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.

Friday, June 30, 2006

101 Things

OK, I finally pulled my finger out and completed this tonight ... and realised I'm just in time to actually start this tomorrow, 1 July - awesome!! So, here goes ... the list of the century (for me, anyway) - it will be interesting seeing if I can get things crossed off in time :D


The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie represent some amount of work on your part).

Start Date: 1 July 2006
End Date: 28 March 2009 (thanks Jenna for working those out and saving me the time LOL)

1. Finish a Teresa Wentzler design
2. Try a new embroidery technique at least once a year
3. Spend at least 3 days a week doing some form of stitching, even if only 10 minutes a day
4. Complete a stumpwork piece by Jane Nicholas
5. Complete 3-4 charity quilt squares every year
6. Complete a Chatelaine design
7. Join in with a needleroll SAL once every month
8. Learn how to make a flat-fold finish
9. Learn how to make a tuck pillow
10. Learn how to make a quilted wallhanging
11. Learn how to dye my own floss and fabrics
12. Make an inventory of my embroidery fabrics
13. Organise my embroidery stash better (eg get some Ikea drawers/bookshelves etc)
14. Get a display unit for my embroidery smalls
15. Make a quilt for my bed
16. Make a mosaic top outdoor table
17. Stitch at least one Christmas ornament every 1-2 months
18. Stitch a design by Just Nan
19. Stitch a design by Drawn Thread
20. Stitch a piece of Hardanger
21. Try stitching a piece of Schwalmwork
22. Go the Victoria Embroiderers Guild at least once every two months
23. Keep my stitching journal and photo album updated every month
24. Attend a Stitching & Craft needlework show in Melbourne

25. Learn to make cappuccinos on home coffee machine
26. Have people round for dinner at least once every 6 months
27. Try a new cocktail once a month
28. Cook at least one recipe out of every cookbook I own
29. Do some sort of baking once every two months
30. Use breadmaker at least once every two months
31. Cook from a new recipe at least once a month

32. Travel to Perth
33. Travel to Ayers Rock
34. Travel to Hong Kong
35. Visit Coffs Harbour and buy pottery mugs by my favourite potter
36. Fly business class on an international flight
37. Go to CATS in Hershey
38. Travel to Canada and visit Dad’s side of the family
39. Have a photo taken with the tigers at Dreamworld
40. Visit every Australian state at least once
41. Drive from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour up the East Coast
42. Visit Sydney
43. Visit New Zealand

44. Go to an AFL game
45. Go hot air ballooning
46. Go to the theatre
47. Go to the ballet
48. Go out for breakfast to a café once a month
49. Go to the movies at once every 6 months
50. Go to the Melbourne Museum
51. Visit the Immigration Museum
52. Go to an “Ice Bar”
53. Meet some more of my online blogging pals face-to-face
54. Take a ferry ride from Southbank to Williamstown
55. Go 4-wheel adventure driving
56. Go up to the Observation deck of the Rialto building
57. Watch at least one new, previously unseen, movie every fortnight

58. Read at least one fictional book every 6 months
59. Read a book of poetry
60. Read at least one non-fiction book every year

61. Learn how to build a website/blog myself
62. Learn to use Microsoft Access database
63. Learn basic French
64. Learn how to use my Nikon digital camera properly
65. Take, and complete, a new class at least once a year (eg correspondence course or physical class in any subject)
66. Learn basic woodworking skills
67. Take a basic HTML course

68. Lose at least 20kg
60. Start doing yoga at least once a week
70. Complete a body combat session at least once a week
71. Drink water daily
72. Listen to music at least an hour every week
73. Go for a bike ride around the bays
74. Manage to wear a size 16 top
75. Go out walking at least 3 times a week
76. Do a walking track (eg Milford Track)
77. Take multivitamins every day

78. Sell something on Ebay
79. Put curtains up in lounge and fix curtains in main bedroom
80. Sell Nikon SLR camera bodies
81. Try a SuDoku puzzle
82. Start up photography again
83. Get an iPod
84. Plant a herb garden in pots … and keep it alive!
85. Have a proper bra fitting, and buy some pretty matching lingerie
86. Buy a new 3-piece lounge suite that I will want to sit on and use, and make my home environment more inviting
87. Blog at least 3 times a week (both writing and reading)
88. Get a new UK passport
89. Get my duck watercolour painting framed and hanging on a wall
90. Be better at remembering birthdays and special events – send a birthday card/email at least once a month
91. Get a facial with eyelash tinting and brow shaping at least once every six months
92. Get new glasses for driving
93. Clean out my wardrobe leaving only those items that make me feel good and give me pleasure to wear
94. Organise a RAK at least once every 6 months
95. Keep the dining table free of clutter every week
96. Finish unpacking and get rid of clutter in spare bedroom
97. Get a piece of stitching or artwork framed once every year

98. Pay off my credit cards
99. Start a separate savings account and put away $50 every month

100. Update this list every month
101. When 1001 days are up, update this list and start the process all over again :D

Shock at the Post Office

Well, my little ducks are now flapping their wings across the Pacific Ocean on their way to Canada. I got a shock at the Post Office today - I understood I could insure my parcels so that they're 'trackable', and it costs an extra $7.50 to do that ... today, though, I find that Canada is one of the very few countries (along with Germany) that you can't insurance parcels to ... the only option for tracking purposes is to send it as a courier parcel ... for $43.00 aaaarghhhh!!!!!!! I wish I'd been told that earlier, as we could have jiggled the mailing list somehow so I was posting either to the USA or UK, as they're both insurance option countries ... bl**dy hell, is all I can say - definitely takes the shine off the RR in a way, as I'll potentially be up for almost $150 in postage throughout the RR postings {{picture forlorn face here LOL}}. I'm looking at other options, to see if it's worthwhile for a friend in the USA to receive them, then forward on over the border ... but time will tell whether that's an option or not. Today, however, my little ducks are winging their way over the pond uninsured and definitely not in a courier bag ... I figure if they go missing, it's just my work that's been lost - I wouldn't dare do that with someone else's masterpiece, though ...

Mum also has a parcel of DMC on its way to her, seeing as she's now officially addicted to stitching Christmas ornaments ... I told her to make a list of colours she needed for her entire wishlist, and I've managed to fill her request with about 60-70 skeins of DMC from my stash - that should keep her out of trouble for a while!! :D

Now because I have no stitching to present, here are the last three SBQ's (oops, didn't realise I was so far behind - story of my life where blogging's concerned just lately!!) ...

14 June - Today's SBQ was suggested by Angela and is:
"How many cross stitch books do you own and how often do you use them?"

If we're just specifying "cross stitch" books, I have a few that have been bought in various bookstore sales, but I don't honestly use them at all, as they're too simplistic. I do have quite a large number of embroidery books, some of which I drool over regularly, and some I'll eventually make a project out of ... one day ;) I regularly use some of the books that have stitch instructions, eg A-Z of Embroidery Stitches etc ... there are waaaay too many to list here, though ...

21 June - Today's SBQ was suggested by Vash and is:
"Have you ever used a magnifying glass while stitching? If so, did you find it helpful?"

Nope, not yet - I haven't had a great deal of difficulty to see while stitching yet, although my best stitching tool is my daylight lamp. The small desktop version one I have has a magnifying glass on top of it, but I don't use it.

29 June - Today's SBQ was suggested by Cheryl and is:
"What do you do with your charts once you've stitched them? Do you keep them or dispose of them? If you keep them, do you organize them in a way that is different from the way you keep your unstitched charts?"

I used to have a separate folder for "stitched" charts, so they were quick to lay my hands on if anyone asked for details from them, or I decided to put them up for trade/give away ... now everything is just lumped in together.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Dance

Yippee, I managed to get my ducks square complete for my round robin - they're just gorgeous, if I say so myself ... of course I have to say that, though, as they're ducks!! (These ones are called Redheads) :D It's stitched on 32ct ivory Lugana, and the way I envisage it all is framed, with the four squares with a darkish green matt so each individual square will be surrounded in the matt - does that make sense? The whole thing is square in size, with two ducks on the top, and two on the bottom. Unfortunately I didn't have a piece of fabric the ideal size, so I've had to scrimp on the side edges of this - but I'm going to attach a strip of fabric to each side to allow the framing when it arrives home again. I hope everyone enjoys stitching on it as much as I have (but of course I'm biased, 'cos I'm duck-mad!).

