Thursday, 2 April 2015

April Showers

I can't believe my last post was in January, where is this year going?  The weather seems to have finally taken a turn for the better, outside the sun is shining and yesterdays gale force winds with heavy rain seem to have disappeared. Mind you one good thing about bad weather is I get lots more stitching and reading time...yay!

Since the New Year I've plodded away at my HAED and last night finished page 14.  DD is getting quite excited now as she can't wait for me to start her ballerina project.
Cruising The Information Highway by Randal Spangler
25ct 1 over 1
I've also been working on the My Garden Journal series by Cottage Garden Samplings  here are May and November. Next one up is December which is going onto Snowy Skies by Sparklies
 May from Cottage Garden Samplings
Stitched on Stormy Skies by Polstitches

November from Cottage Garden Samplings
Stitched on Harvest Blush by Sparklies
The kids have been extremely busy in the last couple of months. Peter has gained his blue/red belt in Taekwondo
Boo collecting his belt from Master Terry on Presentation Night
Dragons Academy Eckington

Luke has also started Taekwondo at Dragons Academy and he gained his 1st star which is blue for his pattern.

Peter attended 2 seminars with his club Dragons Academy. The first was a fight seminar held at Twin Tigers in Scunthorpe and he had loads of fun, the second was held at his club and was a self defence seminar run by Grand Master Roy Kilner. He loved both events, here's a photo Tony captured at Twin Tigers 

Both boys also completed their Personal Survival Grade 1 level in swimming. The following week they were invited to an extra lesson to see if they could get their next distance badges. We signed both boys up for their 800metre badges. They both smashed that badge and carried on to get their 1000metre badges. Boo stopped at 1275metres but Lukie kept going and within the hour lesson had not only smashed the 1500m but the 1 mile badge. To say we are proud of them is an understatement.

Lukie and Darcy are both working hard getting ready for their dance exams which are quite soon. It will be Lukies first tap exam but Darcy is not only doing her tap but also her prep ballet exams...eek! Darcy has also been told that she's moving into Brownies from Rainbows at the beginning of June so she'll be working on her Pot of Gold badge until then.

Tony and I have been out and about when we can, spring is arriving and he's managed to get some photographs I particularly like when we've been out.
Spring flowers coming through in Clumber Park

The blossom is finally appearing in Rother Valley Country Park

Last Monday when the weather couldn't make it's mind up in Clumber park

Who says we have to wait until Christmas for a photo of a robin???
Well I'd better get back to the needles as Thursday night is Taekwondo for the boys so when we get back it's too late.  I'm determined to get Tony's dragon done sometime this year LOL!

Friday, 2 January 2015

2014's Stitching Year

It did feel like I'd hardly had any finishes this year when I tried to think what I'd completed in 2014. It's only looking back through my photographs and posts that I realised I had actually had some finishes...yay!  I have spent most of my stitching time in 2014 working on Tony's dragon, he's getting a bit impatient to have it finished now so it's going to be my priority in 2015.

Here's a quick update on the finishes....

and here are some of my WIPs, a couple I'm determined to finish in 2015

Finally some of my favourite family photos...

Happy New Year to you all and here's hoping that 2015 is even better :-)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Kings and Queens - Richard I

Our next monarch is Richard I, better known as Richard the Lionheart.

Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Richard was born on 8th September 1157 in Oxford, England. He was the son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Like his brothers Richard fought against his father in 1173. In 1183 Richards brother Henry died leaving him heir to the throne.  Henry had wanted to give Aquitaine to his son John but Richard disagreed and joined Phillip II of France in 1189. It was this rebellion against his father that lead to Henry II dying in France in July 1189.

Richard then ascended to the English throne but although he was king for 10 years he only spent 6 months in England.  Richards ambition was to join the Third Crusade to the Holy Land. He sold Sheriffdoms and other high offices in order to finance this crusade, in 1190 he set off and landed in the Holy Land in June 1191.

Richard came close to the crusade's main objective, Jerusalem but it continued to elude him. Quarrels amongst the crusades contingents meant that after a years stalemate Richard made a truce with Saladin and started home to England.

The journey wasn't an easy one and bad weather made him land near Venice where he was imprisoned by Duke Leopold of Austria. He was then handed over to the German Emperor Henry VI who then ransomed him for 150,000 marks. This was a huge amount and the actual raising of the ransom was a remarkable achievement for the English nobles.  

In February 1194 Richard was released, he returned at once to England and was crowned for a second time. A month later he travelled to Normandy but never returned. The last 5 years of his reign were spent in intermittent warfare against Phillip II. He was fatally wounded whilst besieging the castle of Chalus. Richard died on 6 April 1199 and was succeeded by his younger brother John.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Autumn Has Arrived

Autumn has definitely arrived here in Yorkshire, we've gone from wonderful hot weather to gale force winds, torrential rain and cold spells. On the good side though it's wonderful running through the leaves with the kids and DH has got some amazing autumnal photos, I do love the colours in autumn.

October has been especially busy for us here, we've had swim assessments, Scouts, Rainbows, Taekwondo classes, gradings and competitions as well as the usual school and family commitments. Craft wise I've not done as much as usual due to being so tired some nights my eyes have drooped badly but needles have been put to fabric and/or wool so here we go...

Big cheer from DH as another page has been completed on Cruising the Information Highway, the cars radiator gave me the most trouble as it was mostly confetti stitches and drove me crazy LOL!
Cruising The Information Highway by Randal Spanger
Heaven & Earth Designs  Stitched on 25ct 1 over 1

close up of the radiator with the horrendous confetti stitches.

I also managed to get more a couple more of the Sheep Virtues by Little House Needleworks completed.

I've not done much on my Game of Thrones project as it's getting a bit too cold to stitch when Boo is in his taekwondo class so most of the time I read. I have worked on it a bit since the last update so here's where it's at.

I've done the front and back of my aran jumper. When I've got back home late from taekwondo and too tired to stitch pulling this out to knit whilst watching tv has worked a treat.

The kids have been active so here are a few of my favourite photos...

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, instructors and students were invited to donate and wear their pink belt throughout October to show their support. (Darcy now has the belt!!)

Peter passed his grading for his blue belt in Taekwondo at Dragons Academy at the end of October. As presentation was held on halloween everyone dressed up for the occasion. Luke and Darcy joined in as well, Darcy had just finished her ballet class where she was a naughty ballerina.
My boys playing Jedi Knights in Clumber Park during October
Darcy taking her promise at Rainbows, she was so excited to be an official member of the Girl Guiding movement.
Finally one of my favourite photos that Tony took in Clumber Park this week, this little guy just sat and posed for him.

Here's hoping November is a little easier before we hit December running :-)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Kings and Queens - Henry II

Our new monarch is Henry II, at the bottom of the post there are some photos from Canterbury Cathedral that Tony took last time we were down in Kent.
Bothy Threads Kings and Queens
Henry II was born in NW France on 4th March 1133. His father was Count of Anjou and his mother Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. Henry I had named his daughter as his successor to the throne but her cousin Stephen took over.  Henry was the first of the great Plantagenet dynasty and he had 5 sons including Richard I and John, 3 daughters and several illegitimate children.

Henry first became the ruler of Normandy and Anjou when his father died and in 1152 he married Eleanor of Aquitaine. Then in 1153 he crossed to England to begin his pursuit of the English throne, finally reaching an agreement with Stephen that on his death he would succeed to the throne.

In 1154 Henry became King of England and he began to restore order. Henry’s chancellor was Thomas Becket and using him he began to reorganise the judicial system.  Henry also expanded his empire in order to restore the lands of his grandfather Henry I. During his reign he re-established hegemony over Wales and gained control over lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine in France. But this meant that Henry came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought over several decades.  By 1172 Henry controlled England, the Eastern half of Ireland, large parts of Wales and the western half of France which would become known as the Angevin Empire.

In 1164 Henry reasserted his ancestral rights over the church but Becket who was now the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to comply.  An attempted reconciliation failed and Becket punished any priests who had co-operated with Henry. This is when Henry uttered those famous words “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”  And in December 1170 four knights took these words literally and murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. This backfired on Henry as overnight Becket became a saint. Henry did reconcile himself with the church but the royal control changed very little.

