2015 Recap & 2016 Stitching Goals

Well my stitching finishes in 2015 were pretty paltry in comparison to other years, but I’m still proud that I managed as much as I did considering the exhausting year I’ve had at work etc.  Here they are all together (with the exception of one last finish coming tomorrow!):

I have a HUGE list of stitch-a-longs and challenges I want to join in 2016 – I have no real intention of actually FINISHING any of the SAL projects during 2016, but I hope to get a decent rotation happening again where I can give each piece a bit of love and dedication throughout the year.  Here is the planned list:

  • 1 Jan – Mirabilia SAL – my choice is Bluebeard’s Princess, which I’ve had kitted up for a couple of years now, the only problem is I can’t decide on the fabric … I guess I’d better make a decision over the next 24 hours or so!
  • 1 Jan – Ornament SAL (12 months) – my choice to kick this SAL off is Victoria Sampler’s Blackwork #3-4 … other ones throughout the year are ones that I already have the fabric cut up and ready for stitching.
  • 1 Jan – JCS 2015 Ornament Issue SAL (12 months) – The chosen design will be the most voted for design from each double page spread throughout the year.
  • 1 Jan to 7 Jan – Crazy 7 SAL – I haven’t decided 100% on all of my choices yet (or even if I’ll definitely do this challenge).  I have a couple of large projects I definitely want to include, but also wanted to have some smaller ones too, which would give me more of a chance to actually finish one of them during the year!  So far my choices aren’t looking too small though!:
    1 Jan – Lizzie*Kate’s Christmas flip-its
    2 Jan – Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds
    3 Jan – Shepherd’s Bush’s Here We Go A Haunting
    4 Jan – Mirabilia’s Christmas Elf Fairy
    5 Jan – CCN’s The Tea Room
    6 Jan – Shepherd’s Bush’s Finch Song
    7 Jan – Either Country Threads’ Paris kit, or Mill Hill’s Haunted Hotel
  • 10 Jan – Dimensions SAL – my choice is Weekend a Paris
  • 10 Jan – Teatime Stitchers SAL – we have a choice of 3 freebies charts, so I’ll be stitching on of the pansy freebies for this round
  • 12 Jan – Christmas Stocking SAL – I have a Dimensions kit Enchanted Ornament Christmas Stocking that I’ll be starting, but don’t hold out much hope of having it in use for 2016, maybe 2017 all going well!
  • 13 Jan – HAED SAL – I’m still dithering over which one to stitch – I have a choice of three (originally it was two, but I just recently splurged on a piece that I’m totally in love with … and had to choose the maximum colours, so I think I’m a bit insane with that one!!).  My choices are either QS Iris, Blue Daisy, or His Way Home.
  • 14 Jan – Valentine’s Day SAL – Still deciding on a chart to use, but it’s like to be Bent Creek’s Bliss or the Drawn Thread’s Love fob.
  • 15 Jan – 2016 Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – There’s no actual start date for this one, but I figure the first two weeks of the year are horrendous for new starts, so I’ll start my ornie in the middle of the month!  The theme for January is Winged Creatures (bats, owls, crows, ravens etc), so I’m really looking forward to that one 🙂
  • 7 Feb – Country Cottage Needleworks SAL – No idea which one I’m going to decide on in the end, but it’s likely to be one of the beach/seaside designs.
  • 17 Feb – St Patrick’s Day SAL – A nice small one for me this time round, I think I’ll be stitching Bent Creek’s Leprechaun, or Victoria Sampler’s Ireland from the International Hearts series.
  • 27 Feb – Easter SAL – Another nice small one, I’m going to be stitching Bent Creek’s Happy Easter.
  • 26 Jul – Specialty Stitch SAL – I have so many projects to choose from, and this is so far in the future, I’ll see what I’m in the mood for closer to the time.

And just for my own amusement, here are the planned new starts in visual format (and means I’ll have a truckload of WIPs/UFOs for 2017 LOL):

More stitching plans for 2015

After doing a quick rushed post the other day about my wishlist for 2015 stitching, I’ve had more time to think things through and formulate some more plans.  Other than working to a rotation of sorts, I thought it might be fun to join some other groups to give me more motivation to post progress each month.  As such I’ve chosen groups that already fit within my current stitching plans so it doesn’t become too much of a chore (although I’m shocking with deadlines/commitment stitching so it may do the opposite … in which case I’ll put the brakes on!).  So what have I decided to try for 2015?

2015 WIPocalypse

First up is the 2015 WIPocalypse challenge.  I’ve always loved this challenge, even though I haven’t always been good at posting on time over the last 12 months or so!   If nothing else, it reminds me to post a blog update once in a while, so it’s worth it just for that in itself! 😉

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The first new group is the Stitch from Stash group – sadly I missed out with the official sign-up for the group and can’t join properly until the middle of the year for round 2, but I figure I’ll just do it myself here every month in the meantime. As it is, my budget has been next-to-nothing (well in fact it has BEEN nothing) for the last few months, so it should be easy to maintain for a while longer 😉  The group lets you have $25 each month for stash which I think is very doable for replacing threads etc (I’ve got enough charts/kits to last me a few lifetimes).