Aside from that, nothing to post about really ... I'm a bit braindead today, after not getting much sleep last night. Fraze came over and I took him out for a belated birthday dinner, then we had a few drinks at home before hitting the hay at about 1am - I was awake at 5am, and took forever to get back to sleep again, then the alarm went off at 7am for Fraze to go to work. If nothing else, it'll get me back into early bed mode tonight ready for my early start at work myself tomorrow :)

The next slot on my rotation is smalls/ornaments, so I think I'll try to get an ornament stitched up, seeing as I haven't met my monthly commitments yet with that. I was hoping to stitch the Quaker Christmas Bulb from a JCS ornie issue, but my three WDW threads still haven't arrived in the mail (I still have a backorder from SB&B waiting for a French chart to arrive, along with some threads I'm desperate for), so that's a no-go yet ... I still have one ornament to stitch from my Ornament Round Robin group, so that'll probably be what I'll end up stitching next ...

Thanks again for all your supportive comments about my privacy intrusion - I've managed to get over it, and don't intend changing at all. I'm hoping it was just a once-off, and life will be back to its scheduled programming with no changes ... after all, this is who I am and this is my private space :D

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Great Mail Day :)

I didn't get chance to take piccies yesterday, so waited until today to post ... I received an awesome mail art exchange from Aniza in Malaysia - and I absolutely love it! Aniza also sent some gorgeous threads with it too, and it's now residing happily in my stitching smalls basket with my other treasures. I have to admit I feel very embarrassed at my pitiful attempt at mail art, and I really hope Zohrah doesn't mind it ... Aniza's beautiful one puts mine to shame!! Thanks again, Aniza! :D Hopefully if you click on the piccies, it'll take you to the big piccies so you can see a close-up of her lovely work :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thoughtful 24 hours

Last night I sat reviewing my blog habits, and wondering whether I should change the way I post, or the way my blog is set up. What started this is that I received a request on my home email via this blog, for a work-related issue, asking for a favour to fix something for them ... To be honest I felt quite shocked that this should happen, as it was an intrusion bringing work into my personal life ... I mulled over whether I talk about my work too much, or do I give too much detail, perhaps I shouldn't talk about work at all ... but then again, it is a large part of my life - I didn't think I give too many details, but perhaps the limited amount I do write is too much? I also considered removing my email address from my blog profile ... and may still do this - but then again, part of me thinks I shouldn't have to change things. I'm not sure why this small action has made me feel so uncomfortable ... but after all, this is a personal blog, and I am a person just like everyone else, and I'm sharing all facets of my life for those who care to read - especially family that are offshore and interested in all aspects of my life. Like most people, I work for a living to pay my bills ... but when I leave work at the end of the day, I don't take it home with me, and I felt shocked to have it delivered to my doorstep. I still feel uncomfortable a day later ... I don't know why, but I do ... It wouldn't have been too bad if it was from someone I'd already built a rapport with via our mutual blogs ... Perhaps I'm more sensitive to it due to being tired from my shifts ... Anyway, moving on ...

I'm on the homeward stretch of my ducks RR - I was hoping to get it finished today, but I ended up sleeping in until midday after not getting to sleep until 2am (I just love trying to get back into a routine after night shift haha), then lay in bed reading Dean Koontz until 2.30pm ... oops, there went a big chunk of my stitching time today! I have about 2 hours left before I head out the door for a dinner near work ... but hopefully I'll have the final piccie to share some time tomorrow. In the meantime, here's an archival Stitching Meme question to close:

1. What is your favorite count and type of fabric?
2. Do you use hand-dyed or tried them at all?
3. Any favorite fabric colors, hand-dyed or regular?
4. Have you tried opalescent fabrics and do you like them?

1. Favourite count is 32ct, and love linens, but also love Lugana evenweaves - not overly fond of Jobelan, although I have some in my stash to use up. Am stitching on 36ct for the first time with the Bordeaux Mystery Sampler, and enjoying it so far, so I might try some more of the higher count linens in the future.

2. Yes, I've recently started using hand-dyed fabbies - again, I prefer linens though as I find the Lugana hand-dyeds tend to be harder to stitch on as the holes appear smaller to me. I bought a custom piece of Lugana for Egyptian Garden Mandala, but I just couldn't find the holes easily, got fed up and ended up ordering another piece in linen instead.

3. Favourite colours, hmmmm ... not yet - I like the more neutral colours, as I guess they're more versatile, but I don't really have one clear favourite yet.

4. I tried an opalescent fabric for the Love needleroll ornament by Jeannette Douglas, and I love it - I'm also stitching Egyptian Garden Mandala on an opalescent Belfast, and like that too.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ducks Round Robin

Just a quick note for Leslie - the duck square I'm stitching is from the Stoney Creek afghan series called "Wings of the Wild" ... you can still buy the back issues from Stoney Creek - here's the link to the right page, so you can see the details of the aghan. I'm also duck crazy, so I could just about tell you every duck design ever made (and probably have at least half of them in my stash haha).

Nothing else to report, except that I'm very very grateful my shift has finished (it's now 5.55am and I've just walked in the door ... so I'm waiting 10 minutes for my blanket to warm up a bit). I usually love the night shift, but I've really struggled with these ones - I've only just started coming right after my cold/virus, and after a really stressful first shift my throat has been killing me, with a dry cough, and what feels like the onset of an infection ... hence the reason I've struggled for the next two nights. Fingers crossed it won't escalate any further, and I can nip it in the bud during my days off :)

And just to keep my fingers moving for a couple more minutes, here's an 'old' stitchers meme to fill in a gap ...
1. What types of stitching and design styles appeal to you most?
2. What types and styles don't appeal?

1. I like designers with bright and vibrant colours, and those with extra accents such as beading and metallics. I also love designs with different stitches that add a nice variety to the stitching. I'm not overly keen on pastels for stitching myself (especially pinks), but like to see the finished articles stitched in them. I'm taking more of a liking to quaker designs, and stitching smalls. To be honest I have a pretty eclectic taste in designs and designers - it's easier to answer the next question ...
2. I dislike country or folk designs, and really don't like historical samplers at all. There you go, that was easy! :D

OK, my bed should be warmed up a bit by now, so off to beddy-byes again for another night ... um, I mean "day" ;P

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Last night shift yippee!

Can't wait for tonight to all be over ... it's my final 9pm-5am shift, then I get three full days off to catch up on my sleep etc and get my body clock back into order (technically it's 4 days off, but I won't be out of bed until the afternoon tomorrow, so I don't count that one). I haven't had the energy to sit at my PC the last couple of days, so I've been sat working on my round robin piece. I haven't been too stressed over the deadline for this one, as I knew I had this shift coming up, and I usually get plenty of stitching time in ... so I can finally show a stitching piccie that's worth seeing - with luck this will be ready to get in the mail by the middle of the week :)

Just a quick post before I head off to work again ...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Home Sweet Home"

That's how I feel right now ... tonight's shift has been the worst one we've had in AGES! I managed to smile through the whole thing, but I feel absolutely exhausted, and my shoulders are killing me from all the tension they're holding ... the phones haven't stopped all night, and it's just been feral, for want of a better word. Three airports were closed due to fog, and people stranded all over the place, and we copped the brunt of it all trying to rebook people, and take their abuse when we can't get them on a flight at the time they want etc ... because we rule the weather, of course!! They've been offering overtime all night, and normally I'd jump at the chance of the extra money, but I just didn't have the energy left to deal with it ... and like the Supervisor said, we'll need our energy resources for tonight, so no point pushing ourselves too hard.

