Sunday, February 24, 2008

TS Colouring Book page for February

Just finished this tonight. I started it before I went on holiday. It's stitched 1 over 1 on 25 count evenweave, using SSS Jayne's Sweet Hearts thread.

I've been a busy bee today - also did the lucky tuck thing that has to be done for TS, packed a couple of orders for my web site, done some maintenance on said web site, three birthday cards with threads for TS Birthday Club, parcel for Marilyn, did my blog this morning, and am now relaxing with a nice bottle of rose. Aaaaahhhh!

The Spanish Adventure

Hello everyone. As you can probably tell I'm back from my jollies in Spain. I had a great week there with Marilyn (Maz) and we seemed to spend the whole week stitching, laughing and drinking...oh and we went out a few times too of course.

The flight over to Murcia from Newcastle was uneventful but by the time I got we landed I was ready for hitting a few people. I hate flights where the person in front of you doesn't sit still and is trying to break my knee-caps, when I have kids sitting next to me with ants in their pants who can't sit still and keep digging me in the ribs, and when there's an older kid sitting behind me kicking the back of my chair! GRRRR! Anyway, Maz was waiting for me when I got off the plane and we drove back to her apartment on the urbanisation where she lives. It's somewhere between Alicante and Murcia, not far from Torrevieja (pronounced Torrebiecka), among orange and lemon groves. Right outside they're building a golf course so it's a bit dusty, but it wasn't blowing all that much so it wasn't a problem. This is the front of Maz's apartment, the one upstairs, dark brown door. Actually the door is the same colour as the one next to it but there's an iron gate in front of it so it makes it look darker on this pic below. Being an upstairs apartment there's a roof terrace which has some gorgeous views in all directions and is a real sun trap.

View from the roof over the salt lakes (above)

View over the new golf course (below) which is still a work in progress. In the distance you can just about see another urbanisation and the mountains

Below - a clearer day where the mountains are more in view - I waited all week to get a good photo of those ruddy moutains but they were very elusive!

When we arrived at Marilyn's I was greeted by her two dogs, Candy who is a Jack Russell aged 12, and Tessa, a Westie aged 9.

We spent most of that first afternoon catching up on family news and I gave her the things I'd taken over for her, like the hardanger mat I made her, some bouquet garni and a few other things. Then we got down to stitching. At a very civilised time of day, 4pm Spanish time, we started on the wine. LOL. By the time it was dark enough for Maz to need her lamp we were really comfortable with each other - but we have been chatting online for over a year now - and were having a right laugh. But then we discovered that her lamp had brewer's droop so we had to think of something to keep it up and in place. Maz found the perfect solution - her whisky bottle.

On Sunday we went to the English market at Benijofar, where there were loads of stalls. We stopped at the end of the first stall to have a bacon roll and a delicious cup of tea. I found a stall that sold perle, but I think it's actually crochet cotton. It came in balls of #8 and #12 so I got some anyway, it'll come in useful for something. And it was mega cheap. Maz bought lots of fruit and veg. One thing I can say about the Spanish, their fruit and vegetables are gorgeous, they look nice, are a lovely size and are really cheap. I think Maz paid just under €2 for a whole pineapple, which the man on the stall cored for her, and it was much bigger than the ones we get in this country. And she also got three huge oranges for €1, which we never actually got around to eating! We had the pineapple in a smoothie though and it was totally delicious. When we got back to the apartment we had lunch then stitched all afternoon. I did some of Marilyn's Dreamcatchers project that she is finishing off for her daughter Claire, then I started on a HAED design for her which she had already gridded ready. It's a QS called Motherhood and over the next three days I stitched more than 3000 stitches in it for her, so she has a good start on it anyway. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of that to show you, or the Dreamcatchers. Maybe when Maz reads this she will take a couple of pics for me so I can show you them. (Thanks Maz! LOL)

Maz had her Spanish lesson on Monday morning so I got on with some sewing while she did that. After lunch we went into Los Montesinos, the nearest biggish town. We found a "todo" shop that sold more perle so I bought a whole load more. We then went to the bodega (booze warehouse) and bought some more wine as it seems to be evaporating rather quickly in Maz's apartment. Can't think why. We stitched for the rest of the day.

