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Friday, 31 March 2006

Withdrawal Symptoms

I finished the latest Diana Gabaldon book "A Breathe of Snow and Ashes". I listened to the audio unabridged version read by Davina Porter which was on 48 discs while I stitched on an evening. I have been listening to it for so long it seems strange not having it on when I stitch.

I enjoyed this book much more than the last one "The Fiery Cross", even though there were parts, especially towards the end, where it seemed like it had been edited to shorten it. Where Diana Gabaldon normally explains things in minute detail, this seemed to jump from one part to another missing out chunks which I personally would have preferred to be left in. I am happy however long a book is as long as it is entertaining and hasn't just been padded out to fill space. I think Davina Porter is an excellent narrator and really makes the book come alive.
A Favourite Quote:
"If today were a fish
I would throw it back"

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Yesterday's Fun

My sister and one of my nephews, Marcus, came here yesterday evening. It was lovely seeing them both as it has been ages since we have spent any time together. My husband took Marcus to play snooker and they both seemed to enjoy themselves. My sister and I stayed home and chatted and chatted... Well you get the idea. She has just started to cross stitch and it was lovely having someone to talk to about it. We also made a couple of cards (not cross stitched), although it was a bit of a rush at the end as it got so late. I really hope it isn't long and we can get together again!

We also started to plan out a quilt I would like made. I have never attempted anything like this before but have stitched the monthly Lizzie*Kate flip-its and five of the holiday flip-its and thought they would make a great quilt. We decided it really needed another holiday flip-it to even out so I am trying to think what to do. I don't want to stitch the 4th of July as I am not from the USA nor the St. Patrick's Day as I have no Irish connections, so I will need to design or alter another chart to fit. So far I have thought of either doing a birthday one (even though that isn't classed as a holiday) or New Year. Am I missing a UK holiday here? If you have any suggestions please let me know.

A Favourite Quote:
"Sometimes I wake up grumpy
and sometimes I let him sleep in!"

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Wish List

At last I have got around to setting up a wish list on my personal website. I have been wanting to sort it out since Christmas as I thought it would be good to have an ongoing list available. So if I am asked "what would you like?" I don't have to spend ages trying to remember what it was I saw months ago. I thought it would be easier to have pictures to view instead of just a list, OK so that is mainly so I can drool.

I am also planning to sort out charts and kits I will probably never get around to doing and adding them to my "for sale" page. Having my "wish list" set up will make it easier if anyone wants to do a swap. I just need to remember to keep them both updated!

A Favourite Quote:
"Take my advice ...
I'm not using it!"

Monday, 27 March 2006

Weekly Update

I have finished page one of HAED - "Tomboy"

Tomboy 25th March

This is sky with one row of the wall. I do prefer the PB10 Petite Treasure Braid to the Kreinik. As well as being easier to stitch with it gave better coverage. The Petite Treasure Braid didn't scan properly so it doesn't show in the picture unfortunately. I also managed to grid the second page ready for next week.

I am now stitching on the Kustom Krafts baby lion. I am hoping to finish page 8 this week, but there is still a lot to do and I have one evening less to stitch so I'll see if I can manage.

Also I have started stitching a snowdrop coaster for my mum and I am aiming to finish that this week. I will post a scan when complete.

A Favourite Quote:
Curiosity killed the cat,
I'm glad I’m not a cat!

Friday, 24 March 2006

Protection of an Angel

This is my latest finished cross stitch. I stitched it for my sister who is going through a difficult patch. I have made it into a coaster for her.

Angel Coaster

It is stitched onto gold fleck fabric which has a lovely sparkle although this doesn't show up in the scan. The halo and the edges of the wings are stitched with PB03 gold Petite Treasure Braid and the cloud is edged with silver Cristallina thread; again the effect doesn't really show in the scan.

A Favourite Quote:
"Good Morning is a contradiction in terms"

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Long Day

I am working late tonight as I am about to send a newsletter out for HandsOnHobbies (it can be viewed here). It is going to be a long day; it is a good thing I enjoy my work! Today I managed to get some new products entered into the shop and got more sample cards into the gallery. So I am pleased with my progress.

I don't know what time I will get finished this evening but I am hoping to be able to get some stitching in. I am on the last column of page 1 of HAED "Tomboy" and would like to complete it today.

A Favourite Quote:
"Everyone brings joy to this house…
Some when they enter,
Others when they leave."

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Slice of Lemon

When I was going through some "Beautiful Stitches" magazines yesterday evening I came across this interesting fact about lemons:

"No one really knows where the first lemon tree flowered, but they were growing in Spain and North Africa by the year 1200. Quite foreign to our shores for many years, a lemon was produced as a delicacy at Anne Boleyn’s coronation. It cost six silver pennies!"