So, here I am just for a couple of minutes while waiting for my electric blanket to crank up a tiny bit of heat ... just enough to take the chill off the sheets will be plenty, then I hope to fall into an exhausted sleep. I usually struggle to get 8 hours sleep on this shift, and usually get quite a broken sleep, but fingers crossed I'll sleep through this time ... I need to get some decent sleep, 'cos otherwise I'll be stuffed when I get up, and I have important stitching to be done! ;)

I have to say today that I LOVED listening to the start of The Narrows book - it was wonderful! I really love the fact that it ties in characters from Blood Work as well, as that's the only other book of Michael Connelly's that I've read. For those that have commented, I can get limited books on tape at the library here, but the selection is a bit sad, and not many of the 'main name' authors - I've been hunting for The Narrows for a while, but no luck so far, and I've been aching to read it for months. I do have to admit I've been reading a book for the last week for about 1/2 an hour each night as I've been going to bed, but it's a book that isn't on my "must read" list, so I don't mind dragging out the reading over a month or so - when I read my fave authors everything else in life stops, as I can't put it down ... hence the reason I don't want to pick up a 'good book' right now, as I know my stitching commitments will well and truly go out the window ... the book I'm reading is Dean Koontz' "Seize the Night" - I've never read his books before, and I'm enjoying it so far ... he has a very easy reading style, with a touch of humour to his characters, with a Stephen King style type of book theme.

Anyway, enough yapping - I'm off to take a chance on that blanket ... it's 5.45am, and beddy-byes, here I come!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wagon detour ...

Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I spent money on stitching stuff today ... shhhh...............

Well, actually, it's not technically correct that I fell off the Wagon, as this is a stitching accessory that's not actually a stitching item ;P ... I've been dying to 'read' Michael Connelly's sequel to The Poet, and my priorities have been more with stitching than reading lately, so ...........

I succumbed to the temptation and bought it as an audiobook so I can finally sit and listen to it yippee!! The prices of audiobooks are certainly not cheap, are they? This might just be a one-off ... unless there's an Ebay sale on audiobooks haha ... But I'm very very happy to finally get to read it :D

I miss reading ...

Decision getting easier

I kept changing my mind all the way into work yesterday - on one stretch of road I was imagining sharing with Sheree and all was good, then on the next stretch I was loving my own space ... I have to admit, my gut was telling me I'm not ready to move yet before I actually left home, and when I got to work Sheree didn't even bring the topic up throughout the whole time. She has two weeks left before she has to move out, so I guess her needs are greater, as I've already said I won't break my lease for it, and have two months left before my lease is up. So, to some extent, that made the decision for me - I'm staying where I am for now, in my beautiful and idyll location (if less than idyll flat LOL) ... but I'm going to start getting "home alerts" via email with new flats as they come up so I can keep an eye on the market if something better comes up back in Box Hill/Doncaster that's cheaper but still good quality accommodation, and we'll see what happens. It means that way I can start getting the bond money etc together and putting it to one side 'just in case' - but in the meantime I'm going to continue enjoying my time here :) That was definitely an interesting exercise to go through though ...

Today I start my overnight shifts, from 9pm to 5am so I'll be less than sociable for a couple of days haha. Tonight I get my hair cut before work, though, and I can't wait!! My hairdresser got married and took a month off work, so I had to wait for just over 8 weeks to get my hair cut again - it was due for a cut while I was in NZ - last week, the day before my hair was being cut, I find out she's resigned and I don't have a hairdresser anymore - would have been nice to know it was happening, as I could have got my old Auckland stylist to cut it hmmm. So now I'm getting another hairdresser in the same salon in Box Hill to cut it - I hate new hairdressers, it's so hard to find a good one ... it took me over a year to find Fiona hmmm. Oh well, it means I have about 1 1/2 hours to kill before I start work at 9pm, so I can have some dinner at Box Hill at one of my fave restaurants yippee ... see, there's always a silver lining! :D

Rightio, I'm heading off to stitch like crazy to get my RR ducks worked on ... that deadline is soooooo close - better get cracking!!

Thanks for all your comments of support - they're much appreciated! :D

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More thinking overnight ...

... As I knew would happen, I had a broken sleep last night, and now feel like I haven't slept - still mulling over all the pros and cons of moving vs staying etc. I have to admit, the main pros of sharing with Sheree is the financial differences - but then again, Sheree has a very high taste in accommodation, so the monthly rental overall will be higher (but of course split between the two of us, so still a general saving) ... she was talking about paying $180 a week when she was looking at shared accom - and seeing as I'm paying $240 a week on my own, that's a saving of $60 a week in rent on its own, and of course the phone etc would be halved too.

To be honest, though, my preference is still to live on my own - although with Sheree, she's a shift worker at work as well, so you'd get a lot of time to yourself still. It would also be nice company occasionally ... but in answer to your question, Heather, no she doesn't XS and is a different personality, probably partly due to the age difference - there's 10 years difference in our ages, and she's a 'party animal' and out dating all the time - so I'd probably have to put up with having people over regularly ... which isn't necessarily all bad, but I've got used to having quiet time in my home hours, I guess.

I also think she wants an apartment building again, with security doors and secure parking - whereas there are some things about apartment living I like, I've recently been considering the cons about it as well ... perhaps another reason why I was quick to start looking at options of moving as well. I love the security - especially on the 3rd floor, I have no problems with people breaking in through the windows etc. And while I have a parking spot at the back of the building, I have to admit I'm getting sick of having it covered in possum poo all the time! LOL. The main thing that I've been thinking about is that you're at the mercy of other tenants ... in that if someone leaves something electrical on by accident, the whole place goes up in flames, even if you're always really careful. It'd also be quite nice to be able to do a huge pile of shopping and stock up, without having to take 50 trips up 4 flights of stairs ...

If it was for the accommodation alone, I'd jump at the opportunity of moving to a single level unit. The thing that's really tugging at me to stay (and the only thing) is the location, and how it makes me feel here. I love coming home - I love to see the lorikeets flying overhead every night when I'm home, and I love knowing I'm so close to the beach, even if I'm not spending time there. It's also lovely knowing I'm so close to the cafe society at Acland Street ... it's awesome to wander up with visitors and spend the day - but then again, I don't go there as often as I could on my own ...

Then again, I miss being close to a really good supermarket - Coles at Elsternwick is appalling, so I end up buying most of my groceries at Safeway in Camberwell before driving home. I do miss some of the asian restaurants at Box Hill, though.

I'd already said to Mum etc earlier that I'd do my 12 months here, and then decide whether I should move back out east to save money ... so I guess the time is up to start thinking about it ... if I move out with Sheree, I don't have much time to decide - but if I move out on my own, I have leisure on my side (as long as my agent doesn't put the rent up ... he originally wanted $265 a week for this place, but no-one was renting it - the owner took on a new agent, who got him to drop the price, and I was lucky enough to be the first to look at it and grabbed it rightaway).

Anyway, better start getting organised for the day ... I'll have my thoughts hopefully more in place after talking to Sheree ... :)

Changes in the Wind ...

... My mind is ticking over, and it has nothing to do with stitching ... I've just spent the last 4 hours since coming in from work poring over rental accommodation website listings, and my mind is working overtime. The fact is one of the girls at work, who I like quite a lot, has had her flatmate move out, so she's having to find somewhere else to live, and having a hard time finding a shared accommodation that she likes etc. Initially I thought "hmmm, perhaps an opportunity to share rent with someone" ... then I dismissed it as I love living on my own most of the time. Anyway, I started reconsidering it again today, as there are many benefits, not only financial - that of extra company etc, and being able to afford a nicer place between the two of us etc. We haven't had time to sit down and chat about it yet, but tomorrow we'll take some time out and talk about it a bit, to see if it would be viable.

