Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And now for something completely different .....

I've spent far too much time recently drooling over some gorgeous needlepoint and, needing more of a fix, stitched up this.

This is Winter Snowflakes from Kick Back & Stitch. It wasn't too complicated and fun to stitch up, using some fibres, Neon Rays in particular, that I hadn't used before.

I don't use a laying tool, generally railroading does it for me, but I did need a little help to make sure these Neon Rays (ribbon) Rhodes stitches lay correctly. And in good light, the Neon Rays ribbon really glows!

And I do love the eight pointed star in the middle.

I don't know how I'm going to finish it - an ornament? A box top? I feel in need of something that's really going to help show off the sparkle (which doesn't come across in the photos), but am lacking inspiration at present. Anyone have any good ideas?

I'm now thinking about signing up for Gay Ann Rogers new Mystery in a Corner. The older mysteries (Glittering Diamonds and Mystery with a Little Bit of Glitz) are just gorgeous and I'd love to get my hands on them, especially Glittering Diamonds!

I've been a little distracted over the last couple of weeks watching my blood pressure going up and down and up and down, never the same two days in a row. But yesterday I was back at the hospital getting the good news that they're quite happy with how things are with me. I just need to remind myself that, although my blood pressure has been up, it's not consistently too high (just all over the place). Long may that continue!

Now I just need to get organised to slow down and finish up at work.

With everything that's going on right now, blogging is feeling like less of a priority, but I'm determined to keep at it as I don't want to loose touch with everybody out there in Internet-land. I suppose that I'm just getting to a point where having a baby just takes priority. So I'm sorry I'm not taking so much time these days to keep up with everybody's blogs and not commenting as I maybe should. I also owe a couple of people emails which I've been very bad at replying to. Hopefully I'll do that this week now that I feel a bit better about the BP situation.

Now all I need to find is some comfortable clothes!


We don't often get earthquakes here in the UK and most of those we do get are relatively minor. In fact, I've never been aware of one happening before. Last night's turned out to be the biggest quake for about 25 years, measuring about 5.2 on the Richter scale. So no wonder I was shaken awake at 1am this morning.

DS, who slept through it all, finds it highly amusing that I thought an animal had got into the bedroom and jumped off the bed making it shake. DH thought he heard some boxes falling over in the loft. But I couldn't understand how either of those could explain the entire house shaking. It was quite scary for a while - I was convinced that the contents of the loft were about to come crashing through the bedroom ceiling.

But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that earthquake was the only explanation, so I switched on the radio and was in time to hear the first reports of the quake come through. It was quite a relief that earthquake was the answer!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pressure's rising

... my blood pressure, that is It's been gradually going up and up over the last 2 or 3 weeks. This week it's got to the borderline stage where I'm having to repeat readings and rest in between. Not the simplest thing to do while I'm at work, but at least they're sympathetic.

Generally, however, I still feel fine, if very tired. I feel as if suddenly everything's catching up with me - I'm starting to realise just how tired I am and that I really need to slow down. Easier said than done, of course!

I just want to make it through to next Tuesday when I have my next hospital appointment. I feel that after that I can work out how to take things forward and start to think more seriously about stopping work.

Next week is also a big landmark for me as I reach the 34th week of my pregnancy. My son was born at 34 weeks, so if I get to 35, I will have been pregnant for longer than last time!

Anyway, with all that going on, I haven't been doing a lot of stitching. However, I did manage to finish this at the weekend (the knitted one, that is, the other one has to be a long term WIP! LOL).

DS was rather pleased with him and couldn't wait to introduce him to the other knitted residents of our house.

Yesterday, I finally managed to get to the post office to collect my parcel from Kae in Lucy Locket's Valentine Swap. Look at all the goodies she sent me!

She's really spoiled me including a sock person, yarn, knitted heart keyring, ric rac, ribbon and trims, and a gorgeous heart pendant! And, of course, lots of yummy chocolate. Thank you so much Kae - I love it all!

I sent her a parcel of goodies last week which included this little fob/ornament.

The large heart is based on one of the hearts from A Celebration of Love, the small hearts are just a couple of Rhodes hearts and a satin stitch/cushion heart.

(Just including this photo 'cos I like it!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's the day!

It's my birthday today, and I'm just glad I'm feeling a bit more with it than I did last week! It's been a quiet day so far with cards from my parents, husband and a couple of friends. DS have me a wonderful home made card with a pop-up smiley face in the middle, but I then had to give him some money so that he could buy me a present. By the time I get home this evening, the postman will have been and gone and I expect that DS will be demanding to open any cards that arrive during the day. Then we'll just have our normal quiet night in.

I see from my notebook that on this day last year I had 2 new starts - Starflake and MTM. I don't think that one finish from those two is bad going at all! But I don't think there'll be any new starts for today.

Now I just have to plan what stash to spend my birthday money on.

Your Birth Month is February

Peaceful and harmonious, you seek the gentle side of life.
Your warmth and consideration touches many.

Your soul reflects: Purity, modesty, and faithfulness

Your gemstone: Amethyst

Your flower: Iris

Your colors: Purple, yellow, and light blue

Also see for a whole load of trivia on your birth date! For example, did you know -

There are 366 days till my next birthday on which my cake (if I had one) would have 42 candles.

