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Monday, 21 December 2009

A cross stitching problem

I have a cross stitch dilemma! A few years ago I have asked DMC to chart one of my wedding pictures into cross stitch - see above. When the pack arrived, I just looked at it briefly, and remember thinking it was somewhat strange that they used only 9 colours for such a colourful picture - but I thought 'well, I'm sure they know what they are doing'.

Now, last weekend I took out the chart to be kitted up and start - and found that all the colours are whites/grays/blacks - so basically they have charted the picture in black/white. This is not at all what I have asked for, indeed I quite like my colourful wedding outfit and really wanted this to come out in the chart. They have also cropped the picture - and I think this improves it actually. I'm not sure whether the black/white was done by mistake, or maybe the picture can only be charted in black/white? I have no experience of this, and I'm  a bit dissappointed.

Question is, what to do now?
1. Have it re-charted by a different company?
2. Go back to DMC and ask them?
3. Or stitch it in black.white?

So, what do you think?

Poodle finish

h21.12.09. Right, here it is: the poodle is finished, after working on it for over a year on and off. It's for my friend Rachel who volunteeres for the poodle rescue

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, 19 October 2009


And here the latest update on the giraffe from last week . Again, doesn't look like great progress, but I've moved on to the 2nd page! I find the thread really inferior, it keeps breaking and splitting apart - what a bum!!

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Birthday pressies

And here comes my beautiful birthday present from Simone. It was a very special surprise! She obviously knows me very well, the kitty cat card is just soo cute, and the decoration so thoughtful.

-- Post From My iPhone

Alexandra Palace and New Floor Stand

The Knitting and Stitching Show

at Alexandra Palace was
on this weekend, and as every year, a must for me. This year I went with my friend Jo - she's the one who has only this year started to cross stitch - and finished more than I have in the in past 5 years LOL, she's become a true addict.

As always, Ally Pally was very busy. We found that there were not a lot of stalls dedicated to cross stitch. I've realised that trend for quite a few years, and I think Jo might have expected something different. I don't mind so much, as I still enjoy looking at the other stuff like knitting, etc. The 'ususal suspects'  as every year were there of course, like Black Sheep, Choices, Michael Powell - sorry if I can't mention you all individually - and for me, my money has always disappeared by the end of the day, no matter how many or few stalls there are LOL. Jo got herself 2 Heaven and Earth KITS (yes, they come in kit form by Colray Crafts). Unbelievable, as a beginner, she gets into the Heaven and Earth stuff! I only got small stuff like needles, magnets and.......

Well, I have been toying with the idea of a new floor stand for a while. I had not so good experience with the Opus floor stand - it was never stable enough, too 'top-heavy' (I had to keep my feet firmly on the legs of the stand so it would not topple over), and the annoying turning over of the frame to secure threads etc was such a nightmare. I had the 'Needle Needs' frame recommended to me by another stitcher on a Yahoo-group. Well, it's not cheap... I payed £160 for the floor stand and 2 frames. But I was really fed up with other, inferiour stuff, and while I not always believe 'expensive is better' I have made that experience with some cross stich equipment, e.g. my daylight lamp. Since spending money on a good quality product - hey presto, no more problems. Anyway, back to the frame. I set it up straight away when we came back. This was straight forward, despite me really not being good on putting things together. I could tell straight away that the quality of the wood is excellent. The fabrib is held very taut, and as the frame lies on 2 arms and is not screwed in, it is straight forward to turn your stitching over. I had a bit of a problem rolling the fabric onto the top rollers of the frame if it is several layers of aida - I couldn't secure it in the slot provided, could only do it with no more than 1 layers, so the rest of the aido was sort of hanging loose, which was not a problem. the fabric in the frame was still extremely taught, the best I've ever had I have to say. The only complain, apart from the price tag, is that it could go up a bit higher for my taste, as my 'stitching corner armchair' is quite high, and even in the hightest position I feel that I have to bend down a bit. But again, not a major problem, it would just take a bit of getting used to. All in all, I am very satisfied with my new equipment. Oh, and as it was my birthday last week, I gave DH Nafees a little nudge, and voila - this is my birthday present.

