Friday 31 December 2010

2011 - wishing you health and happiness

2010 is almost over and I'd like to wish you and your family health and happiness for 2011.

Happy New Year 2011
And to end the year off in a stitching note I have finally finished a WIP - I started this on 14th June 2009 (yes really) and I picked it up again over Christmas. I'm not keen on the fabric I used and as usual my finishing is not the best - a skill I am determined to work on in 2011 - but overall it looks good.

Christmas Wishes - Loopylou Designs
Enjoy the remaining hours of 2010 - see you all in 2011

Sunday 26 December 2010

Christmas Joy

I've had a great Christmas - nothing overly special just a fab time with friends and family.

It all started Christmas Eve when we went out for a meal with DD's BF's family. Followed by bowling with them and DS's GF's family. We have been bowling on Christmas Eve for the last 5 or so years (it's a great way to keep teenagers occupied before bed and it means I have to get everything done by tea time so no last minute rushing around).There were 14 of us all together and we had a great time. This is my Facebook album but for those who don't have face book here's my favourite piccies.
DD's BF Kieran and DS Michael

DD Philly and Me

Christmas Day was great, my Dad came down (first time he's left his house since coming outof hospital) he was tired but did manage the whole day. Thank you for all the well wishes whilst he's been unwell, they have meant so much to me.

My Dad
Christmas table
Christmas Cake with my stitched cake band
I had some lovely gifts; a scarf and friendship calendar  from Julie; a hardanger chart from Karan; a compact mirror from Barb and a DMC thread set my friend in Canada Breda - thank you ladies
My lovely gifts
Ruby had a lovely day too - she loved this new toy - a plastic cracker
Ruby and her toy
Today DH and I went to MIL's for lunch - it was so beautiful driving along - they have had more frost and snow than us and it looked so magical. I took some photos on my phone whilst we were driving along but they've come out quite well. They are here in my online photo album but here are my favourite two.

Tomorrow DH and I are off to Birmingham on the train - we should have gone last Thursday but the weather was too bad - we're having lunch at Cafe Rouge; it's our favourite restaurant and he has a champagne voucher for his birthday :0

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas - God bless x x x

Thursday 23 December 2010

Framed pictures, a surprise gift and success

I framed two pictures last night - not perfect but I'm happy with them. The first is the Ruby wedding anniversary piece I stitched for my Godmother and her hubby - I was their bridesmaid back in 1970 :)

Ruby Wedding Anniversary for my Godmother and hubby
I cut the mount myself - the first time I have done this - it's ok for a first attempt :) and I think I would make my own frames again.

The other piece I framed was my Christmas Calories piece - I don't like the mount but it came with the frame which was very difficult to fit. After Christmas I think I'll be taking it out the frame and making a cushion. It's not a good picture either, I was a bit wonky.

Sue Hillis Christmas Calories
I received a surprise gift in the post today from Constantina in Greece. She sent me two lovely Marie Claire magazine in french :) There are some lovely things to make and of course I can practice my reading :) She also sent two lovely little note books - Thanks Constantina.

Marie Claire Magazines from Constantina
Finally some good news - I've been complaining to social services for the last ten days as the final assessment person reduced my Dad's care to one call a day - he was on two before he went into hospital and now he uses a zimmer upstairs and down and has a commode downstairs. The commode and his diabetes were the issues, especially the comode as with one call it's only being emptied once a day -disgusting!!

I seemed to be going round in circles with the departments but as from last Monday Dad was back with his old care team and one of the ladies put in a complaint that he should have two calls a day as before - she complained again today and threatened to take it higher - bless her.
Well today the social have called me to say Dad's calls will go up to two a day from next Monday - he won't have to pay (the assessment lady wanted him to find someone privately to empty his commode on an evening call - Dad was mortified at this thought). And I had a call from the assessment person saying she had tried to return my call all last week (I was here off sick lol no call) anyway she was very apologetic - my guess is she was told to ring - funny how she rang today after care call reinstated.

