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! 😉

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 😀

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 …

Trip for Mill Hill bugle beads

I managed to find the exact bugle beads that I needed from our local Spotlight store (I nearly fainted on the spot when I found them!) … of course I went to two different shops first, thinking I might find them there – no bugle beads came home with me from those, but a couple of other extras jumped into my bag oops …

I picked up three whole beads plus a small packet of Swarovski crystals (that I thought I’d use instead of the MH ones for my Sapphire Star ornie) from my local uber-expensive bead shop.  Then I picked up a couple of trims/ribbon from Pitt Trading (but when I just opened the package noticed that they only gave me 1/2 metre of the pink/red plush one instead of the 1 1/2 metres that I asked for … bugger).  Finally from Spotlight I scored a skein of DMC that I needed thanks to mislaying my current one who knows where, plus some bias binding and some ‘mustard’ coloured fabrics to make a toaster cover for my elderly neighbour … and just a couple of 20cm cuts of different shades of pink fabric to finish off some Valentines ornies/cushions (although I can’t guarantee they’ll be done this year LOL).

I wouldn’t have gone out shopping today if it wasn’t for my good friend Alison texting to say she was in the neighbourhood for lunch – while I missed lunch (thanks to not getting the message until later), I did manage to catch up over a coffee at the local pub … it was a lovely unexpected pleasure for the afternoon catching up with the three generations 😀

More Baby Bug Ball and squishy mail

I don’t know where the hold-ups have been, but Christmas mail this year has been absolutely shocking – this week I received an Air Mail Christmas card from the UK that was posted 18 December (!) … just crazy!  Yesterday’s mail, though, brought lots of lovely squishy mail – my final outstanding order from SB&B, which left in early December – and a couple of wonderful fabrics from Sandra.  The fabrics were totally unexpected, and I absolutely adore them!  I can’t wait to find the perfect project to use these on!  Thanks so much Sandra for really making my day yesterday! 😀

The expected mail contents were as follows – and this was in many ways a treat for me too, as I couldn’t remember what I’d ordered (I threw in some things in their sale bin that weren’t on my wishlist).  It’s hard to see the contents in the photo, so I’ve broken it down underneath:

32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (for Prairie Moon’s Christmas chart for Katie)
~ Halloween and Christmas buttons from JABC
~ Kreinik metallic threads mainly for canvaswork designs
~ Mill Hill beads so I can finish Bittersweet Season (yippee!!) + a packet of Treasures
~ A couple of WDW and GAST threads
~ 4 x Lizzie*Kate embellishment packs mainly for Christmas ornies
~ Whimzi frame for Just Nan’s Pretty Wicked (I stitched mine from a gifted used chart)
~ Ghosts and Goblins by Dinky-Dyes Designs
~ Heart In Hand wee birdies ~ Summer, Autumn, Spring, St Patrick, Halloween, Easter
and the final splurge that I just couldn’t resist……
~ Just Nan’s Spooky Spirits of Tombstone Hill

And lucky last, here’s the latest update piccie of the final pudgy bug in Baby Bug Ball – not much stitching left to go on this one now – not entirely sure I’ll get it finished this weekend, though, as it’s a busy one … thanks to Alison and Amanda for offering up their stash to help me out with the silk thread, that’s a fantastic help, thank you!!!

And now it’s time to get back to the grindstone and get off to work …


Crazy January Challenge – Day 4

You can tell I’m back at work when I don’t get to sit down with my needle and thread until 9pm … on normal days I’d pass on the stitching, but seeing as I’m committed to doing this challenge, I forced myself to pick up LHN’s Ladybug Ladybug and managed to put in 2 3/4 hours into it 😀

I was also thrilled to see a recent purchase arrive in my PO Box this morning – the great thing about ordering locally, even though it’s more expensive, is that it doesn’t cost much more to pay for Express Post and even though last Friday was a Post Office holiday, and I didn’t order the items until last Thursday, even with yesterday being a nationwide public holiday they were still waiting for me!  The service from Janine at Colours Down Under really rocks!!!  While I still have one pair of Qsnaps and a couple of threads on back order (needed for the border of Winter Snapperland), I’m absolutely thrilled that I now have another couple of Qsnaps to use for my projects and not having to remove every project every night (especially those that won’t take long to finish) – oops a couple of charts jumped into my shopping basket as well … Scatter Christmas by Shepherd’s Bush and Simply Halloween by Waxing Moon Designs … gotta make the most of the postage right? LOL.

Rightio, on that note it’s time to call it a night and hit the hay … a bit later than expected, but that can be blamed on Season 2 of Fringe and the need to start today’s challenge piece (but more so on Fringe, as I wanted to see the last episode on the DVD, which means only one more DVD for Season 2 to go!) 😉

Feeling brighter overnight

Sorry for the grumbly post yesterday – I think my broken sleeps etc are turning me into a cranky old bat this week … and things I can normally tune out have been getting to me {{sigh}}.  Never mind – my ultrasound came back clear, and now I’m just waiting for the results of the CT scan I had yesterday … fingers crossed they can actually find something, which means they can start treating something, which means I can start feeling normal again 🙂

I just managed to take a quick piccie of my stash arrival yesterday, so seeing that again this morning cheers me up no end, and it means I now have some new possibilities of chart starts, so I think I may have to review that list of 15 new starts for January haha.  Anyway, here’s the stash I thought had gone AWOL (and all this is purely down to the fact that no-one locally seemed to have Kreinik #4 braid in colour 027 in stock, so I ended up going offshore … and of course I had to make the most of the postage) 😛

LHN – Sandollar Cottage (Chart 5 from Summer Seascape Series)
LHN – Joy to the World ornie
Blue Ribbon Designs – Blessed Beyond Measure (stitch start ruler with sleeve designs)
Just Nan – Hagatha’s Purple Hat
Just Nan – Screamy Mimi Tricky Tweets
Kreinik #4 Braids, GAST Forest Glade, Belle Soie silks and NPI silks

I’ve decided to only stitch 4 charts out of the Summer Seascape series by LHN, as the little couple with balloons just does nothing for me, which means I now have the whole series available for stitching and I just need to get some fabric together.  I think this is going to become one of my 15 projects, and I think it will be pretty quick to stitch.  I also think I need to add Katie’s Christmas gift to that list, assuming the fabric turns up in time by 15 January to join the list … hmmm, maybe by 31 December I will have made up my mind 100% … but maybe not! 😛