Celebrate good times… with cross stitch

Many people will not look back fondly on 2016… they will remember it as the year of Brexit, numerous celebrity deaths and Trump making a mockery of everything. But for some people 2016 brought happy events. Pregnancies were announced and babies born (12 to people I know so far this year – and I’m not even exaggerating!). A friend got married and my sister got engaged. Here are a few of the things I’ve stitched for those occasions. Names have been cropped out to protect people’s privacy.

So far for next year all I have is my sister’s wedding to attend, but I’m sure many more things will come up by the end of 2017 that require me to get my needle out. For now though it’s all about the Christmas cards at Confuzzledom Towers!

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The year so far in cross stitch

I just realised that I haven’t actually uploaded any of my cross stitching so far this year. Not that I’ve done much, what with the move and everything,but I did manage to make a few cards. Unfortunately I have a habit of forgetting to take photos before I send the cards so there are at least three missing, but here are the ones I did remember to photograph! For each one, I’ve included a picture of the full card and a close up shot of the actual stitching.

First of all, a birhday card for a friend’s little girl whose birthday was at the beginning of February. A fairly simple one to stitch, but I thought it was incredibly cute.

Next, a Mother’s Day cardI stitched for my mum. I decided the little girl looked like me. Please take note of all the French knots – there were loads of them and I hate French knots! With this one I didn’t actually take a picture of the completed card for some reason.

I’ve made two New Home cards so far this year, but only took a photo of one of them. Both were of bird houses, but in slightly different styles. Here’s the one I did remember to take a photo of.

Finally, my most recent piece of stitching – a card for the wedding I attended at the weekend. Try to ignore the weird pink splodges! I had to block out the names to protect the innocent!

Next up will be a birthday card for my godson, then I think I’ll need to get started on Christmas cards based on how long they took me last year!

Would you appreciate being given a cross stitch card, or would you just throw it away?
Which of these cards is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

This week, I shall mostly be stitching

I was cross stitching a wedding sampler kit for my pen friend, who is getting married at the beginning of June. But then I messed up the picture to the extent that I’m not sure I’ll have enough thread to complete it. Fail!! And, of course, the thread the kit uses is not Anchor – the only kind I can buy here – and ordering extra would take too long. So I turned to my trusty magazines. I am now stitching this:

Cross stitch cake

Here’s where I’ve got to:

Cross stitch cake so far...
Cross stitch cake so far…

I’ve a long way to go, as you can see. I will also be adding the names and date.

With just over a week to go before  I have to get this in the post, I’m going to be spending all my spare minutes frantically trying to get it done. So if I don’t manage to update my blog regularly, that’s where I am…

Dark days are coming…

Don’t worry, the title of this post has nothing to do with my mental status. I mean it entirely literally…
I was most upset the other day when I got up the other morning and had to switch the light to see into my wardrobe. Admittedly it was 6 a.m., but still, it’s been ages since I’ve had to do that! And suddenly it occurred to me that Autumn is on its way. Despite the fact that we’ve barely even had summer yet. This week the sun has finally decided to come out, but instead of nice summer days the temperature decide to leap from about 12°C (toooo cold for summer) straight to 35°C. Throw in the fact that my place of work is basically a corrugated iron extension to another building, complete with lovely tin (well, some kind of metal) roof and no air conditioning and you can imagine how fun work has been! And of course the second the weekend arrived the temperature dropped and the heavens opened again. Murphy’s Law strikes again!

Part of the reason the coming of Autumn is such a shock is probably because we haven’t had a summer holiday this year. We did spend a week in England at the beginning of August, but a visit to my dad’s doesn’t really feel like a holiday… not to me anyway, maybe it’s different for Jan. And it especially doesn’t feel like a holiday when the main reason for going is to attend a wedding. I’ve actually been invited to another one on 2 September, but neither the bank balance nor the work situation will allow it. I will be getting a holiday soon enough though. Four days in Paris in October for my brother’s 21st. It really will be Autumn then! And if time keeps flying the way it has been this year it will be here in no time.

I hear wedding bells! (And no, they’re not for me)

I haven’t been able to blog in ages.
I had a crazily busy evil monster of a week during which I managed to work three hours of overtime despite leaving two hours early on the Friday to catch a flight… or rather two flights becuase there aren’t any direct ones from here to Newcastle. This was followed by a week in England that was equally as busy, but filled with much nicer things than customer demands and looming deadlines.

The main reason we flew to England was for a friend’s wedding, which my sister had previously been referring to as “the wedding of the century”. She had a point! the planning seemed to have been going on for decades. It’s going to be strange not having the regular Facebook updates now it’s all over! The bride even asked me last year whether I would absolutely, definitely 100% be attending – something I couldn’t promise that far in advance! And my sister was chief bridesmaid so she was right in the thick of it… going to wedding fairs, arranging hen nights (yes, plural!) and generally running round like a loon. I think it was all worth it though. The big day went off with no major glitches, the bride looked absolutley beautiful (as did the bridesmaids) and the couple looked happy enough to burst. It must be nice to know that you’ve found the love of your life and that they actually feel the same way too.
The reception was held at The Vermont Hotel, in Newcastle – rather posh with four stars! it’s right next to the Castle Keep (all that remains of the castle that gave the city its name) so some beautiful photos were taken there. Lunch – if you can even still call a meal that isn’t served til 4pm lunch! – was roast pork with crackling which I adore and which did not disappoint – it was delicious! As was the chocolate brownie that followed it. The buffet at the evening reception, on the other hand, was a letdown – although the chocolate fountain made up for it. All in all, a good time was had by all. Including the most important people – the bride and groom.

