Here you will often find my thoughts of the day, with the occasional vent - but first and foremost this is where I can share my passion for stitching.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My blog is flying the coop!!!

Just to let you know, after being enabled by KarenV, I've decided to try out WordPress for hosting my blog. It seems there are a number of you who still can't post comments to this one since the introduction of (non)Beta-Blogger, and I'm sick to death of trying to following the upgrade links only to be told I can't ugprade (so why keep telling me my blog is ready to be moved ... you morons??!!!)

So far I'm quite impressed at how easy it is to edit stuff, but I'm only just in the initial stages of getting my blog the way I want it. I haven't decided yet whether to move the RAK Registry one over as well, but it's quite likely that'll follow suit in due course. The only thing I don't like is not being able to have a swish template, and I'll miss my lovely blue paua shell and ducks ... but eventually I may be able to update my WordPress one to something snazzy when I work it all out ... one day! ;)

So, you'll need to amend your bookmarks, as my new blog address will be as follows (I'll start posting to the WordPress blog from now on, but this old blog will stay put for a while longer yet):

Friday, January 12, 2007

"It's good to be back ..."

A HUGE "g'day" from Elwood!!! Yep, this is actually me sitting in front of my very own PC in my very own little flat - no, Houston, we no longer have a problem - we have a phone line!!! :D The phone technician called this morning to see if I was home, and if he could come round ... his job today still went ahead, but he finished it sooner than expected, and was able to fit me in woohoo!!! :D Unfortunately the phone jack is now right in front of the front window where the Christmas tree usually sits, so I've had to spend just under $40 for a 12 metre extension cable and double adaptor, seeing as my computer is miles away, and the double adaptor I had already got was for the geriatric phone connection originally in place - now we have a snazzy new one.

I've already made one call home on it, and exercised the phone line for almost 2 hours chatting to Mum ... and here are some photos expressly for her - the latest on my wall cracks. The first one also includes a great shot of the newly finished phone connection (I still have to vacuum up the mess and move the furniture back), as well as the lovely new crack I have along the middle of the wall, just nicely in line with the height of the sofa.

Next up is the top corner of the same wall - the window is now so out of plumb I can't actually close it at all, and the phone technician reckons the floor in the corner is actually on a bit of a slope now hmmm.

Next is the corner behind my bookcase which divides the lounge and dining rooms.

And lucky last is above the balcony door frame. Some of them actually look worse in real life than they do in the photo ... yep, definitely a good time to be looking for somewhere new, before I end up making an unexpected visit to the downstairs neighbours by landing on their heads!!

As for stitching, not as much to report as expected ... here's the latest progress photo of Bordeaux Sampler - I stayed up last night to finish of the over-one parts, and it's been put away again until next week. You can see by the groups of grapes down the left hand side of the border where the halfway mark is, so I'm now very very close to it :) Don't worry Carol about not being in the same place - I know you've been very busy doing gift stitching ... it's still nice knowing you and Leslie are stitching it as well, even though we don't have a designated night for it :)

Lastly I can show the latest UFO I've finished - this Cream Button Bag by Shelley Warner was from a Guild weekend Retreat in Auckland ... it just has to be made into a bag now, but that will happen on one of my 'finishing' slots in my rotation. It's pitiful how long this has been sitting around, as it only had four leaves left to be completed and the buttons added - it only took about 1-1/2 hours to finish!

This week I also started a SAL with Carina on the Ross Originals Macaw - it's hardly worth showing a progress piccie, as there's only a few stitches to show for it ... but by next Wednesday there should be something worth showing, as that's our new SAL night :)

Rightio, now it's time to get the icing ready for a chocolate cake I made this morning ... I'm not a baker by any stretch of the imagination, but I figure my skills will never improve if I don't give it a go, so I'm stretching myself a bit. And the guys from work are going to be my guinea pigs to help save my waistline :)

I also made Honey Coconut Biscuits which are quite yummy ... and a case of 2nd time lucky! I was making them on Wednesday morning to take into work, but the final ingredient was self raising flour, and when I was sifting it I found a big clump of insect eggs ... everything ended up in the bin. Then I finally made them again last night, and managed to have an accident with the oven tray - while taking it out of the oven the heat started coming through my right hand, so I tried to jiggle it a bit in my hand, only to have the whole thing start slipping ... I automatically grabbed it with my left hand, only to remember I didn't have an oven mitt on it - let's say I remembered bloody quickly!! Luckily I have a heap of ice cubes ready made in the freezer, and I ran a 1/4 sink of cold water and dumped every single cube into it - the throbbing pain was insane, and it's no wonder people sometimes don't survive major burns due to the shock from the pain! Anyway, it seems the ice bath really helped, as today it's only slightly tender and the blistering is thankfully in places that is letting me have full use of my hand ... phew!! I even managed a bit more stitching on Bordeaux after the accident, I think more to take my mind off it than anything else ;)

