52 things in 52 weeks – January update


52 things in 52 weeksSo, here is my first full monthly update on this year’s 52 things in 52 weeks challenge. You may remember I did weekly updates last year, but this year I know I’ll be much busier, so I opted for monthly updates instead – something far more achievable.

Here’s how January has fared:

COMPLETED:
Food challenges (one week each):
1. Two fruits and/or vegetables per meal – Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
2. “Real” beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).
3. Meat – All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish.
4. No fast food or deep-fried foods – No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Food challenges (30 days each):
15. 30 days of green smoothies – January (24 / 30)
I didn’t quite complete all 30 days because, as part of the crappiest run of luck during one week, my blender packed in. The new one I bought at the start of the month to replace the old one that died. It sucked anyway – it never once made a completely smooth smoothie. Either way, as I would have completed it, I consider this one completed in spirit.

Other food challenges:
21. Apply for an allotment
The application form has been sent off! My brother-in-law has expressed an interest in getting on board with this so we’ll hopefully be sharing a plot so it’s half the work and half the price for both of us, but still all the benefits of organic, home-grown produce! There’s a waiting list of 17 people, but there are 50-60 new plots being developed at my first-choice site, and I have been assured that everyone on the waiting list will be offered a plot as soon as they’re ready, so this one is definitely getting off the ground (ahem – sorry, for the bad pun!) sooner, rather than later!

IN PROGRESS:
Food challenges (one week each):
5. Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Financial challenges:
23. Put £20 into Tadpole’s savings every month (£20 / £240)
24. Put £20 into Button’s savings every month (£20 / £240)
25. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Button’s piggy banks each week (5/52)
26. Put £1 for each day of every month into savings (£31 / £365)
27. Put £1 for each challenge completed into the Xmas fund (£6 / £52)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each week (5/52)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each week (5/52)

Entertainment challenges:
30. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (2/52)
Check them out HERE.
31. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (28/52)
Check them out HERE.
32. Take part in three author book blog tours (1 / 3)
The Tudor Conspiracy by Christopher Gortner – Book review / Author interview

Family-related challenges:
34. Continue breastfeeding Button to the age of 6 months (10 April)
38. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (1/ 12)

Tadpole and Button
My lovely boys having a cuddle
Kell
My fringe is in serious need of a trim,
but I’m holding off on a haircut
till my cousin’s wedding next month…

41. Take the kids to the library once a month (1 / 12)
We LOVE going to the library, so this one should be pretty easy to keep up. 🙂

Personal challenges:
42. Lose 14lbs (4.75 / 14)
46. Write twelve letters to my pen-pal (1 / 12)
I have written my January letter to my buddy, Louise. We’ve been writing a couple of years now. One of these days we might even meet!
48.  Use FlyLady.net to get into a regular routine with the housework
I’ve allocated a room to focus on each week of the month to work in rotation. There are things in each room that will be daily or weekly anyway, but once a month I’ll give each room a detailed going over. Not quite on top of things yet, but I’ll get there!
49. Make twelve Xmas gifts /decorations (1 / 12)
Obviously I’m not going into any detail at all, in case the intended recipient sees it, but I’ve started on the Xmas gifts already and completed one so far, and am working on several more…
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (2 / 12)
My annual band sampler was released on New Year’s Day. Download it free HERE. I also released my Hope Sampler for sale. Buy it HERE.
51. Post a monthly update (1 / 12)
Here it is!

Kincavel Krosses January Sale!


January SaleFor those of you who don’t already know, I design cross stitch and blackwork charts and showcase them over at my Kincavel Krosses blog. And as it’s a new year and everyone is enjoying the January sales…

It’s the new year and stitchers everywhere will be looking forward to some post festivity relaxation time, hopefully with a project or two on the go. Well, at Kincavel Krosses, we like to enable stitchers to do that so that means SALE TIME!

Anyone who emails me between 00.01 Saturday 4th January and 23.59 Friday 31st January (GMT), can have any one of my designs that are for sale for just £2.00 (instead of £3.50 each) . There is no upper limit to the amount of designs you can purchase, so if you really want to, you can take advantage of this sale to stock up on all the available charts for sale. *

Just email me at lady.kell.smurthwaite@gmail.com with the heading “January Sale” with your choice of chart(s) and I will send you a Paypal invoice for the total amount, I will then email you the charts once payment is confirmed.

Choose your charts from the ones listed HERE.

