Summer stitching

What with first my sister then a friend moving house, a penpal giving birth to a baby girl (yes, I have penpals) and my godson’s 2nd birthday coming up in September, I ended up stitching a few cross stitch cards over the summer. Obviously I took photos of all my stitching (wellll… apparantly not all, see next paragraph), and where better to save them for posterity than on my blog? 😉

For my sister’s new home card, I choose a bird house design that had appeared in a collection of “spring stitches” in one of my magazines. Not very imaginative (is it just me or do loads of new home cards feature bird houses?), but cute. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have taken a photo of it… and if I did it’s gone now! In my attempt to figure out why there was no photo of this card anywhere, I managed to accidently delete all the folders on my camera’s memory card… 2 days before I was due to fly to Taiwan!! When a friend moved home a few weeks later, it occurred to me that a beehive would also make an excellent theme for a new home card! I knew I’d seen bees somewhere in one of my magazines, so I went on a search through some back issues, and was soon rewarded. This little beehive is actually part of a larger sampler that I don’t like very much – too old fashioned for my tastes! But this little picture alone is cute, and the perfect size for a card!

cross stitch

In June, a penpal in Germany gave birth to a baby girl. I knew she was having a girl in advance, so I stitched most of the card then spent the rest of the month waiting to find out the name. A birth announcement card was waiting for me when I returned from Vienna, so I was able to quickly finish the card and get it sent off along with the gift I had bought. I’ve blurred out the name on the photo because I don’t like to share the names of other people’s babies on my blog… even if there is zero chance of you ever working out who she is!

cross stitch
Finally, having failed to find a nice birthday card for my godson in the shops (where are all the decent kids’ birthday cards?!), I decided to stitch my own. It took me a looong time to find an image in my magazines that was suitable for a small boy… sooo many fairies and cutsie mice! But I eventually decided on a skateboarding tortoise. I haven’t actually turned this one into a card yet (that will happen when I get back from Taiwan – tomorrow, in case anyone is wondering. Assuming no Icelandic volcanoes have erupted since I sheduled this post!), but here’s a photo of the cross stitch itself:

Tortoise

And that’s what I’ve been stitching for other people this summer. I also mentioned in my latest photo an hour post that I’m working on something for my kitchen. I still have one more thing to stitch for that (I have a frame with four gaps), then all four little pictures will be up on the blog, so look out for that!

What am I stitching? Part 2

Well hello there, and welcome to another exciting episode of What am I stitching? What do you mean it wasn’t that exciting the first time round? Don’t lie… you looooove guessing what on Earth my cross stitched picture is going to be 😉

So, last week I posted this photo of how far I’d come with a gift I’m stitching for a friend’s baby and asked you to guess what it was:

Cross stitch

These are the two responses I got:
The Pink Rachael thought it might be a banana eating a baby caterpillar. I think I like this guess better than the real answer 😉
Sunshine of the Tropics went with a slightly more traditional idea: A teddy bear sitting in a crescent moon. Ooooh, a clever guess there, Sunshine.

And now for this week’s picture. Based on this, what on Earth do you think I might be stitching?

What am I going to be?
What am I going to be?

Jan knows exactly what I’m doing, but he’s still more than willing to tell me what it looks like at each stage, so once you’ve got your guesses in I shall reveal his answer as well.

And now, over to you.

Preoccupied

It’s been days since I last blogged! So much for my resolution to update more often… But there’s something else that’s been keeping me busy. Something I can’t walk past without feeling compelled to sit down for just a minute (and it’s sitting in the living room, which is between our bedroom and the room the computer’s in, so I walk past it a lot). A minute is never long enough though, I get absorbed and am overtaken by the determination to actually achieve something. The next thing I know, hours have passed!
What am I talking about?

It’s a jigsaw puzzle! Not the most productive use of my time (especially when I should be cleaning the kitchen…), but at least it keeps me busy while Jan is away, yet again! Normal blogging service shall resume as soon as I’ve fitted the last piece 😉

For a good cause…

I wanted to show you some of the results of the project I was telling you about in my last post, but the computer is refusing to upload photos from my camera so I shall just have to tell you instead…