-- Post From My iPhone
This is my progress on Lilliput Lane from last week. Not a lot done.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A finish in cross stitch

Here isn't latest finish - a heart design from the French designer Isabelle Vautier. I've still got the matching strawberry one to do. I thoght those small kits can be my 'on the move' pieces and took them into work for my lunch break. However, we hardly ever get lunch of more than 20 minutes so I would have never done anything on those. Took them back home with me.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, 28 September 2009

Poodle doodle

// Monday, 28. September 2009 // 

Here is my update on Mr. Poodle from last week. I've only really stitched on it on Sunday, and yes, it might not seem like a big update, but I feel I have actually made process. I guess another 2 - 3 weeks on it, so it's nearing the end. With the rotation though I won't see it again now for another 4 weeks.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

High Heels, East Ham and Autumn colours

// Sunday, 27. September 2009 //        

What's new ... another busy weekend. I spend most of Saturday ferrying the children (and mostly Ruby) around here, there and everywhere. Birthday parties, bank appointments, swimming, gym - you name it, i drive there. And most of. the time being stuck in traffic!

Saturday afternoon Nafees and me went to East Ham, Queen's Road market. Queens Road Market is a noisy hotch-potch market of Asian and African food and clothing. Nafees usually buys his Asian spices there, and I just love the Asian sweets, they are really sweet sweets! We took Bonnie with us, so I had to stay in the car with her- she wouldn't be any good with big crowds. After the shopping, we took her to Newham Central Park. We sat on the bench, eating somosas like an old couple ... haven't done that for a while.

Ruby went out shopping with her best friend Natasha, they were hitting all the clothing and asseccorize shops. She bought this pair of high heel sandals. It's been a long time since I've worn anything like that, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk very far in them - it's trainer's for me.

Sunday was a lovely Autumn day. It's still extremely dry though, and the colours are all dried up browns/yellows, there is hardly any green. The rosehips are beautiful though, there are my favourite autumn fruit.

A Mother's story and a police break-in (almost!)

// Saturday, 26. September 2009 //     

Gosh, my legs are still shaking, every mother will understand.... that sinking feeling when you fear for your child... Luckily, I can laugh about it now, feel a bit embarrassed - but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

Yesterday, my son Dan (the 15-year old) called me at work around 8 am to tell me he's got bad headache and is feeling unwell, he wants to stay at home and not go to school. He suffers from migraines so this was not exactly unusual. I just told him to take a paracetamol and ring me if it gets worse. What I do usually is ring him every hour to make sure he's ok. Somehow I forgot, and remembered him around noon. I called the landline and mobile phone - no answer. I tried for the next hour without success, phones were ringing, but no reply. I knew that he just wouldn't go out, anyhow, where would he go, as all his friends were in school, and he just doesn't go shopping on his own like that. I quickly really started to panick and of course imagining the worse. By chance, my colleague's mother lives hin the same town as I, and she kindly agree to go to our address. She than knocked on the door for 15 mins, again nothing.

 By now I was physically sick and shaking like a leaf. We than decided to call the police. Luckily, my colleague is a trained 999 operator, and so she took full control of the situation - exactly what I needed. Police were on the scene within 10 minutes. They asked me whether they can break in if they don't get a reply - I said yes. One officer knocked again on the front door, and the other jumped over the fence into the back garden. And that's when Bonnie saved the day (and our front door) - on seeing a person in the back garden, she went mad, barking and running up and down the stairs. That is what woke Dan up - yes, he's been fast asleep!

Susanne Jaffe 'The other Anne Fletcher'

Friday, 25. September 2009 

Annie Fletcher is a successful, up-and-coming book author, confident, happy with life. The other - Anne Fletcher - is a failed author, unhappy with every aspect of life. First, flowers are being delivered for Annie mistakingly to her, and than mail for Annie is landing on her doorstep by chance - and jelousy on the other Anne Fletcher is eating her up. And than her man, Arthur, whom she is not really interested in her twisted ways anyway, meets the other Annie Fletcher, and Anne will do anything do destroy Annie.

Confused with Anne - Annie? Its not difficult to separate them because both characters are drawn out to be so differently, sometimes in a OTT way. Maybe not the most thrilling book I ever read, but good for the train journey home with not too much brain engaging needed.

