Thursday, December 27, 2007

100th Post & a Very Lego Christmas

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Hello from south Lanarkshire and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Christmas here was as quite as it can be with an excitable 7 year old in the house and he was very lucky to have a 'very Lego' Christmas!


So that kept him (and me) rather busy for quite some time and we're not finished yet!

We've also been out and about a bit. Today we went to Cornhill House where my sister is getting married in May. Yesterday we also went to Corra Linn and New Lanark.



I've also been taking these photos for my brother.




These are watercolours painted by my grandfather. One of them stays with my parents, the other with me. For the last couple of years, my brother has been talking about getting digital copies of some of Grandpa's pictures so that he can have prints made. These photos are our latest attempt, although I don't think the light is quite good enough.

In amongst all the excitement, I've almost finished stitching on Edgar's RR! I can't believe how well I've got on with it and have thoroughly enjoyed stitching on it. I've now moved on to restart Paradigm Lost using a completely different floss and am really enjoying it too! Photos next time.

Gotta go now - sausages to cook!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

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I finish work today until the 7th January (hurray!) so, between now and then, I don't know when I'll get the chance to blog again or catch up with everybody. I thought I'd leave you with a photo of my Christmas tree, complete with knitted monkee in a Santa hat!


On Monday we'll be heading off up the M1/M6 to my parents' house where we'll be staying over Christmas and for most of next week. On our way. we have to stop off in Manchester at my sister's house to drop off presents and pick up my brother who is coming over for Christmas week from his home in Orlando (the one in Florida). I haven't seen him since last Christmas, so it'll be lovely to see him again.

I'm also looking forward to being back home in Scotland. Somehow, I find it easier to relax up there. The air seems so much clearer and fresher and the scenery is amazing.


This poor monkee doesn't look entirely happy with all the Christmas festivities, although I do think he enjoyed being permitted to scramble around in the Christmas tree.


I just have this sneaking suspicion that his is more of a 'bah humbug' sort of expression. Or maybe he's just tired. Poor thing.

So until next time, wishing you all the best for a Merry Christmas and a good New Year.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What a finish!

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I ended up having another couple of days off work last week. And although I was choked up to my ears with a streaming cold, I had a couple of nice, relaxing, really productive days! So now I get to show off what I did with my time. If you haven't guessed already, I'm very very pleased with the end results!

I finally finished off my Huswif which I stitched in the first half of the year. The design was a mystery by Carol Tinson of Heirloom Embroideries. I made a number of changes to the charted design as I was stitching it which I described in this post in May.

Last week, I started with this -


And over a morning, transformed it into this -


I used a piece of my own fabric for the inside, rather than that supplied by Carol.


And I stitched a small pin cushion and scissor fob.



I really am very pleased with the end result - it's gorgeous! The photos just don't do it justice - even at 9.30am this morning the light was still too dull and dingy!

In a fit of enthusiasm, I also stitched a little beaded Mill Hill ornament. I have to confess that I think this is the first time I've stitched a Christmas ornie!



Finally, I had to go to the post office this morning to collect some parcels which the postman had been unable to fit through my letter box. I was expecting a number of Christmas presents which I've ordered for friends and family. However, I was surprised and pleased to find a parcel from Edgar waiting for me.


I haven't opened it any further yet, but thanks so much Edgar! You really have been very kind and generous.

My DS was also very impressed (as only small boys can be) with the box it came in and with the polystyrene packaging which he immediately put to use as a camouflaged bed for a toy baby seal!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Busy busy

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What happened to last week? It just turned into one of those weeks for me where nothing worked out the way I'd planned. After spending 2 days at home with DS and our colds, I went back to work on Wednesday expecting to be very busy for the rest of the week. However, on Thursday I then came down with a stomach bug and spend another uncomfortable 2 days at home taking care of that. Hopefully, everything is back to normal now!

Despite the chaos, I did manage to achieve a few things, such as the monkee. I also managed to get Donna's RR finished and into the post.


It's a slight variation on LHN's Through the Woods.


I now have Edgar's RR to work on using a tree theme. I'm trying to work out something based on Morning Berries.

At the very start of last week, I was also one of those fortunate enough to receive an early Christmas gift from a friend.


The Belgian stamp threw me completely, but I'm very touched and grateful for the gift. Given the number of people whose blogs I've seen this on, this lovely person has been extremely generous in her gifts!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Meet the Monkee

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Here he is - my first monkee! He knitted up quite quickly but seemed to take ages to put together and stuff!

