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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

I have finished another panel on Nature's home. To me, the colours on the squirrel looked really like, I would have expected them to be either dark brown or reddish. However, I just carried on and it does look quite nice now actually. Those are the only 3 panels finished (out of 35), so long way to go.

The children are still on holiday, and our office closes early. We have nothing really planned for New Years Eve. I'm 'on call' and I'm quite happy about this...Nafees has this thing about going to Central London on New Years Eve to join the masses - and I hate it. I can't stand big crowds, and as I'm the driver on top of that, I will have to drive back through massive congestion - done it before, a 1 hour journey took me 4 hours - never again. So, very conveniently, I'm on call and can't really leave the house to go to a very noisy place. Maybe I can convince him to just go to a restaurant, and if he wants to go, I really don't mind.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Danial has hardly ever left his room since I've got the children the computer for Christmas! I went out to the sales yesterday ... no, I'm not one to go mad over the sales and launch myself into those crowds - that is something I try to avoid at all costs. And I don't really need anything, as in .. reallllly need it, so there is no need to go to the sales.

However, It's Imran's birthday of course on the 27. December, and every year the same.... I think that I wait to buy his present until after Christmas so I can get it reduced. And every year the same.... whatever he want's is not reduced. Isn't it aways the same, whatever I need is not reduced. Anyway, I went out and bought him a PSP (Playstation Portable) with 3 games - that's what he wanted. No point buying a 13 year old boy stuff he might or might not like. So, it was of course exactly the same price in 'Game' as before the Christmas. And tonight, he wants as to go to Nando's as a family.

My turkey recipe

My turkey turned out fantastic this year, it was moist and I didn't even had to put it in the miccrowave to finish it off as ususally I had to do every year - infact, I think it was the best ever Christmas meal I've cooked - so I will write the recipe down here and, if nothing else, I have something to come back to next year ;-)). This is easy-peasy. I loosely followed Jamie Oliver's recipe. but didn't make my own stuffing.

I bought the turkey fresh on Christmas eve, weight 9lb. I had it in the fridge overnight (not freezer). Take the turkey out of the fridge about 2 hours before start. To calculate cooking time: 20 mins per 1lb of turkey (9lb turkey = 3 hours cooking time) + extra 20 mins allowing for stuffing's weight + an extra 20 mins on top of everything = 3 hours and 4o mins for a 9lb turkey.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C. Also, prepare the stuffing (I have used ready-made stuff)

2. wash and dry the turkey

3. rub with lemon, then brush with olive oil and put on salt and pepper (I didn't have ground pepper in the house, so just put a few whole peppercorns on the top and in the cavity.

4. put the stuffing into the neck cavatiy (the round end). I sort of went in with my hand and separated the skin from the meat and put my stuffing in between the skin and the meat, sort of like another layer in between.

5. In the cavatiy, I put one cut apple and a few slices of lemon.

6. Put the turkey in the oven (breast side down - this makes the breast nice juicy, it really works, though the breast will be a little bit deflated), and cover the turkey loosely with a sheet of
tin foil (don't wrap the turkey, because the air still has to circulate).

7. For the 1st. hour, don't look into the oven at all. After that, baste every 20 mins with a bit of olive oil, salt and the juices which collect in the bottom of the tin.

6. After 3 hours, remove the tin foil from the top for the next 20 mins (to brown the bird on the bottom). You can now also remove the juice from the tin and use it to make your gravy)

7. For the last 20 mins, turn the turkey over so the breast is on top, no tinfoil, for the breast to roast.

Voila! I served this with roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, honey roast carrots, brussel sprouts and parsnips.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whereever in the world you are.
I've put my turkey in, yes, it is turkey this year after last year's disaster with the goose which really didn't taste nice. I'm sure it must have been me and I did something wrong rather than something wrong with the product, but I really don't want to take that chance again. So we went to West Ham yesterday to get meat. We finished work at 1 pm, than I dashed home and quickly tiedied the house up. Then I picked Nafees up from West Ham, and back home, we wrapped the presents. The children don't believe in Father Christmas any more anyway, so I placed the presents under the tree (I personally don't feel it is such a big deal to believe in this anonoumus figure of 'Father Christmas'... ? Sorry, I don't mean to be a scrooge or something, I love the season etc).
We bought the children a PC for Christmas, so at least my laptop will be all mine now! :-))
Anyway, here is some progress from the last two weeks: Nearly finished Spring Queen, but than it suddenly came to me what to stitch for Rachel - a towel with a little Poodle, so I quickly finished that last weekend. I forgot to take a picture, but will ask Rachel.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The days just seem to pass so quickly, only 1 1/2 weeks left for Christmas. We have put the Christmas tree up, but the big lights for the patio window don't work... I remember now that I wanted to get a new set last year in the sales after Christmas. Of course, I didn't, thinking that Christmas is a looong time away. Well, here we are ;-(( Anyway, I have the pressies for the children ready. Mum's parcel arrived - she sends me a parcel with lots of German sweets every year, and boy, do we love it. I've put the children's bags away, but keep having to sneak at 'my' sweets bag *sssht*
What I like most about the season is the lights in the window, and I always like to get my cross stitch out for Christmas. I think one of my memories as a child is that I had some sort of kit been given, and I was stitching under the tree... long time ago. Usually, I would stitch Christmas stuff now, but this year I just keep to my usual rotation, as I finally want to finish something!

