Friday, 21 December 2012

It's coming...

Hooray, it's almost here!!!

The cards are up, the decorations are out, the lights are twinkling.

My stitching has been almost non-existent for the last few weeks as I've been shopping and wrapping and we've been away in Bristol for a couple of days where there was so so much rain that I ended up throwing away my boots as they got caked in mud and didn't seem to prevent my feet getting soaking wet.  It's a real shame about the weather, as it was all we could do to dash from shop to shop and coffee shop to coffee shop.

We are just having a bit of a tidy up now before Christmas arrives properly and I'm extremely glad that my hubby has now finished work and can relax - it's been 6 months since our holiday and I know he's feeling pretty burnt out.  Let's hope Xmas and New Year doesn't make us more frazzled!

So I just wanted to pop by before I snuggle up with my hubby for Xmas and wish you all a lovely time, I hope it's peaceful, relaxing and fun!  Thank you so much for reading my little blog, I've loved having all your comments.

Seeya next year!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Tusal - December 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I made it to the end of the year of Tusals.  I looked at my little pot... and I thought... 'Is that all? For a whole year? Pathetic.'  But I think that is the nature of working on a big HAED and parking the stitches, you don't find yourself fastening off and cutting so much, you just keep going until the thread has run out.

This year I did something I have never done in my life.  I was in the mood to stitch a Pooh Bear design and I knew that I had started one a very long time ago.  I pulled it out.  I looked at it.  Then the pattern.  Then back at it.  I had gone wrong in more than one spot.  Then I looked at the fabric.  Quite grubby.  Then I looked at the back and saw the horror of threads going all over the place.  After that, I rifled through my fabric selection and pulled out a roughly the same size piece of cream Aida.

I started on this one all over again.  It feels cleaner, and neater and although the frog did come and visit me, I have fixed that now and it looks fine again.

So the colourful bits in the top of my jar this month are from the Tigger's Log.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

My friend Jill...

... has started her very first blog.  Every year we get a wonderful handpainted christmas card and I get a beautiful birthday card.  I swear Jill seems to be good at everything she does!

Please go and pay her blog a visit here:

And you'll hear about the inspiration and stories behind her artwork... she can tell a good tale :)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

TUSAL - November 2012

Hello there!

I'm a few days late with the blog post, but my TUSAL pictures actually were taken on the correct day.  (If you don't know what the TUSAL is, the link is down there, yes on the right).

Here are my threads from my stitching so far.  Finally some lighter colours as I have been working on the moon part of my Moonlit Waters HAED.  It's going much faster than the other pages and I am enjoying this page a great deal when I have time to stitch on it.  I'm hoping to have page 3 finished by the end of November, so wish me luck... it'll be a challenge, but I'm going for it.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


With all the social media networks out there nowadays it's pretty easy to get sucked in and spend all your time updating whatever status or throwing tweets out into the big wide world.  I think my favourite of them all however has to be Instagram.

If you haven't heard of this one, it's sort of like a cross between twitter and facebook but for posting photos.  There is functionality to 'like' photos, follow other people, look at the latest photos on a particular topic (using hashtags) and post comments on people's photos.  Also some photo manipulation filters, although there are many other photo apps out there as well (a little shout to the guys at Woodcamera, which is one of my favourites).  The app can also post directly into Twitter and Facebook if you use those.

I'm pretty nosey, so something which allows a little peek into people's lives and what they see as they go about the world is just fantastic for me and for something that started off pretty modestly, it seems to have picked up in a huge way and is now on its way to being acquired by Facebook (let's hope they don't ruin it, eh?). I tend to use it when I'm out and about or with time on my hands or standing somewhere where I think 'wouldn't it be fun for someone on the other side of the world to see what I'm seeing right now'.  One of the great things about the app is that it's FREE!!

Until a few days ago, the Instagram application was only available to those people with smartphones, the idea being you take a photo on your phone quickly and easily, but then you can instantly upload it into the app, apply filters if you wish and anyone who follows you will see it on a timeline of posts of their followers immediately (that's how fast things move these days).   It is coming to the web also, although for the moment photos can still only be posted from mobile devices - you need to have it on a mobile device and therefore have an account in order to be able to log in and interact on the web, although it is possible to look at public profiles on the web without needing to sign up.

One of the things I find most interesting is that professional photographers, amateurs and total beginners alike can snap an interesting photo and they are using very similar tools.  When Sandy approached the East Coast of the US, I could see in real time the events unfolding from people who were actually there, and I think that is one of the most powerful uses of this tool, although I suppose the downside is that it is possible to fake photos and hard to tell if this has happened.

During the East Coast chaos, Time magazine gave 5 journalists access to its Instagram feed and one of those photographs was chosen for a front cover shot, which is yet more proof that social media is changing how we interact with the world and each other.  You can read a little more about this here.

I suggest you go take a look, have a nosey... if you have a smartphone, download the app and play - It is honestly one of the most fun apps I have on my phone!!  Their blog is also pretty interesting, with challenges to complete. (and if you are up for a challenge there are many many other groups on Instagram also doing this).

The only slight irritation at the moment for me are the spam comments so hopefully the team are working on a way to be able to delete those, but for now you just have to ignore them.

Here's my page...feel free to follow it! or user ricketyjo from the mobile app.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Moonlit Kitties

Yay! Halloween is here!

The flat is all nicely decorated with banners and witches hats and a pumpkin and there are gingerbread ghostie biscuits.

And I've also finished this Moonlit Kitties design from Mill Hill for my in-laws!  But there were so many beads in it.  Many more than it looks like from the photo!

Monday, 15 October 2012

TUSAL - October 2012

It's time for the Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long for October.  Yes, I believe that I'm actually doing it on the correct date for a change!!! (you can read all about TUSAL via the button on the right of my page)

Here's my jar of ratty threads... You'll notice a fair bit of orange in there since I'm making a small halloween gift for the in-laws.

