Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank you!

A big thank you to Lee for giving me this award, especially in what's been a bit of a stressy week! And Lee, I've been a good girl and followed your instructions and checked out the other nominees :o) - there's some lovely stitching out there!

This is going to be tough, because so many people in my blog feed have been nominated already, and I enjoy every single blog I read - otherwise I wouldn't keep peeking! Anyway, here are five of my favourites:

Anna makes me laugh loads with her down to earth take on stitching and life in general.

Barbara is a great crafter but where does she find the time? I would be exhausted if I had her life! It's a real pleasure and a privilege to share her family life and stitching.

Michelle stitches some lovely pieces, and her positive outlook on life is always cheering to read.

Emily's creativity with her designing and her willingness to try new techniques is always inspiring!

and finally, this award goes collectively to the wonderful group of people on the Hooked on Exchanges blog, all 100 of them! I love looking at what is stitched for each exchange, and I've been the lucky recipient of several of these pieces so I know what a talented bunch hang out there - ably organised by Carol and Cathy!

Now, if you awardees want to carry this on (but no pressure - and you follow/bend/break the rules as you see fit), here's what you need to do:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

More time for stitching?

I've had confirmation yesterday that my job role is unsustainable. The company turnover is going to be 50% less next year due to withdrawal of funding by the DAAT/PCT and we haven't been able to find new contracts to make up the shortfall.

I'm not sure who was most upset - me or the guys. They don't know if they asked me to do the impossible, and I don't know if they didn't but I let them down... they've never had to let anyone go before, not like this (I think they once had to fire an actor who was impossible, but they have been really happy with my work). They are being really good - I will be paid for the whole of August and there's no need to actually work during my notice as the company will be in Edinburgh.

I have really enjoyed my time with them, but sometimes it has been frustrating, trying to prise doors open and get people to see what a good thing we have. I am going to be sad to go, but at least for me it's only been a job, it's not my 'baby' like it is for the guys - they might have to find other employment too.

Off round the agencies come Monday...

I was a little upset yesterday, but it confirmed what we knew was coming, there was no point in dragging it out further. I guess once the CV is polished, I'll have more time for stitching - and at least I have plenty of stash to keep me going :o)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beavering away...

I've been quite busy, craftwise, lately, but I don't have any pictures to share just yet, as everything is either an exchange, a PIF gift, a birthday present or is so near to being finished I want to unveil it completed! LOL ...

July is always a busy time with lots of family birthdays and work is very hectic too. We are putting the finishing touches to the show we're taking to the Edinburgh Festival, and I've been lending a hand with my needle and thread to get the costumes looking good - we're on a very tight budget for this show, so there has been quite an element of 'do it yourself' about everything - which is why my iron, glue gun, sewing kit, trimmings etc are all still at the office... :o) And of course, my main job is actually marketing and publicising the show, so I will be glad when everyone gets there safely at the end of next week!

I have to say I think I've conquered my phobia about using glue on my stitching - I've been making a lot of pinkeeps and scissor fobs, and although I do still stitch the sides together as insurance, I'm finding I can use glue to mount the pieces and hold them together without making a disgusting mess :o) This is definitely progress! And in other new techniques, I made a piece up into a scissor pouch this week too - I'll post about that separately.

And I've finally decided to show my face - rather than my computer generated avatar - on my profile, I've found a picture I'm happy to show the world - I'm actually listening to quite an interesting talk in this photo, and so was unconscious of it actually being taken... it's a bit pixelated because it's cropped from a larger shot but its a good shot of me, I think - so even if you'd been reading my blog for a while, hello and welcome from the real me :o)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LHN Exchange Received!

I had a lovely surprise this weekend - my Little House Needleworks Exchange from the Hooked on Exchanges blog arrived!

Shelley stitched me this gorgeous pinkeep, using parts of the Garden Pleasures design - there is even an little amber coloured butterfly. The pinkeep is beautifully finished - the backing material is the one you can see in the background, as Shelley kindly included some - just exactly 'my' colours :o)

The other goodies included a candle in the shape of a flower with a bee on it, a piece of linen/silk mix fabric - feels fantastic, I'll use it for a special project - and three skeins of Carrie's Creations threads in lovely colours - I've heard great things about these threads, but these are my first, I look forward to using them! There was also a very sweey stripy/sparkly card too!

Thank you Shelley for such a special exchange, I love everything!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birth Sampler - Helen Philipps

Design: Birth Sampler from The New Cross Stitch Sampler Book
Designer: Helen Philipps
Threads: DMC and DMC Color Variations
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, blush

I made this sweet little sampler for my sister for her birthday, as I didn't stitch her one when my niece was born - I stitched an afghan instead, and Ma stitched a sampler. However, the sampler has jungle animals, so was more for my niece than my sister, and she'd admired this when looking through my books, so I made this as a surprise!

It was easy enough to stitch, although I had to re-size the name and date blocks. I also modified the back stitch on the border - I wasn't going to do any over-one when I didn't feel it added to the design!

The book I've taken this from is probably the most used in my stash - I love so many of the designs, I'd highly recommend it!

Butterflies Birthday Card

This isn't a particularly good picture, but it gives you an idea of the card I made my sister for her birthday.

The butterfly wings are organza ribbon, so are 3-D in effect. The card and ribbon came in a kit, but I added my own peel-off lettering, and a butterfly peel-off inside. The card came pre punched, so it was a little like going back to my childhood, when I had lacing cards to play with :o)

My sister loved it - she's a great card maker, so creative, so neat. She said 'and you say you can't make cards!' - so I did get a scolding too :o)

The kit included 8 cards of 4 different designs, so I've used another one for my mum's birthday card - I'll post it after the event. She's unlikely to find my blog, but I won't take the chance!