Linda Davies 'Wilderniss of Mirrors'

The title and picture somehow sugggested a romantic novel. Well, it sort of tabs into the romantic novel market by using similar style, but is a spy-crime story. Good research and insight into venture capitalist market.
Blurp reads:
The Target - Robie Frazer, a Hong Kong businessman of legendary wealth, vast multinational interests and unparalleled, violent corruption.
The Trap - set by MI16, baited with a diamond mine in Vietman, masterminded by the charismatic and mercurial Andrew Stormont.
The Lure - two women, once friends. the first an undercover agent and reformed heroin junkie, has good reason to hate Frazer. The second is a high flying venture capitalist who can provide finance for the mission. Both will become key players in the game to trap Frazer - a ame which will climax in a terrifying hunt to the kill in the Vietnam jungle.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

I'm just no good at taking pictures of stitching (close up stuff), I really don't know what I'm doing wrong. This one is taken with a 4 million pixel phone camera, quite a good camera. Well, I don't know, nothing I ca do about it. Anyway, this is my progress on the little labrador picture. it is fun to stitch and won't take me long to finish. Now she's got eyes!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Rachel's Poodle is coming along very very slowly. Considering that I thought I can stitch this in a few months.... I was gonna have it ready for her birthday in April, and now it won't even be ready for Christmas. I like stitching on the tiny 18ct Aida, but the colours are all very similar, so this is tedious.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Nature's Home Afghan

Here an update on Nature's Home afghan from last week. I'm quite pleased with my progress, and it's nice to have a warm blanket on my lap during the winter months LOL

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Thomas Kenelly 'Schindler's Ark'

A book by Australian writer Thomas Keneally, and made world-famous by Spielberg's movie.

It is the story of Oskar Schinder. In the shadow of Auschwitz, the flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womanizer, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them, he was a seviour. He risked his life to protect the beleaguered Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, he continually defied the SS, and he was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.

I do not usually like books, movies or indeed anything about wars, and that includes World War 2. Yes, yes I know... I am German so don't mention the war .... but sorry, I just simply don't enjoy anything about wars, or even I don't enjoy anything about history, whichever contry's it might be. Well, I had this book in my stash, never watched the Hollywood movie. the book is was not straightforward to get into, but it makes wonderful reading after I sort of 'thought' myself into it. I know that many people who have read the book and/or watched the movie have visited Schindler's factory in Cracow, and I hope I can go myself one day, especially as my family does not live far from the Polish border.

Monday, 17 November 2008

tree diary

Here are some pictures of the beautiful late autumn in Kent. It is not yet too cold, temperatures are mostly around 10C. It gets dark around 4:30pm, so when I work later and then walk with Bonnie it is often already very dark. I kind of got used to it now, but as nice as it is when there is no-one around so Bonnie can have a free run, I do feel a bit scared when it's dark. Silly really, because when I walked her in the summer at 5pm, in sunshine, I never got scared walking alone. Just because its dark now shouldn't make a difference. The area is not huge anyway, and there is a main bus road within 'shouting distance' The building work keeps going on, by the way. A new school is going up. We had a look at some of the new properties, I so like the 'Town houses'. For those who are not familiar with this phrase, they are 3 storey houses. Love them, and the location is perfect as well, near where we are now, and on the edge of town. But financially, it is just too risky. Even if we could afford to double our mortgage, but with such a big house, all other costs rise as well. And already, last year my utility bill for gas/electricity has doubled! No, I'm not using more or wasting the stuff, it's just the increased prices. Crazy. So how much would I pay for such a big house! And... the children are growing up, give it another 5 years or so and Dan will probably be away to University, and Ims and Ruby are pretty close in age too, so then Nafees and me will be sitting on our own in a big house. And ... there were 4 bathroom/toilets. Gosh, is bad enough having to clean my house with 1 bathroom and 1 downstairs toilet. Imagine 4!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

