Recent doings #20

I’m sure you’re sick of me saying it every month, but how is it August already? Ten days until my birthday… I’m so not ready to be 34! I am, however, ready for a holiday. 15 days until we fly. Not that I’m counting or anything…

Right now, though, it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch to talk about all the things I’ve been doing in July.

whats-new

Eating. I started the month continuing June’s theme of salads and ice cream, but then the weather got bad plus Jan was performing with the Basel Tattoo choir every evening so for the last half of July I just ate whatever could be made quickly and easily. Fish fingers featured a few times. And sandwiches.

Watching. The Coroner on BBC Entertainment. It seems to be over now though – when I tried to put it on last night Hustle was on instead. Also fireworks over the Rhine for Switzerland’s national day (which is actually on 1st August, but Basel is greedy and does fireworks twice, so the ones on the day before just about manage to sneak in to my July round-up ;-)).

Reading. I actually had a good reading month for a change and managed to read 14 books! Ten were for Erin’s challenge. I will tell you about the in detail next week.

Seeing/hearing. The Basel Tattoo! Since Jan was part of it, I got tickets for one of the performances. It was very cool and I would definitely go again.

Cross stitching. Birthday cards galore! I wanted to get all the Post Pals birthday cards for August finished and sent out before I go away (and of course I also stitched the July ones), plus my friend turned 30 so I made her a card as well.

mermaid birthday card

Booking. Our flight back from the UK and accommodation in Cornwall. And Jan has now booked the remaining accommodation so we’re all sorted. Woo!

Buying. It would probably be easier to say what I haven’t been buying to be honest! I spent way too much money in July. I definitely bought books, stickers and a load of badges/pins to send to Post Pals kids (they have all been given lanyards to collect them). I can’t even remember what else. Oh, birthday gifts for my mum and my friend, of course.

Wishing. Work would slow down a bit. I mean, having lots of work is better than sitting around doing nothing and I do appreciate being kept busy, but I am exhausted right now.

That’s all for today. All that aforementioned work awaits (and today I have to work longer again to make up for the fact that I’m in the office tomorrow and won’t actually arrive there until 10 a.m.).

What have you been doing recently? Don’t forget to check out the link up to find out what’s new with everyone else!

Recent doings #19

Once again I start with an apology to the blogosphere. Sorry I disappeared again! Work last week was just horrible. I kept having more and more things planned for me until I ended up working 10 hours on Thursday because there was no other way to get everything finished in time. And once I was done I still had to pack because I was spending Friday night at a hotel in Germany. Friday/Saturday I was at a course on legal translation for work, which was actually more interesting than it sounds. Anyway, despite my recent crapness I have not forgotten that today is link-up day with Kristin and Gretch. So here’s what I got up to in June when I wasn’t drowning in work…

whats-new

Eating. It’s been too hot for proper food, so we’ve basically been living on salad. That makes me sound way healthier than I actually am, so I should clarify that one of those salads consisted of new potatoes, spring onions, chicken, Greek yoghurt and seasoning. What? It’s a potato salad! I also have to confess that my diet has involved rather a lot of ice cream in June…

Watching. I started watching that new Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge. I couldn’t watch yesterday’s though because Jan was home and he doesn’t watch stuff like that (I once watched an episode of Casualty while he was there and he asked me why I was watching a soap).

Reading. I actually managed to finish Sophie’s World. Woo! I also finished The Sense of Style, read four other books and started Three Men in a Boat/Three Men on the Bummel (and finished the Three Men in a Boat part, which is the only part that’s on the Big Read list so yay!). Much better than May’s tally! With Erin‘s challenge now on, I am hoping July will be an excellent reading month.

Listening to. Welcome to Night Vale. Yay! It’s been forever since I said that. We hired a car for our trip to Champagne and car journeys mean time for Night Vale.

Seeing/hearing. The Swiss Youth Choir performing at a church in Basel. Jan is in a choir with some people who are also in that choir so he wanted to go along.

