Friday, December 28, 2007

Copy Cat

Not much happening here today, another dull day at work and I have a cold (again!) so I haven't felt like doing anything much this evening. I did take a walk in my lunch break though so here is my photo of the day.

I had a bit of a panic when I got out and realised that the battery on my camera was totally dead, but then remembered I had my phone in my bag so took this picture on my mobile (cell). It's not the best quality but dh helped me clean it up a bit in photoshop. I love the contrast of the rust pole and padlock with the green of the ivy. I might try taking this again next week when I have a working camera with me!

On the creative front I only managed another few rows of the sock and it doesn't look much different to the picture I shared yesterday so I won't bore you with the same shot again.

Before I go I just have to show you this shot of Hector that DH managed to get the other day. DH bought me this cute Christmas card as he thought it it look just like my white cats, Hector obviously decided to prove that it really could have been him!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What happened to the last two years?

Today it's been two years since we said goodbye to Mum. I still miss her so much and I can't believe how time has flown since that last day. This us all on our last family holiday in 2004, I'm so grateful that we had this time.
Back to work today and a trip to the movies to see I Am Legend (overall a disappointing movie the start promised a lot but the ending was a total let down). I still managed to squeeze in a walk and some creating, both in my lunch break.

I took a walk round the block from the office where I work, there isn't too much to see but I loved these adorable flowers poking from one of the hedgerows. My knowledge of British wildlife really is appalling though so I have no idea what they are, I really need to do something about that. On the creative front I worked some more on the sock knitting that I started a while back. I don't think I've actually posted a photo of this at all yet. I certainly didn't do all of this today for anyone who might think I've suddenly turned into a super knitter! I only managed to add a few rows but still it was something. I'm not sure how far I'm going to get with this, so far I'm doing all the easy stuff but in another few rows and I have to start the heel shaping. I'm a virgin sock knitter and I'm not really sure that I understand what I have to do from the pattern but I'll just bumble along and see what happens, watch this space as they say.....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stitching progress and another walk

This has to be a first in blogland for me, two posts in one day. Over all this is my 334th post though which I think is pretty good going for a techno- idiot like me.

My excuse for this second post is to show you days progress for my create everyday challenge seeing as the stuff I posted early was actually from yesterday. I've been sticking to the cross stitch again today, mainly because it's been easy to pick up between housework, walking and reading.
Here is the overall shot, I finished stitching and outlining the grey cat at the bottom, though this was mostly already complete I still had a bit of filling to do. I've also made a good start on the next kitty sat on top of the T. To be honest I'm not sure how many hours I have spent stitching today as it's been in fits and starts rather than a solid block. I think probably too much time though :) maybe around about 5 hours.
Here is a close up of the newest completed kitty. The good thing about this chart is that there is so much to stitch it's great fun choosing what is going to be next. I got DH to choose the next after finishing this guy and he went for the big fat cat at the top. I'm having lots of fun with him and as there are larger blocks of colour he is stitching up quick.

The cross stitch will be going away for a couple of days now, tomorrow I'm back to work and hopefully there will be a trip to the movies in the evening. That means I will be trying to squeeze in my walk for the day and some creating in my lunch break.

Just in case I don't manage to get everything in tomorrow it we went for another walk this evening and were out for just over an hour, we caught a pretty sunset.
Not long after I took this the sky went a lovely pinky colour but none of my snaps of that really did the colours justice so this is the only shot I have kept.

Quiet Christmas and New Beginnings

Well that's it done, Christmas is over for another year. We had a very quiet one, just DH and I for most of the day, though we did go round MILs for a few hours to make dinner. Here is a badly taken picture of our Christmas tree complete with pressies underneath.
We had decided not to go over the top with presents for each other this year. I have overspent by miles this last year, mainly in my pursuit of buying more and more stitching stuff, 2008 will have to be belt tightening year! I did get this wonderful book though, the illustrations are wonderful and I'm planning on some quality reading time today so I can have a proper look.

Inevitably this is the time of year we all start thinking about what we want to achieve in the coming 12 months. I'm not even going to look at my aims for this year as I know I will have failed everyone. The last two years have been a nightmare on a personal level so I'm really going to work on making 2008 a positive year.

Rather than setting a whole long list of resolutions that I know I won't be able to keep, I'm setting myself two goals.

