Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas is Coming - Giveaway

I found a new, unopened copy of Mirabilia's 'Archangel' chart in a local charity shop (thrift store) this week and I thought it might make a nice giveaway prize for Christmas!

So, if you would like to be entered in the draw for this chart, please comment below. I will draw the winner on New Year's Day.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent Calendar

I made this advent calendar six years ago for The Hermit, before I realised the extent of his allergy to Christmas. I already have an advent calendar (with huge pockets!) so this has been languishing in a drawer for some time.

This year, I decided that it deserved a good home, so I stuffed the pockets with chocolate and gave it to my dad :o)

Design details: An Avon kit, probably 8-10 years old

Stitch Markers

For the knitting retreat, I made up little gift bags for everyone, which contained some hand treatment and a set of stitch markers.

These were very simple to make from split rings and mother of pearl discs. If you knit socks, or lace, stitch markers come in very useful!

Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

As the office is going to be closed from Christmas Eve to 5 January, I will have Twelve Days to (hopefully) do not very much apart from stitch, read and get a head start on next semester's work.

So, I've decided that my focus will be to get as many Christmas UFOs and making up as possible done, so that I can enjoy them this season!

To make up:

Be Merry - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Ho Ho Ho - Lizzie*Kate - to finish into a wallhanging
Noel - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Peace Joy Love - Lizzie*kate - to finish into a cushion cover
Sheep - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Snowman - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
A Merry Tree for Thee - to finish as a pinkeep
Winter - Trail Creek Farm - to finish as a scissor fob
Winter ABCs - Lizzie*Kate - to frame


Christmas Felt Wallhanging - Bucilla
Hearts of Joy No. 2 - Charland Designs
Holly Berries - DMC
Metallic Christmas Decoration - DMC
O Christmas Tree - Prairie Schooler
Sequinned Ornaments x 6 - Bucilla

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Well, it looks like all my Christmas crafting will be finished on time :o) I have only the last little bits of ornament making to do, and hopefully I can get everything finished this weekend. Of course, I need to photograph everything and wrap it yet, but I'm confident about completing before The Big Day.

Of course, I still need to get groceries for the Christmas meal, but as there will only be the two of us, it will hardly be troublesome. I'm going to buy a few nice treats but won't be going overboard - we're both already carrying too much excess weight!

I've been thinking about my goals for next year, and what I would like to achieve - and what would be feasible for me to achieve! Since starting my blog - and having that element of accountability - I have been better at finishing projects I start, but I still have a number of UFOs languishing. And of course, I have a LOT of stash sitting idle. So, each month I hope to:

Finish one UFO
Make up or frame one finished item
Finish one sampler quilt block
Knit one pair of socks

I will also be working on stitching exchanges each month. However, my resolution will be to knit gifts for family and friends, as that is quicker, and to do more stitching for myself.

And finally - my very local LNS (as in 2 minutes walk away) closes its doors for good today. I will miss it, and I hope that Barbara, Maureen and Maureen - all of whom have worked there for more than 20 years - will find new employment soon. Thanks for all your help ladies!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toddler Socks

Design: Basic Recipe Socks from the Regia Leaflet
Yarn: Regia Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% polyamide)

Colour: Ringels Clown 5048
Needles: 2.5mm

I decided to make my niece a pair of socks for her sweet little chubby legs for Christmas.

These were a lot of fun to make, because the colours are so jolly. I had to measure The Tot's feet - and she was smaller than the smallest size on the pattern, so I had to make some adaptions.

Her comment? "These are nice and warm" - not bad for a 2.5 year old!

Hourglass Dishcloth

Design: Hourglass Dishcloth
Yarn: Dishcloth Cotton

Another design from the Dishcloth KAL group on Yahoo.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One Degree of Separation

I usually try to post cheerful stuff in this journal, and to keep it light - it's supposed to be about crafting, after all, and usually the most serious rant that goes on is about a visit from the frog. But sometimes, there are more important things in life.

There is someone I've taken courses with at the university, X. We've both volunteered for some extra curricular stuff and so, although we don't take classes together at the moment, I see her from time to time, and it's a real joy. She is the most infectiously cheerful person I know, and has a wicked sense of humour.

