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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Mixed bag of all sorts

I’ve been suffering from vertigo the last few weeks, so not a huge amount of stitching has been happening around here – I returned to work two weeks ago, and it really takes it out of me getting through the day, so I’ve been coming home and pretty much going straight to bed.  Last weekend, though, I managed to put a few stitches into my English Garden Sampler.  I managed to complete all the over-one stitching of the garden gate, and most of the foliage on the right-hand side of the gate … sadly it took the entire weekend last weekend to complete just those few stitches, so it’s going to take me quite some time to see an actual ‘finish’ of this one!  It’s one of my oldest UFOs, and I’m still in love with the design after all these years, so I’m still keen to see this one finished sooner rather than later 🙂

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I finally bit the bullet and ordered a skin for my Kindle … and it arrived this week.  Last night I ‘pimped’ my Kindle, and I totally adore it!  I can definitely recommend DecalGirl for their skins, that’s for sure, and it certainly won’t be the last I buy I’m sure … I’m starting to eye up laptop skins now too 😉

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Work-wise I had a really awesome chat with my team’s “Head of” yesterday … he told me how impressed he’s been with my work with the latest project I worked on and the responsibilities I took on, and he’s going to see if he can do something about my pay rate as he feels my pay doesn’t accurately reflect the type of work I’m now doing and what he will be asking me to do in the future … you could have knocked me over with a feather!  It’s really nice to be so recognised for the work you do.  Will have to see what comes of it over the coming year, I guess 🙂

And lucky last for this post is an update on Dad … sadly he’s severely depressed, but understandably so.  He never shows his emotions, but has been spending a lot of time sitting in his chair and crying, the poor thing.  When Mum raised the issue with his surgeon he just said he needs to speak to his own GP about it.  Unfortunately the surgeon also doesn’t know why he’s still oozing pus etc from his stomach … 7 months after his surgeries!!!  It’s no wonder the poor old thing is so miserable within himself!  The surgeon said the only thing they can do is to open him up again, reverse the ileostomy bag, and have a look around while they’re in there to see where it’s coming from.  He also said, though, that Dad is in such bad shape at the moment that it is unlikely he will survive another surgery … so it’s a catch 22 😦

I’m hoping to fly over in a couple of weeks to visit and see if I can drag him out of the house for a few hours – although that would take a miracle in itself!  He told me a couple of months ago on the phone that he missed us popping down to the cafe for a coffee and chat when he was in the hospital (I used to take him down in a wheelchair).  So what I thought of doing is driving him into Auckland city and perhaps taking to a beach-front cafe at Kohimarama or somewhere else to sit and have a coffee and chat with a nice view.  He’s a stubborn old bugger, though, so it will take some convincing to get him out of the house!  I also want to talk about Enduring Powers of Attorney for them both, and all those horrible talks that are really important but are really difficult to tackle … things like getting all the life insurance policy details etc and getting a few more ducks in a row … not expected to be the most fun trip, but it needs to be done, I think …

And on that note I guess I should get my A into G and get away from the PC keyboard … time to go do some grocery shopping and a few chores … it’s laundry day, so I’d best get cracking and get on with it!!

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This week’s theme is ”Silly” and this one is in honour of Dad from his better days.

dad the fairy

Mental health alert … I’ve been doing housework!!

It’s been an interesting few weeks, with not a stitch happening in this household except for Mum’s stitching while I’ve been busy doing things she can’t help with.  Rather we’ve been pulling out cupboard contents and chucking old things out and doing a general decluttering – all in readiness for when I start advertising for a new flatmate, or in readiness if I have to parcel things up and put everything in storage and move out.  Without going into too many details, I can only say that the last couple of weeks have been incredible not feeling like I’m walking on eggshells at home, and I feel a lot less tense at home.  It’s just a shame I have to get someone else in to live with me, ‘cos this is definitely a feeling of bliss I want to continue.  Oh well, maybe I’ll have to start buying Lotto tickets!

Anyway, a fortnight ago we had the lovely opportunity of meeting Cathy who was over visiting from WA – while I’ve been following Cathy’s blog for a number of years now, this is the first time we’ve met in person.  It was really lovely to finally meet up, and she managed to survive the day (and car trips) with me and my crazy Mum, so she’s pretty resilient! LOL.  We drove down the coast and met up with our other stitching pals in NSW and spent the day at Kiama – as always it was wonderful company, and we had a great day stuffing our faces with munchies and laughing the day away.  It was a really great day, and I’m already looking forward to the next one! I’ll ‘steal’ one of Alison’s photos from the day to share here … which stupidly sparked a tirade of hatred from a cousin in the UK on Facebook … I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say it was ‘interesting’ to say the least!!

While we were at Kiama I didn’t get any actual stitching done, but I took a pile of ornies that just needed to be stuffed and sewn up, so Mum and I did a shared job of it – Mum did the stuffing and I stitched their bottoms up.  Here are the results – there would have been a few more, but we ran out of stuffing 🙂

I also mentioned in my last post about an exchange that I’d received – this is what I received from Karen at The Stitching Post.  Funnily enough I’d only just been thinking about her recently, and I was surprised when an envelope arrived in my mailbox with her name on the back!  Karen chose a Blackbird Designs ornament for me, and the theme was “birds” for the exchange so it fit the bill perfectly!  She also included some extra little goodies that will come in handy.  Thanks Karen for a lovely exchange 🙂

And on that note it’s time to get back into cleaning and decluttering mode – we need to get everything finished by Monday at the latest so I can get carpet cleaners in to clean the carpet in Katie’s old room … it looks like she’s thrown up or something in there at one point, and is an absolute disgrace.  Bless Mum for offering to come over and help to clean things, as we’ve ended up doing everything again in that room.  Oh well, that’s all a part of history now … time to move on … and I have to admit the decluttering has been really cathartic 🙂

Week one of Mum’s visit

Oh my goodness, has it been almost one week already since Mum has gone home?  Luckily she got her flight home just before flights were grounded due to volcanic ash cloud sent over from Chile (although I wouldn’t have complained if her stay was extended, as it was all over all too quickly as it is!).  This trip has been one of the fastest ones ever, perhaps because we were “on the go” all the time without a great deal of time to just chill out and relax (although we still did do plenty of that each day).

One of the first stops on Mum’s visit was to have a lovely cooked breakfast at Omero’s on the Beach … followed by an hour just sitting on a park beach on the beach and watching the world (and the local birdlife) go by … it was a lovely start to the holidays!

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P1040654It still never ceases to give me a thrill to see pelicans on the local beaches!

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Mum arrived in time to celebrate her 75th birthday, and we went out to Larousse French Restaurant in Brighton-le-Sands … I’m a huge fan of French cooking, their prices are reasonable and atmosphere cosy and friendly.  They also have the BEST Crème brûlée I’ve had since falling in love with it in Paris … probably not the best thing to fall in love with, but what the heck …  We started the evening off well, thanks to Tannia’s visit here last year, as we had a bottle of Moet champagne to crack open prior to dinner – I’d been waiting for a special occasion to open it, so this was the perfect celebration.

The next two days I worked, but on my first day off Mum and I hit the shops, starting with a couple of places in Alexandria I’ve been wanting to go to for a while – unfortunately roadworks made one shop impossible to get to (a kitchen warehouse shop), but I did manage a brief visit into The Remnant Warehouse where I picked up a Christmas quilting fabric for both Mum and I and some chiffon fabric for a work top – I also had to make a return visit to the sales counter when I spied a lavender blue dupioni silk on the way out the door, which I’m hoping will match my Quaker Friendship Book by With My Needle (I haven’t checked yet!).

We finished up with a trip to Dan Murphy’s … every Aussie’s favourite booze shop.  The first time I ever visited a Dan Murphy’s store in Melbourne I remember saying “oh my, I’ve died and gone to heaven” … to this day we still refer to it as ‘heaven’.  Never in all my life have I seen such an incredible array of alcohol under one roof – aisle after aisle of imported and local wines, beers and spirits make it my absolute favourite ‘adult supermarket’ 😉

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I can’t truthfully remember what we did over the next week (which has nothing to do with consuming the shopping from Dan Murphy’s!), except I remember it included some housework (always a topic I try to forget immediately after doing it!), a wee spot of cooking on my part and a fair bit of relaxing with stitching in hand (of which you’ve already seen the finishes).

The next ‘big day out’ was to spend a day at Sydney Zoo which was a first-time visit for both Mum and I … but that’ll have to be the subject of the next post! 🙂

Photo Hunt – Mother/Mum (8 May)

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The theme on 8 May was ”Mother/Mum” and for a change here’s a photo of my Mum’s Mum – Nannan herself.  The photo was taken in June 1956.

Nannan-Hilda Scott nee Crispin, 30Jun1956

And if that’s not enough, here’s a photo of my own dear Mum in her younger days 🙂  Unfortunately I don’t know how old Mum was in this photo – can you help me out with this one Mum??

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50th Wedding Anniversary Celebrations

Last night we had a lovely dinner out at The Old Flame restaurant to celebrate Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a dinner with our nearest and dearest, and it was wonderful to share the evening with all the generations together in one place.  Not a single one of the people there are blood relatives, but closer to us than our own family in many cases, as we have all grown up together.  Anyway, it was the most wonderful time – dinner was good, the company was even better, and we finished the night by going back to Heather and John’s for another coffee and many rounds of good-hearted laughter … which is always a guaranteed thing when we all get together.  I love this group of people more than I can possibly put into words – life is so much richer having them in it!

50th birthday group