Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The Peculiarity of Computers

I have been struggling for several days trying to change the surround on this blog. Nothing works and I cannot alter it. It's obviously something to do with Firefox because I have had problems with my email since Firefox updated. What it is to be computer illiterate.

Anyway here are a few finishes to show. I have a wonderful friend Janet who finished these for me as I was running out of time. She is trying to build up a finishing business and as you can see, is very good at it.
This is a Shepherd's Bush heart design called 'Gypsy Hearts'

I supplied all the finishing materials and Janet made this beautiful cushion for me.
I love Shepherd's Bush needlework. Their designs are always so delicate.

The next is another one by Shepherd's Bush called 'Quaker Heart'. Again, this is finished by Janet.

I used my choice of silks and so this is not true to the original but is more to my taste.

That's all I have for you now. I must get back to 'Puppy Patrol'

8.45pm - A big Thank You to my wonderful friend Patti who, in an instant, managed to change my background.

Monday, 21 December 2009

A View From My Window

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was taken abroad somewhere. But No - It was taken from our living room window yesterday. There is two inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is below freezing. These parakeets have been flying around for several years now but never been in such desperate a search for food that they would come this close to our home. There is a flock of about seven that were feeding on and off all day. It was almost 'One in, one out, keep moving' and we filled the containers twice over and poured seed on the ground.

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Guinea Pig Becomes A Puppy

Yesterday, one day earlier than expected due to the adverse weather conditions, we collected the newest member of our family. His name is Merlyn and he is a Blue Merle Border Collie. He comes from the same breeder as our other Border Collie Chia.

I first saw him when he was three weeks old and he looked like this...........

He looked so much like a guinea pig I wondered if he would turn into a proper Collie. But he has and he's so cute.

Chia doesn't think much of him but I'm sure as he grows she will get used to him. He's so small at the moment that I'm sure she is still running with the guinea pig theory!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Well Here I Am Again

I know I haven't posted for ages but I do have a lot of things to show you. These are things that I have quietly finished whilst the rest of my life has gone crazy. I've spent two wonderful visits with some American friends who are beyond wonderful. Their generosity, both with time and material things, have given me more than I can ever repay and my life is much the richer for having spent time with them all.

I plan (Yes everyone who knows me will no that nothing ever goes to plan) is to add a few photos every couple of days just to bring you up to date with the wonderful things that I have stitched upon.

I made a promise to myself that I would not buy anything new until I had completed some of the class kits that have amassed in my cabinet. I thought I had been so good when I managed to close the cabinet doors now. Something that wasn't possible before.

So let me introduce you to Miss Maisie and Miss Beatrice.

I really enjoyed making these as must be obvious from the fact that there are two of them. I just couldn't make up my mind between the two colours of felt. I had bought both pieces on a visit to France earlier in the year and this was just the opportunity to use them. Luckily I had cotton fabric that matched and there I was with two of them. They took on their own personalities and names as I was making them and now sit primly on the cupboard.

So until the next time.........................

Monday, 17 August 2009

It May Not Be Stitching

But it is something that I have made. Every year at this time my one housewifely feeling surfaces and I make jam and jelly. I have no idea why I am blessed with this longing to root through the hedgerows and pick blackberries but I am. So, as there is an abundance of blackberries in our surrounding fields, I took the dogs and started to pick. Now those of you who do this will know that one bowl is never enough and so it was that my kitchen work top was filled with bowl after bowl of beautiful, large juicy blackberries. Jelly was duly made and now I can sit back and gaze at the jars which fill my cupboards to overflowing. Perhaps I should point out that I am the only one in this house that eats jam and therefore it will last until I am in my dotage as will the jars of strawberry jam left over from last years jam making.

Now on to something that I have completed on the knitting front. These are ' Scrunchie Gloves' the pattern for which is taken from '101 Designer Yarn Stash Wonders' They knit beautifully in stripey yarn and certainly much more by luck than judgement I managed to find yarn in my stash that really showed them well.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Slower Pace of Life

Life has taken on a much slower pace now that the wedding is over. The day was glorious and my new Daughter-in-Law looked wonderful. A few last minute panics such as Mel having lost weight and 'The Dress' now being too large were dealt with superbly by a wonderful friend of mine, Janet, who came to the rescue and altered the dress with only one week to go. There is little better in life than having great friends and Alastair and Melanie have many who came together to toast them on their wedding day.

