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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

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What can I say today? If it doesn't rain, it pours ... on the way to work today my car battery seemed to be failing - no problems starting the car up, and it drove fine into work, but the dashboard clock was out of sync etc, with the alarm making a really strange sound when trying to use it. When I tried to lock the car manually when I arrived at work (seeing as the alarm locking system had failed), it locked the door and wouldn't unlock again. Luckily I could open the passenger side manually and lock all the other doors that way. Anyway, I was feeling so shattered at work I cashed in my final 2 Luv Ya Work awards to leave an hour early to get my car fixed ... only to find my car now wouldn't start at all ... I had a flat battery. Well, after being told the battery guys would be there within the hour, two hours later they finally turned up ... $125 later and I could drive home again. I just hope like heck that's fixed it, as when I parked my car at home, the alarm was still making a strange sound (I'll be sleeping with my fingers and toes crossed tonight, that's for sure!!).

I called and chatted to Mum for half an hour while waiting (I have a price cap on my mobile phone and this is covered thank goodness) - it was great to just have a moan about how fed up I felt ... she's the best listener in the world. We even had time to put our heads together and come up with some meal options out of what's in my cupboards, as thanks to this little saga for the day, I may not be going grocery shopping for at least a fortnight now ... especially when I walked into the flat to find yet another little gift, the gas bill {heavy sigh}. I'm trying to keep a smile on my face, but I do have to admit as soon as I walked in the door, I sat down and burst into tears for a few minutes ... just a brief reaction to the stress, I think, as well as being exhausted from lack of sleep and trying to fight off a migraine. Anyway, I'm sure I'll be fine, and there are plenty of people worse off than me, so I can't complain too much! Hopefully after another two paydays I'll be back on my feet again ... especially with a public holiday coming up that I'm working.

It just means that I'm going to have to not go anywhere or do anything special for at least the next 2-4 weeks until everything is paid off. That also means not using my car unless absolutely essential, and making sure I make a packed lunch every day or going without etc. No coffee shop coffees, and no fast food ... everything that passes my lips has to come out of my current pantry and freezer - if nothing else, it'll get some old stuff used up and make some room, so perhaps that's a good thing! ;)

Thanks again for your emails and comments of support - I really really appreciate it. All the lovely comments are helping to keep my spirits up. Hopefully I'll be back to regular scheduled programming and my positive self very soon in a blog near you ... {{hugs}}

Actually, I almost forgot about my stitching news - in the spirit of Halloween, and the fact that I own absolutely no Halloween items whatsoever, I really wanted to stitch myself something this year, but haven't been in the mood ... I was just sitting around like a zombie after work yesterday, so I forced myself to put a few stitches into a new start to try and cheer myself up, and came up with this ... I just have to add three more words (2 x eeks and a boo) and the spider eyes, and it's ready to be finished into an ornie. It's Just Nan's freebie "Just Jack", stitched on 28ct light mocha Quaker cloth, using the recommended DMC threads. These are the only arachnids that will ever be allowed on my threshold without getting the Mortein treatment ;P
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, October 30, 2006

Feeling a bit perkier

Well, I don't feel quite as haggard today ... I felt absolutely disgusting this morning, but it was a good day at work, with some fun people on the Hotline, so it made for a more fun day. I also got my recent call evaluation done, and was told by the Quality Evaluator that I was an extremely valued member of the Hotline, and being made permanent was one of the best decisions management have ever made ... awww, that's so sweet! :)

Financially, things are better today 'cos it's payday haha ... I still don't have spare cash sitting around, and I am on a very VERY tight rein for the next fortnight, which means Sydney is most definitely not happening. One of the reasons I've been panicking is due to my tax return ... this is the first time I've ever had to pay money back, and it's just over $500 (I wasn't too phased about doing my return because I've always had money refunded to me ... then freaked out three weeks ago when I did my tax online, and haven't lodged it officially until today when I went through and re-checked all my figures before hitting "send" ... sure enough I have to pay boohoo). Anyway, I just assumed (stupidly) that you had to pay it before the end of the next financial year ... nope, you actually have to pay it by 21 November 2006 ... bl**dy hell!!! So, if I had any possible doubts about getting to see my best friend in Sydney, that sealed it! It's a shame, 'cos Vicki's never in Aussie, and it's a real hassle to visit her in New Zealand as the flights to Nelson aren't great. Oh well, I'll just have to save up and make a side trip the next time I'm home in Auckland ... whenever that will be.

Still no stitching news ... I've been stalking the mailbox today and there's no parcel in there from SB&B, so no scissor fob exchange being posted yet (my final exchange) ... it's early days yet, though, so hopefully it'll be here over the next couple of days. I've been feeling too flat to do any actual stitching, so no new progress to report either hmmm. Never mind, hopefully I'll make up for it on my days off this Thu/Fri.

Thanks again for all the supportive comments recently ... it means a lot :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Quilting and 'stuff'

I managed to pick out a couple of quilt designs that I like, to show you - there are quite a few more, but they're in actual quilting books and I don't think I'm allowed to post piccies due to copyright ... these ones came from old quilting magazines that I've ripped the pages out of, so goodness knows where/what the original source is. Also, one day I might just re-create the other book quilts in my software program and show those piccies, 'cos then I'm not technically breaking copyright ... I think ... I was serious enough to try quilting years ago and bought designing software ready for it, but I still haven't been brave enough to give it a go :/ Whatever design I eventually go with will be, as Isabelle puts it, blue blue blue ;P I'm envisaging deeper blues with turquoise, as opposed to pastels, but who knows what it will end up being? Anyway, here are some designs that I like - the 3rd one is a cot quilt, but the design could be repeated to make a larger quilt, I think.

I especially love the last two!!

Thanks for your comments and emails of support after yesterday's post. Today I still feel a bit blue, and have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it's likely I won't be going to Sydney - Mum and I had a good talk on the phone last night and as she put it, I seem to be taking one step forward and two steps back at the moment, and there's no point going just because I 'really want to', if it's possible it will put me in greater financial difficulty in the end, which is absolutely right.

Actually the reason for the phone call from Mum last night was to let me know some bad news from the family in the UK (I knew it had to be something, 'cos I'd only spoken to her the day before) ... one of my cousins had walked into the house to find her husband had committed suicide, which is a really really awful thing to experience I'm sure, and something I could never entirely imagine to its full extent and horror. To be honest I don't feel really upset about it, as I didn't know David that well - I don't have any memory of my childhood prior to the age of 10 (when we emigrated finally to New Zealand), and I'd only met him once in my early 20's when I visited/lived there for 6 months. I do, however, feel very sorry for my cousin for the situation she's now in and she's been in my thoughts a fair bit today. Even though we're not close, and we hardly know each other as adults, she's one of the very few family members who ever keeps in touch with birthday and Christmas cards, and by the sounds of it she hasn't had an easy life. My UK family aren't aware of my blog (and the majority don't have computers anyway to my knowledge), but {{hugs}} to you anyway Carole, may peace and inner strength find you in the trying and difficult days ahead.

