Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas everyone

Christmas day has just arrived in the UK so I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy and safe Christmas. I'm just about to switch from one ISP to another one with what is looking likely to be a few days in between due to the annoying behaviour of my current ISP and the festive season causing delays.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures of my Christmas tree with and without lights.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


That is the sound of time flying by of late. My desire to blog wandered off last month following my desire to stitch which largely wandered off earlier in the year. My desire to stitch has returned thankfully as has the desire to post here. The lack of daylight here at present is making me want to sleep all the time but the shortest day has just passed so whilst the weather is cold and frosty, at least the days will get longer now.

Just after my last post, I spent a few days visiting York and I also went to the Harrogate knitting and stitching show. It was s cold whilst I was there and there was even a little snow. York is a great city to wander around on foot and there are lots of lovely shops to visit, including some knitting and stitching shops. The last time I visited, York Minister was being renovated but this year the work is nearly done so I was able to see it as it should be

The Minister in York

During a walk in a park in York, I came across some very friendly squirrels who ran up to me and seemed to want to pose for pictures.

A friendly York squirrel

I did buy a fair bit of sock yarn at the Knitting and stitching show but I also bought the book and yarn kit to knit Autumn rose by Eunny Lang, which is the loveliest fair isle jumper. I've never knitted fair isle before so this will be my challenge for 2008.

Earlier I mentioned that my desire to stitch has come back a bit. Whilst I was away, I got stuck into a couple of my long term WIPs and I've finished two recently.

Firstly Venice Windows 2

Venice Windows 2

And then a Country companions cover kit which was left half done in spite of being very small..

Tom mouse cover kit

At the moment, Christmas preparations are taking up most of my time outside work. I had big plans earlier in the year to stitch some Shepherds bush stockings for some of my family but that isn't going to happen this year. I've not even made up the stocking that I stitched for myself earlier this year. I did make a couple of presents though.

A stitched dress on a DMC doll for a small child of a friend. There wasn't much stitching in it.

Doll with stitched dress

And a little hat for the younger sister of the small child

Bunny tail hat

The hat is from a book called Itty bitty hats by Susan B. Anderson and its got some lovely baby hat patterns. I knitted another one earlier in the year for another baby - the Little pumpkin hat

Little pumpkin hat

My Christmas tree is up and ready for the season. I've only got one night shift to work this week on Sunday and I'm off on Christmas day this year thankfully. Even though this is my 4th Christmas in my flat, I've never woken up here on Christmas morning. The first year and third year I stayed at my mum's and the second year I was on night shift. This year I've decided that I will wake up here on Christmas morning and go over to my parents later. All the family are going to my mum's for Christmas dinner so there will be a full house. Usually I premake myself something for Christmas dinner as I haven't eaten meat or chicken/Turkey for 18 years. This is going to be different as earlier this year, my dad decided to stop eating meat and poultry so there will be fish on the menu for the two of us. My dad has spent the past couple of years studying Buddhism and he now feels that eating animals is wrong for him. Its come as a bit of a surprise to us all as he used to eat all sorts of meat including Venison.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest we forget

Today is Rememberance Sunday in the UK and as such it is a time to remember those lost in conflicts past and present.

The person that I remember here is not someone I have met as he died longer before I was born. Indeed until this year, I had no idea of his extistence. I'm currently researching my pateral family tree and earlier in the year, I obtained my pateral Grandparents" marriage certificate. On getting the certificate, I discovered surprisingly that firstly they married in London (they were both Irish) and secondly that my grandmother's father had served in the army. My grandmother is sadly no longer around to ask and even when she was alive, she did not talk about her life other than the odd snippet so there is not anyone to ask about him.

So today this post is in memory of Private William Fitzpatrick of the Irish Fusilliers/1st Dorsetshire regiment who died July 5th 1915 around Ieper after only 3 months in the Army. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I'm running slightly behind myself today as Halloween is nearly over here. Nothing special planned here for Halloween other than a day off work and 2 episodes of Heroes on the TV. We are only just getting to the end of series 1 here and its almost my favourite program of all time. Just in case you are wondering, it is narrowly beaten for all time favourite by The West Wing, Doctor Who and Black Books.

Anyway autumn has arrived in Scotland. The weather has turned cold and windy. Oh and wet also. I actually like this time of year though as I'm not a hot weather person and at least you can dress to keep the cold out. The only downside is that its dark so very early. At the height of winter, its often dark until 9am and dark again shortly after 3pm.

Inspite of not having anything planned for Halloween, I decorated a book case that I have in my hall. I've got a fair few different seasonal bits and bobs and I change what's on it depending on the time of year.

Here is what it looks like right now.

Halloween bookcase

I heard last week that Carla had received the Halloween exchange I stitched for her.

Happy haunting

I had hoped to finish Happy haunting by Shepherd's bush prior to Halloween. I started it at the retreat last year. Here's where I'm at just now.

Happy haunting WIP

I did find the time to finish some appropriate coloured socks though

Purple goth pomatomus socks

I hope everyone has had a happy and safe Halloween.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where I'm at

Time has raced by during the past few weeks and I'm afraid my blog has fallen by the wayside. The combination of work, my sister's wedding, general life and the fact that my Ravelry invite arrived has taken up all my time. For the non knitting readers, Ravelry is a very cool social site for knitters, where you can chat to others and browse countless projects and yarns. Its a bit of a time sucker but lots of fun. My user name there is pjmck so if you are a member, please stop by and visit my projects.

The bigggest thing that happened since my last post is that my little sister got married. If you've read my blog for a while, you will know that the wedding had to be postponed as the groom's father became very suddenly and seriously ill. A few days before the new wedding date, we got some superb news as the liver cancer he was diagnosed with, has been successfully removed with no signs of cancer still remaining and his liver is functioning normally. Everyone was so very relieved and happy.

However the day of the wedding was not without drama. The groom's mother had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance on the morning of the wedding and after tests, was found to have had a stroke. Sadly it meant she could not attend the wedding and the groom's father missed the ceremony. He did join us for most of the reception. The registrar gave special permission to film the ceremony and after the ceremony and pictures, the bride and groom took a short trip to the local hospital to see her. My sister said it was a very surreal experience. Its not often you see a bride with a groom in a kilt in the middle of a hospital.

Here are the happy couple plus best man and bridesmaids just after the ceremony. I'm the middle bridesmaid with the dark hair.

And here is the happy couple cutting the cake.

My sister along with my parents on the right and my dad's cousin and his wife with me at the front.

Inspite of the drama, which also included the 4th bridesmaid pulling out of the wedding at the last minute, the day was lovely and lots of fun. My mum made the wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses and she was thrilled to hear lots of compliments. I applied the beads to the dresses as my mum can not hand sew due to arthritis. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the groom's dad managed to enjoy himself inspite of his wife's illness. She is now thankfully back at home and well on the road to recovery.

At the weekend, I received a lovely halloween exchange from Suzanne.

Halloween exchange from Suzanne

I've been managing to do a little stitching. I stitched a fob design that I got at the Shepherd's bush retreat last year.

Retreat 2006 fob front

Retreat fob back

And I managed to stitch a little scissor case design.

Acorn scissor case

I've also been knitting away at more socks

Peekaboo socks

Regia india colour socks

Monkey socks

Argyle socks

Apologies if there are any spelling mistakes in this post. I finished night shift this morning and I haven't been to bed yet. I'm trying to stay up as last week I completed mucked up my sleep patterns and ended up sleeping during the day on my days off. Which is not so good when you have things to do when you are not working. Plus its a little antisocial when the rest of the world is awake.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good things

There are a few things which are making me happy just now.

Firstly the back is behaving itself with me back at work now. The first week back was awful and there were a few tears of pain. There was also a few words exchanged with my boss re inappropriate work schedules. But it seems much better now as I have a few holidays to use up so I'm only part time at work for the next few weeks. And then I have a 2 week holiday off so full time will not come until late September.

Exercising is going great. I'm still enjoying the gym and keeping up the twice weekly sessions. Best of all I've lost 5 kgs (11 lbs) in the past 4 weeks without dieting.

I received a lovely exchange from Melissa on the SB BB

SB BB exchange from Melissa

I sent her this fob in exchange

Lamb fob

I spent the weekend stitching and finishing the Red lace needlebook by Drawn thread.

Here's the front

Red lace needlebook front

And the back

Red Lace needlebook back

And the inside

Red lace needlebook inside

I also finished my first pair of socks for August. They are knitted from Lorna's laces shepherd sport yarn in the shade black purl.

Checkmate socks

On a slightly odder note, I'm more than a little happy that this weekend Apple are opening their first Scottish store this weekend. I switched to a Mac nearly two years ago and I've become a big Mac fan since. It also means I'll have somewhere to go to get my Mac or ipod fixed if any problems occur and somewhere to buy Mac software and accessories locally as the only local place just now is John Lewis.

The good thing about this time of year is that all the yarn manufacturers are releasing their new yarns and designs. I got my copy of Rowan 42 recently and I've been drooling over some of the designs and new yarns. After lots of looking, I decided to treat myself to some of Rowan's new yarn Cocoon to knit the design Neaty from Rowan 42. I've got my eye on a few other things but I seem to have developed a bit of a yarn stash so whilst I'm not putting myself on a yarn diet, I'm going to try to use up some of it. Famous last words I think.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Exchange stitching

I really like getting things in the post. When I was much younger, I had quite a few penpals. Sadly I've lost touch with them now for a variety of reasons. Since joining various online communites, I've been taking part in variety of exchanges and at times, I've even run a few of them. In the first online group I joined on what is now yahoogroups, I ran quite a few but after a while, there were problems in the group so I stopped.

Most of my exchange stitching today is as part of the Stitching Bloggers exchange board. I really enjoy taking part and sometimes the best bit is that I stitch things that I wouldn't normally. My last exchange parcel has arrived at is destination just as I received mine in return.

In a strange twist of fate Leena and I stitched for each other.

Leena sent me a lovely bourse using a design by Long dog

Lil critter exchange from Leena

The outside looks like this

Lil critter exchange from Leena outside

Leena chose Cats as her critter in this exchange. I'm not really a cat person so I've not stitched any before. I ended up stitching a Sweetheart tree design, Catnip kitty fob

This is the front

Cat nipt kitty fob front

And this is the back

Cat nip kitty fob back

I had a lot of fun stitching it and I'm happy as it turned out that Leena had been wanting to stitch the design for a while so it worked out well.

The exchange stitching isn't finished though. I've got a SB exchange piece to finish off for mailing on Monday and then after that, I've signed up for a Halloween exchange and my favourite exchange of the year - The TWBB Christmas ornament exchange.

Thanks for everyone's comments during my recent time off work. I'm pleased to say that my back and foot are back to normal finally and I'm starting back at work next week. I have a few extra days off at first as the two weeks annual leave that I should have took whilst I was off gets returned to me unused. Its going to come in handy as my physio has signed me up for a gym based program of exercise, which I started last week. The aim to attend the gym and follow an exercise program at least twice a week. In the past, I've not really been much of an exercise fan. I've swum a bit and walked a lot but I'm not very well coordinated when it comes to sports. This program appears to have changed that and I'm very surprised to find that I actually enjoy going to the gym and working out. The best effect so far is the reduction in back pain and I've been able to stop taking painkillers. I've got an assigned advisor to help make sure I'm doing everything right and to help tailor the program for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flowers and finishing

The title says it all really. There's a tradition where I work that if you are off work ill for more than a few weeks, you get flowers. Today I answered the door to be presented with some lovely flowers.

The flowers

At the weekend, I bought a new digital camera as mine has decided to stop working properly. I had put some money aside for it as my camera has been gradually failing. I asked around and Gill mentioned the Fuji finepix S5700 that she got recently. It had all that I was looking for and it has a very good macro/supermacro setting. I had a little play with it using the flowers. Its very cool. The colours seem much better too.

close up 2

close up 3

I finally got around to doing the finishing on some projects that have been waiting for too long.

This is Lizzie Kate's Official snow guide on Silkweaver hazelnut lugana.

Official snow guide

Lizzie Kate's Sweet Christmas. I stitched this previously for an exchange and had to stitch it for me. I used the supermacro setting to take the picture and its great for taking pictures of stitching.
sweet christmas

And Best Witches by Shepherds bush.
Best Witches

I'm still stitching on exchanges so I can't share pictures of them yet but I've got some pictures of a previous exchange that I hadn't shared before.

I stitched this for the SBEBB Monochromatic exchange as a replacement for another stitcher who hadn't received their exchange. Its a design from the De fil en aiguille tout rouge issue and its stitched in a thread called Solitaire SF0060 from Sparklies
Monochrome pinkeep

This was the orginal monochromatic exchange that I sent to Leena
Monochrome coaster

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stitching and other things

Life is pretty much still a mixture of stitching, knitting and doing exercises at the moment. My physio think I might be able to return to work in a couple of weeks. Whilst not working is nice, I'm a little bored at home all the time. The internet and especially friends at various BBs and on blogs have kept me sane.

On Thursday, I was out and about with my aunt and her grand daughter. Its school holiday time here so there are children every where. Her grand daughter is only 7 and loves Doctor Who so when I heard there was a fan staged exhibition at Paisley museum, we had to go.
At the top of the stairs, we saw this

The Tardis

It was built by someone who builds them as a hobby and it looked pretty good.

There were also Daleks from different times in the series.

Daleks through time

All in all, it was pretty fun. Its on for the rest of month and whilst it was pretty small, there's also the Paisley shawl and weaving exhibits to look at. I'm planning to go back and have a better look soon. I really like the motifs in paisley pattern and I would like to design some sort of stitched paisley pattern piece in the future.

Paisley and Glasgow have been in the news quite a bit this past week after some people decided to drive a car into the local airport aiming to kill people and blow up the airport. I live a very short drive away from Glasgow airport, which is actually just outside Glasgow in Paisley. Its been very shocking for everyone locally that this happened here. The west of Scotland hasn't got a lot of experience in having terrorist attacks here, although the proximity of Ireland means there have been connections to terrorist attacks. I guess I'm still in shock that it happened so close to home in what is a fairly small town.

Given that people have seen the not so nice side of Paisley this week, here is a picture of a lovely bit of Paisley's history.

The Anchor mill

The building is the old Anchor thread mill, which is now converted into flats. It lay in disrepair for a long time after it closed and its so lovely to see it restored. The mill is just past the end of my street. Because of the past history that Paisley has with weaving and threads, many of the streets are named after fabrics - Gauze, Lawn etc.

I didn't get too much finishing done last weekend. I managed to framed two things I finished recently.

Mirabilia's Miss Valentine fairy

Miss Valentine fairy

When the chips are down by Hobb Nobb designs

When the chips are down.

I did, however, finish Miss New years fairy by Mirabilia, which started during my recent not blogging time.

Miss New Years fairy

During that time, I also finished a couple of Shepherds bush monthly musing designs which need finishing into a cushion and an ornament respectively. I also finished the Halloween fairy.

Halloween fairy

This week, I've got a couple of exchanges to work on so that will keep me busy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

An update from me

I've not been a blog writing mood lately. Partly there was the foot pain thing and I didn't want to be too negative. Thinking too much about my foot and what if it doesn't get better hasn't made for particularly positive thoughts. Last weekend was pretty much made up of a lot of pain and a lack of sleep. Anyway that's my whining over. Life could be much worse and I get paid when I'm off sick.
I've started physio and its going fairly well. The interesting thing is that the physio thinks that the foot pain isn't really plantar fascilitis but its a back problem. I was a little doubtful at first and got upset during my first physio session, largely due to the pain I was in at the time. Two weeks on, I've got a load of exercises to do and my foot isn't really sore anymore. I have had a horrendously sore back for the past two weeks though but even this seems to be better since I had an ultrasound treatment to my back on Monday. The strange thing is that I didn't have back pain until after the physio started but the physio reckons that the foot pain was masking the back pain. My boss is not so casually hinting that she hopes I'm back soon but I'm not letting her rush me back and I'm going to take the physio's advice about when I should go back.

I've been keeping busy whilst I've been off and I've been knitting and stitching away. I did also manage to make it to a weekend GTG with a load of other stitchers which was a lot of fun. I've finished a few stitching bits so I'll have some pictures of them over the weekend as I'm planning to do some framing/finishing this weekend.

Meanwhile I've got some finished socks to share.

Sassy stripes socks

Heels and toes socks

I've almost finished another pair which are in Garnstudio's fabel sock yarn.

Fabel socks

Hopefully I'll get them finished tomorrow. Other than a brief trip out to get a few bits, my only other plan for tomorrow is to watch the very exciting last episode of this series of Doctor Who. David Tennant, John Barrowman and John Simm together in one TV program is almost too good.