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.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Charity stitching

OK, I finally bit the bullet today, after seeing a post a wee while ago by Barbara about charity stitching. I followed her link to Quilts4Kids, and realised they're based here in Australia, and thought I'd try hard to get some charity squares stitched this year. I have to admit to having no real maternal instinct, and not being greatly 'kid-orientated' (although in saying that I enjoy time spent with the kids of my close friends), but the stories of what these poor wee mites have gone through in such a short life-span is heart wrenching. So, it's time to finally put my needles to good use - my first charity squares (if they're accepted) will be for wee Emily T, who loves butterflies. I've chosen to stitch two different flowers and butterflies from the World of XSing magazine, and will change one of the flower colours to purples as Emily loves pinks and purples. The squares are due by 15 April, so I should have plenty of time to get them stitched up and posted out. Then I hope to continue stitching one square a month, or at the least every 2 months. Unfortunately a lot of my stash that would be useful for this sort of stitching is still sitting at my parents home in Auckland, so Mum's task when she gets home is to plough through all the folders to pick out some that would be useful, and see how much it would be to post some over (otherwise my suitcase will be getting jammed full of stitching charts when I go over for her 70th birthday in May!).

Aside from that, yet another non-stitching day ... still hideously hot, and I have no real desire to pick up a needle - hence all the stitching planning instead ;) It's 'Friday' for me today, and I have the next two days off, and very very grateful - people on the phone were extremely cranky and outrageous with their demands today ... I think the heat's getting to everyone! With any luck, though, the temperatures are due to drop a bit next week, and I'll get back into my stitching routine :)

Hope everyone's been enjoying their weekends. Thanks for all your supportive comments as always - they're wonderful to come home to :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What does a needle look like?

I'm starting to forget what a size 26 Piecemaker tapestry needle is - or in fact any needle! Yet another non-stitching day ... although I did end up finishing up some more kitting up small projects for 'down the track'. Hallelujah it's my final 6am shift tomorrow, then two days off again so I can go to bed at a 'normal' time again yay.

Spent the night in tears tonight ... finally got around to watching The Notebook tonight (can't remember what it was that stopped us watching it the other night) - oh crikey, what a chick flick that is! So I couldn't help but shed a bit of wet stuff at the very end, even though I'd guessed what was going to happen ... what a lovely movie - and makes a nice change from the psycho thrillers and action movies/comedies that I usually watch LOL.

Rightio, off to bed again - and only 2 more sleeps before I get to finally meet some fellow bloggers here in Melbourne ... yippee :)

Friday, January 27, 2006

I want some snow!!!

I just made an offer to Bine in Germany, if I pay for the courier cost, would she be willing to send me some snow? And I'm not joking ... apparently the hottest January in Melbourne's history, quite frankly I can't wait until this heatwave is over!! Last night I got about 3 hours sleep compliments of the humidity and heat, and the heavy storms - it's very draining on the energy levels, that's for sure! Mind you, it gave me an excuse to sit for almost 7 hours on the computer yesterday, in front of the electric fan, catching up on all my blog feeds ... always a silver lining somewhere ;) Mum got a chicken breast out of the freezer and chucked it on the back of my neck on the way past ... it was sheer heaven! I suggested turfing all the frozen food out on the floor so we could roll around on it to cool down, but she didn't think it was a good idea LOLOL.

No stitching progress, as it's been too hot, but I accidentally found out today that the girls at work are having a 'whip-round' (ie collection) between them for my birthday, seeing it's a 'big one'. Ali asked where you buy "that stuff that you do" (she's miming a sewing motion with her hands as she's asking haha) - I reply, it depends what you're looking for. She repeated the same question - to which I once again reply, if you want just basic cheap stuff you can go to Spotlight, or if you want more specialised stuff you can go to a LNS ... she then wanted to know which one I went to blah blah blah. Anyway, she finally blurted out why she was asking - then said if I prefer she can give me the money collected, rather than getting a gift voucher, so I can get what I want. I thought that was a wonderful idea, as I could do a splurge online at Stitching Bits & Bobs - I'm in heaven already, just thinking about it (especially when I assume there will be a 25% sale around Valentine's Day or some time soon). And Mum wanted to give me my birthday money the other day too, when I was trying to find my pearl cotton for "Marine Elegance" (yes, Isabelle, you have started a trend, and blue/apricot elegance has now been officially renamed LOL). So I'll be able to combine the two amounts and hopefully get some of my prized Gingher's scissors again :)

As for my birthday 'bash', Dracula's has been cancelled due to grape grazing being on the next day - and I'm not sure whether I'll wait until closer to the other guy's birthday date, and still have a dinner combined, or whether I'll just organise a dinner closer to my date ... I suppose I'd better hurry up and decide seeing as there are only a couple of weeks left - yikes!! LOL.

