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Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 comes to an end ...

How was your Christmastime with your families and loved ones, i hope you all had a wonderful time. We had lots of family time and also some quiet relaxation time just the two of us.

The Christmas lights walk was really nice, we wandered along, one of us was wrapped up more snuggly than the others!

The childrens story characters and scenes that are in the Town Hall Square are always lovely. This year it was Paddington Bear on one side

and Noddy on the other.

The Town Hall itself had its usual flashing 'Christmas Greetings' sign

The crib scene was very lovely.  Isabelle loved this and had heads turning shouting 'baby, baby' at the top of her voice when she saw baby Jesus laying in his manger.

We must have all been very good this year as Santa visited and spoilt us all.  I received a lovely selection of goodies from stitching friends. Thank you to Clare, Christine, Angi, Karan and Kathy. I've also received lots of lovely cards and emails with Christmas wishes, thank you to you all.

Hubby and I spent Christmas morning seeing Isabelle open her gifts. She was so excited and loved ripping off the paper. Lots of nice toys including a baby doll and pram and also a toy kitchen.

The 27th was a sad anniversary day for us and we went to Mount St Bernard Abbey and spent some quiet time there with our own thoughts. I always find peace when visiting here. The day passed and we were ready for another family gathering.

Saturday 28th we travelled to visit my mum for the day. Good food and conversation and some shopping in the sales near to where she lives and yes, we did spend some cash on purchases.

No stitching has taken place, but I have finished the crochet baby blanket I started.

Today is the last day of 2012. For some it has been a good year, for others not so good. For me personally, I have lost both friends and relatives. There has been a lot of sickness around with both family and friends too.  Good news with DH's results as we had feared bad news for him. He is far from being back to 100% but doing so much better.  There have been good things come into my life too during this year.  I joined a tai chi class in the Spring and am really noticing the changes that it has brought to the way I look at things. Not only physical but spiritually and mentally. The Book Borrowers started and that is great fun each week.  I have far exceeded the amount of books i usually read and have made changes to my daily routine so I include some quiet reading time each and every day.  I think we also had the 2 sunniest weeks of the whole year both times we went on holiday.  So, this year has not been all bad.

I'll do a stash round up next post as I hope to have just one more finish before the end of the year...I still have a little stitching time before Big Ben rings in the New Year and we find ourselves singing Auld Lang Syne.

I'm looking forward to 2013, new things happening and some old things continuing.  I wish you all good health and happiness for this brand new year and I hope whatever comes your way in the next twelve months, by the end of it you find that you have come out of it having lots of fun and happy times with family and good friends surrounding you.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations and when the clock strikes midnight here for me, i will be raising my glass and toasting you all wherever in the world you may be and wishing you all the very best for 2013.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Blessings to you all

December has been a time of reflection here. Thinking about good times and sad times, there have been lots of quiet times and happy family times too. Present wrapping, card writing and baking has all taken place and we are now ready for the man in red to come down our chimney.

Aunties funeral went well (as well as these things do) and it was nice to meet with distant family i haven't seen since the last family gathering. It kind of made this festive season a little special in a funny sort of way with lots of {hugs} and loving thoughts being spoken about and remembering past family times.

My brother came over and we celebrated Sunday 16th with a family meal and exchanged goodies. He lives some distance from us and he works long hours so we wont be seeing him this holiday time with him only having the 2 days off work.

Saturday 15th hubby and i made our annual visit to St Laurences Church to the Christmas Tree Festival. The church was beautiful, we arrived in the daylight and the church looked beautiful with all the trees twinkling inside but as we left it was becomming dusk and it looked spectacular and very magical.

We met with Clare and her husband to see the tree she had decorated. This year she chose the theme 'Family Tree' and had stitched ornaments to adorn it. There were also pics of her family on it - more pics on Clare's blog. It was beautiful.  Everyone had worked so hard to make their tree stunning. We really like this outing each year.

The Book Borrowers held a Christmas party, a fun time had by all. One of the community centre staff has been a great help and we decided to present a small flower arrangement. I stitched a little gift tag so we could write a little message of thanks inside.

A Christmas stocking was also decorated and filled with little items for a very dear friend of mine. Another gift tag stitched to add to a small gift for a family member. These are such quick stitch projects and so nice.

I have continued with the parlour evening with Barb and the ladies at NH. A happy dance finish of Holly & Berries and its now hanging on my wall.

Shores has been out for the UFO Strictly SAL (well done to Lewis on his win last night!) and Block 8 had its final stitch added on dads anniversary so that is now complete and all ready to start Block 9 in the new year -  this one is definately going to be a finish during 2013.

Angi (no blog) celebrated a special birthday last week and has a collection of bookmarks. I decided that a nice stitched one to commemorate her special day would be nice. This is the design i chose -

Knitting pins have also been out, a new baby is expected by one of the ladies at the Book Borrowers. I've knitted a tiny cardigan and have started on a little crochet blanket to accompany it. Baby is due early January so i better get cracking with the blanket.