I still can't switch to (non)Beta Blogger, and I'm getting sick to death of clicking on the "we are ready for you, switch now" blurbs ... this kept happening for a while before losing my phone access, and it's still happening. It's getting a bit annoying, but perhaps I should just ignore the prompts until it changes into something nasty, like a final demand letter ;) Either that, or start looking at alternatives, as I understand a few people haven't been able to comment on my blog for quite some time :(

Well, no more chatting for me - time to get moving, as I have an early shift at work tomorrow (a mix of 8am and 5am shifts for 7 days), and I still have some housework to finish ... as well as organising some rental alerts on a few suburbs, and to get that icing done.

Oh boy, it's good to have the 'net at home again!!! :D Mind you, with 1160 unread feeds, I'm sorry but I really do have to mark all as read and start from scratch - it's just too much to handle. I hope I won't miss too much by doing that :( Hope to catch up with you all again soon :D

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Just a quick post

I'm at an internet cafe in St Kilda at the moment, as the library doesn't open until 2pm today, and I needed to do some bill paying.

The phone update is that if the phone technician has a job cancelled for tomorrow, he can fit me in tomorrow to install a 'temporary line' - if not, he's then on holidays for 11 days and the real estate agent will have to try to find someone else to do it instead ... I'm trying not to stress out about it, but if it keeps on for much longer I'll give the Body Corporate/real estate agent a bill for my phone and internet connection for the month I haven't been able to access it! hmmm ...

The cracks in the walls are also now getting worse, and the building movement thanks to the drought has now changed the position of the windows at the front, and I can't close them anymore. I also now have a crack appearing horizontally across the middle of one of the walls ... not happy, Jan!

Which brings me to my next news ... the girl I considered moving in with last year has handed her notice in at her flat, and is looking to move again - and we've agreed to move in together. That means flat-hunting again as we'll need a 3-bedroom place this time ... it also means extra outlay for the move, but a better financial position in the long run. I'm extremely sad about moving from my current area, but it's a small sacrifice to make for a longer-term benefit, I guess. It just means I'll be walking round the beach every day until I move now! In fact, I'm having brunch here in St Kilda to start the ball rolling. That also means not having internet access for a while after I move ... although I'll start checking out options for wireless internet in the meantime as well, as that might be a better option in case I end up moving again in a year or two - who knows what the future will bring?

Stitchingwise I can't say I've done too much - I've almost finished the next band of Bordeaux, and I've finished one surface embroidery UFO, but that's pretty much it ... my time will now be spent househunting again, which doesn't lend much time for stitching. Oh well ...

Anyway, I'd better head off ... not sure when I'll be back online again. I miss you guys!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back at the library again ...

Sorry about the rushed post last night - I visited Fraze last night and met his girlfriend Megan for the first time ... pretty bad considering they've been going out together for about a year now! Anyway, it was a lovely time had by all - Megan cooked an awesome lasagne, and we chilled out with a glass of wine and good conversation ... so good I didn't end up leaving until 1am yikes! It was really nice to finally meet Megan after all this time. I'm usually really shy meeting new people, but I felt comfortable right from the start. I also intend catching up with "Bah Humbug" himself this week some time, aka Fraze's Dad, but that's another day and I have to psych myself up for it haha.

Still no word from the phone man - the real estate agent has left messages on his phone to call either her or me on my mobile to organise a date to come and fix the phone line. Considering the last time he came he stated if there were more problems they'd have to knock a hole in the wall and rewire the whole thing, it's going to be a big job, me thinks. I'd actually bought a new cheap phone before Christmas, so that Mum could phone me (when I thought it was the phone that was dead) ... and when I read the receipt last week I noticed they have a 14-day 'cooling off period' when you can return the goods for a refund ... no questions asked, so I rushed in with the phone and I have the money back in my bank account again yippee! The great thing about the phone line issue is that the landlord pays for it, not me woohoo! :D

Anyway, I popped into the library to check my emails, as I was expecting one, so I thought I'd make better use of the trip and upload some progress piccies as well. I'm not sure how often I'll be popping to the library to check in, as their hours don't really match up well with my shifts a lot of the time ... by the time I get hooked up again, I may have set a new world record for unread feeds - I'd just started reading blogs again when my phone line crashed, and I'd managed to get it down to 690-ish ... I'm aiming for the new record of four figures! LOL. By the time I get connected again I just may have to "mark all as read" and start from scratch, as I think it's going to be way too much to try to catch up on.