An update and a finish!
Spring Queen is needing the end, maybe another 2 or 3 rotation weeks, and than it will be the be only the beading left to do. No rush on it though, as I would really like to get it framed professionally, and need to save up for it. I'm not really good framing myself... yes, I do it on smaller pictures, and I find that my framing skills never do justice to the picture, and it is annoying me. So, especially for the big pieces, I'd rather save up for a professional finish.
And I finished the Glasgow Rose Cat picture. With hindsight, I should have stitched it on much smaller fabric size. This is 14ct Aida, and it comes out so big, the crosses are really big to me as well. I don't mind Aida too much, but in the future, I will probably only stitch on 16ct or 18ct, nothing bigger than that, for a neater and tidyer finish. This picture is rectangle, panel-size and it might be more suitable for a wall-hanging.
Despite the finish, I'm not going to add a new piece to my rotation (*sigh*), as this now leaves me with 5 pieces in my rotation, and that is more than enough. I need another finish before adding on another piece. The new one coming in then is going to be: Giraffe Mother and Child from Sunset. This is going to be for my daughter Ruby's room, she loves giraffes ever since seeing one at London Zoo when she was about 5 years old or so. The giraffe sticked out its long tongue, and Ruby was so impressed and couldn't stop talking abut it. I hope she still likes her room decorated with giraffe pictures, as nowadays she's got High School Musical and Hannah Montana on the wall....

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bonnie has made her home with me upstairs. Well, as I guessed before, I think the boys must have encouraged her to come upstairs, and now she follows me around whereever I go in the house. I'm so glad I've made 'my' area upstairs. I think the main point was that Nafees is forever hogging the TV downstairs. Even though I can only get the 5 national channels upstairs, I don't mind. And I told him, my christmas wish is a new satellite dish so that I can receive German TV upstairs. I've looked it up online, it will be about £275 including installation. That would be just wonderful.

I have now seriously started to write on my autobiography. I've got a great book which helps me to outline the chapters and do research. My main aim is to write for my children, tell them about my ancestors, and how/where I grew up. I don't want to do indepth geneology, but just go 2 generations back, talk about my grandparens (they have all passed away, so my children will never meet them), talk about my parents and how it was for me growing up in East Germany. I will try to avoid 'Ostalgie'. , which is a term used in Germany for nostalgic feeling for life in East Germany. I just want to try to tell my children and possible future grandchildren, or, indeed, anyone who would like to know how life was for me and my family. Obviously, this country (East Germany) does not exist any more now, so I just want to write my experiences.

I have come up with so far 11 different chapters and brainstorm on each of them before I can put subheadings onto each chapter,:
1. Family
2. school/ early childhood
3. Teenager
4. apprenticeship/1st job
5. Berlin / Bautransporte
6. Wall came down / Bauer
7. move to England / met Nafees
8. Danial / Imran / markets
9. back to Germany / Ruby
10. back to England / Walthamstow / Elmec
11. Met. Police / Dartford

And while brainstorming some facts about my maternal grandparents, I have already discovered some amazing stuff. My maternal grandma Helene was born in Poland in 1912, and came to Germany with her parents aged 1. They were parts of the so-called 'Schnitter' (= 'cutter') from Poland. These were seasonal workers from Poland who came to the German countryside every summer. The background is that in 1820, serfdom was ablished in Germany, and thus over the next few decades, agricultural workers bonded to the landowners were now free and moved away; big scale landowners suffered serious shortage of workers. Around 1870-1880, seasonal workers from Poland came to work on the fields, coming every year from spring to autumn. Some of those workers decided to stay in Germany, but apparently, it was not that easy and they were 'state-less'. The only possiblity of obtaining German nationality was to marry a fellow German. Again, this was not easy, and permission had to be obtained which was a long process, and often not granted. Now, this is were it gets interesting. Apparently, my grandmother was very secretive about her wedding date. And my mother eventually found out why: because my grandma officially married 2 days before my aunt Elfi was born. Well, having a child out of wedlock in 1931 was obviously very much frowned upon. But as my litle research into the polish 'Schnitter' shows, in her case it was due to the difficulties with the Polish paperwork and licence to get married to a German man.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

An idea came to me today while walking Bonnie today : I will make a tree diary. Every week, I will take a picture of the same 2 trees and show them here, to show how they change throughout the season.Many of the trees and shrubs still have beautiful colours, but it is definetely thinning. I wish I would find time to update the garden a bit as well. was reading a gardening mag while walking with Bonnie. In this months' issue, there is a feature on a 'long thin garden' design, I love it! It starts out from a couple who move into a house, and the garden is basically just fences with lawn in the middle and one raised bed. It looks so pretty afterwards.

I have rearranged our bedroom, and created an area for my stitching. I took the old office chair from downstairs with the ripped fake leather and tried some soft furnishing... what I did is I took one of my leather jackets apart ;-)) and fixed it as a new chair cover. Hey presto, I've got a new chair, here upstairs in my brand new 'stitching corner'. I put our old TV in, I don't mind that I can watch only 5 channels. Great, I've got my own little area upstairs.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Niall Williams ' Four Letters of Love '

A pure love story by Irish author Niall Williams. I felt myself emerged in the beautiful discription of the Irish countryside, rough seas and cold winters.

