Here you will often find my thoughts of the day, with the occasional vent - but first and foremost this is where I can share my passion for stitching.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Last post from down, down under...

Well, it's my second to last night here before I wing my way back 'across the ditch' ... it's been an interesting day in more ways than one. I parcelled up 126kg (yikes!) of books and magazine ripouts etc, as well as my mat-cutter for freighting home - I get a substantial staff discount on freight, and managed to get a price that is 'just above cost' which is great. It means I'll be spending Thursday at the airport again, though, going to Qantas Freight, then Customs, then Quarantine, then back to Qantas Freight again before picking up my 9 boxes from the freight terminal - then I have to lug 126kg up 3 floors to my little home ... at least when they're home I can pick through them and work out what I'm going to keep, and what I'm going to get rid of, with no time constraints like I have here. And I'll hopefully get back a lot of the freight costs if I decide to sell on Ebay etc ... maybe ;)

The other interesting thing that happened today is that I started feeling a tiny bit 'homesick' again ... for Auckland - or, more truthfully, for the people I used to work with and socialise with. I went into the city again tonight and went to my old place of work (same airline I work for now) - it surprised me how much I enjoyed seeing everyone again, and it felt good to have so many people come up to me and give me hugs and tell me how much I'm missed ... hence the little tug at the heartstrings for the 'familiarity of home'. That doesn't mean I want to move back again, though - I'm sure I'll feel better again when I get back into the routines in Melbourne ... but I think I should come over and visit more often to keep in touch with everyone. I went for drinks at the Shakespeare Tavern with three of my biggest pals (one made a special drive in for the occasion, as she works at the airport now, which is wonderful that she came in) - then two of them had to head home early due to ferries and family commitments, and Tara and I went to the Late Night Cafe in Ponsonby Road for dinner and coffees, which was fantastic. It was so nice to see all the familiar faces and have a gossip about people we all know. It's now 1am, and I thought I'd quickly drop a line on the blog while I got chance before I hit the hay.

Mum finished her first little XS yesterday - but because the dial-up connection is so abysmal here, I've been ordered to take it home with me and put a photo on my blog when I get home haha. She's so proud of her first attempt, and she will soon have her very first ornament to put on her 'swag' I brought from Melbourne for her ready for Christmas. I started my mail art exchange yesterday, but of course can't show piccies until it's received ... and I won't get chance to stitch now until I get home - hmmm I think my expectations for stitching here for definitely a bit high - I think Mum's stitched more than I have! LOL.

Anyway, I'll chat more when I get home in two days time - I can't wait to get back into the blogs and see what everyone's been up to ... will have to dive back into everyone's archives, it's been so long since I've been reading properly oops ...

Well, better get to sleep, as I have to be up semi-early to drive to the North Shore in the morning, where I'll be getting to meet some more blogging pals face-to-face - I'm really looking forward to meeting Nicki and Kerry in the flesh :D Will have to give an update when I get home ... especially as we're meeting at one of my old favourite LNS there ... and I want to buy a couple of things (NZ charts especially to remind me of home). Better get to sleep, anyway, as I'm getting cross-eyed, and probably not making much sense anymore ...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Not much longer left in NZ

I have to admit, it's been an interesting time in different ways here - it's surprising that Auckland doesn't really feel like 'home' to me anymore, so I guess that means I'm definitely pretty settled in Melbourne. There have also been some unexpected adventures that I forgot to write about the other day ...

On Wednesday Mum and I went into Auckland city (ie downtown), where I had an appointment with my old Physiotherapist, Guy. We caught the 10.10am train to give us plenty of time to get there, with some time to sit and have a coffee or do a bit of shopping ... or so we thought! After about two stops, the Conductor came through to announce that we could only travel as far as Penrose, as there had been a body found by the tracks, and they'd stopped train traffic while they investigate ... so we were sat for 3/4 hour waiting for a bus to turn up to take us into town - welcome back to Auckland, Anne, have a bit of excitement to start your holiday haha. Luckily I just made my appointment with 2 whole minutes to spare ... although Guy said he would have fitted me in somehow anyway seeing as I'd come across the ditch for my appointment. Hopefully my neck is all fixed up again for another 12 months :)

Since then I have managed to retrieve my patience again with Dad - I think I was just upset that he made such a pig's ear of Mum's birthday. I've just been trying not to think about it, and chill out on the whole ... and last night we went out for dinner to very dear friends of the family (they're like my actual family, as we all emigrated together from England all those years ago, and we've all grown up together) - it was awesome to spend time with Auntie Heather and Uncle John, Glenn and Tracey and the kids Danial and Bradley - it felt like we haven't been apart, we're that close. Dad, as usual, didn't go, but Mum and I had a ball and didn't get home until almost midnight much to Dad's surprise and disgust haha - I actually took some XS to do, but didn't even pick it up, we were too busy chattering away all night. Our second adventure took place last night, though - while we were outside on the deck chatting by the gas furnace, the garage was broken into and we worked out John's weedeater and leaf blower were both stolen ... right from under our noses. We heard some small noises, thinking the cats had got into the garage, and the security light went on - but by the time John went round to investigate no-one was to be seen ... it was only as we were leaving that we realised things had been stolen hmmm.