It is interesting to me as we have a lemon theme in our kitchen, well if you call three cross stitched pictures of lemons and some coasters shaped as lemons a "theme".

Here are photos of the three pictures I have cross stitched:

If Life Throws You Lemons
Jill Oxton Lemons

I have tried a couple of times to grow a lemon tree but haven't been successful yet; I hope one day to manage though.

A Favourite Quote:
"Humankind has not woven the web of life; we are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves."
Chief Seattle

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Moving Forward

I managed to get so much done today; more than I thought I could. So although tired I am pleased with what has been achieved.

Workwise I managed to get a number of the new products entered as well as improving the descriptions for the Francoise Read Clear Magic Stamps. I also sorted out images for some sample cards made with the clear stamps and set up a gallery online for them. I have also written a newsletter ready to be sent out later this week. All of that was as well as my usual day-to-day work.

Personally I managed to get some tidying and some much needed housework done - the dust bunnies were getting so large I could probably dress them up for Easter. I am now ready to sit and stitch for an hour or so - I am so looking forward to it!

A Favourite Quote:
"To err is human - and to blame it on a computer is even more so."
... Robert Orben

Monday, 20 March 2006

Cross Stitch Update

This is my progress on the Kustom Krafts "Baby Lion" as of 19th March, when I packed it away to rotate to my next project.

Baby Lion 19th March

I rotated to HAED "Tomboy" yesterday evening. I am on an easy patch and after all the isolated stitches with the "Baby Lion" it was a welcome relief.

The one thing I didn't enjoy with "Tomboy" yesterday was stitching with the Kreinik thread. This design seems to use a lot of it so I have decided to use PB10 Petite Treasure Braid instead. I will have to re-do some but it should be easier to stitch with and I think it will look better.

A Favourite Quote:
"If I stitch fast does it count as an aerobic exercise?"

Sunday, 19 March 2006

Joy Of Cross Stitch

As I was sat quietly stitching I started thinking of the thrill of seeing a picture develop before my eyes; one created by me. Each stitch one more piece in the jigsaw, on its own just a coloured blob but together with all the other stitches a picture.

Cross stitch means so much to me. I have always wanted to be able to create something but not having artistic capabilities didn't think I could, well except a mess and that doesn't count. With cross stitch it is easy to create something good enough to adorn a wall in your home. If you can count and see (which certainly helps) you can cross stitch. I have even heard of a lady stitching who is blind, I am not sure how she does it but she does (with a bit of help) which I think of in awe. Cross stitch is like anything else if you have the interest and willingness to learn something new you can do it!

A Favourite Quote:
"I can do anything I think I can"

Saturday, 18 March 2006

Pat On The Back

Today I received an email from a customer giving me high praise; it made my day. It's lovely receiving feedback like this and makes all the hard work even more worthwhile.

One evening left on the "baby lion" cross stitch before rotating back to "Tomboy". I had hoped to get half of page 8 stitched this week, but it doesn't look like I will be able to; having so many isolated stitches really slowed me down. I am feeling very tired today so am not sure how much I will end up getting done, but I will be doing some. I will take a progress picture after today.

A Favourite Quote:
"I'd like mornings better if they started later"

Friday, 17 March 2006

To Do or Not To Do

Various time management books advise writing out a 'to do' list and prioritising it. So this is what I did and was raring to get started this morning. It worked for about five minutes before going out the window! What are you supposed to do when your shop has a run on certain items and sells out, and you know people are waiting for things? Also what happens when a number of deliveries are made that arrive quicker than usual - so are not planned for and then need checking? Well I am not sure what the 'experts' say you should do (haven't got to that bit in the book yet), but I sorted out an order (of course I had to look into ordering some new products at the same time) and then checked through each parcel which took longer than it should as there were so many new items that just had to be looked at. I can't wait to have a play with everything - or should that be doing 'consumer research', as it all looks brilliant!

Well I did get some things done from my original 'to do' list so that was good, right?

I think next week's 'to do' list has written itself: get new stock entered into the online shop!

A Favourite Quote:
"My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Gone!"

Thursday, 16 March 2006

The Joy of Computers!

I love my computer I really do. They are a brilliant invention and I don't know how I managed before getting one, but why do they decide to close down (and with no warning) when you are in the middle of some important work? I know I didn't ask it to shut! Also I print loads of addresses on envelopes, but why when I am using a special envelope that is the correct size for the card and I only have the one, does it jam in the printer? I have printed similar envelopes with no problem so why did it single out the particular envelope that was important to look good? I think I need to go stitch!

