A bit of Quaker

I finally managed to put the final stitches into Part 2 of my Quaker RR:

Quaker RR Part 2

And here’s a comparison of mine and Nickis pieces hanging out together this evening – this photo is quite deceiving, as Nicki’s piece is quite a bit smaller than mine, I should take a photo of them side by side properly so you can see the difference, it’s awesome!:

Quaker RR twins

Then I started part 3, which is part 1 of 2 that I’m stitching on Nicki’s RR.  I have to admit I struggled a bit stitching this tonight, as the fabric’s high count is really hard to see … thank goodness for my Ott-Lite, or I don’t think I would be attempting it!  It will look really pretty once it’s stitched, though … it just might take me a bit longer than normal to stitch it! 😉

Nicki's Quaker RR 1

The highlight for me this weekend was having my ex-flatmate up to stay for the night in Sydney.  She flew off overseas this morning, but before she went we managed to have a great day out yesterday.  We drove out to Bondi Junction, which is a first for me – the Westfield shopping centre out there is awesome!  I totally fell in love with Norton St Grocers, and filled my basket up with wonderful fresh and healthy produce … thankfully my basket was too full by the time we came across the deli section, so I couldn’t stock up on non-healthy options … but, I’ll be back LOL.

Tonight I really enjoyed the fresh figs I’d bought yesterday … I can’t believe the difference between dried and fresh figs – fresh figs rock!!! 😀

Fresh figs

Back briefly

Just a quick note before I hit the hay for the night … I’ve obviously been ‘AWOL’ for a while, thanks to an extremely demanding and exhausting (and not much fun, quite frankly) job … and I owe a ton of emails to some wonderfully kind and generous ladies for some exquisite birthday gifts from last month – once I send emails of thank you I’ll post some piccies of their incredible generosity.

I have been AWOL not just from blogging, but from emails as well – I have a new record of 1900+ unread blog feeds and 522 unread emails … don’t think I’ll be getting through the backlog in a great hurry!! Anyway, I have stitched in little spurts now and then just to keep my sanity – usually when I’ve fallen in a heap after a week of 12 hour shifts, and working weekends … and Katie and I have popped in our Supernatural DVD’s for the ultimate in chick relaxation … along with a  bottle of something alcoholic.  I swear before this year’s out, I’ll be signing up for AA meetings!!!

Following are the results of my stitching over the last month – not a great deal to show for it, but then again I’ve hardly been home long enough to put needle to fabric … and this last weekend is the first one in well over a month that I haven’t worked, and spent it all recovering from an exceptional hangover! We cut loose in a BIG way on Thursday night, and suffered well for it afterwards, but it was a great way to let off steam after being so exceptionally stressed all these weeks.

Anyway, on to the sparse stitching – then in the morning I’ll get those thank you emails shipped off, and I can do a longer post, perhaps (I have taken tomorrow off – in lieu of all the extra unpaid hours I’ve done).

First of all here’s the latest update photo of Mirabilia’s Winter Queen … starting with the last progress photo taken:

Winter Queen 08Feb09

And what she looks like now (I took a full length photo as I needed to roll up the scroll bars for the, hopefully, final stitching at the bottom).  I have to admit I’ve made some good headway with her, more from some serious stitching on Sunday afternoons than anything else – just to force myself to relax and chill out.

Winter Queen 09Mar09a

Winter Queen 09Mar09

Then I had two Christmas ornie finishes last month, just in the nick of time (with 30 minutes to spare) for last month’s Christmas ornie challenge on a Yahoo group. The photos are terrible as I took them just before midnight!

Feb 09 Xmas ornie 1

Feb 09 Xmas ornie 2

Followed by Part 1 of my Quaker Friendship Round Robin that I’m stitching with a group of some of my closest online pals. Unfortunately I didn’t get Part 2 finished in time for mailing, but as I’ve stitched mine on individual pieces of fabric it doesn’t really matter.

Quaker Friendship RR 1

And on that note I’ll sign off as my eyes feel like sandpaper – I’ll try to pop online again in the morning to catch up on my personal emails, and thank yous … I can’t guarantee I’ll be blogging regularly again for a while, though, as work is still feral for a while longer … plus I’ve decided to go home for 2 weeks with the family again – just what I need when I’m fed up at work 🙂

Christmas with a Bite!

