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Friday, 26 October 2007

I’m back again – well sort of.

Thank you for all the messages and emails. I will get around to replying ASAP.

It was an unplanned absence due to a couple of things. Firstly out of the blue Richard talked about us moving and after a long discussion we decided it would be the right thing to do. We spoke to the estate agent who said he thought our house would sell quickly as there was a shortage of this size house on the market in this area. We rushed getting things ready, doing all the jobs that have been put off. I also had to go through everything I own and try and get rid of half of it as we will be moving to a smaller house. Wow, I have a lot of stuff! As soon as we put our house on the market things cooled down and houses are now not selling in the area (well this size anyway).

Well amongst that I had health problems. I am receiving treatment which is going well.

My stitching has suffered as although I am stitching sometimes, there have been a few weeks when I couldn’t do any at all. In fact this is one of them as I just don’t feel well enough, I am missing it though.

I don’t know how often I will be able to write my blog, but hopefully things will get back to normal (whatever that is) soon.

Even though I haven’t done as much stitching, I still have some to share with you as it has been so long since I last did an update. I haven’t stuck to the rotation, just stitched on whatever, whenever.

I have finished Lavender & Lace Celtic Winter:
Celtic Winter - Finished

This is waiting to be framed now. It looks better in real life, but then don't they always?

Next I worked on HAED – Tomboy:
Tomboy - 26 Sept 2007

I have reached the 52% mark which is 18 pages. This was my target for the year. There are only 18 more pages to go!

Lastly is HAED – QS Believe:
QS Believe

This is at 16%, which is just over half of the first page. I was surprised at how much confetti or isolated stitches this had on the butterfly. Maybe it was just I wasn’t feeling too good while I was working on it, so it seemed worse.

I have also just finished Lizzie*Kate Winter Boxer but haven’t taken a photo yet, will show that next time.

I am currently stitching on The Visitor, which is a picture of a fox. It reminds me of the foxes that visit our back garden. I am trying to get the first page finished before taking a photo, so hopefully I will be able to stitch again soon.

Well that’s it for now, thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Week 27

Thank you for your comments and emails I really appreciate them! Sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs this week but there are not enough hours in a day at present to fit everything in. I have undertaken a couple of large projects for both the business and home so when I finish work for the day I am only fit to stitch for a short time before bed. I will catch up with everyone as soon as possible.

I am keeping to my stitching rotation, but because of the above I am not getting a lot done on each project. This week I have been working on L&L's 'The Quiltmaker':
The Quiltmaker

If you click on the image it will take you to see what it should look like when finished. I would have got more done on this if my scanner and PC were friends with each other. I always get an enlarged working copy of the chart so I can see it easily and also mark off where I am going or finished. It took a lot longer to sort out than it should have, but at least I have it now, so there should be more progress when stitching on this in the future.

I also managed to finish Waxing Moon's 'Hitchin' a Ride':
Hitchin' A Ride

I altered the snowflakes and missed out the backstitching in the sky. I love this design; I think it is such a fun one for Christmas!

Yesterday evening I worked on HAED's 'QS Believe':
QS Believe

Again if you click on the image it will take you to see what it should look like when finished. It was just blocks of colour, so easy to stitch, just what I needed yesterday.

Tonight I hope to bring out HAED's Tomboy for a turn.

Friday, 29 June 2007

I won a HAED chart!

The Heaven and Earth Designs forum ran a game of bingo for fairy day and I nearly fainted when I won it! Two other ladies won as well and instead of selecting one of us to win the prize, HAED very kindly agreed to give all three of us a free chart. I chose Pirate by Selina Fenech. I am delighted to have won and to be able to select a chart that I love.

This week I worked on HAED's 'At First Sight' by Linda Tso. You wouldn't say I was addicted to HAED charts would Well here is my progress so far:
At first Sight

If you click on the image it will take you to see what it should look like when finished. I loved working on this design it has been the easiest so far of any of the HAED Charts I have worked on. I didn't spend as much time stitching this week so there isn't a lot done.

I worked on HAED's 'QS Believe' on Wednesday. This is my progress so far (again you can see what is should look like by clicking on the image):
QS Believe

I enjoy stitching this much more on the 18 count.

