Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Heart and Home...

.it's been hidden away, not quite forgotten, but definitely woefully neglected .. my beautiful block of the month, a woolly heavenly quilt to die for,  "Heart and Home" by 'Heart To Hand' designs, I started this gorgeous quilt back in January 2012 when I received the first blocks, it has been sat waiting for over  4 years now to be completed, how bad is that?? :(  ... I started off soooo well too, blocks 1 to 6 all sewn and appliqued ...
 but then I just faltered at block 7 and juddered to a halt and stopped sewing :(  I think it was the piecing of the background blocks that scared me. Blocks 7 to 12 have been waiting ever since.... But this last week I decided enough was enough and I had to give myself a jump start and get it finished.  We have a weeks half term school holiday starting ...and this will be a nice easy project to hand sew with my Angels around all day causing mischief! :)
Soooo before the Angels finished school for the dreaded holiday, the scary background blocks came out and I spent a day cutting and piecing and stitched those next 6 blocks, I didn't even pause for chocolate!....hehe
 Most of the blocks were actually quite easy to do, with one I just cheated and decided to not do the tricky 'heart' piecing and just fiddled with it until it kind of look OK  and the main scary block (the one at the front of the photo) which called for log cabin borders and a turned square gave me a major headache and I think I may still need to tamper with it as its slightly smaller than all the other blocks,  but after 4 years, it just needed to be done and so I'll think and fiddle with it later ..haha

I spent another day prepping all the wool applique, tracing, ironing and trimming, all carefully placed in little clear plastic bags so that nothing was lost and everything was easy to see and find ... I'm all ready for the fun part of delicious woolly stitching :)

Now why and what exactly, you might be thinking caused this sudden desire to complete an abandoned project ??? Weeeeell... I may have, kind of, couldn't help myself, in a moment of weakness.....signed up for another wool Block of the Month ... !!!!!  I know, I'm soooo bad ..but I have been good-ish for aaaaaaages ...I haven't joined any other BOM for yeeeeeeeeaaarrs!! :)
Primitive Gatherings (that shop will always be my downfall..hehe) are running a Block of the Month program for a 'Blackberry Primitives' design - 'Village Green' .....
 I just couldn't help myself! I literally swooooned, is it not a bea-u-ti-foooool quilt??? ... I really, really, reeeeeeeaaally tried hard at resisting....but, it was just too much for a poor weakened soul like myself ...I couldn't control those raging woolly emotions ...I closed my eyes and  clicked the 'add to basket' button !  I tell you I'd been fighting sooooo hard not to fall into the path of temptation ...it was actually a relief to give in! hahaha  ;)
The pattern and the first 2 blocks arrived this week...
 Don't they look yummy ?? And Loooooookie at the wool...
I'm droooooling!! :) Primitive Gatherings have been really sweet too, to help save on postage and shipping they have  offered to send two blocks every other month ...so I'm literally saving money each and every month!!! waahahaha!! :) :)  So I now have 2 months to finish Heart and Home and prep my first Village blocks ...not gonna say I will do it ...we all know how very easily I get distracted but I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and put my shoulder to the wheel (used to love singing that song in Sunday School when I was little ...we don't seem to sing it as much anymore ..??) and I'm going to work really hard at channelling my woolly loving into active woolly stitching :) I haven't quite told my most wonderful, loving, caring, generous and the bestest Hubby in the whole wide world (just in case he's peeking!) what I've been up to just yet.......I've got two more months before the next package arrives ....time to sweeten him up ;)  I truly am living up to my lifetime mantra of  "its easier to get forgiveness than permission" this month ...hehehe .... I should probably go bake a cake...maybe several !!! :)  haha

Hugs Wendy x x x

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Yaaaaayyy ..its finally finished!

I'm a happy stitcher :) Sooo pleased to have finished this lovely design ... 'Three Tulips' .. by Brenda Gervais of  "Country Stitches - with thy needle & thread" ...
This piece has been a labour of love :) and it most certainly did not deserve to end up languishing in my basket with so many of my other UFO's. Sooooo pleased with myself that I stuck it out and finished it, and whilst I've enjoyed every stitch, it was quite labour intensive at times ...the small thread count on the linen meant that I couldn't stitch during the darker evenings because I needed lovely bright sunshine pouring thru' the windows to have good visibility ...not something that is the norm in wet old Lancashire! hahaha ... My photos are a bit dark, it was hard to get a true 'colour' photo, this was the best I could do to try and make the design stand out a bit ...in 'real life' the colour's are warmer and richer. I used the recommended linen, and threads and purposefully didn't change anything :) ...I kind of wish I had changed the thread colour for one of the little birds (the one above the Z ...its very pale and easily missed)
Some close ups...