My mail has finally started arriving in Sydney, after having a detour into Melbourne first – which means my Quaker Friendship Sampler has arrived home at last. I have to admit, I prefer other choices of colours after stitching on everyone else’s samplers, but I do still love this one … with its bright cheery colour! I’ll have to wait to post a piccie, because I’ve left it at Brenda & Nigel’s. Actually, I might pop over to the SAL blog and see if I can snaffle a piccie that Becky took of the finished sampler (cool, thanks Becky for post that piccie so I can borrow it!!):

anne's quaker sampler

Which also brings me to another job that is way, way overdue … believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten that I have promised to give away my original chart, and I made a quick list of all the people who originally put their hands up to go into the draw. Well I can finally advise that Judith is the lucky recipient of this chart, and in the New Year I’ll get it into the post for you (it’s currently packed up, so just as soon as I can get to it, it’ll be on its way to you).

list-generator-for-quaker-c

Thanks for your patience everyone who put their hands up to go into the draw!

Which brings me to the next one … after finishing It’s Halloween by The Drawn Thread, I’m putting that chart up for grabs now as well. It has slight creases in the chart, but the chart is totally legible – it is just showing the strain of all that travelling between house sitting jobs in Melbourne!! Anyway, please leave a comment that you’d like to put your name in the draw, I’ll pull another name out of the hat (or via the list generator, anyway), in a couple of weeks time.

itshalloween

Yesterday I spent the entire day in my PJ’s and managed to get loads stitched on Snapperville … and I have to say it was the most amazing comforting feeling to be stitching again.  I have really REALLY missed my stitching, and it helped to bring back a feeling of normality to my day.  Uunfortunately I don’t have any Weeks Dye Works Hazelnut thread, or DMC 434, here with me, so I can’t put the finishing touches to this piece.  Boohoo.  I may have to take it with me on Christmas Day to Brenda and Nigel’s where one of my other kitted up projects is holding DMC 434 so I can get it finished. Right now, though, I just have the door left to be stitched in the final block, along with the final part of the border (a few swirls and one more tree). Fingers crossed this will get finished before the end of 2007!

snapperville-23dec07

Today no stitching was done, but instead we had a very social occasion out at Kerry’s place (Brenda’s best friend).  Now, Mum, please do NOT read any more of this paragraph, as you’ll have nightmares for days!!!  Nicely fed on a lovely BBQ, a couple of us were still sitting outside chatting about our previous European travels, while the rest of the group were inside the house … all of a sudden the guy opposite me says “oh my goodness, there’s a snake!” – I turned around in my chair, and sure enough there was a bloody great snake slithering over the porch, and it disappeared straight through the door into the kitchen!  Thankfully no-one inside startled it, and no-one got hurt, but all of a sudden here was a mass exit of bodies coming back outside the doors carrying out all pets.  Next thing Chris (the husband) put his steel-capped boots on and armed with a spade went back inside to keep an eye on it, along with Nigel who was armed with his camera to help keep guard (I’ll put some photos up just as soon as I can get hold of copies).  A phone call was made for help, and eventually (about 3/4 hour later) the snake man arrived to remove the unwanted red-bellied black snake, who was about 5 feet long, and a very decent size in width.  It’s the first snake I’ve seen in the ‘wild’ since moving to Australia, and hopefully the last one!!!  It’s the first one Kerry’s ever seen, either, which makes me feel better that it’s not ‘normal’.  Anyway, it was rather exciting and gave us something to chat about for ages afterwards … not to mention the humour when I nearly peed myself as Nigel dangled a rubber snake in front of my nose shortly after – payback is going to be a bitch for him one day!! 😉

Anyway, after seeing a bit too much of Sydney’s nature, it was time to head back home to chill out and relax … and in case I don’t get chance before the “big day”, I wanted to make a very quick post to say ………

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ALL THE BEST TO ALL MY ONLINE FRIENDS, AND YOUR FAMILIES, FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON – MAY YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR, AND I WISH YOU EVERY HAPPINESS FOR 2008.  IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE MEETING YOU ALL, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING OUR RELATIONSHIPS NEXT YEAR.  WITH HUGE HUGS AND LOVE, xxx

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Happy Dancing early! (updated AGAIN)

I shouldn’t actually be doing this little happy dance until about a month away, but I sneakily finished this early.  This is Katrina’s finished Friendship Quaker RR.  I told Becky it was OK to send it on to me early as she’d done her part of the stitching on it – and I thought it would be great to get my part finished early so it can be sent to Katrina with the next parcel containing Nicki’s RR, so it would also well and truly miss the Christmas mail.  I think it turned out beautifully, and I love the thread choice (well, duh, it’s blue! LOL).  I’m just sorry the photo doesn’t do it justice – I don’t know why but this camera just doesn’t seem to like taking photos of natural linens, and I have to tweak in Photoshop every time, which then means I mess around with the thread colours too, and nothing looks how it should hmmm. 

Quaker Style Friendship Sampler by Samplers and Such

katrina's-finished-quaker-r

This has been a wonderful project with some of my closest online buddies – Nicki, Barbara, KarenV, BeckySC and Katrina.  I can’t wait to see all the finished products over the next 6-8 weeks 🙂

(Updated to add piccies of each round of this round robin to compare thread and fabric choices that everybody made)

Quaker Friendship Sampler Round Robin quaker rr becky's quaker-rr-karenv's Barbara's Quaker RR nicki's-quaker-rr-final Katrina's finished Quaker RR

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Updated (again!) to add … if anyone would like to receive this chart (Quaker Style Friendship Sampler by Samplers and Such) please leave a comment (make sure you include your email contact) saying you’d like to have your name included in the draw, and I’ll draw a name out of the hat at the end of the month and post the chart out to the winner 🙂

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I’m on a later shift today so Muffy and I are going for a walk before I head into work.  I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Muffy (although I can’t wait to get away from the bl**dy fleas!!) – she’s such wonderful company.  She gets so excited to see you when you come home from work, and has such a wonderful personality – she curls up next to you on the sofa and stays there for ages.  Yep, definitely gonna miss her 🙂

Mind you the next place I’m going to has 2 dogs, 3 cats, some fish, and I think birds … so I’ll still be getting my animal fix over there … one reason I’m cramming as much stitching in as I can right now, as I don’t think I’m going to get much time when I’m at the next place! 😉

Such sweet, sweet stitching!

Oh boy, it’s sooooo good to be stitching on linen again (insert heavy sigh of pleasure here!).  Yesterday and today I spent my stitching time on Nicki’s Quaker RR piece – unfortunately it’s at night, and I haven’t been able to take a decent photo of it, but here’s a photo none-the-less – I’ll try and take another one later during day-time.  This piece is much prettier in real life – the colours are softer and quite beautiful … lovely dusky pink and deep wine colours 🙂

(7 Oct – Updated to change the photo to a slightly clearer one.)

nicki's-quaker-rr-final

Last night I had a shocking night’s sleep … compliments of a hairy old pooch!  It seems she doesn’t like stormy weather, and I got to bed at 9pm (which is bad in itself, and I usually need to be in bed by 7.30pm on 5am shifts), only to have her whining and scratching at the door at 9.30pm.  Considering my alarm was going off at 3.45am, that didn’t bode well.  I thought Muffy was pining for Jan and the family, and tried to coax her back to her bedroom, but then she bolted under the bed with her tail between her legs and wouldn’t come back out hmmm.  I ended up leaving her there, but after an hour of listening to her tap-tapping on the floor and licking herself, I managed to talk her out from under the bed and back into her room (thankfully the thunder had stopped by then).  But then I got yet another wake-up call at 1.05am, this time for a toilet walk outside ho-hum … to say I felt like death warmed up this morning would be a MAJOR underexaggeration 😦

The other disappointment today was that I was supposed to be driving a lady around who arrived from the USA today (she’s a member of the EGA), as soon as I finished work, but they had an unexpected meeting with their tour leader at 4pm, which put paid to our plans.  Instead I just caught the train into the city and left my gifts at reception for them (2 stitchers, and 1 quilter) – I didn’t have time to stitch anything, so I put together gift bags of Tim-Tams, Cadbury chocolates, potato chips, little koalas and an Australia key-ring for each of them.  I figured if I couldn’t give a gift of stitching, I’d go with the second stitcher’s passion … chocolate LOL.

Rightio, time to head off to bed for the night – fingers crossed I get more sleep tonight!  Muffy has had a toilet stop already, and we went for a walk in the park earlier, so hopefully she’s been tuckered out enough to sleep heavily until the morning … well, I can hope, right? 😉

Katrina’s Quaker RR (the final part) is on its way in the mail to me, so I’ll start stitching that as soon as it arrives – but in the meantime the next project up for stitching is “Snapperville” by Bent Creek … I can’t wait!!! 😀

And I’m finally almost 100% caught up on Season 1 of NCIS … I can’t believe I haven’t seen any of these episodes before – I love it! 😀

Stitching progress

Just a seriously fast drive-by to upload these stitching piccies … I’m on 5am shifts at the moment, and I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I’m going to go lay down for a short time – but wanted to post these while I’ve got them on the computer screen …

First up is the latest progress shot of round 4 of our Quaker Friendship Sampler RR.  This is the piece belonging to Barbara, and as normal the photo does the actual piece no justice at all, it’s truly gorgeous!  Love the choice in colours! 😀  I can’t believe we’re actually 2/3 of the way through this RR now, with only 2 more stitching sessions left!  That means I must have Nicki’s arriving on my doorstep next, followed by the last in line (for me), Katrina’s.  I’ve loved stitching this, my very first full quaker design … and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

barbara's quaker rr

Next up is a tiny wee finish, that believe it or not took me three whole days to stitch (yep, my mojo is well and truly lost – I’d normally sit and stitch that in less than a day hmmm).  Anyway here goes – here’s Snow Faces by Just Nan:

snow faces

Sorry for the crappy photography just lately – I always seem to be taking photos at night and the lighting here is appalling … but you get the general drift.

Rightio, I’m off for a kip/reading/TV session … no doubt his nibs will be wanting to use me as a cushion as well, so I’d better get my battle gear on ready.  Not sure whether I’ll be reading the final Harry Potter book (thanks to Daniel for buying it, I’m starting my first Harry Potter book by reading the final one – dopey? probably!) … or whether I’ll be watching season 3 of Moonlighting (also compliments of Daniel and Jason – Jason especially LOVES old TV shows, so I’ve been watching seasons 1 and 2 all week) … but either way I won’t be sitting upright! 😉

The GREAT news is that I cashed in some gift vouchers at Officeworks and bought a 2GB flash drive so I’ve FINALLY been able to download this month’s Gift of Stitching magazine – the DVD/CD drive won’t let me copy files on Daniel’s PC, and I won’t have the internet after I leave here for a while … now I’m very very happy as I’ve been able to download and copy the August issue .pdf file plus a couple of online freebie charts back onto my laptop – yippee!!! 😀

Rightio … off to my sofa in the corner I go before I fall asleep in a pile of drool on the keyboard! …

Halfway there …

What’s halfway there??  Why, the Friendship Quaker Round Robin, that’s what! 😀

I put the final stitches into KarenV’s RR piece tonight, and I have to say it looks just gorgeous in real life!  Stitched on 40ct linen, it’s given the old eyes a run for their money, but it looks exquisite and dainty (mine looks really chunky and clumsy in comparison).  I just love how each of our pieces looks so different, and I’ve enjoyed stitching on each and every one 😀 

The parts I’ve stitched this time round are the three larger motifs in the top right-hand corner, plus the tiny wee crown and of course my initials.  I think the next round will see the bottom right-hand corner being stitched.

quaker-rr-karenv's

Nothing else to report tonight – I’m not really in a chatty mood, as it’s been a pretty tiring few days at work, and it’s almost midnight now, so I really need to get some shut-eye.  Only two more days, though, and I will have survived my 7-day working week and I have the weekend off yippee … nearly there now 😉

Sing-along … “Vanilla Ice Ice Baby…”

I don’t know about the Vanilla part, but there was plenty of the “ice ice, baby” this morning when I got up … I woke up totally cocooned in my duvet this morning, and had to get the hosepipe out to blast the ice from my windscreen before I could drive to work … bloomin’ heck it’s freezing!!!  Thank goodness I’m outta that flat, or you might have been chipping the ice off my body for a week! 😉

I’ve been a big neglectful of my computer over the last few days, as I’ve been ready to throw it out the window … not so much the laptop itself, but the associated problems of transferring files and doing jobs that are normally plain and simple on my old PC, but for some reason now require the braincells of a rocket scientist 😦  Hence last Wednesday I walked away from it and refused to do any more transferring until I was in a better frame of mind …

Thanks Ally for the link to the Vista tip site – I’m still having problems transferring my emails across, but I haven’t given up hope just yet … I am also having problems, though, with my old version of Outlook running on this machine (basically it won’t work) – and it won’t let me re-download all the security patches etc … I thought I’d be clever and download the 60 day trial of Office 2007, but even that version won’t play ball with Outlook, so for now I’m waving the white flag and conceding defeat until I’m ready to start tackling it again in a week or so’s time.

Now, where’s my draft email that I started drafting up a blog post last week …??  Aha, here we go … off to do a job of cut and paste, and a bit of editing, then I’ll finish up with the latest update of the week’s events (which are pretty few and far between) …

It’s been a while since I blogged (because the Photo Hunt was created an entire month ago now, I can’t claim the fame for blogging about that recently), and it’s been an interesting week overall.  I’ve been on some mixed shifts, and it tired me out somewhat last week … I did have a huge highlight of the week when I received some wonderful squishy mail 🙂

Nicki sent me a RAK that totally blew me away!  I received one of the charts on my wishlist, “Blessed with Happiness box” by The Cat’s Whiskers … Nicki thought the wording on the box were perfectly suited to my recent life dramas, and I’d have to agree I love the sentiments behind it 🙂  But not only that, Nicki also sent me the fabric, Dinky Dyes silks, Kreinik Blending Filament and Mill Hill beads to kit it up … WOW!!!  My jaw was seriously sitting on the floor for quite a while … thank you Nicki from the bottom of my heart 😀  My apologies it’s taken me so long to blog about it (I’ll explain why soon).

rak from nicki jun07

In fact it was Nicki’s generosity that finally geared me up me get my A into G and have a ‘stitchy weekend’ … I have to admit no stitches were actually done, but I dragged out the boxes of stitching goodies that I’d brought with me that all needed to be sorted out before going back into storage, and I’ve spent the entire weekend (well, my version of a weekend anyway – it was actually Thu/Fri) cutting up fabrics for dozens and dozens of projects.  Each project is in it’s own sealed plastic bag with the chart and fabric, and all I have to do now is to kit up with the threads (which is what I’ve been doing for the last 2 nights).  Then they’ll all sit in 2-3 boxes in storage ready for me to dip my hands in when I need something new to stitch.

Unfortunately with housesitting I don’t have the space and flexibility to travel with my full rotation, so I’m going to become a one-at-a-time stitcher.  I plan to have one project with me that’s a larger/more complex project (such as Bordeaux Sampler and Winter Queen etc), with a couple of smaller projects such as a needlebook or needleroll to break it up a bit. That way I should only have to travel with one set of scrollbars and one of Q-snaps.  I’m lucky at the moment in that I’m only a short drive away from my storage unit (it’s literally within 10 minutes drive from home) … but with future housesitting jobs I won’t have that luxury (for those who know Melbourne well, my upcoming jobs vary from Ringwood, to Airport West, to Seaford, to a ‘mystery location’).  If nothing else, it’ll show me different parts of Melbourne I haven’t seen before! 😉

Rightio, back to my scheduled yapping, now I’ve edited that draft …

The only stitching I’ve been doing has been a few stitches into KarenV’s Quaker RR – this is due to be mailed in less than a week’s time so I thought I’d better get cracking on it.  I just have one large motif plus one tiny one and my initials, so it shouldn’t take much longer to finish whatsoever 🙂 Unfortunately my very bad photo doesn’t do this beauty justice at all!

karen's quaker rr

Unfortunately my car woes have continued to my new place (mutter mutter mutter) … the dashboard light stopped working the night I drove Mum home after the big ‘move’, but I promptly forgot about it until I had to start driving in the dark again about two weeks ago.  I called Ace mobile mechanics (and yes, I’m giving their name for a reason) who did the original job, and asked if I could organise for Nick to come out to fix it during my days off.  He ended up cancelling on the scheduled day due to being stuck on a job, but eventually came round on Friday.  You may remember I got seriously duped and taken for a ride when I got my clutch replaced, well this time I stuck up for myself big time!  When he turned up he said he’d brought the dimmer switch, and it’d be just over $53 to install it.  Um, since when did we discuss installing a dimmer switch??  Apparently I was told if the job didn’t work with the normal switch he installed, then I would need to get the dimmer switch … Um, actually Nick no that’s not correct – the conversation we actually had was that you gave me a choice on the night – if I preferred to have the dimmer switch (which the car is usually installed with as factory standard), then he’d have to order it in … but I could use a normal switch which could be installed immediately, the problem being that you couldn’t then dim the light and the dashboard would be brightly lit all the time the lights were on.  No problem, I say, as I never use the dimmer switch anyway, so please feel free to use what you have to hand …

On completion of the job he tells me that if I change my mind and would rather have the dimmer switch, all I had to do was to call up and tell them, and they’d come round and install it – the only thing I’d have to pay for would be the parts themselves as the labour would be covered under the current job.  Now THAT is not a conversation I had in my mind or with an imaginary party during a dreaming session … admittedly I was under stress at the time, but I remember that conversation very lucidly and clearly, and it certainly isn’t something I could have made up.

So, going back to Friday’s conversation … Nick says I’ll just work out what the final cost will be for you – rightio, that’ll be $120-something.  Picture me turning purple, and just managing to mutter “I beg your pardon??” – where the hell does the extra money come from??  Oh, he says, that’s the cost of the labour … Yep, you got it, Mt St Annie erupted in the middle of the driveway – I repeated the conversation we had, but he declared he never would have said that blah blah blah.  Let’s just say I politely told him to take his dimmer switch away and remove himself from the property because he wasn’t getting another red cent from me!  I said I’d rather pay for someone else to come and do the job properly and he was a disgusting fraud … (phew!!)

Then I took the keys, locked up my car, and walked inside … and phoned Ace up to make a formal complaint about him, and tell them how downright angry and ropeable I was.  I’m sorry to say it, but as a female I’m sick to death of being taken for granted by bl**dy mechanics and thieves.  I may be female, but I no longer have “stupid” tattooed on my forehead … mutter mutter mutter.  Anyway, let’s just say the matter has yet to be resolved, as it turns out Nick hasn’t handed in his invoice for the old job yet, and apparently he would have remarked it with comments (I wish I knew where my copy was, as it’s now buried in storage somewhere hmmm) – hopefully I should hear back tomorrow from the General Manager.  Mt St Annie is still simmering under the surface depending on the outcome …  I have to admit, though, when Nick was playing around with the wires when he first arrived and was looking at the car, I think it might just have been a loose wire, as it’s been working fine ever since (for the last two nights anyway) – so with any luck it won’t be necessary to see his ugly mug on my doorstep again 😦  Karma is gonna get you one day, you big fraud!!

Wow, that was one HUGE vent off my chest … it’s amazing what a good moan does for you 😉  Now it’s time to settle in for bedtime – my hotwater bottle is sitting at my feet so hopefully that’ll make it easier to doze off to sleep.  It’s dreadful that the only place I can find a good connection for the internet modem is here in the bedroom – bless my laptop, it’s wonderful sitting up in bed doing my computing, it’s so much warmer 😉

Actually, the other reason I’ve been lax in posting is that I’ve refused to post until I could post my piccies of both Nicki’s RAK and Karen’s RR, and for some reason every way I’ve tried to download from my CompactFlash card I’ve had to give up. Every time I tried to load up a card reader (I bought a new one 1 1/2 weeks ago as my laptop doesn’t support that card type – the one thing I miss from my PC), and the system froze up and didn’t acknowledge the drive. Then Mum sent my old one from home, and that wasn’t working either … I finally gave up and started up my old PC and tried to download my ‘old way’, but it wouldn’t acknowledge it either. Well, tonight I finally fixed it … I ended up formatting the drive, and wiping everything off my card (losing all the photos in the process, but them’s the breaks), but I can FINALLY upload photos either from my camera directly or from the card reader … it seems the problem all along with the flash card itself 😦 I think it got corrupted during the data transfer cabling, as I’d forgotten and left it sitting in the PC cardreader at the time … but “it’s all good” now yippee!!

Rightio, I really MUST get off to bed, or I’ll be a cranky camper tomorrow 😉 Hope you are all having a good week – I look forward to reading your blogs soon! 😀

Peaks and troughs (aka highs and lows)

It’s been a week of differing emotions – and challenges – but also also of some extreme highs.

First up I had an emotional low dealing with public transport for my night shifts … it wasn’t much fun leaving home at 7.15pm for a 9pm start (I’d usually leave just before 8.30pm in my car), and sitting around the ‘transfer’ train station for 20 minutes in the cold and dark … crikey, it’s only been a couple of days, and I miss my car dearly already!  It actually wouldn’t normally be too bad, but the shifts I’m on at the moment make it a pain in the a***.  Thankfully I managed to get a lift to work and home and again for last night’s shift, which was a blessing.

I arrived at work on Wednesday night feeling very flat (the first full day without my car) … but I arrived 1/2 hour early for work, so I walked down to the PO Box to check the mail.  There’s a ‘parcel slip’ in there, but I can’t get that until Tuesday when I will be back at work during their opening hours, so I just have to sit patiently until then when I can find out what’s hiding in there.  There was, however, a wonderful surprise sitting in there, and the contents put a huge smile on my face all the way back to work!

Virpi very kindly sent me some feathered friends through the mail, along with some stationery items, in thanks for a chart I sent her as a RAK last month.  Talk about arriving at the perfect time!  I sat the wee ducks on my desk and they kept my spirits up throughout the whole night 🙂  Aren’t they the cutest things?  I just adore them!  Thank you so much Virpi for a wonderful gift … they’re definitely in a loving home, and they seem to be getting on very well with all their extended family 😉

RAK-from-Virpi

Unfortunately after that shift I had a crappy complaint call before I left work, and it was almost 8am before I got to sleep … that was really bad timing as I’d agreed to meet up with Tessa, so the poor thing had to put up with me looking like Frankenstein’s bride after only getting about 5 hours sleep before meeting.  I have to say, though, after a coffee and some wonderful conversation I felt fantastic … and it was a real pleasure to meet up – I certainly hope it won’t be the last time, as Tessa is a gorgeous person and wonderful to spend time with.  It’s always a good sign when the time passes so quickly, and there was never a lull in the conversation.  Unfortunately I’d had a minor catastrophe with part of Tessa’s gift – the stitching had been finished ready to be made into a pinkeep, but on coming home from Sydney I realised I didn’t have any pins that actually matched in colour … no problem, I think to myself, I can pick some up during the day while I’m on overnight shifts … hmmm, that was good in theory, but of course then my car broke down and I wasn’t able to pick any up – so my gift will now have to be posted … I did, however, take it to show Tessa a quick sneak peek.

Quaker for Tessa

My gift, though, totally pales in comparison to the treasures that Tessa gave me … I was absolutely floored by Tessa’s generosity, and the amazing gifts.  First of all I received some beautiful lilies (which I haven’t taken a photo of yet – I’ll try to remember to take one when they’re all open), and some Haig’s choccies … I’d only tried Haig’s chocolate once before when Mum and I visited Adelaide two years ago, and it’s totally divine!  Then there was a box wrapped in the most scrummy blue and white fabric – what a fantastic wrapping idea, and the fabric is just awesome!  As Tessa said, it’s very “me” 🙂  The piece de la resistance, though, was the amazing bourse Tessa stitched for me … my jaw nearly hit the floor when I opened the box and saw what was inside – I absolutely adore it!  I had to have a lesson how to re-close it, though, as I’d never seen one before in real life … isn’t it amazing?  I just love and treasure everything – you have spoilt me rotten Tessa, and I truly love it all – they’re very special gifts 😀  Neither of us brought a camera, so we’ve taken photos on our phones … unfortunately, though, I have no idea how to upload it to my PC, but once I find my cable and work it out, I’ll post a piccie of the two of us 😀

gift-from-tessa-05apr07

gift-from-Tessa-05Apr07-bou

I have to say that I’ve been really amazed how comfortable I’ve felt meeting up with my fellow bloggers.  Usually I’m incredibly shy, and hardly say a word around strangers (especially in large group settings), but when I meet my fellow bloggers I can’t shut up! haha.  Perhaps it’s having the common thread of stitching to chat about, or the fact that we’ve already started to get to know each other through our blogs, I’m not sure … but I must say blogging for me really is making the world a smaller, kinder and warmer place 😀

During the night shift this week I forced myself to pick up a needle and put a few stitches into a freebie – something quick that I didn’t have to think too much about.  I chose the Quaker Hedgehog freebie from The Workbasket – in hindsight I wish I’d used a different thread, as this one turned out quite streaky, but it did the trick and got me stitching again.

quaker hedgehog

I continued with my stitching trend last night at work and started Becky’s part of our Friendship Quaker Round Robin – I got almost all of one motif stitched last night, then sat all day today in my PJ’s and finished the rest (mind you, I got a pretty good sleep today … I was in bed at 6.30am, and after waking up occasionally I finally woke up enough to actually get out of bed at 2.30pm – woohoo!! – that sounds really lazy, but actually it just meant I managed to get 8 hours sleep for a change).

becky's-RR

I’m not sure what’s on the cards for tomorrow – I need to work on my Peacock Needlecase, though, so I think that’ll be my priority.  Until then, I’m just happy I’ve managed to get a few stitches into ‘something’ this week after a couple of weeks of no stitching 🙂

Quaker update & Bordeaux

I finally managed to get my stitching finished on part one today – I’m using 32ct Country French Linen in Chantilly, with DMC Variations 4030 … definitely a non-traditional Quaker colour 😉 I really enjoyed stitching this one, although it took longer to stitch than I expected, and I’m looking forward to receiving part two as part of this Round Robin 😀

This is my first ever Quaker piece, but I’ve got a few charts waiting in the wings to be stitched, so it definitely won’t be my last!  It’s lovely stitching this one with some of my closest online buddies 😀  (This photo is a lot brighter than it is in real life, but I can’t get a decent one at the moment.)

It’s also Bordeaux SAL time for the week with Carol and Leslie – I actually did my stitching two days ago, as it was still sitting on my floor stand and it was easiest to pick up and stitch without too much effort haha.  I’m still a couple of weeks away from finishing this band, but I could probably say I’m at the halfway mark now of the whole project, give or take a grape or two 😉  I’m really looking forward to the next band, as it looks like a nice easy one … although I hope it’s all Rhodes grapes not over-one ones, or I’ll be slitting my wrists LOL.  This week’s progress sees one new boxer and basket, and a 4-letter “F” word

Thanks for all the lovely words about my new Pyramid Etui thread choices – I’m about to start stitching this soon, so we’ll be able to see if my choices actually work together.  In answer to Terri’s question … I signed up for the class pretty much sight unseen – I put my hand up before knowing which projects were going to be taught, as I was so keen to attend a CA Wells class – then on seeing a photo in someone’s online album the colours didn’t look as pale as the actual threads that turned up … they were still pastels in the photo, but not quite as ‘bland’.  I absolutely ADORE the Etui design, though, and still very glad I signed up for the class … but I have to say I’m MUCH happier now I’ve changed the colours to be more “me”. 

Thanks also to Nicki, who’s sending me some leftover Summer Shadows silk thread to save me having to buy an entire new skein for the Etui … you’re a real sweetheart!

  I’m also aware I’m now very overdue with the SBQ’s so here goes trying to catch up …

7 Feb – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Danielle and is:

“Have you ever been to a stitching retreat?”

My answer would be yes, but only a very small one.  I attended a weekend retreat through the Counties Embroiderers Guild in Auckland when I was a relatively new member (and didn’t know anyone) – and we had the short class taught by Shelley Warner for her Cream button bag (which I only just completed recently).  Other than that I attended a Heart of Cross Stitch festival in Sacramento, CA many years ago … although that probably doesn’t class as a “retreat” in the true sense of the word.

14 Feb – Today’s SBQ is:

“Do you like to buy “chartpacks” that include charms, buttons, and/or beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?”

This is a good question – and my answer depends on the chart itself.  On the whole I’d usually prefer to kit up my own threads, especially if there are pinks in it (yeah, I know, that’s an obsession of mine … for example, I adore the Au Fil de Reves Stitcher’s Bourse and accessories charts, but would replace the pink for a powder blue instead, so would prefer chart only for that).  In saying that, though, sometimes you only need a tiny piece of each thread, in which case I prefer to have them as a partial kit.  I don’t generally need Mill Hill beads, as I have loads in my stash, but if charms or bigger beads are needed I’d prefer to have those as part of the chartpack, as it’s sometimes a pain in the neck to find the right ones or a decent substitute, the same goes with any ribbons etc – the downside to chartpacks, though, is that they generally cost an arm and a leg compared to kitting it up yourself.

21 Feb – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Kathryn and is:

“What is the smallest count fabric you have ever used? Did you stitch over one? Conversely, what is the largest count fabric you have ever used?”

The smallest count I’ve stitched on so far is 36ct, which I’m using for the Bordeaux Sampler, and I’m really loving it.  I wouldn’t mind trying 40ct as well some time in the future, but don’t own any as yet.  On the 36ct for Bordeaux I’m stitching a fair amount over-one with the lettering and grapes … which is interesting.  I don’t know how Carol manages it on 40ct!!  As for the largest count I have to say it’s an 18ct fabric I used for Jenna’s hardanger lavender sachet, which was a big difference to other linens I’ve stitched on.  My favourite is generally 32ct, but now I’ve tried the smaller counts I’m starting to convert 😉