I've been stitching during most of my spare time so I feel like I'm making progress for once...although I wish it was on my HAED project... no matter though, it's all good.

Seeya next time!!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Knitting and Stitching Show 2012

Hooray!!! It's that time again!!!

The Knitting and Stitching Show is currently on at Alexandra Palace in London (11th-14th October), then moving on to Dublin (1st-4th Nov) and Harrogate (22nd-25th Nov).

I got a severe ticking off after last time, and I have so so much stuff already waiting to be stitched, so I was determined not to load myself down with too much this year.  But I did still want to visit, and see some of the exhibition pieces.

The stands which stood out for me were of course the Mr X Stitch one, who curated a stand full of interesting big and little stitching with a wide range of materials.  I loved the stitched car door and the real door and he even personalised a book for me :)

The other exhibition stand which was incredible, as I expected was the Royal School of Needlework.  Sadly, no photography allowed on many of the stands, including this one, but the pieces were outstanding, beautiful, wonderfully and perfectly crafted.  Way to make me feel like my work is totally inadequate!!!  There really is no substitute for going to see the finished pieces in person.

Anyway, I was good.  I came away with only one bag of stash.  This contained:

One Table Magnifying Lamp - finally a mains powered lamp and magnifier.  Sadly, the floor standing ones all seem to have enormous bases, which won't fit under my sofa, so at least if I have a table one, I can work on some of my smaller pieces during the dark evenings.

 Some new xmas card designs from the Nutmeg Company - these went down so well when I made them for a previous xmas, so I thought I'd buy some more!

A couple of small Michael Powell designs.  I've liked these for a while, so I decided to get a couple of small pieces to work on.

Sparklies fabric!
The stand had an amazing large piece of orange hand dyed fabric with a black dragon stitched onto it.  I bought 5 pieces of various hand dyed fabrics, the pale green (sparkling rainforest) and lilac (Lilac Ice) with opalescent sparkles in the fabric.  I also got Slate, Fire and Black Dahlia.  These are all small pieces just to see what I can do with different fabrics.

And that's it!  I can't wait to rip all the packets open and get started.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Moonlit Waters Page 2 complete!!


I'm so glad to see the back of this page, I can't believe it's taken me 5 months.  So much confetti around the trees, but I've kept going through it and it's done... hooray! Just 34 pages left to go :)

Having a little change for a while as I'm stitching up something halloweeny for the in-laws next...Feel like I need a little break from the big piece and to have other finishes this year.  But first, I'm going to have a weekend off.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Arkells, This Century, The Maine - Electric Ballroom, London

It's not often when I drag Rob out to a gig for a band I like that he goes straight to the merch stand after their set and buys a CD.  But that's what happened with the Arkells.  They had the whole rock thing right down, the audience was fully engaged despite this being the first band on.  We'll eagerly be looking out for their return to the UK - the Jackson Square CD that we picked up at the show was on the hifi for the whole of the next day and the songs Pullin Punches and Whistleblower are firmly fixed in my head.

Second up was This Century, and it seems that although this is only the first time in the UK, a lot of the audience had done their homework and were already familiar with their music.  It was like a giant singalong/dancealong and I think even the band were surprised.  Having said that, The Maine are excellent at promoting the bands they take on tour with them, and they seem to have pretty good taste.  I think it was more my kind of thing than Rob's, but with a number of EPs and a full length record under their belts, I will be watching and listening with interest for what happens in the future.  I hope that they will be back in the UK, because it seems that they will be pretty popular with people here and again they looked and sounded great on the stage.

Onto The Maine then.  Although Pioneer was released at the end of last year in the US, it was only officially put out in the UK recently with the addition of 6 extra songs (Pioneer & The Good Love).  When I first heard the new songs, I thought, yeah, I could see maybe why they didn't make it onto Pioneer.  By the time I'd heard them through twice I was sitting there going 'These are my favourite songs they've ever done.  Ever'.  Sometimes I listen and I hear bits of old school 50's and 60's rock n roll with the 'oooh-oooh-oooh's' and the 'sha-la-la's' and the 'bye-bye-bye's', and then sometimes I hear something more modern and Killers-esqe, but there's always variety and crazily catchy guitars and drums. In the Maine's whole catalogue, there's not a single song I don't like or skip over, and this is my go-to band when I can't make my mind up what I'm in the mood to listen to.  So I know, when I go to a live show, I'm not going to be disappointed.

The gig was fantastic and it was so good for them to finally get a decent amount of time as the headliners - no offense, but they are too good in their own right to keep playing support to other bands. With 3 full length albums behind them, and this being the Pioneer world tour, we got most of what is on the latest album mixed up with some of the older songs (which are sounding better with age anyway).  

What I like about The Maine is that although you have the recording of a song on a CD at home, when it gets to the stage, they have played around with it and although it might sound a little different, it also sounds brilliant.  The average age of the audience has also gone up, and there were more fellas in the audience - the ones around me were singing along and discussing how fab the band were, which is a nice change from the girls shouting 'John, take your shirt off' - although there's still always one, isn't there? (no, it wasn't me)

So, we came home happy, having done a little dancing, a little singing, a lot of laughing (mainly at Garrett's Celine Dion impression) and now I shall eagerly await them going back into the studio for the next album.  In the meantime, their DVD 'Anthem for a Dying Breed' is out this month and for those in the UK, Pioneer & The Good Love is out on spotify right now.  Go listen.  And then go and buy it. (my favourite is Hello World - I think I may be singing it in my sleep, it's so stuck in my brain).

Meet The Maine - Electric Ballroom, London

Last week was a pretty exciting time for me, since I got to go to a meet and greet with one of my favourite bands.  Whilst these boys usually come and greet fans after the show, my husband is usually dragging me straight towards the tube station at this point, so to be presented with an afternoon Meet the Maine opportunity, well, I jumped at the chance, because quite honestly, I never expected it to be a possibility.  So, at 4pm last weds, having downed half a pint in the pub while everyone else queued in the rain, I joined the queue, got my wristband and headed inside to watch the guys play a couple of songs before they met everyone.  I was still 5 rows back, but that's probably the closest I'll ever get to stageside at these things, too old for all that queueing from 9am malarky.