But it all got me thinking, and I've been online checking out 3-bedroom places that would be options for us ... boy, oh boy, it beats my crummy little flat big time! Now don't get me wrong - this place has served me well, but it's far from being a perfect home ... and I'm starting to think that I'd be better suited moving back to Box Hill again - I absolutely adore the location where I live, but that's part of the reason I'm paying through the nose for a scummy little flat that's had very little work done to it since the 1960's hmmm. Well, I could actually pay the same amount of money and have a unit all to myself, where I could even have a little back yard or courtyard, as well as a kitchen that I'd actually like to cook in ... and a separate laundry, rather than having the washing machine in the bathroom.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me - I'd really miss the beach etc here, and being a stone's throw from Acland Street cafes etc, but then again I'd save in travelling costs, and I'd be closer to my new friends Sharon and Gina ... tonight it all seems like a bloody good idea - I guess I'll have to see what daylight brings haha.

Regardless, I have another two months left on my current lease, so I've got plenty of time to mull things over and see if I really want to go through all the moving again ... plus I'll see what Sheree has to say tomorrow ... Don't know if I'll be getting too much sleep tonight mulling everything over ... Plus I'd also have to come up with about $2,000 up front again, with the moving costs on top ho-hum ...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stitching Memes

Seeing as I have nothing to post today (lost for words, that's unusual for me!) - so I'll do a couple of meme answers instead, then I'm off to put a few stitches into my ducks ...

"What "rules" do you make for yourself regarding your stitching? (These can include finishes, starts, purchases, rotations, hours, fabrics, flosses, etc, etc..) "

Um ... none really ... unless outside influences come into play. As for finishes, I like to have them, but don't stress if I don't - I don't limit myself to starting something new only if I finish "X" number of pieces first ... I start what I want whenever I want, generally. I have been trying to stick to a rotation, and really love it, and manage to get a lot of progress done when I do stick to it ... but again, if life gets in the way, I don't stress too much (mind you, I've been physically aching to get back into it again). I try to stick to a 10-hour rotation. The only 'outside' influence to my stash enhancing would be lack of funds - otherwise I generally enjoy increasing my stash, even if I'll never stitch it all ... I get just as much fun from fondling my stash than the actual stitching :D

"1. Have you ever participated in a SAL on one of the BB's or with people in RL? How did it go?
2. If no, why not? and would you ever consider do so?"
Yes, I've signed up for a couple of SAL's on the StitchingSmalls Yahoo group, but only participated properly for one of them ... I was going great and really loving it until I fell behind, and could never find the time to catch up, so I kinda lost interest in it. This was my Marine Elegance piece - and to be honest, I tried picking it up again during my last Guild visit, but kept having to frog as I couldn't see the fabric threads properly ... it's still laying down in disgrace in my bedroom ... one day it'll get done, though ... Aside from that, I'm just starting an informal personal SAL with Carol for Bordeaux (Mystery) Sampler, and also about to start Strawberries So Faire with StitchingSmalls group ... I really want to keep up with this one though! :D

One SAL I did enjoy was a mystery sampler in Wessex stitchery that I did with the Counties Guild in Auckland ... it was the first time I'd attempted a 'mystery' sampler (and a lot of specialty stitches), and the first time I'd ever attempted to choose my own threads - each month we were given about 3 different band choices, and we had to choose which band we wanted, then chose our own threads etc, and stitched our own samplers ... I went a bit overboard and stitched almost every band, as I was really proud of the end result. Mum's hopefully bringing it over with her on the next visit, as I really want it here with me :) I chose the sayings to match some personal growth I was going through at the time - you can probably see the details if you click on each piccie :) And it got top points for the night at show and tell that week yippee :D

Well, that's it for me for today - I'm off to do some stitching while watching Rove ... 3pm start tomorrow, so I get a sleep in yippee :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

More enabling ...

After this week, my flat is an "enabling-free zone" ... thanks to KarenV, I've fallen in love with yet another chart, and have had to place an order ... for the Lavender Rose Sewing Case by Fancy Works. I have to admit I was umm-ing and ahh-ing until I saw these two latest releases today by Wendy Causer, of Wendy K C Designs - Bee's Garden and Summer Hearts ... well, that was the deciding factor, as I can now justify the postage cost. That means I'm officially back on the stash wagon again ... unless I need a specific fabric or thread to complete a "must do" design, I'm not buying any more charts until my birthday ... that's right, no more charts until at least February. I'm getting the Mystery Bits each month now from SB&B, which are only for threads on my wishlist, so that'll keep me in stash heaven every month until then :)

Thanks to Nicki's generosity, and a top up from myself (due to an extra fortnight's pay yippee), I had a major Drawn Thread stash fest in the last SB&B back order, as well as receiving my Designing Ladies finishing instructions for the Stitching Leporello (thanks again Nicki!), TW's Tropical Dream and Just Nan's Beach Roses - lucky last, I also received LHN's Coffee House Menu ... not my usual style, but I just love this one stitched up :) So, finally two weeks after returning home, here's the last stash photo, seeing as there are no stitching piccies again today (a whole lot of basting isn't too exciting to show you, and that's all I got done yesterday). The Drawn Thread charts are For the Birds, Sunflower Bellpull, Little Learning Band - The Acorn Sampler, Autumn Arbor, and It's Halloween ... now you can see why it's easy to go on a stash diet! :D
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

"They're baaaaack!!!"

No, it's not yet another re-run of Poltergeist ... but the return of the Dratteds :D I felt absolutely miserable and sorry for myself today, so I cheered myself up with starting my rotation again - I didn't think I'd ever say the Dratteds would bring me so much joy, but it was definitely what the doctor ordered. I sat all day with my bung knee, bunged up and intermittently dripping nose, and heavy eyes due to lack of sleep (add to that a certain monthly visitor showing its head today hmmm) and stitched my little heart out ... and I enjoyed every minute of it. My eyes are now like little squints, but fingers crossed I'll sleep better tonight.

I can't believe how long it's been since I worked on the Dratteds (and any of my rotation, for that matter) - it was December last year since they saw daylight ... so I've decided to do a 'before and after' shot to see the progress :) Basically the entire left hand side is now 100% finished yippee. I'd dearly love to see them finished before year end, even if none of my other goals are met ... hopefully it will happen ... As they say in Arabic, "imshallah" (God willing) :)


Miss Cranky Pants

Yep, that's me this morning ... didn't get to bed until after midnight, but was out like a light almost immediately, then semi woke up at 4am ... only to have a spider dream where the damn thing was dropping down from the ceiling with it's huge hairy legs wiggling right by my head - my heart was pounding, and the sheer terror had me bolting upright from bed and hastily running to the door and lightswitch ... only problem is that I'd piled up a whole lot of 'stuff' to clear out today and ended up falling over it and ploughing into the corner of the wooden bed frame - I now have a nice graze and simmering bruise on my left knee, that was throbbing most of the night. I was tossing and turning the rest of the 'night'. Bloody spiders ... mutter mutter mutter ...

An answer for Heather - reversible blackwork isn't at all hard, but you do have to concentrate really hard to make sure you follow the directions correctly. The class I did was a correspondence class through the Embroiderers Guild of America, and the teaching notes are awesome - every block is mapped out step by step with numerical sequences ... I managed to stuff up three blocks, but the rest look pretty good, and it's a piece I'm really proud of. Took me a looooong time to stitch it, and eventually it'll be turned into a draughts board. I'd definitely do it again - and I have the teaching notes as a great reference for life now :)

Rightio, on to an archive question from Memes for Stitchers, seeing as there is no stitching again today ("yet" anyway - that might be what I need to cheer me up LOL):
What do you think of Chatelaine designs? have you ever stitched one or do you want to? What do you like/dislike about them? And finally how do you feel about projects that cost over $150 in supplies?

I adore Chatelaine almost all of the mandala designs, and would dearly love to stitch a few of them, but I have to admit the price of supplies keeps me from doing as many as I'd like to. Egyptian Garden is sitting on my old tapestry frame Mum brought from NZ for me on her last visit (it's the only one I owned that had scroll bars long enough, and I didn't see the point of buying another set) - I have to really know I'm going to stitch it before going to the expense of buying everything ... and the price makes it a priority for stitching. Can't wait to get this back into my rotation again soon :) I also have the Stitching Leporello ready for starting now, as my supplies arrived while I was away in NZ yippee ... just have to find time to fit it in again now. Would have been nice to keep up with the SAL, but now I'm three months behind, I don't feel very motivated to catch up :(

Friday, June 16, 2006

SBQ ... part two (3rd post today!)

