.  I want to do a proper deep clean of everything and write up a list of jobs that need to be done, can be done on a budget and will make the house a bit nicer.  You know the stuff, fixing doors that catch, filling cracks, adding hooks, storage, etc.

After that I'll be looking at bigger jobs like painting walls, building a cupboard, fixing the bathroom floor.  Jobs that we've been talking about for a long long time but just never get round to.  And then, of course, there's the garden.  I had such high hopes for the garden when we moved in and yet another year has passed with nothing done.  The plan is to work over the autumn / winter months to prepare things for planting in the spring so that next summer I don't sit around lamenting the fact that another year has passed and I've failed to get off my butt!

This probably sounds familiar to those of you who've been hanging around this blog a while but I really do mean it.  If I am made redundant (which is looking extremely likely) then this will be the perfect time for me to knuckle down and get this stuff done as I may well stay at home for a year.  I know for sure that if the September new year rolls around next year and none of this stuff has been done it most likely never will be LOL.

Anyway, on to crafty stuff. I've made some progress on my 1st Fat Man (progress pic will be taken tonight).  I've decided to look at each one as a project on their own, rather than all six being one big project so my WIP list will not grow.  I'm going to complete my first one (Snowed In) and then go back to WIP stitching for a while.  I might pick up my Lizzie*Kate Halloween Sampler as a bit of plugging away should provide a finish on that this month (and that too could head to Karen V for finishing with my Shepherd's Bush piece).

I also have two bits of obligation sewing to do and I will get those done this month. I will also work on finishing up another quilt top project as I bought a metre of material at the weekend that I needed for it.  I'm also determined to quilt and finish at least one of the tops I have already made and I have to sew up one of the Advent Calendar panels I have for Connor.  Oh and finish him up a quilted stocking too (nothing like getting prepared early right?)

I also have some cushion covers to make up from my MIL's christmas gift and I want to make a Christmas table runner as we'll be having Christmas at our house again this year with MIL and FIL.  Oh and then there's my Trick or Treat fabrics I absolutely have to get made up into something.  And I'd really love to get back to some Baby Jane blocks...

Is it any wonder I never have time for half the things I want to do!

The final 'news' I have to post about is with regards to The Affair just in case any of you are interested LOL.  Cheating husband and his family are moving house on the 23rd of this month.  Not far away but far enough that their daughter will be changing schools and we will probably never see them as we won't have any reason to keep in touch.

Cheating wife is getting a divorce.  She told her husband it was over about 3 weeks ago - her reason being they have nothing in common.  He's opened up to Leon quite a bit about it all and apparently he is suspicious that she's been having an affair and has asked her on several occasions.  She's denied it (well duh!) and he thinks she wouldn't lie to him. 

She has convinced him to do the whole thing without lawyers involved and the agreement is that he'll keep the house (by buying her out) and she'll get full custody of the girls plus £400 a month from him.  She's planning on moving out at the end of this month but he doesn't know yet if she's going to stay nearby or move as she's currently working in a town 19 miles away but she's not sure if her contract will be renewed come October.  If it is renewed I'm sure she'll go closer to work.

As DH and I predicted all along her husband is just rolling over and letting her call the shots.  He's not demanding custody or even regular access to the kids, he's not objecting to her moving, he's not fighting for anything, he's just accepting everything she throws at him.  She's going to screw him over big time as this plays out for sure and he'll end up losing any contact with his kids.  They only have one car and she'll take that as he doesn't drive that much and takes the train to work so if she moves the kids away he'll have no easy way to get to the kids and just won't bother.

I have no idea whether the actual affair continues but I would be surprised if it doesn't, either that or she's started up with someone else...

Anyway, this post turned out a lot longer than I expected (that's what you get for me being bored at work LOL).  I'll return to the scheduled crafty posts tomorrow with a picture of my 1 fat man...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I caved...

Sunday, 4 September 2011
...and just put the first stitches into 6 Fat Men from Lizzie*Kate...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August Roundup

Thursday, 1 September 2011
1. Blog more - Yep. 
2. No stash purchases - ah, yes well, erm, oops!  JCS Halloween Special, Just Nan limited editions, Lizzie Kate 6 Fat Men, a Jelly Roll and a Layer Cake.  I guess this one I failed on
3. Reduce my stitching WIP list - yes!  Four finishes (one that was a new start too)
4. No new stitching starts in the first half of the year - one new start that was finished - I think I'll change this to reflect we're in the second half of the year now.
5. Find the quilting bug again and reduce my quilting WIPs - not in August
6. Read at least 50 books - 4 read this month taking my total to 24 so far this year.
7. Reduce the clutter in the house - three bags to a charity shop and three to friends.
8. Lose weight - pass
9. Stick to the household budget and find ways to reduce expenditure - not even close
10. Work on the garden - nope but we did play in it a lot

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Here we go a Haunting

Wednesday, 31 August 2011
My fourth finish for this month! It was also my first new start of the year. It's a kit from Shepherds Bush and I was lucky enough to get on of the limited edition versions that came in a small wooden box with the design on the top. I'm not sure what I will do with the box but I know this will be heading to Karen V after payday...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

More finish finishes

Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Again, these have been done by Karen V's Finishing Service so I can take no credit for the finishing other than saying yes, your choices of how to finish my stuff are fab LOL.

TW's Tempest in a Teacup pinkeep

The Trilogy's Secret Snowdrift ornament

CCN's Joyful Summer wall hanging

I had the hanger in my stash - I'm not sure if it's a bit small but it'll do for now for sure.  To be honest I'd totally forgotten about it otherwise I'd have asked Karen to put the hanging loops a bit further apart.  Still I can always do that myself at some point.

Yet again I'm really pleased with the results and two of them are already hanging on the walls. I'm now trying to decide what will get sent next. I'm hoping to get a few more batches done between now and Christmas as I think after that money will be a bit tighter. Plus I don't have that many smalls left to have made up so it'll be more a case of stitch something and then send it to Karen.

I also received my invoice from Drema at Needlecraft Corner in the post today.  No we won't discuss the amount, but it does mean the package should arrive in the next few days.  Not only that I caved, emptied out my dragon money box, and ordered a Layer Cake and Jelly Roll of Moda's Trick or Treat.  Naughty I know but I also know I'll regret it if I don't and then can't get them.

Finally on the stitching front, I should have a fourth happy dance this month as I'm very close to finishing my Shepherds Bush Here we go a Haunting.  One more evening of stitching on it and it should be done.  I'm also pretty sure this will be in the next batch I send to Karen.

