Wednesday, 30 December 2009's over 2 months!!

Oh Crikey.........2 months!!!!

I haven't done hardly any stitching at all with doing my autism course. It is proving to be a bit more demanding that any of the other courses I have done. I suspect that is because I haven't got any previous knowledge of the subject to draw on. It is a very interesting course though and I would recommend it to anyone.

Lindsay sent me a gorgeous PIF a while ago. It is a cute little biscornu. Thank you Lindsay and sorry it took me so long to let you know. She also sent me some lovely threads to go with it. The batteries are flat in the camera so I will have to get some new ones to post a pic.

As for stitching goals this year, I really failed miserably with them! I have revised them for 2010. I kept the ones that I haven't managed to do and would like to stitch an ornament a month again (think I managed 6 this year in the end).


Anything that is a WIP/UFO currently is fair game to be worked on during the year.

I will not buy any new stash other than magazines this year but I would like a piece of fabric for a halloween project so hopefully someone (Colin are you reading this?) will get me that for my birthday.

Not much has happened really in the 2 months I haven't posted.
  • I started my new job which is challenging but enjoyable.
  • Rachael became a junior playleader at school and helps at dinnertime to keep the younger children amused and happy.
  • Rachael is training as a peer mediator at school so she can help children with minor counselling issues at playtimes etc.
  • Luke was voted onto the school council to represent his class (25 votes to 7 as he keeps telling me!)
  • I passed my last OU course which I was pleased about and was only a few marks off getting a distinction which would have been nice.
  • Rachael performed in her first recorder concert which was brilliant and we all really enjoyed it.
If you have made it this far feel free to give yourself a pat on the back! I will try to post more regularly in 2010 - perhaps that should be one of my goals too!!
***** HAPPY NEW YEAR *****

Friday, 23 October 2009

Halloween Exchange received

I received my Halloween Exchange yesterday and it is absolutely gorgeous! The green and orange fabric is much brighter in real life - the flash washed it out a bit. The cross stitch is perfect, I wish mine was that nice! The teddy has been named as Pumpkin by the children and so far I have been allwed to keep him! The variagated thread is a lovely colour too and will come in handy once I get back into some hardanger. There is also a piece of the green backing fabric too.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts on my car trouble last week - they really are much appreciated.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

What gives them the right to....

...smash my car window and see if I have anything worth stealing? I took the children to the cinema on Sunday afternoon and came out to find my window smashed. It was little consolation to see several other cars in the same predicament.

The cinema staff were great, the manager filled out a report and filed it with the police and sent two members of staff to clear all the glass so we could drive home. We had forensics come out yesterday and they found several sets of fingerprints, however, I'm guessing that one set will be mine, one set Colin's and probably the other set will be the guy who fixed the glass in the window.

The insurance company were good too. The window was repaired Sunday night, the cheque for my personal belongings will be in the post in the next couple of days and the garage are collecting the car tomorrow to repair the bit of the door where the thieves had prised it. So if you are renewing your insurance LV are now highly recommended in my eyes!

I was really surprised that the police have taken it so seriously. I was expecting it to be a case of here's a crime number and off you go. They really have been really helpful and although I don't actually expect them to catch anyone at least it is being treated well. Amazing really when they have so many more serious crimes possibly to deal with!

The two ladies who came to do the fingerprints, obviously took mine as elimination but they also took Luke's for him too because he was so interested in what they were doing! They don't take prints like they do on TV though!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Blog Frog

After seeing the link on Daffycat's blog, I have signed up for Theblogfrog too. It should be great to see everyone's blogs and hopefully I will discover some new blogs too.

How's this for customer service? I emailed The Daylight Company about my bulb dying on me so shortly after purchase and was told that they don't guarantee the bulbs because it depends on how often and for how long they are used etc. In the post today was a new bulb free of charge from them. Fantastic customer service from them and I can get back to some stitching...woohoo!!

Thank you for all your comments on my new job, I really appreciate them. I'm really excited but a bit apprehensive too. It's very different to what I have been doing in school but is going to be a role where I could really make a different to someone's achievement in school.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Fantastic News!!

I had a job interview today........and.........I GOT IT!!!!!

I start on 2nd November as a teaching assistant working one to one supporting a lad who is one exclusion away from permanent exclusion. Should be a challenge!

I go in next week to thrash out my exact hours, role and whatnot before starting. I'm quite excited.

On a not so positive note...I can't do any stitching at the minute because the bulb has gone in my lamp. My eyesight these days is not good enough to stitch on anything other than 14 count aida in the dark and gloomy evenings so no stitching til I get another bulb!

