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

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another RAK ... and stash ...

(Updated to apologise for the piccies - Blogger won't upload photos for some reason for a change hmmm, so I've had to use Photobucket, so no chance of enlarging...)

Further to my post yesterday, I have another lovely piccie to share of some goodies that Missy sent to me - she was going through her charts and found this one that was just perfect for me ... I knew the chart was coming, but I didn't expect the other goodies - stitchers are such generous souls! I have to admit I literally laughed out loud when I opened the envelope and saw the chart title ... I just love it! And I adore the dishcloth that Melissa crocheted herself, as well as the yummy thread - I feel very very spoiled. I don't want to use the dishcloth ... I just want it to sit in the kitchen and not get used/soiled - I just adore hand-made gifts. Thanks again Missy for an awesome treat :D {{hugs}}
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And believe it or not, I had a 3rd arrival today as well ... another expected parcel, with unexpected contents - this time from KarenV. I sent Karen the specialty threads for the Love needleroll ornament for her to stitch it, and had the threads returned with some added company across the oceans - not only did Karen send me some scrummy threads (unfortunately the Stef Francis thread is now unusable, as it's totally covered in drool - that's the prettiest colour I've ever seen in her threads ... I almost don't want to use it, but just to continue drooling over it for years to come), but there was also the sweetest little biscornu, all stitched by Karen ... I was absolutely floored, and thrilled to have these little treats, and felt quite overcome by it all. Thanks Karen for your generous gift ... and I will treasure the biscornu always :D {{hugs}}
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As the title states the word "stash", you can correctly conclude that squishy mail has also been arriving in my PO Box from a spending spree ... thanks very much to a generous gesture from my employers, we got given a wee bonus last week at work - not as generous as past years, which is understandable, but sufficient for me to have a little stash splurge on scissors! Thanks to the kind offers made by Jenna and Erin to help me procure some lovely Gingher's, I've been thinking about this for a wee while now ... and when my 'crappy' old scissors started having problems cutting a simple DMC thread early last week, I jumped on the internet as soon as I heard about the bonus and filled a shopping cart with shiny metallic things of different shapes and sizes ;) Seeing as I was paying all the money for postage, I added a couple of extra 'cheapo' pairs in there as well as a new pair of Gingher's and Tres Claveles, so I can also make up a few small sewing kits that can sit with my WIP's etc ... I've already christened one of the el cheapo pair, but I'm waiting until I put a scissor fob onto my Gingher's before they get christened, and they're never going to leave the house again! Thanks again, ladies for your kind offer, but I ended up just biting the bullet and splurging (and thanks again to my lovely employers!!) :D
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Also, today saw the arrival of even more stash ... the last remaining items from a very old backorder from SB&B, plus some other charts that we added on when we returned from Hong Kong. Now you may remember I went on the wagon and said I wouldn't be buying any more charts until at least my birthday ... well, I have actually been sticking to it so far - you see, all these new charts are actually for Mum, not me (she's paying for them). We bought her some more #26 Piecemaker needles (she's already worked out how great they are haha), some Floss-Away bags, and some Kreinik braid for us both as I'd run out, and a few charts. The M Designs needlerolls (Butterfly, Rose Mosaic and Snowmen ones) were from my backorder, as were the two Victoria Sampler kits (that's what was holding the whole process up - Level 3 #1, Whipped Spider Web Rose, and Level 4 #1, Four Sided Pulled Stitch & Four Sided Hemstitch). Mum went mad on Prairie Schooler Santas (Starry Night ... which is a gift for me from Mum yippee ... Redwork Santas, A Christmas Visit, Santa Collection 1996-99, and Santa Collection 1988-91), plus Lizzie*Kate snippets (2001 Ready or Not, and 2004 A Good Night). The last little goodies were some 32ct cream Belfast that I needed as I miscalculated a biscornu I started stitching before the biscornu exchange earlier in the year, and needed another piece so I could actually stitch the back (pretty important in the scheme of things LOL), and the Silk Bella needed for the Lavender Rose Sewing Case SAL (which is no longer a SAL, as I think everyone's almost finished ... oops ... never fear, I am still committed to stitching it, and will be doing this before I stitch anything else ... I just have to get my exchanges in the post first, and I'm getting VERY close to the wire with that!! Next week should see me finally starting this gorgeous new project).
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Now I'm going to finish my stash report with a hug for both Gina and Sharon, who always make such wonderful company to visit with. They kindly drove all the way to my little flat and spent their time fondling my stash and finished pieces/WIP's, as well as sharing other items of interest - Gina brought some great books to flip through (and I seriously will have to get a copy of the Why am I tired? book ... Sharon, if you see me coming in saying cheekily "I've seen a book, I think it's blue, and it's something to do with being tired", you'll know which one I mean, 'cos I know nobody else that does such daft things teehee), and Sharon brought some wonderful CQ blocks to examine ... I have to admit I harbour no desires to try a CQ myself, but I really do love to see them in real life - perhaps when I turn 80 I should be about 1/4 through my stash by then, I might consider it LOL. We had a lovely lunch, with much chatting, and then a great afternoon tea of goodies that they brought with them. I feel like I've known these lovely ladies for so much longer than I really have, and you're welcome to visit at any time {{hugs}}.