I had thought his name was Malky, but he and DS took an immediate fancy to each other, and after a short discussion, DS announced that his name is Zero-X1.

After reaching this understanding, Zero-X1 was quickly put to work as a contortionist's assistant.


After that he made himself at home getting to know the other residents of our house.


He seems to fit in very nicely.



Did someone say shopping?


The monkee bag came last week courtesy of Monkee Maker's shop. It arrived all parcelled up like an early Christmas present!


Thanks Monkee Maker! More monkees are planned but I think I'd like to work out how to make the half pint variety first. So it might take a little while to work out the pattern amendments first! And I want to knit a gnome too, and there's my stitching, and it's nearly Christmas .......

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

John Chisholm Lambert

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One of the things I really like about blogging is that I can write about whatever takes my fancy, whenever I feel like it! I don't need to worry about whether or not somebody's going to be interested (although, of course, it would be nice) or whether or not it's appropriate (I'm the only one who can decide what is or isn't appropriate). And it can all be so spontaneous! So here's something that's taken my fancy today.

I find it interesting to occasionally have a look and see where visitors are arriving on my blog from. Today's look produced some interesting results. Somebody had arrived at my blog via a search on the name of my great grandfather, John Chisholm Lambert - I wish they had stopped to say hello!

John Chisholm Lambert was born in Trinidad in 1857 and died in 1917 at Fenwick in Ayrshire. He was a minister in the United Presbyterian Church firstly at Stewarton in Ayrshire and then at Cathcart near Glasgow. Shortly before 1900, he was forced to retire from preaching as his voice failed, I think due to throat cancer. While staying on as Minister-Emeritus at Cathcart, he also became an author of Christian works with titles like "The Romance of Missionary Heroism" and the "Christian Workman". I have copies of some of his books.

John's father, George Lambert, was also a minister but spent some time in Trinidad with his wife, Jane Chisholm, and family as missionaries of the United Presbyterian Church. George and Jane both had family and roots in the area around Dalkeith, just south of Edinburgh.

Out of curiosity, I repeated the search on Google for John Chisholm Lambert and came up with some interesting results that I hadn't seen before.

I've seen many references to Dr John C. Lambert D.D. but didn't know where or when the Doctor of Divinity came from. My web search led me to this web page showing that it was an Honorary Doctor of Divinity awarded in 1906 by the University of Edinburgh. And I've even found images of a program from the graduation ceremony on 12th April 1906 here.

Sometime ago, while browsing around the library here at work, I found a copy of the memoirs of a Scottish minister named David King. Astoundingly, inside the front of the book I read the following inscription "To Mr George Wilson Chisholm from his affectionate nephew John Chisholm Lambert 25 Jan 1866", John Chisholm Lambert being my great grandfather and George Wilson Chisholm his mother's brother. I just about stormed the main library desk demanding to buy the book on the spot! Fortunately, following a less vociferous route, I was able to buy the book and it now sits on the shelf beside my great grandfather's own books.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Today's entertainment

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DS and I are at home today sharing our colds. Fortunately, he's keeping the earache to himself at present. lol We've been on the internet visiting his favourite websites (ie. anything Bionicle). We found the following which we just had to share. Go to http://bionicle.lego.com/en-gb/movies/Singing%20Squid.aspx

I never knew squid were such good singers! DS says he always knew they were clever, but he didn't know about the singing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Birthday Boys

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It was a big day on my family yesterday as my DS and my Dad both had birthdays - only 64 years between them!



Have I told you recently how wonderful my DS is? I had the most enormous hug from him first thing, before he'd even opened any presents, just out of sheer happiness. And he was so delightful to watch opening his presents!

I think he likes this present!

I received another big thank you hug after the presents were open.

We all had our normal days at school and work and in the evening went out to Pizza Hut for a special birthday meal.

In all, it helped make up for a hectic few weeks at work and the fact that I had to work last Sunday!

The big party for DS's friends is on this coming weekend when we'll be going swimming!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost the plot

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I feel like I've lost the plot a bit over the last week or two. I just don't seem to be able to settle down to doing and enjoying anything particularly well at the moment. As a result, very little has been achieved.

On Friday, in attempt to find something vaguely interesting to do, I dug out my knitting needles and began my first attempt at knitting one of these.


