Birds of a Feather

For a few months each year, I have a lull in birthdays, and I get to spend some time working on other projects. Projects for me.

Fortunately, my lull in birthdays happens in consecutive months through the summer. Of course, the summer does bring other distractions in the stitching world. For one, it is wedding-season, after all; for two, it’s about time to start thinking about Christmas cards, if they’re to be done in time to make the post…More on them anon.


This year, though, I’m combining a wedding-project with something I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing about for the last few years. Well, OK, in my hunt for a suitable wedding-gift, I came across a pattern I designed back when I worked in a card-shop. I never did anything with it, beyond sketching it out and making a stab at picking colours. With a little adaptation and personalisation, I think it might be just right.

As I go along, I’m making changes to the original colours, for the better, but no doubt I won’t really know until I’ve completed it. It’s not going to be a huge project; in the 16-count aida I’m using it won’t be more than a 6-inch square. But I have ideas about mounting it on a sort of quilted background. We’ll see.

The Sound of Bells

It’s always nice to have a wedding invite drop through the letter-box.

It’s even nicer with a project in mind, just waiting for such an occasion.


This pretty picture, awaiting only a couple of initials and a date, has been on my Little List since the Summer issue of CrossStitcher, a few months back. I’m also quite pleased with how the linen I picked up in IKEA has worked out, although I’m still not sure what count it is. For future reference though, the Aina (£8-9 per metre) is good for 28-count projects.

It’s been nice to work on this piece, which sits neatly in a 10″ hoop (although it isn’t currently centred properly), and took only a weekend to stitch. There’s a bare half-dozen colours, which is good too. Sorry about the rubbish photograph.

Married Life

Shall I tell you a secret? Can you keep it secret? (I know – I see the, er, problems with whispering secrets on the ‘net, too.)

Well, it’s this. The best thing about being married is that I don’t have to plan or organise the wedding anymore. It’s wonderful. I don’t have to worry about dietary requirements or my dress fitting or shoes rubbing or people having fun or music or anything like that anymore. Not that I really worried, but you know how people ask questions, like you know all the answers. I’m sure I’m the weird one and most brides do, in fact, know all the answers.

Bride's Bouquet and Groom's Hat - photo taken by my sister, while we were sneaking scones and tea in between the many, many photographs being demanded...

Bride’s Bouquet and Groom’s Hat – photo taken by my sister, while we were sneaking scones and tea in between the many, many photographs being demanded…

But anyway. That’s all done and we’re settling into married life. (By the by, I thoroughly recommend The Royal Clarence in Exeter – a lovely hotel staffed by really lovely people and which serves frankly to-die-for food. We’ve already booked in for the same time next year for our first anniversary.)

And now I get people asking me about name-changes. To which I say, well, I’ll use whichever I feel like at that moment in time. But my passport and driving licence won’t be changed until they expire, since they still have some years left to run. The passport in particular, which is only a few years’ old and they simply give you a new ten-year one for a name-change and it costs almost as much as a new one. So my current one will run its course, and then I’ll think again about changing my name on it.

So that’s that. Now for the next stage of the Adventure of Life: the Honeymoon. We’ve decided that actually, since we’d probably get bored on a two-week trip somewhere, we’re going to treat this whole first year as the honeymoon and just have lots of little trips places. And drink lots of mead, as the traditional honeymoon drink. We found a really yummy one made by the Lyme Bay Winery. Like drinking honey, if you let it breathe a little for at least a day before drinking.


And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe

Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, something blue,

And a silver sixpence in her shoe.


That’s how the Victorian wedding rhyme for good luck in a marriage goes. The first four are easy enough. Traditionally a bride borrows the veil of a happily married friend or relative – that covers old and borrowed – and the dress is usually new. Nowadays the blue is usually a garter to hold up the non-existent stockings.

How many brides have you come across putting a sixpence in their shoes? Or wear shoes which would be suitable (so, courts)? Mind you, since the sixpence was decommissioned as legal tender, it’s not like they’re ready at hand. I suppose you could substitute a five-pence.

If you look, you can find sixpences. Usually for stirring into Christmas puddings. I found a set on eBay with holes drilled in them, for jewellery-making.