X and her 2 sons are refugees. She is from Zimbabwe, and her husband is involved in the MDC, so it wasn't safe for her to remain. She was so hopeful when power sharing was announced ... but we all know how the situation has gone downhill since.

I asked her yesterday how her family were doing, what with the cholera outbreak and all. The good news is that the town her parents live in is small, so has hardly been affected, and Care International have set up a clinic relatively near.

The bad news is that last Friday, her parents ran out of food for them and the 11 HIV/AIDS orphaned grandchildren and nieces/nephews they look after. The vegetables that X's 68 year old father had managed to grow on his small holding had been stolen. They had no food at all for six days, until a friend managed to smuggle some across the South African border. X herself felt unable to eat at this time - her throat closed up every time she tried.

I know that 'six degrees of separation' has become a bit of a cliche and a joke, but we are all interconnected. And I'm one degree of separation from people who are being starved to death by a brutal dictator. And that has made me so angry, and left me feeling so guilty, so helpless and yet so thankful too. If I disagree with the government here, only my blood pressure is at risk. I can turn on a tap and have as much clean water as I want. My food bill inflation is in single digits. My family is well fed, warm and safe.

I asked X what I can do to help. Sending money is useless, given the hyperinflation. Food, seeds and medications are seized if found. But clothes and books get through. X's mum is (or maybe was, given the food situation) about my size, and I have some children's books ( I wish I had kids clothes, but I don't know any families). I also have spare toiletries (and hell, I'm happy to buy more). It's not much, when what I'd really like to do is go to Zimbabwe and put a bullet into Mugabe's brain, but it will have to do. I want to shout about the situation in Zimbabwe from the rooftops - I suppose this is my first effort in that direction.

(x posted to my other journal)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guinea Pig Friends

The guinea pigs now have a day bed so they can be next to us when we are using the computer. Rowan and Jasper actually like being out together and will snuggle together quite happily.

Rowan has grown very rapidly, and has hit guinea pig puberty. Fortunately, he is being quite a pleasant teenager :o)

Elvish Leaves Dishcloth

Pattern: Elvish Leaves Dishcloth (similar pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Dishcloth Cotton
Needles: UK10

The first thing I ever knitted was a dishcloth, but it wasn't as spiffy as this one - it had holes in it, but they were unintentional - I was only four!

I've come to the conclusion I'm not a huge fan of knitting with 100% cotton, as it doesn't have a lot of give to it, but it does make patterns stand out nice and crisply.

Mostly Black Socks

Design: Basic Sock Recipe (60 stitches)
Yarn: Lana Grossa Sock Weight Yarn (80% wool)
Needles: KnitPicks 2.50mm

These are a pair of socks I finished on the knitting retreat last month. They will be a Christmas gift for my dearest friend. She doesn't read this blog, so I'm okay posting a picture here.

I know she only wears black socks, but I didn't want to knit a plain black pair. And I don't think I'm going to knit much fine black stuff in the future - I struggled at times to see the stitches, which made counting rows tough!

For a second pair of socks, however, I'm pretty pleased!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Floss Tag Exchange - What I Sent

This is the exchange I made for Ina (no blog) over on the Hooked on Exchanges blog.

The first floss tag is made with motifs from a Brenda Keyes book in my own choice of floss colours. I chose a tulip because Ina lives in Holland :o)

The second tag was also from an alphabet in a Brenda Keyes book, but much more modern in style, and trimmed with buttons.

The goodies included some stitching band, floss bobbins and rings, threads, a homemade card, and some scissors made in Sheffield, my home city. Sheffield is world famous for steel, but these days it is mainly specialist engineering steels that are made here, and very little in the way of cutlery and other blades.

Edited to add: for some reason, Blogger is cutting photos at odd places when I upload them from photobucket. I'm not sure how to fix it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

For all Scots and those of Scots descent, Happy St Andrew's Day and SlĂ inte Mhath!

(normal service will be resumed shortly...)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Packing Crisis...

I'm off shortly for a craft retreat I've organised for a bunch of friends - the place we're staying is pictured above - and already my little travel case is bulging ...