As for today, it's back in the garage for me again ... managed to clear out about 6 boxes worth of 'stuff' for the bin - there are all sorts of things like old bank statements etc that I've just been throwing out, as well as glassware etc all getting parcelled up for the Salvation Army. I think it'll take at least another 6 trips over here to get it all finished haha. The priority is done, though - my XS stuff teehee. Oh well, at least Mum and Dad aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so it can all just stay in storage - thank goodness :)

Rightio, back to it again as not much time left before I fly home - then I'm off tomorrow to catch up with my old workmates in Auckland city, then hopefully to meet up with Nicki and Kerry with a LNS fix at The Embroiderer on Tuesday ... then it's "Home James" on Wednesday probably - where did the time go??

Friday, May 26, 2006

Down, Down Under

Well, I managed to arrive safe and sound on the shores of Auckland city at 3am on Monday morning ... which was absolutely exhausting seeing as I'd worked a 6am shift on Sunday and hadn't had any sleep at all since then (as well as working 6 days straight) - unfortunately the plane was late leaving Melbourne, so a late arrival into Auckland. Got into bed at about 4am and managed to get about 4 1/2 hours sleep before an unexpected wakeup call hmmm. Let's just say I was a bit of a zombie, and to be honest I still feel quite wrecked 3 days later! I've slept for 10 hours both the last two nights ... fingers crossed I'll be starting to feel a bit more 'normal' again soon ...

I haven't managed to get much done ... although my priority has been to parcel up all my XS charts etc, ready for freighting, and I've nearly accomplished the mission - still have to go through my books as well ... and I think there will be quite a number of charts heading over to Ebay when I get them home. There are LOADS of rip outs from magazines that I know I'll never stitch in a month of Sundays, so they'll all be free to a good home for the cost of the postage if anyone wants them ...

The rest of my time has been spent trying not to get Dad's blood on the carpet ... to say it's been "trying" at times would be a serious understatement. I had to jump in the shower last night before I lost my cool at him. I love my Dad 'cos he's my Dad, but I don't always like him very much. I'd forgotten when I come home that usually by the 2nd day here my tension levels are sky high, and my patience levels are very slim. Mum and I went out for dinner in Auckland city last night for her birthday, which was lovely ... and much to my Mum's disgust it was my shout yay. Dad, of course, being the miserable sod that he is, refused to come out with us, even though we chose a steak restaurant that he would have enjoyed. Considering we had a party for his 70th birthday two years ago, Mum had already been warned we weren't allowed to have one for her ... I'll leave my comments unwritten on that score, but I think it's pretty poor ... but then again, that's my Dad to a T - very very selfish. Oh well, we still had a good time out, and to be honest it was probably more enjoyable with just the two of us ...

As for stitching, I didn't even get out of my PJ's on Monday, so did a bit of stitching instead to try to keep my eyelids open ... I started Santa's Stash by Full Circle Designs, as part of the Ornament challenge/SAL on the Welcome Friends BB. But I forgot to pack the Mill Hill beads, and needed to buy some buttons and two of the DMC colours before I could finish it, so Mum and I popped out to Spotlight on Tuesday, and by midnight Tuesday night the final stitches were put into place.

If you were wondering why there are amazing shifts in weather patterns at the moment, you can blame my Mum! At the grand old age of 70 she's finally decided she wants to learn how to XS haha. So we bought her a little kit of Frangipani (gee whizz, I wonder who chose that?!!), and she managed to put a few stitches in before I got chance to teach her ... she's keen! I bought some aida cloth offcuts over for her to try stitching on, and we've been looking for some easy Christmas designs for her to stitch some ornaments - now I'll have to start hiding my stash from her teehee. She used to do tapestries and she knits, so she'll be just fine :)

Mum's dial-up connection is absolutely appalling, but I finally managed to get Blogger to upload more piccies - I just have to share these before I get home ... these photos are of a scissor fob that Pauline stitched for me as part of the StitchNZ scissor fob exchange, and posted to Mum's address ... it is the most awesomely exquisite fob ever! The colours are just to die for ... they are so "ME" ... totally stunning! I will always treasure it - thanks so much Pauline :D

Rightio, I suppose it's back to the salt mines again ... aka "the garage" ... groan ... Mind you, by the sounds of it, Dad's already brought more boxes into the lounge for me to sort through - a less than subtle hint! haha. If I manage to find my way out again, I'll see if I get time to post again - otherwise it won't be until I get home again. I think I need an entire month to go through all my stuff - I'm starting to wonder how in heck I'm going to get everything done that I'd planned :(

Hope everyone is having a good week :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Quick answers

Thanks for your lovely comments about my first ever biscornu - I have to admit, it was very hard giving it up ;P A couple of quick answers while I'm waiting for dinner to heat up tonight ...

