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Thursday, 27 December 2007

I have been really ill yesterday - tummy upset, and sore throat etc, I felt so weak that I was in bed all day, dragged myself downstairs in the afternoon only to continue sleeping on the settee! Oh, but I was much better again today - ready to go to work!
I have finally taken pictures of my Christmas parcels, and here it goes:
Thank you to my Secret Santa from the Friendly Stitchers:
I must have been good to deserve all this! Note the beautiful bag the goodies came in... (with the snowman on the front). And one kit is actually missing - that is the little pointsetta box which I made already into a present for my friend Rachel - see earlier post! Yes I admit I did cheat and opened two days earlier. And I have never used Thread Heaven before, but it is one of those things which I always wanted to try - so a big thank you again.
And here are my goodies from Clare from UK Cross Stitch - thank you so much as well. My daughter already had a curious look on the stichers hee hee, I guess I'll have to hide them. The fabric are actually 2 pieces.
Thank you both of you for your wonderful gifts - it is so much appreciated, especially as I do not have any stitching friends outside of the lists, and those are the only stitching related present I'll get.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Here's an update on the holly picture (John Clayton Design). The main design is finished, and now it just needs 'filling in', as the background will be stitched out completely in dark blue, so it will appear almost like a tapestry. It was fun to stitch the design, but filling in the background is rather boring and I didn't make much progress since Sunday. I'm going stitch this holly picture until next Monday, and then start my rotation - Christmas stitching will go back into the box until December 2008 - I doubt I'll have the holly finished by then.

I have signed up with a birthday club in an American-based cross stitch list. there are 16 of us, and everyone post a birthday present to everyone. It is quite a commitment, lasting for the whole of the year obviously, but I;m quite looking forward to it.

And here is our Christmas goose. It was the first year we did goose, my mum does one every year. I don't particularly like the taste of turkey, and thought I give it a try. Well, it was nice taste-wise, but the meat was rather .. chewy, as Danial put it. Don't know if I did something wrong. The vegetables turned out very nice though. I did the usual Brussel Sprouts (which everyone in our family loves!), parsnips and honey-glazed carrots - they went down a real treat. I did trifle myself, but while it was 'eatable', I think it is much nicer readymade - well, I'm not a domestic goddess but try my best. I enjoy cooking for Christmas.

the kids loved their presents, and they are busy playing (for once, don't know how long this is gonna last). Nafees and me, we don't give each other presents, I treated myself throughout this year with nice stuff, like my laptop and my wonderful Daylight lamp. Tomorrow, Danial wants to try out his fishing gear, and I don't like to let him go on his own to the local lake, so it'll be a fishing trip tomorrow. I'm not into fishing at all, and would prefer to sit at home stitching *sigh*

Sunday, 23 December 2007

I received a Christmas surprise from Marlies, containing 'Printen' (which is a German Christmas type of biscuit) - I've all gobbled them up already.... And this beautiful card, it doesn't show up on the picture, but is really pretty, stitched on fine Linen.

We've had our Office Christmas Party on Thursday. The venue was a pub called 'The Doggetts' , overlooking the Thames - it was really pretty. Not a lot people came though, all sorts of excuses valid and not, never mind, I enjoyed the food. Got a nice secret Santa present - a kitten calender and a dish with a fat candle - this is rather spooky as I wanted to buy both those things for myself but I'm sure I haden't mentioned it to anyone in the office - so well done Secret Santa! The (very quite) party came to an end at about 23:oo hrs - so no wild falling out of pubs stories with our parties.

This is a small box i did as a Christmas present for my friend Rachel. it was a kit, and really easy to do, it took me approx. 2 hours to stitch and to fit it all together, it looked stunning and I was well pleased with it - wanted to keep it to myself actually LOL - Oh no, Rachel, hope you enjoy it of course.

I went to see Rachel yesterday with Imran and Ruby. Imran wanted to go and see her because of the dogs - she's got 6 poodles. Oh, they are ever so nice and cuddly, so very different from the cats - I always come back from Rachel's wishing I could have a dog, but with all of us working, the dog would be on its own most of the day, and not to mention what the cats would say... Well, one day, when I'm retiered, I will most definitely get a dog.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A few finishes

First I have to show of Ruby! She did this sampler..ish tablerunner at school in needlework club and I am so very proud of her. It's a garish pink 11ct Aida and stitched with cheap wool, but it is for sure the prettiest piece I've seen for a long time - and isn't it strange, it means more to me than many of the big cross stitch pictures I did. I shall treasure it and show Ruby her tablerunner in 20 years LOL

Here is the Christmas picture from the Bucilla kit. I enjoyed it at the end, and there is much more work in it than the small picture suggests. However, again, I feel I am let down by my 'finishing' skills. I re-did the framing (on adheasive paper) several times, and re-did it, and re-did it - and still it is not centred properly, the back is all bulky - oh, just looking at the picture here now makes me upset - it clearly is loop-sided, maybe I'll just have to try again.

I also framed two small pictures, I finished stitching those in September I think. I like the heart best, it really does look so pretty and I'm pleased with the framing. It is stitched over one.

