Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Amaze Myself ~ Sometimes!

JBW Designs ~ Bonjour
Just over a week after the end of the beginning of the Challenge - I have a finish!  As you know, I was late reaching the finish of the starts (does  any of that make sense?) but six days later, voila, JBW's Bonjour!  I had a small change around of  the blues to show up better on the medium blue fabric, and substituted one of the pinks, I just wasn't satisfied with my stitching using that particular one.

I began this at the Mouse House on Wednesday and any sharp eyes out there might notice that it was a re-start as I had begun far too close to the edge, the frugal Scot in me always trying to save fabric.  I'm not sure what I'm going to  do with this, definitely not an apron as suggested by the designer, since I am far too hard on those and grease marks would not be a *good thing*!

I had two visits to chez Mouse this week ~ why, I can hear you cry?  Has the woman not suffered enough putting up with you once, that you have to repeat the process?  Well, being a well brought up lady, I offered, as you do, to wash up after supper on Wednesday evening and took off my rings and laid them on the kitchen counter.  We dispatched the washing up in quick order, I collected all my bits and pieces, bid my hostess a fond farewell and made it back to Cheshire in good time.  Went to send a text to say I had arrived and there was one from Mouse - the rings.....still on the kitchen counter!  Well, drat!   To cut a long story short, despite a week of popping back and forth to France, the WT graciously agreed to accompany me to Yorkshire to pick up the recalcitrant jewels.  So, on Saturday, after some strenuous exercise at an impossibly early hour (more on that later) we set off.  I'd suggested to Mouse and her beloved that, as a small return for disturbing their Saturday, we would  take them out for a pub lunch and my goodness, they chose a nice one, the Strafford Arms, roaring log fire and great food.  Despite Peter not having met either of them before we all got on like a house on fire and have promised ourselves a return visit to some lovely gardens nearby.  I was glad to have my rings back, I must say, there was a gleam in the eye of the Mouse, I could see she was reckoning up how much stash could be got by flogging them!

Strenuous exercise, hmm, not something that has often been mentioned in these pages!  I saw an advertisement for Nordic Walking in our local paper shop so I borrowed a pen and wrote down all the details.  A phone call later and I had arranged with a very nice-sounding woman called Kerley to try a taster session.  Three of us arrived in the Delamere Forest and after some warm up movements we were off!  It's a whole different way of walking but you certainly cover a lot more ground using the poles.  I enjoyed it so much I persuaded the WT to try a session too, and of course, wouldn't you know it, after about five minutes, Kerley is calling him a "natural", quite sickening, don't you think?  We signed up for a course, blithely ignoring the fact that we had agreed to be in the Forest at 8 am on a Saturday morning, and a grey one it was too.  If I'd been able to lay my hands on Kerley's phone number I might well have chickened out but I have to say I am so glad I didn't.  I spent most of the time at the back of the group and "the natural" set the pace at the front.  When people got too far ahead they circled back (thereby increasing their steps!) and for a brief moment I was the leader of the pack! 

A few more photographs to end with.  We had an ornament exchange just before Christmas on Friendly Stitchers and I was partnered with Julie over in Oz.  This is what I stitched for her.  It's from Little House Needleworks and it was first published in the 2004 JCS ornament issue.

She and I have rather the same tastes and I felt that she she was enjoying a warm summer it was only right that she should experience a LITTLE snow albeit only via an ornament!

I opened her parcel in January since I had gone to Michigan when it arrived so Christmas was extended!  It's beautifully stitched and finished and will definitely be on the tree this year!

Not the best of back grounds looking out into the car park of our apartment building!  I am a little short of elegant places for a photography shoot right now with no garden.

Well, dears, enough of this, I need to get back to Fifteen/Two!  What will our intrepid stitcher choose next?  Blackbird, Brightneedle........tune in again and find out!  As always, I LOVE comments and read and enjoy every one!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Final Fifteen - Finally!

Well, only two days late and I've arrived, along with a slightly different list to the original one, I think!  Last week was not a good one, the weather had a lot to do with it, very grey and cold, grey and did I mention it was GREY?  I don't do well, like so many people, in that sort of weather, but today the sun shone and lo and behold, the miserable woman was cheerful!  Along with the doom and gloom last week, I just could not be bothered to put word or picture to paper, in the electronic sense, unlike my overachieving chums (you know who you are lol!)!  Add to that soupy mix the fact that the WT informed me that I'd be the one going back to the States to pack up the house ("you've done it before and you're very good at it!") and that HE was going to Japan, India and China!  Despite his protestions that he wouldn't SEE anything as he'd be working, you understand, I was still incredibly jealous!

Anyway, without more ado, here are my choices for the Crazy Challenge 2011 ~

Rosewood Manor
Quaker Diamonds
The first time using Valdani threads

Blackbird Designs
Bird in Hand

Sharon Cohen
Band Sampler
A tiny cheat as I HAD started this a bit ago!

Hands to Work
Blooms of Spring

Little by Little
Alphabet Piddlings
I hope the designer completes the charts for the rest of the Alphabet!
Only A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H so far!

Blackbird Designs
Anniversaries of the Heart

Blackbird Designs and Nicoletta Farraruto
My Heart is True
Friends with You
A Needlebook

JBW Designs
Judy lives and designs in Kalamazoo so thought the choice was appropriate
I may have to restart this as I'm very close to the edge!

Shakespeare's Peddlar
The Magic Garden
A new to me designer

Blackbird Designs
Summer Iris


The Primitive Needle
Simply Live
I have the stitching sideways!

