Monday, 29 August 2011

TUSAL, stitching and an amazing story

It's TUSAL day and my jar is growing fast this year - I even saved my orts whilst in France and brought them home safe and sound. Here's my jar this time:

TUSAL 29th August
I have been doing a little more to Sampler au Bouquet SAL on Needlecraft Haven - not much but I am hoping for a few hours on it tonight.

Sampler au Bouquet
and so to my story;

Most people know life for me is at times a little tough; but I keep smiling and carry on :) This story is co-incidence really not a story, but it has surprised/pleased/amazed me, so I thought I'd share it :)

Les Miserables holds a very special place in my life; the music, the story, the characters and of course the superb actors who bring it all to life. Last year we were very lucky to see the 25th concert live from Leicester cinema and to see Les Mis on their 25th Anniversary tour. Like many fans I think Alfie Boe has captured Jean Valjean superbly and as a wedding anniversary treat my hubby took me to London for the weekend to see him, Matt Lucas and Hadley Fraser at Queen's Theatre.

Through Twitter I chat to the other cast members and some of the behind the scenes artists. I love finding out how things are going even though we're miles away. I stitched gifts for Alfie and Matt, bought flowers for Alexia (who plays Eponine) and before the show we popped round to the stage door to hand them in. To my knee quivering amazement Alfie was at the door so I gave him the gifts in person. He kindly passed on the flowers to Alexia who surprised me with a 'thank you' Tweet in the interval and I managed to say Hi at the Stage Door after the show.

This was the start of my Twitter experience; the cast were suddenly going made about Brown Bag Crisps which looked and sounded great. Unfortunately there are no suppliers near us so I couldn't try them for myself, but whilst on holiday in France (where I bought a copy of Les Miserables in french) Brown Bag Crisps tweeted me to say there was a new deli opening in Oakham, Rutland. I had to laugh as hubby and I had had a lovely weekend break there last September with me driving my new car (my first brand new one all for me). We fell in love with the area and have been back again. It is a special place for us and close enough to home for us to have a weekend away without lots of driving. You can imagine my surprise and smile when Brown Bag Crisps said it was Oakham.

So last Saturday hubby and I went on the train to Oakham - not in my car as we found out there was a beer fest on - hic hic. I emailed the new deli to say we were coming and to make sure they had some crisps. Leo (the manager) replied saying yes they had and sorry he wouldn't be there Saturday but hope we had a good day. It was his mum who was there and she guessed who we were. She thought it was a joke and couldn't believe we'd come by train for the crisps. Leo was actually in the States on hols - amazing. All because of Twitter and emails we were chatting away in the deli - purchasing crisps, cheese and olives. We enjoyed the beer fest and managed to get the train home safely :)

I have made many friends on Twitter; a brilliant welcoming vinyard in France being just one and I do follow many celebs including a few authors; Victoria Connelly and Nicola Cornick are two new authors to me (found through Twitter LOL) but I have been a fan of Joanne Harris for a number of years. Chocolat is my all time favourite book; and I've had many holidays in France, drinking red wine, nibbling chocolate whilst reading it again :) I found Joanne on Twitter through the Les Mis Twitters.

The end of my story happened this morning - Joanne Harris tweeted about needing a name for a cat in her latest book - she offered to 'follow' the person with the name she chose. I suggested Otter (the name of the Oakham deli) or Otto and she picked Otto. So now I have not only named a cat in a book but my favourite author is following me. Me who has a very ordinary life travelling 40 miles for a bag of crisps.

How can: liking Les Mis; following the cast; learning and wanting crisps; taking an hour's train ride to a deli; result in naming a cat in a famous author's latest novel :-> these things don't happen to me, I sort stuff out for everyone else - I'm still pinching myself hours later. Only remedy is to open a bottle of the lovely wine we bought from my Twitter friendly vineyard.

Phew what a long story - hope it's made you smile too. Here's a couple of orchid photos to finish my blog and a photo of my garden which is looking fab as DS, his GF and friend stripped and painted the deck and furniture whilst we were in France - great job :)

Philippa's orchid

My orchid

My garden

Thanks for popping by - off for that glass of vin now :)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Home from holidays - a new SAL

We're home after a fabulous two weeks in France - I have been frantically washing and ironing before all the rain which is why I am a little slow in blogging. I have edited our photos and they are all online in our flickr album  - France 2011

There are too many photos to choose a favourite or just a few to put up so it's easier for you to look when you want. We visited many places; chateaux, fortresses, churches and of course restaurants/bars

Whilst we were away I nearly finished my Needlecraft Haven Summer Holiday exchange - just a few yellow stitches to do (I didn't take the right colour with me). I'm hoping to finish it this week.

I did start my Sampler au Bouquet SAL and I've done quite a lot already. I'm really enjoying it and it's growing fast.

My right hand edge
My overall piece
Today I have started off a bottle/jar of damson vodka -I have no idea if it will work but I have layered damsons and sugar and then topped up with vodka. All the sugar sank to the bottom and I have to 'turn' it everyday- we'll see what happens but it should be ready in six months.

Damson vodka
Thanks for popping by, I hope you enjoyed the holiday album x x x

Friday, 12 August 2011

Bonjour from France

Just a quick blog from the Loire Valley :) We're having a great time. Philly and BF Kieran enjoyed a couple of days with us before moving on to spend ten days withhis family on holiday onthe Gironde. We went to Angles sur l'Anglin and watched a firework display against the chateau walls -fabulous. 
Philly and me
and if it works this is the link to the video on YouTube of the firework finale

This is our house, which is called the Old Walnut Mill - the village is quite but sitting on the patio reading or stitching with a glass of wine is a perfct holiday
The Old Walnut Mill
I have nearly finished my summer exchange from Needlecraft Haven - and have started my Sampler au Bouquets
Summer Exchange
Sampler au Bouquets
We have visited a few old chateaus and ancient cite - and yesterday we visited the Vineyard du Petit Thouars - we were amazed when we drove up to this ...
de petit Thouars
Their wine was gorgeous so we had to bring some for home :)

Thanks for reading my very quick blog from a very warm, sunny and relaxing France x x x

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Happy Dance

I have finially finished my square on my JTHC Round Robin - with Hazel, Julie and Tina on Needlecraft Haven. It wasn't a lot of stitching but I ran out of DMC 869 and had to root through my stash where I thankfully had a spare. I need a few bits in town today and hopefully then I can make it up too.

JTHC RR - stitching completed
I have been working on my Summer Holiday Exchange - with NH- my partner sentme a gorgeous design which I am enjoying stitching. Here's my progress so far.

Summer Holiday Exchange
Last weekend I spotted this fab vase in TKMax - I did suggest to Dad we could fill it with red wine or a huge trifle - it did make him smile  but he didn't say no LOL

New Vase
Well I'm packed - no trouble fitting it into my bag - not sure how DD and DH are doing. Just 2 more sleeps and we're off :) Thanks for sharing my news xx