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Then there is the Smalls SAL group – I’ve been thinking over the last couple of days whether to add a slot into my rotation dedicated to stitching smalls, so this could work out well.  I’ve already got a slot for small-medium sized projects, which could still remain, but I have so many charts for needlerolls and scissor cases etc that I think it could be a good idea to dedicate some time to them each rotation and get some of those smalls stitched up!  I guess that also means my ‘stitched but awaiting finishing’ pile will be building higher this year all going well 😉

That means my rotation will now look like the following (with some current and next-in-line projects included):

  1. Focus piece
    – English Garden Sampler by Teresa Wentzler
    – Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine
  2. Medium-large projects
    – Autumn Leaves by Prairie Schooler
    – Christmas Elf Fairy by Mirabilia
    – Coffee & Tea series by Little House Needleworks
  3. Stitching smalls & needlework accessories
    – TBC
    – TBC
  4. WIPs & UFOs
    – Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff
    – Cottage Etui by C A Wells
  5. Focus piece
  6. Small-medium projects
    – The Formal Garden by Heritage Collection
    – Bliss by Bent Creek
    – Christmas bird by Heart in Hand
  7. Large-BAP projects
    – Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches
    – Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor
  8. Focus piece
  9. Canvaswork
  10. Christmas ornaments & freebies
  11. Finishing

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! 😀

It’s a woman’s prerogative…

No sooner had I set out my stitching plans for 2012 that I started to realise I really don’t know how in the hell I’m going to achieve all of those finishes/goals when I really only get to stitch on the weekends (and not every weekend at that) … so I’m seriously thinking of throwing those previous plans out the window, and just going back to a rotation instead.  That means I’ll also be able to focus more on my existing WIPs which are actually starting to bother me, rather than trying to cram in those same WIPs (at a lot slower pace than I’d like) as well as meeting all the SAL and commitment deadlines at the same time … and probably not getting any of them done by the year’s end (but not stressing about it).

Perhaps it’s just that my head is in the wrong space at the start of the year with Dad’s health and some work issues that are still really bothering me.  Both of these issues are slowly getting resolved, with Dad seeing his surgeon this Friday, and I’ve started having dummy spits in the office to voice my frustrations at issues I’m facing (including telling a team member they’re doing my head in and they’re not helping my stress levels … yep, there have definitely been a few dummy spits lately in that respect, and probably a couple of months well overdue at that!!).  Anyway, maybe removing the pressure of having to finish all these projects will help to restore some sanity to my stitching – most of the projects in my list will still remain there as part of the rotation, I will just have no expectation to actually complete them by the year’s end … plus I’ll have the opportunity to change my mind at a moment’s notice, as I’ve also come across some other projects that I really wanted to stitch, but that didn’t make the cut for my initial 15 projects …  I think the stress of only limiting my stitching to a set group of projects also inhibits my sense of freedom, and as soon as that sort of pressure starts mounting I find I don’t end up stitching at all … so perhaps it’s for the betterment of my stitching this year to just ‘let it all hang out’ so to speak 😉

Tomorrow I’m off to the local GP to try and get some antibiotics for my bugs, which will also help to bring me back to a state of equilibrium (and probably less likely to have dummy spits at work LOL) … and perhaps feel more like stitching … but in the meantime I’m going to start my rotation guilt-free just as soon as I’ve finished my Round Robin piece that’s due out for mailing at the end of January … but not before I have fun by adding a few more rotation projects to the pipeline 🙂

And I’m not stressing if I change my mind a million times throughout the year … as the title of this post says, “it’s a woman’s prerogative” … as long as I enjoy my stitching this year I’m happy 😀

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Ooh, before I forget, I heard from Cindy that my little gift arrived safe and sound when she returned from holidays – so I can now share the full goodies … just as soon as I find the photos!!!  I think I’ve shown the finished biscornu before, but I’ve never shown the finished fob that matched it.  It feels good that this is now finished and living in its new home 🙂

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While I’m at it, I think there are also a number of framing jobs that I completed in November last year that I haven’t shared on here yet … the Tiger and Summer Snapperland are both for me, whereas the bears and the Letter S are both for gifts.  I did most of the framing of the Tiger 2 years ago, but couldn’t finish-finish it as the backing board was too high … he’s one of my first ever finishes (stitched on aida) and I love, love, love him!

