Wednesday, 21 January 2009

January Blues

What is it about January that you just want it to be over right now?!!! After three weeks off over the Christmas break I went back to work last week and by Tuesday I was wishing it was the weekend. I try not to get disillusioned too quickly about where I work; but the whole working to line someone else's pockets is just so last year! I am hopeful that this year I will finally get my stitching shop up and running and believe me it can't come soon enough.

I have been using my down time wisely and have finished Karen's RR and done one of the squares on my RR too! Karen's theme was Flowers of the Month based on the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. I stitched the squares for March, May and June and I think they came out pretty good? What do you think?

Once I had that finished and on its way back to Karen I picked up my own RR which I had made a start on in the autumn last year but it got put aside in favour of other things. When it's your own there is quite the same urgency to get it done. My theme is Diane Graebner's Cats & Quilts and the first one I stitched is Three's A Crowd. I love how it has turned out - but what a lot of backstitch!

I was helped along with all this stitching by the arrival of my new Daylight stitching lamp. I got the Deluxe version in satin silver and I just love it. I am still getting to grips with the magnifier but the chart clip is just ideal and its so much easier having your chart at eye level. The light is fabulous and not too over-bright. Hopefully it will inspire me to finish some of those WIPs I have in my wicker basket which sits right across from my stitch seat and just glare at me when I am working on other things!

Of course, having the Aussie Open going on at the same time certainly helps and I get a load of stitching done while I am watching tennis. Come the weekend I will be able to sit up through the night and watch the live matches and can then catch up on sleep in the daytime. Andy's playing really well at the moment and his next match is tomorrow morning (UK time) so fingers crossed. I'm hoping to see at least some of it!

Back to the stitching and I have laid aside my RR for another short time while I try to finish off a long-standing project for a friend's birthday. The project is Rosie Swalwell's Poppyfield Lane and I started in on a flight to Boston oh about 7 years ago. I pick it up, do a little bit and then put it down again when something becoms more urgent. The friend I am giving it to is an old friend of my mum's that I am still in touch with. She's seen some of my progress on this one and has admired it so I thought I would give it to her - her birthday is in just under 4 weeks time so watch this space to see if I get it finished on time!

And on that note, I guess I should get back to the stitching! Oh before I go here is a photo of what I received in my Friendly Stitchers Secret Santa parcel. It contained 2 Lizzie*Kate Tiny Tidings chartpacks, some 32ct Silkweaver Lugana in Fern, 2 square coasters, some Victoria Clayton silks and a box full of buttons and charms which gave me a cast iron excuse to go play with my bead box! My Secret Santa was Sarah-Moo. Thank you so much Sarah - I was thrilled with my gift and feel very spoiled!

My stitching is calling - gotta go! Thanks for reading.

Love n hugs,

Ally xxx

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

It's just a few minutes into 2009 so I thought I'd start off as I mean to go on and update my blog. 2008 was an up and down year generally - it had its high points and its low points - hopefully more highs than lows for 2009.

I finished off 2008 with a couple of Christmas ornaments; one for an exchange on Friendly Stitchers and the other is one that I had stitched a while back and never made up into an ornament - until now. The needleroll is from the JCS Christmas Ornaments 2008 edition and designed by Hands to Work. It was lovely to stitch - using Crescent Colours Belle Soie silks and finished off with some Christmassy fabric at either end to give it an antique look. I'm pleased with the end result and I hope its recipient, Elizabeth in sunny California, likes it too!

The second ornament was from JCS Christmas Ornament 2003 edition - I stitched it in stages ages ago, again its done in silks and finished off with bugle beads and gold seed beads and Swarovski beads for the garlands. This one I am sending to my friend Val in Tyne and Wear - it's a bit late to go on her tree for this year, but I hope she'll find somewhere to hang it next year.

And to finish off in the same theme - here's the ornament that Elizabeth stitched for me - I think it is a Mill Hill design and it has been sparkling away on my tree since Christmas Eve. I'm absolutely thrilled with it so thank you Elizabeth!

I plan to stitch up a storm in 2009 - finish off a couple of round robins I have to do, and then plan the next one on my own round robin group. I am off work until 12th January so I plan to use the time wisely and having just picked up my new "stitching" glasses yesterday and ordered my new Daylight stitching lamp which will hopefully be here by the weekend - well I really do not have an excuse not to get some early finishes under my belt! Watch this space - anyone want to start placing bets as to which project will get finished first?
We're starting a new SAL on Friendly this week; a Stitch a Week SAL. Abi has designed the grid and alphabet for the design and has also designed several of the motifs which will go into the squares, ably helped by VAL. It's up to the individual members to decide on their fabric and threads - so each one at the end of 2009 will be completely unique to that stitcher. It's nice to have almost the whole group involved in this. I haven't even got around to deciding on fabric and threads yet but I can take care of that over the next couple of days.
I raise my glass (almost empty now!) to everyone and wish you all the very best of health and happiness for this new year; I'm off to open the front door to let the old year out and the new year in and then I am off to bed!
Take care everyone; pop back soon for more updates.
Love n hugs,
Ally xxx