Amazon had no picture on this paperback - sorry!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Beginner's photography

Finally, nothing else planned this evening, and so I had the chance to take the camera out to put some of the learned stuff into practice today. Now, coming back from work, doing the dinner, and then by the time of course I was ready to go out with Bonnie and take the camera, it was coming up to 7pm. It was not quite dark, but not far off. I've read somewhere the best light is at dusk and dawn, so here we go.

So, there is me, the beginner with the camera. As recommended by Michael, our teacher, I kept the setting on 'Manual' to really get the experience and try different things and not to rely on the automatic mode, because this is exactly what I want to come away from. I tried to get the exposure right with aperature and shutter speed - was quite glad that I remembered it quite easily, and managed to get the right exposure by changing shutter speed. It was getting dark pretty quickly, so the aperature had to stay at 4.0. To get enough light in, I had to put the shutter speed really slow, around 1/8 sec. and of course that's when the effect of camera shake started to appear - Bonnie is just a blurred shape! I was quite proud that at this stage, I remembered that one can also change ISO to make it more light sensitive and thus go down to a faster shutter speed - reducing the camera shake somewhat. Well, small beginnings.
Bonnie with flash

and Bonnie without flash

I like how the autumn colours appear here. 

By than, the night was really drawing in and I was presented with a beautiful orange sunset. I tried to capture it with the houses as a 'skyline', but unfortunately not very successfully. I know there is a trick somewhere - I don't remember it, not at this stage anyway. I think the camera exposed for the very lit sky, and than the foreground became too dark:

Or, with a different exposure setting, the whole picture became too light:

I think the best picture I took right at the end:

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Lessons in Photography

Today was the first day of my photography classes at North West Kent College. It's the 'Introduction to Photography' at the Dartford Campus. I had signed up for it already a few months ago, when I'd just bought the camera. I've since read a few books, and especially the 'Dummies' guide on the camera was really good (well, you all know them, one of those yellow 'bla bla bla for Dummies' books. After reading the book I had started to use the camera almost every day, and tried the manual features rather than just always sticking with the automatic setting. But I still found it all a bit too overwhelming - aperature, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, point of focus etc etc.

So here I am, back in College. The course will run for 10 weeks, every Tuesday evening. Not cheap, I paid £175 for the pleasure. But I enjoyed it today - there's about 15 people in our class, a good mixture. It brought it all back (I hadn't used the camera for a while I have to admit), and now I feel that I want to go out and take pictures straight away. I'd forgotten most of the settings and how to change bits and pieces, so the Dummie's guide will come out again!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Nature's Home update

Last week, my rotation piece was the 'Nature's Home afghan' - I'm currently stitching square 6 of 35... long way to go, but one has to start somewhere LOL. This is a project which will be with me several years no doubt, but I don't mind, especially as every square is almost like an individual picture.

For my standards I did quite a lot last week, probably because I was off work on Monday and Tuesday, and really started to get into this piece. It starts to come together now. It is not really obvious, but there are plenty of confetti stitching in this, for example the green on the leaves is around 6 or 7 different kind of greens.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Busy Busy, and Open University starts again

Another busy week over. And I've worked only on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday! I'm try ing to keep to my new routine of going to the gym 3x a week. Especially during the week I'm sort of racing from the moment I get home - tidy up, cook dinner, walk Bonnie - and than get some time to myself to either stitch, go to the gym or go on the laptop. Can I have a few more hours in a day?

Open University has started again - this is my final year, yippee. My course this year is called DD208 Crime, welfaere and society. It's a level 2, and as I'v already done level 3 before, it shouldn't be too difficult. Still, 6 assigments to go through, and the exam next year. The first assignment is due end of October, and only has 800 words. I'm not too sure whether I can go to the tutorials though. They take place in London, about once or twice a month, at 7 in the evening. As I finish my work at 4, it's just too long to wait around for another 3 hours, and than get home at nighttime. Maybe I'll just go the first few times to see how the tutor is etc. Can't believe that I'll have my degree next year this time!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dean Koontz 'Fear Nothing'

