Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Wednesday, 22 February 2012
I don't usually give anything up for Lent but this year it's a bit different because today I'm giving up work.

I guess you could argue that actually work is giving up me given today is my last official day at work due to redundancy but the decision to take the redundancy and not fight the gits that I worked for was my own so I am now a stay at home Mum by choice.

I can't believe this day is finally here (it was obvious last April that redundancy was on the cards) but I couldn't be happier.  Yes, the future is unknown but isn't it for everyone?  I just know that I'm happier now than I have been for the past 12 months and that must mean the right decisions have been made.

The last 12 months have been pretty horrible for me one way or another. My work environment sucked (to coin a phrase) and if it hadn't been for some of the people I shared an office with I don't know what I would have done.  I won't bore you with the details but I've been working one way or another since I was 15 and this last 12 months was officially the worst working year of the 25 I've had.

Also, the affair that 'friends' of ours had at the beginning of last year blew our social circle apart and caused me no end of stress.  Thankfully both parties have moved away now - he to make a 'new start' (yeah right, he'll be back fooling around soon enough, he can't help himself) and her leaving her husband and moving half an hour away.  I don't think the saga is fully over - both cheated on spouses still don't know but the information is out in the public domain and these things never stay secret forever.  The aftershocks are still booming away too but thankfully we don't feel the force of them that much.

Money was a constant worry last year too but, although I'm no longer bringing in a salary, we're in a better financial situation now I've stopped working thanks to the extortionate cost of childcare for Connor so I can stop worrying about the next unexpected bill for a while.

To top off the year we lost two close friends, one who took his own life and one who lost a battle with cancer.  Both our age and both totally devastating.

To quote the Queen, it's been an annus horribilis in many ways.

Don't get me wrong, me, DH and the kids have been fine and in the grand scheme of things that's what is important but the world around us has been particularly trying to say the least.  I don't think it helped that we didn't have a holiday or really spend time together as a family, we just lurched through the weeks dealing with whatever came up.

So, even though New Year is officially long gone, today is the first day of the rest of my life and giving up work (for a short while) is the first of many positive changes that will hopefully make the rest of 2012 a much better year than 2011 was.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rotation Revision

Tuesday, 14 February 2012
So I've been thinking and I've decided to change my rotation plans.  Originally I'd planned to focus on one BAP a month for 12 months so that each of my 12 biggest WIPs got some attention this year but the problem with that is none of them will get finished this way and I'd REALLY like to get some of them finished.

So I'm thinking of dropping down to a six month rotation which would go like this:

Jan - Cirque des Cercles
Feb - Be Attitudes Afghan
Mar - Murky Manor
Apr - Christmas by the Letter
May - Heaven Above
Jun - Small WIPs and any of the above

And then repeat for the second six months of the year.

This means that the rest of my BAPs - Cut Thru Fairy Hill, Wild Ones Alphabet, Tradewinds, Noah's Sub, Witches Hollow, Dragon Virtues Afghan and Sleigh Ride - won't get touched this year but I might have at least three of the above completed.

I'm also thinking that Cut Thru Fairy Hill might have to be discarded.  I started it so long ago and it was supposed to be for Lia but I'm sure by the time I get it finished she'll be long out of fairies and I wasn't really enjoying stitching on it.  I have made quite a chunk of progress on it though so I can't decide what to do with it - it seems a shame to rip it out but I know I won't pick it up again so, if any of you readers would like to give it a home then please shout.  It's the full kit but I didn't stitch it on the aida included, it's on evenweave.

I thought I had a WIP pic of it but I can't find one.  If you're interested but want to see a pic first give me a shout and I can post one.  I don't want anything for it, I just can't quite bring myself to frog or throw it.

Having said all that my biggest issue is that I'm burning to get back to Cirque sooner than July and I may well pick it up for March instead of Murky Manor.  In fact I'm wondering why I'm even bothering saying I'll have a rotation at all now but guess it will at least keep me vaguely focussed on my goals.

And if I do pick Cirque up again I can just substitue Murky Manor in twice in the second half of the year...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

February WIPocalypse

Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Wow, WIPocalypse post number two already.

I've posted my Cirque progress in a previous post but I'll repost the current WIP pic now just for continuity.  Here is where I am after it had it's month as my focus BAP:

I should have said last time I'm stitching it on 28ct black murano and the floss is 'Aurora's Flame' from The Thread Gatherers Silk 'n Colours.

It's now been put aside in honour of my February BAP which is the Shepherds Bush Be Attitudes series stitched on an afghan.  When I picked this up it looked like this:

You can see close ups of the blocks in this post.

Since then it's had a weeks worth of attention and the Be Strong block is done as is the next one, Be Sweet, and I've made a start on the fifth block, Be Nice.  Once I've done block five I'll go back and finish up Be Warm.  I'm hoping that I'll get the sixth block done as well this month so it's at least half way through when I put it down.

