Wednesday, 25 February 2009

White Nights ~ progress so far!

Well here it is ~ White Nights after two evenings stitching! Sorry for the poor quality of the picture but it was taken on the mobile phone. Fingers crossed I can do more tonight as tomorrow I will probably get very little done, what with parent's evening at work, packing for the weekend, yes, this weekend is another 'Railway Weekend' and there's no way I am taking White Nights down to The Six Wheeler as there is too much soot and coal dust ~ White Nights could end up looking like a total eclipse!

I have also realised that in terms of the rotation this is not the best week for doing something big because

  • 'The Other Half' is away this week so I have to cook, well put things in the 'Popty Ping' so less time for stitching. By the way 'Popty Ping' is sort of Welsh for microwave, popty meaning oven and ping meaning, well, ping, so you get the oven that pings!

  • Parent's evening ~ late home from work big chunk of stitching time gone.

  • Railway Weekend ~ travelling time; this weekend is a 'two car job', well car and van job to be exact as we are meeting up in Wales, so no stitching in the car for me (three hours stitching time lost!). Guard's duty on Saturday.

So in future White Night's weeks need to include a non 'Railway Weekend', like next week! We'll see.

On the biscornu front I might have found a suitable one for February. It's a freebie from The Solaria Gallery. However, it seems to be a bit on the large side so I will need to do some modifications. I'm hoping to start this at the weekend, so without much ado I'm off to the 'Stash Room' to sort threads!

Monday, 23 February 2009

White Nights is go!

So today is THE BIG DAY.

Yesterday evening I sorted out all my silks and put them into Floss-A-Way bags. In fact, all the stuff for this project has gone into it's own special bag. Last week we went to York and guess what? There is a Cath Kidston shop there too, and the sale was still on! Mm, me thinks that book bag will do very nicely for storing the bits for White Nights, well that was my excuse.

Dispite having a date with Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends on Saturday I was able to finish the Snowmen Biscornu. The button is made of mother of pearl and it came out of the 1930s button box at Duttons for Buttons in York.

I think it is on the Basket of Biscornu where someone has photographed one of their biscornu on a mirror, to show bits of the underside, so I have given it a go. Please excuse the weired reflections on the photo.

Last week I also made some progress on 'The Red Santa'. The cross stitching is complete only the backstitching to do.

And finally, this is Thomas the Tank Engine himself, being given a well earned drink by his driver and fireman, before going to bed at the end of a very long day!

Thursday, 19 February 2009


What a great day! Hundreds of people were at York station this morning to witness the naming of Tornado by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. As you can see from the picture we had a really good viewpoint.

Here is The Prince of Wales, you can just about make out the Duchess of Cornwall behind the policeman.
After the naming, and before Tornado pulled the Royal Train to Leeds, there was a fly past over the station by an RAF Tornado escorted by two Hawk aircraft, no pictures of this though as it was unexpected.

This is a video of Tornado leaving York with the Royal Train

We then spent a few hours at the National Railway Museum before, and this was by chance, seeing Tornado again at York station having completed her journey. It's funny how ships and locomotives are always female!

The day was rounded off in art deco splendor with afternoon tea at Betty's Tea Rooms.

So that's the 'stuff' what about the stitching? Well, as you may have guessed, no real progress there, and nor is there likely to be. This weekend is a 'Railway Weekend'. Now last time I was able to go to my parent's for a good stitching session but this weekend I am Guard on the train, green flags, whistles and a uniform ~ and no I will not be posting a photo of me in that outfit! I might, however, post a picture of what this weekend is all about and that is a little blue tank engine with a cheeky face and a number one on the side!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

One cute robin!

This is the progress made on the Snowmen Biscornu by yesterday evening. It is stitched on 32 count white, opalescent linen for a sparkly effect. I chose to use the floss recommended by the designer for a finer finish (DMC 4215 for the scarf and DMC 4235 for the snowflakes and buttons). Instead of doing French knots for the snow I used some left over Mill Hill crystal beads, these were stitched on using DMC 4235, being variegated this gives each bead a slightly different look.

This shows the detail of the melted snowman on the underside. Here I changed the colour of the robin's breast to a bright red, as charted it should be the same colour as the carrot. I think he's one cute robin!