Those 42 candles produce 42 BTUs,or 10,584 calories of heat (that's only 10.5840 food Calories!) .

You can boil 4.80 ounces of water with that many candles.

I bet you're glad you know that now. And to think I'll have to wait a whole year to put it to the test!

Monday, February 11, 2008

I my Q-Snaps!

Looks like a new start (and my q-snaps) was just what I needed! I spent the most of my weekend stitching on a range of different things, no apathy or any problem with motivation at all.

Julie warned me that I'd start to wonder how I'd managed without q-snaps up until now, and it hasn't taken long to find out she was right. In no time at all, I was marvelling at how simple it all was to set up, how well it holds the fabric and keeps the tension.

As I was splashing out and investing in q-snaps, I also bought some different sizes - a 8" square, 11" square and a couple of 17" legs. I love the way I can take them all apart to make myself a frame exactly the right size for the project I'm working on. I started out making a 8" x 11" frame and getting started on 'A Celebtation of Love'.

The q-snaps were wonderful, but I'm not happy with the heart in the middle. The filling is stitched in white DMC stranded cotton and I just don't like the way it's lying, despite all my railroading, it just looks a mess to me. I know I'm being over fussy as I want it to be 'perfect' for my sister's wedding, so I'm going to swap the DMC for a white silk and see if I like that better.

Next up was Paradigm Lost as I just had to try out the 17" x 11" q-snap combination.

You could say that I bought the q-snaps specially for PL as I was resisting putting it onto one of my scroll frames and had just been using my biggest hoop. And again, the q-snaps were perfect, just what was needed! I still haven't completely worked out how to keep the extra fabric out of the way, but I'm sure I have some bulldog clips or some hair clips somewhere which will do the trick!

All in all the q-snaps beat the hoops hands down any day! I'm not yet convinced that I'd want to take something as big as MTM off its scroll frame and onto the q-snaps, particularly when it gets bigger than the biggest q-snap frame I can make. But maybe that will become an excuse for buying more q-snaps and the extension thingies you can get?

To finish off, I had another nice visit from the postman on Saturday with a couple of back issues of Classic Stitches I'd ordered as well as this fabric.

Isn't it just gorgeous?

Friday, February 08, 2008

An apathetic week

I’ve been having a bit of an apathetic week, sleeping badly, feeling tired and run down, so I’ve been struggling to achieve anything much or find anything I feel like stitching or knitting or whatever. The exception, of course, is when I’m at work and I’d love to get out Nova or Paradigm Lost or MTM for the odd hour, or knit another limb for the latest gnome, or start another monkey! Unfortunately, by the time I get home, the enthusiasm just seems to have drained away.

I’ve felt in need of a new start, something fairly small with a variety of stitches for interest, but nothing too demanding. Thanks to the postman, I’ll get that going this evening as I now have my fabric for ‘A Celebration of Love’ which I’ll be stitching as a ring pillow for my sister’s wedding in May.

As a bonus, the postman also brought me my first set of Q-Snaps and I’m dying to try them out. Up until now, I’ve mainly used scroll frames and a hoop in smaller items. I’m looking forward to putting Paradigm Lost on the Q-Snaps as it’s big enough to let me see how I can arrange all the extra fabric!

I was digging out some yarn last week to knit DS a gnome, and I brought this out with me to have a look.

This is a shawl I started knitting for DS when I was expecting him over 7 years ago now, and have never got around to finishing. I have worked on it from time to time over the last 7 years and there really isn’t a lot waiting to be done – just finish knitting up the one side and then complete the border. I really have no excuse for not finishing it.

However, much as I really would like to finish it, I have a sneaking suspicion that it certainly won’t happen before this baby arrives!

Finally, the lovely Deb gave me a You Make My Day award. Thanks so much, Deb, I really appreciate it!

I’m supposed to nominate 10 blogs that make my day when I read them. However, I’ve seen this in so many different places over the last week or two, I’m not going to do that today.

Instead I’d like to make this award to everyone who reads my blog and leaves me comments – you all make my day. It’s the communication with other bloggers, whoever and wherever you are, that makes blogging worthwhile and that’s what it’s all about for me. I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave a message.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Monkee's work ......

...... is never done!

Well, I can't have him sitting at home all day doing nothing while I'm at work!

Looks like another gnome on the go there.

More about his stitching next week after I get some more photos.

My weekend plans this week include sorting out what I'll be sending Kae in Lucy Locket's Valentine Swap. I've already stitched something, but I need to get out the sewing machine for a spot of finishing.

My husband also informed me last night that we're going round to the neighbours for a curry on Sunday evening. I'm in two minds about this right now as I just don't know how my stomach will stand up to it! The haggis last week gave me all night heartburn and if I'm to avoid that with the curry, I don't think I'll be eating much. On the other hand, do I really have the self control to actually achieve that goal? Curry nights round our way are infamous and the home made curry simply gorgeous!

Edited a bit later to add:
I've just downloaded February's 'The Gift of Stitching' and I LOVE Banu Demirel's table runner - it's gorgeous! We'll probably be getting a new dining table before too long, and this would be just perfect! Ooh, I want to stitch it NOW! And Yvonne Horn's Spanish Satin Pinkeep is beautiful too, but at least it should be a fairly quick stitch!