Thursday, May 31, 2012

Newsy New Stash

When we were living in France we were based up in the tiny alpine town of Oyonnax, at an outpost of hubby's Grandes école (for those of you not familiar with French, that's a particular type of university outside of the normal system). But we also took regular trips into Lyon, a city I absolutely love. Often our trips would be for DH to go to classes or meetings, so I'd be left on my own in the city for a few hours. One of the things I almost always did when I was by myself was go and wander the bookstores and admire all the beautiful craft books they have in France.

There was one particular slim book that I absolutely fell in love with. .  Sweet Home: petites maisons a broder au point de croix (little homes in embroidery and cross stitch).


The patterns in this book are just gorgeous. The French really know their cross stitch and embroidery!


At the time we were on an extremely tight budget. The book wasn't massively expensive at all, but it was enough that I couldn't really justify buying it without a reason! DH saw how much I loved it and said some magic words: 'I'll buy it for you, and it can be your congratulations present when you find a job back in New Zealand' (I'd just started putting in applications anticipating coming back).

For over nearly 6 months it's been stashed away in the top of the wardrobe. I've been good, I haven't even looked at it in all that time. This week it's coming down and taking pride of place on my bookshelf :)

In just over a week I start working full time for the district council in two of their rural libraries/council service centres. While I'm working they will pay for me to do the post-graduate training I need to become a qualified librarian. Yay for having a job, a possible career path and one that I know that I'll love!

Now to keep working through the list of things I need to get done before then. . .

Sarah

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Books, Glorious Books!

In New Zealand we have this thing called Bookarama. It's usually a fundraiser for local Rotary clubs and they happen all over the country. People donate their old books (+ jigsaws, dvds, records, magazines etc) at local petrol stations and the like leading up to the bookarama, and then it all comes together in one massive, amazing secondhand book sale.

I've been going to these things since I was knee high to a grasshopper, my hometown one is one of the biggest in the country. This weekend was our new town's one and hubbys first experience of it!


As you can see we came away with quite a haul! Lots of fiction and beautifully bound classics in DH's pile (though I love the classics too, he just got to the table before me). Fiction, history, cooking and craft books for me - the giant one on the bottom of my pile is the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft. It is the most AMAZING book ever, I've been on the look out for it since I picked up its companion (Complete Guide to Sewing) at a previous bookarama. It has everything you could possibly want to know, from how to build a quilting frame at home, to how to design knitting patterns and what the best embroidery thread for your project is.

Needless to say we've spent our weekend with our noses in our new reads. Hope you're enjoying yours!

Sarah

P.S I've been getting very excited this week about some other book related goings-on in my life. More on that in my next post.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software Giveaway

This giveaway has now closed, the winner was Parsley, congratulations! 

Hi everyone!

Today I'm giving away a free copy of the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software - you might remember that I reviewed the software a few days ago and found it a really useful and user-friendly thing to have around, not only for digital scrapbooking, but also for producing graphics in general.



Here's a reminder of some of the things I whipped up with it. . .



My Memories usually retails for $39.97 USD, so you'd definitely be making a saving! What do you need to do to enter? It's easy! Just visit the My Memories website and tell me the name of a scrapbooking kit available on the website that you would use in a comment on this post. Remember to leave me some way to contact you if your email address isn't connected to your blogger profile!

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A FOLLOWER OF MY BLOG TO ENTER. That's right, there's no hoops to jump through for this giveaway, just visit the My Memories website and leave me a comment to enter into the draw (of course, I'd love if you were a follower, but it's not mandatory).

If you don't win, but decide you just can't live without this software, you're still in luck. The code below will give you $10 off your My Memories software purchase.  It will also give you a $10 voucher to the My Memories store, just so you can pick up a few extras! This code doesn't expire, so there's no limit on your time to use it.

Code: STMMMS91201

This giveaway will run for one week. Good luck everyone!

Sarah


DISCLAIMER: This giveaway is sponsored by My Memories. I have not been compensated for this post by My Memories and all opinions are 100% my own. I have recieved free copies of the My Memories V.3 Digital Scrapbooking Software to review and give away.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software Review

I am really really not a papercrafter. As much as I'd love to be, the combination of scissors, paper and glue just don't work well for me. It's always been that way. . .  my mum has a kindergarten report from when I was four that says "Sarah is struggling to master the use of scissors." So I've never really got into the card making or scrap booking type crafts. I do however like playing around on the computer and have always enjoyed dabbling in photo editing and making collages (see my often-changing header for example). So when I got the chance to play with and review My Memories Digital Scrapbooking software I jumped at the chance!



My Memories is a Digital Scrapbooking software designed to make the process easy. I found it had a pretty self-explanatory point and click interface that was very user friendly. It comes with a variety of backing papers, embellishments etc preloaded and many more are available online both paid and free. I downloaded a few extra free kits from the My Memories website almost straight away and found them incredibly easy to install and use. I used them to make my FIRST EVER scrapbooking pages. Here's a couple of layouts I did using photo's from my last trip to France.



I think I'm very close to being hooked already! The biggest advantage of the My Memories Suite for me though, is that as well as digital scrapbooking it has almost endless other possibilites. I used it to make some custom gift-tags (this would be so handy at Christmas)



I also tried putting together a calendar page or two using some free calendar grids I downloaded from the My Memories Suite website. This one's not quite finished, but you get the idea!


