Cross Stitching Projects: Wedding Sampler

I have finally decided on a wedding sampler to stitch for my BIL and future SIL, with a little help from my MIL of course. I can’t post it here though as I have no idea if my SIL ever looks on this page so you’ll all just have to wait till it’s done, I will tell you though that it’s from Lavender and Lace. I ordered the chart, fabric and some beads yesterday and should be able to start in the next two weeks. I’m a little worried though, the wedding is mid-October and other people who have stitched the design have taken anywhere between 9 months and 18 months to complete it. Hopefully these people also work and have other things to do with their time, I don’t really have any demands on my time apart from writing so I should have plenty of time. I couldn’t quite decided between this design and a Janlynn design called ‘From This Day Forward’, but the L&L design won out in the end because it’s very easy to peronalize (apparently). My job now is to find out the wedding colours (hope she’d decided) and match threads for haircolour to match the couple 🙂 Should be fun.
As this will be my biggest project yet, I’m really looking forward to it, I ordered some Zweigart Lurex Aida, 16 ct cream speckled with gold to stitch it on. There is some gold metallic threads used in the design so I figured it would look good together. I was thinking about buying some Polstitches hand-dyed evenweave, but I don’t think a project which is supposed to be a gift to someone else is the best time to start trying evenweave. I’ll leave that for when I do Joan Elliott’s fairies instead, they will after all be for me.
The largeness of the Wedding Sampler is sort of pushing my other projects on the back burner, I’ll have to see how I get on with it, how quick I can stitch before I continue on the other ones. So the next two weeks are going to be spent finishing mother’s day cards and birthday cards and hopefully get a little more done on the HUG cushion, which I will post an update picture on during the next week.

Wish Me Luck


Weekly List of Five: Five Cars I Want, But Will Never Own

Sorry about this week’s 5 being a few days late, but here we go.

I’ve always liked nice cars in that I appreciate how nice they look and the speed they can get to, but technically/machanically I know nothing about cars. This list has cars I drool after when seeing them on the road in Abu Dhabi, but I know I will never, ever own them. Unless of course I win the Euromillions jackpot or actually become a multi-published author.

At Number 1 we have the hunk of cars – 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500



I love it, I would do pretty much any thing for it, grand theft auto doesn’t sound too bad when your looking at this beauty. I prefer the Kona(?) Blue with the White Le Mans stripe, but lately I’ve started to prefer the silver with the Blue stripes (above). Not that it will ever matter because I will only be admiring this amazing car from afar 😦 A little off topic – In AD there is a person with a Mustang in pink with black stripes, it’s not a Shelby (I don’t think), if it was he’d prolly be on some hit list. But it really pisses me off, there should be screening processes for Mustangs, pink ones just shouldn’t be allowed!

At Number 2 comes – Bentley Continental GT


I don’t want to like this car, mostly because so many celebs have it. It used to be such an aristocratic car, classic and elegant, now over paid rap stars buy it, ‘bling’ it out or rather pimp it up, and it ends up looking atrocious. But it’s not the car’s fault so it’s here on the list. My colour of choice? Shapphire Blue, nice and classic.

The car at number 3 is a Maserati GrandTurismo


I’ve only seen one in AD once and it was yellow. I’m sorry but that is not a good colour for any car (ok, except Bumblebee of course). My Maserati would be a nice classic black, or Nero Carbonio as it is is Maserati speak. It’s such a flashy car it really doean’t need any extra help in the colour department, that would just cheapen the look. In my opinion.

The Lexus LX10 is Number 4 on my little list

I quite like the bigger cars, maybe it comes from being Norwegian where off-roading to get to a cabin in the woods or struggling up an icy hill in the winter is quite common. You’ve got the power, the space and the security of being slightly bigger than other cars on the road. Ok so the Lexus isn’t that big, but this is the list of cars I can’t have, the list of cars I can have ONE day has some bigger cars on it. Colour of choice? The icy blue grey methinks.

Last but not least we have the  Aston Martin V12 Vantage Carbon Black Edition at Number 5.

