Tuesday, 23 January 2018

An old favourite

One of the activities on Needlecraft Haven (a crafting forum I host for members to chat about stitching, knitting, crochet, beading, in fact any craft really) is our Reading Challenge. Each December I ask for volunteers to nominate our reading books over the coming year. This year 4 members volunteered so over the year we'll each choice a book three times ....

.... for me that's good news as selecting one book would have been tricky for me, I'm so pleased to be able to choose three!

This year's theme is childhood favourites, any book you loved reading as a child. As these will be re-read books we are reviewing the books in the same month (usually we review a month later to allow everyone time to read).

January was my choice and one book I loved when younger was Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I love the descriptiveness in his writing, you can picture the river bank, Mr Badger, Mole, Ratty and of course mischievous Toad. The characteristics of each animal is so apt for their role in the story, and although he causes quite a bit of trouble you can't help but chuckle at Toad's antics.

I have really enjoy reading this again, it brought back many memories of my childhood bedroom lying on my bed reading, there is certainly more to a book than just the story inside.

Over the last week I've had two lovely finishes, both gifts so I cannot share just yet but I can share the starting photo of one. The start of each year is busy for me as many of my friends and family members have early birthdays, and of course Easter will be early this year too, although I only stitch for exchanges at Easter.

It's an exciting week for us as not only is it Hubby's last full week at work, he retires next Tuesday, but his sister is over from America. That said he's on holiday Thursday as we're all going out for afternoon tea, so this will be a short working week - life will be very different, we are both very excited.

I hope you've all had a productive January with all your crafting.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Finally framed

Back in 2012 I took part in a Round Robin with Julie, Lynn, Tina, and Dusty. I chose Angel Blessings from Cross Stitch Gold which was my Secret Santa gift at work. As it was a large piece I just asked everyone to stitch as much as they wanted and I finished it off when it came home, it was a lovely piece to work on.

Initially I was going to make it into a table cloth and I have pulled some of the thread to make a Drawn Thread edging - however I changed my mind as the beautiful design would have been covered if used on a table.

So I have decided to frame it - really glad I did as I love it.

Angel Blessings
I also decided to finally frame a design I stitched many years ago. It's a design by Chris who used to run Aion and was a subscribers chart in one of the cross stitch magazines, I think over four issues.

I loved the garden design and how the year progressed, it was fun to stitch too but as with many things was left in the drawer. I have no idea where I will be hanging it though hee hee.

Yearly Sampler

I have manged to get quite a bit more finished on my Sampler Bouquet - it helps being able to be in the Parlour on a Wednesday night with the Needlecraft Haven ladies, although this week I have a scout meeting.
Sampler Bouquet - Jardin Privé
This year I have quite a few gifts to stitch; Gill's bookmark in my previous post was my first and I've nearly finished the second. I need to get the third and fourth done too as the occasions will soon be here.

I hope your 2018 stitching is going well - enjoy.

Monday, 8 January 2018

January's off to a good start

I hope you 2018 has started well - it is certainly going to be a very different year for us as Hubby is retiring at the end of January. He's worked for Landrover for 39 years and has decided to leave work early and join me in retirement - he's 56 :-)

It is so nice that all our years of careful planning, not over stretching have paid off and we can now enjoy our time a little earlier than expected. We've plenty of plan including a few holidays and a new car :-)

I have also had a good start to 2018 - at my first Ankle Class of the year I have been promoted to just a walking stick - whoo hoo. I was using just one crutch but it was cumbersome and I was leaning to that side so physio has moved me up. I'm also progressing in class and am now able to complete more of the exercises set so here's hoping things start moving a little faster.

Stitching wise I have been working on my Sampler Bouquet - it's going in our bedroom. I'm trying to get it stitched quickly so it can be framed and put up as the walls are a little bare as yet.

The next panel completed
I have quite a few gifts to stitch in 2018, as well as birthdays (some special) there's a wedding too. The first of this year's gifts was a bookmark for my friend Gill, it's always tricky for Postie as her birthday is at the very start of January, but he made it :-)

I stitched Gill a blackwork bookmark using Weeks Dye Works whiskey, I'm so pleased with how the variegation worked out.

I have Needlecraft Haven's monthly challenge to do and another birthday is approaching fast so I best get stitching. Here's to a stitch filled 2018. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 draws to a close

Well 2017 has certainly been an eventful year - here's a collage of my stitching, I was surprised at how many finishes I had.

I've two more gift photos to share - Postie arrived with two Christmas parcels from my friends overseas, a lovely surprise that extended our festivities - thank you.

Beautiful broach from Deb
Two gorgeous coasters from Cathy
I've just finished my final ornament for 2017 - it's my orts ornie. Every year I save my orts in a bon bon jar my MIL bought me many years ago - then between Christmas and New Year I stitch a final ornament and stuff it with my orts. This year I used a lovely DMC varigated thread I received from Gill for Christmas.

