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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Dena Posted by Picasa


Well, today I stuck to my original plans, and finished a couple of objects. I've had a number of pincushions stitched and ready to be 'stuffed' - I even had their cords already made too - but I just hadn't got around to stitching the backing fabric on a couple of them, and just basically pulling my finger out and finishing them. Well, today brought a few projects out of that forlorn raggle-taggle pile, and they're about to proudly join the 'pincushion basket' ... yay, I actually managed to stitch together 6 whole pincushions today - woohoo!

I still have another three yet to be done, but one just got its face washed today, and I have to wait for it to dry - and I can't decide how to complete the other ones - whether to turn the other one into a Christmas ornament instead of a pincushion ... oh decisions, decisions. After that I have one scissor fob to be done, along with two needlecases, and one needleroll (my first ever). I might attempt to get the needleroll done tonight, but even if I don't I'm pretty pleased with my accomplishments today.

Anyway, I'll try to upload a piccie, along with the one from yesterday (so you can see it Mum).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I give up trying to add photos!

For some reason I can't upload a photo either by blogger upload, or by using Hello/Picasa ... mutter mutter mutter. I've never tried adding a 'link' on here before, but I'll try and see if it works, just in case anyone's interested in seeing it - and I'll try and upload it again tomorrow. Here is today's version of Dena.

I really need to learn more about this technology on blogging ... for the life of me I still can't work out how to insert photos into the side bar etc either hmmmm.

More UFO-ing today

Today has been a fantastic day stitching-wise, but a shocking day housework-wise ... what I should have been doing on my day off is my housework for the week - but instead the needle won over the vacuum cleaner haha. Oh well, such is life - luckily I only have to answer to myself when the chores don't get done :-)

I have to admit, I am now putting aside "Dena" - I only have the final band to go now, but it includes yet more of that dastardly thread weaving, and I think I've faced all the weaving I can for this week! Never mind, if it's really well behaved this week, I might bring it back out on Tuesday night for UFO night again and have another small attack at it. Unless something else takes my eye - I'm so easily distracted by my many projects underway haha.

Thank you to everyone that has been leaving comments on my blog - it is so gratefully received ... I can't believe how many wonderful needlewomen I've met in such a short time of blogging. After living on my own for the first time, I don't feel a lack of company at all - I come home to lots of chatting and camaraderie from yourselves and other online groups I belong to, and it's really wonderful fun. In answer to some of your comments:

Karenv - Glad to hear my UFO plan might be of interest to you. I have to admit, some weeks it took me a lot of personal drive to actually stitch some of the 'horrible' ones, but even if you put just one thread into the fabric over the night, it's one step closer to finishing :-) And I still can't believe that Summer Into Autumn chart is from The Drawn Thread ... I've been checking out online sources today to track it down. Enabling is great!

Sharlee - Wasn't that thunder and lightning amazing? I have to admit, when I first left work I spoke to my ex-flatmate who was on late shift, and was telling him what I was about to drive towards. He thought it was fantastic ... um, no, I kept telling him - I was wetting myself all the way home driving into it, I hate driving in that sort of weather ... I don't mind it when I'm tucked up safely indoors and can try to ignore it's happening! My mate ate his words later, though, as the storm hit the eastern 'burbs and knocked out all their power ... ended up frying one of the fuses, and their fridge/freezer has been out of action all night - yikes! Re my stitching, every now and then I'm disciplined ... but mostly I chucked the rule books out the window, and just stitch what I feel like :-) It will be nice to clear out some old UFO's though ...

Beckysc - Thanks heaps for your comments about Dena - I have to admit since I finished the thread weaving this arvo, she started looking a bit brighter in my eyes as well.

Jenna - You certainly can take the full blame for getting me to order the 2004 JCS ornie issue ... shame on you haha. I can't wait to see the other ornaments in there - I've never made one before, and looking forward to other enticements in both that issue and the 2005 one :-)

Cathymk - I have to say I was suitably impressed with the grab bag from Country Stitch. Which FOTM did you order? I ordered the plain fabrics initially, but I'm wondering whether I should change to the hand-dyeds ... I really like the ones I got in the grab bag ... hmmm decisions decisions!

Lelia - I'll have to check out the other Patrick's Woods designs - that threadwinder case pattern sounds intriguing ... I've still got my original DMC threads on floss bobbins, but eventually replacing them with the new plastic holders that hold the full skein (the name escapes me at the moment ... Gold concept??). Yippee, more enabling coming up - gotta love it!

Well, better hit the hay for the night - have made myself promise not to spend all night on the computer for a change. Instead I've been stitching, which is positive - and I have one more DVD to watch before I get to sleep ... my best mate used to call my bedroom in the old flat "Shackbuster", 'cos I have so many movies at home it was like a Blockbuster video hire store in there! I love stitching to movies - it just plays in the background, and I look up every now and then when changing threads. I also love talking books for the same reason - I love reading, and that means I can 'read' and stitch at the same time ... great time management, and kills two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

UFO Night

About 3 years ago I designated Tuesday night as "UFO night" - originally I had a numerical list of all my unfinished stitching projects. I got serious and numbered tiddlywink discs with the same list of numbers - on Tuesday night each week I drew a number out of the 'barrel', and whatever project had that number, that was the one I had to stitch on that night. I figure this was the only way I could force myself to stitch those UFO's I'd come to detest. Well, it worked OK for a while, and I managed to even finish a couple of UFO's that way, but I've pretty much fallen off the UFO wagon over the last 2 years since moving to Aussie.

