‘Tis the season to be jolly

I am trying really hard to remind myself this week of the positive things in life this week … in particular I’m trying hard not to focus on:

  • the fact that other team members are allowed to go on holiday while I am working through Christmas and the New Year and having to cover their work instead of catching up on my own backlog over Christmas – bah humbug to the lot of you, if I’d known I wouldn’t be working on my own work I’d be taking the time off too and making you stay do your own damned work, just like I’ve had to do for 2 out of 3 years!;
  • the pile of laundry still sitting on the lounge floor from my flatmate’s Mum visiting two weeks ago – and the fact that my flatmate has now gone on two week’s leave and left it sitting there for the laundry fairies to do in her absence;
  • ditto the cup cake container sitting on the bench, complete with leftover cupcakes, ready for me to have to wash up and dispose of the leftover foodstuffs because otherwise the Sydney cockroaches would be having a field day;
  • the recycling bags overflowing with recyclable bottles and cans that are always without fail left for me to carry down to the rubbish bins (I have actually been told she does this), not to mention to empty glass bottles and jars that are just left laying around the kitchen bench … perhaps I should leave a map on the bench, because obviously the overflowing pile in the corner isn’t standing out enough to be obvious!

Ah, venting over … I don’t often get grumpy with these things, as I’m often really messy with my stitching stuff laying around etc, but I really do get peeved when food etc is left around.  I’ve just got used to the fact that I will always be the one emptying trash cans and washing the shower curtain and bathmats, along with the kitchen towels and tea-towels … that’s just my lot in life … pfffft.  Anyway, seriously moving on now I’ve had my rant for the evening!!!

The GREAT news that really does offset all that grumpiness is that the parcel that had gone AWOL has actually turned up in my PO Box!  I just assumed that it was the latest parcel that had turned up, but then I saw the date stamp of 15 November on the parcel and I almost hyperventilated!!  I am seriously excited and thrilled, as now I have my missing threads and can complete my Bittersweet Seasons WIP – perhaps I’ll take that along to finish on Christmas Day instead of the Christmas chart … hmmm …

Anyway, I’ve only just walked in the door from work and feeling totally wrecked, so I think I’ll sign off now and go and fondle my stash, as I haven’t had chance to look at it properly yet!

PS:  Did I tell you, I’m excited??? 😛

Awesome squishy mail day!!

Today I braved the surface flash flooding and pelting rain of a late afternoon storm and cleared out the PO Box, and was thrilled to see a little card in the box – ‘cos that means there’s squishy mail waiting for me inside the building.  Sure enough, I was absolutely THRILLED to open the parcel sent from Marnie, as it contained my prize winnings from her recent prize draw.  Unfortunately the photos don’t do this little beauty justice – this little vampire stitching case is seriously awesome!  The finishing is absolutely stunning, and there is even the most perfect little pincushion and scissor fob tassel inside!  All I need to do now is decide on the perfect pair of scissors to live in this beauty permanently, and it’s going to be on display all year round … I mean, seriously, could you put this away until next Halloween?  I definitely can’t! 😀

Not only did Marnie provide the stitching case itself, but she also added a little vampire Pez dispenser (so I am no longer a “Pez virgin”) – alas, the pieces inside the dispenser didn’t survive the drive home, which was a marathon due to the surface flooding, as I scoffed the lot during the drive!  Also in the parcel was a few really cool Halloween freebies, that I can’t wait to stitch up.  I’ll be cutting up fabrics for them this weekend, and adding them to my Halloween “to-do-pile” for the coming weeks.  Thanks again Marnie for an AWESOME parcel of treats – I love, love, LOVE everything! 😀

The other mail was compliments of Ann in Scotland having a stash sale – I’m now the proud owner of 4 Drawn Thread charts (Toccata 1, 2, 3, and Chatelaine and Scissors Keeper), along with some of the threads needed (plus the chatelaine fabric).  I’m looking forward to starting at least one of these soon, once I’ve procured the remaining threads.  They look like they’ll be really fun stitching a motif or two each night/weekend 🙂

And on that note it’s time to switch off the “fun” side of the computer, and switch on to the “work mode” side … things are beyond hectic at work thanks to someone’s oversight in another department at the 11th hour, and having an unstable test system … I’m days behind in my own work, so I’ve brought it all home with me tonight to try and get at least 1-2 hours done at home.  I just have to force myself to keep away from the fun stuff on here, which is really really hard … 😛

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:



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!


Yep, “Thank God It’s Friday!!” – it’s been a long week, with some medical visits and loooong working hours.  Not really in a chatty mood, and not a great deal to share, really, except that I’ve picked up an old favourite project once again to try and get closer to a finish.  I’m not sure whether I’ll get much chance to stitch this weekend, as I’ve ended up bringing a big pile of work home with me … depends on how I feel on Sunday whether I’ll do work or have some ‘me time’ instead hmmm.  Here is the latest update photo of where I’m at with Laura J Perin’s Sapphire Star.  I decided I truly detested the pale blue thread that is used, and instead substituted with a pale DMC perle cotton and I’m much happier stitching with that instead 😀  Not much more to go before this one is finished now!  (Sorry, but the photos are really weird – not sure what the camera has done, but it’s certainly not accurate!! – The bottom ‘blurry’ one is the closest to the colour in real life.)

