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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Disappointing news about Silkweaver

Just a quick post to say how disappointed I feel about Silkweaver's announcement that they won't be selling plain fabrics etc any longer, but will just be selling hand-dyeds ... Normally it wouldn't worry me so much, but I had almost completed my 'mental' order of fabrics that I wanted to buy using Jenna's birthday gift certificate, and they were all plain/opalescent fabrics for upcoming projects. When Country Stitch did this recently, Linda had her stock of plain fabrics at discounted prices, so you still had chance to try and get the fabrics that you needed - I knew I wouldn't be able to get a lot of them, but you at least had a chance to quickly contact her to see what she was still holding in stock. Silkweaver have just sent an email saying that's it, no longer available for sale :( I'm sure I can find some lovely hand-dyed fabbies to spend my voucher on, but I just feel a bit disappointed in the whole thing {{pouting}}. A lot of the local suppliers down under just don't have the same range, and I can understand the business reason behind it (Linda and I discussed this at length over a few emails, and I don't blame her for not stocking plain fabrics anymore). Thank goodness I still have Karen at Dragonfly Dreams - but geez I wish you were in my home town, as you have the best selection down under of everything!

I still can't believe what we pay at my LNS for threads etc ... to give you an example, that quite frankly shocked me senseless, and I'm tempted not to set foot in it again without taking smelling salts to help with the shock of the bill! I really, really wanted to use the right threads (well, as much as possible, anyway) for my recent Christmas ornies - but there were a few colours I didn't have in GAST ... so I called into my LNS on the way home from work, as it's only a 5-minute detour from my route home - they had the main 3 colours I really needed, so I trotted up to the counter with them. To be honest, I expected them to be expensive, but not nearly as much as they were - I ended up paying $16.50 for 3 skeins - that's $5.50 each skein!!! Bl**dy hell, my brain kept thinking all the way home - I was in shock! I know you have to have mark-ups on your products, and I know us down under have to pay for the shipping/customs charges in the long run, but I don't understand that sort of mark-up whatsoever! Unfortunately for them, in the future if I'm buying locally, Dragonfly Dreams will be getting all my local business - at $3.50 a skein for GAST, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out why ... aside from that, Karen's service is exceptional and very personalised! (and I would have said that, even if I didn't know you were reading my blog now, Karen! LOL) Once I get back to being confirmed as a shift worker again, I'll be getting an order in, that's for sure! I really needed some fabrics for some upcoming Christmas ornaments, but perhaps I just need to have a hunt through my stash and become a bit creative, or just choose a different ornament to stitch in the meantime ... Geez, I'm a bit of a grizzle-guts at the moment LOL.

BUT on a much brighter note, I have to say I had a wonderful surprise in my PO Box on Wednesday, but haven't had chance to acknowledge it online on the computer at all ... my apologies for the delay in making an official acknowledgement! I had a wonderful belated birthday prezzie from my sweet angel, Tobie - thank you so much, Tobie, it was a wonderful surprise and a wonderful gift, from a wonderful friend :) Thanks heaps and HEAPS!! It had a wonderful chart from my wishlist - Sun needleroll by M Designs, and a gorgeous skein of blue Anchor pearl cotton with a metallic thread through it .... it's just gorgeous! But wait ... there's more! ... there's also a
packet of my absolute favourite needles - some #26 Piecemakers, and a packet of 14ct aida, which is absolutely perfect for my charity quilt blocks - and you'll never believe it, but I've just been thinking I was going to have to buy some more 'cos I was short of fabric for one block I've committed myself to stitching - talk about perfect timing!! Wow, Tobie, I was well and truly spoilt rotten!! Thank you, thank you, thank you my dear friend! :)))

During my last bit of stitching, I managed to finally watch the last DVD's I got sent by Homescreen (they've only been sitting there for 2 weeks!) ... and they were all dreadful - "Breaking in" with Burt Reynolds; "The Brush-Off" - an Aussie movie, and semi-watchable; and the worst one of all "The Good Girl" with Jennifer Aniston - what a load of rubbish!!! Let's hope the 3 movies heading out my way this week are a bit better ... "The Program", "Boat Trip" and "Memories of Me" ... 'cos the ones I've been choosing lately have been appallingly bad! Maybe I should just start closing my eyes and pointing my mouse at the screen, and selecting whatever it falls on, 'cos that would have to be better than the drivel I've been choosing myself!! On the latest stitching front, I managed to get about two more inches stitched on Marine Elegance, so I'm just around the bottom point and heading back up to the top ... don't think I'll attempt any more today though LOL.

And unfortunately that's all I have time for today - I'm absolutely exhausted ... it's only 4.10pm and I can hardly keep my eyes open ... only managed to get about 5 hours sleep last night 'cos I was up all night chatting, which is not very clever on a 6am shift LOL. Tonight Rox is out to dinner, leaving me and Fraze on our own, so hopefully I can get an early night to make up for it ... but I'm seriously thinking of having a kip right about now ... But hopefully Fraze will get home early enough for us to go for a beach walk for an hour before dinner - that should tire me out even more LOL. Tomorrow night I'm off to dinner with Rox on our own, to have a proper catch-up and girlie night out ... it's been so wonderful to see her - I still can't really believe she's here in this country!!! :D

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

For Coral ...