Here's a pic of the Be Sweet block (sorry it's a bit dark but it's a gloomy day here):

And here's how the whole thing is looking:

Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow Day!

Monday, 6 February 2012
I can't begin to describe the excitement that took hold of Lia on Saturday night when the snow started falling and continued to do so for the next six hours.  By the time she was heading for bed there was more than an inch of the white stuff and by the time I headed off there was an awful lot more.

So, of course, Sunday was for snow play although it was starting to melt by the time I got up around 10am (it was my lie in day).  It was Connor's first real snow experience and he loved it - he was out for almost an hour until the cold got too much for him.  I chose to enjoy everything from the inside so here are the pics from through the patio doors:

Firstly, the snow before it got attacked!

The three intrepid adventurers:

Making a snow throne for the fairies:


Futile snowballs:

Unfortunately for Lia the thaw continued through the night and this morning so now there's not much left so she's very disappointed.  This is, of course, a good thing for us adults as roads and pavements are clear.

Friday, 3 February 2012

February BAP

Friday, 3 February 2012
So my February BAP isn't one large design, it's 12 small ones that I've chosen to stitch on an afghan. It's the Be Attitudes series from Shepherd's Bush which I decided I'd stitch on a 12 panel crean afghan.

I have two minor issues, the first is that the afghan count is smaller than the required count for the designs so some of the buttons are too big (the designs came with button packs). I don't see it being too much of a problem as I'm sure I can either leave some off or get smaller versions of the same button as they're all JABCO so are bound to come in different sizes.

The second issue is the July 'Be Brave' design. No offence to any American readers of this blog but for what should be obvious reasons I don't want to add the US Flags to the design but I'm also not sure I want to replace them with UK Flags either. I'm going to have to think about my options - obviously I can just not use the buttons at all but I have to decide what to put in the middle of the stitched part of the design instead of the stitched flags.

Anyway, there's time enough for that as I've plenty to keep me busy - here's how it looked when I took the pic a couple of days ago:

Here's a close up on the blocks:

Last night I finished up Be Strong which was really just some back stitching and the yellow centres for the purple flowers on the left and made a start on Be Sweet.  Yes I know it would make more sense to finish up Be Warm first but when did I ever do anything that made sense right?  LOL

Thursday, 2 February 2012

As promised...

Thursday, 2 February 2012
Here's my Cirque update.

Here's how it looked when I picked it up on New Year's Day:

And here's how it looks now it's had a month of almost undivided attention:

As I said in my previous post, I'm pretty much certain to finish it up the next time it comes up in the rotation.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

January Review

Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Well it's the 1st Feb so it must be time for a review of January but I can't believe the month has gone so fast!

In stitching news I made great progress on Cirque (I will upload a pic tomorrow) and I'm pretty sure that one more month with it as a focus WIP will see it off.  Currently that one more month isn't due until next Jan but I might decide to swap it in later in the year just to see it finished.  My plans are, as always, fluid LOL. 

Other than Cirque and my small finish I've not really stitched on anything else this month - only a few stitches went into the Shepherds Bush Santa's Flight and that was it.  Still, my progress on Cirque means I'm more than happy with my January stitching.

I'm not so thrilled with my lack of doing anything on my sewing projects.  Well, that's not stritcly true as I did get about an hour on the machine yesterday but that was it.  I've now moved my January quilting plans to February and hopefully they'll get done and more this month.

I have excelled myself with reading though and finished a total of seven books in Jan!

So all in all not a bad month really, it's not like I didn't get anything done at all.  I also spent last night sorting out all the floss for my Feb BAP (an afghan of the Shepherds Bush Be Attitudes series) so I'm ready to go tonight.

I also managed to get rid of 11 carrier bags of stuff from the house (I'm trying to get an average of 1 bag of stuff out of the house a week this year so I'm already ahead of the game).  It included books, clothes, toys, recyclables and even some food (DH has given up sugar and we had WAY too many biscuits and sweets left over from Christmas).

In more personal news I am now almost unemployed.  My official finish date is 22nd Feb but I created so much noise about my notice period that they finally agreed to let me work the last three weeks of it at home on call.  I'm currently viewing myself as on holiday as Connor is at nursery through to the end of next week so I have childless days for this week and next. 

Work has been awful so I can't begin to say how relieved I am to be out of there although I do already miss the people I worked with.  Well, obviously not all the people I worked with but the great majority were lovely.

I'm now wondering how I fitted in work though as I'm way too busy.  January saw PTA cake sales, poster making, Governor's meetings, ballet lessons, meals out and friends visiting to name just a few things and February looks like being even busier!

I will try and update here more now I (theoretically) have more time on my hands but in ten days time half term kicks in and I'm officially a stay at home Mum so I'm not sure time on my hands is really going to happen LOL. 

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