I'm going to write the following things down and see if that makes a difference to my brain because it's not sinking in LOL

1. Yes, the retreat is only for 2 nights, and 2.5 days. You are going to be asleep for at least some of that time, eating for some of that time, and talking for some of that time. So just how many projects do you think you'll do?

2. Yes, knitting stuff does take up more room than stitching stuff but it was your choice to knit chunky scarfs on big needles so quit grumbling!

3. No, given point 2 above, you don't need to take all four pairs of 2.5mm needles... yes, someone might want to borrow A pair, but no octopi are going (as far as you know)

4. No, other people don't want to see your cute buttons and charms, they can stay home

5. Yes, the washing up does need doing before you go

6. Yes, it would be embarassing to take a bigger bag, especially as you have a meeting to go to on your way to the transport interchange

7. Yes, you should be packing and not writing about packing

See you later, have a good weekend everyone, hopefully I will have some finishes to share on my return :o)

Christmas is Coming - Giveaway 2

This week's giveaway is Just Nan's Christmas Bear Noel, from the Shenanigans range. If you'd like to win the chart for stitching this little chappy, just comment below and I will enter you in the draw, which I will do at 12 noon (GMT) on Tuesday.

Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog! (and feel free to spread the word, I'm going to be giving away at least one chart per week between now and Christmas, possibly two per week...)

And the winner is ...

Thanks to 'The Hat'...the winner of the Lizzie*Kate 'First Christmas' chart is Terry! Congratulations Terry, and commiserations to everyone else, I just wish I had had ten copies of the chart to give away!

Terry, please email your addy to nic[DOT]wray[AT]gmail[DOT]com and I'll pop it in the post to you.

If you'd like another chance to win a Christmas themed chart, there's another post coming up in a second - good luck!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Floss Tag Exchange Received

I had another nice mail day yesterday - which I needed, I've got laryngitis and I was feeling sorry for myself!

sent me this super exchange, which she themed on her local area - Alsace - using colours which reflect her surroundings - a really interesting idea!

As you can see, Laurence stitched a very pretty floss tag, and it's personalised on the back too. I think the design is from The Prairie Schooler. She also included some Waterlilies silk floss in a gorgeous mix of colours, and a ceramic plaque - the folk style will look great with my decor! - and packed everything in a sweet little bag, which I can use for carrying small projecst around.

And here is a closer look at Laurence's delicate stitching.

Thank you Laurence, I love it!

Halloween Exchange

Jill F did a fantastic job on this exchange - not once, but twice - the original exchange went missing in the mail :o( and Jill very kindly (and very quickly) put together a whole new package - so huge thanks to you, Jill!

I am now the proud owner of - and he's on display now, I'm not waiting for next year - this rather cute ghostie and pumpkin - and can you see the beaded edging? It's fantastic!

And here are the super goodies Jill included in the package - metallic pins (as you know if you read my blog, I'm a bit of a pinkeep diva!), a tuck pillow, a monogrammed notepad, an amazing selection of buttons (I think my favourite are the gravestones, I M Knotwell made me smile!), a handmade card, two spools of ribbon, and a felt pumpkin pincushion - it matches my living room decor perfectly, so will be on display all year too!

Thank you again Jill, I love it!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Christmas is Coming - Giveaway

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I would have a weekly giveaway between now and December 25 :o)

The first one is the Lizzie*Kate Flip It "First Christmas" - ideal to stitch for a new baby or a new couple...

If you would like to be entered for the draw, please comment below with either a link to your blog or your email address. I will make the drawing at 12 noon (GMT) on Monday so you'll need to be quick :o)

Friday, November 07, 2008


I've been working on gifties this week. I now have a little surprise for each of the knitters going to the Knitpickers retreat next weekend - I can't share, as I know one of them reads this blog :o) - and I will be making something else for them too.

My socks for best friend are nearly done, but dark evenings and black yarn doesn't make a good mix, and I will have to finish them in daylight this weekend. I've started a pair of socks for my niece though, and they are bright and cheerful and so cute, as she has tiny feet!

I'm making a scarf for The Hermit, and I'm really enjoying that - it is a simple cable pattern, so it fairly simple but with enough to keep my attention.

