Thursday, 30 April 2009

Impulse purchase!

So what do we do when we have a weekend way from The Railway? Go and visit another railway and work on their trains! Yes we are mad!

With a longish journey in prospect I decided to sort out my handbag stitching. The pin cube (Stitch-Creations SAL) will probably get finished, the Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu, with a bit of luck will be finished this evening and anyway it's not suitable for doing in the car. So that means I can start my Dutch Delft biscornu, I've been looking forward to doing this for ages as it's a bit different. But horror of horrors on closer inspection it's not symmetrical! Now do biscornu have to be perfectly symmetrical , that is, all four corners the same? So I went searching for something else. Eventually I hit the Kreinik website where I found a couple of freebie charts that have biscornu potential, for example Pearl Drops by Judy Dixon.

Then I came across this, called Midnight Ride,

Well needless to say I liked her straight away. Now I'm not normally one for impulse buys but ten minutes later all the necessary braid and blending filaments, some of which glow in the dark were on order. I'm thinking this will be my project for the Spooky Stitcher's SAL, despite the fact I have other Spooky stuff already in the stash.

The Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu looks like this, some backstitching and the beading to do.

Fingers crossed that I can get some stitching done this weekend. I had play with the chart for the Dutch Delft Biscornu, colour photocopy scissors and glue later and it looks like this.

I am still not happy with certain bits but I can correct them as I go. By the way the original design came from a book called 'Blue and White Cross Stitch' by Helen Turvey, published by Hamlyn.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, 27 April 2009

As stitching weekends go...

... this one was a disaster. But, as Railway Weekends go, this one was BRILLIANT!

First, little about the stitching I have done. Last week was the turn of White Nights. This was it four weeks ago.

And this is what it looked like at the end of stitching on Thursday (without the use of flash).

And that has been it. I did do some more of the pin cube SAL on the way to 'The Railway' but stitching on the local train which stops every two minutes was not that successful!

Even if you have no interest in steam locomotives and railways watch the video at the end, or the one on YouTube and you will see why the weekend was brilliant.

As mentioned previously this weekend saw the final two days of the nine day 'Steel, Steam and Stars II' Gala. Here are some of the better photos.

Before we start, this is the lounge inside the Thompson Buffet. The carriage appeared in the British Transport film 'The Elizabethan Express'. Filmed in 1954 it tells the story the non stop passenger service which ran daily between London and Edinburgh. The Other Half and a few others, me included, restored this carriage to it's former glory (it was an empty shell) for the last 'Steel, Steam on Stars Gala' two years ago. With a fully stocked, twenty two foot long, bar it was the most popular carriage of the event. Unfortunately, last year this carriage ran away during a shunting move and smashed in to a stationary locomotive, no one was hurt but the carriage suffered over £25.000 worth of damage! So this gala saw it out on a train for the fist time since it was repaired, again with a fully stocked bar!

This is a still from the original film. The lounge being through the archway.

Some other photos. One of the stars of the show.

Ex GWR 'Dukedog' 4-4-0 No 9017

At Berwyn Station

The Gala ended last night with a ten locomotive cavalcade. This is our video it was taken inside the Signal Box the loud bangs you can here are the levers being moved to operate the signals.Turn up the volume, as the noise is fantastic. There are better quality videos on YouTube. One of them is HERE

Just prior to the Cavalcade it had been raining but just as the first loco came into sight the sun came out and there was a perfect rainbow forming an arch over the whole event. This topped off a brilliant weekend.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Totally Useless SAL

This is this month's photo for The Totally Useless SAL. This month's additions have mainly been DMC. When I go away for the weekend I take a Floss-A-Way bag to put my orts in, how about that for dedication?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Another two items for the UFO pile?

That's how I felt on Thursday afternoon!

Let's start at the very beginning...

... a very good place to start. OK I'll try not to turn into Julie Andrews.

So on Thursday we packed up our stuff and set off to The Railway for 'Steel, Steam and Stars II'. Estimated departure time 09.00, actual departure time 09.30, not too bad. We got to the top of the road and I realised that I had left my allergy pills at home. As much as I like going to The Railway I am actually allergic to the place, or something there that's not at home. So false start No 1. We set off again. We managed to get a little further this time when The Other Half said that he had left his razor behind. False start No 2. So about fifteen minutes down the road I decided to get the Pale Blue Santa out. I then had a Victor Meldrew moment,

'I don't believe it!'

I had gone and left every single floss colour, and there are many at home, bar one! I think The Other Half did contemplate doing a U turn in the middle of the road but before he could put the brakes on I said that we were not going back, impressed? Well don't be. I had the Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu in my handbag, plus the one I'm going to do for May. I also knew that at my Mum's were the Red and Purple Snowmen from Shepherds Bush and four Jim Shaw Snowmen, I have been indulging in some more stash enhancement. Anyway the one floss colour I had was pale blue and that's the majority of the Santa. It was some hours later, whilst at my Mum's that I happened to notice that I didn't seem to have enough pale blue left. A quick check on the chart and I found that everything I had done in pale blue should have been done in two strands of white and one strand of turquoise. I frogged some of it and gave up. This is what it looks like.