Then came Wimbledon which gave me the perfect excuse to sit and watch the matches whilst finishing my remaining projects without feeling guilty. I've been trying to get these finished for some time now and here they are.

The first piece is by Ellen Chester of With my Needle and is called 'Friends in Stitches' I have had the kit for this for some time and actually stitched it at the beginning of 2009.

The second piece here is called 'Ackworth Variations' by 'Needlemade Designs' and is stitched on 40ct Lakeside Green Slate linen with Silk 'N Colors shade Wind Whistle Cottage. I have to admit that it was hard going for me. I don't often stitch on high count dark linen and this project showed me exactly why not. The chart has a small thible shoe to stitch also but by that time I had finished the needle pocket I was ready to give up.

Finally I completed a new cardigan for my DIL using 'Dream in Color' Smoochy double knitting yarn. This is a free pattern from the on-line knitting magazine 'Knotions'
There are several such magazines available on the net and I think they are marvellous. When you consider how much we pay for patterns and magazines now days they are a wonderful find.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I'm still here....................

I know it's been a long time but things have been happening here. My MIL is still no better and is proving to be a problem that no one can solve and my wonderful ex-MIL passed away on May 29th surrounded by love and happiness for her long life. I was lucky enough to spend some hours with her before she went and I'm very grateful for that.

So, I have only a few new things to show you. The first is by Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods and is a piece called 'The Mermaids Two Tales'. I was lucky enough to take this class at Hilton Head on the east coast USA last October. Yes I know how long ago that is but please......... it's all back stitch and I kept picking it up to do a little every so often.

And then ...........I had to finish it.
The scrims inside are not part of the case. I already had these and thought that they would fit in quite nicely. The beautiful thread winder comes from Vikki Clayton

I decided to stitch this Prairie Schooler design over one. I saw it finished when I visited 'The Attic' in Mesa, Arizona. One of the ladies who worked in the shop had converted the DMC colours to Waterlillies and Belle Soie silks and I immediately fell in love with it.

Prairie Schooler

The most exciting thing that I have to tell you about are classes that we are organising for The Sampler Guild. Jackie du Plessis of 'It's Fineally Finished' has agreed to teach for us next May 2010 when she visits the UK. She will be teaching four of her designs over three days. The classes are becoming booked up so quickly which is wonderful. If you would find this of interest please check with The Sampler Guild web site for the information or contact me on my email address.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Isn't It Amazing

how seeing a piece finished can change your mind about stitching it. The Sampler Guild had a get together a couple of weeks ago and I saw this little bird as a finished ornament. Now I had seen it many times before as it is featured in the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament 2004 magazine. Each time I had totally ignored it's potential. At the Gathering I saw it finished beautifully by our friend Sandra Carstairs. Seeing her beautiful model really made me want to stitch it and this is the result.

Then I got carried away and decided to stitch the new small stockings from Blackbird designs. The charts are monthly and each feature three designs per month. I chose one design from January, February and March.

This is my January choice -

This is February with the mandatory hearts -

and this is March with spring daffodils -

Monday, 23 February 2009

An Update

I've now finished my Williamsburg 2008 project which is 'Carried Away' by Jackie du Plessis. Those of you who follow my blog will know, from my previous posts, how much I like her projects and this was no exception. Once again she has designed a piece totally different from all her others. Immediately I saw it, I loved it. Perhaps it was helped by the fact that it was in my favourite autumnal colours which I love. The first picture shows the beautiful box and all the acesories together. The box is lined with solid rust coloured silk and wonderful checked silk.

The next picture is the outside of the needlebook. The inside has pockets made from the solid rust silk.

This picture is of the bottom cushion which lays in the box.

and the final picture is of the bottom of the cushion which has a very clever secret envelope.

