Tuesday, 22 July 2008

She's finished!

I've been off work poorly for a couple of days, which has given me the opportunity to finish Kewpie!

She's hanging out to dry now after a gentle hand-wash to dislodge some the grime and biscuit crumbs that had found their way into the work during stitching. Next steps will be a good ironing over a fluffy white towel, and a trip to the framers on Saturday.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

House-selling frustrations

Weeks ago, probably about 4 or 5 weeks by now, I accepted an offer on my house. I don't think I blogged it at the time, for fear of jinxing the sale.

Time has passed, and we're no nearer completing the sale. The buyer has been having trouble getting a mortgage. There had been a mark on his credit record from a late payment on a mobile phone bill, which has apparently now been sorted out with Experian, but it seems he still doesn't have his finances fully in place, and we haven't heard anything about a surveyor coming round to value the property. I'm getting worried - the longer it goes on, the greater the chances he'll pull out of the sale regardless of whether he gets a mortgage agreed.


On the plus side, we spent yesterday at Lovely J's house. We mooched around the house, garden and the neighbourhood. We went for a walk round some of the villages, had a very nice meal out in a local chinese, and sat in the conservatory with some music playing to enjoy the last of the day's sunshine as I carried on with my stitching. I gotta tell you, I can't wait til my house is sold and we can move in to his!

Here is my cross stitch as it was yesterday afternoon. Nearly there! If I keep at it I might be able to prepare it for framing by the end of next weekend....

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A day off

I have a day off work today - woohoo! :oD

I love flexi-time. I can take up to two days off work as flexi-leave every 4 weeks - that's an extra 26 days a year that I'm not in work! Yay! (Of course, I do have to make up the hours, but that's not too difficult.)

So - what am I doing with my day off?

#1 - Sheltering from the rain. It's peeing it down here, the man on the radio said that we can expect a month's worth of rain today - said something about the European Monsoon (never heard of it). So, no picnics on the beach for me today.

#2 - Going to the cinema. I went to the 11 o-clock 'Senior showing' of 27 Dresses this morning. It was fantastic. We were in the Gallery (posh seats), had free teas, coffees and biscuits, and it only cost £4. The film was lovely (I cried a teeny bit), and I have to say - old people make the best cinema companions. There was no talking, bag-rustling, seat-kicking, getting-up-to-go-to-the-toilet or mobile-phone-bleeping. Just a lovely, serene silence in which to enjoy the film.

#3 - Going to the Craft Shop. I stopped by Inkspot on my way home from the flicks to pick up some more stranded cotton (DMC 3347) for Kewpie. While there I popped downstairs to speak to the picture framer (Andrew, he was brilliant, very accommodating, patient and encouraging) about Kewpie.

I started our conversation with the inspired, "I have a piece of cross-stitch abouth this wide (hand gesture) by this tall (hand gesture) that I haven't finished yet, but when I do I would like it to be framed with quite a big mount, and in a big, heavy gilt frame. But I don't know which one yet. Do you know how much that might cost?"

Instead of scowling at my vagueness, he was lovely, and went through a load of options with me, and gave me a range of likely prices and timescales. It's not going to be cheap. It could cost anywhere between £90 - £200 to get if framed as I want.


#3 - Cross Stitch. Of course! I won't be able to do very much today, but I have already manage to fit in some stitching, and I daresay I will do some more before bed. Here she is so far...

Nearly there! Look how excited she looks, peeking over at the ever decreasing areas of nude aida...

#4 - Ballroom Dancing. Because my french classes have clashed with ballroom lessons over the past couple of weeks, we have arranged a catch-up session this afternoon. Lovely J's taken the afternoon off work especially. We will be off there shortly, so I need to hurry up with typing this post otherwise we may be late!

#5 - French Class. Yup - I will be parlez-vous-ing tonight again. It's great, I'm really enjoying it, and am considering taking it up in September on a one night a week basis (they do 2 nights a week too, but I could never fit that in around the pottery, dancing, stitching, knitting etc!)

So - all in all, a pretty fabulous day off. Hurrah!

Must dash - have to put my dancing shoes on!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Some sums...

This morning I timed myself doing a short row of cross stitch. I didn't rush, and I didn't dawdle, I just wanted a fairly accurate idea of how long the stitching takes.

I took 5 minutes, 35 seconds to complete one row of 20 stitches. This averages out at 16.75 seconds per complete cross stitch (both directions).

My Kewpie pattern measures 200 x 166 stitches. A total of 41,500 stitches.

On that basis, it would take me 695,125 seconds to stitch the entire pattern. (193 hours, 5 minutes and 25 seconds).

This estimation doesn't take account of the additional time needed to thread needles, bind off thread, count, un-pick and re-stitch, swear and re-count, un-tangle thread, etc. With this in mind, I have rounded the figure up to a very reasonable 220 hours.

If we were to consider a working week is 37.5 hours, it would take a couple of hours shy of 6 working weeks to complete the pattern.

Considering that the minimum wage in the UK is currently £5.52/hour, it would cost £1,242 in minimum wage man-hours to stitch this pattern (not including the purchase of materials, etc).

For the benefit of my American readership (I know you're out there - Google Analytics tells me so!) - this is US $2,462.89 at today's exchange rate.

Wow. I dread to think how much that would work out as on my actual salary. :oS

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

French, Kewpie and photos

This week I am taking French lessons. I'm doing a 2 week french conversation summer school at the university, 3 hours a night, 3 nights a week for two weeks. So far I've had two classes, and am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm finding it much easier and much less stressful than Japanese!

The end of my mammoth Kewpie cross stitch is in sight! Nearly. I have a lot of stitching ahead of me , still - but, look....

See! I'm definitely getting there!

Also - d'you remember a while back I mentioned that some Schamp, an online travel guide, was considering using one of my pics? Well, they did. You can see it here - mine's one of the pics of Blenheim Palace.

How awesome is that? But wait - it gets better... I had another email from them, letting me know that they're considering including another of my pics. Yay me! It's this one of Barry Island...

(Doesn't Barry Island look lovely!)