Well, that's me for today - I'm feeling very very revolting and haggard after my early morning start thanks to daylight saving ... it's been the slowest shift in history, and I just can't wait for this day to end so I can get to bed and have a bit of sleep. Only two more 5am's left, hip-hip-hooray :D

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I forgot ...

I forgot to post a progress piccie after my stitching yesterday on Bordeaux Sampler ... here goes :)

Feeling a bit blue ...

Perhaps I just feel tired after being up so early today, I don't know ... but I have to say the last week has been a struggle financially - I think having the dinner party etc recently has been an extra drain on the finances, not to mention that stupid parking fine, and I thought I was doing OK, but then the electricity bill came in, and my bank account basically went down to having $10 spending money for the next 5 days ... hmmm. Fraze asked me to come into the city to have dinner with him last night, and I had to turn him down, as I simply couldn't afford it. I said to Mum on the phone I don't even have bread or milk in at the moment oops. That's not to say I don't have any food in the house ... thankfully I have some frozen pumpkin soup and chicken breasts/meat etc in, and plenty of pantry items to get a meal thrown together, but it's been an interesting few days. Today I went out and bought milk and yogurt for my breakfast muesli, and emptied out the bank account in its entirety. I got creative last night and made my own bread in the breadmaker, as I have plenty of flour etc on hand, which made a lovely accompaniment to the pumpkin soup :D

All-in-all, it wouldn't be too bad ... I do occasionally have a month where I'll struggle financially, then the next one makes up for it and it all evens out. I'd managed to save up a wee bit of money behind me as a backup, but of course that ended up being spent on our Hong Kong trip. Anyway, what tripped me out is that I just received a letter from my real estate agent saying the landlord had requested a rent increase, and basically I have 60 days notice before it takes effect. I'm a bit peeved because when I talked about getting a cat he asked if I would be staying long-term, I'd said as long as he didn't increase the rent, I'd be staying ... he replied not to worry he definitely wouldn't be doing that :( OK, admittedly, he's only asking for an extra $5 a week, which is only $20-25 a month, but it's all still an extra expense, particularly with weeks like this one when I'm down to my last $10 until pay day!! That's the main reason for the title of this post ... hmmm.

The way I'm going, I don't know if I'm going to be able to get the money together to see my best friend in Sydney ... I might end up having to make a snap decision during that final week, to see if there's enough money in the kitty left over for it. It will be really disappointing, that's for sure, but then again there's no point getting myself into more financial ruin by going if I really can't afford it.

It also means I've been considering other areas where I'm just going to have to cut back. Like a few of my fellow bloggers, I'd dearly love to send Christmas and birthday gifts to my fave online pals, and I'd already been planning a few things, but I'm realising I just can't realistically do it financially ... my gifts this next year are going to have to be quite meagre, as every time I make a financial cutback I'm offsetting any benefits by spending extra money on gifts and postage, and I just seem to be running in circles and not getting anywhere in the case of reducing debt. As much as I adore buying for gifts (and I really have loved doing it this year for my online pals), I have to be realistic about it and make some changes ... and it breaks my heart to have to think that way. I guess having that small rent increase arrive has given me food for thought ... and that food is giving me indigestion!!

Sorry this is such a depressing post ...

On a more positive note, thanks for all your comments - I knew that little sneak preview would make you think my latest gift stitching was Sweetheart Tree ... it's actually a Calico Crossroads sampler :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gift stitching ... piccies

That's the only thing I hate about secret stitching ... I can't share piccies until after it's been received, darn it! Seeing as it won't give the game away, I've decided to show you a sneak preview of my current gift stitching, though. It's about 2/3 finished now, but I can't complete it until I get a spool of Kreinik braid ... fingers crossed that'll be in my first parcel from SB&B that's on its way and should be here within a week's time ... if not, that's the time to start panicking ;)

Actually, I just heard from Jenna that her birthday gifts have arrived safely, so I can also add an extra piccie to this post ... I didn't take photos of the extra goodies I sent, but I did take one of the lavender sachet I stitched. I haven't done any hardanger really since I took a beginner's class about 5-6 years ago, and haven't tried wrapped bars before (ie just wrapping all 4 threads together), but it worked out OK - it was strange using such large count fabric and pearl cotton (#3 and #5), but the finished product is really pretty. I chose it because lavender is a natural therapy for headaches, and poor Jenna is regularly plagued with them - thankfully USA Customs restrictions aren't as strict as here, and you can send lavender into the country, yay. The design is a freebie from the Classic Stitches website. I'm so happy it arrived safe and sound, and that Jenna likes her goodies :D

Other than that, not much has been happening in this neck of the woods - after my appalling night's sleep yesterday, I managed to get tuckered out and went back to bed at midday for another 3 hours - I felt much more human after that ... but at least it got my kitted up projects entered into a spreadsheet, which has proved helpful already as I searched for a DMC thread for my gift stitching yesterday - I had a quick look at the spreadsheet then went straight to the right project to grab the skein out ... awesome!

Tonight it's back to early nights for sleeping, I need to be in bed by 7.30pm to try and get 8 hours before being up at 4am for work ... 4 days of 5am's this week, finished with one 9am shift at the end - only 5 days straight again, oh boy am I loving that!!

Thanks to a conversation Isabelle and I have been having, I've been contemplating making a patchwork quilt next year ... I've been dreaming about it for a number of years now, but never started one for myself, and I'm thinking 2007 might be the year to try it out. I've been looking through my quilting books and choosing some possible designs ... once I've narrowed my choices down I'll share some piccies.

Rightio, back to listening to the last part of Jeffrey Deaver's Cold Moon novel (I'm really enjoying this one) and Bordeaux Sampler (I'm giving it some well-deserved stitching time, seeing as it's been neglected for a few weeks) ... it's OK, though, Carol, I'm not motoring too far along with it today, just enough to show some difference ;)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Apricot Slice

At Alison's request, here is the recipe for the very unhealthy apricot slice :)


125g butter
1/2 can condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
250g packet round wine biscuits, crushed (plain biscuits)
1 cup dried apricots, chopped (NOT Turkish, just cheapo brands - chuck them in the food processor)
Coconut or chocolate hail for topping

Heat the butter, condensed milk and brown sugar until melted - don't boil. Add apricots and biscuits and mix well. Push into a sponge roll tin and sprinkle with coconut or chocolate hail. Set in the fridge, then cut into slices.

Easy huh? Then the hardest part is trying to just eat one slice ;) LOL.