I finally posted off my final assignment for my last OU course. Now I just have to wait until the end of December for the result. In a couple of weeks the next course starts which is Understanding the Autistic Spectrum. Should be interesting and relates to work this time.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Think Pink

This is just a little quickie for anyone that lives near a Hobbycraft. They have got a fantastic pink bolt of fabric for breast cancer awareness. It is pink - obviously - with tiny little pink ribbons on it. Would be a fab backing fabric. It was £13 something a metre but I think you can get as little as 10 cm unless that has changed. I know a lot of ladies stitch for this cause. If anyone wants me to pick some up for them email me and let me know.

My bulb has given up the ghost in my lamp - I'm so cross as it isn't very long since I bought it. I have emailed Daylight to see what they say but I don't expect to hear anything much back. We shall see!!

Thank you for all the comments you leave, although I don't tend to respond to them generally, I do appreciate every single comment. It is always nice to discover new blogs through the comments too. Thank you for visiting!!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Halloween exchange

I have heard that my halloween exchange arrived safely, so here is what I stitched for it. It is the Brittercup Designs ornie from Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue 2008. I left off the heart in the end. It was fun to stitch but was actually the first time I had stitched a whole design over 1. I would still like to do this one for myself sometime too.
Rachael went back to school today. She is still complaining of earache but is much better in herself and has finished the antibiotics. Hopefully the earache will keep clearing and not get worse again!
I'm still stitching the needlebook for the exchange so can't show that. Well actually I say still stitching, I found one that I liked even better so I have started stitching that for my exchange partner instead. Summer in Sussex is comming on great and hopefully I will be ready to begin construction by the end of the week. I will take some photos tomorrow when there is decent light and post my progress.

Friday, 2 October 2009

New stash to fondle

Long long ago...well March in fact, I received a gift certificate for which is definitely my favourite ONS. As I wanted the JCS ornament issue, Amy held the rest of the order for me until it was in. Today it arrived!!!

I got some finishing forms to try as I would like some round ornies but there isn't much chance of me doing that with my finishing skills without a bit of cheating! L*K Housework never killed anyone, Winter thread pal and Winter Wonderland chart to complete it, CCN Mermaids, Nora Corbett Bluebell and Letter R, Blue Ribbons Behind the Gate and of course the magazine too. Our postie must have wondered what was up with me. I had rung the sorting office this morning to see if they were delivering it today as I had paid the customs charge on Wednesday so I knew it was on its way. He knocked on the door and I opened it with a huge grin on my face and near enough snatched it off him! Well it makes a change from bills and junk mail!!
Rachael has been poorly all week with an ear infection and flu symptoms. She was seen by the doctor on Monday and given anti biotics that are apparently her first lot since she was 1. I find that really hard to believe although in truth I can't remember her having any. She is 10 now so I suppose that must show she is a pretty healthy child - well apart from her
I am working on a needlebook for the Tiny Treasures Too exchange at the moment so once again my stitching is secret. I have also made a start on Summer in Sussex but have only done half the roof so far which means it is not really worth a progress piccie at the minute.
Don't forget there is still time to vote in the poll over on the right. It seems people mainly start in the middle still at the moment.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Poll added

I just want to be nosy, so I have added a poll to the top of the right side bar. I am curious about where people start stitching from when starting a new project. If you want to comment to explain your reasons for where you start from where you do please leave a comment on this post. If I am using a frame and my stand, I like to start from the bottom left. The reason for this is because I stitch with my left hand under the frame and my right hand on top. That way I don't put my hand on the stitching so much whilst stitching. However, If I am stitching in hand, I prefer to start from the top left and work down and then across so that my left hand is stitching and my right hand holds the fabric so again there is not too much contact with my stitches.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Autumn exchange arrived

Lisa posted that her autumn exchange has arrived so I can post a pic of it now - thank you for letting me steal the pic Lisa. I finished as a pin keep. It was the first time I had made one and as it was so easy I think I will be making more of them now. Unfortunately I just couldn't make a bow that looked half way decent so it ended up without one. If anyone knows of a "complete idiot's guide to making a bow" please let me know where it is!!

