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Where did the time go???

First of all Happy New Year everyone!!  I hope you all (if there’s still anyone out there) had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and that 2012 is treating you well so far!!

I don’t honestly know where the last 2 months have gone, but I do know that it is my record for non-blogging – I have ended up having a true blogging break, although it was never intended, so I have neglected both the updating of my blog as well as the reading of your blogs!  Since I came home for the Rugby World Cup final (go the All Blacks!!!) work has been hectic, my social life has been more active, and my stitching has pretty much been non-existent.  I have barely lifted a needle over the last month or so, and the month prior to that very little stitching was done either.  But there was just enough activity to see one old WIP finished …

Drawn Thread-Joyeux Noel
“Joyeux Noel” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 36ct hand-dyed Edinburgh linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with a mix of recommended and substituted threads

Then I managed to squeeze in one last finish for 2011 – and a nice simple design that would normally be completed in a day of stitching took me about two weeks!!

Les Grilles de Maryse-The Red Noel
“The Red Noel Ornament” by Maryse Dupont of Les grilles de Maryse
stitched on mystery 32ct hand-dyed linen
with Threadworx thread

I managed to put a few more stitches into my Goode Huswife design that I started as part of the 2011 Crazy January Challenge … it no longer looks like a gherkin, but still not much closer to a finish!  Pretty much how the entire January Challenge went for me last year – with my change in jobs, and 3 hours commuting each day, it meant my stitching time was very minimal … and I’m certainly not going to be signing up for any major challenges this year knowing this is something that will not be changing!

I did manage, however, to put a few more stitches into another of my Crazy January Challenge pieces, although yet again very far from being close to finished.

This year I am signing up for a challenge, but one that I can easily fit in with my new “hardly any time for stitching” lifestyle – I’m joining in with Measi’s 2012 WIPocalypse challenge.  Seeing as you just have to show progress with your WIPs on a monthly basis, I figure that even I should be able to do that!  Well, I’ll be giving it a go anyway!!  As I also want to remove the pressure from what pieces to work on, I have decided to list all my outstanding WIPs and UFOs and my goal is to just work on them this year with a couple of new starts/Christmas ornaments during the year as well to keep me motivated.  It means the remainder of my unfinished pieces from the 2011 January challenge will be leading the list … plus I have plenty of old UFOs already listed in my sidebar to keep them company!!  When I get my act together, I’ll upload the full list into a new post.

In the meantime, here is my pitiful display of stitching finishes for 2011:

 

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Still in the land of the living

Sadly a number of shocking migraines and some late working hours have seen my stitching mojo fly out the window over the last month … yesterday, however, I decided to catch up on last week’s recorded TV shows (seeing as I didn’t switch the TV on at all during the week) and managed to put a few stitches into a commitment piece – I need to quickly get this one finished so I can get it framed for a birthday gift.  I managed to do a fair bit last Saturday just before I started getting a throw-up migraine, and after yesterday’s efforts I can almost see the end in sight.  There are still a bunch of bears to stitch on the left-hand side, but at least I’m about 2/3 finished now.  It’s the first time in ages that I’ve stitched something that requires such a lot of back-stitching … not my favourite part of stitching, but it sure does make those blobs of stitching look wonderful once it’s done, and I’m glad to have got the first 2/3 of back-stitching completed before tackling the last section of the design!  This is one of my Crazy January Challenge projects:

Here's how it looked back on 10 January

How it looked at the end of last weekend

How it looks now - a day in bed stitching in my PJs was worthwhile!

Last Monday I received an absolutely awesome ornie from my good friend Carol for our HoE Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange.  I love the reason why Carol chose to stitch this one, as moose are indigenous in NH this is a wonderful personalised ornie with a taste of Carol’s home.  I absolutely love it, and the stitching and finishing are as always perfect!  Thank again Carol for another fantabulous exchange that I will treasure! 😀  I apologise in advance for the quality of all the photos today, as they had to be taken with my iPhone thanks to a flat camera battery that I just keep forgetting to charge up!  Sadly moose ornie didn’t come up at all well on the iPhone 😦

My Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange received from Carol - I love it!