I have a feeling this is a little too much car for me but I don’t care. It’s another one of those classically elegant cars, and it manages to look amazing no matter what. The carbon black really suits it, so much in fact that I had to include a picture.


Well that’s it for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed and check in next week for the next List of Five

RIP Hyacinth Gardens

I get a fair amount of hits from people searching for the hallowed Gardens so I thought I’d post an update on what’s happening. I haven’t actively followed what’s been going on and only recently updated myself on the subject. It seems Hyacinth Gardens is gone for good, according to a statement made by Amber aka the Queen(I read this on the AHA board), she just cannot give the project the time and dedication it needs, which is fair enough. It was after all a doubly big undertaking considering alot of the back-up/archive was wiped, and as I understand the tech (jenna?) quit. I’ll miss Amber’s stories though and hope she starts posting and/or reposting on other sites.

As for other people’s stories, there is already there is a group of people on AHA making a list of authors who only posted on HG and I believe they are contacting them to see it they won’t repost on AHA or other JAFF sites. When I first read that HG was gone for good I was very upset, selfishly upset. Why? Because it was the only place I had my drabbles. I used to just write them on the go and I never kept copies, a few of them are posted here, but the site went down before I managed to post them all on my blog.  Then a couple of days ago I had a lightbulb moment, I had in fact e-mailed all my drabbles to a friend and I never delete my sent e-mail. Sure enough, I searched for drabbles on my e-mail and voila! there they were. Bless GMail, it’s the best! So now I’ll post all my old drabbles in the next week or so. They are not great works of literature, not even half decent but I like having them here, so don’t give me too much stick. I’m of course still sad that HG is no more, but there are plenty of great alternatives out there.

If you were a HG only goer and you’re now lost for a place to enjoy JAFF I would personally recommend A Happy Assembly(AHA) at or The Derbyshire Writer’s Guild at, but there are many, many more so just google them and try them out until you find your perfect fit.

Good Luck

Weekly List of Five: Five Best Historical Romance Families

Confused? I started thinking about this yesterday when looking through submission guidelines and help for various historical romance publishers, some of my favorite series are centered around one family. So which ones are the best? Here you go…

1. Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn’s


Are you surprised by no.1? I must admit I couldn’t quite decided between 1 and 2, but what really clinched it was how unlikable some of the Bedwyn family members could be. Sorry is that confusing? Take Freyja for example, in the first few books she seems very bitter, and her poor nose is brough up a lot, but then you read her story, you see her side and suddenly everything is so clear. They are like normal people, bad sides, good sides and none of them are hidden away.

My favourite Bedwyn moment? It has to be when Alleyne returns from the dead at the end of Slightly Sinful, tears were streaming down my cheeks throughout, in fact I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.

2. Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster’s


They almost beat the Bedwyn’s to first place, but not quite. Why not? The Bar Cynster is just too good-looking and too perfect. I dearly love them though, and will probably read and reread them till the end of my life. What makes the Cynster’s so brilliant is their love of family, once they commit they are committed. Does that make sense? And of course the Cynster men would be nothing without their women, the Grande Dames really do make the stories 🙂

My Favorite Cynster Book? The Perfect Lover, Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford’s story. I love the subterfuge when they are trying to catch the killer. Truly a great read.

3. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton’s

Julia Quinn was my first foray into the world of recently written, non-Mill&Boon/Harlequin Historical Romance, and I feel a little bad putting the Bridgerton’s 3rd, I hope she won’t delete me from her facebook friends.  The reason for them coming in 3rd? They are just too nice, they’ve had trials and tribulations in their lives but they are all so darn nice. Makes me feel like a wikked ‘female dog’ or witch with a b. Ok, that’s not true, because the one feeling you do get when reading Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is a feeling of goodness. It’s fun, it’s a little girly, out of all the romance writers I regularly read Julia Quinn comes closest to writing the fun, smart regencies usually associated with Georgette Heyer.