I have finished the exchange piece for the halloween exchange and that will be on it's way to its new owner tomorrow. Once it's received I will post a pic.
Luke was substitute for his team yesterday. They were playing one of the better teams in the league and he came on just before half time. Unfortunately about 5 minutes after half time he gifted the opposition a goal for them to go 2-1 up. He was determined to make up for his error and then played a cracking 15 minutes of really good football and one of his team mates scored to make the final score 2-2. It was actually a really fair result as both teams played really well and neither deserved to lose.
I have signed up for another Open University course which will start in November. This time I am going for Understanding the Autistic Spectrum which although covering just about every issue surrounding the various conditions also covers education so should be helpful with job hunting too.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Rachael and Luke were both baptised on Sunday. It was a lovely ceremony and the priest at our new church is great. He is always cracking jokes. His sermons are really interesting too which is good for the children! They will both be making their First Communion next year and I got to go to the first sacremental programme meeting last night. Somehow I managed to volunteer to do a reading in's not just God that moves in mysterious ways, my mouth does too sometimes! Luckily I have until 19th December to practice and get word perfect!! Both the children are looking forward to making their First Communion but Luke is particularly excited because all his friends did theirs last year and he felt a bit left out. Rachael is at the back (obviously!!) and on the left. The girl on the right is her best friend who was also Baptised at the same time.
This week and next we have the joy of trawling around the local high schools to try and find one that is good enough to send the kids to for the next 5 years. Unfortunately they are a bit thin on the ground round here. The worst one has only recently come out of special measures (for international readers - that means it was so bad they got someone else to run it and improve it!) and it is merging with the half decent one at some point in the next couple of years. The one at the end of our road is fab and we are really hoping that Rachael will get in there and that Luke can then join her in 2 years time. We have to apply by 16th October but don't find out until March where she will go.
I have been stitching for exchanges recently so there is no stitching progress to show.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Arrrgghhhhh.....what is going on with blogger???

With the last post I kept trying and trying to load another photo of my other finishes and it really is not having it!
So here is the photo of them! The middle one is off centre but not as badly as it looks in this picture! The other 2 still need making up before they can be added to my ornie total for the year. I am really behind with my original idea of one a month!

I have also been stitching for the autumn/halloween exchange but as they haven't reached their new homes yet I can't share them for the moment. One though became my first ever pinkeep which was much easier than I thought it would be.

Some finishes

I really don't know what has happened with my blog. My photo was uploaded the wrong way no matter what way I orientated it before uploading and now i can't rearrange my photos so that I can put my stitching first. So if you want to know what I have been stitching first you will need to scroll past the first bits!

Rachael always walks in the Denton Carnival each year with her dance group. This year they were dressed as zombies and performed to Thriller and the Monster Mash among others. We had great fun making the costume. Here's a tip if you ever need cheap dye for costumes - washable paint doesn't wash out properly! No matter what black poster paint I have bought the kids it has ever washed out when they have got it on clothes. So to save buying dye I put half a pot of black paint in an OLD washing up bowl with a bit of water to cover the clothes and left it to soak overnight. I then put it through the washing machine a couple of times to make sure that it if rained Rachael wouldn't end up with paint streaks running down her!! The clothes ended up a great zombie grey/black colour. We used a whole tube of black mascara on her hair with talc over the top of that and white facepaints with dark grey eyeshadow all around her eyes.

I joined the halloween/autumn exchange on Exchange Heaven and received my autumn exchange from Chris. It is fabulous and beautifully finished. I love it and it matches the walls in our lounge perfectly.

I have been doing a bit of Christmas stitching and finishing lately. Below is a very old design I had stitched but never done anything with. As I don't like Winnie the Pooh any more, I'm not sure what will happen to it now!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Happy Dancing!!

I finished My Child last night! I don't know how long this has been a WIP/UFO but it was uploaded in my Webshots in September 2004 as a WIP so a fair

Now this is finished I have decided to find another WIP/UFO that has been going for a while. So now I am working on It Never Rains which is a Country Companions design. That one has been going since at least October 2003 so it really is time it was finished. I have also signed up for a Halloween/Autumn exchange so will stitch something for those too. I think I have found some nice designs so I need to just narrow it down a bit.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

I have absolutely no idea why this photo is on it's side. I have uploaded it several times with different rotations but it still it comes up on its side!!

The full verse will read:
I hope that my child looking back on today
Remembers a mother who had time to play
Children grow up whilst your not looking
There'll be years ahead for cleaning and cooking
So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

The photo above is the start of sunflower fairy - yes I know I was supposed to finish My Child first but it was calling my name too loudly!! The one below is of the floss toss to choose the fabric. It's quite peachy looking and made me think of a background of blurry flowers for her.

