Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon ..........

There's a song in there somewhere lol!  Well here I am again; not as quick as I had hoped but having had visitors and lots to be getting on with I didn't have a chance to get to sit down and blog until now.  Kettle's been on so grab a cup of whatever you fancy and settle down.

Cat Lessons for People - Lizzie*Kate
I have been stitching - on one of my Crazies and here's a pic to show how I have got on.  I am putting this back into my rotation tomorrow but I am so happy with what I have achieved so far especially as Maureen pretty much gave me a challenge to at least get the cat finished when she was here two weeks ago.  Didn't I do well?

Should have put a bet on it ........

The weekend that Maureen was here I had another Maureen visiting; this one an old work colleague.  Its always nice to have her come to visit and she kindly took us both out to dinner to Battlefield Rest to celebrate her recent 60th birthday and my belated (very) 50th birthday!  Battlefield Rest is a very popular eaterie here on the south side of Glasgow.  in fact it used to be a tram stop and I can remember sitting in the waiting room (what is now the main body of the restaurant) with my mum when I was little.  I hasten to add that it was a bus we were waiting for as the trams stopped in Glasgow in the very early 60s!

We had a busy Saturday as we not only took a trip up to Queens Park to the Farmer's Market (and discovered a late clutch of chicks on one of the ponds) but we also went up to Pollok Country Park where they were holding a Highland Cattle Show.  Plenty of lovely highland cows and their wee ones and I got a chance to renew an old acquaintance with one of the Clydesdales, Spencer, who is a complete darling.  

 Oh and I received the most gorgeous ornament from Frances (no blog) in our Christmas/Winter in July exchange on Friendly Stitchers.  It is really quite stunning and I am thrilled to bits with it and can't wait to place it on the tree this year.  She also sent up a piece of Campbell tartan ribbon which I am thinking of using as part of a cushion at some point.  I have never had a piece of Campbell tartan ribbon before - not even for my hair when I was little.  I am proud of my clan roots so will use it sparingly and wisely!  Thank you Frances so much!

Work continues slowly on the bathroom.  Scottish Power are insisting on installing an insolator switch before they will give permission for the new console board to be fitted.  They are coming tomorrow afternoon and hopefully the electrician will be able to come before the end of the week to do the rest of the work.  If I can also get the plumber to come on Friday - I could spend most of next weekend just standing under my new shower.  Prunes anyone?  I promise a photo when it is all done (and I promise NOT to be in the shower when the photo is taken lol!)

Okay I am going to toddle off for a refill and pick up my needle again as Downton Abbey will be on shortly and I want to be nice and comfy before it starts.  Hope you've all been stitching away merrily and as always thanks for stopping by.


Ally xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Read all about it!!!!!

Well that got your attention didn't it?  Apologies for not posting sooner but I wanted to have some proper stitching finishes to show off and I finally have something.  Was that a thud I heard???  

Berry Christmas by Lizzie*Kate
Mistle-toad by Lizzie*Kate
Noel Squared by Lizzie*Kate
Kettle's been on and tea has brewed so first up are the three ornaments I signed up for in our Christmas/Winter in July Challenge & Exchange over at Friendly Stitchers.  I finally got my three ornies finished and although they are not made up yet at least they are stitched and ready to go.  My partner was Frances and we agreed that we'd stitch our three and then we'd have our choice of the three from our partner.  I have chosen a lovely pendible which will look lovely on my tree and I can't wait until it arrives!  I'll post a photo once it gets here.  All of my ornaments were from Lizzie*Kate; two of them "Berry Christmas" and "Mistle-Toad" are from the Tiny Tidings series and the other "Noel Squared" is one of their Snippets series.  I am waiting for the berry buttons to arrive so that I can finish this off and then get it off to Frances so I will do an update photo of that to when its done.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum (summer school
Spanish students in foreground)
there is a heron in there somewhere!
Glasgow University from the grounds of
Kelvingrove Art Gallery

I've been busy with the teaching lately; working mornings at the school and then afternoons at Strathclyde University where we had a contract to tutor 70+ Chinese engineering students up to a passable IELTS level.  That finished on Friday and it was sad to say goodbye to the students - they were all so nice.  They all looked so much more relaxed on Friday after receiving their results in the morning so we had a fun activities afternoon for them.  They've worked hard these last 2 months and deserve a wee break now before their course starts proper at the end of the month.

and he decided to be friendly after all :)
One of the locals!
At the end of August I took myself off down to Yorkshire and Cheshire with a little detour into Welsh Wales to go visit with Mouse and Gillie.  It was a very last minute decision - i.e. I decided pretty late on Thursday night and booked my coach ticket and spent all day (and I mean ALL day) Friday on a coach down to Sheffield where Mouse picked me up.  I had completely overlooked the fact that it was the English Bank Holiday weekend and the coach company appear to have overlooked the fact too because they had vastly overbooked the coach and had to put on an extra coach at Edinburgh to cope with the amount of passengers.  The extra coach was supposed to just go to Newcastle but it was the same story there and so it went on - until we got to Leeds where we were stuck for 40 minutes waiting for the other coach to catch us up which is failed to do - and I had to call Mouse every 10 minutes to say yessss we're STILL in Leeds!!!!