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Finally here are a couple of yummy things I brought back from New Zealand with me on my last trip – the scrumptious blug electric kettle was compliments of Mum and Dad’s Fly Buys points in NZ, while the bowls are from my ‘glory box’ still in storage over there.  Both have already been christened, and I’m totally in love with the jug in particular!!  And I can’t WAIT to try out the new Orange Truffle Baileys over a bucket of ice … hmmm, in fact I just may choose that for dessert tonight, the ice will help soothe my throat and the alcohol will help to lull me into sleepy submission … hmmm …

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The final photos are of my frangipani plants on my balcony to show Mum – now both plants have finally flowered, although I’m disappointed to see the 2nd plant which has flowered for the first time has the pink frangipani … it’s still very pretty, but I do have to admit to preferring the white frangipani on the whole.

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And I think that will do me for another post … I still have some other things to post yet, but think I’m a bit photo heavy already … and it’ll give me something to write about later (if I get over the shock of having so many blog posts in one month!!!).

Planned projects in pictures & health issues

It seems that Mum and managed to pick up some nasty bug from the hospital while visiting with Dad last week – Mum managed to get away with just a handful of grotty days, but I seem to have picked up the full brunt of it … after struggling with just a head cold and a head like a tap for a few days, I started getting chills and a slight fever at the end of the week … thankfully I’m just starting to come through the tail end of it and just have blocked sinuses and feeling a bit run-down.  It wasn’t the most pleasant trip home this morning because of it, but because I hadn’t slept much the last 3 nights I managed to nap through half of the flight, which was great!

We finally saw the surgical intern at the hospital on Thursday … after waiting for 2 hours we were finally told she had been taken into emergency surgery and could we come back again in 2 hours time, only to wait for yet another 2 hours before she was ready to see us!  Anyway they are saying that his surgery may not take place now until late January/early February, depending on the surgeon who’s going to be doing the operation.  He’s supposed to send Dad a letter with his new appointment, with the surgery to follow approx one week after that appointment … but we don’t know when the letter will be coming (some time over the next 2 weeks).  As it was too uncertain when the surgery was going to take place, and Dad seems quite stable with the diet he’s been following over the last week, I decided to fly home and go back to work for the next couple of weeks … then I’ll return to Auckland again once we know the surgery date.  In the meantime, though, I need to pull my finger out and get a new passport issued, as it runs out on 7 February!

So all-in-all it’s been a really crappy visit, truth be told … I have to admit it’s been a little bit stressful, as Mum and I haven’t been able to leave home and get a bit of a break and 1o0% relax, especially with all the uncertainty with Dad – he started to feel like a Jack-in-box in and out of hospital for the entire two weeks.  While I’ve managed to get an awful lot of stitching done, it has been more as stress relief than enjoyment, and a way to fill in time at home – unfortunately all the things Mum and I had planned to do haven’t got done … so hopefully when I fly over the next time we may get an opportunity to do some of those planned fun things, and to catch up with people I had planned to see this time …  It also means that my heart wasn’t really in my stitching either, and I managed to totally stuff up my colour choices for a Lizzie*Kate commitment piece I needed to do (a travelling pattern that I’d been holding on to for way too long).  I might try to put the final stitches into this one tonight if I get chance, but I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll be keeping it or not.  I want to re-do it entirely in blues, so I may see if I can quickly kit it up again and get cracking on it, as I want to get the chart into the mail by the end of the week at the latest.

To finish off this post I’ve decided to upload piccies of all the upcoming projects I have for 2013 as part of my new rotation … plus other commitments I have to complete that aren’t in the rotation officially.  Mind you, I’ve already replaced one of the rotation pieces with another one I just remembered I wanted to complete, so you’ll now see Eiffel Quaker added to the list instead of the Periwinkle Promises one – I’d originally wanted to stitch this while in Paris but we were out and about so much during the day we didn’t get any stitching time!  Rightio, without further ado, here come the piccies … you may also see more blogging again from me this year as I try to wean myself off Facebook, but I know I’ve said that before so I wouldn’t hold my breath 😉

Crazy January Stitching Challenge:

2013 part 2

2013 part 1

WIPs/UFOs:

WIPs and UFOs 2013

SALs & other Commitment pieces:

2013 SALs and Others

xxx

January 1 and feeling good!