Originally uploaded to Flickr by monkee maker

I've got a back, a front and two arms so far. If you haven't seen it before, take a look at monkee maker's blog. It always makes me smile!

Also on the knitting front, I've discovered these!


Originally uploaded to Flickr by KnitYoga

The pattern for these gnomes originally came with an issue of Simply Knitting, I think in 2005, and I'm seriously having to restrain myself from spending a ridiculous amount of money on ebay to get hold of the pattern! But they are very cute!


I have done a little stitching over the last couple of weeks, but nothing I'm ready to share yet. I'm working to get Donna's RR finished and I've also made a (very) small start to my Paradigm Lost for the Snowbird SAL. But then the lethargy set in!

Maybe I'll have some photos of my own to post next time!

Oh, and there are still PIFs available if anyone's interested. See this post.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Disappointed

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When I became pregnant, I promised myself that this blog wouldn't turn into a baby blog. This blog is about my stitching and I really want it to stay that way. So if you're not interested in the baby/pregnancy stuff, feel free to ignore this post.

I had an appointment this morning at the Hypertension Clinic at my local hospital and while things are still fresh in my mind, I wanted to post my thoughts. Maybe one day they'll be helpful to someone else.

Just to start by saying that in my previous pregnancy, I had problems with high blood pressure from about 3 months and by about 4 months was on tablets for it. I had various things done/to do such as 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and self monitoring of blood pressure. Then at 34 weeks, along with the high blood pressure, I had severe pre-eclampsia (HELLP syndrome) which resulted in my having a caesarian section.

Today was my first appointment at the Hypertension Clinic which I also attended last time. I have generally found the people there much more informative and helpful than the community midwife and it was the same again today.

I was, however, very disappointed that my blood pressure is again high and until 11am tomorrow I'm having it monitored for 24 hours. That means I have a cuff around my upper arm connected to a small machine on a belt around my waist. Every half hour during the day, the machine inflates the cuff and measures my blood pressure. I'm allowed to take it off to change clothes or for a bath or shower, but I need to wear it all the time, even when I go to bed tonight. The consultant I saw today (who I'm sure I saw last time) has also said that he wants me to go on to self monitoring when I get to 24 weeks.

This is all relatively straight forward. There is nothing difficult or intrusive in either the 24 hour monitoring or the self monitoring, although I know my arm will be suffering by 11am tomorrow from squeezing of the the constant inflation/deflation.

But I am very disappointed that my blood pressure is high again so soon. I'd hoped this time I would be able to have a more 'normal' pregnancy and get to experience everything without worrying about the blood pressure and potential implications. I had my urine tested today and it showed a small amount of protein too which worries me.

The consultant also spoke to me about the possibility of having another caesarian. If my blood pressure doesn't become a significant problem and I go to full term there is every chance I'll be able to have a natural delivery. However, as soon as anything goes wrong and the doctors need to intervene, than I'll be having a caesarian.

However, with my blood pressure up again, it does increase the possibility that intervention may be required.

Overall, it was a positive, informative appointment with midwives and doctors who were interested in what is going on, in how I feel about it all, and what I want to do. But I'm very disappointed that the blood pressure and potential problems have raised their head again so soon.

I go back again in 3 weeks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My first PIF!

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I'm feeling very brave for having signed up for my first PIF (pay it forward) on Deb's blog. So now it's my turn.

I will send a stitchy gift to 3 lovely people who sign up for my PIF by leaving a comment on this post. In return, you should also offer a PIF yourself.

I'm really looking forward to doing this. I don't think I'll be sending out any PIFs before Christmas, but I'll start planning and try to get them done before baby comes along in April!

In other stitchy news, I picked up MTM again a couple of weeks ago and am now nearly finished part 2. I'm very pleased and I've really enjoyed stitching on it. Here's how things stood last Sunday morning - I've finished the outer gold box now, so only the backstitching and beads to go!


My chart for Paradigm Lost has now arrived for the Snowbird's SAL. And I finally ordered my fabric and floss for it. I can't believe how long it took me to decide what floss to use! First, I found a lovely varigated green Anchor thread that I thought would be perfect, but then discovered that it looks like this is an old colour as I can't get enough of the floss for the design! So I had to start looking again.