Well, today I'm up an around after only 4 1/2 hours sleep, at 5.30am ... considering I haven't even started the early shifts yet, that's a most disgusting thing to happen on my first day off!! I just couldn't get back to sleep again, so I'm going to potter around then have a bit of a kip again this arvo, I think. My job while I'm pottering is to make up a spreadsheet of the 'envelopes' I've got kitted up, and the DMC and specialty threads etc that are in them, so if I need them for something else I actually know where to find them! There have been a few things of late I've been hunting for, and I'm sure that's where they're hiding ... in one of my kitted-up projects. Anyway, that'll keep me out of mischief while I'm waking up or until I'm ready for a kip again ...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


It's Wednesday (aka Friday in my little world today), and I'm ever so happy ;)

Haven't touched a needle in a few days now, and I'm itching to get a bit done, as well do a bit more housekeeping with my stitching stash - I've got so many charts not sorted into subjects in my folders etc, that it's getting totally out of control, and I need some sort of order back again. The other day I bought some plastic 'envelope' folders, and put all of my rotation WIP's into them, in order of stitching in a plastic tub, so every time I finish one rotation it goes to the back of the pile and I'm ready to just pick up the next one. In each of the folders I have my stitched piece if it's small, my chart and working copy, and all the threads in flossaway bags in numerical order on metal rings ... hence the reason I haven't done any stitching recently haha. Typical of me, though, I can always find something else to fill my time rather than those things I really should be doing LOL.

In my semi-cranky mood yesterday, I decided to cheer myself up with a taste of my childhood ... literally. For the first time I finally made myself a double batch of Doreen's Apricot Slice - Doreen is my best friend's Mum, and my adopted second Mum, and at many outings with the family Doreen would make this apricot slice ... it always reminds me of those wonderful fun times of my youth. In fact Doreen's kitchen was always filled with yummy home-baked goodies when you visited. I asked Vicki to send me the recipe a little while ago, and gave it a go. It's not quite the same, as we don't have Round Wine biscuits here, so I tried using Marie biscuits and they seem to have a bit more crunch to it ... next time I think I'll try plain Arrowroot biscuits, either that or get Mum to bring some in her red cross parcel/suitcase when she comes over haha. The guys at work will love me forever for making a double batch, as that means I'm taking a pile of it into work for them to munch on today too :D Here's a small sampling of the pile ...
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I'm happy to say my order that I was moaning about yesterday has been shipped, even though there is apparently a glitch with PayPal and I still haven't got an invoice, but I feel very grateful it has finally been resolved. It's unusual for me to fly off the handle, and to blog about it, but perhaps we can put it down to hormones as 'that time of the month' is about to hit any day now, and I'm feeling a mix of emotions this week hmmm.

Anyway, time to get ready for work - I have a normal shift of 12noon to 8pm today, then two days off woohoo (I'm trying not to think about the shifts next week, it's too depressing LOL). I'm hoping to have something stitching-related to show you by the end of the weekend :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's Friday tomorrow

OK, OK, for everyone else it's Wednesday tomorrow ... but for me it's Friday in that it's the last day of this week's working week - I have Thu/Fri off before going back into work on Saturday ... and a very very bad weekend to be working 5am shifts - why? I hear you ask (I wondered what those voices in my head were!!) ... this weekend the clocks go forward (yay, I love daylight saving), but it means instead of having to wake up at my normal 4am, it will actually be 3am (not yay, in fact a BIG boooooo!). I think I'm going to be totally wrecked ... ooh, ooh, I just had a brainwave as I was typing this - I still have a couple of 'luv your work' awards that I could cash in, then I could come home an hour early and just have a 7-hour day ... hmmm, food for thought ...

Can I just take a brief moment to have a mini rant ... you might want to skip this bit ... I've just sent a grumpy email of complaint to a certain online store in the US, one who's infamous for having things on backorder for months (say no more). Anyway, I'd pre-ordered the JCS Xmas ornie issue through them, as I can never find it in Melbourne (although now I know Dragonfly Dreams carries it, it's likely I'll pay the imported price and buy locally from now on) - we added a number of items to the list that Mum needed, and asked for it to be held until the JCS issue comes in to combine postage (that was on 1Sep) ... of course it's still got items on back order even now ... anyway on speaking to Mum we decided to add a couple more items to the list (namely Flossaway bags), which meant we'd have to have two shipment parcels ... not a problem. At the time I also requested an additional one or two items be added to the first shipment for the scissor fob exchange I'm sending ... gave a list of items that would be options, and just asked for something that was in stock to be sent. Well, on 10Oct I was asked if I'd like to receive shipment on the first parcel, to which I replied yes, and could I make sure the exchange goodies were in there too, and please send the invoice so I can pay it immediately ... today is 24Oct and to date I still have not received a single response, and certainly no invoice - I've sent two other chaser emails, as I was worried about the mailing dates, and still heard nothing. I very very rarely complain in writing ... but today I finally put my fingers to the keyboard. I don't even mind greatly if the goods couldn't be shipped in time to meet my deadline, but I would have liked an acknowledgement and advice to that extent so I could have made other arrangements. As it is, it is now too late, and I'll likely have to send two parcels over the oceans, but it's left a rather bitter taste in my mouth that's for sure! They were quick enough to send my monthly bits invoice (but I presume that's automated), but I have to admit it's still sitting unactioned in my inbox while I decide what to do with that. OK, my rant is now officially over ... phew! ;)

That feels better getting that off my chest ... now I can move on and go back to my happy existence and regular scheduled programming haha ... BTW, did I tell you it's Friday tomorrow??? See, that put a smile back on my face again hahaha.

Update to my rant ... I've just heard back from the infamous ONS - apparently an invoice was sent 11Oct, which I never received, and due to personal reasons no-one has been actioning emails in the office ... it's been sitting waiting to be shipped upon payment since 11Oct - geesh, I wish I'd known about this two weeks ago!! As I just replied, I've always always paid immediately on receipt of any invoices, perhaps that should have rung alarm bells, and if someone could have just scanned through emails for those that are relevant ... OK, I'm just going to stop ranting now and try to let it slide ... maybe I need to drag out my old yoga tape LOL.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blogging has changed my life

I was just sat here reflecting how life has changed since I began blogging ... all in a positive way, of course! I feel so much more confident in my stitching, and within myself, and it's been wonderful sharing the trials and tribulations of my newfound online pals, and sharing those of my own with people who think the same way.

When planning holidays and breaks away, I immediately wonder if there are any bloggers in the area I could meet up with and put a face to the name ... the world has become a much smaller and friendlier place to live in :)

Having the blogging outlet has helped give me relief from a bad day, and I often sit here at home feeling a sense of peace with life itself. I thank those of you who have become part of my new smaller world, and am very grateful to have met you {{hugs}}.

I recently looked at my counter here and saw it hit the 20,000 mark, and marvel at how many of you come back for more to read my drivel every week, but feel grateful that you do come back and provide such wonderful support and friendship.

That's all I wanted to post about tonight ... I was just sitting here thinking how 'at one with the world' I feel, even though I had a tough start to the working day today, and wanted to say a heartfelt thanks :D

To my online pals ... I salute you!! :D

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I tagged myself & SBQ

In an effort to wind down after work (it wasn't a good night, but I won't go into that right now, or I'll go back to focusing on it again), here's another series of questions/answers I grabbed from Annette's blog. I think I may have answered something similar when I first started blogging, but here goes anyway ...