The story starts when the 'hero' Nicholas Coughlan is 12 years old and his civil servant father gives up his career for his real passion, painting. He is unable to sell pictures, and inspiration is not always easy coming. He is leaving is wife for several months to go to the seaside to paint.Eventually, being lonely and penniless becomes too much for Nicholas' mother and she suicides. Now father and son are on their own. His father takes him to one of his 'painting trips' to the seaside, but many of the pictures painted get destroyed by cows as they return. Eventually, a fire in their house destroys all pictures and his father dies. Only one of his pictures survives which has been given some time ago as a price to a poet living on the West Coast. Nicholas sets out to track down the poet to ask him for that picture.

The second story evolves around the heroine, Isabel Gore. Isabel is the daughter of above said poet. She had to cope with her disabled brother. he had suffered a fit in Isabel's presence when both were young children, and is unable to speak or move to greatly ever since. Isabel gets send to a convent, and escapes the convent by entering into a marriage to a local rough, a tweed dealer whom she has no real feelings for.

Of course, this is a love story, and the paths of Nicholas and Isabel will cross as Nicholas tracks down Isabel's father as the person who had been given his late father's painting. but Isabel is married. Will they or won't they. Well, if you ever read romance novels you'll know.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Not a lot of cross stitch done the past 3 weeks. here is an update on the poodle, only about 100 stitches went into this for that week's rotation. than was the labrador, and I did even less on that. And last week it was supposed to be the Monet picture, well, I didn't work at all on it, this one will be with me for many more months to come.

This week is Spring queen, and I normally enjoy working on it. it's just that I am way to tired in the evening, after work and cooking dinner etc to even get the cross stitch out the bag. Sometimes it is easier to grab a book for relaxation in the evening, and I have been doing lots of reading.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Every week I promise myself that I'll try to write on my blog every day, and every week the same - I don't. Last week was half-term for the children, and this means for me that I did not need to pick Ruby up from school at 3, so I was working up to 4pm every day, getting home about 5 to 6pm. Than Bonnie walking, and it is already so dark, the clocks went back last weekend. Dan and Imran walked Bonnie some days, which, yes it is one task less for me, but I do enjoy my daily walks with Bonnie. Nature has something for me to see at every season. It's not as enjoyable in the dark though. And I walk past the new housing development every day. So far there are 300 houses/flats, and apparently up to 1500 are due to be build .... but I keep thinking that maybe they won't continue, now with the big downturn in the housing market. Out of the houses which are already there, quite a few are still standing empty.

On Saturday, it was just raining the whole day, heavy rain. I got so dripping wet when we walked. Dropped the boys off at Bluewater (they wanted to watch the new James Bond, but didn't get in, they were not believed that they are over 12;- how annoying for teenagers! )) Bluewater was sooo busy, I could hardly get parking. What credit crunch is all I can say! I just quickly dropped into WH Smith to get myself magazines (dogs, gardening, writers) and 2 books. Oh, and the car was due to MOT, on Friday - needed a new tyre, well, but it least it's ok now for another year. My car is now 7 years old, and has never ever given me any grief, it's the best car I ever had, small and perfect.

Today the weather was lovely and I had a long and relaxed walk with Bonnie. the fields are very wet everywhere, and many of the trees are now empy, though some are still very colourful. Ever now and again I still see an ink cap, but very few and between.

Bonnie has chewed another Sky remote control. Nafees had a stern word with her, and now she appears to be really scared of him, well, she watches him with caution. And the latest thing she does - she comes upstairs. That dog was never allowed upstairs with her previous owner, and we just kept it like that, she never even attempted because she didn't even know what it is. I guess the boys must have been tempting her upstairs during the half-term, and there she was yesterday, coming sheepishly upstairs. I sat in the boys room, watching X Factor, and she came in and just stretched herself out in front of us on the carpet. I didn't had the heart to tell her off and to tell her to go downstairs. I got a funny feeling I will live to regret this.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Nafees is finally back from Pakistan and now I realise how much I've actually missed him. I had to pick him up from Heathrow which is about 60 miles from here, all the way around the M25. As it was Saturday afternoon, the motorway was clear. Only problem was, when we came back, it was already quite dark, and I hate driving in the dark as I can't see very well. That's only if there are no street lights, driving in cities is fine. Anyway, as it was so dark and I tried hard just to stay in my lane, I missed the turn-off for the M25 at one stage, and found myself in the wrong lane and ended up on the M20 towards Maidstone. I got off the next junction, and found familiar sounding town and village names, so I found my way home via country lanes.

Nafees brought beautiful clothes for Ruby, and Jeans for the boys. a lot of fashion jewellery and bangles for Ruby, 2 Asian dresses for me, watches for the children and lots of stuff for the house (bedlinen, kitchen utensils), and food which his mum cooked and they had it canned.

