Sunday, 17 July 2016

Catching up

It's been over a month since my last blog post, nearly two actually. My stitching had definitely slowed down and most of June we were away in France.

We had an amazing time, you can catch up on all my travel news at Aimetu's. This is Hubby and I in the car waiting to board the ferry on our first day.

Since returning I have been stitching :-) I have completed the exchange gift for Needlecraft Haven but I cannot share that just yet.

But I can share my finishes for Mabel Figworthy's Round in Circles SAL - the SAL gallery is here.

I really enjoyed stitching these three, a few new stitches and techniques; I'm still not sure how I'll be finishing them though.

Round 4 - April 
Round 5 - May
Round 6 - June
Round 7's chart is up but I want to finish my summer piece for Needlecraft Haven't Four Season's SAL first. Hopefully by the end of July I will have caught up with most of my stitching and reading everyone's blog - so sorry for missing your news.

Happy stitching everyone x x

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cake and birthday gift

May 20th was this year's Cake Bake for the MS Society. I always host a coffee and cake day at home and bake large cakes to order. I bake up to three cakes a day as that's manageable with lots of sitting down whilst each one bakes.

This year my cakes to order were:

  • Victoria Sponge with jam and buttercream
  • Coffee and Walnut with buttercream topping
  • Chocolate Guinness Cake
  • Carrot Cake with cream cheese topping
  • Ginger Cake

I'm not sure which was my favourite to eat, maybe the ginger as it was a new recipe and turned out so moist and very moreish.

Thanks to my lovely friends and family who ordered cake and came on the day for a coffee, piece of cake and a chat. The total raised this year was £250 - thank you :) 

Coffee and Cake Day table 
I managed to blow up and tie the balloons - haha
Schokogugelhopf - the prize on the black out game 
It was a lovely day - it's always nice when friends pop round for a cuppa so it was even nicer when many friends all came at the same time.

My stitching has been quite slow lately, my hands are not holding things so well and they are at times beginning to be quite painful in my bones. I see my specialist in August and there are a few things I need to ask about as over the last year I have noticed certain symptoms becoming worse. I do push myself - Clare's Challenge 50 is certainly becoming quite difficult - but I'm not one to stop doing things .... I'm sure he is going to tell me I should :( 

Anyway I have very few finishes lately and am way way behind with SALs and Challenges. I have however managed to stitch and make up a gift for my Mum who's birthday it is today. Mum is an avid crafter, her current main hobbies are quilting and machine embroidery but she has done lacemaking, applique, tatting, knitting, crochet, beading, and many many more. 

I saw this project is the February issue of Cross Stitch Collection. I don't buy magazines usually but as I was featured in this issue I did buy a copy hee hee. It was good to see a chart to use too. 

I was very slow stitching it and I found it quite tricky to finish but I'm pleased with how it turned out, and Mum loved it. 

Mum's birthday gift 
A friend at the club asked me to stitch a coaster for her, it was quite simple and didn't take too long. It's a chart I've used many times for various gifts. 

Coaster for a friend
We had some very exciting news yesterday, our oldest neice and her boyfriend got engaged. They are actually in the air flying to the UK from their home in USA as I type this, with Hubby's sister, her husband and their other daughter. The five of them are spending a few days in London before all Hubby's family meet up on Sunday for a meal to celebrate his Mum's 80th and now our neice's engagement too - quite a celebration. 

We are off on holiday most of June so I doubt I'll be posting much, although you won't miss me as I have been a very slow poster of late hee hee. I have my stitching to take and I really really hope I can get quite a lot done - thanks for calling by to red my news :) 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

May catch up

My needle is still slow - I have many things I wish to do but it's true my needle is slow ... well my hand really.

MS affects people different was and for me it's mainly fatigue although the last 18months my legs have been getting worse. The surface of my palms has been numb for a number of years but I'm noticing my right hand is aching and does not seem to want to move as freely - hence the slowness in stitching

I can still do loads of stuff and I have just three parts of my Challenge walk left - Clare's Challenge 50  Yesterday I jet washed the patio which may seem odd that I can do that but honestly I just stood still and waved a stick up and down slowly across each slab, easier than walking but much much more messy !!

Anyway enough about me and more about my little bit of stitching - I've changed the mantle for May, it's a baking theme as I have a charity Cake Bake for MS on 19th 🍰

Baking theme for May
I have done some stitching - I finished one of the monthly challenges on Needlecraft Haven but I have yet to make it up.

I am working on a birthday gift so can't show much. Unfortunately Mr Frog arrived - partly my fault as I decided to stitch the pattern on the back instead of leaving it plain but I has completed quite a bit before I realised I hadn't reversed it 😞

The new piece stitched the
right way round 
Hopefully I will get more done, especially finish the birthday gift.

Apologies for being behind with blog reading - I do like to read everyone's news and hopefully will be visiting soon.

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 :-)