And I've been working on the HoE exchange. As well as making a Christmas ornament, I thought I'd add a floss tag, so picked a freebie design... Winter, by Trail Creek Farm (hmmm, freebies appear to have been taken down). Then I realised that, as my partner is in the Southern Hemisphere, it is actually going to be summer there ... sigh...

I have a finish to share too, but that can wait for another day...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mattress Pincushion for Anna

Design: Victorian Pincushion Designer: Brenda Keyes Fabric: 28 count evenweave, cream Thread: Stef Francis Fine Mercerised Cotton (hand dyed)

I stitched this for Anna as an exchange on the Hooked on Exchanging blog. This is the first mattress pincushion I have ever made, but thanks to Vonna's great tutorial, it was really pretty straightforward to put together.

The top was the Victorian pincushion design from one of Brenda Keye's books, and I stitched it using a single strand of Stef Francis fine cotton. The motifs from the reverse and for the sides came from my old favourite Bristol sampler by the same designer.

I added some goodies for Anna - some Vikki Clayton silks and a chart from Anna's wishlist, as well as beads, a chart booklet and a chocolate cat.

I really loved putting this exchange together, and learning a new technique!

October Review and New Goals

I had forgotten, over the summer break, just how much of my free time my university classes take up - and I have three this semester! So what with working too, my stitching output is a lot less, although my knitting output is up, thanks to the commuting time.

October Goals Review
  • HoE Halloween Exchange - DONE - I stitched 'Spooky' by SanMan Originals and made it into a treat bag.
  • Purple ZigZag Socks - DONE - my first socks :o) - the start of a new addiction...
  • Lots of Big Knit Little Hats - 78 DONE - I'm pretty pleased with how many I got finished for this good cause, and they are so cute :o)
  • HoE Mattress Pincushion Exchange - DONE - but I've just realised I haven't posted a picture, I'll rectify that later.
  • Mostly Black Socks - nearly done, I've just the toe shaping to do, and that's a Christmas present out of the way!
  • HoE Floss Tag Exchange - I've stitched two floss tags, but I can't show them as they've not arrived with the recipient yet.
  • Summer Into Autumn - The Drawn Thread - still not finished, but I really will try and complete it soon.
  • Trick or Treat - Lizzie*Kate - not finished
Other October Finishes:

  • French Country IV: Pumpkin - JBW Designs
  • Jacquard Socks - one done!
I've decided not to separate November and December, as many of my projects for the next few weeks will be Christmas gifts anyway, so here are my pre-Christmas goals - these are all for gifting:

  • 17 Nov - HoE Christmas Ornament Exchange
  • 20 Nov - Christmas Ornament Exchange
  • 20 Dec - Scarf for Dad
  • 20 Dec - Sampler for Sister
  • 20 Dec - Ornament for Molly
  • 20 Dec - Ornament for Parents
  • 20 Dec - Ornament for Sister
  • 20 Dec - Scarf for BiL
  • 20 Dec - Socks for Ma
  • 20 Dec - Socks for Molly
  • 20 Dec - Socks for Jacquie
  • 24 Dec - Gloves for The Hermit
  • 24 Dec - Scarf for The Hermit
And for me:
  • Jacquard Socks
  • Summer into Autumn - The Drawn Thread

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Introducing ...

There will be an end to guinea pig posts soon - probably :o)

From past experience, The Hermit and I know that the easiest way to process the sadness of losing a pet is to focus on caring for one, not on obsessing over the one that has been lost. No new animal can 'replace' the one that has been lost, but by concentrating on getting to know a new personality, the grief can be lifted and love can come back into life. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was able to make contact with a lady who actually lives very close by who had a baby guinea pig available for adoption. Tina boards small animals and takes in unwanted pets and had initially taken in two guinea pigs for holiday boarding who basically were abandoned when the owners returned from holiday as they (the piggies) were pregnant.

Most of the babies had been rehomed, apart from one little chap whose new home had fallen through, so Tina was so pleased when she saw my message and invited us round to look him over ...

