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'...lol.  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.  Yeah...as 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!!


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Stitching and our allotment

There has been a little stitching this week.  Sadly there is nothing to show for Home of a Needleworker as everything I stitched needs unpicking as I stitched it one stitch the right...argggh!

More happily, I spent a day playing with the silks for Gardens of London and this is where I am at the moment.  I am alternating between algerian eyelets and dense Rhodes stitches.  There are a LOT of the dense Rhodes stitches!


This is the bit of progress to Rue Paris.  I am pulling out the gridding as it is driving me up the wall!  I am finding the chart easy to follow and progress is quite good.  This is approximately 1000 stitches or around quarter of the first page.  There 50,000+ stitches in total!


Haberdasher's is rolling along nicely and I am loving stitching this.  I am considering converting the kits I have to DMC and kitting them up myself.  I really can't believe the difference stitching one of the Cut Thru's with DMC rather than the madeira from the kits is making to my stitching. 


Gaynor of StitchersAnon is having a Mystery Halloween SAL which starts tomorrow.  She has been tormenting us with lots of freebies and I actually finished one.  It's a really cute design which I stitched on Sparklies Pumpkin Patch.  There is still time to join up if you want to.  If you click on on StitchersAnon, it will take you straight to the page you need for the information on the SAL.  She has assured us that each part is easily stitched in the week before the next part comes out.


Another thing you may be interested in if you are on facebook is The Pumpkin Seed Stitchers group.  This is a Halloween group that is having guest designers provide a design a month for the year.  There are amazing designers lined up but I am not sharing anything else with you.  If you want more information, you will have to go and investigate!!!

On the non stitching front, I thought I would share a couple of photos of our allotment at the moment.  In the bed bottom left are the few lettuces we have left that haven't bolted, the courgettes and squashes.  The plot behind Luke has our late potatoes in which will hopefully provide potatoes for Christmas dinner. Under the netting on the right are cabbages and cauliflowers with the runner beans at the back there.  Compared to everyone else, we grow a LOT of runner beans and so far we have picked 5.35kg of beans (and there are a lot more to come yet!) We need another freezer!

Here is a close up of my favourite vegetable of all...the runner bean :)  You can just see our sweetcorn in the bottom left hand corner too.  They need to get a move on!


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Treasure Trails - East Lancashire Railway

We have just got back from a day out doing another Treasure Trail.  This one took in the East Lancashire Railway and had us hopping on and off the train during the day.  We parked up right next to the station, with plenty of spaces to choose from which was the first surprise!  Parking for the whole day was only £5 which was good value compared to the prices round our way!

Before starting the Trail we all chose a murder weapon and a suspect.  They had some brilliant names!  The Trail is based on the murder of Billy Bonka who was murdered on his way to the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival.  A chocolate festival?  What more could I want?  Anyway, I digress, the list of suspects included Mal Teaser, Emma Nems, Toby Lerone, Carrie-Mel Barr and Wally Nutwhip to name a few.

The first 4 clues were on the station, so we solved those whilst waiting for our steam train to arrive.  They were all easy to find so we moved on to the Little Grey Cell game whereby we had to come up with as many words (3 letters or more) as we could from the words TREASURE TRAILS.  Between us we came up with over 100 but we still need to do a final count up.




Our first stop of Irwell Vale was a quaint, sleepy village where people actually say hello to you as they pass by.  Again, the clues here were easy to find and we had plenty of time to sit at the station to wait for our train returning.  I imagine that not many people alight at Irwell Vale as the guard seemed surprised that we were getting off there!  It was pretty and picturesque but I think the 20 minutes spent walking around is probably as long as you need.


Returning the way we came but getting off at Ramsbottom this time. Somebody obviously had a sense of humour and a piece of chalk!


We were easily following the clues which were clearly written and crossing off suspects with alacrity.  When we arrived at the giant vase, we decided to finish off our lunch.


There was one particular shop that we were keen to find - The Chocolate Cafe! Apparently it has chocolate pizza!!!!!  As we ate lunch, I wondered where it could be and would I look a total idiot if I put it into my phone's GPS and walked round with that? On the way to the bin to dispose of the rubbish I noticed it...approximately 20 yards from where we had been sitting!  Doh!  We did another clue and then hit The Chocolate Cafe!


