A week of highs and lows

Starting with the lowlight of the week … 😦

I was incredibly saddened this week to learn that an old colleague from Auckland passed away this week – every time I go home and visit my old workplace I always make sure I stop by and have a chat.  He was made redundant from his job a number of months ago, which saddened me, but the news this week was really devastating.  The world is an emptier place without you, Toni – I will always remember you fondly and with love, and will miss your beautiful smile and wicked sense of humour … Rest in Peace my friend xxx

This photo of Toni (in the top left with the blue shirt on) is from our last Christmas party before I moved to Australia to work, and that beautiful smiling face is how I’ll always remember him in my mind 🙂

Moving on to the highs of the week … all pretty much postage related!  I haven’t had chance to pick up parcels from my PO Box for a couple of weeks or so now – I did one pick-up the day after I returned from sick leave a few weeks ago, and haven’t done it since!  To say my mailbox was overflowing is an understatement!

I’ll start with the best stuff … I received friendship gifts from two of my close online pals, and I love, love, love everything! 😀  I’ll show them in order of when they would have arrived, had I managed to get to the PO Box sooner…

First up is this wonderful gift from Margaret in NZ, the founder of StitchNZ Yahoo Group, and a dear online friend.  I agree with you Margaret, that I too hope we will get to meet F2F one day!  Margaret treated me with a chart from my wishlist (LHN’s Spot of Coffee), pearl cottons threads in scrumptious colours (oh so me!), and a gorgeous piece of fabric that I’m already matching up with an overdyed thread from my stash in some future stitching plans 🙂  Thanks again Margaret for my parcel of goodies – I love love love everything! 😀

Next up is another wonderful gift, this time from my “northern twin” Jenna in the US.  Jenna was one of the first online pals that I “clicked with”, and remains one of my dearest friends online.  When I stitched my turquoise and purple biscornu a couple of years ago, in my mind it was ‘me and Jenna’ in that biscornu, as that’s the blend of our two favourite colours.  And to prove just which colour was MY favourite, see if you can guess from the scrumptiousness of this photo! LOL.  Yep, you guessed it, turquoises and blues (if you didn’t know already) make me scream with joy (and both Margaret and Jenna know me incredibly well, as they so proved with their gift choices!).  These turquoise threads are scrummy enough on their own (and I just want to keep playing with them and stroking them), but Jenna also included a really gorgeous beaded fob as well.  I’m going to see if itwill fit on my mobile phone so I can carry it with me each day, but if not I have a pair of scissors itching to be adorned too 🙂  Thank you again my dear friend – as always your taste is impeccable, and I love everything! 😀

The next part of my overflowing mail was expected … I went on a bit of a spending splurge on the Bay of Evil, and with the exception of one item none of it was stitching-related, but rather DVD related instead … here’s the biggest piece of exciting shopping (and biggest splurge) … the entire series of ER on DVD – seeing as I keep missing episodes because the TV channels changed or the TV channel just opted not to play an episode or three, I’ve missed lots of the last couple of seasons … so now I get to re-live all the fun from day 1 of the show – I can’t wait! 😀

Of course I had to get the first three seasons of Little Britain as well, plus a couple of movies that Jensen is the main character in (My Bloody Valentine and Ten Inch Hero), and a couple of movies from my youth … of which I don’t think I’ll embarrass myself and spill the details … 😛

The one stitching related item I bought was the set of Valdani threads for Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor … Love, love, love this design 😀

Talking of which, I have to say I’m really loving being “out of fashion” where designs are concerned these days – I think I’m just about the only person in blogland that can’t stand the ‘historical’ or ‘primitive’ samplers and designs out there (with the odd exception every now and again) – and that seems to be the main focus by stitchers these days.  While I enjoy seeing them being stitched on other blogs, I have no great urge to run out and buy one, and it’s saving me lots of money this way!  It used to be that every blog I opened there’d be some new design tempting me – now it’s only one every now and again … oh the joy of not running to update the wishlist on a daily basis, and enjoying the existing stash I have already – such bliss 😀  Anyway, I digress … moving on from my eccentric stitching tastes and back to the mailbox goodies …

The final stitching thing that I had ordered during a recent stash sale at The Stitching Post arrived – a handful of Delica beads, a couple of JABC buttons and a packet of Mill Hill beads for my Halloween Fairy (to replace the packet I already own that have somehow gone AWOL – of course now I’ve bought a new packet they will arrive out of nowhere someday soon …)