Me and Mouse halfway up the stairs ...
The Three Amigos!!
However, that aside it was a lovely weekend but way too short.  Friday night was spent at Mouse's although we didn't manage to get any stitching done we spent the evening looking through her WIPs so there was lots to see.  I also got to meet Master Bentley at long last and he is twice as cute as his photos!  The following morning after breakfast we headed off to Cheshire for an overnight visit with Gillie and the WT.  Its been a while since I had last been to the barn but it was just as lovely as I remembered it and of course I had to go off down to say hello to the horses too ...  We played musical tables in and out of the courtyard as the sun alternately was blazing hot then cold and rainy.  Needless to say much tea was quaffed but no stitching done :( although Mouse overlocked a whole load of fabric for Gillie and Gillie got on with a very pretty scarf she was knitting.  We had our mods meeting there as Gillie won't make it to Harrogate this year :( (well not at the moment anyway!!)

One or two wee things from Nimble Thimble ...
After lunch on Sunday, Mouse and I headed off to the Nimble Thimble which is in a very pretty rural location.  It was my first visit there but it certainly won't be my last!  Chris was so very accommodating, opening especially for us and we were only just in the door when the kettle went on.  In between browsing around for stash I rescued a little fieldmouse from a little grey cat.  The wee thing was in shock and I just hope it survived ...

and a close-up of that fabric!!
I got one or two wee things but I was suitably restrained as I am saving myself for Harrogate in November.  It was a lovely day out though and on the way back to Sheffield we stopped off for a lovely Sunday roast lunch at a local hostelry before mouse dropped me back off at the coach station in Sheffield to wend my weary way home again.  Got in at 3am so I may rethink the overnight option next time lol!

I've been busy lately with work being done in the flat so that I can get it on the market.  The bathroom flooring is down at the shower is up although the trouble and money that has cost has been no laughing matter.  The console board is obsolete and even if we could get a replacement fuse to allow the shower to be hooked up it would be too powerful for the board so I need to have a new console board fitted.  However Scottish Power will not let the work go ahead without them installing an isolator switch at the cost of £152!  Only then can the electrician go ahead.  So, what was a simple job has cost nearly £400 and has dragged on and on and on and on .... all I wanted was to have a shower in the evenings when I got home :(

The flooring is also down in the kitchen but the electrics are holding everything else up and until that is done then the rest of the work will have to wait.

I've also had visitors aplenty - with one of my Spanish students joining me for dinner last Saturday and another ex-student and now a good friend, Kasia from Poland coming for lunch yesterday.  Next weekend is another busy with with an old work colleague coming for the weekend on Friday and staying till Sunday and then Maureen coming for lunch on Sunday.  I love having friends to visit whether it is just for an evening or afternoon, or for a weekend.

Okay, I think I shall call it a day here and go do some stitching once I decide what I am working on!  Thanks for stopping by and if you pop over next weekend there may even be some lemon drizzle cake.  Just sayin .......


Ally xx

Friday, 8 June 2012

Return of the Wanderer

Well here I am, finally, blogging again after an enforced break due to my laptop being sick.  Turned out it had a faulty hard-drive which has now been sorted out and I got it back yesterday all set and raring to go.  Just as well I had backed everything up onto a couple of memory sticks or I would have lost everything ....

I suppose my BIG news is I am working!  Well, at the moment still on trial but I am hoping that at the end of the month that status will change to permanent.  I have gone back to teaching English (ESOL) and I am with a small language school in the centre of Glasgow.  Its a fairly new school (they started up about a year ago).  The main thing is I am really enjoying it and I had really forgotten just how much I love teaching.

Winter Wonderland - LHN
Since starting back at work my stitching has very much taken a backseat.  I do the evening classes and the occasional private student also in the evenings so I am rarely home before 7.30 in the evenings.  By the time I've fed Minnie, and me, I am too tired to do much more than vegetate on the sofa for an hour or so before heading off to bed.  However, with the laptop being in the shop for the whole weekend and most of this week coupled with a 5 day weekend thanks to the Diamond Jubilee, I finally found some time to do some stitching and picked up one of my Crazies - Winter Wonderland by LHN.  