I have tried to stay calm the last two weeks because it won't do my health any good but this has been driving me mad - Dad has more need and they had cut his care in half. I am so grateful to the care lady - Dad's already got a bottle of wine ready for her. I now have a happier Dad and am calmer Clare.

I hope you are all ready for Christmas; have a great time - God bless friends and famillies - Merry Christmas x x

Monday 20 December 2010

Happy Dancing @ Christmas

I am sooooooooooooooooo pleased with my latest finish - I saw it when browsing Sew and So and fell in love with it. I rarely by a chart on impulse and stitch it straight away but I just couldn't resisit lol  Maybe it was fate becuase this piece certainly kept me company over recent weeks :)

Sue Hillis 'Christmas Calories'

Fabric : 28ct Linen (blush)
Thread : DMC stranded cotton
I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday sorting out my stitching bags and box. I have found a few WIPs which I am going to try to finish in 2011. I also found a couple of quaker designs so I can join in the Stitch and Stash Quaker SAL and I sorted out all my LHN charts that I was supposed to stitch this year - oops.

I have two RRs to kit up and I know what I want to do for the church tree next year so I am going to look for charts and get ready. Ileft it a little late this year but thankfully the tree turned out just fine. In case you missed my last blog here's the link to my album with the Christmas Tree Festival pictures.

Keep warm x x x

Saturday 18 December 2010

Christmas Tree Festival - stunning trees

It is St Lawrence's Christmas Tree Festival this weekend and mid week. There are over 60 trees all decorated in a different theme mainly relating to trees.This is the third year I have done a tree and this year my tree is 'The Cross stitch Tree' becaue I stitched lots of crosses.My mum made some too and Dusty sent some of her own hardanger designed ones over from USA, thanks Dusty :) Angi also sent a cross; a tiny red red one that's so cute, thanks Angi.

All the photos are in my online album but here is my tree and a few more.

Me and my Tree

one of Dusty's ornaments

Angi's tiny red cross

View of the church
A couple of months ago at school I had a student teacher following me for a week: Rachel was lovely and very interested in my cross stitching class. Whenshe left I gave her a little chart, some fabric and thread to have a go. She stitched a gorgeous Santa, mounted ona card and sent it me - I'mso honoured to have her first piece of stitching. I'm hoping she will join the Stitch and Stash forum. She didn't quite get the idea as she left a blank square between each stitch - BUT it is sooooooooooooooooo effective I might do some like this myself.
A gorgeous card from Rachel
Good news is I went back to work for two days - we're now on Christmas hols; I wanted to go back to sort my classes out for January and to get my head round working again. However school have agreed I can work at home on Fridays from January until Easter which will help me rest. Friday is mainly my admin day so I can easily do that at home. It isn't my work load but the physical side of working - getting ready, driving there, walking about - so if I can have one day when I can do things slowly at home it will help me rest. Hopefully after Easter I can go back full time.

I am going to try to get my Sue Hillis finished this weekend - and I have somany things I am wanting to stitch/kit up including my two RR's for 2011.I think my stitching mojo has  returned so hopefully 2011 will be more productive than 2010 was.

Finally a HUGE thank you to all my friends who have bneen so helpful and supportive whilst I've been off ill. I know I suffer terribly from side effects when taking the steroids and my stitching friends certainly helped me through.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Christmas Decorations

We put our decorations up yesterday - a little different to previous years as we have new sofas and didn't know where the tree would fit. After a bit of jiggling around - mainly Ruby's cage - we have the main tree in the conservatory and our Friendship Tree is by the tv.

Our main tree

Our Friendship Tree
The Friendship Tree has ornaments from friends all around the world and I used these for the St Lawrence's Church Christmas Tree Festival 2008. This is the festival my crosses are for.

