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Saturday, 28 March 2009


As every year, I went to the 'Stitching and Craft' Show in London Olympia. I've been going ever since I first discovered cross stitch and became really addicted, and the first ever show I went to was in 1997!! I felt like I've gone to cross stitch heaven.

This year, my report is a bit two-fold.

I have to say this honestly - I am disappointed with the show, and it has been slowly but steadily going downhill in the past years. Fellow cross stitchers on the Yahoo-boards have been saying it for a while, but I didn't want to see it, mainly because the show is still so special to me. Less and less cross stitch every year. Now we only have the big retailers ( I don't mind them, of course, there are great, but where are all the other's??) For example, there was not a single retailer with Lavender/Lace, Mirabilia. More papercraft, which I don't mind generally, but it seems to be taken over. Come to think of it, less stalls all together. And one thing which annoys me greatly is non-craft related stalls like blouses, shoes etc. Yes, I know, there are always a few, but it seems to be taken over. If I want to buy shoes, I go to Barratts or M&S, and not a Cross Stitch fair *geddit*.

But I have good news to tell as well. I took my colleage Jo along to the fair. She likes papercraft, cardmaking etc, and we talked about it some time ago, so I got her a ticket. And would you know it - Jo fell instantly in love with cross stitch. She was ooo-ing and aww-ing over all the designs (she likes 1930's ladies, tigers, egyptian), there was plenty for her to admire. And she straight away got herself 2 (rather big) kits . She was so much taken by everything, she wanted to have the full equpiment to start cross stitching, so we browsed the fair and got her a frame (I recommended R&R as I get on best with them), a lamp and other small bits and bobs (like magnetic chart holder). We than went back to her house, as she wanted to try it out straight away, and I had to set her up of course. Well, she took to it like a duck to water. I went to see her a few days later, and the Pink Lady (see above kit) was already 1/2 done - I couldn't believe it. She'd gone to Hobbycraft, bought another kit (John Clayton), and went to Sewandso to order 2 more!! And she told me she can't wait to get back home after work to cross stitch - oh, how I recognise this! Well and truly addicted I'd say. It's the first time that I got someone addicted who is really really into it now.

Anyway, this is what I got myself at Olypmia:
50 DMC colours
R&R frame (the small one)
Lavender & Lace Celtic Autumn (material pack only, couldn't find the chart)
Dimensions Labrador kit

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Marley & me

'life and love with the world's worst dog'

The movie is out now, but I was determined to read the book before I go to see the movie - I'm so glad I did. My co-worker's girlfriend lend me the book, and what a wonderful read. Well, it obviously helped that we do have a dog - and a yellow labrador even. John Grogan writes with a wonderful wit which is just absolutely refreshing to read without being soppy. He writes about his adventures with Marley, a yellow labrador. I was reading in the train and found myself literally laughing out loud - a cardinal sin on a morning communter train LOL. As our own Labrador, Bonnie, is only 3 years old now, I also found it very interesting moving to read about how Marley got older and infirm, eventually very infirm.

The story is simple enough - and the title sums it up : 'Life and Love with Marley'. John and Jenny, just beginning thier life together, were young and deeply in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Than they brought home Marley, a wigly yellow furall of a puppy.

Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew up into a do like no other, an unstoppable ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador. He crashed through sreen doors, stole women's underwear, and ate anything he could get his mouth round - including furniture and fine jewellery. Marley was expelled from obedience school. Even prescription tranquillizers from the vet couldn't stop him.

