Blog Archives

In with the new.

January 2, 2013  |  Featured Posts  |  14 Comments

I hope everyone has had a good start to 2013 so far. I find this time of year for me is a time to look forward – I never look back over the last year as many people like to do.
I also don’t set goals for the year, I like to set goals for each week/month instead. I find it easier to achieve what I want to do if I do it this way.

Tomorrow is back to work for me so today is the last day of leave and I’m trying to make the most of it. I’ve been tidying a sorting again as two naughty little cats have found new ways to find craft materials. It’s hard keeping up with the two of them and … as you can see …….

……………………… being naughty is so exhausting.

I’ve managed a bit of stitching and knitting amidst the rush of this time of year. On the knitting front I’ve started so many things and abandoned them that I’ve lost count. Last night I made a start on a rabbit – the leg in the photo below is the only piece belonging to him – the others are being consigned to the bin.

I’m learning as I go with knitted toys, you wouldn’t believe how many pitfalls there are – at least for me anyway. The green ort catcher is a very neat idea and is made by Lantern Moon – it’s great for carrying around as it folds back into shape so readily.

I got some new stitching books for Christmas and this was one of them. I already have the two sampler books previously released by Needleprint so it made sense to have the third one as well (at least that’s my excuse).

Feller Collection

I’ve had several false starts with the sampler I’m stitching first for the challenge. Choosing fabric is the thing I find difficult – it’s got to be just right on so many fronts. The colour, the size and the feel are so important if I’m going to spend a lot of time working on it. Also taking into consideration where the finished piece is going to hang is important too. I have settled on 35 count Permin linen using one strand of AVAS. It’s stitching up better than I expected as I’m not usually a fan of stitching with one strand. I will be putting it on a frame later today.

If you know the sampler you’ll notice that I’m not starting at the top end. I’m missing out a huge section and I’m only stitching the bottom half. I’m not a fan of stitching alphabets and when I first started it I found I wasn’t enjoying it so decided to modify.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Brandy taken today. He turned twelve in December and still behaves like a pup.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013, thanks for popping in today and for your recent comments. Till next time, take care.

Rush, rush, rush.

December 22, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  15 Comments

It’s that time of year where everyone is in a rush – whether it’s shopping, cooking, baking or wrapping – people get in a frenzy.
In some ways I’m always glad when things return to normal but in others it can be a special time of year.

Stitching and knitting have taken a back seat this month but I did receive two lovely gifts in the mail.
The first one is a beautifully made ornament which Margaret from New Zealand sent to me along with a very neat diary. Margaret does an amazing array of needlework, she’s what I call a true needlewoman.

It’s hanging in a safe place that two little furry friends can’t get to.
The second gift was from Melissa over at Words and Blooms. I know already what I’m going to use the chenille trim for – I love the natural warm colours.

It’s been a busy month all round with work, shopping, preparing and several appointments that had to be attended. I tried to keep up with the stitching I wanted to make the most progress with but failed miserably.
I’m now on holiday till next Thursday so I’m hoping to make a little inroads – I’d like to at least begin my Scarlet Letter sampler for the Stitcher’s Challenge. I’ve got the threads ready and I’ve done a few test pieces but I’m not happy with the fabric yet. Hopefully today I’ll choose something I’m happy with. I find it difficult to do this as I don’t like stitching large pieces on soft handle fabric, I prefer starchy fabric like Permin linen.

Thanks for taking time to stop by for a visit, I hope that wherever you are you find peace and harmony and enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Take care.


December rush.

December 10, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  10 Comments

My husband drives around a lot with his work and he noticed this pair at the side of a country road. They are such stunning birds.

It’s that time of year again where each day goes by in a flash and I never seem to have enough time to achieve what I need to. The only cards I’ve written are the overseas ones and I’ve still got some presents to buy and to wrap. Stitching and knitting are sometimes a good way to de-stress, at least that’s my excuse.
I’ve been working steadily on the Scissors Stand – I mentioned that I’m changing the design on each side to do birds for each season. You can see from this photo that I’ve managed to complete summer and winter. I made a brief start on spring last night.

It’s fun to work on but a little fiddly too.
I’ve not made much headway with my banner as I unpicked a whole letter as it just didn’t look right at all.
I’ve also been busy with my choices for the Stitcher’s Challenge that I mentioned in my last post.

These are my three choices to begin with (says she ambitiously). I’m not sure which one I’ll start with but it’s fun choosing.
I also mentioned that I’ve had a recent splurge with stash acquisition – it’s such fun having lovely things arrive through the door.

