October 29, 2006

Update for the Weekend! Very Busy :-)

Hi Everyone - I hope you have been enjoying your weekend.

In UK, the clocks moved back 1 hour so that it is now dark by around 5.30 pm :-( Thankfully, it was clear and sunny today, so it did not seem as if Autumn had yet taken hold. I spent 2 hours in the garden trying out my new lawnmower for the first time (it has rained almost every day since I bought it and this weekend has been the first spell of dry weather for a while! The grass looks really green and even now!

I have also been decorating the front room this weekend, now that the fireplace is in place.

Here is a "before" photo showing the rather dated wallpaper complete with border at the top - very 1980's!

And below is what it now looks like with the door and rails painted (the paint is a cream called "Snowdrop") and the walls clear of paper.

My plan is to paper the walls in a plain textured finish that has the same effect as "raw" silk with the slubs on and then paint with emulsion. Above the rail will be a colour called Pure Water, which is a very subtle blue/green and below will be Burnt Almond which is a medium coloured mushroom brown.

Last weekend I received a lovely parcel of Gifties from Nela! As you can see, there are some beautiful objects, some that Nela made and other little extras like the sweetie bar. Thank you so much Nela for your generosity to have sent the parcel all the way from your beloved Zulia.

Unfortunately, Blogger has now done its normal "go-slow" and won't let me upload the photos of my seed sampler, so I will try again tomorrow!

Hope you have a good week coming up. Enjoy!

October 25, 2006

All About Books - Let's play Tag

1) One book that changed your life: (I do not have access to the book at present, as I am at work ... but I may have to come back and correct this ...) "Songbird" - forgot the author's name - DH lent me his copy of the book when we were "just friends" and I loved it .... and then came to love him.
2) One book that you’d read more than once: "The White Hotel" by D H Thomas - its a very harrowing book focussing on the Holocaust but with a storyline woven with references to Freud - really powerful and amazing. They have tried to make a film from it for the last 15 years, but have never been able to agree on a cast list due to the power of the characters .... its that kind of book.
3) One book you’d want on a deserted island: After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell
4) One book that made you laugh: "Neither Here nor There - Travels in Europe" Bill Bryson - I started laughing around page 3 and didnt really stop until the last page :-) He is wonderful and my DH loved all his books too
5) One book that made you cry: After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell
6) One book you wish you’d written: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
7) One book you wish had never been written: The DaVinci Code - I thought it was too hyped-up.
8) One book you’re currently reading:"History of the Spanish Civil War" by Antony Beavor - its a really interesting read!!
9) One book you’ve been meaning to read: "War and Peace" Tolstoy - its sooo big
10) Tags: AngelSan, Christine, Nela, Stitch (sorry only 4, but they are the only ones I can think of who have not been tagged!!)

October 17, 2006

Sampler and Fireplace Progress

Well, today has been a really busy and productive day. I managed about an hour on my sampler - although it does not look like I have done much, the backstitching on the geranium seems to have brought it to life ... I think it looks a bit more like a proper geranium, now :-D

Apart from stitching I spent a lot of today dashing back and forth from the local timber merchants getting some extra pieces of wood for the builders to complete the skirting board round the side of the fireplace. It was easier for me to nip out than them, mainly because I know the area well and also it meant that they could keep working LOL!

So .... here it is, TADAAAAA! I am super-happy with it - it is amazing what it has done to the room - it is a real focual point now. They finished at 3pm and I spent about 3 hours cleaning up all the brick dust etc. Although they worked very cleanly and put down dust sheets, it is amazing how the little bits of brick get underneath :-(
The mantelpiece is a piece of old weathered oak which my friend managed to get from a timber yard in the local area. When it was finished, I coated it with one layer of dark Oak matt varnish and as you can see it is really brought out the grain beautifully.

DH's squash racquet on the hearth is symbolic ... I just wanted to make sure he knows I am thinking of him and I hope he likes the fireplace as it had been our plan all along to build it.

DIY and Stitching - What a Combination!

Here is a "Before" photo of the fireplace in my front room. It was used for years (by the previous owners of the house) for burning logs and coal, hence it is well-worn and rather tatty looking! I have always thought it was rather ugly and have wanted to rebuild it for a couple of years. So I have taken off 3 days from work so that my friend and his mate, who are builders, can rip it out and rebuild a new one.

I don't really want a "working" fire as I have central heating, so want something attractive that will be a focal point for the room. I plan to put a log-basket in with some decorative logs and maybe a set with brass tongs and shovel on the hearth. I suppose I could even cross stitch one of those lovely firescreens that I see in magazines and never bother with because I have not had a proper fireplace before :-)

Below is a WIP photo of the fireplace after the first day. The wooden arch template gets taken out after the mortar has dried (overnight). I will be able to post what I hope will be the final photo at the end of the day today. There will be a large piece of oak on top (cut into shape) as the mantelpiece.

The next photo is a WIP of my Seed Sampler (hope you aren't getting bored of me putting photos on - my progress is rather slower than I would want, I'm afraid!) I have finally done a bit of the backstitching and also completed the Bee's Seeds lettering above the picture. If I can work away at it for the next 2 days while I am off work, then hopefully it will be finished by the weekend (fingers crossed!). Apologies for the rather poor quality of the photo - it wasn't until I uploaded it that I realised how bad it was :-( Will hopefully have a much better one for you later in the week.