Last night I decided to reinstate the tradition - but instead of drawing a number out of the barrel, I opted instead to actually choose which UFO I wanted to work on. In this case I picked out my old canvaswork piece called "Dena" by Orna Willis. No sooner had I pinned the canvas to the frame, and clamped it into the floor stand, and started reading the chart, than I remembered why this became a UFO in the first place ... loads and loads of 'weaving' of threads ... yuck!! Anyway, I figured I couldn't back out now ... I was already sat in my recliner ready to stitch - I just had to bite the bullet and get on with it! In actual fact, I eventually got into a rhythm, and finished one band, and got part-way through another one. I figure I'm going to continue stitching this one for another night or two - it would be lovely to get this one finished and out of the way before I start my Christmas SAL next week. And I seem to be on a roll stitching-wise, so I might as well strike while the iron's hot, so to speak!

And what better weather to sit and stitch to ... driving home tonight the sky was lit up amazingly by lightning - and on the last street before reaching home it started pelting the car with hail, and you couldn't see two feet in front of you thanks to the torrential downpour! I only have a few paces to walk between my carpark and the building, and in such a short space of time I managed to get a thorough drenching - unbelievable! Mind you, it seems to have eased off now, and is undoubtedly terrorising some other part of Melbourne with its energy.

One other great thing happened tonight - I recently rejoined Ebay just to find a copy of the 2004 JCS Ornament issue ... well today I actually won my first ever bid from a UK supplier, so hopefully my copy will soon be winging it's way across the oceans. After seeing The Sweetheart Tree's ornament in another blog, I really really wanted to stitch it ... I had no choice but to track it down and buy it! LOL. And hopefully I'll soon be completing another exchange for the 2005 JCS issue ... plus today is officially my Friday - tomorrow is the weekend for me - the day just doesn't get any better than this! :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy Dancing!

Yippee, I can finally post that I have finished my Mill Hill bead sampler - from the chart "Beading for Needlework - Basics and Beyond". I started this back at the beginning of September, but ran out of cream MH petite beads ... 8 whole beads short of finishing hmmm ... well, I finally got more, and put the finishing touches to this piece. I was supposed to stitch on an old UFO tonight, as it's Tuesday, and that's my official UFO rotation night, so I might still drag one out and pop a few stitches into it. Seeing as I put a few stitches into the dolphins this week (which is an old UFO), I figure I can happily do something different tonight, especially in light of my happy dance haha. So I think I'll have a change of scene, and put a few stitches into my canvaswork UFO called "Dena" by the designer Orna Willis. Hopefully I'll get one band in tonight, if nothing more ... once again, though, that's one step closer to another finish!

Stitchaholic's Anonymous

Mum, you can tell me off later ... but as you know, I AM a stitch-a-holic and I won't change. My grab bag I recently ordered by a NZ store, Country Stitch, just arrived in the mail today - what a feast for the eyes, the colours are stunning! I really love them. I bought a grab bag of hand-dyed fabbies, as well as 2 separate "Kiwi Pearls", which are samples or one-offs ... yippee, today is good! Unfortunately the photo doesn't do the colours justice ...
While looking through my stash of fabric, I noticed it is almost all white/off-white ... not real 'pizzazz' to it - well, I'm going to change all that. These pieces are probably big enough to do my small pieces such as needlerolls and pincushions, which is what I fancy stitching at the moment, so it is my little stitching treat to myself, seeing I won't be able to afford to do it very often. And boy, oh boy, it felt good to check my mailbox today and find that little slip saying "a parcel is waiting to be picked up" - yippee. And I'm also arranging a trade with a lady in the USA for the latest 2005 JCS Ornament issue, in exchange for some Aussie threads or Inspirations magazine. Life is good ... happy dancing here just for sake of it - not 'cos I've finished any stitching, just happy dancing 'cos I wanna!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blogger photo not working

Sorry, I tried to insert my photos like usual in the right places among my text ... but for some reason Blogger is sooooo sloooooow tonight, and it won't upload photos correctly ... in the end I gave up and used Picasa to upload them instead. I added text comments so that they'll at least relate to the script below it ... Now I've wasted most of the night trying to upload these darned things, I don't have time to stitch hmmm. Oh well, I'll have to make up for it tomorrow night instead.

A Cotton Case chart by Patrick's Woods. Posted by Picasa

This is my choice for the Christmas SAL about to start with StitchNZ yahoo group. Posted by Picasa

This is the tuffet made by the Gift Workshop group of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria Posted by Picasa

The blossoms are out

I don't what it is about today, but I felt really positive driving to work - I took time to notice the blossoms sprouting in the trees, and yet again thought to myself what a beautiful city Melbourne is. Those irrational complainers at work have also taken the hint, and eased off, and the world is good today!