I'll leave you with a photo of one of three bulbs in flower - this is a hyacinth that Sharon brought with her as a gift for me, and it's just stunning (every time I tried to get the whole pot in, they came out blurry, so it's just one of three bulbs in the piccie) ... thanks heaps Sharon, it's gorgeous! Who would believe on Saturday it was all in bud!! (My blog will start having an identity crisis now ... it'll be thinking it's actually Carol's blog, with the flower piccie at the bottom ... the photography's not as good as Mike's though LOL.)
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My apologies to anyone I'm owing an email to ... I hope to catch up next week - I don't tend to spend much time online while Mum's here, after her making a comment about me "wasting" so much time on the computer during the last visit, which means that I get even further behind than I normally do ... and I've been bad enough on my own just lately! LOL.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gobsmacked by Kindness

My apologies for not posting for a wee while, or for reading blogs, but I haven't been spending much time online for the last week due to other commitments. I was supposed to be in bed 20 minutes ago, as I'm on 6am starts this week (and boy oh boy am I feeling it hmmm), but I wanted to post about some wonderful mail I've received after I got home from Hong Kong ... unfortunately I had a major brain meltdown and forgot about posting about it - I picked it up from the PO Box and was very touched when I opened the envelope and saw all the goodies inside, but then got really sick on the way home and ended up spending the rest of the night laying down ... then the parcel got moved by Mum and it didn't jog a reminder. So, a huge apology to dear sweet Cathy, who not only sent me a piece of lining fabric for the Bee's Garden chart (by Wendy KC Designs), but also a pile of DMC threads and a gorgeous chart by Glory Bee called Priceless - I knew the fabric was on its way, but the rest of the goodies were a total surprise ... thanks from the bottom of my heart Cathy - you're a total sweetheart, and I love everything! :D

I also have one more parcel to post about, but I'll leave that until tomorrow, so I can drag out sharing my wonderful spoils over two days ... but what a lucky girl I've been! :D

I also had a wonderful visit from Gina and Sharon on Saturday, that I'll post about tomorrow as well ... unfortunately I only had about 5 hours sleep on Sunday, and 6-7 hours last night, with the same happening tonight, so I really must get to bed now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Not much to post about ...

... but I finally managed to get 3 needlerolls in their finished stages - I started at just after 10pm tonight, and definitely need to get some sleep now! :) One of these will be winging their way across the oceans tomorrow ... a very VERY belated gift I had meant to send an entire month ago - geez, I'm just shocking at the moment with a head like a sieve!! My sincere apologies, mystery recipient, but I hope you still like it! :D

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Looking and feeling good!

The title refers to my new lounge suite etc ... My old lounge suite was picked up yesterday morning, and it's amazing how different this little place looks - Von and Jenna, you were absolutely right, I do love it now ... as soon as the place became uncluttered again, it made me feel so much better, and I have to admit it looks really nice! Funnily enough, the new lounge suite colour matches my voile curtains I have hanging in the lounge perfectly, and the new Ikea coffee table just sets things off beautifully. I'll try and take a piccie tomorrow soon when I have more time. Unfortunately I had to give the guy a hand yesterday moving the old lounge suite, and I have body aches and a couple of bruises to show for it (but thankfully it didn't aggrevate my already wrenched neck!) ... moving a sofabed down 4 flights of stairs isn't my idea of fun before work, but I'm so happy it's gone now! :D

Funnily enough, Von, it was Melbourne's Freecycle group I signed up with, and that's where I got rid of the lounge suite - what a wonderful idea that is! :) In a fit of desperation I typed "get rid of furniture melbourne" in Google ... and that's what it came up with ;)

Now all the lounge and dining room is free again, I feel as though as I have more head space again for stitching, and life in general - I know that sounds crazy, but I was feeling very cluttered and overwhelmed in every sense of the word ... I feel ready to get moving again, and back into the swing of things :) Just a shame I have to work again now as well ;)

Fraze also just paid me the balance of money he still owed me, and that was a huge relief too (for both of us) ... and this Saturday I'm having my first 'public unveiling' of my flat to some fellow bloggers and friends - Gina and Sharon are coming round for a get-together with Mum and I to drool over stash and have a chat, and I'm really looking forward to it :D So, yeah, life is definitely good :D

Now I'd better get motoring as I've got to get ready for work (it took me 4 hours just to read new emails at work yesterday yikes).

Before I do that, though ... a message to anyone who's reading that's a member of the SBEBB - I've pulled out of the group to give someone else a chance to participate. I was going to stay in until the Redwork Exchange was completed, but due to an admin error it's already been cancelled, and it seems daft to reapply just for the one exchange. I'll keep an eye on everyone's blogs to see the exchanges rolling in ... but I just wanted to say "it's been fun, and I've really enjoyed the exchanges I've been involved in", but seeing as I'd only be doing an exchange once every 3-6 months now, it was best that I stepped down. I probably keep more up-to-date with everyone's blog than on the BB, so at least I can still keep in touch with everything that's happening :) And I'll look at joining in with some of the exchanges on the Robin's Nest BB to keep my hand in :)

Also, to those of you from the Friends Gather BB ... I was very saddened to hear of the closing of the BB without being able to say "farewell" (I couldn't get in when I got back from Hong Kong, so I presume it's all closed up already) ... again, I just want to say to any members who are reading, that I loved being part of that community, and there were some wonderful ideas and groups for broadening my stitching horizons, as well as some wonderful people there - I will most definitely miss that BB most of all.