I also heard a while back that Joke had received the ornie I had sent to her – unfortunately I was late in posting, so I sent a little extra beaded scissor fob to apologise for the delay.  I can’t remember taking a photo of the fob I sent, but you can see it in Joke’s post if you want to see it.

Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange sent to Joke

The only other thing I have to share is a wonderful surprise parcel in the mail I received from Orna Willis – I’ve been a fan of Orna’s canvaswork designs for years now, and have been a follower on her blog  since she started it up.  Orna has recently been having giveaways of thread/embellishment packs for some of her followers (just chosen randomly from the list of followers), and I was surprised one day to see my name up in lights on the blog … I had won one of the giveaways.  I just had to take a photo of the way that everything was packaged up, aren’t they lovely in their own special little tin?  I should probably take a photo of the contents separately as there are lots of little treats hiding in that tin, but I’ll do that on the day that I take them out to put them away 🙂

And that probably covers all the stitching news that I have.  Nothing else has been happening really except for work, work, and more work – it’s been quite difficult trying to close off and start pieces of work for my current job while learning my new job one day a week, plus still attending many meetings and having to teach a work colleague aspects of my job.  Hopefully after next week I’ll start getting back into a normal routine of only one job, although sadly 2 hours travelling time each day will probably eat most of my week’s stitching time that I normally have … it just means that I’ll have to plan my weekends so I can at least get ‘some’ stitching in every weekend 🙂

One great thing about working in the city now, though, is that last Wednesday after work I wandered over to the city swimming pool and did a workout in the hydrotherapy pool.  My leg has been giving me a lot of pain lately so I knew I needed to make an effort to get those exercises happening again – and by the time I was ready to get on the train most of the peak hour people had gone home already … mind you, it meant not getting home until 9pm but what the heck, it felt good! 😉

No time to chat … but a few finishes completed!

Mum has been visiting over the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been avoiding the PC like the plague and we’ve been having a blast together as I’ve taken 2 1/2 weeks off work as well to make the most of our time together.  We’ve had a great time pottering around Sydney as well as spending a wonderful day a week ago with stitching friends (Alison, Amanda and Karen) as well as Alison’s lovely Mum June.  We’ve eaten lots of good food, drank good wines, and experienced new scenery.  Every single day has seen at least one fantastic highlight.

Unfortunately the start of the holiday was overshadowed by the news of Mum’s youngest sister being admitted to hospital for what appears to be the end stages of throat and lung cancer – we’re still awaiting for the final prognosis from the oncologist, but it didn’t seem very promising two weeks ago (we’ve had no news updates from the family since).  We have still managed to have an upbeat holiday, however, and appreciated all the time we’ve had to spend together 🙂

It’ll take a few posts to put together a mosaic of where we’ve been and what we’ve seen, so I’ll probably wait until after Mum’s gone home before spending that length of time at the PC … but in the meantime I’ll show the various stitching projects that have crossed the “finishing” line over the last couple of weeks:

Prairie Moon Designs-Merry Xmas

“Merry Xmas” by Prairie Moon Designs
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen
with recommended Belle Soie and NPI silks

Waxing Moon Designs-Halloween Short Stack
“Halloween Short Stack” by Waxing Moon Designs
Stitched on 28ct Misty Blue Cashel linen (I think!)
with a mix of recommended threads and DMC

Blackberry Lane Designs-Frosty Blue
“Frosty Blue” by Blueberry Lane Designs
(from the 2010 JCS Christmas Ornie issue)
Stitched on 32ct white opalescent Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads and Mill Hill beads
(the fabric looks blue because I took the photo when it was laid on blue fabric oops!) 

