Monday, 26 January 2015

Red, red robin!


Firstly, thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post - you made me realise 
that despite my aim not to purchase more crafty supplies, buying from a charity shop did 
not count - and I shall remember that next time I visit town! Thank you!

So I started another little cross stitch project last week, although it has been growing very 
slowly as I spent a couple of days on the sofa, feeling a bit sorry for myself while suffering 
from a cold.

I wanted to add another little cross stitch project to the winter ones I have already sewn 
- a little sheep and a snowman (who's still waiting for the final sew up, poor man!).

 This time I thought I'd stitch a robin and after a quick perusal through my cross stitch magazines
 I decided on the little chappy featured in the above issue of Cross Stitcher. I had a bit of a 
shock when I realised the date on this magazine was December 1994 - my goodness it's 
20 years old! 

On the right of the photo is my completed version of the robin which I sewed many years ago.
 Here is a close-up of him. Not bad considering I was quite a novice cross stitcher then.

 And here he is hanging on my bedroom wall beneath another little cover 
kit I sewed, also again many years ago - in fact you can just see that it says "97"
 in the bottom right hand corner .

 Some time ago I'd bought some spotty evenweave and I thought this would be a good time
 to try it out with the aim that it would look like falling snow. 

Here is an early "in progress" photo. Umm.....


And here is a slightly later photo - I'm not convinced about the spots yet. 
What do you think? I think I'll persevere and complete the project and then
 make a final decision on the spots. 

If I don't use this eveneweave for snow-effect I'm not sure what I will use it for and boy do I
 have a big piece of spotty evenweave! Perhaps I could just use it as a backing fabric for 
some of my other little cross stitch ornaments. We'll see - the jury's still out, as they say.  

 Hope you have a good week and thank you for popping by!

Saturday, 17 January 2015


This is quite a nice little cross stitch chart isn't it?
 A few fairly simple little cross stitch designs of spring flowers, ideal for me to make 
another of these little spring hanging ornaments, like the chick below. 

I found this chart in one of our local charity shops, for the bargain price of 25p!
But this innocuous looking cross stitch chart has been my downfall...

Now, I am not someone to make New Year's resolutions, but I do find myself taking stock 
of my life as the end of one year approaches and a new one is beckoning. 

And for 2105 one of the thoughts I had had was that I should try not to buy anymore
crafting materials such as wools, ribbons, buttons, evenweave,
embroidery threads etc. etc. for at least one year. 

I had been managing this restraint very well (although I admit it isn't much of an achievement 
given that we are not even at the end of January yet).  When I was in town about 10 days ago
 I congratulated myself on avoiding the charity shop which has a healthy supply of crafting
materials but ... oh dear, oh dear, I went into town on Friday and found myself happily
heading for said charity shop, all plans for 2015 completely gone from my mind, and a short
 browse through the patterns found the little beauty above - I couldn't resist it!

Now I know why I don't make New Year resolutions - 
I would probably break them every year and feel a failure!!

The sock below is my current project.

 This is a phone sock for my friend. 

I knitted us both phone socks a few years ago and my friend recently replaced her phone
 and asked for a new sock. We measured my phone against hers to give me a rough idea of size - this method had worked well last time. I quickly set myself to the task, using the pattern notes I'd carefully recorded last time, but of course I'd forgotten that we now both had larger phones - doh!! 
The phone sock was too small! Silly mistake! Thankfully I had only knitted the rib but that is the trickiest bit I think - getting the 4 needles going untwisted. So I had to unpick my rows and start again - I hope it fits this time!

It's an easy project to knit sat in front of this on a cold day.

Apologies for yet another photo of our fire but we LOVE it!

Keep warm and have a good weekend

P.S Boys are back to University tomorrow - I'm convinced there is no point cleaning and tidying the house this weekend until they have gone - I'm sure you would agree ;-)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Week One!

Well I have survived "Week One" back at work, just about! 
It was far busier than I was hoping: we had two members of staff off sick
 all week and given that we are a small unit this has a huge impact on our workload. 

I have to admit that I woke up on Tuesday morning (just "Day Two" of "Week One") and 
checked with my husband that it was only Tuesday - oh boy, I was convinced/hoping it 
was Thursday - it certainly felt like it. 

But somehow I seemed to pick up as the week progressed and in the end I had quite a
 busy and productive home and social life.

Baking and cooking has occurred aplenty. Mince pies ...

 millionaire short bread (note the small piece top left, this is where I tried
 to be good and cut myself "just half")...

 (I never seem to be able to make 'pretty' millionaire shortbread, my 
pieces always end up different sizes and crumby)

 and son and I preparing fajitas for dinner.

I sent a very belated Christmas present to my friend overseas so decided to make
 it a Happy New Year present instead and trimmed my gift with a crochet flower and ribbon.