48 Things You Could Care Less About

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not as far as I know
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? About 3 weeks ago after Mum had gone home - a combination of being hormonal, sleep deprived and missing my Mum
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I always gets compliments on it, but I don't think it's anything special - depends what mood I'm in as to how tidy it is!
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes, I'd say so, except I'd avoid being around myself on 5am shifts
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? This blog is it for now
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope - got them taken out in my early 30's
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Only if I was pushed ... basically no!
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Depends on my mood - Frosties when being 'bad', muesli when being healthy, and Weet-Bix for simplicity
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Mentally and spiritually yes
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Orange chocolate chip or coffee
14. SHOE SIZE? 8
15. RED OR PINK? Definitely red - basically anything BUT pink ... yuk!
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Mum when she's not here
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans, denim-blue T-shirt, two-tone purple polar fleece jacket, and powder blue Skechers (I love weekend dress code at work!)
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Scone with jam an cream (someone at work made them and dished them out just before 11pm)
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Traffic noise outside
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Blue - that's a no-brainer!
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Depends on my mood ... frangipani flowers or vanilla
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Some moron telemarketing for ING before work ... and a travel agent on the phone at work
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Yes
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Jim Beam bourbon and L&P ... sheer nectar!
28. FAVORITE SPORT? None, I hate them all equally ... OK, if I HAVE to choose I'd have to say Rugby Union (but I usually only watch NZ vs Aussie matches anymore)
29. EYE COLOR? Blue
30. HAT SIZE? Large - I have a big skull!
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, not anymore - had my eyes lasered
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Depends on my mood ... love lemon meringue pie, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers on bagels, and king prawns ... I just love food generally
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Mainly happy endings - but enjoy a scary movie every now and then
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Lemon meringue pie or pavlova
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Not really applicable
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? The Closers by Michael Connelly (audiobook)
41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Penguins - from a painting by a NZ artist
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nothing - didn't switch the TV on ... the night before was Jamie Oliver's 'Fifteen in Melbourne'
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The final beep from my headset when I'm signing out at work ;)
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Depends which home you're referring to ... the Greek Islands from NZ will be my choice for now
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Don't think any are particularly 'special'
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I took it from Annette

And now for the SBQ ...

Today's SBQ was suggested by Vash and is:
"Which way do you stitch, i.e. do you stitch /// followed by \\\ on top, or the other way around \\\ followed by ///? Are you left-or right-handed and do you think that this affects the way that you stitch?"

I stitch /// then \\\ ... probably because when I was teaching myself the little kit showed it done that way in the instructions, and I continued the same way ever since. I can't say it has anything to do with being right-handed at all, just that I didn't know any other way back then ...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tagged ...

Over the last few days I've been tagged, and thought it's about time I sat down and answered them, so here goes ...

I've Been Tagged by Andie for this one.

The rules:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether or not they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

I've been going back through my 'old' CD collection recently, so those oldies are probably in my head more than the new stuff at the moment, but here goes:

1) Superman - Five For Fighting (loved this one for years and still love it!)
2) Beautiful - James Blunt
3) Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows
4) Without Me - Eminem
5) Shiny Happy People - REM
6) Babylon - David Gray
7) Paradise by the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf

Haha, definitely an eclectic mix in there! I have a very varied taste in music ... the only things you won't find in my music collection will be country music (with the exception of John Denver and Willie Nelson!) and opera (no exceptions ... ever ... haha - Phantom of the Opera doesn't count!). Not a huge fan of rap, but don't mind a couple of songs.

Rightio, on to the next one ... for this one I was tagged by Margaret. I have to say 5 things that are weird about myself or my pets ... hmmm ...

1) I eat what's on my plate generally in order ... ie I'll usually eat the things I don't enjoy so much first, followed by the yummier things - perhaps that's part of why I'm the size I am, if I left the yucky stuff to last, I won't be obliged to stuff it into me even though I'm already full, 'cos I don't want to waste the yummy stuff ;) Actually I think I'm breaking this habit, but I have always worked my way round the plate finishing each type of food before starting on the next.

2) I can spot a duck at a 1000 paces ... that probably doesn't surprise anyone! I just love to see ducks out in the wild, and I've always been drawn to them since I was a 'wee nipper'. Amazingly enough, I still have an affinity to them, as my stuffed toy collection will prove :) A girl can never have too many ducks!!

3) Our cat Rio used to go absolutely crazy over freshly ground coffee - more so than cat nip. One day I brought a bag of ground coffee home, and it was sitting on the lounge floor inside the plastic carry bag. Rio started rolling all over it, smooching his cheeks all over it and salivating like there was no tomorrow - I've never seen anything like it in my life ... definitely weird!

4) I like sitting on the floor ... you can tell I feel really comfortable in your home if I jump down to the carpet and park myself there - dunno why, but I love sprawling on the floor.

5) I have a bit of an aversion to the phone ringing at home ... I really hate it. Perhaps 'cos I spend all day on the phones, I dunno, but heaven help those telemarketers who phone me after hours at home invading my peace and quiet ;)

As far as tagging other people, I think most people have done both of these now ... if you haven't and feel like joining, consider yourself tagged! :D

Now, for my finale, stolen from Judith's blog ... this has been around for a while and I've never bothered doing it before, but I'm just in the mood for it now ... ;)

What I have done is in "bold".

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
89. Had a one-night stand
90. Gone to Thailand
91. Bought a house
92. Been in a combat zone
93. Buried one/both of your parents
94. Been on a cruise ship
95. Spoken more than one language fluently
96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
97. Raised children
98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111.Ridden a bike
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Friday, October 20, 2006

Last day of freedom

It's back to work again tomorrow, but it's only a 5-day week for a change, which is just wonderful - this week's shifts are reasonable, with a mix of 3pm and 12 noon starts. Next week it's back to 5am starts again hmmm, which means I should get loads of stitching done just to keep me awake in the afternoons!

Yesterday I promised piccies of my great mail day, and here they are - the first piccie is of course Jenna teasing me with my scissors ... I'm still laughing my head off today over this little trick - I love it! As well as the beautiful wrapping, it also has a gift tag already made up on it ... "To Anne, From Anne" - what a crack up!

The other goodies I received were my back-ordered threads from Karen at Dragonfly Dreams - this means Sapphire Star will be joining my rotation as the next project on my list for the canvaswork slot ... although my rotation is a bit out the window at the moment to fit in some commitment and gift stitching. Here in the piccie is the latest issue of JCS (only bought for the ornies in it, and I have to admit there are probably only 2 of them I'd consider stitching up, oh well), some 16ct Bay Leaf Aida for Mum, my Rainbow Gallery back orderered threads, a packet of 40557 Mill Hill beads (seeing as I still can't find my other ones, and I need one to finish Lynn's RR, plus this colour always comes in handy), 2 WDW threads I needed for upcoming projects, and finally some little buttons and charms for Christmas ornies coming up.

