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Monday, 15 December 2014

A night with the orchestra

So here I am again, it's has been a good few weeks for me....... not counting being ill right now *cough cough*. Yep man flu has invaded.... Plz don't worry about me, I will fight my way thru it. It's gonna be hard but I am strong *cough cough* lol.
 
So what's been happening over the last few weeks..... well not loads but some stitching, a visit to see Gracie and family for a brilliant night that Chelle played a part in, I suppose you want more info on that and as this is me just rambling on, I will indulge your desire for knowledge *lol*.
 
As I have said in a previous post, Helen is raising money to make some special memories for Bumblebee. Which my tattoo design has been made into needleminders and a chart (both still available and the chart can still be yours for Christmas via email) *shameless plug*. If interested plz leave a comment and I will tell you how to get the chart and needleminders are available from the 'No more lost needles group on Facebook >>>click here <<< and also Helen is making scissor fobs >>>click here for Facebook group<<< .......Right I think that is all the selling from me...... on with the blog *lol*.
 
So as I said Helen is doing a 'Hive of Activities' list...... see what she did there 'Hive' and Grace's nickname is Bumblebee, so clever *lol*. Michelle loves her music and wanted Grace to experience it too, an idea stuck her about getting Grace to see, hear and and feel an orchestra. So she emailed Gloucester Symphony Orchestra and much to her surprise they emailed back within 10 mins and they loved the idea. They said that they rehearse most Tuesday nights and Grace and family would be very welcome. So after a few emails back and fore a date was set. Much to our surprise Helen and Family said that we could go (which obviously we accepted straight away) mainly because I wanted to spend time with Grace...... ermmm I mean the family *lol* ...... seriously tho they are very close to my heart now and part of my family.
 
Gracie and Me
Tickle Monster and Me
saying hello
So the day arrived and off we went, driving up wasn't very interesting (well apart from an panicked toilet break..... eh Chelle?) *lol*. We arrived around 1 in the afternoon, had a cuppa and a quick catch up. Then it was time for them to get the kids from school..... Chelle went with Helen to get Grace and their older daughter and I went with Dave to get the Tickle Monster....... I was a tiny bit gutted coz I couldn't wait to see Grace again but hey Tickle Monster is a proper little dude and I love him to bits too. After we got back to the house we had some time to kill which meant me trying to get as many cuddles as Grace could give and Tickle Monster earning his name with plenty of tickle fight.... it was time to go.

 
 
Tickle Monster in a rare moment of not tickling......but probably just about too *lol*
 
 We got their a bit early *cue me freezing to death coz I am an idiot who didn't bring a coat* well that was until Dave was a gentleman and gave me his, which I promptly got lost in (he is massive, and I really am not lol). As it was cold we asked if we could go inside and wait..... They were lovely and said it was cool. While we were waiting for everyone to arrived one lady impressed Tickle monster (and me!) by playing the Scooby Doo theme tune on what I think was a clarinet!!


Grace loving the tunes
After a short time everyone was there and set up. They had been told that Grace loved Fantasia, so they had quickly learned a few pieces just for her. There was a lot of highlights that night but watching Grace start moving around to the music nearly made I eyes leak again *lol*. I have to say that the orchestra were brilliant and did everything possible to make us feel not only welcome but a part of the night. Which included letting us try different instruments like the french horn which I was amazing at, but poor Tickle Monster couldn't get a peep out of............. oh wait hold on that was the other way around *lmao*. Tickle Monster surprised everyone by getting an amazing note out of it on his first go and even better on his second....... Me on the other hand couldn't even make it squeak.......obviously I could of if I wanted but didn't want Tickle Monster to feel silly * looks around hoping people believe him* LMAO. Their older daughter who is learning piano joined in on a few songs and the rest of us had percussion bits and bobs to play with. Tickle Monster even join in the orchestra by sitting next to the flutist with his tambourine. Grace played with the double bass and loved the vibrations it made..... All in all it was a brilliant evening with a bunch of very talented and lovely people.

