Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's nearly 2012!!

Well, with nearly four hours to go to the start of another year - I thought I'd better put a few thoughts on "paper" about this year. So many sites and blogs have their review of the year, and in some ways it can be depressing reading about all the supposed highlights - natural disasters, deaths of famous figures, economies failing worldwide etc etc etc! But we have had some cheery stories worldwide too (I think)? Why do we tend to focus on the negative side when reminiscing at the end of the year? All the tv programmes are full of doom and gloom - if you are REALLY lucky the high spot will be William and Kate's wedding!

Personally I can give thanks that DH and I are safely though another year. Our family members all appear to be safe and well. Our home is paid for and we have a little money behind us in savings. Our many friends are (in the main) also in similar situations to us. We have worked hard for most of our lives are are now reaping the benefits of being retired - with enough money to be able to do what we want, when we want to.

So when people sit down and write their New Year Resolutions for 2012 - I have one simple word of advice - DON'T!! I decided that this year instead of Resolutions - which get either broken or forgotten about before January has ended - I will make some GOALS. That way, even if I slip for a day, week or month I can still get myself back on track by the end of the year - and thus achieve my goal.

Goal 1 - try to lose a bit of weight. I know I'm heavier than I should be, and I know it's bad for my health, but I've never been one for exercise (even if I am a Sagitarian and supposedly sporty!). My goal is to lose enough before we go on our China holiday, that I can actually walk along part of the Great Wall without sounding as if I need oxygen!

Goal 2 - limit the time I spend on my laptop - I spend far too much time just hopping from spot to spot - if I add up the hours I spent on a pc I'm sure I'd get a shock! Life is too precious to fritter away - I can spend more time sewing or reading - or - shock horror - maybe even doing a bit of walking if I achieve goal 1!

Goal 3 - record the days that pass in some form or another. I really enjoyed making that scrapbook for Jessica's birthday - I need to start working on the thousands of other photos we have so that when our family come to sort through our belongings (hopefully in a good few years time), they will bring forth happy memories for them.

Goal 4 - By the end of the year I would like to have achieved the aim of clearing my loft area! It's quite small, and fairly cramped up there - it's only along the centre of the roofspace that I can stand upright - but the amount of things that get pushed up there is amazing - a mini Tardis I think! Working from the entrance towards the back will be like a time capsule in reverse. Near the entrance are our suitcases and christmas decorations. As you work further back, we go through the stages of our daughter's life (in reverse) and who knows I might find some items which could be of use for Jessica. At the very back are things which we have had since we were married (37 years next February). I think it's about time I ventured up there before the physical challenge defeats me!

Goal 5 - Stitch, Stitch, Stitch whenever I can! I want to be able to finally put away Egypt and the Rose fairy. I want to finish off the Flower Fairy quilt for Jess's second birthday in August. And I am NOT going on holiday without at least one project tucked in my hand luggage!

Goal 6 - keep blogging. I started at the beginning of the year with no clear idea of how often I would be able to keep this up. I'm a little disappointed how often I managed it, but if you stick with me I promise to try and give you a peek into my life a little more often.

So how about you? What would your GOALS be for 2012? Do let me know?

love for 2012

Monday, 5 December 2011

Monday update

I've been stitching over the weekend (along with other things) and I've managed to finish the centre panel of Egypt apart from the backstitching. All I've got to do is the two panels on either side now!
Needs a bit of blocking to make it straight again before I do any more backstitch, otherwise some of the longer runs across several blocks might be a bit out! That will have to wait a bit though.

Why? I hear you asking? DH and I are going on a coach trip to the Christmas Market in Rudesheim (on the Rhine, Germany) this week. Apart from the wine - gluwein and ordinary, that's where they make Asbach brandy - so I'm not tempting fate by taking any stitching - I'll only end up miscounting and doing a bit of frogging when I get home! So I'm taking my e-reader and an MP3 player to keep me amused instead. Wonder how many books I'll get through?

Last weekend my best friend celebrated her 60th birthday. Her 2 daughters organised a surprise party in a local restaurant and it was a real fun evening. Her family, work colleagues and friends spent many happy hours reminiscing and laughing over "how things used to be"! The laughter was a great tonic for us all, and although I was a DD for the evening I really enjoyed it. The company of friends and family is more of a tonic than drinking a few glasses of wine.

