Cross Stitch

Now where was I……..

Remember this list

  • have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
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Lizzie Kate Designs – using up all the threads I have acquired in the past years.

  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
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This is sock 2. Sock 1 just needs to be re-grafted as I did it wrong. I am nearly at the end of this one so perhaps a finish soon…….

  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……

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  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 26 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!

This was the day he arrived:

Stanley

This is him today:

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  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

So whilst I have not crossed anything else off my list, I have at least shown you some works in progress.

Which means I need to rethink my list:

  • Finish the socks
  • Complete another part of the cross stitch – it will eventually look like this I hope

  • Finish at least one Christmas Present and make it up from the pieces you can see from the photograph earlier on in this post
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • More of my jigsaw that I started needs to be done, this one cannot possibly take 3 years!
  • Baking pictures. Although I am debating this at the moment, due to having got on the scales and seen that whilst I managed to lose an impressive 5 and 1/2 stone in 2012. I have seriously failed to maintain this weight loss. I readily admit to myself that this is probably one of the reasons for the lack of momentum with many things in life at the moment, this blog included.

Trouble with crafting is you start other projects and therefore I picked up a free pattern, the needles and bought some wool and then……..

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Whoops! Another thing for the list then

  • Finish the V neck cardigan.

Think that might be enough for the list for the time being.

You may or may not have noticed, but I have made no mention of books on this list. I probably should because whilst I am reading, I am not writing reviews. Not having enough time at the moment, work has turned busy as I have had to increase my workload and probably will be like this until I finish for Christmas on the 18th December. Also I refer back to my lack of momentum. But I am reading and enjoying it so please be patient. My only challenge will be to perhaps actually write a November Roundup post and see where that takes me.

The Library

I seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment in finishing things off and crossing items off lists. I do like the satisfaction that crossing something off your list can bring.

  • I have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……
  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!
  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

This time I am sharing some stitching. I dread to think how long I have had Little House Needleworks ‘The Library’ on the go.

Looking back I posted this picture in July 2011 – yes 2011!

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And there was an update in December of the same year, yes still 2011.

The Library - July 2011

And then it went a bit quiet clearly for around 4 years. Anyone who does any sort of craft will probably know this, plenty is started and plenty hangs around. Which is why periodically I go through a finishing off phase. I also think because Cross Stitch is not as popular as it was, it takes a back seat. Just like phases, it will become popular again I am sure.

So if you have waiting to see the finished picture for the last 4 years I can only apologise but here it is

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Please excuse the photography it is not one of my many hobbies!

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And a bit more of a close up. This was literally hot off the needle.

It will now transfer to the tin where I keep all my finished but unframed items… who knows what for but one day it may have a frame and reside happily upon my wall.

The trouble is when you get to the end of something, you are inspired to start something else, especially something which has been hanging around in your baskets,boxes,drawers etc for a while. I am drawn to particular designers and ideas and very much like pieces that contain words.

But for what I have started next….. that will come in another post.

 

 

Jottings #16 Spring has Sprung in Snippets

It has been a while since I have had a jottings post (over a year!), or told you about some of the stuff going on. Books seem to have taken over, which is a good thing when this is primarily a book blog. However sometimes I need to remind myself and readers that I am a human and that life happens!

Back in September I got to meet Jax Blunt who blogs over here. She does a really lovely snippets post every week telling us all what she (and her family) have all been getting up to, reading, watching, eating etc. I thought it would be a lovely idea to borrow and therefore……..

Watching – Poldark. I have vague recollection of a repeat of the original series, when I was a small person. I do know it was one of my paternal grandmother’s favourite series and books. I am enjoying it and have bought the first two books to have a go at reading the stories as well.

Reading according to goodreads I am about 4 books behind on my target for the year. (Shrugs Shoulders) but the books I am reading are good and it seems that closing my eyes has been more beneficial than reading of late. However my latest read is the latest Christopher Fowler – The Burning Man (Bryant & May series) and it is out on 26 March. I hope to have a review of the book up by next weekend as I am more than halfway through now.