The Birdneck Sampler

Sunken Treasure
Pincushion and Needlebook Kits
Purchased from designer at Harrogate Show

 I decided after a lot of thought that the three pieces from the Cross Stitch Guild were a little complex for such quick starts and put them aside to be started when life is a little quieter.  Who knows, if the stitching stars are aligned and all is well in my little world, my choices may yet again be shuffled.  Watch this space....!

Okay, the time is just about to creep into a new day so I must stop and get this posted.  I am missing threads on some of the pieces so I need to make a list before I'm back in Michigan so I can increase my stash (again!) at Stitching Bits and Bobs.  I also need to decide which one I should be stitching too, so many decisions, so little time!

A question before you go.... do any of you belong to The Sampler Guild?  I took the plunge and joined last week.  I'm hoping that there will be lots of meet ups and opportunities here in the North West to get together to stitch, let me know if you belong.

Do leave a comment, I love to read them all, and would especially like to hear from fellow Crazies, lol!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thanks, Mouse!

Don't you love it when your friends do all the hard work of trawling the internet for you and come up with lovely links?  I refer, of course, to my most excellent chum,  Mouse, who shared with us on one of our chatty evenings on Facebook these two links, Stitcher's Book, a finishing tutorial from Violarium in Finland and this one from a blog that has sadly not been updated since the middle of 2009 but take a look here anyway at the lovely Blackbird finish - so clever, the finishes around the spine particularly.  I think I have very happily got stitched books/needlebooks on the brain since I received a lovely treat from another friend,  Val.  Take a look ~

My Needlebook from Val
 This was the first beaded fob that I'd ever received too.  You can see the clever thin spine which allows the book to close, very similar to ones on the links I just mentioned.  Thanks, Val!

Hmm, well, what can I talk about next to disguise the fact that you aren't seeing any 15 pictures, lol!  Today was a fall asleep on the sofa day and oh, my goodness it's five o'clock sort of thing!  I am keeping up though and you'll just have to trust me!

I never usually post photographs of family except heavily disguised ones of the WT but could not resist this one.  We spent a few days in south east Idaho with boy treasure and his beautiful family.  They had just moved, two days before, to a small town very close to Lava Hot Springs so while we were waiting for the furniture to arrive we decided to go swimming - outside in an air temperature of 3 degrees F!

William and Sunny in hot water!
It was a delightful feeling soaking in the mineral springs, I had not been feeling particularly spiffy before I went in and my goodness, a distinct lifting of spirits and general well-being when I came out!

Please, if you pass by, leave a comment, I do like to receive any and all!  See you soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fits and Starts!

The title is because, let's be honest, I cheated a bit over starting one each day (see previous blog entry) and also I arrived back in Michigan  having completely forgotten about the challenge and all my stash was back in Cheshire.  What was an enterprising Brit to do?  Go directly to Stitching Bits and Bobs of course and stock up on some Blackbird smalls that I'd had my eye on for some time.  An added bonus was that it was Wednesday and the stitching group was there so a good time was had by all!

So ~ the list of fifteen, sans photographs of the starts (you'll just have to trust me, ha!), the jet lag has cannoned into me and all I want to do is sleep.......

  • Summer Iris
  • Wild Rose Journal Cover
  • Bluebird
  • Bird in Hand
  • Anniversaries of the Heart
  • Joyeux Noel 'Tis the Season
The Primitive Needle
  • Simply Live
Rosewood Manor
  • Quaker Diamonds
The Cross Stitch Guild
  • Stolen Moments
  • Sue Hawkins' Sampler Book
Shakespeare's Peddlar
  • Magic Garden Sampler
Hands to Work
  • Blooms of Spring
Little by Little
  • Alphabet Piddlings A, B, C and D
  • Alphabet Piddlings E, G and F
  • The Birdneck Sampler
So there you have it ~ or rather them, hmm I might have bitten off more than I can safely digest but we shall see.  The ones I have begun are in italics and tomorrow there WILL be photographs!

You're forgiven, American Airlines.....

.....even though you cancelled the flight (with no explanation) last Thursday to Chicago from Kalamazoo!  This caused a 24 hour delay in our trip out to Idaho as well as a fairly expensive ride to Grand Rapids airport the next morning as that was the only flight available, apparently!  The cost of the ride, according to the Customer Service Division of AA is "our responsibility" too!

So why am I in such a generous frame of mind? Well, with all the travelling that the WT does there are some perks, UPGRADES being one!  We were upgraded three times, twice on fairly short flights in the States and then, the very best bit, coming back across the Atlantic the night before last.  No migraine, no neck pain, lots of delicious food and amazing attention from Laurie and her delightful crew.  See you all again, I hope!

So, to stitching.....  I am so behind in blogging about THE challenge that about 200 of so of us crazy peeps have accepted from Mina in Finland to begin fifteen starts on the first fifteen days of January and then finish them in 2011 (that will be the difficult bit, lol!).  I managed to begin the first few, except, it has be admitted, the night we arrived back in Salt Lake City after a beautiful drive through the Cache National Forest and after far too good a meal at Biaggi's.  Did I really need that creme brulee?

The other challenge I accepted, to take care of the many languishing pieces that I already have, is the one from Jayne here, Mary Wigham will be the first one I pull out for this one.

I'm hoping that the sun comes out so I can take some pictures of my starts and give you the list, or the table gets tidied and I can display them there!  Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Writing this in the Admiral's Lounge (can't see him though) at O'Hare airport in Chicago!  Thanks to the WT a few bits of all this travelling are enjoyable.  Will be back in the UK tomorrow and can catch up with my sorely neglected blog after that. 

I signed up for two challenges - the fifteen starts in fifteen days and the one to actually finish long standing wips, crazy, don't you agree but I'm in good compnay! company - whoops better change the spelling before Mouse notices, it was the WT's fault, he was hurrying me at the airport to get on the plane!

Happy New Year to everyone!