Second-hand furniture shopping

Since I moved to Australia, I’ve kind of got used to having very little spare cash most of the time, and when I do have a bit of cash replacing furniture etc is never high on the priority list.  I’ve kind of got used to just picking up something cheap from IKEA and making the most of it.  I’m not too proud to buy second-hand anything, but I’ve never actually thought about second-hand furniture – mainly because when I have gone to 2nd hand shops the furniture all seems a crazy price for what you’re actually buying.  Lately, though, my current flatmate has started trawling our local trade/selling site and been coming back with all sorts of goodies.  I decided what the heck, if I can’t afford to buy my dream $700 coffee tables etc, maybe I can at least make a drastic improvement on what I have at the moment for a lot less money.  That first browse on the site began about two months ago … since then a few different pieces of furniture have been coming into the flat over recent weeks.

A couple of pieces are still hanging out in the garage downstairs until we can hire a couple of burly blokes to come and carry them upstairs – and one piece in particular I want to sand back and stain first (plus it has a broken hinge that needs repairing).  So far, though, I’ve managed to get a coffee and side table set for $30, a dark wood china cabinet for nothing except the petrol it took to drive there, and a TV cabinet (that’s the one that needs an overhaul) that was free.  This is my coffee table – it just needs touching up on the top as there are a few deep scratches, but it’s WAY better than the ugly IKEA table that was its predecessor!  It’s so lovely to have pieces of WOODEN furniture with real character and warmth, not to mention in each a living history, rather than the cheap soulless laminate-covered chipboard!🙂


The latest acquisition I picked up yesterday … that cost $50, although my flatmate threw me $50 as I walked out the door and said she was going to pay for it for my early Xmas present – what a surprise!!

Anyway, the latest purchase may not seem much, but I’ve always loved rocking chairs – I find them really really soothing, and can sit on one for hours gently rocking away. I also have back problems, so I figure this will also be much better for my posture sitting in the lounge when I’m stitching … my granny hobby now has some granny seating to go with it haha.  I just need to work out how to re-cover it in some nice blue upholstery fabric – in the meantime it’ll either do as is, or I’ll throw a lap blanket over it for the timebeing🙂


It turns out it belonged to the Mum of the lady I bought it from, who’d passed away … and when I mentioned I wanted it as a stitching chair, the husband asked if I knew what a tapestry frame was and if I wanted that too.  They said they’d accept $20 for (actually they wanted $30 but I wasn’t sure I wanted it – after the drop to $20 I succumbed to the pressure).  So two of their Mum’s belongings are now living in my home, and I’m sure will be loved for years to come.  I’m still not 100% sure how much I’ll use the floor frame, but time will tell …



Final recap of WIP progress to date

While I’ve managed to get a few finishes under my belt in the last six months or so, I’ve also chipped away a tiny bit at a couple more WIPs.  The first one is “Quaker Christmas II – Songs of the Season” by ByGone Stitches.  This is how it looked the last time I took a progress photo:

Quaker Christmas II - Songs of the Season by ByGone Stitches

And how it looks now (or at least how it looked a month or two ago anyway – there’s only been a tiny bit more progress on the right-hand motif since the photo was taken, but I’m too lazy to take an updated piccie just for those few stitches):


After I finished off Lizzie*Kate’s 2007 Special Edition Christmas kit, I wanted to stitch on something easy to work on – my choice at the time was the “Paris” kit by Country Threads. I was fully intending to finish off the letter R if nothing else, but in truth I’m not enjoying stitching with it in the scrollbars I’ve got it in, so I’ve since shelved it for a while until I find something else to pop it into.  As it is I’m having to stitch it sideways so I could get it on the scrollbars in the first place … that feels really odd in itself really. I’ve actually done quite a bit more than what is showing in the piccie – and I think with a concentrated effort I’d get this letter finished with a good week of stitching, except my efforts have moved on for a wee while to something else.


I did a bit of online shopping and bought some lovely (balsa probably) wooden crates from Briscoes online (Australian version of the NZ store).  I thought they’d be great to put my UFOs/WIPs into to keep them in one place … except I found that in fact I could probably fill 3-4 crates once I included my older unloved UFOs.  It has made me more determined, though, to get some more of those WIPs whipped into shape and into the finishing pile.  I’d dearly love to get that pile down into just the one solitary storage crate … perhaps by the end of 2018 it may be doable … or 2019 … OK, 2020 if I’m truly realistic😉 So yes, these are probably just half of the WIPs I have around the place, although they’re all on frames so they up a lot of room and it looks worse than what it is (that’s my excuse anyway).


In an effort to start whittling the contents of one crate down, I’ve opted to go back to working on a Christmas SAL I started in January, where we stitch a selected Christmas ornie each month from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue.  I have all the fabrics chosen ready to go for each month’s project, and I’m way behind in the SAL, so I figured it could be quite a quick thing for me to go through and get those out of the way.  Therefore my current WIPs will be, for the foreseeable future, various Christmas ornaments.  I managed to catch up and stitch April’s ornament, and I’ve made a (very) small start on the May one.


“Very Merry Christmas” by Medina Originals
(from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue)

Started some time in April 2016 – Finished 3 September 2016
Stitched on a mystery 32ct fabric that I can’t remember
with recommended DMC threads


Well I did say it was a small start … haha.  I’ve actually done a wee bit more since then, although at my current rate of progress it’ll probably be another week away before this one is finished.  It’s stitched on 36ct hand-dyed linen with one strand of thread, and I’m feeling my age when I’m stitching this one at the end of a long business day staring at a computer screen …

And that, I think, is all the stitching updates I have for now!

