Sunday 29 December 2013

A Batik Christmas.

Hello everyone. Sorry I've not been around much. Life has been very, very busy here.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you are making the most of a few days of calm before new year.
We spent Christmas day with my brother and his wife. Andy cooked the main course, while I provided Chestnut soup and a rich indulgent creamy syllabub for dessert, served with citrus sponge.
Before we left the house we opened gifts here at home. My beloved spoiled me again.
I had cheekily forwarded to him, an email from the fat quarter shop, along with a very long wish list. LOL!
Tony very cleverly took the hint and selected three items from my wish list. Beautiful neutral batik strips.
And a pack of rich berry coloured fat quarters. I could just eat them. This photo does them no justice, the camera opted to use the flash as we have yet another dark day. (More about that later).
 Also from my FQS wish list he selected some charm packs, to make something Christmassy for next year!
What a love. :-)
Three packages arrived from Australia in the run up to the big day. I already showed off the pretty ornaments made by my pal Maxine. 
Janice sent a lovely quilt a month calender. 
 And in another package these three pretty little bags, aren't they beautiful, I love them! and you can never have too many cute little baggies!
Oh! And she tucked some Tim tam bars into one of them. YUM! I was in chocolate heaven.
 Speaking of bags, my beloved also gifted this beauty to me. 
It is just the right size for carting one of my sewing machines about. He seems to think that I may be joining some sewing/crafty clubs once we finally get to NZ. (More about that later too).
There is plenty of room in the bag for fabrics and tools etc as well as a sewing machine.
Sticking with the crafty theme, he took inspiration from another wish list  and splashed out on this beautiful kit. It has all the fabrics needed to make the top and bind 'Spring Sprouts'.
 Included in the kit along with all the yardage are the precut pieces for the appliqué flowers and sprouts.
Sorry about the flash.
Love the colours.
And they are all batiks. 
 Now the post title makes sense?
My Christmas stocking had some great wee goodies in it, best of all were two tiny beads.
I have two Chamilia bracelets. 
That sparkly blue/oil slick coloured bead is this years offering on this one.
The middle one on the red bracelet is new, tucked in between our initials.
It's called captured hearts. There are tiny red enamel hearts and also cut away hearts.
Try as I might, I cannot get a good photo of it.
My boys bought me some wonderful gifts too. I feel truly loved and spoiled.
My brother and his wife went all out and gave me a gift every hour on the hour for over 24 hours!!
Each and every gift had a Manx theme! There are tea towels, pictures, mugs, fridge magnets. LOL
And much, much more........
Like most of Britain, the weather has been truly awful. Although it was lashing down and blowing a hoolie, we once again got off lightly compared to some. The island did lose some trees and there were one or two pretty wet bits, we did not lose power, nor did we have the extensive flooding and damage that occurred across the water. I do hope their new year is better than their Christmas was. Some people had no power since Christmas eve and many saw their Christmas gifts floating around in flooded sitting rooms. :-(
Stay warm and dry everyone. 
I had an email last week from my case worker. She asked for more info.
I went rifling through my meagre stash of paperwork. (We are shredders!) I was amazed at the amount of stuff I found.
Old bank statements, tax stuff and some utility bills from 2007 - 2013!
The waiting game continues.......
The parties are not over yet!
We are off out again tonight. We are hosting a Christmas, New Year & Immigration party this evening.
BIG party night here in Ramsey. :-)
Not sure if I dare take the camera!?
Happy New Year to all.
just in case I don't get back here before then.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Stitched Up!

Spring Geisha is coming along. This is now two days work.
I don't really like stitching upwards, in the words of Tree-beard, it feels like going uphill. LOL
So here I'm working my way as quickly as possible, to the top of the design, then I can comfortably work my way down again as I do the bulk of the stitching.
Yes I know, I could count my way to the top of the design and do the whole thing from the top, but having made more than one mistake doing things that way, I prefer to start in the middle as is traditional, then work my way up. 
Did I say that pretty flower is on her Obi? My bad! It's on the sleeve of her kimono.
That strange flesh coloured blob is her face, the spaces are her unstitched eyes. LOL
I didn't manage to do a single stitch yesterday, instead I was in town getting a last few gifts sorted.
Maybe later today I'll get a chance to stitch, I do hope so, looks like the weekend will be another busy one.
Two nights out and two parties! Not to mention all the baking I promised to do! Though Tony did say he would help with some of that. 
Grocery store, here I come.........

Wednesday 18 December 2013

A Finish!