I've finally settled on a DMC varigated floss in shades of light blue, lilac and grey, fading to white. And I'm stitching on Antique White jobelan. I'm really looking forward to getting started and seeing how the design looks in these colours. All other versions of this design I've seen use darker, stronger colours and I'm really excited to see how it looks in the paler, more delicate colours.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my finished Starflake - I'm glad you all like it as much as I do! And thanks to Anita for pointing out that I neglected to name the designer. For anyone else who's interested, Starflake is designed by Patricia Ann Designs. The grey and pink colour scheme is an alternative colour scheme included with the chart although it is illustrated in the blue/white colours. I just thought the blue/white combination looked too cold.

Now a huge thank you to everyone who congratulated me on my pregnancy! I feel great now that I've told everybody amd am managing to stop going around all the time desperately trying to hold my stomach in! LOL I've been browsing around the web looking into Natal Hypnotherapy which looks interesting. I've also found a lot of info on VBAC which threw me a bit as I'd never considered that there might be an issue with my having had a caesarean last time. And why does everything I read assume that having a caesarean is a bad experience? When I look at my beautiful, healthy, happy son, how could it possibly be anything other than positive?

Friday, November 02, 2007

The secret's out

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In the last week, I've told my son, my parents, friends, neighbours, work, so I think it's about time I told the rest of the world.
I'm pregnant. 17 weeks. Baby is due on the 11th April.

My DH is pleased, but we were both a bit taken aback that it happened so quickly. DS is pleased, but more excited about his 7th birthday at the end of this month. And he's worried that the baby will eat his lego and break up his models. But there's plenty of time for him to get excited before April and I'm looking forward to sharing with him what's happening. He's started coming up to me and patting my stomach gently saying 'Hello baby' which is really sweet of him. I rather think the rest of my family is in shock!

So far I've had a lot more symptoms than when I was pregnant last time including the morning sickness, changing food tastes, unsettled stomach, bad skin and particularly the tiredness I was expecting. As long as the sky high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia don't return, I'm not going to worry.

I am disappointed that I don't seem to have a more helpful midwife than I had last time. Is it really too much to ask that a midwife take an interest in me as a person and not just in what's happening to my body? And am I really supposed to know everything and what questions I might want to ask when? I just wouldn't mind a bit of proactive advice at times.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hot off the hoop!

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.... it's Starflake - finished at lunchtime today. I brought my camera with me to work as the light isn't so good by the time I get home.



Don't look too closely - you'll see all the 'deliberate' mistakes I've included to 'personalise' the design. LOL. For starters, the fabric isn't right. It's the right sort of colour but it's an evenweave rather than linen and it's too high a count. End result is that some of the stitches don't pull so well, particularly the four sided stitch, and the beads can be a bit crowded. You might also spot the fluffy bit where I accidentally cut one of the fabric threads as I was trying to unpick a particularly knotty eyelet.

However, I did enjoy stitching it, and I do love the colour combination. I am slightly disappointed that you don't really get the benefit of the Waterlilies thread used in the centre and elsewhere, but I'm already considering stitching it again 'properly' at some point, that is, on a better fabric, so that I can see properly how the four sided stitches are supposed to work!

I'm also thinking of finishing this one as a tuck pillow and have been eyeing up various possible finishing methods via Focus on Finishing. But I do need a bit of inspiration for some fabric. Maybe I'll get a chance to do a bit of browsing at the weekend.


And for a bit of fun, as I have my camera at work, here's a photo of my desk - it looks strangely tidy for me!

Monday, October 22, 2007

You make me smile

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I'm very flattered that Cheryl and Deb have included me in their lists of people who make them smile. I think I needed to read that this morning after a weekend with my parents - they can be hard work sometimes!

In return, I've to make a list of those who make me smile. Some of these people are friends, some do some really awesome, inspirational stitching, some are thought-provoking, and others just make me smile, or laugh out loud!

1. Cheryl at Clydeside Stitching

2. Deb at Lavender Rose Ramblings

3. Su at Contemplating my needle and thread

4. Jennifer Aikman-Smith at Dragon Musings

5. Carol at Garden of Stitches

6. Barbara at Mainely Stitching

7. Helen (Lena-Lou) at Homespun Hearts

8. Anita at Anita's Stitching

9. Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits

10. Monkee Maker


I've been doing quite well with my stitching over the last week, but no photos yet. I made a good start to Donna's RR and excellent progress on Starflake. I will be stitching on Starflake during my lunch hours at work and it could even be finished by the end of the week. Except that I've just discovered that I can't do much stitching without a needle - I must have lost it somewhere. So no stitching at lunchtime today!

