Thursday, 30 October 2014

Act of kindness

One of my blogging friends, the lovely Justine of justinescrossstitch knew that I was feeling a bit down at the moment and chose to gift me a GORGEOUS HaED chart to cheer me up and to help my stitching mojo return.

It was such a wonderful gift, on a day that needed something happy!  Thank you so much Justine. (BTW - I had some fabric for it)

Mini Checking It Twice
image borrowed from HaED
click on the link to go and buy it!!!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Halloween Exchange

Before I lost my mojo, I had joined in the Halloween Exchange that Kim was organising.  This is the wonderful package that I received from my exchange partner, Lynda.  She did send me 2 of the marshmallow witches but the first one must have whizzed off on her broomstick as she never made it to the photocall :)

I have never had such lovely tea towels and dish cloths as these, so they will be put to good use. The scented reeds are gorgeous too, pumpkin scented.  The lollies were tasty too!  The best bit though were the 2 lovely stitched pieces which Lynda included though.  They are beautifully stitched and so cute!  Thank you Lynda, it was a lovely package to open.

My package hasn't arrived yet, sadly.  I am ok posting a photo of what I sent though as I am about 99.9% sure that my exchange partner doesn't read my blog.  Below is a photo of what I sent and a close up of what I stitched for my partner. The design was a BlueLadie Designs freebie from the last newsletter.  

Finally, a while back Kathryn had a Tour de France giveaway on her blog which I was lucky enough to win.  She sent me LOADS of bits, it took me AGES to open it all and look through.  Thank you so much Kathryn.  There were loads of cute San Man designs with the buttons to finish them or the little tuck pillow, threads, a project bag and all wrapped in the cute little pink bag you can see.  Well I say little, it was probably A4 size so not little at all.  My absolutely favourite thing though, has to be the frog bell pull end.  It is adorable.  I have even taken a closeup of the frog as he is so cute!  However, this is the ONLY visiting frog I want!  Thank you Kathryn for such a wonderful package :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Thank you to the people who noticed I had fallen off of the planet and emailed me to make sure I was ok.  It was much appreciated and lovely to know that people were thinking of me. I'm not going into details as to why I haven't been around for a while.

There has been very little stitching the last couple of months.  The death of Debbie seems to have taken my mojo too.  So I will tell you about everything else that I have been up to instead.  

We decided to have a family 'Come Dine With Me' challenge.  If you haven't seen the programme, it is where total strangers visit each others houses for a meal, scoring each person for their night. Whoever has the highest score wins £1000.  Clearly, that wasn't going to be the prize here!

After drawing straws for the order and sharing of menus, we took turns over 4 Sundays to cook our creations.  

Colin was up first with Sausage and Lentil soup, Beef casserole with crispy potato topping and butter crumble cake.  He did add red cabbage to the plate with the casserole.  Everything was really tasty too.

Rachael's night was next.  She made home made mini pizzas for starters (making the pizza base herself) with cheesy garlic bread.  This was followed by chicken and ham melt, roast potatoes and peas with a cheesy sauce and finally the world's most delicious cake - EVER! It doesn't look much from here but was wonderful!  So chocolately with a wonderful caramel filling.

Third, was Luke.  I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to his night as I hate meatballs! Anyway to start with there was garlic bread and 'piggy kebabs'.  These turned out to be pigs in blankets but he did mine really crispy so they were tasty.  Then the dreaded meatballs - which were really delicious.  He served it with onion relish and mango chutney and made his own bread too.  It was supposed to be pitta bread but he didn't roll it enough so there was still loads of air in it BUT it was wonderful!  I have told him that he can make a batch of this EVERY week. We forgot to get a photo of his dessert but that was gorgeous too.  Pots au chocolat, with plenty of chocolate. 

Lastly was my night.  What a lot of pressure!  I made an Onion Soup with cheesy croutons but people were so keen to tuck into it that we forgot photos until it was almost eaten!  This is what was left of Rachael's at the time.  Then it was skin on wedges with buttered corn (on a massive skewer!) with home made Southern Fried Chicken, topped with pulled pork (also made from scratch), home made BBQ sauce and topped with melted cheese.  It was beautiful!  The pull pork took around 5 hours in the oven on a lowish heat but was SO worth it!  For dessert I made a shortbread stack, with whipped cream, strawberries and served with home made ice cream (not in a machine) and chocolate dipping sauce.

We made videos on the i-pad like they do in the back of the taxi and held up our score cards to find the winner.

And the winner is...


It was really good fun, although hard work and expensive.  The winner gets a meal for himself and 3 family members...I wonder who he will choose...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Stitchers Anon breast cancer fundraiser

Many of you will know Gaynor who blogs as Stitchers Anon, or you may know her through her designing. Gaynor had breast cancer and is coming up to 3 years of being clear of it.  She does a lot to raise money and awareness for this by donating a percentage of her profits from charts to charity, with Holmsey and Fergus charts being 50% to a teenage cancer charity.