Christopher Snow is an 'Xper' - he suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum which means his skin and eyes cannot be exposed to the sunlight. Christopher lives his life during night hours, but with the help of his family and friends, he lives life to the full and refuses to bow down to the limitations put on by nature. Christopher lives in Moonlight Bay, a small town by sea. And as he and his trustworthy dog walk the town by night, they discover strange 'going ons', strange creatures. And it will be up to Christopher to rescure Moonlight Bay. Christopher is a very likable hero, and I certainly feared with him.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

First day back at work today after 1 week off after the laparoscopy last week. I felt fine, so this was an unexpected few days off, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it (luckily, I didn't feel bad, stitches came out, no problems at all. Did lots of cross stitch over the weekend(and not much else I'm afraid). And I got myself a new little toy - well, it's only a new daylight lamp. This one is for downstairs. I've got my big daylight lamp upstairs, one of the best buys ever, I swear by it, can't stitch without it. I also love the little tray and chart holder on it. Anyway, there was nothing downstairs, and so I never really stitched downstairs. As Nafees doesn't like the daylight when it's on in my room upstairs (and he has to sleep in the same room), I always had to stop stitching when he went to bed... well, not any longer, got a nice new daylight lamp for downstairs. Love it! And there's Sky TV downstairs, whereas I've only got a small TV with a room aerial in my room.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Here is my progress from last week. 'Giraffe Mother and Baby' from Dimensions. Mother's neck is nearly finished, and next time on this piece I'm ready to start on the body.. it is surprisingly easy to stitch and I'm not yet bored of all the browns. It looks so realistic, that's what I like. Some of the colours are mixed e.g. 1 strand of 350 and 1 strand of 397 etc, and with those longer threads, I find that they start to come apart nearer to the end, so quite poor quality thread in the kit I guess (?). So it's either working with shorter threads to reduce the friction, or knotting when they tear - annoying.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Jackie Collins 'Lovers and gamblers'

Right, here it goes again, I've read so many books since I've last reviewed, and there are all sitting on my pile here.

Sexy and wild without being unpleasantly 'dirrty', I like Collins' style. As with her other books, we find ourselves in the world of Hollywood stars and starlets, film premieres, models and everything in between. Lovers and Gamblers is essentially the story of Al King, and aging soul and rock star who does the whole sex, drugs n rock'n' roll thingy, and plenty of women thrown in for the fun of it. But inside, of course, Al's got a good heart and I quickly warmed to him as the 'hero' of the story despite his womanising antics. And than there is Dallas (what a name btw!), a model / actress with a dodgy past which she would like to keep secret. Initially separate stories, Al and Dallas will meet, but not the way Al likes to have it. Her character's well drawn out without being too much OTT (indeed she manages this even with cliched stuff like Hollywood, models, rockstars). The story is fast-paced, funny and never boring and the 600 pages will fly by.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Poodle 09. August 2009

Poodle 03. September 2009

Lilliput Lane 04. September 2009

Here finally some update on my cross stitch. I had taken the poodle with me to Germany to get something done on it, hopefully a big chunk. Well, I did finish page 4 of 6, and started on page 5, now half-way done. So, it won't be much longer I guess. But it's been slotted in again in my ususal 5-weekly rotation, so it will be a while before I stitch on it again.

Lilliput Lane is going slowly. Don't like the 14ct Aida, should have substituted it, never mind. The roof is confetti at it's finest, and the colours don't seem to match the picture. It comes out as darkish pink colours, whereas on the picture on the front of the kit it's brown. The pink doesn't look out of place or anything, I guess will just have to wait until I finished a bit more on it.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Why are weekends always so short? Was really busy today. In the morning, went with Nafees to East Ham for shopping. Than, coming back around lunch time, we went straight to Dartford fair. I was looking forward to see 'Stavros Flatley', those hilariously funny dancers from Britain's got Talent. I thought were were really funny, and we need something to laught don't we? Anyway, I didn't feel to well after eating some doghnuts, and generally I 'can't' do big crowds, so I had to leave before Stavros Flatley came on the stage. Oh well, but Dan saw them.