I've also joined the Snowbirds SAL and am going to be stitching Paradigm Lost from Long Dog Samplers. I'm going to take my time with it and am hoping to about 1 motif a month.

I've changed the layout of my blog again too. I'm not really a black sort of person and I just got a bit fed up with it! These are much more my sort of colour now. And still the Stephanie Pui-Mun Law artwork!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A finish and some rambling

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Over the weekend, I finished stitching on Cheryl's RR which is now winging its way off to New York and Janice. Cheryl has asked for a house theme in her RR, and as we're using LHN designs, I stitched the top of Nature's Beauty for her.

I'm really pleased with it - I love the way the colours look on Cheryl's linen.




Next, I'll be starting on Donna's RR which is ready and waiting for me. Given that I got a bit behind with Cheryl's my main goal for Donna's is to get back on schedule!

In between times, I'm adding odd blocks to Nova and I've also dug Starflake out of my WIP box, but not much progress to show at present. I also have plans to stitch some small items, but I'm waiting for the postman on that one!


Edited a bit later to add:

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been wandering around people's blogs a bit more than recently. In doing so, I came across an SBQ which got me thinking. It also links in part to a Deb's post on Old and New Ideas.

The SBQ was - What for you means to achieve mastery as a stitcher?

One of my first thoughts on reading the question was - why would/should I want to achieve 'mastery' as a stitcher? What is 'mastery' anyway? Perfection? Ternezia/Renée who suggested the question has some interesting thoughts on the subject.

I don't know that I ever want to be able to say that I've achieved 'mastery' as that would mean that there were no new challenges in my stitching, nothing new to learn. For me, stitching, as with life, is a learning process where I started with nothing on the day I was born and will continue to learn about myself and the world around me until I die.

To a certain extent, too, I certainly wouldn't want perfection in my stitching. I'm all in favour of a bit of imperfection as it personalises the stitching and adds to the expression of the stitcher him/herself. Because of this, my stitching of any particular design will never be the same as anyone else's and therefore each stitcher's work is unique. Why would we all want to produce work that was completely identical?

There's also a question over whether achieving 'mastery' would allow a stitcher to customise a designer's work. Does mastery mean you can customise somebody else's design to make it 'better'? While if mastery is 'perfection' then would the customisation of a designer's work be allowed?

So in my quest not to achieve mastery - I'll use any stitching method I feel like, I'll use a looped start, I'll lick my floss, I'll stick needles between my lips for safekeeping (and then loose them down the front of my shirt when I forget they're there), I'll leave small items in a hoop for days on end and larger items in a scroll frame for months, even years! I won't wash my hands before stitching and I'll always keep a cup of coffee precariously perched nearby.

Can't think of any more bad habbits right now, but I'm sure there are plenty of them!

Anyway, enough rambling! I should be working!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Checking in!

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I thought I'd pop in and show my recent pics of my progress on Nova. Because the design is made up of a large number of individual blocks, I didn't get so much of a feel for the overall design in rows 1 and 2. I've now started row 3 and that's changing. Each block now is part of the larger oiece and I start to get a feel for the overall design, the gradual colour changes flowing across the piece.

I also had a bit of fun taking these photos - how to show off the end of row 2 and start of row 3 and still make the photo look interesting?



I'm now frantically stitching on Cheryl's RR which I should have finished by now - sorry folks! I've not got too far to go - you can see my progress on our blog at the Heartfelt Friends RR.

I'm feeling a lot better these days than I have been over the last 6 to 8 weeks and life in general isn't stressing me out so much which is quite a relief. I'm also starting to really enjoy my stitching again!

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my previous post. I'm sorry I'm so badly behind on my blog reading, but I will catch up with you all!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fair Squares

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It's about time I showed off what I received from Julie in the Fair & Square exchange and the squares that I sent her.

Here are the squares I received from Julie. I really love the lavender colour - it's one of my favourites. Julie also included some fabric and a quilting magazine with some gorgeous designs in it.



Strangely enough, we both chose a quilting theme as I stitched some quilt blocks for her, using some of my favourite stitches.



On the first square the stitches are, from top left to bottom right, Satin stitch, Rhodes stitch, Rice stitch, Algerian eyelets. The eyelets were a bit of a nuisance, but I think the special stitches look good!