No longer a HAED virgin

As mentioned in my previous post, I finally succumbed to starting a small collection of HAED charts … I’ll be lucky if I complete even one in this lifetime, but I couldn’t resist the temptation and fell in love with each and every one of these … plus a few that are waiting in the sidelines in my wishlist basket!  I was clever, though, and bought mainly Quick Stitches and Minis … although I still think they’re pretty massive in their own right!

Stitching update & Parisian stash

I’m still battling my flu bugs, so no big updates as yet from me – I’m sure I’ll get around to it over the next weekend or two, along with a write-up of our Paris and UK jaunts … but for now this will have to suffice 🙂

Following is the latest WIP piccie of my tiger XS – it’s been hard to see the black fabric when my eyes have been blurry anyway with being sick, so progress has been pretty intermittent and slow, but it’s progress nonetheless and it’s still closer to becoming a finish … for now, though, I may give it a break and try stitching on something a bit more enjoyable and easy on the eyes and come back to this one at a later stage.

Next I thought I’d show our XS stash spoils that Mum and I bought while we were in Paris recently – this is pretty much the only shopping we did apart from picking up a couple of pairs of Clark’s ankle boots in the UK, a new luggage back-pack with wheels, and a Parisian painting … and probably the only thing that we fully intended buying while we were away.  So, without further ado, here are our spoils from Des Fils et une Aiguille in Paris (we had such a lovely time during both of our visits there that Valerie and I are going to keep in touch via email – she’s such a lovely person to visit with!).  I’m sharing a quick photo of the outside shop-front and part of the shop interior – it’s a real treasure trove of French stitchy goodness, and I am guilty of spending some substantial Euros in there!  After going here we didn’t bother going to Le Bonheur des Dames, we were happy to just spending our money in this little piece of heaven! 😀

We also went to the Marais district one day and visited Entrée des Fournisseurs which had some wonderful ribbons and trims – I only bought a few pieces of scrummy felt from there, along with one length of trim that I couldn’t resist, and some ‘knit’ cotton for crochet in a yummy teal blue.

My dear friend Nicki kindly gave me a pair of her grandmothers crochet hooks and some wool to practice with to start learning to crochet while I was away, but sadly the lighting in the apartment wasn’t conducive to any form of crafts, and truthfully we got home too late in the evenings to really have the energy to do anything but fall in a heap and quickly upload the day’s photos to make way on the memory card for the next day … this is on my list to start trying shortly, though, as I have a beginners crochet book on my Kindle all set to work my way through – fingers crossed I’ll be able to master it, as it’s something I’ve wanted to try doing for many many years!

The last ‘crafty’ items that we bought were a couple of lace bookmarks from Bruges in Belgium (we took a day-trip there from Paris, which was wonderful).  Sadly Mum took hers home before I managed to take a photo, but I’ll try to get one next time I visit home, or I’ll get her to bring it back in October so I can take a photo of it then.  Here’s my one anyway 🙂

The only other stitching I’ve done lately I can’t take a photo of as it’s for an exchange, although I can show a little snippet, I guess …

And on that note, it’s time to take my snotty head (yeah, I know, too much information right!!) and ringing ears back to bed … with a nice simple XS project to cheer me up … I managed to go back to work for a day yesterday, but it nearly killed me, so I’ve decided to take one more day pottering around at home and resting up a bit more … what better way to cheer myself up than with a tiny bit of stitching 🙂

2012 WIPocalypse update for March

I started drafting a post during the week, but it seems that the WP app doesn’t automatically store a draft … so I lost the whole thing.  And today I’m fighting a dreadful head cold that I’ve been struggling with since Sunday, so it will be a lot shorter than originally planned.  But there are few things to write about, so I’ll try to get to the point quickly …

First up, though, is my stitching update for the 2012 WIPocalypse challenge.  As seems to be the norm these days, I have had absolutely minimal stitching happening over the last month – I almost need to continually do a ‘before and after’ shot so you can actually see what the progress is … I’ve always been a prolific stitcher in the past, so this is something I’m just not used to.  Anyway, here are the two pieces that have seen slight progress since last month …

First up is Bent Creek’s Winter Snapperland – the entire progress consists of two whole snowflakes and the wording … I know, hardly worth blogging about really, but I guess two snowflakes and some words are still taking it closer to a finish at some stage!

Then the other UFO/WIP to be dragged back into daylight is Mirabilia’s Enchanted Mermaid – this poor love hasn’t seen daylight for an awfully long time … I can’t remember the last time I dragged her out to be worked on.  Anyway, she’s had a tiny bit of love in February and is getting closer to having her backstitching done on her face so she doesn’t look so dreadful (her cheek looks like it has a terrible skin disease!!).  I may also start beading as I go, which just may give me a kick in the pants to stitch on her some more.

UPDATED TO ADD:  Oops, I forgot that last month I also put the finishing stitches into Jardin Prive’s Christmas, and I hadn’t posted a piccie yet.  So, here you go, here is my first big finish for the year …

The next news is that I finally managed to catch up with my dear friend Alison to pick up my Christmas gift to myself – I basically gave Alison $100 to spend during her USA trip last year, along with a huge wishlist to choose from, and I picked it up last weekend.  It was a wonderful treat to see what goodies she managed to find, and I absolutely adore the choices she made … I can’t wait to start on the SB kits, they’re awesome!!  Thanks once again Alison, I really really appreciate you doing this for me, it was a really nice surprise!

The next piece of HUGE news is that I’m heading off on holiday … not just anywhere, but we’re off here:

Well, OK, truth be told we’re not off to see the Doncaster Rovers, but rather just the Doncaster part!!  It was very hard to find a website image that actually has the word “Doncaster” in it!! BUT more exciting for me, we’re also off to visit here, and I’m just ever so bursting with awe and excitement that I’ll be going back to visit my most favourite city in the entire world to date:

Mum’s youngest sister is basically going through her final fight with throat cancer, and Mum and I have decided to head over to spend some time with her, and my other family members, before it’s too late.  Being blunt, it’s much nicer to be able to visit when she’s alive and not to be flying over to attend a funeral.  Then after a few days visiting with our family, we’re off to fulfill one of my dreams to return to Paris once more.  I have cheap airline tickets from my employers in celebration of my 10 year anniversary with them, so we felt it was a good time to cash them in and make good use of them.  The downside is that we have had absolutely zero time to get spending money together so it will be very very budget with whatever is available on the credit cards … but very very fun!!  And it’s all happening one week tomorrow, all going well (we’ll be travelling standby so we just have to keep our fingers crossed!).

Initially I thought of taking one of the SB kits with me to start on holiday, but now I’m thinking I also may take two Parisian charts to start as well … the freebie “Souvenir de France” by Blackbird Designs, which is still available for download here

And the other choice is “Eiffel Quaker” by Jardin Prive, which is available for sale directly from the designer as a PDF here … ah decisions, decisions.   Plus I have an exchange that is due for posting while I’m away, so I’ll be kitting that to be stitched while I’m in the UK visiting with my Aunt.

The other news that I haven’t mentioned yet is that along with my trip to see my Aunt in the UK, we are travelling by train back south to London and apparently have to pass by my dear friend’s home … which means we get to spend a night with Nicki, Martin and their lovely furbabies – it’s going to be wonderful seeing Nicki again after so many years 🙂

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:


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):


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!):


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:


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:


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 😀


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 😀