A Favourite Quote:
"There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer."
... J. H. Goldfuss

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Duplicate Charts

I realised last night as I started going through a different title of magazine how many charts are duplicated in the various stitching magazines. At first I thought it was déjà vu! I am sure I am going to end up with multiple copies of designs that I like, though I suppose as long as I don't end up stitching them twice it is OK.

I am making slow progress with the Kustom Krafts Baby Lion this week. I am stitching a patch with a lot of isolated stitches, although I think tonight I will be getting on to a bit with a larger patch of colour which I am looking forward to. I prefer it when I can see progress in a short time. I find it frustrating when I have been stitching an hour and can't see any difference.

A Favourite Quote:
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Just take one step at a time"

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Changed Thoughts

I was getting stressed out by my growing 'To Do' list when I remembered something I had read awhile back. It was simply to change the way you think about things. It is your thoughts that govern how you feel about something not the thing itself. I tried it and it worked. I immediately felt better, the stress just slipped away and I started to get excited about the jobs ahead.

A Favourite Quote:
"I Know All About Stressed…
It’s Desserts Spelled Backwards!"

Monday, 13 March 2006

"Tomboy" Update

I have uploaded a progress picture of "Tomboy" to my gallery. It is just a blob of sky at the moment and as stated yesterday will be the same but larger for the next six pages. I should be able to finish this first page next week when I rotate back to it and then will remove the grid lines. I am gridding page by page so it isn't so overwhelming or time consuming.

I am so glad I started gridding my fabric as it makes it much easier to stitch and it helps to stop mistakes. I use Coats Cristallina Metallic Thread in purple to outline each page and pink to grid each 10 x 10 block. The method I use is over 5 holes and then under 5 as I like the half way point of each block marked. Metallic thread is best for gridding as it can be left in while stitching as it resists the needle piercing it. It is very easy to remove once the stitching is complete. I tried gridding with regular sewing thread and got into such a mess I almost gave up all together.

A Favourite Quote:
"The Dress Is By Ralph Lauren…
The Body by Chocolate Chip!"

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Cross Stitch Plan

I decided as part of my ongoing 'get organised' campaign to work out a five year cross stitch plan. I decided on five years when I worked out that the Heaven and Earth 'Tomboy' chart I am stitching is going to take four years and two months if I continue at the same speed and working on it every other week. I can vary my rotation without going off my plan if I get bored of only stitching on two pieces at a time. I put the plan in the sidebar of this blog to monitor my progress.

I am enjoying stitching on 'Tomboy' but it is going to be difficult to keep myself motivated as there are ten pages of background before I get to the main section and that is only the top of her head! It is page 15 before really focussing on her. In fact the first six pages are all sky! I will have to keep telling myself how stunning it will look when eventually finished.

Today I am going to spend around an hour finishing a block of 'Tomboy', filling in the gaps where I have gone cross-country - or whatever the saying is. Then I am rotating to a week stitching on the Kustom Krafts baby lion.

A Favourite Quote:
Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves,
for they shall never cease to be amused."

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Determined Daffodil

Looking out the window at our garden today it got me thinking. Nature teaches us lessons if only we take notice. There was one mini (technical term there - as you can tell I am not a gardener) daffodil that has pushed its way through everything to bloom. Although it is small, all the cold weather and snow that we have experienced hasn't defeated it; instead it stands straight and as tall as it can spreading its own cheerfulness for all to see.

I didn’t do any stitching yesterday and ended up not being able to sleep. OK one instance isn’t enough to make it a scientific fact, but as far as I’m concerned I think they are linked. So to be able to sleep I have to stitch, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. The fact I stayed up till 2am finishing off a card gallery for HandsOnHobbies and my brain was buzzing doesn’t come into it. If you want to check out my handiwork go to
It still needs more cards (loads more), but it is set up ready.

A Favourite Quote:
"Life is a cycle always in motion.
If good times have moved on,
So will times of trouble."
(Indian Proverb)

Friday, 10 March 2006

Rolling Snowball

This has been a crazy week! It started off busy on Monday and gradually day by day has been building steam. By this evening I am ready to curl in a ball and hibernate. It has been like a snowball starting small getting larger until it is too big to push any further. I just need to turn it into a snowman and have some fun.

When I was going through magazines yesterday evening I came across an interesting article on Mrs Beeton, most remembered for the 'Book of Household Management' - yes, if I stopped reading the magazines I would actually get through a lot more. I always thought she was an older lady and as the article suggested a 'matronly figure'. It turns out this is completely wrong as she tragically died at only 28 years old, only eight years after getting married. She was apparently a 'handsome young woman with boundless energy and great talent'. She only started her writing career after she got married. It was her husband who published her books as he had his own publishing company until it faced disaster during the collapse of a bank in 1866. He died young as well and only lived 12 years longer than his wife.