All in all I found the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite to be an extremely user-friendly program with capabilites that are really only limited by what you can think of! It would be easy to customise blog headers (I have a feeling I'll probably be using it for my next one), buttons, business cards, wedding stationary (yep I have a feeling I'll be using it for that too!) and of course . . . scrapbook pages. It simple usability in my opinion makes it a far better option than programes like photoshop for the average blogger or scrapbooker.

And now for the good stuff right? To accompany my review (well done if you've got this far), if you come back later in the week I'll be giving away a free copy of the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite to one of my readers. This really is a useful programme and although it's not expensive, who wouldn't want a free one?

See you then,

Sarah

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review of the My Memories Suite and all opinions are 100% my own. I did recieve a free copy of the My Memories Suite V.3 Digital Scrapbooking Software for the purposes of this review.






Monday, May 21, 2012

IHSW May: Iris in progress




Yay, I actually managed to get my IHSW report up less than a week after it's happened, and I even managed to get some stitching done, which is more than can be said for last month :D

Here's my hastily-snapped-on-my-mobile before photo of Iris


And here is the hastily-snapped-before-the-sun-went-down-after


This piece is coming together insanely quickly, I'm enjoying stitching it so much. It doesn't really look much like an Iris yet but I can just see how it's going to come together in the end.

Hope all you other stitchers out there enjoyed your hermitting, I'll have to go and browse some of your blogs.

Sarah

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May TUSAL

I can't believe it's the 20th of May already. This year is going so fast! I finally got around to finding a nice jar for my ORT's and it's made itself at home under the coffee table in our lounge, on top of my pile of wedding magazines .


Piles of purple starting to gather on the top from my Irises. The heap of red is from some stitching I did briefly the other day to try and figure out the stitch count of some misc fabric I'd been given.

I've had some questions lately from non-stitchy readers as to what on earth the TUSAL is. . .  it's a Totally-Useless-Stitch-A-Long hosted by Daffycat, where we collect our ORT's (Old-Ratty/Ragged-Threads, offcuts from finishing a thread, pulling out mistakes etc) in a pretty jar and share them every month on the new moon. An artful but totally useless endeavour!

I'll be back tomorrow with the results of my IHSW (International Hermit and Stitch Weekend, for those of you still getting confused by all the acronyms!)

Sarah


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weddingness and Irises

Things are starting to get into full swing here for wedding 2.0, which is only just over 3 months away now! Most of the big things have been crossed off the list. . .  the location, the food, the dress (yes the dress!) and we're starting to get into the DIY territory of invitations, decorations and everything else. I took this photo yesterday as I was lying on our lounge floor putting invitations together. . .  there's the actual invitation, a general info sheet, and a second info sheet for people who aren't familiar with the town we're getting married in


I'm excited, but at the same time there's just so much to think about!! So cross stitching is a good relaxation-maker. I started Iris in Bloom on Monday. . .it's going to be a biggie! I don't have most of the threads yet (totally my fault, they don't come when you don't order them) but I have enough in stash to make a start.

Not the best photo in the world, sorry!

I'm enjoying seeing it come together already. I think that's partly because it's got so much purple, which also happens to be the wedding colour. So any three month out advice for this bride-to-be?

Sarah

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rainy Days

The last couple of days have been grey and miserable here and I haven't got the threads to start on my new cross stitch project yet, so I've pulled out a UFO to do some knitting.





It's a nice pattern, ribbed with a cable centre, but I'm not the fastest knitter in the world, so these things take time. Still, there's just something about rainy days and knitting that go together, don't you think? If it keeps going on like this, it might be finished and ready for blocking before long. Only a year and a half after I meant to have it done . . . 

Enjoy your weekend friends,

Sarah

(photo taken with the RetroCamera app for android, I haven't fallen into instagram)

Friday, May 4, 2012

April Showers Finally Finished!!

Oh gosh I can't believe this one is finally finished. It took me far far longer than I expected it to take! I was determined to finish it by the end of April and even that didn't happen. . . still the 3rd of May isn't too bad I suppose.

'April Showers,' by Country Cottage Needleworks. 
Completed on 28cnt Ivory Lugana with recommended DMC, Cresent Colours and Weeks Dye Works threads.

I love the pattern, it's such a cute design! But I'm not entirely happy with how it stitched up. . . . I thought I'd cut for at least a 2 inch border around the sides. Obviously not! and as hard as I tried some of the stitching just did not want to lie flat. Oh well, can't win them all. As soon as I can find a nice frame for it, it will be going on the bedside table anyway. 

Next on the agenda is going to be this almost-BAP, a mother's day present for my mum, who is currently redoing my childhood bedroom into a guest room. The room has a purple feature wall, so this will hopefully make a nice addition!  I think I have some suitable evenweave in my stash, just need to download the pattern and get the threads (thanks Jo for finding the right issue for me so I could track down some more details about the pattern before buying it. I don't understand why they don't tell you how big it is on the website!).

Enjoy your weekend everyone :) I'm off to un-kit my sewing box from April Showers. 

Sarah