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! 😉

Ruby Tuesday … just ‘cos I feel like posting!

Here is my choice for this week’s Ruby Tuesday – a very old photo scanned from the printed copy of a brasserie in Paris … my favourite city in the world.

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And in trying to keep with the ‘crafty theme’, here’s a redwork exchange I sent to Nicki five whole years ago in 2006 … probably one of my most favourite exchanges I’ve completed! (The photo was compliments of Nicki, she did such a wonderful job of the photography!)

Needleroll Exchange for Nicki Lampon

Ruby Tuesday

HoE Snowman Exchange received & a small finish

Today I finally managed to get to my PO Box during opening hours so that I could pick up my post as well as pop my own parcel into the mail – I was very excited to see that as I sent off my own Snowman ornie exchange parcel, my very own squishy mail parcel was sitting in my PO Box.  My exchange partner this time round was Elisa, and she put together an exquisite ornie using a fantastic pattern (which has been on my wishlist for stitching for a while now), a great choice of fabric (never would I have thought of using yellow linen and I love it), and the perfect pom-pom edging … all-in-all yet another exchange received that I will treasure.  I have to say that after having a couple of exchanges ‘go wrong’ in the past, it’s been a distinct pleasure to be part of this group and having exchanges run smoothly for a change 🙂  Anyway, thanks again Elisa for a real treat in my mailbox!  If my exchange partner likes theirs even half as much as I like mine, I’d class it as a perfect exchange 😉

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The small finish I referred to in the title is a freebie from The Stitching Parlor, Inc.  I have to admit, I can’t say I’m totally in love with this design.  After wanting to stitch it for the longest time (it’s been kitted up with the fabric since having all my stash in storage when housesitting years ago), I’m really disappointed with the colours and the overall look – I was originally going to finish it off as a little gift for someone but now I really don’t know what on earth to do with it!

The Stitching Parlor-Proud Peacock freebie
“Proud Peacock” freebie by The Stitching Parlor, Inc
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads

I now understand why KarenV changed the colours when she stitched it for me for an earlier birthday gift … I totally adore Karen’s version of this design, and kinda wish I hadn’t bothered to still stitch one myself – but on the positive side, I now have one kitted-up piece of fabric/chart that is off the “to be stitched” pile! I’ve copied another copy of KarenV’s version below so you can compare … Karen’s version is so, so very much better, I’m sure you’ll agree! 🙂

KarenV birthday gift Feb08 2

And on that note, I think it’s time to go back to getting a few more stitches into my extremely overdue PIFs that are currently in progress – I never ever received my PIF that I signed up for (nor ever heard from the person running it), but I still fully intend fulfilling my end of the bargain, albeit (the way I’m going) a year late!!!  Mind you, I have to admit to having second doubts about one piece … I guess I’ll wait until it’s finished before I decide whether to rethink my choices!

And now it’s time to go plug in disc one of Band of Brothers (from Quickflix) and chill out with needle in hand for a wee while before catching a few zzzzzz 🙂

Quaker Christmas Exchange

I’ve heard from my very good friend Carol that she’s received the ornament that I sent, and likes it as much as I did … I really didn’t want to let this one leave home, so I’m definitely going to have to repeat stitch this one for myself.  I was really really nervous with the finishing of this one, but I just bit the bullet and stopped thinking it and just ‘did it’.  I just had enough thread in the skein to make some skinny cord and attach all the way around the ornie – and the end result is that it’s given me a bit of my finishing confidence back again, and hopefully that means that I’ll continue to push the envelope and tackle some more of those finishing jobs that I’ve been putting to one side because of losing confidence in myself!  Anyway, here’s the ornie in all it’s finished glory (the finishing isn’t perfect, but I’m still very pleased with it!):

Tokens & Trifles-Quaker Stocking
“Quaker Stocking” freebie by Tokens and Trifles
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Limestone
with Carrie’s Creation thread in Plymouth Red (stitching & cording)
(The chart is still available HERE)

I managed to clean out my PO Box this week, and had a wonderfully exquisite surprise hiding in there! I received my Christmas Quaker ornie from Gabriele this week (my first ever HoE exchange), and I totally ADORE it 😀 How could I not, Gabriele was very clever and stitched it in my absolutely favourite colour … blue. This one is too beautiful to just be displayed at Christmas, so this one will be on display the entire year round 😀

Thanks Gabi, for a really wonderful exchange 😀

Christmas Quaker Exchange received April 2011

Photo Hunt – Stripes (9 October)

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The theme on 9 October was ”Stripes” and here are some stripes on the skirts of a Maori cultural group in Rotorua, New Zealand.  The Maori name for the skirt is “piupiu”, and it is a traditional item of clothing made from flax leaves.  I love the swishing sound it makes when it swirls and the dried flax hit each other.  If you want to see some traditional piupiu, you can find some here on the Te Papa Museum website.

