Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nova again

I'm not too chuffed with Blogger at the moment not wanting to show my slideshow. It keeps complaining about the html, but I can't seen anything wrong with it!

So I've done an image map which achieves the same result, just to stop myself getting cross.

I'm very lazy, I get MS FrontPage to to the hard work for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stitchy update no. 3 - Skiving!

Umm, I think I said last week that having completed part 3 of MTM, I would be concentrating on Paradigm Lost. Well, I lied, a bit anyway. I think I managed the grand total of about 2 hours on PL and have been neglecting it ever since.

The reason? Well, I've been having far too much fun working on Nova! So much so that I've completed row 3 and look to be on schedule to complete row 4 this week! I've been keeping Nova as my 'bedroom' project that I stitch on in bed if I'm having rest when I get home from work, or late in the evening before I settle down to sleep. The plan was just to do the odd block here and there, but I've just been enjoying it too much and last week it crept into my evening stitching slot too.

5.18pm - looks like Blogger doesn't want to talk to Photobucket. And I really liked that slideshow too. Well, if you're really interested, you can always look at it here. Otherwise, you'll just have to make do with the whole thing.

And the whole thing looks like this -

Or at least, it looked like that at the weekend. I think I've added another 3 or 4 block since then.

I also made 3 of these at the weekend, having been reminded via the other Lesley's blog, how much I like fruit loaf and that I've been meaning to bake some for a few months!

I couldn't believe how quickly my neighbour appeared after they came out of the oven and managed to walk off with one. And between the 3 of us, we've nearly finished a second now. Number 3 is in the freezer.

I've been bringing some fruit loaf to work with me this week for lunch, but it hasn't survived that long! I've been feeling in need of a treat of some kind by about 11am as I'm finding work rather frustrating right now! It seems that, because I'm going on maternity leave in about 6 weeks, this has given all sorts of people permission not to talk to me. Consequently, I'm feeling a bit left out. And unfortunately, because I am going on maternity leave in about 6 weeks, it doesn't seem to be worth doing anything about it. It's not as if there's a major problem, just a bunch of frustrating, niggly little things.

Ho hum, roll on 5.30!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stitchy update no. 2 - Edgar's RR and it's Burns Night!

I finished stitching and 'signed' Edgar's RR last weekend and I'm rather pleased at how it's worked out.

As Edgar wants us all to include trees in our stitching, all the motifs are from LHN's Morning Berries. To be a little different, I've arranged them in a kind of band sampler layout because of the space available. I love the colours in this one and they really look great on Edgar's fabric. I really love how it's worked out. (My Mum was very impressed when she saw me working on it at Christmas.)

Here's the whole thing. I love the way Edgar has laid it out - it really will be something special when it's finished.

Edited later to add:

It's Burns Night tonight, so we're for haggis, neeps an' tatties with the neighbours! This'll be our third year of doing this and it's always a bit of fun. We never go as far as doing all the formal stuff involved in a Burns Supper, but have some traditional food and a few poems. The first year we did this, I got my DS to recite the first verse of "To a Mouse".

So, in honour of the day, here's part of my favourite Burns poem:

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

This is the start of Tam O'Shanter. I really love this poem, the story and the rhythm of it. There's some background info on the poem on the BBC website here. Jim Malcolm set it to music too and I quite like his way of doing it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stitchy update no. 1 - MTM

I'm rather pleased with where I got to over the weekend as I achieved the goals I had set myself and even got slightly more done than I'd expected.

This one I'm particularly pleased with - I've finished part 3 of Chatelaine's Medieval Town Mandala!

Isn't it gorgeous? I love all the beads and sparkle, and the turquoise colours are just beautiful. I'm looking forward to more turquoise in part 5! The over 1 butterflies were a nuisance to stitch, but well worth it. Did you know that it takes longer to frog one of them than it does to stitch it in the first place? LOL I managed to get one of them a stitch too close to the grasses so didn't have space for the bead flower underneath. That was one mistake I couldn't ignore.

I'd love to keep going with MTM for now but have switched to Paradigm Lost this week as I'd like to keep adding to it fairly regularly. I'll also be getting Lizzy's RR to stitch on before too long.

But MTM is still calling to me - can't be a bad thing!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday fun

I saw this here and thought it looked like fun for a Friday!

Answer the questions and type your answer into Google images search. Post a photo from the first results page.

Age you will be on your next birthday?

Place you would like to visit?

One of your favourite places

Your favourite object?

Your favourite food?

Your favourite animal?

Your favourite colour?

Name of a past pet?

Where you live?

1st teacher’s last name?

Middle Name?

A bad habit of yours?

Favourite flower?

Favourite Holiday?

If all goes to plan over the weekend, I could have a whole lot of stitchy updates next week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I was back at the hospital this morning picking up the kit for home monitoring my blood pressure and while it was all fresh in my mind, I thought I'd give an update on my pregnancy as well as noting it down for my own benefit.

I'm now 28 weeks pregnant and with only one or two exceptions, my blood pressure has been absolutely fine! This is a big relief to me as it's one thing I have been worrying about. Last time I was on tablets for it by about 16 weeks, so things are looking good. A key date comes in 6 weeks (that all?) when I get to 34 weeks which is when the pre-eclampsia kicked in big time last time. Fingers crossed all will be well.

Generally speaking I'm feeling well too, I just get tired. Being pregnant at 40 feels like much harder work than being pregnant at 33 ever did! I have tired days when I feel like I'm going around with a lead weight strapped to my belly and I wonder how I'm going to keep going until April. In some ways, I'm glad that my job mainly involves sitting in front of a computer all day, so at least I don't have to do something physically demanding.