I haven't shown pictures of the cats for a while, and I thought those are quite cute. There is Honey (or is it Candy?) getting all comfy on my Frederick the Literate (which I had stretched out on my bed as I was about to frame it). And here are 3 of our cates all stretched out on my bed.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Simmel, Johannes ' Bis zur bitteren Neige '

A book by Austrian Author Johannes Mario Simmel. I like his stories, they are complex stories character studies. Simmel was born in 1924, and World War 2 often plays not the main part of his stories, but tells of important events which form the character of his 'hero'.

I cannot come up with a good translation for this titel, it could broadly mean 'Till the end' but that doesn't capture the German double meaning in connection with a drink which gets drunken till the last drop. so maybe 'till the last drop' , no this doesn't sound right. Anyway, the book tells the story of Peter Jordan, a Hollywood child star, now all grown up, success has long left him and he is a severe alcoholic. One final chance of a come-back movie is all he can think of. but his health and addiction is letting him down and he is desperately trying to hide it. And then his private life... he has an affair with his young stepdaughter which escalates.

I'm not sure if this book has been translated into English, but I think, as many Simmel books, has been made into a movie. The book was first published in 1962, but is surprisingly current.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

An update from last week's cross stitch on Nature's Home Afghan. I finished Block 2 and started Block 13 (both are actually next to each other on the top, I prefer to stitch it block by block from left to right and line by line rather than the way the blocks are numbered. Now I've run out of DMC 3781 which is not surprising, the tree branch is stitched entirely in that colour and it says on the chart I will need 10 of them.

Today I had my OU exam - gosh, I am sooo glad that is over. I hated the course this year, and sadly it reflected in my grades which got WORSE as the year progressed! I hope I did enough today in order to pass the exam - don't wont anything else, as I will never pass with distinction anyway (not high enough marks throughout the year for that). Now I will have a break from OU studies before my final year. And it's going to be a break of 1 year !!!! Usually, the courses with the OU always started in February and ended in October. But now they decided that the courses will start in October - so I have to wait until next October to start my final year. I don't mind to be honest, as I don't urgently need the degree for work purporses and rather need a break from it at present. But if I think about people who need to do it urgently... At present I feel that, once I done the final year, I don't want to see any of it for ever again. Might change my mind, but I guess this year's course has put my off studying badly.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

More goodies arrived for my birthday:
from Viv (BD group 4)
kit ‘Wild Poppies Panel, John Clayton

from Abi (FS)
hand dyed dragon pearls 28ct evenweave, 2, perle hand dyed 8 and 12 Dawn Chorus, Charon Waterlilies 001 Sandstone, 2 charms scissor and thimble

from Gabriele (FS and Kreuzstich)
5x Danish Blomstergarn Fremme 235, 232, 212, 234, 223, bath salts, candy, 1 Fremme kit 'Duck', 2 evenweave bands to stitch on

This is seriously fun, and I will defintely take part in all the birthday groups again next year. Yes, at times it was a bit tedious to send out all those presents during the year, but now that my birthday is here and I get packages almost every day -well, how great, it was well worth the wait.

I also went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London on Thursday 09.10. It was the second time I went there. This show is much bigger than the one in Olympia in March, as it covers not only cross stitch , but all textile arts including knitting, weaving, lace, sewing, jewellery making and card making. I love to browse on all the stalls and generally just 'having a look' - and of course a bit of shopping needs to be done. I'm not any more as mad as I used to be, when I could blow £200-£300 at a show. Now I really try to buy what I need. This time I got myself 3 pieces of 25ct evenweave (for the HAED project), 30x DMC colours, 4x GAST threads, 26er needles (I always buy a stock of them from the shows, as they are so difficult to find in other shops), magnets, a chart from The Historical Sampler Company, a DMC kit called Mountain Flowers (I have the matching one already), a scissor.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Here are the gifts I received so far from my birthday groups...Thank you sooo much ladies, this truly made my day, especially as someone who is not likely to receive stitching related gifts from the family:

Birthday Club 4 (Counted Cross Stitch Group)

Head Chart ‘Spring’ – Ruth Sanderson
Cross-Stitch & Needlework Magazine

Chart ‘Cat Hair’ by My Big Toe Cross Stitch Designs
Stoney Creek ‘Land of Enchantment’
2x Sampler Threads from The Gentle Art ‘Blueberry’ and ‘Antique Rose’

Lanarte Kit with 2 cats, sitting on a postbox

Mirabilia Chart ‘Bliss fairy’
+ matching Mill Hill bead packs x3

Birthday Threads Friendly Stitchers

1x DMC, 1x DMC Mouline Colour variations
1x Caron Waterlilies colour No. 118 Opal

5x Dragon Floss Hand Dyed Thread, colours: 25 Rippling Rosebud, 210 Emerald Isle, 48 Impule, 54 Gingerbread Man, 36 Beautiful Berry

2x Caron Waterlilies, Colours: 038 Morning Mist and 017 Blue Lavender

And here comes a present I received from Sabine in Germany - Thanks Sabine and a big hug from across the Channel. Isn't it beautiful, it's already on my hallway wall.

