Stitching catch-up

I didn’t realise it’d been so long since I’d posted!  Obviously just been really busy living life and the day-to-day humdrum that that brings.

I’ve managed to get a couple more very small finishes under my belt, the first one after I finally received a stash order from back in November last year.  As soon as I received my thread order it meant I could finish the following beautiful piece of canvaswork:

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“Blue Birds” freebie by Laura J Perin (on the Rainbow Gallery website)
Stitched on 18ct mono canvas with recommended threads
(I even managed to track down the discontinued Tiara thread!)

This was the rest of my stash order – the first I’ve had in a very long time!  It means a couple more projects are now able to be fully kitted up, which is great considering one of them was in my  Crazy 7 group of projects, and already started!

Since the Crazy 7 challenge kicked off, I’ve actually been doing really well at keeping my stitching going regularly each week.  While I may not have too much to show for it, my excuse is that I’ve started my very first HAED – Daisy Blue by Jo Lynch.  Considering I’d always called my dear friend Nicki a crazy woman for her love of over-one stitching, and hating over-one stitching myself with a passion, it seems I’ve caught the craze myself!  I’m stitching my HAED one-over-one on 28ct Lugana and I just can’t seem to put it down!  I think in a couple of months I should see this one finished … and I’ve already got a couple more in line to be started immediately afterwards 🙂  The crazy thing is that I have Noah’s Ark by Teresa Wentzler as a seriously mistreated UFO because I couldn’t handle the one-over-one stitching … perhaps it may be time to give it some love and get it finished now!

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This weekend, though, I really had to force myself not to pick my HAED back up again, and instead caught up on a monthly SAL I’m going of JCS Christmas ornaments from the 2015 issue.  So far I’ve managed the first three months, with Feb and Mar ornies hot off the Qsnaps this weekend (I managed the blackbird one in its entirety today!).  Here are the three ornies to date so far (they’re being stitched in order of popularity in a group vote, with January being the most popular).

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“Snowmates” by Blue Ribbon Designs (2015 JCS Ornament issue)
Stitched on 40ct Silkweaver hand-dyed linen (can’t find the details just now)
with mostly recommended threads

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“Winter’s Eve” by The Prairie Schooler (2015 JCS Ornament Issue)
Stitched on 32ct Permin linen ~ colour French Blue
with my own choice of Carrie’s Creation threads

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“Merry Christmas” by Samplers Not Forgotten (2015 JCS Ornament issue)
Stitched on 40ct Silkweaver hand-dyed linen (can’t find the details just now)
with my own choice of Belle Soie and Gloriana silk threads

As well as stitching regularly again, I’ve also joined a group of fellow stitchers to do a weekly cooking challenge.  I think my health struggles over last couple of years had really shaken my confidence in many areas of my life, and cooking was one of them.  It’s been really nice getting back into the kitchen on a regular basis and cooking up some healthy (and not-so-healthy) meals.  Even though I may not always like the ingredients chosen each week, I still make sure I give it a try and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results so far.

Looks like life is finally getting back on a bit more even keel … hopefully it’ll continue the same way for quite some time to come! 🙂

 

November visit home & stitching finishes

In November it was my best friend’s birthday – she’d begged me to fly over for the occasion, and after selling my shares and having a wee bit of a windfall I managed to get there for the big day.  It was wonderful hanging out for a few days with my bestie at her home just outside Nelson – we’ve been best friends since we were 10 years old, and even though we rarely stay in touch these days with visits and phone calls, it feels like the years disappear when we do manage to catch up again.  I love her dearly.  Here’s a photo of the two of us with her (and my adopted) Mum, Doreen.  That’s one huge piece of my childhood history in that one photo! 😀

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In November I also FINALLY finished my wedding gift for my dear friend Elie and his bride Caroline … their wedding was in 2012, so it was only three years {{cough}} overdue!! 😉  While I’m not 100% happy with it, Elie adored it when I gave it to him (but unfortunately forgot to snap a photo of it framed).  This was a very personal gift, as Elie’s favourite author is Kahlil Gibran, so I chose some pieces of his work for the top two quotes.  The colour of the roses was to match the wedding invitation, and the bottom quote is directly from their wedding invite as well.  The Arabic wording means “a thousand blessings”, and as they are both Lebanese it was another bit of personalisation (I charted that up myself).  I have to admit, though, that I’m really glad this is one is finished now, and even more so that all the effort was appreciated by the groom 😀  Sorry for the poor photos, for love nor money I couldn’t get a decent shot of it!

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Finally, I joined in a “Winter/Fall” Exchange with a Facebook group.  Following is the item them I sent to my exchange partner.  It’s been on my wishlist to stitch for myself, so I’ll definitely be doing this one again for me some time in the near future while the chart is still out … just need to decide on the fabric to use for my one.

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“Winter Needle Roll” by Heart in Hand Needleart
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch (colour TBC)
using mostly recommended threads

A male work colleague flew home to NZ for a flying visit, and ended up in a charity shop of some sort – he came home with a couple of little treats for me as he knows I love to stitch … I was a bit gobsmacked at his kind thought, and think I’ll leave these in the desk drawer to do a spot of lunchtime stitching in the office in the New Year 🙂

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Over the last month or so I’ve also been taking part in a Facebook ingredient cooking challenge – it’s been great fun trying to find recipes for the weekly main ingredient, and it’s been giving me a lot more confidence getting back into cooking again.  That’s something I want to do a lot more of in 2016 – cooking from scratch!  I’ve always enjoyed cooking when I’m in the mood, and oh my goodness food tastes SO much better when it’s cooked from scratch … so 2016 will see my cooking progress continue as I do the weekly challenges, if nothing else!

And the last photo I’ll finish this post with is me dressed up for a bit of fun in the office – I dressed up in my old Christmas tree dress outfit and handed out sweets/lollies at work … including calling into my favourite coffee shop where I have a great laugh with one of the baristas (who’s in the photo – and the photo is his, so you can blame him for the caption on it! LOL).

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Hobbiton movie set tour

At the moment I’m visiting my parents in New Zealand, at the same time that relatives from the UK have come visiting (hence the reason I’m visiting now instead of Christmas).  One of my requests for the trip was to drive down south to Matamata to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set – my relatives decided they’d like to do it too, so we spent a day together doing the tour, then finishing with a drive over to Mt Maunganui beach and an awesome pub meal at the Rosie O’Grady’s Irish pub.  Here are just a sampling of photos from the trip to Hobbiton … it was an awesome day out! 🙂

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Hanging out with the “Idjits” (picture heavy)

Yesterday I spent the whole day at the Supernatural Convention in Sydney – my 2nd time in the last 3 years (I missed last year).  I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to have my photo taken with two of my favourite characters and actors, and it’s taken ages for me to come down of my high from yesterday 🙂

The first photo I had taken was with Misha Collins – truthfully it was a last-minute splurge on the credit card to have photos taken, but I’m really glad I did it as it’s possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.  We saw Misha for the first time at the 1st convention, and it was even better seeing him the 2nd time round … he is a very entertaining guy and a real pleasure to listen to (plus he was a little more risqué this time with his language and anecdotes … I loved it!).

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I have to say that Jim Beaver in particular is the most lovely person in real life!  After stuttering how lovely it was to meet him in the flesh after being a FB follower for a while he replied that it was wonderful to meet me too … such a gentleman 🙂  Here is my photo with Jim (aka Bobby Singer from the show, and the reason for the “idjit” comment in the subject heading, as he’s always calling the 2 main characters idjits).  He was one of the main reasons I signed up for the convention, seeing as I didn’t get to see him last year … it was oh so worth it!!

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The other three guests were Traci Dinwiddie (who plays Pamela Barnes the Psychic), Richard Speight Jr (who plays the Trickster) and Corin Nemec (who plays a Demon).  They were all really interesting to listen to on stage, although I didn’t get photos taken by them.  I have to admit I’m not a huge Trickster fan, but Richard was wonderfully entertaining and has a really big personality – he had us all laughing our heads off.  Traci plays one of my favourite female characters in the earlier seasons, I was sad to see her character get killed off so early in the piece, although of course that was when Castiel first came into the season and we were treated to seeing Misha Collins on a regular basis afterwards, so that more than made up for it! 😉

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The other great news is that Jim mentioned writers are working on Season 8 as we speak, so hopefully that means there WILL be a Season 8 to look forward to.  Even though I think Season 7 wasn’t as good as other seasons due to not having a really gritty underlying story (other than the leviathans), I’ll still always be a fan and will tune in regardless (at least while Jared and Jensen are in the show anyway) … I just hope they manage to keep Bobby in the show as well … even if he’s not ‘living’, I’ll be happy 🙂

Ah Manu …

For my birthday in February I decided to go to L’etoile Restaurant & Bar (in Paddington) as my ultimate treat … mainly because I’m a bit of a Manu fan and that sexy French accent! Anyway I bought Manu’s cookbook and left it for him to sign for me as he was away on holiday – this weekend I was finally well enough to drive over and pick it up 🙂

The traffic was hideous all the way there so I decided to splurge and stay for dinner as an additional celebration for starting to feel better … including my favourite dessert of creme brûlée … ah bliss!!

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I have to say I’m also really really impressed with my signed book as well – I expected just a quick signature squiggle but Manu kindly took the time to really personalize it for me … makes me like him all the more! 😀

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Photo Hunt: Greasy

 

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This week’s theme is ”Greasy” and this meal from a favourite el cheapo dining place in Auckland (“Kiwi Country”) should taste greasy with that deep-fried chicken, but it never ever does.  One of the things I miss from working in Auckland city centre is picking up the occasional lunch from here.  It’s located in a little side street, downstairs below street level, and is a real little goldmine – my Mum keeps up the family tradition now and occasionally visits with a dear family friend, and of course we pop in ourselves when I’m visiting Auckland.  My mouth is salivating already at that chicken dipped in chilli sauce and that succulent crispy salad – yum!