It's been really busy here the last week and a half.  Since getting back from visiting my family we've been all over the place visiting friends and tomorrow our Goddaughters are coming for a couple of days and I'm bravely taking them and my two to London for the day on Thursday!  My Aussie cousin is due to spend the day with us on Saturday (she's on a whistlestop tour) and then Sunday DH is running another half marathon.  Connor's back at nursery on Monday and Lia at school on Tuesday when I'll be back at work.

I think I'll be going back to work for a rest LOL.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

We're home

Thursday, 25 August 2011
We had a lovely few days away with my family - Lia just adores being around her cousins.  The weather wasn't too bad for us and we had plenty of fun.

Reality bites big time today though as three weeks of Daddy in charge followed by five days of him alone in the house means it's a total tip here!  Today it's chucking it down with rain so at least I don't feel guilty about keeping the kids indoors while I clear up.

I will be catching up on blogs today too - seems like pretty much every blog I read has been updated in the last five days LOL. 

I'll be back with a stitching update soon.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Blooming Photobucket

Saturday, 20 August 2011
I've just redone my header with new pics of the kids and photobucket keeps resizing the image when I upload it.  It's a pain.  It's also very late at night and I can't be bothered to sort it so please forgive the slightly narrow pic.

I'm taking the kids to visit my family for five days tomorrow (or I guess that's today now) and won't be on the net much (my sis lives in the dark ages) so the pic will remain small until I return and figure out how to fix it.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The 100 top sci fi / fantasy novels

Friday, 19 August 2011
I've seen this on a few blogs and, for the want of anything else useful to post, I thought I'd give it a go.  I should say I'm not really a sci fi fan so that will definitely have an effect on my total.  Ones I've read are in bold, ones I have in my 'to read' pile are italics.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

19 out of 100 read.  Having said that, it's a lot more than 19 books - IIRC the Xanth series was at least a dozen (I read them as a teenager).  I'd also take issue with the two Terry Pratchett novels listed as I don't think they are anywhere near his best ones.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

4 Wishes Finish!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Wow, three finishes this month, that's some kind of record for me LOL.

So here it is, a bit wonky but I'm sure you'll forgive...

Not bad for a WIP that started out like this in January:

I did make a couple of alterations - I left of the final snowflake band as I think it's better without it plus I started it and felt it just didn't show up very well.  I also didn't stitch the over 1 acorns in the Autumn band, basically because I couldn't be bothered and I don't think the piece loses anything without them.

There's an error in one of the verses (an extra thread between letters) and an error in the border on the left corrected by an extra thread at the bottom.  Unfortunately for me I'm a bit picky about things like this and I know that I'll always notice the errors.  I'm not correcting them now though, I'm hoping that I can convince myself I don't need to LOL.

Monday, 15 August 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 15 August 2011
- had a lovely day out in Oxford with the family
- visited the Ashmolean Museum
- specifically for the Heracles to Alexander the Great exhibition
- realised we'd have to go back another time as we'd been there two and a half hours and not seen half of what they have
- had a lovely meal out
- stitched up a storm on 4 Wishes and will have a finish tonight for sure
- started to tidy up my stash
- found lots of things I want to start
- also found things to sell
- listed some books on Amazon
- celebrated DH finally getting up in the loft to get on with boarding it up
- felt bad that all the dust irritated his cough
- cooked a roast dinner
- had a nice lie in
- played in the garden with the kids
- made buns

Sunday, 14 August 2011

I hate tidying up my stash

Sunday, 14 August 2011
Because it just highlights all the projects I want to start LOL

I'm going to allow myself two new small starts once 4 Wishes is finished (should be this week sometime) as both should be quite quick and I can finish them up so they don't stay around as WIPs.

I'm also going to focus on Cottage Garden 2, Coeur do Brodeuse and Halloween Sampler as my next WIP finishes.  Couer and the Halloween Sampler should be pretty quick finishes.

However this week the thing I absolutely have to do is finish up is the bag I'm making for my Mum which will be two birthdays late in 10 days time...

Friday, 12 August 2011

Birth Sampler Finish

Friday, 12 August 2011
Yay, it's done!  It's finally done!!!

I finished it up last night and I am unlikely to ever do another one.  The stitching is boring (all those greys) and the backstitching is awful but they are cute when they're done.

Apologies for the crap dark pic, I might try for a better one over the weekend.

This is for my 2nd Great Niece - I did one for her older sister back in 2007 and so couldn't refuse doing another even though I really wanted to LOL.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Boredom is a bad thing

Thursday, 11 August 2011
My clicky finger has been naughty again.

It started as an inocent surf to look for free quilt patterns for charm packs because that was more fun than any of the jobs I have to do at work.  This is the point where I can blame Sheila because it was she who sent me a charm pack and therefore her fault that I was surfing for ways to use it.  Anyway, whilst surfing I came across the Moda Trick or Treat collection and I was scuppered.

I've decided that 8 months of not looking at stash has left me with absolutely no immunity towards pretty things LOL.  Anyway, I've just bought two charm packs from eBay but was able to resist a Layer Cake and a Jelly Roll too.  I was so close to getting them but I really really don't have the money this month so I must resist.  But I do need some yardage for backing whatever I decide to make with the charm packs so I'm sure some of this one and this one will head my way in the next few weeks.

That scrabbling sound you can hear is me getting firmly back on the Wagon before I bankrupt my family LOL

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Oh My!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011
I'll never complain about the size of some of my WIPs again...

Battle of Grunwald

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Did you hear that thump?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011
That was me falling off the wagon.

It was bound to happen but I've impressed myself I've managed to hold on till August.  To be fair, my no stash clause did let me get anyhing that were limited editions so I'm able to justify ordering a Just Nan WhimZi Box (I got the Lock Out one) as they are 'extremely' limited according to Needlecraft Corner.  But having reserved one of those I then had to order the Bat Halloween Token to put in it.

The tokens aren't limited editions but I used my good friend Sheila's rule of stash ordering - you can't order just one thing, it gets lonely in the envelope.

And in the same vein, if I'm going to make an order from the US ordering what amounts to two tiny items is not really justifying the postage costs which is why I ended up putting myself on the auto ship programme for Lizzie*Kate's 6 Fat Men.  No official pics have been released yet but there are some teasers on her blog.