I don't think we necessarily chose a new pet - I think he chose us! As he was used to being handled thanks to Tina's care, he snuggled up with both The Hermit (guinea pigs love beards...) and I instantly and was very chatty and perky - we thought he would get along well with Jasper in terms of temperament and so we took him home, with promises to keep in touch and send pictures.

First of all though, we had to get him to tell us his name ... It took most of the day, but finally, we came to the conclusion that we have a Rowan - an Anglicisation of the Gaelic for 'little red one', coincidentally.

And then secondly, we had to introduce him to Jasper... introducing boars can sometimes be troublesome, as there are dominance issues. Jasper wasn't aggressive, but poor Rowan had to submit to a lot of chasing around, bottom sniffing, mounting, and head rubbing, although he took it fairly sanguinely and didn't cower - in fact, when placed in the newly cleaned pen, would defend the corner he thought of as his in quite an assertive manner ... meeping all the time. Of course, guinea pigs don't have huge amounts of athletic stamina, so every episode of chasing was punctuated by them curled up next to each other to sleep before the cycle started over again :o) This is basically normal behaviour and we knew it wouldn't last, although waiting it out can be a test of patience ...

Now, life is harmonious in Piggleville. Jasper is allowing Rowan to share the pod without complaint (something it took a very long time for him to do with Colin) and they are so sweet, sleeping curled up together, and Jasper is definitely taking an elder brother role. Jasper seems more himself than he had been over that last week when Colin was ill, and although Colin hasn't been forgotten, the pain isn't as sharp.

Thank you again everyone for the comments about Colin - he was a lovely little chap, so cute and a good little buddy. May he rest in peace, and may Rowan have a long and happy life with us!

Mattress Pincushion From Jayne

This is the lovely mattress pincushion and pincushion I received from Jayne (no blog) from the Hooked on Exchanges blog. She obviously reads my blog (or my mind!) as the design is by Bent Creek, one of my favourite designers, and features a bee, my favourite beastie! And those ladybird buttons are just too cute :o)

The rest of the goodies included some backing fabric which features pins and needles, some pins - ideal for all the pinkeeps I make, a tape measure and stitch unpicker which will fit neatly into my work bag, some hand cream - perfect for my handbag and a bar of Galaxy, my favourite chocolate. I'm surprised it managed to last long enough to appear in the picture, but it disappeared shortly afterwards!

Thank you so much Jayne for such a thoughtful exchange, I love it all!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thank you

Thank you all so much for your comments on the loss of Colin. He was indeed a cutie, and one of the sweetest natured piggies I've been privileged to share my life with. It's very odd not to have the big fluff ball look up at me at every movement, expecting food but this will pass, and I will be sharing some good news tomorrow...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Colin: 1 December 2005 - 24 October 2008

1 December 2005 - 24 October 2008

This week has been difficult - Colin had a respiratory infection/pneumonia and although initially he made good progress, he relapsed during the night and his condition was such that this morning, our lovely vet Manuela and I took the decision to put him to sleep. He had collapsed totally and he would have suffered a slow painful death otherwise.

His companion Jasper is fine, he is not ill but is a little subdued.

The Hermit is at work, unfortunately, but my parents will be by shortly. Colin will be laid to rest with all the previous family piggies, under an apple tree I grew from a pip, and in the spring, there will be flowering bulbs to mark the spot.

Goodbye little buddy, we knew you for too short a time, but we wouldn't have missed having you for the world...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quaker Hedgehog - The Workbasket

Design: Quaker Hedgehog
Designer: The Workbasket (freebie available here)
Threads: DMC 4130 Color Variations
Fabric: 28 linen, cream

I stitched this little chappie for a private exchange with Karen and it was hard to part with him, but he went to a good home! He is stitched over one, as I wasn't sure how big a floss tag should be - I think it would have been okay over two, and I might do that when I stitch him for myself.

And this is the back ... You can just see I whipstitched the edges, which gives a decorative effect and means no struggling with turning a piece through a tiny opening!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Works in Progress

This is my current focus stitching piece - Summer into Autumn by The Drawn Thread. I'm really enjoying it, but because the linen is 32 count, I need good light to stitch by, and a steady hand, so I'm mainly working on it at weekends, which is slowing the progress. No matter though, as it will make the joy last longer :o)

I am going to finish this as a bellpull I think, and display it with Winter into Spring - which I have yet to stitch!

