Current state of WIPs

Alas, my wee Lumix is still in hiding – so yet again you are stuck with crappy scans of my current WIPs.  The GREAT news is that my elusive back-ordered Rainbow Gallery thread arrived on Friday, so the last two nights have been spent doing the first part of the fill-in stitches on Sapphire Star.  Here’s the latest scan of where it’s up to … I’m now in the process of doing little upright cross stitches in the centres of the ‘main’ part of the design – once that is done it’s time to re-do the centre long stitches, followed by the final parts, which is all long-stitch.  Every time I pick this project up the colours blow me away and I savour every minute spent on it – I think this one will be finished by the end of this weekend, if not this week!  😀

Friday nights are “Dawsons Creek” nights in our little flat – we have finally finished season 5 (which I’ve probably enjoyed more than the others to date), and this Friday I get to drool over a younger version of Jensen Ackles for the final season of Dawsons.  Then I can give myself a HUGE clap on the back and a resounding cheer of “Well Done, Lass” … that I managed to survive the whole series – and once I’ve finished drooling over Jensen (I just have shut out the fact that he will look about 12, and concentrate on that dreamy voice of his – another great thing about stitching!), it means we can finally move on to a different TV series for Friday nights.  It seems our next choice is either going to be series one of Fringe (my choice) or Dark Angel (which I’ve never seen before) – or the entire series of Buffy … or perhaps all three in that order!  I guess that ties up Friday nights at our place for the rest of the year! LOL.

Anyway, back to stitching … next up is a little freebie I started at the start of last week, but I can’t find three whole DMC colours, and therefore can’t go any further until I find them!  Perhaps they’re off having a little soiree somewhere with my Lumix camera – hopefully they’ll take photos of their little antics hmmm.  Anyway, I guess this one is now on hold until I can make a run out to Spotlight to pick up some more DMC – so much for being a quick stitch to whip up in a day! 😛  (I’ll add all the chart details etc once it’s finished.)

Lucky last is a piece that I started working on on Sunday afternoon.  I decided to take up a Ghost Trappers challenge (one of the two Facebook games that I’m stupidly addicted to), which pretty much meant being chained to my PC for the entire weekend … or at least all of Sunday anyway.  I ended up setting up my little lapstand on my computer desk, so I could click my mouse every 4 or so minutes … yes, demented, I know … but I enjoyed having some “me” time in my room and enjoyed killing three birds with one stone – stitching, playing games, and reading an audiobook!  Pretty much summed up in one word … “Heaven” 😀

Anyway, here’s the WIP from my Sunday stitching session (Lizzie*Kate’s Hocus Pocus) – this may not get touched now until Sapphire Star is finished, or it’ll remain my ‘bedroom stitching’ project until I can pick up my missing DMC skeins for the acorn freebie.  Either way, it’ll probably just take one more day or two nights’ stitching and it’ll be finished.

Reading-wise, one book I managed to finish last weekend was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – I don’t know of a single person who hasn’t raved about this book after reading it, and I have to admit I really really enjoyed it.  I even shed a tear or two in a couple of places, and very glad I took the time to read it.  Savage and raw in places, touching and tender in others – this was a really enjoyable read!

Next up I started and finished reading Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell.  I’ve read all the Kay Scarpetta novels over the years, and enjoyed every single one of them, and this one was no exception.  I have to say, though, I was glad that I’d read the previous book first, as Scarpetta referred often to an incident or two in the previous book – while you could have still followed the storyline easily, it was much better knowing the full background to the situation being discussed.  The only books I’ve ever disliked of Ms Cornwell’s were Hornet’s Nest and Southern Cross, the Andy Brazil series – I disliked them so much I didn’t even bother getting the 3rd book in the series, Isle of Dogs, and it took me a while to get back into buying her books again.  Thankfully Kay Scarpetta et al continue to provide me with good reading fodder with her forensics expertise and thrilling crime writing!  Way to go, Ms Cornwell, you kept me hooked for another 13 1/4 hours! 😀

