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.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Hope the ghoulies don't getcha tonight ... and that your Halloween celebrations in whatever form they take are enjoyable and fun. I'm off to work in costume tonight, seeing as I'm working 6pm to 2am, so we thought it would liven up the night a bit. Here's a photo of what I'll kinda be looking like ... except I've put weight on and don't fit the skirt anymore, so wearing black pants instead ... and will have to ditch the wig, as the fringe gets in my eyes for typing :) Have a great time all!!

(Edited to add about latest stash arrival ...)
And another small happy dance - my S.E.X. order arrived from The Silver Needle today - which was 100 floss away bags (yippee - I've been hanging out for those), 3 spools of Kreinik threads, some DMC skeins, a few buttons from Just Another Button Company (for my Christmas ornies), Mill Hill treasures and a red cabochon heart (again, for ornies etc), some size 12 beading needles (just 'cos I'd never seen that size before and wanted to see what they were like ... TINY, is all I can say LOL), and 3 kits - "Needle Nick", a special edition kit by Lizzie Kate; "And Many More" needlecase, an exclusive kit by Just Nan; and "Terri's Needlecase", by Lorri Birmingham. This is fun getting a treat box/bag every week - it's like a having an early advent calendar, except it's weekly, not daily ;-P I'm hoping the next one arrives from Stitching Bits & Bobs (which is the biggest haul) either by the end of this week, or early next week ... Now I'm off to pore over the instructions of the kits and drool over the stash haul in general :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More stash arrived... (sorry it's so long)

Warning - health topic for a couple of paragraphs, you might want to skip over it ... Stash enhancement follows a few paragraphs down - just look for the photo :)

Thanks everyone for your kind comments you've left - as the doctor said the other day, I think there are a combination of forces at work with my headaches ... I haven't been eating, but been drinking more than normal (which is a good thing), and I've been very sinusey - added to the fact I've been spending way too much time on the computer of late ('cos I've been too tired etc to stitch), and the fact I wake up every morning feeling like I haven't slept ... so, plenty of things to try and hit on the head!

I've just found my 'old' reading glasses for close work - I've never ever used them, and had them sitting around for about 4-5 years unused ... I got them at the time 'cos they were covered by my health insurance that I was soon going to cancel - the optometrist said I could use them straightaway if I feel my eyes are straining at any time, but I could just as easily do without them and put off having to wear them all the time ... I'm starting to wonder if this is part of my problem - maybe I'm getting eye strain? So, I'll drag them out of the case and try them for stitching next time I work on my 'gift' piece to see if it helps ... I tried using them when I first got them and it made things worse, but that was 4-5 years ago ...

I'm also going to go out and buy new pillows, as my current ones are uncomfy - which is probably aggravating the stress in my shoulders/neck ... and I'm also going to try and cut down my computer time to help with the same - the problem is I work for 8 hours on a computer, then come home and do the same thing ... would be much better picking up a needle every night instead ;)

I'm also increasing my intake of water - which I detest - I've been drinking more herbal teas of late, and trying to cut down on the coffee a bit ... I figure at least those teas are getting more water into me - OK, that might be pushing it a bit. I'm also going to take a little bottle of Rose's lime juice with me to work, which helps me get the water down ... Last but not least, I'm going to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour - I've been on mainly late shifts at work just lately, which is really affecting me, and it's been hard to stick to a routine ... and this week I'm covering a different roster line for someone on annual leave, which means ... you guessed it ... back on a late shift yet again, the one I hate the most - 6pm to 2am YUK!!! So, even more important than ever to get these health issues under control as I always feel yucky on this shift anyway ... so I'm also dosing myself with multivitamins etc too ...

OK, boring stuff out of the way ... exciting stuff now (to me, anyway) - my parcel arrived from Dragonfly Dreams ... Folding Cross Needlebook chart by Indigo Rose (for a SAL later next year), the 2003 JCS Christmas Ornament magazine, Strawberry Patch needleroll chart by The Sweetheart Tree, a little blackbird button from Just Another Button Company, and 14 little bead flip-top boxes (10 x small, 2 x medium, 2 x large). I was thinking of moving all my Mill Hill and Delica beads into these little tubes, and thought I'd get a few to try them out. In hindsight I think the small ones are a bit too small, but I'll find a use for some other things in them pretty easily - I may have to get some more of the medium and large ones ... next year! I'm about to go officially "On The Wagon" - I have way too much stash as it is ... especially after my other purchases arrive - I'm still waiting for shipments from Stitching Bits & Bobs (that's a pretty serious order!!), The Silver Needle, and Nordic Needle - as well as some fabric from Silkweaver's Spooktacular Sale ... oh cripes, I really have to cut those credit cards up!! I think from now on the only things I'm going to allow myself to buy are fabrics for a specific project, if I can't find anything in my stash that will 'do' - and any threads I've run out of ...

Then Mum gave me some great news on the phone - she'd been ploughing through my piles of stash that's still back at home in NZ (gee, I miss it!!), looking for something I'd asked her to find, and she came across another JCS ornament issue I didn't remember I had - 2000. I've got issues 2001 & 2002 coming as part of my order in the above S.E.X.-fest, which means I've now got 1998-2005 yippee. Considering this year is the first year I've attempted to even start any of these, I really have no excuse not to now - there are oodles to choose from! Seeing as my Xmas tree is only relatively small, I'm thinking of hanging my old toy 'teddy chains' up from the curtain rod, and hanging my ornaments from that (thanks Mum for the great idea!) - yet something else for Mum to pack and bring when she comes over to visit. I was originally going to have a 'metal tree' on my dining table, that has scrolls you hang ornaments on, but they're all too small. I've suggested Mum should just leave some clothes etc here, then she'll have an empty suitcase to come over with, so I can fill it in its entirety next time hahaha.