And finally, this is Luke playing for his football team in a tournament. He only signed on for them recently. His enthusiasm is greater than his talent but he started 4 of the games today and came on as substitute for another one.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Lost kitten

We found a little lost kitten last Sunday, or rather it found us. The poor mite wandered into our back garden during the afternoon. It poured down all afternoon with it just sat under our car to keep dry. We all hummed and haaed as to what to do with it - obviously we were hoping that it would toddle off home again. Unfortunately it sat there and sat there. Eventually we decided to pop it in the shed. We can't have it in the house because we already have three cats and we didn't want to upset the balance. We found an old box and some jumpers and towels to make a bed up for it and got some food and water. He was quite happy to spend most of his time in the shed although he had open access to the outside. We didn't close the door completely. He settled down immediately and was quite happy there. The kids are absolutely besotted with him. Rachael gave him a really good brush through and cuddled him to bits. I have never seen a cat or kitten so friendly and so obviously craving human company. You only have to look at him and he starts to purr.

On Monday we put up posters and made some flyers. We took them all round the houses (in the pouring rain!) We rang all the rescue shelters, police station, vets etc and no-one has reported him as missing. One of the rescue shelters wanted £20 to take him in! Finally today, a lovely lady from the RSPCA came to the house and she has taken him. She thinks there will be no trouble in rehoming him as he is so friendly. The fact that he is so good with the children will stand him in good stead and he has such a loveable face too! I am so glad that he will be going to a good home in the next couple of weeks. Rachael was a little disappointed that he was gone when she got home from her sleepover but both the kids are glad he will get rehomed.

On a stitching front, I am working on a very old WIP/UFO. It is called My Child and has a lovely verse that for some bizarre reason makes me cry every time I read it in full. I wanted to put a piccie up of it but Colin has got the camera at the moment. I have completed the border and am about half way through the verse. Hopefully I will have it finished in the next week, but I need to get my assignment done too so may not! It's so gorgeous though, I have been wondering how it ever became a WIP in the first place!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

First Prize

We got a letter from the Garden Competition organisers today. Colin has won first prize in the Best Patio/Yard competition. We get to go to a presentation ceremony on 10th September to collect the prize. I am not sure what it is but when he won second prize 2 years ago, he got £50. The children were really excited and want to know if they can be in any photos that are taken. It's nice to get some good news for a change!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Sunflower Fairy

My Valdani threads arrived today. They are gorgeous colours and I can't wait to start Sunflower Fairy. I did a floss toss this morning to decide on a fabric and I think I will problably go with Day Dream from The Blended Needle which is an orangy pinky colour. I can't find where I put the camera at the moment to put a piccie up but as soon as I do, I will!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Our Garden

I thought I would show a few pics of some of the flowers in our garden at the moment. Colin got some amazing shots with a wasp in them.
The rose above is my second favourite in the garden. I think it is named Nouveau or something similar to that. This is the second time it has flowered this year.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I spent most of Sunday cutting and sewing the border for this and it is now finished and hanging in our lounge. It looks so much better in real life than this photo but unfortunately it is miserable and gloomy again today and I can't get a decent picture of it.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Stitching mojo may have returned

Well I finally picked up a needle and thread on Monday night. After contemplating a new start and then deciding I had quite enough WIP's as it was, I decided to do the last part of How Does Your Garden Grow? This was really quick to do. I stitched it all in one evening and then beaded it Tuesday morning. Now I have a problem - it needed washing and off course needs ironing. The trouble is I used invisible thread to attach the beads and if I iron it I suspect the beads will all drop off! Any ideas what I can do??

After finishing that, I decided to finish off June Zooms as there wasn't a lot to do on it. That got finished Tuesday too.
On Wednesday I finished January Snows and started March Blows, which I finished today. Finally, more than 5 years after it was started, the whole series is finally stitched!!

I contemplated a new start and even picked out a chart and found the fabric for it. Unfortuantely I can't find where on earth I put the threads for it!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Lost my mojo!