This lovely box is a gift and was hand made by Barry Horton in France. It’s a limited edition as the box top is made of reclaimed wood and copper from HMS Victory.

This little kit and chart are from the Cheswick Company. I couldn’t resist the lovely velveteen rabbit sitting on the velvet pincushions. It looks easy enough for even me to tackle (I hope).

More kits by Acufactum, I won’t be stitching two of the kits as they come, I’ll be stitching elements from them instead.

Finally this gorgeous bear called out to be knitted post haste. I love the soft shabby look of the yarn so I am going to knit it exactly as it comes without substituting anything.

I should be writing cards instead of writing this post but I wanted to stop by and say hello to everyone. I hope the weather is being kind to you so far this winter (unless you live in Australia or New Zealand). We’ve had lots of frost and ice and some snow as well.
I’ll leave you with a photo of a constant visitor to our garden of late.

Winter visitor.

Thanks for dropping by and thanks too for your lovely comments. Take care.

Stitching and stashing.

November 23, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  10 Comments

I’ve managed to make a little banner progress this week. I’m still enjoying this stitch, it’s fun to choose what to do with each letter.

Do you ever go through spells of having to acquire stash? I know that I do and recently I had one of those spells. Below you can see some of the things I ordered and I’m still waiting on some items to arrive from overseas.

The book you can see is long out of print and I was lucky enough to see it up for sale on the Needleprint blog. It looks good for designing band samplers etc.
The flame stitch etui is a chart that’s long out of print too, I found it on a vintage website. The colours drew me to the design.

I bought the heart kit to stitch as a wedding gift and the threads are for a chart that I’ve wanted to do for a while now but hadn’t got round to ordering the threads from Germany.

I bought this scissors stand design as it really appealed to me. I think it’s quite a clever design but I have changed the actual stitching to suit me. I’m going to stitch a different seasonal bird design on each pocket.
The hummingbirds are fun to work on as they are such pretty colours.

My two little friends are still causing chaos.

I’m just about to go and do a complete rethink of how I store my knitting and needlework as they keep getting into it and running of with wool, thread, charts etc. I’ve moved it, I’ve put it in bags and up high but nothing seems to deter them. All the pretty storage baskets and boxes I normally use are a sure fire target for them.
I’m not sure how I’m going to achieve something that will work as I don’t want to resort to plastic containers.

I hope Thanksgiving Day went well for those of you who celebrated it yesterday. Thanks for popping in today and for your lovely comments too. Take care till next time.

PS If you are the type of person who enjoys joining in stitching challenges then Nicola over at Stitching by a Cornish Sea Shore has just started one that might appeal to sampler lovers. I’ve decided to join which is a first for me. You can find a link to her blog in my sidebar.

Caught in the act.

November 12, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  9 Comments

It wasn't me.

Do I look guilty?

I suppose that would be YES.

This is one of Rosa’s many favourite things to do – each one being naughtier than the last.

Progress on the stitching front has been slow as I ended up being unwell for the second half of last week.  I took a cold type virus that was particularly nasty and was off work for two days with it.  I suppose it’s one of the drawbacks of working on a busy reception in a health centre.   There are three large doctor’s practice receptions and we are all in the same area so it’s hard to avoid the germs that come through the door.

I managed to make a start on a small sewing case and I made some progress on my new banner.   It’s a fun piece to work on.

I’ve been changing around my needlework storage etc and constantly wonder about how other stitchers store their bits and pieces.   Every time I organise my fabric I promise myself that it will stay tidy but it never does.  As soon as I go looking for a new piece to start a project, I seem to upset the order of things.  I suppose it stems from the fact that I am never happy with my first fabric choice.

I’ve ordered a traveling stitcher’s project keeper to try using this for one of my current projects.  My main problem at the moment is a kitten and a young cat who think everything is fair game.  If I leave anything for just a moment it disappears across the floor with Poppy, Rosa and Brandy close behind.

Although I’ve got two designs ongoing just now, I’m tempted to begin another bargello piece.   I have a pattern for an etui which I haven’t stitched and I think it’s because I don’t like the thread colours used.  I saw a lovely mix of colours on another pattern so I think I’ll try to change them to suit.  I know I shouldn’t start yet another project but I find the bargello work so relaxing to do that I can pick it up when I don’t feel like stitching anything else.

Thanks for popping in today and also for your recent comments, I do appreciate each and every one.  Have a lovely week wherever you are.

