Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dorset Steam Rally 2008

The weekend just disappeared in a flash. I blinked and it was gone.

On Saturday we spend a (long) day at the Dorset Steam Rally. I just love events like this there was so much to do and see, unfortunately my camera wasn't playing nice and even though I charged it before going the battery ran down in super quick time and I only managed to get a few photos most of which weren't any good anyway!
Typical scene from the main ring where they have engines running all say creating smoke and noise.
Taking a break.
Engine at Sunset.
I was driving so no alcohol for me but Mark found the time to sample a couple of the many brands of Cider on sale!
It was a beautiful sunny day which just served to remind what a lack of summer we have had here (again) this year.
Today has been spent recovering from the rally though we did manage a walk down the local canal path too.
Not a whole of stitching has been done, though I am ploughing on with Siberian Gold and the mermaid postcards are almost done so hopefully stuff to share soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Andrea's Kitty cards

Now I know that Andrea has received the kitty postcards that I made for our private trade I can share some pictures.

I made three altogether. The first 2 are replicas of a couple of cards I made here.
Andrea said she wanted 2 cards but I just couldn't stop there and had to make another, this time slightly different from the ones that I made before.I couldn't resist adding some orange embellishments this time.
I think sequins are my favourite kind of embellishment at the moment. A while ago I made an order with Cartwrights and was very pleased with their service. I'd love to get some more from them but as I'm trying to cut back I've already exceeded my craft spending quota this month :) However when my numbers come up on the lottery I will make s huge order which will definitely include some of these, these and ooh tonnes of these!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Two


Is the word that I think mainly sums up my experience with this one this week. I think this was for a few different reasons. First off although this is a kit there appear to be three thread colours that are missing, I have no idea if they just weren't in the kit or if they have been lost somewhere down the line. On the up side this is an Anchor branded kit so I should be able to replace them, on the downside although I have 5 thread organisers full of these threads my brand of choice is DMC so I'll have to go out and find an Anchor supplier.

Secondly there are so many colour changes in this one it's unreal this made for so many thread changes at the beginning it was really slow progress. In all honesty I almost gave up and put it back in the box. However as now both Vicki and Kate are working and making good progress on their own cross stitches they inspired me to keep going.

Actually in the end I'm pleased that I've made some decent progress on this. (However this was only due to spending a lot more than 20-30 mins a day only possible becasue I was off work last week). Here is last weeks starting point.
And this is where we are now.
As you can see I've almost completed the background at the top of the Tiger (minus the missing colours) and I've started to extend the Tiger's body.

Now that I'm starting to move away from the stitching immediately surrounding where Mum got to I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable with this piece. I've come to realise that Mum and I have totally different approaches to working on these pictures and I think that added to the frustrating times I was having in the beginning.

It looks as though Mum tended to concentrate more on completing small areas at a time whereas I thread my needle with a colour and work on that colour until the thread runs out, which means that I tend to range over a larger area of the picture (I think it's pretty evident in the progress picture). I think my way is quicker, less colour changes, and more progress. However I can see how Mum might have enjoyed her way more as you can see the whole picture emerging piece by piece rather than having scattered areas of stitching here there and everywhere. I have found this realisation quite fascinating.

Frustrating to Fascinating all in one week. My enthusiasm for this project is finally emerging and now I'm looking forward to seeing what progress the next week brings.

And for any Tiger lovers out there you might want to check out these lovely pictures that DH took while we were at Colwyn Bay Zoo the other week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Have I ever confessed here how much I love sunflowers?

Sadly I'm no gardener and don't really have a clue about most floral varieties but I do know that I love tulips, poppies and most of all sunflowers. Sunflowers make me smile. Imagine the size of my grin when we stumbled across a whole field full on our travels the other day.
It was one of those sunny/cloudy days which created bands of different golds across the field depending on the movement of the clouds.
And of course there were sunflowers in all the different stages... about to unfurl Reaching for the light ....... And in full bloom
There was plenty of opportunity for some close upsAnd the flowers themselves were home to plenty of insects But my favourite of the lot was Sunflower Sally, with her wilted petal fringe (bangs) and her bonnet of green.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Safari

As I got the bag finished at the weekend it is time to draw another one of my UFOs from the box.