I forgot to post that I purchased a small tuffet and matching scissor fob from the Guild exhibit the other day - I'm really keen to make one myself, and thought this would be a great example for me to follow, as well as providing an extra couple of dollars for the Guild's pockets. It's now resting comfortably in my cane basket, along with my other pincushions. I still have about 6 ready to be 'stuffed', so I look forward to filling that basket up even more when I start my Friday finishing nights.

I had to complete a dreadful task today ... I'd been putting it off until it was absolutely necessary, but today I could put it off no longer. I went along to my local needlework store (since I've just moved suburbs, I have a new 'local') to buy some floba fabric that I needed for my soon-to-start Christmas SAL. I'm going to be stitching the stand-up Christmas tree in Mill Hill Treasured Christmas Trees chart:

The reason I'd been putting it off going to my LNS? ... 'cos I knew darned well that I wouldn't be able to resist coming out with nothing else but what I went in for LOL. Yup, sure enough, a chart hopped into my hands without warning. Actually, my restraint was pretty good, as I really really wanted to buy one of the Mill Hill beaded tassel ornament kits too, but I held back. Instead I bought a chart called "A Cotton Case" by Patrick's Woods. It's not my usual style, but I'm going through a phase where I'm fascinated by the 'smalls' for stitching - especially pincushions, needlerolls etc. This one is unlikely to be stitched by me in its current colours, as I'm thinking of changing them to vibrant colours ... not sure, though, as it might detract from the design. I also want to change the cotton pockets to something else - again, not sure what I'll replace it with yet, but perhaps pockets for packets of needles or something. Anyway, it'll be sitting in my stash for a rainy day when I feel like tackling it ... I really must get some of my existing UFO's finished first though!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Another working day over

Glad to say only 3 more working days to go for my working week, until next weekend ... I don't know what it is about this last week, but customers are totally irrational, irritable and downright loopy! Boy, oh boy, I can't wait until this current cycle of crankiness is over and done with!! Full moon usually makes a difference, but this is crazy. Yet again, a good excuse to come home and stitch a bit more - any excuse is a good one haha.

I had a thought late last night regarding my 'oldest' UFO I stitched on yesterday ... there is quite a bit of yellowish staining on the fabric and stitching on this piece. Unfortunately it's discolouring the stitching on the top 1/4, along with fabric that won't be entirely covered with stitching - I've decided to put a small halt on the stitching front where this is concerned. I've opted instead to chuck it in the Orvus, and give its face a bit of a wash, to see of the stains are moveable - I figure if they're permanent, there's no point continuing and it'll either be trimmed down as an ornament or something ('cos the deer is still quite cute), or just go straight in the bin. Anyway, fingers crossed it will come out in the wash, but if not that means I'll have a free space in my rotation - I'm sure I'll be able to find something to fill its place hahaha.

Mum has managed to find my old JCS Ornament issues (VERY old 1997 and 1998 issues), so she's going to post one of them over to me to try stitching at least one ornament this year. Still waiting for the 2005 one to hit the newsagents here, as I haven't seen it in the shops in Melbourne yet ... either that, or they've sold out already!! Yikes, I hope not!!!

So, a very quiet night at home tonight - will try to get about an hour's stitching done, but need a very early night. Unfortunately the after parties from the AFL grand final last night kept me from having a sound sleep, and feeling a bit under-par tonight. Oh well, I should get at least one threads worth of stitching done, if nothing else - it's one step closer to something getting finished :-)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Shaking the cobwebs off a UFO

Of all the things I choose to stitch tonight, I had to choose a project that became my first ever UFO. This project was started approx 1992 - called Nature's Resting Place by Stoney Creek Designs. This was the first attempt I ever made at stitching on an evenweave fabric (I'd only stitched on aida before that) - and this project was in fact one of the first I'd ever stitched at all! It's funny as I look at it now, that I realise how inexperienced I was at the time I started stitching it. There are shocking hoop marks and stains on the fabric, along with a couple of rust marks where previous needles had been left in place - and I'd started stitching by the wrong thread (although at the time, I didn't realise there was any difference). At least all the stitches are going in the right direction!
The reason this became a UFO was that I only realised 2/3 into the stitching that the entire top 1/4-1/3 was supposed to be stitched with only 1 thread - whereas I had stitched the entire lot of XS with 2 strands ... I felt so disheartened, I packed it away and didn't touch it again ... until now ...

I've since decided that I need to put this piece to rest - it's not something that will ever grace my walls, and I really don't know what I'll do with it afterwards, but I just want to get it finished. I think I'll have to redesign my rotation to fit this into the list. My new thoughts are to have my rotation for October as follows:

  • Week 1 - Christmas SAL (StitchNZ)
  • Week 2 - Stoney Creek UFO
  • Week 3 - Mirabilia SAL (StitchNZ - Winter Queen)
  • Week 4 - Dolphins XS

I also think I'll have Friday nights as 'Friday Finishing' night - where I put together those pincushions that are ready for stuffing, and the needlebooks that are ready to be put together, as well as the needleroll that just needs to be stitched together and stuffed. My goal is to have all of my pincushions at least completed by Christmas - the cords are all made, they just have to be hand-stitched together.