For Katrina - the DMC thread number is a figment of my imagination ... my apologies, it's actually an Anchor thread, and the colour is 1349 (oops ... slight blonde moment there LOL). I just love the colours of this thread - especially the turquoise splashes in it :)

For Rani - unfortunately I'd ripped the pages out of the magazine, and I've checked each page but there's absolutely no reference to the month/year it was from. I've scanned the full page of the design for you, if that helps. As you can see, though, I only used a marginal part of the design, so it might not be that helpful to you. Hopefully if you click on the piccie, it will be large enough for you to read the print ... Actually, Blogger won't load whatsoever, so try the link here (hopefully this will take you to a photo loaded into Photobucket ... hopefully!).

For Sharon - sorry my NR wasn't a commercial chart for you to buy :( You can probably work most of the design out by the stitched photo, though, if you're wanting to recreate it :)

For Sharon in Melbourne - I haven't forgotten you, gorgeous lady! I've just been in antisocial mode last week, and this week to a certain extent ... If it's OK, I'll call you when I get back from NZ for us to catch up properly ... I've saved all the L&L angel charts for you to look through and claim anything you want :)

And to anyone else I owe emails to ... a thousand apologies!! I'm so very very behind in keeping up to date with pretty much everything at the moment, and struggling to play catch up :( June is another month, huh?

Three sleeps to go & an exchanged (updated)

(Updated to add the following piccie etc) Just quickly popped over to see if any new exchanges had been received on the SBEBB, and it looks like Annette has received the biscornu I stitched for her ... as I mentioned before, it turned out to be a lot bigger than I expected, but it still looks OK. I used a DMC variegated thread (which is one of my favourite colourways) and added some beads for extra effect. It's another conglomeration of a few designs - the infamous Indigo Rose freebie that I can't seem to get enough of just lately (you may recognise elements from my pinkeep in the centre) - as well as part of a cushion design in a Stitchers World magazine from years ago (Earth Laughs by designer Anne Stanton). I ended up leaving off the tassels because it looked too fussy. Here is the photo of the finished front, and the actual stitching (I won't bother showing the back).

I can't believe that's all there is to go now, before I fly out - 3 sleeps, woohoo!! And during my visit I'll hopefully be meeting Nicki and Kerry from the blogging world in Auckland - that will be wonderful! :D As well as that, I've got an appointment set up already for me to see my old Physiotherapist, who is going to manipulate my back/neck and hopefully help to get it back in alignment again - I used to see him just for 1 or 2 visits yearly, and that would get me through the whole next year ... but I haven't been for 2 years now, and my neck has been giving me grief for months now - every morning I wake up with neck pain and feel like I haven't slept properly ... and sometimes the pain wakes me up during the night ... can't wait to get that 'clicked' back in again, it's going to be sheer bliss!!

Nothing really to report - there will be no blog reading tonight (or stitching, for that matter), as I'm on a short turnaround time for my shifts, ie I finish work at 6pm (and won't be home until about 7pm), and have to be asleep by 9pm at the latest in order to try and get 8 hours sleep, as I move to my 6am shifts. I think I'll be sleeping my first 24 hours in NZ haha.

No stitching or blogging done yesterday either, as I forgot I had a training day in the city from 9-5, and met up with a friend for drinks after we finished, as she works in the same building as the training - we then decided to have dinner at the Rose Garden in Elizabeth Street ... a very cheap and 'nasty' Asian eating place that has very very nice food - it was a great treat, and a wonderful night catching up. Unfortunately Hayles has decided to move to Perth, though, so she will be winging her way over to the west coast in July. Just means I'll have to make an effort and go for a holiday over there - which I'd love to do, as I've always wanted to visit Perth.

I also managed to visit the Post Office the other day, and picked up my stitching treat that was sitting there waiting for me - it was the M Designs Christmas needleroll from Katrina from a recent trade ... woohoo, another one to stitch for my collection! Thanks heaps Katrina! :D

I'm still waiting for my SB&B orders to arrive - using my birthday money, plus a second treat in the next sale not long after ... in both cases there is just one thing that is out of stock - one item has been "in transit from the supplier" for quite some time now (I didn't realise you still use the Pony Express in the US haha), and the other one still on back order ... there were some items in there I wanted for my last two exchanges, plus I'm getting a bit impatient, so I've asked for everything else to be shipped, and have the others sent later with some extra fabric I've just ordered (a fat 1/4 each of 32ct and 28ct Lavender Bliss). Hopefully they'll arrive some time soon after I get home from NZ.

Anyway, time to shut up and get ready for work - I'm really rambling on about nothing just to wake up, I think, and I didn't sleep too well last night ... maybe I should head to work early and pick up a cappuccino on the way to truly wake up!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A mixed bag of allsorts!

Before I forget, for Myrna - the needleroll SAL is Katrina's brainchild (and she is the QUEEN of Needlerolls LOL) ... we're doing this the 2nd weekend of every month - it'd be great if you could join us :D

At the start of the month I posted what my commitment stitching deadlines were - I decided to post it again now, just for my own motivation, so I can see I've actually made some headway in meeting those goals, as well as seeing what's left to meet ... I feel as though I've still got huge weights hanging over me with stitching deadlines, so it helps for me to map it all out and see it's really not as bad as I think ...