OK, 2nd time lucky for my stitching nest piccies ...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The second request comes from Singular Stitches, and she is asking for "a pictorial tour of [the] special place that you go to create your wonderful stitched creations."
The first piccie is my permanent stitching area - only a few of my stitching folders are in the bookcase, with the rest of my stash in my bedroom closet, and spare bedroom (still unpacked since I freighted it over at the start of the month). The plastic tub holds my DMC collection, with my stitching tools etc in the basket. My essential tools are there - my floorstand and my OTTlite ... as well as my cuddle blanket for my legs now the colder weather is here. Then I have a couple of WIP's tucked in the corner on scroll bars, and my latest addition, a bin to hold my empty scrollbars (they won't be empty for long once I get back to my rotation!). Lucky last is my little folding table with other essentials ... my ort-bag from Toby, highlighter pens, Tacky Bob from Carol, tub of udder cream and wet facecloth for my hands. The great thing about living on my own is that I can have everything cluttered in the lounge without annoying anyone haha. (You should be able to click on each piccie for the up close and personal versions ...)

Straight ahead of me is the other essential tool for stitching - my TV for watching DVD's LOL. As you can see, one cover is missing from the furniture, as it's still in NZ (I forgot to bring it home with me oops). My next spending when I have the money will be a new lounge suite and table - although, our $150 garage sale lounge suite has tided us over very well, and the sofa bed is very very comfy (shame the sofa itself isn't the same!) - and I'm using the table that Frazier made at high school in woodwork class (his Dad sold it to me for $20 hmmm). As you can see, at the moment that little table is housing my basket of smalls.

From where I sit, off to the left is my little nest of tables, where my Melanie's exchange from Jenna is currently residing happily :) It's joined with a 'seed' picture I gave Grandy a few years before she passed away, so it's now back with me again. I brought it back with me from NZ, so it will always remind me of her when I see it. I had a bit of difficulty getting it through Customs - but once I told them it was of sentimental value, and why, they let me through with it without any further problems - go Customs guys!! :D My poor sunflowers have seen better days, but I haven't found any nice ones to replace them with yet.

Behind my stitching chair is my dining/balcony area - when it's a nice day, I can pull my stitching chair right back in front of the windows to make the most of the daylight - but it's usually where my laundry ends up drying every week ;) You can see my new 'short' curtains :) The colour's really dark, though - the blue is a bit brighter than it looks. My computer desk sits here, directly off to the left of the photo - my chair is basically where I was standing to take the piccie ... I get to look out the window and enjoy the view :)

Lucky last, this is the view as you look back from my stitching chair ... back to the dining table and the kitchen. See, I wasn't joking when I said you'd get to see half of my entire flat!! The only thing you can't see is the two bedrooms, the bathroom/laundry and toilet haha. As you can see throughout my piccies my theme of "blue" is definitely very present ... and you have probably spotted the odd duck or two around as well LOL.

So, that's it in a nutshell ... end of tour :D

SBQ ... part one

Well, I still haven't picked up a needle today, but I've done really exciting things like scrubbing the toilet and unpotting 3 of my dead plants out on the balcony, and getting a load of washing done - after all that excitement I think I need a lie down ;P

I also finally managed to get a host of photos taken to show my 'stitching nest' ... of course by doing that, you get to see half of my entire flat! LOL. So, here goes for the SBQ's: (actually, it seems that Blogger is only being half accommodating tonight - it's amazingly let me upload six stitching piccies, but no stitching NEST piccies, so I'll try again in a separate post for them ...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The first request comes from Vash who is requesting pictures of
the back of your stitching … are you brave enough to give this one a shot?

Here's the front and back of one of my very first XS attempts years ago ... um, things have improved just slightly since then ;P The Tiger design is by Ross Originals.

Here's the front (on the left) and back (on the right) of one corner of my Chess Anyone piece ... if you think they look similar, you're right, as it's stitched using reversible blackwork ;P

And my final ones - my Prairie Schooler ornament, and my Zebra (aka my Giraffe LOL).

No stitching yesterday

I was in a bit of a 'funk' yesterday - spent some time catching up on three of my favourite blog archives, but I couldn't really say what I did for the rest of the day - I think, though, that I got through the worst of my illness yesterday, and today I feel quite a bit better. My ears are still a bit 'funny', but my voice is coming back, and I'm not too bunged up. Saw a GP this morning and we agree I didn't need antibiotics just yet, so we're going to see if I can kick it in the butt naturally over the next couple of days - if not, we'll take more action. So, I now have the next three days off yippee, so plenty of time to get over these nasty bugs :)

I was just in the middle of reading Jenna's archives, and came across details about the Stitcher's Meme blog ... I think that's going to be a great thing to fill in the gaps when I don't have any stitching progress to report - and it's fun to read everyone's answers. I love all the different memes - it makes things much more personal, and you get to find out so much about people. Anyway, I decided seeing as I'm going to try to get back into blogging more often again, this would be a good way to help start ... by using some of the 'archive' questions each day, as well as answering the current ones ... and seeing as I don't have any stitching progress today, here's my opportunity to start the ball rolling with the June memes ...
Floss Storage meme:
1. How do you store your floss?
2. Do you keep a complete set of DMC?
3. Do you buy new floss to "kit" up new projects or do you use out of a master set?

1. In floss-away bags - I've tried just about every storage method, including bobbins, stitchbows, and plastic sleeves in ringbinders, and bags definitely work the best for me so far.
2. Yes, I have the complete set of DMC.
3. I use what I have on hand, and only replace when I run out. A lot of colours I have duplicates of, so I'll only buy extras when I have a large project such as a Mirabilia, and I know I need multiple skeins of one colour.

Monthly goals:
1. How did you go with your May goals?
2. What are your June goals?
I don't tend to make monthly goals, but perhaps if I did it would help me to get a few more things done, as it would help me to focus. So, even though it's halfway through June, perhaps I'll start and give it a try ...

My June goals are:

  • Kit up my racing car charity quilt square
  • Ducks RR stitched up ready for posting on 1 July
  • Start Bordeaux Mystery Sampler SAL with Carol
  • Re-start my rotation again
And the last question from May:

1. Do you have an online gallery somewhere with your cross-stitch?
2. How often do you take WIP pics?
3. Do you ever spend time looking at other stitcher's galleries? If so how often do you look at them?

1. Yes, I have a Webshots album here (there's also a link in my sidebar).
2. I take WIP pics regularly - usually at the end of each stitching day if I'm blogging about it, otherwise I just wait until it's finished (eg for exchanges, as I'm not posting progress piccies anywhere).
3. Yes, I enjoy looking at other stitchers online albums - it gives me great inspiration to see others finished works, and their WIP's ... I love to see other stitchers work :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stitching update

I had to take a day off work yesterday just to get some stitching in ... well, actually it was because I felt like cr*p, and couldn't face work - my sore throat turned into a bit of laryngitis on Tuesday night, and I hardly slept at all. When I woke up yesterday morning I felt really groggy and as though I'd been run over. This morning I still feel pretty rough - I'm more blocked up in the nose, and my throat is sore again, but my voice isn't quite as laryngitis-like. Fingers crossed I'll be OK to get back to work again tomorrow. It does mean, though, that I managed to get a bit of stitching done - and a bit of frogging too ;P I still have two stitches to fix up in the vines that I noticed I managed to miss yesterday, and they're easily added in - but I'm slowly catching up to you, Carol :D I'll continue to get this panel finished (the whole of part 1), then I have to get my ducks RR done to get in the mail by 1 July ... then it's "Dratteds, here I come!!!" :D

Just a quick post today, as my concentration at the computer isn't great - I tried catching up on some more blog reading yesterday, but I ended up reading most things three times, and gave up. Off to have another Lemsip Cold & Flu, then cuddle up under my blanket again in my not-so-glamorous PJ's for the day ...

