February 28, 2006

From a WIP to a Happy Dance!

Hello friends,

This is definitely a "fast-track" XS entry - I started the Adam and Eve Sampler on the day that DH left for NZ 13 February (taking with him our digital camera :-). Now that he is back home again (hoooooraaaaah), I can reveal the finished piece to you, although I am afraid you did not have the normal 'big build up' with the "in progress" photos!

Yes, it looks mis-shaped at the moment, but I will stretch it on backing board as normal and then the border will be straight and even all the way round. The frame is a lovely dark wood with an discrete embellishment round the outside - I just bought it today from Hobbycraft! I will put a photo onto my blog with the frame for you to see, once I have bought the acid-free backing board on Friday.

So, I guess I am doing 2 Happy Dances at the moment, one for DH being back home again and the other dance for the finished Sampler! I hope you like it. I am now completing the Welsh Sampler and should be able to do another Happy Dance at the weekend. Its all good fun.

I hope that you are also enjoying your stitching and will soon have some Happy Dances of your own to do :-)

Hugs and happy thoughts, Alison xxxx

Alison's Activities

Here is a fun quiz to do - I picked it up from San http://angelsan.free.fr/blog.php.

I have added my X's- feel free to copy the list onto your blog and amend them according to the things that apply to you - enjoy!

(This is for your entire life):

( ) Crashed a friend’s car
( ) Stolen a car
(X) Been in love
(X) Been dumped
( ) Shoplifted
( ) Been fired
( ) Been in a fist fight
( ) Snuck out of your parent’s house
(X) Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back
( ) Been arrested
(X) Gone on a blind date
( ) Lied to a friend
(X) Skipped school
(X) Seen someone die
(X) Been to Canada
(X) Been to Mexico
(X) Been on a plane
( ) Set a part of yourself on fire
( ) Eaten sushi
( ) Been skiing
(X) Met someone from the Internet
(X) Been to a concert
(X) Taken painkillers
(X) Love someone or miss someone right now
(X) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
( ) Made a snow angel
(X) Had a tea party pretend or otherwise
(X) Flown a kite
(X) Built a sand castle
(X) Gone puddle jumping
(X) Played dress up
(X) Jumped into a pile of leaves
(X) Gone sledding
(X) Cheated while playing a game
(X) Been lonely
(X) Fallen asleep at work/school
( ) Used a fake ID
(X) Watched the sun set
( ) Felt an earthquake
(X) Slept beneath the stars
(X) Been tickled
(X) Been robbed
(X) Been misunderstood
( ) Petted a reindeer/goat/kangaroo OR jackalope
(X) Won a contest
( ) Run a red light/stop sign
( ) Been suspended from school
(X) Been in a car crash?
( ) Had braces
(X) Felt like an outcast/third person
( ) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(X) Had deja vu
(X) Danced in the moonlite
(X) Liked the way you looked
( ) Witnessed a crime
(X) Questioned your heart
( ) Been obsessed with post-it notes
( ) Squished mud through your bare feet
(X) Been lost
(X) Been on the opposite side of the country
(X) Swam in the ocean
(X) Felt like dying
(X) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers
(X) Recently colored with crayons
(X) Sang karaoke
( ) Paid for a meal with only coins
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t
( ) Made prank phone calls
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(X) Danced in the rain
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(X) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(X) Blown bubbles
( ) Made a bonfire on the beach…at the lake
(X) Crashed a party
(X) Gone roller-skating
(X) Had a wish come true
( ) Jumped off a bridge

1. What time is it? 15.10 hrs
2. How much do you love your job? it’s brilliant!
3. Ever steal any traffic signs? No
4. Favourite pie? Cottage Pie
5. Favorite number? 5
6. Favorite movie? The Jazz Singer
7. Favorite brand of body soap? Dove
8. Toothpaste? Colgate
9. Message to your friends reading this? I think the world of you
10. How do you see yourself in 10 years? Relaxed and Happy
11. What do you enjoy receiving? Hugs and kisses
12. What time is it now? 15.15 hrs

February 25, 2006

An Alternative Game to Try

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.