I got myself a rather tired and run down in the run up to Christmas and this led to my having a lot of doubts about having the baby, about its impact on me, my DH, my DS and our family as a whole. Having arrived on the other side of Christmas now, I feel a lot better about things and can see that a lot of the things I've been worrying about can't be predicted, but there's no harm in simply acknowledging that I have these concerns that can only be answered after the baby arrives.

My main worry is how my DS will react. He's so lovely as he is, I just don't want him to feel left out, rejected or disadvantaged in any way. But as long as I bear that in mind, I can take steps to try and avoid that.

DS can also be quite funny - he's asking lots of questions, like how I got the seed from Daddy to make the baby grow in my tummy. It can be quite challenging to think up answers appropriate to a 7 year old! There have been one or two occasions where I've told him that I'll answer his questions when he's older, that he doesn't need to know the answer now. To which he asks if he'll be old enough for me to tell him tomorrow?

I'm aware that recently I've been saying in posts how well my stitching has been going, but I haven't shown any stitchy pics of what I've been up to! I keep telling myself that at the end of this week, I'll have reached a point when I'm ready to share. Somehow that point just hasn't arrived yet.

I also have a big thing for Leanne's House Block of the Month Quilt - I would sooo love to make this. I like the block of the month idea, breaking it down into less intimidating chunks. But I have no idea whether I would actually get round to making it, particularly when I've never done any quilting before. But at the same time I'm sooo tempted. Having seen that Sonya is working on it, I'm so jealous!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gnome Time

Before I get started properly, I just want to show you this -

Every time I look at it, I'm convinced it's some kind of hairy knitted thong - but I can assure you it isn't! As you'll see below, it's something quite different

Anyway, I've finally finished my first knitted gnome! And he's such a cutie!

I think he's really supposed to be a Christmas decoration, but as I started him on New Year's Day, he has to be my New Year's Gnome. And I have to confess that he was much simpler to make than the monkee!

The pattern has the body knitted in one colour and the hands, feet and hat in a different colour, but every time I looked at him, I thought he looked rather naked and cold, so I knitted him a matching waistcoat to keep him warm and we're all happy now. Except for DS who keeps straightening out the kinks I put in the wiggly end of his hat!

With all this knitting going on, you'd never believe I've been making good progress with my stitching this week and starting to plan my PIFs and other things. However, I have orders (from my Mum and brother, at least) to knit more monkees, but I'll fit them in as and when I feel like it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monkee Hide & Seek

While we were up in Scotland over Christmas, DS and I invented the game of Monkee Hide & Seek which we found rather amusing! Just a sort of hunt the monkee game with photos.

So first, DS hid him in bed -

Then I hid him on top of the kitchen cupboards -

DS then decided that the wine rack would make a good hiding place ......

...... and that he needed some refreshment after.

But I got my revenge by hiding our friend in the washing machine .....

..... but I'm not sure that he liked it!

Continuing the monkee theme, I have to show you something my brother introduced me to.

Just search on youtube for 'tbs monkeys' and you can find lots of monkey-ed movies!

to everyone for the lovely comments on my photos in my last post. I do enjoy playing around taking photos and trying to get the best from them. I don't like to blog without photos!

My camera is an Olympus C70 Zoom which I think is quite a good one and gives me lots of scope to play around and try different things. I'm sure I don't know half the things it can do! It does have a couple of very useful close-up settings which can allow me to get very close in for some photos. I also usually play around with my photos on the PC when I take them off the camera, cropping to photo to emphasise the things I'm most interested in and adjusting the lighting, but nothing very sophisticated really.

I've amused myself at work this morning looking for a chart for a Ring Pillow which I've offered to stitch for my sister's wedding. I think I've settled on 'A Celebration of Love' from JBW designs. I really love Judy Whitman's designs - they're kind of simple designs but effective, nothing over complicated or ornate, but they stand out because of that. I've stitched a couple of her designs before, but my browsing today has reminded me how much I like them.

My sister's wedding is at the end of May, but I think I want to get the pillow finished before all hell breaks loose in April! (Well that's one way of describing baby's arrival! LOL) Good thing as I'm really looking forward to stitching it!

Friday, January 04, 2008

End of the holiday

So today is my last day of holiday from work, just the weekend to go then back to work on Monday. I've had a pretty good 2 weeks with a lovely few days up in Scotland and all the excitement of Christmas - it all seems so long ago already!

I'm almost looking forward to going back to work, mainly beacuse I'll have a better chance to catch up with everyone else's blogs and news! However, holidays always make me doubt I've got my work/life balance right as I love having the time to spend with my son. I've also been surprised how much stitching and other stuff I've had time for, but it'll have to take a back seat again from next week. It does make me start to look forward to maternity leave which I'll probably start during March.

Over the holiday, I completely restarted Paradigm Lost for the Snowbird's SAL. I originally started it in November but lost the inclination fairly quickly. Just before Christmas, I wondered if I changed my floss colour, would I feel more like stitching on it?

Well, my plan worked! I've made fantastic progress and I'm really pleased with it.

I'm now stitching it using Dinky Dyes floss in Aussie Jewels, the colours vary from blue through purple and pink to green and I love them. I'm also adding some Mill Hill beads (40374) attached with DMC floss colour 154. I originally started adding the beads using white thread (to match the fabric) but they just didn't stand out the way I wanted so I switched to the purple and am much happier with the effect.

I think my previous floss colour (a DMC varigated floss) was just too much of a compromise between colour and cost and am so much happier with what I'm doing now.

Here's also a photo of the strawberry I stitched and sent to Cheryl for Christmas.

Late in the autumn, I took a fancy to stitch a strawberry, but was so disappointed not to be able to find my JCS 2006 magazine with the pattern I wanted. Cheryl very kindly sent me a copy of the chart to get me started. At the end of November I thankfully found the magazine.