As far as my gift stitching is concerned, I have one entirely finished and it's winging its way across the Pacific as we speak, as I managed to get to the Post Office late this arvo. I'd offer a sneak preview, but it might give it away ;) We'll just have to wait a week or so until it arrives at its destination, then all can be unveiled :D

Not entirely sure what I'll sit and do tonight - possibly some kitting up of some Christmas ornies, or perhaps starting my next bit of gift stitching ... I dunno yet, but no doubt whatever I do it will be stitching-related :D

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ouch, my feet hurt!

Not much of a stitchy post today, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to sit down and rest before picking up my needle for the afternoon ... I've been tagged by Margaret, but I need to think about my anwers yet before I write them up, but watch this space ;)

Yesterday I enjoyed my walk a little 'too much', and came home with whopping great blisters under both feet oops - it made it a very uncomfortable trip into the city to catch up with Fraze for dinner, but it was lovely to catch up again after not seeing each other for a couple of months. We were going to the Rose Garden in Elizabeth Street, but opted instead to go to the Shanghai Dumpling & Noodle House in Chinatown, and I loved every single mouthful ... we had prawn and chicken steamed dumplings, pork fried dumplings, spicy chicken noodle soup, Shanghai fried noodles and green vegetables with oyster sauce, and could barely walk afterwards ... yummo :) I was finally able to give to give him the potato crisps we bought him from Marks & Spencers in Hong Kong ;)

Then today popped in to clear my PO Box on the way to my hairdressers appointment (which is about 3/4 hour drive away from home), and found some wonderful things hiding in there - my order from Dragonfly Dreams, and Christmas came early with my parcel arriving from Jenna too. As I'd already said I was wrapping my scissors up for myself to go under the Christmas tree, the cheeky little monkey has already done it for me, so there's no peeking allowed and it will be a REAL surprise on Christmas Day - you're a real crack-up! My American twin also sent my Christmas prezzie from her at the same time too, so that means I have two prezzies under the tree this year woohoo :D Thanks again, sweetie, for getting my scissors for me, and thanks heaps in advance for my Christmas gift :D {{hugs}}

Aside from that, no stitching piccies to show - seeing as my stitching mojo had returned, and I got home so late from dinner last night, I decided to put the snowmen to one side and get cracking on my gift stitching ... I was originally hoping to get these finished earlier, but I didn't have the fabric for one, and I'm still awaiting the thread for the other with a back order from SB&B (which I'm also getting a bit antsy about, as there are items I need for the scissor fob exchange hmmm). Now it's back to my stitching again - I managed to get 8 whole eyelets done at the hairdressers today (I had a bit of blonde put back in again, sorry Mum, but it's pretty subtle!) so I really need to get the needle cracking again tonight! I'll take piccies of my postal arrivals later ... I can't be bothered getting the camera out of my bag from yesterday, lazy sod that I am ;) LOL.

Today will finish with Tom Yum soup I bought from my fave Vietnamese (and Thai) restaurant in Box Hill today ... I love getting my hair done, if just for the fact it gives me an excuse to pick up some of my fave food ;) And today there was an extra highlight to the day - I called in to say "howdy" to my fave Melbourne stitcher and friend, Sharon, and managed to catch up for a few minutes while she was at work. Unfortunately it wasn't long enough, but still wonderful to catch up briefly and share a hug - she's such good company :D

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"I feel good! na-na na-na na-na na"

Yep, the title is me singing that song ... today is the first day I've felt 'normal' in a whole week, and I have a bit of energy back again woohoo!! For the first time in days I've got my stitching mojo back again, and look forward to a happy dance tonight with my needleroll. I only got as far as finishing the top band of smyrna crosses and seeing half the top row of snowflakes done last night, as my eyes were really really heavy. I was in bed by 10pm, and still kept waking up every 1-2 hours as seems to be the norm after night shifts for me, but for the first time I actually woke up feeling quite refreshed this morning yippee!

I've caught up on a few blogs ... only 196 unread feeds left (it had got up to over 400 again from the other day yikes), done the dishes, and even started getting the urge to bake (and that NEVER happens LOL). For now, though, I'm going to don the walking shoes and get outside in the sunshine and go for a walk round the bays for an hour, then it's off into the city to meet up with Fraze for dinner. Seeing as I'm going in by train (I never drive into the city 'cos I have no idea where I'm going) I want to head in a bit early and do a spot of shopping at a discount store for some plastic folders for my WIPs - and at $2 a packet of 5 they're just wonderful :D If the weather stays fine, I just might head up the Rialto tower as well for a spot of sightseeing and cross that off my 101 things list ... although the weather forecast doesn't sound too good.

And seeing as there's no stitching update today (yet anyway), here's a photo of me the midget (only compared to Fraze, though, as I'm actually an average size of 5'6") and Fraze the 6'4" giant from a couple of years ago (me less quite a few pounds from now, with a lot more blonde - probably one of my fave photos ever of me, which is why it's on my profile haha ... and Fraze will probably kill me for posting this one of him LOL).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy as a pig in mud :)

It was an interesting night last night, in that I was very sleepy very early, so hit the hay just before 11pm, only to wake up again at 2am with my body thinking "that was a nice nap, time to get up now" hmmm. I got up and wandered around for half an hour before going back to bed - took me a while to get back to sleep, but eventually I dozed off and didn't get up until 9am woohoo :)

Last night I managed to do some of the slowest stitching in history (for me), and still haven't managed to get that Snowman Needleroll finished yet ... but I guess it's a bit closer to finishing than it was before, so that's all good :)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Today has been a very productive day for me, although no stitching done as yet. I popped out and filled the car up with petrol (how wonderful to see it at $1.13 a litre woohoo), then went on a stitching adventure ... I finally went to Centre Road in East Bentleigh to visit Amitie (downstairs - quilting) and Broderie (upstairs - embroidery), and really enjoyed it. The quilting part is quite large, with a reasonable selection of fabrics ... and I've asked about classes there to teach me how to do applique and learn the quilting basics so I can complete my block of the month quilt I have sitting here doing nothing (complete with all the fabrics for it). Because of my shift work hours it's really difficult to commit to a lot of classes because they're usually spread over say 4 weeks, and I'd only end up being able to attend 2-3 of the classes. At Amitie, though, they have 'casual' classes each week, and you just pay for the class you attend and the instructors just help you with your queries ... I'd definitely keen to do that, and it's only 15-20 minutes drive from where I live yippee :D I can't remember if I've posted info on my quilt yet, but this is the design I have sitting here (and yes, for a change, it's blue!! LOL). Sorry but Blogger is being a dog again, and won't upload piccies, so no clickable links again ... if anyone knows how to make Photobucket piccies clickable, I'd love to know how! Actually, if you click here, you can see a clearer picture of it on the designer's website :)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Upstairs from Amitie is Broderie - I have to admit the space is quite small (just one medium room really), but Elizabeth has a decent range of threads etc in there, and she can order in most things they don't have. The owner is the Elizabeth that used to be at Bustle & Bows Malvern - I really liked her, and glad she's managed to set up her own business. It was really lovely to get out there and see a new LNS, as well as picking up a couple of items I needed to finish kitting up two new gift projects. I also managed to pick up a copy of the 2005 JCS ornie issue for Mum at half price, which was fantastic ... and I was very very good and didn't walk out with anything extra, only those items I specifically needed (pearl cottons and fabric), so I'm still working within the 50 Project Challenge guidelines. Unfortunately Broderie didn't have everything I needed, so I had to call into The Embroidery Den in Brighton on the way home, where I managed to find everything else ... even the 3mm satin ribbon in the perfect shade yippee :D