As for the next book, I decided to try a different style of writing, with a shorter story, and clicked the play button on Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood.  Set in the 1920’s the awfully English accents and dandy characters are quite fun and are easily wiling away a few hours.  This one has been very easy listening, and I’m only 1 1/2 hours away from the book’s ending.  I have to say for stitchers audiobooks are yet another of life’s great inventions … while it takes a while to get ‘into the mood’ of an audiobook, once you are ‘in the right mind space’, it’s a wonderful way to combine two loves – a love of stitching and of reading 🙂

And I guess on that note I really should get into bed – as much as I love audiobooks when I’m stitching, my actual preference is to hold a physical book and devour its pages one by one … these days, though, my stitching has been taking a priority while I’m in the mood, and physical books have been well and truly lowest on the list.  I’ve decided it’s about time I got further than the first chapter of J.R. Ward’s first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and I’m going to put my stitching down 1/2 an hour early each evening and read a few pages before bedtime … sounds like a reasonable plan, except I know that once I get my teeth into a good book I get into true reading mode and end up propping my eyelids open with matchsticks while glancing at the clock in the wee small hours of the morning and thinking “just one more chapter …” 😉

Which is a good point … perhaps I should just switch the light off and go to actual sleep before midnight … that’d be an interesting change 😀

Resurfacing old U.F.O.

We spent the evening watching some TV and Supernatural episodes while I split my time between trying to resurrect my laptop (it keeps dying) and my stitching.  I managed to stitch as far as I could on Sapphire Star, and realised I am missing yet another thread somehow … will have to check my stash to make sure I haven’t just forgotten to add it to the ‘kit’.  Anyway, it’s looking great, if I say so myself!

Then I decided not to start anything new, but to pick up a very VERY old UFO that hasn’t been touched since … um … well … since April 2007 … yikes!!!  I haven’t touched any of my old UFOs since I finished Chatelaine’s Stitching Leporello last year, so I decided it was time to put a few stitches into it … I didn’t manage a great deal, but did manage to finish the stitching of the ‘bird band’ on the outside.  I still hate the over-one section in the middle, and would dearly love someone to wave a magic wand over it to make it be “finished” … perhaps I’ll make myself do one strand of over-one stitching each time I pick it up before I stitch more on the fun parts – but then again that may put me off picking it up full stop – hmmm, maybe I should just leave it until the end, so it has to be done before the beading, that should be incentive enough!  The “Before” picture shows the fabric colour more accurately.

Before
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After

Today I’ve been struggling on and off all day with a nauseous migraine, so have been in bed most of the afternoon.  I was getting restless so thought I’d tempt fate and sit up for a few minutes – but now I think it’s time to go back to bed again …

Sapphire Star Update

I didn’t have the energy and attention span to start a new project tonight, even though I’ve got a few kitted up and ready to go … so after rummaging through my WIP basket for a while, and finding nothing else that took my fancy, I pulled out Laura J Perin’s Sapphire Star. 

I managed to complete the filling stitches of most of the outside border, and will probably fill in the little squares next with the relevant metallic threads … then it will have to go to one side yet again, as I’m still awaiting my thread to arrive from the US.  This is from a ONS who is notoriously slow in posting, BUT they did have the thread in stock at the time (and not many places stock Rainbow Gallery threads), and of course they have regular 20-25% off sales, which is what I used at the time … alas, according to the order status online we’re still awaiting the arrival of back-ordered embellishment kits (teeny white buttons from Lizzie*Kate so I can finally finish my Boo Club piece from last year – as the charts were used, on loan from a friend, I’ve had to find my own embellishments and let’s just say it’s been an ongoing challenge, so I was excited to see them for sale on sale ONS site … of course now I’m playing the waiting game … still … ho-hum …).

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my latest update of Sapphire Star – I still drool over the colours in this one every time I pick it up and have started to fantasise about how I’ll get it framed … assuming my thread turns up while I’m young enough to do the framing! LOL.

