Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

WARNING: You might want to skip this post it's long and full of self centred reflection, lol!

I can hardly believe that the last day of 2008 has arrived, where did it go? The last few years have been a roller coaster for me and this one has been no different. I think my own health problems earlier in the year left me in a state of lethargy and I never really recovered. The year has passed me by without me really having the time, energy or inclination to really take part in it.

But here we are on the cusp of the new year and I can feel myself waking up again inside, opening up to the potential of new beginnings. I'm always optimistic and full of excitement for the things that the new year might bring, although I have to admit that my excitement these days is tinged with caution as for the last few years life has put some big pot holes in the road for me to contend with. I guess we can only plunge head long into it and see what life will bring over the next 12 months.

For the last year I have been keeping a list of some of the things that I've done in my sidebar.
As I will need to wipe the slate clean and start afresh tomorrow I thought I'd transfer all the details into a post so as not to lose the information entirely.

Projects I've completed in 2008

  • Four Bags
  • Two Art Dolls
  • One Hundred and Twenty Nine Postcards
  • One Fabric Page
  • One Padfolio
  • One ATC
  • Four Cross stitch kits
  • One mini wall hanging
  • Two Cushions
  • Three CD samplers
  • Seventeen 12 inch quilt blocks
  • Twelve 8 inch quilt blocks
  • One Long Stitch kit
  • One embroidery kit
  • One double bed quilt top

Movies I've watched at the cinema in 2008

  • Charlie Wilson's War
  • The Kite Runner
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • In the Valley of Elah
  • Alien Vs Predator: Requiem
  • Cloverfield
  • Juno
  • Vantage Point
  • 10,000BC
  • The Cottage
  • Nosferatu
  • Indiana Jones
  • In Bruges
  • Wanted
  • Incredible Hulk
  • Hancock
  • Wall-e
  • Journey to the centre of the earth 3D
  • Batman: The Dark Knight
  • The Mummy 3
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  • Hellboy 2
  • Saw V
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Body of Lies
  • The day the Earth stood still
  • Twilight

Books I've read in 2008

  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Jester by James Paterson & Andrew Gross
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly
  • The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
  • The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G.W. Dahlquist
  • Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Trilogy by Terry Books
  • Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

I guess that list is not bad considering I feel like I've been asleep for a lot of the year, now it's time to wake up ............................

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


For an upcoming 'Stripes' swap at Artsnthemail I was able to recycle a couple more cards from the pile which is great! That pile of cards I pulled out will soon be shrunk to nothing

I only had three swap partners in this one so just one extra card to make. I pulled out some green fabric scraps and added some hand stitching and a couple of embellishments.
I joined all the strips of fabric together and left all of the raw edges showing. I have used this technique before a good while ago and really like it so I think maybe some more raw edges will be a feature of my work next year.

I couldn't write a post on Stripes without showing you one of my favourite Christmas presents this year.
Aren't they great!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Over the last week or so I have been working hard to complete the majority of my postcard swap commitments. Next year I will be cutting back on the number of swaps that I take part in. Although I still love this mini art form I think it's time for me to play around with some new things. I've no doubt postcards will still pop up from time to time though!
I had 5 cards to make for a 'Leaves swap' These first two I managed to 'recycle' from my pile of old cards.

This next one changed as I was making it. I found an article in one of my issues of Workshop on the Web by Pauline Parker entitled 'Scorched Autumn'. Pauline had made lots of wonderful leaves layered in sheer fabrics, machine stitched and then burned back with the heat gun.Well I managed to layering and stitching part (I used a white outline for the stitching as my original inspiration came after seeing a pile of frost coloured leaves on a recent walk). Unfortunately I just can't seem to find my heat gun anywhere at the moment for the burning part.
Never mind I like how the card turned out anyway.

Finally I made two cards in the same design. I used chain and stem stitch to make the simple outline of a leaf.
I do enjoy making individual cards rather than a whole set the same but it does take longer to put a set together in this way.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Fourteen

I had hoped to spend a little time each day stitching on this this week but of course that never happened. Yesterday I had a pretty much free day though and thought the perfect way to remember Mum would be by working on her project.

As this is the last post of the year for this one I thought it would be fun to remind myself of what this looked like back in August when I first picked it out of the pile.
Wow even I have to be pleased with how far it's come. This is a reminder of what it was like on the last outing.This is the now.
It's really difficult to see the progress I think just because the colours I'm working at the moment are so close to the background fabric.

I think you might just be able to see from this close in shot the white stitching at the end shows the very edge of the picture which gives an idea of just how big this is going to be!

I'm going to stick with the rotation thing as I think it really does push me to achieve as much as I have time for in the week. That being said I don't think this one is going to get finished until the later half of next year. It would be nice to be working on something else by the time next Christmas comes, lol.

Haven't decided what I will be working on this week. I have a couple more little embroidery kits that I've bought during recent months so I might pull out one of those .....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More each year ...