Strawberry Language of Flowers Sampler - Sue Hawkins
Prior to starting work I had managed to do a fair bit of stitching and here is one of my progress pics of a Crazy.  I really love working on this one and can't wait to make more progress on it.  I love the four sided stitch which the boxes are created from - so easy to do and so effective!  

I also did a lot of work on Flying High by Diane Graebner and The Book Store by CCN but I need to scan those in so will post of progress shots next time.

Dawn of Spring by Mouse - top part
One thing I have been working on is Dawn of Spring which is the latest SAL on Friendly Stitchers and has been designed by my lovely and very talented friend Mouse.  It took me three attempts to decide on fabric and two attempts to get the thread colours right but I am happy with what I decided on and all I have to do now is catch up with everyone else.  I got a bit held up at the start as I injured my thumb in a silly accident in the kitchen and for the best part of a week I couldn't even hold a pen never mind a needle so there was no stitching for me.  It's not one of my Crazies so I work on it when I can, and it is such a lovely stitch with a few specialty stitches thrown in here and there to spice things up.  There's nothing like too many specialty stitches to put you off a design is there?

Oh - and I made another biscornu using Mouse's Harrogate design again.  This one was for my friend Yvonne for her birthday in February.  She loves it and has got it hanging up in her kitchen apparently where it has been much admired!  Yvonne and I met on a course to tutor in Adult Literacy about 12 or 13 years ago and have been friends ever since.

So there you go - I HAVE been stitching - despite what some people might think!

A couple of years ago I set up a round robin for members of my Friendly Stitchers group to stitch the Weather Poems series by Sue Cook which was in Cross Stitcher magazine in 1997 (yes I still have all the magazines!)  Not all of the girls carried on with it but one of the ones that did (Penny) sent me a little gift when she sent some of the magazines back to me.  Not only did she capture my love of plants but of cats too.  Thank you Penny - it was a completely unexpected gift and I absolutely love the charts and threads!

The coleus is one of the two remaining ones that I planted from seed last year

Ivy in an old teapot
I have been spending lots of time at the gardens and my allotment is full of veggies and potential veggies (ie seeds lol).  Currently in the ground are potatoes, leeks, carrots, parsnips and beetroot together with some oregano.  In the greenhouse I have got tomato plants, plum tomatoes, sweet peppers and aubergines and I also 

have 3 tomato plants here at home on the kitchen windowsill.  I've also got lots of flowers growing too and have brought home Livingston daisies and sweetpeas to go into the baskets and tubs and I've already planted up one of the baskets with pretty little violas.  I've also got petunias and impatiens (bizzie lizzies) in seed trays here at home.  I've got some lovely ivy leaf geraniums to go into planters too so hopefully there will be a blaze of colour in our little backyard beside the river when we get into summer proper ... if we get one of course!  I'll post up photos of those once they are planted up but for now here are some shots of a few of my plants and a few other things in and around Glasgow for your delictation!

Baby heron in the duck pond at Queens Park

One of the frogs in the ponds in the walled garden next to our  allotments in Kings Park
Glasgow Green - Cleopatra's Needle in the distance
Arched entrance to Glasgow Green
Thanks as always for dropping by to read and leave a comment (thanks to those of you who always do!)  I promise I will be back soon with more news.  


Ally xx

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Missing in Action

So so sorry guys for being missing for such a long time.   My laptop for some reason will not update my browser due to a missing Service Pack and so I need to get someone to fix it which will hopefully happen soon.  In the meantime, I am keeping busy with my jobsearch and also my stitching (of course).  I've started om the Crazy 15 Challenge but having checked my memory stick I only actually have a photo of one of those which of course you will get to see.

I've also been going to sewing machine classes (gasp horror!) and I can now actually use one of those mechanical beasts.  My little antique hand crank Frister & Rossman is feeling decidedly put out but I've also put in a couple of pics of what I have actually made!  The classes are over for now but we're all looking forward to getting back to it when our lovely teacher Dianne comes back from her holiday.

I'm really enjoying the Crazy 15 Challenge.  Some projects are coming along at a great rate, some not so great lol.  I guess it just depends on whether I get completely hooked on what I am doing at the time.  Once I have got the browser sorted I will upload pics of all my projects for you to see.

Anyways, I shall get myself off now and leave you with some nice photos of what I have been up to over the last few months.

Cushion in progress using an old stitched project from many years ago

Milkweeds and Monarchs by Diane Graebner

My first sewing machine finish - dontcha just love that fabric??

Traditional Sampler by Nancy Taplin of Friendly Stitchers - Part 5

Traditional Sampler by Nancy Taplin of Friendly Stitchers - Part 6

Thanks all for stopping by - I'll try not to leave it so long next time!


Ally xx