It's gonna be a quite day. Nafees is not here, and I will take the children to a nice Indian Restaurant just out of town (Green Spice in Darenth)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Here is my update from Glasgow rose cat, my rotation piece from last week. I managed to do quite a bit, its almost all the leaves and most part of the flower. I did get it out almost every day - I can be quite a slow stitcher and sometimes I do not stitch for days at end, just too tired. But with Nafees not here, I somehow feel I have more time for those things. Stupid really, because he does not mind me stitching at all! I'm not sure if I really like this picture any more. Problem is that it is really big. It is stitched on 14ct Aida, and even though it cannot be seen on this picture, all the crosses come out really big, not fine at all, the Aida is shining through the cat...It would have been nice on 18ct, I guess. I don't think I will stitch on 14ct again.
This week's rotation is Nature's Home Afghan, and I'm on square 2. Its a bit awkward to stitch, with all that fabric of the afghan to hold. and it's no so easy to put away. I have to take the hoop out and fold the fabric if I want to put it back into a bag, just leaving it on the side is not an option as Bonnie would have fun ripping it and chewing the hoop. Its easier if I stitch on my lapframe, that will just go up on the cupboard out of Bonnie's reach.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mamma Mia

Dan and Imran went fishing yesterday in Bluewater and asked me to pick the up by 10pm. I decided I might as well treat Ruby and myself, and so we booked tickets to see Mamma Mia at the cinema. I wasn't quite sure if it was ok for Ruby to watch, but there were lots of families with even smaller children in the cinema.

The movie is hilarious and great fun, such a feel-good movie. Don't go if you expect something deep and meaningful or if you hate ABBA songs. (As there is one being sung every 5 minutes). The story is simple and shamelessly written around ABBA songs. Girl (Amanda Seyfried) lives with her single mum Donna (Meryl Streep) on a Greek Island, they run a hotel and struggle a bit financially (Money, Money, Money). She is getting married to a local boy, and her mother has never revealed to her who her dad is. She finds her mothers diary and discovers that there a 3 possiblities who could be her father - so she invits all 3 of them (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) without her mothers knowledge to her wedding. Now this is a comedy and seriously funny, and the choreography in the dances is great. The best part is that the actors sing themselves. I was surprised that there are ABBA songs which I didn't know, for example the song which Colin Firth sings on the boat. Oh yes, you've heard it right, Colin Firth sings! He sooo cannot sing, and he does it with a great passion of the stiff Englishman. You gotta watch it only for that! Oh, and another of my favorites is Julie Walters who plays Meryl Streep's friend. She is perfectly cast, and I love the scene when she sings and dances to 'Take a chance on me' at the end. It's all build into the story.

Dean Koontz ' Chase '

This is Koontz' first published work (I didn't know this when picking up the book but just read this info on Amazon).
The hero is Ben Chase. The story is set in the US in the 70's, and Chase is a Vietman veteran. He is a drinker and loner and it appears he has given up on himself and the world. Quite by chance he sees a murder happening, a psychotic thriller is butchering a couple in a car. The killer 'the Judge' is now after Chase. The contacts Chase and will decide (judge) whether Chase' life is worth of continuing or not, otherwise he will be killed as well. No one believes Chase and he can either give up or fight it. Chase also finds a love interest, Glenda, but their relationship is somewhat hampered by various problems.
It is a rather short book (just over 200 pages) and thus reads up fast, the story keeps you hooked.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Here is my progress from Spring Queen (rotation for last week). I managed to get quite a bit done, and it almost looks finished. Still quite a fair bit to do in the bottom right corner, but 1 or 2 more rotations, and she is done... and then the beading of course.

As I now have a 6 weekly rotation, this piece won't come out again now before November.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Nafees left for Pakistan yesterday, and I felt somewhat lost. I am usually quite happy just with my own company, and certainly I know how to occupy myself, the day is never long enough for me, so I didn't expect this. I suppose this is because Naf is my best friend as much as my DH.. . and isn't it true what they say... you only miss something if you don't have it any more. Well, enough ''cause he is gonna come back in just 4 weeks. Thomas kept my company here in my room as you can see. And I get looots of cross stitch done - I worked on Spring Queen for the whole of last evening, and enjoyed it enourmously.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous this weekend. Nice warm September sun, and autumn is unmistakingly on its way. It's a bit too dry for more fungi to come at the moment. I took some rosehips and brought them inside, they are now on my kitchen windowsill, I was surprised by how beautiful this simple idea looks. Should have thought of this earlier and might get some more today.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

I've spotted the first inkcaps of the year last week. The first ones were across the road were I walk with Bonnie, then I saw more on the lawns behind the house - that's were I saw them last year and was waiting for them to make an appearance. I do not collect them but just enjoy watching them appear every day. they are apparently eatable, but for some reason, in my family they never took them - well, mum told me that she saw gran fry them once and they go all funny and 'inky' in the pan, in the same way that they deteriorate if you don't pick them after a day or so. That has really put her off.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Steel, Danielle ' Five Days in Paris '