I feel really good that I stuck to my guns and didn’t go out last night among the thousands of people celebrating New Year’s in Sydney – I woke up this morning at 6am and feel fantastic!  Those who know me well know that that’s a minor miracle in itself, as I don’t “do” 6am’s or any early mornings particularly well … but today I just feel, well, kinda “good” about the world and everything in it 🙂

My only resolution this year is to get my health on track – I signed up for Weight Watchers (again) a couple of weeks ago just so I would have the tools to start properly again, and have been improving my diet since my return to work last Wednesday.  I’m constantly amazed at how quickly you can put a healthy meal together during the week with the help of quickly steamed veges done in the microwave with a piece of fish, chicken or steak.  My dinner last night, for example, was just a bed of mixed lettuce leaves, sliced capsicum and mini roma tomatoes, with some steamed snow peas, fresh asparagus and lightly sautéed mushrooms, topped with half a dozen sautéed scallops and a balsamic dressing … perfect and light and beautifully healthy.  I felt very virtuous just tucking my fork into it’s richly nutrient and healthy goodness! 🙂

The other good thing is that I finally have a diagnosis I can work with that is causing my leg and back pains – I am showing some degeneration and arthrosis in my lower back (I’m obviously going to look forward to some decent arthritis there in my upcoming years darn it) … that’s causing inflammation, which is causing swelling to constrict the nerves, and causing my problems elsewhere.  And because of the pains I haven’t been walking regularly etc, which means the muscle has weakened badly, so it’s a catch 22.  It means that I now need to build up the strength in my lower back and get more exercise to loosen up the discs – I have some physio sessions to book in for to help with the loosening up, then I need to get back into the gym for some gentle sessions on the bike for a while (and my return was always in the cards for early this year).  With any luck getting rid of the constant pain and stiffness will really help with my overall demeanour – but at the moment it just feels good knowing what I’m dealing with 🙂

Which brings me on to the fun part of the year … on 1-1-11 (love that date!) I guess I should be setting stitching/crafty goals for the year, so here goes … I hereby declare I will complete the following by the end of the year … hopefully … 😉

  1. Complete the Crazy January 2011 Challenge (15 new starts and finishes) – the list is up in my sidebar, along with progress bars
  2. Complete at least 24 Christmas ornaments (this might be a challenge, seeing as I didn’t even get 12 finished last year LOL)
  3. Complete another 5 projects over and above those completed in the Crazy January Challenge (can be WIPs from 2010 or new starts)
  4. Make a full-sized quilt for my bed (yikes, that will be a challenge in itself!!)
  5. Complete at least one of my UFOs
  6. Complete a non-cross stitch project (eg stumpwork, hardanger, schwalmwork)
  7. Finish-finish a minimum of 12 items (including framing, but excluding Christmas ornaments)

And that’s pretty much it for the year – it’ll be interesting to see how much got completed when I look back on 31 Dec 2011! 😀

And on that note, I think it’s time to crack open the Crazy January project bag, and pull the first project out for stitching.  I’m thinking of starting one of the smaller ones first, so that I can have an early finish … also the great thing about starting the challenge on a long weekend means I have 3 days of perfect stitching time to make a decent dent into 3 of the projects … all I have to do is work out which ones to start first!

Actually, I forgot I do have one other thing to share, which is for my Mum … here’s a comparison of my frangipani plants sitting on the balcony – please excuse the dead plants and empty pots in the bottom photo! haha.  Believe it or not these were bought at about the same time, from the same shop, and both get fed and watered at the same time … what a huge difference between the two!  I think the larger plant is getting more sun hours during the late afternoon, and seems to be thriving on it!  I do absolutely ADORE frangipani flowers, and have my fingers crossed the bigger plant will provide a few more this year (I got one whole flower last year) – I also really adore my geranium there, that was a recent addition to my plant family 🙂

Now, where’s Season 2 of Fringe to keep me entertained while I’m stitching??? 😀

Happy New Year everyone!!!

My eyelids are drooping, so I’ll be seeing the New Year in by looking at the back of my eyelids very soon – but I wanted to quickly jump on and wish everyone a very happy New Year.  Thanks for your friendship and support throughout 2010 – here’s hoping 2011 is the year where all your hopes and dreams come true (all those that are legal, anyway!).  I look forward to spending 2011 with you once again 😀

As for stitching, I don’t think I got anywhere near reaching my 2010 stitching goals, and haven’t even thought about 2011 goals yet – there’s plenty of time for that tomorrow.  Here’s how I went with my 2010 goals:

  • Complete at least 3 of my existing WIP/UFO projects (Works in Progress/UnFinished Objects) (4 WIPs and 0 UFOs completed – technically I met this goal, but really wanted to include at least 1 UFO in there) smiley: embarassed
  • Complete at least 10 projects in the kits/charts stash pile (21 completed)
  • Complete at least 12 Christmas ornaments (minor fail with only 11 completed) smiley: embarassed
  • Complete the finishing of at least 12 items – either framing or actual finishing (excludes Christmas ornaments)  (12 completed from my ‘old’ finishing pile, plus 4 pillows with new Halloween/pumpkin finishes) 
  • Start at least one EGA correspondence class project (please note I didn’t say “finish” here LOL) (started “Gracie” stumpwork GCC) 

In hindsight, I actually did well with my goals, and met all of them except for the Christmas ornaments.  And to finish off the year, here’s a pictorial sampling of all those 2010 finishes 😀