Archive for the ‘cross-stitch’ Category

Tuesday 31 August 2010

This morning Gordon came in with a big grin on his face.  Ferdinand’s first live calf was born during the night – and she’s female.  Her mother Nancy was out with the herd as we had no due date for her although we knew she must be near her time, which probably means she was one of the first served by Ferdinand when he joined the herd in December.  She calved by herself and walked in this afternoon when Gordon went out to bring the girls in for milking.  Her calf ran the whole way, which is why her mouth is covered in drool in the photo.  Less than a day old and already running all that way!

She allowed Gordon to stroke her, but quivered the whole time, poor little thing!  Her ears were really flapping.  Isn’t she beautiful?

Stephanie and I went uni shopping today with a friend and her daughter; first to Asda for duvet, pillows and some household stuff then on to Dunelm Mills in Weston-super-Mare.  As I type, Steph is on the sofa surrounded by her new goodies like a pig in whatnot.  She’s storing it in Alex’s room for the timebeing until transferring it to her car in a couple of weeks for the big moving day.

When we got home I had a pleasant surprise in the form of some delicious blog candy from Julie at KC’s Court.  She was running a blog giveaway on the event of her 500th post and her granddaughter’s first birthday.  It was so exciting to open the package and find all the lovely goodies, so thank you very much Julie.

I have to say, I have a bit of a ribbon fetish going on so was almost as excited by the wrapping as the contents.  The parcel was tied in brightly covered ribbons, which I’ve included in the photo.  Julie designs some lovely samplers and there was a chart for one called ‘Make Much of Time’ too.

All in all, a good day.


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Monday 3 August 2009

I entered the East Huntspill Annual Summer Show this year after vowing to for several years previously, but having been asked to judge the photographic entries for two years I thought I would enter this year instead.  Typically the other entries were excellent and far superior to last year’s snapshots – competition is a good thing.  I didn’t win anything, but didn’t feel too bad when I saw the quality of the winners.  It’s interesting that digital photography seems to have produced ‘photographers’ rather than people who take photos, giving a whole scope of effects so easily.  Whereas pre-digital, a good photograph was the result of experience, a thorough knowledge of the principles of photography and one’s camera, now it’s more a question of a ‘good eye’ and a quick camera.  I’m not belittling this at all as I think it’s the best thing to have happened to cameras since …. well, ever …. and it’s unleashed the creativity in so many people.

I also decided to enter one of my many finished cross-stitch pictures and chose the Owl in Flight, a design by John Clayton of Heritage Stitchcraft.  It won first prize.  I’d like to crow about coming first, but in fact it was the only cross-stitch entry in the class.  There was another submission, but it wasn’t actually cross-stitch as it contained a wide variety of stitches, none of them crossed!  The judge said it was ‘well deserving of its first place’ but it wasn’t like there was a lot of competition.


On Saturday afternoon the family went to a barbecue at a friend’s house.  Alex had to come home as she’d picked up a tummy bug at the children’s nursery where she’s been working since she came home from university.  Typically, she was ill over the weekend.  One of the ‘side-effects’ of working with small children seems to be that they harbour all kinds of nasty bugs which they’re more than willing to share around.  She was well enough to go back for more today, much to her annoyance.

Stephanie has gone camping in Newquay with a group of friends.  She texted me this morning to say she was OK, but the ground was hard and her shoulder now ached.  Also, it was raining in Newquay.  It’s such a shame: they’ve been planning this for months as a summer holiday and it hasn’t stopped raining.  I’m worrying of course even though I have to let go sooner or later and she is seventeen now, but she’s still under threat if she doesn’t text me morning and evening to let me know she’s still alive and well.

I may not have a chance to write again now before next week.  On Wednesday morning – very, very early on Wednesday morning – I’m flying off to Glasgow to stay with my friend.  There’s a final fitting for our dresses, hair and make-up trials then a hen weekend in Edinburgh to shop and go to the Tattoo at the Castle.  I’m looking forward to it although I’ve been warned to take warm clothes as it can get pretty nippy up there on the hill in front of the Castle.  I’m actually more concerned about getting wet in the rain, but it’ll still be an interesting experience.  I’ll take lots of photos.

