Friday, 2 December 2016

Christmas Advent

Yesterday was December the 1st so it's Advent time. Our traditional German lights were duly fetched from the attic and placed in the kitchen window - plugged in and ..... nothing !! We've had them since moving in here in 1986 so I guess it's time to replace them haha.

I only have a small bit of stitching news .... unfortunately Needlecraft Haven is not available at the moment. The forum is hosted by Yuku and they are have major maintenance so the site has been difficult to access for nearly a week. I do hope it gets sorted soon - it does sound as if the improvements will be good so fingers crossed.

That being said we've just had our Christmas Secret Exchange - I stitched and sent my ornament and received a lovely on in return. Without being able to check on the forum I am uncertain as to opening day - oops !

I think it was 1st and I did open my parcel but I am not going to share any photos until I know for sure, especially as it's a secret exchange so we don't know yet who sent to who.

Anyway here's a few photos I can share - a bit of baking

Mini Christmas Puddings (covered in chocolate)
Spotted Dick (Dad's recipe)
Left over Spotted Dick fried with oranges
and marmalade for breakfast

It's the time of year too when I put up my tree at church for our Christmas Tree Festival. This year I am using previous ornaments and doing Family Tree. I'm taking my Dad's cousin to see all the trees tomorrow and will be taking more photos but here's a little view of what's there.

My very sparkly Family Tree
Maureen always does amazing knitted ornaments
this year one of her trees is the Queen's 90th with
all the family in knitted version 
William, Kate, George and Charlotte
Her other tree is Noah's Ark
 I'll be taking my camera up too as the trees are too bright for my phone to focus, it is always such an amazing feeling to be in the church with everyone's trees brightly decorated.

My final photo is a bit of fun - I have made Hubby's advent myself this year. It is part of his Christmas pressie but over the last few weeks I've been buying bottles of craft beer. I made 24 labels and wrapped each one: he was very surprised and pleased with his beer-a-day advent!

Beer-a-day Advent for my lovely Hubby
I hope everyone's December has started well and your Christmas preparations are not too stressful. I'll be posting again soon with those exchanges pieces - thanks for calling by :)

Monday, 14 November 2016

Needlecraft Haven Autumn Get Together

Last Saturday was the autumn Get Together for members of Needlecraft Haven which is a small, friendly forum I host for crafters to chat about, and share photos of, their work. It's not all cross stitch we have sections for knitting, beading, quilting, cooking and reading.

At each Get Together we have a goody bag exchange which is themed, the theme this time was 'Favourite Film'.

My favourite film is The Holiday starring Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslett. I thoroughly enjoyed hunting for items to go in my bag - this is what I included:

  • Black Jacks - Jack Black
  • Iris bulbs - Kate Winslett's character
  • Cottage chart (online freebie) - the film is set in an English country cottage
  • Fabric and threads - including DMC 321 for Christmas
  • Hot chocolate and marshmallows - Jude Law and Cameron Diaz have a touching moment over hot chocolate with his children
  • Winter Wonderland candle - a song in the film 
  • The Holiday - dvd to watch 

My Goody Bag contents 
All wrapped up in Christmas paper with a clue on each parcel
To chose which bag everyone wins is done with a 'cake raffle'. I make cup cakes based on the theme and put a raffle ticket under each cake - the corresponding ticket goes under a bag. Which ever cake you select you have the matching bag (unless it's the one you brought in which case we do a little bit of swapping around). I was very pleased with my film themed cup cakes.

Film reel and popcorn cup cakes
Goody Bags waiting to be chosen
Once everyone has a bag we take it in turns to open the goodies, trying to guess the film. There was such a variety this time:
Greyfriar's Bobby
The Holiday
100 and 1 Dalmations
Moulin Rouge
Thoroughly Modern Millie
West Side Story

Julie picked my bag, she hasn't seen the film so I'm very pleased I put a copy in for her to watch, maybe with a hot chocolate too. 

