Anne, the UFO Slayer

Thanks to my dearest flatmate leaving me her entire collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD’s to watch, my eyes are now square, and I think I have almost OD’ed on Buffy over the last few days (I’m now up to Season 5 – not bad going in two weeks!).  For someone who’s lasted 40+ years without having Buffy in her life, I have to say I’ve rather enjoyed it! I’ve shed tears over the ‘Angel-thing’, and laughed out loud at poor old Spike, and slobbered a bit at good ol’ Giles (who I’ve always adored as the Prime Minister in Little Britain – had I known he was in Buffy, I would have started watching years ago haha). Anyway, watching all this slaying has been good for the soul, and good for the stitching – I’ve been doing a bit of slaying of my own today, and managed to finish two old UFO’s – I’m not quite feeling up to tackling the sewing machine just yet, so the needleroll will get finish-finished later.

Sweetheart Tree-Wildflower Needleroll
“Wildflower Needleroll” by The Sweetheart Tree
stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
using recommended DMC threads and Mill Hill beads

This really, really old one just needed to have one heart bead attached for it to be finished (after unpicking and restitching some of the beads in the outer border), so within 1/2 an hour today this one is also finished.  Unfortunately it’s really hard to get a good photo of it, as it’s all pretty much monochrome.  I’m going to attempt to frame this one myself, I think 😀

JBW Designs-Love & Affection 1
“Love and Affection” by JBW Designs
stitched on 32ct antique white Lugana (I think)
using recommended threads and beads

JBW Designs-Love & Affection 2

JBW Designs-Love & Affection 3

JBW Designs-Love & Affection 4

JBW Designs-Love & Affection 5

This “rotation” business is really helping me to keep focused on my stitching goals – no more dithering between stitching sessions, I know exactly what I need to be stitching next … although right now I can’t decide whether to tackle the start of yet another UFO, as I have a few hours of my rotation left, or whether to just move on to my next slot, which is my Boo Club focus piece … ah, decisions decisions … 😀

Still not feeling 100% today, I asked my boss if I could reinstate the two days leave I’d just cancelled last week, so I have the next few days off to recuperate more fully … which means more stitching, yippee 😀

Couple of small finishes

After having one whole half week of feeling fantastic and over my viral bugs, on Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat, and have been a snot factory for the last 48 hours yet again … too much information, I know … fingers crossed this round won’t hang around for quite so long!  Having a ‘cold’ for the last 6 whole weeks was just a teensy tiny bit too much, especially when two of those ended up being without pay 😦

Anyway, over the last week or two I’ve been sitting and stitching a few tiny projects, and here are the results:

First up a freebie from IHLE-Design, stitched in a DMC variegated floss:

Scissor fob 2

Then a wee freebie from My Aunt’s Attic, stitched in a Carrie’s Threads floss:

Scissor Fob 1

Afterwards, in need to something else to stitch, I decided to finish off a Christmas ornament that I started when visiting Mum in Auckland back in April:

Christmas Cheer ornie
“Christmas Cheer” by Heart in Hand Needleart

Next up this weekend was Folk Heart Needleroll by Shepherd’s Bush:

Folk Heart needleroll 1
“Folk Heart Needleroll” by Shepherd’s Bush

Folk Heart needleroll 2

Folk Heart needleroll 3

And lucky last, Ice Blue Snowflake ornament by Mill Hill:

Ice Blue Snowflake 1
“Ice Blue Snowflake” by Mill Hill

Ice Blue Snowflake 2

Long weekends are great, especially when you sit up in bed all day with the sniffles!! 😀

Barnabee’s Bride is complete

I managed to get all the finishing done on Barnabee’s Bride in time to drive her over to The Stitching Post tomorrow morning.  She looks very cute (although I have a bit of wrinkling of the green wool when she’s rolled up, if I had more fabric I might have unpicked it and cut it a bit smaller, but it’s OK I guess), and I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo in the sunlight to show off her wee sparklies 🙂

Barnabee's-Bride-closed

Barnabee's-Bride-open

Barnabee's-Bride-in-the-sun

Barnabee’s Bride (kit) by Just Nan

I forgot to take a photo of the needleroll opened out – I’ll take one later … if I remember … but I’ve run out of time to take one this morning, as I’ve now got to race off to work (I’m on the late shift today ‘cos I’m “on call” for the next 7 days in case of emergencies, which gave me time to quickly take these photos this morning).