Do you remember my graduation day, Mum? Happy times before you become ill....I miss you more with each passing year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Presents

However you may have celebrated or passed the day yesterday I hope you had a joyful time....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmouse

I just want to wish everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas!The mouse is a little something I stitched last Saturday while in front of the TV watching the Strictly Come Dancing Finale. He was a free kit from a magazine and will likely get sent as a card next year or I may turn him into a little tree ornament, haven't decided yet.
Mark and I will be celebrating the day on our own, bliss! It's something we have planned for a few years but one thing and another always happened and we have never managed to be alone. So we will be making a good cooked breakfast and then off for a long walk, before returning home in the evening to make a turkey dinner, yummy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas to me

One thing often leads to another as the saying goes.

In this case my hunt in the yarn box for the trimming to finish my Zebra cards led me to finding this kit which I remember buying in a sale in January.
Well you know how things go, one project interrupts another and I never did get round to making anything with the kit. When I found it again I thought now would be the perfect time to knit this up just in case I'm tempted by something else in next months sales, lol!

It was quick and easy and in less than a couple of hours I'd made myself a new scarf. It's tricky trying to get a photo of yourself!

Even Mark struggled with blur in the greyness of the days that seem to be the norm at the moment. Oh well I think you get the idea.
I enjoyed doing some knitting for a change and I just love the colours so I couldn't be happier with my Christmas present to myself :)
On another note my week off isn't turning out to be as pleasurable as I had hoped. One thing after another seems to be going wrong at home at the moment and no matter how hard I try to keep the smile on and in the Christmas mood I can't keep the blues away. Yesterday I had to have a plumber out as we had water dripping through the ceiling, that isn't good at anytime of the year but a couple of days before christmas ... could the timing be any worse?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Z is for ....

As hard as I try to keep things tidy I'm just a naturally messy kind of person, lol! However just recently I have really been trying to put some effort into getting organised. As part of this tidyfest I have started to sort out all of the postcards I've collected over the last few years.
When I first started postcard making I used to make an extra in each swap to keep for myself. However I soon realised that with my collection growing so rapidly I realistically didn't really have the space to keep one each of all the I made as well so that stopped.
As part of my sort out I've come across some of my old cards and will be making every effort to recycle them in up come swaps and maybe some giveaways.
One card in particular jumped out at me. Perfect for the final letter of the alphabet swap that I have been taking part in.
I still haven't made my Y cards yet but while they were in mind I went ahead and made a couple more Zebras, so another swap gets crossed off the list :)

I had to raid my yarn box for the eyelash yarn for the edges and that led me to another project but more about that tomorrow .....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Creative Paper Quilts

What a perfect way to start my week off, the perfect little package in the post on Saturday.
Inside was this beautiful ATC
and Terri's wonderful new book
not only that but a wonderful message inside, just for me :)
I have been following Terri's blog ever since I discovered blogland. If you haven't visited yet your really should she makes such wonderful pieces. I'm looking forward to having a good read of the book and picking out some projects and techniques to try, there is certainly plenty in there to inspire.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sheep - The Finale

I'm back and I have so much to share, today I think I will get busy reminding myself how to use that schedule posts feature. I have plenty to share and my enthusiasm has picked up again, just knowing I have a whole week away from work is really boosting my spirits!
Anyway it's time to take a look at my progress on the sheep. This is what it was like after my first week working on them...and now look, the sheep are finished!
I had a feeling that if I put a good few hours in they would come together nice and quickly. I had such fun with this little kit. All those delicious french knotsand the long stitched grass. It was such fun randomly stitching in all of the different shades and weights of thread that were provided in the kit.
The only mishap was that the beading needle provided in the kit didn't actually fit through the beads that were provided for the eyes :) Never mind I'm not short of a needle or two and soon had that problem fixed!
Back to the Tigers this week, even though we have Christmas, because I have no work I'm hoping to squeeze in a bit more time on them this week, maybe an hour a day instead of the usual 30 mins or so we'll see....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiting for the week to end.....

Just thought I should pop in and say a quick hello...

I feel like such a bad blogger at the moment. It's not that I don't have anything to share, and it's certainly not because I don't want to blog. I'm still trying to shake off the lurgy and have just been feeling exhausted this week. It's busy at work and busy at home and everything is just catching up on me. Just one more day of work to survive and then I have a whole week off :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

And the Winner is .....

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who left a comment on my giveaway post. I'm always saying that I mostly blog just for me but it's nice to know that there are other people out there who take time of out their busy lives to visit a piece of my world from time to time.

I got DH to literally pick a name from a hat this morning so the winner is ......

oops someone forgot to turn the flash off!

Although we get to meet in person at GWE I don't have your snail mail, so if you can send me and email I will get the card in the post for you :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Siberian Gold - Part Thirteen

I was supposed to have been diligently working away at Siberian Gold this week, but what with feeling icky and trying to get the Christmas postcards done I didn't pick up the needle until yesterday. Consequently not as much finished as I would like but hey at least some progress has been made.