The one thing I especially loved was the monthly Christmas Ornament SAL - and this is something I'd like to continue myself in the future. I loved KarenV's idea to choose a designer each month, then choose an ornament by that designer - it opened my eyes to designers I hadn't considered before, and I loved some of the stitched choices once I'd completed them. I think I'll continue to do this over the coming year and beyond ... I'll continue with the list of designers we'd had on the BB, then I guess it'll be time to sit down and look at my wishlist of ornies and make my own list up :)

Rightio, I definitely have to run now ... have a great week everyone - hopefully I'll be catching up on blog reading again soon (I'm behind again since Hong Kong oops).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SBQ and 'stuff'

Just for a change, I thought I'd answer the SBQ as soon as I received it ... I actually wrote this post, then saved it as a draft, and forgot all about it until now, two days later!

A busy couple of days, with not a stitch in sight - I did a whole pile of hemstitching on 5 different needlerolls on Wednesday night, as I couldn't concentrate on much else, but I still have to get the sewing machine out to do the seams before stuffing ... and there's too much clutter around to do that at the moment hmmm ...

On Thursday morning we were up with the larks, to let in the 'odd job man' who does the maintenance on my unit - I've been having problems with the front door lock for quite some time, and finally decided to mention it when I had my recent inspection ... it turned out Paul had to go out and get a new lock to fit, so we had to spend a bit of time waiting around at home - but at the same time as Paul being here, the delivery van arrived with my new lounge suite. To be honest, I was really disappointed with it when it arrived, but it's grown on me since then ... I only saw the colour on a wee swatch, and it looked a lot darker when it arrived, and not quite as 'blue' as I thought. It's got a bit of a violet tinge to it, in some lights ... then looks 'french' blue in others (a bit more french blue than DMC 792). I have to say, though, it's 100 times more comfy than my old one, that's for sure! Here's a piccie of the new suite ... I'd take a piccie of the whole room to show it off better, but it's a shambles at the moment (I'll say why in a minute ...) ... I'll take an 'overall' photo once the lounge is tidied up and finished. In fact the photo makes it look a lot bluer than it actually is - it has more of a '792' tinge in real life ...
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We've had a drama trying to work out what the hell to do with my old lounge suite. Fraze decided that he didn't want it after all (I only found out the night before the new suite was delivered), and the Salvation Army won't take it because it has a tear in one of the arms (that happened while it was in the old flat - I let them hang onto one of the chairs for a while after I moved out, as they only had a sofa ... so now I'm stuck with this bloody thing). I found an online Yahoo group to give away 'free stuff' for the taking, and I posted a message earlier this afternoon for my old sofabed and chairs "free to a good home" - and within an hour I'd already got a response saying someone would like it, and will pick it up on Monday. At the moment it's piled on top of each other between my lounge area and dining table (hence the difficulty in getting to the sewing machine at the moment, as it's on the dining table) - with the size of my flat, that's the last thing I need piled up in a 'corner'! :(

To top it off my mother has been a very very bad influence ... she's helped to drain my bank balance in its entirety (as at yesterday I have $20 to my name again!) - but it was for a good cause :) We went to Ikea earlier in the week to check out some storage ideas for my future wishlist, and I found some bookcases etc that I love ... well, after coming home to my lovely new lounge suite, we ended up going back to Ikea and picking up a few things ... my last two days have been spent playing DIY Queen, and I've made up a bookcase with doors for a new china cabinet (so a lot of my glasses have been able to come out of storage yippee), plus a CD tower to match (I previously had 4 x mini CD towers that were a bit rickety in front of the lounge windows, but decided they had to go in readiness for cat-proofing my home), and a new coffee table to match as well. On top of that, we also got 4 sets of mini drawers for my flosses etc to go into, also freeing up some cupboard space. I spent last night and this morning staining them with wood stain - white for the outsides, and blue (surprise, surprise) for the drawers - and hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to fill the first lot (I've only painted two sets so far, 'cos we didn't have enough room to do the whole lot, as it's covering the last remaining space in the lounge).

Today I've got Rogan Josh marinating in the fridge, so we can have an Indian curry for dinner tonight ... unfortunately no stitching will be done again tonight, as I can't get to everything in the shambles that is currently our lounge, and I managed to put my neck/shoulder out lifting the DIY stuff - I'm just a walking disaster area healthwise these days! hmmm ...

Now onto the SBQ ... Today's SBQs were suggested by Ami and Anna and are:

"Do you have an organizational system for your fabric? If so, what is it? If not, what do you store your fabric in? How do people store their fabric, especially those small but potentially usable pieces? Do they sort by count? How do they label it or otherwise know what each piece is?"
Basically I just have all my fabrics in three separate plastic storage bins - one for 32ct, one for 28ct, and one for everything else ... I just keep them in the original bags with the labels on them, and regardless of size it all just gets lumped in together - definitely not very flash! ;)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One commitment done

I can cross one "must do" off my list for the next week or so - I just put the finishing stitches into Vash's RR ... this is using the freebie "Birds & Butterflies" on the Vermillion website. The main challenge for me was stitching my XS'es in the opposite direction - I've never frogged so much in my entire life in such a small design ... it's just 2nd nature for me to cross my crosses my old way! I think it turned out OK, though, and it'll be winging its way across the oceans to Canada some time over the next week.