Attack of the Frogs

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to stitch up this little piece – mainly due to numerous attacks of the frogs!  If it was my own piece I’d probably have left two of the errors in it, as the larger blue flowers were one stitch out in their placement (I was quite impressed I managed to do that same error in both of them!) … and the border was unpicked three times as I’d managed to get loops and knots in the pearl cotton and not realised … mutter mutter mutter.

Barnabee's-Bride-1
Barnabee’s Bride by Just Nan (kit)
(once again apologies for the bad photo – I’ll take a better one
once it’s all finished into the needleroll)

Anyway the stitching is finally all done, and all I have to do now is the finishing, which I hope to attempt tomorrow.  Then this will be driven back home to The Stitching Post where it will live happily with its owner (I’m stitching this as a model for Karen).

As for the rest of today, it will be spent making a beef stew in the crockpot, along with a big pan full of pumpkin soup ready for the freezer.

Busy Little Beaver!

I can’t believe how much I managed to cram into one day yesterday … it’s most unlike me, as I’m the Queen of time wasting at the weekends!!  First up I decided to get the garage tidied up and out of the way, and I was surprised I managed to complete the entire thing in less than 2 hours woohoo (well, apart from Lisa’s futon mattress that I can’t move on my own)!  That means we can finally park one of the cars in there, and we won’t get told off for hogging more than one carspace!

Next up, my downstairs neighbour (70 yr old Barbara) hollered out that she had finished with the laundry, so I could get my washing done early yay – once I’d filled the machine to capacity and set it going, I came back upstairs and spoke to Mum on the phone for 2 hours … minus 15 minutes when I ran back downstairs to put the washing out on the line and put the last few towels in to wash.

After chatting to Mum I cooked up a pot of Hearty Minestrone Soup from a recent Weight Watchers cookbook ready for lunches, followed by the making of a low-calorie orange and mango jelly, and a vanilla blancmange … just that word “blancmange” makes me go weak at the knees and start salivating!!  You can tell I’m actually a Brit by birth, as you can’t buy blancmange over here (although come to think of it, you can probably get it in the UK import shops, I’ll have to check it out!) … this batch is from a previous donation from my Aunt in the UK, and I’ve never got around to making it.  Well, yesterday I made my very first blancmange, and couldn’t wait to sink my spoon into it after it set … yummo!  The great thing about WW is that I can still eat these things in moderation if I get the urge, and just work it into the daily points total … although that’s also one reason for making the soup, ‘cos it’s very very low in points but very filling – blancmange and soup, the perfect balance! As of yesterday it’s ‘that time of the month’ when I get some serious sweet cravings, so I also figure eating blancmange is better than eating a big block of chocolate or packet of Tim Tams!! 😉

Here’s a photo of the soup simmering (dunno why I took a photo really) – but no photo of the blancmange, as it didn’t sit still long enough in one piece to get one haha.

hearty-minestrone-soup

I can’t believe what a fantastic day I had yesterday – I’m LOVING this weekend, and LOVING having energy again after feeling so crappy for so long … I feel as though I had a new lease of life yesterday 🙂

The next job I tackled was to glue together 5 Christmas ornies just sitting ready to be finished (they were already laced onto the mattboard etc) – they’re currently sitting under a pile of books after drying overnight and just have to have cording added (which might be a while yet before I do that). Then I cut up strips of calico and neatened the edges with the overlocker, ready to stitch onto the edges of my CA Wells project (there is only about 1-2 cm space at each edge, and I can’t stitch in hand), plus I made quite a few more strips ready for other kitted up projects that I can’t wait to start.

Before I started my stitching for the night, though, I finally did the finishing of two needlerolls that were just waiting to be ribboned and stuffed … and they are now sitting here in all their finished glory 🙂

summer-solstice-finished-we
“Summer Solstice Needleroll” by Eventide Designs
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Dried Thyme Jobelan with recommended threads
but changed the months to be Dec-Jan-Feb to be in line with the southern hemisphere seasons

snowfall-nr-finished-web
“Snow Fall Roll” by Shepherd’s Bush (kit)