My last trip on the way home was to Officeworks where I did some photocopying I needed to do for some working copies of charts etc, and picked up a 2007 filler for my diary. And my final purchase (yes, I FINALLY bought one, Mum) was from Autobarn ... a dashboard cover for my car!! I have a Nissan Pulsar sedan, and the dashboard is the most horrendous thing I've ever had in a car, as it reflects the sun badly onto the window and makes it hard to see. When I first bought it I bought a piece of black felt and sat that on the dashboard to block out the reflections, but three years later the felt is well as truly dead (and brown!), and with summer here I decided it was finally time to bite the bullet ... I'm so happy!!! :D (Actually I'll be even happier when it arrives, 'cos I've had to order it in haha.)

Tomorrow I'm heading into the city to meet my pal Fraze for dinner, so I might go in earlier and have a look around. Then Thursday I'm off to Box Hill to get my hair cut/coloured ... I have to decide whether to have a dark colour put back in again (I had a semi-permanent put in before Katrina came here to visit), or whether to get the blonde back again until after summer ... oh decisions decisions haha. I might just have to buy some dinner to take home from there, too, from my fave Vietnamese eating place yummo :D

And with no further ado, I'm off to sort out my working copies to settle in for the evening ... I may even get that needleroll finished tonight ... maybe ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's all Greek to me ...

I can finally say I've picked up one of my exemptions from the 50 Project Challenge - at last my local newsagent near work had the World of XSing magazine in stock with the Michael Powell Greek scene in it ... I absolutely ADORE all things Greek with those beautiful blues in them, so this design is most definitely on the "must stitch" list. It will go well with the Greek paintings I bought in Greece that I have framed up (with some more still to be framed yet).

On the stitching front, I didn't manage to get much done on my Snowman needleroll over the last two nights ... on my 2nd night of doggoes it was a bit busier, so I only managed to get a tiny bit done - and I realised on adding the backstitching that the right-hand snowman is one stitch too far over on the right ... seeing as I'd already had to frog-stitch that one twice already, and I'd already completed it, I've decided to just leave it where it is, and just have to adjust the lettering by one stitch above it. I bet if I didn't say anything, no-one would notice ;) Last night would have been a good stitching night again, but I was just too tired to concentrate on it, so gave stitching a miss. I've only been getting 5-6 hours sleep each time during the day (and waking up every 1-2 hours), so last night that caught up with me. Of course, as is always the case, today I manage to sleep a full 8 hours and didn't get out of bed until 3pm, which means it'll be hard to get back into the routine for sleeping tonight ... that's the only thing I hate about night shift, recovering after it - otherwise I could do that shift permanently, I really enjoy it :D (very sad, I know! LOL)

I think tonight I'll try to get this little needleroll finished off, then tomorrow I need to pop out and buy some pearl cottons ready to start my gifts this week, before coming home to settle in and stitch up my scissor fob exchange piece. I'm a bit worried that the 'extra' I've ordered from SB&B isn't going to arrive in time for posting, but I guess there's still just over a week left (fingers crossed).

On the good note, though, Karen has shipped most of the threads I've been wanting for a canvaswork piece, so that'll slot straight into my rotation as soon as Pacific Pohutukawa is finished woohoo :D These threads have been on order for quite some time now, as they had to be ordered in through the distributor - but as soon as I've finished that piece, the chart can head it's way over to Tannia for her to stitch it :D

And on that note I'll sign off for the night and settle in with the Snowman needleroll for a few hours while listening to a new audiobook I've got - A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly. The reason I have this is Cathy's fault ... she mentioned Audible on her blog, and the price seemed very reasonable, so yesterday I thought I'd give it a trial run. They just so happened to have a 50% sale off Michael Connelly books, so I bought two (for the same it'd cost just for one normal paperback these days), as well as The Cold Moon by Jeffrey Deaver as my 'free' gift for joining up. That'll keep me out of trouble this week on my days off ;) It'll be a nice change from DVD watching, and they have a wonderful selection of audiobooks to download (even for us Aussies) compared to what's available at my local library :D

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Better Dratteds piccie

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments about my Dolphins Domain ... I have to admit, I really out-did myself with the amount of stitching I crammed into the final couple of days - it's amazing what sheer determination and bloody-mindedness can make you do! ;) Mind you, the pile of dishes in the sink and general mess around here shows I really did do nothing else but stitch for every waking moment for a couple of days - and on my day off sick I literally sat down with needle in hand at about 9am and didn't put it down again until almost midnight, and did the same thing yesterday until it was finished. And for those of you who've asked for it, here's a much better photo of the Dratteds (and it's clickable) - I think the colours are a bit more accurate too, as it was taken in front of the window with no flash this time (and with my good SLR camera).

I'd just downloaded an anti-phishing software that came with my renewal for SpyNet, and it was playing havoc with my PC, especially blogger ... so today I uninstalled it and voila I have Blogger piccies again without crashing the entire system yippee!! :D

Last night was my first night shift (affectionately known as the Doggoes - apparently this came from the old days when night shifts were known as the 'dogwatch'), and I really loved it - I was wide awake all night, in that I didn't feel tired once ... although tonight may be a different story, as I never sleep properly during the day (and of course yesterday I was awake almost 24 hours by the time I got to bed). Anyway, the calls were a bit quiet for a few hours, so I managed to put in a few stitches for the Needleroll SAL with Katrina et al inbetween answering queries/calls - this month I've chosen the Snowman Needleroll by Shepherd's Bush, and here's my progress to date.

As for "what now?" after the Dratteds are finished ... I'm debating between a couple of choices for my newly opened focus piece slot in my rotation - high up the list is Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine, or possibly one of my TW UFO's (English Garden Sampler or Noah's Ark). I have to say, due to the sheer size of it, that Egyptian Garden is likely to win out. Originally I was holding off doing this so I could SAL with Carol, but we agree that she's pretty much Chatelained-out with her stitching in that area this year, so I've opted to pick it back up again and get cracking on it. In fact there you go, my decision has been made ... EGM is my new focus piece! :D Seeing as I coughed up all that money for the kit, I really should get that beauty finished!

Next up, though, is my scissor fob exchange, as the deadline is drawing ever nearer - then a small gift for someone, and a couple of Christmas ornies ... if nothing else, there's always something in the pipelines waiting to be stitched, so I'll never have a problem running out of a project! ;P

Have a great weekend everyone :D

Friday, October 13, 2006

Farewell to the Dratteds!