Then one last non-stitching item of greatness … I misplaced my glasses that I use for driving, and now the evening are dark as soon as we leave work I was straining my eyes driving home … I finally opted to buy a cheap pair from Glasses Online, not really caring how they looked as a fashion item, and I’m pretty darned pleased with them … AU$150 including the frames, lenses and anti-glare coating, you little beauty!!!  Of course, Murphy and his sodding law proved correct as always, the day after I send my credit card whizzing through the computer cables I found my old glasses sitting in their glasses case under the bed … I’d only been searching for them for 2 whole months!!!  Pfffft……. 😛  Obviously I don’t really “need” them (the prescription is only 0.75 in one eye and 0.5 in the other) otherwise I would’ve been shopping a whole lot sooner! … but boy, oh boy, it feels good driving and having that focus tightened up just that fraction more sharply! 😀

I also have an exchange that I’ve received (and sent) and a couple of small finishes, so I think I’ll open up a new post as this one is getting pretty lengthy!

Prize Draw offering

4th Blogaversary

Prize Draw !!!

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I am offering a (slightly belated) prize draw for my home-made beaded scissor fobs to celebrate four years of blogging and waffling online. 

I’m offering four prize fobs – one for every year I’ve been blogging.  The way it will work is that winner #1 gets first choice from the below selections, winner #2 gets the next choice, winner #3 gets the 3rd choice, with winner #4 getting the final choice.  Of course if winner #4 really hates the remaining choices, I may be able to whip something up in a preferred colour scheme, depending on what beads I have to hand at that time 🙂

How do you enter for the prize draw? 

Simply leave a comment in this post only, stating that you would like to be entered into the draw.  Please ensure that your email address is provided, along with the fobs that you prefer, in order of preference, eg 1st choice = #1, 2nd = #5, 3rd = #2.  If you only like 1 of the fobs, feel free to just put your name down for that one – if you are one of the winners and your preferred choice has already been taken, I might be able to whip one up in your preferred colour choice if I have suitable beads available at the time – no guarantees though! 🙂

I will leave the draw open until the end of the month – so you can leave a comment throughout the month of October – at the start of November I’ll draw four lucky winners out of the proverbial hat and get them out in the mail to you.

So, which fobs can you choose from?  I’ve tried to have a reasonable selection of colours, so fingers crossed you’ll find something you’d like to win.  Here goes (all are numbered to make it easier to request a specific selection in your preferences):

Note:  The prize is NOT for the scissors in the photos, it is ONLY for the beaded scissor fob 😀

If you are having difficulties viewing the fobs due to the high number of piccies, please go to my Webshots folder and view them all there 😀

 1. Fob 0014

 2. Fob 0023

 3. Fob 0045

 4. Fob 0052

 5. fob 04

 6. P1020780

 7. P1020790

 8. P1020802

 9. P1020826

10. P1020842

HUGE mail day coming up! and a Giveaway

I don’t know what has been wrong with me this last year – I’ve been exceptionally terrible at fulfilling promises, and have a HUGE pile of items and gifts that need to be posted to people – I have a massive desire to get rid of the backlog, as it is cluttering my brain (not to mention my bedroom!), so I’ve been making a large effort today to get a few things parcelled up ready to go into the mail next weekend.

Along with that, I’ve realised that I will never stitch with the following threads – I apologise to the kind-hearted soul who sent me these as part of a “summer” theme exchange years ago, but I’m just not a pastels girl, and I just can’t see me using them.  To that end, I have a card already filled out, and the threads are sitting in an envelope, ready to join the rest of the pile to be posted out next Saturday morning (the only chance I can usually get to the Post Office) – and I’m offering a prize draw for these to go to a more fitting home.

Seaside Treasures threads up for grabs

Soooooo, if anyone would like these threads, please leave a comment on this post only stating that you would like to go into the draw (if there is more than one comment – if only one person enters then they get the threads automatically).  The closing date is this coming Thursday 1 October – that way I can draw the name out of the proverbial hat on Friday morning and it will give me chance to chase a mailing address on the Friday if I don’t already have it, so I can meet my mailing deadline.