And if I'm ordering those I should get the special cut of fabric for them and the floss that I'll need too right?  Makes economic sense.

But that's it.  I stopped there.  I totally wanted to order Just Nan's Halloween Party and WhimZi Pockets as I love them but they're not limited editions and I really cannot justify any more spending (I've got the JCS Halloween Special on order too). 

So the last two will go on my wish list and maybe Santa will be kind to me. Everything is on order with Drema at Needlecraft Corner (no affiliation just a happy customer of many years) and she says it should be due to ship around 26th August.

Now I just have to find some patience from somewhere...

Monday, 8 August 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 8 August 2011
- drove a 300 mile round trip
- spent the weekend with my best mate and her family
- met her five week old son
- got lots of baby cuddles
- got a little jealous of her for having one more kid than me
- realised I really am not broody for another child though (DH is very happy about this LOL)
- gifted the Noah's Ark afghan (nothing like a last min finish)
- stayed in a hotel
- remembered that a sharing a hotel room with small kids is not that much fun
- took the hotel at it's word when it advertised an 'all you can eat' breakfast
- bought a couple of gorgeous baby scrapbooks for the kids
- didn't cook once!
- crashed into bed at 9pm Sunday night
- got my official 'you're at risk of redundancy' letter through the post
- gifted my friend with her birthday present three weeks early
- loved that she loved it enough that it caused tears
- played with my godson and his sister
- wished we all lived a bit closer...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Well I'll be...

Saturday, 6 August 2011
My son never ceases to amaze me!

Yesterday, two days shy of being 16 months old he went to the cinema for the first time with his Dad and Sister and sat through perfectly for two hours.

And I'd predicted a disaster LOL

Friday, 5 August 2011

Noah's Ark Afghan Finish

Friday, 5 August 2011
Finally!  The child this was bought for is now 4, I started stitching it for Connor before he was born and now I'm going to gift it to my Godson's baby brother who is five weeks old LOL.

I can safely say I won't be doing another printed afghan ever...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I'm wondering if I should take this as an insult?

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Well it's official, I am, as of yesterday, considered 'at risk' which means I will either be redeployed or redundant by early December and either of those options is a considerable step up from where I am now.

Redeployment is, of course, the preferred option for Management as then they won't have to pay me. The way things work is that I am required to only apply and interview for jobs within the NHS that match my current job skills and my additional requirements (so part time working hours plus it needs to be within 30 mins travel time of home) so, unfortunately for them redeployment is unlikely as my job (web developer) isn't a common one in the NHS and if you add to that my part time and location requirements, the chances of a job coming up are extremely slim.

Of course that's not to say I won't take a job if that happens as location requirements mean I would be working in the town I live in rather than 30 mins drive away and, when all is said and done, a job is better than no job.

But if redeployment doesn't happen my redundancy package should be enough for me to stay home for a bit and I can see if I can pick up some contract work to bring in some extra cash as well.

Staying at home for a year or so would be great.  I've always said I'm not designed to be a stay at home Mum but I'd be home with Connor between the ages of 18 months and around 3 years which is much better than the 0 - 18 months stage LOL.  My house, garden and hobbies might get some attention too!

Plus with my intention to move into teaching I can use the time to get some qualifications.  I can't look to start teaching until Connor turns 3 and childcare becomes cheaper but I can at least work towards that goal.

So all in all I'm currently considering myself one of the lucky ones.  It's so bad here that one of the senior managers handed in his notice yesterday without having any job to go to...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

To Journal?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011
So I've been thinking about creating a craft journal to document all my finishes and I'm just not sure whether to take the plunge or not.

On the plus side I'd have a record of all my finishes, who they were for and what became of them, together with thoughts on the process of making them, maybe scraps of the fabric choices, etc.  On the minus side it's almost a new hobby getting all the bits and pieces together and journalling about them and do I have time?  I have plans to make scrapbooks for the kids and haven't done them yet so surely they should come first?

Also, if I start now do I go back and try and include all my previous work?  I'm not sure I can even remember all my previous work LOL.  But then if I don't start now I'll have more projects to add if I do decide to do this in the future.

I'm wondering if it's one of those times where the idea of something sounds great but the reality is just a step too far.  Like most of you readers, I don't have enough hours in the day to fit in all I want to do along with all I have to do and one more thing on the list could tip the balance into madness LOL.

However, I just keep coming back to the fact that I'd like to do it.  I'd like to create a reference for my work that my kids can look back on, hey one day grandkids and beyond, you never know.  I do have a lot of the information I need purely because I've blogged about my finishes over the last six years, so it wouldn't be too hard to find most of the stuff I've done.

Another tick for the 'yes' side is that I have a large amount of papercrafting stuff.  If I start this journal some of that will get used and it will probably kick start me to get the kids scrapbooks going.

So do any of you keep a journal of WIPs and/or finishes?  And if you do what information do you include?  I'm going to have a smurf (yes I know it's surf but in our house it's always smurf) around the web to see what others might be doing and get some ideas. 

Only ideas for now you understand, I haven't made my mind up yet...

Monday, 1 August 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 1 August 2011
- had a great lie in
- cleaned the house
- sorted out some kids stuff to go to charity
- made lemon meringue icecream
- stitched on Tatty Teddy birth sampler
- spent too much on food
- because we had a BBQ today
- had a lot of Greeks around
- enjoyed making new friends
- spent a lovely afternoon/evening in the garden
- was proud of my son for being so well behaved
- was proud of my daughter for playing so well with the other kids
- was the tooth fairy as Lia lost her second top tooth
- baked buns
- enjoyed the sun
- didn't enjoy Lia getting a bit of sunburn
- anxiously kept checking Connor for signs of Chicken pox - the 'incubation period' means we have another couple of days before we know he's free this time.  Normally I wouldn't mind but if he gets it now we'll have to cancel our trip to see my Godson's new baby brother next weekend.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

July Roundup

Sunday, 31 July 2011
1. Blog more - Not a good month.  But I will be back in August!
2. No stash purchases - only two Weeks flosses I needed
3. Reduce my stitching WIP list - yes!  One finish
4. No new stitching starts in the first half of the year - still holding out 
5. Find the quilting bug again and reduce my quilting WIPs - not much sewing happened this month
6. Read at least 50 books - 5 read this month taking my total to 20 so far this year.
7. Reduce the clutter in the house - yes, lots of junk from Lia's room sorted to be given away
8. Lose weight - 3lb!
9. Stick to the household budget and find ways to reduce expenditure - a month within budget, now I just need to work out how to save some every month too.
10. Work on the garden -just kept it tidy

Friday, 29 July 2011

Stitching WIP List

Friday, 29 July 2011
As it's around half way through the year I thought I'd revisit this list and see how I'm doing. I split the list into groups of 'hope to finish this year', 'want to make progress on' and 'probably won't be touched in 2011'.