I love snowmen and out mantle is snowman themed (my get well flowers and cards are there too at the moment). Ruby trys to play with the big blue one but so far we've managed to stop her.

Snowman Mantle
I used to be a Partylite consultant and collected many beautiful porcelain houses - this is my favourite Christmas one, the skater moves round when the music is on.

Partylite Ice Skater

I am working on my Sue Hillis Christmas piece - hopefully it will be done in time :)

I think I now have the steroids out of my system; my head is a lot clearer; no more weird dreams; and only one panic yesterday. I am back at work on Thursday for just two days before we break up for Christmas. I don't feel strong enough to do the full week so two days will be enough.

Happy stitching, keep warm and remember - it's nearly Christmas :) 

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Stitching update and wintery photos

I have managed to finish the backstitching on the cookies on my Sue Hillis Christmas piece. It wasn't too bad so I think I might have a go at following the chart later for the next bit- just hope the frog stays away :)

Cookie back stitch all done:)

Yesterday was Dad's 84th birthday - a day that seemed along way away earlier this year. We had a lovely chinese take-away at his and he seemed very content in his old age :)

My health is improving -slowly and I am not sure when I am going back to work. Unlike me I actually feel a bit scared about it but I know that is a side effect of the steroids (along with the panics, fast heart beats and blushing/sensative skin). I must go back next week if only for a day to prep my desk for the new term in January.

Tomorrow we have tickets to see Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds at NIA Birmingham - I have been looking forward to this for ages - nothing will stop me going; guess I'll be sleeping all Friday lol

We've had a very sharp hard frost here the last few days - these are some photos I took of our garden.

Ruby in the frost

...and these are some photos that Michael has taken for his job at Brandon Marsh

Frost at Brandon Marsh

Robin at Brandon Marsh
I have finally cooked my Christmas cake and am hoping to do some pressie wrapping this afternoon.

Ruby has decided there is only one place to be when it's cold, she was a bit surprised when I found her  hee hee.
Behind the sofa next to the warm - dog's life :)
Stay warm, have fun x x x

Saturday 4 December 2010

Good Saturday :)

I'm still notcoping very well with these steroids - one reason why I put off going to see the specialist because they really put me in a horrid place, weird dreams, metal taste and feeling like I'm not really here - but only two more doses :) sorry to start with a moan:(

I've had a quiet day - DH took me to Woodlands Garden Centre to have a trip out, it was a bit confusing and I got in everyone's way alking so slow but I enjoyed lol We bought quite a few things from The Works (they have an outlet there) and DH had a 25% off voucher from them by email so we saved a fortune. We had a nice jacket spud for lunch which I had with chilli beef so I could taste something hee hee

This afternoon (and a bit this morning) I have sat quietly and recycled some Christmas cards from last year and made quite a few new ones for this year :)

Christmas cards made from recyling bits from last year's cards.
I also did a bit more stitching last week on my Sue Hillis design - I'mreally pleased with it and hope to have it finished in time for Christmas so it cango in the kitchen - not sure where yet though. I have the cookies to backstitch before I do the design bit under the wording.

Sue Hillis WIP
I also made the rest of my church crosses - good job I'm off work or they would never be done in time. I have lots of card ones from Mum and some lovely hardanger ones from Dusty, so with these one's I've done there should be plenty. I'm going to have just plain white lights this time and lots of silver tinsel.

All my crosses ready for church
These are a few of the Ianthe Badger photos Michael took at work, I do like the toy badger I got him and apparantly he's been a  huge success at Brandon too. Michael made him an official name tag lol

I'm hoping to sit and do some Christmas wrapping tomorrow,another nice and quiet job. I hope everyone is safe and warm in this wintery weather, thanks for reading my news x x x

Thursday 2 December 2010

Health update

Unfortunately with all the worry/stress about Dad, working hard and general life jobs my MS has flared up. Fir a few weeks I have been getting slower and slower and my balance is awful (can be funny though)