* 12 May - Melanie's Exchange (SBEBB)
* 15 May - Biscornu Exchange (SBEBB)
* 15 May - Batman logo quilt block (Jordan B)
* 25 May - Scissors fob exchange (StitchNZ)
* 5 June - Mail Art Exchange (SBEBB)
* 22 June - final Christmas RR ornie (Ornaments RRBB)
* 1 July - Round Robin first posting due (my first real RR)
* 1 July - Strawberries So Faire SAL
* 15 July - Racing cars quilt block (Jay B)
* 15 August - Dragon quilt block (Caitlin R)
* late Aug/early Sep - Needleroll exchange (Robin's Nest BB)

The scissor fob is under control (meaning I've at least made a start on it - but my headache didn't ease off, so not a great deal of progress yet), but I've decided to wait until I get to NZ to post it, as it'll probably arrive more quickly at its destination that way. I still have no idea what to stitch for the mail art exchange - it might have been easier having a set theme ... hopefully inspiration will hit soon hmmm. As for my own RR, I've decided to stick to my original plan of having four of the blocks from the Stoney Creek Wings of the Wild afghan series from way back in 1991 ... I thought I'd send copies of all the charts I have with me (9 out of the 11), and the other three people can choose a duck square, so I still get a bit of a surprise when it's stitched up :) Being duck-mad, and owning loads of duck charts, it's pretty bad that I've never actually stitched one for myself yet - having this theme will make this RR extra special for me, and will give me something to truly treasure every day I cast my eyes upon it. This is what the original afghan looks like:

On non-stitching news, I want to extend a HUGE congratulations to my Aunt and her partner in Canada - Monica and Norbert tied the knot (finally) in Las Vegas at the end of April ... congratulations to Mr and Mrs Schwarzer! Norbert, it's about time you made a decent woman out of her! teehee (running and ducking for cover ...)

And continuing with non-stitching 'stuff' ... I'm excited to be going home for many reasons this coming weekend - aside from catching up with people I haven't seen for a couple of years, I'll be going through all my stitching stash, and possibly parcelling everything up and freighting it over here ... that would be wonderful! ... but aside from all that, it's FEIJOA SEASON!!!!! I nearly fell over when I saw a plastic bag filled with feijoas in our work kitchen last week, but they were so tiny they weren't ripe yet and very sour (didn't stop me from eating some though, just 'cos I'd missed them so much! LOL). I intend stuffing myself silly with feijoas every day I'm over there ... I just love them! I originally thought they were a NZ fruit, but according to Wikipedia, the Feijoa originated in the highlands of southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina, and is also known as the Pineapple Guava. Yummo!!!!!!!!! Mum and Dad have a tree in their garden, and we used to give bags and bags of them away ... they won't get chance while I'm over this time haha.

A reasonable week of work shifts this week - starting with 3 x 10am shifts, and finishing with 3 x 6am shifts. It's amazing how quickly my body has become adjusted to not doing shift work - it's a bit of a shock to the system to get back into it, but it's just a case of getting into the routine again. Luckily while I'm way I'm getting out of my least favourite shift - 6pm to 2am ... I hate those shifts, as I don't start feeling tired until about 4am, so I might as well do a "doggo" (overnight) shift - unfortunately it means whoever is covering me while I'm on annual leave will have to do them ... there are so many benefits to being a 'permanent' Hotliner - having a stable shift roster is without a doubt the best!! Forgot to say, I had a huge highlight in my job last week ... after having a slight meltdown in my patience threshold, the next day (the mentally challenging one) the Consultant I was helping out with this horrible problem for almost 2 hours, came and gave me a "Luv Ya Work" award ... I was so touched! We have a new programme at work to award your colleagues when they've done something exceptional - you fill out the award and the Supervisor keeps the details in a central register, and you can eventually cash them in - 2 awards gets you an hour off work before or after your shift starts, 4 awards gives you two hours off or a $10 voucher from stores like Myer, JB HiFi or a bookstore ... it's a really nice way to recognise internally that you're doing a good job, and it was designed to lift morale - I think it works :) I got another one last week, too, as I got a score of all 5's for my evaluation (where they listen in to 6 of your phone calls, and make sure you're giving the correct information, creating a rapport, etc etc) ... which means I now have a sum total of 5 awards sitting in my folder since the programme started a couple of months ago - how wonderful! :D

OK, enough rambling, time to get ready for work ... Have a great week everyone - hope to catch up on all your blogs this week, as I doubt I'll get chance in NZ (Mum has the worst dial-up connection in the world!).

Monday, May 15, 2006

SBQ and thanks

Thanks everyone for your generous comments about my needleroll(s) - a bit more explanation about Paula's needleroll ... the exchange was organised in two different parts - firstly you're told what colour preferences (if there were any) the final recipient had, then we had to send some thread and embellishments to the next person, and that person then had to stitch something for the final recipient using those items. Elanor, the thread that was used was a Gentle Art Sampler Thread in the colour of "Blueberry" - I had a skein of the same colour in my stash but it was almost grey when I took it out to compare ... the exchange skein was much more vibrant and beautiful in colour. The embellishments I received were some Mill Hill beads in blue ... it was definitely a challenge thinking of something with the threads and beads sitting in front of you - as I'd never tried anything like that before!

