Monday, December 31, 2012

Travelling, a birthday and French seams!

Goodness, time does fly when you are surrounded by boxes and paper and bits of furniture that you have no idea where it's going to end up!  We've been in the house for two weeks, um, six weeks actually, Thanksgiving and Christmas has come and gone, east to Pittsburgh to stay with the First Treasure and be so welcomed by her partner, E's family at their celebration then west to Wyoming for a family Christmas, all of us together for the first time in three years.  Thank you, everyone!

On the day of the move, you'll never guess, the container showed up and after lunch so did the WT!  Didn't get a note from his boss, didn't hightail it to the nearest airport, he was there and wonderful it was to have him around even thought there were a couple of spirited exchanges regarding placement of said furniture!

While we were still hotel residents I managed to nip over to Wyoming for a cuddle with two small chaps, lots of stories and hugs and most special of all, a third birthday party!
The birthday had a British theme!

Three candles to blow out!
Very little stitching has been done over the last two months and I had such plans for the hotel stay but ended up being extraordinarily late with an ornament exchange that went over to Mary in France - I was so relieved to have it on its way, yup, forgot to take a picture.  I was not quite so late with a winter exchange piece to Ursh but have a feeling the camera wasn't around then either!  I received a gorgeous ornament from Clare in the ornament exchange - a JBW one, very appropriate as the designer lives about ten miles from me!  I received a lovely bag stitched in white on navy from Dusty in the winter exchange which will hold a stitching project nicely!  Thank you, ladies!

Star by JBW Designs
stitched by Clare
Needlecraft Haven Exchange
A beautiful bag from Dusty
Needlecraft Haven Winter Exchange
I think I mentioned in the last post what a blessing a shop in our village has become.  Tanya is the owner and together with Melinda has got me sewing as well as knitting and I now know how to do French seams!  Pretty impressive, I know!  I made pillowcases for the boys and bags for the girls.  Next year (well, this week actually!) I intend to master zips!

Pillowcases with French seams!
Quilted Bags for my girls!
My stitching plans for the coming year are somewhat um, fluid, shall we say?  I will not be joining the lovely Crazy girls this year, I gave it my best shot for two years and failed miserably both times!  I was given a notebook and pen for Christmas so the notebook has been designated my project one.  I am not making a list for the year, far too daunting, but will take it month by month and hope to include sewing,stitching and kitting in the finished projects.  Well, a lady can dream!  I did join Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year, along with lots of other people and intend to start the small one tomorrow.

Just over three hours here in the Midwest and 2012 will be gone.  It has been an eventful year, with (of course) another move, this time back across the ocean and the arrival of a third gorgeous grandson.

Here's to 2013, may it bring peace and happiness and may we all take time for that extra word of kindness, smile or helping hand and of course, lots of stitching and knitting!

PS - Pat in West Michigan, please drop me an email, address in my profile, would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An exchange, a move, a hotel and a hurricane!

Well, I am writing this on All Hallows' Eve and a damp and dreary one it is too in Michigan!  However, we are fortunate here since most of the east coast is recovering from the great devastation of Hurricane Sandy combined with a wintry nor'easter, a lethal combination.  Although the coast received most of the damage the effects of Sandy were felt into Pennsylvania and even Lake Michigan where record wave heights of 20 feet or more were reached, a good few hundred miles from the coast!

Although we were fortunate not to be in the path of the storm, all the wordly goods (well, apart from a few stitching supplies and my Lowery) of the WT and the long suffering Mrs WT were!  The container had been offloaded in New York about 24 hours before Mayor Bloomberg declared a state of emergency!  Lives are far more important, and all will be well.

We've been in the US for three weeks now and hotel life is beginning to pall ever so slightly.  I could get used to having my bed made every day and clean towels as if by magic but really, two electric burners and no oven?  We managed to set the smoke alarm off on the second night cooking pork chops so fish and soup are now mostly on the menu, having bought a frying pan and a slow cooker!  My big soup pot came over in the air shipment so tonight it is lentil and sweet potato!

I had such grand ideas for stitching every day but somehow the day vanishes and not much is accomplished.  Of course, signing up for an Autumn exchange was not the smartest idea I have ever had and many thanks to my good friend, Liz, over in Oz who was VERY patient!  Her parcel arrived about a week after we did and oh my goodness, just look at this! 