1. Walk somewhere everyday. A good excuse to get out in the fresh air even if it's only to the shop and back, and as I am going to try and take a picture everyday to record something on my walk a good excuse to get more photography practise.

2. Make time to create everyday. While I was home alone on Christmas eve I spent some time starting to tidy up my sewing room, too much mess to complete the task in one day, but already I've found loads of UFOs and 'must haves' that I bought and then promptly forgot about or didn't even get round to taking out of the packets. So I'm determined to use some of the damn stuff, most days I'm busy with work and at the moment looking after family but i am vowing to squeeze in some me time even if only 10 minutes a day.

Walk somewhere everyday

Instead of waiting for the new year to begin I've decided to start today. For my walk somewhere everyday challenge I just took a half hour stroll round the block, I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of these and probably in the dark most days so I'm not sure what the photography will be like. Today as I have a day off work it was daylight walking. I went a bit over the top and snapped three pictures.

Here are a couple of the local cuties that I spotted on the estate that I live on, and best of all at the end of a walk what more of a welcoming sight can be seen than this. Home sweet home, a home isn't a home without a kitty in the window! Pip was watching and waiting to say hello.Create Everyday

I started this self challenge yesterday. My Mum was an avid cross stitcher, I have two boxes of half completed projects that I hope to finish for her one day. I thought I was ready to make a start, this day two years ago was her last day with us, but somehow I still can't bring myself to reach out for either of the boxes that are patiently waiting for me high up on a shelf.

Before I started quilting and then expanded into everything stitch I used to do a lot of cross stitch myself, I guess I caught the bug from Mum. i found one of my own half started projects when i was tidying the other day so thought it would be a good thing to take up. Hopefully it will encourage me to dip into Mum's things and cross stitch is also a good thing to do in front of the TV when you can't concentrate on anything else so hopefully it will be a good thing to fall back on for my create everyday challenge. This is my UFO as I found it on Monday.

After a few hours stitching here is what it looks like now.
A close up of the new edition.
I'm not going to show a picture of what the finished piece will look like, co if you don't already know the kit you will be able to watch it grow with me. There is a tonne more stitching to do and I had forgotten how long it takes to cross stitch even a few inches so this is probably not going to be complete until next Christmas!

Wow this has turned into a mammoth post, if you made it to the end thanks for reading. With my new self challenges and a couple of other Internet challenges that I will be taking part in in 2008, I hope it will be a busy and productive year with lots of blogging to come!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Home Alone

So far my holidays are not turning out as planned...

Saturday - complete the last minute present and food shopping, check.

Sunday - My family come to visit. No check. They left home and got stuck in a wall of traffic so decided to turn round and go back home.

Monday - DH and I spend a rare day together just the two of us. No check. As we got the day together yesterday dh has gone out with friends for the day leaving me home alone.

Don't get me wrong I'm really not minding being home alone, it means that I get to spend Christmas Eve as I please. This means catching up on emails and blog reading and when I'm done here I will be stitching for the rest of the day :)

Yesterday we went for a lovely walk in the mist and frost which was beautiful.We live near the beautiful village of Lacock and are lucky enough to live 5 minutes walk from a wonderful path which takes you on a several miles walk to the village. We didn't go all the way to Lacock yesterday just a little way down the mist covered path.There were plenty of frosted leaves and branches to see along the way, very festive. (some of these images are better if you click for a full size picture). And spooky silhouettes when the sun tried to break through. Have I ever mentioned how much I love trees. I could spend hours sitting under a tree gazing up through it's leaves and branches. I don't know there is just something magical about trees. And my favourite scene of the walk a whole patch of frosted rushes by the river. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the real photographer in our family. You can see a few more pictures of things we saw on the walk in dh's Merry Christmas post here.

Yesterday evening was spent curled up on the sofa watching TV and playing with the cats. I have shared a few photos of Hector recently, but his brother Hugo is camera shy. I love this photo which I managed to get last night proving that yes I do have the privilege of sharing my home with not one but two white kitty angels. Of course Hector still insisted on being star of the show!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Hangover

I can't believe it's been so long since I last blogged, time really is flying by at the moment. MIL is still not too well and we have been going round to cook for her most evenings which is eating into what little free time we have after work each day.