Last post i said i would reveal what i stitched in the ornament exchange. My partner was Tina and i decided to go for something a little different to a flat ornament.  I have stitched this one before in an exchange and really do want to stitch it again for our tree sometime. Tina loved it which pleased me greatly.  It's from the JCS Ornament Edition 2007 by Cherished Stitches and called Colonial Christmas Ornament. I took loads of pics but these were the best with it lying on its side.

Our tree is up ....

the fireplace decorated, lovely Christmas stitchy items that only come out once a year are up to admire, Holly and Berries is there too this year

and my late MIL's handknitted nativity has made another appearance. Isabelle has her eye on this and i think her mum might like it at their house, not sure hubby and i are ready to part with it just yet though, he did suggest that maybe i should knit one for them myself ..... mmm we'll see!

We have food shopped and cupboards are fully stocked and all gifts and cards have been delivered. We plan to visit our city centre to see the Christmas lights display on Christmas Eve when it is dark which is always a lovely walk along the streets wrapped up cosy and warm. I love to see and hear the little ones running around the fountain in the Town Hall square and looking at the characters that have been put up each year.  They have come out to be tired out with a walk before heading off home and into bed to await a visit from Father Christmas - i hope they have all been good little boys and girls this year! 

Wishing you all a very happy Christmastime, i hope you enjoy whatever comes your way, be it celebrating with family and friends or just at home on your own thinking about past Christmas celebrations and reflecting on what life has brought your way during 2012.

With love to you all

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Good news, sad news

December is upon us, the last month of 2012 and the start of the festive preparations and celebrations.

We've had a mini celebration here ourselves this week. After what seems like forever DH had his biopsy results back and the dr was very pleased to tell us they are benign. He still has some issues to deal with but this was the best news we could have received.

Unfortunately, is has been overshadowed a little by the loss of my dads sister, my beloved Aunt/Godmother on Saturday Dec 1st a day after her 85th birthday. In light of this i have definately decided i'll be adding dads name to my Shores sampler as it will also remind me of the comfort my stitching gave to me on Saturday after receiving the news whilst i was doing the Strictly SAL. Thanks for your views last post.  I just need to chart dads name and the date to make it fit the space.

Wednesday was again parlour night with the girls at NH. I was out that night having a Christmas meal with the ladies from the stitch club so stitched the following evening after returning from a visit with Auntie at the hospital. Not a lot of progress, but it will definately be finished this year as i only have the bottom border and the rest of the outline to add.

1st December was also opening day for the secret ornament exchange. We have yet to find out who sent to who as some are still in the hands of the postal service.  I opened mine as it had arrived in plenty of time. A wonderful PS santa and a handmade card was inside the envelope. Thank you partner, as soon as i know who you are i will thank you personally. I'll show you what i made and sent next time.

This month also sees the last of the gifts for the stitch club ladies. Mary celebrates her birthday this year whilst sunning herself over the Christmas holidays on the island of Tenerife. I stitched her the same tape measure cover i have made for the other ladies.

Christmas cards are arriving through the door each day, but yesterday i had a visitor here with a special card for us ....

I hope you are all well and life is being kind to you and that you are managing to continue with your Christmas preparations and not in too much of a panic as the days whizz by. My thoughts have been with those families that are still in turmoil after the recent flooding we have experienced, we have a few of those locally to us. I can't imagine how they must be dreading the festive season not knowing where they will be living.

As my older readers of the blog are aware, this time of the year is very emotional for me and i tend to hibernate quietly into my own little shell till the New Year. For those new readers i have some sad anniversaries, Dad passed away 19th Dec, my maternal grandmother who i was very close to passed away on Christmas morning and also my own son on 27th December. With my aunts passing this year and the funeral next Friday, i am finding it a bit more difficult than normal to be upbeat and chatty.

I will be stitching and crafting but the updates here might be a little light on the writing. As for reading blogs, i will still be reading but you might not get a comment right now.  There are times when you might though as i am having some happy memory thoughts that brighten my days.

Much love

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

SAL progress only this week

Good afternoon blog readers....

although there is absolutely nothing good at all about todays weather, or the past 3 days either. All we've seen is wet, wet, wet and i dont mean the boy band (although if Marty Pellow did arrive at the front door i wouldn't send him away lol)

My back garden resembles the beginnings of a lake and poor Midge is very reluctant to step outside the back door for a stroll. He'll be needing webbed feet at this rate and apparently more rain is on the horizon .... what happened to the lovely cold, bright, sunny, crisp November mornings that are the norm for this time of year?  

This week i only have a couple of update pics to share with you.

The Parlour night SAL with Barb and the ladies at NH from last week. I built a house on Holly & Berries and very Christmassy it looks too. Hopefully this week we will have snow (nooooo not literally!!)

