Mixed bag of all sorts

I’ve been suffering from vertigo the last few weeks, so not a huge amount of stitching has been happening around here – I returned to work two weeks ago, and it really takes it out of me getting through the day, so I’ve been coming home and pretty much going straight to bed.  Last weekend, though, I managed to put a few stitches into my English Garden Sampler.  I managed to complete all the over-one stitching of the garden gate, and most of the foliage on the right-hand side of the gate … sadly it took the entire weekend last weekend to complete just those few stitches, so it’s going to take me quite some time to see an actual ‘finish’ of this one!  It’s one of my oldest UFOs, and I’m still in love with the design after all these years, so I’m still keen to see this one finished sooner rather than later 🙂

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I finally bit the bullet and ordered a skin for my Kindle … and it arrived this week.  Last night I ‘pimped’ my Kindle, and I totally adore it!  I can definitely recommend DecalGirl for their skins, that’s for sure, and it certainly won’t be the last I buy I’m sure … I’m starting to eye up laptop skins now too 😉

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Work-wise I had a really awesome chat with my team’s “Head of” yesterday … he told me how impressed he’s been with my work with the latest project I worked on and the responsibilities I took on, and he’s going to see if he can do something about my pay rate as he feels my pay doesn’t accurately reflect the type of work I’m now doing and what he will be asking me to do in the future … you could have knocked me over with a feather!  It’s really nice to be so recognised for the work you do.  Will have to see what comes of it over the coming year, I guess 🙂

And lucky last for this post is an update on Dad … sadly he’s severely depressed, but understandably so.  He never shows his emotions, but has been spending a lot of time sitting in his chair and crying, the poor thing.  When Mum raised the issue with his surgeon he just said he needs to speak to his own GP about it.  Unfortunately the surgeon also doesn’t know why he’s still oozing pus etc from his stomach … 7 months after his surgeries!!!  It’s no wonder the poor old thing is so miserable within himself!  The surgeon said the only thing they can do is to open him up again, reverse the ileostomy bag, and have a look around while they’re in there to see where it’s coming from.  He also said, though, that Dad is in such bad shape at the moment that it is unlikely he will survive another surgery … so it’s a catch 22 😦

I’m hoping to fly over in a couple of weeks to visit and see if I can drag him out of the house for a few hours – although that would take a miracle in itself!  He told me a couple of months ago on the phone that he missed us popping down to the cafe for a coffee and chat when he was in the hospital (I used to take him down in a wheelchair).  So what I thought of doing is driving him into Auckland city and perhaps taking to a beach-front cafe at Kohimarama or somewhere else to sit and have a coffee and chat with a nice view.  He’s a stubborn old bugger, though, so it will take some convincing to get him out of the house!  I also want to talk about Enduring Powers of Attorney for them both, and all those horrible talks that are really important but are really difficult to tackle … things like getting all the life insurance policy details etc and getting a few more ducks in a row … not expected to be the most fun trip, but it needs to be done, I think …

And on that note I guess I should get my A into G and get away from the PC keyboard … time to go do some grocery shopping and a few chores … it’s laundry day, so I’d best get cracking and get on with it!!

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This week’s theme is ”Silly” and this one is in honour of Dad from his better days.

dad the fairy

Blue Monday – Santorini and Lover Eternal

It’s been a long time since I’ve participated in the various photo memes, so here’s a blast from the past.  Blue Monday … a favourite blue photo, and a new book to read (book #2 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series) … guess what I’m off to do now? 😛

I managed to finish off the skirt of Mirabilia’s Halloween Fairy tonight, but can’t be bothered taking a progress piccie … I’ll take one during the week some time, as I may not get chance this weekend seeing as I’m off craft fairing then off to the other side of Sydney for dinner and an overnight stay 🙂

Anyway, without further ado, here is my choice for this week’s Blue Monday – Santorini.

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Blue Monday

Dark Lover and a Simple Sampler

The joys of having a public holiday today means today I could be totally selfish and lazy and not get out of bed or get dressed until the afternoon!  Instead I spent the morning reading half of J.R. Ward’s “Dark Lover” and getting it finished … and have to admit I’m looking forward to book number 2 of this series, “Lover Eternal”.

After being relatively disappointed with the Twilight vampire series, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this book … although with the ‘adult’ scenes, it certainly isn’t comparing apples with apples with the Twilight series … I think the only similarity is that they both contain vampires!  It’s taken me literally a couple of months to read this book, mainly because I keep putting my stitching first – I get the impression from the end of the book, though, that my book reading may soon have to take a priority on the odd weekend and my stitching will have to take a back seat!  That’s the only downside to reading a ‘real’ paperback, I can’t do both of my passions at the same time 😛

The rest of the morning has been spent finishing off my Sweetheart Tree project that I started last night – it took longer than expected, as I’d forgotten just how much of a nightmare all that backstitching is … but worth it in the long run!  I managed to watch 4 episodes of The Ghost Whisperer (3rd season) while I stitched.  Sorry for the crappy photo, as it certainly doesn’t show up the nice warm buttery linen!

Sweetheart Tree-A Simple Sampler
“A Simple Sampler” (kit) by The Sweetheart Tree
stitched on 32ct cream Belfast linen
with DMC threads and Mill Hill petite beads

Offer:  Seeing as I’ll never ever stitch this one again, I’m happy to offer up the chart to anyone who wants it.  If you leave a comment in this post that you’d like to go into the draw for this chart, I’ll draw a name out at the end of the week.  I’ll also send the leftover beads – I’m pretty sure there are enough left over to complete the project again.