We had a surprise phone call yesterday saying my lounge suite is ready for delivery, so we'll be home tomorrow for that ... unfortunately, though, we still have our old one here, so it's gonna be pretty cramped until we can get rid of it. I've offered it to Fraze, as he and his girlfriend have just moved in together two weeks ago, and he's accepted it ... he just has to work out how to pick it up as he doesn't have a car or trailer ... if that falls down, then I'll donate it to the Salvation Army.

Aside from that, my health has been so-so over the last day or so - after being so 'cocky' that I felt good the other day, we popped out for an hour or so to Ikea getting ideas for storage, and I ended up coming home with a splitting headache, and even more splitting tummy pains ... no stitching for me that night, and I just spent the rest of the night curled up on the sofa feeling like death warmed up. My tummy was still gurgling last night, but thankfully no pains this time ... time will tell over the next day or so, I guess, whether I've managed to get rid of whatever it was for good!

Now a quick question for Jess., if you're reading - thanks for your comment about Stitchery Blue in Williamstown ... I have to admit, I took a train trip out there once when I was here visiting - but I haven't been back since I've moved here. My absolute favourite would probably be Lazy Daisy in Heidelberg - I also really like Bustle & Bows in Malvern (and to a certain extent the one in Surrey Hills), but I find their prices quite steep ... also the last time I went in the new manager followed me around the shop like a shadow and I felt really uncomfortable - I haven't been back since hmmm. I also like The Embroiderer in Brighton for threads, but they lack greatly in charts - they're pretty helpful to order in items if you need them, though. You mentioned "Broderie" in Bentleigh - do you know where it is?? I haven't heard of it before, and I'd love to track it down, especially as it's in my neck of the woods, and I couldn't find it in the Yellow Pages online ... :D
Well, that'll do for today, I guess - it's blowing a gale outside today, but it's beautiful and sunny, and I feel like blowing the cobwebs out by going for a short walk ... then we need to get furniture moved around ready for the delivery tomorrow - I can't wait to see my new lounge suite in here yippee! :D

Monday, August 14, 2006

Couple of replies

No stitching to report this morning, as it's all been shown already ... later today I'll be working on Vash's RR piece, which will be a challenge as it's all stitched the opposite way to me - I've never had to change the direction of my XS'es so that'll be a first for me. It's mounted on the scroll bars, with the threads all in floss bags, so I'm ready to get going as soon as I'm home. I've also been reading through the chart for the Lavender Rose Sewing Case so I can get started with this SAL, then I need to get my 3 hours of Bordeaux Sampler done for the week ... not to mention my exchanges ... crikey!

Today I'm off to pick up two weeks worth of mail from the PO Box and to get two parcels in the mail. Also tossing up whether to take a side trip out to the Cat Protection Society, seeing as my tummy has now eased up - I managed to eat a big meal two nights ago, and retained everything in my body like it's supposed to, and didn't have to rush off to the loo whatsoever yesterday ... I think I'm cured!! ;)

Anyway, I realised I'm outstanding with a couple of queries that were in comments recently, so here we go ...

For Anita - regarding the pansy scissor fob ... unfortunately it was from a class I took at La Chatelaine in Auckland, New Zealand, and isn't available as a chart. It should be relatively easy to copy, though, if you enlarge the photo. It used Brazilian cast-on stitch for the petals, close fly stitch for the leaves, feather stitch for the 'stems', and a french or colonial knot in the centre of the pansy with a few straight stitches. The sides were done with palestrina knots. Sorry I can't help more with that one.

For Heather - on the Teddy Santa Stocking, the beard is just done with straight stitches ... very very simple, but very very effective. I just made sure I railroaded the stitches to get them to lay flat and even.

For Jenna/Erin - thanks heaps for the offer to pick up scissors for me :) I'll definitely stick my hand up if I need to, thanks ladies :D

Could I also take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads and comments - it means a great deal to me ... plus I'd like to welcome my newer readers - I'll be popping over to return the favour very soon (I have 600+ unread feeds in my inbox, though, since I was away on holidays hmmm).

And I'll finish off with a photo of a couple of HKG souvenirs I bought ... just for a change, I found duckies!!! ROTFLMAO!!! Even though I have quite a few already, I can remember where I bought each and every one, and this little Nici duck will always remind me of my time in HKG ... then I was walking out of the store and spied the mug with ducks on it, and just had to take that home too! My final purchase from the airport was this little Chinese tea set. I'd been eyeing a set up in a local store, but decided not to get it ... then succumbed in the last few minutes before boarding our flight home - it'll be nice to drink my green teas in. And as Mum said, it's got dragons on it, so it'll bring back memories of my holiday with her LOL.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Needleroll SAL weekend (updated)

I have to admit that I've only been stitching my chosen needleroll since about 10pm last night, but I've been stitching all day today, and managed to almost finish the entire thing ... I've just hit the wall a bit now, so taking a break, and unsure whether I'll get it finished tonight. I'm stitching Summer at the Ocean by Jeannette Douglas Designs - I've been itching to stitch this design ever since I first saw it about 12 months ago ... and I can finally say I've reached that goal ... well, "almost" reached that goal anyway! ;) I just have to do the over-one words (my favourite ... NOT!), the rest of the 'ship's wheels' band, followed by all the beading. My favourite bands are the swirly 'shells' (3rd band down), and the pinwheels - it's been fun stitching something that's not XS for a change :)

