Poem of the week.

August 30, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  No Comments

Welcome to Monday’s poem of the week.  This week I thought I’d go seasonal and so I chose a poem that reflects this time of year.

“August Ends”

A nip in the air today, and autumn

Playing hide and seek with summer;

Winter takes a first grip on plant, insect and bird,

Last blackberry flowers fade,

And fruit, moving from green to red,

Dangles foot long purple clusters

Over downy hedgerows, wasps go numb,

Fall drowsy on dropped plums, honey and smokey wax

Perfume the spidered loft, barley shines.

Swifts on curved wings wheel overhead

Printing broad arrows on the leaden sky;

And now I catch the echo of the far north wind

And over the shorn and stubbled land

The dreaded hawk hovers, and a cloud of peewits cry.

Leonard Clark.

When I was teaching I used to love to read seasonal poetry to my class. I think autumn poems were always my favourite.  Perhaps I’ll find an autumn one to share with you next week.

Talking of autumn – look out for later this week when I’ll be posting about an autumn themed giveaway which I’m planning to have very soon.

Today is a beautiful, sunny day although this morning’s temperature was very chilly indeed.  When Alan left for work it was a cool 8 degrees.

In my post on Saturday, I mentioned visiting a wool shop in Edinburgh.  I am trying a new wool for me which is a mix of kid mohair and silk.  I did a couple of trial pieces yesterday and they came out nicely.  I want to try to do some colourwash effect knitting with it.

The threads above are for an upcoming project – it’s a little canvas work bag.  Do you see a pattern in the colours I’m leaning towards at the moment?  I truly think it’s the time of year – it draws me towards warm colours.

The crewel wools arrived in the post on Saturday from a shop in Oxfordshire called Burford Needlecraft.  It’s a lovely shop to visit – and Burford itself is a very nice place with some lovely individual shops.  Lots of arts and crafts.

I thought you might enjoy this fruity photo – I shop a lot in Marks and Spencer for food and they often have limited edition fruits which I like to try.  The most recent one I tried is the tiny apple you can see sitting beside a normal size apple.  It’s all the way from New Zealand.

Finally for today, can I just say thanks for the continued comments – I’m glad many of you enjoyed a stroll through Edinburgh on Saturday.

Thanks for dropping in today, I hope you can visit again.

Edinburgh today.

August 28, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  4 Comments

Welcome to the weekend and thanks for the continued comments and messages.

I spent this morning shopping and having my hair cut in Edinburgh so I took some photos. It’s the festival at the moment so the city is very busy with tourists. I was asked for directions on more than one occasion – even though I was sporting a camera which I thought made me look like a tourist.

Edinburgh is a lovely city to visit at this time of year as there is so much going on.  Most of the festival fringe shows sell out very quickly.

No matter where I walked this morning there were billboards, like this, advertising what is going on.

I don’t know which play this actor had escaped from but he was in a hurry when I took this photo.

I took this photo when I was heading to the wool shop inside the store you see called Jenners.  It used to be an independent department store till a few years ago.  Inside you can see the great hall – every Christmas they put up a huge tree which looks lovely.

I’ll post some photos of the wool that I bought next week.

Finally, a view looking over the river Forth – the land you see at the other side of the water is the county of Fife.  The bridges I showed in a recent post cross over to Fife.

Thanks for dropping in to see Scotland on a Saturday.  Please pop in again on Monday for poem of the week and some photos of wools and threads.

PS. Denise asked if there is a needlework shop in Edinburgh.  There used to be a wonderful shop called The Embroidery Shop which closed several years ago.  It was located in a lovely street that was like something out of a Dickens novel.  In fact it was used not so long ago to film a period drama.  Unfortunately there isn’t a needlework shop that sells the range of things I would be looking for.  I think it’s a sign of the times.

Prairie Schooler – Angels chart.

August 27, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  4 Comments

Welcome back, once again it’s the end of the week.  I’ve not worked very much this week so it doesn’t really feel like the weekend at all.

I spent this morning sorting through some charts and decided to make a start on a chart that I bought a few months ago.  In fact I ended up buying two as the first one went missing on a temporary basis.  I bought another as I thought it had gone for good and then it turned up.  One came all the way from Australia and the other from the States.  If you are a PS fan then you’ll know that Angels is  OOP and very hard to find.

I’m going to stitch it on 32 count permin lambswool which is one of my favourite fabrics (as long as it’s pale in colour and not greyish in tone). For some unknown reason, this design was one that I just had to have – I am going to stitch it with the three angels in a row.  I think I will probably sell the extra chart – I find it quite strange selling things – I’m so used to being the person who is buying and not selling!

I’ve been busy working on the pansy amulet bag which is canvas work.  I find canvas work hard on the hands and don’t normally do much at all but recently I’ve enjoyed “dabbling” once more.  The two pictures show my progress and the back and front view of the bag.

I’m often put off using knitting stitch markers, as the little fancy dangle encroaches on the ring that slides onto the knitting needle, so I decided to try a new style design.  I wanted to make something that was smooth all round so I tried a new hoop to attach to.  I made one for myself and I found it good to work with.