Feeling the best I’ve felt in months, I also brought out a teeny tiny pinkeep (about 2″ in width) that I meant to finish for Becky last year (!!), and finally did the finishing … originally this was designed to be a scissor fob, but then I changed my mind once I read Becky adores pinkeeps. Even if I say so myself, it looks really cute! I still have a needlebook to finish yet to go with it, so it won’t be posted for a while yet … but at least I can see it happening this year!! 😉

becky's-beehive

After all that activity, I finally sat down in my stitching chair, switched off the goggle box, and cranked open a talking book for a couple of hours (The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver – love his books!) … and FINALLY put the first stitches into my Cottage Etui piece for the CA Wells class. OK, I have to admit, it’s not much so far, but at least I’ll have one thing that can be finish-finished in class if nothing else haha. This will eventually either be a scissor fob, or if I manage to get some more stitching done, it will be the pincushion/thimble pip ends.  I must say I really do like the choice of Gloriana silk for this pice – very rich and scrummy colours in there, with even a hint of yummy blues 😉

scissor-fob-1

And that concludes my wonderful day yesterday – today I’ve woken up quite tired, but still positive, and I’ve decided to sit and stitch a short while this morning on some more CA Wells before tackling any housework … on the first day of my cycle I always feel ‘blah’ so that seems like a perfect day to me yet again!

“Fit”

The post title is apparently what I look like!  The removalist who dropped Lisa’s bike off on Saturday said “you’re looking fit -must be all the walking up those stairs” … !!!  Well, it’s good to see his eyesight was still working OK after not turning up until 7.3opm hmmm haha 😉

As for what else has been happening – the dining table legs are now firmly wedged onto the table top, but still propped up against the wall until Lisa’s back has strengthened a little bit – it’s still way too heavy for me to manage on my own.  Once that’s up, though, it means I can put the sewing machine up and get a few things finished …

Especially as now I have another needleroll ready for finishing!  Yes, I finally pulled the needle and scissors out and stitched a needleroll for Dragonfly Dreams – this one is Shepherd’s Bush’ Shepherd’s Roll.  It was fun to stitch something ‘easy’ … although I ended up stitching the darning band 3 times due to having a serious blonde moment not once but twice!!

Anyway, here’s my latest finish … don’t expect to see anything else this week haha.

sb-shepherd's-roll

A WIP and Car goes to the Dr

Sorry I haven’t been online much but quite frankly I just haven’t felt like posting at all – the move was quite exhausting, both physically and mentally … I can’t believe that even my knuckles felt bruised and aching after all the lifting!!!  Yesterday was the first day I could lift a box up off the floor again without groaning – geez it felt good 😉

Anyway, today I had an early morning start – my car is finally off to the mechanics on the other side of town.  I really need my car, and to finally have a decent and fair mechanic looking at it is a blessing in itself.  Brenda and Nigel have recommended their mechanic to me, and he seems like a really nice bloke so far.  I’ve documented the entire history of what’s been going wrong with my car over the last 2 years, which will hopefully help shed some light on what’s wrong … if nothing else hopefully he can get the car windows to open again, which will be a bonus in the Sydney heat!  And most importantly I hope he can get the dashboard light working again!! I upgraded my RACV membership to the “total care” package, which gives unlimited towing and breakdown assistance … but unfortunately it doesn’t exactly copy over to the NRMA in Sydney (which I didn’t realise) – I only get 8km free towing, and have to pay $4.40 per km over that … considering the mechanic is possibly just over 50km away, that’s gonna be a hefty towing bill!! Supposedly I can claim that money back from the RACV though, so that’d better be true, or I’ll be spewing big time!!

I have to admit I feel quite nauseous and ill thinking of all the money that’s being incurred lately – it’s all going on a credit card, but it’s still extra money I have to fork out every month in repayments.  Our dramas with the removalists haven’t finished either – it turns out they delivered the wrong bike to us (I had no idea, as it was Lisa’s and she didn’t see it until she arrived) … and I’m missing one entire box, so I’m trying to make a list of all the things I can think of that were in it hmmm.  Lisa’s away this weekend, but next week we’re probably going to write down a time line of everything that’s happened and send it to all and sundry, including possibly the TV show Today Tonight!

All this hassle and drama has seriously impacted on my stitching – I looked back at what I’d achieved in January stitching-wise and the only thing was that paltry little Xmas ornie stocking that I finished in one day!  That’s very very unlike me!!  The only other thing I started was Sweetheart Tree’s Wildflower Needleroll … the photo is basically the sum total of 3 days stitching (2 days from when I was sitting in an empty apartment, and 1 from a couple of nights ago) … it’s all quite pathetic really!

st-wildflower-needleroll

I get really enthusiastic and excited about all the designs I could be stitching, then feel exhausted about 5 seconds later and don’t end up doing anything – perhaps once the boxes etc are all entirely unpacked and I can move in my bedroom easily, then I’ll feel more settled and can get into a normal routine again.  The lounge is a bomb site at the moment as well, as Lisa’s things are all piled up there, as well as some of my stuff that needs to be sorted out, so the clutter everywhere is probably affecting me.  Lisa put her back out last weekend, and she’s been in agony all week, so we haven’t been able to do much around the place … but hopefully she’ll be back to normal again by the end of next week and we can make a concerted effort to get the place tidied up and organised.