The other news is that FINALLY my border packs have arrived from a certain ONS.  Alas, this is a really popular and well-known ONS, but for me this has been an extremely arduous ordering process and one that I’ll never repeat with said ONS.  Hard to believe that these little items were ordered way back in January of this year!!!  Oh well, it does mean that I can finally now clip in the little snaps and sew on the little buttons and my Summer Snapperland can then come OFF the scrollbars where they’ve been residing for 9 whole months 😀  I really can’t wait for that one to be done and dusted – then I just have to save up to buy some framing supplies for it and get it all framed up to go on the wall 😀

The final good news is that, after about 5 months (!), TiVo have also FINALLY come to the party and replaced my TiVo that was faulty … which means tonight I’m making an effort to get it set up so that it can be taping all my shows while I’m away on holidays … which is now only 3 working days away WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!

And on that note, it’s time to go back to Mr TiVo so I can get an early night … I need to be up at the crack of dawn (yeah, OK, 8am then!) to get my hair cut – it’s all excitement at Chez Annie here 😛

Stash day!

I had some wonderful mail arrive on Friday night that I drooled over on the weekend.  First up is a gorgeous and very thoughtful gift from Karen.  I’ve never seen a Hinzeit design ‘up close and personal’ and this one definitely looks like a perfect design for me – I love the colours, and love all the little charms that go with it!  That design is perfect for just about every stitcher, I think!!  The notepad is already hanging off the fridge ready to be used, and I love the extra little touches of postcards and stickers from Canada.  Thank you so much again Karen for a really awesome parcel that brightened up an otherwise very dull week for me – I love everything!! 😀

Next up was a parcel containing the JCS Christmas ornie preview magazine and the missing Kreinik braid that I need for Halloween Fairy.  The other Kreiniks and Caron Collection threads are an added treat for me for Laura J Perin’s Mallard Collage (gee, I dunno why I want to stitch that one! – Duckies!!! haha).  The final part of the order was some Gloriana ribbon in Cranberry to complete my ‘ingredients’ for Strawberries So Faire by With My Needle.  Seeing as I have everything else kitted up ready to go, I figured I really should start thinking of stitching this one up sooner rather than later!  Yeah, OK, I could say that of many projects really, but I really am trying to make a priority of those projects that I’ve spent the most money on in getting them kitted up, especially as most of the threads etc aren’t used in other projects.  The only problem is there are still LOADS to choose from LOL.

And that’s it for me really – I’m still waiting for my buttons to arrive for Summer & Winter Snapperlands … while Summer is just sitting here patiently in the corner of my WIP basket waiting for the border buttons to arrive (since being ordered in January no less hmmm), Winter Snapperland isn’t started yet, and I don’t want to start until the border buttons are in my hot little hands.

My flatmate is off work at the moment with tonsillitis etc that she’s had since last week … and this morning I’ve woken up with a touch of vertigo … thankfully the longer I’m sitting up, the vertigo is wearing off, so I’m going to attempt to go to work shortly … fingers crossed it stays at bay, ‘cos I can’t afford time off work at the moment!  Plus I have stitching deadlines to get my exchange into the mail next week, so vertigo is something I definitely do NOT want or need right now!!

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!

Sydney Craft Show

On Saturday I spent most of the day with some of my stitching buddies – Alison, Amanda, Rowena and Karen … and as per usual it was a day filled with good times and laughter, and a teeny bit of stash enhancement.  I actually felt like I was buying things left, right and centre, but when I got home I was sadly mistaken … but the wallet was much, much thinner, so I think I did alright! 

I actually didn’t buy too much – in fact, this is a photo of my entire spoils from the day:  Some acid-free double-sided tape, 11″ Q-snaps and extender kit, Yazzi bag (the colour sucked me in and I couldn’t resist!!), Issue 61 Inspirations magazine, pair of turquoise scissors, 1m of large black ric-a-rac, a packet of Bohin quilting pins, some Christmas glass beads for fobs or something, a ‘tombie’ thread winder from The Gift of Stitching, a piece of 36ct hand-dyed linen from Stitches & Spice, and a scrummy heart pendant made of Apatite.



The only thing I wanted but couldn’t find was a nice thread substitute for the Rainbow Gallery nightmare thread to finish off Sapphire Star … but I did get two things in particular that I really wanted to buy … some more Q-snaps and some 36ct hand-dyed linen for Sampler Cove’s Quaker Huswif (a chart that KarenV gifted me with quite some time ago).  I’ve been hankering to make a start on this one for a while and some weeks ago made a start on 32ct natural linen but didn’t like the thread coverage, then tried again on 36ct hand-dyed Pipi linen from Countrystitch but didn’t like the colour … now it’s like Goldilocks, this new linen is “just right”.  There was another fabric that was probably slightly better, but it was a mix of blues and pinks, and it was just a tad too pink for me, so I went in a different direction. 

The one I ended up choosing is a dove grey colour from Stitches & Spice (thanks to the girls for helping me decide), and it suits the thread colour just beautifully (I’m using a premium silk floss by Hand-Dyed Fibers in the colour of “Midnight”).  I couldn’t wait to try it out, so late last night I put a few stitches into the fabric to start it off again, and went to sleep with a smile on my face 😛

Tonight I stitched more of the pumpkins on Halloween Fairy, and I’ve completed all the DMC stitches and now have to stitch the metallics … I can’t say that’s being my favourite part of the stitching really – I’m looking forward to having all the metallics stitched so I can get on and do the beading, which in my eyes is much more fun!  Seeing as there isn’t a great deal of progress, I’ll hold off taking a progress piccie for another day or two 🙂