That is something we should all be thinking about with the Christmas social scene approaching. The number of drink/driving offences over the Christmas period is horrifying every year. Those families who lose loved ones because of accidents caused by someone who thought they were safe to drive can never celebrate Christmas again in the same way - they are always carrying the memory forward every year. This year we lost one of our dear friends to cancer just last week (and he was the youngest out of us all). His wife is now on her own - they have no children. Christmas this year will be bleak, but future years will be no better as she constantly remembers the times they spent together. At least with an illness you can prepare for the end of a life. With a drunken driver at the wheel of a lethal weapon (their car) you are given no time to prepare.

So please be careful out there over this season. Keep in mind the Christmas saying - "Peace on earth and GOODWILL to ALL men". If I don't talk to you much before the day itself, please make sure you and your family are safe; and we will all get together on the other side of the day itself in 2012.

Seasons Greetings

Friday, 2 December 2011

My first time!

There's been a lot of chat recently amongst x stitch nuts stitchers on several blogs (Julie , Meari and Evalina for example) about people's first times.

Life has been fairly slow around here - I've been knitting mittens as an extra present and have put only a few stitches in Egypt. I have done 2 small penguin motifs to go on a christmas card but can't show them yet! So - as a teaser - I'll let you in on my first time! (And it will serve as a teaser for what might come soon in that new tab above when I begin to post my older finishes).

All of my life I had worked full-time. When we got married in 1975 and moved to Colchester from London, I continued to work in the school I had been librarian in. Even when I'd been spending an hour each way on the train commuting to and from work I'd never found enjoyment from doing anything other than reading. (Mind you that could have been due to the over-crowding on the trains!)

Suddenly there I was at home with a TINY person who was dependent on me for everything!! She was a baby who didn't sleep (guess that's where Jessica gets it from?); her father was driving for a job, so when she cried every night about 8 or 9 times I was the one who had to get up to her. Luckily for me, the neighbour opposite had her baby two weeks later, so we got to know and support each other. One day we sat down in a rare moment of quiet and decided that we'd both like to take up a craft. If we did the same thing, we could share our highs (and lows), so we opted to try cross stitch! I was 28, she was 27, and for a while it felt like we were the only "young" people who were interested in it. I found a magazine which had a few baby motifs in it, and decided to make a birth sampler. Nothing unusual there you might think?

But I had to get the threads and fabric myself as what I wanted to do wasn't in a kit. In fact I don't think I'd ever seen a cross stitch kit then! So I went out and bought a few colours of threads and a piece of fabric. I made up a design, added a few necessary words - like name, date etc and started to sew it. It didn't dawn on me what I'd done until I started investigating cross stitch further after I'd finished. I had stitched the entire thing in 2 strands - not a problem; but I'd used linen and stitched it over one thread! Not really a massive mistake - it still looks fine - but it kind of gave me a headache which I didn't need with a small baby. Anyway it didn't manage to put me off - now (at age 61) I have an enormous stash of kits, threads, fabric, patterns and magazines. If I live to be 200 I'll never stitch all of the things I love (and that's not including the ones I merely like). Still it keeps me off the streets and my fingers from the biscuit tin!

Oh - I'd better post a pic of Erika's birth sampler - sorry about the quality of it, but it was XX years ago!

Better go now - Egypt or Christmas cards call - lots to do and so little time to do it all!
Why don't you let us know how you started?
Until next time

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A PROPER finish!

Well, I've finally made it - my christmas stocking is well and truly FINISHED!!!

I put the last stitch into the actual cross stitch in September, and it's taken me this long to figure out how I was going to make it up. It's completely lined with the same fabric (pale blue) and I put in some wadding so that it's quite nice and "squishy" too.
We are going to collect Erika and Jessica on Friday morning to bring them to our house overnight. One of Erika's best friends lives nearby and she is celebrating her 30th birthday. Her husband has arranged a surprise party for her, so Erika is coming down for that. On Saturday Tony will be coming down to collect them and take them home, so we'll only have to make the trip once. But while they're here I think I'll give the stocking to them so that they don't go buying one for her nearer to Christmas. It also means I might get a nice photo of her with it! Grandma perks eh?

I think that at the moment it's almost as big as she is!

So as this is the first time she's been here since she's been crawling, I'd better get moving and clear the decks of anything she's likely to try and get into! Been a long time since a "crawler" has been here so it might take a while!

Good luck everyone for YOUR finishings!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Heads up - a new giveaway online

Just come across a new giveaway on Craft Gossip .

For those of us that are Joan Elliot fans they are giving away a copy of "Fairy Enchantment". It's open to US and International readers too - so hop on over and give it a go.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Christmas comes early - again!

