Oct/Nov WIPocalypse

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Life got crazy at work, with some major hours being put in, so I’ve been locking myself away from the online world for much of the last two months.  I’ve now taken two days off as time in lieu (even though I’m probably due about 2 weeks of time off!) and thought I’d make the most of the time to do a catch-up.  While I haven’t been having evening meals half the time during the working week, never mind stitching, I have managed to do a wee bit on the weekends – in fact some weekends I’ve had some major stitching marathons just to make me feel ‘normal’ and I didn’t have the energy to do anything else.  So this will probably be a big post stitching-wise, with a few finishes under my belt.  Here goes …

Stitching finishes:

The biggest stitching news was finally finished my version of Angel of Love by Lavender & Lace.  I have decided to leave off her wings and I think of her now as my ‘regency lady’ for some reason.  I have to say I absolutely adore her, and think she looks just fine without the angel wings.  I really really enjoyed doing the beading – apparently there are just over 4,000 beads in her, and I enjoyed stitching every single one of them on!  I’ve added a photo of the detail in her skirt – just stunning!!

Lavender & Lace-Angel of Love“Angel of Love” by Lavender & Lace
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed linen by Silkweaver, colour Dark Tan
with mostly recommended threads and beads – I substituted the DMC metallic with Kreinik braid

L&L-Angel of Love beading

Another piece I absolutely ADORE is the result of completing my Canvaswork rotation slot – while I was a bit concerned about the high level of coral pink in this initially, the final result is a tremendous blend of colours that work so beautifully together … these pieces as such FUN to stitch, it’s almost always a disappointment when they’re finished …

Northern Pine-Surf & Sand
“Surf and Sand” by Northern Pine Designs
Stitched on 18ct Eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads and beads

After finishing Angel of Love my next rotation slot was Christmas ornaments and freebies, where I managed to whip up a couple of finishes:

Prairie Schooler-S is for Spring freebie
“S is for Spring” freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with DMC threads – I substituted the pink threads with blue ones (I bet you didn’t expect that from me LOL)

Margaret Lee Rigiel-Starshine Penguin
“Starshine Penguin” freebie by Margaret Lee Rigiel
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana (can’t remember who the dyer is, sorry)
with a mix of recommended threads and substitutes

Poissons Bleus freebie by Si le Point Compte
“Poissons Bleus” freebie by Si le point compte (website no longer around)
Stitched on 32ct Ice Blue Belfast (I think)
with DMC variegated thread

Stitching WIPs:

I’ve tried to go back to my rotation as well, which means Quaker Christmas II saw the light of day again in September, and I’ve almost finished the top of the chart now.  Not sure if this will seen the light of day again before Christmas, but it will eventually get done for, say, 2018 … 😉

Quaker Christmas II 21Sep14

Next up in the rotation was Poppy by Mirabilia – she’s now become my focus piece as she’s a gift for my hairdresser, Giselle, whose favourite colour is red.

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Miscellaneous:

Before my hours got mental crazy at work, I started putting together a quilt top for a lap quilt, to start getting used to my new machine (thanks again Alison), and using a cheap jelly roll I bought at a craft show a few years ago.  Sadly this is the state it remains in, but hopefully I’ll get around to finishing this one soon:

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I also managed to frame my Bluebell pixie in a discounted white frame – sadly the joins aren’t perfect in the frame (I only realised when I was framing), but it’s for me so I think it’s fine:

 Bluebell framed

WIPocalypse Topics:

8 October – Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?

The answer is a yes on both counts … although I have to say that Halloween is one of my all-time favourite stitching themes.  I don’t even celebrate Halloween, but I just love the ghostly ghouly designs, and the bright colours.  I’ve been going through phases with my Christmas stitching – I used to stitch quite a few Christmas ornaments, but these have tended to tail off over recent years and I’m focusing more on larger pieces.

6 November – What are your favourite and least favourite materials to use in your stitching?

Least favourite would have to be rayon threads, DMC metallics and Kreinik Blending Filament – and perhaps even Weeks Dye Works.  As for favourites, I love all the different threads and textures of canvaswork, and adore stitching with silk threads (Gloriana, Belle Soie and Au Ver a Soie in particular).  Cotton threads I love Crescent Colours threads and Needle Necessities/Threadworx the most.

Flossy is finally finished!!!

I haven’t been doing much of anything at all while staying with my parents, as I just don’t have the mental energy to “get up and go” … so the last few days I’ve been glued to the TV re-watching The Tudors DVDs while doing a tiny spot of stitching.  The weather has been abysmal over here, so it hasn’t been the weather to get outdoors (even the waterfront was flooded last week thanks to the tail end of a cyclone), and we’ve all been stuck in front of the TV in various rooms.  My Dad watches his TV at number 63 on the volume, whereas I usually have it between 10-15, so I often run away to the bedroom to avoid a migraine and frayed nerves … which also means not spending time with my folks as there isn’t enough comfy room for both Mum and I in the bedroom … not the best use of an airfare really, but I suppose if nothing else I’ve had a very lazy relaxed time I guess …

In saying that, though, I did spend a couple of days being a ‘techno geek’ for Dad and writing up a 28-page user guide for his mobile phone.  It’s a real ‘mobile for dummies’ with lots of screenshots and captions and step-by-step instructions for how to use his phone.  I guess if nothing else at least I’ve managed to do that for him this trip, so it wasn’t all wasted time 🙂

I also made a batch of my favourite Red Velvet Cupcakes for a treat, but I was really disappointed with them – not sure if it was the batch of flour Mum had, or the fact they don’t have digital scales making it hard to measure the 10g of cocoa properly, or the fact that the Organic Buttermilk here is quite ‘clumpy’ and a totally different texture to the buttermilk we have in Aussie … but whatever it was that was different, they were quite heavy compared to how I make them at home, so not a great treat really :/

The GREAT part of the trip so far, though, has been having a ‘stitching day’ with some Kiwi stitching pals … while not much stitching actually happened, it was lovely to have show and tell of people’s stitching finishes, and just having a general fun chat.  If I move back to Auckland again, I know this is one group of ladies I’ll definitely be spending more time with, they’re great fun!  Thanks again to Zeb, Jennie and Paula for a really fun day … and to Zeb for some really scrummy Trifle 😀

While I’ve had minimal stitching time I have managed to “almost” finish Fern Pixie by Nora Corbett.  I’ve managed to finished all the actual stitching, but I hadn’t realised there was one whole green bead on one of her shoes, and I didn’t bring those with me to NZ, so she won’t be 100% finished until I get back home again …

But one piece I DID manage to finish was the stitching of Nora Corbett’s Valentine Fairy – I finally frogged the different dyelot in her legs and restitched, then did the remaining metallics and beading … and now she’s 100% finito!!  I still don’t particularly love her, as she’s WAY too pink for my tastes, but I haven’t decided yet whether to throw her on Ebay or not.  Mum’s actually said that she likes her, so it’s quite possible that she’ll end up staying here in NZ and living the rest of her days in Mum’s bedroom … maybe 😉

Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy

“Miss Valentine Fairy” by Nora Corbett (Mirabilia)
Started 6 Nov 2013 – Finished 20 Apr 2014
Stitched on 28ct Lavender Bliss Cashel linen
with Crescent Colours kit threads
(exception: replaced the Crescent Colours thread for the skin with DMC)

Enjoying two days off work

Oh boy it’s been mental at work lately … the bosses asked if we could bring the deadline forward by a day for a project that was already pushing everyone to their limits to get it completed by the original deadline … which ended up seeing a small handful of us working through the night (literally) for a couple of days beforehand.  I think my worst day was finishing at 3.30am the night before launch, and being back in the office at 7.00am again the next day (launch day).  It seemed OK at the time, but by the following Monday I felt like death warmed up and couldn’t concentrate at work.  I ended up waving the white flag on Tuesday and asked the big boss for 1-2 days off as days in lieu for all the extra hours … and he gave me 2 days, which I’ve just taken.

You would think that with a 4-day weekend I’d be stitching up a storm, but alas not a needle has been seen for the last 4 days … instead I’ve been superglued to my home computer 12 hours a day, uploading a lot of my old stitching finishes into Flickr, and adding copyright symbols onto every photo.  I haven’t bothered doing anything with my old photos since losing them all when Webshots closed down … but even though it’s taken a heck of a lot of effort (and I’m still not finished), it’s felt very rewarding.

Have you ever taken the time to go back through your old stitching photos and amazed yourself at just how much you’ve achieved during your stitching lifetime?  Well that’s been me the last few days!  It’s also been interesting seeing stitching trends over each year – for example 2010 for me seemed to be the “Year of Just Nan” … and also the year of the Great Pumpkin Challenge that I enjoyed so much.  I’d also forgotten how much detailed and varied work I did in the earlier years, and it’s given me the urge to revisit those days by choosing some challenging pieces for upcoming projects.  All-in-all it’s been such a wonderful trip down memory lane for me!!

It also means that eventually over time I’ll be updating a lot of the photos on this blog too, as most of the piccies disappeared when Webshots shut down.  I’m slowly working my way through 2011 and 2010 at the moment, and just focusing on the stitching finishes … I’m not sure if I’ll bother updating with the WIP piccies, but “never say never” I guess 😉

In the meantime, though, I can show the latest progress on Fern pixie at the end of last week’s stitching efforts from 30 March:

Fern by Nora Corbett @ 30 March 2014

Fern by Nora Corbett @ 30 March 2014

Still around … but without my mojo (& March WIPocalypse)

Well, it seems my mojo has totally deserted me over the last month or so – I haven’t touched a needle, literally, in over a month!  Work stresses and personal stresses have just seen my head too cluttered to stitch … while normally stitching would bring me relief at times like this, it had reached the stage where the thought of stitching just felt overwhelming for some daft reason.  Instead I’ve been spending lots of time on my laptop checking out stitching websites and just being generally lazy and doing ‘nothing’.

As for work, I still have a job but there are lots of people who have been in the company for many years that I worked with really closely that have now left, and they still haven’t worked through all the levels of the company yet, so many more heads yet to roll.  Even though I know my job is safe, it’s still very disconcerting and upsetting while other colleagues and friends still wait for the decision affecting them.  They haven’t given me much time to ponder it, though, as I was given a new ‘project’ to work on with an exceptionally tight deadline, so it’s been back to working 14-hour days again over the last couple of weeks, and next week will be “the week from hell” where I’ll be planning to pretty much sleep there for the week!!  At least now we’re back working closer to home I know I can be home in 20 minutes at the end of the day, so that’s a blessing if nothing else.

And as for today … well, would you believe it, today I’m going to FINALLY break that mojo curse, and I’m going to pick up my needle and do some stitching to try and get back into my stitching routine.  I have a huge list of TV shows I need to watch on my DVRs (so much that one has stopped recording because the memory is full!!), seeing as I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with it much, so that’s a perfect excuse to chill out at home with the TV on and my stitching on my lap 🙂  It will be interesting to see how much I can get done this weekend after not doing anything for so long!!  Here is my skimpy progress on Fern since my last WIPocalypse post, which was done a month ago now in the last week of February …

One good thing, though, is that I’m being forced to take annual leave and long service leave before the end of June … as I can’t afford to go anywhere, that means having 3 1/2 weeks of leave between now and then … I think I just may enjoy a couple of 2-week leave blocks around the home lazing around stitching – there’ll be no excuses not to get my mojo back then, that’s for sure!!! 😀

UPDATED TO ADD:  Oops, I forgot that the question for the March WIPocalypse was where our favourite stitching spots were … I have to admit since my new flatmate moved in he’s pretty much taken over the lounge and my favourite stitching spot in there is no longer my favourite unless he’s gone out for the weekend … instead you will now only ever see me sat up in bed doing my stitching, so this is now my favourite (actually I’ve always enjoyed sitting up in bed stitching, anyway, so it’s no hardship!).

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Update on “Flossy”

In  my last post I forgot to include an update on “Flossy” … she of the candy-floss sickly pink dress …

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Well sadly this is how she is going to stay for the foreseeable future as Hoffman sadly didn’t provide enough Kreinik #4 braid in the kit (and quite frankly paying $50 for a kit I would have expected more from them!!) to complete her, and it’s not a colour I have floating around in my stash, albeit a quite sizeable stash … and Hoffman don’t seem to be willing to respond to my online query about getting a replacement thread sent out.

I do have to admit that she’s grown on me over the weeks she’s spent lolling around the bedroom … I don’t think we’ll ever be BFFs, but she doesn’t make me want to puke quite as much as she used to!  Anyway, she’s just going to have to sit and taunt me for a while longer, as I’ve already put in a thread order to Nordic Needle prior to running out … and quite frankly I don’t really want to fork out for an entire spool of thread that I’ll never use in a million lifetimes after Flossy is finished … so there you have it …  I still have to frog and re-do her legs, thanks to an old dye-lot of DMC … but in truth I can’t bring myself to do it yet knowing that I still can’t finish her off … poor old Flossy, here she will sit unfinished and unloved for the foreseeable future!!  I still haven’t decided what to do with her once she’s finished … I may even keep her … maybe … I will decide later I guess … 🙂

Miss Valentine, aka “Flossy”

I don’t know what possessed me … I purchased Miss Valentine by Mirabilia when I truly dislike the colour pink.  Her dress on the cover picture looks extremely pale, with just a hint of pink really, so for some reason she appeals to me.  Even though she’s not my usual choice, I thought she was lovely, truly delightful … until I started stitching her this week.  I feel like I’ve just pushed myself through the gates of hell … stitching hell …  OK, perhaps an exaggeration, but I seriously didn’t expect the vomit-inspiring candy floss pink to be the main colour of her dress … I’m hoping like heck that when the other colours are added that the colour will tone down somewhat!  The way I’m looking at her now is that she may just end up on Etsy or something at the end of all this!!  Poor Flossy, I do hope she tones down a little bit … I guess the alternative is that I just suck it up and unpick what I’ve done and do an entire colour conversion … which I suppose is kind of early enough to do this … or to finish her off and put her up for sale on Etsy … or gift her to a dear stitching friend when it’s finished … oh decisions decisions, what to do!  Poor old Flossy, I don’t mean to be so cruel to her, but she’s … well … she’s just not “blue”!!  Or lilac … Or frankly any other colour that’s not putrid, poxy, candy floss pink … !!

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After my little whinge, I’ll brighten up a bit to share what I did two weekends ago, and hadn’t realised that I haven’t shared yet.  While getting the scissor fob tutorials ready, and making up cording for the tutorial, I also dragged out a few pieces that are half-finished but just waiting for cording to be done and had a major cord-making session.  I now have a bunch of ornaments etc that have cording all ready to go … but, um, yeah, they’re still sitting in the finishing pile the same as they were before {{cough}}.  But they have cording now, so that’s closer to being finished than before, right?

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I also managed to sit up one evening and quickly completed the ladder stitch closures on this bunch of ornaments.  Some of these were stitched by my Mum and I did the finishing of them all.  Not entirely sure I’ll bother putting up the Christmas tree this year seeing as I won’t be here, and I don’t spend any time in the lounge any more with the flatmate taking it over, so they may not see the light of day until next year … but at least they’re finally out of the finishing pile and into the ornie box!

Here are Mum’s ornaments:

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And mine:

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Major Happy Dance!!

I can’t believe the time has come when I have FINALLY put the last lot of beads into Enchanted Mermaid!  Unfortunately my camera is playing up so I can only use my iPhone at the moment for a photo, and it does her no justice whatsoever … she is without doubt the most blingey cross stitch project I’ve ever worked on.  In real life she really sparkles with all the treasures and beads she’s adorned with!

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“Enchanted Mermaid” by Mirabilia
Started October 2009 ~ Finished 20 October 2013
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Cashel by Picture This Plus ~ colour Fathom
with recommended threads and Mill Hill beads/treasures (squillions of them!)

Next up I continue to stitch as much as I could today on Acorn Hill … this has to be put aside for now while I wait for a replacement thread to arrive.  I’ve stitched all the other colours, so I have to wait now for more Brown Sugar to arrive, then it’s just a case of finishing up the lettering which won’t take too long at all 🙂

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I think my next BAP focus piece will continue to be TW’s English Garden Sampler.  I’m so close to a finish with that one, it doesn’t make sense to stop … although it’s a real challenging piece for me stitching in the evenings, so it’ll continue to be stitched within a semi-rotation with easier projects during the week.  It would be nice to get it finished before the end of the year, but I’m not entirely sure that’s do-able now unless I stitch on that solely … which for my sanity just isn’t going to happen!

Then I really need to pull my finger out and get a very overdue wedding sampler started … with any luck they’ll get it before their 10th wedding anniversary!! 😉

Let the beading marathon commence!

Thanks to a lazy weekend, along with a day of sickness at home I managed to put the final stitches into Enchanted Mermaid (inbetween bouts of sleeping) … which means the final phase of this project is ready to commence … the beading marathon.  I swear this gal is seriously drowning in shiny bling!  Aside from 33 packets of Mill Hill glass treasures, there are 3 packets of one colour of Mill Hill petite beads, and another 2 packets of another colour (plus a packet of a 3rd colour) … serious, serious bling!!!

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Let the bling begin!!!!! 😀

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I’m hoping to be able to afford to fly home to NZ to visit my parents over the next month or so, so this one will be going home to visit as well if I can get her finished in time … I think both Mum and Dad will go crazy over this one! 😀

 

More Enchanted Mermaid

Been an interesting few weeks – I finally got to see a Rheumatologist about my back/foot/finger joint pains, and we think I probably have psoriatic arthritis – if it is, then it’s quite possible it is treatable with medication, which is wonderful.  It also seems that it can cause mood changes, so perhaps this has been behind my depressive episodes all this time?  The time-frame since my joint pains started getting really bad is probably around the same time, so it is quite possible I guess – I’ve had really bad pains for at least 3 years now.  Anyway I have an MRI booked in for the end of July, and then hopefully a week later I’ll get a formal diagnosis and I can start a treatment regime … I’m sick to death of feeling so crappy all the time, so anything that can improve my state of mind and pain levels would be just wonderful!!

In the meantime I’ve been spending a bit of time on the weekends stitching (no more time during the week now, seeing as I’m back to murderous commutes again) … I managed to put a pretty good dent into the stitching of one of the tail fins (or whatever the heck you call them).  Sadly I can see I’m going to run out of two of the Kreinik braids, so I have been “forced” to send away for a little order from 123stitch this week to get them replaced (which was shipped inside 24 hrs of ordering, bless them!).  I have to admit the main reason I put the order in straight-away was that I also noticed they had 25% off Christmas stocking kits and I’ve had one of those on my wishlist for months now … perfect time to suck it up and order it at the same time as my Kreiniks (plus a couple more threads off my wishlist).  I must say, though, I really wish they stocked Rainbow Gallery threads, as I have a bunch of those I need to order as well 😦

And just before I head back to bed for a Nana nap (I haven’t been feeling well this week, and my stupid flatmate woke me up when he came in last night then continued to talk loudly on the phone until 11.30pm!), I’ll show you a bad photo of my Enchanted Mermaid as she currently stands … I really need to find my camera cord so I can use my camera again instead of my iPhone, ‘cos I just can’t seem to manage a decent crisp photo on my iPhone (although that could also be because I’ve been uploading them to Facebook then downloading again to the PC hmmm)!!

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The UFO challenge continues

I don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment, I just seem totally obsessed with getting some older pieces of stitching finished … and I can’t seem to put them down … goodness knows what will happen once these two are completed, whether I’ll feel at peace enough to pick up a new start or a newer WIP, or whether I will continue with the urge to finish older items … but either way, this is my stitching challenge to myself at the moment.  In truth I’ve been battling with depression on and off for months now, and this is what is bringing me ‘stitching peace’ for some reason … so I figure it’s best not to fight it and go with the flow for now …  I guess that also means that my 2013 Crazy January Challenge has pretty much gone out the window, but them’s the breaks!

Anyway, here is my latest progress with two of my old UFO’s – Teresa Wentzler’s English Garden Sampler, and Mirabilia’s Enchanted Mermaid.

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Sadly my employer’s management team have decided in their ultimate wisdom to move our team back into the city once again, after moving us closer to home for the last 8 weeks (hence much more stitching being done that I’ve managed in a long time) … so it means no more 20-30 mins drive to work anymore, and back to 1 to 1 1/2 hr commutes each way … I guess if nothing else I’ll get more books read once again on the train, so perhaps I should focus on that silver lining, but all I can keep thinking of is the removal of my spare time during the week 😦  It’s going to feel a bloody long time until December comes and we can move back out to being near home once again 😦  So pffffft to you management team 😦