Miss Valentine, aka “Flossy”

I don’t know what possessed me … I purchased Miss Valentine by Mirabilia when I truly dislike the colour pink.  Her dress on the cover picture looks extremely pale, with just a hint of pink really, so for some reason she appeals to me.  Even though she’s not my usual choice, I thought she was lovely, truly delightful … until I started stitching her this week.  I feel like I’ve just pushed myself through the gates of hell … stitching hell …  OK, perhaps an exaggeration, but I seriously didn’t expect the vomit-inspiring candy floss pink to be the main colour of her dress … I’m hoping like heck that when the other colours are added that the colour will tone down somewhat!  The way I’m looking at her now is that she may just end up on Etsy or something at the end of all this!!  Poor Flossy, I do hope she tones down a little bit … I guess the alternative is that I just suck it up and unpick what I’ve done and do an entire colour conversion … which I suppose is kind of early enough to do this … or to finish her off and put her up for sale on Etsy … or gift her to a dear stitching friend when it’s finished … oh decisions decisions, what to do!  Poor old Flossy, I don’t mean to be so cruel to her, but she’s … well … she’s just not “blue”!!  Or lilac … Or frankly any other colour that’s not putrid, poxy, candy floss pink … !!

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After my little whinge, I’ll brighten up a bit to share what I did two weekends ago, and hadn’t realised that I haven’t shared yet.  While getting the scissor fob tutorials ready, and making up cording for the tutorial, I also dragged out a few pieces that are half-finished but just waiting for cording to be done and had a major cord-making session.  I now have a bunch of ornaments etc that have cording all ready to go … but, um, yeah, they’re still sitting in the finishing pile the same as they were before {{cough}}.  But they have cording now, so that’s closer to being finished than before, right?

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I also managed to sit up one evening and quickly completed the ladder stitch closures on this bunch of ornaments.  Some of these were stitched by my Mum and I did the finishing of them all.  Not entirely sure I’ll bother putting up the Christmas tree this year seeing as I won’t be here, and I don’t spend any time in the lounge any more with the flatmate taking it over, so they may not see the light of day until next year … but at least they’re finally out of the finishing pile and into the ornie box!

Here are Mum’s ornaments:

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And mine:

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Feathered Friends Santa

I finally managed to get this ornie finished today – it’s only taken me pretty much an entire month to stitch this one … I was supposed to work this afternoon, after spending a few hours at a work colleague’s home for pre-Christmas festivities, but I was feeling a bit “over it” and decided to give work a wide berth for the night … I might regret that decision tomorrow, but it’s something I needed I think.

Anyway, here’s the finished product:

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Feathered Friends Santa

“Feathered Friends Santa” by HeartStrings/The Artists Collection
Stitched on 28ct Vintage Wichelt linen
with recommended GAST, DMC and Kreinik threads, except for 009HL which I subbed with 009

Last month I also finally put the finishing touches into one of Mum’s stitched ornies – I just had to add the mouths and the French knots, and it’s all done now ready to go back home to Mum once again.

Season of Love by CCN

 

“Season of Love by Country Cottage Needleworks
Stitched by my Mum
(from JCS Christmas Preview issue 2010)

And on that note I’ll call it a night … I might blog more often again soon, as Mum has got her PC up and running again, so my main audience member is back online – and perhaps doing that will keep me off of Facebook more, which is my biggest time waster these days!

Napier/Hastings … final part (photo heavy again)

Alas, Tuesday came far too quickly, and it was time to pack up again for the return drive home.  We had a leisurely start to the day and didn’t leave the motel until 10am – we started of by driving to the Silky Oak Chocolate factory and museum, where we unexpectedly ended up spending a full two hours! Not only do they have a cafe serving great food (we ended up having brunch there), but they have a really interesting Museum all about the history of chocolate – it was fascinating, and definitely worth the visit! 😀

Eggs Benedict at Silky Oak Chocolate Napier
Eggs Benedict with Bacon

Raspberry and Pear muffin at Silky Oak Chocolate Napier
Raspberry & Pear Muffin

Silky Oak chocolates

Afterwards we drove into Napier township for a visit to the information centre and a wee walk around the waterfront and streets to take some photos of some of the Art Deco buildings – we enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn’t end up leaving Napier itself until 3pm … oops! 😉

Napier fountain

Pania of the Reef Napier
One of my fave sculptures – “Pania of the Reef

Pohutukawas in bloom Napier gardens
Napier waterfront gardens, with Pohutukawa trees in bloom

If any of you are interested in Art Deco building styles, here is a selection for you.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Napier CBD was flattened by a devastating earthquake in 1931, and all of the buildings were rebuilt during the same era, giving Napier the reputation of being the capital of Art Deco architecture due to having so many buildings of that style in such a small area.