This week has had a bit of an explosive nature! Yesterday (after we got our weekly shop) I put a potato in the microwave for lunch. I turned round and a few seconds later I heard a change in the usual noise it made, so I looked back - and there were FLAMES coming from the internal wall!!! I immediately turned it off, and after waiting for it to cool down I opened the door to discover a hole in the wall of the oven! After cleaning it, I tried again, but the same thing happened. So we had to go out again in order to purchase another one! We've recently replaced our kettle, now this - I wonder what the third item will be? I just keep thinking what might have happened if I'd left the kitchen and gone upstairs or something?

Earlier in the year, I entered a competition online to win an extreme knitting kit - something I've never tried, but wanted to. Weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything, so I assumed it had gone to someone else. But the other day I had an email to say that the original person didn't meet the requirement (to live in the UK!), and I was the runner-up. I expected a small package, but instead this ENORMOUS box turned up! These were all inside! The plastic bags at the back contain 2 more kits to make the knitted bags (2 already made up). There's a scarf (made up) and a cushion pack so I can see my knitting skills are going to be challenged even further.

I started knitting years ago, I even have a knitting machine in our shed but the size of these needles has to be a challenge to manipulate! I'll have to finish the couple of mini projects I have started already otherwise I'll be very confused when I pick up one or the other! I've just finished a jacket for Jess knitted from an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern (look her up if you don't know her work - it's fantastic and so simple to make the pattern fit the size you want - she explains how to alter a jacket to fit a baby, child or adult!)

My cross stitch hit a bit of a brick wall too recently. So much so that I've joined an on-line SAL! I've always resisted before, thinking that I don't like to be told what I'm stitching and when! But this is TOTALLY different! Measi's Musings is having a stitch along with a difference -
  • After years of involving myself in round robins and being so overloaded by projects I was committed to do, I’m committing myself to a year of project stripping before the world is supposed to end – my own little Works-in-Progress Apocalypse (or… WIPocalypse for short). The feedback I received when I made my first post was quite encouraging, so instead of a solitary thing,I’m now starting a stitch-a-long for the idea!
So later on this month I will make a list of the projects I'm hoping to clear-up next year, and will be making regular updates on my progress (or lack of it!).

Meantime the progress on my Flower Fairy (for the quilt) and my Egyptian piece have both been slow. So slow that there's not really a point in putting up a photo. Maybe by next week I'll have more progress to show. And I've just bought the fabric for the christmas stocking - so look out for progress on that soon too.

November has always been a busy month for birthdays in our house, so I've been spending a couple of afternoons making cards for them. I've got up to the beginning of December, but I'm going to have to keep making a few more - then of course there's the christmas cards to get moving on!

Today is my daughter's 33rd birthday - I just wish her all the love and luck in the world.

In the meantime the nights are drawing in, the evenings are getting colder and I'm going to have to find my daylight bulb to put back in the lamp so that I can carry on sewing.

I hope your week has been less eventful than mine, and hope you'll keep sewing.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Back again!

We are safely back from our holidays and all the catching up has been done - washing (ugh), reading emails (wow - how many?), shopping to refill the fridge, etc etc etc...
Also I've been gradually stripping the vine which covers the pergola outside our back door  to make my own grape juice (bit pretentious to call it wine!) before the starlings beat me to it. Last year I opened my bedroom curtains one morning to be greeted by a scene from Hitchcock's film "The Birds". They all flew off at once on my movement, and the sky literally turned black! I hoped the grapes wouldn't ripen too quickly this year as we'd be away, and so far I've stripped about half of the bunches and got about 5 litres which I have to keep straining in order to get rid of the scum which grows on the liquid. If we can only have another few days of good weather I can get the rest picked, but if it turns wet then I shall leave them for the birds!

On our holiday we stopped one night in Cologne and two nights in Munich on the way to Mayrhofen. Each year the Oktoberfest has an image for all the official souvenirs - this year's was based on cross stitch!
I just had to treat myself to a t-shirt with that on - as well as Mike buying a stein to add to his collection! I might even be tempted to try and recreate it as a pattern to stitch. I'm surprised that the financial wizards of Munich hadn't seen that opportunity coming! I always treat myself to something from a holiday in the form of a pattern or kit. This time I got a couple of Rico pattern books (one of flowers and the other a christmas book). When we got to Mayrhofen I went to where my favourite shop used to be - it had gone! In its place was a slot machine "palace"! So I turned to my phone and Googled it - to discover that it had moved into the garage of the owner's house in the next village down! (What did we do before Google??) So we drove down there and up a very steep hill, we discovered Maria's HardarbeitStuberl, in her refurbished garage area. To celebrate I bought 2 patterns and a Hummel kit! (I've wanted to do one for ages).