After my stitchfest yesterday, I've woken up this morning with a throbbing headache ... I seem to remember that happened last time, too, so I think I'm going to have to stop doing it :( Once I get back into my rotation again, I think it will be better, as I'll be stitching more regularly again. Mind you, I also slept for just over 11 hours last night, and woke up a bit sinusey, so that might be the other reason I have a headache. I've just taken a couple of tablets, so hopefully that'll nip it in the bud so it won't spoil my day off today.

I was going to drive into work today to check my PO Box, as apparently there's mail there that won't fit into the box ... but curiosity will have to wait, I think - with the price of petrol never going down, it's an expensive exercise if I don't have to go out for anything else - I'll just have to settle myself until tomorrow, then my curiosity can be put out of its misery LOL.

I forgot to answer last week's SBQ, so here it is for this week (better hurry up and get in before the next one arrives haha):

"When you stitch from a kit and use the supplied floss do you have leftovers? If so, how much and what do you do with them? If not, do you usually have just enough or do you have to dig into your stash to finish?"
I have to admit, this is one of the reasons I hate kits and will only rarely buy them - I often end up with leftovers of some of the flosses, but some of the colours invariably run out ... I've had that happen on three separate occasions, and it's as frustrating as heck! On each occasion the manufacturer sent me some replacement thread, but I had to put the projects on hold until it arrived. Some of the threads are appalling too, such as the Bucilla kit I did for a friend's baby - the yellow kept shredding, it was such poor quality. I swore blind I'd never buy another Bucilla kit ever again, and I've stuck to my guns there. As wasteful as it sounds, if it's cotton floss left over, I just chuck it out - if it's silks, then I keep it 'just in case'. In the case of the M Designs Thistle Bag that was gifted to me by Toby, there was just enough of the silk threads for Von to stitch another one, which was awesome! I love Moss Creek Designs' kits - they have full skeins of each thread (mind you, they're also extremely expensive!).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Finally able to post a piccie :) (updated)

It appears from the SBEBB that Paula has received her Melanie's Exchange I stitched for her, so I can post a piccie. I have to admit, I really really struggled with the choice for this one ... I was originally going to stitch a pinkeep for Paula, and had the design all mapped out, then Jo beat me to it by stitching a pinkeep for the Spring exchange (which was beautiful!), so it was back to the drawing board again (but at least I got to keep the mock run one, which you've now seen!) ... in the end I decided on a needleroll, and the design is a collaboration I made from various design sources - there are bands from Just Nan's Evening Star, Dragonfly Stitches freebie needleroll (for the blackwork 'flowers' and other bands), Indigo Rose online freebie for the Rhodes hearts, as well as another freebie online chart for inspiration for the beaded bands. The only thing is that I struggled to find some narrow ribbon to match for it, and ended up using something that I had on hand ... and I wished I'd waited to check out a few more stores before posting - but it looks OK. Here's a photo of the actual stitching, and the finished needleroll. I tried stitching our names inside the back 'flowers', but it's very teeny tiny LOL. I really enjoyed stitching it :)

I should also have another photo to share a bit later on today - I'm in the middle of stitching The Sweetheart Tree Strawberry needleroll, for our weekend needleroll SAL ... I started it last night, and slept in this morning so missed the charity walk (oops! - mind you, it turns out we were all doing it 'on our own' so it probably doesn't matter - the money is still being donated anyway) ... so I've been sitting up in bed catching up on taped TV programmes from during the week and doing a bit more stitching. I was originally going to start a Shepherd's Bush one, but I needed to stitch some calico to the sides as the fabric is quite small, and I can't stitch in hand ... the Strawberry fob was the only one basted up and ready to go :) It also means that I'm now inadvertently copying Katrina, as that's the needleroll she's planning on stitching too :) It's really pretty so far - the colours are lovely ... the DMC 816 is such a rich red, it's gorgeous! I'm about 2/3 finished, so should be able to post a piccie by the end of the day :)

I should be stitching my fob for the scissor fob exchange on StitchNZ, but I just wanted to take some 'time out' from commitment stitching and stitching something else - and the needleroll SAL is the perfect thing to a quick "me" stitch :)

(Update before day's end) And here's the final piccie for today - the finished stitching of my strawberry needleroll ... which also means I met the 24 hour challenge on the FGBB as well yippee! :D Leaves me tomorrow free for working out my scissor fob yay :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Feel better today...

... After my venting yesterday, I had a good night's sleep, and felt much more able to ignore the aggro of yesterday ... I was so drained, I hit the hay at 8.30pm, so got a full 8 hours sleep last night yippee. I also called Mum and moaned at her for a full hour, so that also helped get it out of my system ... much to my disgust she thought the stories were quite funny hmmm. I have to admit, some of the calls I get really ARE funny as they're so downright outrageous ... and I can usually smile through them ... but my patience ran out yesterday after having two full weeks of the same aggressive attitude. And to top it all off, my first call of the day today was yet ANOTHER one - thankfully it was at the start of the day, and the rest of the day was a challenging time, but more mentally than emotionally, so I was quite perky at the end of the day (I just LOVE a good mental challenge!).