Yup, you read the title right ... I haven't been much online over the last couple of days, but rather I've been spending almost every waking moment with my needle in hand sat in front of the Dratteds. And compliments of having a day off work sick yesterday (with a splitting headache and the chills - just a cold thankfully), I managed to put the final stitches into them tonight (just in time for going to work on the overnight shift). After all these years, they're finally done! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!

I feel very relieved to have them finished finally ... but in some ways a bit sad that they'll be leaving 'home' soon - even if I say it myself, they're gorgeous in real life :D Hope you like them, John and Vicki, 'cos your wedding present is finally stitched up for you. Now all I have to do is save up for the framing :D

So, here they are in all their glory :D (Sorry, but the photo is from Photobucket as Blogger photos kept crashing my system, so you can't click for a bigger piccie)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Dolphins Domain by Cross My Heart
(from Orcas and Dolphins leaflet)
Started in August 1999 - Completed 13 October 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A small giggle

The sad thing is that I could probably add a few to this list as well from personal experience ... haha. Nothing stitching-related to chat about, so you get some call centre enquiries (joke) that I got in an email ... gave me a giggle! :D

Thomas Cook Travel
Customer: "I've been ringing 0700 2300 for two days and can't get through to enquiries, can you help?".
Operator: "Where did you get that number from, sir?".
Customer: "It was on the door to the Travel Centre".
Operator: "Sir, they are our opening hours".

Samsung Electronics
Caller: "Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?"
Operator: "I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about".
Caller: "On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?"
Operator: "I think you mean the telephone point on the wall".

Royal Automobile Club Motoring Services
Caller: "Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am travelling in Australia?"
Operator: " Doesn't the product give you a clue?"

Directory Enquiries 1
Caller: "I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff please".
Operator: "I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?"
Caller: "Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off".

Directory Enquiries 2
Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator: "Woven? Are you sure?"
Caller: "Yes. That's what it says on the label; Woven in Scotland ".

Technical support.... England
Caller: "I deleted a file from my PC last week and I have just realised that I need it. If I turn my system clock back two weeks will I have my file back again?".

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Dratteds are back

I've managed to do about 15 hours work on The Dratteds since I last took a progress piccie, and I'm starting to see the final deadline a lot closer now ... I chopped off all of my highlighted parts of my working copy, and I'm surprised how little is now left. I think I'll meet my self-imposed deadline and see this finished within the next two months :) Here's the progress to date, with a before and after piccie from when I last took a photo:


When Sharon saw this piece in real life, she was surprised how big it was - it's 234 stitches wide x 150 stitches high ... I have to admit, though, it looks pretty gorgeous stitched up, even though it's a nightmare to stitch with all those greys. I'll be quite sad to eventually see these Dratteds leave home.

This week it isn't a great stitching roster, so not much will be done until possibly next week, when I need to concentrate on my scissor fob exchange.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A small finish

By the following piccie you can no doubt guess what I did today on my first day off ... stitched my little heart out! In fact, I stayed in my PJ's all day too ... such decadence! ;) But it means Lynn's RR block is all finished except for the one little Mill Hill bead that I can't find right now (and after my last experience, I'm not in a major hurry to rush out just to buy one little packet LOL), and my name - other than that it's all finished yippee :) I'm not sure whether this counts towards my 50 Projects Challenge, as this wasn't technically from my stash (apart from the DMC) ...

Now I'm off to do a tiny bit of stitching on the Dratteds while watching Two Weeks Notice on TV, before heading off to bed for the night.

Friday, October 06, 2006

T.G.I.F. ... & a bit of snow

The snow has been falling on my little Winter RR block, and the trees have blossomed up out of the ground, despite the drop in wintry temperature ;) As you can see, I've managed to get a few more stitches done on this piece before I head off to work (I'm about to leave any minute now). Today is Friday, and for me it actually IS Friday, which means my weekend off is a real weekend again for two weeks in a row yippee :) My plans this weekend are to do absolutely nothing but relax with a needle in hand ... I hope to get this Winter RR block finished, and anything other than that is a bonus.

Next week is a tough week for me, with a mix of shifts ... starting with 11am-7pm for two days, I then move to 1pm-9pm for one day, then a 3pm-11pm for 1 day, finishing with 3 days of 9pm-5am ... yep, another week of 7 days straight. I then have 4 days off, but I'm usually a zombie after my night shifts and don't anticipate much happening those days except perhaps a bit of stitching ... maybe ;)

And on that note, off to work I go :D

I almost forgot ... for Barbara - that red is just DMC 304 ... it's pretty scrummy :D

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A few stitches

I've decided to be a responsible stitcher, and not touch The Dratteds until I've finished one of my stitching commitments for this month - instead for the last two days I've been putting a few stitches into Lynn's RR block before going to work. I've chosen the Winter block as I just love wintry/Christmas scenes, and love the richness of the red in the house. I probably should have stitched the Spring block, seeing as that's the season we're currently in down here, but the Winter one appealed to me more stitching-wise. I'm hoping to get the final stitches put into this one by the end of the weekend, ready for posting at the end of the month.

After that I just have my scissor fob exchange commitment (and I still haven't decided on a design yet), then I'm free to stitch what I feel like ... namely the Dratteds, along with an ornament or two and the monthly needleroll SAL. The poor Dratteds have been severely neglected for the last month or so - can't wait to get moving on them again ... 'cos when they're all finished I'm moving Egyptian Garden Mandala into their position as my focus piece, and I really can't wait to get that back into my rotation.

Not much to chat on about today, so it's just a short post - time to jump in the shower and start getting ready for work ... geez it feels good to just have a 5-day week for a change, yippee!! :D

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Curry Recipes

This one's for 'anonymous' ... I can't be bothered hunting through my archives to find the last curry recipe, so I'm posting it anew here for you. Rogan Josh is a new recipe I found last year and LOVE it, the flavours are divine - it became my new favourite curry. Dragon's Curry is my Mum's recipe that we've been cooking for years, and still adore it ... Enjoy! :D Now I'm off to pick up a needle for the first time in almost a week! :D


1kg diced lamb
1 cup (250ml) yogurt
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ghee
4 cardamom pods, bruised
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium (300g) onions, finely chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 cup (125ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1) Combine lamb, yogurt, vinegar, half the garlic and half the ginger in large bowl; mix well. Cover, refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. (I do mine first thing in the morning, and leave it all day.)
2) Heat ghee in large pan, add whole spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant.
3) Add onions and remaining garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until onions are browned slightly.
4) Add ground spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add lamb mixture, stir to coat in spice mixture.
5) Add stock; simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover; simmer about 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Just before serving, stir in garam masala and fresh herbs; heat through.
Serves 6 to 8


1.5kg chicken (we use chicken breast diced)
3 tablepoons oil or ghee
12 curry leaves
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3-4 teaspoons chilli powder
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
1 small stick cinnamon
2 cups coconut cream

Cut chicken into small pieces. Heat oil, fry curry leaves, onions, garlic and ginger until soft. Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander, cumin and fry for 2 minutes. Add salt and tomato. Stir well, cover and cook until tomato is pulpy. Add chicken and cinnamon stick and stir well until chicken is coated with the spice mixture. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Stir in the coconut cream and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes longer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

$50 really well spent!!