 I love the look that the hand-dyed threads give with the variation in colour. I only had one glitch which was towards the end, as I was stitching one of the last leaves  I realised that there was a flaw in the fabric...a torn thread :(  (the leave near the L ) I couldn't unpick away from the flaw because I'd stitched too much of the design so I just 'blagged' my way around the flaw and will hope that its not overly noticeable  :(  Overall I'm super happy with this piece ...one of those projects that you are almost sad to finish because you've enjoyed it soooo much! :)  I'm hoping to frame this pretty piece, I'll look around for a suitable frame ...but I am tempted to go to a professional framers and get it done properly :) ...the pennies will decide ...hahaha

May has been a happy month soooo far, we got to skype with our lovely Jacob for the US Mothers day. he's looking sooo well and happy, 16 months he has been gone now....I'm on my own official countdown ... 8 months to go ...possibly slightly less dependant on when transfer dates are...officially he's due back the 2nd week of January 2017, but if we are lucky and transfers co-operate he could be home just before New Years Eve! (Wishing him home for Christmas might just be pushing my luck ...haha!) We loved skyping with him, its wonderful beyond words to see his handsome face, hear his voice with that slight Spanish twang to it ....love hearing him talk to us in Spanish too! Watching him smile and laugh ...wonderful! :)  But if I'm honest it always leaves me feeling a teensy bit more weepy the following few days ...just makes me realise how much we miss him!
May has also been a happy month because we've finally heard from Adult Services as regards our respite application/funding for Esther ... we are sooooo pleased (and relieved beyond words!!) that 'they' approved everything and have awarded Esther everything that we'd asked for ....soooooo relieved, its a massive hurdle, if we had lost our 'application/case' at this early stage, the implications for the years ahead would have looked very dire  and worrying for us. This decision doesn't in any way mean that Esther's future respite is secure but having 'them' onside at the onset means that hopefully we won't have to battle quite as hard in future years as they've already accepted that Esther requires a high level of support and care...and been realistic, as the year's progress, the support she needs will only increase as she unfortunately is 'not going to get any better'. We are just thrilled that despite the long process we are now able to set in place respite provision that will benefit Esther and Miriam and all of us as a family :) Happy Days!

And Happy Days require cake to celebrate! ...
 Cream Cheese Strawberry and Banana 'bread' ...but definitely more cake than bread ...haha
Total yumminess inside, it had barely cooled before we were munching our way thru' it! :)
 And someone decided she was eager for a second slice! ..never fear I managed to rescue the knife before any blood was shed! hahaha   We don't call Angel Esther 'Two Puddings Kirby' for nothing!
The second cake barely made it intact to Grandma and Granddads!  I think I may need to bake up another batch for us to enjoy again :)  ...just to make sure that it still tastes yummy...naturally!! :) haha

Hugs Wendy x x x

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

An Englishman and a sunny weekend!

  I am married to an Englishman! A man of character, a man of honour, a man of daring and a man who doesn't like to pay for anything that he can get for free! This is the tale of our adventure with our very own Englishman that we loving call daddy and hubby ...and whom we will visit regularly if he ever ends up a visitor of HM Prison services!! :) 
We had the rare opportunity to experience a sunny weekend last week (we are really, really hoping that our one sunny weekend wasn't the total allotted amount we will get for our Summertime!) ...Being the pessimistic-the-sun-never-shines Northerners that we are, we decided to act on impulse and with coats and wellies in the boot of the car (just in case!) we ventured out to enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasted. We left Lancashire and crossed the border into good ole' Yorkshire and headed towards Skipton ...the sun was still shining and we were feeling the excitement of an English sunny day-trip out. En-route we decided to visit Bolton Abbey and enjoy the beautiful green countryside. When we arrived Hubby (THE Englishman ...its important we don't forget that bit!) decided to exercise his right as an Englishman to feel outrageously dissatisfied at the car parking charges :) And once he'd had a not-so-teensy grumble at not paying the £8:00 parking/entrance fee, managed to pull of a superbly awkward  30-point-U-turn with our 7 seater MPV amidst the queue of other cars and day trippers (who incidentally, seemed quite happy to pay the £8 without any grumblings!) and exit the over-rated and over-charged car park! Hubby decided WE could park for free on an unmarked  English country lane  ...Yes, he found an unmarked country lane. Yes, it was a very narrow, bendy road, strategically placed so that exiting the car was a matter of life and death as you couldn't actually see any traffic coming from either direction until you were half way across the road! Yes, we do still have 2 disabled Angels that dont understand the concept of "quickly now, its clear to cross"  :)  Where, exactly we were crossing to at this point I had no idea, it looked like a green hedge to my unqualified eye :) ... but hubby assured me all was well and not to worry ...just to get the Angels out from the middle of the road as a big articulated lorry was rounding the bend! Hubby had spotted the Englishman's right of way across his inherited land of his forebears (hubbys ancestry is actually Irish but it wasn't the time to remind him of that!) Hubby had spotted a Public Footpath!!!!!  The footpath led across a farmers field full of sheep (!) and along the side of the River  Wharfe towards Bolton Abbey.... a really beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales :)
Hubby was determined to exercise his right as an Englishman, his intent to tread his feet upon his homeland sod ...and no farmer was going to stop him! Two disabled Angels might slow him down but he would battle on and we would enjoy the countryside of our fair and pleasant land ! :)  We actually did have a lovely walk along the banks of the River Wharfe towards  the Abbey, the weather was warm and the skies clear and the footing remarkably even which gave me hope that it was a well trodden footpath so that hopefully we wouldn't be resorting to any antics of running away from any mad farmers waving shotguns and yelling 'trespassers' :)
Some pretty pictures as we strolled along....
 