On Tuesday we went to a great big hypermarket called Carrefour's. It was huge and sold just about everything, though I can't remember seeing any kitchen sinks. I was going to buy a new digital camera but the woman on the counter dithered about that much and we were stood waiting for ages that in the end I changed my mind and we left. I did buy a headset though that I can attach to the laptop and when I download Skype later on today I'll be able to chat to Marilyn voice to voice, which'll be great. She's been nagging me for ages to do it.

When we got back to the apartment I taught Maz how to make pinkeeps. I had taken over these two small hardanger designs that I finished the week before specially for this project. Maz did the purple one and I did the blue one, both of which I left with her to show off. I think she was pretty pleased with this achievement.

After rabbit casserole for dinner that night I started some of my own stitching. I did some of the border on this year's Ozark Sampler SAL that I hadn't started yet. The border is going to do my head in though cos it's huge but it needs to be done before the next part comes out. I did a small part of it then got out my Mini Mandala and carried on with that. I'll take some up-to-date photos later today.

On Wednesday morning we were going to go to the market in San Miguel till Maz remembered that it's very hilly and I'm not good on hills. So we went to Los Montesinos again instead. We parked nearer the town centre this time and while Maz went to the bank I went to the tobacconists and bought some duty free cigarettes for Mick (which he'd given me the money for before I left the UK) and then we walked down to the square for a cup of coffee. We went to the Todo shop again so Maz could get some perle for when I teach her how to do hardanger and then we headed back to the apartment. However, Marilyn got a bit lost and we ended up down a road she'd never been on before. At the bottom of this road were some lovely Spanish fincas (farmhouses). One of them had a profusion - there's a good word for a Sunday - of flowers around the perimeter wall, which I later found out were bougainvilla. Got a couple of photos of them.

And further back up the road was this beautiful finca. The skip in front of it rather spoilt the effect but it does look lovely.

Before we headed back to the apartment we went to Carrefour's again and I got the camera that I'd wanted yesterday. The woman behind the counter must've had a premonition or something because she had it already in the box for me. Either that or wishful thinking.

It was a beautifully sunny day on Wednesday so when we got back from shopping we ate our lunch on the roof and did our stitching up there too, until it started getting a bit too windy and we were chasing our threads all over the place and we decided to go back downstairs again.

We stitched for most of Thursday morning, going out after lunch to get some petrol in the car and a trip to the bodega for more wine. Unfortunately we couldn't get the wine from there as they were transferring everything over to the warehouse next door and the barrels had been emptied to be cleaned. So we went to a small supermarket and got some from there instead. When we got back I started stitching an Elizabeth's Designs project that I'd brought with me, called Pine Tree Cottage. Another one I need to take a photo of.
On Friday I started packing some of my things ready for leaving the following morning. Maz had another Spanish lesson just before lunch, during which time I was using her laptop to check my emails etc. After lunch we sat and did more sewing and chatting. I had an early night that night after finishing up my packing.
Yesterday I came home. I spent almost an hour in the queue at the check-in desk, another 15 or 20 mins in the queue to get through security and then it was almost time to get on the plane. Luckily everyone was well behaved on the way back. I didn't have anyone next to me in my row of seats, the woman in front sat as still as I did, and no one was digging their knees into the back of my seat or kicking it, so I was well happy. We landed back in Newcastle at 2pm but it was almost 3pm by the time I got out of the airport as there was another huge queue at passport control. Then we had to wait ages for our luggage to come on to the carousel. Thankfully Craig was waiting for me when I finally got out of the arrivals bit. We had a bit of a detour on the way home, via the Mitre so I could give Mick his cigarettes. I'd rang Ian on the way over there so he could come up and meet us too. Craig was supposed to have brought some mail that was at our house for him, but he'd forgotten it. We had a quick cup of coffee there then did a couple of messages before heading for home.
There was a huge pile of post for me to open, mostly stuff I'd bought on Ebay before I went away - beads and lobster clasps so I can make some more fobs. Craig went out and bought us a kebab for tea as he couldn't be bothered to cook then I spent the rest of the night chatting to Maz and Kathy, uploading the photos from my cameras and catching up with emails and message boards. I eventually went to bed at about 11pm. I was knackered and my back was killing me.
I had a great time in Spain and I have to go back again to show Maz how to do the cutting and wrapping on her hardanger, once she has mastered the kloster blocks. She wasn't doing too badly with them when I left so by the time I get back there to see her she should be an expert. Here she is trying to figure out how to work her camera. LOL. Thanks Maz for a great week and for having me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friendship Heart Exchange - TS

