Monday, July 31, 2006


Still Stitching...just!

My stitching has sort of taken a back seat to everything else just now. I've not completely given up on it and I do still enjoy it. It's just the rest is grabbing my attention more. This is Archie in the bath and he is in the second square of the afghan. As you can see he is a long way from finished. I have been working on him for a while now as I only seem to pick him up every so often. I am determined to get him finished this week though. My larger stitching projects haven't been picked up in some time. I've decided to not worry about it. I am sure I will pick them up again when the mood takes me.

I mentioned Danny Gregory's blog a while back. I finally decided to pick up one of his books and I am glad that I did. "Creative License" is intended to encourage everyone to delve into their artistic side (no matter how untalanted you think you might be) and begin your own journal. One of the reasons that I like this book is that it isn't a simple drawing instruction book. Danny goes into why he likes to journal and his own experiences. He also uses examples from his own journals (some I recognised from his website). Then there are examples of others who keep illustrated journals. If you are interested in starting up your own illustrated journal and want some inspiration then I highly recommend this book.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Illustration Friday

There is a site called "Illistration Friday". Every Friday they post a topic for everyone to illustrate. Some of the things that people come up with are amazing. Honestly, you should have a look. I decided it would be fun to give it a go since I have taken to picking up a paintbrush. That doesn't mean I will take part every week. The topic posted last Friday was opposite and this is what I came up with. It could mean many things such as the fact that deep down we all have a dark side. It is also a self potrait so it could also represent the sides of me that others see. For instance I keep my work life and the time I spend on my blog and with my crafts very much separate. Not even my family know about my blog.

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who commented on my sunflower design. I really wasn't expecting that good a reaction. So thank you for all your lovely comments. It only encourages me to try my hand at more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Sunflower Design Complete!

I did the last few final touches last night. I actually started designing this at the start of the month. This time I had a clear image of what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a pot pourri sachet with the sunflower at the centre. I had printed off some images of sunflowers for inspiration. I then drew a rough sunflower of paper before converting it onto square paper. The beads were done first as I wasn't sure if I would want to change the petals as I was stitching. Nothing more awkward than stitching around beads. The border I sort of made up as I went along. I already sort of new what I wanted to do for that. I mainly had to concentrating on makeing sure that the sunflower fitted in the centre of it. After that it was just a matter of sewing it all together and adding some yellow ribbon.

This time quite a few people joined in and stitched a sunflower design. You can see most of them on San's forum. Lili also stitched a sweet design although you can only see it on her blog for the moment (along with her dragons). I think that next month we are doing bees. Please feel free to join in. As well as stitching your own you also have the fun of seeing the different designs that other people come up with or chose to stitch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Computer Issues!!!

My computer is finally up and running which basically explains why I haven't been around. Despite that I really haven't been up to much. I blame the heat!

I am still messing about with paints and journaling. I also finished the sunflower challenge which I will post tomorrow (with any luck). I've done a little reading. I went to see Superman Returns. Other than that I haven't done much of anything.

This is really just a quick blog to let everyone know that I am still alive. I promise to write more soon. I promise also to visit everyone's blogs soon. I just want to thank you all for your sweet messages on my new journal. Since I live with an artist I really don't see myself as being artistic but thank you all anyway.

Friday, July 14, 2006


More Journaling!

I decided to post an image of one of my journal pages after all. As you can see I have no real artistic talent but I enjoyed doing them. Also what you see represents the kind of day I had or at least the part of the day that stood out the most. I am having lots of fun with using paint. I haven't used paint since I was at school and this is my first attempt at using Acrylic paint. I love painting large blocks of colour and I love the smell and feel of it too. I could quite happily have spent most of my time just painting pages of the diary in different colours. I haven't posted this on 1001 Journals yet as I want to wait until I have at least a few weeks worth of images to chose from.

An excellent blog on journaling is by Danny Gregory. He has kept an illustrated journal for years and shares his experiences, knowledge and inspirations. There is lots of things to look at in there and it would take a while to go through it all. He has published a few of his journals and a book on creativity. You can also find links to other journal keepers in there. He also has an on line community where others can share their journal experiences and images. Yahoo is down otherwise I would link this group. They also have a flickr account to show some of their images. Worth taking a look. Each week there is also a challenge for people to take part in.

I haven't just been doing this. I have been working on something else too. I don't want to mention it here as I don't want to jinx it. For the moment my part is done and all I can do now is wait. I promise to reveal all when I can but it might be a month or so before I can do that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006



I think I may have mentioned a website called 1000 Journals. If you don't remember it don't worry as it was at least a year ago. The founder of the website came up with the idea of creating journals and sending them out in the world for people to fill some pages and then pass on again. They were then supposed to make their way back to the founder who had plans to set up some kind of exhibition and publish a book. I loved the idea of this and every now and then I would go back and see if any of those journals had made their way home.

On one of those returns to the site there was a message stating that a sister site had formed called 1001 journals. In the original all the journals had been signed up for and it was difficult for anyone new to get in on it. This sister website was set up to solve that problem. Here individual people can set up their own journals. People can set up a journal with a theme and have others sign up to receive it and fill in a few pages before passing it on to the next. Everyone is encouraged to make scans of those pages so that the whole community can share. It doesn't have to travel though. It can also stay in one place. An example would be a cafe or maybe a library. The person who owns the journal posts where it is held as well as the theme. Anyone can then go in, ask for it and add to it. The last option is to post images of your personal journal which is also popular.

One that I really liked (and prompted this post) is by someone called Kathrin. Hers is a personal journal. Every year she gets a new daily pocket diary and each day she fills that page with illustrations which are relevant to the kind of day she has had. I was amazed by her talent straight away and her dedications since she has done this since 2000. I don't want to post images of her journal without permission and unfortunately she doesn't seem to have a blog. She does have a flickr account though and you can see more images there.

I have decided to add a journal of my own to the site. It's the same idea as the one I just mentioned. I am going to attempt to do an illustration of some sort each day. You can see this here although I have yet to scan in any images. I was actually in two minds whether or not to mention it or not. Simply because I am artistically challenged. I have only filled a few pages and I am already having fun with it so I thought why not. I'll blog when I have posted images as long as you promise not to laugh too much.

Thanks for all your comments on Archie and the Christmas card. Lili, so glad you are joining in the monthly challenge. I love the sound of the design you are going to stitch and can't wait to see it. My birthday isn't that far away from yours, August 27th. Funny how these things happen.

Bastet, I plan on stitching Archie all around the outside . I think that works out to be about 16 designs (I don't have the afghan in front of me to double check). I will fill in the centre squares only if I have enough designs. If Cross Stitcher keeps going with them then it hopefully should be.

San, I stitched the afghan over one strand. The stitches look to be about 16 count that way (totally guessing). I think if I was to do it over two the stitches would look too large.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


My First Margaret Sherry Design!

A while ago I may have mentioned that I wanted to begin an Archie bear Afghan. I have been wanting to stitch and afghan for the past few years. I finally thought of a theme for it and ordered the fabric a few days ago. When it arrived I couldn't resist making a start. It was calling to me and despite all my good intentions of ignoring this inclination and just continuing with bugs, my will power broke. My excuse is that I really wanted to stitch my first Margaret Sherry design after seeing them stitched by everyone else of the years. The first little Archie is complete. My only complaint is that fractional stitches are a royal pain on aghans. My only consolation is that there aren't that many. You will notice that I forget to do the back stitching inside his little paws. I fixed that last night. I love this little bear. The shading really stands out and gives him that real animation look. That's one of the reasons I like him.

Christmas really isn't that far away. This year (as I do every year) I promised myself that I will hand out all handmade cards. Last year I didn't stitch enough and so only gave them out to close family. The rest has been passed over to this year but I still need to add to them. This is the first addition. I found little motifs in a previous magazine (not sure which one or issue as it had already been filed). The beads were part of the design although it called for two shades of red. I used red and blue instead. The same magazine had recommended using card making skills to decorate the card and so I did. I plan on making a set of these cards using different colours.

This months design challenge is Sunflowers. I have made a start on my design. I won't be as quick to finish this one. Sunflowers are hard! Please feel free to join in. Remember if you don't want to design your own you can stitch your favourite sunflower design instead. Last month only San and I took part. It would be fun to see others joining in. The message board for this is here.

