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Spooky time by Lizzie*Kate

I’m now all caught up with the Hallowe’en ornie SAL – here goes my choice for February’s theme of Candy corn.  I’m terrified of spiders, so stitching that charm on wasn’t much fun … I have a feeling that’ll be giving me nightmares in the future when it’s on display 😉

Spooky Time by Lizzie*Kate

“Spooky Time” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (no longer available)
with Silks4U silk threads

 

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Last finishes for 2013, and Christmas at home

First of all I should say a rip-roaring and resounding “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” to everyone … as we kick off a new year with the first day of 2014.  I know I’m not the only one that had some struggles in 2013, so personally I’m certainly not sorry to see it finish!  Let’s hope that 2014 is a brighter year for everyone who had a crappy 2013, and that it continues on a positive vein for those who had an awesome 2013 🙂

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I just returned home this morning from two weeks holiday with my parents in New Zealand.  I say “holiday”, but in truth it’s never really a holiday when I go home … there’s usually a list of chores that my folks want me to complete … and I have to admit I’m generally really happy to help out as much as I can when I go home.  This year the chore was to take Dad out to buy a new mobile phone … and teach him how to use it … the first part was pretty simple, and the second part saw me practising “patience” substantially, let’s say! LOL.  Then we went out to buy a Panasonic digital recorder (DVR) for both Mum and Dad and set it all up for them in their respective rooms.  Sadly Mum’s was a real challenge due to not having a good aerial set-up, so unfortunately they’ll need to call in someone to add a new aerial on the roof for Mum so she can get it working 100%.

Dad has to drink something similar to protein shakes daily, and he’s been really bad at drinking them – he told me he’d missed one whole day because Mum was sick and she couldn’t make them for him … my response was that he shouldn’t have to wait for Mum to do everything for him, why couldn’t he just make them himself?  He shouldn’t have to rely on Mum for everything, if she got sick then he’d be stuffed!  You could have knocked me over with a feather the next day when Mum told me Dad has asked her to teach him how to make his shakes … and that he needs to be more “independent”.  I didn’t expect my little chat to have such a big impact … but I got a HUGE resounding vote of thanks from Mum, as that’s helped to relieve some of the pressure from her every day having to do everything for Mum (and I know it’s been getting her down).  I hadn’t expected him to do that, but it’s a very good thing, I think!

While I was in NZ I managed to meet a dear online/blogging pal that I hadn’t managed to meet before.  Zeb had chatted to me briefly just after I moved to Aussie to live, wishing she knew stitchers in the local area to have GTGs etc … it seems all these years later there is now an active group of stitchers in Auckland that meet up, and we managed to ‘gate-crash’ the party for an afternoon!  I’d called out to the Auckland stitchers to see if anyone was interested in getting together while I was in NZ, and Zeb arranged a stitching day at The Ribbon Rose – what a perfect choice for the venue!!!  Not only did we (Mum and I, ‘cos I dragged her along for a change in scenery and a different group of people to chat to to give her a break) get to meet some lovely people on the day, but we managed to kill two birds with one stone by completing a small stash enhancement onsite.  I always drag Mum into The Ribbon Rose each trip, so it was extra special this time!  I managed to get a group photo in the afternoon, but unfortunately a few of the group disappeared and left while Mum and I were browsing around the store, so the photo doesn’t include everyone that was there 😦  (UPDATED: Photo now removed by request of someone in it.)

 

Now we’re back onto the subject of stitching, I did manage to get quite a lot of stitching done while I was away – mainly because we couldn’t really go far from home because of Dad, and I made it a priority to do ‘the family thing’ while we could.  Dad still has to have two surgeries yet in 2014, and as awful as it sounds I wanted to spend as much time as I could while I could … obviously we all have positive thoughts that he’ll come through the surgeries just fine, but I don’t want to have any regrets if it doesn’t …

Anyway, back to the stitching again … these are the little pieces that I started and finished while I’ve been away – I think I impressed myself which the stitching progress this time round!!  Admittedly two days sat in front of the TV in Mum’s room watching Catherine Cookson DVDs really helped … while I’m generally very very patient, and wanted to spend as much time with Dad as I could, we still needed to have a wee break just for sanity’s sake!!  Dad has a tendency to make comments that are less than positive and can be quite derogative, so I needed to recharge my little positivity bubble for a couple of days …

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“Never Too Big” by Dragon Dreams (2004 JCS ornie issue)
stitched with recommended DMC and Kreinik threads and JABC button
on 28ct light taupe linen (sorry, didn’t write the details down when I kitted it up!)