 
 
 You can see there weren't tooooooo many people out on the public footpath exerting their rights to be English ...haha! And this was as close as we (I) dared to get to the Abbey site ...I was tooo anxious about farmers chasing us off their land to want to risk been accosted by Abbey officials for not paying the £8 entrance fee ... I put my foot down, quite literally actually! My foot almost ended up in a mole burrow or something ... not really the dramatic effect I was after but I think I carried it off with a certain sophistication :) ...at least there was no-one around to see me floundering and hubby laughing!
 
 A last distant admiring view of the Abbey and we turned around and made our way back along the footpath towards our parked car... safe from any encounters with Abbey officials and shotgun wielding farmers!
 (I love the blue of the sky and the fluffy clouds in this picture ...just a little extra ...hahaha)
We safely made it back to the car, with no life-threatening incidents crossing the road and getting back into the car.  And surprisingly we had no parking tickets or dents and bumps in the car (it was a very narrow lane!) Hubby felt a little bit smug at having 'been' to Bolton Abbey for free ...I personally would quite happily have paid ...just for the comfort of knowing that I'd most likely survive stepping out of the car. 
Hubby had exerted his rights as an Englishman so the Angels and I decided we needed to exert our rights as women and demanded (the Angels clapped their encouragement!) that on the way home we stop by Billy-Bobs Parlour and calm our nerves and soothe our anxieties with giant tasty Hots Dogs, fries, ice-cream milkshakes and rootbeer floats with ice-cream sundaes to die for!! It would have been cheaper for hubby to pay the £8:00 !!!! hahahahahahaha :) And all the while the sun shone and we actually did have a wonderful time with our Englishman! :)   (Billy-Bobs may have put him off exerting his heritage rights for awhile .... but payback was soooooo yummmy!!! hehehe)

I had a very happy visit from Mr Postman too this week....
some much needed ;) new, cross-stitch patterns and linen and another cute bear that I 'won' off Ebay ...again! :)
Here's a close up...
 isnt he cute !? And he smells divine ...all cinnamony  and yummy :)

My hoop is still holding onto this lovely project, I'm slowly getting there ...very slowly :)
I'm determined to finish it before I'm tempted to start any of my new designs ...I will be strong ...haha   It is just too cute and delicate to become a UFO. I couldn't get a very good picture ...the  English sun was shining too hard!  But I'm pleased with how its progressing, I'm even thinking it maybe worthy of the expense of getting it framed professionally! We will see ...we did pretty much empty hubbys wallet at Billy Bob's ...hehehe ....Ooooh but those sundaes were soooooooo worth it! :)
Hugs for now,
love Wendy x x 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Happy May Day..

..although I'm not actually sure if today is classed as May Day or whether its tomorrow being Monday ?? :) Happy May anyways ...and will we wake up to wintry hail and snow tomorrow like we did on Friday? Again who knows, it has been bitterly cold here in Lancashire today but no hail so maybe Spring was just saving itself for May ..hehehe  Craaaaazy weather! :)
Our first week back to school went quite well, no major issues ..well apart from that snowy hail day ...a certain Angel Mim did not want to get out of her warm cosy bed ..haha ..and I can't say that I blamed her  :) The house is starting to look a little bit tidier after the holidays..I even saw the bottom of my wash basket on Thursday! The kitchen floor is still a teensy bit neglected ...but hey I never claimed to be a super duper housewife ...I really should have been born to a higher position in life ...hahaha
 It has been nice to be back into our normal routine ..I think I miss it more than the Angels :) During our Easter/Spring break I managed a little bit of stitching whilst we were in Scarborough  and when we came home. Coming home cuased me a teensy bit of excitement and hubby a few palpitations, we came home to a little bit of post! ;) hehehe   Stitches first, then post! :)