Tickle Monster in the orchestra
 
We all enjoy our night and Chelle and me had a great couple of days that went by far to fast. It was great to spend time with my extended family and share in their special evening, but our time had come to an end and home we went again.
 
So that was that really, nothing more to add I don't think......... well apart from two more people have heard me sleep talking in the morning *gulp* ....... and no that is all you are getting on that *lol*
 
So that is me for another post, I will try and do another in the next couple of days. It will definitely be a stitchy one and if your lucky I might even try and get a pic of every work in progress I have....... it could be a long one

Laters everyone

Oh and don't forget about charts, minders and fobs * last minute sales pitch*

Sunday, 7 December 2014

And yet another new start

 
 
Yes I have new started again, I know your shocked about that but this one is amazing! So let me tell you about it and one of my other loves.......MUSIC!
 
I have a massive musical taste and listen to pretty much everything but there is one band I have been listening to was about 13.... which is about *cough muffled voice * 25 years now. For those of you now trying to work out the maths..  that makes me 38 *lol*. That band is The Levellers, they are a UK based punk/folk outfit. There music is politically motivated in the words they sing but also very upbeat and happy tunes. The first song of theirs I heard was 'Carry me' <<<< Click for song.......and I was hooked. The more I listened the more I found that they sang words I believed in.
 
I have seen them live to many times to count and that is where they are that their best. They are a live band that just party on stage. It is clear when you see them do their thing that they love what they do and you can't help dancing and jumping around like a loon *lol*. If you get chance you really need to check them out.........their You Tube channel is here >>>>>>THE LEVELLERS<<<<<<
 
A few weeks ago Michelle (my other half) and me went to see them. It was 'Chelle's first time and she is now a fan! We had an amazing time right down the front and I came out an absolute sweaty mess with a huge smile! So when we got home an idea hit me....... I wanna stitch some Levellers artwork
.
 
 
 
 Just a few pics from the gig
 
After a short sleep (late night after still being pumped after gig lol) i went off to work. By the time lunchtime had come round I had decide I wanted to do the 'Carry Me' artwork and I wanted it to do it so it ended up being the 12 inch single size.
 
 
I have two members of the band on my friends list on Facebook, so I fired off a quick message to Matt (Keyboards) to ask for to write to for permission to use their art. Too my surprise he spoke to Jez (founder, bass player and artist), who gave me permission straight away *cue little boy grin*
 
The next step was getting the pic converted, so I got in touch with Sarah from Painefree crafts. Luckily for me it was just a one colour chart and she managed to get it done that night *cue even bigger grin and rushing around to find some 28ct to stitch it on!*
 
I found the fabric and as you can probably imagine started it instantly. As you know I have a lot of WIP's on the go but this is the only one I actually wanna hang in my house (all my others I love the art but i like the process of stitching more than the hanging of the end product........does that sound odd?? Probably as I am a bit odd *lol*. So this is the progress so far on it.
 



 
 I haven't done much as Snow Angel has still grabbed me by the throat and demanding I stitch her *lol*
 
 
So that is me done for another post, hopefully I will get round to another before Christmas. If I don't then i wish you all a very happy Christmas and a very stitchy New Year!!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Snow Angel the update

I suppose it's about time I updated you all on Snow Angel progress. As some of you will remember I started this as part of an event to raise money to get a beautiful little girl a highly specialised trike back in January of this year. For the event I stitch for 36HRS with no sleep., but that is enough of that!! This is about where I finished after 36hrs.


 
I was kindly donated the chart by Sarah at Painefreecrafts.com, so as I felt funny about making anything out of the event I decided to stitch it for Grace. I have been working on it now 10 months....  but as I can't stop 'New starting' it hasn't been a solid 10 months.




 

Altho I love this piece and it means so much to me, as all stitchers will tell you sometimes you get an itch you just can't scratch *lol*. In between starting Angel and now I have probably had 18 new starts *holy sh#t that is nearly 2 a month!* Lol. I have always felt a pull back to this, if I am honest sometimes only because of who it is for *heart melts while thinking of Gracie's smile and cuddles*
It really is a nice piece to work on and as soon as I saw the wings emerging, I knew how great it was gonna look.