I've crossed out finishes and italicised those I have worked on so far this year.

1. Bent Creek - Snapperbets
2. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
3. Dimenions - Noah's Ark Quilt
4. Prairie Moon - Thine is the Trick and the Treat
5. Tournicoton - Coeur de Brodeuse
6. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
7. Stitching Kitty - Snowman Trio
8. Polstitches - Beaded Heart Biscornu
9. Anchor - Baby Sampler
10. DebBee's Designs - Hot Stuff
11. Just Nan - Counting Bats
12. Wool Tapestry Butterfly Cushion
13. Lizzie*Kate - Halloween Sampler
14. Shepherd's Bush - Halloween Night

15. Margaret Sherry - Santa's Journey Afghan
16. Glendon Place - Murky Manor
17. Just Nan - Four Wishes
18. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
19. Ink Circles - Cirque des Cercles
20. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
21. Lizzie*Kate - ABC Lessons
22. Lizzie*Kate - Christmas by the Letter
23. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride

24. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
25. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
26. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
27. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
28. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
29. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
30. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven Above
31. The Primitive Needle - Witches Hollow
32. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds

On paper I've not done that much but 4 Wishes and Cottage Garden have had a lot of attention and will probably be finishes this year.  The Noah's Ark quilt and Baby Sampler may well be finishes this month too and, if not, they'll definitely be finished next month.  Along with 4 Wishes as I want to get that one out of the way.

So fingers crossed I'll have 7 finishes for the year by the end of August which I'll be very happy about.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Snowman Trio Finish

Thursday, 28 July 2011
Yay, finally a finish.  These are Snowman Trio from Stitching Kitty done on a piece of 'Cosmos' from Polstitches.

They've been a WIP for quite some time and I'm happy they're finally done.  They've been added to the pile of 'Karen's Finishing Service' wants LOL

As usual picture is clickable for a bigger version.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Some Beautiful Finishes

Monday, 25 July 2011
And I can tell you that they're beautiful because I didn't do them LOL.  For a long time now (years!) I've been in awe of the finishing skills of Karen so I was thrilled when she launched her finishing service a while back.  Admittedly it's taken a while for me to get round to using the service but I sent three pieces off to her last week and have been bowled over with what I received back today.

Without further ado, here they are (all are clickable for bigger pics):

Spooky Spots by Shepherd's Bush finished as a wall hanging

Fa La La by Shepherd's Bush finished as an ornament

A design that I embarassingly cannot remember the name of finished as a cushion

I sent Karen some lavender which she included in the cushion stuffing so I'm typing this as the scent is wafting around me.

I'm now trying to decide which pieces I can send after the next pay day!

So, in case you missed it, it's Karen V's Finishing Service and it comes highly recommended (not just by me).  The service is extremely thorough and professional - I think we exchanged over 20 emails discussing finishing options - and certainly great value for money.

No affiliation at all, just a very happy customer...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Things I don't want to forget...

Thursday, 14 July 2011
Connor's speech has come on really well in the last couple of weeks.  We now have:

Eeeea (we think this is Lia LOL)
Pappou (Grandad in Greek)
Yia Yia (Grandma in Greek)
Bubble (thanks to the 'I had a little turtle' song)

Any phone or item that looks like a phone is clamped to his head and he walks around shouting 'Hiya' in it and every morning we are greeted with Hiya, Mummy, Daddy, Hiya. So cute!

We've been trying to remember Lia's 'special' words.  I remember that Hiya was her first word too (we must say it a lot LOL) but we had:

Finnens (fingers)
Bossies (strawberries)
Moom (moon)
Basgetti (spaghetti - she still says this and I think we always will in our house)
Trouders (trousers)
Hodshed (cottage - we now routinely have Hodshed Pie for dinner)
Sukermarket (supermarket)
Andriels (angels)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Tuesday, 12 July 2011
I guess I've been a bit quiet here lately.  I am around, I am reading blogs and I am crafting, I'm just a little distracted.

Unfortunately for me the distraction is work and not really in a good way.  I posted a month or so ago about how much I'm not liking my job and how there are changes coming my way that may result in redundancy.  Well it's now likely that I will end up redundant in around 4 months time as I have been told that my working from home request has been refused and this means I will be officially classed as 'at risk'. 

The way it works is that when I'm put at risk I spend three months looking for alternative employment within the organisation - I get preferential access to jobs (I still have to interview) but I don't have to apply for anything unless it matches my skill set and requirements (part time, location, etc).  If no alternative is found after three months I am officially made redundant after my notice period of a month.

None of the above is a bad thing.  I'd welcome alternative employment and I'd also welcome redundancy.  The unpleasant part of all of this is the way that I'm currently being treated by my Manager.  Now for reasons that I'm sure you understand I am not prepared to post my problems on a public blog but let's just say I have made both verbal and written complaints about her treatment of me and I have requested that she is not involved in my redeployment process in any way.

Hence my slight distraction.  It's not a particularly fun situation and my anger at her treatment of me is what is causing me stress, not the issues with my job. 

But hey ho, whatever will be will be.  I am at least stitching - I'm working on Stitching Kitty's Snowman Trio and have finished Snowman 2 and made good progress on Snowman 3 so that's making me happy.  I'm also part way into the Autumn (final) band on 4 Wishes so am hopeful of having at least one finish this month (it's been a while).  I haven't done any sewing but I'm determined to get back to that soon.

I've also finished up two books and am half way through a third this month.  Being at risk means I'm making sure I take my full 30 mins lunch break and being a fast reader I can get through quite a lot in that time.

I'll do some proper project updates soon.

Monday, 4 July 2011


Monday, 4 July 2011
So I was thinking about my plan to make at least one project from every craft book I have over the next 12 months and I thought it might be fun to get down the books and choose the projects.

As mentioned before, I don't have many books - somewhere between 20 and 25 I guess - so I piled them up and started checking them out and  I was more than a little surprised to find that, quite a lot of the time, it was difficult for me to find even one project I wanted to do in a book.  To the extent that I now have six books set aside to sell because I can't imagine ever making anything from them.  Not only that, there are a further four or five that when I've made my one project I can't see me bothering making anything else.