A Favourite Quote:
From a Garfield cartoon
"If 11 donuts stick together it counts as one, right?"

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Good Progress

I made good progress with the stitching magazines last night; I am planning to continue a bit more this evening. At first it was difficult to decide if I should keep certain charts or not (what if my tastes changed in the years to come) but in the end it was getting easier (there are not enough hours in a day for me to ever be able to stitch them all).

It seemed strange ripping pages out as I have always been taught that it is wrong to ruin books. Then again magazines are not books even if I have treated them as such.

I hope to get another hour stitching on "Tomboy" tonight and finish column four of page one.

A Favourite Quote:
"I’m Doing the Laundry Today…
What Colour Do You Want Your Underwear To Be?"

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Time to Organise

I collect stitching magazines and have for a few years. It has got to the point where there isn't enough space to store them properly. Also when I want to stitch something I can never find the magazine that I saw the chart in so I end up stitching something else instead. So I have made the decision to go through each magazine and take out any chart that I am or could be interested in stitching at some point. The pages are going to be stored in clear plastic wallets in presentation binders. To save space I am putting all the pages relating to two charts in one wallet with the colour picture of each showing front and back. I am putting the magazine name, issue number and date as well as the page numbers that have been removed on a slip at the front of the wallet. Eventually I will make a list of all the designs so I can find them easily when wanted. Time allowing I will scan each colour picture and make an album of designs to make it easier still. That is the theory anyway! Considering the number of magazines I have and the limited time I am going to be spending on the task (well I have to stitch everyday don't I?) it is going to take years. I want to keep it fun as that is really the point of stitching so I am not going to put a time limit on it, well only to keep ahead of new magazines that arrive so I don't have to store them in a pile on the floor.

Tonight I am aiming to spend an hour or so stitching on "Tomboy" and listening to "A Breathe of Snow and Ashes" audio book, watching an episode of Star Trek Enterprise with my husband and then going through a few more magazines. Bliss! It has been a long busy day and I am looking forward to the time relaxing, if I can keep awake long enough that is.

A Favourite Quote:
Our Family is Like Fudge:
Very Sweet... with a few nuts."

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Then there was light!

I have been struggling with the light in the lounge where I stitch for quite awhile. It became more of a problem when I started stitching the Heaven and Earth designs as they are so large and the light from my usual lamp didn't shine in the right place. Problem solved, I am now a proud owner of an 'Ultimate Daylight Lamp'. It is fantastic as I can wheel it to where I need, it has a strong clamp and a very good magnifier attached and the most important thing is the light is brilliant. It looks good in the lounge as well and the attachments come off if we need it to look like a regular lamp. My husband likes it as well, so I am one happy bunny!

A Favourite Quote:
A House is built of Walls and Beams
A Home is built of Love and Dreams

Monday, 6 March 2006

Busy Day

I have been struggling today as I have been busy work wise and have come down with a bug. It is just a cold but it is making me feel rough with streaming eyes, runny nose and a bad headache. I still managed to get through a lot of work but I could have got through a lot more if I didn't have this cold. I am determind not to give into it though and will continue working and stitching in the evening, if I can see the holes in the fabric that is.

I made good progress on HAED - Tomboy last night and finished the third column of page one. Listening to an audio book really helped me as I was so engrossed in it that my stitching seemed to speed up. Luckily mistakes weren't made.

I'm listening to the audio book "A Breathe of Snow and Ashes" by Diana Gabaldon. It is the full unabridged version with Davina Porter as narrator. I am really enjoying it (so far). Her last book "The Fiery Cross" was a disappointment to me and I wondered if the series had run its course. Maybe I just needed to have a break as I had listened straight through from book one, but I had been hooked on them. Addicted to them and cross stitch is there any hope for me!

A Favourite Quote:
"I Consolidated All My Bills…
I Put Them Altogether In A Drawer!"

Sunday, 5 March 2006

First Day!

This is my first attempt at blogging. I loved the idea and hope I have enough things to say!

I am spending a bit of time trying to figure out how it all works and get my blog set up and then I am going to stitch.

My current stitching project is Heaven and Earth's Tomboy (Color), I have only spent one week on it so far. My husband bought the chart for my birthday and this is his favourite picture as well. I love the idea that I am stitching something he will enjoy looking at. Although I don't know how long it will take to finish as it has 36 pages. This is largest picture I have attempted so far.

The other picture I am stitching at the moment is Kustom Krafts Baby Lion. I finished page 7 last night. This chart has 9 pages.

I decided to rotate just two cross stitch projects for now and will see how I get on with that.

My progress so far on both these projects as well as my completed cross stitch pictures can be seen at:

A Favourite Quote:
"I've got enough money to last me the rest of my life...
Unless I want to buy something."