Well...I have officially lost my stitching mojo. I haven't picked up a needle in months and nothing is working. I treated myself to a couple of new charts from Down Sunshine Lane in the hope that would help...but no...nothing.
There has been so much happening lately that I have no desire or energy to stitch I suppose. If anyone has any suffestions on how to find the stitchy bug again please let me know!
The big news is that as of yesterday I am officially jobless. There was no funding for my post, or 4 others, this year and so we were all out of jobs. Although we were told about 2 months ago, there haven't been a huge amount of school jobs around. 2 of the ladies were lucky enough to find a job this week but the rest of us are still looking. With Rachael having diabetes, I don't want to be too far away in case of any problems which limits where I can go for work really.
Unfortunately with having no job comes the fact that I cannot take up my place at uni in September. Part of this is due to the fact that I need a placement in a school that will also provide someone to act as a mentor and partly because I can't afford the fees (nearly £1000) without a job. Colin apparently earns too much for me to receive any financial help with course fees.
On a happier note, I passed my Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis course with Open University which I must confess I was really surprised to do. I have completed 2 of the assignments for my Personal Finance course. The first one I got 73% on and was quite pleased with this, the other I am still waiting for the result.
My stepdad is having a bad time of it. He has recently been diagnosed with asbestosis (if that's how you spell it!) and near heart failure. He is waiting to see a cardiologist to see whether it is worth him having an operation with all his other health problems as well. My mum is considering the possiblity of moving up here a bit now. There is a house 10 doors up the walk from us that is up for sale and I think this has concentrated her mind a little now. That and the fact that she is getting no help whatsoever from her son in law and his wife.
We are having a few problems with school at the moment with Rachael's diabetes. Obviously with me not working there any more they are going to have to take a little more responsibility for her. Unfortunately no-one seems to want to do this and we are going to have a bit of a fight on our hands I think. She has a residential trip to Robinwood this September and the school are describing her as "high risk". We had a meeting with the Head Teacher and the School Nurse last week which was dreadful. The school nurse didn't know the first thing about diabetes and even less about insulin pumps which considering she was supposed to be advising the school was a bit of a joke really. Honestly if they just took a bit of interest and used common sense there is no reason to be so worried about her. Thankfully when we phoned Robinwood they were much more helpful and have sent us meal plans and activity itineries etc.
Rachael swam in the Tameside schools swimming gala a couple of weeks ago. Her team won the Denton Schools Gala and so went forward to the Tameside competition. There were supposed to be 5 teams but 2 didn't show. St Mary's got 3rd so it is lucky that the others weren't there. The girls team is quite strong but the boys are not as good. She enjoyed herself though and that is the main thing.
Luke has been playing in some friendly tournaments for Denton Youth the last couple of weeks and he too is really enjoying himself. His football is really coming on and he is turning into a cracking defender. He isn't afraid to get in and tackle anyone and isn't bothered in the least as to how big they are. He has been promised a pair of Ronaldo boots when he gets into the team proper!!
Well anyway that is some of what's been happening lately. Let me know what to do about my stitchy slump. I'm off to read some of the blogs I have been neglecting to see if that can give me some inspiration!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Hey....Remember me??'s been so long since I last posted that when I went to sign in an error message came up with "who the h*** are you?"

I'm not sure why I haven't blogged other than life getting in the way. I had to finish my Volcanoes assignment for my OU course and that took up more time than I anticipated. We have been clearing up the garden, getting it nice for the summer. We had Rachael's birthday on Easter Sunday which was great and she was thrilled to bits to get a laptop. It seems to have been a hard year for choosing presents as she is kind of coming to the end of toys but not quite into gadgets and other teenie things. Oh and I started another OU course too, must be a glutton for punishment! This time it is called You and Your money: Personal finance in context. It looks more interesting than it sounds.

My really big news though is that I have got a place at Manchester Metropolitan University in September for my Foundation Degree. It will be a lot of money and a lot of hard work but hopefully it will be worth it in the long run!

I haven't been stitching much lately either for the same reasons I haven't been blogging. I need to get cracking on a design I am doing for someone who is leaving work this July. I seem to have lost my mojo though.........if you find it let me know!!

Sunday, 29 March 2009


......or really that should be and the winners are........

Giveaway 1 - Kristin
Giveaway 2 - Bev
Giveaway 3 - Cindy Mae

Ladies if you could email me your address details I can get your prizes in the post! sharonjstevens @ msn .com
If you have any huge dislikes, let me know. I would rather send you something you can use!!

Thanks go to Rachael and Colin for selecting the winners!! (Luke was on a sleepover so I couldn't ask him!)

My apologies for being late in posting this.

In celebration of my first year of blogging, I am giving my blog a little makeover. Thanks to the cutest blog on the block this is a lot easier than I thought it would be. They have a great section of "how to" which meant I could change to a 3 column layout in about 5 minutes flat. There are plenty of other bits for me to change too so watch this space and let me know what you think!

OOOOOOOOH and I just realised that this is my 100th post too!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

1 Year Blogaversary

I am amazed that I will have been blogging for 1 year on Thursday. I never kept a diary when i was younger and even now my diary has far less in it than it should have!

As is customary with these significant blog dates, I am going to do a giveaway to celebrate - well actually I'm going to do 3.

