Saturday, 30 October 2010

I recommend the threat of nagging

I got everyone to nag me, and it's worked, suddenly I've finally managed to finish the evil first page. You've no idea how happy this makes me (actually, people who've been following me for a while probably do), this page seems to have been going on for ages, I think it's probably about a year ago that I started this. I've convinced myself that the other pages are going to be simpler and that I was simply unlucky enough to start on the most complicated page. I don't think that's just optimism, I've had a look and this does seem to be the most fiddly and confetti page. I've probably done not much more than a hundred stitches today, but it's all be very fiddly and taken me most of the afternoon because it's been filling all the little gaps where I've missed a stitch or two in the first instance (my own stupid fault, I know). The question is which direction do I go in next, across or up, undecided. Logic says up because I have already done a tiny bit of that page from when I very first started, but for some reason I think I'm going to go across instead. Either way it's going to be at least I couple of weeks off, I think I'm going to go to another project for a couple of weeks now, until I get the feeling back in my head.
Thank you for your support and nagging ladies, I'm very grateful, and will of course return the favour if it's ever needed.

In a huff!

That's it, it's no good, I'm cancelling my CrossStitcher subscription. I'm sorry, it used to be a lovely magazine, I've been getting it for years, through five different addresses, through them getting lost in the post through one of those address changes and I've stood fast and continued to subscribe. I've put up with them re-designing the magazine every six months in a completely unnecessary fashion, generally for the worst, because it still had enough in it that I liked, but now the end is nigh. They've re-designed one time to many, I gave them a second month to see if it would improve and it hasn't, so I'm off to cancel it.

Anyway, rant over, back to my stitching.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Inspiration

Have you ever noticed how just going onto the Heaven and Earth designs site inspires you to do more stitching? Well, I don't know about you guys but it always does me! I go on to the site, and look at all the beautiful charts on there and think "I've got to get stitching, I need to free up the frames so I can start on those, I've got to stitch as many of these as is humanly possible." But I'm still stitching away on Winter's Majesty at the moment, I'm determined that I'm going to get that first page finshed this weekend. Despite the extreme fiddlyness of it at the moment, I'm actually quite enjoying it, because it's filling in all those little gaps so it seems to be growing quite quickly, because I'm basically just piecing it together. So, it will be finished this weekend, the evil page that I've been working on for nearly a year will be completed, this weekend. And if I haven't posted a completed page 1 by last thing on Sunday I want everyone to shout at me and generally guilt trip me until I get my ass into gear and do it!
I've decided that no matter what my next design has to be a HAED, I have to finally stitch one of the beauties, I've got my eye on one of the Spangler's (there are so many beautiful copies of Train of Dreams out there at the moment) that I somehow just think would be perfect for my mum, I don't even know why exactly, but I just saw it and knew that I had to stitch it for her, however, I also already own seven charts, can I justify buying another when I already have 7 waiting to be stitched? It's a gift, it's for someone else, of course I can (so, how many times have we all said that, huh?)

I've been remiss with my stitching the last couple of weeks, we've been away at the weekends (last two weekends spent in Cardiff) and busy in the evenings so I'm trying to make up for it a bit this week, but then I also bought a Wii this week, (birthday present from the combined donations of family members), so I'm playing on that as well because it's my exciting new toy, but I'm trying to ration myself and make sure that I do do some stitching as well, and I am, I did about an hour and a half tonight and about the same on Monday, it's not a massive amount I know, but it is something and I'll attempt to do at least the same again this weekend. We've got a friend staying this weekend, my old housemate in fact, but he's recently decided that he likes hill walking and scrambling (which I hate), so he and Ben are going out for a boys day of hill walking and scrambling (or as I call it, genrealised plummeting, I hate it, you may have realised that) and I get the flat to myself for the day with the TV and my stitching, although I'll have to make sure that I get some exercise first thing, or they'll make me feel lazy, fat and guilty when they get back.