(Updated) Crikey, I just realised that I hadn't posted piccies of my previous stash arrivals ... for some reason I thought I'd already done it, but just checked back in my blog posts, and lo and behold nothing was there! Oops - I'd forget my head these days if it wasn't permanently attached!! Anyway, here are the piccies of stash I received as gifts from some very generous ladies - thanks so much again Cathy and Nancy - your generosity is amazing, and I love everything (I know I've sent personal emails already, but just wanted to reiterate it now) :D Unfortunately blogger is, just for a change, having a hissy fit about adding more photos, so I've had to use Photobucket, which of course means you can't click for a bigger piccie, sorry :(

Here are my wonderful spoils from Cathy:
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And my wonderful spoils from Nancy:
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Just blogging for the sake of it (updated)

I don't really have anything to say ... just wanted to try and get back into the habit of blogging more regularly. Managed to get some blog reading done over the last two days, but many many more to go yet - hopefully by the end of the week I'll definitely be caught up. Apologies if I'm not leaving many comments, but I'm enjoying reading everything.

Even though the curtains don't reach the floor, I'm loving them - even just having them up gives the place some more colour and warmth ... and eventually I'll just sew some more fabric on the bottoms to help keep the cold out. I also picked up the same curtains in the sales for the main lounge window, but it's a lot wider and more awkward to get to, so I need to wait until I've got an accomplice to help me ... hopefully they'll be up on 20 June, 'cos Fraze is visiting - yup, yet another job for you Fraggle! :D

I did a dopey thing yesterday ... went with my little parcels to the Post Office before work, only to find they were closed - it was a public holiday in Australia, and I didn't know hmmm. So I rocked up to work in my business clothes, and everyone else was in jeans :( Good job I took a decent coat and scarf, though, as we had two separate fire alarms go off and we had to evacuate the building twice on a very cold day in Melbourne ... brrrrrrrr. It's funny, when I lived in Auckland I owned a full-length wool coat and scarf etc, but wore it about a dozen times ... since moving to Melbourne I now have a nice selection of scarves, gloves and hats - and along with my coat I actually NEED them. It has looked quite miserable a few times over the last two weeks - very bleak looking and grey all day :( So my lovely blue curtains help to hide the bleakness, and I get to look at some beautiful colour instead :D

Today I've decided I need to start my rotation again - I honestly have a tangible physical and mental URGE to pick it up and get back into my routine ... so this morning I am putting my Bordeaux Mystery Sampler (which is no longer a mystery 'cos we have all the parts haha) onto my scroll bars, and I'm putting a few stitches in before work ... after 10 hours on that, I'll be back to picking up the Dratteds (aka Dolphins Domain) and I honestly can't wait!!

(Updated) And just to show I really did make an effort this morning, here's the proof of my labour ... not much to show for it, but it's a start none-the-less :) I'm on 3pm shift starts all week, so it gives me a bit of time in the mornings to get a few things done - today I decided to have some "me" time for stitching instead of housework :D Mind you, I've been struggling with a bad throat and chest the last three days, so perhaps it was also a bit of pampering needed to perk me up too ... I have my fingers crossed it doesn't escalate into a full-on cold :(
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

No stitching today

It's been a very busy weekend so far, but none of it was planned and none of it was really thought out ... it just kinda 'happened'. The fact is my little flat is an icebox in winter - it has ducted heating, but the pilot light has gone out, and I've got to find time for the landlord to come round to light it etc. In the meantime, I have windows in the lounge that aren't quite shut properly because the wood must have swollen up a bit with the wet weather ... and it has a little winding mechanism to open and close them, so I can't even give it a good yank to get it closed ... I'm also 3 floors up from the ground, so I can't pop outside and push it closed hmmm.

On top of that the balcony door has a 1/2cm gap at the top of it where it doesn't close nice and flush, and the kitchen window has an extractor fan in it, which of course has the opening in it ... my kitchen/dining/lounge is all open plan, so that all adds up to a cool draught on most days/nights. Anyway, I popped into Spotlight and picked up some cheapo curtains on sale - and I've spent part of yesterday and this morning getting the balcony ones ironed and put up on the rods ... only to find they're about 30cm short of reaching the floor oops. Oh well, it's still got to be better than nothing ... I'll just have to add on an extra piece of something at the bottom to lengthen them (I only paid $20 for the pair for the balcony, so they're hardly heirlooms). I also spent the rest of the morning ironing up sheets and bedding etc for the spare bedroom, and putting an electric blanket on it (brought over from NZ - thanks Mum) ... and doing a bit more housework.

I really should be doing some more housework or stitching now, but I've decided to take a break and try and catch up on a tiny bit of blogging - I still have almost 500 unread posts in there, as well as loads that have since gone into archive ... there are about a dozen favourite blogs that I'll be trawling through the archives, but I hope by the end of this week to be back to square one, and ready to get back into a routine again - and that includes stitching, blogs and life in general ...

Now, just for the sake of it, I'll fill out this questionnaire that I found on Rowyn's blog, just to get me back into blogging mode :)

1) What is your occupation? Senior Sales Consultant for an international airline
2) What colour are your socks right now? Blue (what else could it be?!)
3) What are you listening to now? MoreFM online (Auckland radio station)
4) What was the last thing you ate? Toast with breakfast marmalade
5) Favourite colour? Blue
6) Music Preference? Love most music except opera, country & western, and rap (although I like some of Eminem) - probably prefer rock/pop
7) Last person you talked to on the phone? Dawn
8) How old are you today? 40 years and almost 4 months
9) Favourite drink? Jim Beam and L&P
10) What is your favorite sport to watch? If I'm forced to watch anything, I'd struggle less if it's rugby union (can you tell I'm not a sports fan in any shape or form??)
11) Have you ever dyed your hair? Yep - still keep blonde highlights in my hair
12) Do you wear contacts or glasses? Nope, but I'm about to get some glasses again after having my eyes lasered about 10 years ago - bummer
13) Pets? Nope - but seriously considering asking the landlord whether I could keep a cat here after doing a bit more homework about having 'indoor cats'
14) What will you stay home to watch? ER, followed by NCIS, Lost and Amazing Race
15) What was the best movie you have seen lately? Can't say any have stood out for me ... one of my fave 'recent' movies was Pirates of the Caribbean, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing the sequel
16) What is your favourite day of the year? Pay day
17) What do you do to vent your anger? Shut myself away and take time out to calm down
18) What was your favourite toy as a child? Don't remember my childhood prior to being 10, so not entirely sure ... I do know I loved my Enid Blyton collection of books and was gutted that I had to leave them all behind when we moved to NZ, though
19) Vanilla/Chocolate? Depends - prefer vanilla flavoured things ... but love actual chocolate (milk and white, not dark)
20) Living arrangements? Flat/apartment block on my own
21) When was the last time you cried? Watching a soppy movie
22) What did you do last night? Housework, and sorting out my embroidery corner in the lounge, as it was a shambles - ended up tidying up all my flosses a bit as well seeing as I had some more flossaway bags (thanks again Nancy)
23) Favourite smell? Opium perfume, and vanilla
24) What inspires you? People with an open mind that are non-judgemental, and live life without hurting others
25) Least favourite person right now? Probably still my ex-flatmate

Saturday, June 10, 2006

SBQ's and a very quick update

And still no stash photos - just haven't had time ... have hardly spent any time at my PC all week, but have been working hard to get my exchanges finished instead, as well as trying to unpack after my holiday, and tidy up a bit (my little flat looks like a bomb has exploded in it).

Anyway, just quickly I've managed to get my scissors fob exchange into the mail to Nicola (I'm safe to post piccies, because she doesn't read my blog) - the stitching was all finished before I flew to NZ, I just had to whipstitch it, make the tassel and cording, and put it together ... then while I was in NZ I just never got around to getting it done, and ended up bringing it back home with me (geez, I'm useless!!). Anyway, it's finally in its little envelope and on its way back to NZ again phew!! And just for a change, blogger is having a hissy fit about posting photos, so I'm giving up ... here are photos uploaded from Photobucket - and if you want to see a close-up of the front click here, and the back is here.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My mail art is all finished with the stitching - I hope the recipient likes it, but I have to admit to being a bit worried about it ... I think I struggled as I couldn't work out the recipient's preferences, as there is no online album that I could find, or wishlist, so I feel like I've been stitching 'blind'. Today I have the job of putting it all together into it's envelope shape etc - I was going to do it yesterday, but it was day 7 of work, after doing the last 3 days with 5am shifts, and I was worried with my tiredness I'd stuff it up ... best to leave it until today ... although I still feel half asleep, so I don't know ... haha.