Apart from that we didn't do a lot on holiday - we stretched out in the sun and watched the world go by. On the Monday before we left home they had 20cm of snow in the garden of our appartment house. Luckily when we got there it had all gone. For the two weeks we stayed the weather was perfect until the very last day when early morning rain fell, covering the mountains around in a dusting of snow again. Now we're home we've read that they are considering starting the season early this year!

But my BIG news (if you're still with me) is that I FINISHED the second side of Jessica's stocking. I still have to wash it and make up the stocking but I can stop panicking that it won't be done in time. I also created two bands which will go round the top of that.

So now I have to chose what to sew next? I must do a bit more to Egypt. But what else?
My cheetah from Yiotta's Cross Stitch?
The Hummel kit from holiday?
Oh I forgot - I've got to do a bit of knitting first - 2 Blanket Bunnies for Jessica's friends and a jacket for her which I've started - an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern for a Tyrolean style jacket. I'll have to do that before she grows out of it!
Oh well - watch this space to see what I decide to do next.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I'm nearly asleep!

It's been a busy day here! I've been trying to sort out our car insurance today. We got the renewal notice and it had gone up - £10 A MONTH! I knew prices would rise - they hardly ever go down - but come on! That much! OK I had to spend a couple of hours trying to find something but eventually I found a good deal at more or less the same cost we have paid for this year. So today I thank the Lord for the Internet!

Our Jessica's birthday party went off well - in spite of a deluge of rain which sort of scuppered the BBQ aspect of it! That will teach us to pick the Bank Holiday weekend - should have known it would be bad weather eh?
Here's my little darling grinning for everyone during a dry spell! She's got 6 teeth now - so don't go putting your fingers in there any more!

My stitching had been a bit slow for a couple of weeks - I was too busy making cookies to take to the party! But I've picked it up again and been working exclusively on my stocking. I'm very aware that it's going to take me a while to actually make it (being embroidery on both sides), so I want to give myself plenty of time to plan it out. Here's what it looks like now...

In the detail picture above you can just see a bit of a sheen on the snowman himself - that's because I'm using the rayon thread there and I think it's a nice bit of texture to it. I'm hoping to get a bit more done this week, but next week we're off on holiday to Germany and Austria, staying in an appartment we've been to about six times before.
Our appartment is on the ground floor, just on the right of this building. This will be the view from our patio.

It's so peaceful and restful I hope to get the stocking finished there, sitting in the sun just watching the world go by. That's if there is any sun of course! It's the time when they bring the cows down from the mountain pastures, so there will be plenty of activites going on - music, food, dancing etc.

We're also managing to fit in a day trip to the Oktoberfest on the way down to Austria - one of our favourite haunts - this will be our eleventh trip! So I'll have a beer for each of you while we're there! (Or maybe not as they serve litres!)

If I don't write before we go - I'll see you when we get back - but that won't be until the second week in October - so take care until then.
Now I'm off to bed - sleep tight. X

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Thanks for your best wishes

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers for my daughter's op.

She came through it fine - they removed a piece of bone which was "floating" in her knee, but they have said that the ligament is lax and so will need a re-reconstruction in the near future. Once this work has healed, she has to see the consultant again on Sept 1st, to discuss the next steps.

Also may I welcome the new followers I've recently acquired. It makes me feel quite humble that people across the world are interested in my ramblings!

In the meantime I've been busy with part of Jessica's birthday present - we bought her a tabby cat from the "Build-a-bear" shop in town - only I know it's a cat!

We bought an Arsenal football kit for it as both my daughter and my husband are football fans and they both support Arsenal (Erika was a ballgirl once for a Premier League match!) Boots were available, but I made her a pair of boots out of felt!
But to make it into a girl cat I also made a fairy dress for Rosie (what we named the cat!).

Let me also share what I made for her actual birthday for Jessica to wear.
I ironed some interfacing onto a piece of fabric and cut out the pieces with my Slice Die Cutting Machine - it's actually a papercrafting tool, but it seems to work just as well with stiffened fabric! Then I appliqued them to the front of a cheap onesie - job done!
Finally let me share the party invites I made for the party - if you're around next weekend you're more than welcome to drop in for a piece of cake!

