Friday, 31 January 2014

January Review

Friday, 31 January 2014
So it's the end of January and I'm still here, just a bit quieter than the beginning of the month as work has been busy.  I have been managing some stitching though and even had a new start which I need to get a picture of to post.  It's Owl Fun by Bothy Threads.

Something I have managed to do quite a bit of this month is read - I've finished 8 books!

WIPs stitched on:
The Flock

New starts:
Owl Fun - Bothy Threads

Books read:
Alice Bliss - Laura Harrington
West End Girls - Jenny Colgan
Sheltering Rain - Jojo Moyes
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
The Alchemists Daughter - Katherine McMahon
The Red House - Mark Haddon
Here's Looking at You - Mhairi McFarlane
Tideline - Penny Hancock

Monday, 13 January 2014

I'm loving Shelfari!

Monday, 13 January 2014
Thanks Kaisievic!

I can now tell you that other than the current book I am reading I have 111 books in my to read pile.  So less than I thought (I did get through quite a few towards the end of last year).

I'm hoping I can reduce that by half during this year although I've learned from past experience not to put any trust in life working out how I want it LOL.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Rosie Project

Saturday, 11 January 2014
It has to be said that there's nothing like packing your entire life into boxes to make you aware of just how much 'stuff' you own.  Our house move at the end of last year brought my stashaholic tendencies into sharp focus in many forms - books, cross stitch, fabric, papercrafting, shoes, bags, clothes.  Even smaller items like ribbon - I have an entire box full of ribbon that I bought purely because it was pretty, not because I had a hundred projects lined up that required the stuff.

We both did so much de-cluttering before the move.  We got rid of over 250 DVDs, around 100 books, furniture, clothes, kids stuff (cot, pram, stroller, high chair - it's not like we'd ever planned a third child, just been too lazy to get rid), junk we'd just chucked in the garage and forgotten about, you name it, we probably had it.

The thing is though, I still have way too much stuff.  Especially books (and ribbon but that's a matter for another post LOL).  I must have around 150 books I haven't read although I'm not brave enough to actually count.  And this is on top of the several hundred I have that I have no intention of getting rid of because I read them again and again or they hold a special place in my stashaholic mind (ie my large collection of Hollywood biographies, Monkees items and Monty Python related books).

My biggest problem is lack of space.  I've acquired two additional bookcases in the new house but that's clearly not enough as I've still got three boxes left to unpack and very little usable space left despite having double layered on some shelves.  Clearly my biggest win is going to be to read the aforementioned unread books and then remove them from the house.  Unfortunately this will be a relatively slow procedure given all the other demands on my time but I have decided to try and focus on this job over this year and also keep track of how many books I actually finish.  I have attempted this before but given up around April-time but hopefully I'll manage it this year.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post.  I have just finished my fourth book of the year which is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  I had never heard of this book before spying it in a shop and I purchased it purely because I had a discount voucher on a multibuy of books and it sounded good when I read the blurb.

I have to say I loved the book and have devoured it over the last 48 hours.  It's an unconventional love story told by protagonist Don Tillman, a 39 year old geneticist who has never had a second date.  He devises The Wife Project which is a scientific test to find him the perfect partner and things then get interesting. 

I don't want to spoil the book although I have to say the outcome is kind of predictable but the ride to get there is a damn good one!  It's a new book - published last year, the first by this author and it's already being turned into a film (which I may not bother watching on the basis that they'll probably ruin it LOL).  So if you're looking for a good read and spot it in the shop I definitely recommend you pick it up.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Alphabet Fun WIP

Friday, 10 January 2014
This one is a Bothy Threads design I picked up at Olympia two years ago.  I was convinced that it was only last year I went but have to accept that time really has flown by so fast that it was that far back LOL.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Cottage Garden 2 WIP

Thursday, 9 January 2014
Yet another from the pile, this is Cottage Garden 2 and, of course, the designer is Michael Powell.  I picked this one up last summer and got quite a significant amount done as you can see from the old WIP picture to my current:

This was how I picked it up (apologies fot the horrible dark picture):

This is how it stands now:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Flock WIP - progress report

Wednesday, 8 January 2014
So I have been stitching this last week and I have some nice progress to show on The Flock from SamSarah.  Here's where I was with it:

and here's the current status:

I'm working on the last chart of the top row, if you're not familiar with the design it was a 12 part release and parts 1 - 8 form this top two thirds of the design - the rhs border is a couple of stitches on from the leaf on the right.  Parts 9 - 12 go across the bottom with some smaller birds, leaves and the rest of the saying.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Yet another WIP

Tuesday, 7 January 2014
So I guess part of cataloguing my WIPs is posting them all here.  I'm doing them individually so I can better keep track of them but I'm sure at some point I'll just upload a bunch of them through boredom LOL.

Here's A Scissor by and other Name from The Cat's Whiskers.  I've gone a bit bonkers with the colours but I love them.  I've had this piece of sparkly yellow fabric for a long time (I'm pretty sure it's one I dyed myself) and love it but struggled to find a project to use it on.  Once I started with the fabric I then raided my relatively small stash of threads and picked some nice bright reds and oranges to go with it.

As you can see from the picture it's quite tight on space to get the design on the fabric but I have just about enough room...

Monday, 6 January 2014

A Confession

Monday, 6 January 2014
I've failed already in one of my goals for this year LOL.  Number 5, to not increase my stash levels to be precise.

I'd blame the fact that I didn't buy one cross stitch chart last year, coupled with my love of Christmas and topped off with the limited availability of the charts I wanted. 

But in reality I just have no willpower...

So what have I ordered?  Well, I was checking out some stitchy sites just before New Year and caught sight of this lovely chart from Tournicoton:

Then I saw this one:

The problem was they were on a US site and quite expensive, especially when you added the postage cost to the UK.  So I went digging around European sites and found this lovely site that had them at a much more reasonable cost.

And of course then I had a mooch about the site and rediscovered the Lili Points charts.  Lili Points is also a French designer so most of their charts are done in French although they also have some English versions but, of course, these are much more difficult to source and I eventually ended up on Etsy.  I bought the following:

You'll be pleased to hear I did show a little restraint and this one, although I think it's lovely, did not fall into the basket.  Yet...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Snapperbets WIP

Sunday, 5 January 2014
This one will definitely be finished this year as it's been languishing in my WIP pile for A LONG time.  More than 3 years (she says with extreme embarassment!)  I know why though, the border is Maple Syrup from GAST and I thought I had three skeins in there but was one short.  Then I had Connor.

When I surfaced from new-baby-fug I got around to buying another skein the colour was totally different and try as I might I couldn't find one to match the first two.  Wonderfully a friend sent me one that was pretty close and recently I found another colour that's a good match too so I really have no excuse not to get on with it...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Flock WIP

Saturday, 4 January 2014
So here's another WIP that I hope to finish this year, a little more ambitious than the needlecase but still doable I'm sure. It's The Flock from SamSarah and it's stitched on the recommended linen with the recommended floss.

I'm also thinking that I'm going try and stitch at least once on every WIP this year.  What is extremely embarassing is that I'm finding projects that I haven't put a stitch in FOR YEARS and they are all designs that I still love so giving each one a bit of TLC might inspire me to finish them up. 

My biggest problem is they are all quite large, some of them heading into BAP territory and I tend to get bored after a while and move on.  I absolutely refuse to try a rotation, it's not something that works for me really, but hopefully I'll be able to photo a large amount of these WIPs again at the end of the year with some serious progress.

Friday, 3 January 2014

A Couple of WIPs

Friday, 3 January 2014
So, I'm determined to get back on top of my stitching WIP pile this year and, as such, will be locating and taking pics of all my current WIPs.  I'm not thinking I'll only stitch from my WIP pile over the next 12 months (I'm not that disciplined) but I'm hoping that I'll get a few finished in 2014.