I am sorting out Lavender and Lace's 'The Quiltmaker' and hope to start stitching on it this weekend. I don't know why but every time I go to type 'Quiltmaker' I end up typing 'Guiltmaker'. lol

Friday, 22 June 2007

I took the plunge and changed my blog template. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Don't know why but I was in a pink mood. The colour will no doubt change from time to time. I also designed a banner for the top, eventually I want to add something more 'cross stitch' to it.

This week's stitching time was concentrated on Celtic Winter. I didn't have as much time to spend stitching as usual but I am pleased with the progress made anyway. This is what Celtic Winter looks like now:
Celtic Winter - 20 June 2007

The dress is finished except for the hem.

Tonight I will start gridding for HAED's 'At First Sight' - YUK. I don't enjoy gridding but I do prefer stitching with it in place. This design (when I start the stitching) fits in with my pink mood. :)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Second Happy Dance of 2007

I would like to share my second cross stitch happy dance of 2007:
Waxing Moon - Bring on the Snow

This is 'Bring on the Snow' by Waxing Moon.

Here is my progress on Tomboy:
Tomboy - 12 June 2007

Another 1% done bringing the total complete to 43.2%

I re-started HAED's QS Believe last night on 18 count Aida. I only got a few stitches in after gridding so not worth a photo yet.

For those who would like to know where the seven hearts are hidden in the picture I posted last week, here is the answer:
HAED - Seven Hearts

I have just discovered that some emails are not getting through, so if you have sent me an email and not had a reply please re-send it, thanks.

Tonight I will be stitching on Celtic Winter.

Friday, 8 June 2007

This is my start on HAED's Cabin in the Woods:
Cabin in the Woods - 4 june 2007

I started on page 19 instead of the top left as I usually do. Sorry the photo isn't too good, it does look better IRL. I should get more done the next time I work on this as most of the gridding is done and all the threads are sorted ready and cut into workable lengths.

I haven't been getting as much stitching time lately, so not much to show in this post. I did put a total of 3 stitches into HAED's Seven Hearts on Wednesday. It was our 7th wedding anniversary and although I didn't have time to spend stitching I wanted to have made a start with this chart on the day. We got this design as we thought it was suitable for the occasion.
HAED - Seven Hearts
There are seven hearts hidden in the picture, can you find them?

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Update Continued

Following on from my last post here are the two promised photos.

DMC - Tiger and Cub:
DMC - Tiger and Cub

I had fun gridding the black and sorting the threads of the kit - not. lol  It was the worst kit I have had for sorting threads out. For example there were six or seven shades of grey with descriptions such as pale grey and light grey. Then there were the oranges etc.. The totals of the strands didn't help either as mostly they were the same quantity. Luckily I have a DMC shade card (and a fantastic husband, who helped a lot), as in the end I had to use that to work out which thread was which. This is the left ear which is 9.4% of the total. I was gradually getting used to stitching on the black before I moved on. I am looking forward to stitching on this again.

HAED - QS Believe:
HAED - QS Believe

I decided to try 28 count Brittney to stitch this but am really not enjoying it. Only 6.2% has been stitched so I've made the decision to restart it on 18 count Aida.

I am just starting HAED's Cabin in the Woods. Hopefully I will get the first stitches in tonight.

Update - At Last

I didn't mean to be away for so long but time just slipped away. It was time to move HandsOnHobbies onto the new server but to do so the shop had to be closed and completely set up from scratch with new software. My DH and I had two weeks to do the job, including a lot of new features and adding thousands of products with larger images! To check out the new (UK) site go to

The following are photos of my stitching progress since my last post.

Tomboy - 16 May 2007

I have stitched 14 of 36 pages which is 42.3%

Diane Graebner's - Christmas Eve:
DG - Christmas Eve

Stitched 16 blocks at top left approx. 6.4%

Solaria Gallery – Girl from Alhambra:
Solaria Gallery – Girl from Alhambra

Stitched half of page one. I love stitching this design! Stitched approx. 16%

Celtic Winter:
Celtic Winter - 22 May 2007

Widened fur on hood, stitched muff and start of dress. Stitched approx. 55.2%

I have two others to sort out photos for and will show them later.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

2007 Goals

I've realised that I haven't put my 2007 stitching goals into writing so better late than never:

1. I would like to start a rotation of at least 20 projects, most of them large including quite a few HAED. As of 1st January I only had 3 WIP projects, which means a lot of new starts.

