30 May 2022

The prep phase...part 1

So, since my last post, the language obsession moment has died down a little as my motivation for the other languages isn't as strong as it is for Korean right now, so I plan to focus on that one. 

But I have been writing down challenges as and when they occur to me and adding them to my list. I am not convinced I need to separate and group things - so the list will probably be haphazard - or organised chaos as I prefer to call it.

Some things I have done so far...

Step 1 - Buy a five year diary so you can plan ahead for all the months. The challenge starts 50 months before I turn 50. 

Step 2 - Figure out what health checks need to arrange to reach health goals by 50.

Step 3 - List the supplies you will need to be able to start on August 15th.

Step 4 - Actually think of 50 things.

Step 5 - Try not to do them until the challenge has started. 

Step 6 - Gather inspirational quotes 

Step 7 - Doubt yourself 

Step 8 - Tell some people that you are doing the challenge 

Step 9 - Doubt yourself again for good measure

Step 10 - Change your mind about the list and weather there are too many travel goals

Step 11 - Contemplate how many 'group' joining activities will actually need to be in person as opposed to online and keep working on your confidence

Step 12 - Draw up a plan to fit in all this new activity for learning and creating etc.


I feel like I need a picture to spruce this up and make it less boring so...my sons latest obsession is ALL the power rangers - he does think he is the red ranger but he wants the toy below....lol....I'm just glad that he always wants to be the good guy and save everyone and defeat the baddies.

16 May 2022

Contemplating life, death, milestones and expectations

 Hey

Its been 4 months since I was last here - do I have anything to share? I mentioned last time a HAED called Suteki by Aimee Stewart that I was starting...I began January doing the 100 days of HAED challenge and I stitched so much. Sadly I was only able to participate for the first 30 days as I had another project that I needed to finish for my mother. I will say that it was great to do, and I wouldnt have made the progress I did without the challenge to do it. I will definitely try  this again. As I want  to start a new HAED and actually completer it by 2026. 

Here is Suteki (although I have done a little more since this photo)


And here is the project I completed for my mum


This year of 2022 has not been kind to me so far, I had bursitis in my knee which they now think is a torn meniscus, I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot from coping with the knee - I have been struggling with standing and walking and was in so much pain at one point it was beyond and I had some very strong drugs. On top of that, we had COVID 19 in the house, that's what happens when your kid goes to preschool, and then my son was ill again with a bad cough which kept him up most of the night - he has only just recovered the poor mite. Oh, and amidst all of this my beloved grandmother passed away at 91 years of age. It was all very much a suffocating time full of pain BUT its spring and time to be positive and hope for a better second half of the year.  So, with this in mind, I was thinking about how I could challenge myself this year as I often feel like an eternal under achiever - I have a big birthday coming up, the big 5-0, and by coming up - I mean it is in 2026. So I was thinking what would I like to have done by then, have achieved or at least have worked towards. Now, I often have these ideas and I rarely complete the challenges but I DO accomplish things that I wouldn't have if I hadn't put the thought in my mind.

At first I thought I would write down 50 things that I could do before I was 50 - people do this a year before they turn 50 - but I thought maybe my success rate would be better if I started sooner. The chosen date...15/08/2022...don't ask me why but this is the start date - 42 months before I turn 50. I wrote down a handful of ideas, all quite life changing (I figured I had given myself long enough to retrain in a new career and lose that weight I've been losing the past 20 years!), and then I got to wondering what other things I could add to my (currently) short list so I decided to look up some inspirational ideas.

DO NOT WORRY!

I haven't found any yet, I looked on Pinterest and was distracted by the monthly challenges and started to ponder doing a monthly challenge each month for 42 months or each month of the year and then repeat - not the super fit exercises ones but the wellbeing, health, motivation, photography, writing type ones - I am heading to my fifties after all! Then I thought, typical me getting totally side tracked and continued to get side tracked again by languages. I am not sure if I mentioned it but I have been learning Korean (a level 5 language) for the past two years - by learning I mean on a very adhoc basis and putting aside 10 minutes a day - progress has been slow but I do feel like I am making some and I also feel like by the time I am 50 I would like to be able to have a conversation in Korean, watch my Korean TV shows without subtitles and generally enjoy having a second language. Now, I feel like I may be about to go off on another tangent here again - but I do love languages.

