Thursday, 31 January 2013

If he wasn't already dead ......

today he would be and I would probably be facing a very long custodial sentence.  I think there's still such a thing as a crime of passion in France and believe me I'm just about incandescent at the moment.  Anyone looking for jolly cross stitch today is out of luck, perhaps Sunday when I've calmed down a bit, today I'm on a rant!

Let me explain.  I'm trying to pack up my late husband's steam railway which used to completely disfigure our garden and in which the selfish man invested the best part of our savings.  Not content with slowly alienating our family and friends and practically entombing me here in the middle of nowhere  he frittered away vast sums of money for his own amusement while there were many more important things needingto be done to make the house even remotely habitable.  As for the motor bike and the sports car I won't even go there just now. 
 However if I hope to recover anything out of all this I must get everything shipped back to England and a van is coming next Thursday morning to pick everything up.  Having just finished clearing up after the replastering of the kitchen I thought I'd take a look at what needed to be done.  The first box I chanced to open had been colonised by mice and the one under that was crawling with maggots where something had obviously died in it. And that's only the tip of the iceberg, are you beginning to understand my angst?
Here's the one with the mouse nest, (the photo doesn't do it justice) but I'll spare you the full frontal magots.  There is some good in me if you look hard enough.  I was tempted to just torch the lot but (a) metal won't really burn and (b) there's too much capital tied up in this lot so I must pick my way through the mouse droppings while whistling something cheerful like Abide With Me. 
Fortunately I do have a little time in hand and although night is falling there is light of sorts in the workshop.  I shall however be wearing the bicycle clips I came across just to be on the safe side, it's been a very long time since anything darted up my leg and I'm not in a hurry to repeat the experience.
Whether ye be friends, Romans, countrymen or cross stitchers thank you for lending me your ears as there's no one here to tell except the dogs and they're both wearing their tin hats at the moment.  Here's the Lion of Holland for those of you who stuck it out to the end with me - he looks like Geordie having a bad fur day.  Yes Alice, Sunday I'll post you some more teasers - promise but in the meantime I just hope and pray that nothing else goes wrong, there's only so much a girl can take.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

We've been plastered all week!

No Tracey, you haven't missed an Oliver Reed style bender (more's the pity) and neither have I broken anything, but your concern, for which I thank you, is touching Alice.  What has actually been going on is some much needed repairs to the kitchen walls here at Chateau Long Dog after a few DIY blunders on my part.

It all began when I decided, in a fit of pique I might add, to take down some old shelves.  A simple enough task I thought but what I hadn't taken into account was the state of the old wall behind them.  Not only did the shelves come away but half the wall as well.
What to do?  As I was already by now in chaos and covered, once again, in dust and dirt I decided. after a quick rattle of my piggy bank,  to take drastic action and have the whole room changed around a bit, replastered and repainted.  And the sooner the better, it's very difficult to sew on a building site.
Geordie and Mouche aged visibly as they turned grey from the powdered plaster in the air and once they had been out to play in the lingering snow they turned into a pair of punks as their fur set solid once it got damp.  The walls are just drying out now and next week - we paint!  What can possibly go wrong?  Now for the teasers which is the real reason you're here after all  .....
Just a touch more of the band sampler for your scrutiny - hands up who likes backstitching.  You don't, then this one's not for you my girl.
And anther tiny snippet of the biggie.  Is this a chapel?  Is it part of a housing complex?  What has it got to do with last week's pansy?  Does it feature in the title?  All will finally be revealed at the end of next month if I remember.
I've had enough of cleaning up for one day and can't think of anything else to thrill you with at the moment so will the last one out please turn off the light.  A plus!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Oh goodie ...... snow!

And wouldn't you just know it, it's my turn to get the logs in again.

It's a shame those nice SAS boys aren't still around because it's at times like these that a girl can do with a hand.  I'd even be pleased to see our old friend the rat catcher if he felt like pitching in, although on second thoughts perhaps I'm not quite that desperate yet.
Anyone thinking of getting a dog would do well to study the above image very carefully indeed.  Geordie actually ate most of the snow that came in with him but he's been in and out several times since this picture was taken so the living room is pretty much awash now and the princess hasn't even left her bed yet so this afternoon things could get much worse.  Where's my mop?
Yes, here's the culprit caught not red-handed but snowy-faced.  It's a rubbish disguise Geordie, we all know it's you now come in before your feet freeze, we all know what a wimp you are really.  But enough of this, it's time to get on to serious matters - the next two tricky teasers .......
Well done Mary-Sue, ten out of ten for pansy recognition - we'll make a botanist of you yet.  But wait, what's that funny brown bit on the left all about.  That's for me to know and for you to wait until March to discover.  Not long to go really in the great scheme of things.
And this is a snippet of the second design - like it?  Still no names for you to ponder over although you may have guessed one of them is a mono but as for the other all I'm saying is that its BIG!  Sophie, you may not like big ones (nobody dare snigger) but there's no need to use language like that it's just not becoming for a lady and while we're on the subject just where did you learn such words, certainly not at that posh finishing school you went to.
As this is the only road either in or out of here I don't think I shall be going clubbing tonight so I'll just rack up the heat a bit and get on the design I'm currently working on for your delight and delictation later in the year.  "R-la-la-Poo-Poo-R-la" as Harvey would say - try singing it, it might make more sense.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

No names, no pack-drill!

Those of you who, like me, come from military families will know what I mean, the rest of you can Google it.  Mary-Sue has just asked whose side we were on.  Do you dare to question my allegiance to The Crown madam?  It was the best boozer in saarf London - chef's spotted dick was legendary.  Any more smutty sniggering and I shall have to put you all on a fizzer.