You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.

Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.

But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have high conscientiousness.

Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.

Most things in your life are organized and planned well.

But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have high agreeableness.

You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.

Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.

You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.


You have low neuroticism.

You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.

Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.

Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.

In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.

You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.

A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

What Colour Should Your Eyes Be?

Your Eyes Should Be Green

Your eyes reflect: Striking attractiveness and danger

What's hidden behind your eyes: A vivid inner world

Thanks to Karen for this cool game! Funnily enough, my results was the same as your's Karen i.e. my result is the same as my actual eye-colour :-)

February 24, 2006

Busy Day at University!

As it has been soooo cold in UK, I decided to "warm up" this blog entry with some Victoriana floral images. I don't know about you, but I feel as if it has been ages since I saw some colour and growth - there are a few tell-tale signs in our back garden that the crocuses are waking up but apart from that nothing else is growing yet.

It was so cold that I had to wear a thick woollen jumper, PLUS 2 T-Shirt! Maybe it was because I felt tired today, but I could not warm up all day! Yesterday it had snowed from morning until night, but thankfully nothing settled as the snowflakes were those big ones that melt as soon as they touch the ground. I am lucky in my job that I have a laptop so I can work from home if I want to - yesterday was an ideal day to stay indoors rather than driving in the bad weather!

This morning I left home early and went to the swimming pool for an Early-Bird swim before getting to University by 9.30. I received my marks for 2 exams I took before Christmas (for my Masters Degree) - I passed both (BIIIIG cause for a celebration!). I got A in Analysing Systems in Organisations and B in Enterprise Architecture. I only have 2 more modules to complete (Strategic Information Systems and Issues in Project Management), then from September onwards, I have to write a 15,000 word Dissertation (which is an analytical research report). I feel relief that the main hard work is done after 2 years. In a way I will be sad when I do not have to go to University each week as I have really enjoyed the lectures. There are 6 people in our group, so its a relaxed team and the lecturers make it a lot of fun.

Hoooorahhhhh - DH leaves New Zealand for London in only 12 hours' time (NZ local time) so I am feeling so excited that he will soon be back home with me again. When I spoke to him on Thursday morning (UK local time) he said that although he was enjoying himself, he was feeling ready to come back home again. I received his postcard today - typical of DH, he listed out all the food and different NZ wines he had sampled that week :-) He is incredibly easy to please .... "the way to his heart is via his tummy" !!!! Typical Taurus, of course, we are so alike - his birthday is 5 days before mine!

There are two things that I think you might look forward to ..... Firstly, from Tuesday, this blog will brighten up again as DH will bring back our digital camera and I can do some WIP photos of my Samplers (Adam and Eve - and also the Welsh Sampler that is FINALLY nearly finished yippeeeee!!!). I am very excited to show you what I have worked on in the past 2 weeks. Secondly .... I bought Cross Stitch Collection and Cross Stitch Crazy magazine today, so I will take some photos and do a review - Collection is another great issue. So stand by for some good reading :-) I think San will do a review of 'Crazy' - but I might add my own supplementary comments after she does the main review on her blog.

February 21, 2006

Snow, Hail, Wind, Cold, Sun (all in one day!)

I love the Dilbert strips - Alice is a top character, so I have put a funny on my blog today as it made me laugh and that's a good thing :-)

Today was the craziest day, weather-wise - probably like me at the moment, changing moods, can't stay still for a minute and can't settle.

I woke up quite early - it must have been around 6am because it was still dark outside. I got up and went downstairs to make a cup of coffee to start the day. I could see out of the side door in the kitchen that it must have rained in the night. By the time the kettle had boiled, there was a bit more daylight and I could see it was really snowing!! I scurried back to bed with my cuppa, brrrr it was too cold to stay up!!

When I got up at 7.30, it was quite light and the lawn looked as if it had icing sugar sprinkled on it. I did about an hour's stitching on my Adam and Eve sampler. Its looking really great, I only have about 4 more hours' work to do (that being the Alphabet at the top of the Sampler plus the single stitched border .... although I am rather tempted to add a bit of shape to it ... I will see how I feel).

