Saturday, 20 February 2010

First post of the year? Where have the weeks gone??

I cannot believe that we are over halfway through February and this is my first post of the year - and the first for several months too! I think if I was back at school I would be getting "could do better" notes in the margins of my jotters! I've been very guilty of not blogging at all lately; I kept telling myself that it was because I had no stitching to show off, but since I now have a couple of finishes under my belt I no longer have that excuse so here we go - and its probably best to start recently and work backwards (if that makes sense!) You might want to make yourself a cup of something or get a glass or wine, this promises to be a long one!!

So here she is ... at long last - my mermaid! Nicknamed "Marina" after the mermaid in Stingray (I wanted to be her when I was little) She has been a (long) labour of love and although I am thrilled that I finally got her finished, I feel like she has left a rather large hole in my WIP basket - but I guess that can only be a good thing, right? The picture really doesn't do her justice and of course the next step is to get her framed and hanging on the wall. She was originally intended for the bathroom, or at least the cloakroom but I think she deserves a place in the lounge, don't you?

In between frantic beading to get the mermaid done I stitched a basketliner for a gift basket for a work colleague who retired just before Christmas; she was ill and so her retiral "do" was postponed until a few weeks ago. I filled the basket with M&S smellies and some chocolates all with a lavender theme and wrapped the basket handle with lavender and blue ribbon. Kathryn was thrilled with her basket (phew!) At the same time I was working on a sympathy card for another work colleague who sadly lost her husband just before Christmas. In true "Ally" fashion I forgot to take a photo of the finished card but if you look in my Webshots (link on the lefthand side) there is a pic of the finished card (this is the third or fourth time I have stitched this one!).

We had our annual Secret Santa on Friendly Stitchers and I received a lovely parcel from Sandra with lovely hand dyed threads, some beads (yippee!!) and a Loopy Loo design for a needlecase, scissor fob and biscornu - a really pretty design it is too. I shall have to get my act together and get that started at some point. I was also very spoiled by my lovely stitchy friends Abi, Mouse, Karen and Val - who sent me some lovely gifts including hand dyed Sparklies fabric and threads, a beautiful hand stitched biscornu, scissors (two pairs) and a beaded scissor fob and a fabulous hand made project bag and a hand made lavender cat who sits in front of my WIP basket and glares at me when I am not stitching (lol!)
The round robin has kept me busy too and I now have Mylene's robin to work on which is going to become a cushion cover; I haven't managed to start it yet as I need to order some threads but hopefully it won't take me too long to stitch up. I am really looking forward to getting it started though.

Lynda's mittens were closely followed by Ginny's birdhouses - both of which were lovely to stitch. The mitten is "Belle" from Crosseyed Cricket's "Dickens Mittens" - it stitched up a treat and I absolutely loved working on this one. Ginny's birdhouse is from Alma Lynne's booklet "A Little Bit of Birdsong" and I fully intend at some point to do some more of those gorgeous birdhouses for myself!

I was thoroughly spoiled by the Friendly Stitchers girls on my birthday too - I had a whole host of gorgeous hand dyed threads from the Calendar girls, stitched biscornus from Mouse and Val, gold needles from Abi and between them the Friendly mods sent me the materials pack for Mirabilia's Enchanted Mermaid which I had been planning to kit up. I am still swithering over what fabric to use for this one but I think I have finally narrowed it down to two - so watch this space!

I am currently working on a mini sampler which one of the partners at work asked me to stitch for her mum; it is to be either a mother's day gift or a birthday gift (both of which fall in March) but luckily it is a fairly quick stitch so shouldn't take me too long. I already stitched this about 13 years ago as a birthday gift for my mum and it turned out really pretty. Mum loved it and of course when Christine asked about something for her mum this sprang to mind right away. I took it into work to let her see it and she said that it was just perfect so away I went. Luckily I had all the threads so I could get started on it right away. I am using 18ct aida in pussy willow for this - very subtle shade and it works well with the very pastelly colours of the sampler.

In the world of tennis; Andy got to the final of the Aussie Open (well done young man!) and Elena (Baltacha) has broken into the top 75 and is now our number one ladies player. Right chuffed for Elena she is a lovely young lady and a very talented player. Andy isn't playing Davis Cup this time around so I won't be travelling to Lithuania to cheer our squad on -beside I am hoping to be either just about to go in or just out of hospital by that time (I should have a date for my op any day now).

I still have plans for my shop - it's not happening just yet although I have had a re-think as regards the location and think I may just have found the perfect place; more on that as it happens and my research progresses.

That's it - all caught up at last! I will endeavour to be a better blogger in future I promise - at least once a month - and in that respect here is a pic of my TUSAL (yes I have become a TUSALer after following Charlene's efforts last year) This is all the brainchild of Yoyo the clue's in the name (totally useless - but fun all the same!)

Until next time ... thanks for reading and for the comments you leave; I really do appreciate it!

Love and hugs,

Ally xxxx


Cindy in MA said...

Hope to see the TUSAL container completely full by the end of the year.

stitchinfiend said...

You have done some serious stitching there. Love the mermaid and the biscornu's are just lovely.

DJ said...

Wow, you are one busy lady! Good job you chose a big container for your TUSAL, you're going to need it! Take care! *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

Love your work especially the mermaid is so beautiful. Noice blog too.

Gillie said...

Okay, reading with cup of coffee this morning, lol! Great post! I am lusting after all the biscornus, will have to chat to you about them! Definitely not the bathroom for the Mermaid, only pride of place will do, she's gorgeous!

Jo said...

Beautiful stitching Ally and some fantastic gifts. I love the birdhouse, you're right they are fantastic, so colourful. I'd definitely put Marina up somewhere prominent to show her off.

PennyB said...

Enjoyed reading your blog. Love the mermaid. And you're planning to open a LNS!! OMG! That would be paradise!! Best of luck to you.


Michelle said...

Well done Ally you've done some great stitching there :) and got some lovely gifts :), good luck with your shop hope it works out for you xx

Anonymous said...

hi I've just found your blog, I'm a stitcher from scotland too
you have some beautiful stitching

Sherry aka Celtic Dream Weaver said...

Hi, I am from New York USA. I have been to your lovely country about 12 years ago. I am so glad I went then for if I had waited until now I would never had made it. With the economy not good ( and the government is blind to it but then they don't live from week to week like the middle class does) anyhow...I would love to be able to write to you since you live in Scotland.I have really loved your pictures you have done. I love hte mermaid alot. Do you still have the chart for her. Also...I was surprised to see "Lady of Sharllot" by Teresa Wentzler. I have many of her charts. I have done a couple of her designs. They were the Castle Sampler and the Lady going through the sky. I don't remember the names of those designs right off my head. I didn't now about "The Lady of Shallot." It is a beautiful design!! your work and as I said I would love to be able to write to you. Kinda like Pen Pals. By the way...when I was in your country it was this time of the year. I would love to go again someday but in the fall when the Heather is in bloom. I bet the landscape is beautiful.Purple Mountains to be sure.