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.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Secret can be shared!

Yay, I received an email from the secret recipient of my gift piece to say it has finally arrived safely, so I can now reveal all! This little piece was meant as a cheer-up gift for our beloved BeckySC months ago - unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way, as I was trying to do it while I was really sick, and had a number of mishaps with it ... when I 'melted' the blending filament on the wings, it was the final straw, and I couldn't face it again for ages due to feeling so disappointed about it - but it finally got resurrected and fixed up, and got sent on its merry way to its intended recipient ... I'm so so happy that it finally managed to reach Becky - better late than never ;) Anyway, here is the piccie from the scanner - try as hard as I might, I couldn't get a clear photo on the camera ... perhaps Becky will manage a better one :) It's the first time I've ever sent a stitched gift to another stitcher, so I was a bit nervous - but pleased with the overall result :)

Lana, good luck with stitching Dolphins Domain - I have to admit, it's lovely when it's stitched, but it can be pretty hard going with all those greys ... I'm finding the best way to stitch it is to mix it in as a rotation with other smaller/brighter/more fun pieces. Looking forward to seeing it totally finished, though - it will be hard to part with it once it's done, I think, but hopefully Vicki and John will love it seeing as they chose it as their wedding present years ago :)

Sharon, if you want it, you're more than welcome to my copy of Dolphins Domain when I've finished with it ... hope you're not in a huge hurry LOL. Seriously, though, I'm unlikely to ever stitch these critters again in this lifetime, even if I do think they're lovely stitched.

For Cathy and Christine - "champers and panettone" is something new for us at Christmas this year ... "champers" is just sparkling wine/champagne, and "panettone" is a traditional Italian Christmas cake - considering we have not a single ounce of Italian heritage in us, that was something new to try this year - it's like the consistency of bread, with the fruit and peel in it, and is just lovely. We have a large Italian population in Melbourne, and I work with quite a few of them, and one of the guys at work said I had to try Panettone with Champagne, as that's the best way to eat it ... who was I to go against orders from an expert? LOL. I have to admit to disliking traditional fruit cake intensely, so I love the panettone!

Thanks everyone for your lovely and kind comments about my first ornaments. I have to admit, Bine, I did follow some instructions - I bought the Judy Odell/Just A Thought book, but didn't find it as helpful without pictures (I'm a very visual person), so I backed her notes up with a trip to a website by CameoRoze as she has a step-by-step tutorial. It was pretty simple once I started the process. And I had so many wonderful examples that others had stitched for inspiration. At least next year I won't be quite as phased by it all, and I'm going to try to stitch at least one ornament a month, so I'm ready for Christmas early in 2006 ... well, that's the plan anyway haha.

Mum's hounding me to do the flat-fold finish of the Stars are Brightly Shining ... we made some carrot noses out of Fimo before Christmas and she's dying to see it made up! I decided I was too impatient to wait for ordering more buttons, and thought we'd give it a try in Fimo - looks pretty good, even if I say so myself ... now I'm starting to think about trying other shapes with it too hmmm. Maybe on my next days off we'll have another finishing session - but I need to buy some different batting first :)

Kali, I can't wait to see your outfit when you're all dressed up as Cindy Lou Who ... that sounds like a real hoot and a half!!

Rightio, off to do a bit of stitching before I have to go to work - I didn't get much sleep last night, so I'm up early ... the bonus is that I have more play time before work yippee :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Good to be back

Well, life is resuming its normality after the Christmas festivities - thanks for all your comments over the last few days :) Poor Len cops it from me every year with the "bah, humbug" stuff ... last year I wore my Christmas tree outfit round there for Christmas Day which was a hoot - and this year he actually liked his little ornament (which was more for Carole's sake though). Before I gave it to them I told him he's not allowed to throw it out, stamp on it, set fire to it, or curse it ... he guessed it had something to do with humbugs, and got a laugh out of it haha. Now I have to make one for me too, as I ordered enough of the little lightbulb buttons to make two ornaments.

Christmas Day was relatively quiet for us, especially due to the fact I had just finished 7 days straight of 5am starts, and it had taken it out of me - Mum and I had our own little Christmas dinner with turkey breast and ham on the bone with a nice salad, followed by champers and panettone - it was lovely. We popped round to Fraze's parents for about an hour in the early evening just to say hi and drop presents off, then gave Fraze a lift home. They've been really good to me when I moved here on my own, and have semi-adopted me into their family ... Len says I'm the daughter that Carole never had :)

As for Christmas prezzies, due to finances this year my gifts were a lot more meagre than they've been in the past, but I've always said the thought behind the gift means more than the gift itself ... I just had to keep reminding myself of that as I felt a bit awful not being able to be as open with my gift-giving as normal. I gave Mum a Christmas stocking full of choccies and sweets that I know she loves - as well as a can of Guinness LOL (the other 3 were hiding in the fridge). Growing up my absolute favourite thing at Christmas was my stocking - it never had expensive things in it, just a few nuts in their shells, an orange, a little bottle of Babycham, and some little gifts like a pair of earrings/junk jewellery etc ... I moaned my head off the first year I didn't get one 'cos I was getting too old for it ... and to this day I still miss it ... mutter mutter mutter LOL. It's still my favourite Christmas memory/tradition - and the last two years it's been me giving the stockings instead to try and keep a bit of tradition in my Christmas Day. I also got Mum the latest Diana Gabaldon book (as we both adore that series), and gave her the needlebook I'd stitched for her. We both received a knitted scarf from my cousin's new girlfriend posted from my aunt in England (she lives in Thailand), which was very thoughtful. I got a DVD from Fraze, and something else is still to come but it'd sold out in the shops, a latch-hook Santa kit, and some hand-towels with ducks printed on the band (love them!!) with a small coffee plunger - all very useful gifts :) As for the Christmas money, I've made a dent in it already with a mix of items - a pair of Klasse scissors, Thread Heaven, plus 2 packets of MH beads and 2 skeins of thread from Dragonfly Dreams; a packet of undies; a 1/2 Christmas tree (for my hand-made ornies next year) and a stand-up Santa in the post-Christmas sales ; and the rest is being used to pay for my Embroiderers Guild membership, and a new iron - there you go, a happy mix of 'needed', 'stash' and 'frivolity' :)

