Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oh, Dear!!!

I know it's been a while since I updated my blog. It seems to have been a very busy time over the past nearly 5 months, apart from struggling with health problems - a little more on that later! Assorted family visits have been highlights, especially seeing to of our grandchildren in their respective dance shows. To date, no photos have been forthcoming, and we await pictures from their parents, or at least websites we can order them from!

Healthwise, because of a nagging cough for several months, my GP has referred me to a respiratory clinic just in case I have something nasty like COPD or bronchiectasis! Neither are nice thoughts as it means my life-expectancy drops to only a very few years. I had hoped to see great-grandchildren, but let's not be too pessmistic: it might be an infection or an allergy.

We had planned a little holiday at the beginning of July. A few days staying with our daughter in Aylesbury and a visit to Bekonscot model village, four days in my sister's static caravan in the New Forest, and back via eldest son for a long weekend and attending one dance show. I took along stitching and knitting in case the weather was bad whilst we were in the 'van. All went well till we visited Bekonscot, where I lost my balance and fell down a slope breaking both bones in my left arm, which subsequently needed surgery once we had returned home So the day out consisted of morning and lunch in the model village, and afternoon and evening at Stoke Mandeville A&E. I did get some lovely photos before I fell, including one of a model of Enid Blyton's house

Enid Blyton's house - complete with Noddy in his car!

and a panoramic view of a large part of the site:

not to mention a photo of everyone else standing where I fell about 5 minutes later!

(And, no, I do not know the portly gentleman to the right of the photo, but if I had cropped him out, I would have removed part of Rob. I did try!)

Stitching-wise, I have progressed a little. I completed a croche'ed doll's shawl/blanket for Abi and a cushion cover in Kilgour tartan for DH.

I've also progressed a bit on the back of Mary's cushion cover

And added a bit to my memory dog which is now in a state of deconstruction as I wasn't satisfied with my points!

Chatelaine's Fairytale Castle has come on quite a bit, but  will post a photo soon when it might have progressed a bit more. Currently I can manage jigsaw puzzles!!

I thoroughly enjoyed doing his one of London: a View to the west. Such detail, and such confusion!! It must be one of the hardest puzzles I've tackled
 Enough for now!
Till next time

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Joys and Sorrows

I was struggling a bit healthwise last month. Still am, come to that!! It seems I may have developed IBS. That's all I need! For some time I didn't dare leave the house, and I'm still very hesitant about mixing with children or the very elderly just in case it's a "bug". I await the results of tests!!

I have progressed a bit on the Fairytale Castle, and plan on adding a few stitches and sparklies during March, but #3 for the challenges is: HAED's Muppet, Gabby, Malteazer and Gemm. I've only put in about 100 stitches, so it's hardly worth posting a photo, but here's one of FC

I did add a few more stitches yesterday, so it's getting there, but Sunday's stitching didn't happen, although I did manage a bit of knitting.

Most of Sunday was spent at the hospital sitting by the bedside of a gravely ill friend. He had COPD and heart failure, and had developed pneumonia, and was unconscious. The nursing staff were satisfied that his condition had stabilised by about 7pm, and suggested we (a friend and I) could safely go home, get a good night's sleep, and come back in the morning. Sadly, that was not to be the case. I got a call at just before 2.10 am, and although I arrived at the hospital ward only ten minutes later, he had already died. At least he went peacefully in his sleep, and there was a nurse with him.  RIP Dennis: Nov 1st 1930 - Mar 2nd 2015 - a good and much-loved friend

We had a wonderful visit from our eldest son and grandson - yes, eldest of both!! It was a delight to have them visiting, and we hope they'll come again. Thomas is starting to learn to cope with his temper tantrums, and it has made such a difference! We went over to Sudbury Hall, and of course, great fun was had by Thomas climbing through the chimney passageway! And he made a "Green" monster doorhanger saying "I'm endangered"
We also went on a "Bug Hunt" round the hall looking for pictures of beasties which could damage furniture, fabrics and books. I think we found them all. There were also conservation demonstrations which I found fascinating.

Now off to find the project for March. Watch out cats: here I come!!

Till next time

PS If you want to see what Muppet and co. looks like, you can find it here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#APQResolution and more

Next stitching update!

I didn't get much further with the cushion for Mary. A few more stitches have gone in, and the large flower I was attempting to finish by yesterday is looking more rose-like. See what you think....

Actually, I am quite pleased with the amount I've done, although it looks relatively small. I shall continue with it a bit more this month, but will also work on Chatelaine's Fairytale Castle which is my number 7, the number which came up yesterday. I was desperately hoping it wouldn't be 1 as that's Frederick the Literate which is on black. He's yowling frantically at me from my sewing stash!!

So here is my number 7 before I start focussing on it:

It will be good to get a bit more done, especially as I intend to use it as a quilt centrepiece. 