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“Full Moon” freebie by Elizabeth’s Designs
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Little Boy Blue??
with recommended DMC and WDW threads
(really love those little sheepies, even if they don’t have legs! LOL)

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“Seasons Greetings” by Glory Bee (2005 JCS ornie issue)
stitched on 28ct natural linen
with my choice of threads:
Lettering in Crescent Colours Cupid, Kreinik #4 braid for the star (#002),
DMC for the rest – white, 502 or 503 (can’t remember) and 500

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“Gourmet Garden” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Pipi
with recommended DMC threads

I did start one last project that I hoped to see finished by the end of 2013, but it just wasn’t to be … this one will only take an hour or two of love and it’ll be finished, so it’s likely to be my first finish for 2014.  I really did want to start my rotation tomorrow, though, so I’ll have to make a decision whether to finish this one off now, or to wait until the “small projects” section of my rotation … I’m pretty sure I know what will win out tomorrow! 😛

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Just have the holly leaves and lettering to go on this one before there is another “F word” … “Finish”

And on that note I’d better call it a night, I think … I managed to pick up a few healthy groceries in readiness for one of my New Year’s Resolutions, that to be healthier and happier.  Hopefully all the salads will offset the half a suitcase full of chocolate goodies and Gingernut biscuits that Mum sent me home with! haha.

As to the rest of my New Year’s Resolutions and stitching plans/goals for 2014, well I guess that’ll have to come later once I’ve made some decisions … watch this space … just maybe not for a wee while 😛

A few small finishes

Not much housework was done over the last weekend … instead I spent the weekend stitching a few small freebie designs, and a wee spot of baking on Sunday.  I’d been doing a bit of baking recently – Red Velvet Cupcakes last Monday to welcome my colleague back to work (and to celebrate being able to go back to a single person’s workload once again!).  Then I found out the same colleague has his birthday on Halloween, so I spent a few mid-week cooking hours in the kitchen making two fruit flans.  After this week’s delicious baking attempts I’ve now been officially dubbed “Team Chef” … but not entirely sure I want that title!! LOL.

Last week I also managed to stitch a small chart I’ve had kitted up for a long time:

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“Duckling” freebie by Lesley Teare
(was on http://www.cross-stitching.com, but no longer there sorry!)

stitched on 28ct hand-dyed ‘sky’ Jobelan
with recommended DMC threads

Then this weekend I decided to stitch a letter “A” on the same fabric to use as a backing for a scissor fob:

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Freebie chart from an old french Sajou chart (Sajou 361) – chart still available here
stitched on 28ct hand-dyed ‘Sky’ Jobelan
with DMC floss

The other freebie stitching I managed to finish was as follows:

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“Spring” freebie by Lindy Lane Designs
(sadly it seems they are no longer in business, so I can’t provide a link to this one)
stitched on 28ct hand-dyed ‘sky’ Jobelan

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“Bloom” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Chart still available here (scroll down to the middle of the page)
stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Lugana (not sure by who, it’s a VERY tight weave!!)
with recommended GAST/WDW threads, with the exception of Harvest Moon
(I subbed with a Ltd Edition GAST thread)

As for what’s next?  I need to do one more scissor fob tutorial quite quickly to help out a fellow stitcher with a specific finishing method … otherwise I just might have to pick up a new start!  My latest order is on its way from 123stitch, which means my replacement thread for LHN’s Acorn Hill is on it’s way – I figure I can probably sneak in one more new start/finish before it arrives and I ‘have to’ concentrate on my WIP … haha, first time I’ve said that, that’s for sure!! 😛

 

October WIPocalypse and a small finish (Updated)

Not much stitching was done on my WIPs this month … instead I was focusing on stitching a gift for Mum … but I’ve also just joined up for another smaller challenge which starts today and that is to complete 3 WIPs by the end of the year.  I may not be able to complete it entirely, as I have another couple of commitment pieces to work on before year-end, but I’ll try to focus each week on getting at least some stitches into those 3 selected WIPs … but the ones I’ve chosen are relatively small, so you never know your luck in a raffle, and I may be able to get them completed in time …

In the meantime, here is the only update I really have on my WIPs this time round – a couple of extra swirls put into With My Needle:

I started a page on my blog here to keep a track of the progress made during the year on my various WIPs – sometimes it’s hard to forget how much you manage to stitch over the course of a year when you put one stitch in here and one stitch in there, so I placed a progress piccie of how everything sat at the start of 2012 – once finished they get their final piccie added and get moved up into the “Completed” section … but for now I can easily see how my WIPs/UFOs currently stand, and it’s a reminder to pull my finger out and get some more moved into the finished section!  I think this will continue to be a feature on my blog until I start moving the bulk of my projects out of the In Progress section!

