December 18, 2007


Hi XS Blogger Friends throughout the World:

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Season
Keep on blogging and stitching in 2008!!

With happiness and peace to you and your's
Alison xxxxx

December 12, 2007

Christmas Makes!

Hi everyone

As promised, today's posting includes a couple of 'makes' that I have been working on for Christmas. The stocking cost me about 30 pence / 65 c (probably would have cost £2 in the shops!) and the table decoration was about £5 / $10.50 - just goes to show that making-your-own is not only more original and special, its so much cheaper too :-)

The red squirrel was a prized find in Hobbycraft in early November and I found the hedgehog a couple of weeks later so thought they would be an unusual Christmas centre-piece with the scented candle and glittery pinecones that I found under the tree on the other side of the lane, when I went for a walk in the late summer.
Will do a more detailed update with additional photos shortly
Hope everyone is having fun in the lead-up to Christmas and the holidays ahead
PS - San, I hope you get my cards, but let me know if you don't and I will send another couple in time before you leave for Lille on 20th!
Alison xxx

December 04, 2007

Some acknowledgements


Just an addendum to my latest blog entry, in alphabetical order:

Felicity: Thanks for your wonderful, 'blissful' newsy letter and Christmas card which arrived safely today. It was great to read all the latest from you and I am busily writing a reply which I will post with your Christmas card tomorrow, so stand-by your mailbox, girl LOL ;-D

Isabelle: Please may I have your postal address so I can send your Christmas card? Malheureusement, I did not receive your gift that you mentioned you posted around end Sept Booo Hoooo :-((( Sadly, that's the main problem with notre courier de l'escargot, I'm afraid to say xx

Margaret: Hopefully you will receive an envelope from me this week as the post office said that it would take 5 - 7 working days and I sent it last Wednesday ..... here's to a X-Stitch Round Robin for 2008 - I'm determined this time :-)) Maybe the Margaret Sherry Advent Calendar that we planned last year, if you still fancy that, or else another of your choosing.

Nela: Mil gracias por tus comentarios en mi blog y espero visitar el tuyo este fin de semana para ponerme al dia con todos tus proyectos de XS. Ojala que el sol brille aca en Maracaibo - que aqui en Inglaterra hace un dia gris, con nubes hasta la cabeza, y lluvia lluvia lluvia, :-((

San: Hopefully you will have received my cards for you and DBF and another for Maman with my love. I sent the cards by internal post last week. Will hopefully be able to set a date to visit Chez San this side of Christmas when I am at the Stevenage site - around Friday week I think ... The cushion on your website is awesome, by the way!

December 03, 2007

Christmas Makes!

Hi Everyone!

Since I arrived back from Philadelphia about 2 weeks ago, I have been getting into the swing of Christmas. When I was over there, I could tell that our American friends take their Christmas celebrations seriously, with the shopping malls fit to burst with people, at the beginning of November, undoubtedly getting ready for Thanksgiving as well! Unfortunately, despite looking for craft shops, there were none in the malls that I visited - I think the majority of crafting is now available over the internet, so most individual craft stores must be struggling to compete (or else are moving to majority web trading, to save money on rents).

In UK, we seem to be moving away from traditional green Christmas trees (of the artificial variety) with different colour trends such as black, chocolate brown, white and copper colours being most evident this year. I found a very unusual but attractive colour combination, teal green and black! There are lots of purple and bronze baubles and decorations in the shops which compliment it really well. I have added a photograph from the shop's website, because my photo didn't show the teal green off particularly well - its probably not that clear from this photo either! I also treated myself to a multi-function light string, which has 5 different settings on, from fade and constant, to graduated and flashing! Should keep me amused :-)

As well as buying the tree, I did most of my Christmas shopping as well, and spent the weekend wrapping up presents and writing labels. Most weekends in December I will be doing the rounds to family and friends so I thought it would be best to "bite the bullet" and get it all done at the start of the month rather than having to spread it out over the month - as I am bound to forget it, if it isn't on my list!

I have been making a Christmas Candle table decoration (I will add a photo tomorrow as I have nearly finished it) - with a squirrel and hedgehog with some pine-cones on a hessian covered board. In all, it has only cost me £5 because I had most of the materials and just bought the two animals from Hobby Craft

Happy Crafting! xxx

November 04, 2007

New Era, New Look!


Well, I decided to choose a new theme for my blog, its called Tequilla. It has unfortunately wiped out all my links to my fave blogs, so I will remediate as soon as possible, as I have a list of those I linked to. I just had this impulse to give my blog a "whole new look" LOL! It is like having a new hairstyle, or giving your house a make-over, a way of marking the beginning of a new era.