This is my second pair of socks - one is already finished, and I've just turned the heel on this pair. I'm making them for my closest friend (who doesn't read my blogs) for Christmas, so I should have them completed in plenty of time. The yarn is Italian and lovely to work with, but knitting black has some of the same issues as stitching on black, especially counting! I work on these mostly on the bus, it's quite surprising how much I can get done - it works out at a sock a week.

And because I saw the yarn on Saturday, I just had to start a third pair ... these are for me. I love how the stripes are working out.

Knitting has been very soothing - Colin the guinea pig, star of the recent post, has been rather ill with a respiratory infection so has needed nursing, vet attention and some hand/syringe feeding - and knitting helps dispel the worry somewhat. He has another checkup with the vet today, but appears to be recovering - fingers crossed!

Mattress Pincushion From Jayne

This is the lovely mattress pincushion and pincushion I received from Jayne. She obviously reads my blog (or my mind!) as the design is by Bent Creek, one of my favourite designers, and features a bee, my favourite beastie! And those ladybird buttons are just too cute :o)

The rest of the goodies included some backing fabric which features pins and needles, some pins - ideal for all the pinkeeps I make, a tape measure and stitch unpicker which will fit neatly into my work bag, some hand cream - perfect for my handbag and a bar of Galaxy, my favourite chocolate. I'm surprised it managed to last long enough to appear in the picture, but it won't be around much longer :o)

Thank you so much Jayne for such a thoughtful exchange, I love it all!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Big Knit Hats - Sweepstake Winner!

I packed up the little hats knitted for The Big Knit and mailed them yesterday. Colin thinks they will look better on smoothie bottles than on him...

So, the entrants to my sweepstakes made the following guesses:

Sherry guessed 20 - good try, would have won last year, but not this time...

Cindy F. guessed 28 and 30 - getting closer ...

Quirky guessed 30 - and this one too...

Barbara guessed 33 - a little more...

Barbara guessed 58 - pretty good ...

Trillium guessed 60 - getting warmer ...

Karen V guessed 65 - nearly ...

The total number of hats I knitted was 78 - so Karen V is the winner! Karen, I think I still have your address from a previous exchange, so I will get your little prize out to you shortly.

Thank you everyone for your entries - and if you're in the UK, look out for be-hatted bottles of Innocent smoothies in Sainsburys from November - every bottle with a hat sold will mean a donation of £0.50 to Age Concern to help old people this winter.

Oh no!

My very local LNS - the one that's three minutes walk away - is closing down. The owner is citing the current financial climate and competition from TV and internet sales for this, and I think after 24 years, she's probably wanting to retire too.

The amount of needlework stuff has declined dramatically over the last five years I've lived close by, and the stock is currently mainly just some basic fabrics, DMC, a few kits and some very tired looking charts, but she does also stock beads, ribbons and loads and loads of papercraft stuff so it's always useful for popping in for finishing stuff and the inevitable skein of DMC I've run out of but yet don't have a spare for ... and I've been buying most of my bits of fabric for exchanges there rather than online.

I will be sorry to see it go, as no store in the city centre stocks DMC and none in the city at all stock evenweave fabric - I'll probably have to travel to the next town for anything (which will cost £3.50 in bus fare) or buy online. Neither of the craft shops near the centre carry any needlecraft stuff at all, and Hobbycraft is very poor unless you stitch from kits on aida...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spooky - San Man Originals

Design: Spooky (a subscriber freebie)
Designer: SanMan Originals
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, Amsterdam Blue (I think)

This project was my Hallowe'en Exchange piece over on the Hooked on Exchanges blog, and stitched for Olga in Louisiana. Initially, I didn't know what to stitch, as I don't really do a lot of Hallowe'en stitching, and it took me a while to settle on something from the mass of freebies I have in my stash. I'm so glad to hear she likes it!

The original design was a little deeper and made into a candy roll, but I didn't have a huge border left over so I decided to make it squarer and into a patch for a trick or treat bag. The bag is made of felt and hand sewed together. The handles are trimmed with black buttons back and front - pretty but they probably wouldn't hold too many treats LOL

Here is a picture of everything else I added to the exchange - I particularly liked the dancing skeletons fabric!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

No turkeys were harmed in the making of this post...