I can't believe it.  I wouldn't have said my tastes have changed much over the last few years but they must have I guess.  Three of the books are quilt designs and I have made one quilt from one of them, probably three years ago now, but the rest just don't inspire me at all.  Maybe it's because I got the books when I was a novice and now I know a bit more I'm up for more of a challenge.  I know I have lots of patterns and projects I'd like to do outside of the books so I'm not worried I'm going to run out of projects, I'm just surprised that it was so many of them I wasn't inspired by.

On the plus side, if I sell the books I'll have some cash to buy some backing fabric and wadding for the tops I have to finish up.  And I'm more likely to manage to complete my challenge if there are less books included LOL.

I have moved on to my next project and it is a quilt top.  I should confess that this is also a long standing WIP so I'm killing two goals with one stone. The only problem is that the fabrics are horrible to work with.  Really thin and flimsy despite the stupid amount of starch I've been using.  I have to say I'm not enjoying it so much but I'm not ready to give up just yet.

Friday, 1 July 2011

June Roundup

Friday, 1 July 2011
1. Blog more - Another month with the equivalent of a post every other day
2. No stash purchases - Erm, well maybe just a couple.  In my defence it was the first time I've been in an LNS for two years so it was rude not to.
3. Reduce my stitching WIP list - I made good progress on 4 Wishes but no finishes in June
4. No new stitching starts in the first half of the year - absolutely.  I intend to try and keep this going for the rest of the year now.
5. Find the quilting bug again and reduce my quilting WIPs - yes the bug is back.  I need to focus on finishing up some quilts though
6. Read at least 50 books - 6 read this month taking my total to 24 so far this year.
7. Reduce the clutter in the house - some baby clothes headed out and I've done some stash tidying too
8. Lose weight - pass
9. Stick to the household budget and find ways to reduce expenditure - didn't do too well - I blame leaving DH alone with his parents and him feeling like he had to take them out.  And my mini stash purchase...
10. Work on the garden -seedlings all planted out.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Quilt Top!

Thursday, 30 June 2011
Well that's the top done. It's taken a bit longer than I thought as all those star points were a pain. Simple enough to sew but they meant that blocks had different size logs on the outside layer depending on their position in the quilt and I had to make sure I didn't sew the triangles the wrong way around so I actually had to concentrate. I managed really well up until the last two logs this afternoon both of which I had to unpick LOL.

Anyway I love this, it's totally me! Although I'll have to fight DH for it as he wants it too. I saw the pattern in the book (Jelly Roll Quilts, Pam and Nicky Lintott) and the versions in there are pale florals with white or cream stars but it instantly shouted at me as the right one for this jelly roll as long as I used black for the stars.

The book calls for a border around the logs and I'm not sure yet if I'll bother, I may just bind it in black. I have some jelly strips left over so I'm thinking of putting some squares together for the backing - I think I have a plan but I'll need to think about it a bit more. Plus I need more fabric for the back whatever I do and that won't be bought for a while.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Even more books

Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Just a fly by to note this weeks reads. Bedknobs and Broomsticks by Mary Norton (who knew? I read The Borrowers as a kid but never realised this was by her too. Or that it was two books).

The Prodigal Sister - Laura Elliot. Fab girly read, finished it off in 24 hrs which is something of a record for me these days!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Can you tell what it is yet?

Monday, 27 June 2011
No prizes - it's not exactly hard LOL.

Here's a taste of the blocks (there are 16 all together) with two rounds of logs.  There's one more round of logs to go but the last round have to be 'modified' a bit so that's the next step.

The colours are much bolder in real life (yes really they are!) I'll try and get the next pic in daylight hours.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A quilt started...

Sunday, 26 June 2011
Well I've made a resolution to get one project made from each craft book I own by this time next year.  This isn't quite as ridiculous as it sounds as I only have around 20 books (yes really, that few!)  They are all either quilting or sewing project books so no cross stitch is included in this challenge. To be honest I have no idea if I'll manage it or not - the idea is that each project I do has to be completely finished - so all quilts quilted, etc and, as far as is possible, I have to make each project using my current stash.

To this end I've started my first project from my 'Jelly Roll Quilts' book.  I had a Moda Marbles citrus jelly roll that I wanted to use but was two colours short so when I met up with some friends yesterday I bought two long quarters of additional colours so I could get going.

So here are my fabrics:

And here are my cut pieces:

Now all I have to do is sew them all together!

Monday, 20 June 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 20 June 2011
- Had new friends over for dinner
- Laughed a lot
- Agreed to be a school Governor
- Got a little further down my new career path
- Cooked two great meals
- Played Angry Birds
- Got excited about Wimbledon starting
- Stash dived and realised I have so many projects I want to start
- Behaved myself and didn't start any of them
- Got motivated to finish up some more WIPs so I can start some new projects
- Spoiled DH on behalf of the kids
- Got annoyed we're out of cash for the month
- Had fun with the kids at home
- Was impressed by Lia's reading progress
- Had lots of cuddles with Connor who was a bit off colour (but is better now)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sunday stuff

Sunday, 19 June 2011
Thanks for all your recent comments on my WIPs and finish.  I am hoping to get 4 Wishes completed this month and then go back to focussing on some other WIPs that are close to finishing and just get them done.  My plan to do some 'finish finishing' this month hasn't really happened so that may be moved to next month as well.

In answer to the comment question back on the Cottage Garden WIP, I usually stitch using q snaps.  I've never stitched in a hoop and I do have some large wooden frames but I haven't used those since Lia was born as I need my stand for them and it was just easier not to have that around with a toddler.  I stitch in hand very rarely but I am a bit unusual in that I don't like closing the q snap around stitching (I never wash my finished items) so I can often be seen stitching with a frame that only has a couple of sides of the fabric clipped down.

Work wise I should have some answers this week as I have a meeting on Tuesday to discuss my options.  I was worried last week as we were told that there would be absolutely no redundancy, if we didn't like the changes and wouldn't be flexible then we could just leave.  To be fair I was pretty sure this wasn't legal but I was waiting until I had my own meeting to hear it officially.  However we are now being told that redundancy is available although it is absolutely the last option.  That makes me feel better because I was worried that there was a chance I'd end up with no job and no pay off after 10 years.