I was back at work on Boxing Day, the joy of a 24-hour call centre, but took a small stitching project in with me so I could at least get a few stitches done inbetween calls - I'm on 3-11pm this week, and the evenings have been a bit quieter. I haven't made great inroads into any stitching at all, but I've started two needlerolls - Spring needleroll by Lorri Birmingham and Love needleroll ornament by Jeannette Douglas Designs in the 2005 JCS ornie mag. Just waiting for the Holo Fyre Werks thread and MH beads to arrive before I can finish the Love one, and the Spring one is being stitched on in the evening hours at work this week. Only managed to get another 5 hours into the Dratted Dolphins, but at least I got to roll up the scrollbars and I can get cracking on the final half - yippee!

My next rotation segment was for Egyptian Garden, but I'm replacing that for the time being with something else until Carol and I do a SAL for EG later in the year - only problem is I can't decide which to start first ... Le Jardin Silk Sampler from a 1998 issue of JCS magazine (which I'm definitely starting in January), or one of the bright canvaswork pieces by Jen's Jems now I have my black canvas here ... hmmm, I think the canvaswork piece might win out - it's a quicker finish ... and there's still plenty of January left to start the other one LOL.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Just in the nick of time ...!!

Yup, 'tis Christmas Eve and I FINALLY got my very first stitched ornaments completely finished ... ie they are now actual ornaments! Yippee!! I'm pretty pleased with them, to say they're my first ones :) I was a bit hesitant with the cardboard cutting etc, and I have to admit to using glue, which is also a first for me!

One ornament is for me (the Christmas tree one on the left) - and one for my best Aussie mate's Mum as a bit of a wind-up for his Dad ... his Dad isn't keen on Christmas, but his Mum adores it - every year when he starts moaning, I just say "oh, bah humbug" to him ... it's become a bit of a joke between us. Last year he was going to buy me a jar of humbugs for my Christmas present ... well, this year he might want to hit me instead, but I just couldn't resist this ornament when I first saw it! So, the "No Humbugs Allowed" goes to Carol and Len ... may you still allow me back in the house in 2006! LOL.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Hope you all have a wonderful time over Christmas and New Year, even if you don't celebrate it as a religion :) May 2006 find you all having lots of happy dances, with no frogs a-visiting, and UFO's disappearing ... many best wishes to yourselves and your families - have a safe and joyous time!!

Lots of love,
AnnePhoto taken at work today - at least this year I wasn't the only idiot dressing up ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Mail Day!!

Just a quick post to say "I got mail" today ... I received the first ever stitched item from someone else. I was very lucky to be the recipient of one of Jenna's ornaments - the Peace needleroll ... I adore it! The blue is gorgeous, and the stitching and finishing beautiful :) I can only apologise for the poor photo I took - my camera just wouldn't get focused on it properly in the bad light tonight ... and I was too impatient to wait until tomorrow to take a photo! It is also the first ever stitched ornament I've owned ... since my own first efforts still sit unfinished hmmm. And the great thing about this ornament is that it won't look out of place sitting in my stitching smalls basket, so I can enjoy it year-round. Thanks again, Jenna - you're a real sweetheart!! :)) I also can't believe that mine arrived at the same time some of the ones are arriving in the USA - Australia Post rocks! ;) So tonight it is sitting pride of place on the very front of my little Christmas tree, and it looks lovely :)) Jenna also sent along some threads that she used to stitch a needleroll that she has in her photo album that I fell in love with - yet another very generous gift ... the colours are stunning!! I really, really adore them - the Blue Lagoon threads by the Caron Collection are to die for, and the Blue Lavender Waterlilies is truly beautiful :) I can't wait to stitch with these threads - yummo!!!

Re the carrot saga - I have to admit, Carol (in PA), I actually bought some orange Fimo to try making a carrot nose myself, but then I saw the buttons while I was ordering some opalescent fabric I needed for an ornament exchange I've joined - seeing I was ordering the fabric anyway, I figured I might as well pop those into the envelope too. As it is, I've got a FOTM order still with Country Stitch, so I'll probably still order the medium one - but I may have a go and make the Fimo one too and make my decision later. Regardless, it won't be finished ready for this Christmas, as I've decided to make it into a flat-fold finish, and don't have the time or energy to do that just yet ... might as well make use of that Fimo, though ;)

We're having a 'Hotline' breakfast tomorrow - I'm on a 5am shift still, so it will coincide nicely with my lunch break yummo ... Eggs Benedict sounds like a wonderful lunch at 9am LOL.

Might have found one thing to buy with my Christmas money - Mum and I were shopping at Camberwell after work today, and popped into the local sewing machine shop for Mum to get a reel of cotton, and I spied some beautiful Klasse scissors in the window ... I had a blonde moment earlier in the year and had my beautiful Gingher scissors confiscated at the airport (I forgot I'd taken 2 pairs with me to NZ, and only remembered to put 1 pair into my suitcase, with my good Gingher ones in my carry-on ... hmmm, bye-bye scissors!! - pretty blonde thing to do considering I work for an airline haha). So, Mum suggested I buy myself some good scissors again - great idea ... I get to buy something related to stitching as well as being practical - and so much prettier than an iron ;) LOL.

Anyway, off to bed I go ... just a quick post, as I'm running late with everything - and it's almost 8pm, past my bed time yikes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My carrot's too big!