If you would like me to link to your blog, feel free to let me know and I will add you.

I heard from my tutor about 10 days ago that I had passed my MSc with a Distinction. It has not sunk in yet, so I haven't exactly celebrated passing, but I do feel relieved that all the stress from the last year has been lifted. As you know, recent times have been very challenging, so there are a lot of things that have an 'unreal' quality about them. Maybe that is life, just when we think we have got it all 'sussed' and life is mapped out for us, then something happens to 'warn' us not to take people or situations for granted.

I am writing this blog entry sitting in a hotel room in Philadelphia, would you believe! I travelled over here yesterday arriving at 3.15pm local time, so I am still feeling a bit jet-lagged. My watch tells me it is 6.45 pm (which is local US East-coast time) but my laptop clock (which is set to UK GMT) is telling me it is nearly midnight - hence that is how my body feels!

I had a free day today (Sunday) looking round Philly and taking in the sights - I am a bit of a culture-vulture and enjoy the local heritage of the places I visit. The Liberty Bell (see image above) is really beautiful and an icon for all who seek and struggle for equality and fair-minded liberalism. As you can see, it has a big crack in the side, which is apparently due to the fact that, like many bells made in the 18th century, the Liberty Bell was made of a mixture of metals, which made it vulnerable to crack when in use. It is no longer rung and is exhibited free of charge in down-town Philadelphia (in the Market Street/6th area of the city). If you get the opportunity, I can recommend a visit, you won't be disappointed. You can even buy your own miniature version (which does ring :-) from the Visitor Centre. Handy for requesting breakfast in bed or afternoon tea, LOL :-D

Tomorrow (Monday) is the start of a busy week as I have meetings in our Philadephia and King of Prussia offices. I will have the pleasure of meeting with people I have only been able to deal with by telephone until now, so it will really be good to put faces-to-names, as they say!

Since I finished my studies in September, I have regrettably had precious-little time to do cross-stitch, and only a couple of hours here and there to make a couple of cards for friends whose birthdays fell in recent weeks. I am just waiting to get this next week's business trip out of the way (which I have been preparing for) and then I think that work will calm down in the lead up to Thanksgiving in US and Christmas generally. I am planning to take around 3 weeks off over Christmas, so its time to max-out on the stitching, yeahhhhhhhhh!!!!

Well, that's about all for now, take care everyone and look forward to visiting your blogs more, now that I have some spare time to enjoy my freedom!!

Warmest wishes
Alison xxxx

June 05, 2007

My Latest News

Hello there, Crafters!

NB - don't be confused by the date of this entry - I have made it today, 20/Aug, however I think I must have started the entry back in June and edited that entry, so it must have kept the same date - shame on me, how long it has take me but please forgive me, I have an excuse ....

It has been ages since I posted on my blog. I have been hard at work on my MSc Dissertation all these months, and I can hardly believe how fast the summer has flown by. Before we know it, the nights are drawing in and its like autumn, but as you probably know if you are in North Europe, the summer has been rather non-existent this year :-(

I only have 17 days to go until I have to hand in my project to my University, two paper copies and an electronic copy to be posted onto their secure website. Then my summer can begin LOL.

It has been awful not being able to stitch - I can't really concentrate on anything at the moment, just getting the Dissertation finished off, all 13,000 words of it!

I also started my new job in mid-July (at the same company, doing something similar to what I was doing before, but more interesting ... and a bit more money - not a prerequisite for happiness .... but it does help with the Crafting habit LOL!!!!).

I do hope that you are all well. So much has been happening out there in the world. Dear Isabelle and Sebastien are now Husband and Wife - many congratulations - San is shortly moving house - and so on. Facebook and other "social networking" sites seem to have sprung up as if from nowhere, in only the past couple of months (or maybe publicity has increased!). I have been visiting people's blogs very briefly from time to time to "keep in touch", vowing to myself that as soon as I have finished my work I will get back on the Blog Trail and post comments (it takes me time, because I like to read all the postings and then comment specifically on things of interest). Its lovely having something nice to look forward to, so in 17 days' time I will be able to indulge in my favourite pastimes - stitching and blogging!

Watch this space!

Thanks for your patience and friendship,
Much love
Alison xx

May 11, 2007

At long last!!

Hi all my blogging friends!

