ABC Wednesday – G

Here is my choice for this week’s “ABC Wednesday” – brought to you by the Letter “G” … Gannets from the colony at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:

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And this week’s “one I prepared earlier, stitchy/crafty content” is “Golden Garland” ornament from the 2005 JCS Christmas ornie issue:

Golden Garland

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The week in review

The last week has been an interesting one, but alas no needles went into fabric for the entire week until yesterday!

Last weekend I got to use my Christmas gift from Katie, tickets to Tap Dogs – alas, we thought Adam Garcia was in it (the primary reason Katie wanted to go), but it turns out he had completed his tour the previous week and returned to the UK to film his TV show.  Unfortunately the guy who took his place might have won accolades and be a highly accredited dancer, but his stage presence was pure arrogance personified to me and it detracted from the show a little bit for me – I couldn’t stand watching him perform and quite frankly wanted to slap him stupid, he just came across as if he didn’t want to be there as well … BUT that didn’t spoil the show totally, as it meant I personally focused all my energies on the other dancers, and loved, loved, loved it.  Every single one of the others brought their characters to the stage beautifully, and it was sheer pleasure to watch them performing.  Unlike myself, Katie wasn’t expecting a dance show with pretty much no dialogue, but I’m glad that she too really enjoyed it and she said she would have been happy enough to go back to see it again.  I would highly recommend it to anyone!!

The rest of the week has been spent trying to hide from the heat – it has been unbearably hot in our little flat, and not many hours of sleep to be had for the first few nights of the week, even with an electric fan going full bore throughout the night in each bedroom.  Yesterday, so I am told, was 43C during the day, and apparently 33C indoors at midnight … yuk, yuk, yukky!

Yesterday, though, I spent the day hiding out in air-conditioned comfort at Wollongong where we had a get-together at Amanda’s place – it’s been well overdue to have a GTG and as always the day was spent drooling over people’s stitching and having a laugh.  Thanks again to Alison for the chauffeuring to the venue and the highly entertaining chats in the car (I always have to drive everywhere when I go out, so I really appreciate the times when I don’t have to drive myself) – and thanks to all the girls for the entertainment value of the day, which is always a given with this group of gals.  And shock, horror, a few of us actually stitched on the day, which is almost unheard of … and we even had two finishes – one for me and one for Alison!  (Mind you, all I did was attach the beads to Sapphire Star, and complete a couple of sections on my canvaswork Sapphire Star piece, which doesn’t particularly warrant an update piccie!)

Patricia Ann Designs-Sapphire Star
“Sapphire Star” ornament by Patricia Ann Designs
from 2004 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on white linen with recommended threads and beads,

except for a bugle bead modification (I used the next size down 80000 series)

Alas I wish I had taken more notice of Heather’s changes before I went back to replace my Mill Hill bugle beads for the medium size length (which as it turns out were STILL too long). I think I like the bugle beads that both Heather and Amanda used (I saw Amanda’s in the flesh yesterday), being silver lined instead of white. To be honest I just can’t be bothered unpicking it all now, so this is how it will remain. I originally had plans to do this a couple more times for gifts, so I’ll be better prepared for theirs when I eventually get around to it … short silver bugle beads it will be!!!! Serves me right for not checking the photos first!!

Then last night I quickly threw in a load of washing just in time for laundry curfew closing, in the hope that it will get dry ready for packing.  I’m off to Brisbane tomorrow for work – although I’m also about to head into work today to do some more in readiness for Monday morning (alas I lost access to the computer system that my work is based on for 5 hours Friday afternoon, so I’m even more behind than ever!).  The great thing about going into work today, though, is that there is air-conditioning … ah bliss haha.

And on that note I guess I really should get my A into G and stop procrastinating and go and get that work done … the sooner it’s done, the sooner I’m home! 🙂

A bit of Sapphire Star

… the ornie, that is, not my canvaswork that has been languishing way too long as a UFO!!!  I managed to get a bit of stitching done yesterday, and hoped to actually get this one finished as it’s a relatively quick stitch … but alas, in fine form I find that yet again I’m missing one of the main components of the stitching – no bugle beads!  I’m starting to think that *I* am missing one of the key components of my brain, as I’m doing this way too often just lately!!!  Or perhaps there’s some hidden side of me that just loves to have a million unfinished pieces sitting around the bedroom while waiting for that ‘one little item’ … !!

Anyway, this is how it currently stands until I can pick up some white bugle beads … and now I’m just going to have to grab another ornie out of my ‘to-do pile’ and kit it up so I can meet my self-imposed deadline of two ornies each month (with luck).  I have a whole heap of photocopied working copies from when my stitching stash was in storage, along with the fabrics cut up ready, and I just have to add threads and beads, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hardship 🙂

January Challenge – Day 10

Today saw me undertaking a number of housekeeping tasks, including packing away all the Christmas decorations, cleaning half of the bathroom, vacuuming and even a little bit of dusting (shock, horror, I hear Mum utter) – after the vacuuming I decided I’d had enough of the rivers of sweat pouring down my back and opted to sit for the rest of the afternoon in front of the electric fan and watching Criminal Minds on DVD – which also meant plenty of stitching time today for Day 10 of the Crazy January Challenge, and some brown blobs that will eventually look like little teddy bears once a bucket-load of backstitching is added.

I’m absolutely loving doing this challenge, and like a few other people I’ve seen, I could continue all month doing these new starts, it’s very invigorating.  I will, however, need to think of a potential substitute for Prairie Moon’s Christmas chart if my fabric doesn’t arrive over the next couple of days – oh such hardship, having to find another project to start!!  I’m thinking perhaps Jardin Prive’s Eiffel Quaker … or JBW Designs’ Christmas Pudding … or … or … or … well, a number of other projects waiting in the wings to be started really … 😉

After completing two bears, I decided enough was enough of the revolting Lugana I was stitching on, and I picked up my previously started Christmas ornie and finished it.  I stitched this one a few years ago when I didn’t have the recommended Blue Moon by Crescent Colours, and this time I used the correct blue seeing as I now have that thread in my stash (I did, however, still continue to substitute WDW Kudzu with NN Olive Grove).  This completes one ornie for my monthly goal – but I’d still really like to finish one more, which I have kitted up ready to go (along with two more kitted up ready for next month).  I love, love, love this ornie, and the colours are just stunning … this is possibly one of my favourite ornies EVER!  But that’s a no-brainer really, ‘cos it’s BLUE! 😀

“Winter’s Eve” by Country Cottage Needleworks
from 2006 JCS Christmas ornie magazine
stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen
with mix of DMC, Needle Necessities and Crescent Colours threads

And on that note I’d better hit the hay, ‘cos it’s now 1am and I need to be up and at ’em early tomorrow to make the most of my final day off 🙂

Christmas decorations

Before I show piccies of the decorations, I want to say a heartfelt “thanks” to one of my closest stitching pals Katrina who has been spoiling me for a number of years now with a handmade ornie – each one I treasure dearly, and this latest one is absolutely no exception!  (Excuse the silver lametta sitting on the top!)

Don’t you think this is just so “ME”? 😀 Unfortunately I forgot to bring the other part of the gift home with me, and it’s still sitting on my computer at work … it’s the cutest little yellow rubber ducky with little santa hat and scarf on … too, too cute!  He was keeping a smile on my face all day at work on Friday.  Thanks again Katrina, you have once again spoilt me rotten, and I totally adore it!  I feel very blessed that the internet has enabled such a lovely friendship to blossom 🙂

Unfortunately I haven’t been in the brightest of stitching moods throughout the year, to be honest, and my own ornie plans pretty much went out the window – instead I’ve been focused on stitching whatever I’ve felt like just to keep my momentum up as much as possible and keeping the feeling of being ‘overwhelmed’ at bay. I think I’m finally coming out of that blue phase, so fingers crossed in the new year I’ll get a few more ornies stitched up and sent to some of my best online pals, as well as fulfilling some outstanding stitching commitments!

Anyway, back to the decorations, it was receiving Katrina’s ornie on Friday that made me start thinking of bringing up my ‘little’ Christmas tree from the garage instead of the huge 6ft one and having only my stitched ornies on display. Even Katie gave it the thumbs-up when I’d finished and said she really likes it, so I guess it gets the official seal of approval 🙂

Rightio, enough of the waffling, here are this year’s lounge decorations in all their glory (I personally think the tree’s a bit crowded, but I didn’t want to leave any ornies out! – I think maybe next year I need to buy a tree that’s just a little bit taller and fuller, and it’ll be a perfect size):

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And this little tree (which stays up all year as a backdrop to my ornie finishes) is look a wee bit bare as it’s waiting for Mum’s 12 Days of Christmas set to be finished and added … not entirely sure that’ll be completed before Christmas, but it definitely will happen before I have to put them all away again! 🙂

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The next year I also want to make a table runner for the lounge and/or the table under the tree – I bought this fabric a few months ago in readiness for when the urge of quilting creativity struck (which will hopefully be some times prior to December 2011!) – this is from the 12 Days of Christmas fabric range by Moda:

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And on that note, I’m off to sip on my iced Paull’s Egg Nog (that’s the brand on sale in supermarkets over here) and perhaps do a bit of stitching … perhaps … unfortunately Bittersweet Season will continue looking like this for a while longer, as the threads I need are still lost in transit, but I do now have the threads to finish “Valentine Bird”, so perhaps that will suffice for now and may even get some of that stitching mojo back … ?

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What happens when you don’t stitch

I still don’t feel like stitching, and have no urge to pick up a needle yet … I do, however, have the urge to do some organising of my stitching ‘stash’ in the computer!

Years ago I started scanning the JCS Christmas ornie magazines, and started creating a library of sorts within Microsoft Word. It basically has a thumbnail of each year’s ornaments listed by designer, and the details of the ornie along with magazine issue (year), scanned thumbnail and ornie title. I originally started doing this when I was going to do a personal challenge, ie stitching one ornament by every single designer that has been published – now this was a number of years ago, and there weren’t as many designers as there are today, but I still never did get very far with that challenge. I thought it would make me stitch some designs I’d never really looked at before, as often ornies are much better in real life than in the magazine … it was a good idea at the time 😛

Anyway, seeing as I wasn’t feeling up to stitching and I felt like getting a numb butt in front of the PC for a while, I scanned the 2010 magazine and updated the various pages with the latest ornies.

It’s really nice to flick through the pages for visual inspiration, and it helps to find an ornie quickly when you get that sudden urge to stitch a specific one. It might be a lot of work once a year, but it sure is worth it! 😀

Here’s a little sample of what a page looks like – alas, I’ve never been able to track down the 1999 issue, so that one is missing … but otherwise I have every year from 1997 to 2010 😀

Christmas Treat Bag

As you can obviously tell, I’ve been busy this morning, going by all the separate posts.  I finally finished off two pin pillow tutorials that have been languishing since last weekend, and I’ve been listening to my flatmate clean up the flat in readiness for her mother arriving this afternoon.  It seems she’s worked out how to use both the mop and vacuum cleaner, all that is needed now is to work out how to take the recycling down to the rubbish bins, and it’ll be a perfect day from my perspective! 😛

This afternoon I’ll be hibernating in my room all afternoon catching up on some of my own housework while I finish off the last DVD of Criminal Minds Season 1 – then I can take it back to its owner and trade it in for Season 2.  There may not be any more stitching done this weekend, but yesterday I did manage to finish up a little cutie – as per normal I’ve managed to misplace my bags of charms that I know I had in my hot little hands last weekend, so hence the tidy-up in my room that is well and truly needed.

Shepherd's Bush-Christmas Treat Bag

“Christmas Treat Bag” by Shepherd’s Bush
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch
~ in colour “Little Boy Blue” (Kiwi Illusions)

with recommended DMC and Mill Hill beads

Then yesterday I started another Christmas ornie that was already kitted up and ready to go … but I looked at the fabric already cut out and thought ‘what a waste’ – after a quick measuring up with a ruler, I decided if I was frugal enough I could just get two ornies out of it, so lo and behold my stitching session is now seeing two ornies grow side by side instead of the one!  It’s a bit slow going on the stitching front, but at least it’s a start!  And as I’ve already stitched this one before for myself, these are eventually going to reside with family or friends some time next year.

I seem to have forgotten all about Christmas ornies this year, so doubt there’ll be any to be sent out this year.  Last year I didn’t even manage to post out Christmas cards, so at least I’m ahead of the game this time, and have a pile ready to be posted out over the next week or two.

And on that note, I’d better haul it and get my A into G! 😀