 As a stitch it's not to confetti heavy, altho the wings can be a pain in the bum at times as the colours can be very similar. Quite often I think to myself "what is the point it looks the same as this one" but once you get a section done the blending is amazing and it is so worth all the hassle of the extra colours :-)




 
A pretty big moment for me was getting the top row of the chart done. I have recently changed how I stitch from just filling in as I go to cross country stitching. The change of method has speeded me up on end and definitely works well for me. So now I am cross country stitch a whole row at a time. I love seeing it grow this way.






I am now completely back in love with this again. I still do work on some of my others stitches (and had new starts lol) but this is definitely my main piece now and will be until completed and hanging on Grace's bedroom wall, watching over her :-)

 
Talking of new starts I had one this week which I will post about soon........ I'm so happy about this and is probably the only one I truly want to hang :-)...*building the hype*.......... but I'll tell you all about one of my others love next time

Catch you all later

Monday, 10 November 2014

My Hero *advance warning* Just me being the soft muppet i am!!! LOL

Sorry it's been ages since I got round to doing another post *slaps wrist*. I really do need to get my arse in gear lol. We have had loads going on here with visits in the half term from Alfie and Dawson, which included Alfie's birthday, trying to sort out a remortgage and getting quotes for a loft conversion (which has been put on hold as just out of price range *Boo!!* ), it has been pretty stressful on me and the missus but never mind we are both still here and on top of all that I have the anniversary of my Grandad's passing coming up.

I know my blog is about stitching and it was only gonna be about that when I first thought about it, but let's be honest it never has been (coz I waffle on even when typing *lmao*). So for this one I wanna talk about my hero!!

Not the best picture but the best I could do right now
 

So where to start............. My Grandad was the most perfect Grandad I could wish for. Yes he could shout (and used to scare the crap outta me when he did), but he was also the most loving Grandad too. One cuddle from him made you feel so safe and protected, and cuddles happen loads more than the telling you off. I'm sure he didn't means to sound so scary when he shouted and probably didn't even know he did! He would just be telling us off for doing something silly ( in my case most probably beating up my little bro lol).

I don't really wanna go into his life story too much as it probably not too interesting for all of you but I will tell you a bit. His name was Derek William Howard but always went by the name Bill (not sure if there is a reason for that other than Derek is a awful name * lol* ). He joined the Royal Navy at a young age and sailed all around the world. He met my Nan ( obviously she wasn't my Nan at the time *lol*) and they married. They both adored each other altho you wouldn't of believed it if you heard them bickering *lol*. They had 4 kids together and stayed together for the rest of their life's.
 
When he left the Navy he became a chippy (Carpenter not a chip shop owner *lol*). They were never rich people but what they had was yours if you wanted it and would always spend time with there Grandkids not just have them round for babysitting duty but actually spent time with us. I have such amazing memories of summer holidays when we would stay there in the day coz my Mum had to work. Grandad would teach me how to use tools and stuff like that, we just had a blast.
 
Life continued like that until my Nan passed. To be honest Grandad coped quite well considering and definitely better than my Nan would have. At Nan's funeral was the first time I saw my Grandad thru the non hero worshiping eyes, he looked sad, he looked fragile and he looked old before that he was always the big strong ex Navy bloke. If I am honest that upset me so much but it was a very emotional time for me
.
Like I say Grandad coped pretty well and started going out in the evenings once a week with my Mum and Dad. They only went to a little social club for a few drinks. Now this social club isn't the most happening place in the world and was mostly frequented by old people. My Grandad being the absolute legend he is became the one most of the old women want to sit with *LOL*. He also at the age of 84 came to see The Levellers with me. He loved it, this always makes me smile when I think of it too. The support act that night was The Wonder Stuff and they have a female violinist. So we left the venue and I asked what he thought and he said this "It was very good, I wish I could of been jumping around with you......*pauses* Oh and that bird on the violin was gorgeous!" I wonder where I get it from *Lmao*
 
Anyway after a good few years he started to become ill and was in and out of hospital towards the end. We all knew it was coming but still knocked me for six! I can still remember everything that happened that day......... I can still feel the sinking heartache when my phone rang at 09:56. It was one of them moments I just knew what had happened without picking it up. I left work straight away and walked  home, I got in at around 11 and just sat there shell shocked. I was talking to my cousin on Facebook and started doodling. I really didn't have any plans for getting inked but what came out was so perfect that i had to have it!
 