Anyway, here's the progress to date of my two WIP's (I copied the piccies to disk) - I managed to finish off 4 hours on Flight of the Bumble Bees, and almost got the darning band completed ... but seeing as I wasn't really enjoying it, I decided to save the last bit until the next time I come to that rotation slot. Here is where I left them ... (yet another crappy photo sorry)

Now I just have one hour left on Egyptian Garden, before I get back to work on an old UFO - it's likely that with one rotation slot I'll get that finished, but then again I'm not very productive when I'm on 6pm shifts as I'm usually way too tired, so time will tell. Here's how I left EG at the end of the last 10 hours, and how it looks now ... I've started the over-one area in the centre - seeing as I'd already unpicked this once on different fabric and started over again, I wasn't in a hurry to start that part again, but I figure it has to be done at some stage, and if I just do 1-2 hours in every rotation slot, it will eventually all get filled in. My apologies, too - I'd meant to hunt down which fabric I'm using for this, as a couple of you have questioned it ... I know it was a Silkweaver opalescent fabric, but I can't remember which one - when I get up and running again at home, I'll find out for you :)



And to finish off, here's another quote for you ... I just found this one on the 'net, as I forgot to bring it with me, but it's one of my all-time favourites ... I chose this to add to my Wessex Sampler, as I had started to embrace learning new things where my embroidery was concerned, and taking risks in the new challenges that brought. I suppose it's also partly responsible for why I'm here in Aussie now, as I ran with what life had to offer at the time ... life is too short ... :D
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. - Mark Twain"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Missing in Action

Just a really really quick note as I'm out having dinner with Fraze and Megan, and hijacking their internet connection quickly ... my phone line has totally died on me, and I haven't had any phone or internet access for the last 48 hours. I probably won't get to an internet cafe for a while now, so I'm going to be missing in action for a while. I'm still stitching, though, so I might have some progress piccies when I get back :D

If you need to get hold of me regarding the RAK Registry etc, try contacting Nicki (Plush), Carol (Garden of Stitches) or Jenna (Tale of a Shooting Star) for my work email address (except I'm not back there until Saturday ...).

See ya when I get back online ... whenever that is ...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year - A New Start

OK, I fibbed ... yesterday I decided seeing as it was the first day of a New Year, and I hadn't finished my canvaswork rotation slot yet (I still had 4 hours of it left), I thought I'd drag out a new start ... I've had this piece kitted up for many many years, and thought it would be good to finally get it stitched up. This is definitely a challenging piece for me, as it's using stitches, materials and techniques never tried before. It's called "Flight of the Bumble Bees" by Ruth Schmuff Designs. This is the finished product:

I've already had to frog-stitch part of it last night, and can't say I'm particularly enjoying the darning of this band of bumble bees in Kreinik #8 braid ... you should see the rat's nest of threads hanging from the bottom of the canvas to be threaded back in afterwards hmmm. Sorry for the bad photo - I'll take a better one after the next rotation round, as there won't be much more progress on this one before I really DO get back to Egyptian Garden :) I might just do the last hour on the bees before I switch over, though, as I think I still have an hour of that rotation left to go ... I think I could manage another hour before I pull my hair out ;)

I just may be throwing a few quotes into my posts this year as well ... I saved a heap of quotes that interested me or touched me in some way, that I thought may be useful one day ... and I think I'll share a few of them every now and then. Here's the first one - and considering how I've been spending my days off so far, I think I can truthfully say I'm living! ;)
"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live." - Lin Yutang

Monday, January 01, 2007

First finish for 2007!

Here goes my first finish for 2007 ... this is "Spring Basket" by Beverley McNully from an Inspirations magazine. I started it last night, but didn't get very far before I hit the hay for the night. To say I detest doing French knots is an understatement, but they were pretty simple this time using perle cotton on canvas. It just has to be turned into a pincushion during a future 'finishing session'. Seeing as I don't have any 18" stretcher bars yet, I can't start my Laura J Perin canvaswork design, so this fit in nicely into the canvaswork slot in my rotation in the meantime :D

Now I'm off to put a few more stitches into my focus piece, Egyptian Garden. I had a shock earlier, though, when my phone line died again ... this time it was just offline for about an hour, but if I go missing all of a sudden, that's why!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!
Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous year in 2007.
I look forward to continuing the wonderful friendships I've made throughout the coming year :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bordeaux Sampler

Just a really really quick post, as I'm pretty shattered - just wanted to show Carol and Leslie that I haven't forgotten about this SAL we're doing ... I just haven't had much progress to show. Anyway, seeing as I'm supposed to post a piccie each Friday, I figure I might as well show where I'm up to so far - I think Carol might be catching me up quickly, and at the rate I'm going will be overtaking me very soon! ;) I'm really not enjoying this band at all, so it's slowed my enthusiasm and my stitching speed down - perhaps the sooner I finish it the better, so I can move on to a more fun band. (Sorry for the poor photo quality.)