1 - I am going to do a drawing JUST for the people who follow my blog CURRENTLY. If you don't and your reading this it is already to late to qualify. The reason for this one is that YOU are the people who encourage me with my blogging because I know that you are interested in what I write.
2 - for all the people who have visited my blog and commented. You guys encourage me, empathise and sometimes keep me going on the right track with both life and stitching. You keep me smiling at times and share YOUR life and stories with me too. Thank you!
3 - this one is for everyone else. Whether it be your first visit after just discovering me, you have just typed in "giveaways" for a search and will never return and for anyone who just wants to enter.

Of course, you may fit into one, two or all three of the above giveaways so you get extra chances.
With giveaway 1 and 2 there is no need to respond, I will do these automatically. Of course if you think my tasted in cross stitch is awful and you really don't want to enter the drawing, let me know and I will take your name out!!

If you want to enter givaway 3 then leave a comment ON THIS POST ONLY!!

I will do the draw for all 3 on Friday night after swimming. Each person will get a piece of fabbie, thread and a chart.

Good luck to you all and thank you for all your support over the last year.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Long time, no see

Hello to anyone still out there and still visiting!! I honestly can't give a reason for not blogging for 2 weeks - the time seems to have flown by. Lots has been happening here so I'll try and remember it all to fill you in.

I received my ABCstitch order and got hammered for customs. £15!!!! The annoying bit is that £8 of that was a Royal Mail handling fee. I used up the last of my Christmas gift certificate for this order so I haven't really been spending! I treated myself to several charts and the threads to complete one of them.

I have to admit to being naughty and getting the 4 charts below but they were in the sale and were something like £2.50 each. They did get put in the "Oh look what you just bought me for my birthday" pile. (That's where I see something I like and buy it to put away for whatever the next event Colin needs to get a pressie for!)
I can now use my laptop to use the internet. This is huge news as it means that I have successfully set up our home network!! Virgin media supplied us with a new wireless router for free, upgraded our broadband speed and managed to save us £20 a month in one phonecall - not bad service for a company these days. The wireless router was dead easy to set up too.

The 8th was my birthday - my BIG 40. The children and Colin spoilt me rotten and really went out of their way to ensure that it was the best birthday I have ever had. They made me a fabulous chocolate cake with marshmallows on top and decorated everywhere downstairs with banners and balloons. They took me to Frankie and Benny's for lunch which was delicious and the staff there made it a special meal too. Some of the presents I received were a Build a Bear called Daisy (pink with flowers on), Wii balance board, DVD's, Gift certificate for DSL and more stamps for my collection.

I received my stash ambush package in the week and was thrilled to bits with it. There was a chart (Crabby all year) which I have had my eye on for a while and hummed and haaed over and 3 pieces of Silkweaver solos with a co-ordinating thread for each. Thank you Chris it was a fab package and I felt very spoilt!

In work we have now had the results of the pay and grading review which has been rumbling on for about 5 years. I can't believe this originally started in 2004! I am one of the lucky ones. As I haven't been in my current role for very long I am at the bottom of the pay scale and so have recieved a pay rise. Unfortunately people who have been there for years are finding that their pay has been cut. This has varied from about £60 a year to £2500 a year. It is really hard when everyone is discussing it at work. I am one of about 3 or 4 people that have had the rise. People are quite obviously upset about it all even though their pay is protected until 2011. Frankly, I think the council are treating everyone dispicably and it won't be a huge surprise when the best staff leave for neighbouring councils who all pay more than ours does! If this was happening to teachers there would be uproar, as TA's no one is bothered!
I think that will have to be enough of an update for now, otherwise anyone who isn't asleep soon will be!! I need to catch up with 2 weeks worth of blog reading!!
I will be doing a giveaway for my 1 year blogging birthday in the next few days - so watch this space!!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Daylight Lamp

Yesterday, I turned on my stitching lamp and all it did was flicker a few times and die on me. Arrggggghhhh, I thought. Is it the bulb or is it the actual light? Thankfully on closer inspection, the bulb was black near the bottom end. Just a new bulb needed then! A quick search online reveals that the bulbs are £14.99 each!!! I can buy a new lamp for £30, how can a bulb so much?? Still never mind, I NEED my lamp so a quick trip to Hobbycraft this morning and I am back stitching. Just as well really because the Cross Stitch Crazy month long SAT starts today.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Crikey......busy week!

There has been a lot happening in our world lately. Nothing major or earth shattering but just busy, busy, busy.
The SAT for CSC finished last Sunday so here is the progress I have made for the week on my Cotswold design. Obviously the top one is the starting point and the bottom one shows how much I got done. I think I stitched around 3000 stitches for the week this time.