Today was a good day's studying. I decided I would sit in the kitchen today so that I could not connect to the Internet which always diverts my attention, looking at everyone's blogs :-) I typed up an interview script which I will be using next week, to interview some managers at work for my Knowledge Management assignment.

Tonight, DH rang me! I was so happy to hear from him - he was sitting in his 'normal' place on the veranda with his morning coffee (it was 9pm in UK and 10 am in NZ). He was due to go off on a day trip with Matt and Trudy later in the day, which sounded fun and he was talking about all the things he wants to show me. I felt elated, knowing that he was thinking about me and planning our trip :-) I want him to have fun .... but not tooooo much fun LOL.

Hope you had a fun day too! I am now off to sleep as I am nearly falling asleep as I type this ... zzzzzzz

February 20, 2006

Stitching Q of the Week

Comment on your comments (giving and receiving):

Do you love comments or hate them? Do you check them every day, never check them, or find them helpful? And finally, are you convinced no one is reading your blog if you don't get any?

I think the current Stitching Question is a really popular one, and being in "Research Mode" as I am at the moment :-) I can confidently say that there is a 100% return vote for "I LOVE COMMENTS".... me included! I have only been keeping a blog since Christmas, but I already feel real happiness and pride when receiving comments - its so important to get the interaction and two-way feedback from people all round the world - what a wonderful thing is the Internet!

I feel as if my Blog is my "on-line Home", to which I invite and welcome my friends every day - so I feel it follows that when I visit a blog, I enjoy leaving a comment, just to say "thanks for having me", "its great to catch up on your latest news", "come over to my place some-time". So, I enjoy leaving comments as much as I get excited reading those left for me.

... and there is only so many times I can expect DH to say "that's nice stitching you're doing" but I know all my stitching friends will say it a million times and never get bored! Let's face it ...
"Stitching rocks!"

February 19, 2006

What does your Birthday Mean?

I would like to credit Mel's blog for the link to this cool 'game' - try it, its quick to do and a lot of fun!

Thanks, Mel - your site is great :-)


Your Birthdate:
May 20

You are a virtual roller coaster of emotions, and most people enjoy the ride.

Your mood tends to set the tone of the room, and when you're happy, this is a good thing.

When you get in a dark mood, watch out - it's very hard to get you out of it.

It's sometimes hard for you to cheer up, and your gloom can be contagious.

Your strength: Your warm heart

Your weakness: Trouble controlling your emotions

Your power color: Black

Your power symbol: Musical note

Your power month: February

Sunday, Lovely Sunday!

I thought I was going to struggle again to get myself motivated to do studying for my assignment .... but after a bit of a slow start (well, its a Sunday!), I did manage to do a few hours's work. But before that .... I got hooked onto my Adam & Eve sampler for a couple of hours. I just could not put it down, its so addictive!

Made some breakfast at 9.30 am and thought "I'll just do another 30 minutes more stitching, then must get my books out" - that went on for another hour :-) then the phone rang. It was my friend in Spain who called to say she had lost 12 lbs in weight since I last saw her, so we sat and chatted for a while which was lovely. at 11.30 I thought that if I did not get on with some reading, the whole day would go by (yet again!) and I would feel worse.

So despite the wrench to put down my cross-stitch, I sat down at the kitchen table with my books, journals and papers and got started. The next thing I knew, it was 2.30pm!! So I felt very virtuous, not getting distracted like I normally do (i.e. doing a sneaky Sudoku puzzle from DH's book :-)

My research for the assignment is Knowledge Management in organisations - it deals with how companies use IT systems to capture and use knowledge to gain competitive advantage, so its a very interesting subject. I normally find that once I get started, I do enjoy the research, its just getting myself organised and not getting hooked on stitching for hours!

At 3pm I decided to go out for a run, just to clear the fuzz from my brain - got back soaking wet because it was windy, raining, freezing cold and really miserable - had a bath and then just as I was walking through the door, DH rang me from NZ to tell me he was sitting on the veranda in his shorts and T-Shirt. He had been out to a motorbike rally with our friends the previous day and was full of stories about riding pillion at 125 mph etc (all exciting "boys-stuff" - he's just a big kid).