The pale blue on the left hand side needs to come out.

So I changed to the Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu, and guess what I made exactly the same mistake on side two as I did on side one. More frogging! This is it corrected and added to.

That was Thursday. On Friday morning I opened the curtains and this was parked ten yards in front of my window.
If you don't know much about steam locomotives this one is 6100 Royal Scot and she is COOL, even without the name plates, which were put on later.

We had a fantastic Railway Weekend. All over the country photos are probably being uploaded as I type and there will no doubt be some great videos on YouTube. I've already dropped a few names in to this post but this one is the best, I had a long conversation with Pete Waterman, described on the radio this morning as 'Britain's most famous trainspotter', but the rest of the world know him from Stock, Aitken and Waterman, the pop production team who made Kylie famous. How did this one start? I said how much I had enjoyed his TV series on railways and in particular the bit where they showed you how British Railways made a ham sandwich look like it had two slices of ham in it when actually there was only one!

One last thing, in honour of my new blog my Mum got me a blog warming present, can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

When does a WIP become a UFO?

Now I know this question is not is important as, What is the meaning of life? (answer 42) but it has been playing on my mind for some time.

On my WIP list I have Michael Powell's Tuscan Gardens II. It is not on the rotation, I have not put a stitch in since virtually the day I started it over six months ago - so is it actually a UFO?

This next one is definitely a UFO. Started when one of my nephews was still a bump, one is now 12 and the other 9!

This is the Teepee Bears Door Hanger designed by Joan Elliott for Bucilla.

I have another one, hidden in a drawer at The Railway, which is a Country Companions one. The idea here being to leave some stitching at The Railway so that I didn't have to take something every weekend. Mmm... that's been there over six years.

So in a moment of madness I have started another blog called 'I've started so I'll finish, eventually' at This is a SAL for all those who want to finish/talk about one or more of their UFOs. Purely for fun, but if it encourages people to finish their UFOs that would be great. If you are interested in joining then email me, via my profile, or leave a comment on this blog and I will sent you an invitation.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Precious Ramotswe and me ...

... what do we have in common?

On the face of it very little. I am no lady detective and I don't live in Botswana. But, she seems to spend a lot of time driving around in a white van and sitting on the veranda, watching the world go by and this is what I have done this weekend, well sort of.

White van time meant that I was able to complete part 2 of the pin cube SAL from Stitch-Creations.

Sitting on the veranda on Saturday meant that I was able make good progress on the Baby Shamrocks Biscornu. Whilst stitching outside the wind caught one of my orts and blew it away. I promptly dropped everything and ran after it so that the ort's final resting place would be my flask for the Totally Useless SAL rather than decorating some bush or birds nest, sorry birds but you've had plenty of my orts in the past! An evening on the now none existent sofa and a morning on a very hard chair (sofa hit the local recycling place at 9.00 this morning) and the biscornu was finished. This shows the front and back.

And this is the finished item.

So why is the sofa at the tip? The Other Half has, finally, let his house and we are here sorting out the last bits of stuff. As I write this I am sitting in a room furnished with a few boxes, the aforementioned chair and a TV!

At some stage over the weekend I was also able to finish the lilac side of 'When Barnabee Met Bella'.

This week it's back to the St Nicholas Tree Skirt and the 'Pale Blue Santa'. Only time will tell how much I get done as this weekend is the start of 'Steel, Steam and Stars II' . More about this in a future post, no doubt.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Biscornu, SALs and Stash

Here is the progress so far on 'When Barnabee Met Bella' from Just Nan.

The photo does not do justice to the fantastic colours, for starters the linen is lilac and not a funny grey colour! The top left hand corner is complete with embellishment.

This is the other side.

I have one day left on the rotation for this so hopefully I will get the lilac side finished.

Whilst 'blog hopping' I came across a pin cube SAL from Stitch-Creations. So I went into the Stash Room found some 14 count white Aida, and DMC 115. In the time it took The Other Half to drive from home to my Mum's, 75 miles, the first side was finished.

This week I also indulged in a bit of stash enhancement with the Over The Top and In The Tin (Boo) from Just Nan.

I am hoping to modify the needle book chart to make a biscornu, eventually. Having seen the Peachy Biscornu a couple of times on the Basket of Biscornu SAL blog, I also bought that.

This is designed by Carol Tinson of Heirloom Embroideries.

I'll leave you with some Easter Greetings from just after the First World War, scanned from my Mum's collection.

Happy Easter!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Two finishes and a start

So back to the stitching. Last Wednesday I finished the May calendar, all it needs now is blocking and stretching, tomorrow's job.

As this was finished early I went on to the next project in the rotation, 'Simply Summer' from Waxing Moon Designs and finished that too!

This gives me a 'free week' on the rotation so I have started 'When Barnabee Met Bella' from Just Nan.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The World's Most Famous Steeple Chase...

... and we were there!