As you may have noticed it was Ash Wednesday this week. The children attend a Catholic school and I work there too so we received the ashes from the priest in a special assembly. Rachael has decided that for Lent she will give up chewing her nails - so far so good. Luke is challenging himself and going for giving up bars of chocolate, fizzy drinks, helping around the house more and behaving better in class. He is brilliant with the chocolate and fizzy drinks so far and refused to have chocolate when it was offered round! Unfortunately, I don't have his willpower. I decided that I would clear my purse out at the end of each day and put all my change in a for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Hopefully by Easter there should be a fair bit in it!
One of the jobs that has kept me busy and stopped me stitching this week is an application form. I have decided to apply to Manchester Metropolitan University for the Foundation Degree in Supporting Teaching and Learning. I have already applied to Tameside College for their version of this which is done through Staffordshire College and I'm waiting to hear if I get an interview. The application forms are long winded though. The one for MMU is 9 pages!! It's more thorough than most of the job applications I have filled in!
Rachael got her level 11 in her swimming this week too. Now she only has one more level to complete and she will be done with swimming lessons. Hurray!! She is thoroughly enjoying the swimming club she joined recently though and is making huge progress. Luke is loving it too and is in a small group of about 4 or 5 for teaching. He is really doing himself proud too as most of the others spend more time messing than swimming (you wonder why the parents pay!!) and he is working hard and not allowing himself to be drawn into their silliness. Maybe there is hope for him yet!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Rachael and Luke went to their grandma and grandad's last Friday so I have had the house to myself for a few days, well so long as you don't count 3 cats!! I spent Saturday and Sunday scrubbing the house and getting all the jobs done that are MUCH easier to do without 2 little helpers! I love it when the house looks all sparkly with all the paintwork washed and fresh curtains up etc. But enough of housework........what a waste of 2 days stitching time!!!

On the stitching front, it is the Crossstitchcrazy SAT this week. I am keeping the Cotswold design as my focus piece for the SAT's this year. On Monday I was REALLY lazy. I sat on the sofa all day and stitched my way through several episodes of Little House on the Prairie and the first two Lord of the Rings film (extended editions.) Unfortunately though I spent as much time watching as I did stitching so my total for yesterday won't be that great. It was lovely to just have a day doing what I wanted to for once and not be worrying about what the children are up to, what Rachael's blood sugars are like, who needs feeding, watering etc. That said, I can't wait to see them both tommorrow!!

I was lucky enough to win a chart in a drawing on Lindsay's blog recently. It is a really lovely crocus chart which I think I will kit up and take into work for my lunchbreak. Thank you Lindsay!

I can't post pics of anything at the moment though as Colin has the camera.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Small finish

Rachael is poorly today and so I had to stay at home with her. Whilst she was curled up on the sofa watching TV, I sneaked a bit of stitching time and managed to polish off this little card for my mum. Only the flowers are stitched. This was a freebie from Cross Stitch Crazy magazine a while ago.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Manchester show and stitching update.

Well I went to the Manchester Show and it was rubbish! There were only 3 or 4 stands selling cross stitch items. The rest was mainly card craft. I did spend a pleasant 10 minutes speaking to a lady about her Japenese embroidery which was amazing. Have a look here to see some of their work. In the end, I only picked up a few bits and bobs from Trudy Anne Designs. There were lots of stitched models of L*K, CCN, LHN and others in the same vein. I absolutely adored all the LHN and CCN and I can now see why they have such a huge following. I succumbed and bought one for now but have a couple on order too. I also bought some double sided tape, card for the children, 4 little plastic craft boxes and 2 ribbons. The charts are LHN - Snowflakes, The Trilogy - Gardening and L*K - Winter Crazy.

Yesterday, when Rachael was at her party, I finished this teddy design into a glitzy ornament for her. I had bought some pretty ribbon but she preferred the tinselly look.
I also received the mount for Colin's Sunday Cricket from Smartart-mounts. I was really pleased with this. They sell on ebay but didn't have what I wanted. However, the guy got back to me with a price for it being custom made which was really good. £6 including packing and postage. Well when it arrived yesterday it was in a jiffy bag with about 2 metres of bubble wrap round it and sandwiched between 2 generous sized pieced of mount to protect it. The mount was absolutely perfect and one piece of mount board packing was easily cut to the right size to lace the design to. I was so pleased with their service!

Monday, 2 February 2009


OK, ok ok, I admit it.............where you come from this may not be much.................but for us it is the most snow we have had in 13 years according to the local radio station this morning. I measured it tonight and we have 2"..........that's right...........a whole 2"!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!