Also last weekend was my work's Christmas party, I broke all my cardinal rules ...
1. Never go to the office party
2. Never drink at the office party
3. Definitely don't get drunk at the office party
4. Do not dance at the office party
5. Under no circumstances dance with the Chief Exec while drunk at the office party
....(sigh!) Consequently I had the worlds worst hangover and the weekend was wasted!

I have managed to squeeze in some creativity though. First off some knitting. Here is the scarf that I've knitted for my friend Charlotte, I'm safe to share as she does not know about my blog.This is the same yarn that I used for the hat I made myself not so long ago, I just love the texture and the yummy colours, here is a gratuitous close up.

Usually I like to try and make my Christmas cards too but this year I left it way too late and only managed to make a few. I fell in love with a beautiful embroidered tree design by Annwyn Dean in a recent Classic Stitches and decided to reduce the size of the design to fit on a card. I made about 10 in the end but time just caught up with me so this was no where near as many as I wanted to stitch .... maybe next year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm Dreaming of an Orange Christmas

Here's what I have been stitching these last couple of days. First off some postcards for a My Favourite colour swap. Ok so if you are a regular visitor here it will come as no surprise that my cards are orange :)
This is quite a big swap and so far I've made about half of the cards that I need, it's taking sometime but I don't mind working with orange always makes me smile.

Last night was the embroiderers guild meeting and we had a sewing evening. We all made little tree ornaments, all stitched by hand, a couple of corners on my turned out a bit wonky but I still think it's cute. I just need to add a bit of ribbon and then grapple the tree out of the attic to add my decoration to! I've also been working a few Christmas cards, I've left it way too late to make all of mine handmade this year but I am doing a few for family and friends, hopefully I will have them finished and ready to share by the weekend.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Somerset Saturday

No creativity from me today. Although the weather was not the best Mark was itching to get out with his camera. Usually I manage to forget to take my little compact when we go out but today I remembered so here are a few snapshots from my day.

First off here is a picture of the Black Nore Lighthouse near Portishead. I really liked this view with the little round window. You can find out more about the lighthouse here. We went to Clevedon to see the pier (picture below) and came across this lovely tiled fountain dating from the 1890, grade II listed no less. More info here.

I loved the colours and textures on this piece of the sea wall at Clevedon. I'm sure passers by must have thought I was quite mad photographing the ground but there is something about this shot that I find beautiful.

We finished the day at Burnham-on-Sea with another lighthouse. Not much of a sunset but the light was lovely none the less.

My favourite pastime of the day was photographing the photographer.
Battling the elements at Black Nore, it was so windy we both had difficulty keeping our cameras still in the wind.On the beach near Clevedon Pier. Shooting the sunset at Burnham.

Take It Further

This year I had hoped to participate in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge, but what with various family issues I only managed the first few weeks.

Sharon has recently announced her challenge for next year, this time it's a monthly challenge so I've signed up as I think this might be more managable for me than a weekly challenge. You can find all the details here, who knows maybe you'll decide to jump right in and join too!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Yesterday afternoon wasn't as productive as I had hoped, I don't think there was any particular reason, time seems to disappear so much faster when I'm at home compared to the long hours I have while I'm at work! However I did manage to get another set of postcards made.

These are for a confetti swap. Ok so I know there isn't anything technically difficult about snipping up a few fabrics and then stitching over them, but I really love how these turned out. Their freeness reminds me of graffitti or those 'drip and drizzle' abstract paintings that Jackson Pollack is famous for. (If you enlarge the images you will probably get a better picture of what I mean).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Burning Practise

It's been another busy week here at Angelcat manor. MIL should be coming out of hospital today, even though we will have to continue to visit every day to cook her meals I should get a bit more free time without all the toing and froing from hospital so hopefully we will settle into a routine again soon.

In the meantime I have a day off work today and have decided to spend it catching up with blog reading and of course hitting the sewing machine. This morning I have been burning as a practise for the bag piece that I made the other week.

