2013 stitching in review

I had to laugh when I looked back at my stitching challenges I set for myself in 2013 … to say I was ‘less than successful’ is probably an understatement!  While I still managed to get a reasonable amount of stitching done, it just wasn’t on those items I’d challenged myself with.  So, here were my goals, and how I went …

SALs:

  • November 2012 – Quaker Christmas II SAL … No, epic fail – still not happy with my thread choice after ordering two separate colours of red silk, so it remains unstarted, although the fabric is cut out now and ready to go
  • 1 January – Nora Corbett’s Bluebell Pixie SAL … Yes, completed – she’s just waiting to be framed
  • 1 January – Drawn Thread’s Sampler Gameboard SAL … No, another epic fail – managed to cut the fabric prior to Christmas though so this will be worked on some time in 2014
  • 1 February – Aussie Round Robin … Yes, completed the full 4 rounds
  • 14 February – Ink Circles Cirque des Coeurs SAL … um, didn’t even give this a thought – Dad was in hospital at that point so I spent 2 months in NZ caring for him and Mum, and I still don’t really have a desire to start this one yet
  • 1 May – Teresa Wentzler SAL … Yes, worked on TW’s English Garden Sampler as part of the SAL – did well initially but then it fell by the wayside, but I’m determined to see this one finished in 2014!

Crazy January Challenge:

  1. Bluebell pixie – Mirabilia/Nora Corbett … Yes, completed
  2. Little Blue Potting Shed – Brown House Studio … Yes, completed
  3. Blue Bayou – Northern Pine Designs … I started it but realised I had a wrong thread and had to stop stitching
  4. Christmas Elf Fairy – Mirabilia/Nora Corbett … No, not started
  5. Bluebeard’s Princess – Mirabilia … No, not started
  6. Moon & Stars – Little House Needleworks … Yes, completed
  7. Trousse aux Fleur Bleues – CMon Monde … No, not started
  8. Spooky Scissors Fob – Shepherd’s Bush … Yes, completed
  9. Little Witch – Shepherd’s Bush … Yes, completed
  10. Trick or Treat Box – Just Nan … No, not started
  11. Acorn Hill – Little House Needleworks … Yes, completed
  12. Valentine Fairy – Mirabilia/Nora Corbett … Yes, but not completed as I ran out of one of the threads
  13. Christmas double flip-its – Lizzie*Kate … No, not started
  14. Ebb Tide – Northern Pine Designs … Yes, completed
  15. Sky Blue Accent – Periwinkle Promises … No, not started

Older WIPs/UFOs:

  • With My Needle – The Goode Huswife … Yes, completed
  • Flight of the Bumblebees – Ruth Schmuff … No, not touched
  • English Garden Sampler – Teresa Wentzler … Did a huge amount of work on this one, but didn’t quite get it completed
  • Enchanted Mermaid – Mirabilia … Yes, completed
  • Egyptian Garden Mandala – Chatelaine … No, not touched

Actually in hindsight, I guess I did OK – there were some large pieces in there that I did some substantial work on (Enchanted Mermaid and English Garden Sampler), and a number of teeny pieces inbetween the larger ones, not to mention managing to put together a few more finishing tutorials for the Focus on Finishing blog … so really I can’t complain!! … I just didn’t manage to complete the challenge projects, which is a lesson to me for my 2014 goals, which will be in the next post …

For now, though, here are all the projects I completed in 2013 – considering the crappy year I’ve had this year it’s actually a pretty reasonable list at 32 finishes! 😀

Not one but TWO finishes!

I lived up to my word and poor old Flossy (well, she’s a babe really, to say she’s only been around for a week or two!) has been put on the shelf for now … the urge got to me yesterday and I spent the afternoon catching up on recorded TV while finishing off two of my WIPs I mentioned in my last post.

First up is Ebb Tide by Northern Pine Designs.  Oh boy, this was a fun design to stitch!  I can’t say I’ll be in a hurry to stitch with Rachel thread again, but once I got clever and used some nail polish across the top of the thread where I cut it, it was a lot easier to use!  It’s the first time I’ve ever done Jessica stitches, and they’re really quite cute, and easy to do once you get the hang of them!  I did them slightly differently to how the instructions told you to do them, as I’d seen them done on some other needlepoint blogs … by tucking the last two stitches inside and underneath the previous stitches, so they sit perfectly.  All-in-all I’m thrilled this one is finally finished … and I spent no time at all popping the next Northern Pine design onto the bars to start a new one!