BUT

I am not great at them. I studied French in primary school and can remember a few phrases even now - which is a shock, I studied German up  to A' level until I got kicked off the course for not being as good as the other three students who all were marvellous and fairly so, but I did pick it up again at university where it saved me because it was an additional module and meant it didn't matter that I had failed one of my others! When I was a volunteer in Africa, I learnt very loosely the language of the village I lived in, its is from the family of Gurune languages and is called Frafra. I haven't lived there in 20 years, and my husband who was from there - I haven't been married to for 10 years - but when I bump into a friend who is from the area (but local to me) I realise that its still there - well enough to have a brief conversation and get my point across. So here I am wondering if I can challenge myself to learn a language from each of the difficulty levels for an English native. Madness I tell you, but a little part of me hopes that the language learning penny may drop a some point and it will all make sense. I had such a dilemma wondering about being too old to even try.

SO

Where was I?, oh yes, researching blogs and articles around turning 50 and what really stood out to me was the fact that I may be 50 but I have done everything later in life, so am currently doing what some of the 50 year olds did in their 20s in my 40s. If only I looked and felt 20 years younger - how great would that be? But seriously, they talk about midlife and when your kids all have their own lives, and you've almost finished paying off the mortgage and have the job/career you are comfortable in, you know who you are and what's important, and are about to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. 

BAH HUMBUG!

My kid just turned 4, and genuinely believes he is a red power ranger, he is about to start school in September and I am sure that will bring new joy and hurdles for us, I only bought my house 4 years ago - a panic buy to get a roof over my sons head! and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up! Slowing down isn't an option for me yet, and won't be in my 50s so these challenges I want to come up with will be to keep life interesting as I see out my forties in a blind panic. Scarily, I will still have about 20 years left of work when I turn 50 so I think I can learn now, or retrain or something to move me closer to a job I will love for those 20 years and more. But as I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up - some brainstorming is required.

LUCKILY

I have three months to lay out my plan of attack for my upwards ascent to the glory of 50 years young! Any suggestions you may have for challenges or advice or good blogs etc. send them my way but if you are going to  tell me not to bother then you will be wasting your time, because even if I do all this planning and then don't start, I will have added seeds of inspiration and growth into my mindset and that can only be a good thing. Anyway, as I said at the start, or implied, or did I? I am done giving up and failing at things and not feeling like I am making the most of these very short lives we have. I need to say it here, so its real, and documented.

RANT OVER!

So, one last thing to add is that when I was about 6, I bought a tea towel from a market stall that was pre printed with cross stitches and had a saying on 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'. You needed your own threads. I chose the colours and started stitching it, I must have put it down and picked it up a hundred times or more as I didn't give it to my grandma until I was 10 and the stitching is not great - not as good as the modern age 10 year olds stitching I have seen at least. Not all the crosses are going the same way, some of the legs are longer than the square but she had it hanging up in her house in pride of place where people could see it for the past 35 years and now it is back with me and I would like to share with you my first EVER cross stitch....drumroll please...


And the last item I stitched for her last year...



If you have made it this far, thank you, and I hope that maybe some of you are also inspired to challenge yourselves a little more over the next few years - if any of you want to join in then please do, and watch this space because its only three months for the big reveal of the challenges I will set.

Thanks Again!


11 Jan 2022

2022 - How did that happen? A new year and new stitchy plans.

 Wow!

I am a little surprised its 2022, the last year has literally been sucked into the ether - it felt like it passed so quickly that there wasn't time for much. One thing I did try to improve on was time management so that I would feel better about actually making positive steps towards my stitchy goals.