Well, off to contemplate picking a needle up, although it's still stinking hot, so I doubt that's going to happen. Over the last couple of days we kitted up some small projects from my stash, reading for taking to Embroiderers Guild meetings - that's my only resolution for 2006, getting along to the meetings for stitching company and camaraderie :) I can say, though, I managed to stay on top of all my blogs today and cleared all posts as soon as I walked in ... woohoo!! ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Meme of Fours

I'm sooooo behind with reading everyones blogs, so I've only just realised I've been tagged by both Jenna and Nicki for this meme, so I'd better pull my finger out and get my answers together ... It's a stinking hot day in Melbourne today, and Mum's laid up in bed watching cricket with a bad back - no better excuse around to finally catch up on my reading ... I had 288 unread feeds when I started - crikey!! After Mum's comment about spending too much time online, I've tended to keep away from the PC for the time being. Anyway, on to the Meme:

The Meme of Fours

Four Jobs I Have Had in My Life
Airline Reservations Agent and Supervisor
Conference organiser for a pharmaceutical company
Barperson at Marist Brothers Rugby Football Club (Rugby Union)

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over Again
The Mummy/The Mummy Returns
50 First Dates
Lethal Weapon series
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Four Places I Have Lived
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England
Auckland, New Zealand
Box Hill North, Melbourne, Australia
Elwood, Melbourne, Australia (that's the only way I could make it 4! LOL)

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch
Little Britain
Desperate Housewives

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation
Paphos, Cyprus
Athens, Greece & Greek Islands (Santorini, Naxos, Kos)
Fiji (Mananuca Islands mainly)

Four Websites I Visit Daily
Blogger (when I'm blogging more regularly)
Newsgator (for reading blogs)
Friends Gather Bulletin Board (and other EZboard BB's)
Stitching Smalls Yahoo group

Four of My Favorite Foods
Thai green curry
King prawns and scallops
Salt and pepper roast chicken
Sashimi (raw tuna!)

Four Albums I Can't Live Without
Five for Fighting - America Town
James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
Phil Collins - Best of ...
David Gray - White Ladder
(in fact, there are oodles of albums I love ...)

Four Places I'd Rather Be
Greek Islands
Fiji Islands
In the pool!
... but to be honest, I'm quite happy where I am (would be nice to have it a bit cooler, though!)

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
Um, being so late on the bandwagon, I dunno if I could find 4 bloggers yet untagged, so I think I'll have to bow out on that one...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Good mail day!

It was a semi-decent stitching day for me today - the temperature dropped to about 25C during the day and was fantastic for sleeping last night. I actually woke up feeling human today, and couldn't wait to pick up a needle again! I managed to catch up with assignment 3 of the Apricot Elegance SAL from the Stitching Smalls Yahoo group ... I was surprised, though, with the colour of the pearl cotton I'm using - on the skein it looks quite turquoisey, but when you stitch it up on that fabric the mint/pale green shows up more. I had my heart set on using a brightish turquoise for my filling stitches etc, but now I'm a bit stumped, as the colours just won't go! Oh well, it means we're off to the LNS tomorrow to try to find a colour that will substitute. Even though it wasn't my 'perfect' choice of colour, I have to admit that I really like it ... it now reminds me of Monet's waterlily paintings, which I adore :) It just means I might not be able to finish this week's assignment yet, until I decide on colours.

Usually on my days off, I don't go anywhere near my PO Box, as it's a 1/2 hour drive away ... but I knew I was expecting some parcels, so curiosity got the better of me today and we took a trip out for a couple of hours to grocery shop and collect mail. And what a wonderful lot of surprises were awaiting me! I had some fabric from Country Stitch from their sales, as Linda is selling off all her plain colour linens etc and will just be selling hand-dyeds from now on - the two stash expenses I haven't given up yet have been my FOTM clubs with both Country Stitch and Silkweaver. Anyway, my last FOTM of plain linens arrived from Linda late last week, but my mail today was 'extra'. I also received my December FOTM from Silkweaver last week, a lovely colour called "Desert Sky" - a very nice neutral colour :)

The other exciting mail was some fabric from Dawn, that she dyed herself - and it is the most scrummy colour turquoise ... serious drool material! Thanks Dawn, for a fantastic trade - Dawn got a Mirabilia chart, and I got the fabric ... me thinks I got the better deal! LOL. Thanks again Dawn! :D And then last, but certainly not least, I received a chart from Karen - Quaker Huswif by Sampler Cove, that was on my wishlist ... Karen, you're a sweetheart - thanks again so much! I won't be starting this one for a while yet, so I have plenty of time to drool over it in the meantime - and there are week-by-week SAL instructions on the Legacy BB, which will come in mighty handy when I do start it :)

I forgot to mention that I also had a nice surprise at work about two weeks ago - one of the guys that I've only just recently started working with on the Hotline, was watching me XS at work on the late shifts a couple of times, and mentioned that his Mum had left some stitching 'bits and pieces' after she'd passed away, and he'd try and find them for me. So, a few days later he trotted into work and gave me a few packets of needles and DMC threads, plus a piece of natural linen, and some beige/tan aida and hardanger fabric. Also a magnetic chart holder, and two charts - one of them is a chart full of alphabets, which is going t0 be oh so useful - how wonderful! I have to admit that I probably won't use the beige/tan aida as it is, but I'm thinking of practising my dyeing on it. I felt very very touched that he thought of me - as he said, he'd rather it went to someone who would appreciate it, than just throwing it out ... thanks Craig! :)

Rightio, off to watch the some more of my mail ... "The Notebook" on DVD from Homescreen - what a dreadful night we have instore for us again ... a bottle of chilled Marsanne wine, stitching and DVD's - just awful! :D

Monday, January 23, 2006

All shopped out ...