Sorry Coral, I had forgotten to answer your question about framers in Melbourne - but the truth is that I don't know any yet. I'm actually an import from Auckland, and can recommend some there ;P but I've never had anything framed since moving here ... sorry, not much help to you, I'm afraid :(

Apologies for the brief post, but I just wanted to answer that question - am just popping online quickly to check emails while Fraze drives Laure back to her hotel room and to pick up Rox's suitcase ... then when they come in it will be time to say goodnight and go to bed - 2 x 6am's down, 2 x 6am's to go! :)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I'm still alive ...

Sorry if a couple of you have been worried that I haven't been blogging, but I'm still around - this week's shifts have taken its toll on me, and I haven't had the time or energy to pick up a needle until briefly last night. I'm now off out to have brunch with a couple of girls from work, for one of their birthdays, then it's an early night for me ready for my 6am shifts this week. Not sure how much time I'll have for blogs or stitching this week, as Rox and her partner arrive from NZ on Tuesday for about 3 nights, and Fraze is here as well ... I'm trying hard to catch up on blogs when I can - my apologies if it's been a while since I've commented on your blogs, but I'm really behind since my last visitors were here, and I'm struggling to catch up again.

Anyway, I'll sign off this brief post with my stitching progress from last night - I finally dragged out my Marine Elegance to work on. Unfortunately I got out of the rhythm of stitching this one while waiting for my PC#12 to arrive, and I've only just had the 'head space' for picking it up again. I only managed to get the four-sided stitches done between the sections, and just over a third of the buttonhole stitching on the edges ... still have a long way to go yet to get this finished, but that's my challenge before I touch anything else ... the only exception to that is my charity quilt blocks which need to be done shortly. We'll get there with this one, Cathy :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Delirious with lack of sleep ... and joy

Unfortunately I only got about 5 hours quality sleep last night/this morning as my bladder decided to almost explode at 8am ... followed by a wake-up call from a mystery caller at 9.45am - me thinks it's going to be a loooooong day today haha. I thought it was Mum calling, as she never leaves a message, so I called her up in NZ and told her the great news about the job, and ended up talking for almost 1 1/2 hours :)

Thanks everyone for your supportive comments - I'm pretty stoked about the whole thing ... I finally feel as though I'm back on track with my career, which is awesome. I'm still technically tied to the phones all day with a permanent headset on, but the calls are totally different. When we're on 'normal' calls, we're talking to the passengers directly - but I get bored. Now don't get me wrong, the majority of the passengers I really enjoy chatting to and helping out, especially those that 'need' extra help 'cos I'm generally very patient on the phone ... it's just that the type of calls we get I tend to get bored with. You can spend, literally, 1 1/2 hours trying to find seats around the world using their membership loyalty points, and after 6 calls in a row doing the same sort of thing, I kinda switch off and do everything by automatic pilot. Normal calls are still very varied, and as a "multi-skilled" Consultant I deal with both domestic (ie travel inside Australia) and international bookings, both paid and loyalty bookings, also hotels, cars, insurance etc if required. We also do a lot of 'servicing' calls for those people wishing to change their flights once they've left home, and get all the "remote" calls from overseas offices when they're closed, eg once our Tuscon office closes, we get all the USA/Canada calls, and when our London office closes, we get all the UK/Europe calls, plus Asia, South Africa etc ... we also deal with other airlines and worldwide airports when they need assistance. It's basically the role of a travel agent, but over the phone. When a normal Consultant gets stuck, doesn't know how to do something or can't find a procedure etc, or the call has escalated, and they need fares originating outside Australia etc, they call the "Supervisor Hotline" ... which is the role I'm now taking on full-time. I've been relieving in the role off-and-on for just over two years here in Aussie.

Anyway, the Hotline is the most challenging role in the Call Centre, in my opinion - you just don't know what is going to come through on the next call, and it's always something to keep the grey matter ticking over. Within a space of 15 calls last night I had to deal with a suspected credit card fraud case, rebooking people in Cairns/Townsville due to Cyclone Larry, a passenger having problems on the internet, a fare quote from Accra to Sydney, quarantine issues for taking plants from New South Wales into Western Australia, carriage of pets into Perth airport, urgent travel for someone who's mother had been taken seriously ill, a passenger at Beijing check-in with no ticket issued and they need to close the flight, as well as many other more mundane queries. Because most of our ticketing is done electronically now, it's up to me to reassess the fares and build all the ticketing data into the bookings manually to allow us to reissue the ticket, which is pretty complex. With this role you need to know a lot of stuff, but we deal primarily with internal staff only - so the Consultant has the passenger on hold, while they fix things up through us - although we do deal with groups bookings after hours, and other areas such as the airports etc. We also deal with some of our VIP travel agents and clients. It's a very busy role, and aside from taking the complaint calls, I love it - but even the complaints sometimes are because the Consultant didn't handle the call well, or didn't have enough experience/knowledge to look at other options, so it's an opportunity to come to a resolution when it comes through to me. We basically have the authority to waiver certain things, as we're classed as 'Supervisors' except we don't have the Supervisor salary LOL. The Supervisors don't deal with things, though, unless it escalates further, which isn't often - they're there more to oversee the running of the office, making sure people are taking calls etc, and liaising with other departments about flight disrupts etc.