ArtDeco 1

ArtDeco 2

ArtDeco 3

ArtDeco 4

We finished off our trip to Napier by stopping at a couple of fruit sellers stalls to stock up on beautiful fresh produce.  That’s one thing I really love about NZ, there are plenty of local growers selling their fresh produce – and their quality and flavour is far superior to anything you can buy in the supermarkets.  My special treats over the couple of days away (as we bought some other fruit the previous day) were fresh strawberries (to die for!), apricots (one of my all-time fave fresh fruits), boysenberries (can’t remember the last time I saw them fresh since moving to Oz), blueberries, and black cherries … oh boy, I’m drooling again just remembering them!!!  Sheer heaven – I ADORE summer fruits 😀

Napier boysenberries

Napier blueberries

Napier cherries

We finished off our gourmet couple of days with dinner in Taupo, at the Waterside Restaurant & Bar – here the food was blissful and the service great … yet again, here are the gourmet delights we troughed through:

Taupo Dinner 1
Chicken Salad for Mum

Taupo Dinner 2
Lamb Fillet with asparagus, with Greek Tsatziki & balsamic jus for me – drool

Looking back, one of the other things that brought a smile to my face and a lump to my throat was to see all the Pohutukawa trees in bloom – these are affectionately known as the “New Zealand Christmas tree”, and their red bloom is a real delight to behold.  Tales say that if the trees bloom before Christmas, we will be in for a long hot summer … personally I just love to see their blooms colouring the skyline.

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Pohutukawa blossom with bee

Other things that I loved being in NZ, was that you can buy L&P everywhere you turn your head … even at the humble pie cart in an outdoor market – ah bliss 😉

Pie Cart blackboard

It was great to see the Auckland icon, the Auckland Sky Tower, with its impressive bulk shadowing over the CBD.

Auckland Sky Tower

And not to mention the vast lush “green-ness” of the countryside – unfortunately I didn’t get a great photo of it as it started to cloud over on the way home from Napier, and then rained off and on the entire way home to Auckland 😦

Rolling green hills of Hawkes Bay

But one of my biggest treats was to spend a week in the warmth of Mum’s Christmas tree – her tree has brought delight to my soul for as long as I can remember, and I made sure my final night in Auckland was spent huddled in the lounge with the warm glow of the Christmas lights … and a rare night of familial bliss as we all sat and watched the Christmas in the Park show on TV, followed by an hour of Aussie and Kiwi stand-up comics … what a great way to finish off a great holiday! 😀

Mums Xmas tree 2008

I have come home with many beautiful gifts – but no photos yet as they were bought using Christmas money, so they’re wrapped up under the tree … I’ll share photos after Christmas. What I can share, though, is the wonderful treat from Mum – a set of Prairie Schooler Santa ornies … I just adore these, and will treasure them always! Thanks so much Mum, you’re a sweetheart! 😀

Mums Prairie Schooler Santas for me

Lots of stitching to share

… but not a single thing stitched by me! 

All the following stitching is what my Mum (aka June, aka The Dragon) has stitched so far this year – she’s crazy about Christmas ornaments, as you can tell – these are a mix of well known designers (namely Prairie Schooler), magazine designs and freebies 😀

Mum's ornies 1

Mum's ornies 2

Mum's ornies 3

Mum's ornies 4

Mum's ornies 5a

Mum's ornies 6

Mum's ornies 7

Mum's ornies 8

Mum's ornies 9

Believe it or not, there’s also a similar sized pile of ornies that are almost finished – she’s an ornie machine!!

Also, here’s proof that Mum has stitched a bookmark kit that Sharon gifted her with as we were leaving Melbourne … it still has to be finished into the bookmark itself, but all the stitching has been done now.

Mum's bookmark

It’s amazing how much Mum’s stitching has improved over the last 12 months – she has only been stitching since she turned 70, and her stitching is great (and I’m very proud to now have a pile of her Christmas ornies left here to grace my tree … although I’m not too sure about the fact I have to finish-finish them haha).

Mum flew home yesterday morning, so the flat is quiet once again … I’ve brought work home the last two nights so that’s taken my mind off being sad for too long.  Fingers crossed we’ll get another chance to catch up before the end of the year 🙂

Now it’s time to get a few more things done before I hit the hay for the night …  Don’t expect as much stitching from me for a while as work is frantic, and it will just continue to get worse between now and the end of June – ah, I miss the days when we got paid overtime back in the call centre for the extra hours {sigh} 😉