Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a great time seeing in the New Year (for those of us who have already “been there, done that”) – or have some great plans to do so.  We were invited by friends to join them at their home in Kirribilli, where we saw in the New Year nicely nestled in the garden with a full uninterrupted view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where the fireworks were wonderful as always.  This is the view from our garden – we were standing/sitting just behind the hydrangea bush you can see in the foreground 😀 

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Unfortunately because we were so close, the cameras didn’t seem to appreciate the fireworks as much as we did, but here are a handful of shots from the night that worked out OK.  I didn’t even attempt to capture the finale on the bridge – I just looked up and enjoyed the spectacle and made myself hoarse from whooping and hollering along with the rest of the crowd 😀

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The night itself wasn’t perfect as we waited for an hour for buses to arrive at home before we gave up and tried to hail a cab – after 1 1/2 hours a different bus turned up (the Bus Info line was no help at all, and they didn’t know why the buses weren’t arriving as detours were in place due to a local fireworks party on the beach but our stop was still on the designated route), so we hopped on that bus to Hurstville instead and joined the millions of revellers pounding the streets of Sydney.  Alas, even by 10pm when we were on the North Sydney train, they had already had to hose down the carriage due to some ‘over-ripe revellers’ – thank goodness we only had to put up with the underlying whiff of vomit for the short trip across the harbour bridge 😦

Then the real fun began as we tried to make our way to Joanne and Nick’s place, as all the roads had been cordoned off at different parts and we literally had to zigzag our way under the bridge from one road (and one security gate) to the other before we finally found a nice security man who let us go through the gate to where we needed to be.  Our biggest scare was when we came to a park where marquees had been set up to frisk people for carrying alcohol, and we had to choice but to walk through the park … after a momentary panic, I just bowled up to one of the attendants and asked what we should do as we were heading to a private party and were carrying pretty much nothing BUT booze – he was incredibly kind (I must look so old and trusworthy that I wouldn’t cause trouble!), and escorted us through the throngs so we could continue on our merry (or not-so-merry for some of our party) way to Joanne and Nick’s.  We couldn’t believe it when we finally arrived there only to be escorted down to the strip of garden at the back of the property in secluded view of the bridge itself.  Unfortunately our Prime Minister couldn’t join us for drinkies, as apparently he was entertaining foreign officials a few houses away 😉

The not-so-merry half of our party managed to stay as long as the fireworks finished then within seconds asked if they could have a key so they could come home.  Before we left we’d already said that we weren’t comfortable having them on their own in the flat without Katie or I there, but they’d been so po-faced and whining on the adventure over to the party that it was easier to give them Katie’s keys and relax and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about them.  They were a last-minute addition to the celebrations, as apparently they hadn’t been able to find a hotel room in Sydney for New Year’s Eve (well, duh!!!), and the girl was returning to South Africa this morning, so they needed a place to stay …  So nice to be used for a doss-house – “used” being the operative word.  Oh well, they didn’t spoil the night for us, as Katie and I were determined to have a good time and relax and chill out … and we enjoyed playing charades with a pack of drunken brits (with a token Irish couple, and a Kiwi and Aussie of course) under the backdrop of the harbour bridge until about 4.30am – I’m pretty sure the neighbours didn’t enjoy it half as much as we did!!!

So, here I am sitting blogging, after getting into bed at 5.48am this morning and waking up at 9.45am … and demolishing a plate of Vegemite and potato chip sandwiches (such heaven after a heavy night out on the booze, and so much cheaper than McD’s) … the New Year has most definitely been started off with a bang! 😀

Now it’s time to work out the New Year’s resolutions – aside from the usual “I resolve to swear less and lose weight”, I do resolve to enjoy what life has to offer me this year, and ignore those that don’t have the same attitude.  I resolve to see more of what Sydney has to offer, and resolve to keep in touch with old friends much more than I have.  Bring it on, 2010!!! 😀

And on that note it’s time to take my run-down tired bag of bones over to my stitching chair to settle myself in for a while – the next few hours will see me cuddled up with a bucket of water to slurp down, TiVo on to catch up on last week’s viewing, and a needle in hand … with any luck the needle might even have thread in it, and it may even just get pushed through some fabric, at least until my body caves in and I have to succumb to an inevitable “nana nap” this afternoon 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!! 

Great weekend & A bit of stitching for a change

I’ve been offline most of the week thanks to feeling really crappy again during the week – this week, though, I’m making an appointment for a CT Scan for my sinuses and having some allergy tests done, so fingers crossed we can finally work out why this stupid sinus infection is hanging around for so many months and making me feel like death warmed up!