Friendly Stitchers' Autumn Exchange
A Needlebook from Liz in Oz
"A Fallen Leaf is Summer's Wave Goodbye"
and dedicated to the Enabling Queen of Friendly Stitchers
whoever CAN she mean?

You can see how small and perfect it is - that is a quarter on one side and two-pence piece on the other!  Thank you, dear Liz!  Apologies though for the "studio" where this was shot - dreadful and even worse, can't remember where it was!  My parcel to Liz finally went off, what a relief!

Another relief was finally settling down to stitch on this gorgeous piece, no, not mine, sadly but the Round Robin piece chosen by Judy in Minnesota.  I debated whether to say the dog had eaten it...... it got left behind in Cheshire...... removed as dangerous by the TSA, as I really, really wanted to keep it but reluctantly decided that it had to go.....onto Oregon and Lynda! I stitched the two urns above and to the right of P and K - which happen to be the WT's initials so had to stitch them too!

The Language of Flowers
Rosewood Manor
Friendly Stitchers' Round Robin Exchange
The move went well and at the speed of light in the end.  We had known since the spring that moving back was going to happen but in usual corporate style no date was given which made for a rather unsettled summer!  Long story short, since the WT had a business trip over to Michigan in August I accompanied him and we went house hunting, found one and made an offer, all without knowing for sure that the move was happening!  All was slightly tense until a week before the WT was scheduled to leave for a symposium in Vancouver - the offer arrived!  An estimate was made for the packing up and shipping of the aforementioned wordly goods, I cheerily waved goodbye to the breadwinner and then had a lovely weekend with Mouse who came to kit up lots of stitching for me!  The movers moved in for four days, lol, on the Monday, the container was sealed on the Thursday and went off up the lane and I flew out on the Saturday......quite a fortnight!

Ian finishing up in my stitching room!
We're back in the same area of Michigan but in a different small town, which boasts a coffee shop and a yarn shop, next door to each other!  Not only that but I've joined the ladies there on a Friday to knit and knatter so the withdrawal symptoms from the Friday group in Cheshire aren't too violent!
I've also slipped back into Wednesday nights at Stitching Bits and Bobs and also rejoined EGA, so although one of us didn't want to come back, lol, life isn't so bad!

Looking towards the lake from the garden

The view from the kitchen
The house is smaller than the barn but the view is gorgeous, overlooking the lake!  Upstairs is a loft/gallery which also looks out to the lake and will be a perfect place for the Lowery, some stitching and me!  Now I really am a British lady by the lake!

Well dears, I hope I find you cheerful, smiling and stitching?  Thank you for reading and thank you even more for leaving me a comment!  You know how I love them!

Love from,

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Thank you to everyone who left their names for the giveaway.  The winners are and sorry, the drums are packed so no roll.....

Christine Alchemy Stitchery wins the JCS Ornament Preview
Sandra (no blog) wins the Halloween issue

Congratulations, ladies, I have emailed you both!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Back across the pond (in opposite direction), an exchange and yarn stash!

Can you guess what is happening?

Things in a box and an
appropriate saying from the Sampler Girl..... 

The amount of yarn that came with me from the US......

The amount of yarn that is going back with me to the US.....

Yes, you guessed it, the WT and the VERY long suffering Mrs WT are en route for Michigan again!  Well, let me rephrase that.  The WT, yet again, got a note from his boss saying that he was excused from all the packing and wait for it.......could go to Vancouver instead for the week.  Vancouver, just possibly one of my favourite cities.  To be fair, he IS working and it's hard work at that, on his feet all day, chatting to visitors at the company booth for the NSH convention and symposium.  We have known for quite sometime that moving back this autumn was on the cards and the final details were not worked out until just before he left but fortunately the moving company were happy with a quick moving date.  The packers are here, right now, on a four day marathon of wrapping everything to be put in the container on Thursday.  I fly out on Saturday and then we spend just over a month in a hotel waiting for the shipment to arrive.
With that in mind, Mouse very kindly nipped over to spend the night on Saturday and took quite a long time making sure that I had plenty of kitted up projects to take, some in my luggage and some in the air freight which will arrive in a week or so.  Thanks, Mouse!