Then I got in another queue for the meet and greet, got my poster signed by them all, told John about my by-now-quite-upset-husband who had missed Kennedy singing Ice Cave, which is his favourite (he claims it's their big sounding stadium song), and John promised that they would do it next time.  When I got to the other guys, all ability to speak properly had just popped out of my head, so I just about said hi to them all and they were very sweet to me, and then I got this lovely photo taken:

L-R - John, Charlette, Kennedy, Jared, Me, Garrett, Pat

A hug from each of them later (good hugging!) and I was outta there.  Considering what some bands charge for this sort of meet and greet, I paid £15 for this and it included a digital copy of the latest album - so thank you to the guys for not charging the earth and for spending your time doing this when you didn't have to.  It means a lot.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

TUSAL September 2012

Ok, Ok.  I'm late again.  I do have a good reason though, I've been halfway up the country to visit my folks.  That's ok, right.

Here's how my jar looks now:

And here's the travelling pattern I've been putting a few stitches in here and there... and over the week:

It seemed to stitch up quite fast at first, but has rapidly slowed down.  I think I'm about halfway though, so that's ok.  I don't normally get on with hoops, but this piece is just an awkward size where it's too big to hold in my hand and too small to fit on a scroll frame. So I am trying the hoop.

I'll be catching up on everyone else's posts this week, hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pumpkins and Stitchy Things

A finish to show today - taking a break from the dark colours in my main project, I was after something fun and fast - I present Pumpkin & Bittersweet, from Waxing Moon Designs.  I've stitched it on a small piece of the lovely oatmeal fabric that was so very kindly RAKked to me from Marlene earlier in the year.

Not quite sure how to finish it.  We have some orange walls, or else I was thinking we could somehow hang it on the fridge door, which is dark brown.  Anyways, it sure brightened up my ORTs jar.

Otherwise, I've been doing a little shopping today, on the HAED appreciation week.  In order to boost sales at our lovely favourite mega project online store, and to show our support for actually buying the charts rather than those people who choose to ignore the copyright, a few hundred of us got together on Facebook and vowed to buy a chart (or two... or in some cases even more).

I've decided to go for Green Dragonling and also QS Dahlia.  I don't have a clue when I'm going to get round to them, but it's been so nice seeing what all the other group members have gone for and chatting about them.  It's also perked me back up to getting on with Moonlit Waters again, hooray!  I'm determined to finish page 2 this month.

Right, that's all from me for now... seeya!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hello September

Although I've enjoyed the Olympics and the Paralympics, I'm hoping that when it's all over there will be some good TV on... it's been pretty rubbish as of late except for the sport.  Still, we are heading into Autumn TV now and Dr Who is back tonight.  It's one of my faves for a Saturday night.  And generally the schedule starts to pick up again from about nowish.

I've not done much on Moonlit Waters recently.  I set aside a day this week to have a solid day working on it and my progress was so very slow.  There was almost a tantrum.  To keep my stitching going I've been working on a Halloween piece.  Every year it gets to Halloween and I wish I'd made something to hang on the wall, but this year I am determined.  It's a small piece but is almost complete, so there will be photos soon.

Speaking of Halloween, I've been catching up on my blog reading, and it seems everyone else has also been stitching up a storm! I'm loving seeing all your work!

Just a short post today, I'm off to get some munchy lunch.
Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TUSAL August 2012

Whoops, I'm late again.

Apologies for the picture quality, the following were taken on my iPhone.

There's a few bits of sparkle in there now, mainly because I parked the HAED this month as we have been decorating, so I discovered that the Tile 2 below had been started.  So I decided to finish it.

Tile 2 is from West End Embroidery and I bought it at the stitching show last October.  I've found it pretty challenging because I'm used to working in crosses, and I find metallic threads very frustrating as was the dark purple thread which I struggled to keep taught sometimes.

Still, it looks rather pretty.  It doesn't fit with anything in this flat at all though, so I guess it's going in a drawer.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Since the Olympics is now over, so is my husband's stint working from home.  Today he has gone into the office.  And I have done:

1. Three loads of washing
2. Prepped his bathroom ready to be painted
3. Emptied the baskets on the balcony which were full of weeds (I mean, how does that happen?)
4. Emptied the rubbish
5. A quick supermarket shop
6. Baked a cake.

I have a great big feeling of achievement - The chores will be blitzed.  And also at the moment the flat is getting a complete overhaul.  My husband is implementing the 4 year rule.  If it hasn't been touched for 4 years, it's going in the bin, recycling, or charity shop.  So much stuff we have accumulated over the last 10ish years.  I don't know where it all came from.  But we are getting there.  It seems like every cupboard in the house is like Mary Poppins' bag though - so much STUFF.

I myself reject the 4 year rule, especially when it applies to things in my wardrobe.  I prefer the 'Do I think I might need it in the next 4 years?' rule.  Perhaps someone objective should come in and go through the wardrobe for me.  I mean, at what age is it unacceptable to wear miniskirts? Or does it depend on how good your legs look in them?

Stick with me about the Cruise posts - We haven't got to the photos yet and I can't possibly post without including some of the stunning pictures!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hello again

I'm still here.  A lot has happened in the last two weeks.  I've been on holiday, but more about that in a minute.

I've currently got a backlog of 917 posts to read.  That's not as many as I expected, but I'll be making a start on those.  Once that is done I'd like to tell you all about the last 2 wonderful weeks where I've been on a cruise ship.  Hopefully I'll have processed some photos to share.

The other news is that my first contract has ended and so I'll be looking for my next one.  Quite convenient timing really since that hopefully means I can stay at home over the Olympics and get back out there straight after.

I hope you're all well... I'll be back in a couple of days.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Where did June go?

Well.  It's July.  The summer solstice has been and gone.  We're rolling towards winter.  How did that happen?