So strictly speaking, it's back to the Santas on the rotation. However, this week is a funny week with a lot of travelling involved, yesterday from mine to The Other Half's (195 miles), tomorrow The Other Half's to York ready for Tornado's big day on Thursday (188 miles), Thursday York to mine (120 miles), Friday mine to Llangollen for a 'Railway Weekend' (75 miles). The distances involved don't really matter it's the time taken to travel them and we are bound to get stuck in a jam somewhere! It will be interesting to see how much I manage to get done. Most of the sky in the New York Skyline (Reflections) was actually done travelling in The Other Half's white van up and down the country and in and around London. And yes, just in case you are wondering, he can be a 'White Van Man', this is OK in his van but not when he's driving my car!

No really, I shouldn't complain, he does do all the long distance driving, creates fantastic meals which means that I have more time for stitching!

Monday, 16 February 2009

My first award

This is the award I got from Susan over at The Lazy Stitcher.

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon's of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers. When you
pass the award along please include these guidelines.

I am going to pass it on to Maren (Stitchery Doo) and Sharon (The Purple Thread).

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is the card I stitched last week for 'the other half'.

Tonight we are off to see 'Show of Hands'. This will be the fifth time we have seen them. The most memorable of their concerts to date was at the Royal Albert Hall in London, almost two years ago, this was a sell out, in fact their third sell out concert at that venue. Not bad for for two blokes, a violin, and a number of specialist 'guitars'. Needless to say we are looking forward to it. Tonight's venue is much more intimate than the RAH, so this will be a good way to round off Valentine's Day. If you want to know what 'Show of Hands' are like there are loads of videos of them on You Tube. For the video of the much acclaimed 'Roots' click here.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Has anybody out there tried to use Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch Pattern Creator 2? Well I have. Let's face it a lot of the problems I have had with it have probably been my own fault as I didn't do any of the the tutorials but instead dived straight in! OK the phrase 'Do as I say and not as I do' comes to mind as at work I am always saying to the kids, 'Have you read the instructions?'

Anyway, after trial and error I've eventually got to grips with it and my first efforts don't look too bad, even though I say so myself. So why put myself through this? I had decided to do one of the missing biscornus in a Native American Indian theme and set about adapting two charts from Joan Elliott's book 'Native American Cross Stitch'. The charts I chose were 'The heavens give us each a song' and 'Words are the voice of the heart'. This is what they ended up looking like.

Talking of biscornus, I have just spoken to the nice lady at Sew and So and they have the Just Nan 15 sided biscornu, due to be released in America on 26 February, on order, they have no idea of cost yet. This is a must have for the stash.

What with AOL aggro this post has taken ages to compose. I'm off for some thread sorting therapy in the stash room!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Look what the postman brought!

Hurray! the parcel arrived.

Tonight I will start the Snowmen Biscornu as the linen and my missing threads were in the parcel along with, as you can see, some other stuff. Last weekend my Mum made me a gift of 'White Nights in St Pertersburg' by Chatelaine Designs. Some of the bits needed to start the first section are still on order. So this is going into the empty week in the rotation.

Whilst awaiting the parcel I have finished one side of the Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu, the disastrous 'in car sewing' from the other week (see post on 26/01/09). Also in the post today was an invitation from The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust to attend the naming ceremony of Tornado. The naming is to be conducted by The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at York railway station. So, the hotel is booked and we will be there at this historic occasion, mmm... do you think I should wear a hat?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Has the postman been?

This was, I think, the first thing I said when I got in from work today. Not, how was your day? And the answer? Yes, but there was nothing for you. Drat! this means I cannot start the Snowmen Biscornu. I don't know, this little thing has really caught my eye and I cannot wait to get started, but not tonight. Fingers crossed for a parcel tomorrow!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Basket of Biscornu

Whilst browsing through other blogs over the weekend I came across Basket of Biscornu. What a fantastic idea! Too late to sigh up I am going to do the same, albeit a month behind. I am going to try and theme my biscornu. So far these are my ideas:

January ~ Snowmen Biscornu from Faby Reilly Designs (just waiting for some bits to come from Sew and So)

February ~ Valentine's (still looking)

March ~ Baby Shamrocks from The Sweetheart Tree

April ~ something English for St George's Day (still looking)

May ~ ?