2. Get HAED - Tomboy to the 50% mark. I started the year at 29.9% (around 9 and a half pages).

3. Finish more than 4 projects.

Progress as of 22 April 07:

1. I have started 12 of the 20 projects.

2. Tomboy is at the 37.3% mark (12 pages). I have 6 more pages to stitch this year to reach my target.

3. I have finished 1 project (Diane Graebner's - Home for the Holidays)

Week's Progress

The following photos show my stitching progress for the week. The first is Dimensions - Sleigh Ride:

Sleigh Ride

It is 15.7% complete. I am doing the backstitch as I go so it isn't all left to the end.

The second photo is my progress on Celtic Winter:

Celtic Winter

It is 48.6% complete. I finished the cloak and face and just started the dress as originally charted (although I have changed the colours). So far the two halves are fitting together nicely. I was worried how the original charted half would fit together with the cloak. The cloak was designed by Nathalie for a mirror image of Celtic Spring. I am stitching it for the actual Celtic Winter.

I am starting back on HAED - Tomboy today and can't wait!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

HAED progress

This week I have two Heaven and Earth Designs WIP's to show. The first is The Pink Rose:
The Pink Rose - 9 April 2007

I finished page 1. It is just background so not a very interesting picture to look at.

The second is Tomboy:
Tomboy - 14 April 2007

I finished page 13.

I had to re-do a patch of the wall in Tomboy, as I had used the wrong colour thread! It was tempting to leave it being just a patch in the wall which didn't stand out as being wrong. Every time I looked I knew it wasn't right and was going to bother me unless I corrected it. With it out the way I am pleased with my decision.

I am working on Sleigh Ride now, but I am not enjoying it. I would prefer to be stitching on a HAED. They are much larger but easier to stitch in my opinion. I am not sure if all Dimension charts are the same, but I have been put off in case they are. I like to cross stitch in two threads (or an even number at least), so a loop start can be used. I hate blending and with Sleigh Ride sometimes you have to use one of each or two, three or four strands, it just doesn't seem possible to get into a rhythm. As stitching is my hobby, something that should be enjoyable, I made the decision to put Sleigh Ride in to my random rotation rather than a focus project. It means I will still be stitching on it and hopefully one day will finish; but not quickly.

After a couple of days on Sleigh Ride I am moving onto Celtic Winter which is remaining as a focus project. I am hoping to finish the cloak this time around and start the part of the design that was originally charted. I just need to figure out how the two parts fit together!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

First HD of 2007

This week I finished Diane Graebner's - Home for the Holidays. I enjoyed stitching this design; it grew quickly and didn't take much concentration. The windows in the house sparkle but it doesn't show in the photo.
Home for the Holidays

Last night I worked on HAED's - The Pink Rose. I wish I had started this on her face so there was something to look at instead of just the background. From now on I am going to start all large charts on the main part of the picture and then fill in the background. I find I enjoy stitching more when there is something to see other than a blob of colour. Luckily at the bottom right corner of page two I will reach her hair (although I won't get that far this time round). I will continue on The Pink Rose for a few days and then go back to HAED's - Tomboy.

I have updated my rotation page on my site with my new plan. This now includes links to each project page where there is a picture of how it should look when complete. To see it click here:

I haven't decorated the house for Easter this year, unless you count dust bunnies! lol I have got some daffodils, yellow cushion covers and yellow table cloth for Spring and they do brighten the house. I LOVE SPRING!

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter!

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Another Week

HandsOnHobbies has been moved back to the old server and is open for business as usual. I am trying to find out why it isn't happy with the new server. It should be fine, all the software requirements are met and there are no obvious errors. I really hope it can be sorted out as I spent a lot of time this week looking into different software and nothing was suitable, without a load of re-writing that is.

Once HandsOnHobbies was back working I managed to get a newsletter out about the new Clear Magic Stamps. The new stamps are a huge hit. I thought they would be as there are some lovely designs.

I am really excited as I have designed some software and it is currently being developed. I am not sure when it will be ready but as soon as I have further details I will let you know.

This week I have stitched on only one design, Diane Graebner's - Home for the Holidays. It is lovely to stitch. It is a quick and easy design with no confetti stitches!!! I love the larger designs but it is nice to take a break once in awhile. I needed this project this week as it doesn't take much concentration and was easy to keep picking up and working on for the short spaces of time that were available to me. I was working all day and a lot through the evening, so it was lovely to see the picture developing so fast. This is where I am up to at present:
Home for the Holidays

I have decided to stay with this project until completion, which hopefully will be this week. I am then moving onto HAED's - The Pink Rose.