I know that in this day and age, we are bombarded with pleas to send money to this charity or that charity, and that if we could, we would send to them all.  Gaynor is now doing something with a difference to raise funds by having a giant fundraising giveaway.  Loads of people have donated crafted prizes, and Gaynor herself has made loads too.  All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning something is to donate €1 to her Justgiving page.  €1!  That's it!  At today's exchange rate that works out as 79p or $1.31.  For UK people that is the equivalent of 1 skein of DMC from most places!  Gaynor is even paying the postage to get your prize to you but will happily accept money towards that too!  There are loads of prizes, so you have a good chance of winning. She is looking to raise €500 so if every single one of my followers donated just €1, we could nearly reach half of that for her.

So many women (and some men) are touched by breast cancer or they know someone who has (or had). The sooner there is a proper cure for this horrible disease, the better!

Link to the prizes HERE
Over to Gaynor!

Finally, after a lot of thought I've worked out what I want to do with the fund-raising items and I've found the perfect charity.  Remember, I want compassion and I want research!

My breast cancer team: surgeon, oncologist and radiotherapy guys all work within a centre of excellence in Galway University Hospital.

My surgeon, Professor Kerin and the head of oncology, Dr. Keene work closely with the USA (Washington) and the Uk to plough ahead in breast cancer research.  So imagine my surprise when searching through the charities, I found the Proff has started one of his own!  

The Prof is the director of The National Breast Cancer Research Institute. 

This is a charity based in Ireland but as I've said, these guys work with the USA and the UK as well as other European countries.  Ireland may have an image of leprochauns and diddly diddly music, but where breast cancer is concerned we are ahead of the UK and many other countries in that we receive treatments long before they are approved by the NHS and it is thanks to this guy above and Dr Keene, that Tamoxifen was approved in the Uk last year as a preventative drug. 

Thankfully in Ireland I was put on it automatically er, two and half years ago.  So for me that is important: the charity I chose has to help all women whereve they may live..and this does 

So that ticks the research button.

And I know this guy.  I know the money will go where it is needed.  Whatever time my appointments, however long the line, I always get to see him.  He pops in and talks to everyone so you can build up a relationship of trust which is so important when you have a cancer diagnosis.  He holds your hand, comes out with terrible jokes, hands you tissues, and once, post surgery and post morphine, he accepted a  marriage proposals!

The Prof (as we call him: we can be informal, he has seen bits of us that usually would only be seen after a bottle of white wine lol) is a wonderful surgeon and I know that even though he was the man who made my world come crushing down in tiny pieces: he was also the man who helped me and my family build it all back up again. This is my thank you to an amazing team whose research, compassion, dedication, and yes, passion, for finding cures means women all over the world will benefit.

 So all donations will go through a Just-Give page which is perfectly safe to use. 

For every single euro donated you will be issued a raffle ticket and I will write your name on it and put it into a container.  So if you donate one euro, you get one ticket: two euros, two tickets and at the end of October I will draw winners.  I am expecting more prizes in from other people who are making them as we speak and I have some more to add as well.  I will put piccies up in the Prize page (You can see it on the top bar).

I know times are hard but honestly, one euro will be much appreciated.

You can find my Just give page  HERE

Please, be careful to donate under my name and not under the charity directly as I won't see any record of the transaction and so won't be able to issue you draw tickets.

Please share and thank you xxx

Oh one last thing.  I won't be expecting you to pay postage but as I'm sure you will appreciate, this could end up costing me quite a lot.  If you would like to make a small donation towards postage costs if you are chosen as a winner please contact me for my paypal page.  Anything donated to the Just Give page is handled by a third party. I won't be able to get postage costs out of it xxxxx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Stitch from Stash - August

From a stitching point of view, it has been a very good month.  Sadly from a Stitch from Stash point of view it wasn't a great month, even with the bonus Mel was kind enough to give us.  So here is what I have been buying...

First up was this sampler book which has a gorgeous stitching/sewing sampler on the front but has another 14 too.  The motifs would be lovely for smalls stitching.  

Then there was a piece of black aida for some halloween stitching.

I went mad and bought a piece of pale blue evenweave to restart cat's alphabet on too.

The next thing(s) won't count as it is some replacement 'bits' for my Q Snaps.  2 of my old ones were very loose so I thought it would be money well spent.

Whilst I was looking for the Q Snap bits, I stumbled across the chart section (how did that happen?) and saw this little cutie.  