It has been a gap of a couple of months since I last blogged, partly because of my MSc dissertation but also because of sloath! So no real excuse I am afraid, but here I am, all the same.

Since I last placed a posting here, I have been to the Stitch 07 Exhibition at Olympia which I really enjoyed with San and her mum. I bought the most gorgeous book, which I will try to photograph as some of the designs are beautiful - typically English country scenes (barns, farmyard animals and birds/insects etc). I have just started doing one of the designs. I know I must finish my Seed Sampler, but somehow I cannot feel motivated to do all the back stitching in one go :0) I think I will pick it up and do half an hour here and there, and one day soon, it will be complete.

This month, for all those who know me, is going to be very sad, but I guess a bit triumphant in a way - my DH died on 31st May and I cannot believe the year has flown so quickly, but hey I have survived the dark days and although I cry for him a little each day and feel so sad that there are many things that have been happening to me that I can only tell him about in my thought and reflections, rather than have him here to experience the things with me. Life moves along gently and, to be honest, happily, because I know he would want me to be at peace with the world, which I generally am. Work has kept me busy and I spend time with family and friends when I am not studying.

Tomorrow evening, the Squash Club (where Mike was a member for many years and played regularly in the Leagues and competitions) is holding the first Annual Mike Bulbeck Squash Championship. I have been invited to give away the trophy to the winner, which I know is going to be bitter-sweet, because Mike would have been there competing - he was such a great sporting man, never worried if he "lost" but just enjoyed the challenge of the sport.

The experience of losing Mike has changed me so much over the last year - where I used to get annoyed or impatient, I cannot bring myself to, where I was miserable I am now happy and where I was ungrateful, I am now so tenacious of life because it can be taken away so easily, I am now just happy to be alive and with people who have shown me such support and feeling. My friend's little girl (who is only 5) asked me why I was crying and I explained to her that I had lost someone who I loved and that I missed him - she put out her arms and gave me a huge hug and I felt that she had taken away the pain in that moment.

Life is wonderful, sometimes painful, but always worth living .....

Thanks for coming back to my blog, even when I haven't had the strength to put hands to keyboard, it means so much and I will get back to some crafting soon - now that the summer is here, the daylight will give me more of any incentive.

With warmest wishes
Alison xxxx

March 17, 2007

Sunny Saturday!

Hi Everyone,

Well, have you missed me? .... I have missed you !!!

I am so sorry I have not been posting lately, but my dissertation for my Masters is taking up a lot more of my free-time than I thought possible :-( I am hoping to have a bit more space over the Easter holidays to do other things, especially blogging, gardening and a bit more stitching. I guess I feel I ought to be studying at the moment because I only have 6 months left before I have to hand in my 12,000 word 'dissy'. I have really been missing the cross-stitching and what makes it worse, I went round to San's house and saw all the wonderful stitching and crafting she has been doing in recent months and it puts my meagre efforts to shame, that's for sure.

We are looking forward to having a nice day up at the Olympia Stitch 07 exhibition - only a week to go before we head up to London for that. I have promised myself some DMC threads and some buttons this year ... and who knows, maybe some beads as well.

It is very sunny today and, although the weather-man said it is going to get colder and more windy tomorrow, all I can do is look out of the window and see the blue skies and gentle breeze and it reminds me of summer. The only trouble is, however, that it reminds me that in only about 9 weeks' time, it will be a whole year since my DH Mike died. I cannot believe how the year has flown by, despite the fact that I felt it would drag without him here with me. In 2 weeks' time, the family and I have organised a ceremony for him at the Crematorium. We have made a memorial plaque for him, with his dates on and the words "Deeply Missed, but never Forgotten" on. The plaque has been mounted around the edge of a rose bed in the Crem - I may visit it later on next week, to see what it is like before the ceremony on 30th March.

Well, I guess that is all for now. I hope that this finds you well, happy, enjoying life and full of the joys of Spring, if you are in UK or Europe, but full of joy where-ever you are 'visiting' from.

Much love,
Alison xx

February 14, 2007

Happy St Valentine's Day

Well, its February 14th and, yes, I know its a great time for the Card and Gift shops and its all rather commercial, but hey, if we can't be loving to each other on a special day like today, well its a sad World isn't it?

So I would like to say to everyone on St Valentine's Day that I wish you love, happiness, laughter and joy, not just today, but every day in 2007. And let's remember those who don't have much of those wonderful gifts, because maybe they haven't got anyone special around them to be loved, or because they are in a war-torn country, or don't have a home or a job .... they need our love too.


February 12, 2007

Hi There Crafting Friends!

