short SAL begins: “Reading is Magic”

I mentioned there were people suffering from Barbara Ana-mania in France, didn’t I?  Well, since there’s no cure, we’ve decided simply to treat the symptoms which means . . . stitch a few more Barbara Ana designs throughout the year. Today is the first day of a short SAL (a four-stage one) just to keep us amused for a few weeks. 

“Reading is Magic” is the design (can be downloaded for free on Cyberstitchers) and here is the first stage to stitch.

And your photos . . .

Tambour du chas


blackwork 8-point star

Sometimes you just need a really small design to make a quick “thank you” pressie. Here’s a little blackwork design I drew and made into a scissor fob for a friend.

I stitched in red because that’s her favourite colour but of course, any colour would do. I originally drew one star in a 10 x 10 square so stitched four together to give me a 20 x 20 design.  When working the back, I decided I wanted something even quicker . . . so I enlarged the design lol. 

Chart in pdf format FREE blackwork 8 point star

this week’s line for Pelin Tezer

I’m busy working on a few small surprise stitches at the moment so it will be a few weeks before I can show off any of that. Only stitching I can show you today is the third line of the Pelin Tezer “Turkish Sampler”. 

La pie kikou is keeping up

Stay tuned for the “Barbara Ana-maniac” SAL which begin on Monday with the first of three designs for 2011.

feedback on Handeze gloves

After reading on Viooltje’s blog about hand trouble I realised that I never took the time to give feedback on my Handeze gloves which I bought in November.  I was suffering from pain in fingers & thumb (with pain even shooting up my forearm) especially in my right hand, which is the hand that holds my hoop or fabric.  It was so bad that I had to stop stitching for a few days.  I then invested in a pair of Handeze therapeutic gloves – which are more mittens than gloves – ordering a pair from 123Stitch.

My first impression was “a tad expensive for what they were, and will they really help?” . . . well let me tell you, I went and ordered myself a second pair the following week and (for my aches and pains at least) yes they really do help !  I suppose that wearing any kind of glove or mitten would help because they keep joints warm BUT the advantage of Handeze is that they are very light-weight, and even indoors with the heating on, my hands don’t get too hot. 

I actually wear a mitten ALL THE TIME on my right hand nowadays but don’t need to wear one on the other hand. Since I bought two pairs, that means I have 4 mittens, so I always have one on, one washed and drying, and the other two in a drawer lol.  The only time I take it off is when I need to put my hands in water (ie washing up, under the shower etc) or when I’m preparing food.   For stitching the mitten gives me relief, and also when I’m typing on the computer keyboard or using the mouse.  They were probably the best thing I have ever bought for crafts because, without them, I wouldn’t be able to stitch so much.

Open SAL 2011 – I’m having a Tiddles year

A French blogging friend has organised an “Open” SAL on her blog for the next 12 months. Stitchers have been signing up as it’s the opportunity to spur one another on and stitch something from our stash. Everyone is stitching something different (which is why it’s an “Open” SAL).  I  have a couple of Peter Underhill kits in my stash and couldn’t decide whether to do “Happy Crisp Mouse” or “Meals on Wheels” so when in doubt . . . do both lol.

The idea is to stitch one from January to June and the second one from July to December.  That’s the idea anyway, we’ll  see how I get on.  Here’s first photo to show progress for January.

“Keeping Corner” – Kashmira Sheth

(photo from amazon)

I found this interesting novel in the teenager section of my local library, so I actually read the French translation and not the English version.  The author, Kashmira Seth, (who emigrated from India to the US at the age of 17) writes about one year in the life of Leela. 

Engaged at the age of two, married at nine, Leela is suddenly widowed at the age of 12.  The weight of tradition bears down on her and she has to shave her head, give up all her jewellry and beautiful saris, to wear a plain earth-coloured one. She is not allowed to join in normal community activites and has to spend all her time at home, in bereavement, facing  a future where she will never be allowed to remarry. 