Today was a very productive day in some ways - I had my hair cut over at my old neighbourhood, so it's exciting that I can actually see again from behind my fringe! Then I made the effort to finally get my eyes tested, which was really worthwhile - I had PRK laser surgery on both eyes ab0ut 10 years ago (wouldn't recommend it to anyone in many ways, but now it's out-dated technology anyway), and it seems my shortsightedness is returning ... I've been having difficulty seeing for night driving, and with my 'odd' shifts, this has probably been causing me some stress, and I wonder if it's been contributing to all those headaches I have been plagued with before Christmas. Anyway, my 'script is pretty mild - I think only .5 in my left eye, and .75 in my right, and I don't have to have glasses, but boy oh boy what a difference it made to reading the charts back ... so that 4 hours overtime I did yesterday will likely go towards buying some glasses for driving/long distance.

Then Mum and I spent three hours combing the streets and shopping malls of Melbourne for electric fans! You'd think we'd been trying to find gold bullion!!! With this intense heatwave, all the shops have sold out, literally, not even an empty box anywhere to be had! We finally took a punt, and went to The Warehouse (which is huge in NZ, but not so well-known in Australia) at Moorabbin, and found a huge display area for fans ... with only about 6 small ones left for sale, and about the same number of stand-up ones ... as Steve Irwin would say - "Crikey!!". There actually weren't any left on display when we first walked in, but we saw a staff member carrying one and asked if it was already taken ... I could have screamed with delight when he answered no! Then as we were walking back to the till we noticed he'd brought another 1/2 dozen out, so we snapped another one up too. So, we're totally over the whole shopping experience today - but very VERY happy that we managed to get not one but two desktop fans, one for each bedroom.

The heat has been so bad there have been bush fires here in Victoria, not too far away, with 1500 fire fighters apparently on duty fighting fires last night. And with temperatures set to soar again by the end of this week, the worst may not be over yet ... yikes! I'd better hurry up and get some stitching done tonight while I can!!

I'm melting... & Twilight Zoo

Yup, just like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, I feel like the wicked witch, calling out "I'm melting!" ... another high temperature day/night - managed to sleep for 2 hours, but have woken up and can't get back to sleep again due to the intense heat and lack of air in the room :(

Had a fantastic day today (although no stitching) - I got a call from work at 8.23am asking if I could come in for 4 hours overtime, which I accepted. The temperature was due to be 43C today, so we'd decided to go to Melbourne Zoo later in the afternoon, which worked out well - I could go to work for 4 hours in airconditioning (LOL) then it was home to pack the picnic 'basket' and off to the zoo. After wandering around for about 2 hours, we settled down on our blanket in front of the band rotunda, for a free jazz concert. It was incredibly relaxing sitting with a bottle of wine, and some antipastos to nibble on - and a local dancing group called "Swing Patrol" got up and danced to the music, then did a small dance presentation during the band's break (mind you, they said they'd tamed their show down a lot due to the high heat, as it was too hot to do their normal energetic routine ... can't blame them!) - it was a wonderful and glorious evening. I'd definitely recommend the "Twilights Festival" experience at Melbourne Zoo for anyone who hasn't done it yet - just lovely. And to top it all off, I didn't have to miss the nightly lorikeet fly-over ritual ... as the zoo is one of the places they must go to roost :) We opted to just walk round about 1/3 of the animal displays due to the heat, then just blobbed out in front of the band stand for the rest of the night. We really enjoyed walking around the monkeys - and the only photo I'll share, since I didn't take very many, is one of a gorilla sat very patiently near the glass of the viewing area - can't say he/she looks too thrilled about the temperature either! ;)

OK, now it's time to drag the big stand-up fan into the bedroom - I think that's the only way I'm going to get any sleep tonight for the 2nd night running ... I think we have to go shopping tomorrow to buy two smaller ones for the bedrooms (the large one is usually in the lounge).

Thanks to everyone who leave comments - it's really lovely to receive and read them :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Still alive ...

... but not getting much stitching done! Been very very tired this week, and ended up with dizziness and throwing up compliments of a 24-hour virus (which also knocked Mum out yesterday too) - that meant a day off work yesterday, but back in again today. Sat here in a pool of sweat, with a temperature of 41C (if I've worked out the temperature correctly, that's approx 109F!!) - seeing as we don't have air conditioning in the flat, there will be no stitching done tonight/tomorrow!

I've been getting a lot behind with blogging yet again ... having Mum here has upset my usual routine a bit (although I'm still loving having her here) - and she sees my time on the computer as being 'time wasted' ... I may wait until she's back home before I get back into the swing of things again with blogging ...

One thing I've been loving over the last week or so, and that's that the rainbow lorikeet population has been increasing in its fly-overs at the end of the day. There was one day during the week that there was a flock of what must have been at least 100 lorikeets - it was incredible! These are the most amazing birds to look at, although they fly over with the speed of a bullet, and an incredible squawking racket! They're a really beautiful sight to behold :) That's one thing I love about being in Aussie - the amazing bird life. It amazed me to be driving down the road on the main roads, to see Gallah's feeding on the median strips - and this morning we had a couple of sulphur-crested cockatoos squawking on the next door neighbour's roof - just wonderful!