Later my Mum phoned and said that everyone had gone to my Grandad's house (which was at the end of my road). So off I went, I took my drawing with me coz lucky for me there is a tattooist about 500 yds from his house. So I walked into my Grandad's place and it felt empty, it just felt like a house not a home. Which was very odd for me and everyone else. My Nan and Grandad's place was always welcoming and it never felt different after my Nan passed. It felt to me as if my Nan might have stayed to wait for Grandad, then they both left together leaving the place empty and just a shell.
So anyway after spending sometime there with the family. I went straight to the tattooist and booked an appointment. Two days later I was inked



 
This ink was something I wanted to celebrate him, in my own little way show how he marked the person I am today. I also wanted it to be something for us both as I had always planned on getting one of his tattoos traced from his arm and put on me ( it was a pin up girl one if your interested). So how could I share this with him and no one else, well what I did was write a letter to him on the back of the original drawing and gave it him, just me and him have a copy now :-)
 
I had it inked on my shoulder blade so that he was always behind me driving me forward and ready to catch me if I fall, and on my chest I wear his St Christopher which will never leave me and I see that as him in front of me checking for problems before I reach them....... god I'm such a sad sack *lol*

One of the proudest day of my life was walking him into the church with all my cousins. Because he had served on active duty in the Navy he could have the white ensign draped on his coffin. I was struggling with the day anyway but that topped me off...... to this day I still think the tears that fell were equally of sadness and pride. It was like "Yeah, that is my Grandad.....My hero!"
 
So here I am, the person my hero helped mold. I can be very like him..... I sometimes shout unnecessarily, I can appear very guff but underneath all my bluff and bullshit is a very loving caring man. I hope I can am half the dad he was and in the future (far in the future kids!! *lol*) half the Grandad he was, that would mean I was doing ok and I know all my family feel the same!
 
If you are reading this dude or looking over me as I type I know you will be saying "Shut up you soft git!" and trying to slap me around the back of the head *lol*........ but it's all true Grandad........Love you and miss you everyday

So that me for another post sorry it's not stitchy but it just felt right

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Getting stung by a bumblebee

As some of you might already know, I draw. I mainly draw tattoo designs and after I had finished the stitchathon, I decided I wanted to mark the achievement and also tell the world I stitched!......that's right I had lost my caring what my mates or anyone else thinks of me and my stitching! It took me ages to get an idea I really liked and wanted to wear forever

After quite a few months I was just doodling and came up with an old dagger and heart design (not for any reason I was just killing time). I had already had a plan for my ink but somehow I looked at it and just knew what I needed to do. So I swapped out the dagger for a needle, made the scroll change into the thread and ran it through the eye of the needle. The writing in the scroll was easy! It was as much for Grace as it was for me, so after many hours of trying to get the script right I had this........


All it needed now was a bumblebee..........and boy did I struggle with that!!! I mean seriously what are bumblebee's? They are just a ball of hair with wings! After a few hrs of trying and not even coming close to anything other than very dodgy looking clip art cartoon looking ones......I freaked out and snapped all my pencils.... (I didn't really but bloody felt like it *lol*)

While having a break an idea hit me.....yep every now and then it happens *lmao*... While designing I uploaded progress pics to Facebook and people were saying how good it would be to stitch it and that got me thinking. While I can't chart and didn't really see a way of that happening I did know I could get custom needleminders done........Coz I had got some done of the pics of Grace and me when we finally met.