The main challenge for me this weekend is trying to set up the video to Lisa’s TV … and get the legs onto the dining table, so the dining area can get uncluttered.  I’m going to try and make an effort to take a couple of hours out to do some stitching – and need something quite ‘easy’ to stitch to help get me back into the swing of things (which won’t be the ST needleroll … that backstitching of all the leaves is doing my head in at the moment!! – mind you, once that’s finished there’s not much left before it’s totally stitched). It’s likely that I’ll either choose a small freebie or Xmas ornie, or start a new LHN or CCN design … but I must stitch “something”, or I’m going to kick myself hard!!!

Once the place is fully de-cluttered we need to invite our elderly neighbours up for morning or afternoon tea … I’d guess they’re both in their 70’s to 80’s, and seem really lovely old dears (Norma on the ground floor, and Barbara in the middle of us on the 2nd).  We’re also setting up a calendar in the kitchen where we can keep track of all our house guests that will be coming over the coming year, so we don’t double-book … it’s going to be quite a social year if everyone comes that says they will be! 😀

Anyway, time to sign off for the day as I need to head to the Post Office before it closes … I’ve found out there is a tiny local branch just up the road at the shops, which is open on Saturday mornings – I haven’t been able to get to the PO since my car has been broken down, since moving here, to post some changes of address etc, so it’s great to find I can do all that on Saturdays now!  I can still clear my mail in the mornings at Mascot before work, but the actual shop for postage etc isn’t open then.

Rightio, time to ‘shake a tail feather’ and do the morning duties … with luck Lisa’s bike will be returning this afternoon from Dodgey Brothers R Us, and I need to make sure I’m home all afternoon for their arrival … geez, they’re the last people I want to see today!!

A tiny spot of finishing

Today I started putting together a needleroll tutorial for use later next year on the Focus on Finishing blog – and managed to get the following needleroll completely finished (excuse the very poor photo, it was getting dark and I couldn’t get a decent shot without flooding the whole stitching with the flash), plus one more to the stage where I just need to add the ribbon and stuff it (this was actually my subject for the photos, but I realised when I got to the ribbon stage that all my ribbons are in the storage unit, except for the one I kept out for the Planted Hearts one ho-hum).  Anyway, it means this one is finally completed and can be sent on its way to a new home somewhere 😀

planted hearts needleroll finished

While I was at it, I also decided to keep going with the hemstitching, and finally put together my Thistle Bag that Tobie kindly sent me the kit for ages ago.  It’s about time I pulled my finger out and got this bag made up – and once I put my mind to it, it didn’t take too long whatsoever! 😀

Thistle Bag by M Designs

That means I can finally say I’ve contributed to the monthly Finish-a-Long on the Focus on Finishing blog, instead of just being on the sidelines cheering everyone else along 😀

I may try and squeak in one more quick ‘finish’ tonight … something that will be super quick to finish off and won’t take up much room in storage (that’s something I started taking into consideration today – I was going to make a tie-on pillow using KarenV’s tutorial, but I decided I’m probably better off leaving everything ‘flat’ rather than stuffed, as I just don’t have space for it at the moment).

Lastly here is my latest stitching finish – I completed this yesterday afternoon … and I just love the colours and shimmering gold metallic thread – the photo doesn’t do it justice whatsoever.  The red is deeper and richer, and the metallic just glistens and twinkles 🙂

christmas heart

Christmas Heart by Birds of a Feather
Stitched on 32ct white Lugana
with WDW and RG gold Petite Treasure Braid
(instead of Kreinik #4 gold braid)

Final piccies of Elwood

When I was cleaning out the last remaining boxes of ‘stuff’ for storage, I came across the following on a CD – which is great ‘cos I had to format my compact flashcard and thought I’d lost them all!  These were my final shots of my apartment in Elwood before I moved out … I miss the flat just a tiny bit, but I sure don’t miss those cracks or the window that wouldn’t close!  I wonder if they’ve manged to get new tenants into it yet or done the work on the building?  Oh well, all power to them …  Here goes with the photos:

elwood 1
You probably can’t tell from this photo, but the window sill is actually buckled – the left hand side tilts upwards, and the right hand side tilts down … just goes to show how much the building is moving I guess …

elwood 2
This is what we found behind the bookcase – all of these cracks were much more impressive (and scary) in real life … this one explains the vertical crack all along the wall, we could finally see the source!