Tranquil Stitches recently ran a Friendship Heart exchange, and this is what I have received from Wanda in the mail today. It's beautiful, just need somewhere to display it. Thanks Wanda.
I've spent some of today packing my suitcase ready for going to Spain tomorrow. I'm going to be staying with my friend Marilyn in her house, and apart from having to be up at some stupid time in the morning to get to the airport I'm really looking forward to going. I'll be taking lots of photos - be warned!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Aren't these red roses gorgeous? I already got a bunch of carnations with my breakfast this morning, from Craig, and another bunch from XDH when I met him at lunch time. Then when I got home this afternoon, these beautiful flowers had been delivered too. The smell from them is amazing. There was also some nice post too. I knew the phone bill was due from BT, but when I opened it, instead of the £250+ bill I was expecting, it was a -£250 bill instead! Instead of us owing THEM that amout, they owe US! Of course, I had to ring them up to make sure they hadn't made a mistake, and apparently it's money refunded us from 2006, rental charges or something. I think they thought I was going to complain when I rang up, but all I wanted to do was make sure it was right, so that we weren't lumbered with a doubled bill next time when they realised they'd made a mistake. But they haven't...or so they said. So, no bill this time, and not much of one next time either. WOOHOO!!!
As it's our anniversary as well as it being St Val's Day, Craig is cooking a meal for us tonight. I have no idea what he's making mind you, but there's some serious noises coming from that place with the hot thing and the wet thing...think it's called the cooking room? Domestic room? Kitchen...that's it! I don't go in it much, unless I'm on my way to the bathroom/loo which are on the other side of it. PMSL.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another hardanger finish

Another small finish, design by Col's Creations. It's stitched on generic off white evenweave with Dinky Dyes Whitsundays perle. Again I used suspended beads instead of square filet stitch. Thanks for looking and for all the comments on my finishes. They're always appreciated.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hardanger Finish

Have just finished this. It doesn't actually have a name, but it's a design by Col's Creations and it's supposed to be made into a coaster. I don't do coasters so I'll probably finish it as a pinkeep or a needlecase. I added beads to the cut out bits instead of square filet stitch. It's stitched on off white 28 count evenweave, using Dragon Perle Sky High in #12 and #8. It looks a bit skewiff, but that's because the material only barely fits in the R&R frame, it'll straighten out a bit when I make it up. Thanks for looking.

Five More Small Finishes

Needs something in the middle

X Marks The Spot!

Queen's Heart from The Gift Of Stitching Magazine, Issue 1

Captured Heart by Judy Dixon

Grandma's Button Box by Alchemy Stitchcraft

As you can see I've been a busy bee again. I have no idea what the top two are called, but they were freebies from somewhere. Actually all these designs were freebies I believe, except the one from The Gift Of Stitching.

On the job front, Dene received a phone call from the holiday park yesterday. HE GOT THE JOB!! They're going to send his contract and everything through the post, and hopefully there'll be details on there about a starting date and possibly his accommodation. Once he has a starting date it'll be all systems go because I want to get his duvet taken to the lauderette and washed before he takes it up there with him. They do supply bed linen but the duvets are crap, so I told him to take his own. Once he's gone we're going to get stuck in to his bedroom - the scary room. LOL.

