thread sorters – “Le petit atelier de Béa”

I often pop along to Le petit atelier de Béa, on my blog-hopping sessions . . . Béa is a French lady who does lots of different crafts, including toy-making, card-making, and  making objects with fimo.  All her crafts work is really beautiful and, like many people these days, she has started up her own little business, selling some of her wares via her blog, but also at craft fayres.

Anyway, to cut a long story short . . . I bought a few little fimo thread sorters from her and they are absoultely gorgeous.

Since everything is hand-made, Béa doesn’t go in for mass production, but only makes one or two of each design, so my little thread sorters are all “limited editions” which makes them even more special.

And . . . because she knows I collect bookmarks, Béa also made me a lovely bookmark which she sent along with my order.  Now, how thoughtful is that?

So a huge thank you to Béa.

“Christmas Spirit” progress

It’s amazing how fast a cross stitch project can come along when you concentrate on just one project lol.  I’m so used to switching from one project to another, that I’d forgotten what a difference several consecutive stitching sessions can make.  In a bid to notch up a new finish very soon (so that I can begin a new project) I have been working on just “Christmas Spirit” (Joan Elliott). Here is what she looked like only a few days ago

(photo taken on 19th April)

and here is how she looks now

with a zoom to show you the area I’ve been working on

I decided NOT to add beadwork until I have completed all cross stitch and most of the backstich because I’m stitching on a very supple linen so need to use a hoop which makes any beadwork problematic for the moment.  I will also probably not do all of the recommended backstitching – ie, there should be stitching with metallic thread on some areas but since I hate metallic threads, I’m thinking of not adding it. I suppose it’s a question of “wait and see” what she looks like once the main backstitch is done and if I want to go for a less-ornate finish.

One thing is for sure – there is very little cross stitching left to do. Finish off the shoulders, move up to the collar and head, a little bit of sleeve and hands . . . backstitching and beading . . . she could well be finished by the beginining of May ^^

1st injection . . . I did it , yay ^^

Just back from vet’s with Willow, feeling mighty proud of myself . . . I didn’t chicken out this time, I actually managed to do my very first injection lol.  Obviously, couldn’t have done it without the coaching of the lovely vet’s assistant AND without the full cooperation of the patient. Willow was wonderful – she didn’t move so much as a whisker . . . she just lay there, looking as though her last hour had come ^^ and seemed as almost as surprised as me, that I managed to stick a needle in her without shaking (too much).

We’ll be going back on Saturday afternoon, so that I do the next injection under supervision too . . .  and then, I should be able to administer the remaining 4 antibiotic shots on my own.

The “visit” today also gave the vet the opportunity to examine Willow’s mouth again. It’s only been 48 hours since the cortisone injection, so a little early to see any real improvement, but things do look slightly prettier.  So, there you have it . . . just thought I’d share the news that I didn’t chicken out this time and that Willow is the best patient ever.

it’s Willow’s turn

Yesterday it was Willow’s turn to be shoved in the cat box and taken off to the vet.

She’s almost 5 years old and hasn’t had many health complaints over the years (apart from mysteriously fracturing her pelvis a few years back). However, since June last year she seems to be plagued with a chronic “mouth problem”.  First signs were swollen throat, gums and tongue – for which she had cortisone treatment and it seemed to right itself. But then, in November we noticed swollen glands again AND swelling on the upper lips (both internally & externally). Vet said it was an auto-immune thing, quite common with cats so she had another treatment of cortisone. Back in December, because it never really cleared up properly so treatment was extended . . . and back AGAIN end of February because it had flared up again.

And only 2 months later, it’s back !

So I took the poor thing along yesterday, wanting to know if there was no other treatment that could sort her out. and the answer was “No”. It’s a chronic condition and will simply have to be treated each time it flares up (which is in my opinion is far too frequent at the moment).  Anyway, vet gave her a good check-up. It obviously hasn’t stopped her eating because weight was normal at 5.1 kg but it has changed her behaviour.  She’s never been a terribly sociable cat, preferring to stay upstairs, well away from the dog . . . but lately she’s literally been hiding and only creeps out of her hiding place when no one is looking.

Vet looked through his medical books to see if there weren’t any new products on the market he could try. And there weren’t. BUT he decided to change things slightly and put her on a much longer course of treatment. Before it was tablets – over a 3 week period. This time he’s going to attempt something more drastic.  Treatment by injection: 3 lots, at 2 week intervals . . . so she’ll be on cortisone for 6 weeks instead of 3.  And, because cortisone, while reducing inflammation also lowers the immune system, she’s also going to be on a 2 week course of anti-biotics.

Knowing how I chickened out with Le Bleu’s injection earlier this month . . . vet began counting out anti-biotics in tablet form: morning & evening for the next 2 weeks . . . and I’m standing there looking at this pile of tablets wondering how on earth I’m going to manage to FIND Willow twice a day for the next 2 weeks (since she has so many out-of-reach hiding places in the house).   So I piped up and asked “Can’t we do it by injection?”

