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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Mother's Day

This weekend Mother's Day was celebrated over here in the UK and I was spoilt rotten by the kids and Steve with flowers, chocolates and a bottle of Baileys.  All day long I didn't have to lift a finger. 
My lovely flowers brought from my son, Benjamin
The cushions I made as gifts for my mother-in-law and my mother had different results.  My mother in law, on receiving her gift turned to my husband and said "I told you I wanted some bulbs for Mother's Day".  Steve's response to me was that even if we got something she wanted, she still wouldn't be happy.   For my mother the reception was completely different where she ended up in floods of tears.  How I miss my own two children being young.  I used to love them coming home from school on a Friday all secretive until they would run into the bedroom on Mother's Day waving handmade cards, which I have still kept.  Now they are teenagers and well into pre-teens its more shop brought.  I did get a lovely card from one of our young people living here saying for someone who is like a Mum to me.  Nevertheless, I had to laugh as she posted it at the same time as posting her mother's one who is currently staying in Monday she was upset my card hadn't arrived, until I got a message posted from Royal Mail to say I had a letter waiting for me at the post office and requesting £1.12 ($1.78) to release it.......when I went to collect it, it turned out to be my Mother's Day card from her.

On the cushion front, I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who participated.  The response was overwhelming and with plenty of positive feedback.  There were a few points people had made which I have accepted and reflected on and can use in my design.  I do appreciate that England and USA spell mum differently which I hadn't explained on the survey.  An amazing 88.9% said they would purchase this gift for other people,  90% said that they thought the cushions had the right balance.    Ideas were also given for cushions incorporated honouring our heros who are fighting for our countries (taking into account the international context of my readers), cancer survivors, and I loved the idea of the tooth fairy pillow and have got ideas going in my head. 

This weekend brought loads of post, one in particular was Jane Greenoff's designer programme which I purchased on ebay.  I have to admit it did take a bit of getting used to when making a design.  Sometimes I  began to wonder if pencil and paper was still the best way to create designs or spend some time getting used to the modern technology.  I ended up designing a backstitch and cross stitch design with mine and Steve's names on it too with our wedding date on.  By Sunday evening I had sewn it ready to cut the next load of material for a cushion. 

I also went shopping at the weekend and spent shed loads of money on materials and other items which my step-daughter told me to buy (and a few extras Steve was unaware about).   Its now got to the stage Steve knows I am safe in a clothes shop as I don't spend much, however, give me a craft shop and all spending limits go out of the window.   I now know I am better off ordering online as I stick more to a budget.

Some of the material purchased.  Victoria has her eye on the ballet shoes for cushion material

My new toy, a cutting board and a rotary cutter which is a lot easier than using shears
Monday morning and back to early mornings with the weekly school run and after the weekend rain I was greeted with a sharp frost on my car windows.  It always seems to happen when its my turn for the 40 mile round trip to the school one of our looked after children attend.   However, later on the day turned into a lovely sunny day.  My step-daughter also came down to see us on Monday afternoon and  I spent a few hours with Natalie teaching me some more tricks of the trade she had learnt on her degree.  One of the things we made were fabric flowers.   For those who are unsure of how to make them and wish to learn how to make the flowers I have set up another page on my blog which shows step-by-step ways to make them.

With regards to my cross stitch at the minute.....I have not had the time to pick it up and will have to resume it soon.  I have to admit, whilst I have enjoyed the buzz of learning and making something different, I have missed the buzz of seeing my cross stitch develop.  I think I am going to have to try and rearrange my days and nights to fit in my current cross stitch and cushion making.

Well, thats about it for this week, once again, many thanks to everybody who participated in my survey and I am beginning to get ideas for my very first giveaway, which more will be revealed soon.  Hope all my readers have a great week and happy stitching.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cushion Crazy, Work in Progress

This week has seen me going cushion crazy in preparation for Mother's Day which we celebrate in the UK in March.  I am hoping that both my mother and Steve's mother enjoy their gifts.

  Whilst making these, Steve got to suggesting I look into the popularity of cross stitch cushions to make for sale, especially now my years of studying are over with no possiblity of any social work vacancies on the horizon and everything is peaceful within the household (for once).   Looking online and talking to local craft stalls in the town centre I feel this would provide me with the opportunity being able to combine my hobby with a sideline, especially with both Steve and myself at home.  Due to this, it has meant my current work in progress has had to be put aside and I am feeling withdrawal symptoms, especially as I was getting so excited over my progress since January. 