Than, coming back, I went straight to Jo's for our weekly cross stitch session. Had to help her with a lot of frogging on her huge Chinese Lady picture. And after that I went out with Bonnie, as mostly on Sundays we went to Beacon Wood. I looked out for fungi, as mum keeps telling me there are plenty in Germany, but nothing here... I just don't know the right places!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Only a little over 3 weeks now and we go to Germany. Vorfreude schoenste Freude - that's what they say in German. Well, it refers to Christmas time and means anticipation is the best joy or something like that, it's just nice sooo much looking forward to something. I read on a German TV channel website today there is big trouble with the 'S-Bahn' in Berlin. S-Bahn is a train-link-network in Berlin, very fast and reliable trains (bit like an overground tube). Apparently, due to some technical problems, most of the lines are now shut and only a few are running on emergency timetable - and this is likely to go on for many weeks. Well, of course, we will need the S-Bahn when we arrive in Schoenefeld to go into Berlin - and than from there take the train to my parents place.

I've written to the housing asociation to see if I need permission for the satellite dish, hopefully it won't take them long to reply. And than Nafees is treating me to German TV. I can't believe it - after 16 years in the UK, I'm going to get German TV.

Today we've done a proper 'shopping addict' thingy and went to the NEXT sale. Everything half price - and there, we were lured to the shop. I could understand Nafees, as he needs new suits for this new job (which I loves btw), and I came out with 2 new bags, 1jeans, 2 tops, 1 mac. Felt really stupid running around Bluewater with my 150 (or more) NEXT SALE bags.

Jo is inspiring me to pick up my cross stitch again and keep to the rotation (to some degree anyway). As we now are not any more allowed to work flexi time at work, I try to take 1 hour lunch, and have a small kit with me for cross stitching. It is actually really relaxing, just taking your mind off work for an our or so.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

I've discovered this good photo shot opportunity a while back while out walking Bonnie in Beacon Wood Country park, this beautiful Kent village peeking through a hole in the forest. At that time, earlier on this year, I didn't had the right camera to get the houses in the background zoomed in. I finally shot it today - notice the typical Kent Oast houses. I really like the composition, with the trees framing the village in the background, but not too keen on how the colours turned out. Can't manage to change them so far - the countryside looks 'washed out'. Wish I could get more into Photoshop, but it really is not as straighforward as I'd thought. I started reading the 'Photoshop for Dummies' book, but after only 3 pages I'm as confused as anything - its peppered with words I don't understand. Hope I can get into it....

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Not an easy read...and not something I would normally pick up. It came as a 'freebie' with some other books from the book club, and I generally try not to restrict my reading, so I would give almost everything a go.
John Diamond, the author of this book and a profilic journalist and broadcaster in the UK, is terminally ill with cancer, and actually dies before he was able to finish his book on 'Complimentary medicince' of which he writes critically about - it is fair to say he is not a believer in complimentary medicine. His brother-in-law writes the foreword, and also includes as the 'second part' of the unfinshed book, John's columns from several UK newspapers (The Times, The Jewish Cronicle etc). He tells the 'story' of his cancer - how he gets first diagnosed, thinking it is probably nothing etc, to the treatments and eventually having to face death, quite literally. Of course, it is sad to read, but also gives out vibes of a very positive person.

I 'm off work this week (lots of flexi time). I was hoping for good weather, and continue to work in the garden. This is b****y hard work – I am preparing the vegetable beds and tried to dig up the soil. After about 20 cam, there is just rubble in the ground. Apparently, this is what’s happening commonly in newly build houses, were the builders, when they leave, just dump the rubble in the garden and top it with a whimsy layer of top soil. Yep, that’s exactly how my soil is! Great. I dug about 30 cm deep or so, but can’t do no more, it is just too hard going through the rubble. I’ve done about 60% of the border in the last 4 weeks, planted so far runner beans, tomatoes, broccoli,coriander, rocket.

It is quite windy today, and not very warm, sitting in the garden and reading is not an option (that’s what I did yesterday, my ideal holiday occupation – bliss!). I took the camera out with me when I walked Bonnie. I still feel a little uncomfortable, walking with a big camera and enormous lens around my neck. I don’t feel very safe to be honest. Maybe its because I’m not used to it, but on the other hand I don’t want to miss out on photo opportunities. Today it was too windy to attempt pictures of flowers, they were blowing all over the place. So I did some more of those ducks/ducklings – all good practice. Downloading is easy peasy. I hadn’t realized what big difference the photo editing software makes to the quality of the pictures. I only did so far level tools. Takes up all my time, but is fun. And than there is a big book to read, all about Photoshop… Only 695 pages. Yes, I do enjoy it.