On a whim, I bought some. And then spent an awfully long time (about an hour) carefully braiding threads, attaching a couple. It took much longer than I expected.

See, I reckon using sixpences as charms on an anklet counts as a modern-day “in her shoe”, don’t you? And if it’s made from blue thread, that gets rid of the superfluous garter.

Also, I begin to see what people mean when they suggest getting any DIY bits done early…

How Much do I Care…?

I’m not quite sure whether I should be panicking that something will go wrong, or be too chilled to care.

Given that I’ve spent pretty much the last however long since setting the date too chilled to care, I should probably do a bit of panicking, but that just seems like effort. Lazy, is me.

You’re probably wondering why I’m getting married, given the lack of interest I’ve shown in planning the whole shebang. The thing is, though, I want to marry Mark. I’m just not fussed about a wedding. I wanted to elope. A trip over the border to Gretna Green. Drag two random strangers in off the street to witness it. That’s how I’d’ve done it. But Mark wanted a wedding. (I know, weird. Usually it’s the other way around.) Compromises. I have got some nice dresses out of it, so can’t complain….


I have made my own veil though. See – I am getting into the spirit of it! I had some spare tulle, so thought, why not? I’m not certain I’ll wear it, but I have it if I do. Save me the £15 I was quoted by the people who altered my dress, or £5 on ebay. The ribbon cost a smidgeon extra, naturally, but pennies, really. Just took a bit of time hand-sewing the strips of tulle together.

And yes, I have used some peach tulle…

Love is in the Air

I’ve been hunting down quotations this week. The sort that make you go “awww!” (or “ewww!”, depending on your mood/ideas about expressing emotion). Quotations about love and marriage.

Because I agreed not only to read something at a friend’s wedding in September, but also to write it. Using my creative/artistic licence as a would-be writer. (It’s tricky to get out of the mind-set that I’m not a Real Writer until I’ve been paid – and, to be honest, I won’t feel like I’ve earned the right to call myself such until I am, but that’s just me. Seeking validation…)

Anyway, despite my own wedding being a scant few weeks away now, I’m still in need of advice from the Masters about writing about love. Although I still think that one of the best pieces is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Such a lovely description of love. But I can’t use that (civil wedding laws and all that).


Another good quotation I like comes from the end of Frederica by Georgette Heyer. Our heroine has just become engaged to the hero and is explaining about not really knowing what love is.

“It has always seemed to me that if one falls in love with any gentleman one becomes instantly blind to his faults. But I am not blind to your faults, and I do not think that everything you do or say is right! Only—Is it being—not very comfortable—and cross—and not quite happy, when you aren’t there?”

Only then, of course, the happy couple are interrupted by the heroine’s adorable little brother, who demands to know why they are cuddling. He is, in a little boy’s way, so revolted by the thought of having to cuddle any woman that he swears off ever getting married.

What’s your favourite quotation about love and/or marriage?

The March of Time

I set myself a challenge. I keep setting this challenge, and failing, so I move the goalposts.

My aim is to finish my second draft by the time Mark and I get married. I have five weeks left of this, and most of the book left to write. I’m trying to write 3000 words a day, spurred on by the success of writing 50K in 30 days.

But given that I still have a day-job, and we’re into the last weeks of preparation for the wedding (and for which I feel sorely ill-prepared – I so wish we’d eloped!), my time is precious. It would be nice if I could bill myself for my time…Would make a fortune!

This means that there’s no recipe this week, and maybe next week too, but perhaps instead, I’ll be able to manage snippets of story.

Or what I write to combat writer’s block. I got myself one of those little books which are filled with ideas or trigger-words or pictures or scenarios to use to get back into the creative zone.


As far as wedding plans go, I’ve finally got around to having my dress altered, so it fits! And isn’t about three miles too long, even in 5″ heels. And I found shoes. In a charity shop, no less. I feel quite the green bride, with a vintage dress and second-hand shoes (I don’t think they’re old enough to be “vintage”), and vintage rings. I’m trying to persuade Mark to find a vintage suit – there were some nice ones in Exeter’s The Real McCoys, but I can see that they probably would be a bit heavy if the weather’s anything like it has been recently. Oh but there were some nice tail-coats! But we’ll see. Bournemouth is supposed to have some good vintage shops. We’ll investigate them.