The bare facts are that if they don't allow me to work at home two days a week or stay at my current base I cannot afford to continue to work as the childcare costs will be more than my wages.  It's totally simple and non-negotiable as far as I am concerned.  In order to pay for Lia to have after school care I have to pay less for Connor and the only way to do that is to work from home and have him with me, not at nursery.

I absolutely do not want to work 1 hour away from my children but it would only be for two years so I would do it.

I have spoken to my friend (as mentioned in my work moan post) as we had her and her partner over for dinner on Friday.  She was Headmistress at Lia's school until Christmas when she left to take charge of a brand new school (at that point it was an empty field!)  We always got on but it's only since she left that we've been able to start a proper friendship rather than a professional one.  I can't believe it's taken me this long to find out she stitches for a start LOL.

So it doesn't take a genius to work out what career I'm thinking of if I'm talking to a Headmistress right?  It looks like it might work out as I'd hoped too.  I'm going to start as a Teaching Assistant as with Connor so small I cannot train as a teacher just yet but the idea is start there, get some experience and once he's bigger and going to school himself then I can look at training to be a teacher.

I'm very excited about it all at the moment and there's a part of me wishes I didn't have to wait so long to get moving but my salary will drop by more than a third when I make this move and there's no way we could pay the required nursery fees so I just have to be patient and, in the mean time, there are some courses I can do to get prepared.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

More book finishes

Saturday, 18 June 2011
I've been on a bit of a roll reading wise and have finished the following books:

One Day by David Nicholls.  I really enjoyed this book - it tells the story of a relationship between Emma and Dexter who meet at Uni.  The book visits their lives on the same day of the year (15th July) from 1988 until close to the present and is just fab.  Even the ending was not one I saw coming.  No spoilers, just get yourself a copy and enjoy.

The Other Family - Joanna Trollope.  Another one I enjoyed (although not as much as One Day).  It starts with the death of a father who leaves behind a partner and three daughters plus a wife he never divorced despite leaving her 24 years previously and their son.  It's about the problems the two families having coming to terms with the existence of each other while dealing with their grief.  Not to taxing on the brain but a gentle read.

The Trouble with Magic - Madelyn Alt.  I'd never realised there was a chiclit/magic genre out there (although why shouldn't there be!) but I read a review of a book on another blog and checked it out on Amazon, followed the 'customers who bought this book also bought..' link and got me some.  This one I didn't enjoy too much.  It wasn't bad but I like my magic out there in the fantasy range, this one was too based in white witches, and voices of the dead for me.  It's the first in a series but I don't think I'm likely to read more.

Enchanted Inc - Shanna Swendson.  This one on the other hand I loved!  The story centres on Katie and her discovery that she is totally immune to magic (which explains why she sees fairies and gnomes and gargoyles in New York).  She gets a job at MSI Inc - a magical company that needs her skills to make sure they aren't being cheated by the spells of others.  It's very lighthearted chic lit but I enjoyed it enough to buy and read the next three books!  So Once Upon Stilettos, Damsels Under Stress and Don't Hex with Texas have also been read taking my total reads so far to 22.

My only gripe is that there is no plan for a fifth book in the series as book 4 didn't sell well enough.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Bag Finish

Friday, 17 June 2011
This is the bag I completed just before going away.  It's actually not completed as I was one covered button short but I think I'm the only one what will notice until I get round to getting another.

It's Bunny Hill Designs 'Jelly Bag' made using Moda's Spring Fever

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Cottage Garden 2 WIP

Thursday, 16 June 2011
Another WIP update - I've been stitching a lot on this one despite having a major problem with the symbols on the chart which led to some serious frogging as I didn't realise there were two different colours both using the 'L' symbol.  I was not happy!

Here's how it was last update.  You can see that I'd followed the yellow from the church up to the top of the sky - I was obviously not paying much attention when doing it but when I went back and thought it looked odd I dug out the pic and realised the mistake. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

4 Wishes WIP Update

Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Well I had a totally fabulous weekend away with ten other stitchers.  Not that I expected anything else of course, this was our fifth annual weekend away and I'm sure we laughed even more than we have in previous years.  Last year I took a very small Connor with me and got very little done but this year I went alone and managed a pretty significant amount of stitching on 4 Wishes.  I'd almost completed winter when I posted my last update pic so I'm well on the way to a finish!

Apologies it's a bit washed out.  The weather is dull and overcast here and I just can't get a better pic.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Away for the Weekend

Thursday, 9 June 2011
I'm off first thing tomorrow for my annual stitching weekend away.  There's 11 of us going this year so a few less than previous years but still more than enough to have plenty of fun.  I'll be back Monday lunchtime so will post some pics then - I finished up a bag last night but haven't yet taken a pic.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Long Job Waffle!

Monday, 6 June 2011
Well after weeks and weeks of lovely sunshine the weather has turned a bit glum here. To be fair, we are used to weeks and weeks of rain so we shouldn't complain but we've been a bit spoiled recently.  I'm not normally particularly bothered by rain (unless it's freezing and windy as well) but where we go stay for our stitching weekend away has a lovely courtyard that we can sit out in so sunny would be good.

I'm so on the countdown to going away - I'll be leaving Friday morning early to go pick up one of the others and then we'll head off to a pub lunch and a detour to a not-so-LNS before arriving at the cottages around mid afternoon.  From then on it's total stitchy bliss until Monday morning!

Another bonus of the weekend is that it means a four day working week for me both this week and next which is great because I've gone past 'not enjoying' my job and moved fully into hating it.  I've been here almost 10 years and to begin with it was great - lots of projects to keep me busy and interested, always looking into new technology, meeting customers, solving problems for them and generally being happy.  Then I got pregnant and took 6 months maternity and the job I came back to wasn't the same at all.  I had trained up a junior member of the team to keep things ticking over but she didn't have the skill to do what I did, my work didn't buy in proper cover, and our customers went elsewhere so by the time I got back there was less work. 

I work for the NHS which is ever changing - I've sat at the same desk doing the same job for the same boss all the time I've been here but I've actually been employed by five different organisations.  Within the last five years the focus has been on amalgamating organisations so every time they merged potential customers became less to the point that around 2.5 years ago I was in line for redundancy.  I wasn't bothered, I even got a new job lined up, but then someone new was put in charge and she wanted my skills so I was back being gainfully employed.