This weekend is our needleroll SAL, but I don't know whether I'm going to manage to get one stitched, as I really do need to get that mail art 100% finished - maybe I'll get some time tomorrow to put a few stitches in. If I do, I think I'll be working on my half-finished 'sample' one I was making for the Melanie's Exchange, and try to get a little bit more stitched on it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Rightio, lastly on to the SBQ's before I sign off ... I now have 4 SBQ's to catch up on, so I thought I'd bite the bullet and get them all out of the way today, 'cos before I know it there'll be another one being posted :P I've decided to just answer the first 3 initially, as the other one needs photos, and I'm not yet organised for that one.

17 May - Today's SBQ was suggested by Jenna and is:
"Lately, it seems that many stitching bloggers have experienced a loss of their stitching mojo. Have you ever lost your stitching mojo? If so, how did you get it back and how long did it take?"
I lost my mojo when I first moved to Melbourne, due to appalling living conditions that just weren't conducive to stitching - but as soon as I moved out with Fraze and we got our own place I bought a cheap recliner, set up my stitching station, and never looked back ... in fact I've stitched more in the last 24 months than I've ever stitched, I think :) I did get a bit overwhelmed with my commitment stitching etc over the last couple of months, which has been detrimental to my overall stitching ... I think sometimes it's a bit of a carry-over from when I had concussion years ago - even now if I get over-tired, I struggle to 'focus' on things - I find I have to make lists etc to keep on track, but when I get overwhelmed with 'stuff' my head almost gets too cluttered and I lose track. I can sit in a chair, knowing I have lots of things I must get done, but half an hour later I'm still sat there, and don't know where the time has gone hmmm. Now I'm realising that I need to be more realistic with my stitching time, especially as sometimes I get really tired with my shift work, so I can be more in control.

24 May - Today's SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

"What is your favorite specialty stitch? Which one is your least favorite? Why?"
I don't know what my favourite stitch is at the moment - I enjoy doing Rhodes stitches in whatever shape or form (which is probably a good thing, seeing as there are so many in the Bordeaux Mystery Sampler!), and I really enjoyed doing the Waffle stitch for my Melanie's Exchange needleroll - I just enjoy the variety of loads of different stitches. Probably my least favourite would have to be bullion knots and french knots ... definitely a lot easier to answer! haha.

31 May - Today's SBQ was suggested by Carol and is:

"Do you collect charts by one particular designer, yet have never stitched anything by that designer? If so, which designer and why do you collect the charts but have not yet stitched any of them?"
Perhaps the designs that come to mind here are Teresa Wentzler ... I went through a phase where I had to buy every single design that TW had put out, and continued to do so for quite some time, including trading and tracking down copies all over the world (prior to knowing about Ebay!). I've never actually stitched any of them in their entirety, although I do have two of them that are currently UFO's, so I do expect to eventually finish them both. I doubt I'll stitch much of my collection, but it's the only one I'll be hard pushed to part with. Even if I never stitch them, I love flicking through the charts in my folder like a book of fine art - it's uplifting for the soul to just feast your eyes on such beauty :)

I also started doing the same with Mirabilia charts, and used to received her new charts automatically - but the designs changed and I no longer loved them as I used to, so I stopped ... I'll still buy one if I fall in love with it, but it's more rare these days, and I've even been putting a few up for trade that I know I'll never stitch in a month of Sundays. They're probably the main two designers I'm guilty of collecting.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sorry no piccies of stash yet

While doing some unpacking I came across my mail art exchange, that I'd totally forgotten about during my last few days socialising in Auckland - and the deadline is due NOW (literally!) ... unfortunately I'm going to be late posting my exchange piece, which I really hate doing, but it means all my energies are going into getting that into the mail by the end of the week, and blogging's going by the wayside yet again until then. The front is all finished apart from the address, which I'm about to stitch now - and the back is all charted up ready to go ... then I just have to tackle the actual finishing, which I have absolutely no idea about - by the plan is to have it all done by Friday and in the post ... crikey!!

Just wanted to post a quick note to apologise in advance if anyone is waiting for emails etc ... I'll get back to you just as soon as I can when I've managed to drag myself away from my stitching this week ...

Friday, June 02, 2006

My boot runneth over ...

... and so does my lounge room now, as my freight is home (well actually, four boxes are still in the boot of my car - I could only face bringing 5 of them up 3 floors today - the rest can wait)! My car is still living so far ... the RACV man jump-started my car yesterday, and the run to the Post Office charged the battery up enough to keep it going ... if it was dead again this morning I had to get a new battery, but luckily it's managed to last the distance and I got to the airport without any problems. The freight guys all had a good laugh at my car, and even made a special trip out of the building to see it ... hmmm. You see, my car is parked underneath a tree that has possums in it - and they must have had a field day while I was away, inviting all the possums in the neighbourhood over to play ... you see my car is now covered in possum poo and heaven knows what else haha. The motorway trip managed to dislodge a lot of it, but it still looks a disgrace - it will have to wait until I can get to a valet ... I think in this case it'll definitely be worth the expense to have someone else wash it haha. Now, on to stitchy stuff ...

My poor postman had a bit of a workout yesterday when I went to the Post Office - he had to carry my parcels out with both arms ... and it totally filled one of my shopping bags. There were a few items that I was expecting, but there were also some surprises in there - all I can say is "WOW!!" I won't overpower today's post with oodles of piccies, but I'll post a couple, with more to follow later. Here's the list of goodies that came:

  • Options in Hardanger Group Correspondence Course (through CyberStitchers branch of the EGA)
  • Melanie's Exchange from Jenna
  • Biscornu Exchange from Melissa and Danielle
  • Goodie parcel from Nancy
  • Goodie parcel from Cathy
  • Monthly Mystery Bits from SB&B
  • Parcels from SB&B
  • Eventide needleroll chart from Ebay win
  • Threads from Village Mountain Stitchery sale
  • Finishing kits from Jackie du Plessis (Strawberries So Faire and Quaker needleroll)
The piccies I'll share today are of my exchanges that I received from the SBEBB - then tomorrow I'll post the piccies of my goodies from Nancy and Cathy.

The first one is my Melanie's Exchange from Jenna ... it's a freebie design by Martina Weber of Chatelaine fame, and it's absolutely exquisite - the finishing and stitching is amazing, and I totally adore it! It's currently sitting on a 'plate stand' I'd had sitting around just waiting for something to go in it ... and it's sitting by my blue vase with sunflowers, right opposite where I sit and stitch, so I can see it every night :) And along with the exchange piece I also got spoilt rotten with a couple of pieces of fabbie (what a scrummy blue!), some makeup and nail clippers (also in yummy blue - you know me very well, Jenna! haha), and a lovely card, as well as the exchange leftovers ... I just love everything!

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Blogger is giving me the "proverbials", because it won't upload the piccies, so I've had to resort to Photobucket, and can't work out how to add links to the photos for the main photos - if you want to see the larger piccie of the photos click on the links ... photo 1 here, and photo 2 here.

The next photos are of my Biscornu Exchange - unfortunately my exchange partner wasn't able to stitch something for me so Melissa and Danielle came to the rescue and kindly sent some exchange pieces. Melissa stitched a beautiful biscornu - isn't it adorable? I just love the design used, and the buttons are the most perfect finishing touch - you did a great job, Melissa - thanks so much for stitching a biscornu for me, that was really sweet :) And Danielle sent me a parcel of goodies too - full of amazing little treats! There is the new chart by Just Nan called Mermaid Heart, along with the embellishments and charm for it (and it's going to be a great companion piece to Beach Roses, that I just received from SB&B!) - that would have been plenty all on its own, but there is also a packet of needles, some Needle Necessities flosses, and some gorgeous little stationery pads (I adore stationery!) ... I just love everything in there. Thanks also to you, Danielle, for putting a little goodie parcel together on top of your own exchange commitments - it was very sweet of you, and the thought is much appreciated :)

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And again, the photo links are following - photo 1 here, photo 2 here, and photo 3 here.