ROT-Maori Cultural group_0002

And in keeping with trying to find stitching/needlework examples of the weekly themes, here is the unmade needleroll that I stitched for an exchange years ago – it was a self-made design by using some elements from other designs and making some parts up … I was quite pleased with the end result.

Melanies Exchange for Paula

Quick post of goodies…

Just a really quick post, as my laptop appears to still be temperamental and it still keeps shutting itself down – it definitely hates Photoshop Elements, so I’ve just used the Microsoft editing software to crop these piccies and adjust the lighting slightly.  Anyway, fingers crossed that they upload OK …

Just before I left Sydney, I checked my PO Box one final time and lo and behold it contained the most exquisite parcel full of stitchy goodness.  Michelle really outdid herself this time for our Autumn Exchange (a private exchange hosted by BeckySC) – inside the parcel was the most gorgeous needlebook and flosstag … seriously, the stitching and finishing leave mine for dead!  The needlebook is stitched entirely over-one (that’s awe-inspiring in itself in my eyes!), and both the flosstag and needlebook are finished absolutely perfectly.  I love, love, love my exchange gifts and will treasure them always!  I managed to quickly snap a picture or two before I flew out so I could try and share when I arrived here:

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I had a 3am wake-up call so I could get up and ready to be at the airport at 4am … then kicked myself when I remembered that the staff travel counter doesn’t actually get manned until 5pm (mutter mutter) … but at 6am I was safely ensconced in my business class seat with a glass of champagne in hand … my holidays were officially christened and underway 😀

I arrived into Auckland at lunchtime yesterday to miserable rainy weather … but after talking Mum and Dad to death for an hour Mum and I took over Dad’s car (my old car that I used to have) and we went shopping.  First up was a trip to The Ribbon Rose, my new favourite stitching store in Auckland – it has the BEST selection of threads of any store I’ve seen.  I was organised and brought with me a list of threads I need for upcoming pumpkin stitching, and managed to get all threads barring one which they’d sold out of … don’t you just love these autumny colours?

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Then we headed back home to Manukau Shopping Centre and straight into Farmers store – I love their ‘plus size’ range by Wild Child, which are a funkier style of clothing to the normal fuddy-duddy styles you can find in plus size stores – and they usually have a great fit for me with their jeans range etc.  They’re usually my first port of call when I arrive home, and yesterday I managed to find a new pair of black pants for work (which I’ve just decided to go back and buy another two pairs so I can throw out my old ones that have been worn pretty much for 6 years now!!), and three different tops.  I most definitely helped to boost the economy in Auckland yesterday … and manaaged to do the bulk of my shopping before the GST (Goods & Services Tax) went up overnight 😀

Today is my parents 50th wedding anniversary – Dad’s already grumbling about going out, and that he won’t be drinking because he doesn’t like to drink and eat (don’t ask!! – sigh) … but regardless, I’ve offered to drive so they can both relax and enjoy themselves, plus then I can drive an old family friend home again afterwards.  Whether or not Dad’s looking forward to it, Mum and I definitely are … we’re going to a high-end smorgasbord restaurant, with our closest family friends (who are actually family as far as we’re concerned, just not with the same blood lines) – it should be a nice night out 😀

Tomorrow we’re thinking of heading out to The Embroiderer if they’ve got the JCS Christmas ornie magazine in stock, otherwise it will be a day spent cutting out fabrics to make some clothes for moi, and going through my fabric stash here for some more fabric to take home with me … then I will no doubt have to do my annual penance of throwing out items from my old stuff in storage, then perhaps I may just get some time to sit and stitch, ‘cos so far I haven’t put a single stitch into fabric!