Category Archives: Cross Stitch

It only takes a minute girl!

Well I’ve been away from blogging for a while now. In fact, I have been avoiding a lot of things for a while. I’m not going to blame anything or anyone but myself for this negativity. I haven’t been idle for all this time and whilst one of the activities I have chosen to do can be attributed for this post, I have also started a Christmas stitch a long and am actually managing to keep up with it.

Christmas Stitch-a-Long

Last Tuesday evening, after finally accepting that I have a wardrobe of beautiful clothes that seem to have shrunk, I decided to visit Rosemary Conley online site. I have been a member for years and actually used the site to lose weight 5 years ago when I got down to my target weight. I had stayed within 7 lbs of this weight for quite a while. My love of cooking, which is an activity I have been doing a lot of recently along with my lack of exercise has contributed to a bit of excess flab around the waist.

50 and trim

Do we need diets? Well, I don’t think we necessarily do if we accept the reason we weigh a bit more (or a lot) than we should is the result of overeating and/or lack of exercise. There are medical exceptions to this; something I can’t put my weight gain to unfortunately. I think diets do give you a purpose to lose weight and whether you go alone in reaching your goal, or find other people to go along the journey with, they are certainly worth trying. It is important to learn how to eat correctly and the importance of exercise whilst doing it.

Which diet do you choose? I think you choose one that suits you. Personally, I do not like fad diets at all. All this do not eat after 7pm, this food group is not good for you or calorie counting is not what I’m all about. As for liquid diets; I would never go there. I still believe that is everyone’s choose though; just don’t try telling me I am wrong in my choice when you decide you are not going to eat bread!

So why have I been a member of Rosemary Conley? I have found her books and exercise DVDs very useful. The DVDs could be described as low impact but if you haven’t exercised for a long time, they are perfect. I love the music in them too although sometimes Steps can get on my nerves. The recipes in her diet books are brilliant; so much flavour and for someone who likes to cook homemade food, perfect. For my weight loss 5 years ago, whilst keeping an eye on what I ate, I did the Lifestyle Plan which wasn’t a diet as such but made me think about what I ate and gave me guides to aim for each week. The first week, I learnt to put a number on my rumbling tummy. I soon learned that my rumbling tummy did not mean I was hungry at 10 a.m. so my lunch could wait until lunchtime. Just following it meant I chose wisely when going out for a meal at a restaurant the day before my birthday, ate fish and chips on Brighton pier in the rain for my birthday and had a slice of homemade birthday cake. I still managed to lose 2lbs that week! On this plan, I gave up on a guilty pleasure, eating Pringles. Pringles were only something I bought at Christmas but once they were open, I had to eat them. I have been Pringles free for 5 years. Since then, I have given up on chocolates in tins; roses, quality street,celebrations. I would eat them without tasting and enjoying. This worked for me although it might not work for everyone.

On Tuesday, when I visited the website, I hadn’t stood on the scales for months. I had decided I didn’t want to be ruled by dieting. After cutting back on exercise but eating too much chocolate, crisps, biscuits and lots of homemade cakes (could you resist these?)

So yummy
A favourite
Do I need to say more!

I really needed to get back in to control. I just went to look at the diet plans and ended up signing up for their winter challenge; lose a stone in 8 weeks. I needed now to make the brave mood to weigh myself.

Wednesday morning, I woke to start the routine of weigh in. I am very particular on this routine. It has to be done first thing in the morning before any liquids or food passes through my lips. First of all, I like to be in the lightest clothes as possible; pyjamas are perfect for this. A visit to the bathroom is then necessary then I make my way to the kitchen. I weigh myself in this room because the floor is more level. I knew the result is not going to be good and I do the best of three. They are all the same; I have to lose a stone. Now I know, I feel a bit more motivated to try to lose it. I can do this one step at a time.

Evil numbers

First step is to give up eating in between and to stop picking at food whilst eating. A week later I have been okay with this. I have made Thursdays my weigh day so I will let you know if I have lost anything soon! Hopefully it will be a lighter me writing the next post.