Rightio, I'm tearing myself away from the computer now to do a bit more housework and get ready for work ... I'm going to try and have an early main meal today before I go - it's so hard trying to eat a 'proper' meal at 10pm when my lunchtime is scheduled for ... instead I'll take a bowl of muesli and yogurt with me to eat then, so that should help keep my energy levels up :) Hope you all have a good night ... thanks again for all your supportive comments - you guys rock!! :)))

Edited...'cos as I was putting things away in the dining area, I came across my shopping bag from yesterday ... I managed to find a budget shop closing down, and it had 30% off everything left in store. Pretty slim pickings, but I managed to buy a photo frame that I thought'd be perfect for my giraffe/zebra little piece - it was only $4 even not on sale, so I figure if it didn't work out, I'd just put another photo in it ... but I think it's going to look pretty good - at least it'll be something else out of the 'to be finished' pile, even if I can't put it on the walls yet. That's one of the reasons I thought of finishing Dena into a cushion - in a rented place, I don't have wall hooks (aside from one in the lounge and one in the bedroom I don't sleep in!), so thought I'd have to be more creative in displaying my stitched pieces. Anyway, just thought I'd share my cheap find ... right, back to cleaning!!! :)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Headache, headache, go away!!!

Managed a tiny bit of stitching today - worked on a 'gift' piece while I was at the hairdressers getting my hair done, and I was struggling stitching it trying to see the holes with black Wisper thread ... ended up with a screaming headache again due to the hard concentration, I think ... dammit! Came home and doped myself up again, and had something to eat, then sat and watched Ned Kelly on TV, and listened to a few tapes of my latest book from the library - and ended up frogging a couple of sections of Egyptian Garden due to stupid miscounting. I also noticed when I was scanning my progress tonight, that there is one bit I missed - so I'll be frog-stitching again tomorrow night before I put it away ... I can't face that rippit rippit tonight! Oh well, at least it's pretty easy to fix - just two stitches out on the bottom section - just need to unpick the top part of the stem and fix it, luckily it won't take too long. I really should have just given stitching a miss tonight hmmm - oh well, at least I managed to finally finish my 10 hour rotation on EG ... the next stitching session (after frogging) will be on an old UFO - not sure which one yet ...
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Progress bars

Andie, and anyone else who's interested, I got the progress bar .gif's from another blog site called Million Stitchers. I've hyperlinked it with the correct page in her archives for you :)

Haven't done any stitching for a couple of days - been busy playing in my template here, doing housework (yuk), and writing the 2005 family Christmas newsletter in Publisher. At least my draft copy will be winging its way across the ocean today to Mum and Dad to see if they want anything adding ... then it's time to start writing Christmas cards ready to post them off overseas hmmm. I get the feeling the next month's stitching time will be curtailed somewhat ...

Anyway, I've only managed to get 5 hours stitching into my Egyptian Garden rotation piece - I'm leaving the dratted over-one fishies in the centre until a bit later ... I didn't enjoy them the first time round (hated the fabric), so thought I'd get a few more stitches into it before trying again.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fingers crossed...

Thanks for you advice Jo ... I've put all my piccies across to Photobucket, and changed my template lines with the new addresses ... so fingers crossed the piccies will be showing now - if not, I'd appreciate a heads up again, as they're showing fine on my screen again ... Thanks guys!

Can anyone see the sidebar pics?

Just wondering if anyone can see them ... thanks for the heads up, Mel - I thought I was being so clever! If no-one can see them, is there anyone that can shed some light how to get them to show OK on other people's browsers - they're showing up fine on mine, but then again I'm holding the original files in 'my pictures' on my own PC ... maybe that's the problem ... ? Help!!

Those darned sidebars are conquered...

Well, sorta, anyway ... I just spent the last couple of hours working out how to make thumbnails of my 'finished' piccies - and then getting them into my template. Not sure how to get rid of the little 'arrow' thingies next to each line, but I don't care about that ... I have PHOTOS!!! Woohoo!!! So I went a bit mad and added quite a LOT of photos of my finished pieces this year ... not the entire 20 I've done, but my fave pieces anyway. Crikey, you forget how much stitching you've managed to complete until you go back and look at the album ... rightio, now I've gotta get away from this computer chair and get some housework done, which has been seriously neglected of late due to my headaches etc - then a bit of stitching, seeing I got nothing done yesterday. In closing, all I'll say is "Take THAT, you pesky sidebars!!!!!"

Stitching Bloggers Question

Thought I might actually answer this week's question immediately, instead of waiting for 3 weeks to do it ... quite a novel idea, really!

Today's "Stitching Blogger's Question" was suggested by Outi and is:
Have you ever stitched something as a gift and later realized that receiver doesn't respect your stitched gift a bit (for example it's never on show, or you have other reason to suspect that it may even be nonexistent or at least placed in some dark storage room corner)? If so, what have you done? If you've beenlucky enough to avoid such people what would you do if it'd happen to you?
Only thing I can think of is giving my eldest Aunt a bookmark, and she outright told me she wouldn't use it ... I felt a bit hurt, then she explained it was because it was so delicate and she didn't want to damage it - I'm sure to this day it's still sitting unused, but I guess she appreciated the gift. Can't say anyone has ever really not liked a stitched gift, or maybe I'm being naive. If it did ever happen to me I guess I'd be a bit hurt, and wouldn't make anything else for them again - and try like heck for the experience not to taint the act of giving to other people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rotation and "You Have Mail"

A bit of a happy dance of a different sort today - the first two parcels of my latest S.E.X. episode has arrived (it's OK Mum, it's not some orgy or anything - it stands for Stash Enhancement eXperience!) ... I haven't bought myself anything for stitching for a very long time, and I have to admit to going a bit mad over the last few weeks - I am about to go officially 'on the wagon', as I think I'm close to being the S.A.B.L.E. queen! (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy). Anyway, I finally took myself off to the doctor today (half hour drive away, so hadn't managed it before today) and came home with some Nurofen Migraine tablets ... fingers crossed this will help, as I've now had my headache for almost 6 whole days! My blood pressure is also nicely normal - looks like my moving out of the last living situation has certainly helped on the health front, anyway ... and I have to keep a track of what I'm eating that may be triggering the 'gall pains' I've been experiencing of late. I originally thought it must be the mince (even though it's premium/lean mince) - but it may be the chilli giving me the pains, as I had a reaction to a chilli/parmesan/cashew nut spread Mum and I love ... please say it's not so - I love chilli in food ... Anyway, time will tell - I have to do some experimenting with my foods so we can try and narrow it down.

