Into the Night – new start

My new start yesterday turned out to be Shepherd’s Bush’s kit, “Into the Night” … sadly, though, the kit contents were extremely frugal and I’ve managed to run out of two of the threads – even though I stitched right down to the last 2″ of thread of each of the strands.  So much for thinking I could get the whole project completed this weekend because of having ‘all the threads’ required.  Oh well, it means it’s now put to one side while I contact Shepherd’s Bush for some replacement threads 😦

For now I guess it’s time to return to an older WIP for the rest of the day – I can’t be bothered working out a new project again today so I figure that’s the easiest thing to do to keep me in the stitching mood for my last day of proper recuperation.

Next week my job will be to sit up at my PC and catching up on emails, of which there are well over 1000 unread emails 😦  I really do need to set up my laptop for my emails, as it’s so much easier to sit up in bed to catch up … it’s a real pain to sit up at my computer desk late at night when I get in (and when I’m not feeling well), so I find I tend to forget about reading them 😦


The wanderer returns

I’ve been out of town for the last week with work, spending my time in our call centre in Brisbane (Queensland).  It was grueling work, with some days being 14 hour working days, but it was really invigorating and rewarding for me personally, and the feedback I received from the staff I worked with was inspiring.  Not to mention how wonderful it was to sleep in air-conditioned comfort for 4 nights.  This was home for 5 days – and the great thing is there was a full laundry and kitchen, so aside from self-catering to keep the bills down (and healthy food to keep the weight down) I was able to do my laundry on Thursday night so I didn’t have to do it this weekend 😉

P1040531_edited-1 P1040534_edited-1

Alas the testing didn’t quite get completed which means I have to do a bucket load more myself this week – I’d booked an RDO for this week from weeks and weeks ago stating there was no way I was going to be doing project testing on my birthday … but alas it looks like that will have to be cancelled and I will indeed be doing testing on that day (unless I put in the hard yards Mon/Tue and keep my fingers crossed both days).

Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter really, it’s just a day, and I didn’t have anything special planned for the day anyway … the night’s different, though, Katie is treating me out for dinner on Wednesday night to a local French restaurant that I’ve been wanting to go to ever since I moved to this part of Sydney.  They have cheap mid-week set menus, and while the food certainly isn’t Weight Watchers friendly, it looks yummy and I can’t wait!!  We’re also getting a bus up as well, which means I can have a drink or three for a change 😀

I didn’t stitch at all when I was away in Brisvegas, as I was generally found glued to massive Excel spreadsheets on the laptop every night, so yesterday I refused to move from my stitching chair, and cleaned out all the TV recordings from last week (and believe me, there was a LOT) – I may have had numb-butt syndrome, but I did manage to put the finishing touches into this (just don’t ask me when the actual needleroll finishing will be taking place, ‘cos I think that’ll be some time away yet!).

Shepherds Bush-Happy Pumpkin Needle Roll

“Happy Pumpkin Needle Roll” by Shepherd’s Bush
stitched on 32ct Parkside (I think) hand-dyed linen by Silkweaver
with recommended threads
(I subbed my own button and beads as this was a 2nd-hand used chart)

Today I’m driving to the other side of Sydney to Concord for my first visit to a stitching group at the NSW Embroiderers Guild.  I signed up when Mum was over here when I was feeling really motivated about my stitching, but of course they closed over the summer holiday period and this month it is finally reopened again properly so this is the first opportunity I’ve had to pop on over.  I’ve found two groups that are mainly XSers that meet on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of each month, so I phoned up and found out they both had spaces available … and today is my first visit to the first group.  I’m feeling extremely nervous, as I’m very shy meeting new people, but this is something I just need to push through and get over!  Hopefully it will turn out that I really enjoy it, and it gets me out of the house every once in a while 🙂

Free day Thursday

I decided to have an extra loooong weekend, and have taken today and tomorrow off work … next week starts our next round of project testing which normally means really long hours and a lot of grey hair at work, so I figured I’d take it easy for a couple of days beforehand before the mental onslaught begins.  It also means I’ll by heading out of town in a week’s time to do project testing in our Queensland call centre – our fingers are crossed that the flooding stays contained to ensure we can get through the workload that we are planning to get through!  It’s really sad to see so much devastation and personal loss on the news each day in Queensland, and I know a few people that work for my employers have lost everything … it really makes you appreciate everything that you have, that’s for sure!

Anyway, I thought I’d take some time out to complete the ABC’s of me that seems to be doing the blog rounds … mainly because it’s just too bloody hot to stitch at the moment, even with sitting smack bang in front of the electric fan – it just makes you have no energy to do anything at all.  Today is apparently 30C with 72% humidity … thankfully it isn’t quite as hot as it was yesterday, but quite frankly it’s hot enough for me, in fact too hot!  I could quite easily migrate to Siberia during Sydney’s summer months, I absolutely hate it here in summer … give me the moderate temperatures of winter any day!!! 😉

A – Age: 44 (about to add another year very very soon)
B – Bed size: Queen
C – Chore you hate: Pretty much all of ’em, isn’t that why they’re called “chores”??  If I had to choose one I guess it would be ironing … but then there’s the dusting … and … and … 😉
D – Dog’s name: Don’t have one, but I sure do WANT one! 😀
E – Essential start of the day item: Coffee (especially Mon-Fri!!) – and preferably a skinny cappuccino (yum)
F – Favorite color: Blue
G – Gold or Silver: Definitely gold – don’t “do” silver much at all
H – Height: 5’4″ (165cm)
I – Instruments you play: Used to the play the recorder, and the viola at High School very very badly – probably couldn’t read sheet music now!
J – Job: Business Analyst for an international airline
K – Kids: None
L – Living arrangements: Renting with a female friend/work colleague
M – Music you love: I have very eclectic tastes … ranging from AC/DC to Baroque classical, REM to the Beatles
N – Nicknames: Annie, Shacks, Shakatak … and my nickname from Mum growing up was “Butch”, until we moved to New Zealand and my Mum had it explained what “Butch” meant in slang terms … I’m no longer called Butch!  Although another term of endearment from Mum was “Pesty” … I’m pretty sure she DOES love me, but one would wonder with those nicknames! 😛
O – Overnight hospital: Tonsillectomy in my early 30’s and Gall bladder removal in my late 30’s/early 40’s (the date escapes me)
P – Pet Peeve: Impatient drivers and disrespectful people … plus add lying into the mix as well
Q – Quote from a movie: “No harm ever came from reading a book!”  (The Mummy)
R – Right handed or left: Right
S – Siblings: None
T – Time you wake up: About 30 minutes after my eyes open (I’m NOT a morning person)
U – Underwear: Sensible (too old and buxom for anything else)
V – Vegetable you dislike: Boiled cabbage and okra – otherwise everything is fair game
W – Workout Style: Tae Bo when I’m fit enough to get back into it again
X – X-rays you’ve had: Dental, back, legs, head, spine
Y – Yummy food you make: Onion Dip (Kiwi style – mix a can of reduced cream with Kiwi onion dip mix and a tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar … the Aussies at work go crazy for it, which makes it easy for shared morning teas!)
Z – The best place to visit: OK, this is a tough one … Paris and Greece are at the top of my list so far, but so many other places have also left wonderful impressions too … but yeah, I guess Paris and Greece are outstanding in that regard

The only stitching update I can give you is from a couple of nights ago – whoopee to the progress is all I can say haha … and now I’m going to attempt to thread a needle and pop a few stitches into a Christmas ornie and see how long I last in this heat … don’t expect miracles, is all I can say 😛

Although I guess there is a bit of progress in this one since the “before” picture from the Crazy January challenge:

Baby Bug Ball … kinda finished

I was too impatient to wait for some additional light green silk, and managed to complete the final wing with just a half cross stitch – not entirely sure about it that way, I think it will look better with a full cross … but I couldn’t resist stitching it anyway!  Hopefully the replacement silk will be close in shade so I can just complete the remaining half cross … in the meantime, I guess you could say it’s ‘kinda finished’ – and I love it! 😀


Now my fabric has arrived, I guess I’ll be putting Prairie Moon’s Christmas onto Qsnaps as my lounge stitching project so that Katie can watch it grow … which means I’ll be continuing my Crazy January projects in my bedroom until Katie’s gift is finished … starting with Happy Pumpkin Roll by Shepherd’s Bush – I did a few more stitches on this a couple of nights ago, but not enough to really warrant a progress piccie.

Plus I lugged all my finished stitching down to my neighbour’s flat for a show and tell to my elderly neighbours, and ended up getting rid of one piece that I don’t particular love, but in doing so ended up saying I’d sew it into a cushion for her, so that means I now have two separate sewing jobs for Norma (not to mention another job to climb up and take her net curtains down for washing) … I really need to learn how to keep my lips together and my voice mute when I go down there! LOL 😉

More Baby Bug Ball

Sorry, but this is probably all you’ll be seeing until it’s finished … although I’m very worried about one thread, as I have only one and a bit strands left, and I still have an entire wing done with a full XS in that thread (all the others are done with 1/2 XS), so I’m pretty positive I’m going to run out … ah, yes, I do so detest kits … but even that still can’t remove the positive feeling I feel about this piece – I’m still in love with it! 😀  (apologies for the handshake this morning – was obviously in a hurry to quickly take a happy snap before getting dressed for work – for which I’m now running late … oops)

Baby Bug Ball progress

Not quite as intended, I spent the entire day today stitching … oops, so much for the housework I had intended completing haha.  I haven’t moved far from the front of the electric fan other than getting food and water throughout the day (more so the water than the food).  I must say I didn’t want to put this one down today – I think if I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow I’d have been tempted to continue further into the night stitching (as it is I’ve already stitched a bit of the 3rd bug since taking this photo!).  Hopefully I’ll get chance to finish this off this week some time, or if not this week, then next weekend 🙂

January Challenge – Day 3

I couldn’t resist putting a few more stitches into Shepherd’s Bush’s Baby Bug Ball this morning – I can’t believe how much I am in love with that design!  It is soooo not my normal choice of stitching project, but I absolutely and totally adore it!  I didn’t stitch the next few alphabet letters as it’s supposed to use a thread colour that is way too pale on the fabric – I thought I’d wait to see what colours were left over at the end, and I would replace that colour with one of the darker greens (but I don’t want to use it yet in case I run out!).  After the 15 days are up, this is is going to be one of the first getting revisited, I think! 😀

I was good, however, and didn’t continue stitching on BBB, and continued to meet the challenge goals by putting a few stitches into Victoria Sampler’s Crimson Fire Sampler.  This one is a major challenge for me, as it’s been forever since I stitched any hardanger or pulled/withdrawn thread stitches, so it will give the grey matter a run for its money this year!  I wanted to get this stitched up, though, so I can pass the chart on to an online pal who showed interest in it a couple of years ago (assuming she still wants it, of course!).

Seeing as I’ve handled pretty much all I can cope with today with these specialty stitches (probably thanks to the 3am finish this morning), I thought I’d put it to one side and pick up something simple, and I’m hoping to get a few more stitches put into the Autumn freebie by the Stitcherhood that I started late last year 🙂

Over the last few days I’ve also been working on a couple of my listed items on my 1001 things in 101 days – including putting together a custom recipe book.  I went with something simple, and just put together a ringbinder with plastic sleeves and subject dividers – that way when I find a scrummy recipe in one of my books I’ll re-type it up into a one-page format and will add it to my favourite recipes folder.  Seeing as I’m also trying to cook something out of every cookbook I own, hopefully I’ll also find some new favourites to help fill out the sections.  The great thing about this format is that I can take pages out individually to cook from, and the sleeves protect the recipe and can either be wiped down in case of spillage or just replaced with the recipe left intact 🙂

I think I may also try to make a quilted book-cover for this at some stage, but that may not be this year … the goal of putting the book together in the first place is good enough for me to tick this challenge off the list as “achieved”.

One of the latest recipes I added was some simple finger food sandwiches from the Aussie Women’s Weekly book “Finger Food” – these were wolfed down recently at our work’s shared morning tea … I thought I’d share the goodness with you here (AWW books are some of my absolute favourites on my bookshelf):


Triangles can be made 2 hours ahead.  Storage: Covered in refrigerator.

200g packaged cream cheese
2 t lemon juice
1 T fresh dill sprigs
¼ t drained capers
12 slices white bread
180g sliced smoked salmon

Blend or process cheese, juice, dill and capers until well combined.  Spread 1 slice of bread with cheese mixture, top with a layer of salmon.

Spread a second slice of bread with cheese mixture, place cheese side down on salmon.  Spread top with cheese mixture, top with a layer of salmon.

Spread a third slice of bread with cheese mixture, place cheese side down on salmon.  Trim crusts from sandwich, cut into 8 triangles.  Repeat with remaining bread, cheese mixture and salmon.

Makes 32

January Challenge – Day 2

It took me longer than I expected to finish my little Baby Lorikeets, but I just couldn’t continue to start a new project until I had finished them off – and here they are in their finished form:

DMC-Baby Lorikeets
“Baby Lorikeets” by DMC

stitched on 32ct cream Belfast linen
(I replaced the revolting Aida that was in the kit!)
with kit threads (DMC)

I didn’t start today’s ‘real’ project until 8pm … and didn’t put the needle down until just before 3am – I’m LOVING stitching this one!  I’ve never been a huge Shepherd’s Bush fan apart from their needlerolls and Halloween designs, but this one really called out my name and I’m glad I listened – the pastels of this one are really very pretty (unfortunately washed out in the photo thanks to the bright daylight bulb).  I can’t wait for the 15 days to be up so I can c0me back and finish this one off, although I might just have to finish off this middle bug tomorrow, as I only have a couple of letters and the big central flower to complete before moving on to a different bug 😀

And on that note, I’d better get some sleep,  so I’m fit to do a bit more stitching tomorrow (although I really do have to throw in some housework tomorrow, so not as much progress will be to show at the end of it all tomorrow!).

Needleroll mania

As mentioned in my previous post, I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday finish-finishing 4 Shepherd’s Bush needlerolls.  Following are the fruits of my labour (including improved photos of my latest two needleroll finishes, as previously I could only scan them and the quality was dreadful).

Shepherd's Bush Needlerolls

Folk Heart Needleroll
Shepherd's Bush-Folk Heart Needleroll

Millennium Roll
Shepherd's Bush-Millennium Roll

Halloween Roll
Shepherd's Bush-Halloween Roll

Pine Needle Roll
Shepherd's Bush-Pine Needle Roll

During my needleroll ‘frenzy’ yesterday I decided to sit down in front of the TV and downloaded a couple of free TV episodes on TiVo, and watched Episode 1 of Season 1 of The Tudors and the same of The Guardian.  After my finishing session I also decided to blob out in front of the gogglebox and did a teeny tiny bit of stitching on a new start … I’m thinking of starting a bit of a mini-rotation of all the projects that I currently have kitted up with DMC, as I’m constantly having to keep raiding them for new projects (although I’ve made it easier now by having all my kitted up projects with all their contents on a spreadsheet, so at least I know which project has which DMC now!).  This was the result of my bit of TV viewing – while watching The Ugly Truth (a truly stupid movie I have to say!) and half of the Taking of Pelham 123.  As you can see, I did a LOT! haha.  (Sorry for the crappy photo!)

This will eventually be Just Nan’s Ghastly Ghostly Ghouls.  I’ve been meaning to start this one for weeks, but I needed to tea-dye the fabric to give it a slightly darker look and it’s taken me this long to finally drag the tea bags out of the cupboard!  The last time I stitched ghosts on Lambswool linen they disappeared into the background, so fingers crossed this time the slightly darker colouration will see them showing up more (I’ll find out soon enough, as they’re getting stitched next).

While I was tea-dyeing, I also threw in a piece of cotton lace that I needed to dye so I can complete my first PIF ready to be sent off to its new home.  I’ve still dickering over what to stitch for my next two ‘victims’, but I do have some ideas brewing in my little mind and have some designs pulled out into a separate pile ready to start work.  I also need to decide on which design to use for my Scissor Pocket exchange, as I need to start working on that very very soon.

As for the rest of my finishing weekend, the question I’m asking myself is “what now?” – I still have a large pile of finishing to do, I just have to decide what to concentrate on first. I have the following to choose from:

  • Christmas flat-fold
  • Tie-on pillow for (next) Easter
  • Bunnies in my Garden set
  • Chatelaine’s Stitching Leporello
  • 3 x Scissor fobs
  • Hocus Pocus pinkeep
  • 2 x picture frames – then the mats cut and projects laced
  • Hardanger needlebook
  • Numerous Christmas ornies
  • Lavender bag (Victoria Sampler)
  • 2 more needlerolls
  • 2 x bellpulls
  • Santa quilted wallhanging (halfway through when sewing machine broke down last time)
  • Canvaswork pincushion
  • Quilt for my best friend’s first born (who’s now at school, and she’s since had two more kids!! ahem …)
  • Quilting bag – pretty much stitched, but needs to be put together
  • and a whole heap more that I can’t remember right now!

I did want to finish off a scissor fob tutorial with one of my pieces, so perhaps I’ll throw that into the mix this weekend, plus finishing off my Christmas ornie tutorial which is almost finished.  If nothing else, I’m certainly not short of finishing items to be done!!  Of course the sooner I get off this PC the quicker I’ll get to make a start as well … so perhaps I’d better leave it at that and go make a start! 😉

Needlerolls galore & Pin Pillow exchange

Before I continue, let me apologise for the dreadful quality of all of these photos – I have mislaid my little Lumix camera, and have had to rely on my scanner to show my latest finishes … and because of the beads etc lifting the fabric off of the glass, the focus is terrible.  As soon as I find my camera, I’ll upload a cleaner photo.

Millennium Roll-Shepherd's Bush
“Millennium Roll” by Shepherd’s Bush
stitched with kit contents

Pine Needle Roll-Shepherd's Bush
“Pine Needle Roll” by Shepherd’s Bush
stitched with kit contents

On Friday I received my Pin Pillow Exchange from Sandra – I absolutely ADORE it.  She chose one of the designs from my wishlist, and turned into the most gorgeous pincushion … I love everything about it, and will definitely treasure it always!  Alas the scanner really didn’t like scanning something ‘puffy’ so this is even worse photography – once again, I’ll take better photos just as soon as I can.  Thanks again Sandra for a wonderful exchange experience! 😀