Thank goodness for stitching!

How do people cope with day-to-day stresses if they don't stitch? It makes me wonder - isn't it lucky stitchers have such a fantastic outlet that is not just creative, but a fantastic stress relief and calming solution.

Today I couldn't wait to get home and stitch - it's been an awful day at work - stitching is the only solution I can think of. What is it that makes people so feral sometimes? I relieve on the 'supervisor hotline' at work in our call centre - today an escalated call came through from a VIP member ... he started by just ripping into the previous staff member extremely rudely, then said "and what are you going to do about it?". I responded that I wasn't sure what the issues were, and could we discuss what the problems were in more detail ... the response was that I was an "unhelpful b*tch" and further angry yelling that continued on regardless of what I said. I won't into more details, but basically I'm losing my job because I didn't answer the phone quick enough, didn't apologise in exactly the right place, and "have no pride in my work". I managed to hold my tongue pretty well, but there's no need for such abuse to be given the minute I picked the phone up. I'm usually pretty good, and can diffuse most complaint situations, but this man was out of control and totally irrational ... I could have read the McDonald's menu to him and he would have exploded - totally irrational, phew!! So, because of this man, I am now forced into having to spend the evening stitching ;-P

So, again, I say "thank goodness for stitching" - you are our saviour!!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

The end to a good day

I forgot to post earlier that I also treated myself today - to a new Canon bubblejet printer. And the first thing I did was to print off the album pages for my last 4 small finishes to add to my printed stitching album. On each page I include a photo of the finished piece, plus information on the design/designer, dates started and finished, any specialty threads/stitches, the size of the piece (either cm or stitches), and any comments I want to make. It's really nice to flip through the pages every now and then to remember what achievements I've actually made.

To top the day off, I just played on the computer - no stitching done today, which is a bit bad, but I did something else instead ... I scanned photos of pages in my stitching magazines that I'd like to stitch. So often I'd have to flick through magazine after magazine that I own, just looking for 'something' - now I've scanned a photo of the project itself, and posted into a Word document, along with the issue and page number, so now I'm super organised haha. Oh well, even if I never use it, I had fun!!

It's now time to turn in for the night, after a most relaxing and rewarding day. At least tomorrow and the next week I'm on reasonable shifts, and just working 8am to 4pm ... it will be bliss going to work and coming home both in daylight! And it means my sleeping patterns should be a bit better this week ... which bodes well for stitching :-)

'Girlie day' today

What can I say, except what a lovely day it was today. I spent the entire day doing things I enjoy. It all started off with a phone call from a friend in Sydney, who I haven't spoken to in person since Christmas - what a lovely surprise! I was supposed to be meeting my ex-flatmate, and best Aussie mate, for a coffee before he started work, but my Sydney phone call made me a bit late - I just had time to pick him up from home, and grab a takeaway coffee before walking him the 100m to his work building ... oh well, it was still nice to see him, even if it was only briefly.

After that I got my hair cut - and that's always a bit of personal pampering in itself ... it's like having a massage for me, very relaxing. And to top that all off I popped into the Embroiderers Guild exhibit where I spent 1 1/2 hours admiring the beautiful, and in some cases exceptional, stitches pieces by members of the Guild. I managed to have a quick chat to both members of the Gift Workshop and Patchwork guidance groups ... I really MUST make more of an effort to get along to the Guild guidance groups, as it always inspires me to get stitching! Unfortunately, it's difficult doing shift work, but even if I get to one group every two months, it's gotta be worthwhile!

Anyway, yesterday was going to be my stitching day ... hmmm, well it was 'of sorts' - ended up playing on the computer drooling over charts etc online, rather than getting much stitching done haha. Oh well, at least it was still stitching-related LOL. At 10pm I finally decided to pick up a very VERY old UFO and actually finished it at 1am this morning ... I don't think the neighbours would have been too impressed to hear my heavy thumping happy dance upstairs from them, but I didn't care :-) I can't believe I finally got this thing finished ... it was from a beginners hardanger class from about 2001, and really had very little stitching to be done to it - mainly just finishing the 4-sided stitch around the edges and the eyelets. Unfortunately I started out by finding I'd miscounted a few stitches back when I'd originally started stitching it in the class, so I started off by frog-stitching, but then I managed to pick up the pace and get back into the swing of the stitches, and finished it off.

On top of finishing my old UFO, I also did the background stitching to what was supposed to be a 'hardanger pincushion' ... well, you wouldn't get too many pins in the thing, it's pretty small - I figure I'm going to finish it into a scissor fob instead, and the colours I chose are similar to a needlecase I've stitched, but just have to put together. I just wanted something 'small' and quick to stitch during the day yesterday, and that was it - it also got me back into the hardanger 'mood', which is why I dragged the old UFO out again afterwards.