I told the children to not bother with their homework tonight. Neither of mine have ever handed homework in late so I decided not to worry tonight. For how often we actually get snow, I thought a bit of snow fun was far more important!! We built a snowman and had a few snowball fights, Rachael made a snow angel and so a good time was had by all (and it was much more fun than putting spellings into sentences!)
One of our cats, Smudge, decided he rather likes snow too and came out for ages. I didn't think he would like it as he hates the wind and I thought that would put him off. Biskey was very funny though. He sat by the patio doors, on the inside, trying to catch the snowflakes but when we opened the doors so he could do it for real, he ran off upstairs. Silly animal!

Oh and on the stitching front, I started and finished a little Mouseloft kit yesterday for February's ornament. I haven't yet finished it as an ornament.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

How does your garden grow part10

I have finished part 10 of this now with the exception of the beading. As part 11 sits in the middle, I thought it safer to leave the beading until this was done too.
At the moment it is trying its hardest to snow. I keep hoping but not much is happening and the little bit we have is not enough to settle.........grrrrr!

My mum's friend is getting married next year and she has asked if I will make a ring cushion for them. There are some lovely designs there but I haven't quite found the perfect one yet! I would like some fabric swatches really so I can get a better idea about their colour scheme and preferences for the theme.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Giveaway - Manchester cross stitch show ticket

Just a very quick post.

I have won tickets for the Manchester cross stitch show next weekend. I will be using one ticket but if anyone would like the other one please leave a comment below. First to reply gets it!! I will need you to email me your snail mail details and it can be in the post that day. The ticket is valid for any of the 3 days (Friday, Saturday or Sunday)

Sunday, 25 January 2009

CSC Stitchathon

This week has been the CSC SAT (what a lot of initials there!!). I have worked on the Cotswold design from Cross Stitch collection this time. In fact I think this is going to be my SAT project this year as I want to get a good chunk of it done by December. I know I should start from the middle but I don't have a frame big enough for this one so I am stitching it in hand. If I start from the left, I don't have to hold the fabirc anywhere I have already stitched. (Yes, I'm a leftie!) The whole design is 30" x 8" when finished. When I started this week I had stitched 0.5% of the design, now I have stitched 6%.

This is my before SAT...............
..........and this is after. I have given up on the SAT now despite today being the last day. I MUST do some of my coursework. I am absolutely thrilled with the progress this week although I was missing a few threads which is why there are a lot of gaps in the stitching. I have been very fortunate to have some of the kids activities cancelled which naturally equals more stitching time!! I don't suppose I can be that lucky every month!

I just wanted to say thanks for all the offers of help for finding the TW chart. I am hoping that something is sorted for it now but if not, I may be taking you up on your kind offers.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Teresa Wentzler design help needed

I'm sorry for the begging post but I have seen a design that I have fallen in love with and NEED! It was discontinued YEARS ago and the only place I have found it is an ebay seller in US who will only ship within the US. If anyone knows anywhere I can get it or anyone else that is selling it or has it to trade, I would be ever so grateful if you could let me know. (edited to add - I suppose it helps if I tell you the pattern. It's TW's Floral Bellpull)

On the stitching front, not a lot has been happening lately. What with the children back to their activites now the holidays are over and trying to get some coursework done too, there doesn't seem to be much time. I have been working on How does your Garden grow and am about halfway or maybe a bit more through part 10.

This week is the CSC stitchathon and I am going to work on the Cotswold design for the week. The before picture is in my post for my yearly goals a bit further down the page and I will post after pics next weekend.

Luke had his Beaver's belated Christmas party last night. His Beaver's group closed down a while before Christmas but the leaders decided to organise something so that all the children could get together again. We had a really lovely night with lots of games organised for them and a lovely buffet. Luke is adament that he doesn't want to join another Beaver group and we are currently fighting to get the group reinstated.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sparklies fabric arrived

I ordered a couple of pieces of Sparklies fabrics the other day after seeing them on the blog. They arrived yesterday and are gorgeous. They feel like they will be really nice to stitch with. I only ordered the small cuts of 9 x 13 as I wanted to try them before committing to a bigger piece. The 4 I ordered are Thalia, Shades of Autumn, Pumpkin Patch and Fire. The service was great, with lots of communication at every stage of my order. I was impressed to receive it so promptly and would highly recommend using them.

Also today, I finished part 9 of "How does Your Garden Grow?" Only 3 more parts to complete now. I have decided to focus on this now until it is completed.