My Favourite Bridgerton Bride? It had to be Penelope Featherington (marries Colin in book 4 Romancing Mister Bridgerton); she is a great sport and she’s Lady Whistledown. You can’t really compete with that now can you.

4. Mary Balogh’s Huxtables

In at no.4 we have another Mary Balogh creation, that woman sure knows how to write. The Huxtables are relatively new, the first book with Vanessa was only out a few years ago and the last book is out in May 2010 (I think). What I enjoy the most about them is how they were never meant to be rich society misses, and lord. They lived a quiet life in the country and skimping on everything and suddenly their life is turned around, but they stay true to themselves and their family.

My Favourite Huxtable? Vanessa Dew, nee Huxtable. Her journey in First Comes Marriage is a great read, shows that if you do good things good things will come to you in the end.

5. Karen Hawkins’ Clan MacLean

I’m relatively new to Karen Hawkins and her books about the fierce MacLean’s so maybe it’s unfair that they ended up 5th, but someone had to. The main selling point these novels have to me is the mystical aspect, the untold stories, and the savage Scottish noble men. The responsibility these men have and feel f0r their family and their people is great, and old woman Nora’s quotes are amazingly fun, it makes each book a must-read.

My Favourite Old Woman Nora saying? “Tis a sad day when ye ha’ t’ pinch yerself t’ see if ye’re awake or in th’ midst o’ a night terror. ‘Tis a really sad day when ye have t’ pinch yerself twice.” (From Sleepless in Scotland)

New Weekly Post Subject

I’ve decided to do a weekly list of 5’s. The topic of the 5’s will vary between anything I feel like really, and suggestions are welcome.

Once a new List of 5’s is up the old 5’s will be archived on their own page, if that makes sense. 

The inaugural List of Five will be up shortly.

Cross Stitching Projects: Classic Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Complete

Well I’ve finally finished the Classic Winnie the Pooh kit from Anchor. It was supposed to be a birthday present for my MIL, her birthday was in October so it’s a wee bit late and the plan now is to have it sent to her before Mother’s day which is sometime in March (right?)

Here is the finished stitching, it’s the first big project I’ve completed since getting into the x-stitching again. It was a relatively easy one though and the only thing that kept me from finishing it a few months ago was the annoying grass backstitch. It looks great with the grass though so glad I finished. I wonder if I’ll feel as pleased when I finish the Tatty Ted wedding sampler, will all the backstitch hell be worth it? Incidently I haven’t even touched that particular project since my x-stitch post back in October. BAD ME!!!

Anyways, here is the completed Winnie the Pooh and Piglet…


Must-Have furniture for horse-lovers/equestrians

While window shopping in Abu Dhabi Mall the other day their new Winter Frosty display caught my eye. Why? Because they had the coolest lamp I’ve ever seen.

I Want. I Need.

Judge for yourselves…

p.s. sorry about the poor pic quality, mall lights what can you do?


New Year’s Resolutions – Part Deux


While NYR1 (New Year Resolution 1) comes with a lot of hard work and the possibility of failing at my chosen career, NYR2 is a little more frivolous, although it still involves some work. So without further ado…


In short, cross-stitching.