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“Ebb Tide” by Northern Pine Designs
stitched on Leventeen Blue canvas
with recommended threads

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While I was trying to take a photo last night my camera was struggling a bit to focus … imagine my delight at the colours showing on the viewing screen when it will still a blur … it made me smile so I captured the image! 🙂

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Here is the next design ready for starting … just need to find a couple of the missing threads (geez I hope I actually have bought these ones, otherwise I guess it won’t be started soon! LOL).  If not, I’ll just have to find another canvaswork design to throw onto some bars … I think I always need to have a piece of canvaswork ready to go at a moment’s notice, it gives me such pleasure! 🙂

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Then I decided to put the final stitches into LHN’s Acorn Hill – it didn’t take too long at all to pop the final words into place, and it became my second finish yesterday evening.

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“Acorn Hill” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 28ct antique ivory coloured Jobelan 
with recommended Crescent Colours cotton floss

After that I decided to go back to old Flossy, and managed to put a few more stitches into the top wings – I didn’t bother taking a progress piccie as there wasn’t really too much to show … perhaps the next time you see her she will be finished … or maybe not … LOL.

Acorn Hill

After finishing Trick or Treat I couldn’t face going back to do the beading on my mermaid or the blended needles on my TW so I opted for an easy stitch that I’ve wanted to do for years … I’ve always adored the warm colours of this one and it hasn’t disappointed at all – it’s been a fun stitch so far. I’m at the halfway mark now so it’s time to roll up the scroll bars to start the bottom half. Sadly, though, my usual stitchers curse has appeared again and I’m going to run out of the Brown Sugar thread … b*gger! Never mind it’s an excuse to kick myself into gear to place a thread order 😉

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Another WIP bites the dust!

I managed to put the final stitches into another one of my challenge pieces for this year (although I’m no longer actively completing the challenge!) … this one has always put a smile on my face when I’ve seen it, and I was very lucky to be gifted with this chart from my wishlist some time ago – it’s great to see it finally stitched up, and still puts a smile on my face with the scrummy colours and delightful charm 🙂

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“Little Blue Potting Shed” by Brown House Studio
stitched on 32ct pewter Belfast linen
with recommended WDW/GAST threads

I also forgot that I haven’t shared another wee finish from a few days ago – this was my first attempt at getting back into stitching after being sick, and unbelievably took two whole days to stitch (yep, definitely feeling sick!).  This is supposed to be a Xmas ornie, but I’ve opted to leave off the border and remaining stitching and I’m going to turn it into a scissor fob instead 🙂

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“Star Topiary” by Hillside Samplings (2000 JCS ornie issue)
on 32ct mystery hand-dyed linen
with recommended threads (WDW & GAST)

Bluebell Pixie

Just a fly-by visit while I’m sat at the PC … to show my latest finish, which is fresh off the Qsnaps tonight.  Sadly the photo was taken under the glare of my OttLite on a dark winter’s evening with just my iPhone, so it doesn’t show off her bling etc very well, but she’s WAY more stunning in real life … you’ll just have to take my word for it …

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“Bluebell Pixie” by Nora Corbett (Mirabilia)

stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Cashel linen by Stitches & Spice ~ colour Dawn Light
with recommended threads – with the exception of a couple of small changes, which are:
skin colour I chose DMC 950 (instead of two-toned), DMC 792 for the bluebell backstitching,
and some additional laces on her ‘back’ leg

