Friday, December 19, 2014

Finally Feeling Christmassy and a free chart!

Hi y'all!
Wow, it has been a mad, hectic week.  I've had so many orders it has been amazing.  Thank you all for showing me so much support.

I'm finally feeling Christmassy.  Ds is now off school and that means we can get those xmas smells going with baking and cooking and doing fun things.

I tried really hard to get a decent piccie of the tree but failed magnificently!  Apart from the tinsel and lights, all of the decorations are hand made, gifts, exchanges and even a few made by myself!

Oh, and what is this on the tree?

A beautiful RAK from Shirlee!

Om goodness. You should see the finishing on it!  It's perfect.  I really love it and want to say thank you Shirlee:  it is friendships like this that have got me through the last three years. Thank goodness I took that step 7 ish years ago to start a blog.  I really have met the most wonderful people though it and love our crafty community.

Oh, hang on..there seems to be something else on the tree! Hmmm wonder what it is?

It's a beautiful card sent to me and made by Elaine (lanyblue). Thank you so much Elaine, it is so beautiful and wow, very delicately made.  I think it is tatting?

I'll have to frame it after xmas because it's way to nice to end up in an ex-christmas card pile. I do that with all my hand made gifts: frame them or turn them into ornaments so all that hard work isn't wasted just because this christmas is gone.  Do you do the same?

I had a beautifully crocheted christmas tree sent by Michelle G: the photo didn't come out so I will try again later and put it up in the next post. Thank you so much Michelle xxxx

I have finally got my ghosts up on the wall. I am going to frame Scrooge, the wall hanging just doesn't work   It looks like they are all a bit wonky but that is actually the wall. When you live in a 200-250 year old stone and rubble house, level is not a word you can ever use!

The walls bulge out everywhere! Thinking about it, not a lot unlike myself teehee.

 Now work has been mad.  I've been working 15 hour days all week but I put my foot down last night and decided I am going to start to be a bit stricter with myself.  It's a woman thing isn't it?  If we do something we put our all into it and then crash and burn. So this is me, being grown up and learning from past lesson. I am going to try to stick to a 9.00 am - 6 pm work day. Designing is fun so I will do that whenever the mood takes me but the shop side, the admin side etc: that has to be 9.00 to 6.00.

Anyway, last night I started knitting for my new granddaughter.  She will be called Alyssia (I may have spelt that wrong but it is a modern version of Alicia).  I will be calling her Freddie.  I can spell that rofl.

The stitching looks like it is wonky but it isn't: it's crinkly wool and looks so much nicer in real life. This is the back.  Its a variagated yellow and mint but know we know it is a little girl, I can start getting the pink out!!!!

There's lots of news workwise.

Holmsey Hare and his Year of the Hare is going really well. So well that we now have a facebook page for all things Holmsey.  Holmsey Hare's Haven.  Fergus is allowed in as well but he has to promise to be good!  Bless him, he tries sooo hard!

It's a nice place for people to share all their Holmsey and Fergus Stitchyness and for me to offer little stories and free charts.  Feel free to pop over and join in!

The 2015 Thread and Chart Club is up and running.  I have had to tweak prices and am completely confuzzled by postage costs. At the moment it is going to cost me 5.00 euros to send threads and chart seperately (which apparently is cheaper than sending together) but I am going to look into that further.  That is about £4.00 stirling.  I refuse to be ripped of by postage costs so am going to have to come up with a cunning plan methinks!  I doesn't help that I am charged differently in different post offices!!!  What on earth is that all about?

Again, members of this club will receive exclusive special offers and freebies to try and combat the cost.  I want to be fair, and a hobby should be fun, not a guilty pleasure...that's what chocolate is for!

And of course, with the changes in the VAT laws (cheers Amazon and Google and especially you EU!) I have decided to switch to paper charts.

I have found a format which means it only costs me 1.20 euros to post worldwide..that is about 90 pence stirling and a lovely, silky, high grade paper so it feels nice.  