But then I got pregnant again and this time took 9 months off.  I've returned to find that I've been moved to another team because 'it makes sense'.  Sure if you look at my job title it makes sense that I, as a Web Developer, am part of the Web Team but I work specifically with Microsoft technology and the Web Team work with Apple and open source.  So in fact, it makes no sense at all because what they do I don't have the skills for and what I used to do is now being done by someone else in my old team (yes, the junior I trained, who still comes to me when she has any problems because she's out of her depth a lot of the time).

In addition to the technology issue, my new 'team' consists of my Manager and one other and neither of them are really around so I'm now in splendid isolation, although still in the same office so at least have my old colleagues around me.  For now.  Because that's the next thing that's happening, we're going to move offices.  I currently work 30 mins from home but the new offices are 1 hour away.  I've told them I cannot work out of the new offices full time because I cannot (and will not) put Lia in after school care five days a week, we do not have the money.  What I can do is work from home two days a week and the money we save on Connor's nursery fees will pay for Lia to do after school club on the other three days.  I'm not happy with this arrangement but I could live with it in the short term.  I did request one or two days a week working out of my current office but I have no idea how flexible my employers are likely to be.

So there is, yet again, a chance of redundancy (if they don't agree to my working from home I cannot afford to work out of the new base).  I'd actually be over the moon with redundancy but I think I'm now in the position of having been here too long for them to afford to pay me off so I'm more likely to be shunted around even more than I have been.

All of which has focussed my mind on looking for alternative employment.  And not necessarily in IT.  I would say I never chose IT as a career but that's not strictly true as I did a Masters in Computing but only because I never really knew what I wanted and I had to do something to move on with my life at that point in time.  The best thing that came out of the course was meeting DH.  Oh and that I doubled my previous salary when I got my first job after graduation.

I've never really had any idea of a career - I know what subjects I enjoyed at school (Georgraphy and Chemistry) but I got pulled away from those for various reasons that made sense at the time (but not so much looking back now) and since then I've kind of drifted.  Of course I now have to work around the kids and their needs as, first and foremost, I am a Mum and that's the only job that matters to me.  What I don't want is to not work (I've said it before, I'm not designed to be a stay at home Mum) but I do want to be around for a good part of their day.

So I have to decide whether to stick at this job for the next ten years and see Connor through Primary school education (as long as this job is available of course) or to make a move soon.  Obviously redundancy will make the decision for me but I have pretty much come to the conclusion that, redundancy or not, I will look to make a career change over the next two or three years.  That timescale is kind of set because I have to be earning a certain amount to cover Connor's humungous nursery fees until he's 3 at which point we get some Government funding that assists with them.  Sticking where I am till he goes to Secondary school will mean that I will be looking for a career change at the age of 50.  Yes 50.  I think I'm pushing it now so I know that in 10 years time a career change will more than likely be impossible.

I need to do a bit more research into my options - I do have a plan but I need to have a good long talk with a particular friend to see if it's actually something I can do - but I think that if I have a goal and a firm-ish kind of escape plan it'll be easier for me to drag myself to my desk every day... 

Friday, 3 June 2011

And the Winner is...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Can you send me your address please, my email is joy dot anderson at gmail dot com.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

May roundup

Thursday, 2 June 2011
A day late but with good reason...
1. Blog more - Another month with the equivalent of a post every other day
2. No stash purchases - Yep
3. Reduce my stitching WIP list - I made good progress on Cottage Garden 2 but no finishes in May
4. No new stitching starts in the first half of the year - check
5. Find the quilting bug again and reduce my quilting WIPs - not much sewing done in May unfortunately
6. Read at least 50 books - 4 read
7. Reduce the clutter in the house - again not much done this month
8. Lose weight - due to medication I am unable to lose weight fast but I have totally changed my eating habits, stopped snacking and given up fizzy drinks and have lost 2lb in the first 12 days of the new regime
9. Stick to the household budget and find ways to reduce expenditure - budget was blown in April so May had to be austere
10. Work on the garden - again not much

So not a bad month as goals were met but not much was actually achieved.  I think we basically spent May recovering from April LOL.

June should be more productive - next weekend is my annual weekend away with stitchy friends so that's two full days of uninterrupted stitchy time for a start. Well, when I say uninterrupted, I should perhaps point out that sometimes on these weekends (this is our 5th) I laugh so hard I can barely hold the needle let alone get it through the fabric...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Lia!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Yes No 1 Dort is 6 today - where did those years go?

We've had a lovely day - the four of us went to London and did some shopping - her grandparents gave her money so we let her spend it on her choices (with a bit of guidance of course LOL) and she bought herself some new Crocs (pink!) and a Rapunzel doll, a charm bracelet and a couple of toys (Zoobles and Littlest Petshop).

We all had lunch together and then DH brought Connor home while I took Lia to her surprise present from us - The Wizard of Oz!  Lia loved it and I thought it was pretty good - definitely not the best I've seen (you want an Oz story, go see Wicked!) but the staging was absolutely amazing.  My biggest issue was that Michael Crawford is seriously under-used but the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion were great and the Wicked Witch of the West was amazing.

After that I took her to Hamleys (7 floors of toys) where we spent two hours looking at toys, having our faces painted and our nails done.  Total girlie bliss.  Then it was a Macdonalds tea and a quick hop on the tube to see Big Ben (her wish) and then a walk along the Thames to Waterloo station and the train home.  We left home at 9am this morning and the two of us got back at 10pm tonight!!!!

We've just chivvied her off to bed and I won't be long as I'm at work tomorrow.  Given our late return we haven't done the draw for the giveaway but I will do it tomorrow I promise.  Here's a few pics from the day

Birthday girl this morning:

At the tube station (yes Connor is walking now):

My boys!

How big is Big Ben really?

Face painting

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Sunday, 29 May 2011
So I've found a new site to play with.  Pinterest allows you to create boards full of visual bookmarks and it's fab!  I have a huge list of bookmarks, many of which are a tad obscure because I've bookmarked them quickly without noting exactly what they are but with pinterest you can pin any image from a website onto one of your pinboards with a note and you have a visual reference.

I'm slowly tidying up my bookmarks this way and my pinterest boards are here - sign up or message me and I can send out an invitation as I have some spares, it's fun!

ps there's still a couple of days to enter the anniversary giveaway, just comment on my previous post...

pps I should warn you that looking at others pins can be dangerous, my wish list has grown a bit!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Six years!

Thursday, 26 May 2011
Yep today is the sixth anniversary of this blog.  This time six years ago I was five days away from having Lia and I started this blog as a method of keeping track of how life changed when she joined us.  Who knew I'd be where I am now?