Saturday was the Strictly UFO Night SAL. Finished off the filling in around the dome at the top and also filled in some sea and added a few words.

I have a dilemma with this one now though. My dad was a seaman and when i saw this design it made me think of him. He went to sea at 13 years of age on the Arethusa which was a masted training ship stationed on the River Thames in London similar to the ones on the pictures of this sampler.  He sadly passed away 19th December 2005 and i was going to add his name and date to this block but now i'm not sure. The sampler is more of a sweethearts sampler isnt it? What do you think? Should i not worry about that and go with my first instinct to dedicate this beautiful and big piece to dad or stitch it as it is?

It's been lovely to read blogs this week and i have seen some wonderful and exciting things being made by very talented ladies, not only stitching, but also, knitting, crochet and quilting.

Christmas preparations have begun here, a few gifts purchased, some cards and last Saturday i made our Christmas cake. Amy came over to have her traditional 'wish stir' of the cake mixture.  She's been doing this since she was a small girl and santa is really good and mostly grants her wishes. This year she wanted Isabelle to have her very first stir and continue the tradition. That was fun and the cake this year will definately be slightly smaller as some of the mix was splatted onto the table as excitement took over and she got a bit carried away.

She's a little poorly at the minute with a cough, but i couldn't resist showing you this little pic i took last time i saw her of what mummy calls 'the squinty face'  We have the 'happy face,' the sad face,' 'the angry face' and when you ask her to do it she does each one right on cue lol. Such fun being a grandparent, one loving cuddle can make any worry seem a million miles away at that moment.

Wishing all those who will be celebrating Thanksgiving with their friends, family and loved ones a very happy day tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Can show, can't show, can show, can't show...

I had a lovely start to the week.  Tina had a train journey and came for a visit for the day on Monday and i showed her how to make pin keeps.  She doesn't have a blog but does some beautiful stitching. She brought with her Sampler Aux Bouquets,  i just wanted you to see how lovely it is. I have this in my stash, hopefully a 2013 project? until something else catches my eye!

It's that time of the year when everyone has projects that they can't show right now, i have a couple, but i also have some that i can share with you.

Can show ...
Mary's speciality stitches RR - the 3 bands i added are tied windmill stitch in yellow, rice stitch in the green and rhodes square in the peach

Can't show ...
Christmas ornament exchange - post out for that is 25th November

Can show ...
A bit more of the last square on my RR - Little Book of Stitches

Can't show...
Winter exchange - post out mid December
Can show ...
A new start - Holly & Berries, Wednesday SAL in the parlour with Barb and the ladies at NH


Can show ...
Strictly Saturday SAL, Shores of Hawk Run Hollow

I'm all caught up on blog reading, you've all been really busy and i've seen lots of beautiful work happening. Well done to you all.

Thank you for all your kind wishes for DH, he went into hospital last week and they have carried out some tests, so now we await the results.

Love and best wishes

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Quick flyby ....

Did you all have a lovely halloween? No celebrations here although there were lots of children out and about dressed up which i passed on my way to the stitching club. The weather wasn't kind to them though, we had the most horrendous downpour.

Last night there were firework celebrations here in the UK for Bonfire Night in honour of Guy Fawkes, lots of loud bangs and lovely air displays. DH and i were home to keep an eye on Midge. He is not a fan of this time of year and likes to be curled up on your knee nice and safe. I hope all those that were out enjoying the bonfires and the goodies that go with it had a lovely time.

Wednesday was the parlour night with Barb and the ladies at NH and i put the final stitch into my Daisy Lane Cottage this week. I found the perfect frame for it and just love how it's turned out.  Just need to find another design in my stash to join the ladies next week. There are some really lovely projects being stitched in this SAL.

Last Sunday was reveal day for the October challenge. A lovely design by Carmela at Balades et Broderie was chosen by Christine. Only a couple of finishes in the album this month, its getting to that time of the year when everyone is so busy with secret Christmas stitching and exchange stitching going on.

I've started the final block for my RR...

and added the border to the block that Lynn didn't have time to finish.

Saturday night is Strictly UFO night at NH, a chance to sit and stitch on a UFO project whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing. Shores is not officially a UFO for me but its been on the frame for a long time, and as i only have one UFO (a HAED design) i decided to take the opportunity of making some progress on this biggie.  Block 8 is growing nicely.

Life here has been somewhat strange this past couple of weeks. DH has been really poorly and he is awaiting some hospital tests very soon. He's been off work and in bed most of the time and i have not had a lot of computer time with taking care of our business and other things. I'm way behind on blog reading, for which i apologise to you all. In the evenings i've not felt much like being on the computer but have found comfort and relaxation time with my needle and thread having some quiet contemplative moments.

My thoughts are with those who are across the pond and have been themselves, or know others who have been affected by Sandy, so sad.

Take care all