Bye for now!

October 16, 2006

Memories of a Beautiful Wedding

Centre Arrangement on each table

Wedding Cake Decorations

My friends' wedding was amazing - everything went like a dream .... people commented on the favours and as you can see from the photos, the table arrangements and cake turned out really well! I was really worried leading up to the day, as its such a responsibility doing crafts for someone's wedding - you just hope everything is what they want - in my experience, it always turns out fine, but its those little tiny doubts in the back of your mind "can I really pull this one off and make it all just as I see it in my mind's eye?".
Nothing much to report on the progress of Seed Sampler ... do I have an excuse for a couple of days, to catch my breathe?! I have 3 days off work to do some jobs round the house and get myself back into the real world again so will fit in some stitching during that "me-time" :-)
Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!
Hugs xx

October 09, 2006

Latest WIP - Seed Sampler

Before I talk about my stitching, here is a photo of some beautiful flowers I received from work. I have been working on a Placement in the Personal Computing space in my company and I completed the project on Thursday, so my boss bought me the flowers to say thanks and to wish me luck in my new Placement which will be at a different site in a completely different IT group. I will really miss the team I have been working with because they are so friendly and have been incredibly supportive during my recent difficult times. I will of course keep in touch with them!

Now, onto Crafting matters :-D. Here is an update for you on my Seed Sampler - I have now completed the top left hand quadrant - as you can imagine it took ages due to all the colour changes and a bit of frogging due to badly aligned stitches :-( All that remains is the words of the little poem and backstitching. I am so looking forward to completing it now! I want to see it in a frame and also I am itching to start my Gail Bussi picture - I finally received the White Evenweave - it took so long to arrive because I originally ordered DMC but apparently because it is now supplied from France there are big order backlogs, so they sent me some Zweigart instead and it is just as good and slightly cheaper.

I am going to visit Hobby Craft at lunchtime today because I have to buy some silk flowers for the wedding cake - the wedding is this coming Saturday and I still have a couple of jobs to complete apart from this - I have a further 5 favours to do and also the place cards for the Wedding Breakfast so everyone knows where they will be sitting.

Enjoy your Monday ... if that is possible - hey just think, its a day closer to the weekend LOL!!

October 08, 2006

Traditional Craft Fayre

Yesterday I went to my local Craft Fayre which takes place twice per year in the field opposite my house. It is a 3 day event, set up in huge marquis, which takes about 2 hours to go round (if you want to see all the stalls).

Here are my purchases: A set of four Flower Fairies pictures. These pictures are unique in that they are all reclaimed colour plates from old books - I was firstly attracted to the Clover Fairy as this is my childhood favourite. Then I thought how nice it would be to have a set of 4 to hang at home. A complete impulse purchase but I am really pleased I bought them - the frames really do the pictures justice!

The other thing I bought was a sign to put next to the front door with my house number on and, of course, the squirrel relates to the name of the house :-)

October 02, 2006

Guest Stitcher Giftie

I recently took part as a Guest Stitcher, reviewing some charts in Cross Stitcher (I just hope no-one saw my photo in the mag, as its the most awful picture of me I have EVER seen - even though I sent through an "acceptable" photo to them to use!) - it was taken when San and I were at Stitch '06 and if I remember it had been raining, so I looked completely bedraggled AND no makeup - OMG a girlie's worst nightmare.

Anyway, enough of my vanity, beauty is but skin-deep :-) So, as a thank you, they send a £15 voucher to spend on the Superstitcher website. I have been completely undecided what to buy ... should I get some DMC threads (no, I have lots of them) or should I choose a kit (well, I have lots of them, but hey since when has that stopped us Stitchers? Big decisions, huh?

In the end, I have decided to go for a really cute Margaret Sherry design - its called The Hen Night and it does make me chuckle when I see it - aren't her characters just gorgeous? Not too sure when I will be able to stitch it, but its going in my Stash Collection as a future make! In fact, I have the chart for the Hens doing their knitting from a previous XS magazine, so it could make up the set :-)

Bye for now, Stitchy-Girls!

Ali xx

October 01, 2006

Wedding Favours

I have been busy making some wedding samplers for a member of DH's family which will take place on 14th October. The significance of the Mars bars is that the Groom's surname is the same the chocolate (except with a double 'r' ) and his nickname is even "Mars-bar" so the favours just had to be thus, didn't they? I have had to make 50 in total for all the people attending the sit-down meal after the ceremony which is taking place in Arundel on the South Coast. I have also made 2 special ones for the Mothers (of the Bride and of the Groom) which have a larger red rose instead of the small gold roses you can see - and also the ribbon is larger and is a sheer voile with gold threads it - they look really good (even if I say so myself).
The next task is to make a small circle of silk flowers (reds and pinks) which will sit on top of the wedding cake. I also have to write out the little place cards using an ink pen and my best handwriting, so I think I will try to do that next week.
It is going to be a very happy, but also a really sad day for us all, as DH will not be there in person, but will, of course, be there in spirit.
Love and Peace
Alison xx