I have to say after being told the news, I'm still in a bit of a daze about it all - but it'll be more real when I go into work today and find out more things such as rosters etc ... that's the GREAT thing now - whether I'm on the day roster or the shift roster, I'm only on ONE roster ... no more finding out two weeks beforehand what I'm going to be working to cover someone else - I can actually plan my life now woohoo! And there's only really one week where the shift turn-around time is poor, so no more doing one roster up until the middle of the week, then another roster then rest of the week, and having to work 8 days straight or losing my RDO's etc ... double woohoo!!!

One great thing about day work is that the earliest I start work is 7am, and the latest I finish is 6pm ... but on the negative side I have to work 24 minutes (yep, that's right, it's not a typo ... it's actually 24 minutes!) extra each day to get an RDO every 8 weeks (ie a 3-day weekend) - it means I can get to Guild meetings more easily ... but I'll be spending about an hour or so extra in travelling times as it's peak hour traffic (that's the great thing about 5am starts etc - everyone else is still in bed LOL). It amazes me how much extra spare time I seem to have doing shift work ... But, all-in-all, I don't care! I'm just happy happy happy that I'm finally in that role. After being told I didn't get the job last time one of the Consultants went and complained to the Supervisors, saying I was the best person on the Hotline, and they needed their heads reading haha - then last week another one came to me and said she couldn't get her head around seeing me taking 'normal' calls, as it was so stupid wasting my time and wasting resources that way (that was also said by another Hotliner the previous week too) ... so that's been keeping my spirits up.

Anyway, I suppose I should be getting ready for work, as I've got a 10-hour day today, and need to call into the Guild on the way to work. And besides, I've probably bored you all senseless now LOL ... I promise it'll be back to stitching again soon - although my time this week is limited due to my shifts and social occasions (dinner straight from work tomorrow, and out on Saturday night, then my friend from NZ arrives on Tuesday for two nights stay). It's a good job I got so much stitching done last weekend, to make up for it LOL.

I got the job!!!

It's 2.40am, and I've just walked in the door from work, and I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to blog about my news! The Hotliner who is on from 6pm-2am called in sick, so they asked me to cover his shift ... I was on 4pm-midnight shift on the phones, so I said I'd take on the extra 2 hours at the end as overtime - and that's a good thing, as it looks like I'll need every cent I can get my hands on for a while ...

At 11.30pm tonight I got a call from the Hotline Supervisor, Sally, to say she couldn't go to sleep without calling me - she finished work at 3pm, so left before I arrived at work ... anyway, earlier today they gave the approval to fill another Hotline vacancy from the last interview intake, and I was next on the list for the job, so I got offered the job straightaway as it was inside 3 months of the original jobs being advertised. Unfortunately, as we'd already guessed, the job is a full-time day shift Senior Consultant role, which is a drop in pay due to no shift penalties, but I've accepted it anyway as that's the role I really want - and I've put my name down to be switched to shift work as soon as a vacancy comes up (which will hopefully be soon, as they're advertising for a Supervisor position at the moment, and it's likely a shift Hotliner will get that job, leaving another shift Hotline position open).

The hardest thing about being told so late tonight is that I couldn't share it with anyone! So my work email was getting worked overtime as I let my family, Fraze and Hayles know ... I'll have to crack open a bottle of wine tomorrow to celebrate properly ... even though I'll be getting home after midnight again after another 2 hours overtime (this time from 2pm-4pm) - that means hopefully tomorrow will be my final day ever on the 'normal' phones, as I'm relieving another Hotliner for 3 weeks from Wednesday, then my new day shift roster will probably kick in.

Anyway, just wanted to share the happy news! :D Dunno how I'm gonna get to sleep now LOL.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Happy dance #4 for the weekend!

Crikey, I'm surprising myself with my stitching marathon this weekend - in answer to your question, Jenna, I'm not joining in with the Stitch-a-Thon this weekend, as today (Sat) it's the last day of my visitors being here, and we're supposed to be meeting up with another friend who's down visiting from Brisbane some time during the day, then out for dinner tonight with Fraze and Hayley ... and I'm working 4 hours overtime tomorrow ... so I didn't think it left me with much stitching time. Now, if I'd classed my Stitch-a-Thon for 24 hours from Thursday night, I'd be laughing!! :D

Anyway, last night I still couldn't stop stitching - I was laying in bed, with my ornie magazines next to me and the fabric and threads for another very small project, and watching Medium on TV ... well, let's just say the temptation got too much for me, and at 10.30pm I picked up the needle again for a while. I got half of it stitched last night, then woke up early and finished the other half this morning while my houseguests are still sleeping their heads off. Don't know what time they came home, but it was at least after 2am - goodness knows when they'll eventually surface ... probably just in time to have a quick coffee with Tom. Anyway, here is my last finish for the weekend ... yeah, I know, I said that yesterday ... haha. It's the Peace*Joy*Love ornament by Lizzie*Kate from the 2002 JCS ornie issue - and I stitched this to complete a challenge on the Friends Gather BB to "broaden your horizons". A different theme is set each month, and this month's was L*K/Mosey 'n Me style.