Tomorrow I'll make a start on the Lavender Rose Sewing Case, as well as doing some work on Vash's RR ... and I need to get to the Post Office, as I haven't cleared my mail for nearly two weeks now (we went out there on Saturday morning, but it turns out they're not open on Saturdays anymore, and I'd left my PO Box key at home ... what a blonde!!). I have a couple of things to get in the post tomorrow, so that'll be something else we can tick off the to-do list for the week :)

(Update ...) I decided to go back to my needleroll after a short break, and managed to put the final stitches into it tonight. I might even get around to actually "finishing" some soon ... maybe ;) Anyway, here's the final version of the stitching before being finished into an actual needleroll.

Summer at the Ocean
by Jeannette Douglas Designs
Stitched on 32ct Blue Ice hand-dyed linen by Country Stitch

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Week of the Dragon! (2nd post)

Nope, I didn't get that wrong in the title ... it's not the "Year of the Dragon" - for us it's been the Week of the Dragon!

While we were in Hong Kong I made Mum pose in front of the Nine Dragon Wall in the temple gardens, and laughed saying it was now a Ten Dragon Wall hahaha ...

Dragon #1 (ie 10th Dragon)

Then tonight it was a true dragon-fest ... I put the final backstitches into my dragon quilt square, while watching Dragonheart on TV, with my own mother dragon stitching away opposite me ... an absolute plethora of Dragons!!! LOLOLOLOL.

Dragon #2

'Big' day out

Today was the first day we ventured a bit further from home ... partly due to the fact that I've had atrocious gastric/watery diarrhoea ever since arriving home from Hong Kong (too much info, I'm sure haha), and today was the first day I haven't been wandering around rubbing my tummy and feeling sorry for myself. Added to the fact that I got my 'monthly visitor' cramps right on the same day as the gastric cramps started ... believe me it's been no fun for the last 4 days - each on its own is bad enough, but together hmmm!! My downstairs neighbour copped the brunt of it at 2am this morning, when I thundered downstairs in my PJ's to thump on his door, asking him to switch his damned music down as it was like trying to sleep in a concert hall (yes, I was definitely Little Miss Grumpy Bum!). To give him his due, he very rarely does it, and has only gone to town into the small hours twice in the last 12 months of being here ... the alcohol fumes nearly knocked me down when he opened the door, but he was very gracious and apologised and said I had every right to be upset - at least that helped to settle my blood pressure, and he switched the piano concerto down to a minimal noise for the rest of the morning ...

Today we managed to visit the RSPCA to go cat-hunting ... I have at home cat food, litter tray and kitty litter, food and water bowls, play tunnel and balls with bells, and a scratching post/sleeping box (2-tier thing) - the only thing missing now is something cute with four legs and fur and goes "meeeow"! ;) There were two cats that I quite liked today (both 2 years old), but the RSPCA staff member I spoke to said I really needed to have a cat that had already been an indoor cat before, and they didn't have anything there today that was suitable for me apart from a deaf white one boohoo (dunno why, but I'm not keen on white cats for some reason). Depending what comes up over the next couple of weeks, I might take the risk and take home a stray and hope it settles in ... as the lady said, though, that's when I run the risk of them being destructive if they're used to being outside ... I'll also take Gina's advice and go visit the Cat Protection society as well, to see if they have anything suitable, and keep an eye on the RSPCA website for updates of incoming kitties. It would just be nice to have one while Mum's here to give it company for the first couple of weeks while I'm working, and to help train it off the furniture initially ...

After the RSPCA we popped out to the "Essence of Life" textured embroidery exhibition nearby at Mt Waverley, which was lovely ... then into the Guild exhibit on the way home, whose theme was "Celebrate" this year. I have to admit, I was very disappointed in the number of entries this year for the Guild exhibit, as there were so many last year - but then again, I struggled to come up with anything that I'd stitched that could be included, so perhaps others had the same problem ... last year's theme was Gardens, so there was loads of inspiration for that one. Regardless, though, the exhibit was still lovely to walk round, and there were some stunning pieces on display. As usual the work by Alison Cole was awe-inspiring and exquisite - she would have to be one of my favourite local stitchers ... her work never fails to impress me!

After that we came straight home ... we'd bought something light to eat in the car between exhibits, and my stomach had been making gurgling noises ever since, so we thought it wise not to push things too much, and started the pilgrimage home - it was lovely to get out of the house though, albeit for such a short excursion!

Even though I've been housebound for a few days, I can't say I've managed to get a lot of stitching done ... I've managed to almost finish my last charity quilt block, and just have about 1/3 of the backstitching left to go before it's finished (then I'll post a piccie) - then I have more commitments for stitching all due around the same time that I need to get cracking on ... and here they are, just to remind myself, more than anything else:

  • 15 August - Dragon charity quilt block
  • 1 September - Vash's round robin (Robin's Nest BB)
  • 4 September - Redwork exchange (SBEBB)
  • 5 September - Needleroll exchange (Robin's Nest BB)
  • 15 September - Strawberries So Faire SAL (StitchingSmalls)
  • Now ... the Lavender Rose Sewing Case SAL (with KarenV and Isabelle)
  • Now ... weekend Needleroll SAL (with Katrina et al)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SBQ's and small finishes

Between Blogger and my stupid modem, it took me almost 5 hours to load up the Hong Kong photos and blog post yesterday ... hopefully this post will be a bit quicker!! (And as it turns out, Blogger won't upload piccies today, so I'm having to use Photobucket mutter mutter mutter ...)