Anyway, enough of that rubbish - back to S.E.X. ... While I was at the doctor's, I popped in to check my PO Box - and lo and behold there were two parcels in there ... firstly from my Ebay win of some fabrics - 28ct Jubilee in Lavender, 28ct Cashel linen in Lilac and Taupe, 32ct Belfast linen in Natural, 28ct linen in Coffee Bean, 32ct Jobelan in Parchment, and a pretty 25ct Lugana in Delicate Teal - only one I'm not keen on is the Coffee Bean, but I'm sure I'll find a use for it somehow ...

The second parcel was my order from Criss Cross Row (very friendly and efficient service, too, I might add! - very impressed!!). The contents were an Acorn Needle Book kit by Periwinkle Promises (just follow the link - it's at the bottom of the page), a December Box chart by Cherished Stitches, and A Secret Garden Needlework Necessary by Forget-Me-Not-In-Stitches ... the Secret Garden piece is going to be a Stitch-Along with a group of gals in the Stitching Smalls Yahoo group I belong to - really, really looking forward to this one, but I have to cool my heels until early in the New Year until this SAL starts up ... at least I have time to get my threads/fabric together and get it kitted up all ready to start. Still got a couple of orders coming in yet - again ready for a couple more SAL's ... but mainly just 'cos I felt like treating myself! Mum you can lecture me later haha. I figure I don't go out much, so stitching is my only vice ...

And, yesterday I managed to actually get a fair amount done - I finished The Poet talking book, and managed to get another one almost finished - Shallow Graves by Jeffery Deaver ... have to say, I'm pretty disappointed with this one. I love Jeffery Deaver's books that are based on the character of Lincoln Rymes - but this one is based on a different character in the movie industry ... it's just not the same! Oh well, at least I know not to bother getting the other book in the library, as it's the same series. I have to say, KarenV, I was wondering about The Poet - at the end it didn't seem to 'end' on a 100% definite note ... I wondered if there would be a sequel to it - and you've confirmed my suspicions - yippee, will have to get that one out now too! I love talking books - lets me fill both my passions at once, that of reading and stitching.

Anyway, here's my latest rotation piece - those dratted Dolphins ... I'm surprised how much stitching I managed to cram into 10 hours, and it's starting to fill out nicely - I may even get it finished by 2007 haha.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ornie semi-finishes

Well, I managed to eat something today, which is a bonus after 3 days of not eating much at all - had a lazy day of stitching and listening to most of a talking book (The Poet by Michael Connelly - a serial killer novel ... nope, no girlie books for me today!). Managed to almost finish another two ornaments - just have to buy a charm/treasure for each, then I'll have to work out how to actually finish them off. I'll post a piccie of the finished ones later - just don't hold your breath haha. They're both from the 1998 JCS Ornament issue - the first one is called "Christmas Memory Tree" by Ursula Michaels Designs, and the second one is "Woodland Noel" by Heart in Hand Needleart.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thanks for your kind words...

It's been lovely receiving such supportive comments from everyone about not getting the job ... I feel fine about it overall. To be honest, the normal phone roster is better than the Hotline one, as you get days off more often - and I'll still be getting relief work doing the same job I applied for ... as long as I'm still relieving it gives me the mental challenge I need, so I don't get braindead.

Well, I finally managed to pick up a needle today, and put the final stitches into my No Humbugs Allowed ornament ... all I need now are the buttons from Just Another Button Company, and it's all set to be made up. The buttons are coming from the US, and probably a couple of weeks away from being posted, but at least I should get this finished before Christmas. It will be nice to have my very first ornament made in time for my very first Christmas in my 'own' place - and the first time I've had Christmas with a family member since I moved to Aussie, with Mum coming for a visit yippee. Anyway, here's the piccie. OK, now what else can I stitch today? Maybe I should bite the bullet and start my rotation ... back to the dratted Dolphins ;-P

Stitching Bloggers Question(s)

I've been very slack since joining this group, and now is the time to clear the backlog of questions:

19 Oct 05 - Today's "Stitching Blogger's Question" was suggested by Cathy and is:
Do you mark or hi-lite your patterns or can you follow them without any markings? Do you make copies to mark up, or do you mark originals?

I go cross-eyed trying to follow charts, so I definitely need to mark up a chart. Usually I make a working copy that I blow up on the photocopier to make it easier to read - and use a highlighter to track my progress, so I know exactly where I am on the chart. I used to mark my originals with a pencil when I first started stitching, but I got out of that habit very very quickly. Using a marking copy also makes it easier to go back and see the original for backstitching - although I've also been known to use a sharpie marking pen to trace over the backstitching too, if it's a particularly difficult chart to follow.

12 Oct 05 - Today's "Stitching Blogger's Question" was suggested by Outi and is:
How do you `non-hoopists' who use a rotation system handle it (as it seems to be lot easier if you are in good terms with hoop)? Do you have several scroll frames? Do you use Q-snaps or maybe something completely different? Or do you just have one or two big projects and others are small enough to be kept in hand while stitching?

Unfortunately I get cramp in my left hand when using a hoop - an old hangover from RSI as a secretary. I use scroll rods for almost everything I stitch - if a piece of fabric is too small to attach to the rods on their own, I stitch some calico onto the edges and make it big enough to fit! I just dragged out my sole set of Q-snaps recently and enjoyed using it, and I'm trying it on one of my rotational pieces, to see how I like it on a larger project. I have a decent number of scroll rods, and leave my projects on them inbetween stitching - it just means if I want the set of scroll rods they're on for another project, I just have to finish that one off first! (Well, that's the theory!!)

6 Oct 05 - Today's "Stitching Blogger's Question" was suggested by Bea and is:
When you have almost finished a pattern and start thinking about the next one to stitch, how do you select it? (a list, most recent purchase, etc.)