Last weekend, though, was a lovely treat for the month – I went to the Hunter Valley in NSW with Alison, Amanda and Sue for a stitching weekend away. Amanda kindly came and picked me up on Friday afternoon and chauffeured me – it was a lovely change for me, as I’m always the one driving. We arrived at about 7pm and walked into ‘our’ house to be greeted with a roaring log fire and dinner being prepped by Alison and Sue – the weekend was starting out on a blissful note already! The rest of the weekend didn’t disappoint either, it was a fantastic weekend away where we managed to combine some stitching (yes, we actually did do some), chatting, shopping, wining and dining, and I even made my very first scissor fob sale … to a lady vintner at one of my favourite vineyards up there (her white port is to die for in my opinion!). All-in-all it was a really awesome weekend, and hopefully we can make this an annual event, ‘cos I’m signing up for next year already!! Here’s a photo of our accommodation and home for the weekend, along with my fantastic company for the weekend 😀

Hunter Valley accommodation

Hunter Valley stitchers

The week before the retreat I managed to finish a little ornie stiching, and got the following ornie finished – it was supposed to be for the Yahoo group CYOO challenge, but I got a bit cranky during the month and couldn’t be bothered posting a photo on the board (and for once didn’t even bother doing the JCS monthly challenge one). I still hope to stitch an ornie a month, I just probably won’t be posting it on the board.

JBW Designs-Joy Love Peace
“Joy, Love, Peace” by JBW Designs
stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen
with WDW Garnet and GAST Dried Thyme

During the weekend retreat I managed to put a reasonable amount of stitching into Prairie Schooler’s 2005 Limited Edition Santa, and during this weekend I’ve been able to put the final stitches into it after having a marathon stitching session on Saturday. The only thing I changed is to leave out the “2005” which is stitched in Black Coffee Crescent Colours below each side of the green letter blocks, and added a couple of random snowflakes instead.

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“Here Comes Santa Claus 2005” by The Prairie Schooler
stitched on 28ct natural Cashel linen
with kit Crescent Colours threads

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I love how the snowflakes lift off of the fabric – hard to see in the photo

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Now I’m off to try to create my soon-to-be Etsy store, as I’ve also got a whole heap of scissor fobs to load up into the store.  I had another beading session yesterday while Katie and I watched Supernatural Season 4 on DVD (that was after we had a few hours out at Miranda shopping centre where we saw the latest Harry Potter movie).  I’ll do a separate post of the latest ones that I created yesterday, plus a couple of close-ups of my latest favourites …

Why does this perfect day have to end?

What a way to spend a Sunday … this evening I managed to put the final stitches into part 3 of our Ackworth Friendship Book which is being stitched as a round robin, which means I’ve now halfway through stitching on Nicki’s piece.

Quaker Friendship RR part 3 Nicki's

That in itself is a good achievement at the end of the day, but certainly not what all the excitement is about … Oh no, no, no, it was FAR more exciting than that!!!  No, today was the day that I spent in the company of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins at the Supernatural Convention … and THAT is the reason I wish it didn’t have to end!!!  I’m still feeling a bit shell-shocked after the whole experience – in a good way! 😀

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I’ve got oodles of photos, but thought I’d share the experience with you with a select few … well, OK, about a dozen!! 😛

First of all, it was worth going just to get to watch about 5 of the upcoming episodes of Supernatural that haven’t been aired in Australia yet – how awesome to see them up on the huge big theatre screen above the stage!!  Apologies for most of these photos – they were taken in bad lighting from halfway back in the auditorium (although the photo of the big screen below came out suprisingly well!).

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Then we had chance to ask questions of Misha Collins for an hour – what a superb and fun speaker he is, and a great addition to the show.

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Afterwards it was time to start getting called for autograph sessions, and I took along my favourite computer wallpaper that I printed off at home, for Jensen Ackles to sign.  After just signing stock standard publicity photos he was apparently really impressed with my photo choice as he hadn’t seen it before, and had to pass it around to his offsiders before signing it … gave a great chance to have a quick chat with him {{insert heavy sigh of dreamy pleasure here}}.

Jensen autograph

After queueing up for an hour in the lunch queue, it was time to head back to the Auditorium where we signed up to buy a copy of the DVD covering the weekend’s events, and had chance to catch one final new episode of Supernatural before we were graced with the presence of Jared Padalecki … this was Katie’s chance to drool heavily, as Jared is her supreme favourite.

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Next up came my chance to drool and slobber, and I’m sure the reason I felt dehydrated coming home had nothing to do with the fact we hadn’t had a drink all day, but rather that I was sat with my mouth gaping open in awe at seeing Jensen Ackles in the flesh on stage!  {{insert another heavy sigh of dreamy delight}}  Yes, I know, I’m like a love-sick teenager, but I just can’t help myself 😉

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Jared and Jensen spoke individually on stage for 1/2 hour each, then we had the pleasure of having the two of them back on stage together, while Jared acted like a child with ADD and the two of them stuffed themselves with Fantales candies.  They did manage to field a few more questions from the audience inbetween clowning around and taking cracks at each other.