A girl I used to work with got married on the same day, and a week earlier I missed the wedding of another of my dad’s cousins (my colleague was off that week becuase of her birthday, so I couldn’t have time off as well), so it was wedding bells all round in July. My one and only male colleague’s wife went into hospital yesterday to give birth to their child, so we’re all awaiting news on that with bated breath (or at least I am – for all I know the others have already spoken to him) and I found out recently that a very good friend from university days is pregnant. And so the never ending cycle of weddings and pregnancies and births continues, while I quietly slip closer to the age of no return*

*I turn 28 on Saturday. Only 2 years til the big 3-0! How the hell did that happen? This year has sneaked up on me…

I wish it were simple but we give up easily*

long-distance-relationshipJan and I will have been together six years next month. Six whole years! I was practically still a kid when we got together. In those six years we’ve gone from being “in a relationship” to “in a long distance relationship” and then back to where we started. While every other relationship I was aware of has either moved on or ended we seem to have come to a complete standstill. Of course there have been changes in both of our lives, but they seem to have only happened to us as individuals, at different times as if we were two entirely separate entities who just happen to know one another (well, obviously we are two separate entities but you’d think there would be some mutual stuff in a relationship as well, right?)

So while all my friends are moving in together, buying houses, getting engaged, exchanging vows and having babies the two of us have moved out of our student residence and got our first flats separately, attended engagement parties and weddings as “boyfriend and girlfriend” (in what seems to me is the same sense of boyfriend and girlfriend that is uttered by 15 year olds) and bought dozens of gifts for other people’s children.

It’s not like I even want to get married and have babies at this stage in my life. I don’t even particularly want to get engaged yet. But it would be nice to feel like some day it might be my turn. What I would like is for us to get a flat together. I mean, I adore my flat, it’s the first place I’ve ever lived that was truly mine and it really is a nice place but only being able to have my boyfriend with my for some of the time… well, it gets a little lonely sometimes. I want to be able to wake up beside him every day (not just when he happens to be staying at mine). I want to know I’ll see him in the evening without having to ask. I want a bed that’s not mine, but ours. Is that really too much to ask?

quarto-desarrumado
Would he want to live with me if I cleaned up more often? (Photo: nanquimvirtual)

Sometimes I’ll find myself trying to work out reasons why he might not want to live with me, despite the fact that he tells me he dosn’t even know why. But it’s as if I need to have a cause so I can start trying to fix it. A while ago I got the idea into my head that once I had a proper job he would want to stay with me. Except then I found a proper job, moved into a flat (by myself), lost my proper job again and found a new one… and I’m still living alone. Now I occasionally think that maybe once I’ve got through my probation period things might start to happen. Then there was the time that I decided I needed to give him a reason to come home to me every night, so I started making sure tea was ready when he came home and he always had something clean to wear. He tells me he likes cooking with me though, so I guess that one’s backfired. A recurring theme (and something that I guess is always is that back of my mind) is thinking that he doesn’t want to live with me because he’s seen the state that my flat gets into, so every few months I’ll make a vow to myself to keep on top of the housework. Unfortunately, as I keep telling you (I am the proverbial stuck record!) my housewifely skills leave much to be desired. So I’ll clean and tidy the entire flat once and manage to wash the dishes immediately after we eat for maybe three days in a row, but then I get bored and the thought of the dishes waiting for me in the kitchen just makes me want to cry, and so I stop and once again Jan has to come home to a messy kitchen once again.

In my more logical moments I realise that whether he wants to live with me or not doesn’t depend on my job or my cooking or how tidy I am, but my logical moments are few and far between. Before long the crazy catches up with me again and I start obsessively cleaning the kitchen and dreaming up new and interesting dishes to win over my man’s heart (because we all know the way to that is through the stomach). And so it goes on, over and over again.

Sigh I know nobody said relationships were easy, but I wish someone had warned me it would be this hard…

*Title blatantly stolen from the song The Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall

The bringer of tea and toast

We survived our day at Castle Frankenstein. I didn’t catch sight of any Igors and no evil scientists seemed to be hanging around waiting to steal my brain. I did have to act as official interpreter for the civil ceremony with only about 20 minutes to prepare, but I was mostly translating for my family and I managed pretty well (despite the lack of dictionaries). Although I’m still annoyed with myself for forgetting the German word for ‘difficulties’ when translating the groom’s father’s speech into German (such a simple word and I’ve used it a million times…). Luckily the bride was able to help though.

We were both tired last night after getting up so early, so we were in bed by 10:30pm. Jan informs me that he caught a cold yesterday, so he’s still in bed even as I type despite the fact that it’s now 2:30pm. I went in at 1:30 to find out whether he wanted any lunch and he complained of a headache and asked for Erkältungstee (herbal tea for the curing of colds). So I fetched tea, I fetched cheese on toast and earlier I did some washing so that he would have something clean to put on in case he ever does decide to get up. And all that despite the fact that when I was ill he spent the entire week at his flat, leaving me to fend for myself. So much for gender equality…