Sapphire Star Update

Alas, I probably won’t get too much further once I finish the outside border until my missing thread is ordered and arrives.  The only other blocks I can probably complete at this stage are ones that have long-ish satin stitches, and I’d rather leave those until the very last to make sure I don’t snag them.  In the meantime, though, I still have a wee bit of border left to go yet, so that’s OK.  Here’s the progress as I left it last night:

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I must say, though, I have got a SERIOUS case of startitis … I have a major urge to start many different designs at the moment, all relatively small ones though – I’m quite honestly thinking of giving myself the rest of the month to just pick and choose and start what the heck I like … I’ve opted to have a low-key birthday this year and not celebrate (to be honest, my mind is more on the sadness of the memorial service and not my birthday beforehand) … so perhaps this can be my birthday treat to myself – and on that note, I just may spend the rest of the weekend throwing fabric and threads together and kitting a few things up 😀

In the meantime, though, I have to now hit the road and drive my elderly neighbour to a travel agent … long story, but this is certainly the better option than the alternative 😉

I also haven’t decided yet whether to bother doing the Photo Hunt today … the theme of “average” leaves me feeling … well … “Average” 😛

Moving forward on Sapphire Star

Even though I’ve spent more time tonight frog-stitching (I swear, I think I’ve had to frog-stitch something in every single block of this chart – I’m so out of practice following canvaswork charts!!), I decided I was in the mood to stitch a bit more on it, and I’m pleased I did … I managed a reasonable bit of forward motion on it 🙂

I ADORE the colours in this piece – the blues, greens and purples are so lush! 😀

Frog stitching

Well, I finally bit the bullet last night and sat down in front of Dawson’s Creek (over halfway of the whole series now, thank goodness … the end seems so much closer now LOL), and mindlessly frog-stitched Sapphire Star.  This is one of those cases when the “before” and “after” pics seem to be so, so wrong! 😛

BEFORE …………………………………………………… AFTER
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Instead of starting my stitching on it again, though, I thought I’d wait until I had a day of concentration available so I didn’t cock it up again, and added just a couple of stitches into my other WIP.  Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy stitching this one the first time round, and I can’t say why but things haven’t changed much, so it’ll be a long-time WIP I think – even though there isn’t a great deal of stitching, I get fed up with it really quickly … even if I only get an hour’s stitching inbetween other WIPs I think I’ll be happy enough.  I’m also disappointed that the purple thread isn’t as dark as my original one, so the bright turquoise seems to be more overpowering, rather than equal in colour intensity … but hopefully when more gets added it’ll be OK.

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Ooh, before I forget though, I have to say I’ve just seen yet ANOTHER chart that has gone STRAIGHT to my wishlist … loving everything “Paris” this one just HAS to come to Mama at some stage:

Jardin Prive-Eiffel Quaker

In fact there have been a few designs over recent months that have appealed and probably need to go officially on my wishlist … I’m not sure if I’ve shared these already, but perhaps I will just to share the love and to spruce up this post?  Here are many more designs that have tickled my fancy recently:

BBD-Summer Iris Cherished Stitches-Tulip Collection Needlebook Scissors Case & Fob JulySings2
Blackbird Designs-Summer Iris; Cherished Stitches-Tulip Collection; Bent Creek-July Sings

Bent Creek-Joyous Noel CW-Noel Natural JBW-Tis the Season
Bent Creek-Joyous Noel; The Cat’s Whiskers-Noel Natural; JBW Designs-Tis the Season

LK-3 Blox DessinsDHC-White Christmas Milady's Needle-Christmas Elegance
Lizzie*Kate-3 Blox kit; Dessins DHC-White Christmas; Milady’s Needle-Christmas Elegance

LK-Jolly Holiday Rosewood Manor-Ring in Christmas The Trilogy-Snow Treat
Lizzie*Kate-Jolly Holiday; Rosewood Manor-Ring in Christmas; The Trilogy-Snow Treats!

Victoria Sampler-Christmas Village Stitching Treasures-Thistle Stitcher's Purse Kit Stitching Treasures-Antebellum Sewing Kit
The Victoria Sampler-Christmas Village; Stitching Treasures-Thistle Stitcher’s Purse Kit; Stitching Treasures-Antebellum Sewing Kit

Chatelaine-Peacock Mandala Mystery XIII Crosseyed cricket Dessins DHC-Laura's Embroideries
Chatelaine-Peacock Mandala Mystery; Cross-Eyed Cricket-A Summer Place; Dessins DHC-Laura’s Embroidery

From Nancy's Needle-Shades of Winter Its Fine-ally Finished-Percy Kit Needles Prayse-English Whitework Sampler
From Nancy’s Needle-Shades of Winter; It’s Fine-ally Finished-Percy kit; Needles Prayse-English Whitework Sampler

Primitive Needle-Witches Hollow Rosewood Manor-Quaker Diamonds Stitchers Hands-Funky Frank
Primitive Needle-Witches Hollow; Rosewood Manor-Quaker Diamonds; Stitcher’s Hands-Funky Frank

Twisted Threads-Mini Gingham-October Boo Trilogy-Halloween Spot SB-We Will Go AHaunting
Twisted Threads-Mini Gingham October Boo; The Trilogy-Halloween Spot; Shepherd’s Bush-We Will Go A-Haunting

SB-Spooky Halloween SB-October Glendon Place-Witching it was Halloween
Shepherd’s Bush-Spooky Halloween; Shepherd’s Bush-October; Glendon Place-Witching it was Halloween

Heart in Hand-Halloween Markings Hinzeit-Peekaboo
Heart in Hand-Halloween Markings; Hinzeit-Charmed Peek-a-Boo

Glendon Place-Monster March Cross Eyed Cricket-Skeleton Crew
Glendon Place-Monster March; Cross Eyed Cricket-Skeleton Crew

Now after sharing a very eclectic mix of designs, I’m off into the HTML code of my blog to yet again fix up the silly sidebars that every so often (after no changes from me, mind you) expand themselves so they drop to the bottom of the page.  I wonder if it’s when they do a new ‘refresh’ of WP?  Anyway, perhaps this time I’ll learn and do a copy and paste into a Word document of my blog code so I can just copy and paste it back again later when it happens again … ‘cos it’s like the Pantene ad, it may not happen overnight but it WILL happen (again … and again … and again).

Insert expletive here!

‘Cos it’s not appropriate that I print what I just uttered when I found out I’d miscounted in yesterday’s stitching session on Sapphire Star … and of course I had to find out after I’d almost filled in the top sections – only to find that I started the blocks about 7-8 rows too low.  Here’s how it looks right at the point that I found the mistake:

So that means I either have to fudge it by missing out the dark diamond above the main blue one (in the centre – not stitched yet), or I have to unpick the bottom block lines, along with the entire big centre blue block and move it down those 7-8 lines … oh crap 😦

Funnily enough my stitching urge just went out the window … I think I might read a book tomorrow instead 😛

Update to Sapphire Star

I have to admit to growing a little tired of Dawson’s tonight – the endless squabbles and melodramas of a group of teenagers is finally wearing on my nerves … BUT I swore I’d sit and watch the entire collection of DVD’s and I will continue to do so even if it kills me or drives me to the booze cabinet!  The GREAT thing, though, is that it’s good to stitch by, ‘cos you don’t really have to look up all that often and can just listen to them all drivel on amongst themselves on the TV screen 😀

Which means, therefore, there’s some reasonable stitching progress from tonight … the close-up shows the colours relatively well, considering it was taken in a darkened room, directly under my Ott-Lite … unfortunately the ‘whole’ photo looks exceptionally washed out thanks to the Ott-Lite 😦

Tomorrow is a public holiday for Australia Day (well, I guess technically that is now “today”, so happy Australia Day to all my Aussie friends!!) … I said I would join the throng of hooligans at The Rocks for a free music concert, but truth is I really just want to sit around all afternoon in front of the goggle box with my honking great tapestry needle in hand, working away on getting some more colour into my Sapphire Star … sounds like a blissful plan … all I need now is some really bad weather to force me indoors 😛

Shhh, don’t tell anyone … New start

I don’t usually take part in “guilt-free January”, but this weekend I just couldn’t resist starting something new – I’ve had a hankering to start a canvaswork piece for weeks now, and I finally succumbed to the temptation late yesterday.  The photo is dreadful and blurred, but you can at least guess from the colour of the stitches of this one that I’m in love already!!! 😛

This is Laura J Perin’s Sapphire Star (or at least it will be once I get cracking a bit more on it – I’ll take a better photo, ie non-blurry, when I’ve stitched a bit more on it) … I’m about to head off into the lounge to watch Dawson’s Creek (yet again) with Katie … I’m starting to think it’s the TV show that never ends, but we’re over halfway through the seasons now, and once we finish it means we can move on to something else – namely Season 1 of Fringe.  I’ve seen most of the first season before it got pulled from TV, but Katie hasn’t seen any.  (Of course, now thanks to Channel 9, it is finally back on TV again – thanks Go! channel.)

Talking of TV shows being pulled, I’m seriously p*ssed at Channel Ten if the information has Katie has just told me is correct – that they won’t be renewing the Supernatural series.  As per normal they think it’s just fine and dandy to show about 1/3 of the ‘final’ season of a show only to axe it … and they wonder why people resort to downloading TV shows.  Of course ratings are going to be low when you move to late night slots, and of course ratings will be super low when you play in during Christmas week – where did you get your business degrees from???  My thoughts about Channel Ten management are seriously not printable … there are plenty of words rattling around in my head that would make my mother’s hair stand on end!  Bah humbug you Channel Ten morons!!!  And talking of which, where’s the final bloody episodes of ER????  mutter mutter mutter bloody mutter … 😦

OK, time to head back into the lounge for some calming TV … on DVD, Channel Ten, so you can’t stuff that up!!! 😛

Back briefly

Sorry I have been AWOL for a while … all I can say is that I’ve been struggling emotionally, I guess, for a number of weeks now, and I’ve been in a bit of a ‘black fog’ for want of a better way to put it.  Anyway, I have been planning a trip back down to Melbourne for about 2 months now, but it was then put on hold indefinitely after Erin passed away until I heard about when her service would be held in NZ – as that is now likely to be the middle of January, on Monday night it was all of a sudden ‘full steam ahead’ and Katie and I started making plans once again for the trip.  It’s taken me probably until yesterday before I started feeling brighter and looking forward to the trip, but now I think it will do me the world of good … getting away from home and away from the stress and pressures of work will be great.  Of course it just may make me more homesick for Melbourne and those friends I left behind …

When I get home I think I may need to take a quick visit to the GP as well … according to my hairdresser the itchy scalp I’ve been developing over the last few weeks is likely caused by stress and upheaval, as opposed to a reaction to my conditioner … I guess my body’s trying to tell me something!  Oh well, only two weeks left and I’ll get some TLC at home when I fly over to Mum and Dad’s for Christmas – something else that I’m really looking forward to.  Recent events brings it home even more that family is really important!

I haven’t picked up a needle for weeks now, so I guess that gives an idea of my mindset of late, as that’s super super unusual!  I did force myself to do a bit of home DIY, though, as I had a gift I needed to get ready for my trip to Melbourne.  Unfortunately other gifts still aren’t done, so I guess those’ll have to go in the post later. 

Here’s the results of my labours that I finished last night (just have to have the hooks/hangers screwed into the back):

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A framing job I did first, but in a ready-made mat and frame from Target:

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The gift I needed to get finished for this weekend (as it would be too hard to post) – this is for my ex-flatmate and friend Lisa for her birthday:

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Then this one is especially for me – LHN’s Hannah Purington, to match our lounge’s marine/blue theme):

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The piece de resistance – Graeme Ross’ Tiger … I’ve been waiting many many years to see this one framed!

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And, finally, the one frame that I cocked up a bit (this was my 2nd framing attempt) … the corner shifted slightly when I was tightening up the clamps and I didn’t notice – c’est la vie, I still love it 🙂

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These are all photos taken prior to adding the glass – I can’t believe it only cost AU$29 for 5 pieces to be cut, and the canvaswork and tiger pieces are decent sizes!  Anyway, I’m really quite proud of these for first attempts – it feels wonderful to be able to say “I did all that” … from the stitching to the mat cutting, frame making, and the actual framing itself.  I think I’ll be doing more in the future to give myself some more practice, and get some items out of the finishing pile.

Anyway, I’d better go get my packing done … it’s 8pm and I still haven’t even started yet!  Maybe there’s still a bit of reluctance hanging around under that black cloud, but I’m sure that’ll be shaken off by the morning 🙂