Thank you in advance!
Kell @ Kincavel Krosses

*The only exemptions to this are:

  • Team Twilight multipack – they must be purchased separately at £2.00 each (which still gives you a significant discount!)
  • The two Cancer charity designs – they remain £3.50 each and all proceeds go to Cancer Research UK

Kincavel Krosses Summer Sale


summer-saleIt’s the summer time and stitchers everywhere will be looking forward to some relaxation time, hopefully with a project or two on the go. Well, at Kincavel Krosses, we like to enable stitchers to do that so that means SALE TIME!

Anyone who emails me between 00.01 Monday 24th June and 23.59 Sunday 18th August (GMT), can have any one of my designs that are for sale for just £2.00 (instead of £3.50 each) . There is no upper limit to the amount of designs you can purchase, so if you really want to, you can take advantage of this sale to stock up on all the available charts for sale. *

Just email me at Kincavel_Krosses@yahoo.co.uk with the heading Summer Sale with your choice of chart(s) and I will send you a Paypal invoice for the total amount, I will then email you the charts once payment is confirmed.

Choose your charts from the ones listed HERE.

Thank you in advance!
Kell @ Kincavel Krosses

*The only exemptions to this are:

  • Team Twilight multipack – they must be purchased separately (which still gives you a significant discount!)
  • The two Cancer charity designs – they remain £3.50 each and all proceeds go to Cancer Research UK

Absolutely stitchtastic!


When the year started, I displayed a message on my Kincavel Krosses blog that said, “Have a stitchtastic year” that looked like a cross stitched piece. I had no intentions of releasing it as a chart, but quite a lot of people suddenly started asking if I would, so I tweaked it a little so that it read, “Have a stitchtastic day” instead. And here it is, ready and waiting to be stitched by those who expressed the wish to do so.

I hope you’ll like it and maybe stitch it for yourself or for a friend who will appreciate the stitchy sentiment.

Download the FREE chart from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE.

have a stitchtastic day

52 things – week 3


52 things in 52 weeksWeek three of my year-long challenge and I’m a little further along in several areas, as well as starting work on some others. I’m tentatively working my way up to trying some hardanger *gulp*

BOOKS:
1. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (7/52) – IN PROGRESS

Finished: Noble Smith – The Wisdom of the Shire (reviewed for publisher)
Finished: Anne Perry – Tudor Rose
Finished: Richard Castle – Frozen Heat (Nikki Heat #4)
Reading: Dr Pierre Dukan – The Complete Dukan Cookbook (reviewing for publisher)
Reading: Catherine Crawford – Why French Children Don’t Talk Back (reviewing for publisher)

4. Read only books that I already have for 52 weeks (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
I can confirm I have not bought any books for myself this week. In fact, I have not bought any books at all – not even for others! The final book I ordered before new year arrived, so that’s all my personal book acquisitions finished. I did, however, get sent a bunch of books to review, and borrowed two books from the library.

FILM AND TELEVISION:
7. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (12/52) – IN PROGRESS
Watched this week:

8. Watch 12 films nominated for Oscars at the 85th Academy Awards (7/12) IN PROGRESS
The following films I watched this week were nominated for Oscars:

FAMILY:
14. Take Tadpole sledging – COMPLETED
See HERE.

16. Build a snowman with Tadpole COMPLETED
See HERE.

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS:
27. Lose 14 lbs (8/14) – IN PROGRESS
No change this week, but no gain, and that has to be good!

FOOD AND DRINK:
36. Do not eat chocolate at all for 4 weeks straight (3/4) – IN PROGRESS
Week three without chocolate! It’s still tough to resist, but I’m managing despite the fact that the staff room at school is always jam-packed with chocolate treats at break time. Literally – chocolate everything all over the table, beckoning to me, whispering, “Come on… one little nibble won’t hurt!” But so far I have managed not to give in to its wily temptations! Almost there now…

38. Eat only vegetarian meals one day every week (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
Vegetarian day: Friday
When I made my vegetarian stuffed cannelloni last week, I made a couple of extra portions and froze them. Doing this is a great money- and time-saver, as I know I’ve always got several back-up meals in the freezer, ready to defrost and either cook or reheat when I don’t have time to make a meal from scratch (or on those occasions when I just don’t have the energy – I do have an energetic four-year-old, after all!). To top it off, this was so tasty, I was glad to have it again!

FINANCES:
45. Save all £2 coins for 52 weeks (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
Total saved: £18.00

46. Save all 1p/2p/5p coins for 52 weeks (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
Total 5p pieces saved: £1.45
All coppers have gone directly into Tadpole’s piggy bank.