Now it’s time to finally shake off the cobwebs and jump in the shower and get dressed – I need to pop over the road to the supermarket to buy supplies to bake some banana muffins … then it’ll almost be time for bed again LOL.

Current state of WIPs

Alas, my wee Lumix is still in hiding – so yet again you are stuck with crappy scans of my current WIPs.  The GREAT news is that my elusive back-ordered Rainbow Gallery thread arrived on Friday, so the last two nights have been spent doing the first part of the fill-in stitches on Sapphire Star.  Here’s the latest scan of where it’s up to … I’m now in the process of doing little upright cross stitches in the centres of the ‘main’ part of the design – once that is done it’s time to re-do the centre long stitches, followed by the final parts, which is all long-stitch.  Every time I pick this project up the colours blow me away and I savour every minute spent on it – I think this one will be finished by the end of this weekend, if not this week!  😀

Friday nights are “Dawsons Creek” nights in our little flat – we have finally finished season 5 (which I’ve probably enjoyed more than the others to date), and this Friday I get to drool over a younger version of Jensen Ackles for the final season of Dawsons.  Then I can give myself a HUGE clap on the back and a resounding cheer of “Well Done, Lass” … that I managed to survive the whole series – and once I’ve finished drooling over Jensen (I just have shut out the fact that he will look about 12, and concentrate on that dreamy voice of his – another great thing about stitching!), it means we can finally move on to a different TV series for Friday nights.  It seems our next choice is either going to be series one of Fringe (my choice) or Dark Angel (which I’ve never seen before) – or the entire series of Buffy … or perhaps all three in that order!  I guess that ties up Friday nights at our place for the rest of the year! LOL.

Anyway, back to stitching … next up is a little freebie I started at the start of last week, but I can’t find three whole DMC colours, and therefore can’t go any further until I find them!  Perhaps they’re off having a little soiree somewhere with my Lumix camera – hopefully they’ll take photos of their little antics hmmm.  Anyway, I guess this one is now on hold until I can make a run out to Spotlight to pick up some more DMC – so much for being a quick stitch to whip up in a day! 😛  (I’ll add all the chart details etc once it’s finished.)

Lucky last is a piece that I started working on on Sunday afternoon.  I decided to take up a Ghost Trappers challenge (one of the two Facebook games that I’m stupidly addicted to), which pretty much meant being chained to my PC for the entire weekend … or at least all of Sunday anyway.  I ended up setting up my little lapstand on my computer desk, so I could click my mouse every 4 or so minutes … yes, demented, I know … but I enjoyed having some “me” time in my room and enjoyed killing three birds with one stone – stitching, playing games, and reading an audiobook!  Pretty much summed up in one word … “Heaven” 😀

Anyway, here’s the WIP from my Sunday stitching session (Lizzie*Kate’s Hocus Pocus) – this may not get touched now until Sapphire Star is finished, or it’ll remain my ‘bedroom stitching’ project until I can pick up my missing DMC skeins for the acorn freebie.  Either way, it’ll probably just take one more day or two nights’ stitching and it’ll be finished.

Reading-wise, one book I managed to finish last weekend was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – I don’t know of a single person who hasn’t raved about this book after reading it, and I have to admit I really really enjoyed it.  I even shed a tear or two in a couple of places, and very glad I took the time to read it.  Savage and raw in places, touching and tender in others – this was a really enjoyable read!

Next up I started and finished reading Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell.  I’ve read all the Kay Scarpetta novels over the years, and enjoyed every single one of them, and this one was no exception.  I have to say, though, I was glad that I’d read the previous book first, as Scarpetta referred often to an incident or two in the previous book – while you could have still followed the storyline easily, it was much better knowing the full background to the situation being discussed.  The only books I’ve ever disliked of Ms Cornwell’s were Hornet’s Nest and Southern Cross, the Andy Brazil series – I disliked them so much I didn’t even bother getting the 3rd book in the series, Isle of Dogs, and it took me a while to get back into buying her books again.  Thankfully Kay Scarpetta et al continue to provide me with good reading fodder with her forensics expertise and thrilling crime writing!  Way to go, Ms Cornwell, you kept me hooked for another 13 1/4 hours! 😀

As for the next book, I decided to try a different style of writing, with a shorter story, and clicked the play button on Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood.  Set in the 1920’s the awfully English accents and dandy characters are quite fun and are easily wiling away a few hours.  This one has been very easy listening, and I’m only 1 1/2 hours away from the book’s ending.  I have to say for stitchers audiobooks are yet another of life’s great inventions … while it takes a while to get ‘into the mood’ of an audiobook, once you are ‘in the right mind space’, it’s a wonderful way to combine two loves – a love of stitching and of reading 🙂

And I guess on that note I really should get into bed – as much as I love audiobooks when I’m stitching, my actual preference is to hold a physical book and devour its pages one by one … these days, though, my stitching has been taking a priority while I’m in the mood, and physical books have been well and truly lowest on the list.  I’ve decided it’s about time I got further than the first chapter of J.R. Ward’s first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and I’m going to put my stitching down 1/2 an hour early each evening and read a few pages before bedtime … sounds like a reasonable plan, except I know that once I get my teeth into a good book I get into true reading mode and end up propping my eyelids open with matchsticks while glancing at the clock in the wee small hours of the morning and thinking “just one more chapter …” 😉

Which is a good point … perhaps I should just switch the light off and go to actual sleep before midnight … that’d be an interesting change 😀