Firstly, here's the little ornament I stitched while I was away - it's Teddy Bear Stocking by Lorri Birmingham ... just for a change there were errors on the chart, which drives me crazy, so a bit more frogging than normal while trying to fix it hmmm - but all-in-all, I think it's quite cute, and I enjoyed stitching it. Mum's decided she loves it so much she wants to stitch one for herself as well ... way to go, Mum, you're almost more addicted to stitching than I am now! :D
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I also managed to finish one more ornament last night that I started while in HK ... this is the first in the Beyond Cross Stitch series of Hardanger designs by The Victoria Sampler, "White Christmas" - the photo doesn't do justice to all the sparkles of the metallic thread.
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Now on to the backlog of SBQ's ...

20 July - Today's SBQ was suggested by Cathy and is:
"When you get a project professionally framed do you get glass inserted into the frame? Why or why not?"
I've always had my framing done professionally, and with glass - but to be honest, I prefer the look of embroidery without the glass. I left the glass off my "Waiting for Ships" mermaid to do more justice to the metallics and beads, and I'll probably do the same with future pieces as well. Seeing as I don't smoke, and hate smoking in the home, it's not as much of an issue to leave the glass off. It's also then less of an issue when moving house so things don't get broken ... I learnt that by personal experience very recently when my Wessex Sampler was sitting in the aircraft hold with fragile stickers all over it, and well packaged up ... hmmm.

26 July - Today's SBQ was suggested by Von and is:
"Many of us have a few pairs of embroidery scissors and some even have a "collection". How many pairs of scissors do you have? Feel free to share a photo of your favourite pair or pairs with us!"
I don't really have many scissors anymore (two pairs have mysteriously disappeared!!) - one pair is really half-dead, and I just use them for my metallic threads now (and an odd embroidery thread when I'm desperate to find another pair). My absolute favourites were my Gingher's, which I'd ordered from the USA about 7-8 years ago, but very stupidly left them in my carry-on bag last year when I flew home, and they got confiscated :( (I didn't realise I'd packed 2 pairs - very conscientiously popped my crappy pair into the suitcase, and left my good ones that were in hiding at the back of the needlework case boohoo). I bought a new pair about 6 months ago, but when Mum started stitching in May I gave them to her to start up her stitching kit. When I come to think about it, I really really need to get some more, as I only have one good sharp pair anymore - which is the one I've taken a piccie of :( The only other pair I have are more for ornamental purposes - they're too small for me to use comfortably, but I love the little hanging sheath for them - too cute! I keep thinking about ordering another pair of Gingher's from Nordic Needle (plus I really want some of the coloured scissors too), but their postage scares me too much haha. One day I'll get around to it again ... anyone know a good source for them that has reasonable postage?? ;)
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3 August - Today's SBQ was suggested by Carol and is:
"Do you have a favourite needlework tool that you like to work with? What is it and why do you like using it?"
Only one??? Hmmm, that's a hard call ... personally I'll be hard pushed to decide between my floorstand and my Ott-lite - both of which are almost essential for me. I have difficulty holding a hoop/Q-snap in hand, and can't stitch in hand, as I get cramps, so anything that holds my scrollbars or Q-snaps is the most essential item for me (come to think about it, you'd better include those scrollbars as my favourites too!!). Coming up next are my Do-lolly for feeding in those tiny threads on the back (great for boo-boos when you don't have much thread left on the back to play with!), and
my Tacky Bob which is wonderful for beading (thanks to Carol, who sent it as a birthday gift - I love it!).

9 August - Today's SBQ was suggested by Ami and is:
"For those of you who use hand or over-dyed floss, how do you store it?"

I use Floss-away bags for my over-dyeds, with each type of thread (eg GAST, WDW, NN etc) on their own small metallic ring - then all the small rings are put onto a large ring so all my over-dyeds are grouped together ... I do that with all my types of threads, including metallics, rayons etc - then all the rings are stored together in plastic tubs.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back from Hong Kong (long post)

And oh boy, was it a wonderful trip!! Wish we could have stayed longer, but it just gives me more incentive to go back again another time :) Our trip started off with a bit of trepidation as our flight to Hong Kong was delayed by an hour - there was a typhoon hitting Hong Kong, and we weren't sure whether we would be able to fly or not ... but they found the typhoon was moving inland so they made the decision to take off and fly. It did mean we got a bit of stitching done at the airport for that extra hour or so :) I'll probably set up another blog eventually with extra info and photos of HK in it, rather than really cluttering up this one with "all" the photos, so if anyone wants to see them, you can :) ... but I'll put a few selected ones here too.

Unfortunately on the day we arrived we'd both taken travel sickness tablets due to the impending rough weather, and they knock us both out, so we wasted a large part of the first day by sleeping them off ... but we still managed to get moving a little bit at about 2-3pm and hit the streets. We walked to the local tram stop (just a block away) and had our first experience of local public transport - it's absolutely fantastic!!! (I'll write up more information on my new 'holiday blog' when I get chance.) We then went to the Western Market, which was a major disappointment as it was just two floors in a very small building - I did buy a 1/2 metre of some blue silk, but that's it - and then we opted to walk up the back streets for a while back to the tram road, where we passed the dried fish shops ... what a feast for the eyes!