Well, the second series of Doctor Who is now over. I have to say that I loved David Tenant. I got used to his OTT acting and think it actually fits the Doctors character. Does remind me somewhat of Tom Bakers version of the Doctor. I do think that the plots of the first series were stronger but I still enjoyed them. I especially like the return of the Cybermen. The last two part episodes were good too although I do think that the end episodes of the first series was better. What made it feel bigger was the appearance of the Daleks and the Cybermen together. I liked the banter between the two. Then of course there was Rose leaving. I had grown to like this character too but during this series she had become almost needy towards the doctor. I found that a little irritating. The new companion appears in the third series and not the Christmas special. Martha Jones will be played by Freema Agyeman. She actually played Adeola in the first half of the series ending who died at the hands of the Cybermen. Previous to that she was also in the revived soap Cross Roads. She is relatively unknown and she isn't another blonde which was what I was hoping for. I look forward to seeing what her character will be like.

Lili, believe it or not I'm a Virgo too. When is your birthday? Hope you are enjoying the holidays.

Mary, sorry to hear about your ipod issues. My infatuation is starting to wear off although I am still listening to it quite a lot. I usually enjoy listening to radio 1 but haven't tuned in since I got it. I have yet to make my own playlists though. I like your idea of a cross stitch playlist. Am thinking some Jack Johnson. Not sure what else.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Cross Stitch Card Shop #49

This issue treats us to an exclusive country companions design. I quite like Edwina Hedgehog and this design is pretty with the pink flowers. My mum is very fond of these designs so I can see myself stitching this for her at some point.

Maria Kelly has designed a set of birthday cards for girls who like to shop. They aren't my style but I do actually have friends who would appreciate these and the colours are nice.

She has also designed a set of hobby cards. We have gardening, sport, music, stitching and chocolate. I think I would probably have liked these better if they were done in different colours. They are mostly done in greens and browns. A green violin and clarinet just strikes me as wrong somehow. The sports one though would be good for a sports fan.

Lesley Teare has designed some sunny scenes which are quite pretty. They are all of meadows with a small building at the back. The design is then framed with flowers and has a butterfly in there. Pretty but not sure who I would stitch them for.

The next set of cards I really like. These are Jenny Barton's Happy hippos. Each one depicts the hippos in some sort of beach scene. I can see myself stitching these for my nieces. She also has a set of wedding cards in there which I'm not as fond of. We have a normal wedding scene, Las Vegas, the beach and a Hindu wedding. I like the idea behind them but the characters are cartoon like and I'm not a fan of that style for weddings.

Debra Page has then designed a set of dog cards. Each one has a different dog bread. I like the detail in them. Great for any dog lover.

Susan Bates has designed a set tropical flower cards. I like the bright colours but I'm not a fan of floral designs. I don't see myself stitching these. Great for people who do like floral designs though.

This issues astrology cards are leo and virgo. Again I like the colours but I don't know anyone into astrology. Worth hanging onto though.

Another regular are the simply the best designs. This time fantastic gardener and great teacher have been chosen. I quite like them. Just a pity I have no one to stitch them for.

Lastly this issues freebie is a blue bird birthday card. I thought the bird rather sweet. The card is also supposed to have "Happy Birthday" stitched on it in green. I preferred it without though.

San, my ipod only lasts about 14 hours. Of course by playing about with it as much as I have been it drains the battery that much quicker. The Sony MP3 players seem to last so much longer. I rarely had to charge mine. I gave it to my sister and she didn't seem to mind where it originally came from. I want to get her an ipod for her birthday/Christmas though so she can always get rid of it then. I'm now at that stage where I am having trouble thinking of what to put on it. Still a lot of space left. I know that I don't have to use it all up but feel that I should.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Karen Has A New Baby!

Not literally! I have been wanting an ipod for about a year now. The ex had bought me an MP3 player and at the time, not wanting to hurt his feelings or to seem ungrateful I kept my mouth shut. My mp3 player holds about 10 albums and it is difficult to work so I have been stuck with the same ones playing over and over since the split. I decided it was time to treat myself to the ipod. I have over 30 albums on it so far and I still have lots of space left. What I didn't realise was how difficult it would be for me to chose what to listen to on the way to work. Seriously, I'm not good when given a huge range to chose from. You would think that it would be easy to decide what I want to listen to.

I'm not complaining though. This is still me new toy. My stitching and everything else has taken a back seat as I have been spending most of my time on the computer since I got it. The novelty will wear off soon enough.

Thanks for all your comments on FF ted. I agree Veronica, in the end the backstitch is definitely worth it. Lili, I never thought of using linen. It would make it so much easier. Will remember that one for next time. Jenn, it came with one of the UK magazines. For the life of me I can't remember which one.

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