Anyway, what started out as a five minute post about how HAEDs inspire me to do my stitching has turned into quite a ramble (there's a reason why my blog was originally called 'Random Ramblings of a Kim') so I'll stop now, go and give my teeth a super clean (dentist type torture tomorrow - sigh) then go and curl up in bed with a book and wait for Ben to get back from his badminton match (damn single court venues, it's 10.50pm and still no sign of him).

Happy stitching all

Monday, 18 October 2010

Update on Little Snap Dragon

I've had a very productive evening, but that doesn't make for very good update pictures. So far I've stretched a piece of stitching ready for putting in the frame, just as soon as I find where my gummer tape has gone... or failing that gone shopping on lunch tomorrow... what do people usually use to stick their stretched piece to their mount board? I couldn't do the mount board to size and just slot it in, as the fabric in the kit wasn't big enough.
I've also mended a pair of trousers and put a button back on a jacket, so it's all been very productive!
But I do also have a stitching update, as you can see, this is the first page of Little Snap Dragon done, 1st of 9 and think, and not all of them are full pages, so its quite a big percentage of it done it quite a small period of time, by my standards anyway.
Not getting to get much stitching done again this week, but I'll try and put an update up at the end of the week.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Winter's Majesty continues to be blue

I continue to post updates on Winter's Majesty, despite the fact that it's really still just a whole lotta blue! And I'm aware that to the outside eye it doesn't really look like its growing much, but believe me, this is much changed since my last post on this project.
I'm actually starting to enjoy this one again after it frustrated me for a long time, I think it's because the end of this page is in sight and I'll actually be able to see it growing into something when I start the next page - woohoo!
I've got quite a busy week ahead of me so don't know how much stitching I'll get done, ushering at the theatre tonight (going to see Chris Addison, so that should be good), an evening of cake backing on Monday because I have to take birthday buns into work, meeting Tuesday evening, it's my birthday on Wednesday (woo) so I'm off work and might get some stitching done in the afternoon when Ben's at work, then I think I actually have Thursday evening off, before theatre Thursday night and away for the weekend.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Les Miserables at the O2 Live Broadcast

