Monday, 18 April 2016

Reflective Day

I didn't have a Gifted Gorgeousness post this month as my stitching has all been catch up - but I may have something next month ;)

Just a short post from me - reflecting on my Dad who passed away 4 years ago today. It seems like yesterday and feels like eternity. Barb stitched a lovely ornament for me which I display every year on our mantle along with the ceramic candle holder shed and a gardener figurine, which although actually my grandfathers reminds me of both men. The candle will stay lit all day.

For Dad
Beautiful ornament from Barb
Today and on Dad's birthday we usually go out and have scampi & chips with a glass of rose wine, his favourite meal when out. He also enjoyed going to the wine tastings with us, his favourite being at Birmingham museum where we were greeted with a  glass of champagne - he thought the whole evening 'very posh'.

By coincidence we are gong to a wine tasting tonight at The Ballroom, City Halls, Leicester - although there will be no scampi & chips I'm sure Dad would approve as it will be a 'posh' event :)

Ron Mellor 1926 - 2012  super Dad, Grandpop, Scouter and friend - loved and missed by us all 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

April's progress

Just a little update as I have a couple of finishes to share - firstly March's Round in Circles. Unfortunately Ilke's mum passed away and so understandingly March and early April so a slight pause in Mabel Figworthy's Round in Circles Hardanger Stitch-along - however I finished my March piece and am looking forward to starting April's when Ilke is ready - there are times when life, love and family are more important than stitching.

March - Round in Circles SAL
I have also finished Jardin Prive's Autumn Tree which means my Four Season's SAL 2015 with Needlecraft Haven is now complete - a little late but it's done. It means now I can change the design in my frame for each season. I do need to iron and back my autumn tree with interfacing to stiffen it so it looks a little bumpy in the photo but I wanted to show it in the frame.

You can find the charts on Jardin Prive's free charts page.

Autumn Tree
My trees for all seasons 
My stitching plans for April are to catch up on the Monthly Christmas Challenge on Needlecraft Haven - I need to stitch last months and this month's free chart has been revealed.

I love running Needlecraft Haven - it is a members only forum so if you'd like to apply for membership this is the link Needlecraft Haven link.

If you've applied for membership please check your Yuku inbox as I have recently authorised quite a few accounts but not yet seen those members on the forum.

Thank you for calling by and good luck with all your April crafting.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Needlecraft Haven Spring Meet Up

Today was the Spring meet up for members of Needlecraft Haven - the meet ups happen twice a year and are always great days filled with chat, laughter, a little stitching and cake !!

This time we met here at our house; scouts were using the headquarters and there was only a few of us so it made sense to meet here. Hubby was at a rugby game so it suited everyone.

It was lovely sitting at the dining table in our conservatory stitching away - even nicer once the rain stopped and the sun came out. As we were at home I did lunch to save everyone bringing their own. It was a light buffet of ham and cheese batches, quiche, scotch eggs, pringles, tomatoes and popcorn - yummy
Our yummy buffet
 I love cooking, especially cakes and desserts. I made a Schwartzwalder Kirschentorte (Black Forest Gateau) a while ago which was viewed with envy on the forum so for dessert I made another one.

Schwartzwalder Kirschentorte
Before lunch we had stitched away for quite a while, everyone working on different designs. I was busily stitching on the autumn tree from Jardin Prive free designs. Everyone brings their latest finishes to the meet ups as although we share photos online it is always better to see in person.

Our sofa in the conservatory made the idea place to display everyone's work, especially as it already had my quilt on (handmade by my Mum)

All our beautiful work
As well as stitching and chatting we have a few exchanges and a raffle. The raffle helps pay to keep Needlecraft Haven advert free and this time raised enough for two more months without the pesky adverts. Everyone brings a raffle prize - lovely items again today.

Great raffle prizes
My raffle prize - perfect for me 
We always have a book exchange - everyone wraps a book up like a parcel so it cannot be identified. The book can be from anywhere; new, charity shop, previous exchange and before wrapping a card saying who it's from and why it was chosen is put inside.