Christmas in July Exchange

I've heard that my Christmas in July exchange has been received, so I thought I'd show some pictures.

Monqiue, my recipient, doesn't have a blog, so it wasn't easy deciding on something to make, so I decided to try something new, and made a felt ornament from a book I bought when a nearby LNS closed. I made it a little jazzier than the original design called for, and did more stitching rather than use Bondaweb, and I really enjoyed the whole thing!

I can feel a whole host of little felt ornies might be in my future...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Updated My Trade List

I've added another list of items to trade over on my trade list blog. Do pop over and take a look!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Twisty Bag - Sheepfold

Design: Twisty Bag
Yarn: Herdwick pure wool

Here is the bag I was telling you about a week or so ago - I finally got pictures of it :o)

It was really easy to knit, although the yarn did have a tendency to shed - but of course, that helped the felting process. I altered the pattern slightly - yes, even though I've never made a felted bag before, I couldn't resist meddling with the instructions...

This is what it looked like before it went into the washing machine - you can see the stitch definition, and the dimensions are differently proportioned to the finished result above.

I'm not sure whether I will keep it, or perhaps try to sell it. Grey isn't really my colour, although I did defend it when my Ma (who saw it in the unfelted state above) called it a 'sh*tty colour'. My ma, bless her, is not one to mince her words...

I've made another version, this time using a multi coloured yarn which I like better - even though the felting is taking longer - it's twice been through the machine and I'm still not entirely happy. Third time lucky, maybe?

Summer House - Little House Needleworks

Design: Summer House (freebie)
Designer: Little House Needleworks
Threads: DMC Colour Variations and Six Strand Sweets

Fabric: 28 count evenweave, colour unknown

This is the Little House Needleworks exchange I did for the Hooked on Exchanges group. My partner was Annette, and as she is in the USA I thought that Summer House seemed appropriate. Carol S. had very kindly sent me a whole bunch of freebies so I could participate - and now I have another favourite designer to add to the list! This was a joy to stitch - the colours blend beautifully - even though they were my pick, and not the charted colours... - the frog stayed away, and the whole design seemed to 'hang' just right.

The picture above is the whole package I sent to Annette, and below is a picture before I added the trim to the pin keep - you wouldn't think something so simple as a piece of braid and some pins would make such a difference, would you?

I love doing the exchanges on HoE, I have three more lined up over the coming months and I'm looking forward to each and every one of them!

I think I might restitch this design for myself, and make the flag either a maple leaf or a Union Jack.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Christmas in July

Here is my lovely exchange from Valerie. It was organised by Simone as a Christmas in July exchange on her exchange blog, and it was great to get such a sweet ornament by one of my favourite designers!
I enjoyed all the other bits and pieces too - the very funny card, cute chart, festive fabbie and threads, needles in my preferred size (28s! yay!) and not forgetting the chocolate - which I have been very restrained with and not eaten yet!
Valerie says that this is her first ornament finish - I'm not sure I believe her, it is so neat! LOL - it has been finished in a similar way to a pin keep, which is great for me as I will be able to display it on my shelves come Christmas time. Thank you so much, Valerie!

Morning Song - Just Nan

Design: Morning Song
Designer: Just Nan
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count Cashel linen, flax

Here it is, finally finished! I've been stitching Morning Song as a SAL with Sally, and I completed it at the weekend.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I've made a few amendments to the charted design, namely the fabric, stitching the over one section as petit point, and omitting the butterflies from the rooster band - I have an aversion to butterflies in stitching, don't ask me why! I've just noticed I haven't stitched the sheep charm on yet, either - and actually, looking at this, I might not.

Thank you Sally, for your company and your encouragement!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Goals and Things

Where is the summer going? Time is speeding ever onward and I don't feel I've achieved very much this month. Okay, I did have my final uni assignment to do which took up a lot of free time towards the beginning of the month but still... and then I look at my lists and actually, it's not been too bad, I've just worked on things that weren't on my goals list, particularly knitting!

  • Father's Day Card - done, made up and given
  • Wooly Zipper - nope! put away as UFO
  • 200th Post Giveaway Prize - I'm going to give away something from my stash instead
  • Christmas in July Exchange (XoE) - done and mailed. I'm getting a little worried as it should be at it's destination by now.
  • LHN Exchange (HoE) - done and mailed - and received.
  • Monthly Finishing Challenge - Tin Topper - done
  • Neat Country Stuff - no, another one put away for now, hopefully I'll want to get back into it soon
  • One framing finish - no, not done
  • One non framing finish - yes, if you count the LHN exchange piece!
  • One PIF gift - yes but not stitching
  • One UFO - two are now in my WIPs list, and one is probably only an evening away from completion. I'm counting that as sucess as it's been in my UFO pile for a decade.
Also completed:
  • Morning Song - Just Nan, my SAL with Sally
  • Grey Knitted and Felted Bag
  • Multicoloured Knitted and Felted Bag
  • Wire and Beads Knitted Bracelet (do you detect a theme here?)
So, overall I'm quite pleased with what I achieved. I'm glad to be back into knitting, but it did mean my stitching suffered somewhat. The knitting was simple stuff, so didn't need much thought - I think I needed that!

My goals for July are:

  • Birthday Card for Sister
  • Birthday Gift for Sister
  • Birthday Card for BiL
  • Birthday Card for Ma
  • Birthday Gift for Ma
  • Monthly Finishing Challenge - scissor pocket/keeper/sheath
  • One finish to make up
  • One framing finish
  • One PIF gift
  • Random Thoughts
  • Summer Quaker Exchange (HoE)
As you can see there's a rash of family birthdays this month! I have already made a start on the cards for my sister and Ma, and I know what I'm doing for the quaker exchange, so the 'obligation' stuff is sorted, and that's the important thing!