I entirely blame the members of the lovely Knit and Knatter group here in Frodsham for the increase in my yarn stash but also for teaching me some nifty stuff in both knitting and crochet.  Thank you, ladies, I am going to miss you all!
Not a lot of stitching to show except for this little exchange piece below, stitched with Threadworx, not sure of the number.  I received the lovely flat fold from Lynn B on Sunday afternoon, in person.  Life had somewhat overtaken Lynn and so it was a little late arriving but nevertheless it was a treat to meet my "secret" partner!  Thank you, Lynn, for following through like that!

 Autumn Pincushion
The Gift of Stitching
October 2011 edition
Needlecraft Haven Exchange
sent to Jaclyn

Autumn Flatfold (my first) received from Lynn B
in the same exchange

A tiny giggle - seen in our local yarn store -
sorry, Harry!
Don't forget, if you are in the UK, to have a look at the giveaway on the previous post.  I am sorry it is just for those of you in the UK but I will be having another giveaway on the other side of the pond for US readers. 

A very quick moan at, you guessed it, Blogger, who seems to think that the Ariel font is my font of choice and will NOT move it back to the one I had before!  Anyone else having the same problem and did you solve it?  Inquiring minds need to know!

Well, I am hoping to pop in for another quick post before I leave, we will see how it goes!  Meanwhile, stitch well and laugh often!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Giveaway! JCS Halloween and JCS Ornament Preview!

This is a fly by post to say that I have an exceedingly quick giveaway of both the 2012 Halloween ornament issue and the Christmas Preview issue to two names drawn on...... and here's the thing.....Thursday (4th) of this week.  Long story, but has to be done then.  The other proviso is that you MUST live in the UK, sorry to any readers of my blog not living in this small island but just too expensive otherwise!

So, if you would like a chance to win one of them, please leave your name and email and where you live in the UK in the comment section (there are no nasty captchas to catch you!). If your name is drawn, obviously I will need your mailing address very quickly!

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More charts for sale!

Short and sweet today, I have had a pile of charts sitting around waiting to be listed in the sale page but have been delaying because I didn't want to fight Blogger with photographs!  So, if you think you are interested in any of them, drop me an email and I will send you a picture!  Some of them are pretty old but might just be the "one" for which you were searching!  I accept PayPal and will add the cost of postage to the price of the chart.  Link to the sale page is in the right hand column.  Hope to hear from you and I will continue to add more just as soon as I have a cup of tea made!  My contact email is in my profile.
On reflection, I may get around to adding photographs, but, please, DHYB!  Don't hold your breath, lol!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Shawl, Generosity, an Exchange received, Scotland and my Lowery!

Well, in order to scratch off one of my July goals..... I have to post, quickly!  I have this long list of Things I Need To Blog About and each one is receding further into the past so without more ado, as they say..... and in no particular order of importance.....

First of all, thank you, all you lovely commenters, you have no idea how your words cheer me!  I am realising that I need to respond by email to you all and I will, I will, honestly!

Next is this and I must admit I am rather proud of it, now that it is finally finished.  It is very loosely based on a pattern that appeared in Piecemaker magazine in 2000 and was entitled A Prairie Shawl.  Well, I can't tell you how many attempts I made at this pattern and how many times I ripped it back to the beginning as I had lost the plot miscounted the pattern repeats.  Since my life back then did not have many quiet moments with full time work and the Wyoming Cowboy (third treasure) still living with us, I gave up and donated the wool to Goodwill but still kept hold of the magazine.  Fast forward to now and my falling in with the Knit and Knatter girls, I decided to make an exceedingly simplified version...... et voila!

Simplified Piecemaker shawl
James Brett DK yarn
You know, don't you that needleworkers are among the most generous people in the world?  Well, two of them passed on the generosity to me.  Andrea (can't find her blog, drat it!) drew my name in her giveaway and ! am now the lucky owner of the Souvenir Sampler by the Drawn Thread.  Lots of small motifs, specialty stitches and opportunities to make it my sampler.