As far as my stitching's been going, the only progress I've had is on my Le Jardin Silk Sampler - I just have 1 hour left before I finish my 10-hour slot in my rotation (I'm trying hard to get back into the rotation habit again!). Now I'm off work for a few days with Mum, so some more sightseeing is on the menu (although, we're praying for an easing off in temperatures). We're supposed to be going to Melbourne Zoo tomorrow during the day, followed by an open air jazz concert at the zoo in the evening ... at an expected 42C again, though, we might only go to the zoo for a short time, and hide indoors for the rest of the day LOL.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

There is an Angel out there ...

... and her name is Tobie!! I hope Tobie doesn't mind, but I have to share something that happened to me today ... Work today has been exceptionally difficult, in that I started at 4am - that means the alarm went off at 3am ... and I've really really struggled to get through my day until 2pm this afternoon. They were needing people for overtime from 4am-7am to help with handling ex-London calls ... deciding I really need the money for my birthday dinner, I put my hand up ... never, ever again will I do that! My rostered 5am starts are bad enough, 4am is just WRONG! LOL.

So, today I left work like a rat up a drainpipe as soon as the clock hit 2pm ... I felt like death warmed up, and probably looked it too! Anyway, my PO Box is a short 5 minute walk from work (I figured that was a more stable address than my home living situation when I first moved here, so that made more sense having one near work ... but I digress ...) - I made my daily pilgrimage to post my mail, and pick up the day's bills ... only to get the surprise of my life - sitting in that little PO Box was a parcel ... thinking it was my Silkweaver FOTM finally arriving, I thought 'that's nice' and wandered out the PO again. Then I started looking at the envelope thinking it was quite large for SW - then I looked more closely ... it was NOT from SW - it was from an angel in the name of Tobie. Now I have to admit I knew a gift was coming from Tobie ... which you can see from the following piccies:

Before (my current snippet 'bag')

After (my new, beautiful snippet bag!)

However, that envelope seemed awfully large for a little snippet bag (and if you haven't seen these on Tobie's blog beforehand, you're really missing out!) ... Sure enough, Tobie didn't stop there - inside that envelope/parcel was a little stitcher's treasure trove, and my jaw hasn't been removed from the floor ever since I opened it! Inside was the snippet bag (in a beautiful blue, of course!), along with a kit of the Thistle Bag from M Designs (which was on my wishlist) - not only that, but also the fabric that is suggested on the chart (a lovely Lakeside linen) ... but she didn't even stop there - tucked inside the snippet bag was the most adorable hand-dyed threads by an Oklahoma designer called Windy Hill Designs ... WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know what I did to deserve all that spoiling, but I feel very very blessed. Thanks again, Tobie, from the bottom of my heart! You're a real sweetheart!! {{hugs}}

I did manage to pick my jaw up for 1 1/2 hours tonight, though, to take me 1/4 of the way through my 10 hour rotation slot for a new piece - Le Jardin Silk Sampler from some 1998 JCS magazines ... just to prove it, here's the progress piccie - not too much to show for it though - I think I was so boggle-eyed with tiredness tonight, I was stitching at about half speed haha. And I'm an hour late getting to bed, so I'll be moaning again tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 4am ... {groan}

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I met the challenge!

I was a bit slow off the mark, but today I took part in a 24-hour stitching challenge on the FGBB - we had from 7pm last night to 7pm tonight to stitch something small ... I was so exhausted last night I didn't even choose a project never mind stitch on it - so today I started a bit late at 2pm ... and finished 5 minutes late at 7pm - I'm pretty amazed I actually met the deadline (well, pretty darned close anyway!). I decided to do my Xmas ornie that is due to be stitched ready for posting 16 Feb, so it was a good excuse to get a 'commitment stitching' project out of the way early I stitched "Merry Yule" by Erica Michaels designs from the 2005 JCS ornie magazine. As part of the same group, I'm committing to stitching one Xmas ornie every month, and we've allocated a different designer each month to give us a bit of flexibility of stitching designs for the SAL - the designs I've chosen for the year are as follows (all from JCS ornie issues):

  • Feb - With My Needle - Star of Wonder (2002)
  • Mar - Prairie Schooler - Herald Angels (2003)
  • Apr - Homespun Elegance - Holly Noel (2005)
  • May - Full Circle Designs - Perfect Gifts (2004)
  • Jun - The Workbasket - Quaker Christmas Bulb (2003)
  • Jul - Jeannette Douglas Designs - one of her needlerolls
  • Aug - Threads Through Time - Reindeer Garden (2000)
  • Sep - The Sweetheart Tree - Merry Christmas Bellpull (2004)

'Blue Elegance' update

I finally managed to finish this week's stitching assignment for my Blue Elegance piece (officially "Apricot Elegance" by Cindy Valentine) - I'm using Blueberry Watercolors thread on 28ct Cashel linen in an unknown blue colour from my stash ... I thought it was quite 'chunky' on the 28ct linen, but I'll keep persevering with it as I think the colour really blends well with just a bit of subtle shading. I've really enjoyed stitching this piece so far - it's a nice change to stitch with some chunky threads and having something that grows so quickly!