In November 2005 I took a workshop with Jan Hassard based on an African themed quilt she had made. I came away from the workshop with lots of little blocks but knew that I would never actually make a large quilt using them. So shortly after the workshop I decided to join a few of the bits together to make a cushion top. After doing this and adding some simple quilting it has been languishing in the UFO box. Looking at the centre piece on this now I think that it really needs some more stitching/detail to bring it to life a bit more but I don't know what. I will mull it over for a few days, if nothing comes to me I will finish it as is. If I decide not to add anything else this really shouldn't be more than an hours work to get it all finished up.

Also on the worktable this week I have these watery babes waiting for some embellishment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kitty Bag revisited

You might remember a couple of weeks ago I decided as well as working on the cross stitch UFOs I should really dig out a few of my own forgotten projects and get to work on them too.
Well yesterday, thanks to dh over indulging on the amber nectar on Saturday night, I had a nice quiet at home day with time for stitching thrown in too! The perfect excuse to get to work on the bag.
First off I had to repair that hole. Not as easy as it looked as as soon as I sat down, needle in hand, I had cats clambering to get on my lap.Next it was time to set up the machine for free motion to work some stitching on these little straps.
I came a bit unstuck on the next part as I realised that these straps should have been stitched on before the bag was joined together, how I managed to make this glaring error I will never know! Anyway I decided to cheat a bit here and with the aid of my trusty friend (below) the straps were attached.
Finally with this aptly named paint I decorated a couple of pieces of dowel for the handles.
Voila, Angelcat's UFO number one complete.
I really like this little pattern, my bag isn't the best made in the world. I think this must be one of my oldest ufos and I definitely remember doing the stitching on the main part of the bag on my old sewing machine so it must be well over two years old which would make it around about the time that my stitching journey was just beginning. When I find the time I will definitely try this bag pattern again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Gift of another UFO

Yesterday bought me the gift of another UFO. While visiting my Nan she said that her friend Evelyn had something she wanted to give me. This something turned out to be an almost finished quilt top.

Evelyn is 91 (though you would definitely not be able to tell) and said that she had started making this top a long time ago out of some fabric from some of her old evening dresses and knew that she would never finish it so would I take it off her hands.
It's very difficult to photograph because a) it's big and b) all the fabrics are shiny and therefore reflect the light a lot.
Of course I couldn't very well say no. But now I have this wonderful quilt top and no idea how to finish it. Basically it needs a border but I don't think cotton would look right with all these shiny fabrics. My immediate thought was maybe velvet but I don't know how I would get on trying to add this when I know it would move around so much in the stitching.

Anyone have any ideas?

Evelyn also gave me a bag of pieced hexagons, the colours and patterns aren't really my taste but I may try and piece them together to make a usable size bag to gift back to Evelyn.

I came back with huge bin liner filled with the quilt, hexagons and lots of other fabric scraps so I will need to have a good rummage through to see whats in there!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not much stitching

There hasn't been much stitching going on here over the last week I'm afraid. Apart from finishing up the cross stitch the only other thing I managed to get done in the tent was the tops of my postcards for my private trade with Andrea but I won't show them here until I know she has them ok.

However I did figure that a cheapy pencil case is just the right size for fitting in postcards tops in progress and a few threads and embellishments which was great for keeping things together when camping and took up so little space!

I have really been trying to cut back on craft purchases aside from the fact that every time you turn on the news here at the moment they can't help but depress you with news of rising prices and the credit crunch, I (probably) already have enough stuff stashed all over the house to keep me going for years to come !
But hey a girl has to treat herself once in a while so I used some money that I got for my birthday to buy some back issues of CPS that I recently missed, the current issue of P&Q (just because it had a cat quilt on the front) and some sale fabric. I want to try and get back into the BQL bag challenge, I stalled at April when I had the stint in hospital, so this fabric is destined to make a bag. The thing with my fabric stash is that I mostly have smaller pieces, FQs and such so when I'm following a pattern which requires larger bits I just have to go shopping!
Today I'm off to visit my sister for the day before she departs on her big adventure to Cyprus!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Camping in the rain

In my excitement over finishing the birds and introducing the next tiger I haven't really blogged anything about my few days away. On a whim we decided to take a trip to North Wales, somewhere I've never been before.

To celebrate my 32nd birthday we had hoped to hike it up the mighty Snowdon, but sadly the weather was against us. We arrived on Saturday and left on Wednesday and it must have rained for about 80% of the time we were there. Still we didn't let a few drops of rain dampen our spirits, even though for the first time ever a pool of water formed in one corner of the tent just from the sheer volume of rain!