I've a terrible feeling I missed the TUSAL this month.  But if you're interested, see last month's post.  I think I've put in about 5 stitches since then, so my pot looks exactly the same.

Our redecorating has at least now progressed to the point where the bags of books that had to come off the bookshelf are now back on the bookshelf so that we can move around the flat again without going flying (not that I need obstacles to help with that).  The picture frame is back on the wall and it looks vaguely like 'home' again.  However, I'm trying not to think about the bathroom that still needs painting (and probably re-sealing), nor the bedrooms which we said 'eurgh, that seems like way too much, maybe next year'.  (we'll see, shall we?)

I do feel slightly guilty also that my husband has done most of the work, but then I make myself feel better by saying it's really a man's job and I'm just a weak girl.  That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it.  Hopefully I'm now at the end of the boring home decorating posts, and next time I'll be able to show you some stitching progress, since I can once again get to my frame. Hooray!

Friday, 15 June 2012


I feel like my feet are barely touching the ground at the moment.  It's probably about as opposite to this time last year as possible.  Then I was coming to the end of my full time permanent role and looking forward to my redundancy and some time off to relax and catch up on all the things I wanted to do.

Fast forward to now and I'm back into commuter travelling, my weekends for the next few months are packed to the brim of seeing people and doing things and to put a little cherry on top, halfway through the Jubilee weekend we decided that it would be the perfect time to paint the flat.  This was a ridiculous decision, we should have started at 8am on the Saturday morning, not 3pm on the Monday afternoon.  Whoopsie.  In the ongoing saga therefore, we've spent every evening after work doing a little bit more here and there.  Just 2 walls, a ceiling and a bathroom left to go.

But also a lot of fun things are happening.  At the start of the Jubilee weekend, I joined my photography group for a photoshoot near Bank station.  A fantastic day, but boy did I ache the next morning.  Here's my favourite:

So tomorrow, after a week of unacceptably late nights, I will have a lie in.  Hooray for my big, fluffy pillow.  And then I will catch up on the 534 blog posts that are in my backlog.  Yes, I will.  Honest, guv.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Happy weekend!

This has been a difficult week at work for me.  Deadlines are hovering and there have been some long days with barely time to grab lunch, which makes me stressed, tired and a bit grumpy.  I've been getting home, eating dinner and dropping asleep on the sofa at about 9pm.

Thankfully, this weekend has been really sunny and bright, and I was glad to get to Friday, and I sure will be happy to get to the long 4 day weekend at the end of next friday.  We were thinking about heading out of London, but I think there will be a lot of nice things happening for the Jubilee (certainly lots of flags are popping up all over!) , so it'll be good to stick around.  We might even get around to a bit of DIY...we are still trying to make our little flat more homely after about 4 and a half years.  The walls have prints and photos up now, so we are getting there.

I hope you're all having lovely weekends...stitchy updates soon.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

TUSAL - May 2012

Hello everyone,

It's TUSAL time again... I feel like I've actually made a little progress this time.  I've got a few projects on the go at once at the moment - one very small magazine freebie for travelling to and from work when I actually manage to get a seat, one project that I stitch on longer train journeys (the butterfly one), and then a new small one which is a needle case that I bought from Ham House yesterday when I was silly enough not to take my stitching out for the day and ended up on an hour and a half tube journey with nothing to do.  Then of course, I have also made some progress on Moonlit Waters.

So anyway, here's my TUSAL jar as it stands in May.

Until next time...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Moonlit Waters update - Page 1 finished!

Hello there,

Well, I feel pretty good today.  I've been working quite solidly this weekend on Moonlit Waters.  Since it's been a bank holiday, my goal was to finish page one and I just put the final stitch in that page, so I'm pretty happy that there's still a little bit of the evening left.  There has been a lot of black and navy and purple in page 1, but from the look of page 2 we get to move onto some other colours, which is great.

I'm finding the HAED a lot of fun, but I'm not stitching exclusively on it.  I guess it's my 'home' project, but I have a few others on the go whilst I'm travelling.  I even managed to put some stitches in on a tiny project during my tube journeys, which is quite nice.  This does mean that since I've gone back to work, progress is slower than I would like, but not really anything I can do about that.

I'm finding working a block at a time quite a good way to do things, not as difficult as I thought and I'm pretty happy to say that there hasn't been much unpicking so far (touch wood).  I think it's easier to keep track of the confetti in a 10x10 square and much more manageable that way.

Anyways, here's a picture of Page 1:

Ah well, one page down... 35 to go!!!

Thanks for dropping by,

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


This TV show started here in the UK on Sky Atlantic a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit, by the first ad-break I was pretty hooked.  I love the big numbers being belted out, and it's a really fab cast of people that I like to watch, the two lead actresses are really brilliant and I love how they are playing them off against each other to cast one as Marilyn Monroe.

The downside is that I now want to go and watch a load of shows in the west end... it's such a great feeling just to get lost in a show for a couple of hours, when the songs make your body tingle - and this show is doing a great job of helping me to relax and clear my mind.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Liebster Award

Hello everyone,

Well, it has been utterly miserable here.  For weeks, the sky has been grey and I've been rained on every day that I've left the house, it has been most unpleasant.  It also makes me feel grumpy and like hibernating.

However, two things have cheered me right up - the first that I have 50 followers on my little blog now... I never thought I'd get even 5, so this is so lovely... and I love to read other peoples blogs to motivate me, your pictures are all so pretty and uplifting!

The other reason I'm smiling is because two people have given me the Liebster Award!  They are the lovely Emma at xxxstitching and Beverly at weestitchy.

Liebster is a German word meaning favourite, dearest or beloved. The Liebster Blog Award is awarded by bloggers to other new bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to help spread the word about their blogs and to help them gain wider recognition.

The Liebster award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting.
Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award the Liebster to.
Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don’t know about you.”

So here we go...