So, all-in-all, a very very good day today - and it's still not over, so I intend picking some more stitching up again tonight, and finishing the book on tape I got 2/3 through yesterday (Clare's War by Anita Burgh) ... ah, could life get much better?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Something finished

Well, I should have posted this last week during my days off, but I decided not to, as Mum checks this blog every now and then, and my finish was a gift for her. Since talking to her, I find I'd actually already shown her the chart I was going to make for her ages ago, so it's not really a surprise anymore :-) That means I can post a wee piccie. This is the first time I've ever put together a needlebook, and I'm sorry to say I'm really disappointed with the finishing I did on it - the stitching is fine, but I didn't manage to get the mitring of the corners done too well with the aida fabric. I decided to use a small bit of batting as well as template plastic inside the cover, and it was a bit awkward sliding around - in hindsight I'd leave the batting out next time, or glue it to the plastic somehow. Oh well, it was OK for a first attempt, I guess - I just need to make some more to get more practice in haha. This was a kit I bought in the UK as a souvenir a number of years ago - called "Rose Arbour Needlecase" by Textile Heritage Collection.

Didn't get much sleep last night, so my day is being replanned today, as I don't feel too crash hot. Am getting my hair cut at lunchtime tomorrow, then I'll pop over to the Guild exhibit afterwards instead of today. That means today I'm having a lazy day playing with my blog, watching DVD's and stitching! (ah, bliss...) With any luck I'll have more to post later today - I think I may be able to finally finish my beaded sampler ... well, that's the goal anyway!

The weekend's here!

OK, in fact it's only Thursday morning (very very early) - you see, as a shift worker there is no such thing as a weekend for me anymore ... whatever day comes up before my days off, that's then Friday for me. Well, last night was Friday, so I'm now free to do what I please for two days - which after my shifts this week might just end up being sleeping haha.

In actual fact, I plan in attending the exhibit at my local Embroiderers Guild, of which I'm a non-attending member at the moment. I started going to the new members meetings last year/early this year, but then I started full-time shift work, and it's been difficult fitting anything in since then. Oh well, I'll still keep trying. It will be nice to go and see the exhibit, as I always get great pleasure in sharing other people's stitching triumphs - and going to these exhibits always stirs up the creative side in me again, and makes me want to hurry home and get back to my own stitching.

So that's my entire plan for my two days off - going to the exhibit, and perhaps getting my hair cut, followed by my work chores etc ... not very exciting ... but then I intend sitting myself down in my stitching recliner tomorrow night (sorry, I guess that's now tonight!) and having an hour or three relaxing and stitching. At least I'm on reasonable shifts next week - 8am-4pm - so I can get back into the swing of stitching a fair bit again.

My well thought out rotation has gone out the window before it's even begun ... I'm now committing myself to a new SAL with the StitchNZ yahoo group, on the 1st week of each month. This will only be taking place on the run up to Christmas, as we're all going to be working on a Christmas project, whether it be a large XS piece or Christmas ornaments. My choice is a Mill Hill chart called Treasured Christmas Trees, and fits in well with my "only stitch from stash" plans - I start buying the required MH charms and treasures years ago when I first bought the chart, so it's about time I stitched this up and put them to good use. It looks like it could be a relatively quick stitch (albeit relatively boring, as it's just green thread as the tree background, decorated with beads and charms etc), so I should be able to get the stitching completed before Christmas - and possibly add a Christmas ornament into the mix as well, as I've never stitched one before, and figure it will be a new challenge for me ...

Well, better hit the hay again - I've finished my wind-down post-work, and eyelids are getting heavy ... and I need to be up relatively early for the exhibit to make sure I don't run out of time for drooling :-) Hopefully next time I post I'll be able to post some sort of progress photo of my stitching - as I've been very slack at that this week, and haven't picked up a needle. Plus I really want to build this blog site up a bit more, and need to work out the technology of adding photos to the sidebars etc ... that'll keep me out of mischief for a week, though, not 2 days!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

In a stitching slump

Well, after going great guns for a week, my stitching exploits have dwindled to a big fat "zero" ... I managed to get a few stitches put into Chatelaine's Egyptian Garden, but ended up with a migraine trying to see the holes in the 32-count hand-dyed Opalescent Lugana - the air was turning blue while I was trying to stitch over-one! In the end, I've decided it's just not worth the heartache ... and have decided to opt for getting the 32-count belfast linen instead - not sure what I'll use this lugana for, but I'm sure something will come to mind eventually - hopefully something with very little stitching, and lots of background showing haha ... hmmmm, something in blackwork, perhaps???

Part of my slump has to do with my work shifts this week. Unfortunately (or fortunately, in some cases) I work for a call centre, which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. There are some horrendous hours, but it has its benefits, such as driving home in 5am traffic ... sheer bliss! This week I'm on what I think is the worst shift, for some reason - 6pm to 2am. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I find myself extremely tired during the day, and not sleeping properly, and I don't have the energy to get up and do 'things' before I go to work. Mind you, it's a full moon at the moment, and the callers have been a bit 'feral' at times - people are really cranky with you, and it takes its toll on your by the end of 8 hours. I'm on the Supervisor Hotline at the moment, where we have to take escalated complaint calls from our staff, and for some reason when the full moon hits the complaints are much more irrational and time-consuming, not to mention draining! Oh well, it's paying the bills ... and luckily I only have one more 6pm-2am shift to do for the week, then I have one day of 3-11pm then 2 days off. It will be sheer bliss to only work a 5-day week this week, as it's mostly 6 or 7 days straight on our roster.