I mentioned on my Saturday post that I was going to see Les Miserables Live Broadcast at my local cinema, so I thought that I'd nip on today and give a bit of an outline of what I thought about it.
I first saw Les Miserables about 20 years ago (man that's depressing when I work it out), I was only 7 or 8 and don't have a massive memory of it, most of my memories are derived from the 1995 Royal Albert Hall Concert, which I absolutely loved. My mum originally took me because she loved it and decided that I would as well, the fact that this was incredibly heavy and probably a little over my head never occurred to her (I wandered round singing Lovely Ladies for two days afterwards until my mum caught me and politely explained to me that I probably shouldn't be singing that one).
This time I saw it with my other half (who I'd emotionally blackmailed into coming with me so I didn't have to go on my own) and his parents who, when his mum found out we were going declared that she wanted tickets as well. I was the only one who'd seen it before meaning that I occasionally had my other half leaning over doing "so, who's she?", "is he dead?" "is she dead now?" "didn't she die two hours ago?" questions like that, occasionally relaying questions from his mother to me then passing the answer back again, and so on. His father, got to the interval, decided that it wasn't his thing and left again.
I mostly hadn't heard of the cast. Was really glad to see Lea Salgona back as Fantine because I loved her as Eponnine, Matt Lucas as Thenardier, didn't like the idea but was pleasantly surprised, Nick Jonas as Marius, again didn't like the idea, he was okay, but blatantly out of his depth, he just didn't have the voice to compete.
The trouble I have is that I have cast members that I absolutely loved, Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean of course, Alun Armstrong as Thenardier, Lea Salgona as Eponnine and I thought that Philip Quast was wonderful as Javert (he hits notes so low that you don't so much hear them as feel them), so it was going to be difficult for other people to measure up, but I'll try to be level and not rule people out automatically.
Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, actually very good, he managed to over come me being prejudiced against him for not being Colm Wilkinson, so he must have been good. Had a really good voice.
Nick Jonas, bless him, I'm sure he's very attractive, but he stood out, he wasn't a strong enough performer to manage in this forum, he was completely out classed by everyone around him, and you find yourself wondering who got turned down so a teen star could get the part. Also, his accent was annoying me, don't worry, he didn't have an American accent, but he'd obviously (or so it seemed to me) spent some time with a vocal coach to get rid of the American accent, and consequently came up with a couple of unusual pronounciations, tomorrow seemed to go on forever.
Norm Lewis, again never heard of him, didn't quite have the amazing range of Philip Quast, but he was very good and Javert's suicide was the only time I clapped (I feel stupid clapping in a cinema 200 miles away from where the performance is, and got royally mocked by Ben for it I might add).
Matt Lucas, much better that I expected, I really disliked the idea of him as Thenadier, thinking that he'd use it as a vehicle for himself, but he actually gave a very credible performace and was quite impressive really.
Lea Salgona was, of course, wonderful, simple as, I was slightly surprised when I heard she was going to be playing Fantine (don't know why, I just couldn't picture it), but she was brilliant, and got the first standing ovation of the night if I remember rightly, and probably one of the longest, meaning that I had to try and explain to Ben and his mum that she was quite famous and there were probably quite a lot of people there who were big fans of her.
Katie Hall suffers from the fact that I don't particularly like the role of Cossette, never have done. As a kid I just thought she was boring re-watching it now I realised that Cossette doesn't really have a role or a personality of her own, she's a catalyst for a lot of the action, but she doesn't really do anything herself, and she's the only main character to not have her own song. Gavroche has more of a solo than she does (why is it by the way that both concert versions have cut out the full version of Little People which I've always really liked). I'm sure she was very good but I'm afraid that she suffered from me really not caring.
Ramin Marimloo as Enjolras, again, very good, as you'd expect, I keep thinking that I recognise him, but I can't work out where from so I'll just have to leave that be.
Samantha Barks as Eponnine, Eponnine is one of my favourite roles, so I'm liable to get quite offended if you do something that I don't like. Aparently Samantha got to the last three in I'd Do Anything, but I'm afraid I really don't remember her. She was good, a little more shouty than singing at times, and a little to 'London' but very good all the same.

The end of the show saw the three current casts on stage, then the arrival of the original 1985 cast (minus, as far as I could tell, David Burt as Enjolras, I've done a bit of research and it looks as though he's still alive, so I don't know why that was). The final song was the 4 Jean Valjeans singing Bring Him Home, which was wonderful (queue audience shots of crying women). They closed with many children singing do you hear the people sing, personally I think that should have finished on Bring Him Home which was a much more effective closer, but that's just my opinion. I really enjoyed it and wish that I could have been at the O2 to see it, although I suspect that that would have been a lot more expensive.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Little Snap Dragon is Growing

Well, technically the dragon isn't growing, because I haven't started stitching him yet, but the flowers are growing, and I'm loving how fast this is coming along, even my other half has just looked at this in surprise and gone 'that's really going'. I think it's starting to look like something now, although that's possibly because I know what it's going to look like, so I know what I'm looking for.
I had quite a productive week actually, I like it when I'm at the end of the week (okay, so it's Saturday, but I don't know what chance I'm going to get to post) and I can see a definite difference between when I lasted posed a picture.
Talking about not being sure of time, I'm quite excited, we're going to see Les Miserables tomorrow night. Our local cinema is one of the ones involved in the Live Theatre projects so theatre performances are broadcast live to the cinema, and the 25th Anniversary edition of Les Miserables at the O2 is being shown on Sunday so myself, Ben and his mum and dad are going to see that, which should be good.

I'm actually feeling a bit guilty, I've been looking at my writing in the last couple of days and thinking that I ought to give some time to my writing instead of my stitching, it's difficult, I love both and whenever I'm doing one I fell guilty for neglecting the other. I did contemplate assigning days to one or the other, but I think that that'll back fire because if it's a day when I'm just not in the mood I won't achieve anything anyway. Anyone got any suggestions?