Just some little small projects that could be completed easily  without worry and fuss...
 This is Lovebirds by Pineberry Lane, I used the recommended Gentle Arts threads..Ruby Slippers..love the name :)  and I'm glad I did as it just makes the stitches and design pop ..the pattern calls for it to be made into  a pin and scissor keep, with a little pocket on the back for the scissors ...not that any scissors will be kept in my pocket ...hehehe ...not with my angels around ready and willing to snip away! haha

This next one is a design by Notforgotten Farm ...
 'Lovely May' ...I used a random piece of linen from my stash and I'm not sure if it turned out slightly bigger than it should have done , so I opted to loose the 'lovely' and just stick with May :) I also tweaked the colour of the flowers for a softer blue as opposed to the brighter more peacock blue in the pattern. It looks very pale in the photo but is darker in real life and is one of my favourite pieces ...love that basket :)

Two small stitches by 'Primitive Stitchin' Designs..
 'Rabbit and Tulip Pillow Tuck', and
 'A Tisket, A Tasket' both sweet little Easter/ Spring stitches ...and both stitched on the same fabric , even if the photos don't make it seem so ..hehe    Nice and easy little stitches for in the car or sat in the youth hostel on an evening ... They all just need to finished up into their respective 'finishes' and they are good to go :)  I have another lovely spring project progressing very slowly at the moment, I keep thinking that I'm close to finishing it when I realise there is still another vine, or another leaf... haha ... add to that, that it is one thread on a very fine 40 count linen and it all makes for slow going ...certainly not evening stitching with my Angels ...hahaha  :)

When we arrived home from Scarborough there was a teensy bit of post blocking the door from opening! Hubby wasn't overly impressed (he'd read my previous 'confession' post...can you believe him spying on me like that? ;)  ...hehehe ) But what is a girl with an addiction to do ?? I've heard 'cold turkey' is a very dangerous thing! :)

Some lovely cross stitch patterns, much 'needed' linen and some soft fabric and the cutest stork scissors ever! :)

I might have got away with those little envelope packages if it hadn't been for the next few parcels ...Eeeaaak!! hehe
 Two beautiful little bears 'won' from Ebay...they are Drakestone Attic bears ... I love their vintagey/primitive/ooaky style ...and my winnings are always sooo cheap and its not my fault I'm sooo lucky that I win all that I bid on!... haha

This cute rabbit came all the way from the states...
 and was as cheap as chips ...literally pennies ...no import tax or duties or nuffink'. And he is sooooo sweet and beautifully made ...I'm tempted to buy another ...but I won't, I'll be goood-ish! :)

This is the parcel that caused a little bit of hoohaah...
more Ebay 'winnings'  :) But the seller had very kindly used the biggest box EVER to post them out, I'm sure to to keep them safe and protected ..hehe  Hubby  was very concerned and thought I'd bought another huge Firkin ..hehehe ..he was quite disappointed when the box was mostly bubble wrap (which the Angels LOVED!!) He was also a little bit disparaging about all my 'winnings' ...better not tell him I won another bear tonight!!  ;) ;) ...hehehehe I keep trying to encourage him to buy a new lens for his camera ...haha :)  Believe it or not but I am trying to be good ...its just sooo hard when I obviously have devious and sly tendencies ...what can I do?? ...I think I'd even make a really bad Nun so its no good Hubby locking me away in a convent somewhere ...even though I'd love to swish around in a full length Nun's Habbit (like on 'The  Sound of Music) I'm sure I could pull off a penitent Nun look ...well, maybe not :) hehe  

A new month means a new start right  ...?? (Forget I said anything about 'winning' another bear earlier this evening ;) ... the new month can start now)  I will try reeeeeaally hard to be good,  I'll be really good and domesticated and not devious and sly and always loving and obedient to my darling hubby (just in case he's spying on me again ...love you hunny!) I'll clean cook and keep a beautiful home ..and sew all my stash first before buying anymore ..I wont be tempted and fall .... Yeeeahhh well, I maybe pushing it a bit but I should be safe tomorrow ...its a Bank Holiday and Hubby is home and it's always harder to get up to internet shopping mischief when he's home (still not figured out how to stop his  iPad and iPhone 'pinging' when I get those darned email confirmations!  hehehe) Wish me luck ...I'll need it :)

Hugs Wendy x x x x