So here are the first couple:

Dragon Dreams' Virtues Afghan.  It's been ages since I picked this one up and I had one moon and one dragon done.  I've now completed a star and this is the start of my second dragon, Love.

Lizzie*Kate's Birdz and Bugz Limited Edition Needlecase.  Something I picked up as a travelling project last year but didn't get too far with as it's a bit fiddly - I'm not that used to stitching in hand for a start and I am usually a needle in, needle out kind of stitcher rather than hooking in and out again in one go which is what is required for this project.

Clearly the afghan won't be finished this year but I'm hoping the L*K will be my first finish.

ps It's nice to see I still have a few readers, thanks for welcoming me back :D

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 crafting goals

Thursday, 2 January 2014
For 2014 I'd like to:

1. Get some stitched ornaments happening - Christmas and Halloween

2. Finish up some of my many current WIPs - in fact to catalogue my current WIPs as I have no idea how many I have right now

3. To organise and rationalise my stash

4. To get the sewing machine out a lot and make a large dent in my fabric stash as it's way too much for the new house

5. To not increase my stash levels at all unless it's a specific item I need to complete a quilting project such as wadding, thread, etc. For stitching I will try and be good enough to avoid a project if it's not completely kitted up

6. To finish up all the projects for the new house - blinds, cushion covers, bunting and accessories for the kids, floor 'loungers'.

7. To quilt and finish at least two of the quilt tops I have made up

8. To work on some Christmas projects early in the year so that I don't arrive at yet another December with big plans and no time.

9. Baby Jane blocks

10. Bottled rainbow blocks

I've deliberately kept them quite non-specific as I really don't know how the year is going to shape up.  Money wise we'll be stretched to make ends meet for the first half of the year as we're still paying the nursery fees.  After that we'll be paying off the credit card and overdraft but at least we'll have a bit more spare cash - I'm dreaming of the days when we're debt free other than the mortgage!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Wednesday, 1 January 2014
So here we are in a new year and I'm back after an impossibly long break.  So long I'm not even sure anyone remembers my blog exists LOL.

So much happened in 2013 that got in the way of me having a few extra moments to blog - work was exhausting, being a Mum was a priority and we ended up moving house which was a process that took six months but now we're starting to get settled in the new house and I do have more free time so I'm determined to get back to blogging again.

So a quick catch up on a personal level.  The kids are super-duper fine and are going to be 9 and 4 this year.  I can't begin to imagine where that time has gone - Connor starts school in September and Lia is so grown up it's scary.  Our house move was done for many reasons but the main one was to ensure that Connor gets into the same school that Lia is at which is also where I'm now working.  It was a long and tedious process but we're in and so is his school application so it was all worthwhile.  More importantly we now live in a brand new house that is less than 5 mins walk from the school so come September we'll have no commute whatsoever (we currently have to do a 15 min round trip in the car to get Con to nursery).

DH also has lost 20 mins each way on his train commute so that's good as well.

Work is fab.  Last year wasn't so great as although I loved the job the teacher I had wasn't the best - he didn't want to be a teacher so spent a lot of time sobbing on my shoulder.  He left in the summer to go on to another job teaching which just goes to show there's no helping some people!  This year I have an AMAZING teacher and I've discovered in this last term that I adore the job and it is everything I hoped it would be, I've even started thinking about training to be a teacher myself, something that I ruled out last year due to the stressful environment.

As for crafting well not so much got done last year due to all of the above which is another reason I didn't blog as I really didn't have that much to share.  In the new house we have a downstairs office/guest/craft room so I now have a large chunk of my stash in one place again.  Not all because I don't have enough room for all my fabric in there too but I'm now committed to a destashing regime so hopefully that will change.  I have some crafting goals for next year but I'll outline those in the next post.

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