Both the exchanges were great fun - and it definitely won't be the last time I participate ... in fact, I'm about to commit myself to the Redwork one on the SBEBB, and waiting for the Hardanger one (hopefully much later haha), plus I'm already signed up for the Needleroll exchange on Renee's Robin's Nest BB.

Talking of Hardanger ... one of the other parcels I received is for a hardanger correspondence course (Options in Hardanger - click on the link for the piccie) by Dale Sokolow - but first I want to complete the Beginner's Hardanger (and click again) class by Marion Scoular. I signed up for the Beginner's one just before I moved to Melbourne, but my less-than-perfect living conditions when I got here meant no stitching done for almost 8 months, so it got put to one side ... I had the opportunity to take one class for reduced costs through CyberStitchers branch of the EGA this year, so I chose the Options in Hardanger class - I won't have time to stitch it for evaluation, but it will be something to pick up in the future and stitch, and will hopefully be a good resource.

OK, I suppose I've waffled on enough for now, so I'll just quickly answer a couple of questions that have been asked in the comments recently, then I'll post again tomorrow with an update of the postal goodies :)

For Margaret and Andie - funnily enough, I nearly got to the South Island ... I had staff tickets for Mum and I to fly down to then drive to Nelson to see my best friend, but we ran out of time to fit it in - maybe on the next trip over I'll have to make it a compulsory stop :)

For Carin - the Pacific Pohutukawa chart is by Jen's Jems (Jennifer Griffin), a New Zealand designer. You can buy her designs from Nancy's Embroidery Shop in Wellington :) They don't have a great deal on display on their website, but you could always email them to see what designs they have in stock. Hope that helps :)

For moomoo - unfortunately the design for the biscornu is one that I put together myself. The blackwork part is from an Indigo Rose online freebie that is still on the Caron Collection website - the mosaic border I just made up myself - and the beaded border is from an old Stitcher's World magazine. I can help you with the thread colour, though - it's an Anchor variegated thread, number 1349 ... just love those colours! Sorry I can't be more help with that one.

One quick last comment ... I ate myself silly with a big plate of feijoas every couple of days at home, but now I have my own version here so I don't have to miss them too much - I bought a bottle of Feijoa Vodka in duty free teehee ... it really really smells like the real thing, and is divine with 'lemon, lime & bitters' ... yummo - doesn't go too well with stitching though ;P

Back to work tomorrow - civilised hours, though ... 8am starts for 3 days - then 4 days of 5am starts yuk! ;P

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Back home again

Well, I have to say my return home was marred by a splitting headache by the time I got home - serves me right by not taking any tablets when I got home last night, and it worsened during the night, so I had a bad sleep ... finally got up at 6.30am and took some Nurofen, and went back to bed for 3 more hours, and it's definitely taken the majority of the pain away. I know the reason for this one - tension of leaving home again ... I felt fine when I left, and even no upsets at the airport, but during the flight the headache started coming on - not helped by trying not to shed a few tears at the end of the movie, King Kong LOL. Anyway, now I have to get back into my 'normal' life again ... I have to say that the only downside to the trip was Dad's lack of participation in Mum's birthday, which made me really angry with him - but then again, that's my Dad 'to a T' ... but even though I know that, it still disappoints me for Mum's sake. But, I got over it, and actually enjoyed having some 'family time' each work day evening while we all watched the UK Classic Millionaire on TV and tried to guess the answers - it became a nightly ritual that was enjoyed by all. We've never really done things as a family all together, so such smalls things as that give me a certain amount of pleasure, even though they're relatively insignificant things.

As for the last day in Auckland, what can I say about it? Sheer magic!! :D I had the most wonderful day with Nicki and Kerry - it's such a shame we didn't live closer, as I'd love to have them as stitching buddies :) Nicki and I met up at The Embroiderer in Birkenhead, and had the most wonderful time - we spent quite some time oohing and ahhing over the stitched models, stroking threads, and poring through charts ... as well as chatting and getting to know each other a little bit - I was as nervous as heck beforehand, as I'm actually really shy meeting new people (most people don't believe me, though!), but I felt really at ease with Nicki, and most of the time couldn't work out where the "off" switch was and didn't stop talking LOL. I really wish The Embroiderer was here in Melbourne, though - it's my favourite LNS in the whole world (to date anyway, of all those I've physically visited) ... if anyone is visiting Auckland, you really do have to take the time to pop in. Believe it or not, though, both Nicki and I were very disciplined (OK, Nicki a bit more than myself) ... although I just bought 2 charts - one from the bargain bin for my charity squares, and a Prairie Schooler santa chart for Mum to stitch (plus I bought the DMC she needed from Spotlight before I flew home yesterday, along with a Clover cutter, and I gave her my embroidery scissors and scissor fob I had with me ... I'd already bought over some cuts of aida for her in my suitcase, so now she's pretty much set up for a wee while).

After our LNS fix we went back to Nicki's place where I met Martin and we had a lovely lunch ... and we went to town looking through Nicki's stitching stash, WIP's and the wonderful exhanges Nicki has received (which are all beautiful, BTW) ... but the highlight for me was seeing Nicki's WIP's - the photos truly don't do them justice! I fell in love heart and soul with The Token - it really does take your breath away ... all stitched over-one in that sumptuous colour, it's absolutely glorious! And the HAED's are amazing too - they really take your breath away in real life.

We finally had to drag ourselves away, though, and we drove over to meet with Kerry and her gorgeous son Marcus ... and yet again I got to drool over some beautiful stitching - it was wonderful to see Kerry's framed pieces in the flesh, as well as seeing some of her new designs in progress stitched over-one (sorry ladies, I don't think you'll convert me to that style of stitching though ... not for a while anyway LOL - although I did say to Mum I wanted to re-stitch my green tree frog over-one hmmm) ... looking forward to seeing them growing over time :) Then we had a cuppa and nattered on for ages about stitching, and blogs, and life in general ... it was absolutely wonderful! I never thought to take photos of us, which is a bit dumb, and I only thought about it the next day - I was too busy chatting and enjoying the company that it didn't cross my mind ... oops ...

So, I want to thank you Nicki and Kerry for a truly magical day - and a wonderful way to finish my time in Auckland, and the day just flew past ... it was awesome to meet you both, and I hope it won't be the last time :D {{hugs}}

Anyway, back to reality today - but I'm going to 'start' the day (it's now 11am haha) with a bit of retail therapy where I don't have to spend any money - I have a pile of mail that was due to arrive last week, including back orders from SB&B, my Melanie's Exchange parcel, and Mystery Bits from SB&B (I succumbed and signed up now I'm back on shift work) ... so I'm off to put petrol in the car and pick it all up, as well as getting in some grocery essentials as the fridge is totally bare. I'll post piccies probably tomorrow, as I still have a few things to do today and may not get time (plus I'll have to let the drool dry off first haha) ... then tomorrow I'm back out to the airport again to go and pick up my freight boxes of 'stuff'. It's amazing - I only arrived last night, but here I am sitting at my computer desk looking out the side windows, and I don't feel I've been anywhere already ... was it all a dream? Nope, it definitely did happen, and I have 644 new unread emails to prove it ... I don't want to check the blog subscription figures yet ... perhaps tomorrow ... ;P

(Updated) ... Well, I guess I'm not going anywhere for a while ... just went outside to start the car up, and it's not starting - I assume it's the battery, although the power locking etc is still working ... I guess a call to the RACV is in order - better get it fixed before the Post Office closes, or I'll be upset haha ... ho hum, it's good to be back ... hmmm ;P