And not a single cent of it was on stash! :) Today I went for an appointment to a nerve manipulator, and was only in there for what felt like 2 minutes before I was all fixed up and paying my $50 on the way out! And boy, oh boy, does it feel sooooo good :D I have the full movement back in my right shoulder blade/arm again ... there's just a slight tenderness from the pummeling it got from Joy, but it feels exquisite! She reckons I'd done a really good job of trapping my nerve under the shoulder blade, and glad I hadn't left it much longer, as it could have led to serious problems phew! So all-in-all money very well spent woohoo!!! :D

Just a quick post today 'cos I don't really have anything else to say ... feel quite shattered after a long day at work (very intense brain-wise today), and heading off for an early night - it'll be so nice to get a full night's sleep for a change {insert contented sigh here...}.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A little bit certifiable!

Don't ask me why, but last night I ended up staying up until 3.30am last night ... reading blogs!!! That's one reason I don't have a sleep in the afternoons when I'm tired (especially on early shifts), as I can't usually sleep in the evening, and I was just plain wide awake after 11pm. It's strange too, that once I'd made the decision to wipe out all the unread feeds and start from scratch, that it felt like a burden had been taken off my shoulders ... and I felt more relaxed and in the mood to tackle 'a few', which ended up being a few hundred!! I actually read through just over 650 unread feeds last night/this morning and pretty stunned I managed it. I'm left with just 89 left to go today (I'm not going into the archives), and it feels pretty darned good! That also means no stitching was done last night ... oops ...

Now it's time to do the last two SBQ's ... I finally managed to do an approx count-up of finished pieces from over the years, so I can answer the questions ...

Today's SBQ was suggested by Elisabeth and is:
"How many pieces have you stitched? Out of these, how many have been for you? How many have had specialty stitches or other techniques besides cross stitch?"

According to my photo albums I've done about 142 pieces in total (finished ones, that is - and I might have missed a few earlier ones). Of these 89 have been either for me, or have yet to be allocated a recipient, and 53 have been gifts for others and already given away. Out of these about 70 have been pure XS, and the rest have included specialty stitches or are specific techniques such as stumpwork (4), canvaswork (8), silk ribbon embroidery (2), hardanger (6), blackwork (3), and almost entirely beaded (7).

Today's SBQ was suggested by Sharon and is:
"When you find yourself making a lot of mistakes in various stitching projects do you find it better to muddle your way through or do you take a brief break from stitching? If you do take a break, how long do you take?"

That depends on how bad the errors are - if it's something quick to fix, I'll usually do it straightaway ... if I keep doing it on the same piece time after time I'll put it away for the rest of that day and come back to it the next day ... if I'm still having a difficult time with it, and there's no deadline, it gets thrown in a corner never to see light of day again. And that's one great way UFO's are born! haha. Actually my Waiting for Ships was one of those great examples ... I'd frog-stitched the metallics on the tail a few times when I finally threw it in the corner and had a hissy fit with it ... picked it up about 3-4 months alter, and fixed it in 10 minutes, then finished it off without any further mishaps :) I have to admit, I've never taken an entire break from stitching for longer than a month, and always have oodles of projects on the go (also thanks to those dreaded UFO's).

And for those of you who are curry hounds, I'll share my new recipe with you from the weekend (and it's not really hot, unlike normal vindaloos):


1kg (2lb) chuck, blade or skirt steak (I used blade)
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
3 onions, sliced (but I ended up thinking it was too much, and halved it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 cinnamon stick
3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup (80ml/2 3/4 fl oz) brown vinegar
1/2 cup (125ml/4 fl oz) beef stock
1 teaspoon sugar

1) Cut the steak into bite-sized cubes. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and brown the meat in two batches. Transfer to a plate.
2) Add the onion to the pan; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until very soft and lightly golden. Add the spices, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Return the meat to the pan and stir until well coated in the spices.
3) Add the vinegar, stock, sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Discard the cinnamon stick. Serve with plain or basmati rice. Garnish with a little finely grated fresh ginger.
Serves 4

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Survived the weekend ... phew!

This arvo I did something I only ever do when I'm on the point of exhaustion - had an afternoon kip ... and that 'little' kip went on for 3 1/2 hours oops! I obviously needed it!!

Friday after work I was absolutely shattered at my 7 days straight, especially doing the 5ams, but I then came home and didn't sit down once as I did all the housework ready for visitors on Saturday - then went out with the girls from work for dinner then dancing. We didn't get home until 1.30am so I'd almost been up for 24 hrs at that stage hmmm. Up again at 7.30am and I spent the entire day in the kitchen aside from 1 hour when I had to pop out to the shops for something I'd forgotten to buy for my dinner party menu.

All-in-all last night's dinner banquet was a great success ... I had a few bowls of antipasto items like caperberries, bellpeppers stuffed with mascarpone, olives, etc to pick on while chatting before dinner - then dinner was an Indian banquet of all home-made curries (Beef Vindaloo, Rogan Josh and 'Dragon curry' - that's Mum's recipe haha), Basmati rice, poppadoms and naan bread, with accompaniments of yogurt raita, tomato/onion/mint and banana/coconut/Thai sweet red chilli sauce ... with dessert of a cheeseboard and French Fruit Flan (homemade too). Swilled down with a couple of bottles of wine, the company and conversation was wonderful, and it was a really enjoyable evening (but another 1am finish oops). One of the girls stayed overnight and we walked down to have brekky at St Kilda with a couple of coffees, after which she headed off home, and I spent 2 hours chatting to Mum on the phone ... then a quick lay down saw me sleeping for 3 1/2 hours.

With any luck I'll lose that seedy feeling I've had all day (probably more from lack of sleep than an overdose of alcohol, I think) and I can pick up a needle for a couple of Dratteds stitches ... then this week is a wonderful 5-day week, a lovely treat for a change ;) Late shifts this week of 3-11pm, which is great, as I get to sleep in each day woohoo :D

Sorry to hear the previous post about my wonderful visit with Katrina seemed to be a bit corrupted, but it looks like comments are coming through on it now, so I guess the bug has been fixed. It really was lovely to meet her, and my pinkeep is now sitting on my stitching corner bookcase on a little stand so I can see it every day :)

I must apologise in advance, too, but my unread blog list is really starting to get to me ... every time I get the number of unread posts under 600 I can't seem to get them to stay there ... today it's back up to 726 unread feeds, and it's really overwhelming to see that figure every day and think 'where do I start', and never seem to see any real progress. So, tonight I've made the decision to start from afresh tomorrow ... I'm wiping the slate clean for want of a better word. I'm marking all threads as read, and I'm starting afresh. I feel terrible I haven't got around to catching up with everyone's blogs, but I think for me it will be the best thing to do at the moment.

Rightio, off to reheat some curry for dinner - I think I'll be living on it for the next 3 weeks, as I over-catered as usual haha.