OK, off to do some quiet housecleaning and some computer software upgrades while my guests sleep everything off ;P

Friday, March 17, 2006

3rd happy dance for today!

Yes, that's right, yet another project has hit the finishing pile today - the latest one is Bilberry by Shepherd's Bush ... this has been a UFO for a while, as I couldn't work out how to do the hemstitching bands. After completing my Love needleroll at the start of this year, and using a different instruction book I have, I decided it would be a quick project to finish off, seeing as I've now tried and succeeded in hemstitching, and I wasn't in the mood to tackle my Marine Elegance today as my concentration wasn't quite 'up to it'. I can thank KarenV partly for this - after seeing her latest Shepherd's Bush finishes, it reminded me I had this in my UFO pile, and it wasn't too far off finishing, so I thought it was time it saw daylight again. I put a sheet of coloured paper behind the fabric while I was scanning it, so the fabric looks off-white, but it showed up the hemstitching etc better that way.

Phew, three finishes in 24 hours ... don't expect to see any more for a while! LOL.

Two little Happy Dances

I've been very very lazy in that I've been sat up in bed all day stitching my little heart out, while clearing my taped TV programmes ... thanks to House, Desperate Housewives, Lost, The Amazing Race and NCIS, I have managed to complete not one, but two ornaments over the last 24 hours - yippee! I put the final stitches into Star of Wonder before I went to sleep last night, from the 2002 JCS ornie issue - this is a design by Ellen Chester, of With My Needle, and I really love it ... a bit challenging to stitch, with the over-one sections, but a fun stitch :)

The second ornament is Herald Angels from the 2003 JCS ornie issue - designed by Pamela Byrd Smith of The Prairie Schooler, Inc. This was part of the Christmas Ornament challenge on the Friends Gather BB, as there is a chosen designer each month, and we choose any design we want to stitch by that designer - and I chose the Herald Angels. I have to admit, I was very worried about it while I was stitching it, as it was so so dark - but as soon as the metallics were added it really lifted it, and I like it again. Perhaps in hindsight I might have used a navy blue instead of the black, though, to lighten it a bit more. Anyway, off they go to my finishing pile for later in the year ...

My next challenge is to stitch my Marine Elegance piece - followed by my charity pieces, then back to my rotation again ... as well as the Bunnies in my Garden SAL that's starting with the StitchingSmalls Yahoo group next month ... so much stitching, so little time LOL.

Today's SBQ is:

"Do you stitch "over-one"? If so, describe your experiences. If not, have you considered it?"

Hmmm, I have a love/hate relationship with over-one stitching. I really don't enjoy the stitching part, but I love to see the finished product. That being said, I really want to stitch Graham Ross' Macaw and Rainbow Lorikeets over-one, as well as a green tree frog I've already stitched over-two. The best tip I learned from a class with Jodi Merusi - and that was to stitch it like a tent stitch, except you come back across the row with the top stitch (which I also use a tent stitch for) ... it saves the floss threads slipping under the fabric threads, and gives you more space to slip your needle under when anchoring ends on the back. You can't do this with overdyed threads, though, as each stitch has to be done individually, darnit!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I survived work & Let the Games Begin!

Today was my last 5am start, and I now have two days off work - it was supposed to be 3 days, but I'm doing 4 hours of overtime on Sunday yippee!! My guests will be leaving on Sunday, so then it will be back to 'business as usual' - my apologies for not being around much on the blogs at the moment, but that's the main reason ... my hours of work have been appalling, and the time I have had at home has been spent with Hayley & Peter - today, however, I have a few hours to myself and I should be catching up on blogs, but I want to catch up on TV viewing from during the week that I've been missing, partly due to the fact I've been sleeping while my fave shows have been on, and partly because I have lost access to the remote control as it is owned by the current male of the household and have had to watch programmes I don't normally have any interest in ... so tonight I'd like to at least catch up on a couple of taped shows, and get a bit of stitching in - fingers crossed I'll see the last stitches completed on my Star of Wonder ornament if nothing else ... The latest progress is here - I managed to pop in a few extra stitches last night while in bed trying to wind down ready for sleep at 7.30pm - I couldn't find my skein of GAST Black Crow, so I replaced it with plain old DMC 310.

I have the day off tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up on some blogs again - I'm dreading looking and seeing how many have piled up for reading again ... but I don't want to skip any and miss out on anything good! LOL.

I should say, too, that last night was the opening of the Commonwealth Games held here in Melbourne - I taped the opening ceremony last night, so I can watch it in full, and the write-up was that it was a huge success. Some of the cycling and road events are taking place about 15 minutes walk away from me, as well as the swimming events, so I might get chance to wander down and soak up some of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, where sporting events are concerned, I can't barrack for my Aussie brethren, even though I live here - my true colours are "All Black", so I'll be barracking for the Kiwis ... unless the Kiwis aren't in a race, of course, then the Aussies get my vote LOL. We're very well known for our trans-Tasman sporting rivalry! :D

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Doing ladies things 'cos I'm a lady!!