I picked Angi's bag which was full of lovely items; buttons, ribbons, beads, chocolate, a book, notebook and pen, handkerchief, fabric and threads, lollipops, butterfly charts and paperclips. We all tried to guess but no-one did - Angi's favourite film was Thoroughly Modern Millie !! Thank you Angi for a great bag of goodies. 

Thoroughly Modern Millie
At the Get Togethers we also have a book exchange - everyone brings a book, it can be new, charity shop, a pass on, any book from anywhere. We put a little card or note inside to say why we chose to bring the book and then wrap it up in paper so no-one can see the title or knows who the book is from. Using raffle tickets (no cake this time) we each get a wrapped book, again there is often a little swapping so we don't end up with the one we brought. My book was from Lindsay which made us all laugh as I have had Lindsay's book at nearly all the past meet ups - and I have to say they have all been very good. 
Book Exchange 
My book from Lindsay
Needlecraft Haven is a Yuku based forum and does have adverts unless we pay a small fee. At each meet up we have a small raffle and the money raised goes towards keeping the adverts away. members who live too far away to come to our Get Togethers often make direct contributions too. There were some lovely items on the raffle table this time including one of Julie's handmade bunnies and Lindsay's beadwork. 
A great selection of raffle prizes
My raffle prize
To save everyone bringing a packed lunch I made up a buffet - it's nice to all stop at the same time and share a lunch, and it works out cheaper than everyone buying sandwiches.

Buffet lunch including homemade Potato Pie and Ginger Cake
The work on the showing table was amazing - Julie has been trying new crafts at her Craft Club, she's painted a beautiful waterfall scene and made some lovely fabric bowls. Lindsay's beadwork is stunning, so intricate. Maggie's scarf was gorgeous. Lynn brought along some of her large finished projects and Angi, Gill and Justine has a variety of smalls - all beautiful. I hope I've labelled the pictures correctly.

Lynn's
Maggie's 
Lindsay's
Lindsay's
Lindsay's
Angi's
Julie's,  Justine's and Gill's 
Julie's
I was very spoilt on Saturday too as I received two lovely and very thoughtful gifts. Justine gave me three lovely candles from Lou-Bee-Lous, all winter fragrances - cinnamon and apple, winter berries and winter carnival - thank you Justine. Gill's gift was tiny but meant a huge amount - she's made a very delicate angel - perfect Gill, thank you.

Beautiful candles from Justine
Perfect angel from Gill
Thank you to the Needlecraft Haven members that came on Saturday, by train, by car, from near and far. It is always a lovely day with lots of laughing and a little stitching. Our next meet up will be in the spring - I have already had an idea for the next theme hee hee.

If you'd like to join Needlecraft Haven please follow this link - you'll need a Yuku account and then apply for membership - it's all free and great fun !!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween - all my spooky stitching is out - lovely gifts I've received in precious exchanges.









We're having a spooky dinner tonight, just the two of us. 

Starters - mini cauldrons and creepy fingers 

Main - Goooooolash

Desserts - death by chocolate cheesecake 

We've Wychwood Dunkel Fester for our chilling refreshment and jet black Liquorice Sambuca for after dinner liqueur. 


Wishing you all a fun  spooky evening - trick or treat !!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

October catch up

A busy few weeks since my birthday as we had a few days away in Dieppe before taking Hubby's mum and partner to Portsmouth for the weekend.
Dieppe Castle
View from the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
You can read more about it  with more photos on my Aimetu blog.

Last weekend we had a buffet dinner both Saturday and Sunday. Our friends at scouts celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on 1st October and had a lovely party for friends and family on Saturday. I decided to stitch a gift for them and found a lovely chart from a magazine in my stash folder. I can't say which magazine as I'd cut just the chart out. 

I already had the frame and decided on brown fabric to make the gold stand out. Using metallic thread is not my favourite stitching but it is certainly worth the effort as it makes such a difference. 

50th Wedding Gift 
Sunday was another buffet day but this was at our house. As I have now completed my Challenge to walk the route of the London Marathon we had a little celebration party - you can read about this on my Clare's Challenge 50 blog - I'm overwhelmed with the donation total, thank you 

I baked a cake for our buffet - as well as a potato pie - and iced it with the River Thames and the route. All I'll say is it's a good job roads are not straight as my free hand icing was a little wobbly !!