I have been off work since last Thursday and saw the hospital specialist yesterday. He has confirmed a replase and has put me on a high dose of steroids fro 5 days and off work until 13th. I really dislike steroids as I do have some horrid side affects - one of feeling drunk without the fun :( Because they stimulate my nerves to repair the damaged ones the good ones get over stimulated so I get tingling, fuzziness and redness on my skin. Last time my back felt like I'd been burnt :( I already have the fuzziness in my face and neck after the first dose. I shouldn't moan as I know they are actually doing me good - just gotta get over them :)

DS is back at work although not on his moped. The Police have recovered the bike but the Wheels for Work people have to check it over. He's been going on the bus with quite a long wlak but in this weather that's safer than his bike. This is the facebook page of what he's doing - he is Ianthe Badger. I bought him a stuffed toy which he has given a proper id tag and has taken photos ofnhim round the site. If you use facebook please add him as a friend - he is working on marking and media and needs to show it is working.

DD had her certificate night last Thursday whenshe picked up her GCSE certificates. She felt very pleased to see all the A*, A and Bs on official certificates. She was also awarded Attatinment in four subjects :)

I have been making a few more crosses for the church tree festival which is soon. They are quite quick to do and with no chart I can do them even if my meds are confusing me. I am going to try to plot my JHTC RR for Stitch and Stash too (might be too much just yet) and look for charts for the 2011 RR. There are lots of activities on Stitch and Stash - pop by and have a look, if you're not a member just say you found the site through my blog :)

I hope everyone is ok in this harsh weather - take care x x

Thursday 25 November 2010

Rural England, Christmas Stitching and Health

Nick and I enjoyed another weekend away in Rockingham. We like the Best Western Hotel there and just love the surrounding countryside. We were very lucky this time; DH has a loyalty card so we had a free upgrade :)

On Saturday it was very foggy; we drove around looking at some historical places although they weren't open due to it being winter season.

Eleanor Cross
This cross is one of 12, it's at Geddington. They were built as a memorial to Edward I's wife and there is one in every place her body rested overnight on it's way back to London. This is the full story - Eleanor Crosses

Triangular Lodge
You can't see too well from this photo but this lodge was built in the shape of a triangle. It's owned by English Heritage.

Market Harborough Grammar School

Typical English Ford

These two pictures show just how English and quaint the area is. I feel so at home in the area and just love all the villages. Rutland is truely a beautiful place.

I have been stitching on a piece for Christmas - it's coming along really well, hopefully it will be finished soon. The stitch club at school are also doing well and hopefully soon I'll have some photos of their finished work.

Christmas Stitching
On a down note I am suffering with my MS - I am not walking very well, have pain in my left arm and feel very tired. I have contatced the MS nurse so we'll see what she suggests. I've taken today off school to have some rest - at least I can blog, chat and stitch :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends x x

Sunday 14 November 2010

Round Robin update

I have completed the wording on one side of my Round Robin and nearly completed the other :) I'm ready then to start adding the hardanger, although I'm not sure yet as to the design (I need to count the spaces out).
One side of the lettering is done
I have nearly finished this side too
I can then start planning out my next Round Robin which is a private one (although we're showing our progress on Stitch and Stash) between myself, Julie, Hazel and Tina. I have all my charts now so just need to find some fabric and start plotting :) I like to use the RRs to make things I need - in previous years I have used RRs and exchanges to have the centres for all my cushions at the caravan :) and the last two RRs I did have been tablecloths. This new RR will be another useful item - but I'm not saying what just yet ;) 

I'll take some close ups when we go next year - but these are my caravan cushions

I have been doing some reading this month - I've finally finished reading Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris - it was ok but not my favourite of hers. I have also read All Balls and Glitter by Craig Revel Horwood - such a laugh and a real eye opener into how he got where he is - quite a risk taker at times too.

My next read is The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse - I liked her other books so I'm hoping this will be as good.