The Drawn Thread
Souvenir Sampler
I was admiring Nicola's (Stitching by a Cornish seashore) awe-inspiring work - all the Victoria Sampler Alphabet series on one piece of linen and Sally (no blog) offered to send me the "O" chart!  It had been gifted to her and she was not going to stitch it.  I accepted with many thanks and a parcel arrived in the mail box all the way from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Victoria Sampler
"O" for Operator
Thank you both so much!

I showed you the Strawberry pillow that I sent to Jane in my last post, didn't I?  Well, finally it was time to open this, from Jaclyn in the secret Summer exchange on Needlecraft Haven.

Secret Summer Exchange
Needlecraft Haven
Isn't it lovely and I think....a Lizzie*Kate?  I wish you could smell the rose it is resting on, just heavenly!

The WT and I had a very short away day, well four, actually, back to the land of my birth, Scotland.  The weather wasn't brilliant but definitely a whole lot better than the rest of the UK. 

The border to The Promised Land!
We drove as far north as Fort William, stopping at Balmaha on the shores of Loch Lomond and a delicious meal at the Oak Tree Inn and a very peaceful night in one of their cottages.
The WT enjoying a glass of
beer orange juice!

The dining room at the
Oak Tree Inn
Cup of tea, anyone?

This was one of about a dozen
grandfather clocks in the inn's bar

We watched this event in the pub in Fort William.......

Good Spellers, don't look!
 Isabelle especially!

..... our Andy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battling through the semi final with a cup of tea for me and a glass of something invigorating for him.

After a night in Fort William and yet another wonderful meal here on the shores of Loch Linnhe at we took the very scenic but has to be said, somewhat nausea inducing (for passengers) road along Loch Sunart to Kilchoan on Ardnamuchan to catch the ferry over to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

Somewhere on the Loch Sunart road
or close to it!
It was lunch time when we docked in Tobermory and it so happened there was the Pier Cafe right where we drove off the ferry - a bowl of the most delicious leek and potato soup completely banished any lingering effects of the twisty drive!

Now, don't take this as any kind of precedent whatsoever, you understand, but a lovely Sri Lankan doctor at the next table with his family kindly took this photograph and since it isn't too bad, quite reasonable of me (though my eyes do look a bit peculiar, it has to be said), here's the WT and me looking rather relaxed!

Mr and Mrs WT
Well, sadly we must leave our intrepid couple until next time, join me for Part 2 of Scotland Revisited in the next blog post!

Because, I have to show you this....... a parcel arrived last week and I love what was inside!

My very own Lowery!
I placed the order with  Sew and So at 4.40pm on Monday and on Wednesday morning, via email telling me that the parcel would be delivered between 9.06 and 10.06, it arrived at 9.20 am!  I had gone out but know what time it was since I narrowly avoided hitting the van in the lane!

Wonderful service but a tiny complaint in that I ordered the Accessory Bracket but not the light Bracket and without that the accessory one won't work.  It does say so on the website but the lovely lady taking my order didn't point it out.  A very tiny complaint in what was exceedingly fast and pleasant service!  Big thanks to my Friendly Stitchers chums, Melissa and Jo, both of whom forced encouraged me to buy a stand too!

I can't tell you what a difference it makes not having to hold a frame.  I might even have some pictures of Around the World to show you next time if the Mordivinian stitch doesn't finish me off!

That is probably enough for now, if you are all still awake?  Oh good, you are, just in time to leave a comment!  Please?

Enjoy what ever life brings you, don't forget to smile AND cheer on your country in the Olympics!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Decision, Exchanges, Little Owl and an RR!

Hmm, so what happened, you ask?  You DID wonder where I was, didn't you?  I wish I could show lots of beautiful stitching, things finished, UFOs that are no more but really, no, I can't!

I did make a couple of decisions, well three actually, the other day.  A long evening stretched before me with no dinner to get as the WT was living the high life and had gone out to dinner with colleagues.  So, reluctantly, I hauled out the two Papillon SALs and got.......nowhere!  Kept making stupid mistakes, hating the chosen threads, altogether no fun at all.  So back in the Cupboard of Lost Causes they go. 