47. Put aside £10 for every challenge completed (£40/£520) – IN PROGRESS
Another two challenges completes – both with Tadpole in the snow (see #14 and #16). That take me to a grand total of £40 in the challenge pot so far.

CRAFTS:
41. Learn to do hardanger – IN PROGRESS
I have tentatively begun work on a cross stitch and hardanger sampler. I’ve started with the cross stitched areas because I’m confident with those and once they’re done I’ll be more inclined to continue, even though it will mean progressing to something scary and new, i.e. the hardanger itself, with all the cutting involved!

OTHER:
50. Self portrait picture every week (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
This part of the challenge is more about me getting over my fear of the camera than anything else. I absolutely hate having my photograph taken, but Hubby says he thinks my reluctance to have my image being captured may be rubbing off on Tadpole, so I’m making a concerted effort not to shy away from the camera quite so much. If I can get used to seeing myself in photographs, then maybe I won’t be so ready to bolt when people try to snap me!

This week I’m modelling my new infinity scarf and head warmer which I just finished making. When I wear my hair up I can’t wear a hat, and in the winter, that means cold ears! So I thought I’d get around it with this cozy head warmer which keeps my ears snug without mussing my hair. And of course, I like matching sets, so I had to make a scarf to go with it and thought wrapping an infinity scarf around my neck a couple of times would definitely cut the draft. And as I like pretty things, I embellished them both with giant crocheted flowers that have a button at the centre. Now I’m cozy and stylish when I brave the winter weather, which is handy because it’s been snowing this week!

03. Week 3 - 14.01.13
Self portrait
week 3 – 14.01.13

51. Post a weekly update of my progress on my blog (3/52) – IN PROGRESS
Well, you’re reading it now! As you can see, there has been some progress on some of the long-term challenges, two more challenges completes, and the money in the finances section is already starting to tot up a little!

Stitch what you love


I’ve been busy designing again and have put together this little design to remind you of what is important. Life is so short, why should you spend most of it doing something you don’t enjoy? Stitch this sampler and every time you look at it, you will be reminded to do what you love and love what you do!

Download the FREE chart from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE.

Do What You Love stitched view

Two for the price of FREE


As it’s the season of goodwill and gift-giving, I’m being extra-specially kind to all my stitching friends in the hopes I get sent straight to the top of Santa’s “nice list” – here are TWO little quick-stitches!

Those with nimble fingers will be able to whip these up in no time for the tree, or pop them in a frame, or hang them from your mantlepiece – whatever takes your fancy! Whatever you choose, you will be given a joyful reminder of the season every time you look at them!

Download the FREE chart from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE

Assisi Joy

The most famous reindeer of all?


You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

So begins a childhood festive favourite of mine – the song about that little reindeer with a bright, shiny red nose that lit the way for Santa’s sleigh one Christmas Eve. Personally, I always thought the other reindeer were horrible for laughing and calling him names when he really couldn’t help the colour or brightness of his nose, and couldn’t understand why that little reindeer would even want to be friends with them after that. The rest of the gang getting their come-uppance when that shiny-nosed little reindeer got to go up front wasn’t even a decent pay off when you consider Santa was only exploiting his disability for his own benefit…

Either way, I always loved that fun little song, and to commemorate it, I have designed this cute little sampler, to be stitched in snowy white on a natural-coloured fabric, with just one single stitch in bright red for that reindeer’s nose. Or you could use a little seed bead – that would look great.

Now, can YOU recall that reindeer’s name?

Download the FREE chart from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE.

The Most Famous Reindeer Of All - Stitched View

Still stitching for a cure…


Last week I shared with you all a little square-shaped Assisi-style sampler geared towards the hope for a cure for cancer. This week, I release the companion peace.

Once again, the word “hope” features, this time in a straight alignment that would look great on a bookmark. I hope you will like it and stitch it – perhaps as a gift for a survivor, or as a keepsake remembering a lost loved one. And once again, if you can use this chart to make something that can help raise money for a cancer charity, I’d be a very happy designer!

Download the FREE chart from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE.

More home stitching…


Last week I shared with you all a chart I’d designed in the Assisi style, set in a square arrangement. This week I’d like to show you the accompanying chart which is a wider version, with the letters of the word, “Home” set out side by side.

Think of it as a larger version of the first design arranged in the traditional style.

Once again, I have charted for a single colour – in this case blue – but you could just as easily stitch it in your favourite shade, or choose a dizzying array of rainbow hues. Whatever you decide, if you stitch it, I’d love to see a photograph of your finished piece!

If you’d like to stitch this little design, you can download the chart FREE from my Kincavel Krosses blog HERE.