Christmas Ornaments, Cross Stitch, Darling Harbour, Finishes, Finishing, Friends & Family, Home & Family TO BE FIXED, Lizzie Kate, Stash, Sydney, Val's Stuff, Works in Progress

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:

LizzieKate-Lifes a Stitch
“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.

Just Nan 1

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).

Home & Family TO BE FIXED, Sydney, Travel, Uncategorized

Day out down south

As I mentioned yesterday, Mum and I drove down to Mittagong, Bowral and Berrima on Saturday, and had a really lovely day out.  I wasn’t going to write this post just yet, but I’m up (not bright but) early thanks to Lisa coming home inebriated in the wee small hours and spending half the night in bed listening to her throwing up in the bathroom opposite … I figured now is as good a time as any to write it up!

Anyway, we started the day off by driving to Mittagong to Victoria House so Mum could see the stitched models.  And we ended up coming out with a few charts from their bargain/sale bins … I didn’t take any photos of the stash, sorry, but basically Mum’s were all Christmas ornament charts, and I bought a couple of Hillside Sampling charts, a needleroll chart, and a wooden bellpull hanger for my Bent Creek Christmas wallhanging.  It was nice to wander around and view the stitched models – always my favourite thing to do when visiting a new (or old) needlework shop 🙂

Victoria-House-Mittagong

We then drove on a few km’s up the road to Bowral where we’d heard there was a Food & Wine Festival on … if there was, we didn’t find it, so ended up having a very non-Weight Watchers snack of meat pie and pastries from Gumnut Patisserie – this patisserie has won awards 4 years in a row, and it’s easy to see why, absolutely everything we tried from there was absolutely divine!!  No piccies, unfortunately, as we scoffed them while on the road (very naughty, I know!).

From there we drove another short distance (about 8km) across country to Berrima, where I’d been recommended to visit – and we weren’t disappointed.  What a lovely quaint village atmosphere – and not touristy at all, I thought.  The buildings are just lovely, and we spent a couple of hours just wandering aimlessly in and out of all the shops … with the odd thing jumping into our bags every now and then 😉

Berrima-4

A highlight for me was Mrs Oldbucks (they also have mail order from their website) – there is a room just filled with every sort of tea imaginable.  I bought four as my treat for the day, then Mum bought me one more with a tea filter for my mug … I came home with Wild Berry, Raspberry & Lime, Chai Herbal Blend, Summer Blend, and Marsala Chai – I should take some photos of the teas themselves … just opening the shopping bag up to read the labels my senses are filled with an amazing smell … aaarghhhh 🙂

Berrima-5

As well as the room full of teas, there is another long room at Mrs Oldbucks which is filled with all kinds of culinary goodies – lollies (sweets), jams, chutneys, honeys, mustards, etc etc etc … an absolute treasure trove of yummy goodies.

Berrima Jams

We also spent a little bit of time wandering through the local patchwork shop, and managed to find a fat 1/4 each of fabrics we just HAD to have … plus I bought a wire hanger with 7 hooks on it to use for hanging my scissors up (I’ll try to remember and take photos later when I unpack all my scissor fobs and scissors … yep, still unpacking! haha), plus a couple of small wire hangers that I’d been hunting for for months!

Berrima-3

There were also a couple of lovely antique shops that we found in a side street later, but it was getting too late to call in – but I loved a few of the buildings in that wee street (I’m a sucker for old buildings).

Berrima-1

Berrima-2

When we turned out of the street to return home, we were greeted by the magnificent sight of loads and loads of cockatoos sitting up in the trees – I’ve seen this phenomenon before but Mum hasn’t … it was hard to take a photo, but you can see all the white specks in the trees, well they’re all cockatoos!  It’s a glorious sight!! 😀

Berrima-cockatoos

After we arrived home we decided to celebrate the end to some wonderful adventures, as we were unlikely to be tripping off again during this visit – I cooked a light chicken dinner (stir-though sauce compliments of Leggo’s haha) and we cracked open a bottle of bubbly and placed a hibiscus flower in syrup that I bought in Perth recently in the bottom of the glass (they’re so cool!! – their website has a much better photo and information if you want to check them out), and settled in for the night … a fitting end to a wonderful holiday (I’m just trying hard not to think about work tomorrow as I know I have a gruelling procedure writing session for my ‘huge project’ as soon as I walk in the door hmmm).

Hibiscus-flowers-in-wine

Cross Stitch, Sydney

Just a quick post with a few piccies

We just walked in the door after being out all day yet again … we were originally going to drive up the coast tomorrow, but we’ve opted to put that off for a few days, and have a day or two relaxing at home instead.  Today we called in to pick up some drying racks for my washing to go on the balcony, then headed out to the Blue Mountains for the day.