I have quite a lot of WIPs that I have had for the last few years at least but rarely stitch on but do want to at some point. Maybe I will post some cover pics of what WIPS I have and what they should look like! I feel I need to be more motivated and accountable and so regardless if anyone reads this - I will be posting, my goal is monthly, so fingers crossed. I actually also found a great needlework shop in Norfolk, a place I often go yet never knew that shop was there - suffice to say I bought some stash :D I don't know how I have held back on new starts. I also sorted out some charts from magazines and thought I would be ruthless on only keeping those there was a strong possibility I would stitch on - I have so many still! haha

I have joined a Heaven and Earth Design challenge group - the aim is to stitch either 100 stitches or for 15 minutes every day on a HAED project. Its day 11 and I am surprised I have been keeping up. I started a design back last year around September and whenever I get it out I become obsessed with working on it -and its the reason I never finished a stitch I was doing for my mum for Christmas, doh! 


Its a StoryKeep of Aimee Stewarts Suteki, I had bene drawn to the full design but my partner convinced me to do the storykeep as I was more likely of seeing a finish in this lifetime :D I post my updates on my instagram too, and for the first week posted a few times but intend to now keep it weekly. I am stitching it tent stitch 2 over 1 on 25ct easy guide using DMC. I consider 200 of those stitches to equal the 100 required for the challenge.



So along with my mums gift (now to be her 70th birthday gift in March), I have Suteki, and am going to stitch on CloudsFactoryDesigns Dinosaur ABC SAL this year too.

These three are definitely ones that I am targeting, but I keep thinking about others too, If I can continue on Suteki and the Bears for the remainder of the month then I will have a good idea of what time I can dedicate to other projects too.

Oh, I just remembered, I also hope to make some progress on Elizabeth Almonds 'Save the Stitches' free design. I had to restart this and am happy with it so far - I may make it a Sunday stitch. I manage a FB group for the design, and by manage I mean that I accept join requests and rarely post a think, but would like to post monthly with an update - If i could even just do one diamond.



I would love to know what kind of time each day you spend on each project? Is it easy to switch out? Do you prefer one design each day or each week or each month?


25 Aug 2021

2021 is almost over...

 Hey there!

Sorry, did I surprise you? I haven't been feeling like I have much  to post this year and each year I seem to have posted less, but I won't let the year pass without an update before my blog anniversary.

Lets see now...

Work is work - I am not loving it right now, but I can't say I am hating it either. We have been through a lot of changes over the past 12 months and I think they has a bigger impact on me than I expected, and I didn't expect much. I am really bad at self-promotion but I need to submit a job application this week and I am hoping I can muster up a good cover letter :) I am actually still working from home, I have been since March 2020 and the first lock down and I am now used to it, returning to the office is something that our organisation isn't rushing to do, as we are still figuring out new ways of working and what that looks like for us. I like working from home, it suits my introvert nature, and we are lucky enough that my sons grandparents are able to care for him when he is not in pre-school. This guy keeps me company! 


Family is family - Beau is going  to be three and a half this month, which is crazy, and goes back to pre-school in two weeks. I think he enjoys it there. It is also the term where we go and visit primary schools and submit our application with our school choices. I actually visited one back in June, and was probably that annoying parent who asked lots of questions (or rather I know I was). It was a socially distanced visit in groups of two sets of parents. I need to visit either virtually or in person the other two potential options to make sure that the choice I make is the right one. Its crazy, as where I live there are a lot of primary schools but only one secondary school! Maybe when Beau is going to secondary school we will have another one. Health wise we are ok, I broke my ankle two weeks ago when I went out for some fresh air, so I really should stop doing  that, lol. 


Stitching is stitching - So, I have had my usual burst of Autumn stitch mojo but I was getting quite annoyed with the amount of frogging and recounting I am doing, even with using pattern keeper. So I started a stamped kit  which meant I didn't have to count, and although everywhere says they are for beginners - I found it pleasurable to make progress and not have gone wrong. So I think they are also for people who hate frogging too. I just with there was more variety. As it happens the one I am doing I bought in error a couple of years ago, but matches a cross stitch design my mum had stitched for herself so in my desperation I started stitching on it. Not expecting to see much of anything meant I was glad that it actually looks quite nice for two evenings stitching.  


