Bragging Rights!

Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.


Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”

Meandering Through Saturday


There will still be bad days, even with the new meds.  Had one Thursday, and today’s none too good.  Still, I’ll be fairly content if I get back to more good days than bad.

Well, Puzzle Me!

Yep, I’m doing puzzles again.  Crosswords, preferably cryptic, are a favourite.  I also like ‘killer Sudoku’ but can’t find any so I’m rattling through ordinary ones instead.  At least it’s a bit of mental exercise.

Double Disco’ Day

Today’s another double disco’ day for Jenny.  One this afternoon and another tonight. So, I saw her up until noon and probably won’t see her again until the early hours.  Bad timing with how I feel, but there’s no way I could ask her to stay home!  Between working full time and caring for me the rest of the time, she needs time off.

Requested Artwork!

You probably recall the mention of Reuben and his artistic talent.  Well, I’ve given him some food for thought.  I’m going to need a cover for my new novelette/novella.  I’ve given him the details and am now hoping that he can do the necessary.  I think it’s challenging, but then I don’t have anywhere near his talent at art!

I also suggested that he and his friends might like to have a go at making a video trailer for my books.  He’s not too optimistic on that one.  I just thought it might be fun for them.  We’ll see how it goes…

Paperback Perils

The first paperback copies of one of my novelettes hit a bit of a snag.  The printer made a mess of things by not cropping the covers square.  Not the fault of skoobebooks, though.  Keith there has done a great job, and still is!  Poor chap was mortified.

The other novelette that’s been being processed has now reached almost final stage.  With FeedARead, however, I can’t release the book for sale, even on their own site, until I’ve seen a proof printed copy.  The problem?  I’ve had to buy a copy!  Not amused!  Considering FeedARead are ‘Arts Council Funded’, it’s costing me more!

Needless to say, all future paperbacks will be put with skoobebooks!  At least I get a free courtesy copy from them, and genuine, one-to-one help and advice.  With FeedARead, all I get is pro forma emails that can’t be replied to!


The other day, I considered doing some cross-stitch.  I’ve got a big project that needs to be completed.  Naturally, shortly after thinking about it, I discovered that it would be very unwise to do it!  I developed some very nasty little white, itchy lumps on two fingers.  I could just imagine what threads would do to them.  Project back on hold.  Most frustrating!

Follower Numbers Growing!

Since restarting this blog, and changing its mission, the number of its followers has increased rather dramatically!  I would like to think that it’s because folk have been enjoying my posts on Imagineer-ing, but there’s no way I can really make any assumptions.  Still, it’s a nice thought.  If you’re a new Follower – thanks!  If you’re not – thanks again – and I’m amazed you hung around for so long, when I wasn’t posting!  I’d love to hear from you, whichever you are: do you only read this one of my blogs or do you read Imagineer-ing too?

Wow! OMG and all that!

It’s been so long since I posted here!  I feel terribly guilty.  I have to admit that I’ve done no knitting and only a little cross-stitch.  I spent a fair while beading and making jewellery but have returned to my first love: writing!  I apologise to everybody for not being more active here, but I kept leaving it because I done nothing new and… well, time flies.

If you’re interested, I have a very active blog on various subjects around writing, called Imagineer-ing.  You would be very welcome to visit me there too!  It might even be fun.

I can’t promise that I’ll be busy with the needles again soon, I’m afraid.  I would love to be able to do everything I love, but it’s just not possible.

I do have a thought… I might turn this into a general blog, with all manner of subjects that reflect my life, such as it is.  I’ve no idea if anybody would find that interesting, of course.  I’d be delighted to hear your views on the idea!

All the best,


Battling On…

I’m still struggling with my health, which has curtailed most activities.  I have to snatch what few opportunities present themselves, and with so many projects on the go, it can be difficult to choose.  I’ve not gotten even close to finishing any of the knitting projects lately, but I have just finished a piece of cross stitch.  Actually, it was something I did because I felt like it and had no purpose beyond that.  However, a wonderful lady who Jenny knows keeps giving me gifts through Jenny, as a sign of support and understanding for my condition.  I feel both very touched and very guilty.  The lady isn’t young and money must be tight for her, and yet she is so generous!  I’ve had no idea of how I could possibly respond, until last night.  It came to me that she might like the little cross stitch that had no purpose.  So, this morning, I simply added the word “Thanks” to it:

Cottage Garden Thank-you

Cottage Garden Thank-you


Jenny’s going to make a card to mount it in for me, as she’s far better at that than I am!


Charting Software and News

As I’ve been struggling to do much at all, it’s natural that I’ve got very little to say.  I’ve done a few rows of this, a few rows of that, but nothing too complicated, in the realm of knitting.  I’ve not done a huge amount of cross stitch either, just a little green dragon and an Oriental lady is in progress, the latter being the most complicated piece I’ve done so far!  It’s immensely frustrating – my fingers keep twitching, demanding activity!

Many years ago, we obtained a cross stitch magazine which had a nice freebie on it – a program to allow charts to be designed.  It’s an excellent program, provided you’re prepared to learn to limit floss colour numbers and size of any picture imported into it.  That’s true of all charting software, of course.  Anyway, Jenny asked me to let somebody know more about it and I had to remind her that it isn’t actually available (as far as I know) unless you’re lucky enough to come across it in a charity shop or similar.  That said, Ikuta Software & Design Studio provide a very nice package which serves a very similar function, though without the same number of “bells and whistles”.  In fact, they offer two packages:

  • KG-Chart for Cross Stitch, and
  • KG-Chart for Bead Weaving
They are almost identical.  The difference being that one refers to DMC floss while the other refers to Delica Beads and TOHO Best Beads.  Apparently, they are working on a commercial version of the bead weaving version.  At the moment, both packages are available free, though you can opt to make a donation to the programmer.  I recommend both for anybody who would like to try their hand at designing.  You can always move on to a more sophisticated commercial product later, if you wish.

More Crossed Stitches

I mentioned in my last post that I couldn’t post a picture of the cross stitched Giant Panda.  Well, I now have a scan of it:

Giant Panda

Giant Panda

I’ve now got to think hard about what I’m doing.  I’ve translated a photo into a cross stitch chart but that’s much bigger and will take a long time to complete, especially as I can’t afford to buy 58 skeins of floss in one go!  There are lots of other charts in the booklet we got from  The World of Cross Stitching magazine but I have to think carefully as I don’t have a limitless range of floss colours…  I also don’t want to go mad with the black floss as the new skein Jenny bought has shrunk significantly now.

In the meantime, there are all those knitting projects to complete!

Crossed Stitches

During the last few days I’ve been playing with something new…. cross stitch!  Jenny has always loved doing cross stitch but I’d only ever dabbled with tapestry before.  I always assumed that I would never be able to do cross stitch.  Then, we bought the magazine The World of Cross Stitching, because it included a free booklet of Oriental motifs.  I looked through the booklet and fell in love with many of the designs, created by Joan Elliott.  Foolishly, I decided I’d quite like to try my hand at one or two of the simplest designs…

These are the first two I’ve done, and they aren’t perfect:

I miscounted a row in the butterfly and I wasn’t consistent in how I created the stitches.  I thought it was just a case of putting stitched Xs on the Aida!  I’ve since learnt better so future projects should be better.  I have also done a Giant Panda but I got left and right muddled so all the stitches in that are worked backwards, but at least they’re consistent, and I got the row count wrong at one point, again.  Jenny has hijacked that project though so I was unable to scan it…