HAED have just had a 50% off  New Year sale which finished at midnight on January 31st. I didn't find out about it till shortly before the deadline!! That's the trouble with having a poorly laptop!! Anyway, I bought two charts: Belvedere by Escher, and Owl Family Portrait by Annya Kai. When I will have a chance to stitch them is anyone's guess! I have also added quite a lot of yarn in the form of double knitting. My plan is to make Bruce a sweater for Christmas. Yes, I know it is a long way off, but I think I will need a lot of time as it's a cable pattern. Anyway, I couldn't decide whether to use a tweedy dark purple or a rather nice heather green - so I got both!! Now to start knitting when he's not around.

I did promise an update on the fridge-freezer which arrived safely with two very helpful drivers who got it set up in the right place, and who took away both our fridge and our freezer - yes, both of them! Shortly after Freegling the fridge, Bruce commented that it was warm, and, yes, it was at room temperature. So I hastily removed it from Freegle and put some frozen ice blocks in it to help, and then we had to hope that all our cold food would keep for 3 days. Meantime, the freezer fluctuated between 0 and -30 deg C. Fortunately, the day the fridge-freezer was due to arrive, it had dropped to -30, so we were able to unload it into our cold garage, and the contents of the fridge went into one of the colder rooms of the house. By the time we were able to load it, we were pretty tired, but we had been promised a very cold night, so we just loaded the fridge part, and went to bed. But around midnight, we realised that the cold night wasn't going to happen, and that it was actually going to be rather warm. Had any of our neighbours been up and around, they would have seen us unloading the garage in our nightwear and carting it into the house. I put the important stuff into the freezer, and the rest was left till morning when I sorted through what was still eatable. I might add that we had an interesting assortment of meals for a while, but now everything is better organised and we are back to "normal"!

Quilting group tomorrow, so more small triangles. Then I really must get to grips with Sunday's sermon!

Till next time, then

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Snow, Snow, thick thick snow - or something!

Blizzard conditions this morning, and I was looking forward to our garden looking as well-tended as everyone else's. Some hope!! By the time I had remembered where I had put my camera and worked out where the best place was to take a picture, most of what was left was muddy slush! That's typical of snow in Derby. However, now it's dark, snow has started falling again!!

I seem to have spent the past fortnight or so coping with an elderly friend who has been in hospital with pneumonia. For a few days it was touch and go whether he would recover or not, but he's back to where he was before. Not exactly fighting fit since he's very deaf, has inoperable cataracts, and arthritis which has rendered him almost completely immobile. But he still gets some enjoyment out of life, especially visits from friends. He has no living relatives, so relies very heavily on us. I am very touched that amongst the few possessions he has in the nursing home is a cross stitch picture of an owl I made for his 75th birthday. 

Anyway, he has been transferred to a different, hopefully better, nursing home, and we are looking forward to continued improvement in his health.

Slight panic over the weekend. I discovered on Friday night that we had no preacher for Sunday morning. So guess who had to prepare a service with less than 48 hours notice! I was very glad I had a good team to assist with prayers and readings. It was the first service I had led for about 3 months, and I found it quite draining, far more so than normal. But at least I know I can still do it, and without a panic attack, so I am quite looking forward to the next one on February 8th.

Sewing-wise, I have been progressing a bit on the cushion I am making for my younger sister. If you read my previous post, you will discover that is my UFO for January. 

Next one will be decided on Monday. Here's hoping it's not Frederick as he's on black, and I definitely do not like stitching on black in artificial light!

I had an explore of my ancient - at least 50 years old - knitting machine earlier today. It's a Jones, and the pattern book with it is from the 1960's. I must have a look online for repair and cleaning instructions, not to mention an instruction booklet! I haven't used it for 30-ish years!! Its great advantage is that it will cope with DK yarn: its great disadvantage is that it doesn't rib!! (Just found instructions at As far as knitting is concerned, though, I am trying out 4 ply dolls' clothes and plan on trying toe-up socks on circular needles, but that will be slow because of my wool allergy!!

At the quilting group I am working on a table-topper made up of tiny triangles. No pic yet as I haven't progressed very far! I am getting comments about a beginner not starting with miniature work, but since that's what I love, I'll continue!! It'll probably end up as a pot holder....

That's it for now. 


PS My new fridge-freezer arrived, and only just in time, but more on that saga next time.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Challenges and trees

After much thought and, errm, "encouragement", these are my stitching challenges for 2015 - well, some of them, anyway. One of the Facebook groups I have joined is running a challenge to make a dent in the progress of, or even complete, some of our UFOs (Unfinished objects). The "rules" are that you select 12 stitching/craft projects you want to tackle during 2015 and list them in any order. On the first Monday of each month, a number will be drawn out of a "hat", and you work on that project till the first Monday of the next month. You also post a "before" and "after" photo. So this is my list of projects:

The number chosen for January is 4, so I am busy working on Mary's cushion, and this is my "before" photo:

Since taking the photo I have made a bit of progress, though not as much as I'd have liked!! But that is fairly typical of my sewing!!