 And a new start.
I finished Lucky Escape yesterday.
Well, I did say it wasn't going to take long.
I first posted a picture here on my blog on Friday 6th and finished it last night. 11- 12 days! 
Not bad, especially as I didn't touch it at all over the last weekend. From Friday through to Monday I just didn't get a chance to stitch.
This one is to be a Christmas gift, so I must brave to pouring rain today and take it over to Carlo for framing.
So a finish means a start right? That's the rules.
Spring Geisha has begun.
I stitched this little bit last night. 
I love how right away I can see the pretty flowers on her Obi. And how colourful she will be compared to the last one!
Aside from dodging raindrops this morning I have nothing planned for today, so I'll be making progress this afternoon.
All of my images today were assisted by the camera flash. Even though I waited until 9.30 am it's still very dark here with the approach of mid winter and the overcast weather. Not good conditions for photography.
While I'm thinking about it.......
I heard someone on the radio yesterday saying that 21st December is the first day of winter, or summer if you live in the Southern hemisphere! I beg to differ. If that is the shortest (Sticking up North for now!) darkest day, with the least hours of day light, then surely that must be the middle of winter, the darkest and lowest point we reach. Even the Christmas song agrees with me. 'In the bleak mid winter, frosty winds may blow' 
I had a similar discussion with a school teacher some years ago, regarding the Summer Solstice. She agreed with me, but said that her curriculum told her that she must tell the children that the solstices are the first days of Summer, winter...........!
Not at all what I was taught.
Grumble over.
So I promised some more handmade Christmas ornaments.
There are only two on my blue tree, although there are a few hand painted items.
Those of you who have been with me for a while will recognise Santa. This crazy quilt ornament was made by Pam Kellogg. And I adore it.
Sadly, because of the need for flash, you can't see all of the bling she managed to cram onto this little 4.5 x 4.5 cushion.
This pretty beaded bauble was given to me by a dear friend, she had an 'I saw this and thought of you' moment.
I'm really not sure where she found it. The white writing around the equator says Nollick Ghennal. Which is Manx language for Merry Christmas.
Right I'm off to find my wellies! Time to paddle to the framers and the post office.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

A Christmassy post!

Lots of pictures in this post and lots of lovely hand made goodies too.
Firstly, Santa is home. My pal Carlo did a great job of framing him.
He is up on the wall watching over us, making sure we are being good.
I said I would try to get some pictures of my new Christmas ornaments. Here's a selection of new and old.
This pretty button wreath was made by my penpal in Australia. 
We agreed a couple of years ago to swap hand made ornaments at Christmas rather than gifts. Works for me. We have fun trying to come up with all sorts of ideas.
The egg shape to the left was one which I made, I sent a pair to Maxine in Aus and kept a pair for my tree.
The golden beaded ornament on the right, behind the tinsel was hand decorated for my by a local friend, there is a red version hiding on the tree too.
 Amid all of the hand made, gifted goodness are memories of our recent tour into Europe. This big red bauble was purchased in Krakow, Poland.
I have memories of SSCS's This little pretty was one of three.
Another one from Maxine, in Aus.
 SSCS 2011, it has a matching/opposite in green. So lovely.
 This gift fell off the sleigh early, but I'm a good girl, I can wait!
 I bought a trio of angels while we were on Gozo in October.
 A hand painted bell from Vienna.
 Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that I have two trees, a red one and a blue one.
I have only two hand made ornaments on my blue tree, I'll show them off another day.
meanwhile, another hand painted bauble from Poland.
 And a blue painted bell from Vienna.
The bells do actually ring. I love the sound of bells and have them on both trees, there are also bunches of them hanging from the door handles, there is no way you can sneak about in my house at Christmas time! The bells tinkle and chime and give you away.
They were also an early warning system, when my children were little! The tree would tinkle at the slightest touch. LOL
How are your Christmas plans going? 
Did you decorate?
Have you finished shopping for gifts?
Sitting home waiting for a plumber..........
The loo packed up on Saturday, while the house was full of nieces and nephews!
Thank goodness we have two bathrooms!

Thursday 12 December 2013

It's blowing another Hoolie!

