A lack of crafty updates

Sadly I became quite sick in early February with some virus that has had me nauseous and wanting to be physically ill on and off for six weeks. Sadly that meant a few weeks of annual leave were spent laid up in bed or on the sofa apartment-bound. This all coincided with the final visit from my Mum, which sadly meant no fun road trips for us on this trip, and our all travel plans had to be cancelled. On the positive, though, we had plenty of girlie one-on-one time at home watching TV and movies and just generally chatting. Mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and these types of days will gradually become less and less, and she’s no longer able to travel on her own. It breaks my heart to see her memories disappearing, but I try to stay positive and just respond the same way for the 5th time I’ve heard the same story on any given day – I still treasure the conversations and the laughter that we always have 🙂

As for crafts, my gigantic plans for the year became scuppered very early on, and I’m very behind with blogging and crafting. I did eventually manage a bit of stitching while I was on ‘holiday’ though once the nausea started to wear off, and this has been the result so far …

Dimensions: Stacked Tea Cups

This kit was a gift from a dear friend in the US, and I’ve been itching to stitch it ever since it arrived. I decided the colours were exactly what I wanted to work on and made a start on it before Mum arrived for our holiday. This was also my chosen project for “New start January” in an Aussie Facebook group called JK’s Groupies. Eventually I managed to finish it during my recuperation. I really need to take a better photo in daylight without all those ugly shadows! I also want to stitch this one more time but on a 36ct linen next time with DMC – I’d love to see the comparison, because I hated stitching on that awful cardboard-like Aida and I have more Dimensions kits to stitch up.

“Stacked Tea Cups” by Dimensions
Stitched on 18ct white Aida (hideous kit fabric)
with kit threads

Started 12 January 2019 – Finished 15 February 2019

Elizabeth’s Designs: Ladybug

This was a WIP from 2018, and all I had to do was to stitch on the ladybird charm … five minutes later and it was all finished! 🙂

“Ladybug” by Elizabeth’s Designs
Stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen (I think)
with recommended threads
Started ? 2018 – Finished 15 February 2019

Keslyn’s: Santa’s Hat & Boots

Next was the April Christmas ornament in a Facebook JCS Christmas Ornament SAL. I really struggled with this one initially because of my ‘fuzzy head’, but I persevered and managed to finish it eventually – but oh boy it wasn’t much fun, and it took me a fair few days to complete it!

“Santa’s Hat and Boots” by Keslyn’s
(from the 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue)
Stitched one-over-one on 28ct white Lugana
with recommended DMC threads
but I attached small bells instead of the ‘Bead Landing Sticky Gems’

Laura J Perin: Flying Geese

After I finished all that over-one stitching, I started a new canvaswork project – Flying Geese by Laura J Perin. I thought the larger threads and canvas would be easier for my head to manage. It’s been a bit slow going, but hopefully this will be finished over the next couple of months.

Last finishes for 2013, and Christmas at home

First of all I should say a rip-roaring and resounding “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” to everyone … as we kick off a new year with the first day of 2014.  I know I’m not the only one that had some struggles in 2013, so personally I’m certainly not sorry to see it finish!  Let’s hope that 2014 is a brighter year for everyone who had a crappy 2013, and that it continues on a positive vein for those who had an awesome 2013 🙂

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I just returned home this morning from two weeks holiday with my parents in New Zealand.  I say “holiday”, but in truth it’s never really a holiday when I go home … there’s usually a list of chores that my folks want me to complete … and I have to admit I’m generally really happy to help out as much as I can when I go home.  This year the chore was to take Dad out to buy a new mobile phone … and teach him how to use it … the first part was pretty simple, and the second part saw me practising “patience” substantially, let’s say! LOL.  Then we went out to buy a Panasonic digital recorder (DVR) for both Mum and Dad and set it all up for them in their respective rooms.  Sadly Mum’s was a real challenge due to not having a good aerial set-up, so unfortunately they’ll need to call in someone to add a new aerial on the roof for Mum so she can get it working 100%.

Dad has to drink something similar to protein shakes daily, and he’s been really bad at drinking them – he told me he’d missed one whole day because Mum was sick and she couldn’t make them for him … my response was that he shouldn’t have to wait for Mum to do everything for him, why couldn’t he just make them himself?  He shouldn’t have to rely on Mum for everything, if she got sick then he’d be stuffed!  You could have knocked me over with a feather the next day when Mum told me Dad has asked her to teach him how to make his shakes … and that he needs to be more “independent”.  I didn’t expect my little chat to have such a big impact … but I got a HUGE resounding vote of thanks from Mum, as that’s helped to relieve some of the pressure from her every day having to do everything for Mum (and I know it’s been getting her down).  I hadn’t expected him to do that, but it’s a very good thing, I think!

While I was in NZ I managed to meet a dear online/blogging pal that I hadn’t managed to meet before.  Zeb had chatted to me briefly just after I moved to Aussie to live, wishing she knew stitchers in the local area to have GTGs etc … it seems all these years later there is now an active group of stitchers in Auckland that meet up, and we managed to ‘gate-crash’ the party for an afternoon!  I’d called out to the Auckland stitchers to see if anyone was interested in getting together while I was in NZ, and Zeb arranged a stitching day at The Ribbon Rose – what a perfect choice for the venue!!!  Not only did we (Mum and I, ‘cos I dragged her along for a change in scenery and a different group of people to chat to to give her a break) get to meet some lovely people on the day, but we managed to kill two birds with one stone by completing a small stash enhancement onsite.  I always drag Mum into The Ribbon Rose each trip, so it was extra special this time!  I managed to get a group photo in the afternoon, but unfortunately a few of the group disappeared and left while Mum and I were browsing around the store, so the photo doesn’t include everyone that was there 😦  (UPDATED: Photo now removed by request of someone in it.)

 

Now we’re back onto the subject of stitching, I did manage to get quite a lot of stitching done while I was away – mainly because we couldn’t really go far from home because of Dad, and I made it a priority to do ‘the family thing’ while we could.  Dad still has to have two surgeries yet in 2014, and as awful as it sounds I wanted to spend as much time as I could while I could … obviously we all have positive thoughts that he’ll come through the surgeries just fine, but I don’t want to have any regrets if it doesn’t …

Anyway, back to the stitching again … these are the little pieces that I started and finished while I’ve been away – I think I impressed myself which the stitching progress this time round!!  Admittedly two days sat in front of the TV in Mum’s room watching Catherine Cookson DVDs really helped … while I’m generally very very patient, and wanted to spend as much time with Dad as I could, we still needed to have a wee break just for sanity’s sake!!  Dad has a tendency to make comments that are less than positive and can be quite derogative, so I needed to recharge my little positivity bubble for a couple of days …

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“Never Too Big” by Dragon Dreams (2004 JCS ornie issue)
stitched with recommended DMC and Kreinik threads and JABC button
on 28ct light taupe linen (sorry, didn’t write the details down when I kitted it up!)

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“Full Moon” freebie by Elizabeth’s Designs
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Little Boy Blue??
with recommended DMC and WDW threads
(really love those little sheepies, even if they don’t have legs! LOL)

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“Seasons Greetings” by Glory Bee (2005 JCS ornie issue)
stitched on 28ct natural linen
with my choice of threads:
Lettering in Crescent Colours Cupid, Kreinik #4 braid for the star (#002),
DMC for the rest – white, 502 or 503 (can’t remember) and 500

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“Gourmet Garden” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Pipi
with recommended DMC threads

I did start one last project that I hoped to see finished by the end of 2013, but it just wasn’t to be … this one will only take an hour or two of love and it’ll be finished, so it’s likely to be my first finish for 2014.  I really did want to start my rotation tomorrow, though, so I’ll have to make a decision whether to finish this one off now, or to wait until the “small projects” section of my rotation … I’m pretty sure I know what will win out tomorrow! 😛

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Just have the holly leaves and lettering to go on this one before there is another “F word” … “Finish”

And on that note I’d better call it a night, I think … I managed to pick up a few healthy groceries in readiness for one of my New Year’s Resolutions, that to be healthier and happier.  Hopefully all the salads will offset the half a suitcase full of chocolate goodies and Gingernut biscuits that Mum sent me home with! haha.

As to the rest of my New Year’s Resolutions and stitching plans/goals for 2014, well I guess that’ll have to come later once I’ve made some decisions … watch this space … just maybe not for a wee while 😛

Gifties received

I heard from Becky today that the Postman worked overtime over the weekend, and my little gifties arrived safe and sound.  I’ve had the stitching done on these for 3 whole years (!!!) – the pinkeep has been sitting around finished ever since then, waiting for it’s companion needlebook to be finished.  As soon as they became a matching pair officially (finally!!!), they were parcelled up and sent over to the US to their new Mum.  Becky has a lovely photo on her blog, but here are a couple more from before they were made up into their finished versions (and these show the colours much more accurately):

As you can see, I had all intentions of getting them both finished the year they were stitched, so they still have 2007 stitched on the ‘backsides’ 😉  I have to agree I really love the little backstitched bees, but for the life of me I can’t remember which design I borrowed them from!  And here’s the finished duo together all finished, just before packaging them up:

Needlebook finish … finally!

This has been sitting around since 2007 for it to be turned into a needlebook – how do I know? ‘cos I dated the back!!  I was panicking about doing the finishing, and as you can see from the below photos attaching the lining is FAR from perfect, and well it just doesn’t sit as nicely as I had hoped … but it’s done now, which feels awesome!  I haven’t touched much of my finishing pile since everything got put into storage 2 1/2 years ago, but eventually now I’d like to start building up my finishing confidence once again and get back into the saddle …

Needlebook front

Needlebook inside pages

Needlebook inside lining

I also started doing a quick cushion finish of a few Christmas ornies yesterday, and have been using one of them for a tutorial – that should be completed over the next few days, depending on what time I get home from work this week!

I also started doing a quilted wallhanging of Mum’s Prairie Schooler Santas, but a spool of thread I’d had sitting on the machine fell into the bobbin spooler while I was loading up a new bobbin on the top of the machine, and all of a sudden it started jamming and the entire bobbin spooler popper up … now my machine is just jamming all the time, which is a real bugger … so off to the repair shop it goes, and my quilted wallhanging and all those other finishing jobs that need the machine are once again put on hold, ho-hum.

Oh well, to brighten the day I did unpack my teeny tiny stash splurge from The Ribbon Rose – as you can see I didn’t buy much, just a couple of ribbons, some beads, some size 22 needles (for my canvaswork) and some red fabric for my finishing of Random Hearts into a little cushion – and some hand-dyed pearl cotton for hardanger class I’d like to start this year (for a cushion).  Next time I go I’ll be armed with my wishlist 😉

Ribbon Rose stash 18Feb10