LOL  Utter stupifaction on vet’s face and a “Are you willing to learn this time?”  And me: “Well I’m going to have to, aren’t I?”.

Anti-biotic injections will be 1 every 48 hours for the next 2 weeks.  But vet has offered to coach me for the first ones.  He did the injection yesterday (before I had a chance to say anything), but I’m going to take her back to the clinic on Thursday and Saturday so that I do the injection with the vet by my side.  And from then on, I’ll be on my own for the remaining four.

You can’t really see much in the photo – her top lip just looks a little pink on one side but in reality it is really really swollen and inside looks positively yellow.  It must be so painful and I am determined this time to grit my teeth and do what it best to see her feeling better.   So . . . to be continued  . . .

“chupin’s quaker” – messing around with colours

Colour preference is a very personal thing – there’s no explaining it. Red, orange, purple, blue, green . . . and often, when we see a cross stitch design, we’re influenced by the colours. When I charted my first quaker, I charted in 3 shades of blue, so the title that sprang to mind was “Quaker in Blue” lol but of course there is nothing to say that the design wouldn’t look effective in other colours (either varying shades of the same, or completely contrasting colours).

When I charted my second Quaker:  “chupin’s quaker”, I selected a nice chocolate brown, a pretty pink and a turquoise blue – colours which I feel give the design a softer, more modern look. And that is how I have made the design available on-line.

However . . . this morning I decided to mess around with other colour combinations just to see what it would look like.  And here are a few screen shots of a few variations I tried.  There’s no point in asking me for precise colour references, because I didn’t save changes . . . I just grabbed a few colours (bascially the way I stitch . . . just delving into my thread bag until I find colours that go together nicely or even CLASH nicely lol).

Variation 1 – in orange, purple and chocolate gives it a sort of “Hallowe’en feel ^^

Variation 2 using 2 shades of blue and black gives for a more traditional sampler

Variation 3 with purple, royal blue and slate grey (or was it black?)

Variation 4 for “pink” people, with two shades of pink and slate grey (this isn’t my cup of tea even if I do like the contrast)

Variation 5 in orange, green and brown . . . mmmm not quite sure if this works, but it has a sort of autumn feel to it, and I do like orange and green ^^

And then . . . in case you forgot what the first version looked like

I think it’s great fun to mess around with colours and try something new.  After all this colour-swapping, I may well go for a rummage and pull out three skeins and start stitching lol.

FREE “chupin’s Quaker”

Another little freebie chupin’s Xstitch creation to share with you. I hope you like it.

You can download the chart in pdf format here FREE chupin’s quaker

I haven’t included colour references for threads as I think many stitchers like to mix and match their own colours. And the rectangle, where I’ve added “chupin’s Xstitch 2012” is for your initials or the date.   Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if this little Quaker takes your fancy. And of course, I would love to see photos if anyone stitches it.

some stitching progress

I mentioned (in a previous post) that I had been a naughty, naughty girl, and bought some more xstitch stuff for my stash BUT that I was going to be very strict with myself and not start anything new until I have a finish.

Well, I am sticking to that resolution (so far ^^) and have been working on two WIPs – alternating, depending whether or not I have a cat on my lap.

I have completed stage 3 of a SAL: “Rêverie au jardin” by Les fils de mimie stitching over 1 on 27 count Linda evenweave, so this is the ideal project when I have a cat to keep me company.

And the other project is Joan Elliott”s “Christmas Spirit”. It doesn’t actually look like I’ve done much since the last update which looked like this

but I have put in quite a few hours, filling in the white ruffle bit on the skirt, adding more ribbons AND beginning back stitch.  I plan on adding the beads to this section before tackling the upper half of the chart and, since I’m not going to be stitching wings or halo, I think I can safely say I’m more than half-way there.

Here’s a photo of what the complete design looks like (from a 2007 issue of “Cross Stitcher” magazine

aarrggghhhh . . . my overall average is coming down

Aarrggghhh, she cries lol . . . my overall average with Animal Care course is on a downward trend . . . so am really going to have to get my act together and try and stop it sliding even more. Just checked my grades for latest assignments submitted and got a 15/20, 18/20, 16/20 and 14/20. Which means my overall average is 17.77 / 20.  Strange, as I seem to be doing better on the written assignments than on the multiple choice ones . . . there always seem to be trick questions on the multiple choice assignments lol.

Anyway, overall results aren’t TOO shabby and I’m not really too upset about the latest grades. However, saying that, I would like to end the course on around 16/20 or above if I can.  It’s the school hols (again) in this part of the world, so the perfect time to get out books and do some serious studying.  Let’s see if I can’t get a few better grades for next month.