On other matters, I am always quite happy to take the Christmas decorations down and restore some sort of order to our house but you may remember I blogged at the beginning of December and January about a couple of little decorations I had made...

in particular the snowman on the right above...


and the little sheep in his scarf and hat!

I was reluctant to pack these away and decided they weren't so Christmassy that they 
needed to go away until next Christmas, but thought they probably need another decoration to 
keep them company - two isn't many is it?

So I decided to go with a distinctively winter theme for a third decoration!

I had seen this gorgeous little decoration on the blog of Le Chalet des Pérelles.

Isn't it delightful? But as I wanted a smaller decoration I decided to adapt it a little
 to cross stitch just the white tree and snowman. 

 This was an easy pattern as there were no half stitches or outlining to stitch...

so I made good progress during the week. 

And I finished the cross stitching this afternoon. I just need now to get my sewing 
machine out and complete the decoration ... as you can see below, backing fabric, 
ribbon and buttons have been chosen!

I can't wait to complete it!
 And on a completely different topic...
 - son's shoes - which as you can see were filthy! 

They needed plenty of elbow grease and shoe cream to restore them to something 
wearable and in order to give me an incentive to continue with the task and to 
help me realise quite what a good job I'd done with them, I concentrated on 
one shoe only to begin with - here's my 'before and after' comparison - looking 
at the photo I reckon I have done a pretty good job so far! 

One down, one to go!

And much of this home activity was undertaken in front of 
our stove.

We had this multifuel stove installed this summer and absolutely LOVE IT! 
It makes the room so warm and cosy and throws out a lovely golden glow. 
It encourages us all to sit together in the lounge while doing our various activities. 

NOTE: we also love the light shed by the fairy lights so decided not to put them 
away after Christmas. 
 Good job I'm not superstitious!

Have a good week

P.S. And daughter's football team won their match today 3-2, onwards in the cup competition!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Good to be out-of-doors...


Yesterday was one of those days when it felt really good to be out-of-doors, 
enjoying nature at it's best.

Here I am at Bradgate Park, while my daughter is running. 

 The mists just kept rolling up and down and around and at any one time you could
 be stood in the sunshine...

... and within the blink of an eye you would be engulfed in the mist and the
 temperature would plummet as the sun's rays were blocked out.  


A good time and place to celebrate the end of the Christmas holidays. 


(Taken on my phone) 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Hello 2015!


Happy New year to you all and I hope you all had a cheery, peaceful Christmas.
The boys returned home from University a few days before Christmas and as you can imagine it has been great fun having them home again - despite the 7 loads of washing they brought home with them (this did include bed linen!).
We had a relaxing Christmas, but alas the snow arrived one day too late to make it a white Christmas. The snow fell heavily on Boxing Day evening  - we had tickets to the theatre and when we finally arrived home late in the evening our car struggled the last few hundred yards to our door.
The snow hung around a long time, it didn't melt until New Year's Eve. However, the roads and pavements were very icy, so hardly pleasant conditions for venturing out either by car, cycle or foot.
Oh dear, that means we will just have to sit in front of the fire - what a terrible shame!!
(A grainy photo taken late in the day)
We have had some beautiful clear days with lovely bright sunshine - and this is the view
that greeted me several times when I opened the curtains in the morning.
Please excuse the washing line and football goal that completely ruin the charm of this
 photo - we have a hard working garden and thankfully you can't see the football goal
 and the huge rebound net on the other side of the garden!
(And talking of bright clear days - did you see the International Space Station whizzing by on Christmas Eve? Incredible to think men were flying above us at such speeds!!)

I do find that at this time of year I feel a bit guilty though, because as the Christmas
holiday rolls on, I tend to get lazier and lazier. 
My excuse is that this is the only time of year when I am quite so sofa-bound. This inactivity culminated in me spending much of New Year's Day sat in the armchair cross stitching - this was pure, unadulterated luxury, a whole day spent stitching - how often does that happen?

And you'll never believe what I was making?
Christmas decorations!! Nothing like getting myself prepared for next Christmas!

On New Year's Day I completed this Santa...

... which would partner nicely with the snowman I had completed just before Christmas.
 I find these little kits ideal for making into Christmas cards and are great when you
wish to complete a project quickly or want some small stitching to take on
 holiday with you. The kits come with everything you need but when I'm making little
decorations I substitute the aida for evenweave fabric as it is much softer and more pliable,
making it easier to work with.

I had already purchased some gorgeous backing fabric - a rich blue decorated with white
 snowflakes - and spotty ribbon and buttons.

So this afternoon I hauled out my sewing machine from the bottom of my wardrobe,
set up station on the kitchen table and set to.

 Santa was completed first.   

Then it was time for Snowman. 
I couldn't take a photo of them in situ on our little tree because it was too dark by the time
 I had finished.

Sadly these two will be taken down and packed away tomorrow but at least I've
 finished them in plenty of time for Christmas 2015!!
On to the next project....
Happy New Year!!