Travelling. To the Champagne region, where I drank champagne (of course) and crossed another item off my 35 before 35 list.

Growing. Chilli plants. Our friend gave them to us when they were just little and they’ve grown and grown,ย  flowered and are now starting to produceย  little chillies. Yum! Also parsley and thyme outside, although the thyme isn’t doing so well.

chillies
Hi little chillies!

Buying. Books, stickers, writing paper. Oh, and since I was in Germany on Friday, I popped to Primark for some tights to replace all the ones I’ve ruined and came out with a cardigan. It had bees on it so I couldn’t possibly not buy it! (Plus it was reduced to โ‚ฌ5).

Swimming. In the Rhine, the week before last when it had been really hot for ages. It then rained and cooled down a few days later plus work went crazy so I haven’t been back in yet.

Cross stitching. A new baby card for a friend and lots more cards for Post Pals.

dragon card

Wishing. Time would slow down. It’s my birthday next month and the month after is the official start of autumn. Where is this year going?!

I can’t think of anything else I’ve been up to… as previously mentioned, the main thing I’ve been doing recently is working (are you sick of hearing about that yet?). So I shall leave this here.

Check out what’s new with everyone else here and let me know what you did in June in the comments.

Recent doings #18

Oh, hi! It’s been forever, hasn’t it? One post at the beginning of last week and then… nothing. Sorry about that. 95% of my non-working time during the week has been spent cross stitching. (And the other 5% was taken up by shopping for food, cooking said food, emptying the dishwasher, laundry and other general chores. So now you know, whether you cared or not ;-)). Anyway, I can’t believe another whole month is over! June already. Soon we’ll be half way through 2017. *Sigh*

Well, today is the first Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to link up with Kristin and Gretch and tell you what’s new with me. Shall we get started? Here’s what I have been doing in May.

whats-new

Eating. Since discovering that you can only count one portion of any vegetable no matter how much you eat, I’ve been trying to vary our meals even more. So a lot of avocado, cherry tomatoes, peas and sweet potatoes have been consumed. Sometimes the same vegetables three days in a row – well, nobody said I couldn’t eat the same ones every day! Also, it’s been hot so we’ve barbecued a few times. Many sausages have been consumed in May!

Drinking. Smoothies because see above. I found a dragon fruit and ginger one that’s amazing – you can actually taste the ginger! Sadly my local supermarket doesn’t actually have it so I can only get it if I go to the one in town. And yes I know home-made smoothies would be way better for me, but I only have a stick blender and those are annoying for smoothies!

Watching. A film called Kajaki: The True Story (renamed Kilo Two Bravo in the US) about a group of soldiers in Afghanistan. Recommended by my dad, who is ex-army and said “In my top three of military films and by far the most accurately played by actors.” It’s a pretty intense film but recommended if you want to see a realistic portrayal of a real-life event. Oh, and the regiment concerned just happens to be the one my dad was in!

Reading. Nowhere near as much as usual! I managed to finish the Lying Game series and also read Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle – book one in another series (I adored it. Reviews to follow – hopefully soon). Apart from that I continued reading Sophie’s World but still haven’t finished. Not long to go now though.

Seeing. An exhibition about robots in everyday life at the Vitra Design Museum. It was interesting and very well done. Lots of information! Jan enjoyed it too, so it wasn’t too boring for experts ๐Ÿ™‚

Cross stitching. Lots more cards for post pals, and also a door hanging for an auction they’re running to raise money for their upcoming party. Here, have a picture of a card to liven this post up:

fairytale castle card

Buying. FAR too much stuff… I need to cut way down on my spending in June! Surprisingly few books though. Mostly I’ve been buying crafting materials and stickers. Most of the stickers are to send out with the cards for post pals, but some are for me to make cards with or to prettify envelopes.

Receiving. A dress that I bought last month. It’s got bees on it and it’s amazing! I’ve already worn it twice.