Eating –  too much. I had lost 5 & 1/2 stone. Sadly that seems like a lifetime ago and whilst I have not put it all back on, I have put enough back on to be upsetting me. I need to find whatever it was that triggered my weight loss before and harness it and see what happens this time.

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Knitting – Random stuff to test patterns on some lovely variegated wool that I bought at Ally Pally last year as well as some socks. I am on my second pair and I think I am going to dedicate a whole post to them!

Sewing – much as I would love to be as good as those on The Great British Sewing Bee, I know I will not and frankly don’t have the time to take up another hobby. However, I can do some basic stuff on the machine and with the impending Easter HOlidays looming I hope to actually sit down and do it.

The knitting has somewhat been making my hand ache, knitting with five needles probably being the reason, so I have now and again picked up some stitching.

Painting  – Not The Great British Painting Challenge, although I am rather enjoying the programme. But these – they are yet to be fired, but I will share more about them on another post.

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Feelingwarm with the sun on my back as I type this. Also a bit down as work is becoming rather trying and I have had to resort to shouting which in turn frightened enough people to have the desired effect.

Pleased  – because from this little post, I have got at least three ideas for future posts!

Carry on Cowboy

Way back in September I posted about all my unfinished projects, my craft projects:

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There is a bookmarker which I enjoy making which has yet to be finished. Trouble is I started another. I think I might need to sell these
  • An ornament I made just needs its ribbon re-stitching on there.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A purse needs finishing off and the crochet by my mum needs attaching Cannot show a picture as it is a present for someone. 
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Then I saw some entralac knitting and wanted to have a go….. The picture of this on my earlier post has been abandoned, it was my test piece. I have started another bit, but that is languishing. I might finish off the ball of wool and add it to my bag of test pieces! 
  • But I am in the middle of knitting a cowboy and here he is 

It started way back here

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And then progressed to what you saw back in September

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Luckily he is now able to speak and hear

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Of course he cannot do much without the appropriate chaps!

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It needs to be fixed on correctly all the way round

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Although he will never be able to stay on his horse without arms

IMG_0597And to make him look like a rather sophisticated we need a scarf and hat to complete the ensemble

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He is rather taller than other dolls that I have knitted, but apparently John Wayne did not wear hats like this!

I am pleased to have ticked some things of my ever-expanding list – so the list looks like this now

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Finish Entralac knitting square test piece
  • IMG_0625Finish the gloves which I started to  – A. to see if I can remember knitting on four needles and add a cable into the mix as well. B – to stop me snacking. Christmas present?IMG_0627
  • Of course I have a Christmas Decoration that needs finishing. A kit I bought when I went on my annual outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. IMG_0628
  • I did but some snap fasteners at the show and have actually used some material I bought from a previous year and made two little purses. Rather pleased with these as I am not really a machine sewer and only tend to do the basic things.IMG_0629

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So plenty to keep me busy and I must get on with it really so if you will excuse me………

Changes and Challenges

The readers of this blog may have noticed a new theme – bear with me, you may notice different ones over the coming weeks. I have yet to decide on the one that I feel comfortable with. The reason for this sudden appearance change, is no more than I feel like getting the broom out and sweeping through everything. I feel like I have many things on the go and nothing being accomplished.

For my reading world – The challenges I set myself at the beginning of the year are bumping along nicely. I seem to be lacking in the Wodehouse department, but I am reading one currently. The 12 random reads is over half done and I think it is a good way of reminding yourself what you have on your bookshelf.

I have my Mary Stewart book to read for Mary Stewart Reading Week which starts Sunday 14 September. I have perhaps foolishly, put myself in a position to read and review a book in a week.

Going into October is the Margaret Kennedy Reading Week and I have bought a book ready to go for that.

Plus I have my Book Group book to read and the November book also ready to go. I have just bought the new Hercule Poirot and very excited to be reading that. Trouble is I am already reading a book – The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House and it has just got good. I know as readers we all say SO many books SO little time but oh gosh it’s true.