DH and I have been listening to Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier on audio book when we go on our long journeys. It's lasted a trip to the caravan and back, and the two trips to Stoke for the car. It's lovely travelling along with the story  to my iPod touch so we'll be able to listen to more audio books on our journeys. Burming Bright was a good story and very well read - lots of voice change for the characters which adds to the story.

Dad is doing really well - he's home and has a carer calling 4 times a day.It was a bit hectic getting him home and the first night. The hospital stuff was ridiculous ending up with me fetching dad, no care assessment but carer turned up at 7 after I'd done tea. That was last call but too early for him to go to bed, so we said we'd go back at 9.30 and help him to bed. We did and found him on the floor, tumbled using his frame and been there hour and a half.

999 again, it took four of us to get the frame from under him and get him off the floor. Paramedics checked him over and we helped him to bed. Since then he's been ok, I've had to pop up a few mornings and evenings because until today he's been slotted in on the care rota -after today he'll have a set plan - phew.#

In himself he's really perky and insisted that last night Nick and I gofor a meal out as a thank you. Everyday he isdoing a little more for himself - the biggest thing is his strength and walking around.

We're off to MIL's for dinner today and I'm hoping to get some of my stitching done or I might take my knitting - I need to keep my left arm moving as it's stiffening up a little so the knitting would be best if it's not too painful to do.

God bless on Remembrance Day -
prayers to everyone who has given their life,
prayers for all those who have been injured in conflict,
prayers for all their families and
prayers for us all to find peace.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Halloween - whooooooo, hoooooooo

We went out for a meal today with the grandparents for Michael's birthday, it was a bit odd because Dad wasn't there (more about him later) and Philly wasn't there because she was on her first day a Debenhams. I made some Halloween cupcakes instead of a big birthday cake.

Dad is improving but it's been a difficult week. He was moved Tuesday to another ward as he was doing well, the new ward was an overflow ward with mainly agency nurses. They were terrible, hardly ever came when Dad pressed his buzzer. We visited on Weds afternoon before driving 3 hours to the caravan because we need to close it down for winter. A friend visited Dad and rang to say he was shocked how poorly he was, poor breathing and didn't seem with it. We rang the hospital and were told Dad was not co-operating and they had struggled to get him to stand out the car so had not changed him since afternoon visiting. I was fuming but we couldn't drive back.

We packed the caravan up Thurs morning and drove 3 hours home in time for afternoon visiting. Dad was definately unwell, and was being kept in bed because he wouldn't get out he chair the nght before. They said he was being unco-operative, but the chair was so low he couldn't stand to get out as he has poor strength in his legs anyway. He had big black eyes, very poor breathing and not really aware of much. I asked the nurse for some oxygen, the look said it all but I insisted and eventually she fitted him a new mask.We complained to the Patient Service and that evening requested Dad move wards.

Friday morning he was moved back to a ward he'd been in before, was on full oxygen and the nurses were bustling around saying 'fancy seeing you back here Ron'. By evening visiting Dad was so much better, they had found a chest infection and put him on anti-biotics .Our friend visited again and was amazed at how much better he looked, he said he was quite worried Weds and I dread to think how Dad would have been if we'd have stayed in Wales until Fri.

Two days on Dad is back to his old chatty self, still on the drip but in the chair, being regularly changed and eating all his dinners. He said he felt like a bag of potatoes on the other ward but feels like a person now :) He's been in three weeks now and it is nice to seehim finally improving but it's very tiring all the rushing around. I'm back at school tomorrow too.

Stitching wise I have finished the summer basket on my Round Robin peice and have now started the lettering.

I have also started knitting again - I bought some wool at the bargain price of 40p a ball and the pattern is a freebie from Prima. It will be a short sleeved jacket when it's done, fingers crossed. It's not quite the right wool and there are a few large stitches which I might have to move along later.

Happy Halloween everyone, thanks for flying by :)