Depends on my mood, really - I'm trying really hard to finish off some very old UFO's, so I'm tending to think of the next UFO I feel comfortable picking up again. Then again, I'm also in the stash enhancement mode at the moment as well, and keen to start some fresh, new projects. Depends what calls to me the most when the time is ready ... I don't have any stitching deadlines at the moment, so I just stitch what I feel like stitching - whether it's new or old. Whatever gives me the greatest joy of the moment - 'cos that's what it's all about, enjoying what you stitch.

Trying another rotation...

Well, I've decided with my weird hours at work and the ensuing flagging energy levels sometimes, that my planned rotation of having a day set aside for different projects isn't working too well. After doing some research (web-surfing), I thought I'd try a set time rotation. I think it was Tannia early on in my first blogs that suggested a certain time frame for each project, and initially I thought it was too constrained for me - but the more I think about it, the more I think it would suit me better for my current lifestyle ... so I figure I'll stitch my projects for 10 hours each, before moving onto the next one - at least that way every project gets some stitching done on it regularly, rather than skipping days and weeks at a time. So, my first rotation plan is as follows:
  1. Dolphins XS
  2. Chatelaine's Egyptian Garden
  3. UFO's (free choice or random - not sure yet)
  4. Dolphins XS (wanna get this finished!)
  5. Smalls/Ornaments
  6. Mirabilia's Winter Queen
  7. Dolphins XS
  8. Finishing items (putting needlebooks etc together)
  9. Free choice
I've been sick all yesterday and today - so it's been a good chance to blob out and just 'surf'. I've been suffering from a migraine headache since I found out about not getting the job ... I think the tension from that, plus the fact I've had a sore throat the last couple of days, got my immune system down - my headache was so bad I wanted to throw up, then I got the sweats followed by chills, and to top it all off I'd had chilli con carne the night before, and had excruciating pains compliments of my gallstone troubles (even though this was 'prime' mince, obviously I can't eat that either!) ... so, all in all I was feeling very sorry for myself - and ended up in bed almost all day ... but got up at midnight after not being able to sleep, and surfed for almost 6 hours - almost like being at work on the night shift LOL. Anyway, just a bit bunged up today, and the headache is more manageable - so I might try and get a bit of stitching done today. Only one more work to go tomorrow, then I have my 5 days off - I think I need them to recuperate!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Didn't get the job...

The heading says it all, really ... Feel pretty flat and pretty disappointed - even though I knew it was going to tough to get it, it still kicks you when you get the news. It was especially hard 'cos I had so many people come to me and say they were shocked as they thought I was a 'shoe-in' ... never mind - definitely a night for stitching to take my mind off it. Better make it something simple, as I intend stitching with a glass of bourbon and lemonade in my hands in commiseration to myself ...

So, it's back to having my rosters chucked at me every few weeks, and not being able to plan much in advance, as it could all change at a fortnight's notice (or in this week's case, a week!) ... good job I learnt to stitch for stress relief ;-P

Piccies for Mum

OK, Mum, here are the chart scans for you ... hope these come through OK - sorry email wasn't working!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thanks everyone...

...for so many kind words about my canvaswork piece - really really appreciated :-)))

As for any stitching updates ... there really aren't any, which is unusual for me - haven't put a single stitch into anything for a few days (since Dena was completed, actually). Really need to get moving, but just haven't had the motivation - have been going for a walk before work instead (which isn't a bad thing, considering how much weight I need to lose LOL). This week's shifts have mucked me around a little bit physically ... after doing my 6pm-2am and 9pm-5am shifts last week, it took me all weekend to get over it - and this week I'm doing 7 days straight, with 3 different shift times (2 of 3pm-11pm, 2 of 12noon-8pm, then 3 of 9am-5pm) - hard to get into a routine ... but then due to a last minute bout of relieving for me, I get another week on the hotline covering someone on leave, which means I get an entire 5 days off next week ... yippee!!! Will be nice to have some time off for a change, and have a full day or 3 of stitching. Was going to go home to NZ for a quick visit, but the flights are looking pretty full, and it's not worth taking the risk trying to get there - will hold off until the next days off, I think (sorry Mum!).

Well, today was my interview day - I felt it went pretty well, but there are certainly no guarantees, and the competition is the toughest there has ever been, in my eyes ... it'd be nice to get the job, so I'm on a permanent roster and not having everything changed on me every month when I'm asked to do relieving - makes it so hard to plan anything in advance! But if I don't get it, at least I can say the person who does get it is of a fine calibre and deserves it :-) Anyway, hopefully we'll all be put out of our miseries by Friday this week - otherwise I'll be glued to the phone on Monday, as it's my first day off of five ... I think it had been getting to me a bit, and I was feeling anxious about it all deep down, as I felt a huge weight had been lifted off me after the interview ...

On a happy note I am overjoyed to announce that my 2004 JCS ornament issue FINALLY arrived at my PO Box today - can't believe it ... I had literally just given up hope of ever receiving it, and placed an order for one online, and the little slip arrived saying "you have mail" ... yippee! And I LOVE loads of the designs, even more than the 2005 one, I think ... yet more and more to drool over for a few days - and I still haven't finished drooling over the last lot!

Rightio, off to bed early tonight - I might have to put a couple of stitches into something before I go to bed, though - I feel a bad not doing any stitching at all ... maybe I'll just finish the Wisper beard on my no humbugs allowed ornament ... that should just about take me no longer than an hour to finish - right, get off the computer Anne, and get moving with that needle!!! ;-P

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Happy Dancing time

Yup, Dena has finally been promoted to the finished pile ... it might be a long time before it turns into an actual cushion, but I'm happy to announce all the stitching is finished. One more off the UFO list for the year - yippee!!

Not sure what is going to take its place yet - I've given up on my previous rotation of having a week to stitch each piece ... I think instead I'd prefer to do what a lot of other stitchers do, and have a daily rotation over the week. I already have two days set aside, so it'll be easy to plan the other days as well ... might have to look at it tomorrow, when I work out what I'm going to spend my time stitching.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I was Tagged ... a while ago ...