Peter Haskell, president of a major pharmaceutical company, has everything: power, position and a family for which he has sacrafied a great deal. Olivia Thatcher (...who comes up with those names....the author, I know but... Thatcher ... politician ...get it????) is the wife of a famous senator, who has given to her husband's ambitions and career until her soul is bone-dry. She is trapped in a web of duty and obligatio, married to a man she once loe and no longer even knows; when her son died, a piece of Olivia died too.On the night of a bomb threat, Olivia and Peter meet accidentally in Paris. Their lives converge for a magical moment in the Place Vendome, and in a cafe in Montmartre thier hearts are laid bare.
Spoiler (or is it, this is the question....!)
Romance - not my usual subject, but as always, I am prepared to read outside of my boundaries. It made a v. nice communter read, easy to get into the story. The only thing which always disturbs me about romance novels is what most people like and expect of them: the happy ending. The couple always gets each other at the end... so boring, so predictable.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

I've finished the cow and it will go on its way to Alda tomorrow. The chart was dreadful though, with only colour squares and no symbols. That's the only cross stitch I did this week, I did none on my planned rotation piece 'Waterlilies'. I'm just always sooo tired at the end of the day during the week, don't feel like going on the laptop, don't feel like cross stitch... I don't even want to think about my exam which is coming up on 14.October! I have started my revision, but did so far maybe..10% of all the stuff I have to cover. I've got no idea how to motivate myself for this.

Nafees is flying out next Saturday to Pakistan, and we have been preparing over the weekend. We went to Walthamstow yesterday in East London. We used to live there from 1993- 2003. It has a huge market, and Nafees wanted especially sewing material for his mum. Walthamstow has a huge Asian population, and material for Asian dresses is really easy to find. Fruit and veg are so much cheaper than here as well. He also bought stuff like lipsticks, shirts, sweets and shower gel as gifts. I've got a funny feeling he will not be able to get it all in his bag, especially as he is only allowed 20kg.

Monday, 15 September 2008

This is what I started stitching last week - can you see what it is? 4 legs and udder should give you a clue - yep, a cow.

What a lucky escape I had - that's how I found Bonnie with the hoop. She didn't chew it and just looked bored with it, but I'm sure she would have chewed on it sooner or later. Gosh, all the things she chewed to pieces.... A camera!!! must have been the most valuable item. Thanks goodness it was not a new one and we hardly ever used it any more (it was my first digi cam). Still...

Back to the cow... not what I would normally stitch, I'm doing this for one of my German friends, Kimmy. She has a big 'cross stitcher's meeting' in her house in Bavaria every year - and the cow is for her husband, as he patiently bears about 30 'needle-witches' for about a week oncea a year. So 9 of us stitching an individual cow, and Alda, the very talented quilter will make it into a crazy cow quilt for Kimmy's DH

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

September is my absolute favorite month. I love the early autumn sun, and even the rainy days when its not too cold yet, don't mind having the rain in my face when I'm walking with Bonnie.

I'm sure many of you must have noticed that there is something wrong with the chestnut trees here, and in mainland Europe as well (I saw it in Germany as well, even worse then here in England). I think I read somewhere it's some kind of disease/virus which is affecting the chestnut trees, and my mum told me from Germany she heard somewhere that realistically all the foilage/fallen leaves would need to be disposed off/burned to kill the virus. Cause, this is not gonna happen. The trees have almost no leaves left (even in July), and the ones which are on them are all brown and look 'burned away', hardly any conkers. I wonder how they will turn out next year, whether the trees recover or once the tree is affected with the virus, that's it.

Here it is, taken from the website of the Royal Horticultural Society:
RHS top 10 pest enquiries
1. Horse chestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella) NEW
This is a tiny moth whose caterpillars feed within horse chestnut leaves, causing extensive white or brown blotches. This pest was new to Britain in 2002 when it was found at Wimbledon. It is now widespread in south east England and is rapidly spreading to other parts of Britain. By late summer, trees can be so heavily infested that they appear to be dying, because of the dried-up appearance of the foliage. The trees will survive and develop normal leaves in the following spring but renewed damage will be seen from late June onwards.

I love rosehips, found them on my walk in all sizes and different shades of red - aren't they beautiful. I'm still on the lookout for fungi, but there are simple none here apart from a teeny-weeny one I found. Not sure what it is, only a few millimeters high, very thin.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Why are the weekends always sooo short? My Saturday is usually taken with doing the house up, and in the morning I go swimming with Ruby. She is quite good now, going into the deep end. Considering she only started in January.... My sons love to go fishing, and when we talked about it at work, one of my co-workers said 'Well, as long as he can swim' ... aehmmm, no, he can't, at least not properly. He's had some lessons in school, but that never went beyond 5 meters. I'm not quite sure if I can enrole him still to lessons, because our swimming pool does lessons either for children (they are all 5 up to 10, no way my 14 year old would go to that!), or lessons for adults. He doesn't go out on a boat or something btw, but just stands on the shore.