We decided to have a slice of cake each with a glass of water as 'dessert' after lunch.  I can heartily recommend the lemon drizzle cake...oh my word...divine!  And the size of it!  HUGE!  Rachael had Rocky Road and it looked the best one I have ever seen.

I was disappointed to see no chocolate pizza on the menu though.  After eating the cake, we went downstairs and looked at the shop! There it is...chocolate pizza!!!  What a disappointment though, we were all expecting real chocolate pizza and it wasn't.  It was a huge chocolate button with various chocolate toppings to look like the things you would have on a pizza. So there were some lemon/lime chocolate drops to represent something green on the pizza - peppers? chillis?  Who knows!  On the plus side though, we did succumb to a chocolate bar each.  Dark chocolate with toasted hazelnut, milk chocolate with bubblegum, milk chocolate tiramisu and white chocolate rocky road.  We haven't tried them yet, so I can't tell you what they are like.

Then we continued the Treasure Trail to the successful conclusion.  Colin chose the correct murder weapon and Rachael had the right person.  I was the first to go out with both my choices :(

Of course, I have forgotten the best bit!  There was a shop called Clark's Crafts right by the station and it had a large cross stitch section.  I picked up 2 Just Nan charts for 33p each! I think they may originally have been complementary charts if you bought charms or something.  One was My Fair Ladybug and the other was Bee Hive Violets.  Both look like they will be very pretty stitched. I also got Rosebuds for £2.40 and a couple of other little bits and pieces.  They had a huge section of old leaflets too which I really wanted to have a proper root through, however after being in there about an hour, both children were getting a little antsy!


So we have had a brilliant day out doing a well written and thoroughly enjoyable Treasure Trail whilst doing some other fun things too.  The train ride was brilliant and both children liked it despite being teenagers!  The staff were great and made the journey fun with the way they interacted with the younger children.  Highly recommended if you are in the area for the day :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

New starts and Christmas in July

First of all, how on earth am I suppose to stitch with Smudge taking over my lap?  Honestly cat!  There are other places to sit!  Of course, he is only bothering with me as Colin and the children are away.  Usually he prefers a male lap but will slum it on Rachael if Colin or Luke are not 'available'.  No doubt when they all come back later, he will leave me in peace again!

Smudge is in the doghouse at the moment. I have had the back door open so the cats can just wander in and out at will and he came in, jumped up on my lap which contained my cross stitch and had wet paws. Thankfully a quick wipe with a damp paper towel removed the mark...but still!


So, onto my new starts.  I thought as Colin and the kids are away this week that I would treat myself to a new start and see how much I could get done before they come back.  I chose Bothy Threads Haberdasher's which I had the chart of rather than the kit (hate the fabric, hate the threads but apart from that the kits are fine!)  I found a piece of 28ct jobelan, what else? and away I went.  Don't ask me why I decided to start at the bottom but I did and I have found it made for speedy stitching!  This is progress so far.  The bottom left page is completed bar the backstitch.  The big lilac column is the start of the left middle page. 211 is one of my favourite DMC colours so I am really enjoying this page.


My second new start is the one that Colin bought me to celebrate the conclusion of my degree.  Paris holds a special place in our hearts as it is where we went for our honeymoon (16 years ago next month...yikes!) so I had a look for a Paris chart that I liked.  I was rather taken with Thea Gouverneur's design but wasn't sure about getting a kit and ending up with threads I didn't like as it just says 'stranded cotton' and not what brand they are.  Then I found this one from Artecy which we both liked. I ordered it as a printed chart which cost under £10 including postage from Australia!  What a bargain!!  I  received the chart in around a week, again fantastic coming from Australia. I have never seen an Artecy chart before but it is great.  Nice clear symbols which are large enough for me to see clearly without constantly picking up the chart or squinting at it.


Anyway, this is my progress from last night and an hour or so this morning.  I'm giving gridding a go to see if it will help me, but the jury is still out on it at the moment.  It won't surprise you to know that I am stitching it on 28ct white jobelan will it?


Donna emailed to say that she received her Christmas in July exchange from me (luckily just in July!)  So here is a quick photo of what I sent her.


And a close up of the 3 stitched pieces that I sent her too.  I have never used ric rac as a trim and was reasonably pleased with how it turned out.  It's not perfect but isn't too bad for a first attempt.  Oh, and the fabric was dyed by me too, using coffee.  The designs are Plum Street Sampler's 'Christmas is coming'.