Set in India of the 1920s with the political backdrop of the British in India and Gandhi’s non-violent protests, I found this a great read. Kashmira Sheth is writing for teenagers but I thoroughly enjoyed her style. I have discovered since, that this is not her first novel. Her first is “Blue Jasmine” about a little girl who emigrates to the US  (inspired  by Kashmira’s own experience) and I think her latest one is “Boys Without Names” (about child labour in in India).

Volume 2 of Isabelle Vautier’s hearts


Calling all Isabelle Vautier fans . . . news hot off the press is that the long-awaited Volume 2 of Isabelle Vautier’s heart designs is out.  Ninety-four of her famous hearts grouped together in this second volume which you can have a look at here  If you click on “feuilleter un extrait” you’ll be able to turn a few pages and see inside. 

I also found out, from Isabelle’s blog, that she’s going to be in Paris next month at the crafts show “L’Aiguille en Fête” to promote her new book and it just so happens I’m going to the show on 11th February lol.  I’m not sure if I’ll be buying myself a copy just yet though since money has been ear-marked for fitness DVDs and my future Ereader.  In theory I’m going to the crafts show merely to look and drool, not buy ^^

Ereader – decision decisions

After the article earlier this month, I have finally made up my mind regarding my future Ereader.  I’m going to buy myself a Cybook Opus by Bookeen.

It’s a 5″ screen and one of the lightest on the market. Possibly not the “best” by some standards but I feel it’s the one for me.  It has enough memory to store 1Go yet also has the SD slot in case my library expands out of all proportion. It doesn’t have tactle screen or any extras, like MP3 or text-to-speech . . . but I want my Ereader to read with so that’s fine by me.  I now have to make the next decision . . . what colour to choose lol.  The Cybook Opus exists in quite a few colours, so now I’m umming and ahhing.  Should I go for something “timeless” and just choose, black, white or pearl . . . something more original yet discreet (in which case I like the blue) or should I be totally outrageous and buy in orange, red or green?  What a dilemma. 

cardio with Joanna Hall

I’m still busy making new resolutions for the coming year but ones I have given serious thought to, so really plan on carrying them through. One of them is to do with fitness.  I stopped smoking on 1st September which I am really proud about. It isn’t the first time I have given up smoking but this time I honestly believe it’s for good.  I don’t feel the slightest craving (despite living with 2 smokers) and I honestly feel a lot better for having stopped. However . . . I have already put on 5 kilos since September and want neither to keep these extra kilos nor see new kilos piling on.  So . . . the resolution is to shift that extra weight by doing some exercise. 

As with most things I undertake, I have been doing some “research” over the past few days to see what would best suit me. I am NOT a sports-loving gal, never have been and it’s not at my age that I will suddenly become all energetic. I don’t want to sign up at a sports club or gym because that means having to leave home and GO somewhere . . . which I know I won’t want to do.  And I don’t want to have to buy any expensive equipment (so the Wii and all those fun-looking exercise machines are out lol).

What I AM thinking of doing though is . . . buy myself a couple of DVDs and have 45 minute workout sessions at home a couple of times a week.  On youtube I have been watching videos of Step,  Stepdance, LIA (Low Impact Aerobics), Aerobics, and . . . discovered Joanna Hall.  I’ve obviously been living in France for far too long, because it seems that Joanna Hall is a household name in the UK with her “walking” technique and her “carbs curfew”. 

She sounds like a sensible lady, and I’ve had the chance to see a 5 minute extract of some of her exericises which look perfectly suited to the middle-aged, not particularly fit, lady that I am and I am going to buy myself one of her DVDs to start my exercises with. 

This is the video I shall be buying Joanna Hall - 28 Day Total Body Plan [Import anglais]

I assume it’s the one the youtube extract comes from

Husband and kids all think it’s a hoot – Mum wanting to do some get-fit . . . and the only comments they are capable of is “you could simply go jogging” .  But I’m used to the lack of support from them. Had no support over the no-smoking so I don’t expect any over the “get fit”. 

What they don’t know though, is that if I enjoy working out with Joanna Hall, then I shall invest in a few more DVDs later AND my very own “step” because I’ve seen quite a few videos of Step and reckon that could be quite fun.