The hotel we stayed at was 'out of the way', and not in a major tourist district - instead, it was in the middle of a traditional residential district (Western District, past Sheung Wan), and very Chinese ... and we loved it! We ended up walking all the way back home to our hotel, instead of taking the tram, and soaked up all the sights and sounds on the way. We also managed to buy some fresh fruit from a local fruit vendor - no problems with language difficulties ... she showed me the money owed on her calculator, so I could pay easily - we bought some nashi pears (Japanese apple pears I think they're called in the USA etc), huge cherries, and the best thing of all for me ... a bunch of bananas!!! The reason being, I haven't eaten a banana in a number of months, since the Queensland crops in Aussie were affected by our recent cyclones - the last time I saw bananas for sale here was for about $15/kg (usually approx $2-3/kg) ... I started drooling when I saw them so plentiful in HK :D That night we ate at a local restaurant in our street, which quickly turned into a favourite - the food was awesome! In fact we were very good while we were away, and didn't eat Western food at all - for me, that's all part of the holiday experience, trying everything from another culture ... luckily I love Asian food, too, so I was in 7th heaven with everything! ;)

The next 12 hours were 'interesting' ... when we got home we ate a couple of things we'd bought while out, and Mum pulled out half of her tooth in a macadamia lolly ... and ended up with half a jagged tooth for the rest of the trip. Unfortunately that spoilt things a little bit, as she couldn't eat a lot of what she would have liked - but she's waited until we've got home to get it fixed. Then we had a fire alarm go off at the hotel at 11pm while we were in a majorly deep sleep (first and last time in the whole trip).

The next morning I checked with the front desk if they could recommend an optometrists to buy some glasses ... and there was one right next door - woohoo!! So I spent about 1/3 of my total spending money in the first 1/2 hour of leaving the hotel room haha - yes, I am the proud owner of one pair of specs (which were ready for me to pick up close of business the very next day - gotta love HK!!!) ... and for me that was my priority for spending while I was away - driving home from the airport last night after 10pm was sheer heaven. I spent less money on the frames, and got the top of the line lenses with all the bells and whistles (anti-glare and toughening etc), and they're just wonderful (as well as being about 1/3 of the cost the same thing would have cost here!).

After the delirium of buying some specs, we went back to the tram to take us to Sheung Wan train station, where we began a continued love affair with HK public transport - I can't begin to say how amazing their transport system is ... it's incredibly easy to use - especially thanks to the "Octopus card" system! Next we went to Mongkok Station and wandered to the flower markets and bird markets, which were wonderful to walk through - all the different flowers were amazing, and I especially loved the lotus flowers (even though they're pink haha).

After that we walked to the goldfish markets, where we didn't stay too long, and finished off with a walk through Ladies Market stalls (we didn't realise until much later that all the side streets were part of it) - we got pretty fed up with being hassled by stallkeepers there calling out "hey, Missy" and grabbing you by the arm, trying to flog off cheap Gucci copies etc (especially as it's not really what I'd buy) ... I know most people love haggling etc, but I can't stand it - that spoilt it for us, and we left at the end of running the gauntlet through four blocks of that, and didn't look any further ... then we went and had yum cha at a local restaurant for lunch, and caught the train to Tsim Sha Tsui, and the harbour - took in the sights of Avenue of the Stars, the Star Ferry terminal, and Harbour City shopping mall ... by the time we left it was getting late, so we decided to stay by the waterfront to watch the Light Show - I'm so glad we did, as it was wonderful to watch! Then it was back home again on the train/tram, and dinner, before heading off to bed.

The next day we took a 5 hour 'introductory tour' of HK Island - we were taken to Aberdeen, where the infamous Jumbo floating restaurant is, and we took a sampan ride round the harbour, then off to a jewellery manufacturer for shopping (people were much richer than us ... we bought a keyring and eyeglass case haha) - unfortunately we were held up by a group of women buying jewellery, and we were late heading to Stanley Market, and that was our favourite spot - we really enjoyed it there, and bought a couple of gifts for people, as well as a lovely turquoise pashmina for me (only HK$30 ... AU$6 woohoo). I was also surprised to find a shop selling wider fitting leather sandals, and bought 3 pairs ... I was amazed at this, as I hate shoe shopping due to my fat, broad, ugly feet - 7th heaven again! ;)

Our final port of call was driving up Victoria Peak for the view over HK harbour/skyline ... unfortunately we had bad weather the whole time, and it was very overcast and rainy that day, so the photos are relatively poor - we came back down to street level by tram, then headed off home again ... except we opted to find our own way from our drop-off point (we'd had to get there originally by taxi), had a late lunch at a Malaysian restaurant in Causeway Bay, followed by the infamous custard egg tarts from a street vendor that were totally to die for ... it's a good job I don't live in HK or I'd be living on those every day!! LOL. We then found our way back home for a rest and a bit of stitching, before dinner.

On our 4th and final day we started off with a train trip to Wong Tai Sin station and visited the Sik Sik Yuen Temple - this turned out to be a highlight of our entire stay, and we ended up spending 2 hours there ... even though the heavens opened up with a downpour, it didn't manage to dampen our spirits at all - it was exceptional to walk through (we could tell it was a highlight for the number of photos we took).