Laughing. At Ross Noble. We went to see his show Brain Dump last night so it just manages to sneak into May’s doings ๐Ÿ˜‰

Making. Toblerone cheesecake – twice! Once for a friend who invited us to come round for a drink in his new flat and then for another friend for her birthday.

Going. To a sculpture path in Reinach. It’s fairytale themed and pretty cool!

Booking. A flight to the UK and accommodation for the first two nights of our stay there. Loads more to sort, but at least we’ll be able to get there ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t think of anything else, so I’ll end here. If you want to know what’s new with everyone else or join the link up, click here.

How was your May?

 

 

A photo an hour: 20 May 2017

Saturday was the date for May’s photo an hour link up with Jane and Louisa, and of course I joined in! Some of you might have already seen my day on Twitter, but for the rest of you here’s what I got up to:

9 a.m. Waiting for the kettle to boil. Hurry up, I need a cuppa!

10 a.m. Shower time! I swear I’m going to start reusing shower photos… it’s not like anyone would notice.

11 a.m. Doing a bit of cross stitch while I wait for Jan to go for his shower.

12 noon. Finally out and about! Waiting for the bus from town to leave.

1 p.m. Can you guess where we are?

2 p.m. Checking out another furniture shop before committing to a purchase.

3 p.m. You can’t go to IKEA and not have food! Meatballs eaten, now for Dime cake. Yum!

4 p.m. On the train home with our new furniture.

5 p.m. In town after a very brief stop at home! I left Jan building furniture and came out in search of a birthday gift.

6 p.m. Home again, and there’s just about enough time for a cuppa before heading back out!

7 p.m. On another bus… nice view from the window!

I then skipped two hours because we were at a concert and I didn’t want to start taking photos in the middle of the performance ๐Ÿ˜‰ So…

10 p.m. The Rhine in Basel by night.

11 p.m. Heading home on a very crowded tram! Photo mainly shows the ceiling ๐Ÿ˜‰ (We stopped for a light dinner in case you were wondering why we took an hour to start heading home!)

Midnight. Time to join Eeyore and Nick in bed.

So, that was my Saturday. Furniture shopping, birthday gift shopping and a concert.
Did you do anything nice at the weekend?

 

Stitching for a good cause

Hello everyone! I said in my update post that part of the reason I’ve been quiet on here recently is because work has been busy and I haven’t felt like getting back on the computer afterwards. But the main reason is that I’ve been using up all my free time for something else… namely cross stitching. Only this time it’s not dozens of Christmas cards I’m trying to get finished, but cards for a very different cause…

I first heard of the charity Post Pals about 6 or 7 years ago, thought it was a really nice idea and then promptly forgot about it. When I saw a mention of it again in a magazine recently, I realised that cross stitched cards would be perfect for sending to pals. And now those of you who don’t know post crossing are wondering what I’m on about….

Basically the idea of Post Pals is for seriously ill children to receive some happy mail. Many of them can’t go to school and end up isolated and lonely, so receiving post from all over the world helps them feel connected to other people and makes them smile. Post Pals also encourages people to write to siblings, who often feel overlooked when the ill child is getting all the attention. All addresses on the site are “care of” addresses and the children’s surnames aren’t mentioned, so it’s all pretty safe.

But enough talk… let me show you some of the cards I’ve made so far.

Pirates and flowers and ballerinas, oh my!

One little boy likes tractors and farms, so he got this card:

farm card

I mean, who wouldn’t want a picture of a sheep? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently I like stitching initials… gotta make use of all those alphabets somehow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the way, as it happens the pirate and footballs went to boys while the ballerinas, bear, mermaid and lipstick were for girls. All are based on the children’s interests, and soon I will actually be making a unicorn card for a boy and a dragon for a girl… no gender stereotypes here! (It just so happens that most of the boys are not into ballet or butterflies).

I am particularly fond of this next card because I’ve had the book it appears in for ages but never thought I would actually get to stitch it!