Until next time - take care
Sandie :))

Monday, 15 August 2011

Stocking start

Hi :)) 

I've made quite a good start on the second side of my stocking.
I changed my mind quite a bit about this before I started to stitch it out luckily!
Remember? This is what it's supposed to be -

I was going to use a pale blue lurex thread aida - but that was too scratchy.
I was going to leave the white background for the snow, but I think the holes in the fabric detract from the pattern, so I'll stitch it all! It's only time after all!
So because of that choice to stitch ALL that white, I came up with another idea.

For the white in the sky - which I take to be the light of the moon and some snow flakes - I'm using Light effects thread in 5200 - it's now all in place even if it doesn't show in the picture.
For the snow on the ground, I'm using plain old white.
For the snowmen I'm using the Rayon thread - S5200.

With those changes it should add a bit of texture to it, in spite of there being so much white. I'll let you know if I change my mind again!

Jessica's birthday is coming on fast, so I made the party bags for her little friends to take home - at one year old they won't be expecting much I hope as they're only small bags I've made! (Thanks to SheryK Designs here. )
I've also made an Elmo bag for the boys and put small tags on each with the character, so that my daughter can write their name on it. On the back of the bags I "wrote" 'thank you for coming to my party'. They're just about big enough for a packet of raisins, a small pack of organic baby rusks and a cupcake (which I can see the mums eating!). I had to make a few extra - not in case of extra mouths to feed, but so that Jessica can have one of each to put in her memory box!

Apart from that we've not been up to much these last couple of weeks. My daughter was due to have an arthroscopy on her knee at the beginning of the month, but they cancelled the op the day before it was due. All being well it's re-scheduled for tomorrow morning, so she'll be on crutches for a few weeks I imagine, depending on what they do. Her consultant had told her that she really needs a replacement op, but she's far too young for that. He's not quite sure what he'll do during the op tomorrow, but hopefully whatever he does will at least bring some relief from pain. She's going in as a day patient at 7am, so hopefully all will be well by the end of the day. Her husband is taking some time off work, so that he can look after both her and the baby for a few days until she is more mobile again. It's worrying when your children are going to hospital, even when they're old enough to have children of their own - so please, if you pray, include Erika in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Until next time, when I'll post a pic of the birthday girl - her party is on the 27th - the Saturday following her birthday, so pray for good weather too - a BBQ is planned!
Sandie :))

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Another finish!

Evening all.
I finally sat down and worked through the Beatrix Potter sampler for my granddaughter. I hated it by the time I finished all that backstitch. Not all of it is placed as acurately as in the pattern, but you're not going to tell - are you?
We're going to see them all on Saturday, so I'll be able to take it with us, along with all the bits I've sewn for Jess. As I said before I'm not investing in framing it! Let the other Grandma do that! It was her choice of picture, so she can do the rest! (Am I a rotten Grandma for saying that?) I made a special label to go on the back of the frame which says "Chosen by Grandma Jenny and stitched by Grandma Sandie". My daughter can put it on the back of the framed picture when it's done.

Having washed and pressed it, I sat down and sorted through all my threads and now I'm ready to start on the second side of my christmas stocking. Got the fabric and threads out, and I must get going on it if I'm to make that deadline too! My special threads - DMC linens, metallic threads, Kreinik and other bits of Anchor etc have benefitted from a tidy-up (I normally stitch in DMC). I've put them all together in one drawer of my cabinet and those which I haven't started yet are sorted and wrapped in bags.

Yesterday we sat down with some friends and sorted out a joint holiday in 2012! We're off on a cruise to China, with a land tour included too! It's one of the last countries on my "Before I die" list, so I'm really pleased! But I'll post more about that later - it's a bit too soon to go on about that one! But after our friend's diagnosis with cancer, Mike and I have decided that we'll go out adventuring while we can.

I spent yesterday evening organising the books on my e-reader. There are so many books out there I want to read; I still read "real" books from the library, but I seem to be borrowing more non-fiction or cd's from my local library rather than books. If they're on my reader I can read them when I want to, not when the library supplies it - often with a time limit because someone else is waiting for it!

Better go - the stocking calls!
Take care

Thursday, 21 July 2011

I'm cooking with gas!!

Evening all!

I've been really motoring in the last few days with my crafty bits!

My best friend's daughter had her baby on the 18th. Luckily my sampler was finished, just waiting the details, so today I bought a simple frame and finished it off myself. May I introduce Max.
I'm really pleased with it - hope the family like it too! I've also knitted one of my favourite soft toys - a blanket bunny (Pattern came from Lion Brand where they have a crochet version too I think). It's knitted with one ball of a chenille type yarn, so is really quick to make.