Yet another Little Britain line LOL ... but the title reflects my day yesterday - had a wonderful day out, once I recovered from my hangover!! H & P arrived Sunday lunchtime, and once I got home from work at about 7pm, H and I sat and had dinner that I whipped together, followed by a nice bottle of chardonnay ... followed by another bottle of chardonnay ... after that I quit drinking, but H put another bottle away as well as half a bottle of red - how the heck she managed to walk, I don't know!! After about 5 glasses of wine, I was suffering the next morning - I'm just not used to drinking anymore as I don't do it very often ... I didn't sleep too well, and felt decidedly seedy yesterday morning :( But we caught a tram into the city and spent a lovely afternoon in the fresh air having a bite to eat and lovely coffee with a friend of H's at Melbourne University - then went shopping for a while at Melbourne Central ... it's quite a nice shopping complex now - I was really surprised. Then after a quick nibble of sushi we came home, and went to Dan Murphy's and a supermarket and stocked up for the week. A dinner of very healthy chicken wraps followed, and not a single drop of alcohol ... phew! I've told H she can't come back to stay again for at least six weeks until I get released from rehab LOL - we do this every time she comes round, 'cos we don't see each other for about six months at a time, and nearly kill ourselves on the first night.

Anyway, I was supposed to be having an early night last night, and ended up picking up my needle at 10pm for an hour ... and have some little white blobs to show for my efforts! I'm finally stitching the Star of Wonder ornament that I had planned to stitch with the Friends Gather BB last month, but my fabric didn't arrive in time from Silkweaver - anyway, it's finally started, and is a nice small thing to pick up while H & P are here. No stitching tonight, though, as I won't get home from work until 6.30pm, and I have to be in bed at 7.30pm ready for a 5am start ... that sucks big time! I HATE this changeover in shifts ... mutter mutter mutter ... Rightio, off to work I go ...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kim's challenge

Seeing as I don't have any stitching to post, I thought I'd take up Kim's challenge and post a piccie of my current favourite mugs. The sunflower one is a china one and I use it for my teas, and I usually use the cat one for my coffee and milo, 'cos it's quite huge. Unfortunately my absolutely favourite pair of mugs got broken by Andrew and Fraze in the last flat ... I requested that Fraze buy me one for Christmas, which would have been a nice cheap gift, but I guess I'll get around to ordering them again myself one day. It was a beautiful hand-made pottery mug made by a potter in Coffs Harbour, Queensland, and was the perfect size, perfect shape, and perfect colour - blue with a purply tinge towards the top ... The cat one I have now was just a cheap one on sale to use until I replaced those hand-made ones, but I've ended up loving drinking from it - the shape and size is great :) Those are the coasters that I use as well - they're glass with turquoise stripes on them ... I adore turquoise!

Well, my first guests arrive today - I ended up spending all my time last night rearranging the lounge furniture, as I came home from work to my missing lounge chair sitting outside the front door, much to my surprise, as I had no prior notice that it was coming until it had arrived! ... so this morning I am up very early to get all the things done that I had planned to do last night, before they arrive. I feel pretty exhausted, but at least I was so exhausted last night, I slept for 9 1/2 hours solidly, which is the first time in over a week - yippee! Better enjoy it while I can, as I'm coming up to 5am starts this week ... groan. Don't know if I'll get any stitching done this week while H & P are staying here - I really hope so, though ... I think I need some good stitching time to restore my state of peace, as I'm feeling a bit ragged!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Another day gone ...

... and still no needle in sight ...

We have, however, uncovered the answer to the mystery of the weird-looking creature in my previous post - Sharon, you're spot on, thank you!! I did a Google on "case moth" and found the following link, with some interesting info. Also, glad to know it's harmless ... and not a relative of the dreaded 8-legged Huntsman or something daft - quite fascinating to see it, and it's the second one I've seen now, so the curiosity got the better of me this time ... there you go, Mum, now we know! :D The male moth is quite spectacular when it emerges ... typical, though, the female has to spend all its life cooped up in that cocoon ;P

And I'm glad to hear my last piece of stitching finally reached its destination, so I can finally release the full picture from the teaser I put out earlier - I stitched a small token of friendship for Jenna, to help to cheer her up after going through so much just lately ... Jenna was one of the first people to comment on my blog when I started, and the comments she made had a big impact on my self-esteem, and that started to help me deal with things that had caused me personal pain last year - it was just a few kind words at just the right time ... and it helped open my eyes to a whole big world out there, and start to appreciate who I am, and get back my caring nature. So, this little token was just my way of saying "thanks for everything - your friendship means a lot to me" :D Funnily enough, I'd already started stitching this when Jenna answered a previous SBQ about what the perfect project would be ... the answer was "My perfect project would probably be a star-themed design, since I’m so nuts about stars. It would have some purple in it somewhere, or at least some blue. Kreiniks, of course, or another brand of metallic, to make the stars sparkle. And stitched on a gorgeous, rich hand-dyed fabric with luscious overdyed silk threads." Amazingly, without trying, I think I almost nailed every point! haha. Glad you like it, Jenna - you deserve it! :D

And it looks like my previous post has brought to the fore more Little Britain fans haha - now I know which of you have the craziest sense of humour haha. We're always mimicking the characters ... I mentioned to Rosa that last year I had my gallbladder removed, and while I was in hospital I was in a room with 4 beds - opposite me was an older lady who was a bit hard of hearing, and to the right of me was a younger lady who had her husband/partner visiting (we all had our curtains drawn) ... anyway, the nurse came in a couple of times, and the hard-of-hearing lady was called Margaret ... she'd come in and call out "Margaret ... Margaret ..." - I nearly wet myself, especially when a male voice pipes up from the next bed "... have we got any pirate memory games?" - I could hardly contain myself from giggling my head off ... that programme has got so many people hooked, it's great!