We stayed at this campsite which was a lot of fun. The facilities were pretty basic but we had all that we needed and with it being a working farm there was the added fun of not knowing what was going to turn up where. One night there was a sheep in the toilet block and another I had the bejeezers scared out of me by a chicken hiding in a corner of the laundry room.
We did spend a bit more time in the tent than we usually would but honestly I wasn't this grumpy all the time and apart from the Snowdon thing we didn't let the weather deter us. This view of Llyn Padarn, near Llanberis captures the sort of weather we had, grey skies, low cloud and rain. We didn't get to see the top of Snowdon all the while we were there even though we camped right below it! But hey we didn't let a gallon of rain or two stop us and still got in a couple of decent 5 mile walks. Look here is proof that we had smiles and lots of fun even whilst soaked through!
Here is a shot of the wonderful Aber falls. Having never been before I don't know what it's usually like but I'm sure all the rain made the many waterfalls around gush and roar more than usual, spectacular! We didn't spend much time in the towns but we did a whistle stop tour of Conwy, this is a shot of the harbour.
As much as we enjoyed wandering round Conwy it wasn't long before we heard the call of the rollings hills and valleys again.

I had a great trip and hope to go back again next year (hopefully we can arrange some better weather!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Introducing ............ Siberian Gold

No prizes for guessing the subject matter of the new cross stitch, yep you guessed it Tigers.

This one is going to be more of a challenge that the last couple, my thinking was that it will be something to keep me company for the rest of the year and something to work on more when the nights start drawing in and there is less reason to be outside doing other things.

So here is where Mum left off, and therefore my starting point.
This one is a bigger design than the last few at 11.5 x 16 inches and that is pretty much solid stitching all the way. It's stitched over 14 count grey/blue aida. The finished design is (I think) stunning, so although I know there are many hours of work ahead to get this one completed it will be worth it.
I think it's going to be pretty difficult to chart the progress as it's worked over a large area. When you have smaller motifs its more obvious to point to the progress. I will see how it goes but I might cut back to fortnightly rather than weekly updates if there isn't much to show. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one come to life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Parakeet's Date - The Finale

I have been religiously sticking to my 'at least 20 minutes a day' stitching routine on the cross stitch and am happy to say that another of Mum's UFOs is done.

Here is how we left it last week.
And this is the finished piece.
At the moment I am thinking this one is likely to become a cushion. I really enjoyed working with the vibrant yellows and greens and will probably follow this colour scheme through when I make this one up.
Time to raid the box again and pick another UFO........

Friday, August 15, 2008

About Rep, Ray, Rhodes and Rice...oh and a rollercoaster

Am on a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the moment, my lovely baby sister, has just announced that she is Cyprus. Even though she is only a few hours away at the moment I don't get to see her enough but at least she is in the same country! Part of me is so excited for her and can't wait to see what she makes of her adventure but part of me is also so sad. I know things move and change and that is part of life, but ever since we lost Mum family just isn't the same. I can't really put my finger on it, define what I mean, but it just isn't.

Enough of the self pity, I am pleased to say that stitching on my something beginning with R cards is finally finished. R is for.......

Rep stitch........
Ray stitch........

Rhodes stitch ........
and Rice stitch.
I had a lot of fun making my Norwich stitch cards back here. That I knew I wanted to try some canvas work again. I had to make 3 of these for the swap, I'm not going to confess how many hours each of these took, lets just say it was one of those 'seemed like a good idea at the time' moments.
I always keep some hand stitching in my bag and try and grab a few minutes stitching time in my lunch break at work which keeps me sane on those stressful days so these have been happily keeping me company for the last week or so.

I am doing a private trade with Andrea for some more of the kitty cards I made here, so these will become my new bag companions, lol! In the meantime I'm off for a few days on a camping trip so I'll see you again when I get back next week :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Heads reunited

Ok so I admit to being every so slightly odd, and the fact that I had a headless bird floating round on my blog was bugging me. There was only one thing for it, I pulled out the needle and finished the poor creature off last night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Parakeet's Date - Part Three

So it's time for another update on the cross stitch. Here is how it was left last week. We had one body less bird.And this week we have a headless one! I just noticed that this photo is pretty dark so apologies for that.The headless one is a bit freaky so to end on a better note here is a close up of the finished ones!
There is just the one bird to finish and another to add so if I can keep up the same pace it might be done in the not too distant future :)