June ~ ?

July ~ ?

August ~ ?

September ~ maybe La Rentree from Faby Reilly

October ~ Halloween theme (still looking)

November ~ Poppies for Remembrance Day and possibly a cornflower on the other side, if I can find a chart

December ~ Christmas Biscornu from Just Nan (a bit of a cheat as this is all ready done)

Fingers crossed, the stuff I need to start on the January one should arrive tomorow, can't wait.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

March is complete

So we did go to 'The Railway' this weekend. There was some snow on Friday night but not enough to stop us meeting up with friends at the local hostelry! However, the forecast for Saturday evening was for severe frost, -8 to -10 degrees C. This would mean that our water supply would freeze overnight, so we came home.
I normally go and visit my Mum and Dad on 'Railway Weekend' Saturdays and this was no exception. So there were the three of us each working on something, my Mum the Holland Mandala, my Dad the second part of the Poppy Screen by Jill Gordon of Millennia Designs and me the March calendar.
I finished the calendar this morning and have just finished mounting it. Inspired by The Lady of the Floss's blog I have had a go at staging the completed project photo.
Here it is.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

'Railway Weekend' ~ yes or no?

This is March at the end of stitching tonight. The rabbit, or is it a March hare? is complete except for the eye and a yellow beaded flower. The M of March is also complete with the other letters still needing beads.

This weekend should be a 'railway weekend' where we go to Llangollen in North Wales to do volunteer work on the Llangollen Steam Railway but with the bad weather forecast I am yet to make the decision to go or not. So, if I go, no posts until Sunday. Where do we stay when we have 'railway weekends'? Well, I am the owner of a railway carriage called, on the railway, 'The Six Wheeler'. This has been converted into living accommodation and has a bedroom, kitchen and living room. The carriage is about 36' long and about 8' wide. It has electricity, cold running water and wood burning stove and is really cosy, when it has warmed up! This is the only photo I could find of the interior, but it gives you the general idea.

I have taken many photos of the railway but I think that this is the best one.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Less time than expected!

Here was I thinking that the Valentine's card was going to take the best part of the week (only because previous cross stitch ones have) in reality it took less than two hours! No photos until Valentine's Day though.

I have spent quite a bit of time searching for other cross stitch blogs and yesterday found one that lists lots of them (Big Blog of Stitching Blogs) including mine now. I will try and follow a few so watch for additions on the side-bar. Some bloggers have great long lists of all the blogs they follow, how do they also have time to stitch?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

March ~ Progress after two evenings stitching

Here is the progress made since Sunday on March of the Mill Hill Calendar Series. The green parts of the letters done so far, that is, M A and R are stitched in Kreinik ribbon. The missing bits are to be done with beads. I get the feeling that this is not going to take very long to do.

I usually stitch a Valentine's card for 'the other half' and as yet I have not started. He is away this week so I will need to get a move on as I have decided to do one that involves some Hardanger. I am going to use a free pattern from The Victoria Sampler called the Heart Sweet Bag. So work on March is suspended until Friday when he returns and that gives me three evenings to complete the card. If there are no posts for the rest of the week you know why!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A weekend away

Firstly, here is the progress made on 'The Red Santa' by the end of stitching on Thursday evening. Straight after work on Friday we headed off to Harrogate for a weekend away. What with one thing and another and, as it turned out, a poor choice of in car stitching ~ 32 count linen, more backstitch than cross stitch on bumpy winding roads does not work. The majority of the stitching was done waiting in the car for this:

This is the A1 class locomotive 'Tornado' on it's second mainline run with a passenger train, the first was yesterday and yes, we saw that too. As you can see from the number of cars many people, someone near us estimated 150, came to see her. By this stage it was trying to snow and the wind was bitterly cold.

So, the Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu finished the weekend like this.

Whilst wandering around Harrogate I came across a Cath Kidston shop, heaven. I have only seen her stuff on the website. I left twenty minutes later with a handbag and some other bits. So a train spotting weekend does have its advantages!