Next I've just made a dress from a onesie for Jessica. I saw a picture on a blog (can't remember which one - OOPS!), and got some FREE lace from another blog giveaway (WholePort). I added a fat quarter of fabric, a small bit of narrow ribbon and a 9-12 month onesie I bought from a local supermarket. I really like this!
And looking forward to Jessica's first birthday in August I've finished her birthday card. I bought a zebra rocker card kit from Kanban at a recent show and cut out a picture of Jess to pop on it. Again I hope her mum likes it - I know Jess is a bit young to appreciate it, but I hope my daughter will keep it for her to see when she's a bit bigger.
I also made some party invites for her mum to send out to her friends - I've posted those and forgotten to take a photo before I sent them - so maybe I'll get an invite in the post - in which case I'll post it then!

Anyway - dinner time calls - then a bit more work on Beatrix Potter. I THINK I might be able to get it finished before Jess's birthday now as it's the main one I'm concentrating on.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A New Kit

I've just received a new kit in the post. I decided that I wanted an animal kit to act as a souvenir for our South Africa trip, and as we spent half a day at a cheetah park, that seemed the ideal animal. Here's one of my pictures from that day.

I found a lovely kit on this site - Yiota's cross stitch and today it arrived. This is what it should look like when finished!

The kit package came first class post - and was in a hard-backed envelope so that it didn't get squashed. There is a copy of the photo on the front page, quite small, but it does give you a reference. The two A3 pages of the pattern are printed on good quality paper - it looks like an original not a photocopy, so the print is very clear. The Madeira threads supplied come on quite substantial card bobbins, all with the shade number printed on each. (The pattern does give DMC shade numbers as well as the Madeira ones).

The only fabric option is Aida 14ct. When I asked a question about a choice of fabric I was told that currently in order to keep costs down, Aida is the only fabric option. There is also a needle in the kit, but it comes in the fabric - so make sure you open the pack and take it out if you don't intend to stitch it straight away otherwise it might mark the fabric.
When you look on their site, there is an option to purchase only the pattern which can be downloaded at a lower cost too. So if you prefer to stitch on other fabric choices, maybe that would be the better option? All in all it looks a good value for money kit, but it will have to be put to one side until I get my Potter sampler finished at least!

On Yiotas' site they do offer overseas postage, so their kits are available world-wide if you want to give them a try. And they also have a selecton of freebies so that you can try out some of their patterns. Those freebies are sent to you in an email, and if you have a problem downloading any, a return email will alert them to any issues, and it wil be sent separately.

I'll keep you all informed when I start it and how I get on.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Life throws you a curve ball

Today we met up with some friends for lunch who we haven't seen since February. When we phoned to make the arrangements to meet up, we discovered that the husband (who is four years younger than me) has been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. It has spread too far to be operable, so he is having to have chemo to try and manage it. I have been complaining about my ankle not healing after spraining it in Edinburgh, I now realise how little I have to complain about - LIFE SUCKS SOMETIMES!! Although he has lost two stone in weight in the last six weeks, he is actually looking quite well after his first chemo session, so we just have to hope and pray for him.

I completed the Somebunny sampler - as much as I'm going to do anyway. All I need now is the baby! Then I can finish it off!
I also completed another dress for next time we see Jessica - refashioned from a smocked dress which Erika didn't like. I had a scrappy bit of the cream fabric left over from a blouse I made for myself, and finished it off with a daisy which I'd bought in Munich last year.
And now I'm furiously trying to stitch the Beatrix Potter sampler so that I can pass it over. It's not something that I would have chosen myself to stitch, so I'll be glad when it's out of the way.
Hope your weekend has been productive and I look forward to chatting to you all again soon. XX Sandie

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A month gone by? Surely not?

So much has been going on since the last post I don't know where to begin!

Having just got back from South Africa, we were looking round for something like a short city break to fit in before our holiday in September. We started to look at a few days in Dublin, but then we spotted a Northern Europe cruise going cheap - leaving on 8th June for 10 days. We visited Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Edinburgh and Le Havre before sailing back to Dover. The ship - Costa Magica - would probably not be one we'd choose to go on again, but for a last-minute price it was good. The only snag was while walking down Princes Street in Edinburgh I managed to fall into a pot-hole and sprained my ankle! I had to hobble to the nearest chemists (with my husband's help) where I bought a support bandage. Needless to say it put a bit of a dampener on the proceedings; and it's still swollen and sore when I walk on it for too long.