OK, a bit of a strange title - but my buttons arrived today that I needed to finish off my Stars and Brightly Shining Christmas piece ... and it's too big! B*gger!! The one I ordered from SB&B months ago was obviously a different brand than the one I ordered from NZ (which was too small - so I ordered a 'large' one) - so I'll have to place a very small order for one whole 'medium' carrot nose ;)

I just received two very lovely gifts of money for Christmas from close family friends in NZ, and from my parents - NZ$100 and AU$100 respectively - and I'm thinking of the lovely things I can buy myself ... especially stitching stash ;) Mum wasn't too impressed with that, saying I need a new iron and some new underwear - which is quite true - but they seem so 'practical' and not a treat at all. I have to admit I really don't need any new charts for a while now, but I wouldn't mind using it for some threads I'm going to be needing for some of that latest stash haul. Threads here in Aussie are exceptionally expensive, so I've decided to save up each year and have a USA splurge with SB&B for threads - things like Weeks Dye Works and GAST, for example, we pay pretty much double what the US price is ... just crazy! Seeing as I'm on a tough budget now I'm on my own, I figure if I put $5 to one side each week, I could have a decent blow-out every now and then on things I need for specific projects. I feel pretty positive about things at the moment, so 2006 won't be seeing me doing any 'comfort spending' that I can't afford! LOL.

I also received a CD from my best friend in NZ, but I'm being very very good, and it's going straight under the tree until Christmas Day ... even though the curiosity is killing me!

Tonight will be spent writing the final Christmas cards for work colleagues, so the Dratteds may not get any stitching done on them ... but the great news is that my gift beast ... um, sorry ... gift PIECE is on its way to its recipient - fingers crossed it won't get lost in the Christmas rush, as that would be the final icing on the cake!! Mum saw it before it was made up and stuffed, and she reckons it's so beautiful that I need to stitch one for myself :) I have to admit, it looks lovely in person, even if it's not my best ever stitching effort - and I might be tempted to stitch it again ... one day in the far distant future LOL.

Ooh, before I forget ... this week's SBQ:

Image hosted by Photobucket.comToday's SBQ isn't about stitching: It is about blogging and was suggested by AngelSan:

Take a minute to reflect on your blog reading habits and preferences. What do you prefer to read in stitching blogs? (Progress, tips, family life, experiences, etc.) How much do you think you are influenced by other stitching bloggers?

As far as preferences go - I love everything, as long as there is a fair amount of stitching chat in it. I especially love to see WIP and happy dance piccies, as well as tips and links to things of interest. I also enjoy reading about life in general, triumphs and tribulations etc - it's all what makes each of us who we are :) As far as influences go - I'm not at all influenced by other blogs ... except when I saw Summer into Autumn on Karen's blog and had to buy it ... and the Sweetheart Tree banner on Jenna's blog and had to track it down ... and ... and ... OK, so I have to admit it - I am HUGELY influenced by other blogs ;) I have bought more stash this last year that is directly related to blog surfing than I have in the last 3 years in total.

To me blogging has opened many doors in many different ways - I have been influenced to try new designers, new finishing techniques, and join other associated groups. It's also opened doors to new friendships, and given me personal comfort and camaraderie at a time when I needed it recently. It's allowed me to open my heart again to new ideas and new friends, and helped me to regain a passion for what I do - to all the friends and visitors here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

"They're Baaaaack!!"

Nope, it's not another episode of Poltergeist ... but yup, those Dratted Dolphins are back again - managed to get 5 hours stitched into them so far, with beautiful turquoise yay :) The only improvement you'll see is the big turquoise blob on the bottom right of the picture ;) At the end of this rotation (5 hours left to go) I should be able to roll up the scroll bars and work on the bottom half ... I can't wait!! Lana, there is my answer for you ... nope, they're still not finished - but one heck of a lot closer than they were a few months ago when I first started blogging! Boy, oh boy, a rotation really works!!!

Thanks everyone for your kind comments about my Christmas tree outfit - it was originally made for a Christmas party at work in Auckland for my old job ... a group of us ladies dressed up in Christmas outfits, and that was mine. Then I wore it for a Christmas walk for charity - and managed to win a watch for my troubles! Ever since then I've worn it for a laugh every now and then at work ... as you say, it really does do wonders for morale. Last year, though, because I had a carpark loaned to me for the day in our office building, I forgot to take a change of clothes (don't ask how I got into the car!!) ... and also forgot to take any lunch, plus needed to buy some flowers for someone - I had to stroll out in the middle of the day down the middle of Camberwell to the markets, much to the delight of kids in the street as well as a few adults ... I didn't know where to look! haha. This year I'll wear it on my final working day before Christmas, this Friday (23rd).

Anyway, I'd better sign off, as it's time for my hot chocolate (Milo) before bedtime ... yup, it's 7.10pm LOL. Fraze was wanting to come and stay tomorrow night, but we decided it wasn't a great idea as he finishes work at 6.30pm, and I need to be getting into bed at 7.30pm - doesn't give us much time to catch up ... it's been nice seeing him again more regularly after not seeing him for months - his company has been missed :)

I'm almost caught on everyones blogs now too - just a few more to go. It's been nice catching up on what you've all been doing while my back was turned :)) And thanks to the 'new' guys commenting on my blog ... I'll be popping over shortly to check out your blogs too :))

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Still alive ...

Haven't been posting due to spending time with the Dragon (aka Mum) - she arrived bright and early on Thursday morning, and I ended up with both Fraze and Mum as visitors that night ... Mum crashed out early on the sofa, while Fraze and I howled out loud watching Chris Rock's HBO special on DVD, and having a few bevvies. Friday morning I woke up with a painful headache, mainly because Fraze and I woke up with the teeming rain at about 4.30am - and got up to chat for a while with Mum. At about 5.30am I hit the hay for another hour, then Fraze had to go to work while Mum and I spent the day out shopping at Queen Victoria markets until about 3pm ... after a sushi 'lunch' I crashed out badly until 7pm, managed to stay awake for another 2 hours, then hit the hay yet again until 4am before work! So, all-in-all, no great stitching progress made ...

