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.