The other small finish I have is a little freebie that I started yesterday morning when staying at a friend’s place, and finished today:

“Jolly Pumpkin” freebie by Jodi Utter
Stitched on 28ct Mushroom Meran fabric
with recommended DMC threads
(The chart is still available from the Cyberstitchers website here)

Updated to add another finish:  Thanks to a public holiday in Sydney today, I also just managed to put the final stitches into my Halloween Fob by The Sweetheart Tree – it’s surprising how long that backstitching takes on these little projects, but it sure does make a massive difference to the end result!  One more WIP knocked off for the year, which is awesome! 😀

“Halloween Fob” by The Sweetheart Tree
stitched on 32ct Pipi hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch
with recommended DMC threads and Mill Hill beads

Some more pre-biscornu finishes & some stash

Thanks to a little bonus from work, I spoilt myself with some stash as a treat before putting the rest on bills … here is the result of my latest mail run – Quaker Christmas II ready for a SAL starting on 1 November, along with a couple of potential silk threads for it (In the Burgundy by Silk n’ Colors/Threadgatherer, and Warratah by Dinky Dyes).  I also picked up a big piece of 28ct Lugana for my first HAED start, some 35ct Parchment WDW linen, 38ct Cream Bellazia linen, and a few replacement threads and beads I needed.  Then finally there is some 30ct Tin Roof WDW linen for my Lizzie*Kate Mystery Sampler which Mum has gifted me for Christmas (and the final instalment is here in this pile too).

As for stitching, I can show the previous biscornu finishes, although they’re still waiting to be turned into actual biscornus … I can’t show the final one, as that’s still waiting to be received by my exchange recipient.

Chatelaine-Kathys Violets
“Violets” by Chatelaine
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended threads, Kreinik braid and beads

Chatelaine-Kathys Violets

Floss Box-Free Biscornu 34
“Free Biscornu #34” by The Floss Box
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads

And lucky last, I recently put the final touch to my Christmas ornaments by Paw Printings, by adding the little red beads.

Paw Printings-Golden Garland Ornament
“Golden Garland ornaments” by Paw Printings (from 2005 JCS Christmas Ornie issue)
stitched on 28ct mushroom Lugana
with recommended threads and beads

No more stitching done this week, due to some long working hours, but I did manage to be entirely lazy this morning and start putting some more Mill Hill beads into new containers … one more big batch yet to be done, but I need to get some more little containers before then (they’re hopefully due to arrive very soon).

Mill-Hill-Beads

 

Not much else to write about this week, really, so I guess I’ll leave it at that  for now 🙂

Stitching for stress relief

Last Sunday I managed to start getting a mini migraine in the afternoon … stressing out about my 2nd interview on Monday, I think – which means most of the plans I had on Sunday afternoon went down the drain … which is where my day’s baking went as well, ‘cos it was a total flop!  We were putting on morning tea for a work colleague who left on Tuesday (this is the one I had issues with last year, although we actually get on OK now – we’ll never be the closest of friends, but we had a working relationship that was OK).  Anyway, I have to say my baking Sunday/Monday was a total disaster … I think my head was too stressed out about my 2nd interview that I had on Monday – I felt physically sick during the interview, and I know I didn’t do my best in there, but it’s too late for that now, and the chips will just have to fall where they may.  I was supposed to hear something back by last Thursday, but so far no news either good or bad.

I haven’t particularly touched a needle for the last few weeks, but this weekend I’ve made up for lost time – it’s all I’ve been in the mood for!   I’ve superglued my backside to my mattress, and sat up in bed with needle in hand and clearing old DVR recordings … it’s been really enjoyable.  Following are the results of my stitching efforts.