As for the other parcels, there are a number of threads and scissor fobs heading around the world on Saturday … here is the only one I can show you so far, as I’m pretty sure Karen doesn’t read my blog.  I just had to choose a dragonfly charm for her fob in honour of her old shop name of Dragonfly Dreams – I made this one this morning just in time to get in the mail today, along with the Lizzie*Kate pinkeep from a few blog posts ago 😀

Scissor fob gift G
This one has gone to Karen at The Stitching Post

I’ll post piccies of the others that have been posted out once I hear that they’ve been received … I don’t want to spoil the surprise in the meantime.

First fob gift received

I just heard word that Dawn received the fob I recently sent her – this is the first fob to be posted on to my blogging friends, and I’m so glad she likes it 🙂

Gift for Dawn 07Sep09

Apologies for the poor quality, but I’ve mislaid my digital camera, so it had to go on the scanner before it went into the post! 

Still no stitching done here, so no stitchy updates to offer you – at the moment I’m spending all my spare time trying to set up a new computer (HP Desktop), and it’s driving me totally NUTS!!!  Fun things like CD programs that no longer want to upload, including Microsoft Office 2007 (after I found the ever-elusive disks!!) … and of course then there’s the fun part of downloading other files and copying existing files from the laptop and hard drive … I think it’s going to be a long, long road … but then again, it’s a great journey and the end destination is going to be awesome!! 😀

Murphy’s Law … and Belated Thanks

Murphy’s Law (or Sod’s Law, whatever you want to call it) happens to fall at the most inopportune times!! I’ve been working my backside off big-time at work, doing some phenomenal hours and basically having no free time to relax and stitch or just vege out and catch up on some personal chores. So, I plan a day off work with a big list of “to-do’s” ready to be completed before day’s end … including my first chore of sending off my belated birthday thank you emails to those generous, kind souls who sent me exquisite and thoughtful gifts … so, what does Murphy’s Law do … ???

That’s right, Murphy (sod him) sends a power cut my way 5 minutes into the start of my day … cross all those things off my list that require power, hmmm. After finding out it wasn’t a general area outage, the real estate agent organised an electrician to come and check the place out – unfortunately he didn’t turn up at any of the three times he gave me, which means I ended up spending the entire day at home waiting for him … and that crossed off the list all those chores that needed me to leave home and go to the shops … {sigh}

At least he finally did show up in the early evening, but alas couldn’t find the culprit that caused the blackout. To make my day even better I called the contents insurance company mid-morning to see if I’d be covered if worst case scenario happened that we lost the food in our big freezer … only to find out that they hadn’t updated my new insured address from 1 year ago – they’d updated the mailing address, but not the insured address! So that was how I spent the first 3 hours of my day … you read that right, 3 HOURS … sorting that debacle out! Aaarghhhhh………. let’s just say my language deteriorated by the time I’d reached the 4th staff member in 3 hours!! 😉

Anyway, aside from a huge power outage that impacted the entire block on Saturday afternoon, touch wood we have had no problems since. I have, however, ended up having some more later than expected hours at work thanks to dramas that have cropped up at the end of the day. Bless my boss, though, she told me I could take a couple of hours off this afternoon to make up for it, which I excitedly used to complete some of those outstanding chores from last week!  Which means I’ve finally managed to send off the oustanding thank you emails!!!

So, on to the awesome gifts that I received while I’ve been offline this last month … (thank heavens for being able to post-date my Photo Hunt posts, or my blog would have been very bare over the last few weeks!!) – in the order they arrived on my ‘doorstep’, here they are in all their glory …

My first gift was a huge surprise from dearest, kind Cindy – I was expecting an envelope with a JCS ornie magazine in it, but when I opened up the envelope there were loads of goodies hiding in there. I have to admit to having a really bad week at work that week, and I had just lost my internet connection at home thanks to our modem dying, so when I opened up the envelope I sat in my car and cried, I was so overcome at Cindy’s generosity. It brightened up a really crappy week! Not only were there some exquisite charts off my wishlist, there was beautiful blue fabrics and not one but three stunning beaded scissor fobs. I have been collecting various scissors over the last few years and a good half of my collection are unadorned, so they will be looking very pretty once they’re all attached. Thanks so much again Cindy for your treasured gifts.  (I’ve included a separate photo of one of the fobs, as I realised I’d missed one out when I took the original photo!)