Have a good day everyone.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Another Rejection

I went for another interview yesterday, at a taxi company in Newcastle. Now I could do this job standing on my head with both hands tied behind my back ('cept I'd need my hands to type with!) and I thought I'd be in with a good chance, especially as I've done a similar job years ago. This is the email I just received:
Dear Jacqui
I am afraid to say that we can not employ you at this current time due to lack of funding as the company is stuck in limbo due to the company being for sale and after interviewing you the secretary told me about the situation, you are the favourite candidate for the job and I hope I can contact you in the near future when the funds are available. I have your details on file and we will contact you for employment if any of our current staff leave. I must stress that I found your CV to be outstanding.
Chris seriously needs a lesson in punctuation! But he was a really nice lad and new to the job from what he was saying when he was interviewing me. I actually met the secretary, shook his hand in fact, a man of few words. Wouldn't you have thought that if the company was in limbo and short of funds to employ someone, they wouldn't have bothered putting an advert in the Job Centre? Makes you wonder at their mentality doesn't it! MEN!
Not to worry, I was at the JC again this morning and I've applied for another 8 or 9 jobs since I got home. And now I'm off for a lie down to recover.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Four Little Finishes

Tiny Little Quaker

Freebie design

Freebie design

Freebie design

I know it's only Thursday but so far this week I've had four small finishes. This week is smalls week, might make it smalls month actually as I'll be taking small stuff to Spain when I go on the 16th. Have to take some hardanger charts with me too as I'm going to teach Marilyn how to do it.

One down, three to go!

Out of the four of us looking for jobs, one of us has finally got one. And about bloody time too. LOL.

Ian had a phone call yesterday morning at 10am from the agency he was signed up with, asking him if he could go to the AA Insurance company in Newcastle for 11am, as a general kitchen assistant. Of course, he was still in bed at the time so he had to get up, pack some of his stuff, then I had to drive him down to his Dad's so he could get changed into black trousers and long sleeved white shirt (which I had to iron for him! I don't DO ironing!) then try and find Newcastle Business Park. Ian directed me the wrong way along Scotswood Road but I managed to get turned around and he ended up only being a couple of minutes late at the place he needed to be.
He rang me up last night to let me know how he'd got on. He was only supposed to be there for three days, but they've decided they like him so much they've offered him a full time permanent job, starting today. He was chuffed to bits when I spoke to him. It's only minimum wage, but he's back in a kitchen - which is what he spent 2 years at college for - and it's all day work, no nights. I'm really pleased for him.
Typically, he also had a letter from the holiday park in Berwick yesterday afternoon - Dene got one too - asking them to go back on Saturday morning for the final stage of the recruitment process. I asked Ian if he wanted to go, before I knew he was going to be employed at the AA, but he said no cos of this job. Dene hasn't decided if he wants to go back yet, it'll depend on if he gets internet access in the caravan. I've got a feeling he won't bother as he didn't really want to do bar work again. I've told him to apply to Hayes Employment Agency in Morpeth as when Kate applied to there they had lots of admin vacancies available. So I think he's going to do that instead.
Kate is still in Nottingham, and still looking for work. She has another month down there before her return bus ticket runs out and she has to come home.
I have another interview this morning, for a taxi company as a call taker. This will basically be taking calls from people wanting to book a taxi. I've done this type of work before, 15 years ago, so it'll be a doddle. And it'll be sitting down which is even better. Hopefully I'll also be able to take my stitching with me to do in quiet periods. Just little things that I don't need to concentrate on or take a lot of stuff for. I'll let you know how I get on, but now I have to go for a shower and slap on some war paint.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Aion Designs - Aphrodite FINISHED!!!

WOOHOO!!! It's finished. I put the beads on it about half an hour ago and wow, it's gorgeous. So much better in the flesh than what these photos show. A lot of the speciality stitches were new to me, so I'm extra chuffed that I managed to do them.
Please keep leaving your comments, I love to read them.
It's a horrible day here, the wind is howling (again) and it's trying to snow. But, the sun is shining too. A day of contradictions I think. Wonder what I can stitch now! LOL.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Riveting Company

XDH Mick. I obviously wore him out this morning when we went to the Metro Centre. I took him to get some new clothes for his holiday later this year. He's now sat on my settee allegedly watching the latest Harry Potter DVD, but having the odd snooze on the sly when he thinks no one's looking. LOL. We're off up to Berwick tomorrow to the holiday park that Ian worked in last year, to see if Ian and Dene can get bar jobs there for the new season. Weather permitting of course, cos it's been bloody snowing and according to the weather forecast, it's not over yet. Oh great, I hate snow.