I was tagged by Dawn, and forgot all about answering my questions - but I was just clearing out my emails, and noticed it ... oops - oh well, better late than never! Here goes ...

7 Things I want to do before I die:
Go hot air ballooning
See more of the Greek Islands
Visit Canada
Finish my pile of UFO's ;-P
Enjoy the life I've lived and make a difference to someone else's
Learn how to put photos in my blog sidebars
Visit more of Australia (ie Perth, Ayers Rock in particular)

7 Things I can do:
Cross stitch and embroider
Ignore housework ;-P
Be a supportive and loyal friend
Listen to people
Spend money on things I don't need
Stand up for myself and other people when the need arises
Answer phones 8 hours a day!

7 Things I can't do:
Ride a motorbike
Bake cakes well
Stand by and watch someone being ill treated
Lie or hide my feelings
Stop buying stitching supplies/stash
Speak Latin

7 Things that attract me to another person:
Sense of humour
Considerate and caring nature
Quick wit
Sense of adventure

7 Celebrity crushes (can't say I have any real 'crushes', so I've listed actors I enjoy watching):
Tony Curtis when he was younger
Mel Gibson
Brad Pitt
Bruce Willis
Brendan Fraser
Dennis Quaid
Rowan Atkinson

7 Things I say the most:
Welcome to the Melbourne Hotline, Anne speaking :-)
Not being funny, but ...
What the...? (from Rove's "what the..." segment)
Do I HAVE to get up?
I'll do the vacuuming tomorrow ...
Gotta love it/them
What day is it today? (the joys of 7 day shift work)

What is a Huswif/Hussif?

As I commented on Nicole's blog, I have a huswif (my first attempt) which has been sitting as a UFO ever since I finished the class ... it is oh-so-close to being finished, and it really is a lovely piece that I'm relatively proud of. I mentioned earlier when discussing my change of blog name, that feather stitching isn't my 'forte' ... well, that's why this UFO became a UFO. I'm sure when I get back into the swing of it, and force myself to pick it back up again, it'll be fine - I did a reasonably good job of the initial feather stitching, but for some reason I'm a bit nervous of doing it round the outside edges, to hold everything together. Bit daft, really ... I think 2006 is the year where this thing finally gets finished and used!! (but don't hold me to that hahaha). So, here's the piccie of my UFO huswife to date:

This one is designed by Monica Hunt, and the instructions were printed in the publication called Anne's Glory Box, Book Nine. A photo of the completed piece in the book is here. As you can see from the example, I'm more into the bright colours, so I chose pretty different fabrics and Monica said it's the first time she'd seen one stitched on black and that it might be a bit difficult ... oh well, always one to accept a challenge haha.

Nicole, there are loads of styles of huswifs - the only thing I can think of that is common is that there are basically different pockets on the inside of them to hold a stitcher's tools of trade, and they all seem to roll up for storage etc. I've just ordered the Flame Stitch huswif by Sampler Cove (haven't tried that sort of stitching before, so I thought it would be fun to try something different), and another one called Strawberries So Faire by With My Needle that I'm really keen to try too - another Yahoo group I belong to is thinking of maybe having a SAL for Strawberries So Faire, so it would be a good time to stitch it, I think :-)

No current stitching updates to post - I've finished the last big border on my canvaswork Dena, and just in the middle of finishing the final satin stitch border in the Rainbow Gallery Patina thread (aaaaarghhhhh, is all I have to say about that thread!!!) - then it's just a case of adding the beads in the corners, and I'll be happy dancing yippee. I figure there's no point posting a piccie until it's finished, seeing as it's now so close. Didn't get much done yesterday, other than having a kip in the afternoon - swapped with someone at work and did the "doggo" shift (9pm-5am), so didn't get to bed until almost 7am this morning. It was amazing driving home - now we're heading into summer, the days are getting longer, and it was like driving home at about 8am ... it shocked me a bit when I was leaving work, as it was so light outside. I almost went for a walk on the beach when I got home, but thought better of it, as it was only 5.40am - even though it was light, I figured it was probably not the safest thing for a single female to be doing! Today I'm just popping out to do some errands - then going into work early, as there is a 'parcel' waiting for me my PO Box ... fingers crossed it's the JCS 2004 ornie issue I've been expecting from my Ebay trader - that would be just wonderful! Tonight I'm back to my final 6pm-2am shift, then I have the weekend off ... yippee :-)))

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

UFO Progress

Pretty impressed with the amount of stitching I got done today - compliments of only getting about 5 hours sleep last night (thanks for the early morning start, bin-men!). I've been pretty hazy-eyed all day, so didn't have the energy to do much ... just sitting around and stitching. Unfortunately it doesn't bode well for my 6pm-2am shift tonight - if nothing else, I'll be well and truly ready for bed when I get home! Managed to listen to about 1/2 of a talking book today, which means I'm almost at the end of it (You Belong To Me by Mary Higgins Clark - not a bad read, a crime book, which I enjoy, and pretty easy listening). I might even get this old UFO finished next week! This is the last band to stitch, and not much left to go at all. Would be tempted to take it to work to finish, but I think I'll take that dratted Xmas ornie for the girl at work, as it's easier to transport. I've decided when I get Dena finished, I'm going to put navy fabric edges on it, and make it into a cushion - it'll go nicely on my sofa with the other plain navy cushions.

Anyway, better start getting ready for work - have to wear office clothes unless you're on the 9pm-5am shift, which is crazy ... so I think I'll be a rebel tonight, and take my jeans to change into at 10pm (lunchtime haha). Anything for a bit of comfort at that time of the night!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blogging has opened doors...

I never would have believed how the simple art of blogging would have made such an impact on my life - at the right time. Since moving out to a flat on my own, I was worried I'd 'stagnate' a bit due to the fact I don't really know that many people outside of work ... but instead of that, blogging has opened the doors to different people I'd never previously known, but have quickly felt like friends :-) It's also so nice to have a forum to more openly talk about my stitching ... as much as I still adore my best mate and ex-flatmate, stitching certainly wasn't in his sphere of interest, apart from taking the mickey out of it. It's nice to share with people who have an appreciation of the art!