Cindy gift Feb09

Cindy's birthday gift Feb09 fob

Next to arrive was a gift from another wonderfully kind and beautiful online pal, KarenV – once again I was spoilt rotten, and was gifted with some beautiful threads and fabric, and yet another stunning beaded scissor fobs (have I already told you how exquisite my scissors are going to be looking soon?!!!). Thankfully Karen sent me an email to let me know she had arranged the scissor fob to be sent separately, as there was no note with it so it remained a bit of a mystery there for a while!). Karen, you are a dear, dear friend and I love everything that you sent! And that card is a corker, just look at those little duckies!! 😀

karenV's birthday gift Feb09

KarenV beaded scissor fob Feb09

The final overseas parcel to arrive was from another dear online friend Carol – Carol never fails to amaze me with her generosity to her online pals … and her gift is a real treasure. Once again, incredibly generous with not only some gorgeous fabric, but some awesome duckie buttons (how CUTE are they??), and my very first floss tag! I totally adore this little tag, and think I really must try to make some more of these for myself! I actually kit my projects up onto floss rings, so this will be used every week to hold my flosses as I stitch away. Once again, Carol, thank you so much for your beautiful gifts, I love everything!

CarolS's birthday gift Feb09

CarolS's birthday gift Feb09b

CarolS's birthday gift Feb09a

And last, but by no means least, I received an envelope from closer to home … I received an awesome canvaswork chart from my dear, dear friend Tannia. She knows my tastes so well, and chose the most perfect design, I just love it to death! Once again, you have touched me with your generosity and continued friendship, Tannia – you rock, girlfriend!!

Tannia's birthday gift Feb09

Thanks once again for all my lovely gifts, ladies – I feel truly blessed to know you, and you made my birthday very special indeed! I feel very humbled by your generosity, especially as I have been a missing AWOL for some time now online in many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you {{hugs}}.  Once again, my humblest apologies for the delay in acknowledging your generous and special gifts!

I also had a little splurge earlier on in February, which I guess you could call a pre-birthday spend … I ordered a bunch of threads (but forgot to take a photo!) and some sale charts from a store that is closing down in the US, and following are the bunch of charts I received.

Stash Feb09 a

Stash Feb09 b

I also have another order coming from Needlecraft Corner, as an actual birthday splurge, seeing as I get a special birthday discount in February … however I have no idea when that’s arriving yet, due to some items being on back-order. Let’s just say I’m very excited about what I decided to buy … thankfully we’ve had some overtime at work (wow, paid work at the weekend for a change, usually I have to do all my weekend work gratis!!), so I’ve got a good outlet for that overtime money!! 😀

I also have some other news as well, but I’ll wait and do a separate post soon!!! 😀

Where does time fly? (photo heavy)

Here we are – Christmas is past and the New Year is almost upon us … blimey, how did that happen?!!!

I spent a wonderful few days with Brenda and Nigel over in the northwest suburbs of Sydney for Christmas.  As usual Nigel did an exceptional job of Christmas dinner and we dined on turkey breast, baked ham, new potatoes, fresh beans and peas, followed by Nigel’s famous pavlova (the best I’ve ever eaten, and that’s saying something as I’ve tried many; it was always my fave dessert growing up).  Nigel doesn’t drink, so Brenda and I made up for his allowance, and we definitely imbibed a fair bit over those few days … including a bottle of Iron Gate Sweet Shiraz that I brought back from the Hunter Valley, and now Brenda is in love with it too 🙂

Santa was very very generous to me this year – my flatmate Lisa spoilt me rotten with some yummy chocolate dessert sauces, whisk and tea-towel set, a little tub of Mango Daiquiri mix (ie just add booze and chill), a Frangipani calendar and a beautiful bottle of Chocolate Port from Flaschengeist in a Christmas tree shape … boy she has a good memory, and Brenda and I had to sample it on Christmas Day to complete our Christmas dinner festivities.  My other friend (who is about to become my new flatmate – see more below) bought me a beautiful blue and gold necklace and earring set, but I forgot to take a photo of it as I’m wearing it today!