For once, The Hermit and I remembered that this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada and so we had a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. It was kind of Anglo-Canadian and also made concessions to my vegetarianism so it wasn't entirely traditional, but it was yummy :o) I think next year, I might invite the parents round, although it would mean serious furniture re-arranging to get them seated at the table!

Anyway, dinner was Quorn escalopes, mashed sweet potato, sweetcorn, petit pois, honey roasted parnsips, Yorkshire puddings, and onion gravy, and for dessert we had pie - apple and blackberry, as pecan or pumpkin pie would have been a bit fiddly. And we had a delicious organic beer too - Stinger - made with nettles.

I think we have a lot to be thankful for - not just each other and our families and friends, but we both have jobs, both are studying on courses that really interest us, we have the guinea pigs, our health problems are chronic but not terminal, we have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboard.

And the small things too: hot water bottles, Lush soap, a friendly postman, a new computer, Radio 4 ...

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow bloggers, especially those in Canada!

Fall Into Autumn - Rainbow Gallery

Design: Fall into Autumn Designer: Erica Michaels for Rainbow Gallery (freebie available here) Threads: own choice (mainly Anchor stranded cottons) Fabric: 14 count aida, cream Finishing: Pinkeep

Although I'm currently not active on the Crazy Exchange group, I recently completed a birthday exchange for Marlies there - I had already received you see, my birthday being in February. It was really nice to have another exchange to put together and I found lots of nice autumnal themed items to add to the package - it's amazing what one can get in a fairly small padded envelope! LOL

The card is one I made myself, as is the floss tag. Also added to the package were two small charts, a small kit, some backing fabric, beads, rayon floss, metallic floss, multi coloured floss and a small spring hoop!

Marlies told me she felt very spoiled, so I feel my work is done :o)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I've only been stitching on exchanges lately, so I have no pictures yet to show you. My other 'free' time has been taken up with knitting but now I'm back taking classes there seems to be remarkably little of that happening unless I'm sat on a bus...

Today's task is making up my first mattress pincushion - deep breathing and patience have been gathered :o)

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend and thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Big Knit - Sweepstake Still Open

As I've already mentioned, I'm participating in the Innocent Smoothies Big Knit.

Each bottle sold with a wooly hat will mean Innocent gives 50p to Age Concern. This is how many I've done so far ... ( a couple more are in my knitting back) - and if you can guess how many I will have by 14 October when I mail them off, you can win an item hand knitted by me!

Thank you everyone who has made guesses so far - you CAN make another guess if you'd like.

For one night only ...

... I have straight hair! LOL

I went to the 'salon' at the local college yesterday to have my hair coloured - fab value, and to prove it most of the people there were pensioners having a perm or a shampoo and set :o) Basically, I think the costs involved are only to cover materials and the 'leccy.

My trainee, Carly, did a pretty good job on the colouring and asked if I wanted my hair dried straight. I have never ever had my hair straightened, and I thought it might be fun to see if it was actually possible.

It was, but it took 45 minutes of hard work ...

I like it, especially the shine my hair has, but it doesn't really feel 'me' - and I certainly wouldn't want to spend the time necessary to maintain the style like this!

This morning, the front bit is definitely trying to kink - you can't keep a good curl down :o)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Prairie Schooler Exchange

I'm sorry I'm a little late acknowledging this - with a new job and a new semester to get to grips with, time simply disappears and I'm hardly at home in daylight to take pictures :o)

Gwen send me this adorable (and useful) needle packet holder with a packet of my favourite needles, as well as some gorgeous hand dyed threads (my favourite dyers too!) and useful personalised note pad and sticky notes (great for all those honey-do notes LOL).

Gwen also sent me a card through the mail, as initially I didn't know who exactly it was from - the mailing envelope only had a surname and address. I did do some detective work, which led me to a couple of new blogs, and I did guess it was Gwen from the clues, but it was nice to have it confirmed :o)

Thank you Gwen, for the lovely exchange!