It's been raining on-off the whole weekend. I've been trying today to finish TMA06 which has to be submitted by next Wednesday 10.09. No extension available. I did quite a lot in Germany, and only need another 500 words. Because I don't enjoy the course this year, I have really stopped caring and don't keep changing the assignment. Just gotta do with what's there. And then I have to start revision, the exam is on 14.10. Plan was to do a 'revision plan' today he he, it's still on my little 'to-do' note on the desktop of my laptop.

Spoke to my mum as every weekend, and she is finding lots of Parasol fungi (Schirmpilze) - gosh, there are my all=time favourite food. Maybe just because I can only only get them in Germany with my mum. Apparently, they also grow in the UK, but I have never seen them. True, I never go in the forest here, don't know where to start. Maybe I should look into it. Fungi picking doesn't appear as popular here as it is in Germany, at least the part where I come from, but I think it is 'coming', there is an article in this month's Gardener's world magazine by Monty Donwho talks about getting back to nature, enjoying the fruits presented to us readily (e.g. blackberries) and also mushrooms!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Dean Koontz ' Midnight '

I first came across Dean Koontz in a car boot sale when I ransacked the seller's stock of Stephen King and she said 'Do you want Deant Koontz as well' Well, I didn't know him then and she said he writes similar stuff to King. While he absolutely has not the same writing style as King, it is probably the same genre. I have warmed to him, and this book is right to my taste.

'What is the dark and fearful secret that haunts Moonlight Cove? A string of inexplicable deaths has occurred in this idyllic, picturesque coastal town; sinister, shadowy figures stalk the streets in the dead of the night; and four people are drawn together by terrifying circumstances: A young woman determined to find the truth behind her sister's strange suicide; an undercover federal agent; a child on the run from her parents; and a wheelchair bound veteran. '

Great graphic descriptions of the weird happenings, but as often with those books, I expected something more from the ending. A great read though and I finished it very quickly.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Now quickly a few pictures from our holiday. Despite all the anxiety with Dan, it was still a great holiday and even though I didn't realize at the time (because I felt so tired most of the time) I do feel much more relaxed now, especially at work. Won' t last I'm afraid and I will probably be stressed again to pre-holiday level by the end of this week LOL.

Dan discovered the joy of fishing and won't talk about nothing else! Well, I suppose there is worse things a teenager could have in his mind...

My Mum and her dog Isi (she is a Tibetan Terrier/Spitz cross)Nafees came to join us in our holiday on the last week, and we visited Poland, which is just about 20mins in the train from where my parents live and then a short walk across town. The town on the German side is called Frankfurt /Oder (not to be confused the Frankfurt/Main which is the Frankfurt most people know), and the town on the Polish side is called Slubice.

I will go the see our GP (Doctor) tomorrow, and then we'll see. The children are back at school again and I should be back to my usual routine. Bonnie was really strange the first day when we came back from holiday. She was so extremely lazy to a point that Imran thought she is ill, as she was only laying down and was hardly moving. She also looked huge and fat to me, thought that could be because my Mum's dog is so small compared to her. I started our usual routine of 2 short walks(morning/evening) and one longer walk in the afternoon and already she is much more settled.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Back from our annual holiday in Germany today. While I enjoyed the 'time off' from work, it wasn't all nice as first I managed to tear a muscle in my left calf (1 day before the holiday, just by walking in the garden)and then my son Dan got seriously ill. He was admitted to hospital with neurological problems, he had an MRI scan and EEG's. He is much better now, but it still needs further investigation.

I will change the format of this blog a little bit as I don't want to focus purely on my cross stitch, maybe change the title and will try to write more often. For today, I'm just dog-tired and nothing more. brain empty! The plane journey was sort of ok, but as I am a very polite person I hate pushing myself in the front for the best seats (we are talking Easyjet - I quite like flying with them, they have enabled me to see my family more often then I could otherwise afford, but as you all might now, they don't allocate seats so it's everyone fights for their own. ) Anyway, yes, I'm too polite to push myself in the front and ended up almost last on to the plane with my 3 children. we all had to sit seperately, all the kids and me had places in between other people and I kept having to shout down the plane 'Dan , everything ok?' 'Ruby, do you want a drink' etc. Then arriving in Luton and the trains were all messed up. We had to get out in Kings Cross and take the Underground for part of the journey - what a nightmare up the stairs, down the stairs with 1000 people pushing about. I got well stressed.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

and here, once more, is the framed wedding sampler. Sara was really moved and obsolutely surprised, she gave me a big hug.

I haven't posted my updates earlier this week, so here they are. Unfortunately, can't get a good picture of the Monet picture, especially as it is pre-printed as well.

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB