05 November 2007

Cat 'Wake-Up' Call

I just had to post this after receiving this from a friend of mine. Ah...this is so true..the joys of cat ownership! lol

01 November 2007

I'm the Queen of Frogs

Hey all. Thank you everyone for your well wishes and kind words, they have cheered me up and they keep me going. Bless all of you.

Well, I'm pretty much the same depression wise, but now I'm off sick, not with the depression, but a kidney infection that started out as Cystitis. I've been in agony for the last two weeks, what with passing water and now the dull ache in my lower back. I'm on antibiotics at the moment and Doc has told me to drink plenty of fluids, which I am doing, but the bathroom has become my second home!

Here are some pictures of my stitching. I've not done any since falling ill with the waterworks. It was only when I took a photograph of my sampler that I realised I am the all-time 'Queen of Frogs'. On the fourth line down, I've successfully managed to line all the lettering up in the wrong place, hence all the lettering you see will have to be unpicked - aarrrgh!!! Oh well, I suppose it will keep me busy. Mum says that I'm a 'glutton for punishment' and that it would send her 'completely doo-lally'! Maybe it will - I'll no doubt find out when I get around to it.

With regard to 'Cat Knot', it's steadily coming along. It might not look like much but I think I'm getting there slowly but surely.

That's it for now. I shall be doing my rounds to all of your blogs over the next week or so - and thanks again everyone for being there, it's comforting to know I have friends that care.

Lots of love xxxx

09 October 2007

I'm back (hopefully)

Hey all

Firstly, huge apologies for the really long delay in posting - I can't believe that my last post was in August!! I'm sorry I've left it so long and I hope I haven't unnecessarily worried any of you, hopefully I'm back now, but probably not so frequent as I would like.

Well, to explain what's been going on - firstly, my depression has come back. I had a bad bout a few years ago which I fully recovered from, but despite this bout not being so severe as last time the 'black cloud' has decided to rear its ugly head again. This has primarily been the reason why I've not logged on for such a long time. Everything, even browsing the web, has felt like an uphill struggle - instead I've been trying to channel my energy into staying at work.

Secondly, to add to the above, work has been a nightmare. There are still lots of 'issues' that the department I work in is having to deal with. Everyone's workloads (not just mine) have gone through the roof, which has meant that we've been working long hours. My social life is non-existent, because when I'm not at work, I'm trying to relax and look after myself as much as I can - it's about all the energy I can muster.

On a brighter note though, I passed my orange belt grading at the end of August - I'm now a 6th Kyu!

Training has also been put on the back burner for a while. I'm hoping to return next week, but I haven't been training in over a month - it's all been a little too much, so something had to give for a while, but I think now that the exercise will do me good.

I've also been stitching lots in my free time (at least that hasn't suffered, if anything it's helped take my mind off things), so I shall post some stitching piccies soon.

I'm conscious that this all sounds really whiney, but this has been my lot since I last posted. I hope you're all OK and I shall be visiting your blogs over the next few weeks. Thanks all for your lovely comments on my last post and I'm really sorry I didn't get back to you about them. Thanks again my lovelies - I don't know where I'd be without you.

Lots of love xxxxxx

05 August 2007


Hello...and, first of all, apologies for hardly being around in July. It's been a combination of feeling a bit down (which I have to say is getting less and less now - it used to be every week), working, working and working, which has completely wiped my energy...and training in Aikido, which has also completely wiped me.

I'll be graded in Aikido on 22nd August and the training has involved learning 6 new techniques...and I even now, I still struggle to remember how to do them. It's been somewhat stressful...and Sensei keeps saying 'Don't think about it, just do it', which is common sense when you look at it, but there's a glitch in my head that my memory keeps stumbling over. I know at some point it will all click and come together.......but I want it to click now!!!

Also, Fudge is now on heart tablets, and will be for the rest of his life. When he went back for his check up after the grass swallowing incident, they detected a feint gurgling sound when listening to his lungs. They ran some tests..and thankfully everything seems normal, i.e. liver, kidney and heart (despite the murmur) function is fine, but his heart is beginning to age and it's not working as good as it should, hence there's a tiny build-up of fluid in his lungs. I knew the heart medication thing would come sooner or later, and as the Vet keeps reminding me..they weren't expecting him to live beyond 6 years, so he's not doing bad at all, but it has been a worrying time. He's on a new heart medication that will not only support his heart, but also his kidneys too, which is great. He's been on the medication for a week now and, touch wood, there doesn't seem to be any side-effects.

And lasttly, work is getting me down. My department is taking over what is called the European Regional Development Fund, or ERDF for short. Currently all the regional Government offices in the UK manage and appraise these funds, but from October,the management and appraisal process will fall under the responsibility of all the Regional Development Agencys in the country (we are sort of classed as part of the Government, even though technically we are not), so thankfully it's not just us in the East Midlands that's having the headache. But it is getting quite stressful, and the workload is really full on and relentless. Hence this is the reason when I've got home just lately all I've wanted to do is have a soak in the bath and have an early night.

So this has been my world since I last posted. I've done only a very small amount of stitching because I've been too tired to concentrate....so it's all been a bit...well PANTS really. It's s long excuse I know, but I'm sorry I've not been around to look at all your lovely blogs and I've missed you all terribly. I'm hoping normal service will resume shortly. Thanks for your patience so far...I will try to look at blogs later on in the week.

Carto xxxx

05 July 2007


The good news is that Fudge is fine, albeit a bit shook up by the experience.

I took him to the vet and she had a good prod and poke (Fudge by the way is a darling when he visits the vet - he does nothing but purr and be all cute - it's probably why everyone at my veterinary surgery loves him) this morning and the vet gave him something to induce vomiting. The end result was that he threw up 5 massive sharp blades of grass - they were huge! The vet said that they were of the grass family, but how on earth he swallowed them whole is beyond me. They got stuck in his food pipe, and the trouble with this type of grass is that it has tiny hairs which makes it incredibly sticky. This is why they got stuck in his food pipe in the first place.

The vet also said that there is undoubtedly some cuts and lacerations down there, so she gave him a shot of antibiotic and told me to keep him in today. So far it's looking very promising. He's been his usual lovable self, i.e., rubbing my face whenever he gets high enough, meowing for England, Scotland and Wales when I made myself a chicken salad sandwich this afternoon. This compared to the lifeless puss that graced my vision this morning, is great progress. I also gave him some cat food (Felix) and he ate quite a bit of it. He's currently curled up on the sofa, with his favourite blanket. So it looks like he'll be OK - PHEW, but it's been exhausting. Thank you so much for your well wishes ( you know who you are!) - they have kept me going today. You're such great friends. I will get round to reading everyone's blogs, but I'm going to turn in now, as I feel as though I've run a marathon! xxxx

Feeling Down......

Hey all, just a quick post to say I'm still here. Sorry I've not been around for a while - I will be catching up with all your blogs tonight. I've been off on leave this week - it's been good to recharge my batteries. I went training last night and have acquired some more fierce-looking bruises, but they don't hurt so I must be toughening up! :)

I've also been busy redecorating my little office to make it more me, hence the reason I've not been around. I packed away my PC in case I got paint on it! Thank you for all your comments on my previous post. I don't feel so wimpish now, so thank you all so much for your encouragement.

On another note, I'm very worried about my furbaby. He's off his food and is currently curled up next to the radiator, underneath my bed. He was sick this morning and I'm not quite sure what's wrong with him. I'm giving him until 10am this morning and if he's not improved by then, I'll be taking him to the vet. It's very easy to think negative things, but I'm trying to be positive. I've been feeling a bit down of late, now this has happened I keep thinking to myself "what else is going to be thrown at me?" But you can't help but worry when your little ray of sunshine is not so sunny.

I'll post later on to let you know how he's doing. Thanks for listening to me xxx

24 June 2007

'Cat Knot' Update

Well, here's progress so far.....

You will notice that the fabric I'm stitching on is in fact 18ct Aida and not 25ct Evenweave, but there is a reason for this.

I gridded up the evenweave and started to stitch, but after about 20 minutes, I felt a sharp pain building up at the back of my eyes. This then turned into a debilitating headache which I can only describe as something similar to a migraine. I tried again the next day, but the same thing happened, although not as quite as severe as the night before because I stopped as soon as I felt the twinge of pain.

Not that I didn't before, but I have so much respect for all the HAED lasses out there who stitch away, day after day without complaint. Am I just being a complete wimp or what?! I feel as though I've let the side down by switching to Aida, but I couldn't have carried on like that. My Sis suggested that it could have something to do with the fact that I have quite a severe astigmatism in both eyes, on top of that I'm very short-sighted as well. But I've stitched on silk gauze before without anything like that happening before. I'm quite puzzled and peed off I can tell you - and I still can't figure out why it happened.

Anyway, to change the subject, there's not much progress on 'MKD' this week, as I'm suffering with 'Startitis', an excellent phrase coined by the lovely Stitcherw. I've started another lovely design, from Glendon Place called 'Five Simple Rules for Happiness'...and as you can see, I'm really enjoying it:

As you've probably noticed, I like designs with acorns in them. It's a mixture of WDW and Caron 'Wildflower' threads. Unfortunately the picture here doesn't do it justice as the light is quite bad, but that's how far I've got after only two evenings worth of stitching. I can't wait to see it finished. I've booked a weeks worth of annual leave from work, so I'll be doing lots of stitching from 2nd July - and I can't wait to have a break.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're all keeping well.


12 June 2007

'Sparklies' - Check It Out!

Another quickie post. I'm doing a bit of plugging here for my best friend Kitty. She's a very talented lass who has cross stitched for years and therefore is a dab hand at all things 'stichery'. Well, she has now branched out into designing charts, dyeing fabric and threads and has set up a fantastic online shop called 'Sparklies'

I can say from first hand experience that it's well worth a look. She's come up with some really beautiful fabric pieces and some very unusual floss colours. Also I can vouch for her and say that she's a great lass and if you decide to buy, you will be greatly impressed by her customer service.

I will post with the 'Cat Knot' update tomorrow, until then, Happy Stitching (or buying if you choose to)! xxx

11 June 2007

Stitching GTG

It's been a while, but I'm still breathing :)

I've just got back from a Stitching GTG that was organised by the lovelies at the UK Stitchers forum from Friday to today. It was an absolute hoot! - I had a fantastic time! I don't think I've laughed so much in years, but what do you expect when you get about 20 or so women together?! We stayed at a lovely cottage complex in Ashbourne, Derbyshire and had 3 days of glorious sunshine splitting the stones. I took along 'Miss Kitty's Dragons' to stitch and here is progress so far:

As you can see, I got quite a lot done! When I arrived at the GTG, it was a blank piece of linen, so it just shows how productive these stitching GTGs are. I started one of the dragonflies, but frogged it completely...it was definitely a case of too much alcohol and not enough concentration!

I hope everyone's ok. This is just a quickie post as I'm absolutely pooped from the weekend's frolics - I shall post later on in the week with progress on 'Cat Knot'.....let's just say it's not been a easy journey. I have started to stitch it... but you'll see for yourself soon, so watch this space.

Right I'm off to collapse into an armchair with a nice cup of tea to prepare myself for the washing pile that's accumulated from the weekend GTG......urrrgh :(

25 May 2007

'Acorn' Finish and an Overdue Tidy Up

It's finally done......

I finished it on Sunday! Yay, yet another finish to add to the 2007 list - this is so unlike me!

I started to get together the bits and bobs I need for 'Le Coeur Chat' on Thursday evening, which then turned out to be a huge tidy up session. I keep everything in my spare room and I didn't realise just how untidy my stash drawers and boxes had become. There were chart leaflets all over the place and odd skeins of thread intermixed with scraps of leftover fabric. I even found three lots of 'Thread Heaven' that had never been used! Then I looked into my fabric/aida box and found that the lid had come off it - I looked inside.

Let's just say that a certain furry feline of the male persuasion, not too far away from me now as I type, had discovered this rather wonderful little sleeping nook. A 'carpet' of white/fudge speciality fibres had plonked itself all over my nicely folded pile of fabrics. Note to self: Put Lid Back on Fabric Box Properly in Future! Still, I could never be cross with him. It's not his fault that he has a numpty for an owner!

Anyway, to get to the point of my garbling, I'd completely forgotten about a stash box that I had started to put together, for a chart I was going to stitch around about this time last year by 'Just Nan' called 'Miss Kitty's Dragons', but due to obvious reasons, it got pushed underneath my work bench and was eventually forgotten about. Well I have decided that I'm going to stitch this instead of 'Le Coeur Chat'. It seems silly, being that I have the fabric, the charms and most of the threads bar three colours not to start it, so I'm going to have a crack at it over the weekend. Also we've got another Bank Holiday coming up on May 28th so I'll have an even longer weekend to stitch - Hurrah! :)

Have a good weekend my fellow stitchers :) xx

20 May 2007

New Charts and New Project

I hope this post finds you all well and in fine fettle. I've not been very well - I had a cold and sore throat for much of the week, but I'm feeling much better now. It was inevitable really - it's been a bit like the 'Marie Celeste' at work as many of my colleagues have been ill too, and from the sound of it, they've had it a lot worse than I have, so I'm thankful that it didn't totally floor me!

Yes, I've been buying again. I've discovered a brilliant little cross stitch site called Violarium. It's owned by a lovely lady called Leena and it's based in Finland. She specialises in French cross stitch kits and charts, and also supplies cross stitch magazines, books and fabric. I love French designs but for some reason (and it's maybe just me not having the 'knowledge' about where to buy) I can never find them in the UK. There are many charts from leading designers/design houses, such as Isabelle Vautier, Muriel Brunet, Long Dog Samplers, Savoir-Faire Vailly, Reflets de Soie and others. As you know, I'm cat mad and the charts I've bought are all about cats.

Here's the first one, a sweet little alphabet sampler by Isabelle Vautier, called 'Lettres a mon chat'

Here's a cute design from Savoir-Faire Vailly called 'Le Coeur Chat'

I'm so pleased with them. I'll be starting 'Le Coeur Chat' as side project two when I've finished my acorn, which I've nearly done. I've just got two more of the heart/flowers to do and I'm done!

I've lovingly put 'Phoenix' in my WIP box. I made a promise to it that I would tackle it again when I'm in a better frame of mind, but when that will be, I don't know. I feel like I've given up too easily, but I was finding it incredibly hard going. I suppose if I had more free time on my hands I would have been better able to fully concentrate on it. You really have to have your wits about you with so many fractional stitches - and there were loads on practically every line. Oh well, with the next design you could say I'm jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, but at least this design is made up of whole stitches.....drumroll please.......it's a HAED design, originally drawn by Stephanie Pui-Min Law, and it's called 'Cat Knot'

I'm really looking forward to starting it. I've started gridding my fabric and I've got all the threads. Watch this space for updates soon.

Well that's about it for now. I hope you've all had a good weekend so far and lots of love to you all, my fellow stitchers! xxx

17 May 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Yes, I've been tagged by the lovely Rowyn, so here's how to play:

  1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves
  2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules
  3. At the end of your post, you need to tag 8 people and post their names
  4. Don't forget to leave them a comment, tell them they're tagged and to read your blog.
Carto's 8 Amazing Facts/Random Things!

  1. As well as stitching, I also have a passion for glass painting and making cute stuff with polymer clay. I'll post some photies/examples of my work soon just to give you a flavour of what I do.
  2. I originally started out in the world of work as a fully-qualified Hairdresser. Then I discovered that it wasn't all glitz and glamour, plus the pay was rubbish so I decided to re-train as a Secretary instead.
  3. When I got married I didn't just have one priest at the ceremony, I had two! The first was my Parish Priest (I'm Roman Catholic by birth) and the second was my DH's Uncle, who is Vicar of St. Helen's Church in Darley Dale, Derbyshire.
  4. My ambition is to become a published writer. I'm not necessarily looking to be a best-selling novelist, as I would settle quite happily with just being published, but if mega-stardom came along I wouldn't grumble about it!
  5. I have a serious aversion to Wasps - I can't even stand the buzz sound they make when in flight. If one comes near me, I suddenly transform into an incredibly fast runner of marathon proportions!
  6. I'm currently learning Japanese, as I hoping to go to Japan in November with my Aikido dojo.
  7. In 1993 I was in the front row audience enjoying the comedian who had come to entertain us at the Royal Centre here in Nottingham, but not just any comedian....it was Billy Connolly! I was wearing a red shirt with Gargoyles printed in black and he had noticed it (it was very distinctive!). He then proceeded to pester me throughout the entire performance with shouts of "I want that shirt!" and "Pleeeese, pleeeeeese can I have your shirt?!" He had a big bowl of sweets and he kept on trying to bribe me! He was a real sweetie though and remains one of my favourite comedians.
  8. My nickname, as you all probably know is 'Carto', but I can now reveal here exclusively that my name is Heidi Cartwright - now you know why I'm called 'Carto'!
I am going to tag Lili, Stitcherw, Bliss, Ali B, Ann, CritterLady, Lelia and Heidi.

I've bought (yet again) some more lovely charts, which I will show you in my next post, which will hopefully be on Saturday - watch this space! Lots of love to you my fellow stitchers! xxx

14 May 2007

Another Month Flys By....

I can't quite believe just how quickly this year seems to be passing by. It only seems like I was putting the Xmas decs away last week!

Yet again, I've been a very busy bee. I went to a two-day Aikido Seminar towards the end of April that took place at the dojo that I go to here in Nottingham. The instructor was Joe Thambu Sensei, who is of Malaysian descent but lives in Melbourne, Australia. All I can say is...what a guy! He's just over 5'ft tall and weights 58kgs, but here he was, flooring guys who were 6'ft6 weighing 18stone!! It was an awesome event and I learnt oodles and oodles of stuff. I'll post some photos of me in action when I get them, but when exactly that will be I don't know.

I've also been catching up with friends, who I've been neglecting terribly over the last 5 months. One of them thought I'd stopped talking to her - I felt absolutely horrible about that, so I've been putting things right. I've been so wrapped up in my little universe that is Aikido and Badminton, I've lost track of the 'real world. I also have a hang up about going out on my own. Since my marriage breakdown, I've found it really difficult to get back out there and show the world that I'm still here. It seems strange to go out on my own knowing that I've been part of a partnership for so long. It's silly to be like that I know, I'm a grown woman for goodness sake, but I've got a real 'issue' about going out to crowded pubs and bars. I'm finding I like nothing better than to stay in with Fudge on my lap on a Saturday night than going out, dragging myself through the crowds of people and getting smoked to death in crowded bars. If a friend invites me out to dinner in a restaurant, that's different. Hmm...I hope I get over this thing.

I've nearly finished my acorn....

I've only got one leaf to do near the top right of the design and a few of the flowers to stitch, but I reckon I should have it done by the end of this week. I've really enjoyed stiching this design - I shall have to check out 'Cross-Eyed Cricket' again. I've not been so enthusiastic about finishing 'Phoenix' though - I wish I was. It's a design requiring a lot of concentration and my head always seems to feel fuzzy when I look at it - maybe it because I'm thinking of all them fractional stitces that I still have to do! My Sister suggested I started something else, but I don't want to keep doing that - I'll have to look at my WIPs and see if any of them tempt me...hmmm what to do?!

Anyway I've prattled on long enough. I missed you all so much and I shall be commenting on your blogs after I've finished this. Lots of love to you my stitching friends! xxx

10 April 2007

'Luck' Finish and Other Things

Hey there :) Yes, I finished 'Luck' on Sunday. I've got a nifty little frame that I'm going to put it in, then it's going to live in my front room. My first finish of 2007 - hurrah!

I've stitched quite a lot of 'Phoenix' as well...

If I'm honest, I have to say that this is a pig of a design to stitch and on more than one occasion I've been tempted to chuck it in the bin! The problem is that there are huge amounts of fractional stitches and as a consequence, it requires oodles of concentration. Just one slip-up can be disastrous, as I have found to my peril on more than one occasion. Even before I started stitching it, there was the added faff of having to blend the threads beforehand, as 99% of the colours are made up of two DMC colours mixed together. With all of that to contend with, as you can imagine, I've not been filled with the joys of spring when summoning up the courage to tackle it. However, I think I've 'cracked the code' so to speak. I've discovered that if I have a little side project on the go at the same time (like 'Luck for example), it gives me something else to concentrate on when my enthusiasm wanes. Then when I feel suitably enthused, I go back to stitching 'Phoenix' again. I wished I'd stumbled on this little gem before, but better late than never is what I always say.

Talking of side projects, I started this rather lovely design by 'The Cross-Eyed Cricket' yesterday, entitled 'Autumn Acorn'.

The main acorn body is stitched with 'The Thread Gatherer' Silk 'n Colors thread in 'Autumn Honey (SNC069). It's the first time that I've ever used TTG thread - it's a gorgeous thread to stitch with, in terms of both colour and usability - the stitches are very smooth to work, but I guess it goes without saying when it's silk thread. Has anyone else used it before? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts :)

Thank you for taking the time to read my prattles and I hope you have a good week :) xx

06 April 2007

Happy Easter!

Hey everybody - I hope this post finds you all in good health on this very good 'Good Friday'. Well, it was great to wake up at 8.30 this morning instead of 6.15 - no work today hurray!

The weather here in Nottingham has been surprisingly very hot and sunny! I decided to grab the opportunity while I could and cut the grass on my back and front lawn, much to the delight of Fudge, who showed his appreciation by rolling around in the fresh grass cuttings. I am now the proud owner of a pale green and fudge coloured cat instead of a white and fudge one. I took some photos of him before he decided to make his fashion statement...

Here he is doing his best 'Chad' impression - 'Wot no fish?' :) I don't know why, but he does this whenever he's on something high. Here he's on the kitchen table, but he also does it when sitting next to me on the sofa, on the window ledge or even on the stair case - if there's a ledge or a drop, he likes nothing better than to hang his head down. My furbaby has a character all his own!

After cutting the grass, I also took the opportunity to do some more stitching on 'Luck'.

It also gave me the perfect excuse to try out my rather wonderful psychadelic new scissors - I saw these on an online shop I've discovered (www.siestaframes.com) and I just had to have them!

I haven't planned anything else apart from my usual badminton playing on Sunday - the rest of my time I shall be stitching for England! Another 3 days of stitching bliss - what a wonderful way to spend a bank holiday weekend :) Oh and I've also just realised that my blog was a year old on 3rd April! My goodness, but doesn't time fly when you're having fun? This blog wouldn't be what it is without your input. Thank you to all of you for making this blog so worthwhile. I have made so many friends through doing this - you all know who you are! And thank you to some new visitors who have taken the trouble to drop by and say 'Hi'. Bless you and thank you again my stitching lovelies!!! xxxxx

01 April 2007

Busy, busy, busy......

Hey everyone. Sorry I've not been around for a while - yet again life has got in the way of my stitching ambitions. But so far it's not been a bad month at all, despite the fact that after my last post, I thought it was going to be a bad one.

I became ill after my last post - and the reason was my legs got covered in insect bites...INSECT BITES! I'm still puzzled as to why I even got them in the first place. In the UK at the moment it's not exactly 'Don a sunhat and dollop on the sun/insect repellent cream' weather yet, however, this didn't stop the little blighters from feasting on both my ankles and calves. I had the grand total of 21 insect bites - 12 on my right leg, 9 on my left. Some became infected, so it called for a painful hobble down to the Quack to get some high strength antibiotics. I was worried that I wouldn't be fighting fit in time for the charity walk that I'd signed up to do for the British Heart Foundation, but the antibiotics did the trick and on Sunday 25th March, I completed a 10-mile walk around the countryside surrounding Calke Abbey, situated in a lovely little place called Ticknall, in deepest rural Derbyshire. I started walking for them in 2005, after a good friend of mine, Richard, died of heart failiure just before Christmas in 2003. He was only 29. Since then I've done their annual 'High Peak Challenge' which consists of walking 17.5 miles along the famous High Peak/Tissington Trail in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Here's me, after completing the Calke Abbey walk in just over 3 hours.....

In other news, I've had the last week or so off to decorate my front room. There was much swearing and gnashing of teeth, but I finally completed it yesterday. I looked properly at my handywork for the first time today and I've come to the conclusion that it was all worth it. I even managed to go on a little spending spree in between decorating AND do some stitching.....

I bought some lovely patterns by JBW Designs and as you can see, I went a bit mad - there's 10 all in all! I'm going to re-vamp the cushions on my sofa with some new covers and with a couple of the designs below in the middle of them. I'm going to do 'Pumpkin' and 'Apple' first as they matching my colour scheme perfectly.

...AND..here's the stitching I've been doing. This is the project I was meaning to take with me to the Stitching GTG that's going to happen in June. I just couldn't resist it, so I'll have to find something else! I'm stitching this with a mixture of WDW and Gentle Art threads.

I've also been working on 'Phoenix' today, but 'Blogger' as usual doesn't want to play, so I'll post them later in the week. I think I've rambled enough! Thanks for dropping by and hopefully there won't be such a huge gap in between posts this time. I hope you're all well and I shall be visiting your blogs over the next few days. Lots of love and hugs to you my wonderful stitching friends :) xx

04 March 2007

Hold on to your Stitching Frames Everybody......

I've actually done some cross stitch! *Silence whilst everyone steps back in amazement* Yes you can all have a couple of tablets and a lie down to get over the shock in a minute!

'Steady on', I hear you cry - 'this is a stitching blog - you can't have things like STITCHING on here - the very thought of it - I've a good mind to flag it as inappropriate!!' Yes I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to actually talk about stitching on here, but what with one thing or another (Mum being ill, work being a bit topsy-turvy what with getting used to a new boss, a Husband deciding whether he wants to be one or not, with some throwing people around on mats whilst wearing white pyjamas for good measure), my stitching year has got off to rather a bad start, until now.

I've been a busy bee this weekend, or you could say a busy dragonfly........

It's a 'Dragonfly Pin' Kit from Mill Hill that I'd bought from 'Sew and So' a couple of weeks before Christmas. I was going to make it up and give it as a present to one of my relations, but never got round to it. It was such an enjoyable kit to do - I got home from town yesterday at about 1.30pm and by 4pm, I'd finished it!. I haven't added the pin to it yet but I will get round to it. And yes, I've also stitched on 'Phoenix' this afternoon.....

It's not an awful lot, but it's a start! There are lots of half and quarter stitches, so it's something I'm having to concentrate on - no looking at DVDs whilst stitching with this one. I discovered that to my peril this afternoon - I only looked up at the TV once (mind you I was watching 'Van Helsing' - and Hugh Jackman is always worth a look *swoon*) - and before I knew it...'CROOOOAKK!'...I'd frogged two lines!! So with trusty unpicker in hand, and lots of swearing to boot, I had learnt my lesson well. But I know it will be all worth it in the end; I'm really pleased with how it's turning out. I've just got to persevere.

Oh well, back to work tomorrow morning (yack!) - doesn't the weekend go by fast when you're having fun. I hope you all had good weekends too. Watch this space, as I will be talking about stitching again later on in the week - Yes.....stitching!!

Lots of love to you all, my fellow stitchers xxx

01 March 2007

Woo-hoo, I'm a 7th Kyu!

Yes, me and my fellow 8th Kyu's (five of us in total) passed our Yellow Belt grading after a lot of nerves and intense practising. It definitely was a night to remember last night - I've never been so happy or so proud for a long time.

We were going to have an hour of normal training, then straight into grading for the next hour, but Sensei had a change of heart and said that instead we were going to have half an hour of practice, then straight into the gradings. At that point nearly all of my internal organs turned to mush - 'Oh no, half an hour?! That's not going to be nearly enough time to run through the moves!' But I needn't have worried - I got all the moves worked out in my head, remembering the little things, like 'Don't stomp, slide your feet', 'splay your hands' and 'arms slightly bent'. Then the moment of truth finally arrived.

Unfortunately, because we were lower down in the chain so to speak, being 8th Kyu, or White belts, we were up first. I look back now and feel greatly relieved about that, as I don't think my stomach could have taken an agonizing wait. I was worrying that I wouldn't be able to recognise the moves when they were called (they're all called in Japanese). We were called up into our lines, then in the blink of an eye, it was all over! We got a huge round of applause from our fellow 'Aikidoka' and as we sat back down we got patted on the back, with cries of 'well done' and 'you looked great' - I must have looked liked the 'Cheshire Cat' as I couldn't get rid of the cheesey grin that had now etched itself on my face! We then watched the gradings from 6th to 4th Kyu - and it made me realise that it doesn't stop at just getting a yellow belt. How my fellow classmates remembered what to do I'll never know - I thought what we had to do was difficult. But I realise that that is the challenge. Here is what I had to do for my grading:
  1. Migi Hammi no Kamae (basic stance, right posture)
  2. Hidari Hanmi no Kamae (basic stance, left posture)
  3. Seiza Ho (move into seated position)
  4. Shikko Ho (knee walking)
  5. Ukemi (falling)
  6. Tai no Henko Ichi (body change movement one)
  7. Tai no Henko Ni (body change movement two)
  8. Hiriki no Yosei Ichi ( elbow power movement one)
  9. Hiriki no Yosei Ni (elbow power movement two)
  10. Shumatsu Dosa Ichi (fixing movement one)
  11. Shumatsu Dosa Ni (fixing movement two)
  12. Katate Mochi Shihonage Ichi (one-handed grasp, four direction throw one)
  13. Katate Mochi Shionage Ni (one handed grasp, four direction throw two)
  14. Shomen Uchi Ikkajo Osae Ichi (front strike to head, first control, movement one)
  15. Shomen Uchi Ikkajo Osae Ni (front strike to head first control, movement two)
When the gradings were finished, we were called to line up in front of Sensei to receive feedback and to find out whether we had passed or not - and of course because we graded first, we were called up first. So there we were, all five of us in front of Sensei, not quite knowing what to expect, but what he said was unbelievable. Not only had we passed, but we were by far the best 7th Kyu grading in the Dojo's history - what an achievement. I still can't believe it! I'm still on a high - and yes I know this is a HUGE post, but I'm so happy! And P.S. there WILL be a STITCHING UPDATE ON PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND, promise! xxx

23 February 2007


I came across this song, quite a few years ago. It was written by Trent Reznor, the man behind the band 'Nine Inch Nails' and appeared on their album 'Downward Spiral'. Johnny Cash heard the song, loved it - and did an excellent cover of it. I've got a soft spot for Johnny, as my 'Da', God rest his soul, was a huge fan and had all his albums. Now I prefer this cover to the original - and whenever I hear Johnny's gravel-filled voice, it reminds me of my wonderful Father.

Over the last 8 months since the split, I've thought a lot about my him and what he would have made of all this. I've never stopped thinking about and missing him since he died - I don't think you ever do when you've lost a parent (or any family member for that matter). When I've been feeling down, I've thought about his smile and his infectious laugh - I would do anything to bring him back. This is for you, my lovely Da xx

20 February 2007

Debilitating or Liberating?


Yes, that was the question posed to me today by one of my work colleagues. I don't quite know how we got on to the subject - it was quite surreal. One minute she was asking me how to use Microsoft Visio and the next minute, she was asking "How have you been since xx left?"

I must say I had to really put my thinking cap on for a response. I've reached a point now where I don't even think about it - I get up in the morning, go to work, come back home in the evening and chill - it hadn't even crossed my mind until that moment. But thinking about the past 8 months and how I've been since it all happened has made me realise that it's actually been quite a liberating experience!

Now before everyone thinks "Oooh what a heartless old hag", I'm not saying that I've been devoid of all feeling. On the whole it's been a very said and painful process to go through. Sometimes an old picture or even a smell can bring back a good memory about how good things used to be and before you know it, I'm reaching for the tissues. But out of all the well meaning advice I've been given (the worst being, 'Cheer up, it may never happen!' - aarrrggh!), the best one was 'focus on your family, your friends and be thankful for what you have'. In fact, it's been the best advice I've ever had. I've put this into practice and here are some fab things that I focus on:-
  1. If I want to lounge about at the weekend in just my pyjamas and my fluffy bunny socks, I can do so to my hearts content.
  2. I can look at what I want to on the telly, without being harangued into changing the channel.
  3. I don't have to 'queue' to use the computer anymore.
  4. The 'Smelly Sock Mountain' at the end of the bed is now a thing of the past.
  5. When I choose a CD to listen to, I can actually listen to it there and then, without having to organise an expedition to hunt it down because it's been put back in a completely different case.
  6. The bathroom now resembles a haven of peace and tranquility, not some grotty hole frequented by 'Wee John Poo-Pong McHonk'!!
So to answer my colleagues question, all in all, things are very much tickety-boo! I've discovered that there is in fact, life after separation - Hurrah!!

Lots of love to you my fellow stitchers! xxxxx

13 February 2007

Blimey, where's January Gone??

Hi All

Firstly, I just wanted to say thanks to every single one of you for your kind comments and good wishes and I'm so sorry for not answering them personally - I will get round to posting on your blogs tonight. Secondly, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm back and I've missed you all terribly.

Ma is doing fine and she's back to her old self. She's still 'not out of the woods' yet, but she's a lot better than she was. We went back to the hospital on 25th January only to discover that she should have been given some medication when she was discharged, but they forgot. Well, I won't tell you exactly what I said because it might offend, but as you can imagine, I was absolutely livid, in fact I was incandescent with rage. Ma said afterwards that I looked quite scary!

Anyway, on a lighter note, I went to see 'The Rocky Horror Show' at the Royal Centre here in Nottingham on 1st Feb, which was an absolute hoot! I've been to see the show over the years a few times, but it was great to sing the songs and do the actions. Then on 2nd February, I celebrated my 36th birthday with my Sis and Bro-in-Law. For my birthday present, they took me to an excellent Japanese restaurant, just on the outskirts of Nottingham centre. They thought it appropriate, being as I'm studying Aikido. Speaking of which, my yellow belt grading is now taking place on Wednesday 28th February at the Dojo. It should have taken place at the end of January but because of what happened, I couldn't make it. I went training last night, and my Sensei quite confidently said 'You'll walk it!' - well if he says I'm good enough, then that's good enough for me!!

Anyway, enough waffling. Thanks to you all again for thinking about me over the last couple of weeks. You all make this blog worthwhile - bless your hearts! I'll be posting as normal from now on, but I'm not saying that too loudly in case something else happens! Bigs hugs xxxx

21 January 2007

Just when I thought it was safe....

....to even think that the New Year was getting off to a splendid start, it didn't. Three days into the New Year and I get a call at work on my mobile...it's my Mum.

"Hello Heid, now don't be alarmed, but I'm at home and I've called for an ambulance". The coffee cup I was drinking from landed with a crash on my desk, breaking clean in two, its contents flooding my keyboard. "Oh my God Mum, what's happened?" After finishing the call it was all hands to the pump - my new Boss gave me a lift home, bless her.

It turned out that she was bleeding heavily - when I got home I found her in the bathroom, sitting on the loo, still with cordless phone in hand, looking very pale and gaunt. The ambulance arrived and we were rushed to A&E, then the Gynaegology unit of the Queen's Medical Centre, where she was admitted - she hates hospitals at the best of times, but a two-night stay didn't go down well at all. Her womb is the problem - it's been prolapsed for quite a number of years and was not a problem until now. There's a trip back to hospital on Thursday (25th) to find out what exactly happened and what can be done, but as you can imagine, Ma isn't looking forward to it one bit. I'm going with her because not only does she hate hospitals with a passion, but if I'm not there she won't ask the right questions. She'll just take whatever the Doctor says to her.

That's why I've not been on here just lately. I've also changed bosses at work - I'm now PA/Administrator to the new Director of European Programmes so it's a whole new ball game, but thankfully my new boss is lovely. My last boss was male - and was also a lovely kind boss, but my new boss is even nicer. Thank heavens for lovely bosses! I've been getting into work early and coming home after 6pm, and when I've come home and whizzed up something quick to eat, afterwards I've been looking after Mum, so it's all been a bit frantic of late. My stitching is severely lacking on the 'Phoenix' front too, which at some point I will rectify, but it's on the back burner for the time being. Anyway enough about me - I hope you're all doing ok - I've missed you, but huge apologies in advance if you don't see me on here quite as much for the next couple of weeks. I'll be back on track soon! xxx

01 January 2007

HELLO 2007!


Yes hello 2007 (TOUCHDOWN!!) and goodbye horrible nasty 2006. To say I'm happy to see the back of it is an understatement!!!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas - I certainly did. I got loads of presents, most of it being books and more books - I'm a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy - most of the books you see here are fantasy novels.......

Plus a few Calendars...you'd never guess I love cats would you? hee hee.....

The rest of my presents were made up of DVD's - I got 'The Chronicles of Narnia' four disc extended edition, 'Pirate's of the Carribean - Dead Man's Chest', 'X-Men: The Last Stand' and 'Firefly' the complete series (which I've been meaning to get, as Husband took the copy we had), so I've done very well this year!

I bought a game called 'Apples to Apples' a couple of days before Christmas, thinking it wouldn't be much good, but how wrong I was - it's a fantastic game and a good purchase, as it had us all in bits with laughter on Boxing Day. Along with playing 'UNO' we were laughed out by the end of it all! Fudge liked the box very much. Fudge is a very big cat and he thought it a very good idea to try and cram himself into the lid of the 'Apples to Apples' game......

And didn't do a very good job! Awww....what a cutie!

I didn't do too bad staying in by myself last night - I had my DVD's to watch, Fudge to cuddle and Ma to keep me company. My best mate invited me over to her house for a huge gathering with all our other mutual friends (which is something me and DH always did at New Year) - I knew that DH was going to be there - I couldn't face it. I felt it contradictory to try and be happy and bright and say in a cheery voice 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' when I didn't feel happy in the slightest. And DH insists on calling me 'mate' whenever he sees me which I can't stand. 'Hello mate, how you doing?' He has said that on more than one occasion and it irritates me to distraction. 'NO! I'm not your 'mate', I'm your Wife, or have you bloody forgotten that fact already?!?'

Anyway - it's now 2007 and I feel deep in my bones that this is going to be a good year for me - if not, I'm going to have a bloody good time finding out! I hope each and every one of you have a very, very Happy New Year - and thanks to each and every one of you for reading my blog. You have all been so good to me and I feel like I've known you all for many years, especially 'Singular Stitches', 'CatandTurtle', 'Ali B', 'Stitcherw', 'Rowyn', 'Lili', 'BlissXStitches', 'Leila', 'Rowyn', 'Juanita' , 'Sue' and 'Carol' - THANK YOU all so much for your kind words, your friendship and for making this blog worthwhile. If I can be of help to any of you, you just let me know. My only resolution for 2007 is to blog more regularly, to leave comments on your blogs and actually put some more stitching on here

Take care everybody, and thanks again! xx