March WIPocalypse … a teensy bit late …

Since I last posted there were substantial changes to Dad’s status, and over the Easter weekend I returned home and back to work once again.  Dad was still struggling to eat in the hospital, and really wasn’t improving greatly, and since he had proven himself a little bit with a 6-hour home visit they opted to let him come home.  His surgery wound is still not healed properly so he has a District Nurse that visits every couple of days – he is managing to empty and change his bag himself, though.  He is still very weak and has dizzy spells when he stands up, so he has to go back to his GP tomorrow – he’s still not eating well, but starting to walk up the driveway a bit each day to build up his strength and get him walking again.  The Hospital provided him with a walker that he will now keep permanently, which is great – I could go on and on about what they did well, and in particular what they did poorly – I had my say to the staff at our family meeting before bringing Dad home and told them where I felt quite disappointed … but I won’t get started on that right now, or I’ll never shut up!  Let’s just say we’re still continuing to have a couple of unresolved issues and discrepancies, even after he’s come home … not helped by the fact he was let home a week earlier than planned …

As for me, when I got home I switched on my beautiful Samsung TV only to find smoke billowing out the top … which is out of warranty now … and then when I went to start my car the next day my battery has died, along with my car registration and insurance!!  So today I finally managed to get a new battery installed, then a Pink Slip (warrant of fitness), Green Slip (CTP/Compulsory Third Party insurance), Car Registration and comprehensive car insurance … a lovely total of $1,600 out of the bank account today, which means I’ll be living on whatever is in the pantry and freezer for the next fortnight until pay-day !  It’s not the first time, and it sure as hell won’t be the last, I’m sure.  I’m very very happy, though, that my car is now drivable and registered so that’s one HUGE relief and big stress removed from my shoulders!

Since I’ve been home I haven’t managed to do any stitching whatsoever – after working each day I’ve been really exhausted, so I’m hoping that next week I’ll be ‘back to normal’ again and can get back properly into a routine.  In the meantime, though, I can share the tiny bit of stitching that I have done since the last WIPocalypse update in February – starting with the final Round Robin piece in our group of 4:

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Dyah’s Round Robin – Elemental Dragons by Dragon Dreams

Then I made a very small start on Little Blue Potting Shed by Brown House Studio.  This is a chart that was gifted to me by Barbara years ago, and I’ve finally managed to get around to stitching it.  This was on my list of 2013 Crazy January Challenge pieces, and I fell in love with it years ago when I saw part of the design stitched over-one for an exchange gift.  How can I NOT love it when it’s stitched in exquisite blue shades (well, at least the shed is anyway!).

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That’s all the ‘new’ stitching I completed since the last blog post – of course I had also completed some other stitching efforts, which were shown in my previous blog post, but which I’ll post again here for the purposes of this little WIPocalypse update for the month …

And now I think it’s time to actually drag out that stitching for a short while … it might just help to restore that sense of peace once more, and make better use of my time while I catch up on more recorded TV …

Update on Dad and a bit of stitching

It’s been a while since I posted – I’ve been putting daily updates on Dad on Facebook, but once again keep forgetting that my blog exists … since this is supposed to be a stitching blog, though, I’ll show that first and then if you want to keep reading I’ll add an update on Dad afterwards 🙂

While I’ve been home I’ve managed to get a bit more stitching done (more than I usually do at home, as it’s been more as a stress relief than anything else really!) – partly on my own pieces, but also the Round Robin pieces that have been due … our Round Robin started up on 1 February, just before Dad got taken in for his surgery!  The girls have been great, and they’ve sent the last two pieces to me together in NZ, so I’ve had the opportunity to continue stitching over here … mind you, thank goodness I taught Mum to XS on her 70th birthday, as she had the full set of DMC at home – if she wasn’t a stitcher, I’d have been truly stuck!!  So here are the Round Robin pieces to date:

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Ann’s RR … I stitched the top right section (round 2 completed)

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Kate’s RR … still working on this one, but just have the gold braid backstitch left to do (round 3 WIP)

The next piece is one of my 2013 Crazy January Challenge projects and is for me … she is my favourite pixie of all time from Nora Corbett (Bluebell Pixie), and it’s awesome to finally see her start to come to life on fabric after lusting after her for so long!  Sadly, though, I hadn’t realised that the spool of Kreinik 1432 I had was only a part one, so I’ve come to a halt stitching on her until I can get home again and check my stash for another spool or order another one to be posted over to me.  I’ve also decided that I’m going to leave off the beads and the Waterlilies silk thread until I get her home anyway, just in case she has a bad trip home and needs to be washed and ironed.  So sad that I can’t keep working on her, but this is how she will just have to stay until I eventually get home again 🙂  I’ll add all the fabric details etc when I finally get her finished.

