Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all.
I hope it holds everything you want it to and that you and yours will be happy and healthy.
Image result for happy new year 2017
There has been too much bad news for a lot of people in 2016 and I hope that we can ALL leave that behind and will have things to celebrate in 2017.

For me, I want to get back to regular blogging and stitching and for the kids to do well with their A levels and GCSE's this year so that they can go on to do whatever they want to in life.  I want my friends to stay well and happy.  That's all I want from life next year.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Brave the Shave

As the title says - I am braving the shave.

That means that my beautiful, shoulder length hair is going to be shaved.  Have I gone mad I hear you ask?  No!  It's all in aid of raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support.  As many of you know, Gaynor (StitchersAnon) was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the second time); it's terminal. She has already beaten the 6 months she was given which is fabulous. So I am begging for donations as I would like to raise as much as I can for this brilliant charity.  I know there are loads of charities, clamouring for your attention so all I am asking for is £1, $1 or 1 of whatever currency you have!

The link below will take you directly to my donations page.  Please, please, please donate!

Sunday 18 September 2016

Jo's Big Birthday Bloghop

2005 - Jo was 39.  As her son grew up Jo decided to look for some part-time work and asked a friend of her's if he needed any bar staff at his new music venue.  The friend said "yes, he did" and Jo started working one evening a week while her parents looked after her son.  Within a couple of months, the working relationship became much more and Jo found herself "dating the boss".  Fortunately all worked out well for them and Jo kept her man and her job!
As her social life improved Jo's stitching life was slow and steady with only a few finishes happening.  Jo was a strict OAAT stitcher in those days.

Oh Dear!
2005 was not a memorable year for me in any way, shape or form.
Nothing much happened.Hobb Nobb's Winter Welcome - completed November 2005

It was the year that I started volunteering in school which eventually led me to where I am now careerwise!  It all started when Rachael was in Reception and came home one day saying that she had been told off by the Head Teacher for counting up to 100.  Well obviously I was furious and went stomping into school the following day, ready to rip someone's head off for daring to suggest that my daughter couldn't count up as far as she wanted to.  After explaining my 'concerns' to the class teacher - Mrs Smiley (by name and nature), she laughed and explained that the Reception curiculum target was that they should be able to count up to 20.  Obviously, I felt a bit of an idiot!!!  She suggested I come into school and helped in the classroom, playing some games with the children.  They loved it, I loved it and the rest is history.  I can't imagine not working in a school now!

I wasn't stitching much as I was working 3 different evening jobs so that one of us was always at home with the kids.  That was enough to keep me out of

Jo, I hope you have had a fabulous birthday and I am so sorry that this is late.  I spent a lot of time at A&E yesterday with Rachael and a dodgy arm!

Sunday 26 June 2016

Poppy Dance - Marianne Broome (HaED)

Good evening...good to see you again!

Ok, sit yourself down.  Don't pick up that brew and make sure you have someone with you to monitor you for shock symptoms.

At the start of May, it dawned on me that my mum has only ever had one piece of cross stitching from me.  By that, I mean a decent sized piece not just cards etc.  She loves poppies and has a poppy theme in the lounge - well at least she did the last time I was there!  So...after trawling through ALL my magazines (not something for the faint hearted) and wandering through the internet, I kept coming back to the same design - Poppy Dance by Marianne Broome (HaED).

This seemed like a bit of a stupid thing for me to love so much as I have about 8 HaED's - three started but not even done half a page on them yet.  Anyway, never one to let something like not finishing a design to put me off, I decided to buy it.  I already had a piece of 28ct jobelan and the threads, so off I went!

I worked it out that there are 153,300 stitches in it and if I wanted to finish it by my mum's birthday in 2018 (not 2017) I would have to stitch 260 stitches a day EVERY DAY!  Well, I started and counted and counted and counted.  Then I decided that I was fed up of counting and so worked out that I needed to do roughly a page every month.

Well here we are at the end of page 2 and actually 12 days ahead of schedule at the moment. I cannot put it down.  I am finding that I am getting up earlier in the morning just so I can stitch before I go to work and stitching pretty much every night too.  At the weekend I am spending loads of time stitching.

I have also discovered that I LOVE stitching one over one! In fact I think I will restart Shakespeare's Fantasy as I was doing that 2 over ? tent.  I have already stitched about 20% of page 3 and am now halfway across the top row.

I suppose I had better show you some pics.

Poppy Dance

This is the design from HaED's website.

And...this is my progress so far.

Poppy Dance  (p2)

Friday 8 April 2016

Snowboarding (Luke), DIY (Luke), new stash (NOT Luke!)

For Christmas, we bought Luke a taster snowboard session at Chill Factore.  Well we actually gave him a home made voucher for one so that we could book it at any time.  About a month ago, I saw a Groupon for a 2 hour Beginner lesson which was only £10 more than what we were going to pay originally. This was booked for Tuesday and when Luke's instructor came over, it turned out that he was the only person booked on it and so had a private lesson.  I was amazed as I thought they would have just cancelled it in that case.  The photos aren't great as it was through glass and a fair way away from where we were sat.