London Marathon Celebration Cake 
We are off to Turkey on Monday to our favourite hotel - a final week in the sun. I have my (very far behind) Joyful World to take with me and I'm hoping to get many of the month frames completed so I can start on the designs when I get home, although I will take the colours for March in case I get bored of brown!

I'm hoping whilst away to catch up on my blog reading and now that my Challenge is complete I will have more time for Aimetu's Stitching - thank you for calling by :) 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Birthday Thank You

Thank you so much for all the lovely cards and gifts I received - they were all very much appreciated.

I did take all my cards and gifts to London. Our son, his girlfriend and our daughter were also with us for the weekend so my birthday had the traditional 'all on Mum's bed' opening session, something that hasn't happened for quite a few years so an added treat.

My lovely cards 

My lovely gifts

Thank you to: 

Julie - for a beautiful set of cake forks, just perfect especially as our son's girlfriend gave me Delia's Cake Book, it's just a case of which one to bake first. 

Christine - for the wonderfully smelling bath soaks; Gin and Tonic !!

Angi - for the lovely handmade bookmark, perfect as I have a few books on the go.

Barb - for the online voucher, it's always good to have a bit of retail therapy.

Mary - for the pack of needles, you can never have enough needles. 

Niki & Sue - for the very clever wine bottle umbrella and very useful spoon plate.

I've also had an M&S gift card, a bottle of white wine (sauvignon blanc my favourite grape), and a book about the Staffordshire Tapestries. 

Hubby spoilt me with tickets to see Leicester Tigers play Harlequins in November; Michael gave me chocolates (now his tradition) and a very nice bottle of Picpoul de Pinet; and Philippa gave me some perfume. They also bought me a London Big Ben charm for my Pandora bracelet. 

The biggest surprise of the day was something Philippa had done on behalf of them all - it was a video she'd put together with personal messages from some of my favourite Welsh rugby players and amazingly Leicester Tigers too. I was in floods of tears - I still cannot believe the players did that for me, I keep replaying it haha (still brings a tear) 

I also had some birthday money and in Greenwich Market yesterday we saw these beautiful coasters, such a clever idea. 



Saturday night Nick and I had tickets for Proms in the Park - in the day we'd all walked my final 3 miles in my Challenge. I have a separate blog about it HERE.

My legs were already very tired but I wasn't going to miss going so we made our way very slowly to Hyde Park. We did sit at the back, one reason because it was already packed with people and the other because I just couldn't walk any more.

Proms in the Park was amazing, we arrived just in time to hear ABC and Frankie Valli was amazing. Alfie Boe (swoon) sang with Michael Ball (swoon again) who was comparing with the final part being the live link up with the Royal Albert Hall just across the road - a really amazing night.


Such fun 
My final photo this time is one I didn't share before - our exchange at the April Needlecraft Haven Meet Up was to stitch a coaster for our partner on the theme of their birthday month. Julie picked my card in our secret selection and stitched a beautiful coaster celebrating my challenge - thank you Julie it really is perfect.
My beautiful coaster from Julie 
It's been such a birthday in so many ways - thank you to everyone x x 





Sunday, 4 September 2016

Scarecrows

I have no stitching to share but as always some on the go so maybe soon :) I do however have a photo full blog from last Monday.

Hubby and I went to Brinklow Scarecrow Festival - a gorgeous little village we drive through quite often. Last Bank Holiday weekend the villagers craft work was out with an amazing display of scarecrows.

So many - I hope you enjoy the photos - we loved the new residents :)

On the march 
All together now 
Very hungry caterpillar 
Starting school
Cop and Robber
Railway Children
Anyone need a lift?
Chewbacca

Bill and Ben with Weed
Hi Ho Hi Ho - it's off to work we go 
Mary Poppins
Dorothy & Toto
Tinman
Nick Skelton - our Warwickshire Rio hero
Anyone for bowls
Grubs up !
Woodcutters
Mr & Mrs 
It's certainly an event we'll be looking out for next year :)