Crazy Mummas, See What They’ve Done

Crazy, that’s what Kathryn said I was. That was a statement she made when I said I was continuing with my 30 day challenge of getting up at 5.30 a.m. every morning (well week days anyway). I am into my 4th week and as the weeks progress, it is a habit I am enjoying.

Reading the book, Challenge Yourself, I Dare You, has certainly inspired me to get on with my challenges and today I have 25 days left to finish. I also added another to the completed list; I have finally finished my Sweet Tea cross stitch. I actually started this challenge in August so it has taken me 9 months to complete.

Gorguss

This challenge, no 29 – start and complete a new sewing project has to be on the top 10 of my favourite challenges. It has made me restart a hobby that I enjoyed and made me a bit more disciplined. Apart from this week when I have devoted all spare time into doing my back stitch, I have tried to put aside time during the week whereby I can stitch. I am hoping to continue and carry on with my next project that Jordan bought me for Mother’s day (well with a bit of a hint from me!).

Start and complete a new sewing project

Here are a few things I learned from this challenge:

  1. Joining a cross stitch group encourages you to complete your project!
  2. Whilst enjoying the other stitcher’s achievements, don’t compare their timings. I am a plodder when it comes to most things so I tried not to get disappointed when someone else did the same project in 3 months!
  3. Find your own methods that work for you. I always start in the centre of a design as instructed and I always save the backstitch to the end. Other than those rules, I work my own way.
  4. When you make a mistake, if it’s too late to unpick, work round it. Don’t let it put you off. I did make a bit of an error and it did hold me up, but then I decided to stitch in another place and work it out at the end. I did just that and I don’t think it makes a difference. Just makes it unique.
  5. Don’t think you hate a stitch and allow it to put you off. I had a dread of back stitch. It took me five days to complete it but I really enjoyed it. I will not dread it so much in the future as it made me so happy when I saw the picture coming to life (even the drunk rabbit, Kathryn!). I was so overjoyed with my french knot (even if it is out a fraction. I can live with it!).
  6. Don’t open new project until one you are working on is finished. I am going to open it at the weekend.

Gorjuss Puddles of Love – next project

So I have now completed 30 challenges – just 20 to go! Maybe I need to get up at 5 a.m.!

I Know, I’ve Come So Far and It’s Not That Far To Go

34 days to complete the challenges. Can it be done?

29 completed
10 ongoing/planned
4 changes
7 still to do

There still looks an awful lot to be completed but I am confident that it can be achieved. A few are frightening me; languages to name one…or two in the case of German as well as French. Keep putting it off because of the cross stitching project.

Talking of the cross stitching project, I did want to have that finished at the weekend but still not achieved. I have picked something I am capable of but perhaps a little too big for me. I am nearly there but have a lot of stitching in the same colour to finish off. Oh and then there is the back stitch. I will keep going and it will be a big fat tick.

Sweet Tea Latest

I am slowly getting through Kathryn’s 10 favourite books and thoroughly enjoying them. I even read one whilst eating lunch (I think Kathryn might have done the same with that one). On Friday, Kathryn was not impressed that I hadn’t actually read a lot of that particular book but I was determined to finish it and it was a great read. I will also be downloading my last book of a different genre in the next week so that will be another big tick.

Kathryn’s Favourites

This week I am hoping to finish my upcycle/DIY something from a charity shop. I did start this a few weeks ago so I will put the finishing touches together and hopefully another tick done.

Challenge 43 – A start

There are 4 challenges that I am confident that I can complete in the next 35 days. I shall concentrate on the other 17 now!

It’s all about the food

8 weeks until D-day and this is the position:

23 completed
12 ongoing/planned
4 changes 
11 still to do 

I have not actually got any ticks this week but I thought I would inspire myself by moving two of my still to do into my planned category. I have to say I am so excited about these and they are going to happen at the weekend.