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The day finished with Misha Collins coming to join them on stage, and Jared and Jensen drew on T-shirts to auction off for charity … at $3,000 a pop I’d say the auction was a huge success, and the Starlight Foundation will be thrilled with the proceeds.

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So, what can I say, aside from “WOW, what an awesome day!!!” – a perfect finish to my fortnight of annual leave … and I’ll definitely be having fun memories for years to come.  Now all we need now is for Channel Ten to pull their fingers out of their proverbial behinds and get Episode 9 onwards onto Australian TV – Misha Collins couldn’t believe we were only up to episode 8, to which he got a thunderous response in agreement from the audience … so, come on Channel Ten, come to the party!!!

Photo Hunt – Bridge(s)

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This week’s theme is “Bridge(s)” and while I’m living in a city with one of the world’s most beautiful and well-known bridges, I decided to stick with the obvious – here’s Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, as viewed from a ferry coming into the harbour … you can see the Sydney Opera House in the bottom corner too 🙂

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Night out under the stars

What an awesome night out … after my Chiro session tonight we headed into the city of Sydney, and plonked ourselves down in our seat near Mrs Macquaries Chair, at the Open Air Cinema.  What an exquisite setting it’s in … the huge movie screen sits out over the water in the harbour, with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge sitting proudly and magnificently in the background, with the occasional bat flying overhead.  Here’s a photo of the setting from their website – just awesome!

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And to top it all off we saw the BEST film – “In Bruges“.  A lot of people probably wouldn’t enjoy it (including my Mum) as it includes lots of profanity … and the humour is quite dark … but Colin Farrell was an absolute treat to watch, and we all laughed our heads off at the shocking quips and humour – highly, highly amusing!  And I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Brendan Gleeson, so it was a double treat for me!  The movie was much better than I was expecting, and I’ll be sure to add it to my DVD collection once it’s been released 😀

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Here’s one of the earlier parts in the movie that yanked my chain … and one of the few parts with no swearing! 😉

Ken (Brendan Gleeson): Coming up?
Ray (Colin Farrell): What’s up there?
Ken: The view.
Ray: The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that down here.
Ken: Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Ray: Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t.

Sick humour, most definitely (it gets much worse) … but awesome viewing on the big screen!  One of Colin Farrell’s best performances in my eyes …

Happy New Year !!!

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Just dropping by to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Hopefully you all had fun seeing in the New Year in whatever you chose to do so. Personally I joined the squillions of thousands of party-goers crammed along the harbourside in Sydney to witness the most spectacular fireworks display I’ve ever seen! It was a nightmare for me getting there, thanks to over-full and late trains causing me to miss my last ferry to Balmain, but a bus trip and short taxi ride later and I was joining my party group in time to play “celebrity heads” (which was a total hoot!), have a few drinks (OK, perhaps more than a few!), and a lovely dinner. My group had all been sitting in our selected position since lunchtime, but I got there late after working all day.

Anyway, I’m so glad I made the effort to go along and join them, and the fireworks truly were spectacular. The crowds were phenomenal, but I’d still do it all again next year given the chance! Here are a few photos of the fireworks at midnight, along with a shot of how clearly we could see the harbour bridge in front of us … prime real estate, we had, that’s for sure LOL.

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and the piece de resistance for me … look at all that gunpowder going up … this little Annie was in childlike heaven!!! 😀

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If you want to see a quick video clip of the start of the fireworks, you can check it out here! And if you have more time to spend and fancy watching the first 8 whole minutes of some spectacular fireworks, check out the You Tube video here 😀

Candles/Carols in the Domain Sydney-style

We had a lovely time at the carols last night – while we couldn’t see the stage clearly from where we were sitting, we could just see the large screen to follow who was on stage.  They had a good line-up of local singing stars including Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll, Paulini, and Brian McFadden plus others.  We had a star of our own, though, as we found ourselves joined by a certain ‘Gladiator’ along with his family, bodyguard and nanny … definitely a highlight of the night for me!  You can see him in the sunglasses just behind us (I felt uncomfortable taking more photos as he was enjoying a family night out, and I thought that would be too intrusive) 🙂

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Mr Russell Crowe and friends enjoying Candles in the Park Dec08

The great thing about the Sydney event is that you can buy a “Candle Bag” for charity, which has 4 candles with cup-holders to sit them in – it looks so pretty looking out over the event when darkness falls to see all of the candles lit up around the crowds.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good photo to share though.

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There was a short firework display at the start of the show, and another final short fireworks display at the end.

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All-in-all it was a fun night – although my head was suffering overnight due to the consumption of too much wine and the excitement of sharing the night with Mr C 😉

Today will be spent finishing the Christmas decorations off, I think, then doing a spot of housework … I bought a new attachement for my vacuum cleaner making it semi-bagless, so I’ll have to trial it to see if it works well … nothing but glamorous stuff for me today – serves me right, I’ve been having waaaay too much fun lately! LOL 😛