G and S ... would love to catch up face to face some time. It can be hard with my shift times, but I'm sure we could come up with something that will work out. You know, G, if I come to your place I may never leave, as long as those ducks are in sight! LOL. Next time I pop home to NZ, I'm going to pick up a box of charts/magazine pages I was donating to the local Guild, and if you like you can rumage through them to see if there's anything you want ... can't guarantee it will be this side of Xmas, though - but it would be nice to get home before then.

No stitching done today, as I went out straight from work to have dinner in the city with F (ex-flatmate) ... was lovely to catch up, even though he bailed on going to the movies, which was the original plan - gave us more chance to chat, anyway. Even though I'm enjoying living on my own overall, I miss our late night chats about everything and nothing - he's one of the few people I could always bare my soul to, and could be brutally honest with.

This week it feels like a joy to be in Melbourne - in my new flat I'm on the 3rd floor of a block of flats, overlooking the street, with large leafy trees in front of the lounge window, with bay windows looking off to the side by the dining area/balcony. The dining area is my favourite spot - the light streams in so cosily, and I love to sit and watch the birds flying past ... it's so lovely. Where I used to live, it struck me often that I very rarely used to see birds anywhere - apart from the very occasional magpie in the front garden ... the first thing that struck me when I moved here is the abundance of wildlife (bird-wise). When I took Mum for our first walk round the beachfront, we were treated to seeing our first ever blue wrens - they were so beautiful. And over the last few days I've been overjoyed to see some of my favourite Aussie birds (aside from the ducks haha) flying overhead - rainbow lorikeets. What a sheer pleasure it gives to see them flying around in the wild, with the sunlight highlighting their bright plumage ... just gorgeous. I laughed this afternoon ... birds were making a raucous noise bright and early from, it seemed, the nextdoor neighbour's garden this morning - I just shook my head and thought, noisy devils ... then I was walking home from work to my car tonight and heard the same noise - I stopped dead in my tracks and looked upward to try and track down the source of the racket ... to my shock, I realised it was a rainbow lorikeet making all that noise! Now, I'll be smiling every morning and thinking "keep chatting, little birds" - it's a pleasure just knowing the lorikeets are so close :-)

I've got a rainbow lorikeet XS chart in my stash in my to-do list, so it will always remind me of my time in Australia ... I really must pull my finger out and get it stitched, as it should be a pretty easy on to stitch (unless I decided to stitch it over-one, which is an option I've considered hmmmmm).

Monday, October 10, 2005

Change of Blog Name

Mum will see my new name, and probably smile, knowing where the new title is coming from ... not actually from the stitch itself (feather stitching is NOT one of my fortes) - but rather from the fact that I am duck crazy!! My ex flatmate was considering charging all my ducks rent, as they were ever increasing in number LOL. I don't know what it is, but I just adore them ... there are few things that bring such a sense of peace and joy to my soul than watching ducks on the water, or just waddling around - Mum will attest to the fact that I can't resist them whenever they're in sight. I also have the knack of being able to spot a duck at a 1000 paces - even while driving haha.

When I first started the idea of blogging, I hadn't given any thought at all to my blog name, until I started filling the form out - it never really felt 'right', but I didn't have time to think about it too much. Since then I've been trying to work out how to bring my two loves together in the name - ducks and stitching. One that came to my mind while driving to work was "Ducks of a feather stitch together", or "Stitching on the Pond", or "Stitching by the Canal" (more to do with my new living location more than anything else) ... but all of a sudden tonight the simplicity of this title just jumped out, and seems to have stuck!

I'm also thinking of getting my blog designed properly ... and have some ideas of what I want included - now I've found a new name I'm relatively happy with, I feel as though I can start making progress on my plans ... doesn't look like much stitching is going to get done tonight hmmm. So far, though, I think there has to be some paua shell in the background (my absolute fave colour is blue, and it gives a link to my NZ home), plus a compulsory duck in the title - with the wording perhaps done like it was carved from bone, again reminding me of my home ... oooh, decisions decisions. Maybe I should just hand these ideas over to the experts and see what they can come up with ... then I can get back to stitching haha.

Thanks everyone for your comments about my dratted Christmas ornament thingo for my workmate. Nicola, your comment about having a subliminal message stitched into it absolutely cracked me up! I have to admit, I'll finish these pieces - I can't bring myself to give them back, seeing as I'd agreed to do it (Mum, why did you bring me up so politely?) ... but I will make a comment when I finally get them completed that I wouldn't have made them if I'd know she could stitch. Never mind, you live and learn, I guess. Luckily they're not too big - and at least the Winnie the Pooh bookmark can be stitched onto fabric and put into my scroll frame/lapstand to make it easier to stitch. I'm certainly not busting a gut to get them finished, though - if I don't feel like stitching on them, my other stitching will take priority ...

Here are a few of my fine feathered friends that share my abode ... the 'bigger' ones aren't in the photo - but there's basically a big one that sits on my bed, one that sits on the sofa arm, and one that is a draught stopper - along with a leadlight one that hangs in the kitchen ... I just can't stop myself - anytime I'm away and see a new duck, it's just gotta 'come home with mama' LOL.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Happy Dancing again!

What can I say, apart from "yippee!!" ... I can't believe I finally got my first ever needleroll put together and finished!!! This piece has been stitched for more years than I care to mention, but I didn't know where to start with the completion of it. Finally a website, CameoRoze's Stitcher's Studio, steered me in the right direction, and I felt brave enough to give the finishing a try - and I'm pretty pleased the finished result ... and surprised how at easy it was!

Apart from that, I can't say I've completed much stitching over the last week at all ... the last two days I've spent a few hours making a start on my Xmas SAL (finally). I've almost completed my "No Humbugs Allowed" ornie from the JCS 1998 issue ... not sure whether I'm going to want to give this one up, though LOL. Just have the rest of the beard to complete, the french knot eyes (yuk), and the backstitching for the strand of lights - but then I have to wait for my bulb buttons to arrive before it can be finished off.