The good news, though, is that I finally finished my gift piece ... not quite how I intended it to look - I was whip-stitching the edges with beads, but the shade of the beads didn't really suit it, so a-frogging I went ... I ended up just leaving the whip-stitching plain, and got it finished and stuffed tonight. That means I can finally get it in the post tomorrow - yippee!!!

That now means that I can resume scheduled programming, aka my rotation ... so the Dratteds are back on the floorstand, and ready for their 10 hours worth. I'm on 5am's all week, so that's a good one to get stitching done. It also means I should be able to get back to blogging again - can't wait to see what everyone's been up to :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Plans thwarted...

No stitching done tonight (or last night) - zip, zilch, nada ... not one single stitch! So much for getting my gift piece finished ... I have to admit, I was so over-tired last night, that I just vegetated for the night, went to bed early, and slept through the entire hour of my alarm this morning! Yikes!! So I was late for work, which very very rarely happens - in fact I think that's happened twice in the 2 1/2 years since I moved here ... must have been my body's way of saying it needed more rest! Have to admit the early morning shifts, as much as I love them for whatever insane reason, I struggle after a few days of them - but tomorrow is the last one, then I have two days off yippee ... but then I have 7 days of 5am shifts {heavy sigh} LOL.

I opted not to stitch on my gift piece last night/tonight mainly 'cos of its history - it would be just my luck that I'd stitch something wrong and have to frog-stitch for yet another night ... I wasn't taking any chances! haha. I also spent a while chatting on the phone last night to a friend in NZ who gave me the news that she's expecting another baby - it was lovely to catch up after such a long time.

Next week I dust off the Christmas tree 'dress' to wear into work ... next year I think I'll have to put some money aside and buy some portable lights for it - I think that'd be a hoot! I wore this to work here last year, after one of the Supervisors found out I had this wee outfit back home in NZ, and I had to order Mum to bring it over with her on one of her trips ... I have to admit, it's a real morale booster - I usually go out and buy big bags of lollies and hand them out round the office. So, that's the piccie I'll leave you with - a Merry Christmas photo from me to you (taken in the office last Christmas). I won't have any stitching progress to post over the next couple of days - my mate Fraze just surprised me with a phone call tonight to say he's decided he's going to come round and stay with me tomorrow night (I suppose I should be glad for 24 hours notice LOL) - then Mum arrives early Thursday morning ... I still hope to get my gift in the mail by Monday though :) Enjoy the rest of your week, if I don't get chance to catch up before then ... Thanks for the visits and lovely comments - you guys all rock!!
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Stash haul arrived!

Woohoo, my stash from my shopping splurge of moooooonths ago has finally turned up today ... and even though I feel bad about breaking the bank (literally) with these babies, it's hard to feel bad for long as they're just gorgeous ;) It's hard to see what everything is in the photos, so I've posted a list underneath.

  • Tulip Accessories by Beardie Designs (want to change the colours, though)
  • In the Dark needleroll & scissors fob by Lena Rose
  • Wildberry Petals needlebook by Lena Rose (again, I'll change the colours)
  • Bunnies in the Garden by With My Needle (for a 2006 SAL)
  • Summer at the Ocean by Jeannette Douglas (dying to stitch this as a needleroll!)
  • The French Garden by The Drawn Thread
  • Boo! Scissors Fob & Purse by The Drawn Thread
  • The Golden Garden 'Sweet Bag' by FMNIS
  • Silken Roses fob Teenie Tweenie by The Sweetheart Tree
  • Cherry Blossoms fob Teenie Tweenie by The Sweetheart Tree
  • Christmas Ornaments by Judy Odell/Just a Thought (bit disappointed with this on first glance)
  • 32ct lambswool linen by Wichelt
  • 32ct black Belfast linen (for Strawberries So Faire SAL)
  • Poinsettia Gloriana silk (for Strawberries So Faire SAL)
  • City of Bristol Brown overdyed floss by Olde Willow Stitchery (for Bunnies in the Garden SAL)
  • Remaining back-ordered little bulb buttons by JABC
  • MH leaf treasures for Summer into Autumn by The Drawn Thread
I'm not sure why SB&B sent me 6 each of the last 3 colours I was waiting for in the little bulb buttons, as I only needed 2 of each ... but I've let them know by email. Maybe it was their way of saying thank you for waiting for soooooo long to receive them? - more likely just a simple error. I must say, though, I'm glad it's finally arrived!

As far as stitching's concerned, I managed to design the back of my gift piece last night (which I hadn't got around to deciding on previously) - that took me an hour or two playing around with my XS software (while chatting to Mum on the phone), but I also managed to get about an hour's stitching in it as well. I haven't been commenting on many blogs at the moment, as I'm just trying really hard to get this piece finished and in the mail - hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to get back to blogging properly again :) I miss seeing what everyone is up to!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh, happy days :)

A quick post before I head off to bed ready for my 4.50am wake-up call ... I'm breathing a heavy sigh of relief and contentment tonight for a couple of different reasons:

  1. Mum will be here after only 5 more sleeps
  2. I only have one more week of phones before I'm back on the Supervisor Hotline for 6 whole weeks (until the end of January)
  3. I received some lovely mail today (more later)
  4. I don't have to wear business clothes for a whole month - as we now have casual dress right up until the middle of January ... welcome to 5 weeks of trackies and jeans yippee! (especially good for those late/early shifts)
  5. For the last 2 nights I have been overjoyed to witness flocks (?) of rainbow lorikeets - my favourite Aussie birds - flying over my little flat on their way to roost at the end of the day ... it takes my breath away, and is such a joy to witness (I'm a big softie at heart)

and, last but by no means least ...