Thanks so much for all the positive comments - have to admit, that joke is definitely well suited to "any" working trade/group! I wish I could share the 'actual' stories with you, as you wouldn't believe some of the rubbish we get ... and some would give you a serious giggle!

Anyway, the good news is that I finally got my latest stitching in the mail tonight - both my Batman logo and my Biscornu exchange package will soon be in transit to their relevant destinations - yippee! That's a huge relief ... I don't know whether I like this commitment stitching malarky!! (wow, there's a bit of my English heritage coming out haha) - it's really hard to juggle your time!

Only one more 6am shift left this week, then two 10am's - I have Sunday and Monday off this week, but spending part of Sunday doing a charity walk for Breast Cancer. Work even donated us t-shirts to wear if we signed up ... the entry fee is $24, but I think it's a really worthy cause, and my stitching time that I'm giving up will be put to good use ;P Then on Monday I need to get my scissor fob ready for my StitchNZ exchange (if I haven't managed to do it before then) ... leaving my Mail Art exchange left - but that might be a challenge to be met in NZ while I'm visiting Mum (don't think I'm going to have time to fit it in before I fly out, as that D-day is only 11 days away now). When I get home, I'm getting back into my rotation - regardless of what my schedule is like ... I'm getting a serious urge to get back to my 'normal' stitching - so my rotation will look like this in order of stitching (the only thing I may change is to have two focus pieces - Dolphins Domain and Bordeaux Mystery Sampler):
  • Focus piece (1) - Dolphins Domain
  • Smalls/ornaments - last Christmas ornie RR, and Bunnies in my Garden SAL
  • Charity blocks - Racing cars and Dragon
  • Canvaswork - Jen's Jems
  • Focus piece (2) - Dolphins Domain or Bordeaux Mystery Sampler
  • UFO (mystery) - yet to be decided
  • Smalls/ornaments - Christmas ornie with WFBB, and Bunnies in my Garden or Strawberries So Faire
  • Mirabilia/L&L - Winter Queen
  • Focus piece (1) - Dolphins Domain
  • Band Samplers - Bordeaux Mystery Sampler or Le Jardin Silk Sampler
  • Finishing items - flat-fold (snowman) and Bunnies in my Garden (hopefully)
  • Smalls/ornaments - Strawberries So Faire
  • Focus piece (2) - Dolphins Domain or Bordeaux Mystery Sampler
  • Kits & Classes - (undecided as yet)
  • UFO's (chosen) - Nature's Resting Place
  • Quilting/Stumpwork - (might use for extra SAL slot if necessary this rotation)
  • Free choice - (undecided as yet)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sorry if I offend ...

... but the following joke pretty much sums up my feelings today after being yelled at for 3/4 hour over something totally outside my control - it was a pretty good day apart from that ... but this stupid call had me working an hour past my finish time, and I really didn't need it ... so now I feel fed up and cranky (as well as being tired, which doesn't help!) ... I'm so sorry that I can't put in writing a guarantee of something that is the procedure of a totally different company to me, that I don't even work for ... I'm sorry I don't have a crystal ball to see what the future will hold tomorrow or next week ... I'm sorry I don't have a magic wand to 'make everything better' ... I'm ... just ... plain ... "sorry" :(

I don't know what it is anymore, but complaints these days are getting more scarey and more irrational to deal with - it's like the crazed Postal worker syndrome has got out of control and become a communicable virus. We don't give out surnames anymore due to personal safety issues - and it's really frightening and nervewracking to have personal threats made against you. I just implore people out there to think twice before attacking a customer service representative - think about it rationally before making that attack ... yes, I agree that there are valid issues that sometimes crop up, and we all make mistakes, and for that a customer service role means trying to fix things ... but there are certain things that are outside our control - take, for example, the weather! My employers, nor other companies, are not directly responsible for weather problems - cyclones and hurricanes are not something that are planned just to upset everyone's plans ... so please don't threaten us personally if things are disrupted - yes, we want to help you, and do our utmost to rearrange things for you, but we did not personally make this happen! And please don't get upset at me personally when you need to take 22 people on transport that only has 20 spaces for someone to sit ... 22 does not go into 20 spaces, no matter how hard you try, so there's no point getting aggressive with me, I can't conjure up 2 more spaces out of thin air! Can you tell how cranky I am tonight?? I'm really sorry, but I need to vent ... it's like there's a full moon out, and has been out for nearly two weeks - I'm more than happy to help out and fix things that have gone wrong, but please be rational with things people!!

The reason I also apologise in advance to any of you, is that there are religious references in the following that may offend - it is in no way meant in offence, but rather as a joke - and I was reminded of this joke as I was driving home muttering to myself ... and this is one way for me to vent and get it out of my system ... I promise to get back in my box now and shut up ... (but I'm sure anyone in customer service can relate to what I'm saying!)