I made each one with sterling silver wire and hand made polymer clay beads (which are featherlight), genuine millefiori beads from Italy or Swarovski rhinestones.

The scissors fob I made a couple of days ago is shown as well.  I attached a little sterling silver mushroom and flower to it at the bottom – I haven’t decided whether to make the threadcutter to match it or not – it would involve quite a lot of silver wire wrapping work.

Thanks for the continued comments and for dropping in today.  I hope you can visit tomorrow for Scotland on a Saturday.  I’m visiting Edinburgh in the morning so hopefully I might be able to take some photos of what’s going on in our capital city.

Just Nan.

August 25, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  4 Comments

Sunshine at last – today is mainly sunny but not really very warm.  It’s such a pleasant change from rain.

I took the chance to get out into the garden and take a couple of pics when the rain stopped.

You can see that today I’m in the mood for red!

Can I say once again thank you for the continued comments and messages, I love hearing from visitors to my blog.  When I started this blog, very recently, I didn’t realise that the part I would enjoy the most was the contact and friendship of people from every corner of the world.

Today I’d like to share with you what I’m watching at the moment.  I tend not to watch much of mainstream television.   We often buy dvd box sets instead and enjoy them at our leisure.  The one we’re enjoying at the moment is Grey’s Anatomy.  Having been a diehard fan of ER through it’s whole run we couldn’t decide whether to start another medical drama or not.

Well, I’m glad we tried as we’re now onto season two and loving it.  It’s very different to ER but in a good way.  I find it easy to watch with just a degree of lightness to it.

I’ve not made much progress on the knitting or stitching front this week.  The problem I had with pics on my blog the other day took up a lot of time to fix so crafting has taken a back seat.

I did some beading this morning.  I made a different style scissors fob and I’m going to make a thread cutter chatelaine to match.

Finally for today, I’d like to offer a kit for sale.  It’s one that came out several years ago by Just Nan and it was exclusive to The Silver Needle.  I’ve never got round to stitching it so thought now was the time to part with it.

The kit contains everything you need except the linen.  All the finishing items are included. If you click on the photo you should be able to see the bits and pieces in the kit.  The cost, including post and packing, is £9  or $17.  Let me know if you are interested. SOLD.

That’s it for today, I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit, please drop in again.

Steep learning curve.

August 24, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  2 Comments

Well yesterday was a summary lesson for me – I deleted every image from my blog in error.  By last night I was ready to howl but with some help and guidance from Martin, who built my blog, I’m almost back to normal.

I will never make that mistake again.  It’s taken me all morning to reload many of the images although some of them are gone forever as the photos can’t be taken again.  (I’m a neat freak who deletes everything). You should be able to click on each image and get an enlarge photo that should load quite quickly. If you have any problems then let me know.

Having said all of that, I’m enjoying blogging and it’s a wonderful way to connect with so many lovely people.  I have added a new link to ” blogs I visit” today. It is to a lovely lady called Rowyn whose blog is called “Stitching Under The Southern Cross”. I think that most bloggers are very helpful and supportive people – the encouragement of others means a lot.

I thought I’d make today’s post a little more personal and introduce you to myself and my family.

My profile has yet to be put up so I’ll give you a general picture here – I’m 54 years old and married Alan 32 years ago when we were both 22.

Our son John Matthew is 15 – he likes to be called Matthew but, in writing, I tend to refer to him as JM.

We live with our two pets who you’ve met.  Brandy our poodle is nine and Duski our cat is 15.


and the


I used to teach primary school full time until I had JM when I tried working part time.  I didn’t enjoy it so I left and I’ve never gone back.

I now work occasional hours as a fill in receptionist on community health desks in our area.  I really enjoy it as I am meeting people all the time.

Alongside work, crafting and looking after my family, I spend a lot of time caring for my elderly mum.  She lives very close to us and since my dad passed away two years ago I’ve had to step in to help care for her.

Alan loves to do the occasional  jigsaw puzzle as a way to relax after work and the cat one below is his current project.

It’s slightly better weather here with us today.  Yesterday the rain never stopped all day.  The sun is trying hard to peep through at the moment.

I’ll leave you with a couple of lines that I read recently.  I think it sums up my dilemma yesterday!

“If at times things look glum,

Rest assured, there’s worse to come!”

The Ways of Love

August 23, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  1 Comment

What a miserable Monday morning it is with us – it’s rained all morning.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and that the weather with you is better than here in Scotland.

This week’s poem is a very well known one by Elizabeth Barrett Browning called –

“The Ways of Love”

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and the ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Poetry is something I’ve always enjoyed – my hope is that you too enjoy a literary snippet each Monday.

Talking of literary – I’ve recently taken a step back in time and I’m reading a Georgette Heyer novel “These Old Shades” – I’m loving it. If you’ve never read one of her many books then you should give it a go if you like historical fiction that is easy to read and fun.
I’ve read quite a few in the past but decided to go back to them and collect a few new ones along the way.

The little bear you can see to the left of the books is reading the first lines of the poem I’ve just shared with you.