No sewing today as we have been to The Grand National at Aintree. I first came to Liverpool in the late 1980s and effectively stayed until I moved house in 1999. I lived about ten minutes away from the racecourse for five years, you could even hear the course announcements in my back garden! But I have never been, until today.

This is the rant bit...

Now, The Other Half is a seasoned race goer, he has been to Royal Ascot, in the top hat and tails more than once and has been to the Epsom Derby for forty years, the last five of those I have gone with him. Now we thought it would be the same, take a picnic sit on the bank and have a good time. We were WRONG on the picnic front. At the bag search, security check stage you are told no food or drink, not even water, could be taken into the course and the police were there to enforce it. Now forgive me if I am wrong but what security risk does a few sandwiches and a couple of bottles of water pose? the bottles were made out of plastic! The police said that they were there to support the event security teams enforce a rule made by the event organisers. When we pointed out that there was no reference made to this on the website or on any of the routes leading up to the course, or it turned out later in the Racecourse Regulations and Notices printed in the racecard the police suggested that we wrote and complained, we will. In my mind the job of the police is to ensure the security of the racegoers, not enforce a decision that was obviously made for commercial gain.

Rant over.
Anyway, despite all that, we had a good day. Here are some of the photos.

The main stands and the first fence.

The second fence and 'out into the country'

And they're off! (after two false starts). This was taken just after the first fence had been jumped of the forty horses that started two fell at the first fence, but horses and jockeys were OK. One of the jockeys was on the ground for a long time. He got a big cheer from the crowd when he got up and walked away.

Coming up to the second... that didn't make it.

Second time around.

Of the forty starters only seventeen finished. No horses or jockeys were seriously injured. (This morning, Sunday, whilst watching the highlights, I discovered that 'Hear the Echo' collapsed and died just before the finish.) I hate it when they end up having to destroy a horse because it has fallen badly, which might be one of the reasons why it has taken me so long to go. The winner, Mon Mome, came in at 100:1. It was both the horse and the jockey's first ever Grand National, the bookies are laughing all the way to the bank. Having worked in a betting shop for a summer, whilst as a student, I don't bet so why do I go to the odd race meeting? For the atmosphere and the picnic. Woops! Might go off on one again.

When we got off the train at Aintree Station this morning there were bags and bags of yellow flip-flops, odd? The Grand National is a massive occaision and the majority of ladies get dressed up. Flimsy dresses, no coats (the wind was bitter) hats, fascinators and seriously high (stupid) shoes. At the station, after the race, when everyone is going home, a local charity was giving away the flip-flops, for a small donation, to those ladies whose feet and legs had given up.

Now that's a commercial venture, which I approve!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Homework? set by Yoyo

In the last post I said I had received an invite to join 'Stitcher's Showcase' and was off to explore. Yoyo in her comment asked if I could do a synopsis of what it is all about. So here we go.

Stitcher's Showcase aims to provide 'stitchers, regardless of the type of stitchery a place to showcase their work'.

How do you join? Go to the homepage, link provided at the bottom of my sidebar, and follow the sign up instructions. It takes less than five minutes.

You get your own page where you can add
  • photos and organise them into albums

  • video

  • music

  • blog post, on the site's blog

  • add to or start a discussion topic

Some people have customised their pages but not being into Facebook or My Space I haven't a clue where to start. The default layout is fine anyway. When adding a photo you can put a title, brief description and appropriate tags. When added the photo appears on the site's main page. If you click on the photo you get a larger version with the description, if given, and there is a box for people to leave comments.The comments appear on you page and you also get email notification.

There is also a search facility. I searched under biscornu and got four pages of results which included photos, comments on photos and blog posts. To my mind some of the photos had not been fully labeled eg. naming the designer but you could leave a comment asking for that information.

It seems that many people, like me, are using the site to display finishes, that is, showcase their work. Many of the biscornu photos I recognised from the Basket of Biscornu SAL. Some are adding to the blog with photos of WIPs and finishes.

If you are interested in a person's work and would like to find out more you can click on their name, go to their page, scroll down and eventually get to the link to their blog, if they have one.

Finally, as I said, I will be using Stitcher's Showcase to post photos of my finishes. If this encourages people to visit my blog who have not done so before that's great. But this blog is my main focus and my inspiration for stash enhancements comes from visiting other blogs to find out what everyone else is doing, and how they are getting on.

Hardly a synopsis but please Miss (Yoyo), how did I do?

So on to this week's project in the rotation. The picture for May in the Mill Hill Calendar.

This was how it was at the end of stitching yesterday. There is a yellow flower to go in the bottom right hand corner and a ladybird where there is a gap in the middle, a small amount of backstitch and then the embellishments. The reason why I have managed to do so much by Tuesday is that I was effectively sent home from work on Monday with what the doctor thought could be 'Slapped Face Syndrome' or Shingles. It turned out to be 'Slapped Face Syndrome' a virus which makes your face look like, well you've guessed it. Your face goes very red and very hot. So I had a day and a half off work. I went back today to find that a colleague was off on Monday with the same thing and another one looked like he's coming down with it. Great, Sod's Law says that teachers will come down with a childhood ailment just in time for the holidays.