It's not that I can't pick 5 blogs, but I'd rather pick a couple that I find really outstanding and whose posts I particularly love to catch up with... I don't know if this means I don't satisfy the conditions or not, but oh well, it's meant to be fun right and to point people at new blogs to here are my top picks...

1. - I've really loved watching the progress on Faery Tales, and I find it very motivational because I've just started my first HAED - there are people who actually manage to make a ton of progress, so maybe one day I will get mine finished!!

2. - her latest post on stash collections really struck a chord with me - I have dabbled in different crafts and have decided Cross Stitch is where I'm happiest. But each craft seems to need so much stash. Even though you could in theory stitch a project at a time and have only one little packet at a time, why then do I have 4 boxes full?

And my five random facts:

1. My right thigh is numb from an operation I had 10 years ago on my hip.
2. I dont like shopping for shoes or handbags. Jackets and boots are my bag, baby!
3. Although I always said I'd move back up north at some point, London has really grown on me. I'd be happy to stay.
4. I love to look at fashion blogs. Even though I'm not very fashionable. Must try do these people know how to accessorise properly and it seems to have completely passed me by?
5. I have a stuffed wombat called Wozza. That was also the nickname of my first boyfriend. I didn't name the wombat, funnily enough, but it makes me laugh when I think about it.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

STEPS @Sheffield Arena

Last weekend, I went to see STEPS.  (there was much ribbing in the office about this and the fact that since I went with my family, I must have been taking someone aged about 11).

As much as I liked them 10 years ago, for some reason, I had never seen them live before - perhaps because there hadn't been anyone for me to go with at that time.  I'd watched the Sky TV show about them all getting back together and putting their differences aside, and well, I must admit that some members came across much better than others.  It seemed like there was a huge amount of pressure for them to reform, and pull a stage show together in a matter of only a few months.

However, it was clear from the offset that this was something the fans really wanted.  The Sheffield show, and I'm sure many of the others were sell outs.  I had pretty good tickets, fairly close to the stage on one of the sides of the arena.  And to me, Sheffield is one of the best arenas, because wherever you are, the view is pretty good.  And the crowd is always amazing.

What a show it was.  Clearly the budget had been thrown out of the window and it was pretty spectacular staging.  On top of that, the routines were huge amounts of fun, and for anyone who had known the dances to a Steps song back in the day, they were given the chance to brush off their dancing shoes and join right back in again.

But then there was the singing.  They sang live.  They each did a solo.  Lee's rendition of Moves Like Jagger was pretty cool indeed.  Lisa surprised me by her solo, because she proved to me that actually, her voice is pretty good.  And Claire.  Well, Claire brought the house down.  You know one of those roars of approval from the audience that sounds almost respectful.  Throughout the whole song.  It's hard to describe, but amazing to experience and she left the stage with tears in her eyes and a happy glow on her face.

But all in all a really fun night out, it was a massive party from start to finish, and I've not been to an arena show with an atmosphere like that since the Spice Girls.  I hope they are back for a while yet, because I think this is a band with a lot of life still in them.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

TUSAL April 2012

These months go by quite quickly when you're not paying attention.  And here we are, it's TUSAL time again.  You know the drill - if you want know what what the TUSAL is, there's a little graphic on the right hand side of the page that you can go and click.  It'll take you to Daffycat's Blog.

Progress this month has been almost nothing on Moonlit Waters, but I have been out and about travelling at weekends quite a bit visiting family, so I've been working on my travelling pattern.

So, here's my jar update, and my travelling pattern photograph.  It's coming on quite nicely, I'm pretty happy with the progress on it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Hello everyone,
I wanted to say that I hope you all had a lovely Easter.
We spent it with family which was lovely, and it was great to get out of London.
The Easter bunny delivered chocolate treats to my hubby this morning ( I picked a rotten time to give up all things chocolatey!)
This afternoon will no doubt be spent watching naff films on the TV (currently we are watching Class, which has Andrew McCarthy in see what I mean...)
Enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

TUSAL March 2012

Good grief, I can't believe it's that time again... I don't know where my days are disappearing to.

It's another new moon though, so time for the TUSAL (if you don't know what it is, head to Daffycat's blog - link on the right hand side of the page)

Most of the threads are still from Moonlit Waters, so there's a lot of dark ones in there (although I think the flash brightened them all up a little), done mainly while I was watching the motor race at the weekend.

Not much else to update, I've been busy working :)

Jo x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Coping methods

Sometimes, London can feel a bit overwhelming.  There are people everywhere you are trying to walk, runners getting in your way, noisy traffic hurtling down the street next to you, crowded tubes full of people so that you hardly have space to breathe.

When this happens, I like to put on my ipod, and block out the world.  I pretend that I'm in a film of my life and that the music is the soundtrack.  When I walk down the street, I'm walking with purpose, like I'm getting to the important part of the movie.  Then I end up grinning to myself about how bizarre that would probably seem to anyone else.

And then everything seems fine and less overwhelming.  Because it's MY movie, with my soundtrack and everyone else is just an extra.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Flashback... Perth

This time last year, we were in Perth having a wonderful honeymoon.  It's been a bit of a depressing thought this week while I've been at work, so I dug out the blog we wrote while we were away and I thought I'd share some of the things we wrote and photos that my hubby took.  All photos copyright Robert May.


11th March 2011

Last minute change of plans today.  We had planned to get up and go to Rottnest Island, however, an evening of drinking and a bit of jet lag meant that we didn’t surface early enough to get a whole day trip, so we decided to pop to Fremantle and then have dinner not too far away on Cottesloe beach.
First up though was a breakfast in a little cafe we spotted yesterday close to our hotel.  After munching down Eggs Benedict (Rob) and Eggs Florentine (Joanne) and doing a little trip research using their wifi, we left Tom’s Kitchen and headed towards the train station for the short hop to Fremantle.

It was quite an interesting place, with many little shops, and a few large harbours. We found a lovely little bar called The Monk Bar and Kitchen where we sampled some house wine and lager, and Rob had his favourite espresso yet. Then we meandered to a small beach, and stopped to take in the beautiful blue-green sea. We stopped quickly to look at a gallery of stunning underwater photography, ( and then headed back towards the station to catch the train a few stops to Cottesloe.