Looking back over the last six years it'd be easy to say not much has changed as I'm still with the same man, living in the same town and doing the same job but those are just the surface things.  The same man is now my husband of five years (or at least he will be in 24 hrs as it's our wedding anniversary tomorrow), we're now in a bigger house with a bigger garden and my job now only takes up 4.5 hours of my day instead of 7.5.

Of course more has changed - we're a family of four now for a start - six years ago I couldn't have imagined the little boy who completed our family so perfectly, it was hard enough imagining the little girl soon to be arriving LOL.  Around us our family and friends have also had babies which has been wonderful for us - Lia was only the second child born to our social group and, for a while at least, it was tough being in the minority as others didn't necessarily appreciate how our life had altered.  It should tell you all you need to know that 1 child attended Lia's christening and 36 attended Connor's LOL.

In my crafting life the biggest change is that six years ago I wasn't a quilter and I'm not sure I even really had aspirations to be one.  I remember the conversation I had with a fellow stitcher that led to the two of us taking quilting classes but I don't really remember what sparked my interest.  I do know that I am glad I took those classes when I had the chance as I was able to properly explore and indulge in a new hobby, a chance that I won't get for a while now as money for hobbies is bottom of a very long list until Connor starts school and we lose those pesky nursery fees.

I have never had an anniversary give away before as I'd never thought that many people were likely to read these ramblings of mine but with 47 followers I guess there are one or two of you out there paying attention to me.  So post a comment and I'll put your name in a draw for a pressie - I'll leave this open for the next five days and get Lia to draw a winner on her birthday (1st June).

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Book 15

Wednesday, 25 May 2011
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

I'll admit I'd never heard of this book until the theatre production came about and there was a huge amount of press around it (I think there's a generation of children's books that passed me by - I can only hope that I get to enjoy some of them now my children are going to bring them home).

Anyway I got the chance to get a copy from a source of cheap books (The Book People if you're in the UK - I love them, especially the box sets which are super value) and I justified it by the knowledge that it would end up in the kids reading pile.

I think it's quite hard to review a children's book when you've only read it as an adult but, for what it's worth, I'd say this is a lovely read.  For those not familiar with it the story centres around (and is narrated by) Joey, a farm horse who is sold to the army and sent to France to serve in the cavalry in WW1.  Over the course of the war he serves on both sides and the book gives a good (IMO) insight into the conditions faced by horses and men during those times.

If this were an adult book I would say the ending is a little too nicely wrapped up but I think the happy ending is more than justified given its target audience.  Having said that it brought a lump to my throat which just goes to show you're never too old for a happy ending LOL.  Definitely one to read with the kids.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Ewe Look Fabulous

Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Apart from my splashing out on fabrics this is the only other stash item I've bought this year and I used birthday money for it so it is within the rules.

I don't know why this particular design appealed to me so much (I'm certainly not drawn to any of the other JABCO pin cushion releases) but I just had to have it.  It was actually a pretty simple put together - the hardest part was deciding whether or not to do the bunny ears but DH and Lia both voted them in so they won.

Also I swear that yesterday all four feet were at ground level but today it's wonky so I may remove that back foot and reposition it...

Monday, 23 May 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 23 May 2011
- Did swimming lesson duties
- But let DH do ballet lesson duties
- Started a new family routine of DH cooking dinner on Saturdays
- Made my JABCO Ewe Look Fabulous pin cushion (pic to follow)
- Started sewing together a biscornu
- Swore a lot because I can't find the beads for the finishing of the biscornu
- Identified the projects I'd like to get finished in the next few weeks
- Tidied out my wardrobe and threw out a lot of very old clothes
- Bought a totally gorgeous jacket three sizes too small in a bid to motivate myself to lose weight
- Didn't tell DH about the jacket
- Read a lot
- Watched my son take his first three steps
- Finally caught up with our taped episodes of the Mentalist
- Realised it's only three weeks till my annual weekend away with my stitching friends
- Laughed a lot at the whole 'footballer super injunction' fiasco

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Cottage Garden 2 WIP

Saturday, 21 May 2011
I've been stitching on this quite a bit this month - lots of nice blocks of colour so easy on the brain.

Here it is when I picked it up:

And here it is as of today:

Not only a lot more stitches in, a much better pic from my new camera!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The News Where you Are

Wednesday, 18 May 2011
by Catherine O'Flynn is book 14 read this year.

I've made a conscious effort to take a book to work with me every day and read in my lunch break as I've been reading less in the evenings lately.  I only have a half hour lunch but can usually get a chapter read depending on the book.

This story is about a man called Frank who reads the news bulletins for a local TV channel and his former colleague Phil who died in slightly mysterious circumstances.  It's by no means a whodunnit, although the mystery of Phil's death does form the centre of the story, rather it's a look at the small details of lives and their importance.

It's difficult to describe this book really as it touches on a lot of subjects - Frank's father's obsession with his work, his mother's depression, the dynamics of a career in local news, aging, loneliness, and more.  I'm also unsure if I'd recommend it - I did enjoy it but it was never a 'I need to pick it up' book for me.

In other news I have been stitching and sewing but I haven't been taking pictures (despite my new camera).  I hope to rectify this issue at the weekend and provide you with more interesting posts!

Monday, 16 May 2011

This weekend I...

Monday, 16 May 2011
- Ran about like a headless chicken
- Took Lia to swimming, ballet and a birthday party (and that was just Saturday!)
- Watched the Eurovision Song Contest
- Was stunned that a song that made absolutely no impression on me won
- Looked up Azerbaijan on a map
- Didn't cook - DH cooked Saturday and we had a lovely dinner out yesterday
- Did a lot of ironing
- Made what could be the best cake I've ever made (same recipe I've used for 30 years - the planets just must have aligned!)
- Didn't get my usual long lie in
- Stitched
- Frogged (but less than I stitched so I'm still ahead)
- Really enjoyed the latest Dr Who episode
- Let Lia stay up till 10pm
- Did a lot of research on butterflies for Lia's homework
- Got surprised by DH asking to volunteer with the Scouts

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Blooming Frogs!

Sunday, 15 May 2011
Or rather, blooming people who make charts with symbols that are almost identical.  Grrrrr!

There are a million possible symbols you can use so why would you use two different half shaded circles - one split horizontally and one split diagonally?  Even horizontal and vertical splits would be better - more obviously different.

They even have have two symbols that differ only because one is bold face.


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