This is the last time we left it. And the now.
It's difficult to see the progress too much in the picture as a lot of the background colours are similar to the fabric.

I think I'm going to struggle during the next few sessions with this one. This second half of the picture has a lot more background in it. A lot of the background colours are only done in half cross stitch so you would think it would come together more quickly, but there are a lot of colour changes which slows things down a bit. Still I really like the beautiful subtle colouring in the background so I'm hoping that focusing on enjoying each stitch with them will help pass the time and I won't get too anxious at the slow progress.
Now it's time to get back to the sheep this week :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More Christmas cards and a Giveaway

On Tuesday it was the monthly meet of the Great Western Embroiderers. While most people are busy working on stitching a piece or two for the exhibition we have at Steam next year, I took along some bits and pieces for making Christmas postcards as a little distraction from the serious stuff :) Sadly I forgot my camera to take pictures on the day but here are a couple of cards that I managed to stitch.
For the last couple of evenings I've been trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit by working on my Christmas cards for family. They are all done and ready to mail (not all shown here though, the light is just awful for pictures at the moment it's raining hard outside!)
I really love the black and silver tree fabric and the different designs on the trees. This little chap has got to be my favourite.

I'm often attracted to work with birds on but hardly ever use them in my own stuff, maybe that's something to think about for the new year.....

GIVEAWAY - Anyway I have one card left over with the bird design so I've decided to have a quick giveaway. Leave a comment here before the end of the weekend and I'll put you in the draw. If I can get him mailed on Monday, who knows there's a chance he might even reach you before the 25th!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Trees

I'm feeling a bit under the weather at the moment. Nothing serious but it's not really helping my motivation so it's turning into a slow stitching week.

I have managed to make a set of postcards for a Christmas tree swap that I'm in though. I only had three to make so I decided to make them all different just to make it more interesting for me.
This first one is the simplest. I took a ready made picture attached it to the backing fabric using some tree brads and then added some sequin baubles to the tree.

For the next two I raided my rubber stamp collection and then did some over stitching. I guess I really am missing those french knots as all the snow drops and baubles in this one are knots, lol!
For this last one I used a really basic tree shaped stamp and then satin stitched over the top, and of course some more french knots. This last one took ages but it's also my favourite!
Hopefully I can shake off this lurgy and get my stitching motivation back as I do miss not blogging everyday, must try harder (just as the school report used to say!)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Postcards

I think it's going to be a slow week stitching wise. I just have so much going on at the moment, the little spare time I have in the evenings is going to be taken up with holiday errands and gatherings, it's just that crazy time of year.

I have however finally decided on my Christmas card design for the year. I've decided to send postcards instead of traditional cards. I went with a simple (and hopefully elegant) black and white design using some of the fabrics that I bought the other week. Thankfully I don't have hundreds to make. So far I've only managed a couple but the rest will likely get done and sent at the weekend.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sheep - Part One

I've had a pretty busy weekend so far. Yesterday I went to visit family to deliver Christmas presents and just generally catch up with what is happening with everyone. Six hours driving in total which has left me feeling pretty tired today.
This morning we went for a walk in the frosty landscape, it's really chilly round here today. I took a few pics with dh's camera so hopefully he will download them for me soon.
On the stitching front it's been a pretty poor week. After the disappointment of knowing that I wouldn't be able to get the quilt done by yesterday I sort of lost all motivation for everything. The only thing I have to show for the last few days is some progress on the sheep. Good job I enjoy french knots!
I think it's looking pretty cute but it's destined to be put away for another week as it's time for the Tigers to get some stitching instead!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Flower Field

So I've finally come to the realisation that the quilt won't be finished before Saturday, lol! Actually I managed to sabotage myself by not buying enough backing fabric at the weekend. Still a valuable lesson has been learned and I know it will be done before Christmas, I just might not get it to my Nan by then.

Although the quilt has been my main focus of attention this week I've also made a couple of postcards (just for a change, lol!)

Here is a quick and easy one for the Artsnthemail Lottery.Actually this one was a bit of a cheat as I'm sure that I was gifted these fabrics already pieced together in a secret sister swap so all I had to do was add the back :)

And another for a private swap with Jane.We've been having so may grey days here recently I thought some spring flowers would cheer things up a bit.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nan's Quilt

Now I remember why I have only finished one bed size quilt ever, you see the trouble is my house is just so tiny it's difficult to find the space to lay everything out.
Still I'm getting there. I've been trying desperately to think of a way that I can get a decent picture showing the whole thing but I just can't think of a way. So here is my top pegged out on the line. It doesn't show the whole thing but it gives you the idea.
This is such a quick and easy top to put together. There is one piece of fabric out of the 20 that I picked that I'm not altogether happy with but I really don't have time to change it so it will have to stay and grow on me!
Now on to the quilting. It's going to have to be something quick and easy. I'm going to see my Gran on Saturday which will probably be the last time I see her before Christmas so it has to be done by then. Wish me luck!