In Cottesloe, we had our minds on dinner in a restaurant pictured on the gift list site, but they were having a private function so were unavailable. Thankfully, we wandered further along the coast and found a quieter grouping of restaurants, including the gorgeous beachside Barchetta restaurant, who were able to fit us in. We happily watched the sun set as we ate fantastic pizza and scoffed some delicious Rose fizz.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Moonlit Waters update

Hello all,

I thought it was about time for an update on Moonlit Waters.  I've not got as far as I expected to after a month, and the colours didn't quite come out as they actually are, but I'm still in the dark corner for now.

Hopefully lots more to update on next month, otherwise at this rate it's going to be many, many years until I get finished!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

TUSAL for Feb

Blimey, where did a month disappear to?

The good news is that I've been working hard on my jobhunting and getting back to work seminars and it seems to have paid off, I expect to be going back to the 9-5 from next week... I'm sure that commuting every day will be a shock to the system.

The bad news is that stitching time hasn't been as much as I would have liked.  The HAED is progressing, a little slowly, but I am getting on well with parking stitches which means that I'm finishing most of the threads and there's not much in the way of trimmings.  

So, it doesn't look much since last month, but here's February's TUSAL!  (If you don't know what TUSAL is, there's a little linky picture on the right of this page to Daffycat's site which explains all about it)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Strange Day

Today was a bit strange.  I don't often venture into west London.  But I found myself out by Paddington.  It was fine to begin with, but it was pretty early, so I decided to go for breakfast.  There's a nice area near Paddington with some cafes and restaurants, but it took me an age to find it, and because it was really quiet and I was on my own, I felt a bit odd when people were walking behind me.

Later on, when it was a bit busier, I'd walked to a shopping centre, again the shops inside weren't open but I was being nosey and having a walk around since the main centre was open.  As I was leaving, I saw two Indian chaps.  One of them approached me, obviously put up to it a bit by his mate and mumbled for a bit before he said he was really sorry but he was a bit shy, but that he really wanted to be my friend.  I really didn't know how to take it,  I presumed it was some sort of chat up thing, but since I felt as though I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards as the wind had made my hair go crazy, I wasn't sure!

I don't think I've ever been approached like that before and I was already feeling a bit wierded out by the quietness.  I politely said I was sorry and declined, which I think was the right thing to do, but overall I just found it very odd.

I then went into Hyde Park, where dogs seemed to be following me as well!!

Just a very strange day.  I think I'll stick to East London!

Anyone else had any odd meetings with strangers like this?

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Owl

A little stitching update.

I made this for my dad, who is a huge Sheffield Wednesday fan... it only seemed right that I swapped the black that the kit came with for the Owls blue.

I bought it way back in October at the stitching show and I had such fun stitching it up - I can't believe how long ago that was, where has the time gone?!

Anyway, here's a little (a bit blurry) photo:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Superbowl and Snow

It's been a pretty busy week on the jobhunting front and so there has been little progress on the stitching.  I've finally got myself sorted, updated my CV properly and uploaded it in a few places - don't want to go too overboard though!  I also now have a nice spreadsheet to track everything I'm doing as well so that makes things easier.

I was hoping to pose an update on the HAED, but to be honest, it's teeny tiny and mostly black and navy so far, so it would seem a bit pointless.  Perhaps when I get a little further with it.  I've still done 2000 stitches though, which is progress, but it's 25 count so the area isn't even as big as an iphone yet!

At the weekend, we watched the superbowl! This was a new thing for me, I wasn't really very sure about any of the rules etc until about an hour before it started when a lovely friend sent me a link to read up on it all.  Phew, I'm glad I did or I'd have been completely lost.  Once I understood it, I really enjoyed watching the game.  It was pretty late for us here in the UK though, and with all the ad breaks and the halftime entertainment it just seemed to go on forever and ever! Thankfully, we were watching it on the BBC so we didn't have any ads at all, which was great.  I did enjoy it but by the end I was getting a little frustrated about how long it was dragged out for.

Over the weekend we had a lovely thick covering of snow and went to play in it with our friends' 1 year old baby, who seemed very confused by it all and preferred spinning the pegs on the washing line.  The grown ups used it as an excuse to make a snowman.  Thankfully it had melted by the time I needed to get anywhere in particular but I believe we are expecting more this's nice when it comes at a weekend and you have nothing to do except relax!

So, that's the update from the land of ricketyjo.  I seem to have spent the last couple of days trying to catch up on all the sleep I missed and trying to keep warm!  I hope you are all well :)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tea time

I'm originally from Yorkshire.  We have a strong belief that a cup of tea solves everything.  My husband is from the midlands, and he quite likes tea too, but since we've been living in London he seems to have turned into a coffee drinker.  Don't get me wrong, I love the smell of coffee.  But it doesn't fix everything in the same way that tea does.

I'm also used to drinking strong tea.  and Decaf.  I grew up on decaf.  Probably better for me, but I'm guessing it explains why I always feel tired in comparison to all the hyped up caffeine heads.

Anyways, whilst I was in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago I decided to expand my tea horizons.  I stood staring at all the different brands and boxes for a good 15 minutes.  How did I decide which to go for? It was a miserable day and the thought of chai sounded nice.  After I'd narrowed it down this far, I used the same method I use to buy wine.  Which packaging looks prettiest?  (I know... I'm such a GIRL!!!)