Ho Ho Ho …

After all the over-one stitching I decided to give my eyes a brief rest, and picked up another neglected WIP that I started back on 24 November last year. Hey, at least for once it was finished in the same year it was started (well within the same 12 months anyway).

Here’s what it looked like when I dragged it out of the ‘unloved but not-quite-forgotten corner’ of my bedroom:



And here’s the finished product after a bit of tender loving care, and a whole heap of marathon TV watching:

“2007 Special Edition Christmas Kit” by Lizzie*Kate
Started 24 November 2015 – Finished 20 August 2016
Stitched on 28ct natural Cashel linen (I think)
with Crescent Colours threads as charted

The big updates have almost finished … just one more to go now and I’m all caught up for the year I think!  Phew!!


Blue and Yellow Macaw

After I finished doing all that over-one stitching on my first HAED I decided to go back and dig out some very VERY old UFOs and make a dent in them … the first one I chose to do was one that I fell out of love with a long time ago.  Initially started as a SAL with a fellow blogger, she fell off the face of the earth not far into the SAL. Truthfully when I started this one with her it wasn’t my first choice to stitch, so when she was no longer cheering me on I just lost interest – not to mention I wasn’t exactly enjoying the over-one stitching.

Anyway, I decided to just suck it up and get cracking … and lo and behind I soon had another finish once I put some serious effort into it.  I must say I had no idea what to do with it when it was finished – I do love it now, but I’d never have it hanging on my wall.  Next thing I know my flatmate has fallen in love with it and pretty much jumped on it when I said I didn’t know what to do with it.  Eventually I’ll get it framed for her and it’ll go on the walls of her new house once it’s built🙂

This is how it looked when I first picked it up again after not touching it since, um, ahem … 2005-ish!


And here’s the stunning (if I do say so myself!) finished product – “Who’s a pretty boy, then?”😉

Ross Originals - Blue & Yellow Macaw

“Blue and Yellow Macaw” by Ross Originals (Graeme Ross)
Started 2005 – Finished 31 July 2016
Stitched on 28ct Lugana, one-over-one
with recommended DMC threads

I may not have as many finishes as I used to do, but so far this year I’ve managed to tick off some pretty big ticket items as far as I’m concerned – it’s been wonderful to be able to put a few of my old UFOs into the finished pile.

My first ever HAED … finished!!

The title says it all … I can’t believe it myself, but this year saw my first ever HAED finished – QS Iris by Josephine Wall!  This was also, coincidentally, the first HAED chart I ever bought, so it’s quite cool that it’s also the first one I managed to finish too🙂

I’ve always detested over-one stitching, but for some reason I really enjoy doing it on HAEDs, and it no longer phases me … yay me!!  I must say I also adore doing the 2-over-1 tent stitch, it’s soooo much faster too, and with pretty decent coverage on the 28ct Lugana🙂

QS Iris by HAED

“QS Iris” by HAED (artist Josephine Wall) 
Started 1 April 2016 – Finished 14 July 2016
Stitched on 28ct Lugana in 2-over-1 tent stitch
with recommended DMC threads

Oh my goodness I’m still so incredibly proud of this achievement months after my finished!  I actually made a short video of every colour getting stitched for a HAED Facebook Challenge, but I lost it when my hard drive of my PC crashed a couple of weeks ago now.  Sadly that probably means I’ve also lost all my latest HAED purchases too, as the back-up portable drive will also not load a couple of folders either … so much for having a back-up of important files made!😦

Anyhoo, one day I’ll download the software again to re-make the video and I’ll also add the rest of the photos in the process – it’s so much fun to see the project take shape colour by colour (when I remembered to take the photo anyway).

Very Scary Mystery Sampler – finito

Back in June I decided I needed to start working on a few of my WIPs and getting them finished, especially as the HAED I was working on was starting to give me headaches during a very stressful period at work.

The first WIP I decided to pick up and work on until it was finished was Lizzie*Kate’s “Very Scary Mystery Sampler” that I’d had kitted up for pretty much as long as the kit was first released.  I didn’t like the recommended linen at all as it was too close to the browns in the threads, and totally different to the cover picture, so I subbed with something from the stash that would ‘do’.  I was a bit worried the purple tones of the fabric would clash with the border threads, but I think it turned out OK in the end. The same as most people have done so far, I didn’t realise the ‘grass’ was all supposed to be done as satin stitch and not just the bottom section … but I couldn’t be bothered unpicking it all and it’s good enough for me😉

Halloween Mystery Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

“Very Scary Mystery Sampler” by Lizzie*Kate
Started 31 August 2015 – Finished 12 June 2016
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Storm
with recommended (kit) threads and beads

The next project I finished was a huge achievement for me, and deserves a post all of its own …🙂

Ronald McDonald House & Shepherd’s Bush WIP

In May I joined a Facebook group to stitch a design by Ursula Michaels – this is a special design for the Ronald McDonald Houses, and the aim is to have a stitched version of this in every RMD House around the world. As there was a house in Auckland, I managed to time it with a visit home for my Mum’s 80th birthday, and did the framing while I was there. The house loved it, so it’s great to see it was received well. It certainly felt good to be part of this great initiative, that’s for sure!

Charity piece for Ronald McDonald House, Auckland Hospital


Earlier in the year (March to be exact), I managed to put a few more stitches into Finch Song by Shepherd’s Bush. Sadly I don’t have a couple of the threads (I’m using a borrowed chart from a dear friend), so it won’t get finished in a hurry, but at least I made a bit of a dent into it for now. In truth I also don’t like how the flowers and sheep really blend into the grass thread colour either, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to rip out those colours and I’ll choose something more obvious – like giving the sheep a black face, and having purple flowers instead …