I've been quite busy though on the creative front. But I haven't got round to the photos yet - so I'll post them in a couple of days.

I've almost finished the Somebunny birth sampler - which is just as well as the baby is due within the next 2 weeks. I've decided to do just two corners in the border which will leave room for the baby's details in the other 2 corners.
I took the Potter sampler on the cruise, so I was able to do quite a bit - this will become the main focus of my sewing once the birth sampler is finished. I want to try and finish it for Jessica's birthday in August.
I've been doing a few more pages for Jessica's first year scrapbook to give to her parents on her birthday.
Some of those clothes that my daughter gave me to refashion for Jessica have been altered and I've been scouring the Internet for baby sized patterns which I can download. Here's a pinafore top and shorts which I made.

The latest pattern I found is how to make a dress out of a cheap onesie, so I'm trying those next, along with some bunting that can be hung out of their window for her birthday party!
Anyway I'd better sign off for now - Got to go and hunt up the camera so I can take some pics to show you all. 

Monday, 30 May 2011


Afternoon all (or whenever you are reading this!)
I've finally finished the first side of my christmas stocking! YEH!!!
(Snoopy happy dance - but off-screen!)
Looking good eh? I'm really pleased with how it's come out. The penguin bellies are done in ordinary white, but I've used the Sparkle white from DMC for the snow - gives it a bit of extra oomph!

I've been working on my other 2 main pieces as well - really cooking with gas this week! That's what you get when the weather's bad eh?
The Somebunny Birth Sampler seems to be coming on ok. Now that I see more of it, I think it will be right for either boy or girl. The recipient doesn't know what she's expecting, but I will wait until the birth, then I can spruce it up with writing in either pink or blue which should help to make it male or female. Not sure yet if I'll do the blocks all around the border - maybe just some corner ones? That will frame the picture without being too much extra work.

My little Rose fairy is also beginning to take shape. The work is so fine that I can only work on it during the day. The actual size of her so far is about 3" square, so you can understand why it's taking me a while!

We went up to see our daughter and granddaughter last week. While I was there my daughter gave me some clothes that she had been given (second-hand ones not new). They are all "labels" but some of them are not to her taste, but the fabric of them is good. So I've brought them home to try and make something out of them that she feels happy to put Jessica in. I made a cute pair of dungarees for her the other week. There's no reason why ALL dungarees have to be made from denim eh?

Well I'm off to make cards now - Erika's third anniversary is on June 12th and there's a couple of birthdays for good friends, so I'd better put my thinking cap on.
Til next time - KEEP CRAFTING!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Progress at last

I've finally sat down after our holiday washing marathon and got back to my stitching!

Looking at the calendar I realised that I ought to make a move on this stocking - otherwise I won't have time to make up the second side and then make the stocking with it before christmas, so I've been beavering away at that! I now have just a small portion of the snow left to finish and then the small amount of backstitch to do! I hope that I can do a bit more tonight (after I've watched Bones on Sky Living!)

I know it's got hoop marks, but I promise I'll wash and iron them out when it's finished! It was left in the hoop while we went away - I forgot all about it in the excitement of packing! I just want to get it done now!

Back to the steaming needle and watch this space for a finish!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I've been busy - honest!

I've just looked at this blog after being away - wow! I didn't realise it had been so long since I wrote anything.

Well this post isn't going to contain lots of apologies - it's MY blog - and I'll write what I like and when I like too! I saw that in someone else's blog recently, and I wholeheartedly agree! Still if I tell you a little about my life - maybe you'll see why I've been away from the keyboard lately!

First of all - the biggy! We've just come back from a tour of South Africa! We spent 16 days touring from Jo'burg, through Kruger National Park, down the Garden coast, and the Winelands, ending up in Cape Town. Our tour rep told us that we travelled over 3,000km (including an internal flight). It's been a wonderful holiday but both Mike and I have almost decided that long-haul flights will soon be a thing of the past. 11 hours in an Economy class seat leaves a lasting impression or two! When we've sorted out our hundreds of photos I'll post some soon.

Our daughter has been backwards and forwards to hospital about a knee injury she suffered several years ago. She's already had 3 arthroscopys and even an op to remove one of the screws they inserted as it started to move! When she was pregnant she gave up the painkillers which she was taking and since Jessica's birth, she's been struggling on. Recently it got so bad that she asked to be referred back to her consultant and as a result we have been travelling backwards and forwards to see her, in order to help her get to the hospital for physio sessions. She doesn't drive and a trip like that (complete with baby) would take over half a day for a half hour appointment; so we've been taking her - and it means that we get to look after Jessica while she's there so she doesn't have to worry about her during her session. And that's the icing on the cake for us! There is talk of a further operation for her - a donor tendon op - but who knows how long that will take to happen?