I hope that everyone has had a really enjoyable weekend with loads of stitching activity - I always enjoy browsing the blogs on a Monday, as the weekends can often the most productive time for us stitchy-girls :o)

February 18, 2006

Adding Photo to my Profile

Help! I have been trying to add my photo to my Blog Profile but have been going round in circles!

I have downloaded the Hello/Picasa software but am now unsure of the next step. In my Blogger profile, it says to add the URL of the photo. As it is stored on my computer, it does not accept the path name.

Also, I tried to add my Blogger to Hello, but I added the wrong name :-( and now it does not seem to let me remove it, to correct the name - only other option in the drop-down box is "Create a New Blog". Its not the easiest piece of software to use and the Help is really basic.

Any help would be appreciated!

February 16, 2006

Day Off Today (hence .... Long Blog!!)

I have been at home today, which has been really nice. I normally go to University for lectures on Fridays, but this week was a Reading Week (which basically means "time to catch up on my assignment work because I haven't even started it yet"!). I woke up early and decided to get down to the local swimming pool for an "early-bird swim" - there is nothing like some exercise to get motivation levels up. Then a quick dash to the supermarket, picked up some bits and pieces for the weekend (nice salad things, jacket potatoes, fresh bread and lovely strawberries on special offer, yummm) .... strangely enough World of Cross Stitch fell into my basket without me noticing ....what a surprise, LOL!
Came home and put on a wash-load as there was a week's worth of sport's kit and work clothes - how can one person create so much mess and work???
Despite the semi-energetic start to my day, I had no incentive to study today, which often happens when I have a lot of time (I end up doing less than normal - WHY???? It must be some subconscious gremlin that sits inside my head and tempts me to do nice things like cross-stitching and blogging). I decided to create a Stitchy Gallery, which will link to this Blog. The Master Plan is that it will be my permanent Gallery, to include Happy Dances, WIPs, UFOs and Wish List - although I will do ongoing WIP photos on this blog so I can chat to everyone about progress. It may take a few weeks to get it really how I want it, so I have decided not to add the link just yet - I am sure after all the big "build-up", you will be dying to see it LOL!! Don't worry if you don't hear anything for a few weeks, its all still going on ..... behind the scenes :-) Then it can be like a Grand Unveiling in some uptown Art Gallery - see, I'm dreaming again.
Over lunch, I made some progress on my latest project - I keep calling it my Adam-and-Eve Sampler, the one DH's Mum bought me for Christmas (she's wonderful!). DH has the digital camera in NZ so I will have to take a photo of my work when he gets back. Its a nice relaxing one to do - the photo below was the one I took of the actual kit.
So here I am mid-afternoon, writing my blog, feeling a bit bad for not doing at least 2 hours of work before finishing for the evening - then again, I will do some over the weekend to keep myself busy. I have created a work-plan for 4 hours each day - so that leaves me 20 hours to eat, sleep and .... yes, stitch!!!!!!!
I have an exam on 28th February so must be back into 'motivation-mode' before that - I also have to do two 5,000 word assignments for April and they take a loooooooong time. PANIC!!!!
I hope that whatever you have been busy doing in your day, you have had a great time - I have been dropping into quite a few blogs, leaving messages here and there and admiring the beautiful crafts we love so much. Its such fun this blogging!! Take care and speak to you soon xxxxx

February 13, 2006

Day 1 WDH (Without DH)

DH is, as we speak, flying to New Zealand - by my calculations, he will be over Eastern Europe by now! Yesterday was really really hard for me - outside I was so excited for him going to the Southern Hemisphere, with all the wonderful experiences he will gain and I know he will have a lovely time. Inside I was feeling so melancholic as we have never been apart before for more than a couple of days. But despite my outward appearance, he knew what was going on ... let's face it, he knows me so well.

Work today has been a relief - keeping me really busy and no time to sit and mope!

My blog entries will probably be slightly less colourful as DH took the digital camera. I have added some Tatty Ted's to break up the text somewhat.