The printer must have thought I was mad, but we are creative. We want something that feels nice, that looks nice and that makes us thing we are important enough to have some effort put into it.  I kept feeling the papers with my eyes closed, and when I found one I really like liked the feel off, that was the one the printers had to go with.  I refuse to have people pay five euros for what works out to be basic bog standard A4!

I haven't decided if I am going to stick with etsy and the manual emailing system: my memory crashed and burned within a day as I forgot to send an email HALFWAY THROUGH SENDING IT!. I might experiment a little with it but it seriously adds to my workload and takes me away from the designing. T'is a dilemma that's for sure!  Thanks to the new EU laws, as far as technology is concerned, we have taken a huge step backwards!

I would love to hear your views: paper charts or pdf?

Ok, well this is quite a long post.  I hope I haven't bored you. 

I will leave you this weekend with a free Fergus chart for a last minute ornie!  He sneaked over to Holmsey's fb page so thought he might keep out of trouble if he is here too.
Just right click, save, print.  And most importantly, have fun!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

And I am back

Hi everyone.

Gosh, looking through your blog posts, you have all been so busy.
Will I ever catch up with my reading?

Well, I'll try.

My surgery went well...kind off.  Instead of an hour in recovery I was in for four hours.  As I was waking up there was a slight booboo with the morphine which stopped me breathing and then it stopped working completely so I was in a lot of  pain.  I'm good now though. Everything is healing nicely and it is quite nice to know I am well and truly menopaused now (again).  I have to say it is a bit of an anticlimax.  I feel no different.  I had some great news though. The next surgery I was meant to be having has now been cancelled.  My surgeon seems to think the risks don't justify the surgery so that's perfect where I'm concerned.  Six surgeries in three years are more than my fair share I feel!

So that is just wonderful.

I don't like to wish my time away but I will be well and truly pleased when 2014 is no more.  I wrote that on my fb page yesterday, thinking life can only get better...and then I had a call from my son who had come off his motorbike.  Thankfully he had taken my advice that 'it's better to be ten minutes late than dead' and he was only going 10 mph, but his bike slipped on black sheet ice and he then fell again when he was trying to pick his bike up.  He is ok, and not hurt and for that I am greatful, but honestly.  How much more can life chuck at you?  They say you are never given more than you can handle: I'm saying that's not true and right now, I have had enough.

But I 'm going to continue to be optimistic and look to 2015 as being a good year: a year with lots of new releases, growth of my business, a healthy and easy birth of my new grandchild who we now know is going to be a little girl!  I'm so excited.  This Christmas just doesn't feel Christmassy and I think it is because I'm the only one who believes in Santa.  It will be great when I have a grandchild to watch the muppet Christmas Carol with, and make Christmas cookies with!  Yay!

And talking about business .....

Ok Ok.....hang on, I am doing my best Holmsey!! Good grief. Sorry everyone. I'm trying to type and a very impatient hare keeps butting my arm. I think he is a little excited and why not?

 Please welcome a very special, very grown up, very Fergus-free 2015 SAL. The Year of the Hare. This is January all stitched up. Every three months will complete that stitchy finish. January, February and March will form the first one. Stitch size of all three stitched together 211 x 120. The first part will be on sale later today. 

Of course we have no nice sunlight so the photo was a bugger to get.  Stitched on white evenweave, with DMC threads and whole stitches only.  I'm so proud of this one.  I actually sketched and shaded February's Holmsey in the hospital. Well, you can't sleep; no had told me how to switch the light off in my cubicle, and there were moans and groans and nurses walking around everywhere so I figured I may as well make the most of the pain relief and sketch.  And it worked!  I'm so pleased with how he has come out.

Oh and I forgot!

Cross Stitch Crazy magazine featured my story....and hubby and I had a sit down and worked it out.  Over the last three years I have raised 4000 euros for cancer charities: Cancer Care West, The Irish Cancer Society, The Breast Cancer Research charity and Stephen Sutton's Fund Raising page.

