Monday, 11 January 2016

Back to Normal

Well last year definitely finished with a fizzle rather than a bang. As our daughter Darcy was taken in to Sheffield Childrens Hospital on 30th September and spent weeks there only to be allowed out as long as she visited between 3-5 days a week until December I didn't get time to do much of anything.

I did however finally finish DH's Cruising the Information Highway by Randal Spangler...yes you read that right, he's finally finished after nearly 2 years.
Cruising the Information Highway by Randal Spangler
25ct 1 x 1
I did try and put some stitches into my HAED Storykeep called Courage which is for Peter, didn't end up doing a lot though but here it is so far.

My next big HAED project is called Smiles in my Cup and was all kitted up by the middle of December ready for starting at the beginning of January.  I just couldn't resist it when I saw it on the HAED site!

I did put a few stitches in on my Kings and Queens but not as many as I'd hoped but here's a photo of it so far with my lovely matching mug that DH bought me in the summer. 

In between finishing Cruising and before starting Smiles I promised Darcy that I would stitch her ballerina project. As at the time she looked so ill hooked up to drips in hospital I quickly agreed to cheer her up.  It's a DMC kit I've had in my stash for quite a long time, after finally opening it I decided that I didn't like the fabric it came with and ordered some wonderful 28ct opalescent. It hasn't took that long to stitch up, the hardest part was working on 28ct over 2 after so long on 25ct 1x1...the stitches looked HUGE lol!

Thanks to lots of time waiting around Sheffield Children's Hospital I managed to hit my Goodreads reading target of 150 books. Let's admit it there's not a lot to do when you're a parent and your child is resting in hospital, especially after the first 3 weeks and the wonderful parents of children who were there as long as we were finally left, I was glad for them but it left me at a loose end for conversation. When Darcy did feel well enough she joined in the craft activities and stitched a few things for display in the ward.

During this difficult time the boys were still going to school but had to cut back on their after school activities, no more swimming or scouts. Taekwondo wasn't cancelled but some weeks they only had 1 lesson, thankfully Dragons Academy were amazing with the boys and completely understood when they couldn't get there. Lukie even managed to grade for his yellow belt. They both kept up with their schoolwork and even if some days getting them home from school took a lot of logistics and help from my dad we managed.

Things looked up in December when Darcy was put back to only once or twice a week at the hospital and was even allowed to return to school for a couple of hours a week. We all went to the christmas party that Dragons Academy held, the boys loved having their sister with them and we all had a good time. Took Darcy 2 days to recover but she told the hospital she wasn't going to miss it LOL!

Thankfully after an appointment with Darcy's consultant and physiotherapist on the 22nd December they said she could stay at home for Christmas...hurray!!  Tony bought her a new Lindy Bop dress just for Christmas Day.

All the kids are back in school, Darcy is only allowed to go 3 mornings a week at the minute but as the hospital slowly reduce her medication she'll be able to go more hours. Fingers crossed by the end of this term she'll be back up and running as before.   Thank you for all the support you've shown during this very difficult time, it has made a difference both to ourselves and Darcy.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Summer Holidays are Here

The kids have finally broken up from school for the summer which means I get some much needed rest, never thought when we had our first how busy you can get as they get older!!  I have been stitching inbetween my taxi duties but not as much as I needed to but here's some of what I've been working on...

December's Holly
Cottage Garden Samplings - My Garden Journal
Stitched on Snowy Skies by Sparklies

Game of Thrones - Night Watch
Stitched on Winter Skies by Sparklies
I've also been working on my TAST 2015 project (in a different post) but most of my stitching time is being taken up by DH's HAED, trying hard to finish page 16 before September.

We went off down to Kent earlier in the year to see DH's family, Lukie decided to be his dads mini-me during the week....

at the end of term Lukie took part in a concert for the school musicians, here he is playing a duet with his piano tutor Francis.

Peter 'Boo' was thrilled to receive his 100% attendance medal in his last year at junior school. He's off to secondary in baby is growing up :-(

Darcy decided that she wants to remain anonymous!!

We're off to Northumberland at some point so Lukie can visit Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle) so no doubt DH will be photographing some amazing scenery up there. Here's Bolsover Castle from last weekend when we took the kids out for the day

yes that is Lukie sat playing Lord of the Manor!!

TAST 2015 - Take A Stitch Tuesday

The Take a Stitch Tuesday (otherwise known as TAST) has started again (yay!) if you want to join in hop over to Sharon's site where you'll find all the details.

Week 1 was Fly Stitch and week 2 was Buttonhole Stitch. I've decided to do a bit of a band sampler with the stitches on some fabric from my stash so I can see how they work up and it'll be my version of a stitch dictionary.

Then I brought out one of my quilt blocks that I've made using some of my daughters old baby clothes, I'm eventually going to put these blocks together to make a memory quilt for our bed as it'll all be made of bits of the kids clothing.

After I'd stitched 2 of the button hole wheels I realised they looked like a dolls pram that my daughter had for her baby annabel, the frame is fly stitch and I appliqued a bit of her white fabric to make the hood.

Snowflake fly stitch as this dark fabric was from one of her winter outfits when she was 10mths old. Then I did buttonhole stitch along the edge of gingham fabric from one of her nursery dresses.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Kings and Queens - John

Following on from Richard the Lionheart is King John.  We have all seen John portrayed as the "bad guy" in numerous films/books about Robin Hood or King Richard's crusades.

John was born to Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, he was the youngest of 5 sons and Henry's favourite. There are differing opinions as to when John was born; Christmas 1166 or 1167 in Oxford. When John's brother Richard the Lionheart (now King of England) was imprisoned in Germany John tried to seize control of the crown. Richard reclaimed his throne in 1194 and John was banished. The two brothers did reconcile when Richard's successor, his nephew Arthur, was captured by Phillip II in 1196.  When Richard died in 1199 John became King.

Another war with France was triggered by John's second marriage to Isabella who was the Angoulame heiress.  Isabella had been betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan. A rebellion broke out, John was ordered to appear before Phillip II of France and when he did not it meant war between France and England once again.  By 1206 John had managed to lose Normandy, Maine, Anjou and some of Poitou, he was determined to win back these lands but war costs money. To raise this money his government became ruthless and taxes soared, John exploited his feudal rights even more harshly than before.

Obviously the Barons were not happy and negotiations between John and his Barons broke down. In May 1215 a civil war started which resulted in the rebels seizing London. On 19th June at Runnymede on the River Thames John signed the Magna Carta. This document is one of England's most famous and important pieces of paper, it limits royal power, ensures feudal rights and restated English law. It states that the monarch falls as much under the law as his/her people and that their rights as individuals are to be upheld even against the wishes of the monarch.

Unfortunately John claimed the document was signed under duress, Pope Innocent took his side and a bloody civil war carried on. During this time John laid waste to the Scottish border and the northern counties. At the barons request Prince Louis of France invaded and the civil war continued until Johns death in October 1216. His death at age 49 brought the succession of his son Henry III to the throne and peace returned.

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.