I have to say I haven't posted for a while - but yesterday I must say I felt really positive about life in general. Can't explain why, but I just felt 'at one with the world'. I recently moved out of a negative flatting situation, into a flat on my own, and am loving it most of the time. Where I have moved to is just a short 10 minute walk to the beach front, where I can make the most of the walking track and get some exercise in before or after work (or at least that's the plan haha). Unfortunately of late the weather here in Melbourne has been shocking, but yesterday there were blue skies and no gale force winds, so I donned the walking shoes and made an effort to get moving. Here is a photo of 'my' beach - I find it really calming to walk by the ocean ... yesterday it reminded me why I was overjoyed to move to this area :-) Well, better hit the hay - almost 4am and tiredness is settling in finally ... fingers crossed for a better night's sleep tonight, as I want to attend the Embroiderers Guild exhibit tomorrow before work ... anyway, here's the beach ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Going cross-eyed with grey XS

Crikey, the last couple of days I've been stitching up a storm - I've been exceptionally lazy today, as I had the day off work ... I've just been sat in my recliner, watching old DVD's (or rather, listening to old DVD's), while stitching my heart out on Vicki & John's dolphins XS. Made a pretty hefty dent in it, but ready for a break now. I thought I'd keep stitching right up to the time I go to bed tonight, then would have a break and work on something new tomorrow - but I ran out of DMC 318, which is the next colour I wanted to stitch with ... I figure that was a sign to call it a day. Here's a piccie of progress to date:
So, now the decision is on for what to start next - my Mirabilia SAL starts next week, so I should probably wait before starting that one ... I can either start something new that will be quick and easy to finish, or try and complete one of my nearly-finished old UFO's, or complete the finishing of one of my pincushions that just has to have the cording added ... ooh, decisions, decisions haha. I know I 'should' be doing one of the latter, but my greed and selfishness in starting something quick might just win out haha. Anyway, tomorrow is a new day, and I'll see what direction it takes me when I get out of bed ...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The heavens have opened

Today was an uneventful day at work – the phones were flat out, which made the day go a lot faster, and a good group of people at work today. Last night we had a dreadful thunder and lightning storm, which kept a few of us awake during the night – not helpful when you’re starting work at 5 or 6am!! It was quite spectacular driving to work at 5.30am today, though – the lightning was still lighting up the sky in the distance, and was interesting to watch. It’s now almost 4pm, and back at home again just in time before a torrential downpour is about to hit … the thunder and lightning has commenced again, and the last two claps of thunder feel as though they’re right over the top of my building!

Two days ago, I received an envelope from Strand NZ with some more wool, so I finally managed to put the remaining few stitches in my canvaswork piece today while I was on hold at work. On a 6am start, sometimes the first hour or so is quieter than later in the day, so I packed a couple of small items of stitching ‘just in case’ – I’m glad I did, although very little stitching time was to be had. Anyway, here is the finished product – it just needs to be stretched, which I haven’t tried before.

Spring is truly arrived in Melbourne – our temperatures have been very moderate, and in fact quite warm at times, causing a couple of sleepless nights in the heat. My flat is two stories up, on the top floor of the building, and my front window looks out into the street. What I see, though, instead of street frontage because I’m raised up, is the branches and foliage of the large trees that line both sides of my street. It’s been fascinating to watch closely the transformation of those branches as the days have gone by – in just a few days there have been blossoms forming and new leaves have sprouted from what seems like nowhere! I can’t wait until autumn, when I get to watch the large leaves turn their golden colours before they fall – it’s one of my favourite times of year, and something I didn’t usually get to enjoy in my old hometown of Auckland, as autumn/fall colours weren’t common.

Today, however, nature is venting its fury at something, and it’s a nice excuse to curl up with my embroidery and do a few stitches before I turn in for an early night, and my final 6am shift for the week.

Bone Carving on Woven Flax - canvaswork design/kit by Strand NZ

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Starting a XS rotation

I've decided it's time for me to start a rotation, so I can spend some decent time stitching on some larger projects. Hopefully this will help stop boredom setting in for those I don't enjoy stitching, and any boredom that does still creep in will be balanced by those projects that I get great joy from. I'm going to try stitching each project for one week at at time - depending what shifts I'm on at work, this might mean one project gets more stitching time than others, but it will no doubt all balance out in the end.

I started thinking of doing a rotation after agreeing to participate in a Mirabilia SAL, which is taking place the 3rd week of every month - I figured why not dedicate the same period of time to other projects too, hence my current rotation idea. My rotation pieces are planned to be as follows:
  • Days 1-7 - Dolphins XS
  • Days 8-14 - Chatelaine's Egyptian Garden
  • Days 15-21 - Mirabilia's Winter Queen
  • Days 22-29 - TW's Noah's Ark
Tuesday night is my UFO night, where I have to choose one of my other UFO projects and put a few stitches into it, regardless of how much time I have to spend stitching ... I figure even 1/2 dozen stitches is a bit closer to finishing than it was previously, and eventually those 1/2 dozen stitches add up! I'm also thinking that I may allow one of my days off each week to be 'free day', where I can stitch anything I feel like - the same goes with the last day or two of the month, eg day 30/31, these will be free days too.