I spoke to Lisa at the No More Lost Needles group on Facebook where I get my minders from. She has loads of designs and offers a great service........and tries to get whatever you like...click here for link. I ask her if she thought making these designs into minders and selling them for Grace would be a good idea......of course it was a good idea it was mine! *lmao*. So after a little chat we decided on a price of £3.50 + p & p. ...With a pound going straight to Gracie's fund........this is what they look like


If you would like one please feel free to hit the link above and order one or all of them :-)

After the needleminders came out I was offered the opportunity of it being charted by Painefree crafts and it being sold for Gracie too.......I was pretty blown away by the offer and agreed straight away! There is also a Facebook group set up by Grace's mum who is making scissor fobs and bits....... again feel free to join the group >>>Here <<< and have a look about. If there is anything you are after just ask and Helen will do her best to find it for you. If you would like a chart, then they are £6. If you join the group and asked for payment details that would be great :-)

So anyway back to more manly things like tattoo's. ......So as I said I was struggling big time with drawing a bee, in the end I got the tattooist to do it for me......mainly so I could just get it inked.......I was getting impatient *lol*. I had decided to get it on the inside bicep on my right arm..... just felt right with that being my stitching arm. 

So the day arrived and I had been getting lots of grief from my right shoulder all week so I had a feeling this was gonna hurt!! I got in the chair and got comfy  (which wasn't easy with my shoulder playing up). After about an hr, the outline was done .......

After a short break for a smoke and to move my shoulder around. He got back on with the colour, after having the break everything had started getting sore! Still wasn't the worst pain I have ever had getting inked. With it being near the armpit I knew it wouldn't be easy but it was easier than I thought.........so about an hr and a half later, I had this permanently inked into my skin....... no more hiding from friends.........I CROSS STITCH WHAT THE F@#K YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT!! *lmao*



 I think they call this nailing your colours lol

So that's me outta here for a bit
Laters

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Hi Honey i'm home!! LOL


GUESS WHO'S BACK


Its been ages since I last posted on here........Have you missed me?........Yeah yeah whatever! Lol

So what have I been up to recently........well actually loads!!! I'm gonna give you a quick run down about stuff and some of it is pretty exciting.....(well for me at least lol)


So first off Chelle's boys came down to stay with us for 3 weeks in the summer. It's great to have all the kids around but I like quite time and time on my own......which is pretty much impossible when there is 5 kids in the house. Then it was my birthday and it was brilliant, I couldn't believe what happened! Lots of my Facebook friends sent me cards and presents and of course a few new charts.......The kids were calling me Facebook famous all day lol.


Right so I suppose I should talk cross stitch for a while, I had a new start which if I remember rightly I started on my birthday......I think it should be the law to have a new start on your birthday or any other big event for that matter!!

I have been looking at trying out cross country stitching recently, which is where you stitch all of one colour in the chart before starting the next...........people normally do this one page at a time.......well me bring the idiot I am, I have decided to stitch one colour across the whole 35 page chart!! This could go horrible wrong LMAO


This is what I have picked to start on, it is from Colour Cascade Fabrics and called Girlie sketch #6.
Colour Cascade do some amazing charts and if your into your hand dyed fabric, then you could lose a few hrs if not days just by clicking this link >>>>ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!<<<<
I took one look at it and knew it would look great growing colour by colour and got on it straight away. Being the impatient bloke I am, I printed the chart and got down to some serious highlighting!

Now for those of you who don't cross country but maybe want to try. What you do is this, highlight all of your chosen first stitch (I would suggest a dark colour and one there is a lot of). Highlight with a light colour like yellow to mark that it is one to stitch and knock it off with a darker one when stitched to make it easy to see when done.......... OOo get me playing teacher LOL.


Anyway I got started marking off the Black and after what was quite a long time (LOL) I was ready to stitch and off I went









After about 2 nights I realised how much faster I was stitching and how I was actually loving stitching this way







and by the time I'd reached the end of my rotation time on this I knew I would never stitch my old way again!! I ended up doing 5 and a half pages of the black and definitely think it will be interesting to watch growing like this 

That's me checking out now but I will be back VERY soon with some amazing things that have come about and it has to do with Gracie again :-)
just a little clue it involves needles in more ways than one :-)


so that's me off
Laters