I really am so impressed with Jackie's designs and I'm looking forward to taking more classes with her.

The final part of this post shows a thimble and scissor keeper designed by Betsy Morgan of 'Willing Hands'. I found this chart in this month's copy of the Australian magazine 'Classic Inspirations'. As I was stitching it I seemed to remember something similar. When I checked my class kits it transpired that I had taken Betsy's class for the self same design. No wonder it seemed familiar. Am I an idiot or what? The design is three sided and is opened by pressing the edges together.

On another note I had a wonderful time in Paris with friends Bertie and Britta. Catherine, who lives in France, kept us busy for the entire four days. The aiguille-en-fete (French Needlework Show) was wonderful and needless to say I came home ladended with French charts. There is some wonderful talent out there which I tend to forget as I concentrate on the American market.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

More Finishes

As anyone living in or around the south of England can tell you we had more snow than we have seen in years. It started to fall on Sunday night and didn't stop until late yesterday afternoon. It was forecast but of cause, this being England,no forward plans were made so no roads were gritted or salted. Everything ground to a halt. London was a ghost town with only the intrepid few making it in to work. My son works in 5 miles away in Harefield. He managed to make it to work and he was one of only seven people in an office of forty-five to do so. Anyone relying on bus or train transport was out of luck. I took my rule outside and measured the depth of snow in my garden. It measured ten inches deep. The dogs were in their element. Even Willow, at fourteen, was charging around with her nose buried in the snow.
As I was effectively snowed in, I decided I would photograph a few more of my finishes to show you.

The first is an old class piece that I took at Sampler Gathering in Plymouth.As far as I can remember I took the class in 2003 or 4 The design is by Wendy White of WeeWorks and is called 'A Sailor's Valentine' I have put one of the few pictures my Mother allowed taken of herself inside. I thought this would be much more difficult to assemble than it actually was. I'm very pleased with the outcome.

The next piece is a Breast Cancer piece from Blackbird Designs called 'Buttons and Blooms For The Cure' I had never sewn piping around a finished piece and was very pleased that I managed it.

In October 12008 I was lucky enough to attend Rae Iverson's ASG on Hilton Head in South Carolina. This class was taught by Catherine Jordan. We had to prepare our linen and paint the background colours before we started stitching the design. I think most of us were very hesitant but Catherine was very good and helped us all to achieve the finished product.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Back Again

'At last' you might cry. At least you might if you were even a tiny bit interested in what I have been doing. I know I havn't posted in 6 months. At least that is what my friend Patti just told me. So now I have made a New Year's resolution to try and post at least twice a month or whenever I have soemthing new or interesting to tell you. Life just ran away with. I'm looking after 2 (yes - I did say 2) Mother-in-Laws which has taken it's toll on my time. Not that I'm complaining as I have still managed to attend classes and stitch. I have a new 'Favourite Designer' I have taken 3 classes in the past year from Jackie du Plessis of 'It's Fineally Finished' and her work is superb. Her designs show such brillance and her class teaching is just wonderful. The next two pictures are of her design called 'La Vie en Rose' which I took in June 08. The finished piece opens up to show a needle page and a small scrimshaw with an S on it. Naturally as my name starts with an S.

The next two pictures show her desing called 'My Plum' and I was lucky enough to take this class as an earlybird class at Williamsburg in December 08. The two end panels have a lovely little silk bag sandwiched between them.

For my main class at Williamsburg I took Jackie's class called 'Carried Away'. It is a small carrier with pin cushion, needlebook, waxer roll and a lot of other goodies. Now, although I have finished the stitching, I havn't as yet put any of the pieces together. You will see them here as soon as I have completed them.
As I enjoyed them so much that I have booked another two classes with her next year. One at Elegant Stitch in Modesto, USA in October and one at Williamsburg next Christmas. If you have a chance to take any of her clases you really shouldn't miss out.

And finally Jackie's Breast Cancer Awareness Piece for Lois at Elegant Stitch, This is called 'Pretty in Pink' and it's beautiful.