This first one is Luke going up the belt. He is the one in black, more or less central in the photo.

Here he is at the top of the slope.  (Bent over, fixing his snowboard on)

In the last one, he is just moving for the first time.  He was held by the instructor as he practised sliding forward a bit and then stopping. I have to admit that he looked pretty good at it, but then he has great balance and is quite flexible.

Poor Luke has to make do with the box room in our house whic is tiny. However, despite this, he wanted to get a desk in so that he could study properly rather than either laying on his bed or getting kicked off the kitchen table at dinner time.  A quick visit to Ikea, saw this happen...

Luke built the shelving unit all by himself (and he used the instructions!) With the doors, I helped him with the first one and he did the rest by himself.  (Don't tell him, but I think he did a better job on the other three than I did!)

He also built the desk, which has a pull out drawer at the front, completely independently with absolutely no help from me at all.  It is a lovely compact desk for the space too.  I honestly didn't think that we would find one that would fit in the gap, but we did!

Now onto the best bit! (Sorry Luke!) New stash!!!

I decided to treat myself to the Holmsey's Hymms that have been released so far.  I am definitely not disappointed.  The charts are lovely and clear. Gaynor was very generous and sent me an extra chart as she was busy having fun with her gorgeous grand-daughter.  Thank you Gaynor.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Belated March update

JCS ornie SAL on Facebook - needed to stitch February and March's ornies. NOPE, but I did stitch April's!  This is actually stitched on a really nice green fabric but it hasn't caught it properly in the photo.

iStitch 2015 Advent SAL - stitch band 5 and 6. YES, done!

Stitch Round 3 of Mabel Figworthy's 2016 SAL Started but not finished as the woven laszy daisies are currently defeating me.

Weekly Random number - not great as I haven't had much stitching time with one thing and another.

One week was BRD Behind the Gate.  I stitched a bit more on the cat to finish all of it bar the right hand side column of orange and the square below it.

Sunday 13 March 2016

The last couple of weeks

Sorry not to have has hardly seemed worth it for the amount of stitching time I've had.
Firstly, was Everyone brings joy. I managed to stitch the S O M T and half an H.

Then it was on to Confetti of Hardanger, which in all honesty, I had forgotten how pretty it is.  Sadly, I didn't get much time this week either! All I  managed was a section of edging as in the photo.

Monday 29 February 2016

Goal review - February

Stitch JCS facebook group ornie - No...but I will do it in March!

Stitch 2 days of istitch 2015 Advent SAL - DONE!

I love the holly band for this month's 2 days. I wsn't sure that the red beads were red enough but I think they look perfect.

Stitch Mabel Figworthy 'Round in Circles' February design - DONE!

Random generator each Sunday
31st January - #38: Lizzie Kate Flip-It's

6th February - #37: Just Good Friends

13th - #42: Oh Christmas Tree

20th - Sunflower Fairy

Sunday 28 February 2016

Sunflower Fairy - Nora Corbett

This week has been SO disappointing stitchingwise. I was sure I took a photo before I started stitching but I can't find it. It's probably just as well really!

Edited to add: This week's lucky project is number 3 which is The Angel of Cross Stitch.  As this is stitched on black evenweave, I have decided to keep that for the Easter holiday week so that I'm off work and the kids are away with their dad so that I can make a decent amount of progress on it.  The project I will actually work on this week is 'Everyone brings Joy...' 

Sunday 21 February 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

I have SO enjoyed working on this all week.  In fact I am very tempted to keep it out and work on it next week too...but that would be cheating!!  However, I now have 2 designs, possibly 3, that could be completed so I have decided that at the end of every quarter, I will have a week of working on PHD's and see if I can get them finished.  Anyway, here is the before and after...

It looks much better in real life.  The fabric is Crafty Kitten 'Oatmeal' and is ever so pretty.  The thread is DMC 4045 and is lovely to work with.

The random generator has chosen #62 this week which is Sunflower Fairy. Another one that I probably wouldn't have chosen to work on but find myself looking forward to. 

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Just Good Friends

I thought that I could possibly get this one finished if I got plenty of stitching time this week.  Ha!  As if! I forgot to take a before photo but here it is after a little stitching this week...

The random generator came up with 42 this week and as I made life easier for myself by numbering all my WIP/UFO's in the sidebar, it was very easy to find 'Oh Christmas Tree'.

So here is the design and the bottom photo shows the 'before' I stitch on it this week. As it is half term this week, I am really hoping for LOADS of stitching time...fingers crossed :)

Sunday 7 February 2016

Lizzie Kate

So this week saw me stithcing on this - the Lizzie Kate Flip-It's from 2004.  This is where it was...

...and this is what happened over the week.

Not a great deal of progress as it has been yet another busy week.

Rachael flew off to Iceland for her long aniticipated Geography field trip yesterday.  She is hopefully having a fab time as we haven't heard from her.  She has probably had a lucky escape as Luke is poorly.  He has antibiotics for a strep throat and eyedrops for conjunctivitis - and don't we know it!!