First up is a new WIP that I started a couple of weeks ago – it took me 4 whole nights just to stitch one pumpkin and the border, so this one has been sloooooow going – this is a 2nd hand chart so I don’t have the embellishment pack, and I can’t find my little black Mill Hill petite beads so this one’s now sitting in a pile waiting for them to turn up … I lost all motivation when I realised I couldn’t finish it quickly.  Never mind, it’ll get completed ‘one day’ …

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Next up is a piece that I stitched up slowly over the last week – an Indigo Rose freebie – not my usual style, but it was really enjoyable stitching it up.  I can’t say I was too thrilled stitching all the queen stitches (definitely not my favourite stitch), but eventually when I got into a rhythm with them it seemed to fly along (helped by watching Rescue Special Ops on TV to make the time go fast).

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“Four Little Strawberries” freebie by Indigo Rose
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads

Then there is this weekend’s productivity – three Christmas ornaments by Lizzie*Kate.  This is probably what has finally got me back into the swing of stitching again – it feels great, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last!

LizzieKate-Noel Tiny Tidings XIV
“Noel” by Lizzie*Kate
from the chart Tiny Tidings XIV
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with recommended Weeks Dye Works threads and embellishment pack

LizzieKate-Mistletoe Tiny Tidings XIV
“Mistletoe” by Lizzie*Kate
from the chart Tiny Tidings XIV
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with recommended Weeks Dye Works and DMC threads and embellishment pack
but substituted GAST Butternut Squash

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“Christmas flip-it” by Lizzie*Kate
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
with recommended GAST threads except substituting DMC white for Whitewash
and using DMC 898 for bird beaks and legs instead of DMC 310

The rest of the weekend has been spent guzzling a bowl of Tiramisu that I made on Saturday night – I’ve been craving some for months, so I finally pulled my finger out and made a half-serving of it … and took a wee plate full down to my elderly neighbour yesterday.  I suppose all-in-all it’s been a productive weekend – not quite the productivity that I had planned for, but what my body and mind needed, I think 🙂

HoE Snowman Exchange received & a small finish

Today I finally managed to get to my PO Box during opening hours so that I could pick up my post as well as pop my own parcel into the mail – I was very excited to see that as I sent off my own Snowman ornie exchange parcel, my very own squishy mail parcel was sitting in my PO Box.  My exchange partner this time round was Elisa, and she put together an exquisite ornie using a fantastic pattern (which has been on my wishlist for stitching for a while now), a great choice of fabric (never would I have thought of using yellow linen and I love it), and the perfect pom-pom edging … all-in-all yet another exchange received that I will treasure.  I have to say that after having a couple of exchanges ‘go wrong’ in the past, it’s been a distinct pleasure to be part of this group and having exchanges run smoothly for a change 🙂  Anyway, thanks again Elisa for a real treat in my mailbox!  If my exchange partner likes theirs even half as much as I like mine, I’d class it as a perfect exchange 😉

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The small finish I referred to in the title is a freebie from The Stitching Parlor, Inc.  I have to admit, I can’t say I’m totally in love with this design.  After wanting to stitch it for the longest time (it’s been kitted up with the fabric since having all my stash in storage when housesitting years ago), I’m really disappointed with the colours and the overall look – I was originally going to finish it off as a little gift for someone but now I really don’t know what on earth to do with it!

The Stitching Parlor-Proud Peacock freebie
“Proud Peacock” freebie by The Stitching Parlor, Inc
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads

I now understand why KarenV changed the colours when she stitched it for me for an earlier birthday gift … I totally adore Karen’s version of this design, and kinda wish I hadn’t bothered to still stitch one myself – but on the positive side, I now have one kitted-up piece of fabric/chart that is off the “to be stitched” pile! I’ve copied another copy of KarenV’s version below so you can compare … Karen’s version is so, so very much better, I’m sure you’ll agree! 🙂

KarenV birthday gift Feb08 2

And on that note, I think it’s time to go back to getting a few more stitches into my extremely overdue PIFs that are currently in progress – I never ever received my PIF that I signed up for (nor ever heard from the person running it), but I still fully intend fulfilling my end of the bargain, albeit (the way I’m going) a year late!!!  Mind you, I have to admit to having second doubts about one piece … I guess I’ll wait until it’s finished before I decide whether to rethink my choices!

And now it’s time to go plug in disc one of Band of Brothers (from Quickflix) and chill out with needle in hand for a wee while before catching a few zzzzzz 🙂