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Tuesday 10 February 2009


I’m at a loose end today.  The cross-stitch I was doing for Jolly Red was finally finished yesterday afternoon and eventually, when I could find an open Post Office (I ended up in Burnham in the rain) it was sent by Special Delivery which guarantees delivery by 1.00 pm on the following day.  That would be today.  Kelly rang me mid-afternoon today to ask whether I’d posted it.  Oh!  She did explain that the roads were slightly flooded where she was, but she’d made it from home and assumed the postal delivery would too.  It didn’t.  At the bottom of the receipt is a clause which offers a money back guarantee for delay, so if it hasn’t arrived tomorrow we shall be making use of that.  Special delivery is expensive, but if the service is no better than first-class there wasn’t a lot of point in paying the extra.

Stephanie went off with the College to Prague this morning.  We were both awake very early as we’ve been worrying for a week or so about how we’d get there in snow.  Fortunately the rain yesterday meant the snow didn’t settle during the night.  Despite my best efforts she refused to take her sensible coat although she did agree to a hat and gloves.  The hat was an expensive one from Accessorize so it was fashionable enough to wear.  She said her sensible coat was frumpy and she’d be fine.  At least her back was covered by the coat she did agree to take, which is more than can be said for several of the girls I saw getting into the minibus.  I wonder if their mothers tried to get them into sensible coats as well and lost the battle.  Gordon says she’ll learn the hard way, but I hope it’s not too cold in Prague.

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This is the back of the house this morning in the snow and sunlight.  It looks nice, doesn’t it?  This is the first proper snow we’ve had here for years.  On the left you can see our ‘pool house’ where the hot tub lives and the fish are under ice on the right.  The screening is to keep out the herons which attacked not long after our fish were moved in, taking all but three large ones and the babies.  Luckily there were hundreds of babies which have now balanced out to a manageable number.

After breakfast Daniel and Stephanie, who was home because she was told the buses weren’t running today, decided to make a snowman each.  They were outside collecting up as much snow as they could, but still only managed little ones.  They had fun though.


I can see from my blog stats that some of you have been visiting even though I’ve been away for nearly a week.  I could feel guilty but I don’t because I’ve been off doing other things and it’s not like I haven’t just been talking to you – I haven’t been talking to anyone!  The computer hasn’t been turned on for several days.  I’ve been sewing, cross stitching the picture for Kelly at Jolly Red.  I’m not saying I thought it would be quick, but I hoped it might be quicker than this.  I should have remembered that the poor old Mermaid of the Pearls has been on the go for about two years.  I just don’t seem to have as much spare time as I used to.

You’ll be pleased to know that the fridge arrived on Friday – late on Friday.  If you’ve ever stayed in waiting for a delivery you’ll know what it’s like when you come to the realisation that it’s late now and they aren’t going to turn up.  About ten minutes after I’d reached that conclusion the phone rang and it was them saying they were a couple of minutes away.  I checked to make sure they knew exactly where they were going and they assured me that yes, they knew.  To be on the safe side, I ran through directions for them.  “Yes”, they said.  “We know”. Ten minutes after that they rang again.  I could hear their reversing beep in the background and told them “ok, I can hear you reversing, but oddly enough I don’t see you, so I assume you’re not in the right place?”  Rather sheepishly they admitted that they were a little …. um … disorientated.

When they did arrive they looked at the front door and made that noise – you know, the sucking of air through teeth, usually accompanied by head-shaking that men do when confronted with the supposed stupidity of women (garage mechanics have it down to a fine art) and said something along the lines of “well, the doors will have to come off”.  Rather anxiously I asked them which doors, to which they replied “all of them”!  Several minutes later the fridge was outside (devoid of doors) and they’d unhinged my outer and inner front door.  Gordon had arrived by this time (following a pleading phone call on my part) and took over the ‘up-a-bit, down-a-bit’ part that got it in.  Once in place they reattached the doors and left.  It’s a nice fridge.  We’ve been using it and everything!