6. I got all the stitching done on the front of my little gift piece tonight!!!!!

Yep, it's true - it's all 'finished' ... I just have to do the actual finishing, and it's ready to go in the post. I've scanned a photo of it, but I can't unveil it until it reaches its recipient - as usual, though, the scan doesn't do the piece justice with those lovely sparkles ... but I can give you a little sneak preview of how blending filament should actually look ... ie shiny!! ;) I have to admit, I'm glad I persevered with it - it does look pretty cool once it's finished ... can't wait to show you!

As for my mail, today I received some trade fabric from Karen - and it's the most gorgeous hand-dyed Belfast by Silkweaver called "Fern" ... totally scrummy - thanks so much for that, Karen ... hopefully you'll find your return trade OK once I get it in the mail:)

I also received my FOTM from Country Stitch, which was a bit more disappointing (just normal linens, not hand-dyeds), and something I'm probably going to cancel from next month. Unfortunately my recent stash splurges were a bit of a stuff-up, in that I worked out the conversion all wrong, so ended up spending a LOT more than I should have ... so now I'm having to make a few budget cuts to offset it. Oh well, such is life ... At least I have plenty of stash to keep me going in my days of poverty LOL - and I can always live on tuna for a couple of weeks hahaha.

Which reminds me - my last stash haul from SB&B has finally been shipped ... it left on the 5th, so with any luck it will be here within the next week ... woohoo!!! Then I can enjoy drooling over it, and get the guilt over and done with before Christmas LOL ;)

So, tonight I'm heading to bed with a smile on my face - all-in-all it's been a good day. Hope your weekend is going well too :)

Mutter mutter mutter

Well, the heading is aimed towards my lovely gift piece ... I managed to frog stitch all that blending filament and the backstitching - but it took me all night! BF is a pain in the butt to remove anyway, without it being nice and crinkly ;) Then to top it all off, I managed to stitch my first big replacement piece of stitching ... and found I was one row out in counting - I think I'm doomed with this piece! The air round here last night matched my decor beautifully ... it was very very blue! LOL. Never mind, I'm on 6am shifts this week, so hopefully I can get a few stitches in each afternoon in daylight. I have to admit, I'm usually really careful when I'm ironing, and usually do have a towel underneath it, and a cloth over the top ... I was just feeling so under the weather I just wasn't thinking. Never mind, by hook or by crook I'll master the damned thing before the week is out! haha.

Thanks everyone as always for your comments - they're always so welcome :) And an especially big howdy to my cousin Anita, a new reader all the way from Canada - it's so nice to see you! {{waving}} You're right, Anita, I'm usually appalling at keeping in touch, so popping in here is a nice way to see what I'm up to ... especially as you're a stitcher too, 'cos that's usually all I talk about :) I'm teaching Mum a bit more about emailing and the internet when she comes over to visit next week ... so there may be blood on the carpet - either hers or mine hahahaha - no, she's actually pretty good 'cos she writes everything down :)

I've also decided I need to brush up my minimal French (by minimal, I mean I know about 4 whole sentences ... "Comment ca va?", "Je m'appelle Anne", "je ne comprends pas", and "je parle le francais petit peu seulement" haha - but there are some wonderful blogs out there written entirely in French ... and Google translater really isn't earning it's salary at all - I can barely understand the english versions, never mind the french ones! So, perhaps I have a new task for 2006/2007 ... improve my language skills LOL.

Rightio, enough dawdling on the computer - off to the "infamous project" ... let's see if I can actually do some stitching that will remain in the linen for more than 60 minutes haha.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yet another happy dance!

Yippee, I put the final stitches into another festive piece today - I did about 2/3 of the stitching during Thursday, but didn't get to finish it until today as I had a visitor to stay. Originally I stitched this to try out a flat-fold finish - but I'm not sure whether the dimensions might be too big for that style of finish ... if so, I'll try a quilted wallhanging instead. The dimensions are 14cm x 20cm - if anyone has had experience with these methods of finishing, I'd really love some advice before I start ... This piece has been sitting in my stash for years, so it's nice to finally drag it out and stitch it up - I think the red thread is a bit 'odd' ... I used the recommended threads, but my skein is a very stark difference between the bright red and plum/burgundy colour, with no subtle graduations - I wouldn't mind stitching it again with a different red thread, but in the meantime it will be good to practice my finishing on. The chart is called "Merry Christmas" by Bent Creek, and it's stitched on Platinum Belfast linen. I love the tree - but I'm also wondering what it would look like all stitched over-one ... hmmm ...

As for my visitor - I was thrilled to have the company of my best male mate Fraggle (his nickname ... and considering he now knows about my blog, I'm sure he'll be thrilled for me to use his nickname here, as he loves it so much LOL). He came over after work and stayed the night ... it was a very relaxing night of a couple of vodkas (for me) and beers (for him) with pizza and a comedy DVD. It was lovely to catch up properly, as we haven't had chance to do that ever since I moved out of our flat 4 months ago. And don't worry Mum, I'll make sure you still have beers in the fridge for your arrival next week haha. Fraggle said he was going to tell our old flatmate he's decided to move in with me instead ... it really was a nice relaxing night. We have the sort of friendship where you feel comfortable to 'bare all' and talk about anything under the sun, and just feel comfortable to hang out ... he never fails to make me laugh - that's the main thing I've missed since moving out ... his wacky sense of humour. He's also the only person I know who can talk my head off in the mornings without me wanting to shoot him haha (nope, NOT a morning person). Anyway, Fraggle, thanks for a great night ... you're welcome back any time :)