Ok, maybe a longer explanation is required. Apart from writing and reading I have never really stuck with a hobby. Then this summer I got bit by the stitching bug and I’m still going strong, even though I have yet to finish the first project I started. Now, I know myself very well, and I can be as brutally honest about myself as I can about other people. I get lazy, I get lazy and I quit whatever I’m doing, essentially I’m a quitter. So my second resolution is not to quit, it might seem simple to you, but for me it will require work. First of all I know that if I start a lot of big projects I’ll never complete them coz I’ll get bored. I have so many things on my to-stitch list, but I can’t do them all of course and I can’t do them all for me, that would just be a waste. So I’m going to pick ones to stitch for my family’s birthdays, that will give me deadlines, and to have some smaller projects on the go I’m going to stitch a card a week; birthday, mother’s day, father’s day, Valentine’s day, anniversary and Christmas cards. This way I’ll have cards for all occasions and I’ll have a feeling of accomplishment while struggling along with the bigger projects. It also means I’ll avoid the X-mas card fiasco of 2009. What was the problem you ask? Well I finished stitching the last card on New Year’s Day. Luckily this is exactly what my family expects of me, I’ve been know to hand over x-mas gifts in July, so x-mas cards in January isn’t really all that bad. Pictures of the 2009/10 batch will be up shortly by the way, I almost don’t want to give some of them away. In fact hubby doesn’t think I’ll actually send them, but more on that in a later post.
So NYR2 is this: stitch presents for birthdays and other occasions, the main stitching project will be a wedding sampler for BIL and SIL-to-be, Charlie’s Ark pictures for my nephew, something as of yet undecided for my mum, a cushion for my MIL and a picture of a baby orangutan for hubby (specially requested) In addition everyone will receive stitched birthday etc cards.
For myself I will start the year stitching the Emily Peacock ‘HUG’ cushion, as well as doing Joan Elliott’s spring and summer fairies with the recommended Polstitches hand dyed fabric. In addition I have to finish my own wedding sampler aka the 1st project aka the bane of my life, and the Foxgloves from “The country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”. I’m sure some more stuff will pop up through the year as well.
That’s that for my New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll keep a steady update on both resolutions, with pictures of the stitching and plot info for the stories, so keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck …


New Year’s Resolutions – Part one

Happy New Year everyone!

I usually make New Year Resolutions, of course they are usual banal, immeasurable things, and no I won’t give examples. This year I’ve decided to be different. Yes I’ve still got resolutions, but this time around they are measurable goals. As the last part of 2009 swept by it occurred to me that I was wasting valuable time. For over a year now I haven’t worked, I’ve studied of course but hardly enough to qualify it as a full-time job, or even a part-time one. And now I’m not even studying, effectively I’m sitting on my ever-growing behind, doing nothing, day in and day out. Normally this would be a great time to evaluate, decide on what I want to do with my life, do some volunteer work which might help once I’m actively job seeking again etc. But I already know what I want to do, I want to be a writer, what I do day in and day out on my ever-growing behind is write; although lately it’s been more editing and deleting than actual writing. Now what is the one foremost goal a writer should have? That’s right, get published. And to publish you need to submit to a publisher, or an agent. Which neatly brings us to…


Finish and polish to submission standards a manuscript for Mills and Boon Historical. Submit MS no later than August 1st. Originally there were a few stories in the running to be submitted, but in the end I settled on Adele’s story. It’s a previous NaNo story which has been edited and added to over the years, and has the added bonus of being part of a threesome of books, although lately they’ve grown (in my head) to about 8 books. Still, only three are plotted and mostly written so for now it’s a trio. Adele’s story is set during the regency, although it’s one of the only stories that doesn’t have a set year yet. The reason for this is simple, 5 years prior to the story starting the heroine is banished to live with relatives in the colonies, I need to find out how safe it would be to travel from Britain to America. I don’t mean the usual problems back then with storm etc sinking ships, but rather the problem of the two wars. I’ve dealt with the Peninsular and Napoleonic wars in other stories, but only on land, I have zero knowledge of the Navy at that time. My mind seems to remember that the great Naval battles were earlier, around 1800 but still French ships intercepting English ships from the colonies could have happened so it needs researching. As for the second war, the war of 1812, I know next to nothing. Did it interfere with travel to Boston for example, or did the fighting just stay in Canada? So yet another thing to research before setting the date.

There are of course a million other things that need fixing with the story, but my main worry as I read through it a few days ago was the ending. There is no doubt that my leading couple are in love, earth shattering, heart breaking love. BUT they’ve hurt each other so much and got such a distorted view of what has actually been going on that I can’t seem to find a plausible reason for them to reconcile and live happily ever after. And they do live happily ever after, they feature in the other two connected stories and I know how many kids they have and their names. So yeah, a little frustrating to say the least, but I have no doubt it will be resolved. In the words of my favorite Mr. Darcy –  ‘I shall conquer this.’

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