After that we had lunch at a nearby shopping mall, before heading back to Ladies Market to look in the back streets ... we ended up changing our original opinion of this market, as we managed to pick up some bargains on cheap shoes for us both, and ended up going home laden with shopping bags. I was originally going to price up an iPod there, but it's no cheaper than buying at home with a full Aussie warranty, so didn't see the point, and ended up getting better value with other items I bought with both gifts for myself and gifts for others :) I've ended up coming home with no less than 7 pairs of shoes (4 sandals, 2 work shoes, and 1 sports) ... crikey!! We returned to our hotel grinning but exhausted!

We flew home yesterday, and we managed to shop right up until the last minute ... by buying a Chinese tea set at the airport using up both mine and Mum's last bit of HK money ... literally!! No worries about currency exchange rates when we got home last night - we had nothing left to change over teehee :D

So, all-in-all a wonderful experience with a new country and culture explored - and it was a great way to thank Mum for everything she's done for me over the years (her airline ticket was my 70th birthday present to her).

In stitching news I did manage to get one small piece finished (a Christmas ornie), but I'll post about it tomorrow, as it's still packed away in the boot (trunk) of the car ... we were too exhausted to make more than one trip up the apartment stairs last night ...

As for Hong Kong ... I will definitely be back, as there's so much more I want to explore - such as trips further abroad to Lantau Island, Macau and Shengzhen etc ... one day ... :D

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Baggage disaster ...

Today I finally unpacked one of my favourite embroidery pieces that was professionally framed, that Mum brought with her on the plane ... although well packaged with a couple of layers of foamcore and bubblewrap, the airline still managed to play football with it, and we heard the sickening sounds of tinkling glass as I started unpacking the wrapping today :( Yep, my glass is in shattered ruins ... and it's not covered by the airline, and Mum's insurance excess would be $75, so probably not worth claiming it back ... it's quite fitting that the SBQ came out recently about framing with glass vs non-glass (which I still haven't gotten around to answering ... blogs have been a low priority over the last two weeks again due to visitors and shifts etc hmmm) - I have to admit, I prefer to see embroidery without glass, but I know there are pros for using glass (as well as pros for not using it). Both Mum and I sat looking at my Wessex piece and both thought the same thing at the same time ... the embroidery looks so much better without the glass! So, thanks to the airline, my Wessex piece will likely no longer have glass covering it :) I just hope by the time we clear all the glass away that it hasn't damaged any of the embroidery itself ...

As I mentioned earlier, Mum's flight was delayed by 5 hours in total, so we had a quiet night in on Saturday night - then Sunday we went out shopping and bought all sorts of goodies ... including a VERY big purchase, except I have 19 months to pay for it thanks to Harvey Norman's 19 months interest free and no downpayments at the moment - Mum agreed it was a very worthwhile investment, and thanks to my debt consolidation I'll be able to make regular monthly repayments so I don't have a big outlay at the end of the 19 months ... the big purchase was a new lounge suite!! I'm so excited about it!!! No need to guess what colour it is haha ... the salesman said "you'd like the same colour as the floor model?" - a resounding "NO!" from both Mum and I, then we cracked up ... yep, of course it's coming in blue! Actually it's a very close match to my el cheapo recliner I currently stitch in. You have no idea how good it feels to have this on order - it's made in Aussie, so we have to wait approx 4-5 weeks for it to be made up, but it has a 2.5 seater sofa bed and two chairs ... AND the best thing is that for an extra $249 you get a 5-year cover for damage ... including pet damage and spills (woohoo!!), at which time they'll recover it for free ... considering the new inhabitant that will be joining this household soon, I thought it was a good option haha. My current lounge suite was bought for $150 at a garage sale, and Fraze managed to somehow rip one arm of the chairs while it was under his care, as well as the sofa being the most uncomfortable saggy thing to sit on, with the sofa bed bars digging into you ... I can't wait for my new one to arrive!!!

As for the rest of the week, I've been working late shifts, so not much happening - managed to get my week's stitching into Bordeaux Sampler the night that Mum arrived, and I've decided to post my piccie two days early, as I'll be heading off to Hong Kong tomorrow night, and might forget to do it before I fly out (we're supposed to post progress piccies each Friday). I just have the little red 'cluster' to the left of the lettering to finish, then band one is all done for me - looking forward to seeing how Carol is coming along with hers :)

The remaining stitching time I've had this week has been very sporadic, but I've managed to get a few stitches into my last charity quilt square - it's due 15 August, so I'd better get cracking when I get back home again (good job I'm still on annual leave for the next two weeks haha).

I'm thinking of packing a Shepherd's Bush needleroll or two or a Christmas ornie to take with me to stitch at the airport etc - not sure whether we'll get much time to stitch while we're away, especially as it's only for 4 nights ... one always has to take something 'just in case' though, right? LOL. I was laughing today because the first thing I've thought about is what stitching to take - I haven't even started thinking about clothes etc for packing ... a girl has to have her priorities!!!

And on that note I'd better sign off ... we're meeting Fraze tonight for dinner then he's staying here the night - and he's due to finish work soon ... better go chuck my jeans on and start getting ready - scotch fillet for dinner, yummo!! :D