Well, my rotation has gone out the window the last few days ... it's time for the Dratteds to return, but I'm putting it off until next weekend, when I'm using them for a Stitch-a-Thon - plus I've been putting off a job of frogging for weeks and weeks ... I was so disheartened in a gift I was stitching for someone that I stuffed up, that it got put aside until I could face it again. Well, now I've decided there are no more excuses, I just have to bite the bullet and get the damned thing done! Unfortunately it was stitched when I was feeling very sick with my month of headaches etc ... I finally managed to finish the stitching, after a real struggle, but it looked pretty nice ... then ironed it before it was finished ... with a hot setting ... right over the top of the blending filament ... doh! Serious blonde moment!! So, all that lovely twinkly stuff that looked so gorgeous just happened to disappear almost entirely - there is still a tiny bit of sparkle left, but I was so disheartened I found I couldn't bring myself to still finish it off and send it ... and it's been sitting on the kitchen table mocking me ever since!! So, my challenge for the next two days is to unpick 2/3 of the stitching (ie all the blending filament and backstitching) and get it into a state fit for posting next week ... I'm not religious, but I'll be praying this time I do it right!! OK, here goes ... wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No stitching today

Crikey, my fingers feel as though my arms have been cut off ... they haven't touched a needle ... or needlework ... all day! In an attempt to find my rotary cutter to cut the fabric strips etc for my ornaments, I ended up unpacking all the yet-unpacked bags and boxes in my bedroom ... 3 wine boxes and about 6 various sized bags - yikes! And after all that, I still hadn't found my cutter ... but boy, oh boy, my bedroom looks a bit better for it - you can actually walk round BOTH sides of the bed now LOL. As for the cutter, I had a brainwave while I was unpacking - and lo and behold, when I looked into one of the big unpacked boxes in the spare bedroom, there it was ...

I also found some quilting things that I really must add to my UFO list too hmmm - a wallhanging quilt of golliwogs that I did as my beginners introduction to quilting - but I hate the design, so it doesn't enthral me too much to get it finished ... but it only needs the binding to be done, and it's finished - maybe I'll give it to a charity or something ... As for the others, one was a patchwork quilt for my best friend's son - and the other is a quilting bag for my mat boards etc ... it would be nice to get that finished - maybe I'll enlist Mum's help with that one while she's here, as she's the sewing guru, and that's all that's left to be done with it, I think.

I also finally managed to remember today to put a money order I've had sitting around for a while actually into an envelope, to send to Lauren Sauer at Forget-Me-Nots In Stitches - I fell in love with her design "Never Enough Berries" in the Fine Lines magazine, then found it had only the pindisk in that issue, and that the magazine is no longer being made ... b*gger! The good news is that I decided to contact Lauren directly, and she's making the chart in all four parts available for sale directly from her - so I'm finally going to the Post Office tomorrow/Friday to post it off to her (as well as check my mail - you never know, miracles may have happened over the last few days since I've not been at work - my Stitching Bits & Bobs backorder may have arrived!! ... yeah, OK, that might be pushing things a little bit haha). Anyway, here's the Never Enough Berries chart, seeing as I have nothing else to offer today in the way of stitching progress:

Image hosted by

Sorry, but I gave up trying to upload the photo using Blogger today - I've used Photobucket instead, but that means you can't click and enlarge sorry :(

The night is still young, though - so I may still get chance to pick up a needle yet ;)

A Quiz...

And now for something different ... taken from Sharon's blog:

The Wisdom
You reflect the wisdom of the spirit. You shine as
a wise and anicent sage who values intellect
among the most. Your spirit brings guidence to
those around you. You have accomplished your
strength with age and time. Don't let your wise
advice go to waste. Share it with all who are
willing to listen.

Reflections of the Spirit?

Belated happy dances!!

Well, today has been the most perfect stitching day ... almost like a winter's day it's been bucketing down so hard you can hardly see out the windows - and the thunder has been rolling for a while ... what better way than to stay indoors curled up with your stitching :)

I started my 'finishing' rotation slot this evening with finally putting together two things that have been sitting unfinished for many many years - first of all my "Ancient Thistle Needlecase" by Textile Heritage Collection - and secondly my "Pins and Needles" scissor keeper by Forget-Me-nots In Stitches ... both stitched way back in 1999 (gulp!!). But they've both been given a new lease of life and can now become functional items in my needlework basket - yippee!!! I actually have a silk cord made up from the original threads, which I made a the same time as stitching the scissor fob, but I couldn't lay my hands on it - so I opted to use a variegated perle cotton by Anchor and a satin ribbon instead ... doesn't look too bad :)

Rightio, what else can I do tomorrow? I have a list of items to choose from ... the question is, which one will win out?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Semi happy dance...

Well, I've had a fantastic stitching night/morning - and managed to almost complete another Christmas ornament ... thinking I had all the buttons etc on hand, I figured I might as well get this one stitched before I start my first ever ornamentifying session ... well, that was the plan! As you can see from the piccie, there is just one thing missing - the snowman's carrot nose!! The one that turned up is too small, so now I'm not sure what to do - I can either place an order locally and hope to heck it turns up before Christmas ... or satin stitch something instead (but I think I'd prefer to use a button) ... or I could try buying some Fimo and make my own ... has anyone tried to do this? Oh well, it still looks pretty good - it's the first time I've changed the threads around to use what was in my stash ... instead of using Crescent Colours (of which I don't own any), I used Gentle Art Sampler Threads that I already had ... instead of CC Apple Fritter I used GAST Cherry Wine, instead of CC Sassy Brass I used GAST Summer Meadow, and instead of CC Toasted Marshmallow I used GAST Oatmeal. The rest of the threads were as listed. It is a design by SamSarah Design Studio from the 2005 JCS Christmas Ornament issue. It was stitched on a small 'Kiwi Pearls' - a hand-dyed linen from Country Stitch. I'm pretty pleased with it all-in-all ... just wished I could've finished it today ...