I also ordered some threads and ric rac from Nancy at the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  The pumpkin on the right is/was intended to use for StitchersAnon's Halloween SAL possibly on black fabric. The jury is still out on this one as I have also ordered some Pumpkin Patch from Sparklies which hasn't arrived as yet.  The left is Antique Plum Perfect.  Neither of them look anything like the colours they are in real life.  The ric rac was just a 10 yard mix that she had, I'm sure they will come in useful. 

And finally...I managed to pick up a finished with kit of the Cut Thru Caravan off a lady who had stitched it on facebook.  There is actually quite a lot of thread still left but I am going to work out the DMC ones that are needed. 

So that completes my round up of the month!  The tally is...
Sparklies order that has yet to arrive - £15.00
Sampler Book - £12.99
Aida - £6.50
Evenweave - £6.50
Chart - £3.16
Ric rac and thread - £13.00
Caravan chart - £6.00

So the grand total for the month is £63.15...oops!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Halloween Town Club - Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

I have just completed part 2 of the SAL...just in time for the release of the next part tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A finish

I...have...a...finish!!!  Another one!

Don't faint, head between your knees helps to get the blood flowing to your head if you feel dizzy.

Long, long ago in the mists of time, I 'won' a travelling pattern - LHN's Home of a Needleworker.  I am ashamed to say that I have had this a lot longer than intended. So long in fact that I emailed Nic of Obsessive Cross Stitcher to check if she wanted the pattern back or for me to send it on its travels again.  Nic was more than happy for it to travel so if anyone would like to stitch it just leave a 'me please' type comment for me on this post and I will draw names next Sunday (23/8 or 8/23 depending on where you are from!)

This is what the pattern should look like when stitched.

This is my version of it...

As you can see I have made quite a few changes to it.  I didn't stitch the alphabets which meant that I would have had 2 borders next to each other which meant I needed to move the flowery one up and the name down.  This meant the crow/blackbird/whatever wouldn't fit in the space so I also turned the border with the flowers upside down with the intentions of turning the bird round the opposite way and fitting it in the space.  Then I decided that I didn't really like the random bird anyway so I replaced it with the heart that was between the lowercase alphabet and numerals but stitched 5 of them to fill the space better.  I am not totally happy with them though and am thinking of unpicking them and moving them up a row or maybe two.  What do you think?  The house is exactly as charted as is the 'Home of a Needleworker'.  Now to decide what to do with it!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Halloween Ornament Exchange

Kim over at Wisdom with needle and thread is hosting a Halloween exchange that sounds like fun.  Mii posted about it on her blog, which led to me signing up for it too. All the details can be found on Kim's blog but I am going to steal them to post here too! Where it says 'I' read 'Kim'  Go and sign up, it will be fun!

Is anyone interested in a Halloween Ornament Exchange?  If so,

- You need to be a follower of this blog.

 - Contact me by posting a response to this post or send me an email.

 - You don't need to have a blog, HOWEVER, I need to have a way of contacting you.  Some are
    "no reply" bloggers, so I cannot reach you.  If you leave a message on this post and are a "no reply"
    blogger, I regret I will not be able to add you to the group.

- Halloween ornament may be the ornament of your choice.  It doesn't need to be cross stitched
  - but it should be hand made.

 - It needs to be a completed project, ready for your Exchange Partner to hang up and enjoy.

I will take sign ups until August 22nd and will notify each stitcher by August 30th who they are exchanging with.  Please mail your ornaments no later than October 1st, notifying me when you slip it in the mail so I can make note.

Any and all stitchers are welcome - international exchange participants are welcome.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Turtle Trot - late again!

This month, for my Turtle Trot, I have worked on worked on every single one of my projects and finished 5 of them. if!

I haven't worked on a single one in reality!  Sorry!  I am off to rectify that right now...see ya! :)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

WIPocalypse update

Sorry this is late again!

This month I have worked on...absolutely nothing that was on my WIPocalypse list...ooops!

However, I can tell you all about my oldest and newest WIP's.  That's easy!

My oldest is most likely to be a gorgeous Cat's Alphabet sampler by Janlynn.  I started this in or around 2003.  It was my first ever purchase on discovering Hobbycraft.  I didn't know as much back then as I do now and two of the things I didn't know was that the oils from the scroll frame could mark the fabric and that I shouldn't really leave the fabric in sunlight for any length of time.  Do you think you can guess how I learnt both of these?  Yep it was hard to tell which one had done the most damage to the fabric, sun fade or oil marking.  Strangely enough I was toying with the idea of getting a new bit of fabric to start this again as even after all this time, I still love the design. I would however, stitch it on evenweave instead of aida this time.

Janlynn "Cats Alphabet"

My newest WIP is definitely Bothy Threads Haberdasher's which I am loving.  I posted a photo of progress in my last post, but don't mind boring you with it again!
There's not much to say about it except I am loving it!!