If, like me, you enjoy reading San's reviews of our top UK Cross Stitch magazines, take a look at her latest views for Cross Stitcher http://angelsan.free.fr/blog.php?p=774#comments - it looks like a good issue, judging by San's comments!

I have terminated my subscription for Q&E Cross Stitch as it has disappointed me for about 90% of the year (the renewal notice arrived at the weekend and it prompted me to make the decision!). Despite the excellent credentials of the guest designers, there are a number of charts that I feel fall well short of the quality I would expect to pay for. I did feedback some comments to the editor but I feel it may not have been taken seriously enough for changes to be made ....

I will be doing a review of Cross Stitch Collection on Saturday as it is due to reach the shops on Friday.

Sincere good wishes to you all for a dreamy Valentine's Day, and, including those to whom the day does not hold a particular significance (as I am aware that not everyone is in agreement with the commerciality of the Day -a sentiment I partially agree with), may your Tuesday be happy, peaceful and serene.

February 11, 2006

Finished Wedding Sampler

Hi Everyone,

It was really amazing how many kind comments I received on my blog - thank you all so much, I felt instantly better :-) What a lovely bunch of people you are - big hugs all round!!

Here is a photo of the framed Wedding Sampler for you to see! I am so excited about it - I just wish I could be there to see the newly-weds open up the parcel!

Sorry this posting is short today - its DH's last weekend before he heads off to New Zealand, so I am cooking our meal at home and then we will open our presents. The parcel he promised arrived this morning - I have not opened it yet as I was waiting for him to return home (he had to work today). Will post all my latest news on Monday.

Take care and enjoy your weekend - have fun!

Some Romantic Poems


"Love does not consist in gazing at each-other
but in looking together in the same direction."
~by Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

"Love is a fruit in season at all times,and within the reach of every hand."
~By Mother Teresa~

"Love like paint,
can make things beautiful
when you spread it,
but it simply dries up
when you don't use it."
~Author Unknown~

"The rose speaks of love silently,in a language known only to the heart."
~Author Unknown~

"The sound of a kiss is not so loud as a cannon,
but it's echo lasts a great deal longer."
~Author Unknown~
"Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing
while she mops up the floor
after her husband has walked
across it in his barn boots."
~By Hoosier Farmer~

"Let us have love and more love;
a love that melts all opposition,
a love that conquers all foes,
a love that sweeps away all barriers,
a love that aboundeth in charity,
a large-heartedness,
forgiveness and noble striving,
a love that triumphs over all obstacles."
~By Abdul Baha ( 1844-1921)~

"I Heard Him Say"
Accept the things to which fate binds you,
and love the people with whom fate brings you together,
but do so with all your heart."
~Unknown Author~

"Love: It is the greatest thing that God can give us,
for God himself is love.
Love is the greatest thing we can give to God,
for it will also give ourselves,
and carry with it all that is ours."
~By Jeremy Taylor~

February 08, 2006

Time for Romance ... but no DH :-(

Sorry for no blog entries this week, I have been off with a streaming head-cold and have been rather sorry for myself. I hope to be back in action soon. And I hope everyone is well and do not have a red nose like me :-(
Well, those who have been following my blog will know that DH will be travelling to New Zealand on Monday 13th and I sadly cannot go as I have exams in a couple of weeks and am also not able to take time off work. So we will not be together on Feb 14th - but we will be together in spirit. He said he is going to call me as soon as he arrives at Matt and Trudy's house, to let me know he arrived safely.

He has told me that I need to be around this Saturday for a delivery .... so that sounds really interesting and exciting. I think we will end up clebrating our Valentines day on Saturday as I will give him the presents and cards when we have dinner. So maybe I ought to cook something special .... hmmm will look in my recipe books to see what inspiration I can get.

Will hopefully feel more human tomorrow and will talk some more about crafts
Hugs Ali xxx

February 02, 2006

Its Woolie Sock Weather

One of life's great mysteries .... February is the shortest month, yet it seems to last longer than the others! Judging by the weather here in the south of England, it has been really cold, and definitely calls for thick woolie socks, hat, gloves and staying cosy indoors. Today was the first day for a week when the thermometer did not dip well below freezing-point. We had a bit of milky sunshine at lunchtime so it ended up being pleasant to look at, but still so cold.