And yet Marley's heart was pure. He shared John and Jenny's happiness at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak when Jenny miscarried. He was theire wehn babies arrieved and when a girl was attacked in the neighbourhood. He managed to get a public beach shut and caused chaos when he landed a role in a film. Through it all, he won hearts and remained a steadfast model of devotion to his family, even when they were at their wit's end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Update from Last week. I am making real progress on the Poodle and actually started to enjpy it for the first time. Now the 'face' really starts to come out. Still on page 4 though, and it will take a few more rotations before I can move on to page 5.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Danial's birthday

My eldest boy is 15 today - I can't believe it! Today, we've just had some cake and he set his new x-box up. Bit of a problem, as he can't go 'online' with it yet, apparently he need another wireless devise which will cost him around £50 as the x-box is not compatible with other wireless devices and you need a specific x-box one. Gosh, they make money out of those things.

And here he is playing away.he didn't even mind me taking the picture which he usually hates - teenagers

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Shorne Wood Country Park

We went to Shorne Wood Country park today - that is Bonnie, Dan, Imran and me. Yes, I could talk my two teenage boys into coming with their old mum on a ramble through the woods. The boys came because they wanted to have a look at the fishing lakes in the park. And -- they liked it and want to come back!
The park is massive, and it was very very busy. We had trouble finding parking and had to cruise for ages on the (massive!) carpark. There were so many people on the main walk ways, it felt like London Bridge for rush hour!! But once we were into the deeper woods, it was a bit better and I saw the first wild primulas - right in the middle of the forest - beautiful.

Tracey Quan 'Diary of a Manhattan Call girl'

this book came free with a woman's magazine once which I very rarely buy, but did on this occassion when we were at the airport (must have been about 5 years ago, so that's how long my 'to be read' pile is LOL!. Now as I'm generally open to all kind of books, I gave it a try.

the book does exatly what it says on the tin - it is the diary of a call girl. The story is basic, a Bridget Jones for callgirls. She has a boyfriend who does not know her profession, and she obviously ponders whether/when to tell him. The story is not written in a serious fashion, but very much like a fun diary. Now I'm no prude but found this often too saucy for my taste. Well, there is a time/place for this sort of thing I suppose, and as I mostly read during my commute on the train - well, I don't want to read about sex at 6 am sitting in a packed train ...

So - if you like very saucy reading, give it a try, otherwise stay clear.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Ruby and me went to a craft evening on Wednesday. It is part of Kent's 'Family Learning', they organise different activities from craft, sports, computing etc for children and parents, and it is all free. It takes place every other months or so at local primary schools. We attended 'Easter Craft'. It's all pretty basic stuff, but all the materials are provided, and for me it's nice to spend some 'mother-daughter' time. With 3 children, it's nice sometimes when I can find something to do with just one of them and give them my attention fully - even if just for 2 hours as with this craft evening.

We completed some Easter baskets, trinket boxes (decorated with sequins etc), cards. I tried my hand at quilling, it was a bit tedious, but if I would have managed to fill in a complete Easter egg template (which I didn't), that would have looked great. So I just did it all on the outside, and I think I could even use it as a frame for my cross stitch. Ruby enjoyed herself. I don't think I could get my teenage boys to do this with me... they are past that!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Here is my progress on the NH afghan. I have now finished 4 of the 5 top squares. And I can see good process, I've been able to complete a full square in the last week! Well, the square isn't densely stitched ...

Monday, 9 March 2009

Why are the weekends always sooo short? My Saturdays are usually filled with doing the shopping here and there, cleaning the house, taking Ruby to swimming. Not much left for anything else. Last Saturday we went to Bluewater (big shopping centre near where we live) and bought Danial's birthday present). I have given him the choice of having a 'smaller' present and a large party, or a big present and just us as a family having a meal - latter option is what he went for and we bought him the desired X-box 360. I'm not into gaming whatsoever, and can't understand why he needs/wants an x-box when he already has a Playstation. Apparently two completeley different things. go figure... I'll never understand.

