Monday, 31 January 2011

A new home, a few old projects, and a couple of book reviews

Keep your fingers crossed for us! Our offer was accepted on a house. Let's just hope the sale goes smoothly and quickly. The house is everything we were looking for in a house. We were hoping to find something a bit more in the countryside, but it seems wishful thinking to expect a rural setting, a short-commute to work, and good schools and shopping could be affordable. Anyway, I'm trying not to get too excited as nothing is certain until you have a key in your hand.

Here are a few pictures from the countryside here:

As my husband is now back to work and my daughter has started school, guess who is job hunting? Now that we're in an English-speaking country I have no excuse for not working. Ugh. It isn't that I don't want to work, I just hate the interview process and I'm worried about finding a job I like in this current era of unemployment. The prospect of self-employment is very appealing, but as what? If you could start over and begin a new career now, what would you do?

As far as the crafting goes, the progress is v. slow. It doesn't help that I can't access some of my stash and I don't have any space here to work in. I have been embroidering. My cottage triptych is on hold, mostly out of frustration. For some reason my transfer pencil marks on my muslin have disappeared mid-way through and now I have to re-transfer the remaining image. Has this happened to anyone else? So out of childish spite, I've started a new project.

I mentioned that over Christmas I picked up a few new books, one of them being Cath Kidston's Stitch. As I haven't tried cross-stitch before, I immediately started working on the cover project (materials are included with the book). I already own Make and Sew. I liked Make. This and The Kitchen Linens Book by EllynAnne Geisel got me stitching in the first place. Although some of the projects and designs are too basic, there was enough to propel me on. I still refer to the book as it contains a few of Kidston's more iconic designs. Word of warning though, the instructions on some projects are vague or just plain wrong.

Enamoured with Make, I bought Sew. Being fairly adept with embroidering, I wanted to expand my sewing skills. Overall Sew was a disappointment. I think there are better sewing books on the market, especially for relative beginners like myself.

Luckily Stitch was a return to what I loved about Make -- easy to follow projects that put a fresh and unique spin on an old craft. Sure, I know there's a limit to how many pillows one can make, but this book has actually made me want to try cross-stitch for a change. A few of the patterns are questionable, but I can't wait to stitch up her cowboy!

When I was backing up my photos from 2010, I realised there were two projects from December that I didn't share with you. (Word of advice -- take time to back up your photos! I learned this lesson the hard way when my last computer crashed.) As we were leaving Germany I gave a few handmade thank you presents to friends and teachers. Both projects were quick and easy. The images for these came from Flickr and The Graphics Fairy.

I couldn't resist these little purple flowers. I'm not sure if they're really violets or not, but I glued a perfume label on to the pot and used the same image to make the butterflies. These were given to my daughter's Kindergarten teachers.

This little pocket was inspired by Lori Lundy's jean pockets featured in the volume 4 issue of "Somerset Holidays & Celebrations". I quickly glued on vintage images, scrap lace, velvet leaves and my favourite vintage button. I tucked a thank you letter and my favourite recipes inside and presented it to a friend who gave my daughter riding lessons. In exchange for her lessons, I taught her children some English and sent her a regular supply of English and American bakery.

 I hope they know how much I appreciated their hard work and friendship!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New home, new adventures

Hello again! Well, we finally made it back to England in one piece and survived Christmas admirably. Our home is hopelessly small and depressing, but it is just temporary until we can find a place to buy. So until then, we're living out of cardboard boxes and having a lot of fun house hunting. I love house hunting -- dreaming of what living in each place would be like and how you would decorate/improve it (with an unlimited imaginary budget of course). I haven't seen the place of my dreams yet, but I'm sure something will turn up!

Haven't done much crafting, but I did spend some Christmas cash and picked up a few new supplies. Think I may try my hand at ATCs. I'm becoming a serial crafter -- I pick up a new book or magazine and think, "I want to try that!" This doesn't mean I'm giving up embroidery -- I've got a cottage scene in the works. I haven't forgotten about my other half-finished projects either, I just can't find them yet in our boxes! They must be with my lost pillowcases.