Armed with my Dragonfly Cape Malay Rooibos Chai Organic (how posh do I sound?!) I came home.  My husband and I both tried some. He really liked it.  I liked it too but what I wasn't sure about was that it just will not get stronger the longer you leave the bag in (to me this is strange tea behaviour)! The next day he went and bought Dragonfly Organic Earl Grey (I'm not a fan of Earl Grey).  A week later I got Dragonfly Moroccan Mint Green Organic Tea. (*note, this post has not been sponsored by Dragonfly).  Now our cupboard looks quite funny, it has hubby's various coffees on one side and our various teas on the other.  No room for food anymore ;-)

What I like is that now when the weather is hideous outside or if I'm feeling sorry for myself or a bit poorly, I have lots to choose from.  And because a lot of it is caffeine free, I think it counts towards my 8 glasses of water a day, right?

You can look at the packaging that sucked me in and learn more about the teas here.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sad face :(

I've been sad now for a few days.  At the weekend, I saw the announcement that one of my favourite bands, Take Cover, is breaking up.

I know I wasn't the only one who saw their huge potential.  Last year I happily threw my money into a Kickstarter fund for their first full length album on the back of three amazing EPs and a couple of singles. To this day, I think it's the only band I've ever paid money to get every single song they made.

And so I'm unbearably, unbelievably sad, as I was certain they had so much more to offer if only more people would know they existed and the important record A&R people would sit up and take notice.  Because they are in the US, I never got to see them live. But their recorded tracks could give most of today's Pop Punk/Alternative bands a run for their money.  The lyrics never ever failed to impress me.  Some of them were downright bitchy but that made them all the more genius.  The music was catchy and fantastic and for me it was the perfect package.

However I'm old enough to realise that being happy is the most important thing, so I wish them all well for the future.  I just hope that they will all continue to make music and write lyrics and that somewhere down the line they will each surface again with new stuff to listen to.  When they do, I'll be sure to pass it on :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Biggest challenge so far

I've done it.  I've finally started my first HAED.  My new frame arrived today, I ripped it out of the package as soon as I got home and set it up.

I've chosen to do Moonlit Waters, a Julie Fain design... it's really pretty.  It's the first time I've tried 25 count, and I'm stitching on DMC gridded fabric, perhaps it's cheating but given that it's my first one, it just makes life a ton easier.  So far I've done almost 400 stitches and it covers this miniscule area of fabric... I think this one is gonna take a while.

Progress and photos to come periodically, I think probably about once a month.  Oh, I also need to get some new batteries for the light on my magnifier... I just wish summer would hurry up and get here so I can have nice long daylight hours!

Well, that's all for tonight, it's already past my bedtime.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cheery art for a grey day

A couple of years ago, I discovered a love for street art.

I'd been pulled into the world of music again and was very into Green Day at the time.  They had commissioned an art show to go along with their new album release, where several artists had been sent the lyrics but not the music for the new songs and each was to produce a piece of work.  I went to see the art show and I was blown away by many of the works that were being shown.  I bought the booklet with info about the artists and I've followed some of them ever since.

Today, I wanted to share one of my favourites, a French artist known as C215.  I am subscribed to his feed over on Facebook, and most days I see a beautiful picture of his work posted up, a lot of the more recent ones with really bright colours.  I have seen his work painted on the streets of London and I was lucky enough to go and see his show a year or so ago.

Please go and have a look at his photostream here, and I hope it brightens up your day!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Autumn's Valentines giveaway

The lovely Autumn is having a giveaway of an adorable Valentine's chart...Stitchy people really are very generous.
Pop over to her blog here if you'd like to enter!

Good Luck :)

Monday, 23 January 2012

It's TUSAL time!

Well, here we go... my first TUSAL post (if you don't know what a TUSAL is, it's explained and you can signup here on Daffycat's blog).

This is how my little jar is looking, I thought I'd done pretty well and then I saw some photos of the other ones.

Till next time!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

And the giveaway winner is...

...Mary Ann!

The winner was chosen using the highly technical method of husband pulling the comment number from a hat!

I'll be sending the Iris pattern through and a couple of little extras, so I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cottage 2 finish :)

Hello everyone :)
I'm pretty happy today as I've just put the final stitches into cottage 2 *cue happy dance*

Here's what it looks like...

There were quite a lot of French knots in there at the end.  Apparently they are supposed to be grapes.

Now I'm not sure which project to start next.  I wanted to start on one of the HAED ones, however, I've just realised that the frame I usually use to stitch on is a bit on the small side.  So I might have to see if I have enough threads to start one of the smaller HAEDs and order a larger stitching frame in the meantime to do both of the largeish projects in my stash.

Please don't forget that the closing date for my giveaway is tomorrow at 8pm GMT, so if you'd like a lovely Iris chart and a few little extras, please follow this little blog, then go here: and leave me a comment :)

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chickenfoot @ Brixton Academy

On Saturday evening I went to see Chickenfoot.  It's a supergroup.  An American Rock Supergroup.  My husband bought the tickets.

I almost played their music the day before on my little ipod thing just to get a feel for it.  But then I stopped myself and thought - what if I'm really disappointed and then I don't want to go to the gig.  So I left it.  It was to be a surprise and I wasn't going to have any preconceived ideas.  However, the evening before I also went out with a friend, S, who was singing the praises of Joe Satriani as though he was the best musician that ever lived, he was terribly excited about going to see this guy live.  So much for no ideas.

We walked in to an audience of mostly middle aged men and a few couples here and there, it was a lot like I'd imagined the audience of a rock supergroup to look.

After the warm up from Red, White and Blues (they were ok, a bit repetitive I found), Chickenfoot came on stage to a wild reaction from the audience.  They obviously all had years of history and experience on stages, they looked completely at ease in their sunglasses with their rock swagger.  As Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) belted out tune after tune, I was pleasantly surprised by their whole delivery, and how tight they played as a group.  One of the highlights for me was seeing this crowd of men raising their arms to do the kind of arm swaying normally undertaken by an audience of teenage girls at a boyband concert.

S was proved completely right, some of the guitar parts that Mr Satriani played were so fantastic that my eyes couldn't keep up with what his fingers were playing on those strings.

The set was complete with a few random rock screams, and they said they were just there to play the kind of music that they enjoyed without needing to prove anything to anyone or hit any sales record, and it was obvious they were having the time of their lives.  I know I was, and I'll definitely come back to see them live again if given the opportunity.  A stellar night out listening to some terrific pros.