We had a couple of people off sick at work today, so I ended up with 3 1/2 hours overtime which will be absolutely awesome in the pay packet (Mr Taxman may just see his money at the start of the year!) ... but on day 6 of work, doing an 11 1/2 hour shift has wiped me out and I'm pretty exhausted ... it's my last day tomorrow, with another 6am start, so no more stitching for me, I don't think!

I was also supposed to post a Photo Hunt piccie, but I'm too exhausted to go hunting ... I had a quick look through my online piccies, but nothing jumped out at me, so I'm going to flag the exercise this week - instead I'm going to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet in the 1 1/2 hours I have between getting home and having to get to bed again ;)

Friday, December 29, 2006

My mailbox runneth over!

Imagine my surprise when I went to my PO Box to clear my mail yesterday morning before work, and the mailman came out with a HUGE box of goodies for me - he even laughed at the look on my face, bless him! Cindy went crazy and put together the most incredible selection of stitching goodies for me ... I'm still in awe of everything, and feel like one of those plastic dogs that sits in the back of the car with it's head shaking with every bump, except mine's just shaking in the sheer amazement at Cindy's generosity. Thank you again, Cindy, I'm still totally blown away and don't know what I've done to deserve it! I love it all ... and you may have noticed the Kahlua choccies didn't even survive 24 hours - I was kind and shared them at work yesterday with my closest colleagues, and they were totally delicious! And the notebook is already in use for some stitching lists I've been wanting to do for a few weeks now, and the page sizes and lines are just perfect for it. I'm always running out of Floss-away bags, and all the charts are awesome, and the fabric, and the threads, and oh my my head is spinning again! :D Thanks so much for making my day! :D

On a down note I finally cracked it with a certain ONS (SB&B to be exact) ... after waiting since August (!) for some backordered items for Mum and me, I finally got the advice they were ready to ship ... I quickly sent off an email asking if they could add two skeins of WDW for Katrina to save postage, plus 2 Kreinik braids, and no answer ... when I went to the library to check emails (my phone line was down at this stage), I'd received a refund notice from PayPal - not even SB&B themselves - for an amount for the Aida Mum had had on backorder ... no explanation or anything, and no answers to the previous emails I'd sent re the extra threads. I finally sent an email from work cracking it about their lack of communication and demanding they tell me what the hell was going on ... a very quick response then, stating they'd apparently sent me emails etc, but then just shipped the parcel "as is". I wouldn't mind, but we've been waiting 4 months for the fabric, that was then refunded (and for a totally different amount that I'd been invoiced for too!) ... 4 months for Floss-away bags and WDW threads for Needle Nick (which of course is now too late to stitch for this Christmas anyway). It's amazing how invoices have no problem reaching my email addy, but answers to queries have a major issue ... sorry about the vent, but it makes my blood boil! I don't usually like to bad-mouth a specific company on here, and the last time I vented I didn't name names, but this time I've reached my limits ... mutter mutter mutter. I've been signed up for the Monthly Bits for a while now, but I'm starting to reconsider that option as well.

In this instance Karen at Dragonfly Dreams came to the rescue, as I've ordered the other threads through Karen now - from one extreme to the other, the service is exceptionally quick and communication first rate ... it's a shame we have to pay so much more 'down under', but I'm starting to think it's perhaps a better option when taking service levels into consideration. Food for thought for me for the New Year ... not that I'll be buying much for a while yet anyway, as my finances are still in tight check for a while longer hmmm.

Rightio, that's my venting out of my system ... phew! Now I'm off to think about what to stitch next - I think perhaps it's time to start on a birthday gift I want to stitch ... either that or maybe start that canvaswork pincushion from the Inspirations magazine and try to knock off another goal before year end haha. I'm actually quite excited, as I only have 2 more working days left (from a total of 7), then I'm on a 5-day break yippee ... gee whiz, I wonder what I'll be doing next week?? LOL ... although it'll take me 1-2 days just to catch up on blogs from the last couple of weeks!