PS  If you want to follow my blog then all you have to do is click the icon at the top right of the screen.

Mother Nature

October 30, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  11 Comments

I often go on about Mother Nature and the beautiful world we live in but I think that today many thousands of people will not share that view.  I just hope that this dreadful storm passes over quickly – I can’t imagine how frightening it must be to sit and wait for this to happen knowing that your home may be destroyed.

My craft progress has been very slow of late.  It’s not that I’ve been sitting idle, it’s just that I keep chopping and changing.

I was going to stitch a sewing case which was a mix of techniques but once I got started it didn’t inspire me at all.  I then changed to another design which I couldn’t get enthusiastic about either.  I’ve now decided to adapt a Shepherd’s Bush design.  I’m hoping for third time lucky.

I then started my new blog header based on a Mary Engelbreit alphabet.  I loved the crispness of the design and the colours but I decided that the letters were all too similar.

The next photo shows the blog header design that I finally decided upon.  It’s from a mix of charts by Acufactum and I’m happy with my choice.  The little lady you can see was a bit fiddly to stitch as the designer goes in for a lot of partial stitches but fun all the same.  The letters look less fiddly and I will adapt them to suit what I’m happier with.

The apple pincushion came all the way from Australia and will travel all the way to the States as a gift.  It’s for a lady who I write to who is in her nineties and she loves to stitch and quilt so I know she will make good use of the pincushion.

I’ve been knitting a little but not as much – I just wish I hadn’t wasted so much time to-ing and fro-ing.  My time has also been taken up with caring for little Rosa who had surgery last week as it was time to have her spayed.  I was also busy planning things for Matthew’s 18th birthday which was on Saturday.  He had a lovely weekend of celebrations with family and friends. (Please ignore the walls in the photo, we’re currently stripping wallpaper in the kitchen).

Thanks for stopping by to visit and for your lovely comments – I love the connection that blogging brings.  Stay safe wherever you are.

PS.  All the photos in my blog are “clickable”.

Sweet nothings.

October 8, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  12 Comments

It’s been another eventful week with our pets yet again.  Poor Rosa was very unwell mid-week and had to be hospitalised overnight at the vet.  She took an acute urinary infection which laid her very low.  The general feeling is that the flu virus has reduced her immunity and an infection was the result.  She and Poppy are both fine at the moment but I’m not counting any chickens yet.


When the two of them settle like this then I can get on with a little knitting or stitching.

I’ve been wanting to finish a little rabbit for ages now but it’s the type of knitting that you have to be in the right frame of mind to do.

She is “Lily” bunny from the pattern by Susan of “Mary Jane’s Tearoom”.  Susan produces the loveliest of patterns for knitted toys.  They have so much detail in them and she has such an eye for choosing the perfect colours.

I finished this little piece of bargello last week and have since made it up into a small pincushion.  It’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be but that’s okay as it’s only really for parking my needle whilst stitching.

I’m hoping to make a start on a stitcher’s sewing case tomorrow or the next day depending on if the chart arrives.  I’d also like to stitch a new blog header using Mary Engelbreit type colours.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Brandy who obviously decided that he didn’t want to be left out of the vet visits.  He swallowed a marble that the cats knocked on the floor and had to be rushed to the emergency vet to get an injection to make him sick.  If it had travelled out of his stomach then he would have needed surgery.

I’ll leave you on that note, till next time.  Have a great week and take care.

Baking buddies.

September 28, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  10 Comments

Am I the only person who thinks that time has speeded up – the weeks seem to flash past and the weekend is here and gone before we know it.

I’m trying hard to get into a better routine now that I have changed my working hours to mornings only.  I’m determined to make time each week for baking, beading, knitting and stitching alongside all the other mundane things that need done each day. When I baked yesterday I ended up with two little helpers – one with flour sieving and one in the sink.

They are both feeling better, I would say that Rosa has made a full recovery but Poppy is still on medication and isn’t quite there yet.  It hasn’t stopped her from getting into mischief though.

I have managed a little more stitching on the bargello pincushion.  I decided to keep it to two sets of colours instead of four.  I’m stitching it on 35 count lambswool with Soie D’Alger silks – they are my favourite silks to work with.  I keep meaning to post my Needlepoint Inc silks for sale as I never work with them.  I’ll try to get round to that sometime soon.

I have also got a knitting finish to show – it’s the first for ages.