I missed my quilting group's meeting this past week. I had a doctor's appointment to review my medication, and he was running over half an hour late, so by the time I would have arrived, I'd have had time for a coffee and time to unpack my project. I will restart next week. I must decide soon what I am going to work on during the meetings.

Anyway, the doctor seems quite happy with my progress apart from the frequency of migraines (one every 8 days), so I am on a different beta-blocker which will have a prophylactic action for those.  Panic/anxiety attacks are happening much less frequently and with far less severity, but he would like to see them stop altogether. After that, it will be another 6 months before he would even consider taking me off the SRI (serotonin re-uptake inhibitor), so I will have to behave properly till then with regards to caffeine, chocolate and alcohol!!

Last year (whoops!), I promised the saga of our trees. It all started when Bruce was cutting back our rather large laurel bush in the front garden and he was offered some help by a tree-surgeon. We asked if he could help with the very tall conifers in the back garden which he agreed to do. No problems, as he did what we needed. Then he started on the laurel. Oh, dear! He was using a chain saw, and for some reason he omitted to tie his ladder securely to a sturdy part of the bush. I looked out of our front window just as he fell off the ladder, and dropped his saw in such a way that the blade caught the top of his head. I thought I was going to have to deal with a dead body, but the saw had a safety cut-out. Even so, he looked like something from a horror film! He refused A&E, so I mopped him up and used some very large plasters on his head - he was bald on top - and gave him a glass of water and made sure he rested a while. Still refusing to allow me to send for an ambulance, he insisted on carrying on for another few minutes to get his nerve back, and then drove home, telling me he didn't want his wife to worry. I phoned him a few days later, and he assured me he was recovering nicely.  Sadly, the next time we saw him, he told us his wife had died, but he himself was fully recovered and looking for more work.

Other challenges:

The house is a mess, and I am trying to get sorted bit by bit. 

One of my resolutions not listed last time is to do a bit of writing each week, be it blog, sermon, letter or other stuff.

The freezer packed in just after I had defrosted it, and the new one arrives on Wednesday. Well, actually, it's a very nice American-style fridge-freezer. 

I reasoned that if the freezer wasn't working properly, the somewhat older fridge probably wouldn't be far behind. However, whilst the freezer will be being recycled, I hope the fridge will go to a home which can use one for a while.  

The challenge will be getting everything into a slightly smaller space than we have at the moment.

Well, I think that's quite long enough! If you have been, my dear non-existent reader(s), thanks for reading this ramble.
Until next week.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year and some new starts

So - it's the beginning of 2015! Happy New Year to all my probably non-existent readers. I haven't posted for so long, any I did have will have given up long ago!!  To make up for it, this may well be a long post!! I have just put a poster on our church notice board which reads:
CPO poster - Reboot
It caught my sense of humour - and that of others in the church as well.

2014 has been a bit of an iffy year. Briefly, I had just about recovered from the surgery I had in April 2013, when a very stressful family situation developed, unfortunately not one I want to blog about. The stress has made both my husband and I very unwell, and in my case, it caused irregular ventricular contractions. Of course, I became very anxious about this, especially as my doctor was considering the possibility of heart failure! So that, in turn, led to panic disorder - not something to be recommended!! It has limited my activities quite a lot, including my concentration span, so I haven't done as much sewing as I would have liked.

In April of last year, I joined a quilting group, and have become hooked on it. I am quite impressed with what I can do. OK, I'm still a rank beginner, and my progress is very slow, but two hours each week are spent sewing and chatting - and I have no responsibility for anything! The first thing I tackled was a mystery project. I haven't yet finished it, but this is the main panel part done:

Mystery Quilt project - main panel

One thing led to another, and I ended up repairing (with guidance from a very nice lady I discovered on the internet) a rather elderly hand sewing machine we have had lying around for about 25 years and never quite got around to disposing of!! With a bit of research, I have discovered it dates from around 1895 - 1914. It works beautifully now it has been cleaned and oiled and rusty parts very lightly sanded. It's beautifully decorated and a joy to use when quilting as I have so much more control over the stitching.

My finishes for 2014 consist of two cards, and a needlecase for an exchange. I received a lovely card and needlecase in return. At the moment, I don't have a good photo of the needlecase I received, so I will post it in a later blog.

Wedding Blessing card

The needlecase I made: From the top
back and front, inside front, inside back

The exchange Christmas card I received   
The Christmas card I sent

As I mentioned earlier, my health hasn't been brilliant. My doctor has put me on some medication which means no caffeine - ie no tea, no coffee, no chocolate! It also means no alcohol. He told me all this just before Christmas. Guess what I received as presents?!  Chocolates and chocolate biscuits!! Oh, well, I can be kind to family and friends...  At least the medication is being effective and I am starting to feel more myself again. Hope I don't have to take the tablets for too long, though.