This also leads me on to asking if readers to my blog would not mind, I would appreciate a few minutes being spent answering some questions which can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Other work in progress

When clearing out my sewing basket, I came across a small quilt  I started back when Victoria was about 6 years old.  My intention was to make it for her dolls pram, however since she is now past the age of dolls and prams it will have to wait until grandchildren arrive in years to come.  I suppose this will give me plenty of time to get it finished.   I love the brightness of the colours.  I have to admit, after studying for four years I have missed the creativity of sewing and cross stitching.  I also feel slightly guilty for not continuing with my current work in progress, especially as I was making good progress on it. 


I have also returned to reading, especially non academic books.   I am currently reading A Mother Like Alex -  based on an inspirational woman who adopted seven children, fostered an eighth child and is guardian to a ninth child.  What is even more inspirational is that seven of the children have Downs syndrome, one has a life-limiting condition and another child is autistic.  Alex decided at a young age that she did not want to  marry or have children of her own but instead fought bureauracy to adopt children with special needs which, at that time, in 1984 adoption was not an option for single women, let alone adopting children with disabilities.  This also coincided with a program I was watching last night also about young people with Downs syndrome and their transition to adulthood, the worries faced by the young people and their parents towards living in independence and the lack of support given within their care to help them achieve what other young people may take for granted. 

People often say to Steve and myself that we must be special to foster the children and young people over the past 10 years, but we only have them for a period of time.  Sometimes the young people we have had living here move on into independence, adoption or due to the harshness of life, just cannot cope within a family environment. To me the special people are the Alex's of this world who have devoted their whole lives to providing a  permanent loving home for young people who would have been regarded as 'unadoptable' and helped to change the discrimination these young people would have received had their life course been different.

On that note, I have no other snippets to add to my blog for this week, please feel free to leave any comments.   If you could spare a few minutes of your busy time to look at my survey and to answer the questions I will be so grateful, once again the link is

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The beginning of March Madness

Cross stitching

I haven't had the opportunity to post for the past couple of weeks.  Life has been hectic to say the least.  Stitching wise I have continued and succeeded to complete my step-daughter's legs and am almost at the start of the Christmas tree in the corner.  As I usually like to sign my end results by stitching my initials and the date of completion I will be leaving the bottom corner free until the end.  I also couldn't belive the amount of confetti stitches needed for Natalie's legs.  I did get rather worried when shades of blues and purples were called for until I had fully completed them.

Mother's Day and a new crafting idea

This month also sees Mother's Day over here in England and I have started on making a cushion for my mum in cross stitch and backstitch.  This is also something I have been talking to Steve about, making little individual celebratory cushions with a view to selling them at craft fayres, especially whilst I am currently job hunting and have time on my hands.  At the moment, I only have the heart to cross stitch, however I am contemplating doing the heart with beads.  Any comments towards my cushion idea will be appreciated.

My new toy

Steve treated me yesterday to a new sewing machine whilst we were out clothes shopping for us and the kids.  We went into Norwich for the day and went to Hobbycraft (  Whilst my stitching friends have places such as JoAnnes in USA we do not have that over here.  I have to admit I do love that place and there are crafting ideas from model planes, trains and cars etc, art work, candy making, cooking, scrap books, cross stitch, tapestry etc, and could have spent a fortune in there but stopped short of seed beads and the sewing machine  luckily the cashier took pity on me and gave me a flyer to use for 10% off on my next purchase telling me to fill it in quick and she could use it there and then.  I now just have to find some time to have a play and get used to the machine and see what stitches I can do.....57 apparently.  

Other things done this month have seen me complete the second day of my Young People, Drugs and Alcohol course.  It did end rather abruptly through as we were evacuated from the building with a suspected gas leak.  Fortunately we had all received our training certificates and I was able to get home in time to meet Steve at the stables with our daughter for her horse riding lesson.  I am still applying for jobs at the moment but due to budget cuts over here there are no social work vacancies around at this moment in time.  Hopefully something will change.

Check this out

My step-daughter has started updating her blog.   You can check out some of the wonderful art and creative designs she has fantastically done  on  After taking time off from her blog she has started to update it with some of her art and stitching which gives us both the chance of keeping updated with each others work.  I also have the pleasure of some of Nat's artwork at our home as shown below and one of her wonderful mice which she has created individually along with her range of rabbits however the qualilty of the photos does not do justice to her art work.

Soon be time to hit the road again

Next month also sees us getting ready to go away in our motorhome, especially for Easter.  Last year we took the kids touring for the six week summer holiday and travelled to the counties of Somerset and Devon in the west country before heading back this way to Norfolk then down to Kent before stopping off in Essex and Norfolk again.  The kids loved the freedom, along with our dog, Evie and cannot wait until we are away on our travels again.  Only thing is I will be restricted on how much stitching I will be able to take away with me, however once again all the extra exercise will help me to lose more weight again.

Well thats about it at the moment, hope you enjoyed reading my blog and any comments will be appreciated!!