Monday, 16 January 2012

100th Post and a stitchy giveaway

Hello there!
Wow, 100 posts.  (I missed my blogoversary... doh!).  This was never really meant to be purely a stitching blog, and so I'll get back to the other things at time to time like music and travel and such like.

However, for my 100th post, and to say hello to my new followers and thank you all for inspiring me with your stitchy posts, I thought I'd do a little giveaway of a chart that I very much enjoyed stitching, it was one of my favourites.  It is this, the Iris pattern with black border and it is a Jane Dewberry design, bought from her little stall in Buxton I think it was a long time ago!  The one that I stitched is now hanging in my Auntie's room and looks beautiful in a stylish black frame, but I will not be stitching it again, so I thought someone else might like the original chart.  (note: I'm not sure exactly how much of each colour was needed as it isn't specified in the pack, but there are 16 colours in the chart)

To enter to get the chart and maybe a couple of little extras, here are the rules:
1. You must be a follower of my blog.
2. Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to enter the giveaway.
3. If you post about the giveaway on your blog, you will get an extra entry into the draw (yes... I am also looking for new followers, I'm hoping this will be a good way to do it!) ... let me know in your comment if you have done this.

I will pick the winner on the evening of Sunday 22nd January, 8pm GMT.

Thanks for looking :) I'll be back with an update on Cottage 2 sometime during the week as it's almost finished!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Today has been a great day... I got two things in the post.  One I can't quite show yet as I won it in a facebook competition and it's going to be given away as a present to a lovely little boy I know.

The other post was the fabulous RAK sent to me by Marlene, which I'm going to show you here... The Halloween book (I think the bunting and the baking related things look fabulous, I'd like to try them), the Lizzie*Kate sampler, some beautiful Oatmeal 18ct fabric, some waste canvas (which I've never used so that'll be interesting!) and a lovely cotton bag to stitch on with it!  Thank you so so much Marlene, I'm going to have a lovely time and be kept very busy, I can see that now :)

Here's a little piccie!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Cottage 2 update

I have to say I am very happy with my progress on Cottage 2 over the last week or so.  

For quite a while I was a bit worried.  Because I inherited this project half completed by my grandma and with a massive bag of thread for the various projects she has worked on, I was kind of relying on her thread markups in relation to the pattern.  One in particular was worrying me because it was a really bright green, and I wasn't so sure that it fit with everything else.  Now I'm a bit further along I'm much happier with it.

I'm less happy about the instructions that came with it.  It's a chart that's about 15 years old.  The photo of the completed item is blurry, black and white and back to front, which isn't really helping.  The instructions for the backstitch are a little confusing, since I'm meant to identify cabbages and rhubarb leaves to stitch in particular colours and I'm assuming when they say left it's my right and vice versa because the photo is backwards.  So that is a little frustrating, but I'm getting close to the end of the cross stitch now, yippee!

Here's the progress over the last week (apologies for the blurryness, I just couldn't get one that wasn't blurry!):

Progress 3rd January 2012

Progress 9th January 2012
As always, thanks for taking a look!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Stretch Goals

My previous company was very fond of setting Stretch Goals when it came to appraisal time - that is goals that would challenge what you already knew and stretch you further out of your comfort zone.

With this in mind and having joined a number of new stitchy blogs over the past couple of days, here is a list of the goals I'd like to accomplish for this year, stitchy wise, in no particular order (and more than one objective can be covered by the same item):

1. Start and persevere with a HAED project.
2. Start and complete a project on evenweave or linen.
3. Stitch a beautiful sampler... I think the long, thin ones on light browny backgrounds look stunning.
4. Make something for halloween so that I have something to do up my flat with
5. Start a Lizzie*Kate design... they are so pretty and I have none in my stash!

I think 5 is enough for now.

Incidentally, I find that seeing everyone else's work on their blogs really spurs me on, so thank you!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Cat Above the Rest

Ove the Christmas period, on trains and whilst visiting family, I managed to complete Cat Above the Rest.  It is part of a pair, but I put the other one 'Somewhere Safe' and I have no idea where that might have been, so it might be a little while until I pick it up and start on the second one.  I think these were free with one of the magazine subscriptions that I started up at one of the stitching shows, so they must be at least 5 years old, probably more than that!

He needs a little bit of an iron but I couldn't wait to show him off. I'm not really much of a cat person, but I think he's pretty cute!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

TUSAL 2012

I'd seen this on a few of the Cross Stitching blogs I follow without really knowing what it was but just seeing jars full of brightly coloured threads. I finally found the source... Yay!  I guess it's not of much interest to anyone who doesn't stitch, but the TUSAL stands for Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long.  It is presided over by Daffycat and the full details are here:

But basically, it involves storing up my stitching thread offcuts in a little jar and then posting up a photo around the time of each new moon.  For 2012, these are:

January 23
February 21
March 22
April 21
May 20
June 19
July 19
August 17
September 16
October 15
November 13
December 13

There is no real point to it, but just for fun I've decided to join in this year.  I bought a little jar, which my husband then stole and filled with cashew nuts, so I'll be eating my way through those and then stealing it back! There are currently over 270 bloggers signed up for this, so I look forward to seeing everyone's brightly coloured jars and then thinking about how I can use the offcuts for something later on in the year :)

Happy New Year!

Well, we had a lovely and relaxing beginning to 2012 with our close friends, which I think is one of the nicest things to do.  Although we didn't get to see the fireworks spectacular by the Thames, I don't mind too much, I don't do that well in crowds, and we saw plenty of fireworks from our balcony and even one of those paper lanterns, so that was pretty sweet!

I hope that whatever you got up to you had a lovely evening and enjoyed yourself, and that the hangovers today aren't tooooo bad... wishing all my readers health, wealth and happiness for 2012 and thank you for continuing to nosey around my blog and listen to me ramble on.

Happy New Year!