The rest of the week has gone in a bit of a blur really ... I finished my night shifts at 5am Monday morning, but only managed to get 4-5 hours sleep again ... and was back at work again for 11am Wednesday - feeling very tired and very cranky! LOL. The only way I can explain it is that it's like going from Australia to London (totally opposite time zones) to work for 3 days, then flying home to Australia again and going straight to work off the plane! Usually we get 4 days off after the night shifts to recover, but because I was covering the Hotline for two separate staff members, I ended up with split shifts and only 1 1/2 days off to recover ... never ever again! I've felt like death all week - then Fraze came to stay on Thursday night (which was lovely to have his company as usual) so I didn't get quality sleep again - now it's my weekend and I feel like a train wreck :(

Mum made me laugh last night - she knows I hadn't been feeling great, so I walked in the door to the following greetings - first of all a bourbon and L&P all ready to add ice (sheer nectar!) ... and the 2nd thing is she'd lined up my 'lounge ducks' in a row on the floor along with Bukta in front of the TV, saying they'd been having a lovely time watching cricket with her as a family night in - she's a crack up! I swear she's going through her second childhood! LOL. Poor Bukta (on the left) belongs to Fraze ... it's his childhood toy that we've tormented dreadfully since I moved to Aussie. It's a long story how it all happened (and it was initiated by his best friend Scott), but we decided Bukta was a closet transvestite and dressed him in a dress, made him boobs, and a wig and he feels so much happier ... you had to be there at the time, but it was hysterical to see Fraze's face when he saw him (we attacked Bukta while he was at work). When I moved out I told Fraze I'd really miss Bukta in his little pink outfit (it never got removed, 'cos it made us laugh) ... so Mum and I hijacked him to play a joke on Fraze - we took him for a walk up to the beach here and I made him a little hammock out of chopsticks and a handkerchief ... then we took a photo of him and sent it to Fraze from Bukta saying he was having a lovely time on holiday at the beach with Auntie Anne ... we howled ourselves silly! And to this day Bukta still resides happily here - I keep telling Fraze to take him home, but he says he likes it here! So he sits permanently on top of my computer desk keeping my printer company ;)Can you tell I haven't done much stitching this week? Not much to show at all, really - hence the other pictures haha. I don't have much energy today, so stitching will be the best thing for me to chill out, I think (actually, I was told by Mum that's my best relief, so I have to put a DVD in and get stitching - gee, I'm gonna miss her when she goes back home!). Am trying to talk Mum into staying an extra couple of weeks to the middle of February so she will be here for my birthday. I wasn't going to do anything this year, but seeing as it's a "decade" birthday, we're going to go out to Dracula's for dinner - it a theatre restaurant, and is fantastically funny! It's not cheap, but it'll be a good way to say goodbye to the dirty-30's and hello to the naughty-40's :) The food is usually pretty good, and the show is absolutely side-splitting ... then there is a big group going "grape grazing" the next day, which is a wine tasting tour on buses - they're trying to talk me into going to that as well, so it will be a very unforgettable weekend all round if that's the case! haha. Anyway, enough driveling on about nothing - off to wake up and try stitching again ...

But a quick reply for Cathy ... yup, I really do work for an airline, and yup you guessed the airline correctly! :) We're apparently the ony airline worldwide that has a call centre open 24 hours a day/7 days a week - aren't we lucky? LOL. I worked for them in Auckland for 3 years, then moved to the 'mother country' where I've continued to work with them for another 2 1/2 years so far ... and most of the time love it! I'm an international consultant there, but also do relief cover on the Supervisor (staff assist) Hotline, where we help consultants out finding information when they get stuck, taking escalated calls (not my fave part of the job), and trouble shooting ... it can be very interesting, to say the least! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Anthology of Anne - A to Z

From Jenna's blog:

A is for Age: 39 (but not for much longer!)
B is for Booze: Jim Beam and L&P (a Kiwi soft drink - I miss it!), or 'original' Margaritas, or Quick F*** shooters, or Golden Dream cocktails, or ... yeah, OK, I enjoy a drink now and then! Jim Beam is usually my 'fave' though :)
C is for Career: Travel Consultant with an Airline
D is for Dad’s Name: Terence Henry
E is for Essential Item to Bring to a Party: Friends
F is for Favourite Songs at the Moment: Beautiful by James Blunt
G is for Goof-off Thing to Do: Web-surfing (usually stitching-related)
H is for Hometown: Doncaster, South Yorkshire (birthplace), but count Auckland, NZ as my actual 'home' - currently in Melbourne, Australia
I is for Instrument You Play: Used to play the recorder (!) and the viola ('cos the saxophone classes were full!) - don't play anything anymore
J is for Jam or Jelly you Like: Orange marmalade or Plum jam
K is for Kids: None
L is for Living Arrangement: 3rd floor 2-bedroom apartment/flat on my own
M is for Mom’s Name: June
N is for Names of Good Friends: My two real best friends are Frazier (Aussie) and Vicki (NZ)
O is for Overnight Hospital Stays: Gallbladder removal; Tonsilectomy
P is for Phobias: Spiders - BIG time!! I get chills just typing that word!!!
Q is for Quotes you Like: "What the...?" (from Rove, Aussie TV host/show)
R is for Relationship That Lasted Longest: Glenn (2 years, but long-distance)
S is for Siblings: None
T is for Texas: It's also for Taupo, Tekapo and Toetoe!
U is for Unique Trait: Generous nature and sense of humour
V is for Vegetables You Love: Everything except cabbage! Really like fresh peas (but they never ever get in the saucepan!), asparagus, and silverbeet
W is for Worst Traits: Lack of confidence/self-esteem
X is for X-rays You’ve Had: Head (after concussion), knees (for joint pain), neck (for back pain)
Y is for Yummy Food You Make: Thai red curry and Mars bar slice (not together!)
Z is for Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Monday, January 09, 2006