The first one is challenge no 42 – at Easter, make an Easter showstopper with daughter. For this, we have purchased a new bit of bakeware. It was a bit pricey but I do intend to use it a lot. Here is the beauty.

Cake tins for Easter Showstopper

I can’t promise a showstopper as seen on the Great British Bake Off but it will still be amazing.

Easter Sunday will see me abandoning the usual roast and attempting challenge no 7 – cook a three course meal consisting of three dishes which belong to three different cultures. There were rules:

 

I will reveal all later but this little beauty will be brought out again.

I have warned the family that the three courses might come out over the course of the day and they might not turn out perfect! Jordan did say that there is nothing to say it has to be perfect. We will have the cake to fall back on.

I am still busily stitching away and also took part in a 3 hour zumbathon for charity with Kathryn at the weekend. This certainly was good practice for the 10k run will be doing in June. It was also longer in time than my 10 mile run!

On our way to zumbathon – happy then!
Tonight’s update

Next week there will be more ticks!

She Works Hard for Her Ticks

It is 9 weeks until Tina’s D-day; the day I need to complete my challenges. Here is the position so far:

23 completed
10 ongoing/planned
4 changes (all confirmed accepted)
13 still to do (most of them achievable)

With 23 completed, I could look at it with my glass half empty and think 27 left; not achievable. Instead, my positive head is on, and I am looking at the 9 ongoing activities. A few of these are having to be almost treated as work (the rare enjoyable type) and certainly in the last few weeks, I have worked hard on one in particular and hope to complete by end of April. Putting that date down gives me an aim. The challenge is number 29, start and complete a sewing project.

I am not the fastest of cross stitchers; I just plod along at my own pace. Something I do with most of things in my life! I am also not known for finishing the projects. Having this as a challenge has made me want to finish it and it has also made me realise how much I enjoy stitching and when I have finished, I have my next one waiting to do. A great big hint to the kids; well a link to the site where they could buy the kit from and I had a happy mother’s day! I wanted this one because of the umbrella. I will not open until I have finished my first cutie.

Gorjuss Puddles of Love

I am at the moment trying to stitch every night but have made Tuesdays my big stitching day. I normally share a picture with Kathryn as the evening comes to an end. Last week was very exciting as I had finished the face.

Face completed

Yesterday, I did wonder if the end of the April is realistic (small voice is whispering you have got until 6 June). There is still a lot to do but I’m sure if I put my mind to it, this girl can!

Today’s start – end of April!!

As previously mentioned, I do actually get to watch a bit more television now. Last week I enjoyed watching Drew Barrymore in Miss You Already and last night’s film was Mother’s Day. I’ve caught up with Broadchurch, Mary Berry and this week’s film was Flashdance – I knew every scene!  Definitely a great hobby that I am going to look forward to continuing once my challenges are all ticked.

Tuesday evening’s work

Certainly working hard for my ticks.

Keep on moving, don’t stop blogging

March has come and panic has set in. Just under 3 months to complete my challenges; can I do it?

I have actually used the first week of March to get on top of some of the ongoing challenges: I have read, I have stitched, I have been running and I have been preparing some of the challenges. I hopefully won’t let Kathryn down. I have neglected my blog but I plan to change this.

Challenge 29 – Complete a sewing project
Challenge 6 – Read your daughter’s favourite books

 

First thing I have done is update my 50 challenge list:

  1. Purple is for completed
  2. Orange is for ongoing/planned
  3. Pink is for a change (which hopefully Kathryn has been approved)

First of all, I can confirm I have:

  1. 16 ticks for completed challenges✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓
  2. 10 items are ongoing/planned
  3. 3 changes and, (takes a huge gulp) 21 to start getting on with

In the next couple of weeks, I will share any completed challenges I haven’t written about before and the items that have been planned and will hopefully be turning to completed soon. Now let’s talk about the 3 changes:

Challenge no 2 – Visit the Ritz – paid for by your fabulous daughter

The Ritz was a wonderful idea (thinking about it, we could still visit and look but not have an afternoon tea!). Kathryn is a poor student; as well as that, she is in her final year so leading up to my (I can’t believe I am saying this) 51st birthday, she is extremely busy. However, she still needs a break and Kathryn and I were given a fabulous present from Jordan of a cookery course in London. We have booked ourselves on the Afternoon Tea course which sounds wonderful. We will make dainty sandwiches, pastries, a British cake and of course, scones – yummy! Hopefully this will incorporate challenge no 20 – try some sort of course with your daughter. Both of these I do plan to continue with Kathryn once she has finished her degree and will be earning money. Hoping to put a regular mother and daughter afternoon tea plus if we enjoy, take more cookery courses together in the future.

Challenge no 8 – Host a MacMillan Tea Party

I love baking so this shouldn’t be a problem but I have had a problem setting a date. I was planning to change it to a Comic Relief Tea Party but that hasn’t worked out either! So, I have actually signed up for our local radio station’s 1,000 faces to raise a £100 for their charity, Cash for Kids. I am going to raise money by inviting my friends for morning coffee, afternoon tea or supper instead of going out. Hopefully will plan a tea party to complete this challenge.

Over the weekend, I plan to get some of the 21 challenges moved to completed or planned. Wish me luck.

On the third month of the challenge

 I have

8 ticks ✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓

for completed challenges and

6 ongoing/planning

I am 3 months through the challenge (that means I have only 9 months to go before I reach 51!) and I thought I would write a quick update on what I have achieved. My 50 things to do in my 50th year page has been updated – I have highlighted all that is done – in my favourite colour – purple and all that I have started or are ongoing are highlighted in orange.

Challenges Completed

Challenge No 1 –  Learn how to skip – harder than I remember!  I was allowed a tick when I managed 5 skips.  2 weeks after this I did 10 but by July I managed 19.  Skipping is very good for you so I will try to continue this.

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Challenge No 23 – Day trip with your daughter this summer – a lovely day out to the Isle of Wight.

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Challenge No 25 – Change your running route one day – a lovely run to the beach and beyond.  I love running to the beach now.  It does give a bit of purpose to the run.  I realised by doing this that my usual run of running “round the block” of the estate I live in is like my security blanket.  I knew that home wasn’t far away and that is why I stuck to it.  Since I completed, I have changed my run a few times to include some hills in too!

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Challenge No 27 – Buy yourself some flowers.  A very pretty challenge and one I have continued and even managed to bribe my son into buying me some by picking him up so he didn’t have to pay out for a taxi! Even got him to wash the car so not bad at all.
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Challenge No 37 – Buy a new lipstick – loved this challenge and even wearing it into work now.
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Challenge No 40 – On a perfect summer’s day, make a picnic and eat it down the beach with your daughter.  This was so enjoyable.  I loved making the food and even made jaffa cakes – which I hadn’t realised were the Great British Bake Off’s challenge.  That in turn has lead me to try some of the other challenges.  Will share later.

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Challenge No 46 – In Lanzarote, buy a “Lanzarote” frame and at home print and put picture of you, your son and your daughter in it – I can look at this and remember our lovely holiday.
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Challenge No 47 – Buy and use a nail varnish colour you wouldn’t normally – bright orange it was!

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Ongoing/Planning

Challenge No 5 – Read a book every month of a genre you don’t/don’t often read – I have read three different books so far.  Looking forward to choosing 9 different reads.

Challenge No 6 – Read your daughter’s 10 favourite books – in paperback.  Why don’t the young get down with it and get a kindle!! Nice to read my daughter’s favourite books though. One down, 9 more to read.

Challenge No 8 – Host a MacMillan Tea Party – always wanted to do this and it will be great to hold it for charity. Have signed up for the coffee morning – just got to arrange and bake.

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Challenge No 10 – Sign up and run the Great South Run.  Well, I am signed up but having a problem with the training especially when my alarm doesn’t go off!  It is in just under 7 weeks away so hopefully going to buy myself some new trainers and lose some weight.  I am not sure if I can run the 10 miles but the advert says you can walk if you want.  Hopefully I can do it.