I set myself the challenge to review every book I read way back in 2007 and in the main other than some rereads of Enid Blyton, I have done just that. Lately I have struggled mainly because I read so much during August and I felt I was never going to get on top of it all (I did and I have) but because I felt the reviews were rather lacklustre. I am merely no doubt just suffering from a bit of self-doubt and can’t see the light out of this particular tunnel. I have made a change and now have a little notebook which I scribble down thoughts about a book once finished, as it sometimes is a while until I get to write the review. This notebook has been a godsend as it is full of all sorts now – as I think of things and I need to scribble them down.

I point your attention to a new page at the top of my blog – Author’s List of Works. This is certainly a new challenge and work in progress. Because I read so many books by the same author, I wanted to consolidate that information into one place and so you will see that I will list their works and also with links to my reviews. Three authors are up there so far, but this will increase as time goes on. Do tell me what you think?

So that is the reading, but there is also all the other things that I enjoy doing. I have too many projects on the go and I need to start finishing them. Trouble is I see something and I want to have a go at that… then something else pops up and so on.

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There is a bookmarker which I enjoy making which has yet to be finished.
  • An ornament I made just needs its ribbon re-stitching on there.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A purse needs finishing off and the crochet by my mum needs attaching
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.

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  • Then I saw some entralac knitting and wanted to have a go…..

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  • But I am in the middle of knitting a cowboy

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I think I need to finish some of these nearly finishes!

I need to treat it all as mini challenges. But I am sure as the nights draw in and there is more interesting things on the TV (well I can dream) I can concentrate on some of them.

Another challenge I am working on in the latter part of the year is to lose weight. It is not something that I ever if at all go on about on here, but I am trying and so far so good. Breaking away from a well known slimming group and going it alone with a group of friends, still following the same principles in two weeks has worked out quite well. Early stages and I want to get to the 6 week stage, as I know a lot of it is to do with habits and breaking them.

With the push for weight loss, comes the change I need in my exercise routine. I am stuck in a rut with it and whilst I enjoy it, I need to do something else as my body is becoming too used to it. So I have decided to change it around, and mix it up and as of this morning, puffed my way round a little circuit in the gym, something I have not done for ages and ages. I will push myself swimming and concentrate on not lifting my shoulders out the water and breathing correctly and not straining my neck.  So far so slowly, however I have noticed that my neck is not so strained but I keep holding my breath!

Sometimes we need to just shake everything up a bit and as you may have noticed I have not exactly set myself anything specific, just sorted of laid it all bare for me to see (and you if you have read this far). I wonder how I will feel in a few weeks time? In the meantime ….. ever onwards.

 

Unravelling….

It is a yearly outing in October that mum and I head to the Knitting and Stitching Show held at Alexandra Palace. I have mentioned many times on this blog and looking back it is almost like Groundhog Day.

2010 Visit

2011 Visit

2012 Visit

I won’t bore you with the same old details – but rest assured there were some very familiar noises on the coach. The two ladies adjacent to us, commented on every bit of driving, direction of travel, journey, the M25 and gave the poor coach driver earache no doubt. These coach drivers at the particular company we use have the patience of saints. They did come unstuck at one point when they were asking him personal questions and he said he did not see his children anymore…..silent did ensure….but no for long. Their main complaint was that there was not enough cross stitching.

Well to be fair to them, they were correct. However, everything has fads and is cyclical I am sure and therefore if you know that is the case then don’t bother coming if only to save my ears! In the years that I have been going I have seen it decline, and it is definitely knitting and other wool related crafts which are coming back in fashion. One particular stall used to be huge, as they sold so much cross stitch material, both aida and evenweave. Now though you could have walked past them and not noticed, it was that small and also they had branched out into selling other things. The lesson is if you want to stay in business then you have to go with the changes and what the market wants. The market wants at the moment, wool and material.

I will say there was a plethora of sewing machine stalls, nicely complemented by where you could by plenty of material and some wonderful material at that. I blame the Great British Sewing Bee and in fact one contestant (male) was there from that programme. I am sure this has something to do with the current economic climate and in trying to make do and mend, or create something which is unique.