We started off my stopping at Leura, where we spent plenty of time drooling in the imported lolly shop – I’ve never seen so many lollies in one place in my life!!!  We were very good and only bought a couple of items (some Walkers treacle toffee, Barratt’s nougat, and lemon bon-bons), then sat and had a lovely lunch (albeit damned pricey!) at a local cafe.  Mum had pumpkin soup while I had a sandwich with smoked salmon, capers and lettuce etc.

Leura Lolly Shop
Only one side of the Leura lolly shop – there is another wall on the other side and in the middle!

After our stop at Leura we drove over to Katoomba and took a short bush walk to the Cliff Top viewing platform to watch the Katoomba SkyRail head across the ‘canyon’ – and I then tried to kill myself off by taking another very short bush walk to see the Katoomba Cascades (although this one was a steep walk, hence the knackered state I arrived in back up top!).

Katoomba Cliff Walk
Walkway from the carpark to Cliff Viewpoint

Katoomba SkyRail
Katoomba SkyRail car on its way back from the viewpoint station

Katoomba View Point
View of the Blue Mountains from Cliff viewpoint

Our final stop today was to visit Karen at The Stitching Post – here Mum bought a Just Nan chart, some DMC and Aida fabric, while I bought some Dinky Dyes and Gloriana silks, GAST and Crescent Colours threads I needed, plus a holiday treat from my wishlist, The Drawn Thread’s Spot of Winter.

The Stitching Post Katoomba
The Stitching Post, Katoomba

I also managed to take a couple of really crappy photos of the first three of the pieces that Karen has framed for me – they look great in real life! 🙂

For the Birds framed
“For the Birds” by The Drawn Thread

Geranium House framed
“Geranium House” by Country Cottage Needleworks

Necessities Sampler framed
“Necessities Sampler” by Little House Needleworks

Now we’re blobbing out at home, about to put the TV on and put needle in hand, once we’ve had our turkish bread and dips for dinner … washed down by my new favourite Chardonnay … “Stonier” Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula – ooh, yummy!!! 😀

Cross Stitch, Food, Home & Family TO BE FIXED, Sydney, Works in Progress

Wonderful day …

Well, the Dragon definitely celebrated her birthday in style this year!  I’ve provided a small sample of snapshots from each part of the day …

We started off by popping into Spotlight to stock up on DMC that Mum needed, along with some fabric to make me some cheap pyjama bottoms … then we parked the car and hopped on the train into the city.  We headed straight to Darling Harbour, starting with the Chinese Garden of Friendship, which Mum really wanted to see during this visit.  They were really lovely to walk around, and we were lucky with the weather, as it had been raining earlier in the day.  It was a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so.

Chinese Gardens 1

Next up was back over to Cockle Bay Wharf (still at Darling Harbour) where we headed to the Lindt Cafe to stock up on naughty goodies (I’ve fallen in love with Lindt’s Delices … oh my goodness, they’re divine!!!).  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of them before they were demolished, but another blog has a photo here.

Lindt Cafe

Then we popped next door to Nick’s 103 Cafe where Mum had a lovely prawn and avocado salad for lunch.  Here’s a photo of Mum tucking into her lunch, with her Lindt goodie bag sitting under her guard and watchful eye … and even though she doesn’t look it, she’s really enjoying her day out! 😉

Birthday girl 25May08

Afterwards we had to hustle a bit to wander over to the Star City Casino and Lyric Threatre, where we saw the Phantom of the Opera.  What a wonderful show – the stage settings, costumes and music were all truly haunting and magical, and Mum really loved every single minute of it, or so she told me afterwards.  I’ve seen it before, but still really loved it myself … and a couple of the songs never fail to take my breath away! As photography is banned in the theatre, I’ve borrowed these files shots from a Phantom of the Opera website

phantom of the opera logo

Phantom-and-Christine

After the show we took a slow walk around Darling Harbour and over to the QVB Building to catch the train home while we reminisced about the day and the show.  When we got home we finished the day off with a bit of stitching (on my part anyway), a glass of wine for me and a botte of Corona for Mum, and a couple of episodes of NCIS while munching away on our Lindt delicacies … 

Here’s a quick shot of Cockle Bay Wharf at night:

Darling Harbour at night

And to finish off, here’s my latest photo of my progress on Mirabilia’s Winter Queen (geez, I’m soooo loving that white and Wisper thread … not!).  Sorry she’s now headless, but I can never be bothered unrolling the towel and taking a full photo of her!

Winter Queen 25May08

Ah, such a blissful day … those are the things that dreams are made of!!! 😀