As I think I mentioned before I decide to make a basic grid for my practise piece, here it is before I cut it up. As I still owe plenty of postcards in various swaps I decided to cut this down for postcards. Here is one of the cards in progress after I had burned some voids in the grid. Here I'm attaching the background fabric.
And this is how one of the finished cards look. They are all slightly different and I didn't burn the voids in any particular order or pattern, just whatever I felt looked ok as I worked on each piece. I now have a whole pile of little sparkles left over, they are tiny pieces, the cut outs from the voids. I have no idea if I will ever be able to use them for anything, but they look too pretty to throw away! So here we are it's only midday and I've already managed to complete a set of postcards and spent several hours catching up on internet stuff, who know what I will have achieve by the end of the day. On the list of things I hope to do is finish at least one more set of postcards, start making a few christmas cards and finish a knitted scarf that I have in progress. Ok so maybe all of that is a bit ambitious but it will keep me busy for the day :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ready to Burn

So after waiting for my camera battery to charge and attempting unsuccessfully to get a good picture of my bag in progress I figured out that the piece is just about the right size to fit under the scanner.
I'm now at the stage where I'm supposed to burn holes to create some void spaces in the design. After all time it took to stitch the darn thing I've decided not to dive in and burn straight away without some practise. So today I will be stitching up a basic grid pattern using the same techniques to practise my burning on. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knitting and Precious Gifts

So I still don't have a picture of the finished stitching on my bag project to share. I did take one but managed to delete it and now my camera needs charging. Sometimes I can be so ditsy. Instead I'm going to share something else that I've just finished.

I knitted myself a hat, one of the few knitted things I've managed to finish. Honestly I have half started knitting projects every where, I think the problem is I'm attracted to things that are just a bit too ambitious for my basic knitting skills and have got stuck and the difficult parts of various projects. As you know I don't like sharing pictures of me but what the hell, after the lack of blog posts here for a while I don't expect many people are reading any more anyway!
The picture is a bit dark so you can't really see the beautiful colours in the yarn I used very well, I will try and get a better one soon. I'm pleased with the way it turned out and have bought some more of this beautiful yarn to make a hat and scarf set for my friend Charlotte for Christmas (she doesn't know about my blog so I'm not spoiling any surprises here).

Before I sign off I just have to share some pictures of 2 precious gifts that my friend Vi sent me all the way from Australia. Look at this totally adorable pin cushion (again please excuse the poor quality picture there is not much good daylight at the moment and when there is some I'm always at work!).
Vi also sent me this beautiful friendship doll. She made this with a wonderful rainbow theme to remind me always of my Mum. Definitely one of the most special gifts I've ever received. Thank you so much Vi.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stitching again

It's been another tough couple of weeks in Angelcat land. MIL still hasn't made much progress and after a few days at home is back in hospital, so the long days of work and hospital visits continue.

Last week I was knocked out with the flu and a horrible cough which was none too pleasant (and I missed the November GWE meet because of it which I am thoroughly annoyed about), but thankfully the worst of that seems to be gone now.

I really need a break from all the madness and as luck would have it I had signed up for a workshop with the Swindon Embroiderers Guild this last Saturday. The aim of the day was to learn the techniques to make a filigree bag. Everyone seemed to have a really enjoyable day. Here are some of the group hard at work, just look at the concentration, they look totally engrossed don't ya think?
Sadly I didn't get very far with my bag, I was a little disappointed but I think I didn't really get a good grasp on the concept at the beginning and chose a stitching pattern that was way too intricate for my meagre skills. The only picture I have to share of my work in progress is the piece all layered, pinned and ready to stitch. By the end of the day I still hadn't finished stitching, let alone started the burning process. I am happy to say that I spent half hour at my machine this evening and the stitching is almost done, who knows if I get of the computer and back to the machine I may even have a picture of the stitched piece to share tomorrow!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Spooky Eyes

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has commented and emailed me about my last couple of posts, it really does mean a lot to have so much support from so many cyber friends.

So I've decided to be done with feeling sorry for myself and get on with things, after all things could be a lot lot worse. Verobirdie left a great comment on my last post about remembering the joyful things that happen each day no matter how small. I think a 'joy journal' would be a great art project!

Madhatter also mentioned that she likes to find some creative time everyday and I think that would really help me. Most days at work I tend to work right through my lunch break, and do I get any extra thanks, no I don't, so starting tomorrow I will be packing some portable creative projects in the car and lunchtime will become my creative time. I'm feeling excited and more relaxed just thinking about it.

I know I have been and missed Halloween celebrations this year, but I just have to share this picture of spooky eyed Hector which I took while messing around with my camera for a few minutes today.
Hope you all had a great weekend!