Raffle tickets are allocated to each wrapped book and the corresponding tickets folded. Everyone picks a tickets and has the matching book (ensuring we don't get our own). My book was from Julie, thank you, it looks a good read which I might take away to London when we go in a few weeks.

Our books hidden in their wrappers waiting to be picked 
My book from the exchange
Our other exchange is a Goody Bag exchange and for the last few meet ups I have given everyone a theme to base their bag on which adds to the fun when putting the bag together. The theme this time was songs from our childhood such as I'm a Pink Toothbrush or Puff the Magic Dragon.

We again use raffle tickets to pick the goody bags but with cakes too! Each bag has a ticket and a cake has the matching number - everyone chooses a cake and gets the bag of that number (ensuring we don't get our own).

Carrot cake muffins with their tickets ready to be picked
Goody bags ready to be chosen
We had great fun trying to guess the song from the items in the bags before opening the card which gave details for each song. I managed to find the songs online so we could listen to each one too. Here's what was in each bag:

Grandad - put together by Jan (my Mum) and won by Julie
How much is that doggy in the window
Put together by Angi and won by Gill
Sing a song of sixpence
Put together by Gill and won by Jan 
The Ugly Duckling - put together by Julie and won by me
My favourite childhood song is The Unicorn Song so was the obvious choice for my bag - I included it in the playlist at my 50th birthday and often sing it around the house much to the annoyance of our grown up children. I love the story, lyrics and catchy music. If you don't know it here's an audio link  and here's a link to the lyrics.

My items were:
Earth - Rajmahal Art thread
Camel - Rajmahal Art thread
Green - glitter green card
Chimpanzee - PG Tips tea bags as a chimp is the brand logo
Alligators - sweets with alligators on the package
Elephants - sweets with elephants on the package
Cat - mug and button
Floated - floating candles
Long necked geese - a planter !!

The goose planter was the best bit - it didn't fit in the goody bag and soon took on the name of Gertrude, getting up to mischief too.

The Unicorn Song - put together by me and won by Angi
Gobble gobble gobble - those cakes are mine !!
Ready for the journey home on the train !!
Thank you ladies for another absolutely lovely day - and we have more fun to come as we've planned our 'meet up exchange' which will be stitched and sent ready for opening day on 1st August.

Needlecraft Haven is a members only forum for crafters, mainly cross stitch but members do many many crafts. Membership is free and open to all - you need a Yuku account (again it's free) and then apply for membership - to join follow this link (remember to include an email in your application)

All recent memberships have been authorised so if you've applied recently pop by and join in the chat - see you there soon :)

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Happy Easter

Quite early this year and certainly not yet spring like weather but Easter is upon us. It's a strange time of year for us as when the children were younger we always went away with my Dad. We've visited many places over the years with the last ten years having Easter at our caravan.

But things change and life moves on - Dad is no longer with us and the children are now grown ups. We no longer have our caravan (there was no point in keeping it as we very rarely went just the two of us) and so this year we are home.

Our daughter has come up from Wales for the weekend - we actually saw her house whilst watching the Cardiff Half Marathon on TV today! Our son is working but we do see him a little in the day.

Our house is ready for Easter - I've decorated my twisted hazelnut branch saved from my Grandmother's tree with eggs, the mantle is Easter themed and I have a lovely vase of daffodils.

Our Easter Branch with eggs and nests
Easter mantle
Vase of daffodils
I made Mum and Keith a Simnel Cake for Easter, it's a traditional cake for Easter with marzipan balls - one for each of Jesus' disciples but not Judas.

Simnel Cake 
I have just one new stitching piece to share as I have finally completed January Joyful World - my slow start is due to a fabric change and no stitching for a week or so.