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Wednesday 10 December 2008

Yesterday Gordon and I went Christmas shopping together in Taunton.  It’s something we do just the once; Gordon buys presents for me and I end up desperately looking for something to give everyone else.  I’m not sure how that came about, but it’s fairly clear that he gets the better part of the arrangement.  Questions such as “what do you think your mother would like?” are met with shrugs and muttering, so I shall have to use my initiative yet again.

Since her presents to me often … how shall I put this? …. take me by surprise, I don’t know why I stress so much over finding the ideal gift.  Last year she bought me a chopping board with a picture of a cow and the words ‘Silly Moo’ underneath.  Yes, I know we live on a farm with cows, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want many products that depict them!  A few years ago she bought me some chutney (Gordon ate it since he sees chutney or ketchup as an extra vegetable) and a biscuit jar in the shape of an Italian waiter.  He’s very shiny and slippery, gathered such a lot of dust that he needed brushing off at least twice a day and the lid was so tight that we finally gave up on him.  Plus, the biscuits went soggy really quickly.  We christened him Luigi and tucked him quietly in the back of the cupboard.  To be fair he was an improvement on the nylon nightie that would have looked lovely on an octogenarian in hospital, the embroidery she bought me because she knew I liked cross-stitch so thought she’d buy me a lovely embroidery for a change (her words, not mine) and the plastic tray that was just large enough to stand under the toaster to catch crumbs.  And no, I’m not an ungrateful person!  Honestly.

Thomas was collected from the vets this afternoon looking vastly improved and much happier.  We have a problem in that he needs to be fed a special urinary mix (really, it’s called that) so we’ve had to pick up the communal feeder.  The other cats keep looking at the space where it should be or sitting beside it waiting for the food to return.  If anyone has any suggestions about how we’re going to get round this, it would be appreciated.  We don’t even have a separate room we could shut Tom in while feeding the others so it’s constant supervision.  The vet says Tom needs to stay on this diet for SIX months!  Help!

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Monday 6 October 2008

I haven’t taken photographs for at least a week but I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s because it’s been so wet and chilly although I know I should make the effort.  So yet again no photos to show you today.

I had a nice day today after my sister arrived this morning.  She has Mondays off and we decided to pop into Bridgwater for a couple of bits and pieces including presents for Gordon as it’s his birthday tomorrow.  We were both successful but I can’t tell you what we bought!  Gordon never reads my blog as he has no interest in computers at all, but it wouldn’t be fair if you knew before he did.

My cross-stitch group started up again this evening after a long break over the summer holidays.  It was nice to see the girls again.

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Some time just after Christmas last year, I stopped stitching.  I’d been working on various cross-stitch projects almost continuously from the early 1990s and producing large pictures at the rate of about three a year, but suddenly I wasn’t enjoying it any more.  It was almost as if the whole idea of picking up my work was tiring.

I went to have my eyes tested but the optician told me they were fine.  They didn’t feel fine.  Things that were crystal clear before had become blurry.  Working in the office wasn’t so straightforward and when I was doing close work such as writing, everything was out of focus.  Recently I had a light-bulb moment – you know, when you think to yourself “hang on a minute …. what if?” and whilst writing a cheque I tracked down Gordon’s reading glasses, which is not an easy task at the best of times.  They’re only 1.25 strength, but I could see what I was writing, which took me by surprise.  I honestly thought I was allowing my eyes to slip out of focus like you do when you stop concentrating and stare off into the distance, but with the aid of his glasses my focus was returned.

I bought myself some nice reading glasses and yesterday I picked up my unfinished project, The Mermaid of the Pearls by Mirabilia.  I’ve hardly put it down since and am fired up with enthusiasm again.  If I’d realised that was the problem I would have sorted it out ages ago, but the changes were so subtle that it took me a while.

Who knows?  This project might actually be finished before next Christmas!

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