"Chain of Friends"

This was from Velda's blog. Please copy the verse and photo for your blog and carry on the chain of friendship! Leave a comment so we can all follow the chain!

Holding Hands

This picture shows a line of little girls holding hands facing the immensity of ocean waves.
Alone they might be washed away, but together they stand strong.
Thank you for holding my hand somewhere along the way when I was facing a wave of my own. I hope you will reach for my hand when your own wave threatens.

All of us girls...
Old and young...
Near and far...
Hold special memories of good times we've shared.
We've had our share of hard times when our friends were there to make us feel better.
We've shared...
our hearts
our time
our secrets
our fears
our hopes
and our dreams.
Let us never break the chain of friends!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Weekly News

This week our main water tap into the house developed a leak. I noticed a strange patch on the wall (which was recently decorated) which turned out to be caused by the leak. What could have been a quick repair turned into a saga, but thankfully it is fixed now. Although the wall does need to be sorted out!

We decided to move HandsOnHobbies to a new web server but it didn't go well and we haven't been able to get it to work correctly so the shop has been closed since Thursday evening. We decided to move it back to the old server for now and then probably start the shop from scratch using new software, which should be fun! Watch this space. lol

On top of which my PC is still throwing tantrums. Considering everything that is going on I am somehow managing to keep calm.

My sister is starting a new chapter in her life as she has just got the keys to her new house and is in the process of moving in. I wish her luck with her new start.

I have adapted my cross stitch rotation. I wasn't enjoying stitching on Sleigh Ride and Celtic Winter for just one evening a week. I prefer to spend at least a few days on a project before packing it away. With Sleigh Ride in particular I never looked forward to starting it and when I had to pack it away I had just started to get into it, so it wasn’t progressing very quickly. I have therefore adapted my rotation so both Sleigh Ride and Celtic Winter have slots every month and I can spend longer on them than just one evening. Also I wanted to have Tomboy as more of a focus piece. My new rotation looks like this:

Diane Graebner - Home for the Holidays
HAED - Pink Rose
HAED - Tomboy
Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
L&L - Celtic Winter
HAED - Tomboy
Diane Graebner - Christmas Eve
Solaria Gallery – Girl from Alhambra
HAED - Tomboy
Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
L&L - Celtic Winter
HAED - Tomboy
DMC - Tiger and Cub
HAED - Cabin in the Woods
HAED - Tomboy
Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
L&L - Celtic Winter
HAED - Tomboy
HAED - At First Sight
L&L - The Quiltmaker
HAED - Tomboy
Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
L&L - Celtic Winter
HAED - Tomboy
CNSC - The Visitor (Fox)
HAED - Invariance
HAED - Tomboy
Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
L&L - Celtic Winter
HAED - Tomboy

I have now also got a list of "Office Projects" which are smaller designs that I will stitch on when I have a few minutes to spare. They are:

Waxing Moon - Bring on the Snow
Lizzie*Kate - Winter Boxer
CSC - Holly Cottage
Derwentwater Designs - Cliff Top
Lizzie*Kate - Flip-it Blessings

My progress photos for the week include Celtic Winter which I did still stitch on Tuesday as usual:

Celtic Winter - 20 March 2007

and Tomboy:
Tomboy - 23 March 2007

I stitched half a page.

As soon as I get a chance I am starting Diane Graebner - Home for the Holidays. I am looking forward to this one. It should be an easier stitch. I wonder if it will make me feel Christmassy in March! lol

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad!

Being married for 50 years is quite an act to follow.

Back to the story of my PC. I spoke too soon, although not as drastic as the week before I did lose a day's work. Although it is working I am having to be very careful as it could crash at any time. It is slowing up my work so much it is driving me crazy.

I did manage in the end to get some of the new stock entered into the webshop, but not all of it. I did get all the new Clear Magic Stamps entered and the gallery with examples of some cards made with the stamps. To see the stamps click here and the gallery click here. There are so many lovely new designs I can't wait to start using them myself.

Now for my stitching update. First of all Sleigh Ride:

Sleigh Ride - 12 March 2007

Although I didn't get too much done this week the picture doesn't show my progress very well. I did do more than it looks.

Then Celtic Winter:

Celtic Winter - 13 March 2007

I think a few more weeks and I will have the cloak finished and I can start on the dress.