Hopefully this will be a good way to focus on some of my bigger projects - and also a way to get some projects finished over the next 12 months or so. I guess only time will tell ... !!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why does a UFO become a UFO?

The last two days I’ve dragged out an old UFO from the box, and managed to put a few stitches into it. Now I remember why this particular project became a UFO (UnFinished Object) in the first place!! It is the most dreadfully boring piece to stitch – mainly greys and drab blues, it really doesn’t inspire me to pick up the needle. But pick up the needle, I must …

I am giving this piece to my lifelong best friend Vicki, and her husband John, as their wedding present. I originally joked for them not to expect it until their 10th wedding anniversary … I didn’t think it would be a serious statement at the time, but as time is marching merrily along, it’s getting closer and closer every year. Well, I decided it was high time that I put some serious effort into this piece. I’m sure the finished project will be nice to see, but boy oh boy it’s hard going to find the enthusiasm I need to stitch this!

I’m about to start a Mirabilia SAL (stitch-along), which takes place the 3rd week of every month, so that should give me enough of a break from this project. Not sure if I’ll keep going until it’s actually finished, but every stitch put into it is a stitch closer to the final product, and I’ll keep going until I’m ready to slit my wrists from boredom ;-P

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I'd never get a job in a zoo!

Today was a grim day healthwise, succumbing once again to a cold that I've been fighting off for over a month. I managed to get a bit of stitching done, though, both starting and actually completing this wee project in the same day, yippee.

Don't ask me why, but I always thought this was a giraffe, with it's long eyelashes etc - only when I typed this info up did I realise it was actually a zebra ... oh well, it will always be my giraffe in my eyes!

I think I'll try stitching one of my old UFO's next while waiting for my Strand NZ wool to turn up, and my Mill Hill beads to come out of hiding ... I'm forcing myself to stick to my guns - I've decided not to stitch anything new until I've finished, or at least made good headway, on one of my bigger UFO's. Then I'm going to treat myself by starting a new BIG project - probably Winter Queen by Mirabilia.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Destined not to finish anything ...

... I'm having a real spate of bad luck stitching-wise this week.  I moved house about 4 weeks ago, and just getting things in order in the new place ... my real joy was finally getting my stitching station together, and curling up with some quick stitching projects that could be started and finished quickly to give me a sense of achievement after moving.
Well, that was the plan - and it was going pretty smoothly ... I almost finished a Strand NZ little canvaswork kit, Bone Carving on Woven Flax (it always reminds me of home) - when I say "almost" finished, the only thing that stopped me is that I ran out of the background thread, hmmm.  Anyway, a quick email to Strand NZ and apparently a strand of wool is being sent over ... oh well, I'll just have to start something else quick, me thinks ...
So the last couple of nights I've been stitching a Mill Hill chart called "Beading in Needlework - Basics and Beyond" - basically a stitching and beading sampler.  I was going great guns, before realising my 40123 beads didn't feel like showing their face in the new flat, and have gone into hiding.  Seeing I've had the day off work today (due to shift work roster), I drove 1/2 hour out to the local Spotlight and picked up a packet ... came home and yet again have got within a hair's breadth of finishing ... only problem is that I'm just short of 8 whole petite beads to finish it!!  Aaaarghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't usually need any help from outside influences to keep a huge pile of UFO's sitting there, but conspiracy theory is starting to spring to my mind ... mutter mutter mutter.  Oh well, back to Spotlight in a few days, I guess, so I can finish it finally ... I suppose in the meantime I'll just have to start something else LOLOL.

Good day for stitching

Well, it seems I finally can go no further until I buy some more Mill Hill beads, then I can get my bead sampler finished. Hopefully I will see the finishing point by the end of today – if not, I’m sure tomorrow night will see the final stitches being put into place.

It’s a pleasant day in Melbourne today – very overcast, but not cold … all-in-all a perfect day for stitching. I was hoping to get the final stitches put into my sampler before heading off to the bay for a walk, but those darned beads have foiled my plans! I’ve hunted high and low for my own stash of 40123, but they’re alluding me hmmm. The joys of moving house, I guess …

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A couple more beads added

I managed to get a small amount of stitching completed tonight, much to my surprise. I started the Mill Hill chart "Beading for Needlework - Basics and Beyond" 3 nights ago, on 1 September. So far I'm going pretty well, although I've misplaced my MH 40123 beads for the short term - no doubt they'll turn up when I least expect them, but in the interim I may just have to fork out for 1 more packet to enable some more stitching to take place (and obviously I can't finish the sampler until I get those dratted beads!). Anyway, here's a photo of my progress thus far.

Angels still exist!