And Many More ...

Yippee, I put the final stitches into my Any Many More needlecase - an exclusive kit for Silver Needle by Just Nan. As you can see from the initial in the centre of the 'back', I've decided to give this to Mum so it carries her first initial of "J". Don't know if I'll get the actual finishing done before she goes back home to NZ, but I'll give it a shot ;)

The back is shown upside down, but of course when it gets folded up, it will all be the right way round :)

Finishing weekend

Well, I managed to survive my 3 days of 'doggo' shifts - but I don't know how!! The night before I started my first one my adorable neighbour downstairs was playing his Rachmaninov (or other 'heavy' composer) orchestral music at full bore until after midnight - I just about sprained my shins from stomping on the lounge floor in fury ... very very inconsiderate! When he plays it that loud you can feel the vibrations through the floor up here, and hear every note as if you were in the room with him. Then yesterday, while I was trying to sleep during the day, he cranked it up again - can't blame him, though, as it was a Sunday afternoon after all ... was still annoying to only get 5 hours sleep, as it made for a very very long night last night - then for some reason today I had the problem of not being able to sleep ... I managed 4 hours sleep, and here I am - if nothing else, it's given me chance to finally catch up on everyone's blogs, and I'm up to date again ... phew! Now thanks to Newsgator it will be really simple to keep track of blogs to read in the future :) It's probably a good thing I woke up so early today, as I should be so exhausted by tonight, that I'll get back into a 'normal' sleeping routine again ... well, that's the plan anyway! Then I have tomorrow off before starting back at 11am again on Wednesday.

It was the designated 'finishing' weekend for the WFBB this weekend, concentrating on 'smalls' - in my hours before work I managed to frog out the wrong stitches in the border of the LB Spring needleroll (and found they had printed the whole leaf round the wrong way on the chart, not just printing it one space out!) ... but now I have another needleroll for my smalls basket, as I did the finishing on it yay.

As for today, we were going to go out, but with me looking like Frankenstein's Bride today I think the best thing is to just blob out in the front of the TV and stitch ... I've been managing to get a few stitches done in the evenings of doggo shift (the only shift I can really stitch, as it's much more casual with only about 12 of us in the office), inbetween fixing dramas with people calling from Vienna airport without tickets and quoting fares for travel out of London and a multitude of other problems ... I actually do love my job on the Hotline :) So, the plan is to get my Just Nan needlebook finished (it's almost done already - just another couple of hours will see it completed in full).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

First small finish for 2006

Just a really quick post as I'm feeling pretty wrecked today ... pulled a 10-hour shift last night (9pm-7am), and energy levels are a bit lacking ... oh well, 1 shift down, 2 to go, then next week I only work 3 days before having a 2 day break again (which I'll need!).

Managed to finally get my Love needleroll ornament finished - so it's now gracing my smalls basket along with Jenna's Peace ornament :) Will get one more ornament stitched this month as part of an ornament RR - wonder which one it will be?

Other news is that I splurged again - the final part of my Christmas money has gone ... I replaced my copy of Janice Love's "Basics and Beyond" hardanger book - an old work colleague stole my original copy along with over $200 of other books (embroidery ones and Lonely Planets) ... she borrowed them and never returned them, even after many requests, then left work never to be heard from again boohoo. Oh well, I'm glad to have this book back in my library again - it's the best hardanger book around for beginners, and I really want to pick up hardanger again this year.

That's it for me - hopefully I'll be back blogging soon ... I can just imagine all the lovely projects you've been stitching while I've been gone - it's gonna take me a full week to catch up! I've tried loading up Newsgator to try and help to keep on top of blogs, but for some reason it'll only pick up about 1/3-1/2 of your blogs with the RSS feeds - and I don't know why as most people use Blogger ... not my area of expertise, that's for sure!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stitching Bloggers Questions

Oops, forgot last week's question, so you get a 2-for-1 deal this week ;)

Image hosted by The 28 December's SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

"How do you balance your stitching time with your other obligations such as work, household chores, etc?"