It is during Henry’s reign that the English presence in Ireland is established. The King of Leinster in Ireland asks for Henry’s help in opposing a confederation of other Irish kings.  But Henry had problems within his own family and his sons both legitimate and illegitimate. His sons Henry, Geoffrey, Richard and John all mistrusted each other and didn’t like their father’s policy of dividing land between them. This led to serious disputes and in 1175 Henry’s sons Henry, Richard and Geoffrey all lead an unsuccessful rebellion against him.

It was during conflict with his sons; antagonised by the French Crown, that he fell sick whilst at Le Mans. His son Richard didn’t believe him and attacked the town. Henry was forced to accept Richard’s terms and his only request was that he was given the names of those who had rebelled against him. Henry retired to Chinon very sick and one of the names on the list was his son John, his beloved and the one he had fought for. Henry died July 1189 at Chinon Castle, Anjou. He was buried in the Abbey of Fontevraud near Anjou and succeeded by his eldest surviving son Richard I.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Kings and Queens - Stephen

Here's our next monarch all finished, this time it's Stephen...

Stephen was the son of the Count of Blois and Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror. He was sent to England to be raised at the court of his uncle, Henry I. After Henry I died in December 1135, the leading lords and bishops welcomed Stephen as the new king as they weren’t comfortable with Henry’s daughter Matilda being the ruler.  Stephen was not a natural leader.

In 1138 Robert, Earl of Gloucester, took up arms on Matilda’s behalf. Stephens early victories faded when he lost the support of the church and Matilda invaded England in September 1139.  The tussle for the throne continued until Stephen gained the upper hand and in 1148 Matilda left England.

Unfortunately Stephen didn’t have much control over most of the kingdom and couldn’t enforce the law or mediate between the warring nobles. He hoped to secure the succession for his son Eustace. But Matilda’s son Henry invaded England in 1153 to claim his inheritance, Eustace died in August and under the Treaty of Wallingford Stephen agreed that Henry should be his successor. Stephen died in October 1154 and Henry then ascended the throne to become Henry II.

Summer Fun is Over

Well the kids school holidays are done as well as the sun disappeared halfway through them :-(  We did get quite a bit of stuff done in the 6 weeks, though not all of it fun for the kids. New windows for the house, DH and I used quite a bit of his week off to do jobs around the house and garden much to the kids disgust but we'd been putting them off since winter.  We did go out and about so there are a few photos and I even managed to get some stitching done which resulted in a couple of finishes..yay!

Photos first... Peter spent a week in summer school at Westfield School (where fingers crossed he'll go to seniors in a years time). At the end of the week they had a day trip to Cleethorpes and I took the 2 youngest with us. Apparently it rained in Sheffield but it was hot at the coast and we had a great day on the beach...

Later in August Tony had a week off and we all went to Cleethorpes together...
Peter couldn't resist doing a bit of Taekwondo at the coast either 

Don't faint but I even managed to get a photo of Tony with the kids!

On our wedding anniversary we arranged to drop the boys off (after swimming lessons) at my mums for a few days and went off to Nostell Priory with Darcy. Darcy can't stay at mums as she has dogs and Darcy is scared of them. The weather was fantastic and we had a great time, there are loads more photos on Tony's website in the Castles and Houses gallery, it's an amazing house.

I took the boys to see the new Dreamworks Dragonriders Defenders of Burke movie whilst Tony took Darcy around Meadowhall to buy her some new shoes. A dress and matching shoes later....

Finally I have managed to get some stitching done inbetween new windows being fitted, stripping the stairs ready for decorating and the kids being off school. Finished 2 of the My Garden Journal months and one of the Sheep Virtues.
April - My Garden Journal
stitched on 28ct cream using DMC
February - My Garden Journal
stitched on 32ct purple passion using dmc

I've managed to stitch one of the Sheep Virtues from Little House Needleworks, this has been done on the odd afternoon where Darcy has curled up watching Netflix at the side of me and the boys playing.

I've started the next Sheep Virtue which is Courage, they're all going to be stitched on the same piece of fabric which is a beige one from my stash using normal DMC threads.

Kids are back in school in a week so fingers crossed when the house is back in order I'll be able to get back to my HAED on an evening.