The other decision was to NEVER take part in a Crazy January challenge again.  While I can't see myself as a one project at a time stitcher, having that number is just....... well, crazy!  And looking on the group and seeing how the number of emails have dropped dramatically from January, I am not alone.  Except of course, maybe everyone is stitching and will put me to shame!  I keep looking at the two tubs of projects and my indecisiveness goes into overdrive and I drive away, lol!

I exaggerate slightly saying I have nothing to show you, I do have this, though sadly I have run out of Kudzu which was substituted for the stems.  The lettering is stitched in Weeks Indian Summer which is my new favourite thread.  We could wish for a summer in the UK, Indian or otherwise......

Live Each Season
Maggie Bonanomi
I was delighted and not a little relieved to come to the end of my part of Frances' (no blog) RR.  This is my first time taking part in this particular adventure. Like everyone, I had heard horror stories of whole projects disappearing into the black hole of stitching, never to be heard of again and had pretty much decided never to take part in one.  Well never say never, because we started an off shoot group in Friendly Stitchers and I was "supposed" to be just  a moderator but someone had to drop out so was persuaded to make up the group of six.  We are pretty scattered in Oregon, Washington state, Minnesota, Cheshire and Yorkshire in the UK and Finland!

Frances' Round Robin
Frances chose a simple Christmas pillow, not too big, so why was I relieved?  Well, I stitch with the upper diagonal going from top right to bottom left and most people stitch the other way.  I would start off correctly then get into a sort of Zen like state and DRAT IT, gone back to the old way!  I decided red was possibly NOT the best choice when frogging was frequent so settled on the cursive lettering in white!  It's finished and has winged its way to Oregon.

Logic not being my strong suit, Niina kindly pointed out that if you do a quarter turn and stitch *sideways* as it were, all will be well, and do you know, I think she is right, hope so, Niina, as it is your RR I am stitching on now!

Since the end of June has come and gone I can show you what I sent to Jane for the NH Summer exchange.  This is the second time I have stitched this piece and given it away and one day I will stitch it again and keep it!  I might , just possibly, have got the top bird on the left a bit turned around but who is to say?  It is a sweet pattern but sadly Caroline hasn't posted on her blog for some time.

Sweet Strawberry
Cosmic Handmade
As you know we live in a barn and as everybody knows, barns have owls in them, yes?  Um, well, yes, definitely THIS morning........!

Little Owl in the Barn!
I knew the WT would be furious if I released it without taking some photographs but Little Owl had somewhat of a an aggrieved expression as I did so.  The windows in our sitting room, four of them, only have very small top opening in two of them, so some anxious moments were spent watching LO crash against the windows with NO opening before he suddenly seemed to realise that just maybe he could escape and did so, fortunately leaving no trace of his presence on two pieces of needlework on frames!  We are still trying to work out how he got in since it has not been the weather for open windows much!

My World Traveller!
I will leave you with a picture of the WT "hermitting" in his own inimitable style......!  I have a lot more to share but time is passing so will be back soon.  Huh, I hear you say, when pigs fly and the moon turns blue!
Be good, don't forget to smile at a stranger and most importantly leave a comment, you know I love them!

Friday, May 18, 2012

IHSW here we come!

Well, this weekend is IHSW - International Hermit and Stitch Weekend when we spend the entire weekend stitching!  Well, that is the theory, and last month was a bit hit and miss for me, mostly miss if the truth be told so May will be MUCH better, lol!

No firm plans for what I am going to stitch though I will be trying to keep an eye on my May goals since it is now 18th May and time it is 'a passing!

So onward and upward and if you haven't signed up, follow the link and get over to Joyce's blog and just do it and join (at the last count) the 114 of us that have done so already!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rain, Drought, a Stitching Show and the Big Sort. Again

Well, April escaped without me noticing and then May Day came and went and a sulky grey one it was too, well in the North West UK anyway!  Goodness, what a lot of water has fallen from the sky recently considering most of the country is officially in drought.  Our county has escaped the hosepipe ban but south and east of here the rain reached biblical proportions with a lot of damage and at least one death that I am aware of.  The Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire were cancelled, this is possibly the most famous three day event in the equestrian world and would have been used by many riders as *practice* for the Olympics.  It must have been pretty miserable running in the Manchester Marathon too on Sunday!