Another great reason to have Mum come over for a holiday is that she's bringing me black canvas for an upcoming project in the New Year - two canvaswork pieces by Jen's Jems, a NZ designer ... here's a scan of the main threads being used - yup, they sure are bright!!! Hurry up and come over Mum, I'm dying to get starting on one of them!! ;)

Thanks for everyone's comments about Mum's tree - I'll post one of my little baby one once it's finished ... I feel great today, so I might try and get a bit more done tomorrow - I had the Christmas tree lights on last night in the lounge while watching DVD's ... it was lovely :) In fact I was enjoying myself so much, I nearly died when I looked up from my stitching and saw it was 2am!!! As for my migraine, thankfully it's disappeared in its entirety - I'm not that good, Carol ... I only stitched when my migraine was at its calming down stage - I started stitching which is what sent it over the top ... so I just lay down and slept for a few hours, then tried again at night :)

It's been a great relaxing couple of days - with a very eclectic mix of DVD's to listen to while stitching ... League of Gentlemen (very sick English comedy series - hilarious but twisted sense of humour!), Tears of the Sun, Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Men in Black 1 and 2 ... yep, a woman of variation, that's me ;)

Hope everyone is having a good week ...

(Edited to add Christmas tree piccie)
Well, here it is - I decided to just bite the bullet and get it finished so I can get the box of ornaments off the sofa ... here's my baby version of Mum's - kinda like a 'mother and daughter' set of trees haha. It's a bit dark 'cos I tried to get the lights showing up - looks quite cute in the corner of the room :) I guess it must nearly be Christmas - it's starting to really feel like it! ;)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Slow day today

I've been plagued with another migraine last night/today so that's put the brakes on getting much stitching done - I did manage to get a couple of hours done, though, and did the stitching on a Mill Hill Christmas ornament - just need to do the beaded tassel and finish it off ... another one of the finishing pile for later in the week :) Instead today I've done exciting things like tidying the kitchen up and doing the dishes ... and something a bit more fun, like getting the Christmas tree half-finished. It's only a small one, so didn't take very long at all ... lights are on, and so is the tinsel and angel ... just the Christmas balls and it's finished. It's only 4ft in height, so my soon-to-be-finished Christmas ornies won't fit on it until I can afford a bigger tree - so they're going to be hung from the window sill, from a 'teddy chain'. It's definitely feeling more festive now there's a bit of decoration in the flat - even though I'm living on my own now, I was still determined to put my tree up ... I adore Christmas trees - and I always swore my Mum's tree was the best in the world ... I used to start nagging for her to put it up as soon as 1 December came - and Dad used to love sitting in the dark, with just the tree lights on ... one of my fave Christmas memories :))

Here's Mum's tree - that puts mine to shame ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Stitching album template & Happy Dance

Seeing as there has been a bit of interest generated, I've scanned one of my album pages to give you an example of what I do - excuse the photo on it, one of my ink cartridges needs changing, so it's a bit pale. Anyway, hopefully it'll come through OK ... The box at the top is the same size as a 'normal' printed photo, so if I wanted to I could just paste in an actual photo, instead of scanning it - and I have one template page with a vertical photo format as well, then just type in the details at the relevant points. If anyone wants a copy of the actual Word document, I'm more than happy to send it to you - it's very very simplistic, though, so you might want to play with it a bit ... just drop me an email to shakatak at iinet dot net dot au and your wish will be granted :)

Rightio, back to my stitching, as I'm not far off my happy dance for Summer Into Autumn - I've finished all the actual stitching now, and just need to add the beads, so I'll have a piccie to post before the end of the day. Then I just have to wait for the MH treasure to arrive, before working out how the heck to finish it into a bellpull ... another new finishing technique for the new year :)

(edited to add the following Happy Dance)
Well, as promised, here's the finished version of Summer into Autumn by The Drawn Thread - I have to admit the 'softer' look of the single thread suits it well. It's not my usual style of stitching, but I really enjoyed stitching it for the variety of stitches involved, plus such a short and quick project to stitch - it took me a sum total of 9 stitching hours!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Still no stitching...

Well, after such a stunningly beautiful 33 degrees Celsius day in Melbourne yesterday, today the heavens have opened and it's bucketing with rain ... which strange as it seems, I'm really enjoying ... Didn't get to sleep until 4am after work, as I was creating a new 'stitching diary' for 2006 in Microsoft Word - that's the only problem I have with shift work, I find it harder to get to sleep as the shifts get on. The first night finishing at 1am I'm shattered, and fall asleep almost immediately ... but a few days later I'm acclimatising to the change in times, and find it harder to wind down. I still woke up at 8am though (yikes!!) but refused to get up, and managed to doze off again for another couple of hours ... so, no stitching today.

My diary is just a one-page sheet per month, that has a calendar down the left-hand side of the page, with reminders on certain days for BB things, like posting UFO reports, posting of ornament deadlines etc - then on the right-hand side I've got separate little sections for SAL's for the month, my rotation completions, and any general stitching plans (BB forums etc), plus a general 'to-do' list, like "organise supplies for next month's SAL". Hopefully it will be a worthwhile project to keep me organised, as I find when I come home from work my brain goes into non-functioning mode! LOL. If nothing else, it was fun to create it :)

From the comments I've been receiving about hardanger projects, I'm seriously contemplating adding a hardanger slot into my rotation once Dolphins Domain is finished (if not sooner) - I have loads of projects that include hardanger, and it'd be nice to learn a bit more. I have to admit, Jenna, I saw the Janice Love books at Spotlight a few weeks back, and was seriously tempted to buy them again ... but I've got the basic and advanced ones by Nordic Needle, plus another soft-cover hardanger book by Jill Carter, so hopefully I'll muddle my way through with the help of them. I originally bought the Janice Love ones because everyone seemed to think they were the 'ultimate' hardanger reference books - I never managed to read them before they were 'stolen', although what I did read looked really good!