Mum bought me a stunning greenstone (NZ Jade)  necklace (I chose it when I was in NZ), with a fish hook shape with a whale’s tale at the end … very pretty 🙂

Greenstone pendant from Mum

I also spend my Christmas money on an exquisite piece of glass sculpture – we hunted for the entire day for one with ‘just the right colourings’, and just as we’d given up we found one in downtown Auckland.  This is a “Koru”, or Silver Fern frond, and I just adore it to death.  Unfortunately the photo was taken without a light shining through it, so you can’t see the beautiful colours … I really must try to get a good photo of it.  Brenda really loved this one too.  Eventually I want to have a glass display cabinet which will house my stitching smalls, and this will sit on the top shelp with a spotlight on it to highlight the colourings 🙂

Koru in art glass

Brenda and Nigel gave me something that I will truly treasure always – Brenda does ceramic classes, and she’s done some incredible pieces … and this year she made me a Christmas keepsake that will bring years and years of happiness while it’s proudly on display.  Handmade gifts are the best, and I feel truly honoured to have one of her pieces to call my own!! 😀

Christmas gift from Brenda

Talking of exquisite hand-made gifts, I also finally remembered to take a photo of the stunning ornie that Katrina gave me for Christmas, and it’s proudly hanging on my hand-made ornie tree.  Thanks again Katrina, I really really love it!

Christmas ornie from Katrina

Today I went shopping after dropping my mobile phone off to be sent off for repair, and unexpectedly picked up a new Christmas tree with 75% off at Myer, which means this year is the final time I will have a teeny tiny wee tree … next year I will have a big 2m tall tree overpowering the lounge space … and I can’t wait!! haha.  Next year that should mean I can combine my bauble ornies with my hand-stitched ornies 😀

I did take a couple of photos of the various Christmas displays in my wee lounge to show Mum, including my set of 3 tables that the removalists tried to demolish (they broke 3 entire legs off of the largest one) – Nigel managed to glue them back together for me over Christmas, bless him, so I’m thrilled to have my tables back on display again yippee 🙂

Set of tables

Mum, this is the centrepiece display I was telling you about on the phone … I really love it!

Christmas coffee table

Christmas corner

Christmas lounge

Christmas trunk

And I finally “finished” another piece and put the ribbon around my flat-fold that I made quite some time ago (probably 2 years ago now!) – I love the bright red of the ribbon.

Snowman pinkeep

While I was shopping today I also scored a couple of cans of English Heinz Tomato Soup … ah, I’m in heaven!  The Aussie version of Heinz soup isn’t quite the same, so I had a wee splurge. Not in the photo is also a bag of lemon sherbet bon-bons and box of Black Knight licorice 😉

Heinz soup

I also picked up a couple of other treats … including a “fish on a stick” … this is also a photo for Mum’s benefit! I made a decision after visiting a shop with a marine/ocean/beach theme months ago that I really want to have that sort of theme for my lounge, and have been buying a couple of pieces every now and then (I think Susan set the seed with all of her dream home decor photos months and months ago, and it must have been sitting at the back of my brain all this time!) … first of all I bought some starfish for my coffee table when I had my girlie weekend away with Brenda and friends, and I’m now thinking of stitching some small shells along the edge of my sheer curtains … but now I have my own blue fish on a stick too! I also bought a wee tub of coral and shells to place in a plain glass bowl, but didn’t take a photo.

fish on a stick

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a different note, last night I had a right royal treat – Tannia and her OH came to visit and stay the night. Even though it was a whirlwind visit, it was so lovely to see them both again – I miss them here in Sydney! I actually felt a bit flat after they left, and ended up taking the day off work to make up for a day I worked while in Auckland during my annual leave. Hence the reason I spent the day shopping, I think! I did feel really bad, though, ‘cos Tannia was her ever-thoughtful self and brought me some luscious gifts, and I had nothing to give in return … I’m such a bad friend! 😦

Friendship gift from Tannia

Thanks so much again Tannia, I love everything, and I miss you loads! {hugs}

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The final news that I intimated about earlier, is that my flatmate Lisa is heading back to Melbourne at the end of January.  Her secondment is up then and she’s not interested in renewing it for different reasons … some job-related and some personal reasons.  I’m going to miss having her around the place, as we’d become quite close over the last couple of months especially.  All is not lost, however, as Katie is going to be moving in instead – her own living situation isn’t great (her flatmate is a druggie and, although quite good fun, is quite strange!).  At least I won’t have to find someone else that I don’t know, and don’t have to struggle to make the rent on my own, which is great!  Fingers crossed it’ll all work out, and we find living together OK.

Rightio, I think that’s just about all the news for now … I’m a bit scatter-brained at the moment, so I’ve probably forgotten something! I thought I’d better hurry up and make a post, though, as New Year will be here in 2 nights, and it’s unlikely I’ll be back online until we’re already into 2009!

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a prosperous and wonderful 2009!! 😀