The other piece I managed to get a bit more stitching on today - it's a Dimensions wired ornament kit, that a colleague at work asked me to stitch for her ... I seriously hate stitching this damn thing!! I was a bit 'set up' for accepting this task - she told me her Mum couldn't see to stitch anymore, and gave me a kit which is a map of Australia that she thought I might like from her Mum, then showed me the other two kits she had, and asked if I would mind stitching them for her ... I half-heartedly accepted, knowing I'd much prefer to do my own stitching (and I have a million of my own projects to finish), but I felt sorry that her Mum couldn't stitch anymore. Why do I feel a bit set up? Well, a couple of days afterwards I find that this girl can actually stitch herself ... hmmm. Anyway, it is a bit of a chore I've bound myself to by accepting to do it in the first place, but I won't be caught out again, that's for sure! I have difficulty stitching 'in hand' any more, as I get cramp in my hand from holding onto fabric/hoops etc, so that's one issue. Also with this plastic canvas it's extremely difficult to carry the threads underneath on the back - well, today I decided to try something different, and it's making a lot easier - I'm using a canvaswork stitch (can't remember if you call it tent stitch, or continental) and it gives a longer stitch on the back for me the carry the thread under ... yippee, what a difference!

So, that's all to post stitching-wise for the week ... I'm on late shifts later in the week, so don't expect to get much stitching done this week either.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The best laid plans of mice and men...

... Isn't that what John Steinbeck wrote? Well, it's certainly true - the last time I posted (hanging head in shame) was a couple of days ago ... I was supposed to be heading off for a walk then stitching for an hour etc - hmmm, didn't quite happen that way, and haven't picked up a needle for days! I ended up chatting to my Mum in NZ for almost an hour on the phone, then walked bare-footed through doorway from the lounge only to stop mid-step with a sharp pain in my heel. Lo and behold, a carpet tack had gone into my foot ... luckily it didn't disappear entirely, as the top of the tack wasn't on it, otherwise it would have totally disappeared ... thank goodness there was about 2mm of tack left showing so I could pull it out - definitely not for the faint-hearted, let me tell you!!! That definitely put any walking plans out the window, but thankfully I cleaned it up pretty well and it seems to be healing without any problems.

It's now my Friday night, and I fully intend being a bone idle so-and-so and doing no housework tomorrow on my only full day off, so I can catch up on some overdue stitching. I was supposed to start my Christmas ornament SAL this week, but haven't done a single stitch in one. This is the first time I've ever attempted an ornament of any type, so it will be an interesting endeavour!

The great news, though, is that the postman is in my good books - he managed to deliver not just one, but TWO JCS ornie books this week ... my old 1998 one that Mum sent over for me, and the 2005 issue that Linda sent to me as an exchange (thanks to you both) - so I've spent the last two days drooling over both, and wondering which one to start first! I'll try and choose a relatively easy one so I can try and finish it in one day (yeah, OK, ambitious I know!). I've already found one that I just HAVE to stitch for my Aussie best mates' parents ... his Dad hates Christmas, but his Mum adores it - I just call his Dad "Bah Humbug" throughout the month of December, and this ornament from the 1998 issue is an ornament stating clearly "No Humbugs Allowed" hahahaha - he'll kill me, but it just HAS to be done!!!

Now, before I forget, thanks again to everyone for your comments on my pincushions. Danielle, I can tell you straightaway what the peacock design is, as I've got all the details in my printed album - it's called "Peacock Pincushion" (K1804) - V&A Museum Oriental Collection Kit by DMC. I originally started stitching it back in October 2000, but hopefully it's still in print.

The exam I had for the promotion was pretty tough, and I didn't manage to finish all the questions, which is standard - it didn't help that our group had to sit it at 9pm, but them's the breaks. I'll probably find out next week some time whether I got through to the interview stage.

Rightio, off to get my clothes washing done so I can have my free day tomorrow :-) Might even get a head start tonight ...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Christmas ornie SAL

Well, today is the day I officially start my Christmas ornament SAL - first time I've ever attempted to do an ornie, and looking forward to the challenge. I was originally going to stitch the MH stand-up Xmas tree, but realised I don't have enough thread to finish it, so I may wait to start that one next month, and try a little ornament this week instead. I had to run out and buy a little MH ornament kit, 'cos my ornie mags haven't arrived yet ... well, I couldn't not start 'something' could I? That's my excuse for another enabling trip - also checking out threads for my overseas exchange for the 2005 ornie issue.

Thanks for your comments on my basket of pincushions - I have to admit, I've wanted a display basket for ages ... just didn't have the impetus to finally finish the contents. It's true, I am really glad I finally made the effort to get them completed - and I'm not going to let myself put off finishing that long again ... in fact on Friday I have the remaining couple to finish off - and it's my day off again, so there's no excuse haha.

Gina e, if I still have the peacock chart, you're more than welcome to it. I have to admit, that pincushion is my favourite one too - and the very first one I ever made. It was a small kit, but from the memory the chart showed the DMC thread numbers. Anyway, if I did still keep it, it'll be in NZ still - but I'll ask Mum to track it down among my folders (yeah, Mum, yet another thing for you to bring back with you when you visit haha). Sometimes lately, if it's a freebie chart or something, I've been throwing it out after stitching it (shock, horror, I know!) - but I'm pretty sure I kept this one.

Sharlee, the hummingbird one was a Just Nan freebie chart - I'm trying to remember how I got that one ... it might have been among a pile of freebie charts when I went to a XS festival in the States, in which case I got 3 sets with the classes I attended - otherwise it was just one I got given free with buying something else. I know in this case I definitely threw my chart out that I was stitching from - again, I'll get Mum to try and hunt through my things at 'home', as I seem to remember those freebie charts were in a folder of finishing techniques from a class with Martha Beth Lewis, and I wouldn't mind having those notes over here to learn from.

Anneke, you're more than welcome to use my pincushion basket piccie on your blog. Thanks for asking .