Everyone seems to be getting into romance mode, especially us Crafting girls as we always think 4 weeks ahead of everyone else :-) Well, I guess the card and gift shops also think ahead too, as everywhere I shop, it is full of pink hearts, fluffy cards, cute teddies - what an excellent time of year.

In view of this air of romance, I thought I would reveal what I have bought for DH this year - there is no danger of him reading this message, as he uses the Internet less frequently than most (although Amazon seems to be in his favourites at the moment!). So here goes ...

- 2 cards, one romantic (it's in my blog entry about a week ago, in case you did not see it before) and one funny cartoon one of Purple Ronnie

- A mini-box of chocolates which spell out " I heart Y-O-U " - substitute the heart with a red heart-shaped chocolate
- A bee coloured stripped purple and red, carrying a heart which says "Bee Mine" on it.
- A book called "Does Anything Eat Wasps?" - its one of those fascinating scientific fact books with questions you always wondered about like the one in the title and "Is Britain getting lower in the South, and Higher in the North?" - giving books like this to a DH like mine makes you an instant hit and his v. v. best friend :-).

Update on the Wedding Sampler - FINISHED, Happy Dances all round :-)

I managed to finish Matthew and Trudy's Wedding Sampler by Saturday lunchtime which I was so pleased and relieved about - phew, a week ahead of schedule! All that remains now, is to pick up the mount and backing board from my friendly frame-shop on Friday. Then I will stretch and lace the sampler and put it into the Frame on Saturday. I managed to find a fabulous frame, just what I was looking for - its a dark mahogany coloured wood, very old-fashioned looking and the most important thing of all, it is 10 inches x 10 inches square. It is soooo difficult finding nice square frames - there are loads of 10 x 8, 9 x 7, 10 x 14 etc, but so few with equal sides.

Here is a detail photo to show the beads that I added (they were not in the original chart, but its nice to adapt, isn't it). They are ivory pearl Mill Hill seed beads. Sorry for the poor quality photo, the light quality was poor when I took the photo and I was trying to stop the camera using a flash as that normally means the beads disappear!.

So, now its back to my Welsh Sampler project that had to wait in the craft room for a few weeks! I managed to do some more of the border lines - there is probably only about 4 hours more to do before it is completed. My frame-shop get used to my little flurries of activity - suddenly I will be in and out of their shop for a few weeks with some goodies to show off, before disappearing again to work on the next 'assignment'.

After I finish the Welsh Sampler, it definitely calls for a "cute-n-cuddly" project, with a bit of back-stitch in it - I feel as if I need to give the samplers a rest for a while, but not too long, because I am addicted to them :-)

February 01, 2006

View my Crafts Online!

I am going to the crafts shop after work so I will let you know if I get some interesting stash!! I still have not received the threads from Sewdiscounted to finish off the wedding sampler, so I am starting to panic a bit. As its such a small amount of money to buy the missing DMC thread I think I will buy them and then I can keep the others in my thread box as spares - they are popular colours for my samplers so will have no problem using them.

In case you are wondering .... my friend Sue sent me a lovely e-mail with Tatty Ted's everywhere, so I will probably be completely over-kill with them everywhere up until Valentine's Day as there are some cute 'romantic' ones that are appropriate for this time of year!

My On-Line Gallery

http://alisonbulbeck.myphotoalbum.com/ If the link is 'dodgy', then simply copy and paste into your browser, you know the routine ;-)

Lack of time currently prevents me from setting up my own hosted website (this is an ambition, once I have finished my Masters next year!). However, as an interim solution I am using a free on-line gallery to store and display a few things I have made in the past couple of years. Ssome of the things were gifts and others were for craft fairs that I have done in the past. I need to update it with more recent photos, but I thought I would include it in my Blog, and I will also update the link list on my Blog sidebar.

Then I can let you know via a blog entry each time I update it with any new photos.