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As for other stitching, I just need to finish off the gold braid backstitching on the current RR piece, then I have the final one to be started immediately afterwards.  That one should be a relatively quick stitch, as it’s quite blocky, and it’s in my favourite colour … b l u e … so I’m going to enjoy stitching that one immensely!! 😀

Once that’s done, though, Dad had better be ready to come home again, because I only have one XS project left at home to start working on (although a medium size so it would last me a while) … my laptop died a few weeks ago and is currently in the repair shop (of which I’m about to send a complaint letter to the branch manager …), and it contains all of my freebie charts etc which was my back-up stitching library if I ran out of stitching!

Update on Dad:

It’s been a long road for Dad the last few weeks – he gradually became more lucid, and is now mentally alert once again (almost back to normal once more in that way).  For a few he was having lots of problems with his ileostomy bag and having to have it replaced a few times a day – that was causing his skin to become red raw, not just around the stoma site, but pretty much all down his abdomen and top of his thigh … he was screaming out in agony and crying his eyes out and begging for his life to be ended … it was the most heartbreaking thing to watch.  Mum had to leave the room, and I have to admit to barely keeping it together watching him suffering so much.  Thankfully, though, they have eventually found a bag that seems to be staying in place and not leaking, and the last week he has been much more stable, and with that a lot happier within himself.  He’s been through so much over the last 6 weeks (I can’t believe he’s been in there for so long!!), I just don’t know how he’s managed to pull himself through!!

Anyway, about a week ago now he was moved to a new ward, to the Assessment Therapy and Rehab ward for Older People – they’re still struggling with him to get him eating, but we’ve now been asked if we can bring in food from home so he’s at least getting some sort of nutrients into him.  He’s a really plain eater and fussy as all hell as to what he will eat, so he lifts the lid of the hospital plate, takes one look, and puts the lid back down again.  I remember as a teenager making Spaghetti Bolognaise at home and asking if he wanted some (Mum and I eat pretty much everything), and his response was “I’m not eating that, it’s foreign muck!” … yep, that’s my Dad! LOL.  Mum took him some sausage rolls in for his dinner last night as requested, but got upset that the Dr said he shouldn’t eat the tomato that came with it due to the skin … poor guy, that’s one thing he said to me the day before his first operation, that he couldn’t wait until afterwards when he can eat tomatoes and baked beans again, ‘cos he’d been on a strict diet for the previous 2 months … and the poor guy still can’t eat them 😦

Other than that, though, he’s finally on the road to recovery – we spoke to his Dr on Monday afternoon, and I got the OK to take Dad out in a wheelchair … in fact she was so keen for us to do it she went and got a wheelchair for us there and then!  It was quite a momentous occasion for us, we took him down to the hospital cafe on the ground floor and got ourselves a coffee then sat outside in the fresh air and drank it – it was the first time Dad had breathed in fresh air and been outside for 5 1/2 weeks … I think that really lifted his spirits astronomically 🙂  He also got the go-ahead yesterday morning by the Dr that he can use his walker to go to the bathroom etc without having to call for a Nurse, so now he thinks he’s Superman!  He wanted to go down to the hospital cafe on the ground floor on his walker, but I refused to take him unless we could take a wheelchair with us as a back-up … he got a bit cantankerous then, but I stood my ground, and he eventually backed down and said he could be taken in the chair, and he wouldn’t bother with the walker.  On Monday the Dr had stressed that his body was exceptionally weak, and that his Rehab stay was longer than normal because of that – his body gets tired really quickly, even though the mind is extremely willing his body isn’t quite up to it yet.  Hopefully it won’t be long, though, before he can get out and about more himself.

So after all this length of time, and almost 6 weeks of daily visits, it means we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, where the light is his discharge papers and the ability to come home.  We now have to have home assessments done and see whether hand-rails etc have to be installed for him … but at least we’re starting to have some concrete plan of action to get him up and home again! 😀