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.

 

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – round 2

There weren’t many guesses for the first round of “Guess the Cross Stitch”. Is this one too hard or is everyone just busy/bored with my blog? Either way, before we continue with round 2 I will present the guesses I’ve had so far.

Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

 

Maia thought it might be a teddy bears’ picnic, with the checked part being a blanket.

Erin guessed a castle.

Jack thought it might be a TARDIS (I knew someone would ;-))

Kezzie thought maybe a Monsters, Inc. character or Thomas the Tank Engine – both very fitting for a 1st birthday card.

And that was it. Just four guesses this time. Nobody got it right, so on to round 2. Here’s a new photo with more completed:

guess-the-cross-stitch

So, now can you guess what I’m stitching? Answers in the comments…

Recent doings #15

Another month, another link up with Kristin and Gretch. I know the use of the progressive form makes it sound like this is what’s happening right now, but I like the way it sounds, so just think of it as what I was doing in February, okay?

whats-new

Reading. All of these books for the bonus round of Erin’s challenge plus The Mysterious Howling, which is book one of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (I had originally planned to use it as my 6 word title for the challenge until I realised the six words were the series title, not the book title. *Sigh*). It was cute and fun and I loved it so much that I immediately ordered book 2 (but have yet to actually read it). I also read a children’s book called Hatching Magic to see whether my little brother might like it. I don’t know about him, but I LOVED it… but what’s not to love about a baby wyvern that’s addicted to chocolate? And right at the very end of the month I squeezed in The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. The author is new to me but I will definitely be reading more of her books! This one reminded me a bit of Sarah Addision Allen or some novels by Joanne Harris (who I adore!), except set in England and with books. It’s very quirky, whimsical and it just made me happy. It’s maybe a little cheesy and some may find the ending too perfect, but I don’t care. This book is like the literary equivalent of comfort food and it was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Watching. An animated film called Igor that featured the voices of Eddie Izzard and John Cleese but wasn’t as good as those names would suggest and Inglorious Basterds, which my mum gave us for Christmas when it first came out on DVD and we hadn’t actually got round to watching until now! Umm, I think I managed to sneak in a few episodes of Pointless as well, but that’s about it. Actually, Jan always has the TV on when he’s home but I rarely pay attention to what’s on it. Boring (to me) documentaries usually.

Celebrating. Our anniversary (way back at the beginning of the month). We’ve now been together for 13 whole years! Here’s hoping that turns out to be a lucky number for some ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eating. Apples. I’ve been trying out that old “an apple a day” thing. I have them with almond purรฉe (which is expensive by the way, even by Swiss standards!). Although I didn’t actually manage to have an apple every single day. I’ve also been trying to have fish twice a week – and not just in the form of tuna pasta bake. I may have resorted to fish fingers a few times… And of course I ate pancakes on Tuesday – some traditions are worth hanging on to!

Drinking. Dandelion tea and ginger & lemon tea in an attempt to cut down my caffeine intake. I still can’t bring myself to abandon my morning cup of normal (i.e. black) tea though!

Designing. My own cross stitch pattern! It will get its own blog post, but here’s a sneak preview of my designing process. So hi-tech ๐Ÿ˜‰

cross-stitch-design

Cross stitching. The above design, for one thing. Also birthday cards – one of which is still waiting for you to guess what it is. Just sayin’…

Buying. Apart from books you mean? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I bought a long black skirt a few weeks ago and have worn it almost constantly since then, except when it had to go in the wash because I spilled almond purรฉe all down it. I also bought a necklace from Etsy. Plus birthday presents for my friend’s son.

Building. IKEA furniture. Technically it was also purchased during February, but Jan paid for it so it felt wrong putting it under “buying”. Elaine was wondering where my tights had been stored before so I took before and after photos for you. The white thing is a fabric storage container that went in Jan’s old wardrobe but is the wrong size for the one we have now, so it had to live alongside it. The chest of drawers makes things look so much neater, don’t you think?

Organising. My books. One of the other items of furniture we got was another bookcase, so some of the books that were piled up on the shelves moved over there while others got rearranged. I’m sure it won’t be long before the chaos of more books than shelves reigns again, but for now it’s looking good!

Enjoying. The fact that it’s actually light when I finish work now! The first time it happened I got so excited that I went for a walk to the further away supermarket then only bought a carton of milk because that was all I could afford.

Going to. Winterthur, near Zurich the day before our anniversary. We walked around the town then went to the nature museum where there was an exhibition about bees. The bee exhibition was kind of disappointing but the rest of the museum made up for it.

Planning. A trip to Berlin at Easter and potentially a trip around Britain in the summer. One of those things is more finalised than the other.

Wishing. I was in Belgium so I could visit Kerri and her new puppy. Seriously, just look at that little face!! I so want a cuddle.

Wondering. Why doctors don’t just let people arrange appointments online already. It would save me a lot of attempts to say/spell my last name over the phone to German speakers who just cannot (or will not?) understand!

Hoping. That things go well with all the projects that Jan currently has going on at work. Please send good thoughts our way!

And just like that February is done and dusted! So, how was your month? Been doing anything fun recently?