elwood 3

elwood 4

elwood 5

Talking of photos, I thought I’d share my storage space with you, so you can see how packed to the gunnels it is … I still have one more box, plus my sewing machine, plus a small suitcase to go in there tomorrow … miracles still DO happen, don’t they? LOL.

storage-unit

On a slightly ‘down’ note, I’ve had the disappointing news a few weeks ago that the housesitting agency I was going to be doing housesitting jobs for has closed their doors for at least the next year … ho-hum.  I’ve heard bad things about some other agencies where you just don’t get work, so I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do now …  The guy I was going to housesit for has a daughter who runs an online agency, so I’ll probably sign up for that one – not sure how much business it’ll generate, though.  If not, I guess I’ll have to start thinking about moving into a new place again closer to Christmas.  At this stage I have jobs pretty much right up until the start of November – after that I’m up in the air quite a bit.  I’m going to put an ad up on the noticeboard at work to see if that generates any more business (at this stage all my housesitting jobs have come from my fellow colleagues on the Hotline).  I guess my first job now, though, will be to get $3,000 in a kitty behind me just in case I need to move into somewhere new … at least I still have housesitting until my laptop’s paid off phew! 🙂

Rightio, time to get up and start the official house cleaning … and packing my suitcase etc.  The food bags are already packed with leftover groceries (I’ve been very lax about cooking while I’ve been here, so there’s plenty of tins etc left) – and my stitching is pretty much packed up … just one more bag of ‘stuff’ to finish sorting out and everything’s ready.  It will be nice to have a free night tonight to just kick back and relax knowing all the housework is already done. 

I have to admit I had a slight panic yesterday when I came home from the storage unit to find one of the cars missing from the driveway – thankfully I called Sal’s Mum and found out her Dad had come to pick up the car for picking them up from the airport … phew!  I’m sure they’ve got the days wrong, though, as I’ve got it in my diary that they’re coming home tomorrow, not today … I guess if they’re not home by lunchtime today I’ll know I’m right.  I’ve got the table in the kitchen already laid out ready for them with their piles of mail and the bills I’ve paid for them, plus a vase of flowers, bread and milk, and a bottle of red wine sitting ready with two wine glasses and the corkscrew, plus a welcome home note – hopefully they’ll appreciate it when they arrive … I just hope all my housesitting jobs won’t expect it haha 😛

Anyway, time to start the day … I’m not sure after tomorrow what sort of reception I’ll have for my internet connection – I’m moving to Seaford on the fringe of Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and unsure whether Unwired’s coverage reaches out there or not … if not I’ll be out of action for just under two weeks until I move out to Ringwood (where I’ll be for 4 weeks).  Mind you this week the reception here has been appalling, so an improvement would be fantastic! I’ve been trying to post this for well over an hour now, but the stupid reception keeps dropping out hmmm.

In the meantime, have a great week everyone! 😀

I’ll leave you with my latest WIP – the photo is appalling, and half the wording has to be frogged due to  stupid mistake, but I’m over halfway with this needleroll …

friendship-blooms-needlerol

Birthday Gifts

This is just a quick post, as Mum and I are busy today … but I just wanted to share the beautiful gifts I received in the mail this week from a couple of dear online friends.  I’ll be floating around on cloud nine all day today grinning like a banshee, as I love my gifts very very much!

First of all, from Becky I received this gorgeous needleroll – it’s one of my favourite needleroll designs, and I just adore it!  I was actually going to stitch this one for myself at some stage, but now I don’t need to 😀 And the extra stationery goodies are wonderful too, as I just adore stationery items.  I love everything, thank you so much Becky … and I’ll always treasure my needleroll stitched by you!

  

Next up is the gorgeous book I received from sweet Isabelle … reading how I’ve been wanting to try my hand at Cartonnage, she chose a cartonnage book that is filled with wonderful projects for stitchers … how perfect is that?  I’m really keen to stitch the button box on the cover, and my head is now getting filled with ideas.  I can’t wait until I can start making one of these!  I really love my gift, Isabelle – as I said to you in my email, it was a perfect choice! 😀

Now I just have to apologise in advance, that I’m not getting much chance to read blogs at the moment while Mum’s here.  I’ll keep popping online every now and then to read, so I can try to keep semi-up-to-date, but I may not be leaving many comments.  As Barbara said in a comment, I need to enjoy the time during Mum’s visit, so my online time will be more limited over the next few weeks.  I’ll pop in and post every now and then when I’ve got something to share though 😀