Monday, 17 December 2007

This is a smallish Christmas picture I started last year. But as I only stitch Christmassy in December, I'd put it away last January, and finished it off now (almost, only a bit ob BS and French knots left. The kit was supplied with a (cheap) red plastic frame in the shape of a house, which actually does not look too bad

And this is the other Christmassy piece I'm stitching at the moment. Its from Heritage Stitchcraft, John Clayton 'Holly'. I received this kit as a secret santa present in an exchange a few years back, and loved it, only slightly annoying bit is the 14ct Aida - never mind, as it is going to be completely stitched out (even the background) I guess it shouldn't matter.
Apart from this, I am trying to get some studying in. My results for D315 came back - I've passed my exam with a 'Pass 2' - as this is a level 3 course, this result really matters and I'm quite glad.
My material for the new course DD307 'Social Psychology' has arrived, and I started to work through the first block.
Chapter 1 Social Psychology - past and present
Chapter 2 Methods and Knowledge in Social Psychology.
Today is Ruby's Christmas play and I took the day off - bliss. I'll try to work through the books this morning, and hopefully get plenty of stitching time in later on. Back to work tomorrow, but the week before Christmas is hopefully a bit relaxed, trains will be hopefully less crowded, but with regards to our line of work it will unfurtunately not make a difference - if anything, it is more dreadful to deal with death around Christmas.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

This is the present I stitched for Margarethe - I toroughly enjoyed it, and I practices my Ebenseer technique on it. Ebenseer is a stitching technique where on the back of the piece, all the threads go vertical, it looks pretty neat but takes some efford. I would say, realistically, its only possible when you stitch with a single colour.

And this is the present I got from Sabine. Both and stitched picture (snowman) and the patchwork star are now displayed here in the house. Thanks Sabine!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


I have decided that I will start (again) a sort of rotation routine for my cross stitch (and knittineg) projects in January. I have done this before, then somehow got out of it again. But it certainly did help to get me forward in my bigger*ish* projects. I can look forward to start new projects, and have a sense that I did achieve something when I stitch on each project at least for a week.

Initially I tried to rotate my projects daily, with on 'focus' project 3x a week. However, I found the 'daily' change of frame/chart setup / colours etc too irretating, some days I only managed a couple of stiches, and already it was time to put the new project in for the next day. So I went on a weekly rotation with 4 projects which seemed to work fine. Danger with this is that when I had a week with a project which I really didn't like I often ended up doing almost nothing for that week, effectively skipping that week... I read on a forum that many stitchers have a rotation of 10 hours per piece, and then move onto the next one. I find this too tedious to list my hours (e.g. with a stopwatch), and also with a busy house like mine, often i end up doing only 20stitches, get up again to do something else, back to stitching, off again etc ... you get the picture, too much trouble to record the time for me.

My new rotation, starting on 1. Jan 08, is going to look like this:

Week 1: Candamar Design ' Japanese Bridge' - about 70% done
(yes, that's the project I often skipped when 'Week 1' was due, I just don't enjoy
stitching on the printed fabric. it's almost done anyway.~)

Week 2: Mirabilia 'Spring Queen' - about 65% done

Week 3: Glasgow Rose 'Cat with vase' (30% done)

Week 4: Stoney Creek 'Nature's Home Afghan'
(only just started on page 1 - this one is obviously going to take me ages, but it doesn't
matter, at least i will stitch on it once a month.

Week 5: small stuff
I leave this week open for small projects like cards, exchanges (biscornus etc), I can
as many new one's to this week as I want, with them all being small I should finish at
least one every week, if not more. Only condition is that everything for week 5 should
not be bigger than 80x80 - 100x100 stitches (absolute maximum)

Come December, my rotation will come to a halt, and I will do Christmas projects. My Christmas Tree goes up every year on the 1st of December, and I love to sit under the tree, stitching well, Christmas related stuff really. I can't get myself into the mood to stitch in August!

New projects will be added for week 1-4 when I finished one project, and it should be really replaced with a project of similar size, eg. the cat is a medium sized project, and once Spring Queen is finished, I will replace it with another Mirabilia or similar.

Now this might all look very strict and serious, but I don't take it that seriously, cross stitch is supposed to be fun. I can change this as much as I like, adding more projects, or putting a knitting week, even another week 6 project maybe, so really, it will just serve as a little guideline for me.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Oh, I admit it, I haven't been a very good blogger in the past few weeks. Don't now... nothing really happened, just life, work and pre-Christmas stress I guess.
Ruby's birthday went great on 24. November - now my little girl is 9 years old. We went to the cinema with a few of her friends and watched 'Stardust'. I hadn't looked forward to it, as I'm normally not one for children and/or fantasy movies (sorry folks, Harry Potter and LOTR doesn't cut it for me) - however, I really enjoyed Stardust. Robert De Niro has a part in it - oh, he is just such a great actor, and .. well, you gotta see it, it's another first class performance. The new 'Take That' song features as well in the movie, I think it's called 'Rule the World'. I don't say this often, but I would pay again to see this movie. Not sure though if my 8 and 9 year olds got some parts in it. Not sure if I'm allowed to show the picture here, if there's a problem, let me know
Workwise - I don't get time off over Christmas, but do have off on 25. and 26.12. Nafess is off for more then 2 weeks, and the kids of course, so I'm well jelous.
I got my brand new and shiny OU books for the new course and started reading and writing up. I know it's going to be a hard year, the course is called DD307 Social Psychology, and it's based a lot on philosophical theories etc, and I don't really get philosophy - never did.
I managed to stitch a few Christmas cards, as they went off to friends who might read this blog I didn't do pictures - I should have really. Tomorrow I'll show pictures of the gifts I received so far from my cross stitching friends.


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