Monday, May 08, 2006

Nearly there ... (updated)

Managed to get a reasonable amount of my Batman square stitched last night, and more tonight, so I think my deadline will easily be reached to have it in the mail on Wednesday ... I'm starting to get a bit goggle-eyed tonight, after my early shift (it's amazing how quickly you get out of the habit!!), so I don't know how much more I'll get done tonight - I was originally hoping to finish it off, but I don't think my energy levels are going to stand up to the pressure LOL.

Tomorrow after work I intend to find a button or something to finish off my biscornu, then it can get posted on Wednesday too - it feels sooooo0 good to have those commitments off my shoulders. I still feel really bad about not reading blogs, but I'm glad I made that decision, or I'd still be struggling with the first deadline! Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll be back to normal again, and my deadline stitching will be easily fitted around my normal routine :) I look forward to seeing what you've all been up to while I've been "M.I.A." :D

UPDATED!!! OK, I don't know what happened, but I got a second wind and managed to find the energy to finish my Batman logo - woohoo!! What a relief to finally get that out of the way ... I think I'll be sleeping soundly tonight! LOL. Now I just have my scissor fob exchange and mail art exchange pieces to get done ... :D

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Batman outline - free to use

I've been as busy as a beaver today, after wasting almost the entirety of yesterday! I spent almost the entire day searching for a round robin choice for my upcoming RR, and have got a couple of options, but nothing that jumps out and says "stitch me!". It was nice to chat to Mum for a couple of hours as well, too, yesterday - I have to admit that because I spend the entire working day chained to a headset/phone, I abhor spending time on it when I get home ... Mum's pretty much the only exception to that - and she usually works out pretty quickly when I'm not in a chatty mood haha ;P

I managed to fit in a bit of laundry yesterday, but really did waste the entire day with nothing to show for it ... so today I tried to make up for lost time! I spent the morning putting out my clothes on the clotheshorse, then sat down to chart out my Batman logo etc for my quilt block, and starting the stitching - didn't get too far, but I'll do a bit more tonight, and hope to have it finished and in the post for Wed/Thu this week. I also made a big saucepan full of stew, so that'll keep me in evening meals for a couple of nights, and no more cooking needed for a while yippee!! I also popped up the road and bought some groceries, and did some photocopying at Officeworks. Now I'm back home again, and just waiting for the stew to finish off, then I'll be back in the recliner again snuggled under a lap blanket, doing some more Batman stitching, and watching TV. Because my Batman logo is quite narrow, I decided to pad out the block slightly, and designed my own Batman outline in backstitching. I doubt that any of you will have any use for it, but feel free to use at your will - this was purely out of my own head, so there's no breach of copyright etc :)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Rightio, off to get set up for stitching for the night - as you can see, I didn't get much achieved this morning, so I need to get a bit more done tonight - mind you, I'm on 6am shifts all week this week, so I need to have an early night ... perhaps 2 more hours of stitching will be it today ...

Friday, May 05, 2006

One deadline met!

Yep, today has been a great day for me, and the result is that one parcel is sitting in my work bag ready to go to the Post Office tomorrow - my Melanie's Exchange from the SBEBB is going to be winging it's way to it's new home tomorrow ... it has a fair way to travel, so I thought I'd send it straightaway. It feels great to have one of my deadlines met ... the other one is "almost" there, but I forgot to buy the buttons for my biscornu (8-cornered tuffet pincushion), so I couldn't put the finishing touches on it. I have to say it's turned out to be HUGE ... oops! Definitely bigger than I anticipated it would be, but it looks OK - hopefully the recipient won't mind it being so huge! I certainly don't have time to stitch another one! That means it will only take about 10 minutes to finish off once the buttons are bought, so that will be another parcel that can go out in the post probably on Monday - yippee!!

So, this weekend I'll be concentrating on my Batman logo - with any luck I'll get the whole thing finished over the weekend, as I have no other commitments for a change. That will be a huge sigh of relief you'll be hearing when that final stitch goes into that quilt block! Anyway, it's now after midnight, so time to call it a night ... thanks for your quick responses on my decision about the Bordeaux Sampler fabric - I think you've all talked me into it, and I'm going to use what I already have. I think it helped to have the vote of confidence from you that it was a good decision :D Thanks heaps & heaps for that :D

Hope you're all having a good week ... I managed to read a couple of blogs today, but haven't been commenting - I refuse to mark any feeds as read until I've read them, though ... and hopefully after this weekend and having the pressure taken off from my deadlines, I'll be able to get back to blogging daily again :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Help requested

It's been a while since I posted (and even longer since I read anyone's blogs), and I still have no stitching to share, but I'd like to ask your advice about something, if that's OK ...