Anyway, my cross stitch has taken a back seat recently - I've been doing some sewing, dressmaking etc, so I've got no progress to show!

Hopefully I'll get round to some pics soon.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mother's Day musings - photo heavy!

Well, another year gone by, and this time my own dear daughter is a mum herself. Although it's not a really good picture of her, I had to include this one we took when they visited us last. I nicknamed it my paparazzi picture! Next is a slightly better one of Erika with Jessica.

I've started to make up a scrapbook for Jessica, which I'll give to her mum and dad on her first birthday. One of my favourite pages is this one - 
It reminds me just how fragile she was when born at 4lbs 10ozs. Even smaller than Erika who was 5lbs 2 ozs. And look how she's grown up now! The one thing I never dared to imagine for my daughter was that she'd be a mum herself! She was always the tomboy - she joined Army Cadets because the Guides were boring. Although she played netball, she preferred playing football and indeed spent some time playing with Colchester United ladies team - until some other girl took her out with a really dodgy tackle and she suffered cruciate ligament damage. But since she maried Tony and is now a mum herself I can see so much of me in her! All the good things I hope I passed on. The best compliment she gave me was when she went out on her Hen Afternoon with her friends before she got married - she insisted that her Mum went too "as you're my best friend".

I've been doing a fair amount of stitching over the last couple of weeks too. I started out by gardening a bit in the mornings when the sun was round the front of our house. After a day I realised that I shouldn't have neglected that last winter tidy-up before Christmas! (Before the snow hit us that is!) The weeds had taken over our small area, and so after a couple of hours on my hands and knees, my back was complaining - so I gave up and sewed instead!

My Egyptian piece has come to the end of its 2 week rotation and I am now over halfway up the mask in the centre. Maybe another 2 weeks would see that part finished, but I have to move on! (Sorry about the frame marks, but I haven't had time to flatten it out since I took it out of the frame!)

I realised that this year was flying by, so I decided that I had to do a bit on some other projects - something that I wasn't going to do when I started this blog, but I didn't realise how quickly time was going to fly past me! I've made a bit more progress on the Somebunny birth sampler.
I'm still a bit worried about it looking too blue - but I'll just have to keep going for now. I have a Disney kit packed away, so if it looks wrong when I get a bit more of the sleep suit done, then I'll start that instead. Although if I finish it, and she does have a boy - I'll be laughing!

I also started and finished a small project which will make the front of a card for a 6 year old - I'm going to try and make it like a tunnel card with the embroidery at the back of a stage. If it works I'll post a pic next time. (That's my second 2011 finish!)

While I was working on my scrapbook I thought that I ought to make a start on the Beatrix Potter kit which Erika's mother-in-law bought for her. I hope it will be finished for Jessica's birthday, then I can give it back to the mother-in-law, and suggest that she frames it! I don't mind doing the sewing, but I'm not up for subbing her framing costs! So far all I've done is the alphabet in the middle -
I thought that I might be able to take this with me when we go off on our travels in May. (I'll post more in another day about that!) It should be fairly easy as all the colours are already on thread sorter cards and as they are individual motifs I need only take a small hoop to do each one. I never go away without some form of sewing with me!

And last - but definitely NOT least - I've started another new project! I told you my new year resolutions went completely out of the window!

You may remember a while back I mentioned the flower fairy quilt that I'd started for Jessica? Well, looking at the number of panels (25) I realised that in the attic window layout I was going to have a "spare" space at the end! So I hunted round and found the Rose fairy. (She's not in the printed panels and Jessica's middle name is Rose, so it just seemed right that she should be included). But in order to fit the pattern into the same size piece I've had to do it on 22ct over 1 thread! You can see from the photo that I decided to grid it 10 x 10; and as I stitch it, I'm just going to do the fairy and the main rose flower stem. I've just made a start on the very edge of the fairy wing right on the far right of the picture. Then (hopefully) I should have enough to put some kind of wording in the corner saying who made it, the recipient and the date etc.

Well, I'd better sign off, and make a start on some dinner - roast chicken tonight!

I hope all the mums out there have a fabulous day, either surrounded by your families, or at least surrounded by their loving thoughts.
Until next time