Today I don't really have anything stitching-related to write about - but instead I wanted to mention something that happened on another Yahoo group I belong to. Like everyone else, I've been watching with horror and despair the devastation left by hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast of USA. Today a posting was made by a group member that read:
"Hi all - I have been watching the news and am surprised at the depth of my feelings for those living along the gulf coast. I did something today that I didn't think I'd ever do. I don't have much money but wanted to donate to the cause. I was widowed many years ago and have kept (and still wear on occasion) the diamond ring my husband gave me for our engagement. I sold my ring yesterday and today I gave the $900 I received from it's sale to a local television station that was collecting. I'm a bit sad that I no longer have the ring, but I'm very glad that I was able to donate such a sum to the relief effort."

Wow, that just gives me goosebumps and a tear in my eye when I read that - it's amazing to me to read a story of such great compassion. When I despair sometimes that the world is 'going to the dogs', I will always remember this selfless act!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why is it ...?

... That I always run out of something when I'm so close to finishing? Recently I was soooo close to finishing my Victoria Sampler "Gifts of the Magi - Gold" project, but right at the last minute my 2nd reel of Kreinik #8 braid went walkabouts. I was going great guns, and knew I had a reel somewhere, but it has just disappeared! I called every single LNS in the Melbourne area, but no-one had any in stock - I was devastated! A gorgeous angel in disguise in the USA saw my saddened post, and offered to send me some from her stash so I could complete the project - what a wonderful offer! But just in the nick of time, my Kreinik reappeared from hiding with a disgraced look on its face, and I managed to get the sampler finished in no time at all. Here's a picture of that one:

Then this week I'm stitching away merrily on my Bone Carving on Woven Flax canvaswork kit, and sure enough I run out of thread with hardly any stitching left to be completed. Now I've started to stitch a beadwork sampler by Mill Hill, only to find my petite beads 40123 have taken a little vacation by themselves ... I'm starting to think about conspiracy theories or poltergeists amusing themselves at my discomfort! Oh well, luckily I've got time to pop out to a local store on Sunday (fingers crossed they've got some in stock), so I can pick up one more packet - then no doubt once they've been bought, my other stash will return shame-faced from holiday!

With today being such a busy day at work, I'm feeling almost too tired to stitch, but I'm going to try and force myself even for just 1/2 hour to get a few more stitches into my beaded sampler. I really need to work on a stumpwork course, but haven't been in stitching mode since moving flats, so I'm hoping these few quick projects will get the old stitching juices moving again.

On a personal front, my best Aussie mate Fraze just got offered a job at a travel agency today, which is fantastic news - he's been qualified for a few years now, but hadn't managed to get 'in the door' ... I'm happy dancing on his behalf, and very proud of him! Way to go Frazee!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Introduction and First Steps in Blogging

Well, this is my first attempt at joining the 'blogging' community - it looks like a great way to share thoughts and ideas, and share in others' stitching achievements. I've thought about setting up an online journal a number of times just for my own satisfaction, but never got around to it - but not all the tools are at our fingertips to just jump straight in.

I've been stitching since about 1991, and started with cross-stitching, which is still my favourite relaxation therapy - I can stitch XS and just let the world pass me by, or take the time to destress. About 6 years ago I started branching out with my stitching, and have attended a number of classes at my LNS, as well as correspondence courses, to try different techniques out - these have included hardanger, stumpwork, blackwork, and silk ribbon embroidery. I've also just started attempting some small canvaswork pieces to try the technique out.

Born in the UK originally, we moved as a family when I was 6 years old to Auckland, New Zealand, so I class myself as a Kiwi. I moved to Melbourne, Australia 2 years ago on my own, where I shared a flat with different people, including a close male friend. The time came eventually, though, that I needed to find some space of my own, so almost a few weeks ago I packed up and moved to a new flat on my own - I will miss the camaraderie with my buddy Fraze, but will enjoy not having to cook and clean for anyone else but me ... as well as not feeling guilty when all I want to do is come home and stitch!!

I work as a reservations consultant for an international airline, and work full-time shift work which means some horrendous shift times, but more free time to myself (that should hopefully equate to more stitching time...).

My stitching plan currently is to finish off some of those old UFO's that have been cluttering up space for years - as well as stitching new projects purely from my stash ... like the majority of stitchers, I have hordes of fabrics, threads, and charts - and now I'm living on my own my living expenses have tripled ... see, Mum, I KNEW there was a reason I had amassed such huge piles - it was in preparation for the day when I couldn't afford to buy any more! haha.

Since moving it's been difficult to get some 'spare time' as time has been spent unpacking - but last weekend I refused to unpack anymore, but opted for some quality time for myself ... and stitched a small canvaswork kit called "Bone Carving on Woven Flax" (by Strand NZ). I almost managed to get it finished last night, but ran out of the background thread right at the last part, so I have to wait for the manufacturer to post me one strand more of the wool before I can put the last stitches in :-( Oh well, it was still nice to pick a needle up again, as I haven't touched one in approx 2 months!

Anyway, tonight my stitching plan is to start a small project that will be finished quickly - an "Ever So Little" design of a giraffe. Once finished I'll send the chart to an online member of EGA who loves giraffes, just in case she doesn't have it already. With any luck I'll be able to post a completed piccie of it in a day or two :-)

Rightio, that'll do for now - I look forward to posting on a regular basis, and joining this fun online community.