Still in the land of the living

Sadly a number of shocking migraines and some late working hours have seen my stitching mojo fly out the window over the last month … yesterday, however, I decided to catch up on last week’s recorded TV shows (seeing as I didn’t switch the TV on at all during the week) and managed to put a few stitches into a commitment piece – I need to quickly get this one finished so I can get it framed for a birthday gift.  I managed to do a fair bit last Saturday just before I started getting a throw-up migraine, and after yesterday’s efforts I can almost see the end in sight.  There are still a bunch of bears to stitch on the left-hand side, but at least I’m about 2/3 finished now.  It’s the first time in ages that I’ve stitched something that requires such a lot of back-stitching … not my favourite part of stitching, but it sure does make those blobs of stitching look wonderful once it’s done, and I’m glad to have got the first 2/3 of back-stitching completed before tackling the last section of the design!  This is one of my Crazy January Challenge projects:

Here's how it looked back on 10 January

How it looked at the end of last weekend

How it looks now - a day in bed stitching in my PJs was worthwhile!

Last Monday I received an absolutely awesome ornie from my good friend Carol for our HoE Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange.  I love the reason why Carol chose to stitch this one, as moose are indigenous in NH this is a wonderful personalised ornie with a taste of Carol’s home.  I absolutely love it, and the stitching and finishing are as always perfect!  Thank again Carol for another fantabulous exchange that I will treasure! 😀  I apologise in advance for the quality of all the photos today, as they had to be taken with my iPhone thanks to a flat camera battery that I just keep forgetting to charge up!  Sadly moose ornie didn’t come up at all well on the iPhone 😦

My Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange received from Carol - I love it!

I also heard a while back that Joke had received the ornie I had sent to her – unfortunately I was late in posting, so I sent a little extra beaded scissor fob to apologise for the delay.  I can’t remember taking a photo of the fob I sent, but you can see it in Joke’s post if you want to see it.

Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange sent to Joke

The only other thing I have to share is a wonderful surprise parcel in the mail I received from Orna Willis – I’ve been a fan of Orna’s canvaswork designs for years now, and have been a follower on her blog  since she started it up.  Orna has recently been having giveaways of thread/embellishment packs for some of her followers (just chosen randomly from the list of followers), and I was surprised one day to see my name up in lights on the blog … I had won one of the giveaways.  I just had to take a photo of the way that everything was packaged up, aren’t they lovely in their own special little tin?  I should probably take a photo of the contents separately as there are lots of little treats hiding in that tin, but I’ll do that on the day that I take them out to put them away 🙂

And that probably covers all the stitching news that I have.  Nothing else has been happening really except for work, work, and more work – it’s been quite difficult trying to close off and start pieces of work for my current job while learning my new job one day a week, plus still attending many meetings and having to teach a work colleague aspects of my job.  Hopefully after next week I’ll start getting back into a normal routine of only one job, although sadly 2 hours travelling time each day will probably eat most of my week’s stitching time that I normally have … it just means that I’ll have to plan my weekends so I can at least get ‘some’ stitching in every weekend 🙂

One great thing about working in the city now, though, is that last Wednesday after work I wandered over to the city swimming pool and did a workout in the hydrotherapy pool.  My leg has been giving me a lot of pain lately so I knew I needed to make an effort to get those exercises happening again – and by the time I was ready to get on the train most of the peak hour people had gone home already … mind you, it meant not getting home until 9pm but what the heck, it felt good! 😉

My sidebar is fixed!!!!

A HUGE vote of thanks goes to my darling friend Carl who managed to fix up my sidebar issues for me – after not being able to work it out months ago I’d given up on finding a fix (and the support forums were of no help whatsoever) … within minutes of jumping into my template code it was all sorted … Carl ROCKS!!! 😀  Of course that also means now that I want to play again some more and twiddle with a couple more settings, but that’ll have to wait until another day …

Since I last posted I have managed to do absolutely NO stitching once again … my Sunday afternoon housework session got seriously sidetracked when I was putting my newly bought stash purchases (from the recent craft show) away. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t do too much damage to my credit card or wallet (but thanks anyway to my employer for a whole 12 months worth of back-pay, you rock!), but I did buy a few little lovelies to bring home with me.

First of all I did go a little bit nuts over some different ribbons/embellishments:

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Then of course there were the few pieces of 36/40ct fabric, some ground walnut shells, bead embellishments, a small jelly roll in scrummy blues and some hand-dyed pearl cotton that was on sale – plus another pair of scissors, because a girl just can never have enough scissors! (and yes, Margaret, they’re green too haha!! – I think green, red and purple have always been my secondary fave colours behind blue, and often have a green jacket or top somewhere in my wardrobe):

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And lucky last the charts and quilting book I just couldn’t live without (and which hopefully will not sit in the depths of my stash closet before seeing the light of day again!):

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In particular my latest ribbon/embellishment purchases started an organising frenzy for the evening when I opened the wee storage drawers to find the following mess looking at me:

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After considering briefly whether to continue my normal housework plans or sitting curled up on my bed to watch Spartacus and ‘play’ … my non-sensible side opted for a few hours of fondling and organising those piles of ribbons and mess into little bundles.  With the help of some cut up strips of photocopy paper and double-sided sellotape, I ended up with a pile looking something like this:

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Doesn’t that burst of colour just fill you with joy – I know it certainly did that to me!  Even more so that seeing Spartacus half naked on the TV screen LOL 😀

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It now means that all these little bundles fit into one of those plastic drawers, and my pinkeep pins and ribbon reels are back to having drawer space to themselves and no longer have piles of ribbon and embellishments hiding them from view and easy access … I may not have achieved much else this weekend, but it sure feels damn good to get those tidied up once and for all!  Plus stash fondling is almost as good as stitching … in fact, sometimes even more therapeutic than the act of stitching itself 😀

Road Trip – Day 1

Our entire plan for our road trip was to just keep driving until we felt like stopping, figuring it was the middle of winter and most motels would have vacancy signs up – I had a list of places that I really wanted to visit, but all the bits inbetween were totally open to suggestion.

The first leg of our journey was to drive down the scenic coast highway to Kiama – with a couple of detours along the way.  The first detour was that I wanted to drive through the Royal National Park and see Wattamolla, as it had been recommended to me.  It was a lovely drive on an early wintry morning.  It was deserted at Wattamolla, so I opted not to take the bushwalk over to the beach, and instead just explored the area around the carpark – I think I’ll definitely have to return again in better weather and explore further afield.

After Wattamolla we headed over to the coast, and had a pit stop at Bald Hill Lookout where we were greeted with a treat of seeing some tandem hang-gliders … watching them getting ready for launch really brought back memories of when I did this myself in Queenstown, NZ.  It was a real treat, although the wind chill up at the top of that hill was really bitterly cold.  Mum was very wise choosing to stay in the car while I popped out for 1/2 and hour and took photos … then came back and attacked her with my cold hands to share the love LOL.  My Mum would never fail to do that to me growing up, the evil sod she is, so it was time for some payback haha.

We eventually followed the coast past Woollongong and on to Kiama, where we were really fortunate that the wintry weather and high winds meant that the blowhole was performing quite well – it’s really difficult to get good photos of the immense spray of water that plumes high in the air, but we were intrigued by it and stood there for quite some time watching the spectacle and taking in all that lovely sea air.

After Kiama we continued to follow the coast road and had lunch at Shellharbour beach – we were well prepared with some sandwiches and snacks readily made up with a lovely thermos of coffee … there are definitely some benefits of taking your own car from home!  I really loved the mosaics on the walls of the local public toilets (of all places), and we enjoyed watching the local surfers attacking the surf before we headed off on the road once again.

Our final sightseeing stop for the day was to make a quick visit to Berry, a picturesque village that has a relatively good needlework store (our key reason to visit Berry).  While we were browsing in Sew and Tell, we ran into our good friend Amanda so we had extra time to catch up while we continued to wander through the various stitching stock.  We bought a couple of things, mainly some JABC buttons for Christmas ornaments, plus a couple of Mill Hill ornie kits, some replacement Qsnap snaps and Mum bought a wee Lizzie*Kate chart.  We didn’t find a great deal of items that we really wanted buy (perhaps a sad realisation that your stash is already out of control?!), but at least we can say that we’ve finally been!  We also wandered around a couple more shops while we were there, then decided it was time to hit the road again as it was starting to get late.

By the time we reached Nowra, it was getting quite dark, and we figured it was a good place to stop … unfortunately we had trouble here finding a motel on the main road, finally resorting to one we found in a little side street … O.M.G. is all I can say here!!!  The damned motel should be condemned!  I have now learnt to ask to see a room if you’re unsure of the room quality before they swipe your credit card!!  You couldn’t sit on the sofa because it was falling apart (literally!), the toilet didn’t flush properly, and there was no hot water running through any of the taps (guess who just had a strip wash the next morning … neither of us were brave enough to attempt a cold shower).  The only good thing about it is that the beds themselves seemed OK and clean … and it turned out to be the only motel that actually had internet access the entire week we were away!  While I had internet access, though, we tracked down the address of the local NRMA office so we could go and pick up an accommodation guide … worth every cent of the $20 book cost!!

I’ll continue on with Days 2 and 3 together shortly …

Trip for Mill Hill bugle beads

I managed to find the exact bugle beads that I needed from our local Spotlight store (I nearly fainted on the spot when I found them!) … of course I went to two different shops first, thinking I might find them there – no bugle beads came home with me from those, but a couple of other extras jumped into my bag oops …

I picked up three whole beads plus a small packet of Swarovski crystals (that I thought I’d use instead of the MH ones for my Sapphire Star ornie) from my local uber-expensive bead shop.  Then I picked up a couple of trims/ribbon from Pitt Trading (but when I just opened the package noticed that they only gave me 1/2 metre of the pink/red plush one instead of the 1 1/2 metres that I asked for … bugger).  Finally from Spotlight I scored a skein of DMC that I needed thanks to mislaying my current one who knows where, plus some bias binding and some ‘mustard’ coloured fabrics to make a toaster cover for my elderly neighbour … and just a couple of 20cm cuts of different shades of pink fabric to finish off some Valentines ornies/cushions (although I can’t guarantee they’ll be done this year LOL).

I wouldn’t have gone out shopping today if it wasn’t for my good friend Alison texting to say she was in the neighbourhood for lunch – while I missed lunch (thanks to not getting the message until later), I did manage to catch up over a coffee at the local pub … it was a lovely unexpected pleasure for the afternoon catching up with the three generations 😀

More Baby Bug Ball and squishy mail

I don’t know where the hold-ups have been, but Christmas mail this year has been absolutely shocking – this week I received an Air Mail Christmas card from the UK that was posted 18 December (!) … just crazy!  Yesterday’s mail, though, brought lots of lovely squishy mail – my final outstanding order from SB&B, which left in early December – and a couple of wonderful fabrics from Sandra.  The fabrics were totally unexpected, and I absolutely adore them!  I can’t wait to find the perfect project to use these on!  Thanks so much Sandra for really making my day yesterday! 😀

The expected mail contents were as follows – and this was in many ways a treat for me too, as I couldn’t remember what I’d ordered (I threw in some things in their sale bin that weren’t on my wishlist).  It’s hard to see the contents in the photo, so I’ve broken it down underneath:

32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (for Prairie Moon’s Christmas chart for Katie)
~ Halloween and Christmas buttons from JABC
~ Kreinik metallic threads mainly for canvaswork designs
~ Mill Hill beads so I can finish Bittersweet Season (yippee!!) + a packet of Treasures
~ A couple of WDW and GAST threads
~ 4 x Lizzie*Kate embellishment packs mainly for Christmas ornies
~ Whimzi frame for Just Nan’s Pretty Wicked (I stitched mine from a gifted used chart)
~ Ghosts and Goblins by Dinky-Dyes Designs
~ Heart In Hand wee birdies ~ Summer, Autumn, Spring, St Patrick, Halloween, Easter
and the final splurge that I just couldn’t resist……
~ Just Nan’s Spooky Spirits of Tombstone Hill

And lucky last, here’s the latest update piccie of the final pudgy bug in Baby Bug Ball – not much stitching left to go on this one now – not entirely sure I’ll get it finished this weekend, though, as it’s a busy one … thanks to Alison and Amanda for offering up their stash to help me out with the silk thread, that’s a fantastic help, thank you!!!

And now it’s time to get back to the grindstone and get off to work …

 

Crazy January Challenge – Day 4

You can tell I’m back at work when I don’t get to sit down with my needle and thread until 9pm … on normal days I’d pass on the stitching, but seeing as I’m committed to doing this challenge, I forced myself to pick up LHN’s Ladybug Ladybug and managed to put in 2 3/4 hours into it 😀

I was also thrilled to see a recent purchase arrive in my PO Box this morning – the great thing about ordering locally, even though it’s more expensive, is that it doesn’t cost much more to pay for Express Post and even though last Friday was a Post Office holiday, and I didn’t order the items until last Thursday, even with yesterday being a nationwide public holiday they were still waiting for me!  The service from Janine at Colours Down Under really rocks!!!  While I still have one pair of Qsnaps and a couple of threads on back order (needed for the border of Winter Snapperland), I’m absolutely thrilled that I now have another couple of Qsnaps to use for my projects and not having to remove every project every night (especially those that won’t take long to finish) – oops a couple of charts jumped into my shopping basket as well … Scatter Christmas by Shepherd’s Bush and Simply Halloween by Waxing Moon Designs … gotta make the most of the postage right? LOL.

Rightio, on that note it’s time to call it a night and hit the hay … a bit later than expected, but that can be blamed on Season 2 of Fringe and the need to start today’s challenge piece (but more so on Fringe, as I wanted to see the last episode on the DVD, which means only one more DVD for Season 2 to go!) 😉

Feeling brighter overnight

Sorry for the grumbly post yesterday – I think my broken sleeps etc are turning me into a cranky old bat this week … and things I can normally tune out have been getting to me {{sigh}}.  Never mind – my ultrasound came back clear, and now I’m just waiting for the results of the CT scan I had yesterday … fingers crossed they can actually find something, which means they can start treating something, which means I can start feeling normal again 🙂

I just managed to take a quick piccie of my stash arrival yesterday, so seeing that again this morning cheers me up no end, and it means I now have some new possibilities of chart starts, so I think I may have to review that list of 15 new starts for January haha.  Anyway, here’s the stash I thought had gone AWOL (and all this is purely down to the fact that no-one locally seemed to have Kreinik #4 braid in colour 027 in stock, so I ended up going offshore … and of course I had to make the most of the postage) 😛


LHN – Sandollar Cottage (Chart 5 from Summer Seascape Series)
LHN – Joy to the World ornie
Blue Ribbon Designs – Blessed Beyond Measure (stitch start ruler with sleeve designs)
Just Nan – Hagatha’s Purple Hat
Just Nan – Screamy Mimi Tricky Tweets
Kreinik #4 Braids, GAST Forest Glade, Belle Soie silks and NPI silks

I’ve decided to only stitch 4 charts out of the Summer Seascape series by LHN, as the little couple with balloons just does nothing for me, which means I now have the whole series available for stitching and I just need to get some fabric together.  I think this is going to become one of my 15 projects, and I think it will be pretty quick to stitch.  I also think I need to add Katie’s Christmas gift to that list, assuming the fabric turns up in time by 15 January to join the list … hmmm, maybe by 31 December I will have made up my mind 100% … but maybe not! 😛

‘Tis the season to be jolly

I am trying really hard to remind myself this week of the positive things in life this week … in particular I’m trying hard not to focus on:

  • the fact that other team members are allowed to go on holiday while I am working through Christmas and the New Year and having to cover their work instead of catching up on my own backlog over Christmas – bah humbug to the lot of you, if I’d known I wouldn’t be working on my own work I’d be taking the time off too and making you stay do your own damned work, just like I’ve had to do for 2 out of 3 years!;
  • the pile of laundry still sitting on the lounge floor from my flatmate’s Mum visiting two weeks ago – and the fact that my flatmate has now gone on two week’s leave and left it sitting there for the laundry fairies to do in her absence;
  • ditto the cup cake container sitting on the bench, complete with leftover cupcakes, ready for me to have to wash up and dispose of the leftover foodstuffs because otherwise the Sydney cockroaches would be having a field day;
  • the recycling bags overflowing with recyclable bottles and cans that are always without fail left for me to carry down to the rubbish bins (I have actually been told she does this), not to mention to empty glass bottles and jars that are just left laying around the kitchen bench … perhaps I should leave a map on the bench, because obviously the overflowing pile in the corner isn’t standing out enough to be obvious!

Ah, venting over … I don’t often get grumpy with these things, as I’m often really messy with my stitching stuff laying around etc, but I really do get peeved when food etc is left around.  I’ve just got used to the fact that I will always be the one emptying trash cans and washing the shower curtain and bathmats, along with the kitchen towels and tea-towels … that’s just my lot in life … pfffft.  Anyway, seriously moving on now I’ve had my rant for the evening!!!

The GREAT news that really does offset all that grumpiness is that the parcel that had gone AWOL has actually turned up in my PO Box!  I just assumed that it was the latest parcel that had turned up, but then I saw the date stamp of 15 November on the parcel and I almost hyperventilated!!  I am seriously excited and thrilled, as now I have my missing threads and can complete my Bittersweet Seasons WIP – perhaps I’ll take that along to finish on Christmas Day instead of the Christmas chart … hmmm …

Anyway, I’ve only just walked in the door from work and feeling totally wrecked, so I think I’ll sign off now and go and fondle my stash, as I haven’t had chance to look at it properly yet!

PS:  Did I tell you, I’m excited??? 😛

Awesome squishy mail day!!

Today I braved the surface flash flooding and pelting rain of a late afternoon storm and cleared out the PO Box, and was thrilled to see a little card in the box – ‘cos that means there’s squishy mail waiting for me inside the building.  Sure enough, I was absolutely THRILLED to open the parcel sent from Marnie, as it contained my prize winnings from her recent prize draw.  Unfortunately the photos don’t do this little beauty justice – this little vampire stitching case is seriously awesome!  The finishing is absolutely stunning, and there is even the most perfect little pincushion and scissor fob tassel inside!  All I need to do now is decide on the perfect pair of scissors to live in this beauty permanently, and it’s going to be on display all year round … I mean, seriously, could you put this away until next Halloween?  I definitely can’t! 😀

Not only did Marnie provide the stitching case itself, but she also added a little vampire Pez dispenser (so I am no longer a “Pez virgin”) – alas, the pieces inside the dispenser didn’t survive the drive home, which was a marathon due to the surface flooding, as I scoffed the lot during the drive!  Also in the parcel was a few really cool Halloween freebies, that I can’t wait to stitch up.  I’ll be cutting up fabrics for them this weekend, and adding them to my Halloween “to-do-pile” for the coming weeks.  Thanks again Marnie for an AWESOME parcel of treats – I love, love, LOVE everything! 😀


The other mail was compliments of Ann in Scotland having a stash sale – I’m now the proud owner of 4 Drawn Thread charts (Toccata 1, 2, 3, and Chatelaine and Scissors Keeper), along with some of the threads needed (plus the chatelaine fabric).  I’m looking forward to starting at least one of these soon, once I’ve procured the remaining threads.  They look like they’ll be really fun stitching a motif or two each night/weekend 🙂

And on that note it’s time to switch off the “fun” side of the computer, and switch on to the “work mode” side … things are beyond hectic at work thanks to someone’s oversight in another department at the 11th hour, and having an unstable test system … I’m days behind in my own work, so I’ve brought it all home with me tonight to try and get at least 1-2 hours done at home.  I just have to force myself to keep away from the fun stuff on here, which is really really hard … 😛

Quick post of goodies…

Just a really quick post, as my laptop appears to still be temperamental and it still keeps shutting itself down – it definitely hates Photoshop Elements, so I’ve just used the Microsoft editing software to crop these piccies and adjust the lighting slightly.  Anyway, fingers crossed that they upload OK …

Just before I left Sydney, I checked my PO Box one final time and lo and behold it contained the most exquisite parcel full of stitchy goodness.  Michelle really outdid herself this time for our Autumn Exchange (a private exchange hosted by BeckySC) – inside the parcel was the most gorgeous needlebook and flosstag … seriously, the stitching and finishing leave mine for dead!  The needlebook is stitched entirely over-one (that’s awe-inspiring in itself in my eyes!), and both the flosstag and needlebook are finished absolutely perfectly.  I love, love, love my exchange gifts and will treasure them always!  I managed to quickly snap a picture or two before I flew out so I could try and share when I arrived here:

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I had a 3am wake-up call so I could get up and ready to be at the airport at 4am … then kicked myself when I remembered that the staff travel counter doesn’t actually get manned until 5pm (mutter mutter) … but at 6am I was safely ensconced in my business class seat with a glass of champagne in hand … my holidays were officially christened and underway 😀

I arrived into Auckland at lunchtime yesterday to miserable rainy weather … but after talking Mum and Dad to death for an hour Mum and I took over Dad’s car (my old car that I used to have) and we went shopping.  First up was a trip to The Ribbon Rose, my new favourite stitching store in Auckland – it has the BEST selection of threads of any store I’ve seen.  I was organised and brought with me a list of threads I need for upcoming pumpkin stitching, and managed to get all threads barring one which they’d sold out of … don’t you just love these autumny colours?

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Then we headed back home to Manukau Shopping Centre and straight into Farmers store – I love their ‘plus size’ range by Wild Child, which are a funkier style of clothing to the normal fuddy-duddy styles you can find in plus size stores – and they usually have a great fit for me with their jeans range etc.  They’re usually my first port of call when I arrive home, and yesterday I managed to find a new pair of black pants for work (which I’ve just decided to go back and buy another two pairs so I can throw out my old ones that have been worn pretty much for 6 years now!!), and three different tops.  I most definitely helped to boost the economy in Auckland yesterday … and manaaged to do the bulk of my shopping before the GST (Goods & Services Tax) went up overnight 😀

Today is my parents 50th wedding anniversary – Dad’s already grumbling about going out, and that he won’t be drinking because he doesn’t like to drink and eat (don’t ask!! – sigh) … but regardless, I’ve offered to drive so they can both relax and enjoy themselves, plus then I can drive an old family friend home again afterwards.  Whether or not Dad’s looking forward to it, Mum and I definitely are … we’re going to a high-end smorgasbord restaurant, with our closest family friends (who are actually family as far as we’re concerned, just not with the same blood lines) – it should be a nice night out 😀

Tomorrow we’re thinking of heading out to The Embroiderer if they’ve got the JCS Christmas ornie magazine in stock, otherwise it will be a day spent cutting out fabrics to make some clothes for moi, and going through my fabric stash here for some more fabric to take home with me … then I will no doubt have to do my annual penance of throwing out items from my old stuff in storage, then perhaps I may just get some time to sit and stitch, ‘cos so far I haven’t put a single stitch into fabric!