What do you mean? Are we supposed to still do chores as WELL as stitching?? Oops ... haha. I have to admit, work always comes first - but as a shift worker my hours are pretty erratic, and affects my energy levels (both mental and physical) which affects how much stitching I get done, which can be negative or positive depending on the shifts. As for housework etc, now I live on my own I'm much more lax with housework than I used to be - I don't cook every night, and can easily ignore the dust, which helps to allow more free time haha. My biggest downfall for stitching time has, to be honest, been my blogging/computer time - I can lose track of hours at a time, and sometimes look at my stitching and think about how much progress I could have made if I hadn't been looking at that computer screen :) But if I hadn't been blogging or sat here, I wouldn't have met such wonderful online friends - so it all balances out :))

Image hosted by The 4 January's SBQ was suggested by Renee and is:

"Do you do your stash shopping at your LNS, ONS, or both? Which do you like better? Why?"

Aha, an easy one to answer - I shop from both, but predominantly from offshore ONS. The reason for both is easy - I prefer to shop from my LNS where I can see first-hand the colours of the threads etc before making a decision, but the only problem is for imported threads (which is 90% of them) we pay almost double what people pay in the US ... so I tend to buy most of my supplies (except DMC, only because it's easier, and I usually need that 'now' - DMC is still a lot more expensive too at up to AU$1.00 a skein) from ONS such as Stitching Bits & Bobs. I buy when they have their 25% off sales, which then offsets the postage costs, and I still save money overall. I would much rather support my LNS and keep them in business, but can't justify the extra cost (especially now my finances have changed dramatically, and every cent saved is a good one!).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just a quick visit

I haven't been blogging for a few days - to be honest, I haven't been in the mood ... just been chatting to Mum after work, and getting a bit of stitching time in. I've managed to get over halfway on the And Many More needlecase by Just Nan. I'm loving stitching this one, but Mum reckons it should be her initial in the centre of the circle instead of mine ... hmmm looks like I might have lost my new needlecase already! The only thing that really annoyed me when I bought this kit, is that there are no finishing instructions whatsoever in it ... mutter mutter mutter. You have to buy the instructions and finishing kit from another source - considering I don't want to have prissy pink flowers on the inside of my needlecase (you may get the impression that I'm not overly keen on pink, and you'd be right LOL), I don't want to go to the expense of getting the kit just to find out how to finish it. I'm not worried about finishing the needlepages like the petals of a flower, so I'm hoping I've got it worked out OK - if anyone can make a better suggestion for finishing, I'd really love to hear your suggestions! I figure I'll finish it something like a bellpull, in that I'll place the lining fabric on it (right sides facing), stitch around the outsides up both long sides and around the 'point', and leave the bottom short edge partly open - then I'll turn it back the right way, finish off the bottom edge, then stitch oblong needle pages (made from wool flannel) along the edge where it will be folded ... does that make sense? That's my first attempt at working out how to do it.

I also forgot to post a piccie of another Lorri Birmingham needleroll I started in the last few days of December - I didn't get very far, but it'll go into the pile for finishing in 2006 (hopefully sooner rather than later!)

I also finally decided on my fabric and threads (well, most of them anyway) for my Apricot Elegance SAL on the StitchingSmalls Yahoo group - just for a change, I'm stitching mine in blues ... still have to do a test stitch to see which will work out better on the fabric for the main satin motifs, either the Caron Collection Watercolours (my preference) or Wildflowers, both in Blueberry. The contrast is an overdyed perle cotton #8 by The Dyepot in NZ - I'll either order a #12 skein from them for the weaving, or find a 'normal' thread in a turquoise to match (can't find a PC anywhere that is just a nice turquoise colour boohoo). You probably can't tell from the photo, but the perle cotton has a lovely mix of mauve, purple, turquoise etc - it's really pretty. Just have to do the gridline basting this week, before the stitching begins next week - looking forward to seeing this one stitched up :)

Am on the 'doggo' shifts after tomorrow so my routine will be out the window again - just love those shifts from 9pm-5am ... not. Oh well, if nothing else, it means I have a full day to myself on Friday to stitch my little heart out. Hopefully after this weekend I can get back to my blogging habits too :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Goodbye 2005 & Welcome to 2006!!

Happy New Year everyone!! Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful 2006 - hope your dreams are fulfilled, your stitching stash runs to overflowing, and your floss never tangles! Hope you enjoy/enjoyed your celebrations for New Year, in whatever way you chose to celebrate :)

We had a quiet New Year with just Mum and I - I'm not really into celebrating at New Year, so it was nice to kick back and just do some stitching while watching DVD's ... although with our temperatures hitting 42 deg C it was a bit sticky to be stitching - but then again that's what a wet facecloth and electric fan are for ... essential summer stitching accessories LOL.

Managed to put the final stitches into my Spring needleroll by Lorri Birmingham - not too happy with the chart, as there are a couple of errors in it ... as I was only stitching this at work inbetween calls, my concentration wasn't there enough to pick it up while I was stitching. But if anyone else is thinking of stitching this, make sure you check the chart first - the two errors I had on my chart were that the border of leaves around the word "Spring" had a slight error on the left hand side (didn't pick this up until I had almost finished the back stitching ... and I don't love this piece enough to go back and unpick it all hmmm) - the second one is that the arrow that shows the centre is in the wrong place ... I stitched assuming the placement was correct, but when I stitched the borders, I noticed the top border is a lot lower than the bottom one, so I ended up adding an extra row of pink XS's to even it out ... which also means the row for my ribbon will now be quite close to the edging, so it won't look as nice finished - oh well, c'est la vie. It still needs the little bee charms adding, but that was my final 'finish' for the year 2005, and I'll be finishing it into a needleroll next weekend as part of the 'finishing weekend' on the Welcome Friends Bulletin Board.