I also stitched some more on Elizabeth Almonds 'Save the Stitches', I restarted it actually as I wasn't happy with the dark blue fabric. It stitches up quite quickly but some of the designs are really tricksy. I actual have a Facebook page dedicated to this project and that spurred me on to stitch a bit more on it, ideally I need to do a quadrant per month. 


I picked up my Needles Notions Santa and finished an arm...


I also stitched some more on Owl Forests freebie design for Wizard of Oz, I am doing this in my own colourway using DMC etoile threads. I really enjoy stitching with these threads and like the effect, so its a win win.



And lastly I had a new start .. Country Cottage Needleworks..


Apologies for the poor quality pictures, I must try harder!

Lastly, some stitching also took place...Beau decided to give it a go! I do not have one of those children to whom I gave the needle and they created a mini picasso (i watched a video clip yesterday and the tiniest child was making fancy dough cakes?!) but he chose the colours he wanted to use and I held the fabric.

It's quite obviously (i dont know that you need telling its that obvious) a frog on a pond. 



So, I am quite addicted to watching peoples WIP parades at the moment so if you have a youtube channel I can stalk watch you on then please add it below, I am even one of those people who watch stitch with me's, or rather stitch along. 

I missed taking part in the Olympics stitching challenge that my friend Tiff was doing at TiffStitches and so am going to do my own challenge for the paralympics...not sure what yet...but something! 

I recently went to Rhosilli Bay in Wales, so should really do a travel review on that as it was a lovely trip and I have some great pics.

Till next time! 

Kate x





1 Sept 2020

Stitchy September

Hey there! Its September!

I've recently realised that this time of year is when I often get the stitch bug and my mojo back. This last month my stitching has been accompanied with Cursed, Fort Salem and Stargirl with some reality TV in the form of ILand thrown in. A mixed bag really.

I haven't finished anything sadly as all my current projects that I am motivated  to stitch on are massive. Since I downloaded Pattern Keeper (PK) I have been stitching on my HAED.




So far only 5 colours, and I ordered some which are on their way...I am doing this Richard MacNeil design, 1 over 1 tent stitch on 25 count magic guide. I have stitched a little over 30k stitches (I know it looks less!) and have a good few years to go. I plan to stitch this on Monday nights - only this Monday my Kindle with PK on was out of battery, doh!

At the weekend I stitched on a chart that I bought when I went to Canada in 2016 - who knows how that time has gone by so fast but it has - weirdly I remembered it being arduous to stitch on yet this past weekend I really enjoyed it. It should have been finished a long time ago, but seeing as I dont have to do it for any other reason than I want to there isn't any rush. 

Its Country Cottage Needleworks 'Afternoon in Paris'. I also have London and I think one other, maybe New York - oh to be as organised as me, hahahha. Its hard to believe one of my best friends can organised the shit out of stuff and here I am stumbling alomg..one day people...one day...

Top pic is where I had reached on Friday and bottom, by Sunday night.

I have also started two others, one is in tent stitch on 28ct (1 over 1) and I haven't done much but this is the end goal...mini A Moment in Time no Background - it reminds me of my son.


I am also hoping to start a FREE design based on the Wizard of Oz which is totally random for me, but I took a liking to it - stitching it on apple green 28ct (2 over 2) in self selected DMC sparkly threads whose name has temporarily escaped me.  Its available on the OwlForest Embroidery site.


And lastly I plan to get a Christmas stitch finished! The Elf Styled washing line...was in an edition of Cross Stitch Crazy at some time...



It is also my 9 year blogoversary on the 12th of the month - yet more time vanishing before my eyes.