2017 orts
Used as my stuffing 
My 2017 Orts Ornie
Wishing all my stitching friends a very Happy New Year - let those needles fly in 2018 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas 2017

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and are still enjoying the festivities today, St Stephen's Day. I had a lovely time with my family, it's always nice when we are all together.

Christmas is about giving and receiving - I love opening presents but the best bit is always seeing others faces when they open theirs or receiving a thank you message. I've had some lovely gifts this year from friends and family: thank you everyone x x

So many lovely gifts - thank you
Perfect Radley back-pack bag from my daughter
I have some very clever friends - superb handmade gifts 
Time to get our records out of the attic thanks to our son's gift
This year I stitched a Santa ornament for each of my stitching friends both here in he UK and overseas. I also made a few Christmas cards, both were great fun to make and I hope brought a smile to those who received.
Handmade Christmas cards
A few more I enjoyed making 
13 Santa's now residing around the world 
You can see Santa a little clearer on this
photo from my friend in the USA 

Last summer on Needlecraft Haven we had a Holiday Exchange where we kitted up a small Christmas design and sent it to our partner. We had to stitch up the kit received to complete the exchange. I always send a gift to my favourite weatherman on our tv and my exchange kit was just perfect to make into a coaster for him. I had a lovely message to say it had made him smile which is what a gift is for, so thank you Deb your Holiday Exchange gift gave me joy to stitch and passed a smile on.
Stitched for my favourite weatherman
Needlecraft Haven also has a Four Season's SAL each year when we stitch a design for each season as the month's progress. This year I stitched four small designs and made them into coasters. I have four friends who I meet quite often for a coffee and chat - we all worked together at school but have now all retired. I gave a coaster to each for Christmas so they now share the four season's between them.
Four Season's SAL - four coasters for four friends 
I've really enjoyed my 2017 gift stitching, I know I have quite a few gifts to do for 2018 as looking at my diary it's a busy year with birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. However my next gift stitching is to myself  each year between Christmas and New Year I stitch a small ornament and fill it with all the orts from the years stitching.

So I'm off to settle on the sofa to choose a design from this year's Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament magazine - season's greetings to you all x x x

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Tree Festival 2017

We visited the church today to see all the trees - 60 real Christmas trees all decorated differently, so may clever themes. Here's a few of my favourite play on words:

The Pair Tree - everything was hung in pairs (but just one pair of scissors hee hee)

Trigonom-e-tree - card shapes decorated by the little ones at nursery

Local Dignitrees - this was the Parish Councils entry with plenty of photos

Knitivitry - this lady knits such gorgeous little ornaments every year

As you know I stitch ornaments for my tree every year and a few of my stitching friends very kindly send ornaments too. You can see them in my recent posts - thanks everyone.

This year my tree was Winter Wonderland and I really am delighted in how it looked amongst all the other amazing trees in church with lights everywhere. The smell in church is amazing as all 60 trees are real - all in all a wondrous Christmas sight.

The Nativity - donated by
Radford and Halbrooks Methodist Church
Three Wise Men - donated by
Radford and Halbrooks Methodist Church

Stars for our Dads added to the
Remembrance Tree

The Blue Planet Documentree
 - Phoebe 'n' Aubrey Oliver

Wedding Bells - Ansley Ringers
Knitivity - Maureen Webb
The Artery - Betty Gadsby
My tree with a superb model of our church
Looking towards the altar - such an amazing sight
 It is such a great event to be part of - the trees stay in place right through Christmas making the services extra special and being a superb addition to any winter wedding.

The money raised this year is going to church funds with 20% being donated to Nuneaton's main hospice - Mary Ann Evans. Huge cheers for everyone involved - thinking cps on for 2018 !

Friday, 1 December 2017

Christmas is coming ...

...... and has arrived at St Lawrence's Church as all the trees are up and decorated. The church is open every weekend until Christmas, it's a stunning sight and a big part of my festive season.

Thank you to everyone who sent an ornament for this year's tree - Winter Wonderland. I have posted about some in previous posts however these arrived too, thank you Julie, Mary and Niki.

From Julie
From Mary
From Niki
Winter Wonderland
Close up 
Snowy look
 I have again made Hubby's advent calendar and again it's a bottle one. It's been tricky getting out to get 24 bottles but our son helped and thankfully I can now drive short distances. They all look very inviting wrapped up - cheers
Hubby's advent 
I've been spoilt this year, Hubby bought me the Yankee Candles advent calander - it smells gorgeous even without opening the windows. Today's tealight was Macaron Treats and should last 6 hours - it does smell good.

Yankee Candle advent calendar
Macaron Treats inside Number 1 
My candle shining brightly
Hubby was given an advent calendar at work - it's from a German company and is the cutest advent I've seen in ages. A log cabin with windows all round and inside Window One was a Lindt white chocolate ball safely held in a plastic mould. A brilliant product that I wish we had as advent calendars over here.
What a great idea
I hope you've all had lovely surprises behind your first window in your calendar. Enjoy December with all its fun times building up to Christmas, it isn't all about stress and shopping, there are many thing to enjoy as we move through the month to Christmas Day.

Season's Greeting to you all x x