After getting a few cross stitch designs onto paper, I decided it was about time to start getting a few of them onto fabric to find out whether what I’d been imagining could even work. There’s a world of difference between a few symbols on squared paper and an actual cross-stitched product! So I got some of the leftover Aida from a previous project, dug out some of the threads I no longer needed and gave it a whirl. And… success! I managed to produce a toadstool that actually looked like a toadstool! A few days before that an online friend had mentioned that she was running an auction in aid of the Shaken Baby Syndrome SUpport Network and was looking for people who made things and would be wiling to donate something for the auction. I decided this was an excellent first step on the road to my long-term goal (more on that later) and started stitching like crazy, managing to produce a bookmark, a birthday card and three gift tags, all in just over a week. Not bad for someone who works full time! The auction is on next Tuesday, so I guess then I’ll find out whether anyone is actually willing to buy my creations and whether it’s worth persuing my other idea. Which brings me back to long-term goals…

Back when I started toying with the idea of maybe designing my own cross stitch patterns, the vague idea of possibly selling them at some point also crossed my mind. At the time I dismissed it, but once I had actually started putting the designs on paper, the idea returned. What if, I thought, I created a shop on DaWanda (the German version of Etsy, for those who are wondering), sold some self-designed and hand-made cross stitched products and gave all the money to charity? Finally a hobby that might actually lead to something meaningful! Sounds good, no? Currently, though, I’m not actually sure whether I will ever be able to put my idea into practice. German law says that if I make things with the intention of selling them I am running a business, and have to register myself as such. What nobody seems to know is whether this is still the case if I don’t even want the money I’ll be earning from selling my stuff. My plan is to give every single penny to charity. No earning back the costs of material then giving the rest to charity. 100% of the selling price would go to whichever organisation I wanted to help at the time (the plan also involves switching charities once in a while to help as many people as possible). So for now I’m still researching and reading and asking questions and, of course, waiting to find out whether anyone even wants the items I’ve donated for the aforementioned auction. And in the meantime I shall continue to draw (badly) and design and stitch, so that if my shop ever does come into being I will actually have something to sell in it. Stay tuned…

Oh, and the auction that I have possible donated my creations to (if they actually manage to arrive on time) has a Facebook page here which you all need to go and look at and bid on stuff. It’s for a good cause you know…

Memety meme

It’s meme time again methinks.
The original idea of this one was to answer the questions using one word only. But like the person I stole it from, katyboo, I’ve decided to completely ignore the one word thing and just answer the questions. Here goes…

1. Where is your cell phone? It’s a mobile, not a cell phone. In America it may be a cell phone, but here it’s a mobile.
Umm, as for where mine is…. still in my work bag I believe. Actually I should take it out and turn it back off silent. I’m expecting a call…


2. Your significant other? At work. And probably will be for a while. My boyfriend has a thing for working late.


3. Your hair? Is sort of reddish brown. I used to hate it. These days I think it’s ok… some days at least.


4. Your mother? is in England I presume. I’d be quite worried if she wasn’t. My friends all think she’s brilliant cos she was only 20 when i was born so she’s still really cool, unlike there parents who like to play Bingo at the local working men’s club and would never drink cocktails in Spain with their daughters.


5. Your father? He’s in England too. Probably looking after my two year old brother. The man is insane!


6. Your favourite thing? it changes a lot. I have lots of favourite thing. Probably my most favourite thing of all is books though, closely followed by mashed potatoes. And currently I’m love with my new jumper. Jan bought me it last week and it’s very, very nice.


7. Your dream last night? I don’t remember dreaming. I just know I was woken up three times by the sound of my boyfriend grinding his teeth. Funnily enough I’ve been tired all day… again.


8. Your favorite drink? Orange Ribena. You can’t get it here though. Damn Germans depriving me of my favourite things…


9. Your dream/goal? As a ki I dreamed of being a writer. Now I’d settle for translating books. Apparantly there’s not much money in it though so I’d have to get rich first.


10. The room you’re in? That would be my room in the German student residence that I currently live in. It’s far too small for all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the two years I’ve been living here, and it’s the only room I have to live in. Regular readers will know that I’m fed up of it and really, really, really want to move out.

11. Your hobby? What, you think I have time for hobbies?? Well, alright I suppose blogging is a hobby. That then. And reading. Having to take a tram to work gives me time for that.


12. Your fear? Losing all my friends. Oh, and that I’ll never get married. I have visions of myself ending up as a mad cat lady with no family or friends. And I don’t even like cats, which makes it extra scary.


13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Not living in this student residence for a start. Other than that.. who knows. It would be nice to wax lyrical about husbands and well paying jobs but then I’ll only be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

14. What you’re not? Talented. At anything. Unless translation counts as a talent. Does it?


15. Muffins? What about them? they’re a kind of cake. I like the double chocolate ones, especially when they’re still warm and the chocolate chips inside are all soft and gooey.