Oh, and I set up that Flickr account Not a lot in there yet - another thing I gotta do!

Here is an example of my (still veeeery amateur) work in the photo editing programm. I did not use Photoshop for this, but the simple software which was supplied by Canon with the Camera. Didn't dare to look at Photoshop yet hee hee - that big 695 pages long book is waiting for me.

edited with level / curve tools

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Big news - well, for me anyway. I have finally bought my first D-SLR camera. Have been toying with this for the last few months, as I enjoy walking and wildlife/wildflowers more and more and really want to get more serious about photography. So... I have saved up on a deposit and got a Canon Eos 450D. There is sooo much to learn, I've been submerged in the 'Dummy' guide for the past few days and taking my first shots. I love it.

Problem is that this is going to be an expensive hobby. Already I realised that I may have to purchase more lenses with the stuff I want to take pictures off. I got 2 lenses with the camera (as I kit), and I want to get completely comfortable with everything in the first place. I'm still on the 'Automatic' setting for the camera, but hopefully will explore more in the next few weeks and can start experimenting with the manual settings.
Completely neglected cross stitch as a hobby, but will definitely return to it sooner or later - just enjoy taking pictures so much at the mo (and playing with all the new equipment). Here are some of the first pictures I took - completely unedited(haven't yet got the hang of Photoshop - another Dummy-guide I gotta get through LOL - Amazon is making tons of profit with me at the mo.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Everyone at work liked this picture. Thomas looks absolutely enourmous, almost as big as Ruby but honestly it just looks like that in the picture, he is just one big fluffball.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, 11 May 2009

Cross stitch update

I have been neglecting my cross stitch in a big way in the past few weeks. And my friend Jo has taken to it big time - finished her first piece in less than 4 weeks. Well last week I had the ,Giraffe, from Dimensions in my rotation for the first week and as the progress picture shows I've hardly worked on it though I think the shape of the giraffe head is already recognizable! I've just been toooo busy last week for cross stitch - did a lot of gardening (I made a herb bed), playing with the phone for the last 4 days and of course looking for a camera. I would really like to get more seriously into photography (as a hobby) and do a lot of research into beginner DSLR camera's. Veerey confusing. Here is the picture of the giraffe, only a snapshot taken with the iPhone though.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Out and about

Beacon Wood Country Park is turning out to be a favourite of mine, so much so that I now come here every Sunday. It is much quieter than Shorne (no Cafe or visitor centre here) and no car park charge. And the forest is dense, well as much as one van expect in the south east of England .

-- Post From My iPhone

Zadie Smith 'The Autograph Man'

Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs - a small blip in a huge worldwide network of desires. It is his business to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell tham, occasionally fake them, and all to give people what they want: a little piece of fame. But what does Alex want? Only the return of his father, the reinstatement of some kind of all-powerful benevolent God-type figure, the end of religion, somthing for his headache, three different girls, infinitie grace and the rare autograph of forties movie actress Kitty Alexander. With fries.

The Autograph Man is a deeply funny, existential tour arond the hollow things of modernity - celebrity, cinema and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. Through London and then New York, Alex is sent on a paper-trail, searching for the only authograph that ever matered to him, resisting the mystcical lure of Kabbalah and Zen, and avoiding all collectors, conmen and interfering Rabbis who would put themselves in his path. Pushing against the tide of his generation, Alex-Li is on his way to finding enlightenment, otherwise known as some part of himself that cannot be signed, celebrated or sold.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Here it goes, this is the first post from my iphone - I'm actually walking Bonnie at the mo and can't put the iphone away - nice little toy LOL

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Cross stitch in the last 2 weeks

Here is my update on NH afghan, and the Poodle. Jo is still coming around once a week, and she is into cross stitch now biiiiig time - I can't believe it. Her picture is almost finished - and she goes to Hobbycraft about 3 times a week LOL, and bought about 5 or so more kits in the last 2 weeks LOL LOL. She's been bitten by the bug big time!