Creatures of habit we did exactly the same thing we do every year, go round the outside then up and down the stalls in the middle and then split up buy what we want and then meet back together and get a second opinion on some of the things we have seen.

I know all you want to see is what I have bought, so here is the obligatory photo

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So what do we have –

To the left of the picture there are some weaving boards. You wind the wool round the jagged edges then you weave with something contrasting. I have made an attempt but I want to get it right first, as one of them is going to be a Christmas present. There is also some lovely Oliver Twist threads there too.

Then following across the picture is a pin cushion from Sue Hawkins who has been a favourite of mine (and mum) for many years. It is thanks to here I have made oodles of the bookmarkers she does that have been sold and also given out as presents for many years. I have got many of her items over the years, and this is another one to add to the collection, which was bought for an early birthday present.

Then it is a plethora of felt. Two bundles of different felt sizes in different colours. Felt Fantastic is a book I have had my eye on for a while as it comes from the lovely people at Blooming Felt. There is also some felt bird shapes, a bag of felt balls and a felt iPad cover.Not sure if you can see the little black dog at the bottom right of the picture – he is a Scottie dog. He could look good on my  cover although not to be mistaken for a Radley I am sure. I need to get on the website and buy some more stuff with the 15% voucher I got at the show too! I need to buy some more red circles to make poppies with. I like the felt things, although I am not interested in needle felting or sticking my knitting in the wash to felt that up.

Not bad considering, but what I have come away with is oodles of ideas and an itch to want to try them all. Always the way, but in the meantime I will keep plodding along. I have some items that need finishing and I must crack on with the Christmas presents for this year to.

I did make a list of things to look up at home, one particular stall there sells all the wonderful Lizzie Kate, Waxing Moon Designs, Twisted Thread, Pine Mountain designs as well as many other American designers. Trouble is they are priced quite expensively and the two ladies that run the stall are very snooty – they always look down their noses at you and it puts me right off! They are a bit pushy in their sales technique. It is funny what puts you off buying from different places.

I wonder if the show in 2014 will be exactly the same? Of course it will.

Another A to Z….

A is for Antiques Roadshow. It is coming to The Royal Marines Museum in a couple of weeks and I am off with some mugs/cups that my late Nan had, which I chose to keep. I don’t think they are worth much, but I can always live in hope. Plus might see Fiona Bruce too. Though I won’t tell Elaine at Random Jottings, who is not overly keen on her tv presence!

B is for Bank Holidays – we have two in May. I do love a four-day week!

C is for Canasta. One particular friend has got the rest of us into playing this rather long but thoroughly enjoyable card game – it has become addictive. And nights and afternoon’s out are based around us playing a few hands. 

is for Diet.  The last time I did one of these posts, D was for diet then – it still is. So perhaps the next letter down should be glossed over?

E is for eating out. I have been once to The Fish Factory at Littlehampton with friends, last year. Recently I went with my parents, and it was just as good. They liked it to and the choice of fish is wonderful, the chips delicious, the cheesecake for pudding divine and the portions ENORMOUS!

F is for future things to look forward to. London trip to include Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Masons. Another Spa break, weekend away with the girls on the Isle of Wight. Readers Day at Winchester. Portsmouth Bookfest.

G is for Rosie Goodwin. I have never read any of her books before and was sent her latest Home Front Girls to read. I loved it, and it reminded me very much of the novels and sagas of  Maureen Lee.

H is for habits. It takes three weeks to break one apparently. I need to break the going down the biscuit aisle and buying biscuits and eating them all habit. It might help with the diet Jo! It worked this week – only 2 weeks to go then.

I is for Inferno – Dan Brown’s Inferno to be precise. It seems to have rather a mixed bag of reviews, page turning but not going to set fire to the literary world! As I still have The Lost Symbol to read, I think I might refrain from buying this one!

J is for Maggie Joel I have been sent The Second-Last Woman in England to read and review and she will be featuring on my blog towards the end of June.

K is for knitting. I have done a few characters lately, and have pictures on my iPad which I have now put into a post. Look out for them coming soon.

L is for Lego. I am a huge fan and if I had the room, it would all be out and built as it was when I was a kid. Then we had the space and I had a whole town set out, complete with train track that went round the perimeter. But in the interim I do have a wonderful shop that I was bought a couple of years ago for Christmas. When I opened this huge box, the sheer pleasure on my face apparently upset my dad, he could see the child in me still! It is still made, it took  me a couple of days and despite the dust I love looking at it. I am coveting one of the new exclusives ‘Palace Cinema’ but in the interim, I spotted this book Brick City – a Lego lovers dream – I bought it because it was half price in WHSmiths but if I had the money, the space and the Lego bricks…..

To celebrate the Royal nuptials of Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, four Adult Fans of LEGO built a giant scale replica model of a wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey

M is for Money back from the gas man. I overpaid the last 6 months and did not use as much gas. It has been cold, for a lot longer than normal. But I love cosying up on the sofa or under the duvet with an extra blanket or two – and knitting invariably keeps you warm and saves money it turns out too.

N is for Nexus the new computer system at work. Don’t you just love a new computer system with a wire that goes into the wall but is nowhere near the computer and trails right across the office and is fixed down with black masking tape! To resolve it I was allowed to buy a longer cable – I went for pink. So what – I work in an office full of men.

is for Offer.  Work this one out if you will – 1 x  500g tub of Cottage Cheese is £1.90. 1 x 250g tub of Cottage Cheese is £1.45. That in itself is rather a rip off – then add in the buy 2 of the 250g tubs for £2.50 So that is £2.50 for 500g or £1.90 for 500g. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

P is for Pointless. The tea time programme on BBC1 is entertaining and informative. Both Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong make me laugh – and people really do not know stuff!

Q is for Quentin. Caroline Quentin and her National Parks TV programme. She has been in Scotland, Wales and in her final programme into the New Forest. Her delivery and enthusiasm for all she does is rather good and the humour underlying is subtle as well. I have only caught the odd one or two of her Cornwall shows but I hope she does more discovering Britain programmes soon. It is what makes our country so unique.

R is for Running. I have been sneaking in a few little and short runs. But I really think running is not for me. Shin splints, despite proper footwear leave me aching too much. I am not getting the adrenalin kick that I do from this as I do from  swimming, Body Pump, Zumba and even walking. I am a walker not a runner.

S is for Sunday Roasts. Whether it be Chicken, Beef, Pork or Gammon. (I don’t like lamb) you can’t beat a roast with all the trimmings, surprisingly even though I rarely cook one. I decamp to my parents every Sunday where one is probably 99% guaranteed. And amazingly all cooked the slimming way too – and you could not tell. Well perhaps the lack of crispy potatoes but apart from that.

T is for Transworld. One of the lovely publishing houses that send me books galore and the chance to read books I would have avoided in a bookshop.

U is for Uniform. New company (currently same job!) but now I have to wear a fetching black and white spotty scarf! Along with the white shirt and black skirt that I have been wearing for aeons!

V is for Vesta Churchill. A character in Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan (review coming soon). A young black female in Fifties Britain. An interesting idea which the author I am sure will develop as the series goes along.

W is for Winter it is still with us.

X is for X back swimming costumes – the stringy variety – I hate you! Give me a proper back if you will and something that does not get tangled up and tries to garrote me half way through a swim. I have now disposed of all said garments. Mind you what can you do with swimming costumes when the lyrca has gone on them other than throw them in the bin?

Y is for Yes there are some things repeated on this list, compared to my last one back in March! Not intentional, but I have just gone back and looked – funny how certain stuff stays in your conscience.

Z is for Zips. If you watched the Great British Sewing Bee then you will know putting in a zip is a difficult yet clever thing. When you spot a knitting pattern that has one in, I tink it is best to avoid it!

Thanks for persevering to the end. It felt like lately that I had not really been here on the blog, despite the book reviews and so I wanted to rectify that. I am here and in the coming days, weeks, months; there will be some knitting posts, there will be some book reviews and I also have a couple of books to giveaway – so there will be that too. Do pop by whenever you can, I really do appreciate it.