Challenge No 29 – Start and complete a new sewing project – I am sew enjoying this!  I am hoping to have this finished long before my challenge comes to an end. I think that there are certain people who are doubtful I will – I will show them.

Stitching achieved in less than a month
Stitching achieved in less than a month

Challenge No 49 – Make blog – well this is something I am enjoying so much.  I am hoping that as time goes on, I will get better at my blog posts but I am having fun learning!

So at the end of 3 months, I think I am on target.  As the evenings get darker, I will hopefully start to do some of the language challenges and lots of the cooking challenges.

I am loving doing these challenges – not reading so much but finding so much to do that time just whizzes by. It is also helping me be a bit more organised.  I really don’t have time to work though!

I Will Walk Ten Thousand Steps

One of my favourite presents for my birthday (apart from the Pandora ring, bright pink skechers, the Bakedinbaking club subscription, etc) is my fitbit.  I have set up my daily step goal, try to keep active during the hours of 9am and 6pm, set exercise goals for the week and keep track on my sleep.  There is also a facility to keep a count of weight, food I am eating and water I am drinking.  I haven’t used that yet but hopefully will.

Still one of my favourite things
Still one of my favourite things

At the moment I have set up the following per day:

  1. Steps 10,000
  2. Active Minutes 30
  3. Hourly Activity goal – 250 steps each hour between 9am – 6pm
  4. Active Minutes – 30 minutes
  5. Weekly exercise goals – 15 min plus on 5 days
  6. Time Asleep goal – 7 hrs 30 mins – suggested bedtime 10.15pm wake up time 6.00

Even though I am particularly active, I do have a job which involves sitting down so I do have to make sure that I put in extra walks.  I find it very hard to achieve my goals of 250 steps each hour on the days I work as well.

Another “fun” activity with the Fitbit is the challenges which you can do with your friends.  Every week I take part in the workweek hustle and weekend warrior with my Son, Jordan.  I don’t stand a chance with the workweek hustle as Jordan works in London and he uses public transport.  I work in a village which I can only get to by driving.  Weekends can be better as I do try to include a longer run at the weekends.  One of the weekend wins I had does make me laugh.  Jordan had got back to London and was feeling quite smug as he thought he had won.  He didn’t realise I hadn’t updated my steps.  I did have to get up out of bed and walk downstairs for good measure.  He was so upset the next day when he realised and goes out to beat me now! I did only win by 145 steps so it was a good job I made the extra effort!

A few weeks ago I had a very busy week at work and I didn’t achieve my steps two days. I only went to zumba one day and didn’t go running at all.  By the weekend I was so tired.  I decided that it would be a good idea to have a week of making sure I met my 10,000 steps and to see what activities I need to do to accomplish it.

Day
Running
Walking
Zumba
Work
House/other
Total
Saturday
3 walks – 3,000
5,900 House
1,338 other
10,238
Sunday
12,800
2,350
4,731 House
19,881
Monday
3 walks – 12,350
4,000
5,264 
21,614
Tuesday
2 walks – 
7,400
1,400
2,097 
10,897
Wednesday
2,300
4,400
1,500
3,413
11,613
Thursday
2 walks – 5,000
1,500
1,000 house 
2,731
10,231
Friday
2 walks-6,700
1,900
 1878
10,478
Normally I work Monday to Thursday but this week I swapped to Tuesday to Friday.   The table shows that my count for work is low.  I try to do some exercise in the mornings before going to work but this week I opted to stay in bed.  It did mean that I had to push myself after work to get in the extra steps.  Not too much of a problem on zumba day but Thursday I found that I was 1,000 under and it became dark at 9pm so I thought I would have a little game with myself and see how long it would take to get to 1,000 steps.  I cleared the dinner table (late dinner that night) and took the plates one by one to the kitchen, emptied bins (one by one again), went up and down the stairs around 5 times and swept the bathroom and kitchen.  All in all it took me 40 minutes.  Next day I thought I would walk for the same amount of time.  I did 5,000 steps in that time.