I hardly get to cross stitch though, and if there is one thing I'm jelous of, it's the time Jo can devote to her cross stitch. I think I did a few bits on the tree trunk for the NH afghan, and the poodle I managed to get a few lines in, but hardly noticable.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Roast leg of lamb with garlic and red wine sauce

Our Easter meal was Roast Leg of lamb with garlic and red wine sauce. Now I'm not a great cook, so if I do get something right, I'm quite pleased, and for my own sake (so I remember it next time), I would like to record the recipe here:


1 leg of lamb (abt. 2 kg)
4 garlic gloves
rosemary or other herbs
red wine
olive oil

1. Wash the lamb, dry and rub with olive oil, salt and a tiny amount of pepper.

2. Cut about 20 incisions into the lamb, and stuff the cut garlic gloves + herbs into it.

3. Put the leg into the pre-heated oven (200C), cover with foil, and let it roast for about 1 hour.

4. In the meantime, pre-boil the potatoes.

5. After every 15 or so minutes, brush the lamb with a mixture of olive oil, red wine and salt.

6. After 1 hour, remove the foil. continue to brush the lamb with the oil/wine mixture.

7. In the last 40 mins, put the potatoes around the lamb, but drain any liquids from the pan before (but don't throw them away, we need them for the gravy).

8. Turn the lamb once, and cook for another 40-60 mins (all together, 1 hr. 40 mins - 2 hrs).

9. After the lamb has come out of the oven, take the liquid which has collected at the bottom and stir it into some gravy powder with more red wine (I know, gravy powder is cheating, but all my cooking has to be easy-peasy Peggy friendly. I have mentioned already, I'm not a master cook).

Friday, 10 April 2009

Necla Kelek 'Die fremde Braut'

This is a German non-fiction book which really opened my eyes regarding the 'multi-cultural' society and integration. The title translates roughly into 'The foreign Bride', but the word 'fremde' in German is also equivalent with 'estranged'. Kelek, a Turkish lady living in Germany, why integration of Turkish people into German society is proving so difficult, and ultimately, appears not to work. I have to say that personally, I am a firm believer in multi-cultural society, and do not like segregation at all, for example, personally, I wouldn't agree to faith-schools. I could never quite understand why , for example, Turkish people living in Germany don't really want to have anything to do with Germans ( I had personal experience of this, and as a firm believer of multi-culturalism and married in a multi-faith marriage myself, I felt quite insulted when I was told by a Turkish young woman that her family would not allow her to go into the house of a German woman).

Kelek shows the deep roots in culture, going way back to the home-country. I can image that the book was very controversial in Germany. I can just hope that, one day, we can all live peacefully together. In the words of John Lennon 'Image' : Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I maybe I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Spring Cleaning

I've had this week off, and really used it this time to do some major spring cleaning. I don't often have the time and the mood for it, but I really went for it this time. I've got several big bags in the shed, and about 100 books, all paperbacks which I read in the past few years. I decided that it is time to sort them out, as I'll not going to read them aagain, and it just takes too much space and makes the house all messy. We did a car boot sale, but only made about £40 (after taking away the stall rent of £12). Never mind, it's £40 extra in my purse. Lots of it was actually knitting stuff which I decided to get rid off as I don't knit any more - there just isn't enought time for knitting, and I enjoy cross stitch more.
We also finally started to paint the fence in the garden, and Rubyand Dan helped me. We've run out of paint though half way through, will continue maybe next weekend if there is time.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

A finish and a new start

Happy Dance! I have finished Mirabilia's Spring Queen. It must have taken me around 3 years, but of course, it was only part of my rotation, and at times, I had to put it on hold completely for urgent other stuff such as wedding samplers etc. But boy, it turned out so beautiful at the end. The dreaded beading was really easy actually, and took me no longer than 2 weekends. I couldn't stop stitching this weekend actually, its always like that when the end is near LOL.

And here is the new kit which goes into the rotation: 'Giraffe and baby'from Dimensions. Ruby loves giraffes, so for a while, I collected cross stitch of giraffes to go in her room. At the moment, her room is full of Hannah Montana and High School Musical though;-))

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB