Final stitches for 2016

I’ve headed across the Tasman to spend Christmas with my parents, so not a great deal of stitching has been done, with the exception of the final three Christmas ornaments for 2016. I joined a Facebook group to stitch 12 ornaments from the JCS 2015 Christmas ornie magazine, and these are my final ones – and I think the only SAL I managed to actually start and finish in its entirety this year … with a whole 24 hours to spare in the year! 😛

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“Snow” by Val’s Stuff (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 32ct Lugana (colour unknown)
with a mix of recommended threads and DMC

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“Plenty” by Hands On Designs (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 32ct Steel Grey Belfast linen 
with my own choice of threads (Carrie’s Creation plus white DMC)
I changed the word ‘Plenty’ to be ‘Noel’ and added extra leaves and berries by the wording to balance it out a bit more

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“Christmas in Red” by MTV Designs (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with DMC 4200 (Wild Fire – Colour Variations thread)
This will be folded up into a diamond shape when it’s finish-finished

Then while I was waiting for midnight to arrive on New Year’s Eve, I sat and unpicked a very old UFO that Mum had started for me not long after she started stitching. Unfortunately our stitching tensions are so vastly different that it would have looked terrible to combine both sets of stitching, so I’m starting it again from scratch myself. Mum has agreed she won’t stitch it, and her eyesight isn’t good enough to stitch anyway at the moment, but I’ll still think of it as ‘Mum’s stitching for me’, as she chose the kit knowing I love frangipanis.  She gave it a good attempt, but it’s time to get it out of the UFO pile and into the finishing pile 🙂  Unfortunately, though, I think some of the threads have been mixed up, so I’ll need to find somewhere that stocks Anchor threads to make sure I’ve got all the right threads (there are 4 greens in the WIP envelope, but only 3 greens in the design for example, plus there are a red and a brown thread in the WIP envelope and these aren’t used at all – Mum must’ve had a senior moment I think).

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As for the year’s finishes, I don’t think I did too badly all considering – below is a visual summary of those I managed to finish before Christmas, plus the ones up above in this post) … yep, I’m relatively pleased, especially considering one of my finishes was a HAED mini and that’s a huge achievement in itself, I reckon!  I think it was 21 finishes in total 😀

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Ah, Bliss …

Today I walked out from work at 5.10pm … and felt like a little kid skipping out of school early!  It feels really fantastic!  Helped that today was the first day that I haven’t been pulled in a million different directions due to urgent things being thrown at me, I managed to actually get some of my own work done for a change … serious bliss!

My rant did me good last night – on top of the productive day, and normal working hours, I feel much brighter today.  Apologies to Mum, as this is not how it sounds ‘cos I love having Mum visit, but it’s been really nice to come home to an empty place and not having to have a conversation – I have been anti-social for two days and have found it a great chance to unwind properly at the end of a stressful day without having to chat.  I’m hoping by the end of the week to be a bit more back to normal again 🙂

Mum returned home on Monday morning, but we had a wonderful weekend before she left.  On Friday we spent the afternoon visiting craft stores – although neither of the stores we visited were really ‘fantastic’ we did manage to find something at each one to spend a couple of dollars on.  At Lyn’s needlecraft I managed to buy some pink and cream fabric (yeah, me, pink!! LOL) … and a duck!! (I don’t have space for the ones I currently have, but that makes no difference LOL).  At Hobby Sew I bought a smaller version of the wire hanger I use for my embroidery scissors – this one is to hang my junk jewellery on, and was proudly hung on the side of my computer desk tonight.

Friday night saw us having dinner with Brenda and Nigel, and it was really wonderful to catch up with them again.  I’ve had to promise to visit again soon and stay the night – that’s no hardship, as I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday morning saw us up bright (OK maybe not) and early (most definitely) and driving into the city.  That’s my first attempt in driving into Sydney city itself, and I have to tip my hat to my TomTom GPS ‘cos he managed to instruct me perfectly and painlessly to the parking building I wanted.  We picked my friend Jason up at the airport then went to Darling Harbour in the freezing cold where we stuffed ourselves on a cooked breakfast, followed by the compulsory stop at the Lindt cafe for takeaway delices and a Mochaccino … yum!!  It was really nice to see Jason again, and I’m really glad we changed our plans to visit with him (he was transferring through Sydney on the way to Asia on holiday).

Anne and Jason

As soon as we showed Jason the way to the train station for his return to the airport we hot-footed it down the motorway to Rosehill Racecourse to the Stitches & Craft Show, where we met up with my good pals Alison and Amanda, and met some new ladies Karen and Rowena.  It was really awesome to catch up with these ladies again – they’re always such fun to spend time with.  I was pleasantly surprised with the contents of the show … we parted with a fair amount of cash, although when we got home we didn’t seem to have as much as we remembered 😉

My biggest splurges were two pieces of hand-dyed fabric – one from Peppermint Stitches (for Mirabilia’s Enchanted Mermaid hopefully), and one from Stitches & Spice (36ct mottled/vintage neutral colour), plus a big Santa for my main Christmas display this year (thanks to Dodgey Brothers R Us removalists, I no longer have my beautiful ceramic Christmas tree centrepiece, as it arrived in a squillion pieces).  Here’s a photo of the full stash haul (combining both mine and Mum’s purchases).  I nearly squealed with delight when I saw a butterfly charm (Susan Clarke design) that will match my Just Nan Dragonfly scissor purse … I didn’t care about the $27 price tag, I HAD to have it!!! (The Christmas items aren’t in the photo as I can’t be bothered unpacking them from the box.)

Stitch and Craft stash

Other purchases were some metal charms for scissor fobs, some Dress It Up buttons (snowflakes and stars), cheapo scissors for travelling, and the most adorable metal hanger for my Christmas quilted wallhanging.  Doesn’t it look perfect?

Xmas wallhanging

Crikey, I barely blog for two weeks and now I can’t shut up!!!

I’ll finish for the night by showing my very minimal stitching from the last week or so – here is my latest finish:

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“Life’s a Stitch” by Lizzie*Kate
stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen
with recommended GAST threads

And here is my current work in progress – I’m trying to stitch predominantly those charts that I’ve bought special threads and embellishments for and are essentially kitted up.  Once I get through a few of them, I’ll add the designs to my trade list (I’d better hurry up and get stitching or you’ll be waiting for a while!).  This project is Just Nan’s “Evening Star” which is a retired class piece.  At my current stitching rate it should be finished some time in the middle of September haha.

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Last night I was in such a cranky mood I vented my frustration by doing the finishing on my August Christmas ornie – if that’s the result of being angry with work, I should keep it going every night!! LOL.  I added a little white pom-pom-thing with glue once the pillow as finished 🙂

Kitty Klaus finished

And now it’s time to settle in and get some stitching in (after once again lugging up my next round of laundry washing – I figure the more I get done tonight, I won’t have much to do at the weekend).

Is it snowing outside?

Well, the weather will surely be changing because a miracle occurred in Chez Shackles over the last 24 hours!  I managed to get my August ornie completed before the middle of the month … now I KNOW I’m not feeling well!!

Val's Stuff-A Merry Kitty Klaus
“A Merry Kitty Klaus” by Val’s Stuff
from 2007 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 32ct white Belfast linen
using Crescent Colours Sassy Brass and Cupid,
Olde Willow Shale, Wisper thread and DMC for the remainder

Went to the GP yesterday who confirmed my bugs are just a viral infection (which I’d already guessed) – I’m now loaded up with Buscopan for the griping stomach cramps and on orders for Panadol, fluids and rest … if that doesn’t work I have to go back to have blood tests, but I’m sure that’s all it is (which is the main reason I hadn’t bothered going to the GP before now).  I was still pretty crook throughout the weekend, and definitely not my perky self (commented on a lot by colleagues at work, which didn’t do anything to help my mood, especially when someone drew a smiley face on a piece of paper and wrote “SMILE” on top for me … made me want to throttle them instead of smile!  I’m terrible when I’m feeling ill, I just want to sit in a corner away from people until I get over it hmmm).

Still haven’t finished my needleroll, as I need to concentrate a bit on the buttonhole stitch banding etc, and don’t feel up to it yet … hopefully it won’t be long now before it is completed though.  Now it’s time for me to jump in the car for another thrilling day at work (can you tell I’m really not in the mood right now?)!