I think I deserve a bit of a rest now, though I will still donate from my sales of charts.  I do believe we need to change this mindset we seem to have and we should stop worrying about 'what is in it for me' and start thinking a bit more about services we can offer to help make the world a better place.  When I go, I want to go knowing that somewhere along the line I helped make someone's life a little better, a little easier.  Sometimes just being nice and offering a smile is enough.  There is far to much 'me me me' in the world at the moment.  

Which brings me to my final point.  I am on a very limited income.  I guess that is the posh term for 'broke'.  

Please, please do not send me xmas cards or pressies. Wonderful though they are, I really cannot do the same back.  Instead, what I do each year is I buy a Christmas gift off Oxfam for all my internet friends.  Last year I think it was legal advice and education for a women's group in India who were having their land taken from them (don't quote me on that: sometimes I get up to three gifts for the different groups I'm in and you know what my memory is like).  I have a home, heating, full freezers, access to medical help and everyone will have something under the tree to unwrap.  We are extremely privaledged.  I would rather spend my card money on something which can make a difference in someone's life.  So I hope you understand.  I'll post here when I've decided what to buy.  So many needy people in the world!

Right must get back to work....I am putting all my charts into paper formats because of the new VAT MOSS scheme....frazzle frazzle lol.

Have a peaceful and happy weekend xxxxxx

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Absence and last chance!

Hi everyone,

This will be my last post for a week or so.  On Monday I go into hospital for surgery on the Tuesday.  So, I had better share the last of my news whilst I can.

Firstly: people are not collecting their prizes which is making life a little difficult for me.  If you donated to my fundraiser but have not had your number drawn, then can you please email me with a choice of prize.  First come first fact you had better put your top two and I will try my best not to muck it up.  Anyone who misses out on a prize can chose a pdf chart from my fact if you would prefer a pdf chart, just email me with your choice of chart.  That way everyone gets something!

Secondly...and I am so excited with this news.  But let me remind you of the background.  I sent of for a single thread from sew and so.  One thread, which was sent in a normal letter envelope.  Can you guess how much the postage was?  £ 5.00 stirling.  Yes, I kid you not.  I emailed them to query it but didn't get a reply.

Shocking right?

So I applied to become a DMC stockist here in the heart of Ireland.  And so I will be buying threads at cost as a licensed DMC stockist...with me so far?  I researched far and wide, and begger me but someone is actually selling them CHEAPER than DMC provide them!

I have no idea how they are doing it BUT someone suggested I get them from the USA where they are cheaper yet again.   But to do that and still be cheaper, I would have to lie and hope VAT and Customs don't catch me.  Hmmmm...Customs and Duty.  Do I want to risk that?  No I don't!

Another person suggested I buy the cones and do my own....hmmm well yes, I could but for two things.  First, it goes against DMC's terms and conditions. Cones are not meant to be broken down for resale, and secondly....seriously?  Who has that much life to waste?  Not me that's for sure!

So I have come up with an idea that I hope you will like!

We are now taking sign-ups for the first Stitchers Anon Thread and Chart Club!

For a monthly payment you will receive:

* One Stitchers Anon pdf Cross Stitch Chart of your choice every month following payment

* Access to a members only forum where freebie charts and special offers will be posted just for you!
* At the end of each month, you will receive a batch of DMC stranded cotton threads and by the end of the year you will own the complete collection of DMC threads.

The total price for this membership is £22.00 per month plus p&p. Payment is only what the post office charges and if you are over charged, you will be refunded via paypal.

So for  £264 you will receive 465 threads and 12 charts of  your choice and freebies. 

Your first payment will be invoiced for  through the Stitchers Anon website, on the T & C Club page and I will then send an invoice on the first of every month, with threads sent out at the end of each month.

For those of you working in euros, there is a note on my website for how I will deal with this xx

To sign up, contact me through my website and I will send you your first invoice!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the website. This special club needs a minimum number of participants. Should we not get enough then any deposits will be returned.

Your first delivery of threads will be in the last week of January

Proof of postage is always obtained.
Right, enough for now.  I hope to be around soon but daren't post whilst under the influence of morphine rofl xxxx  Keep well, chat soon xxxxx

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