Prairie Schooler-Spring freebie
Spring freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

The other finish I have is for a Snowman ornament exchange, so I can’t reveal that finish just yet – this one will be going in the mail any day now to it’s new home, but I’m definitely going to repeat stitch this one for myself!  Originally I was stitching Frosty Blue above for my exchange partner, until I saw my new choice stitched up by Amanda at our stitching GTG and I changed my mind and stitched that one up instead 🙂

And on that note I’d better sign off as Mum wants to go over to Coles so it’s time to put the walking shoes on and get some fresh air … I’ll catch up with more posts in a few days if not before 🙂

More Baby Bug Ball

Sorry, but this is probably all you’ll be seeing until it’s finished … although I’m very worried about one thread, as I have only one and a bit strands left, and I still have an entire wing done with a full XS in that thread (all the others are done with 1/2 XS), so I’m pretty positive I’m going to run out … ah, yes, I do so detest kits … but even that still can’t remove the positive feeling I feel about this piece – I’m still in love with it! 😀  (apologies for the handshake this morning – was obviously in a hurry to quickly take a happy snap before getting dressed for work – for which I’m now running late … oops)

Baby Bug Ball progress

Not quite as intended, I spent the entire day today stitching … oops, so much for the housework I had intended completing haha.  I haven’t moved far from the front of the electric fan other than getting food and water throughout the day (more so the water than the food).  I must say I didn’t want to put this one down today – I think if I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow I’d have been tempted to continue further into the night stitching (as it is I’ve already stitched a bit of the 3rd bug since taking this photo!).  Hopefully I’ll get chance to finish this off this week some time, or if not this week, then next weekend 🙂

Final Challenge days

I haven’t managed much stitching at all today as it’s been too stinking hot in the flat – I truly hate Sydney in summer, the humidity kills me, and it’s really not conducive to stitching (especially as we don’t have air-con).  Oh well, even with sweat dripping off the brow, I still managed to put enough stitches into the final three pieces over the last couple of days to qualify as a “start”:

Shepherd’s Bush – Happy Pumpkin roll

Moss Creek Designs – Schwalmwork Pinkeep
(one round of broad chain stitch and one round of coral stitch completed)

Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches – Raphael’s Raspberries
(a handful of queen stitches completed and lots of basting)

As much as I’ve loved starting all the new projects, I’m definitely champing at the bit to go back to some of the earlier starts and spend some more quality time on each piece.  I think the first one to be stitched will be Baby Bug Ball, followed by my canvaswork piece, then Autumn Harvest as that should be a relatively quick finish … plus I have one more Christmas ornie I want to complete by the end of the month.

Then next weekend I’ll be spending some time with the ‘old ducks’ downstairs (my elderly neighbours) – I spent some time today setting up Norma’s old sewing machine for her (it took me a while to work out where the heck the bobbin was hiding the machine is that old), then got suckered into potentially sewing Barbara a quilted toaster cover … I really should learn to keep my mouth shut and not discuss crafts down there haha.

And now it’s time to get back in front of the fan for another 1/2 hour or so watching the end of CSI 🙂

Day 13 & 14

I ended up chatting to my flatmate until almost 11pm last night, and felt too tired to start stitching at that point, so alas I didn’t complete my Day 13 challenge of a new start – I’ve got my substitute project all picked out, though, and ready to start tonight … I figure I’ll just start two different projects on Sunday and that’ll be OK for me to meet the challenge deadline of 15 projects in 15 days 😀

And I also have on my personal list of challenges this year a Schwalmwork or Hardanger project to be completed, so I’m thinking perhaps I should include one of those items into my final selection for the 15 Project Challenge, thereby offering great time management and hitting two birds with one stone! 😉

If I do decide to do that, then one of these projects may be my final project choice (unless I manage to pull my finger out on Saturday and sort out my fabric and threads for My Treasures Workstation of course … or choose Eiffel Quaker, which I’m very very tempted by!!!):

GCC Beginner's Hardanger

Anyway I just heard my flatmate walk in the door, so it’s time to hit the lounge for a DVD movie and some stitching!  I won’t update again tonight with any progress, so I’ll do a post tomorrow with my final 3 project starts 😀

(PS:  I had an informal follow-on chat to my boss this morning about the environment in the office – she is one of the very few people who don’t play the political card and is very trustworthy, I respect her a great deal – and we worked on some suggested strategies on how to handle the moaners, so we’ll see how that all goes … it helped me feel a bit more positive about it all though, so time will tell …)

In the meantime I MUST start organising a stitching day with my NSW pals (you know who you are!!) ‘cos that’ll help me to get my work-life-balance back again … they always cheer me up, and what’s better than a healthy dose of stitchy company?? 😀