Got some good news at work yesterday ... we're allowed to wear casual clothes from 12 Dec to 15 Jan - if you thought they were thunderclaps last night all round the world, it was just the sound of my heavy feet happy dancing! ;)

Anyway, nearly time to go to work again - just enough time to post this:

Image hosted by Today's Stitching Blogger's Question was suggested by AngelSan and is:
"Do you have any rules in the way you stitch? (ie Do you start in the middle? Do you determine which blocks to stitch first? Do you always start from the top or the bottom? Do you have special paths to prevent wasting thread?)"
Hmmm, pretty much 99% of the time I start in the middle ... mainly because I'm hopeless at counting and don't trust myself to start elsewhere - that being said, though, there are certain projects that I prefer to stitch from the top down, such as band samplers. I've also just started stitching Mirabilia's Winter Queen, and for the first time have started stitching from the top, which is unusual for me! As far as choosing which blocks to stitch first, again it depends on the design - I usually just finish one area first, moving from one colour to another. I always stitch my stitches the same way, and prefer to start from the left and stitch to the right /// and return \\\ for the top stitch, with my needle coming up from the bottom of the stitch - but if the block demands it, I'll stitch from right to left, with my needle coming up at the top of the stitch (that's probably as clear as mud!!).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No stitching progress today

Today I feel a bit battle weary from work, so I'm taking a day off stitching and just blobbing out in front of the PC for a while catching up on blogs, and emails and paying bills etc. Then I intend to get out and have a walk on the beach before heading off to work again ... managed to get a dose of 'acoustic shock' last night, and ended up being taken off the phones due to the fact that my right ear especially was burning/aching :( Our headsets are really sensitive, and one call dropped in where their baby/toddler had just hit its head - right next to the telephone receiver ... next thing you know I had huge feedback coming down the phone from the ear-piercing shriek coming from the kid ... OUCH!!! Anyway, today my right ear is still a bit achey, but hopefully I'll be OK to take calls tonight ... Anyway, it's yet another gloriously sunny day in Melbourne, with just enough breeze to keep the heat down - would be mad not to make the most of it and go for a wander.

On that note, though, it reminds me of something I thought about the other day ... I live in a predominantly jewish area of Melbourne - I apologise for my ignorance in advance ... there are many orthodox jews walking the streets, and it fascinates the heck out of me! Coming from a mainly Asian community where I last lived, it's a huge cultural difference in this suburb. I love to see them out walking in their traditional clothes and outfits ... but what made me think of them today is, how the heck do they survive in the high heat of summer?? I saw an older gentleman the other day in his full black outfit, complete with coat and fur hat - on the hottest day we've had so far - sat on a garden wall in the street ... first thing that crossed my mind, "no wonder you're sat down on that wall, you must be bl**dy roasting!!" (not meant to cause offence to anyone). I have to say, I admire these people for being so steadfast in their religion and culture, and not being swayed by outside influences - but I also think it's easy for someone to target them for being 'different'. When I moved here, ex-flatmates said "ooh, you're moving to a very Jewish area", as if it was a dreadful thing to do ... I just see other people like me, that are just in different packaging ... anyway, just something I was thinking right now ...

Before I go on my walk, though, a quick response to some comments (and back to stitching-related talk) ...

Von, now you can understand why I couldn't stop from looking at that chart all night - Close at Heart chart is just beautiful! I'm going to stitch it in the purple colourway, seeing as I'm not much of a pink chick (although I still think the pink is very dainty and pretty) ... unless I can work out some blues that I can use instead from my stash (that'd be a surprise for me, wouldn't it, changing something to be blue!! LOL). As it is, I'm going to try to find colours in my stash that would work, as I can't afford to buy more threads for a while. Let me know if you're going to stitch it next year, and I'll join in with you and squeeze it in among my other million stitching projects :)

And Jenna - on the same note, I just went to your photo site to check out the Close at Heart piccies ... just stunning! I really love this piece done on the green fabric - awesome!! Hadn't thought of changing the fabric colour, so now I'm going to have a play in my stash and look at other options aside from just white ... especially if I change the colours to blue ;) As for the hardanger squares at the bottom - when I saw the chart I nearly choked LOL. I've only ever attempted doves eyes in hardanger, so that's really going to be a huge challenge ... will definitely have to do a 'dummy run' on a scrap piece of fabric, I think. Oh well, if nothing else, it will challenge me to do something different. Maybe I should come to you for a holiday for some hardanger lessons ;) haha. In fact I've had Walk the Gentle Path by Cross 'n Patch for years, and the hardanger part at the bottom is what's stopped me from stitching it ... I think if I just bit the bullet and give it a go, I'll be fine. I actually bought the Janice Love books to help me, but loaned them to a supposed friend at work in NZ, and never got them back (which is a right royal pain considering I'd ordered them specially from the US - she ended up running off with over $200 worth of my books boohoo). Maybe 2006 is my year for finally shaking off and trying to conquer my fears ...

Rightio, off for my hour's walk ... especially for Lynn, here are photos of where I live (and where I'm about to go walking) ... in the first photo, where the end of the path is (where it veers off to the right), there is a canal - you just follow the canal for about 4 blocks, and you're practically at my front door :) The photos are taken either side from a hill at which there is a viewing point - I usually continue my walk to the grey concrete wharf you can just see in the distance (in the second photo), then turn around and come back. Last time I kept walking round to the next bay and nearly killed myself! :) I think I need to buy a bike!!! Of course that's the city skyline of Melbourne in the background ...