Anway, off to do something else for my final two hours before beddy-byes ... I'm going in to work an hour earlier for overtime tomorrow, then I've amazingly managed to get 4 hours overtime on Sunday ... the extra money will come in more handy than having the day off, I've decided! And it's so rare to get overtime just lately, you grab it when you can!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mixed bag of 'allsorts'

Daft title, but a bit of what this post is all about - a little bit of everything ...

First all I want to send a HUGE thank you and {{{hugs}}} out to BeckySC who sent me my final birthday gift - I have to admit, I knew this one was coming, but it was still a lovely surprise to open my PO Box door this morning and find that envelope sitting in there :) And not only that, but there was a gorgeous packet of cards as well, with bright blue butterflies on them - and this was extra special for me, as it reminds me of a trip I did with Mum to Cairns, Queensland when we visited the butterfly farm especially to see those big blue butterflies! Brought lovely warm fuzzies and memories flooding back - thank you so much sweet Becky, I really really love my gifts ... thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Today's SBQ is:

"Do you have an organizational system for your patterns? If so, how do you organize them? If not, have you considered organizing them?"
My physical charts are all in ringbinders, in plastic sleeves - they're mainly organised by theme, ie samplers, beading, hardanger, canvaswork, etc, and XS charts are organised by theme as well, ie marine, scenery, birds/animals etc - my ringbinders are on bookshelves. I have one ringbinder for freebie charts, and they're semi-organised into themes as well. Where I have a lot of designs for a specific designer, eg Mirabilia, L&L, TW, they all have their own ringbinder each. I used to keep a spreadsheet in Works that listed every single project/XS chart I owned, so I could do a search by topic etc, but I haven't kept that up-to-date for years ... and don't ask what number entry I got up to!! LOL.

Next subject ... dieting! Last week I did a blonde thing, and fell asleep on Tuesday night at 5.30pm ... and missed the sign-up for Weight Watchers - so last night I made sure I didn't miss out again, and am now officially a member of the clan. We've re-nicknamed it "Fat Busters" ... after one of our favourite UK comedy shows, "Little Britain" - very very sick humour, but extremely hilarious. One of my favourite characters in the first series was Marjorie Dawes, the leader of Fat Busters, which is like WW ... she's a right royal cow, and very rude to the members - I'd offer to share some episodes with you, but I think it would lose itself in the translation to just tell you about it. Let's just say that it had such an impression on our household, we still keep asking if we want a bit of cake, ... "cos we all like a bit of cake, don't we?!" And don't forget the wonderful game of "high fat ... low fat ... high fat ... low fat ... Dust!" As well as those other wonderful characters ... "Computer says no...", "Margaret ... Margaret ... Have we got any pirate memory games?", and Daffyd "The only gay in the village". Not to mention the non-stop talking Vicky Pollard, and the hysterical Lou and Andy ("I want that one ... I want THAT one ... I don't like it!") - and my latest favourite, because it's so incredibly 'bad' - "Just call me Bubbles!" If you like really funny characters, have an open mind, and want to have a very adult giggle, check them out if you haven't already done so - it might take a sketch or two to get into the characters, but once you do, you're hooked! It's the only TV series I have to buy the entire series on DVD as soon as it's released! These two actors are insanely clever and funny - hurry up and come out on DVD, Little Britain 3 ... I can't wait!!!!Anyway, back to the story, I'm now keeping a track of my eating etc, and trying the points system out for two weeks, to see if it works for me - otherwise I'll skip over to the no-count system instead. I'm paid up for 3 months regardless, so plenty of time to get into the routine of getting healthy again ... and I kicked it off well last night by coming home and going for an hour's walk up the beach (approx 3km).

Now on to something totally different (sounds like a Monty Python sketch) - do any of you clever Aussies know what this creature is? About 10cm in length, it has a caterpillar-looking thing inside that is bright orange with black stripes ... unfortunately, a noise startled it and it shot back in its cocoon while I was trying to take a photo. When I got home from work it was hanging by it's 'top' from the roof - obviously some sort of moth larvae or something, but I'd love to know what it actually is!

Well, I think that's about it for now ... still haven't shaken off my headache yet, but at least it's not a full-blown migraine yet. Took some Nurofen this morning to try to nip it in the bud, and it had eased off a bit by this afternoon - at least I get a sleep in tomorrow, as I don't start work until 11am yippee. Then I just have to work 11am-7pm Saturday (my 7th day straight), and I get two days off woohoo. I've got friends coming to stay for a week from Sunday, which will be OK - just a bit difficult as I'm on 5am shifts for a couple of the days. They wanted to bring a family member from out of town to stay as well while I was on 5am shifts, meaning they'd be sleeping in the lounge, but I put my foot down ... I just don't think I could cope with it even just for a few days. It means I probably won't get much stitching done again next week ... then H&P will be leaving, and I'll just have time to change the bedsheets etc, when a close friend will be arriving from Auckland, NZ for a couple of nights, followed by friends from Christchurch, NZ over Easter ... blimey, it's starting to feel like a Bed & Breakfast haha.