Still on the frame but finished 
Thank you for calling by and I wish you all a Happy Easter :-) 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness in March

Well in February actually - our daughter's birthday is 17th so just after last month's GG. Unfortunately this year we didn't see her on her birthday but we had a lovely weekend together on 26th :-) You can read about it here.

Everyone loves cake on their birthday so I stitched her a cake ! This was a small kit gifted to me for my birthday so it's a double GG

Tatty Ted with cake for Philly's birthday 
Gifted Gorgeousness is the wonderful SAL hosted by Jo  every month on the 15th we share any item that we've stitched, made, given or received as a gift. It's lovely to see just how much gifting happens in our lives - sometimes special days and sometimes surprises !!

That's all my stitching news for now - the reason? - I haven't been stitching. I picked a needle up on Sunday after 8 days of no crafting :-( I have no idea why bit it's lovely to be sewing again.

Thank you for calling by - happy stitching to you all x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Happy St David's Day

It's St David's Day today - the patron saint of Wales whose emblem is a daffodil or leek. The children in Wales go to school dressed in traditional costume today, they really celebrate their special day.

Photo from a Welsh newsaper 
Welsh Flag
I have been busy baking too - welsh cakes. They are quite easy to make and are a traditional small cake in Wales, Bara Brith is the traditional large cake but I make welsh cakes as they are Hubby's favourites.
Batch of welsh cakes for Hubby and friends tonight at
scouts committee meeting
A few to go with our afternoon coffee
It's time to change out mantle as it's the 1st of March. I did a little shopping today so bought a bunch of daffodils. The birdhouse is a tealight holder and the fairy a rain catcher but she stays inside. It's time for March (Drawn Thread) to be displayed and my Jardin Prive Tree is now spring (that's on the side board). This year for Needlecraft Haven Four Season's SAL I have stitched a small design by Mausimom and made it into a little pillow.

March Mantle
Daffodils and Spring pillow  
Four Season's SAL 2016 with Needlecraft Haven  - Spring
Jardin Prive Spring - Four Season's SAL 2015
I have also managed to finish Challenge 2 on Needlecraft Haven's Monthly Christmas Challenge, it's a lovely design by Pineberry Lane which did originally have 1887 on the right hand side and is supposed to be stitched as an aged piece. However I decided to omit the date and stitched it in a more modern way.
Challenge 2 - Monthly Christmas Challenge
Wishing you all a very happy March, its going to be a busy month as here in the UK it's Mother's Day next Sunday and Easter at the end of the month. Thank you for calling by and reading my latest news.

Friday, 26 February 2016

End of February catch up

I realised I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks - it looks like 2016 is passing as quickly as 2015 did!

We're off to Cardiff in about 15 minutes so this is a very quick update for the end of the month. We're staying with our lovely daughter and tonight we're all going to see Wales v France in the 6 Nations rugby international tournament at the Millennium Principality Stadium. We're very lucky that she has invited us along - she works for Welsh rugby.

I have completed February's Round in Circles - I did miscount but it's turned out ok. I'm still not sure what I want to do with them all but I'll continue in pink for all 12 and decide at then end.


The photo is quite odd - I've stitched on white. I use my phone to take photos as even with an anti shake on my camera I still only manage to take blurred photos. Having said that I think my phone camera is past it's best so apologies to all.

I started the beautiful Joyful World SAL - a little late but I had other stuff to stitch and I had to order a new piece of fabric. I really enjoy doing this but when it came to stitching the white it didn't look right, in fact you couldn't see it. I tried using a light shade of other colours but nothing worked so I have ordered a new piece of fabric in a darker colour, hopefully this time it will be ok.

This fabric is actually cream 
My new fabric is light taupe so fingers crossed
I completed the 4th part of my Challenge walk last Saturday - you can catch up with the route on my blog Clare's Challenge 50 (and see a bit of London)

And if you are interested in my wine and travel blog that has a post about the latest wine tasting with our scouting friends - you can read about it at Aimetu's 

Time to hit the road - sorry again for a rushed post and terrible photos !! Have a good weekend everyone x x