Last of all is Evening Lights by Mystic Stitch:
Evening Lights - 16 March 2007

I started stitching this last Saturday. There were a lot of confetti stitches! Hopefully when I finish the trees there will be more patches of one colour. I was delighted to start stitching with a different colour - yeah for pink. lol

I forgot to mention last week that I have started Bring on the Snow by Waxing Moon Designs (Design 11 - Position 5 in my rotation) I haven't taken a progress pic yet. As it is a smaller design I am stitching on this gradually when I have a few minutes here or there.

I am going back to Tomboy later today, so hopefully will have an update next week.

Thanks for all your comments. I will be visiting your blogs later - PC willing!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

What a week! It started off with me feeling terrible with the tiredness being joined by a sore throat, ear ache etc. Then on Monday evening my PC went wrong. I have no idea what happened but it was working fine when I left it to do some stitching on Sleigh Ride and when I went back an hour later to do more work it had crashed. Richard (who is a computer genius) came to look at it but he couldn't get it to start. We spent hours trying things and in the end had to leave it to sleep as it was around 4am. I was doing my best to keep calm but it was a struggle as I realised my backup was out of date and I would have lost my years accounts which I had only just got up to date and balanced as well as so much other important work. Tuesday after only a couple of hours sleep was spent sorting out my PC. In the end Richard managed to get it working and I spent the remainder of the week re-installing software and generally getting things set up. It was such a relief when I found out I hadn't lost anything important. I have now done a full backup and plan to keep it up to date. I don't want to go through that again! Thankfully both of us (that is me and my computer) are feeling much better now.

Thank goodness for stitching! Without it I think I would have gone crazy by now - OK more crazy than I usually am. lol

This week I found that Sleigh Ride stitched up quickly. I am pleased with how much I completed:

Sleigh Ride - 5 March 2007

Celtic Winter is coming along nicely as well:

Celtic Winter - 6 March 2007

I also started The John Clayton Collection - Mountains And Lake. I am adapting it as it has the strange fractional stitches that Heritage Stitchcraft loves using. I personally think they spoil this design so I am removing them. So far I am pleased with how it is working out:

Mountains And Lake - 8 March 2007

I promise I will introduce a new colour soon! lol Blue is one of my favourite colours but even so...

Last night I did the gridding for Mystic Stitch - Evening Lights and am looking forward to starting this later today. Although guess what the first colour is? Yep, BLUE!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

I have been too tired this week to do a blog entry. I don't know why I have been so tired, but it has been such an effort to do anything.

Monday evening my mum came to visit, we had a great time. I did do some on Sleigh Ride, it was lovely having someone to chat to while stitching even though at times the conversation was reduced to "one, two, three, four ..." lol Here is my progress on Sleigh Ride:

Sleigh Ride - 26 Feb 2007

Mum showed me some of the coasters she has stitched, they were beautiful and I am going to set her up an online gallery to show them off - just need scans.

Tuesday evening I stitched Celtic Winter as usual. This one is stitching up quicker as it is an easy stitch. I love working on this and watching it grow:

Celtic Winter - 20 Feb 2007

Yesterday evening I finished page 14 of HAED - Tomboy, that brings my total of finished pages to 11. It also means I have completed a third of the design, so only two thirds to go. lol I am pleased how it is stitching up:
Tomboy - 3 March 2007

Today I am looking forward to going back to my rotation. I have decided to work on the next three projects: Waxing Moon - Bring on the Snow; John Clayton - Mountains and Lakes and Mystic Stitch - Evening Lights before going back to HAED - Tomboy.

I hope this tiredness goes away for next week as I have a lot to fit in to the week. A lot of new stock is due and I need to find time and energy to enter it into the shop system. I am looking forward to it arriving as it looks good in the pictures!

Saturday, 24 February 2007

My husband Richard runs a software games business, and recently published the latest release in the Repton games series. The main character in these games is called Repton because he's a green reptile!

Anyway, it has been such a great success that I have been helping to fulfil the orders for the Repton software; one of the reasons I have been so busy lately.

Richard has received some lovely emails from customers expressing their pleasure with the Repton games, which is very gratifying for us. Several customers have said they are the best games they have ever played, and he received these rewarding comments from two customers recently:

"I have bought Repton 1, 2, 3 and Spectacular from you and love them all."

"I'm really enjoying Spectacular. It has to be the best £9 worth of entertainment that I've ever had."

We are delighted that the games are loved so much!

If you would like to download a free trial version to see what I have been waffling about click here.