This is what I was actually alluding to before the rowdy element amongst you started causing problems - a deliberately hazy first peek at one of the two new Long Dog's due to be released in seven weeks time.  Put it in your diaries in big bold writing - 1st March 2013 new designs available.
Yes, I do know you can't tell what it is yet Alice but that's the whole point of this cunning exercise.  How big are they, what are the colours, what's that thing crawling across the top, how can I get my hands on them - all will be revealed over the coming weeks.  It's a strip tease for stitchers.
Geordie has been sworn to secrecy and I haven't dared show them to Mouche - she's a terrible gossip and would tell all at the promise of a Garibaldi or two, or three because she's also a terrible gannet.  And now for something completely different .....
..... a purple peacock with a weird tail.  Bet you can't remember which design this came from.  I would hasten to add that it's not necessary to comb the new Long Dog site in search of an answer because this is not, repeat NOT a competition. (Still, there's bound to be one I just know it).  However please feel free to visit the site at any time of the day or night should you so desire, preferably clutching your bankers card - you'll be most welcome.
There's that strange light in the sky again and the temperature seems to be dropping like a stone so I'd better think about closing the shutters.   We've still got demented hedgehogs roaming about here which can't be right.  Last night Geordie decided to bring one in (despite the fleas and prickles) and was mightily peeved when I told him his new chum must stay outside.
He looked just like this - the spinning monkey with a nasty case of the hump.  You'll find monkey and his little distaff in Bois le Duc by the way.  That's it, I meant what I said earlier about the sniggering so now all your names are going down on a charge sheet for Camilla to deal with, after all she is Colonel of the 4th Battalion of the Rifles so heaven help you.  Taps has just sounded - it's time for lights out. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

You know what they say .....

..... if you can remember the 60's then you probably weren't there.  Yes, I know you weren't born then Mary Sue but you're missing the point dear (as usual).

Was I alone in sewing monstrosities like this to adorn the walls of my tiny bedsit (more like a cupboard) which just happened to be at the classy end of Brixton Hill, saarf London if that's not a contradiction in terms.  I wonder if they ever did manage to sort out that nasty cockroach infestation in the basement?

Yes, I'm feeling all nostalgic today as you may already have gathered.  This little dude was my first ever sampler.  It was a pattern given away free inside Pins & Needles (a sewing magazine now long gone except on e-bay) which, with the aid of a stonking hot iron and a steady nerve, could be transferred onto a fabric of your choice all ready to sew.

Well into my 60's now bits of me still swing but sadly it's just gravity at work and not that same infectious joie de vie that was in the very air we breathed back in the day.

Seems like only yesterday that I worked on the Kings Road in Chelsea (in a boring bank, not a trendy boutique), drove my customised mini, wore positively indecent mini-skirts and bought my sanies at Harrods food hall.  I even danced with John Lennon but that's a tale for another day, or maybe not - a girl must have some secrets, it adds to her alure!

How time flew when we were having fun, eh Camilla?  MAY THE BEAT GO ON!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Which side do you ..........

start a new piece?  All of you who instantly thought "dress on sir?" should take themselves straight to the naughty step in disgrace.  Whatever next.

As you can see, from this design I've just started on today (no further information is available at the present time) I'm a bottom right woman.  No playing safe and starting in the middle or top left in the hope that it will keep clean, it's down right and dirty for me every time.  You should have seen me in my youth!  I go hoopless too 'cos I'm a scruncher which you probably guessed.
I'd just like to say "Welcome to the madhouse" to all those foolhardy souls who have recently joined our merry throng. And to Harry, who had to be barred, "What on earth were you searching on?"  I've been able to welcome some of your personally by email but most of you are very coy about your particulars and I fully understand, a girl can't be too careful these days.  Eh Harry!
Oh! how cute - a cross stitch locust with a carnation for a tail.  I really must lay off the Roquefort when I'm designing in future.  Still on the meeting and greeting theme for a moment longer, thanks must go to Deborah and Jacqueline who have never steered me wrong (in their shoes the temptation would have been too great, I really do have a rather warped sense of humour at times).  Thank you ladies, the cheque's in the post. 
This royal personage certainly knows nothing about looking after horses, why everyone knows they prefer acorns.  Enough of this old horsefeathers, here comes an important news flash.  At the beginning of March there will be two new Long Dog's looking for good homes and I shall soon be releasing sneaky little peeks of them both for your delight and delectation.  I must stop watching period dramas for a while, I seem to have come over all "prithee" again or could it be a symptom of something much more serious - a full blown case of the Great Expectations?  Where's my pregnancy test kit, if the frog dies I could sell my story to the gutter press and retire.  I can see the headlines now with perhaps a flattering photo of me looking amazed (side-faced, extremely well lit and clutching a copy of one of the new designs of course). 
And here's a couple of dates for your diaries - 1st July 2013 and 1st November 2013.  That's when even more designs will be released and there will be no need for Alice to keep pestering me now I've told you.  You've had plenty of warning so if you budget wisely throughout the year you should be able to afford them both and still have pennies to spare for a few extra sweeties as well.
This one needs a caption.  Can't you just hear the miller's wife, her indoors, saying (in Dutch of course) - and don't you come back in here till you've put out that smelly old pipe.  How do you think she'll explain the squirrel to him?  
My friend Donna made me this magnificent beast and words simply can't describe just how good it is.
It's an "ambulatory cake" which means "adapted to walking".  You see I have this theory.  If I eat it while on the move all those naughty little calories it contains will burn off as I go.  So all that remains is to say TTFN (who else besides Deb remembers that?) because I'm off for a very long walk round the grounds of Chateau Long Dog - you didn't see how big a slice I cut myself!  I may be sometime, if it gets dark send out search parties.