So, apart from getting soaked at least three times while Nordic walking, what have I been up to?  The WT went off to France and Germany last week and got told off when he got home for not calling me after driving from Paris to Frankfurt!  He is very good about emailing every time he lands or takes off but it appears much improvement is needed when in a car! 

The Knit and Knatter and a Stitcher group had a nice away day at Aintree on Friday.  Yes, I know we were too late for the Grand National (thank goodness!) but in perfect time for Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft show that was held there.  Julia kindly took a carload and I had a nice knatter (sorry) with Tracey in the back of the car.  We were both Army brats so have quite a lot in common.  Arriving at the show we decided to do a quick walk up and down the aisles to see what was there.  To be honest, it is a small show just in one hall and not nearly as large as the Twisted Threads one at Harrogate in November.  But most enjoyable all the same, some lovely silk fabrics, the scissor man who comes to Harrogate was there so had to buy a couple of pairs of scissors, didn't I?  Would have been rude not to! 

After lunch we all went our separate ways and the highlight for me was Lorna Bateman's stall with the most gorgeous silk ribbon embroidery kits.  Lorna and her assistant Gill were quite delightful, not to mention patient, in showing us how to make spider roses and leaves.  I came away with a small pincushion which, God willing and the creek don't rise, will be finished with a beautiful silk embroidery done by me.  Just don't hold your breath, dears!  All in all, a lovely day in the company of friends, who could ask for more?

Stash from the Show!
Gorgeous Crazy Quilting - possibly
my new favourite?
Chameleon Threads and Hand  Dyed Fabric
from South Africa

 Lorna's Silk Embroidery Samples

Back at the barn, taking advantage of the WT's absence and no necessity to cook dinner for a few days, I embarked on the Big Sort - mm, you know what I am going to say.  The sewing room.  Again.  This time it was serious, I sorted everything, needles, reels of cotton and why I have fifteen reels of blue thread I have no idea......., silks, fabric, charts, you name it, it got sorted.  I have some charts that I am putting on my sale page so have a look and see if there is something that is calling to you.  Some are quite old but might appeal to someone.  All my WiPs, UFOs, call them what you will are neatly stored in file folders that I have been buying at our local supermarket every time I go shopping.

I haven't been stitching on any of them, you understand, because during this slightly harrowing time I discovered these pieceswhich have been hanging around ever since I left Michigan eighteen months ago and I decided they needed to be finished and on their way to be made up into kissing pillows for the US military (scroll down to the heading Soldier Kissing Pillows).  Haven't stitched on Aida for about twenty years and I keep forgetting to use three strands of DMC as well as not actually managing to stitch an entire heart without frogging!  You can see the Zen like state I got into doing the lettering too!  There was some distinctly colourful language being uttered while all this was going on.  I am trying to keep in mind that the recipients of the pillows are enduring much worse, either fighting or waiting for news at home.

This post is going backwards, a couple of weeks ago I had another nice away day with Julia and we went to Knutsford, a lovely little town not far from here, where I am sure as  many of you know is what Elizabeth Gaskell based her fictional town of Cranford.  We had a nice wander round the charity shops and a delicious lunch in the Penny Farthing Museum which is really a restaurant with lots of penny farthings and related ephemera.  Well worth a visit and you can give thanks, if you are a cyclist, for gel saddles!

This plaque is outside WH Smith
the bookseller

After lunch we went to visit Tracey in Fibre and Clay and had a ladylike drool at all the beautiful yarn I but restrained myself to buying just a pair of bamboo needles.

And just in case some of you are thinking that NO stitching is going on here is a sight of my somewhat slowly stitched CITA, most of part 1 and a very small amount of the second part and yes, I have signed up for Yvonne's new the fabric (thank you Sew and So!) and the threads all organised.
Castles in the Air - only 21
more parts to stitch!

Hmm, this has gone on long enough, you must have finished the cuppa I hope you began with and will be quite exhausted!  Thank you for staying the course and leave a comment, you know the drill by now, I get really upset when you just steal away!  Thank you for all comments and all my new followers, make sure you leave a way for me to contact you.

Love to you all, don't forget to smile!