Well, after my first posting of 2007, I had to take a few weeks' break because I had to hand in my Dissertation Proposal which meant I was working every weekend on it since mid-January. Now it has been handed in and marked, I am feeling a lot more like getting down to the serious business of Blogging again - I really miss doing my crafts and telling you all about it!! Unfortunately my Seed Sampler has been languishing in my crafts bag unloved :-( and untouched for weeks, but I did some work on it on Sunday, so I only have about 2 hours to complete before its a Happy Dance. So I thought I would put up a photo when that is done, rather than keep adding a photo after only 1 or 2 hours' work!!

In the meantime, I have been buying the Cross Stitcher and World of Cross Stitch to keep in touch with XS and am planning a trip to Olympia with San and her mother in late March which is very exciting. I won £50 prize in the Premium Bonds which is a UK draw we have - the number was one of Mike's which makes it even better - he is looking after me :-) So I have a few funds to splash out on some Stash at Olympia yippeeee!!

It was really cold in UK last week and we had a fair fall of snow on Thursday, so much so that I tried to drive down the hill for a swim at the pool, found that the Leisure Centre was shut then couldn't get back up the hill again as it was so slippery and icy! So I had to park the car in the car park at the bottom of the hill and walk for 2 miles home, which was fun because I could watch all the children playing with snowballs and sliding down the hill on their plastic trays and wooden sleighs - I thought Santa was going to turn up with the presents LOL ;-D

Well, looking forward to being able to show off my Project during my next entry.

January 12, 2007

Happy New Year 2007 - Ali B is Back!!

Hi Everyone,

I would firstly like to thank everyone who has e-mailed me and blogged me with comments to say that they miss me and have been concerned. I really really really appreciate everyone's love, thoughts, kindness and friendship. I am so sorry you had to worry about me, I never forgot my blog or you and just knew you would be there for me for as long as it took for me to get back to you. Let me explain my absence because I need to tell you about it .....

As you can imagine, after losing my DH in May, Christmas and the Holiday Season was bound to be difficult and sad for me and also not forgetting the family and our friends. It was far harder than I could ever have imagined it would be, if I am honest with you. I started to feel very down about the impending holiday season around November (hence the rather large gap in the Blog) and lost all motivation to stitch or blog, as I felt I would not be able to be honest on-line about how difficult it was becoming for me, and it was not easy for me to admit that at the time. Also, when everyone around me was feeling happy, it sort of made me more blue because I wanted to be happy too, but my heart has been aching without my DH. I know you will understand that .....

Dearest San I would like to thank you through the lines of this blog for the amazing friendship we have - you were there for me when I needed you most, and we had a wonderful time together just before you left for Lille for the Christmas holidays. I have been thinking of you all the time and have been hoping you were enjoying time with DBF and the family. I loved your gifties, you spoiled me and I hope you liked the small treasures I made.

I am now feeling very positive in the New Year with all the wonderful challenges ahead, Margaret I will be e-mailing you today and we need to organise our first 'virtual' SAL for the Margaret Sherry Project - thank you for keeping in touch so wonderfully over the holidays with your supportive e-mails - it meant so much to me.

Isabelle, you are just a treasure, a warm hearted girl and loving friend and thank you for caring so much for me - I care back!

Nela, no se como puedo agradecerte los mensajes tan lindos y tiernos en mi grabador de telefono para la Navidad y el ano nuevo, te envio un abrazo muy muy fuerte - I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful sweet messages you left me on my answerphone for Christmas and the New Year - please accept a (((big hug))) that I am sending you now.

Thank you, RosieKiwi, for sending me the lovely Christmas Ornies magazine, its wonderful and I will definitely be fully motivated in the coming year to make loads of great danglies for the Christmas Tree for 2007! Don't forget my offer of any little gifties through 2007 and beyond, I will be delighted to oblige :-)

To everyone, you are just the BEST, the finest gang of friends I could wish for, and I am so happy to be back on-line again. My DH, Michael, knew I ran this blog and loved the fact that I am so keen on my Crafting. He will be smiling up on his cloud at the way you have stood by me over the past 6 difficult months and is wishing you all well. I will be posting a few photos for you in the coming days, so bear with me as I get back into the swing. I will be dropping on by to your blogs little by little and will leave you some messages of love of my own, so Watch Your Blog :-))))

With warm and fondest wishes
All the very best for 2007 - let's make it the best XS/Crafting year ever!!!

Your friend always,
Alison ("Ali-B") xxxxx