Can I just say thank you to the people who’ve bought some of the items I’ve listed for sale recently.
I’m going to change the way I list things to give the total price including post and packing (in pounds and dollars). That way anyone who is interested doesn’t have to come back to me to check first. It will hopefully make things easier.

That’s it for today, as always, thanks for visiting. Please drop in again soon.

PS. A little pic of some stitching progress.

Scotland on a Saturday.

August 21, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  2 Comments

Once again thanks to everyone who has left me a comment or a message. You don’t know how much I appreciate it – it’s hard to know whether visitors enjoy stopping in or not so when someone takes time to leave a comment then it means a lot.
I’m finding it hard to “find my voice” as a blogger. I think it comes from the natural British reserve and added to that I’m quite a shy person so please bear with me till I become more accustomed to all of this.

Today in Scotland it’s warmish but quite windy. I was out in Edinburgh this morning and it was a bit overcast but pleasant just the same.

The photos I’d like to share with you this week were taken not far from where I live. The palace (the one above) the loch and the market cross were taken in a town called Linlithgow. It’s a popular place for tourists to visit and the palace was home to Mary Queen of Scots for a time.

The next photo was taken a little further east towards the firth of forth.  We often go for dinner to a restaurant on the water front and we took this picture last week.

We bought a new camera and used this to take this photo so we were able to sweep round and get both bridges in the same image. It’s called a “panoramic sweep” – not being well versed in photography at all this is all new to me.
Finally I’ve included a couple of photos of some new charts I received in the post yesterday and some magazines I bought over the last week.

Thanks again for stopping by, please drop in on Monday for poem of the week. Have a lovely weekend.

Stitching progress – or not!

August 19, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  5 Comments

I don’t seem to be making much progress on either of these designs at the moment. I think taking on two big projects at once is a bad idea as I tend to flit from one to the other.

The one with the letters is a combination of Drawn Thread and Carriage House Samplings, with one or two other little bits thrown in. Why do I decide to change things – life would be so much simpler if I just stitched or knitted the pattern as it comes.
I’ve started a new canvas work purse design as well – it’s very pretty colours – I’ll post a picture when I’ve made more progress and there’s something to show.

I’d like to offer a couple of things for sale today. With each chart/book I’d like to offer a free gift as well.
The first photo shows Shepherd’s Bush Halloween chart with the button set. It costs £5 (plus post and packing) and the Little Witch pack ( chart only) is free to keep the halloween theme going. SOLD

Next is a Blackbird Design book called “Peppermint and Holly”. It costs £5 (plus post and packing) and the pretty piece of Moda fabric is free with it. (Good for finishing and backing etc). SOLD.

It’s time to pick up my needles and do some knitting. I have been a knitter since I was a small girl but I’ve never learned how to crochet. I see so many lovely patterns for crochet these days – it makes me want to learn but I think it would be really difficult to teach myself. I’ve looked for classes locally but with no luck. Anyone got any tips on any books to buy that are good to use as a learning tool?

That’s it for today, thanks for dropping in. I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit, stop by soon.

Freshwater pearls – gift.

August 17, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  1 Comment

I can’t believe that the school holidays are almost over. Summer hasn’t really started here in Scotland. We had a lovely May and June and then when the schools stopped for summer the weather changed and has been miserable since.
My son goes back to school tomorrow – he’s fifteen and goes into what we call fourth year of secondary school.

Yesterday I spent my afternoon making this necklace for my sister. She has a special birthday coming up very soon (it ends with a zero) and I thought she might like this. It’s made from freshwater pearls in soft pastel shades and with silver findings.

I’ve been enjoying the start I’ve made to the fairisle scarf I posted about – I’ve changed the wool and also I’m not strictly following the colour choices but I’m pleased with it so far. The wool is a dream to knit with, it’s so soft (one of the reasons I chose it).

I’m loving working on the circular needle. It’s great only knitting with no purling in sight.

Finally for today – a fun little photo that I took recently when we were visiting a town in North Wales called Llandudno. We love to visit there every year and the sea front has lots of seagulls. Usually when you see the young ones they are almost fully grown with the different coloured feathers – however this little fellow was strolling around one of the hotels on the sea front.

Llandudno is a very traditional seaside town with a super long promenade.

That’s it for today, thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Needlework finishing.

August 16, 2010  |  Featured Posts  |  1 Comment

Why is it that I can stitch happily on my needlework but when it comes to finishing I turn into a different person.
The photo below is an example of why this is the case. The little cube pincushion you see was supposed to be an amulet bag! Everything went wrong and in the end, I wondered why I stitched it in the first place. Am I the only needleworker out there who has these problems.

In the end I take the easy way out and choose most of my pieces as items that can be framed. The photo below is Humphrey – I’ve only shown part of him – he was a challenge to stitch, so much so that my husband had to step in and help. I find stitching with wool on canvas very tough on my hands and wrists and Humphry was hard going. We stitched him many years ago and I have never tired of seeing him every day.

This week’s poem is called Time is Short and I think if we are honest we can all see something of ourselves in the lines.

“Time is Short”

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die?
Cause you never had time
To call and say hi?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift…
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over. Anon.

That’s it for today, thanks for visiting – see you soon.