It’s a “Scrappy Bunny” which was fun to knit but not so much fun to put together.  I’m gradually learning how to improve my sewing together of toys and also the embroidering of facial features.  Designers make it look so easy but it’s not and it takes practice if you want to end up with something that looks good and not something you would find at a “jumble sale”.

I took this little fellow to work this morning and a colleague bought him for her young nephew.  The money she paid will go to the charity box we keep at work – we choose a different charity to give to each time we reach a certain amount in the box.

I’ll finish today with another little poem that appealed to me.  I don’t know who wrote this one.

The wise words your mother said

And you pretended not to hear,

May linger somewhere in your head

And return in later years.

Her sound advice from long ago

Could well be what you need

To help you know, and they may show

The best way to proceed.

Thanks for stopping by today and thanks too for your kind comments regarding the kitties.  Take care.

PS I’ve managed to get my banner changed to being a bit more seasonal, I’m hoping to do the same with my little sidebar pics too.

Posted missing.

September 22, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  12 Comments

I’ve not been around these last few weeks as we’ve had the most awful time with Poppy and Rosa.

Feeling Sorry For Myself

Poppy took unwell two and a half weeks ago and Rosa took unwell a week ago.  They both have the strain of cat flu called Calicivirus and things haven’t been good.

They’ve both been vaccinated against cat flu and are indoor cats so no one knows how this happened.

Poppy still has a sore eye and ulcers in her mouth but is gradually getting there, we hope. We were desperately worried about Rosa this week as she developed a kitten form of this virus which gives the kitten an extremely high temperature and lameness.  She had to be hospitalised at the vet for two days – her temperature has now stablised and hopefully she’s over the worst.

As you can imagine, any form of craft has taken a back seat as my days have largely been filled with nursing sick kitties.  I did manage a bit of knitting as I found it easier to settle to and I finished this little lavender sachet.

I’ve started a little pincushion to match the needlebook that I finished a little while back.

Our weather has been very mixed, although today is nicer than it’s been and the sun is shining- it’s very autumnal though.  Yesterday morning the temperature was four degrees – that’s pretty cold for this time of year.

I noticed this little fellow in the garden through the week – it’s our first robin since last winter.

When I was taking his photo, this collared dove appeared.

Thanks for popping in for a visit and thanks too for your kind comments.    I’ll leave you today with a little quote from Walter C Hagen.

You are only here for a short visit.

Don’t hurry.  Don’t worry.

And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

Can it be?

August 31, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  9 Comments

Can tomorrow really be the first of September?  It certainly doesn’t feel as though it is with summer being such a miserable season with us.

Rosa is still growing like a weed and she and Poppy are developing into firm friends.  I’m glad, as there is no guarantee that cats will take to each other, even sisters.  I think the little one is good company for Poppy which is the main reason we got her.

I’ve been doing a little stitching and a very little knitting.  Rosa loves to run off with wool the minute I bring it out.

I finished this bookmark to give as a gift, it turned out quite nicely and I was fairly happy with the end result.  As you know, I’m not comfortable when finishing is needed so it’s something I only do on the odd occasion.

I started a little Shepherd’s Bush gift bag as I’d like to make a few for Christmas extras using different designs, so this is sort of a trial.

I usually work my stitching on Siesta bar frames as I stitch mainly with Permin linen. However this design was more suited to Belfast linen and I find it’s not the best linen to stretch on a frame.  I’m trying to stitch “in hand” but it doesn’t come naturally to me.

Does anyone have any suggestions to the best way to work with Zweigart linen to stop it becoming floppy in a stitching frame?

The next two photos show a lovely gift sent to me by Margaret in New Zealand.  Margaret does the most beautiful stitching – I really do admire the variety of work she tackles and her finishing is perfection.

The pretty box contained a variety of chocolate cookies, Belgian chocolate and a very neat little mouse that Margaret stitched.  You can see in this photo the beautiful stitching I mentioned.  I think the mouse is called a Marken Mouse and I know from reading Margaret’s blog that it was featured in an Australian magazine called Inspirations.

I’ve got a fairly busy weekend planned but tomorrow I’m hoping to visit Stirling where there is a wool shop that I enjoy spending time in.  I’m looking for wool for a small scrappy toy that I would like to knit.  I often see finished designs on Ravelry and I feel that it’s the combination of colour and type of yarn used that makes design look so good.  I think that colour is one of the single most important factors in all craft work.

I hope you enjoy your weekend wherever you are and that you find time to relax and create.  Thanks for dropping by and take care.