The random generator has selected #37 for next week's project.  That is Just Good Friends which I suspect hasn't been stitched on in about 18 years and is possibly my longest standing UFO now! Yikes - this should be interesting!

Sunday 31 January 2016

Goal review - January

Stitch JCS facebook group ornie - DONE!

Stitch 2 days of istitch 2015 Advent SAL - DONE!

Stitch Mabel Figworthy 'Round in Circles' January design - DONE!

Use random generator each Sunday
17th - 47: Rosa - frogged the kloster blocks on 2 sides, then restitched and added star stitches. After that, I moved on to the trellis stitch with it being couched at every bisecting/intersecting point.  That was a lot of couching! Then...the bullion know roses! Oh my word! They are fabulous once done, I love the look!

24th - 67: Summer in Susex - not a lot of stitching time this week so very little progress. That's a shame really as in reality it is not very far off being finished.

This week's design is number 39, which are the Lizzie Kate Flip-Its.

Sunday 24 January 2016


The random generator picked 47 this week. I think it's Rosa but I sort of lost count as I scrolled so I could have miscounted. Anyway...Rosa is what I worked on this week. This is a speciality stitch piece by India Grace Designs that I got the year I went to Harrogate.

So, this is where I started from...

...and this is where I finished. I had to unpick 2 and a bit sides of the kloster blocks as I put too many stitches in them.  I had made it 50 stitches on each side when in fact it should have been 45. The design is square, I just took the photo at a strange angle.  The rose is made up of bullion knots.

Today, the Random Generator selected 61 which is Summer in Sussex by The Nutmeg Company - so that is what I will be stitching on this week.  

Saturday 23 January 2016

Mabel Figworthy 2016 SAL

Here is the first round of the Mystery SAL, Round in Circles. I'm actually up to date for once!

Tuesday 19 January 2016

I have a cunning plan...

...Can you remember who used to say that?

I have decided that I need some kind of a goal to fail at this year. So the plan each month is...

Stitch the facebook JCS group monthly ornie. The reason for this is that I bought a twig/blossom tree last year for Christmas and despite how many ornies I have stitched/received over the years, it still looked bare-ish.  I'm sure that isn't a real word but I'm sure you know what I mean.  Another 12 would help with that!
Stitch the Mabel Figworthy 2015 SAL.. I started the last SAL in 2013 and have made it to April. These would be lovely stitched on one piece of fabric each and hung in the hallway. If I could get one stitched each month this year, then I could do the 2013 SAL next year and actually get them hung. I do enjoy learning all the new stitches for them.
Stitch 2 days of the 2015 istitch Advent SAL. Surely even I can manage two a month?  Then if I can REALLY over achieve and do 2 extra over the course of the year, it will be finished in time for Advent this year!
Each Sunday use the random generator to select one of my WIP/UFO list projects. This will then be my piece to work on for the week unless I am working on any of the above designs instead and then it can wait until the following week.

What do you think?  Is this manageable?  Can I do it?

Saturday 16 January 2016

Another finish

Wow! Second finish of the year! What is going on?
I joined a Facebook group and the plans are to stitch one ornie a month from the 2015 Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. Several polls were put up and everyone voted. This was the favourite one, so I started with that.
It is Blue Ribbon Designs 'Snowmates'.
The fabric is 28ct jobelan (I think) and is called chocolate milk.

Friday 8 January 2016

Sweet Pea - Nora Corbett

Well...after finishing Vixen and the SAL piece, it was a case of what shall I stitch on next?  I have 3 tubs/boxes of WIP's/UFO's and so grabbed the first box to have a look through.  Sweet Pea caught my eye, so I pulled the threads and cracked on with her.

Here she is before I started working on her...

Sweet Pea Pixie - Nora Corbett

...and here is where I am up to now.

I have no idea why this photo is refusing to turn round the right way, but you get the idea!  I had the bright idea of doing the skin 1 over 1 which is taking FOREVER!

Friday 1 January 2016

Finishes, finishes

Happy 2016 to you all.  
I hope that it is a fabulous year.

Vixen - Nora Corbett
Fabric - Icicle (Crafty Kitten)
I managed to finish Vixen yesterday as the treasures arrived from Sewandso.  However, I managed to send one of the treasures flying across the room and can't find it.  I will order another packet when I 'need' to order something else too.

Whilst I have been waiting for the treasures, I pulled out Mabel Figworthy's Song of the Weather.  I had stitch the kloster blocks for April but that was about it. Today, I have finished off the block.  I had to learn how to do bullion knots, Portuguese ladder stitch and Greek crosses to do it.  My Portuguese ladder stitches aren't brilliant and I keep thinking about ripping them out and doing them again.  I suspect by the time I reach December, I will have done so!

Mabel Figworthy's Fancies - Song of the Weather (2013 SAL)

I really liked the Greek crosses once I understood what on earth it was I had to do with them.  I am sure that mine will improve with practice but I am happy with them for this 'learner's piece'.

I have signed up for the 2016 SAL which is called Round in Circles. I am thinking that I will do it with the same threads and then both of them could hang in the hall next to each other.  The first design was released today and is a nice easy one to start off with.