Christmas was hectic with 14 of us at our eldest son's house - 6 under 9 years old. We came home for a rest. Our middle son was over from Canada, so it was a real family occasion, and we have some family photos to show off to everyone who is willing to be bored by them!!

Once home, I decided to think about where I want my stitching (and other things) to go in 2015, and have decided that I'll aim to 
  • do a little stitching each day as it's very therapeutic - except when the frogs come to call!!
  • say "No" when I feel under pressure to do too much
  • keep up with my blog a bit better
   I have started a new project for 2015: Muppet, Gabby, Malteazer and Gemm from HAED. It's one over one on 25 ct Lugana in "Dusk" from Sparklies. It's gorgeous!! This is a mock-up of how I hope it might look:

I'll keep you posted!!

Well, I think that's quite long enough! If you have been, thanks for reading this ramble.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Another Year Older

This is rather a long post as it's been nearly a year since I last posted - 11 months to be more precise! Almost an annum horribilis!! Since my last post, I have had the surgery - sorry, "procedure" - which was delayed by a month, and taken 8 months to recover from. I was just about OK by Christmas. The delay meant I was around at Easter, and was invited to preach at the Good Friday joint service with the local Anglican church. That was a great privilege.

Anyway, during the past months, two friends, who were undergoing cancer tests at the same time as I was, have died. Another is in palliative care, and wasn't expected to be around at Christmas, but she is still with us, though very ill. Yet a fourth friend is having chemotherapy, but there is hope that the cancer was found in time. I was given the all-clear 4 weeks after surgery, when I was very happy to discover the cyst was benign.

So here are a few positive items from the past year:

Much of the time since surgery has passed in a bit of a blur. I was able to sit in the garden in the sunshine and enjoy stitching so was able to develop a bit of a tan; I no longer feel embarrassed to wear a swimsuit now I no longer look 8 months pregnant!; I dropped two dress sizes overnight, and still can't believe I am a UK size 12. It still seems all wrong. But I now have a lovely new wardrobe, and various charities have benefitted from my weight loss!

I have found jigsaw puzzles to be very therapeutic, so have completed the odd one or two . One of the latest is The Bizarre Bookshop (Ravensburger)

Two highlights from the year are first our eldest son's Ordination at Rochester Cathedral as Deacon in the Anglican Church. He's a curate in a parish just outside Gravesend.

And second, his graduation ceremony at Oakhill Theological College in London.

What have I been stitching? Mostly bookmarks for friends who were moving - except I couldn't get motivated to finish them, and I really messed one up. I'll probably have to restart that one in due course, but I can't face frogging, so it'll probably end up in the recycling. The friends all ended up with different leaving presents!! I started a Christmas decoration - one of Meg Evershed's paper creations, but haven't seen it since Harrogate!! It's probably still in my case....

I had a wonderful time in Harrogate, and met three stitchers from one of my groups. They were very kind, and looked after me very well. Of course, they enabled me, and I came back with some very nice acquisitions. I got back exhausted, but recovered quite soon. I will post photos next time as my laptop almost died, so I had to get a new one before it completely expired. I still need to get my preferred programs up and running on it, and the keyboard isn't as sensitive as my old one. But it's very much faster, and I don't have time to make a cuppa while it is booting up!! Unfortunately, Luxor in any form is not compatible with Windows 8 when you run it through Steam!!

We spent Christmas in Aylesbury with our daughter, son-in-law and two of our grandchildren. It was a lovely relaxing time, and we could just enjoy being with them. I got the impression they enjoyed having us as well. Matthew certainly enjoyed his outings to the coffee shop at Tesco where a muffin and a drink of orange juice/squash were mandatory!! Then we moved across to our son and his family just in time to be around when Miriam arrived on New Year's Eve, weighing in at 8lbs 8.5ozs. Daughter number 4 in Chris's family. Poor Thomas is the only son!! But he seems to cope quite well with being outnumbered. Our eldest granddaughter wasn't at home when this was taken:

So, for the moment, I am still pacing myself and not allowed to lift things (my consultant is a man and doesn't seem to realise that looking after a house = a certain amount of lifting and carrying!), I can't yet manage to play my guitar much because of its weight, and I find driving more than about 70 miles is too much of a strain - but I'm working on it! I am doing a certain amount of crochet, and working on Mary's cushion cover. (Yes, I have progressed a bit over the past year!)

I will finish this rather long post here, and will continue with the saga of the trees next time. Maybe 2013 hasn't been as horrible in some parts as in others, but I think much of the pain and problems have faded in my memory.

If you have managed to get this far - thanks for reading and your perseverance!

Till next time