Anyway, off now to see if I can get motivated to pick up a needle - my eyes are like little slits, I'm so tired, but it's only 6pm and I really need to stay awake a bit longer ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Quick post - WTC Quilt

I'm a bit shattered at the moment, so no updates to post - these early morning starts really take it out of me big time, especially when I don't manage to sleep right through the whole night (like I have the last 3 nights running boohoo) ... but I just wanted to post the info for the World Trade Center quilt - if anyone else is interested, you can check out the Yahoo group WTCquilt (click for the link). Not sure if there are more panels left unstitched, although approx 43 haven't been returned yet. I managed to get my panel of names after someone dropped out, so if anyone else is interested in helping out, we can check if there are any vacant spots left :)

OK, off to bed now ... and I'm sleeping with my fingers crossed that I sleep right through for a change - 'cos I'm getting a headache from the lack of sleep {heavy sigh}. Hopefully tomorrow if I get a good sleep, I'll feel up to doing a bit more stitching ... 2 x 6am's down, with 2 to go ... as well as 3 working days down, 4 to go, so nearly halfway through my working week yippee :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Quilt panel completed!

Unfortunately, it means I'm going to bed a bit later than planned for my 6am start at work tomorrow, but I just couldn't put my quilt panel to one side until I'd finished every name ... I was just too close to finishing. So, now I can get it in the post either tomorrow or Tuesday to the organisers - woohoo, another lot of commitment stitching out the way! :)
In answer to Tobie's question ... "what next?" ... I'm not exactly 100% sure yet, but I probably should get my Marine Elegance piece up-to-date for my SAL first, seeing as I have another SAL starting in April - then I still have another two charity quilt squares to stitch (the Batman logo, and an Echidna) ... these aren't due until May, so I have some time up my sleeve for them yet. So, I guess I should start committing myself to restarting my rotation again, seeing as I haven't touched it since the end of 2005 (gee, that seems so far away LOL). That being said, the following is my hastily hatched stitching plan (but I reserve the right to change it on a whim haha):

  • Marine Elegance SAL (Cindy Valentine)
  • Echidna quilt square
  • Dolphins Domain
  • Smalls/Ornaments
  • Batman quilt square
  • Jen's Jems canvaswork
  • UFO - Bil Berry by Shepherd's Bush
  • Dolphins Domain
  • Smalls/Ornaments
  • Winter Queen (Mirabilia)
  • Le Jardin Silk Sampler
  • Dolphins Domain
  • Finishing items
  • UFO - Nature's Resting Place
  • Free choice

As for the Adam Sandler movie, it was "Punch-Drunk Love" ... if you get the urge to watch it, please try to control that urge and save yourselves the trouble!

OK, off to bed now for my first of 6 x 6am starts ...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

WTC Quilt update

A reasonably good stitching day today, with 11 names out of 17 stitched on my World Trade Center quilt panel. Sorry to say, the Adam Sandler movie was appallingly bad, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone ... unfortunately there have only been a couple of AS movies I've enjoyed, and this is definitely not one of them. So, I had no choice but to put on some movies of my own to wash that bad movie out of my mind - and continued stitching to Lost World (Jurassic Park 2), Mystery Alaska, Shall We Dance, and Ransom ... yup, a real movie fest with a mix of every genre - I now have square eyes, and thinking of calling it a night ... well, maybe I'll try to get one more quilt name done ... now to find the final DVD to listen to ... ;P

... Addendum ... Well, I did indeed manage to get a bit more stitched - 2 1/2 names in fact, which means I only have 3 1/2 left to do in total, yippee :) Ended up watching You Got Mail on TV, so stayed up a bit longer than I expected due to adverts etc - that's one thing I can say for DVD's, it's great uninterrupted viewing.

Tomorrow I have to do the vacuuming after I come home from work - I was supposed to do it today, but stitched all day instead hmmm. But tomorrow I really HAVE to do it ... you see today I did an impression of Little Miss Muffet - except in my case the ultimate horror of my existence was dangling from the ceiling in the middle of the lounge. I almost died of heart failure when I almost walked right into it on the way to the TV ... at least it wasn't one of Aussie's famous huntsman spiders, but that was quite big enough, thank you very much!! If you're reading Mum, it was bigger than that one that was one the wall in the dining area ... for me it's like something out of a horror movie - and for any spiders coming into my home, it's a pure suicide mission ... it's the only one of earth's creatures I have absolutely no compunction to harm. So tomorrow I have to rid my lounge of its curled up form ... gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! Guess it's time to do the rounds of the flat's windows and vents with surface spray again ... Spider

WTC Quilt started

Had a bit of a panic attack last night while stitching the first part of my WTC quilt panel ... I was under the impression there were supposed to be 18 names on each panel, and hadn't checked my list before, but then I was counting them up to work out roughly how long it will take me to complete the stitching ... only to find 17 names! Yikes!! I then spent the next 1/2 hour combing through my emails to find the original list, and checking my chart, to find yes there were only 17 ... quickly sent an email off to the organiser to find out if there was an error before I got too much further, and thankfully got a quick response back again this morning - my panel has indeed only got 17 names on it ... phew! I only managed to get 3 names done last night, and will spend some more time on it today - I hope to get at least another 6 names done today.