Where's Wally card

A couple of birthday cards went out as well:

I thought the little dancing cake was adorable! (Jan’s opinion was more along the lines of corny though…)

And I shall end with one I’m particularly proud of. This little girl is blind, so I found a Braille alphabet and did this:

How’s everyone’s Braille? That says her name! I just hope it’s actually readable… I also stitched the rest using extra thread so it’s nice and thick and can (hopefully) be felt. And if you’re wondering why I bothered with colour… her family aren’t blind and they deserve to see something pretty, right?

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. No, it’s not because I want you all to think I’m an amazing human being (obviously I assume you already know that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). This post is partly an opportunity to show you some more of my cross stitching, but mostly to tell you that you too can get involved with Post Pals.

For me, it’s a perfect way of “volunteering”. I don’t have to interact with people face-to-face (scary!) or commit to being somewhere on specific days (I never know I’ll spontaneously have to work longer because something urgent has come in), I get to stitch new and different things, and I hopefully brighten the day of somebody who is so much worse off than myself. Every time I read a child’s story on Post Pals, I am reminded that whatever else may be going on in my life, I am actually incredibly fortunate to be living the life I do.

If you would like to get involved with Post Pals, all it will cost you is the price of a stamp. (Okay, an envelope and paper are involved too, but I’m sure you must have some of those to spare at home!). Just go to the website, click on Find Pals and choose a pal to write to. You can search by interest or just choose somebody at random. They even have a guide to writing post to help you work out what to say. Or, if you prefer not to write, you can always donate – they are currently organising a party and have an Amazon wish list of items they would like or you can just donate money.

So, what do you think of my cards? Any favourites here?

(By the way, can someone who is good at taking photos of cards please tell me your secret!)

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – Reveal

Wow, the picture I gave you for the last round must have been too easy. Only three rounds for you to correctly guess what I was stitching!

Before I show you the final, finished image let’s have a look at your guesses from round 3. Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

Erin guessed a dinosaur holding a balloon.

Elaine said “I think I might stick with my previous guess of the balloon being held by something, but will refine it to say itโ€™s a teddy bear. Although there is the suggestion of a tail, so maybe itโ€™s a puppy.”

Holly guessed a blue teddy holding a balloon.

Continuing the theme, Alison guessed a gingham bear holding a balloon.

And finally, both Sarah and Kezzie guessed a boy holding a balloon (Kezzie’s boy had his leg in the air).

And now, I can reveal, this:

teddy cross stitch

Congratulations Elaine, Holly and Alison!

And here’s the final completed card:

teddy card

To be honest it looked better before I added the writing. I suck at nice writing! *Sigh*

Thanks for playing along, everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – Round 3

Moving on with my cross stitch guessing game…

Here’s what you had to work with last time:

guess-the-cross-stitch

And here are your guesses:

Elaine guessed that a yellow balloon is involved, possibly being held by a cute animal of some sort.

Storm guessed a clown, in blue plaid, holding a balloon.

Jowi guessed a train.

Beth said “Iโ€™m seeing Trumplethinskinโ€™s golden toilet and a jail cell, which you would definitely not send to a 1-year-old.” Obviously she is right about it not being suitable, but Trumplethinskin is just amazing and needs to be shared with everyone!

Erin said she still sees a castle, but decided to change her answer to a sail boat.

Kezzie also saw a yellow balloon and asked: “Is it a boy in blue checked dungarees holding a yellow balloon?”

And finally, someone calling themselves Lana Banana said “I see a tower with a yellow ballon attached to it.”

Such diverse answers! I love that about you guys ๐Ÿ™‚
Nobody guessed the entire thing, but I will give you this much: everyone who mentioned a balloon was correct! But what’s with the balloon?

Why don’t you give this picture a go?

guess-the-cross-stitch

What am I stitching? (Or rather what was I stitching, the card has long been with the recipient ;-)) Answers in the comments, as usual.