Well, I have given myself plenty to do plus the day job and the kid and I hope to drop in more often, take care everyone and stay safe xx






2 Apr 2020

Seriously...no....seriously...

My last post was quite long ago now, and my hope was not to leave it so long, and yet here we are!

Over the years, I have participated in the A to Z challenge but not for the past few. However, I was recently sent a link to one of my first A to Z challenge posts and it seems more distant than ever!

If I was going to have a theme and attempt it  this year...would it be 'How to survive a pandemic!' although I am not sure of my expertise on this. I do know how to live like a recluse and am loving the self isolation and this is quite good for any introverts and hobbyists who do this ordinarily but for social butterflies, I imagine they are going stir crazy.

So...I was going to add A to Z challenge links for the letter A but it is actually day 2...so here we are...former posts for the letter B...

Crafty A to Z: Letter B
Disney A to Z: Letter B
Them & Us: TV Shows A to Z: Letter B
Paranoid Solo Traveller: Travel Tips A to Z: Letter B
Career Choices A to Z: Letter B


In other news, my son has now turned TWO - what the goddamn...yes, TWO. Still a happy little boy, more of his personality is coming out and he is super cheeky!

Stitchy wise - I haven't done a thing! 
Writing wise - I haven't done a thing!

My motto should be...I haven't done a thing!

I am however, now working from home. My job is one that can be done anywhere so that is good. My partner however is on furlough for the time being, which although means less income it has enabled me to continue working as he looks after Beau whilst I do. 

It was all quite strange, this whole lockdown thing, I remember we had discussed it at work for the last few months about what had happened in China and such, but I guess because we have never experienced anything like this it would be strange.

I think what we need to remember is that the lockdown isn't about limiting who has the virus as it is very contagious and we are all likely to get it, but its about limiting the number of patients requiring hospital care at any one time.

I have read things where people have said, last year 50,000 people died during flu season and 300,000 people die a year on average in the UK, but there aren't 10,000 people all at once needing intensive care and that is what this is about.

I think we will at some point in a month or so reduce the social distancing just for the next round of people and then lockdown again etc. Sort of an ebb and flow as we manage healthcare until a vaccine is available.

Unless, like some people you believe its a giant conspiracy! I personally, can't see how you could get all these countries to agree on such a thing but...I wait to be proven wrong in this almost stranger than fiction world we currently reside in.

Stay safe and keep your distance for now. The whole world is literally in this together.


4 Nov 2019

Whats 11 months between friends?

Hey there

I have spent a fair bit of the year on instagram, just because I try to avoid wittering on, but I miss this blog and although I need to tidy it up...it is one if the things I want to focus on more in 2020.

So lets get up to date...

Some stitchy finishes this year....

This was completely new - a pattern by Durene Jones - the idea is that it is a FFO stocking. It was a quick stitch and I loved all of it except stitching the white.


This was a new start and a finish this year, its Bothy Threads row of dinosaurs - i had some issues with this and made some design changes. It also needs to be fully finished along with the rest.


This was in a magazine and I want to say it was designed by Emma Congdon...? when FFO it should be an envelope to put your childs letters to santa in.


This was stitched for Halloween. It was taken from a magazine and when FFO'd is a 3D monster mansion. The original colours were greens and I made other changes. Hopefully, I will get some time to write these up properly.  This post is literally an impromptu update.

Some WIPs.....


This is a HAED, Richard Macneil designed and I think its New York Christmas?! It is regular sized (which is massive) and i am doing tent stitch ECC.


This years Christmas cross stitch. I should have finished this already but my enthusiasm went off the boil. I shall try at the very least to get some more done to he point that the left hand cockerel is there too.


This was stitched on early in the year and is an ongoing project that I pick up every now and then. It is one that starts to take shape when the backstitch is added. Its a Michael Powell design.

I did just have a new start which I will show later...and just so you know...the bundle is still full of joy...




The prep phase...part 1

So, since my last post, the language obsession moment has died down a little as my motivation for the other languages isn't as strong as...