Loved my TV viewing last night - and I had the added bonus, that I forgot the new series of Amazing Race started, and the first episode was on my video - yippee ... I love that programme :)

OK, off to stitch again now ... and watch that Adam Sandler DVD ...

But quickly, before I go, for StitchieKiwi (and anyone else that's interested) - I use Newsgator now for all my blog reading. There are probably other sites that do the same thing, but I found this one after Von mentioned it, and I've used it ever since. Once it's set up with all your favourite blog links, you can click on a box to only show unread feeds - it has all the blogs showing unread items in a list, and you can either click on each blog name individually, or on "my feeds" which shows every post in date order of being received. More than happy to give you more info if you want to email me ... shakatak at iinet dot net dot au :) I helped someone else out recently with the same thing, so I can just about do a copy and paste for you ;)

Friday, March 03, 2006

My blog challenge is complete!

I woke up this morning with a new challenge in mind ... I just couldn't seem to keep on top of my blog reading, with trying to catch up on unread old posts, as well as all the new posts coming in continuously - last night my unread feeds were back up to over 300 again ... so today I decided enough was enough - I refused to move my bum off the computer chair until I had read every single feed! OK, admittedly, my bum did move every now and then for sustenance ... and it's a good thing I live on my own, 'cos the place smells disgustingly of blue cheese and pickled onions - I had my very own little wine and cheese afternoon ... just without the wine LOL ... followed by watermelon and now a mug of coffee ... I think perhaps the wine might come later, though ;P

I have to admit, I do now have a slight headache again, but I'm hoping it will pass - the key thing is that after approx 8 1/2 hours sat in front of this PC screen, my unread blog feeds sit at a big fat "0" ... WOOHOO!!! It's actually quite a relief to finally get on top of things - and with today being such a hot day inside, it hasn't been great stitching weather, but perfect to sit in front of the electric fan and read blogs. As always all the work I've seen has been inspirational, and there are yet more designs to be added to my wishlist ... yikes.

Tonight I do intend to strike up a needle finally - and get a start made on my WTC quilt ... my thread finally arrived for my Marine Elegance piece, but I'm a bit disappointed in the colour as it's a totally different batch - and I ordered extra lengths to make sure I have more for future hardanger projects I'd like to use it for ... oh well, I'm sure it will come in handy - at least it's still my favourite colours, just in a kind of 'pastel version' of them ;P I'm so far behind with my Marine Elegance, I want to make sure I get my commitment stitching out of the way first as it will take some time to catch up.

Last night I turned my lounge room around furniture-wise ... my old flat is breaking up and flatmates all going their separate ways (I'll refrain from commenting on that scenario), which means I have my chair returning from my 3-piece lounge suite. It's a ratty old thing that Fraze's Dad found for us at a garage sale for $150, complete with fold-out bed settee (which is sooo comfy, it's great - shame the sofa itself isn't as comfy haha) - anyway, when I moved out from the old flat, it pretty much left a 'shell' as almost all of the things there belonged to me ... Andrew had a sofabed, and that was all, and there were going to be 3 of them living there, so they asked if I'd leave them one of my chairs - I agreed, for Fraze's sake, seeing as I was living on my own I could live without it for a while ... so now I have to make room for it to arrive - the sofa is now on the opposite wall to where it was, and the two chairs will sit against the other wall, with my stereo hopefully fitting inbetween the two chairs, on the little table - in another week's time when the chair arrives I guess we'll soon find out if it will fit or not haha.

Anyway, off to finish my coffee - and drag out the fabric and scroll bars ... with this week's episodes of Lost and ER on video to watch ('cos I was busy watching the other channel while they were on - thanks Fraggle for helping me set my videos up, it's awesome!!) - after that, I have a DVD to watch ... "Punch-Drunk Love" with Adam Samdler. With any luck I may even have a progress piccie tomorrow ... maybe ... ;P

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stitching Bloggers Question

Image hosting by Photobucket Today's SBQ was suggested by Cheryl and is:
"What cross-stitch magazines or other publications (as opposed to blogs) do you read on a regular basis? What do you like about them? What do you not like? What would your perfect publication include?"

I have to admit, my tastes are changed substantially over the years I've been stitching - I used to be magazine crazy, and bought quite a few, but now very very rarely buy any magazines. The only one I subscribe to is the Australian publication "Inspirations" magazine - mainly because it offers more than just cross stitch, and I like to try different techniques (although I'm back in XS mode again right now). Inspirations also show you finishing techniques, which other magazines don't offer. I've started flicking back through magazines again in the newsagents looking for charts that would be suitable for charity quilt squares, but I still haven't been tempted to buy anything over the last few months since I've been looking.

As for what the perfect magazine would have - larger projects, as well as a few smaller ones, with more 'grown-up' designs. It would also have other techniques, not just XS, and finishing ideas/instructions.