 

A lunch time walk along the beach
A lunch time walk along the beach

Although last week, I didn’t do any DVDs, I had previously found that the Gillian Michaels DVD I do only uses 900 steps for a 20 minute routine.  Walking 10 minutes uses 1,000 steps.  Whilst I could think I would rather walk, the DVD is quite a punishing routine and one that I know if I do regularly, my body shape will improve (well only if I stop baking!).  I do think that I will continue to do everything I can to do the 10,000 steps but I also recognise that it is important to do the exercises that aren’t going to have too much of an impact because they are just as important.

The other lesson is to make sure I get up early to do some of those steps in so that I am not trying to gain the 10,000 in the last hour of the day so I can sit down and make progress on my cross stitch challenge!
Day 2 of my stitching
Day 2 of my stitching

I’m Sew Excited

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Well this is quite a challenge. Why? It is because I am well known for starting a cross stitch project and not finishing it.

I started cross stitch in my 20s when Chris bought me a small kit for a stocking filler. He had to show me what to do as it did look double dutch to me but I soon got the hang of it. I was soon investing in bigger projects and every cross stitch magazine going. I joined round robins and found quite a community of people taking part. If this wasn’t enough, Chris set us up with a cross stitch website selling cross stitch kits from home. That was quite fun for a while too. When I went back to working again we closed the website down. I was now 40 and all of sudden I needed glasses for close work. I was also addicted to the internet so cross stitch was hard to fit in. I have tried to get a project in every now and then but never managed to finish so I am determined that I will complete this.

Now just choosing a project has been so difficult. I have spent 3 evenings over the last two months going through Sew and So’s site and have had so many different sorts in my shopping cart. Should I stitch for someone else? I did have threads so was I being a coward looking at a cross stitch kit.  How about Christmas stitching which is my favourite; look a completed design and one that comes out many years (word is children will not share this with any children they may have!).

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Thinking of Christmas, I started looking at Heritage, DMC and anchor designs. How about Country Companion or Tatty Ted? I have a few uncompleted Country Companions and I don’t know why as they are fantastic but have actually finished this lovely Tatty Ted.

Beautiful Tatty
Beautiful Tatty

Determined I was going to make my purchase on Friday before 1pm so I could have it delivered Saturday, I found my latest Sew and So brochure with a code for free needles, and a Bothy Threads kit from their Sew Dinky range caught my eye. I had stitched a Lowry kit from their range many years ago so thought I would have a look.

A very early stitching
A very early stitching

I found a Christmas kit in the range so put it in my trolley. Still not satisfied I searched for another hour. Time was ticking by but I was still determined I was going to make the purchase by 1pm. Finally after reading reviews and falling in love with Gorjuss range in the Bothy Threads collection, I thought I would actually stitch something for myself. Another big choice as there were so many designs but I wanted to fit it in with something I liked too. In the end I chose Sweet Tea cross stitch kit. Order in and delivered Saturday.

Gorguss
Gorjuss

Cross stitch is like choosing a book and the excitement of opening the package, sorting the threads (some dedicated stitchers will say sorting through the threads for the different colours is fun but not me) and starting it is exactly the same as starting a new book for me. I am pleased to say that the kit came with the material, needles, two thread cards with all numbered threads attached (hooray for me), large charts (I can see them), one for the cross stitch and one for the back stitching plus some beading and one french knot and also a sheet explaining where to start and the strands needed for the cross stitch and back stitch. They have given lots of advice so any beginner could stitch this kit. After reading it, I hope I don’t have too many problems. I have even joined Bothy Thread’s facebook group so I can hopefully get tips and encouragement.

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I plan to put the first stitch in tonight whilst watching Andy Murray win a gold medal! Will keep you posted with updates of how the project is coming along.