More gales and wintry weather have arrived. I lay awake for a while last night listening to the wind hooting and howling around the house. One of the bedroom windows plays an interesting but annoying tune!
So, nasty weather means another great day to stay home and bake.
Cheese scones?
I'll also be doing some stitching.
My lucky escapee has appeared!
This piece is half way done now. This isn't a great picture, but it's dark here so the camera flashed!
My baby had his 18th birthday the other day!
He has received lots of gifts and has had a few nights out, with even more planned!
For me it means time to decorate!
My trees are up! Garlands are draped and strung.
An angel choir is glittering beautifully.
I bought lots of new ornaments while we were in Eastern Europe earlier this year.
I should try to get some photos for you.
But first it's time to make a cuppa, get the oven on and bake.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

The next project

Yes I know I just started a new project, but seriously, it won't take me long to get it finished. I'm not showing a picture of it today because it's just a larger version of the creamy coloured blob in my last post! Honest, I'm still working with the exact same thread colour and I've stitched about a quarter of the chart! After complaining about all the confetti stitching and colour changing on Santa, now it would seem that I am at the other end of the scale! LOL
So, for my next stitch.
A design works kit, from a design by Joan Elliot.
Oriental Spring Beauty.
The sun is in full flow today and no matter what I try it's washing everything out!
He colours are much richer than this in real life. 
Speaking of colours, I've added a few grey hairs to my collection trying to sort the two mixed thread bundles. There are 30 colours/shades, many of which are not easy to tell apart.
 The kit makers tried to be helpful by adding the number of strands required, then forgot to mention that we need to cut them all in half, before we count!!
And they further confused matters by adding a little extra of each. I ended up with 8 - 9 sets of 4 strands of each shade still lying on the table. They were all in the green spectrum! 
I'm hoping that I have them correct, or if I haven't, I'm hoping that will become obvious when I start stitching with them.
I remember now why I went off working with kits and preferred to use charts and buy the threads separately. That said, this kit has been around for a while, and most producers these days offer pre sorted threads, or at least add clues like semi sorted itemised bundles!
It's a nice day so I'm off for a good long walk.

Friday 6 December 2013

Two finishes and a start!

As promised yesterday, a picture of the finished cakes, if you counted yesterday, you'll know that one more got the chomp before I managed to get back to them with icing!
 I used some of those Terrys chocolate orange segments to top them off.
 I love that they each have different messages on them.
 They are now, somewhat depleted. The men of the house got stuck in last night!
Though I did manage to save some for my brother. They will be delivered later today.
Finish number two is Santa!
All done. Minus that awful looking border, thank you for that suggestion Janice!
He had  another good soak this morning and I even had another go at scrubbing at that rusty spot. There are still grubby spots, but hopefully Carlo can hide them when he frames it for me.
My new start is called 
Lucky Escape.
can you tell what it is yet?
The entire project is worked in only eight colours, though some of them are blended to make a total of twelve symbols on the chart! It's also very small, with a finished size of 5 x 5 inches.
So I'll get this done, while I ponder my next larger project.
Dear Tony was contracted back to work by the receiving company. He has 25 days of work and will be paid for all 25 days, even if he finishes early. 
They are paying him VERY well too!
I received a letter the other day telling me that I have been given a case worker for my visa application and it may take 10 - 12 weeks to process! I could have cried, I was hoping to have the news before Christmas.
My case worker is supposed to email me, and send me a link, so that I can track my progress through the system, she hasn't done that yet. Does that mean I have landed on her desk, but didn't yet make it onto her radar?
Everyone keeps on reassuring me that there should be no problem.
I'm married to a Kiwi ex Pat.
We are in a long term relationship. (12 years)
And have provided oodles of proof of our relationship.
We don't have medical problems
We don't have criminal records.
According to Tony we are just a rubber stamp job!
And I should know very soon.
All I want for Christmas is a visa in my passport!

It's blowing a Hooley out there!

Although the sun is currently trying to make an appearance, it's a wild and wintry day here on the Isle of Man. The wind is gusting up to 70 mph. There are some fierce showers rattling through and next doors mail box is clattering! So that makes it a very good day to stay at home, wrapped up warm and doing something creative. Like my cross stitch. Santa finally has a face, I'm all caught up on the back stitching, and the only thing that remains to be stitched are the toys in his sack, I already made a start on the dolly, that's her blue dress you can see there.
I'm hoping to get Santa finished today. But first I got busy in the kitchen, it's a good day to have the oven on too! 
I made Chocolate and orange marble muffins. Once they have cooled I'll add a creamy chocolate topping and a slice of Terrys chocolate orange.
I'm off to sew while the cakes cool down.
I'll try to get a photo of both finishes, but I suspect the cakes may be difficult, they disappear fast! There are already three missing!

Monday 2 December 2013

Over the weekend.....

Santa collected his tree. 
I also got his beard finished. He is no longer headless, just faceless!  I'll fix that today though.
You know when you can almost taste the end of a project? I'm getting that feeling.
Some time in the next couple of days I'll have to go dig into my cross stitch stash and pull out a new project.
I noticed from my stats that 98 people looked at my last post! OMG! Does it have a suggestive title? Did someone famous link to it?  
Only two people commented though. LOL That's normal!