Then last night I was still itching to stitch something else - I'd started the smaller canvaswork piece by Jen's Jems a couple of nights ago, but realised that I'm missing a couple of the DMC metallic threads I needed almost immediately, so it got put to one side again ... so last night I started stitching "And Many More" needlecase by Just Nan - and I'm going to continue with that today while I'm washing my linen ready to start stitching "Le Jardin Silk Sampler" from the JCS 1998 magazines. I bought all the silks I needed for this years ago, but pilfered one of the greens for another project, so that's the only thing I'm missing to make a start ... trust me to choose yet another BAP to start stitching, as if I don't have enough on the go already! ;)

So, I guess it is time to 'officially' look back at what I've achieved in 2005 - it was the best year in ages for my stitching, and I was pleasantly surprised when I looked back at all the finishes and happy dances ... there were also a few 'firsts' for me too, which is wonderful - learning new techniques and stitches keeps stitching new and vibrant for me :) I also started my blog in 2005, which has opened up new doors in many different ways - especially in making new valued friendships online and sharing in others trials, tribulations and celebrations, and sharing our passion in stitching :) My official stitching list is: (I've put links to the photos in my Webshots album if you want to see the actual finished piece itself)

Stitching finishes:

  1. Gifts of the Magi #1 - Gold (one of my fave stitched pieces of all-time)
  2. Blackwork in Red & Green correspondence course through EGA (UFO) (mostly stitched in 2003 - then realised this year the pins weren't stitched!)
  3. Garden Mischief XS (cat with geraniums kit)
  4. 2003 freebie angel by L&L
  5. Magic Square (project 1 of 3 for a correspondence course in canvaswork ornaments through EGA) (stitching only)
  6. Lemons XS
  7. Harmony canvaswork pincushion from Inspirations magazine
  8. Jungle Tiger XS (old UFO)
  9. Small Iris tapestry cushion (stitching only)
  10. Pansy Cameo by Just Nan (for Mum)
  11. Chess Anyone? correspondence course through EGA (another favourite)
  12. Ever So Little #8 Zebra
  13. Bone Carving on Woven Flax tapestry
  14. Hardanger pincushion from beginners class (old UFO)
  15. Rose Arbour needlebook by Textile Heritage Collection (for Mum)
  16. Mill Hill beginners basic bead sampler
  17. Dena canvaswork by Orna Willis (love this one) (UFO)
  18. Folded ribbon roses class project (UFO)
  19. Lace Ribbons correspondence class through EGA (UFO) (dated 2004 'cos I thought it was going to be finished ... oops!)
  20. Summer into Autumn by The Drawn Thread (photo is missing the MH maple leaf treasure, which is now stitched on) (stitching only - needs to be finished into a bellpull)
  21. Merry Christmas by Bent Creek
  22. Pansy pinkeep by Mill Hill (stitching only)
  23. Mill Hill beaded ornament (stitching only)
  24. Woodland Noel ornament (stitching only - photo is missing the charm, which is now stitched on)
  25. The Stars are Brightly Shining ornament (stitching only - photo is missing his nose, which is now stitched on)
  26. No Humbugs Allowed ornament (stitched & finished)
  27. Christmas Memories ornament (stitched & finished)
  28. Queen of Bumblebees by Dimples Designs (for BeckySC)
  29. Spring needleroll by Lorri Birmingham (stitching only)
Finishing finishes:

  1. Hardanger pincushion from beginners class (UFO)
  2. Another 5 pincushions (stitching completed in 2004)
  3. Violet needleroll by The Sweetheart Tree (stitched years and years ago, but finally finished as my first ever needleroll)
  4. Scissors fob by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches (stitched in 1999 but finally finished!)
  5. Rose Arbour needlebook for Mum (first ever needlebook finished)
  6. Ancient Thistle needlebook by Textile Heritage Collection (also stitched in 1999 but finally finished)
  7. No Humbugs Allowed Christmas ornament
  8. Christmas Memories Christmas ornament (first ever ornament)
  9. Queen of Bumblebees into a little pillow

Other stitching/non-stitching events:

  1. Managed to get a huge amount of stitching done on Dolphins Domain, very very old UFO ... piccies before and after
  2. Got a few stitches into Nature's Rest by Stoney Creek, my oldest UFO from when I first started XSing
  3. Started stitching Winter Queen by Mirabilia
  4. Started stitching Egyptian Garden Mandala by Martina Weber (to be continued as a SAL later in 2006 with Carol)
  5. Started stitching Love needleroll from JCS 2005 ornie issue (just waiting for beads to arrive in the mail so it can be finished)
  6. Started stitching a plastic canvas kit ornament for a work colleague
  7. Having the confidence to move out of an emotionally destructive living situation to live on my own
  8. Opening my heart to allow new friendships to start and grow
  9. Joining online communities to share my love of stitching and learn new things
  10. Starting a stitching rotation - which I'm absolutely loving!

All-in-all a good year overall - now I'm looking forward to whatever 2006 will bring.