I'm almost ready to start the Bordeaux Sampler with Carol - I've been drooling over this one ever since she mentioned it, and finally succumbed to the arm-twisting I'd been giving myself ... the VC silks have arrived, but now I'm struggling over my fabric choices. The chart calls for 36ct Magnolia Lakeside Linens, which according to the LL website is equivalent to DMC 3865 ... which according to another webside is also the equivalent to 36ct Antique White Edinborough linen. Aside from the fact I would have to buy a huge piece, and it's incredibly expensive, I'm also eager to start working on this very very soon, and don't want to wait for months for a hand-dyed fabbie to arrive (and the LL would be over US$40 plus postage!). The design is 131 stitches wide x 394 stitches high - if I include a 4" margin on each side, this makes the fabric needed to be 16" x 30" ... the stitching itself measures 8" x 22" ... hence my dilemma - I have sitting in my stash a piece of Edinburgh antique white linen that is 18" x 27" - if I use that it will mean a margin of only 2.5" on the top and bottom ... do you think that would be OK?? I really don't want to have to buy more if I can get away with it - and I was thinking I could add a small strip of calico to both ends, to help give more space for lacing/framing ... anyway, I'd love to know what you all think, before I commit myself to buying more fabbie :D

With actual stitching, I'm almost finished with both my exchange pieces, so that's my priority this week and weekend, along with my Batman logo for the charity quilt block, as the deadlines are next week for all of them! Hence part of the reason I've been avoiding blog reading etc - I'm trying to devote all my free time now to getting those finished. I thought I had plenty of time, but all of a sudden the deadline is around the corner without me realising it had snuck up on me! After those commitments are out the way, I still have two more exchanges to finish (scissors fob and mail art) - then I'd really love to catch up on my Bunnies in my Garden SAL piece, and was thinking I could take that with me to NZ during my visit in case I get chance to have some quiet stitching time in the evenings. All this talk of commitment stitching brings me to the SBQ's, as I forgot I hadn't answered the last one yet ...

19 April's SBQ was suggested by Jenna and is:

"Do you do obligation or deadline-based stitching? Why or why not? If you do, do you tend to get in over your head and why?"
I've only just started doing deadline-based stitching - by joining the SBEBB I thought it was a good chance to increase my confidence in stitching 'smalls', and a wonderful way to exchange stitched gifts with others. To say I've stitched a number of gifts for other people, my close friends don't stitch, so I've never received a stitched gift especially with me in mind in return - the first thing I've ever received that someone else has made was the Christmas ornie from Jenna last year, so it will always be treasured :) I've also been stitching my first charity quilt blocks for Quilts4Kids this year (3 finished and posted so far, with another one due this month, and two more I've signed up for over the next couple of months), as well as the panel of names for the World Trade Center charity quilt. I think in my enthusiasm for joining in with everything, I've definitely bitten off a bit more than I should have done in one hit - I'm dying to get back to my rotation, and find I can't until I've finished my deadlines. That's not to say I'm not enjoying doing my commitment stitching, it's just that I've found it hard juggling that and my own stitching mainly because everything seems to be due around the same time. With the next two charity quilt blocks, I've chosen projects more around the stitching deadline than around the actual theme, to give me a break. I've also added a charity block "slot" into my rotation for when I get back into it, so that I can stitch a block as part of my normal rotation - much easier to stick to the deadline that way. I'm also supposed to be doing a number of SAL's with the Yahoo Stitching Smalls group, but with all the other commitments happening, I've had to put my participation to one side, which is disappointing - hence in future I'll be more limited in what I sign up for! My problem at the moment is that I want to join in with everything, so I keep signing up ... then struggling to meet the deadlines 'cos I want to do everything else as well!!

Now I want to make a list of my actual commitment deadlines coming up - this is more for my own use and memory than anything else ... and it seems like the perfect place to jot it down - and that's not including the SAL's that I've committed myself to (at least one a month yikes!!):

* 12 May - Melanie's Exchange (SBEBB)
* 15 May - Biscornu Exchange (SBEBB)
* 15 May - Batman logo quilt block (Jordan B)
* 25 May - Scissors fob exchange (StitchNZ)
* 5 June - Mail Art Exchange (SBEBB)
* 22 June - final Christmas RR ornie (Ornaments RRBB)
* 1 July - Round Robin first posting (my first real RR)
* 15 July - Racing cars quilt block (Jay B)
* 15 August - Dragon quilt block (Caitlin R)

3 May's SBQ is:

"Do you or have you stitched with over-dyed threads? (Weeks Dye Works, The Gentle Art Sampler Threads, Six Strand Sweets, etc.) If so, what is your opinion concerning them? If not, why not?"
Yes, I've stitched with a number of overdyed threads, especially WDW, GAST, Needle Necessities and more recently Carrie's Threads - I love the look of overdyed threads in stitching, but I have to admit to not enjoying doing the actual stitching ... I don't like stitching every XS cross individually, as I find it slows me down considerably, but that's the only downside. It's interesting how each thread feels so different - I love the feel of Carrie's Threads and NN more than the WDW/GAST when I'm stitching with them. I've been using them quite a bit just lately with exchanges etc, and just love them to bits! :D

And just a little photo from my collection from a friend's wedding out by Bethell's Beach in the countryside of Auckland, New Zealand (seeing as I have no stitching piccies to share yet again - geez I'm getting boring LOL). Actually the weather in this photo matches our Melbourne weather today - grey, overcast and drizzly!