16. One of your wish list items? Books. Lots and lots and lots of books. I have a list of books I want to read – it currently takes up about 10 A4 sheets of paper and I keep adding to it Or failing the books I’d settle for enough money to buy them all myself.


17. Where you grew up? All over the place. My dad was in the army. We never got sent to anywhere exciting though. Just northern Ireland for two years. But the place I consider home would be Northumberland. I moved there when I was 13 and it was the first place I’d ever lived by choice (my dad was out of the army by then and I moved up to live with him).


18. The last thing you did? Wrote the answer to the last question. Oh, you mean before that. Err, took a tram home from work. Exciting no?


19. What are you wearing? Dark grey work trousers, a polo neck and a brown jacket with fur around the hood. Oh yeah, and Snoopy socks.


20. Favorite gadget? Does a potato masher count as a gadget? Jan’s got one with two mashy bits, one that’s fixed at the bottom then a second one that moves towards the one at the bottom when you press down so the potatoes that have come through the first mashy bit get squished too. It’s brilliant.


21. Your pets? Ha! Like I’d be allowed any of them in a student residence!


22. Your computer? non-exisitent. Seriously, I don’t have one. This here belongs to the boyfriend.


23. Your mood? Is tired a mood? If not then no mood, they take up too much energy.


24. Missing someone? I live in Germany. Almost all my friends are in England. What do you think?


25. Your car? DOn’t have one of those. I can’t even drive. My mum’s been going on at me about learning for years but she’s not willing to pay for the bloody lessons is she.


26. Something you’re not wearing? A hat.


27. Favourite store? I can’t possibly answer that. There’s too many! I do like Tally Weijl though. And Nanu Nana.


28. Like someone? No, of course not. I hate everybody in the whooole world. Including myself. And my boyfriend. What kind of a daft question is that?


29. Your favourite colour? red


30. When is the last time you laughed? Earlier today, at the bosses dog. She’s only a puppy and very silly.

Bookcrossers cross books at bookcrossing.com

Wow, I think I should blog about Joachim Loew smoking more often. I’ve had more hits tody than ever before (ok, I’ve only been blogging here for a week, but still…) The stats now say:

does joachim loew smoke? – 3
joachim löw smoking – 2
+ “joachim löw” + cigarette – 2
joachim löw cigarette – 1
joachim loew cigarette – 1
loew smoking – 1
“loew smoking” – 1
joachim loew+smoking – 1
joachim loew+cigarette – 1
joachim cigarette germany – 1

The numbers are how many people have searched for that phrase. Anyway, Mr. Loew isn’t what I want to talk about now. Instead I want to advertise one of my favourite websites, http://www.bookcrossing.com

Bookcrossing is brilliant, especially if you’re a book lover like me, and I think everyone should join. Basically it’s like a giant book club. The idea is you sign up for free, register any books you don’t want any more and they give you a number for them, called a Bookcrossing ID. You write the ID on the book, along with a note explaining that it’s a book crossing book (there are even special labels with a message already on them, all you have to do is fill in the BC ID). Then you can either leave the book somewhere (called wild releasing) or pass it on to someone else in person. If the boom is left in the wild, bookcrossers can find the book, go to the website and enter the number and you get an email telling you where the book is now. One book I left in Newcastle was taken by someone from Innsbruck! You then get to go looking for books that other people have “released”. You can set up your bookcrossing account so that you get an email every time someone releases a book in a town of your choice, so that you can go out and try to track it down.

There are also official book crossing zones, known as OBCZs in bookcrossing slang. These are public places, usually cafés, where one or two bookcrossing members have set up a bookshelf specially for bookcrossing books. Members can leave their books there instead of releasing them somewhere random. Other members can then come to that place and be guaranteed to find books. Another good thing about OBCZs is that they are set up by someone who lives in that town, and you can usually assume that they will pick somewhere good. Every time I go on holiday I check whether there’s a bookcrossing zone in that town. Not only can I gather new reading material, but at the same time I’m guaranteed to find at least one good place for a coffee while I’m on holiday.

I love the concept of bookcrossing. If more people got involved in this, less books would get thrown away. No book should ever be thrown away, unless it’s missing pages or disintegrated after being dropped in the bath. If you don’t want your books give them to bookcrossing! It’s not like it costs you anything…

For more information, and to register, check out http://www.bookcrossing.com

Oh, and I have to admit, I didn’t dream up the title of this blog – I’m not that creative! I actually stole it from the title of a group on Studivz (the German version of Facebook). Credit where credit’s due and all that…