My shifts this week allow me to have Fri/Sat off, which will be a nice change, as I've been working the last four weekends - although I've put my name down for overtime ... have to be mad! Mind you, if it comes through, it'll only be for 4 hours work, and I still have the rest of the day free. Overtime is pretty much non-existent at the moment, so any opportunity is fantastic - and now I'm living on my own my expenses have essentially tripled, so the extra few dollars is nice in the bank ... and allows me a bit of personal spending (ie, stitching stash haha).

Hopefully today will see a lot of the people returned from Bali - Qantas put on extra planes just to get people back, which is really positive. I also realised when I got to work yesterday, 'cos I hadn't seen her before she flew out, that one of my best mates at work flew out on Thursday for Bali, so she's one of the ones flying home early. Luckily she wasn't in the area when the bombs hit, but still prefers to come back home - and who can blame them?

Well, today is a relatively overcast day in Melbourne - although the sun keeps trying to get through. I'm going to spend an hour stitching on my little ornament, which probably won't make much of a dent, then have a bit of a walk before heading out to work. I have an exam at 9pm tonight (!!!) for a job application I've made. Usually I'm a 'normal' consultant for the airline call centre, but I act as a 'reliever' on the Supervisors Hotline - this is basically a help desk for the consultants to call when they get stuck, need technical help with the computer, help quoting fares/reissuing tickets, and just basically finding everything/answering all and sundry questions, we're also the hotline for the airports etc worldwide when they need help, and also act as a 'supervisor' when complaint calls escalate to "I want to speak to a supervisor' ... it's pretty full-on, and can be draining, but I generally love it. I love the coaching aspects of dealing with the staff, but dislike the complaints side (as I'm sure most people would) ... but there has finally been a vacancy come free for a permanent Hotliner, and along with the 20-odd others, I'm applying. Even if I don't get it, it's all good experience ... but I have to pass the exam first to even get through the interview stage. I think 9pm is a bit harsh for a difficult exam, but at least it'll all be over today ...

Rightio, off to stitch my ornie ...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Basket full of goodies

Here's my current basketful of pincushions - sorry, meant to post this before ... OK, running out the door now! :-)

Just a Quickie...

My free time today has been cut short - thanks to idiotic terrorist activity in Bali. What is wrong with the world today? I won't start on a tirade ... but it just amazes me how small factions of people can turn the world so much on its head, and destroy so many lives of ordinary, good people. Just got a call from work as the phones are inundated, asking us all if we can come into work early to help out - I'm already on a 3-11pm shift today, which is pretty tiring, so I've offered an extra 2 hours before I start - which means my free time today is gone ... and only have time for a quick update to my blog.

I just wanted to say thanks again for all the comments you've been leaving - it's really supportive, and lovely to come home to. Also thanks and "welcome" to the new readers - thanks for making yourselves known ... it's nice to grow the circle of blogging friendship.

Katrina - nice to see a 'familiar face' here. I'm pretty new to blogging, but really enjoying it so far - but have loads to learn re setups etc. Thanks also for your kind comments - and you've been added to my blog favourites ... I was just in the middle of starting to read when I got my call from work - will read more when I get home and unwind :-)

Karenv - I agree, the colours of Dena work pretty well. I was enjoying stitching it earlier before it became a UFO - I think I got fed up with the weaving of those darned metallic ribbons ... but now I've finished the latest outer band I really love it again. Hopefully it won't be too far off being finished - I might stitch this on Tuesday nights for a couple of weeks just to try and get it completed. Stitching Bits & Bobs have a 25% sale off at the moment, and I'm soooooo tempted to get the Summer into Autumn kit that's sitting there ... yours has just tempted me way too much LOL.

Nicole - I love your Bingo analogy about my UFO system ... sometimes, though, you dread having THAT number come up 'cos you hate stitching on it. I have to admit, though, I'm seriously thinking of ditching any UFO's that make me feel that bad, eg my bullion rose facecloth. What's the point of stitching something that doesn't give pleasure - and in fact gives you a feeling of dread every time you think about it.

I have to say, I agree with a previous comment, that you could give the finished items to a charity - and that's probably what I'm going to do with the Stoney Creek Resting Place piece ... it'll never grace my walls, but it would be a shame to throw it out. I gave it's face a good wash in Orvus, and a lot of the marks have come out - hopefully by the time that area is stitched, it will take the focus away from the marks - time will tell, anyway.

I also love the Lizzie Kate "Boo" - and very tempted to buy it one day. I'm not a huge LK fan, but this one really catches my eye and says "stitch me!". I laughed when you mentioned the basket full of needlerolls ... I'm just finishing the stitching on my very first one to add to the basket - might have to take you up on the suggestion and many oodles more haha.

Erin - as I commented on your own blog, your Spring Peepers is gorgeous ... I really love the green thread for the backstitched frogs - much better than the original gold that I used.

Jenna/Beckysc - thanks so much for your kind comments as always.

Cathy - nice to see another new face. I have to admit, I'm new to canvaswork too, and only attempted a couple of pieces - mainly just small pieces in tent stitch. Dena is my most ambitious one, though, and I'm enjoying trying out different stitches and threads - a couple are now in my 'dislike intently' category, though! LOL. I'm on the Mystery Sampler board too (EGA) ... but haven't started yet hmmm.

Lelia - I went on a hunt for Patricks Woods charts and found some lovely ones ... I think I'm going to end up adding some more to my wishlist even if I never stitch them haha. I have to say I LOVE the idea of adding a button or something to cover the cord joins - very cunning idea!! Now I know why people add tassels etc when they're not going to hang up ... just to cover up teehee.

Sorry this is just a quick 'catch up' mainly to answer peoples comments - and apologies if I've forgotten to answer any comments or missed anyone out - but gotta dash and get ready for work now - looks like it's going to be a busy night, unfortunately ... more unfortunate for those families that are being affected. For people out there who have been affected by such dire events as this new Bali bombing, and the recent hurricanes, my thoughts are with you all ... Sometimes it's good to keep these events in mind, to see what so many have lost and are coping with - it helps to keep your own private trials and tribulations in perspective ...