I didn't fancy going anywhere in the car on Sunday for our walk, so I took Bonnie down to the Thames. It is about a 20 mins walk for me to the River - but it is not a very pleasant walk. There is a path, but it is very lonely, no-body ever seems to walk there, and the bushes/undergrowth is very very dense, creaking. It freaks me out and I'm not easily scared. there are a few fields with horses in the middle, so that is a bit calming, but apart from that... I like it down by the river. It was on low tide. I was a bit scared Bonnie might decide to jump into the River - but she didn't. She isn't overly keen on water anyway, would just go to the edge and drink. There was also a lot of (manmade!!) mess, e.g. rubbish / flytipping everywhere, from plastic drink bottles (sooo many, everywhere) to 3 piece suites! Disgusting! I walked back home in a loop a different route, which is not much better, because there is a motocross-track and a shooting club - the noise! And cars were going up and down on the path, I felt like on a Motorway. As much as I like it down at the River, I don't think I'm going back soon there.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Stephen King 'Rose Madder'

Another one from the King!
Again, , like in Dolores Clairbone, King tells about domestic violence in his typical page-turning fashion. I absolutely love the idea of the 'magic picture' (I do no want to spoil the story here) - gosh, where does this man takes his faboulous story ideas from!

Roused by a single drop of blood, Rosie Daniels wakes up to the chilling realisation that her husband Norman is going to kill her. And she takes flight. with his credit card. Alone in a strange city, Rosie begins to build a new life: she meets Bill Steiner and she finds an odd junk shop painting, 'Rose Madder', which strangely seems to want her as much as she wants it.
But it's hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder. Rose-maddenend and on the rampage, Norman is a corrupt cop with a dog's instinct for tracking people. And he's getting close. Rosie can feel how close he is getting. Fab Suspense!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Update on Spring Queen. And it's nearly done!!! I've finished all the backstitching in 2 evenings, and than on to the beading. it was much easier that what I remembered and I made great progress - finished the hair, necklace and I'm on to the sleeves. What a great feeling to finally see this coming to an end. I would finish this in just a few days but I'm being strong and commit myself to the rotation, so Spring Queen was packed away Sunday evening until the next rotaton in 5 weeks - but than I'm gonna have a finish! And I think I'd rather save up to have it framed professionally. I had Summer Queen framed professionally at Hobbycraft. I'm not any more 100% happy with it. The frame and mount are georgeous, but the fabric is sort of hanging, it doesn't sit tight. The framer in Hobbycraft is not any longer in business, but there is a small LSN in towncenter where I will ask.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Beacon Country Park

I took the maps out again, and looked on the Internet - and came up with another country park near to Dartford. I wonder why it never occurred to me before... So, on Sunday, I went with Bonnie to Beacon Country Park in Bean/Kent, which is a lovely small village outside of Dartford. The park is, in my opinion, the best one I've visited so far. I found it very easily (it was indeed signposted with one of those brown signs! - very helpful), and parking was straighforward. Near the car park, there were already plenty of dogwalkers, but Bonnie was well behaved. The woodlands are mainly birch, and quite dense. There are walkways, some with wooden boards, and I would probably feel a bit awkward to stroll into the denser wooded aeras. And there was indeed a sign in the car park 'Do not pick the mushrooms' LOL. I did let Bonnie off for quite some time. There were so many different paths to choose, and I was really surprised that at the end, I ended up indeed again at the car park where I started - I just sort of walked into the general direction of a loop.

Andreas Franz 'Jung, blond, tot'

A thriller from the German Crime author Andreas Franz.

A serious of mysterious murders of young woman is stalking Frankfurt/Main. All the victims are blond. He rapes, kills and than arranges the victims in a strange ritual, he puts the blond hair of the victims into two plaids with red bows. Detective Durant tries to solve the mystery, and Franz lets us on a path of many suspects. I was kept guessing, but had the murderer figured out at the end (before it is revealed in the story), but maybe this is what Franz wanted to achieve. Nonetheless, a great read and pageturner. I will read him again. Just don't expect investigation as in 'real life' - I found quite a few mistakes which wouldn't happen in that way in 'real life policing'. It doesn't matter to the story though, it goes nicely with the story, this is what we expect of detective stories.

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB