Challenges & SALs, WIPocalypse

WIPocalypse 2023 – goals for the year

I’m almost reluctant to set any goals this year, but what the heck … go big or go home, right? I’ve pretty much copied over the goals I set two years ago before my stitching hiatus, with a few adjustments and removals. I originally wanted to finish Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor and also Three Kings by Mill Hill, but I don’t want that pressure if my mojo doesn’t stay so most items are for ‘progress’ instead of finishes.

My needlecraft goals for 2023 are:

  • Progress on 12 WIPs/UFOs (WIPGO should hopefully help me meet this goal)
  • Progress on three canvaswork projects (WIPs or new starts)
  • Progress on a crochet project
  • Complete 12 Christmas ornaments (as part of the JCS ornament SAL on Facebook)
  • Sew an item of clothing
  • Finish and frame the Ronald McDonald charity stitching
  • Start a bed quilt
  • Complete at least one cartonnage project
  • Complete at least three sewing projects (eg pouches, pincushions etc – WIPs or new starts)
  • Progress on at lease one project with specialty stitches or non-cross stitch (eg stumpwork, hardanger etc)
  • Finish-finish at least 12 items in my finishing pile (eg Christmas ornaments etc)

The starting point for those projects on my WIPGO board this year:

Challenges & SALs

WIPGO 2023 – I’m back stitching again

It’s been a veeeerrrry long time since I stitched anything on a regular basis … well, truth be told, anything at all really. It’s been an emotionally traumatic couple of years after the passing of my Dad, then losing employment for a while during Covid, then my Mum deteriorating after a couple of strokes. For the first time in many many years, stitching no longer brought me comfort, but rather was an emotional trigger – perhaps because it reminded me of my Mum too much, as it’s something we’ve shared since she turned 70. Instead of stitching, I turned instead to a new-to-me craft of cardmaking, which can be found under my Instagram account, Shacks Papercrafts.

This year, though, the bug has finally started to rear its head a bit and I’ve decided I may attempt the WIPGO challenge while my motivation is here. I’m trying to be gentle with myself and not put too much pressure on, and kept all the goals as 5-hour blocks. Most of my projects chosen are older WIPs, with some newer WIPs thrown in for good measure, and a few new starts just to keep things interesting. I may change projects on the board on a whim, just to keep myself interested and to keep the momentus going, but time will tell. For now this is the board how it stands at the start of the year.

January’s project numbers are 6 and 10, so I kicked off with number 6, Mini Sunflowers by Marianne Broome and Heaven and Earth Designs. This was one of the projects I was really keen to work on, so I was thrilled to have this as the first project off the ranks. I enjoyed putting needle to fabric so much I ended up stitching through the night until 6am – that was pretty insane, but it was oh so enjoyable … like returning to an old love. It has been really difficult to put it down, but I want to try to balance my crafts this year and splitting my time between my cardmaking and stitching, so eventually I put it to one side. I’ll soon start on my second WIPGO project for January, and the January ornament for the Just Cross Stitch Ornament SAL on Facebook, then I may return to the sunfowers again before we move into the February projects.

Here’s where I started from:

And here’s where I finished at the end of two days stitching … and what a wonderful two days it was!

Christmas Ornaments, Crazy January 2011 Challenge, Cross Stitch, Exchanges, Home & Family TO BE FIXED, Lizzie Kate, Stash, Works in Progress

Still in the land of the living

Sadly a number of shocking migraines and some late working hours have seen my stitching mojo fly out the window over the last month … yesterday, however, I decided to catch up on last week’s recorded TV shows (seeing as I didn’t switch the TV on at all during the week) and managed to put a few stitches into a commitment piece – I need to quickly get this one finished so I can get it framed for a birthday gift.  I managed to do a fair bit last Saturday just before I started getting a throw-up migraine, and after yesterday’s efforts I can almost see the end in sight.  There are still a bunch of bears to stitch on the left-hand side, but at least I’m about 2/3 finished now.  It’s the first time in ages that I’ve stitched something that requires such a lot of back-stitching … not my favourite part of stitching, but it sure does make those blobs of stitching look wonderful once it’s done, and I’m glad to have got the first 2/3 of back-stitching completed before tackling the last section of the design!  This is one of my Crazy January Challenge projects:

Here's how it looked back on 10 January

How it looked at the end of last weekend

How it looks now - a day in bed stitching in my PJs was worthwhile!

Last Monday I received an absolutely awesome ornie from my good friend Carol for our HoE Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange.  I love the reason why Carol chose to stitch this one, as moose are indigenous in NH this is a wonderful personalised ornie with a taste of Carol’s home.  I absolutely love it, and the stitching and finishing are as always perfect!  Thank again Carol for another fantabulous exchange that I will treasure! 😀  I apologise in advance for the quality of all the photos today, as they had to be taken with my iPhone thanks to a flat camera battery that I just keep forgetting to charge up!  Sadly moose ornie didn’t come up at all well on the iPhone 😦

My Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange received from Carol - I love it!

I also heard a while back that Joke had received the ornie I had sent to her – unfortunately I was late in posting, so I sent a little extra beaded scissor fob to apologise for the delay.  I can’t remember taking a photo of the fob I sent, but you can see it in Joke’s post if you want to see it.

Lizzie*Kate ornie exchange sent to Joke

The only other thing I have to share is a wonderful surprise parcel in the mail I received from Orna Willis – I’ve been a fan of Orna’s canvaswork designs for years now, and have been a follower on her blog  since she started it up.  Orna has recently been having giveaways of thread/embellishment packs for some of her followers (just chosen randomly from the list of followers), and I was surprised one day to see my name up in lights on the blog … I had won one of the giveaways.  I just had to take a photo of the way that everything was packaged up, aren’t they lovely in their own special little tin?  I should probably take a photo of the contents separately as there are lots of little treats hiding in that tin, but I’ll do that on the day that I take them out to put them away 🙂

And that probably covers all the stitching news that I have.  Nothing else has been happening really except for work, work, and more work – it’s been quite difficult trying to close off and start pieces of work for my current job while learning my new job one day a week, plus still attending many meetings and having to teach a work colleague aspects of my job.  Hopefully after next week I’ll start getting back into a normal routine of only one job, although sadly 2 hours travelling time each day will probably eat most of my week’s stitching time that I normally have … it just means that I’ll have to plan my weekends so I can at least get ‘some’ stitching in every weekend 🙂

One great thing about working in the city now, though, is that last Wednesday after work I wandered over to the city swimming pool and did a workout in the hydrotherapy pool.  My leg has been giving me a lot of pain lately so I knew I needed to make an effort to get those exercises happening again – and by the time I was ready to get on the train most of the peak hour people had gone home already … mind you, it meant not getting home until 9pm but what the heck, it felt good! 😉

Christmas Ornaments, Cross Stitch, Finishes, Freebies, Indigo Rose, Lizzie Kate, Sweetheart Tree, Works in Progress

Stitching for stress relief

Last Sunday I managed to start getting a mini migraine in the afternoon … stressing out about my 2nd interview on Monday, I think – which means most of the plans I had on Sunday afternoon went down the drain … which is where my day’s baking went as well, ‘cos it was a total flop!  We were putting on morning tea for a work colleague who left on Tuesday (this is the one I had issues with last year, although we actually get on OK now – we’ll never be the closest of friends, but we had a working relationship that was OK).  Anyway, I have to say my baking Sunday/Monday was a total disaster … I think my head was too stressed out about my 2nd interview that I had on Monday – I felt physically sick during the interview, and I know I didn’t do my best in there, but it’s too late for that now, and the chips will just have to fall where they may.  I was supposed to hear something back by last Thursday, but so far no news either good or bad.

I haven’t particularly touched a needle for the last few weeks, but this weekend I’ve made up for lost time – it’s all I’ve been in the mood for!   I’ve superglued my backside to my mattress, and sat up in bed with needle in hand and clearing old DVR recordings … it’s been really enjoyable.  Following are the results of my stitching efforts.

First up is a new WIP that I started a couple of weeks ago – it took me 4 whole nights just to stitch one pumpkin and the border, so this one has been sloooooow going – this is a 2nd hand chart so I don’t have the embellishment pack, and I can’t find my little black Mill Hill petite beads so this one’s now sitting in a pile waiting for them to turn up … I lost all motivation when I realised I couldn’t finish it quickly.  Never mind, it’ll get completed ‘one day’ …



Next up is a piece that I stitched up slowly over the last week – an Indigo Rose freebie – not my usual style, but it was really enjoyable stitching it up.  I can’t say I was too thrilled stitching all the queen stitches (definitely not my favourite stitch), but eventually when I got into a rhythm with them it seemed to fly along (helped by watching Rescue Special Ops on TV to make the time go fast).

Indigo Rose-Four Little Strawberries
“Four Little Strawberries” freebie by Indigo Rose
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads

Then there is this weekend’s productivity – three Christmas ornaments by Lizzie*Kate.  This is probably what has finally got me back into the swing of stitching again – it feels great, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last!

LizzieKate-Noel Tiny Tidings XIV
“Noel” by Lizzie*Kate
from the chart Tiny Tidings XIV
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with recommended Weeks Dye Works threads and embellishment pack

LizzieKate-Mistletoe Tiny Tidings XIV
“Mistletoe” by Lizzie*Kate
from the chart Tiny Tidings XIV
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with recommended Weeks Dye Works and DMC threads and embellishment pack
but substituted GAST Butternut Squash

LizzieKate-Christmas flip-it
“Christmas flip-it” by Lizzie*Kate
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
with recommended GAST threads except substituting DMC white for Whitewash
and using DMC 898 for bird beaks and legs instead of DMC 310

The rest of the weekend has been spent guzzling a bowl of Tiramisu that I made on Saturday night – I’ve been craving some for months, so I finally pulled my finger out and made a half-serving of it … and took a wee plate full down to my elderly neighbour yesterday.  I suppose all-in-all it’s been a productive weekend – not quite the productivity that I had planned for, but what my body and mind needed, I think 🙂

Blue Monday, Canada, Cross Stitch, Jeffery Deaver, pinkeeps, Stitching Smalls

Blue Monday and off to see Jeffery Deaver

It’s been a while since I contributed to the weekly Blue Monday photo meme … seeing as there’s no stitching happening over here, I figure I might as well try and post ‘something’! Here is my choice for this week’s Blue Monday – a blue-filled boat at Niagara Falls, Canada.


And here’s a crafty item for Blue Monday 🙂

Morning Glory pinkeep 1

Blue Monday

Blue Monday certainly doesn’t reflect my mood today, as I am nowhere near ‘blue’ … today I’m off to my very first book launch by one of my favourite authors, Jeffery Deaver. After reading The Bone Collector I was hooked by his twisted tales of crime, and he’s now been commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the latest James Bond novel (Carte Blanche) – while my heart will always remain with his Lincoln Rhyme series, perhaps it’s time to branch out and try something new … and what better way to do it than to have a lovely lunch and drinks, then pick up a copy and have it signed … in fact I think perhaps I should call into a book store on the way and pick up a copy of The Bone Collector and ask for that one to be signed, seeing as it was my first Jeffery Deaver experience 🙂

Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch Poetry

I found this in a magazine years and years ago, and just came across the scrap of paper this weekend and thought I’d share:


I’m completely addicted, to this I confess,
The ironing needs doing
and the house is a mess
The windows need cleaning
but what do I care
as I sit here and stitch
in my cosy armchair?

In a world of my own
I could cross stitch all day,
and that’s what I’d do
if I had my own way.
But I’ve got to get cracking
I’ve a dinner to cook
(for a husband who sits there
just reading a book).

There are pictures I’ve done,
all over the walls.
A few minutes to spare
and my cross stitching calls.
An obsession some say
and maybe they’re right
‘cos I could easily sit here
cross stitching all night!

by Janet Boor, Penzance

Autumn, Cross Stitch, Finishes, Great Pumpkin Challenge 2010, Halloween, peacocks, Piece and Plenty, pillows, Quilting, scissor fobs, Stitching Smalls, valentines

Weekend finishing frenzy

I had planned to get acquainted with my sewing machine over the weekend, but the end results weren’t actually what I’d planned … for some reason I got a serious urge to get some of my finished projects sewn up into pillows etc – it ended up being an exceptionally productive weekend on that score, with 9 pillows and a scissor fob completed, along with a little mini-quilt that just needs the binding to be hand-stitched … plus I also made some minor amendments to a lovely wall-hanging that Sylvia gave me years ago.  Anyway, here are the end results – I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

The Stitcherhood-Autumn LizzieKate-Fall Nathalie-Chatrouille freebie
Erica Michaels-Random Hearts LizzieKate-Boo Squared
Peacock pillow Plum Pudding Needleart-Love freebie Heart in Hand Needleart-Wee Valentine Bird Mosey 'n Me-Love February freebie
Pumpkin scissor fob Pumpkin scissor fob

This one just needs the binding to be stitched down 🙂


Sadly Sylvia’s lovely wall-hanging was folding up due to the high humidity, so I chopped up the hanger into pieces and stitched it in 4 places directly onto a pretty wee wire hanger 🙂


This is what first got me into “sewing machine mode” – the first month’s BOTM fabrics and instructions for my Piece and Plenty quilt … sadly it doesn’t come with any specific instructions for each block, and I’ve ended up spending a fair bit of time rummaging through my quilting books and online tutorials trying to work out how to do paper piecing – once I’ve got a bit more comfortable with my sewing machine I’ll be ready to start this one 😀


Cross Stitch, Stash

My sidebar is fixed!!!!

A HUGE vote of thanks goes to my darling friend Carl who managed to fix up my sidebar issues for me – after not being able to work it out months ago I’d given up on finding a fix (and the support forums were of no help whatsoever) … within minutes of jumping into my template code it was all sorted … Carl ROCKS!!! 😀  Of course that also means now that I want to play again some more and twiddle with a couple more settings, but that’ll have to wait until another day …

Since I last posted I have managed to do absolutely NO stitching once again … my Sunday afternoon housework session got seriously sidetracked when I was putting my newly bought stash purchases (from the recent craft show) away. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t do too much damage to my credit card or wallet (but thanks anyway to my employer for a whole 12 months worth of back-pay, you rock!), but I did buy a few little lovelies to bring home with me.

First of all I did go a little bit nuts over some different ribbons/embellishments:


Then of course there were the few pieces of 36/40ct fabric, some ground walnut shells, bead embellishments, a small jelly roll in scrummy blues and some hand-dyed pearl cotton that was on sale – plus another pair of scissors, because a girl just can never have enough scissors! (and yes, Margaret, they’re green too haha!! – I think green, red and purple have always been my secondary fave colours behind blue, and often have a green jacket or top somewhere in my wardrobe):


And lucky last the charts and quilting book I just couldn’t live without (and which hopefully will not sit in the depths of my stash closet before seeing the light of day again!):


In particular my latest ribbon/embellishment purchases started an organising frenzy for the evening when I opened the wee storage drawers to find the following mess looking at me:


After considering briefly whether to continue my normal housework plans or sitting curled up on my bed to watch Spartacus and ‘play’ … my non-sensible side opted for a few hours of fondling and organising those piles of ribbons and mess into little bundles.  With the help of some cut up strips of photocopy paper and double-sided sellotape, I ended up with a pile looking something like this:


Doesn’t that burst of colour just fill you with joy – I know it certainly did that to me!  Even more so that seeing Spartacus half naked on the TV screen LOL 😀


It now means that all these little bundles fit into one of those plastic drawers, and my pinkeep pins and ribbon reels are back to having drawer space to themselves and no longer have piles of ribbon and embellishments hiding them from view and easy access … I may not have achieved much else this weekend, but it sure feels damn good to get those tidied up once and for all!  Plus stash fondling is almost as good as stitching … in fact, sometimes even more therapeutic than the act of stitching itself 😀

Autumn, Christmas Ornaments, Cross Stitch, Finishes, Little House Needleworks, Lizzie Kate

Snowman exchange received & another small finish

I heard from Marie that my snowman ornie arrived safe and sound and didn’t melt on the way to it’s new home.  Here is the ornie I sent to my partner Marie – I really really love this one, and definitely need to re-stitch it for myself, I just adore the colours used!:

LHN-All Dolled Up
“All Dolled Up!” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Pipi or Haystack (can’t remember!!)
with recommended threads

Last weekend I managed a quick finish before succumbing to a shocking tummy virus that was followed by a serious throwing-up migraine … but a bucket-load of Hydralite (yuk) later, and I was back at work with my nose to the grindstone again on Tuesday.  Alas the tail end of my bug is still hanging on, but that just means I’m feeling tired and headachey, and nothing like the doom and gloom of last weekend!  It has meant, however, that I haven’t put a single stitch into anything since last weekend because I’ve been too tired … not sure if I’ll remedy that this weekend or not, but the day is young … um, kinda … who stole those last 3 hours of today and snuck them past me??? 😛

Anyway, here is my other teeny finish from last weekend:

“Fall” by Lizzie*Kate
stitched on a mystery 28ct Cashel linen – looks like a lambswool kinda colour in real life
with recommended WDW threads 

The rest of my non-stitching time has been spent doing some serious spending!  Over the last fortnight I’ve managed to join the iPhone revolution (still learning how to use it, although I did manage to create my own ringtone on the first night, which only took me almost 2 hours!) and replace my PC monitor with a beautiful new Samsung one – my old monitor is still technically working and while it’s not suiting my own needs anymore it’s much better than Mum’s existing one so it will be heading over the ocean with whoever travels first.  It was starting to drive me crazy when editing photos etc, so it was time to update.  My final splurge was to pick up a duvet cover in the half-price sales – I’ve been looking for a new one in darker colours for a while now (even dragged Mum through a few shops on the lookout during her recent visit), and popped over to the sales tables in Harvey Norman not expecting to see anything worthwhile … it’s now about to jump into the washing machine so I can get it ironed and on my bed for the rest of winter 😀

And on that note I suppose I should drag myself away from the PC seeing as I’ve already wasted the entire morning playing with my blog template, and start getting that laundry done … then I think I may just have time to pull out some finishing fabrics for a teeny spot of finishing tomorrow … maybe … if nothing sidetracks me in the meantime … 😉

Cross Stitch, Home & Family TO BE FIXED, New South Wales, Stash, Travel, Travel - Australia

Road Trip – Day 1

Our entire plan for our road trip was to just keep driving until we felt like stopping, figuring it was the middle of winter and most motels would have vacancy signs up – I had a list of places that I really wanted to visit, but all the bits inbetween were totally open to suggestion.

The first leg of our journey was to drive down the scenic coast highway to Kiama – with a couple of detours along the way.  The first detour was that I wanted to drive through the Royal National Park and see Wattamolla, as it had been recommended to me.  It was a lovely drive on an early wintry morning.  It was deserted at Wattamolla, so I opted not to take the bushwalk over to the beach, and instead just explored the area around the carpark – I think I’ll definitely have to return again in better weather and explore further afield.

After Wattamolla we headed over to the coast, and had a pit stop at Bald Hill Lookout where we were greeted with a treat of seeing some tandem hang-gliders … watching them getting ready for launch really brought back memories of when I did this myself in Queenstown, NZ.  It was a real treat, although the wind chill up at the top of that hill was really bitterly cold.  Mum was very wise choosing to stay in the car while I popped out for 1/2 and hour and took photos … then came back and attacked her with my cold hands to share the love LOL.  My Mum would never fail to do that to me growing up, the evil sod she is, so it was time for some payback haha.

We eventually followed the coast past Woollongong and on to Kiama, where we were really fortunate that the wintry weather and high winds meant that the blowhole was performing quite well – it’s really difficult to get good photos of the immense spray of water that plumes high in the air, but we were intrigued by it and stood there for quite some time watching the spectacle and taking in all that lovely sea air.

After Kiama we continued to follow the coast road and had lunch at Shellharbour beach – we were well prepared with some sandwiches and snacks readily made up with a lovely thermos of coffee … there are definitely some benefits of taking your own car from home!  I really loved the mosaics on the walls of the local public toilets (of all places), and we enjoyed watching the local surfers attacking the surf before we headed off on the road once again.

Our final sightseeing stop for the day was to make a quick visit to Berry, a picturesque village that has a relatively good needlework store (our key reason to visit Berry).  While we were browsing in Sew and Tell, we ran into our good friend Amanda so we had extra time to catch up while we continued to wander through the various stitching stock.  We bought a couple of things, mainly some JABC buttons for Christmas ornaments, plus a couple of Mill Hill ornie kits, some replacement Qsnap snaps and Mum bought a wee Lizzie*Kate chart.  We didn’t find a great deal of items that we really wanted buy (perhaps a sad realisation that your stash is already out of control?!), but at least we can say that we’ve finally been!  We also wandered around a couple more shops while we were there, then decided it was time to hit the road again as it was starting to get late.

By the time we reached Nowra, it was getting quite dark, and we figured it was a good place to stop … unfortunately we had trouble here finding a motel on the main road, finally resorting to one we found in a little side street … O.M.G. is all I can say here!!!  The damned motel should be condemned!  I have now learnt to ask to see a room if you’re unsure of the room quality before they swipe your credit card!!  You couldn’t sit on the sofa because it was falling apart (literally!), the toilet didn’t flush properly, and there was no hot water running through any of the taps (guess who just had a strip wash the next morning … neither of us were brave enough to attempt a cold shower).  The only good thing about it is that the beds themselves seemed OK and clean … and it turned out to be the only motel that actually had internet access the entire week we were away!  While I had internet access, though, we tracked down the address of the local NRMA office so we could go and pick up an accommodation guide … worth every cent of the $20 book cost!!

I’ll continue on with Days 2 and 3 together shortly …