Sunday, August 17, 2014

Signs of spring

I love this time of year when the first signs of spring are emerging. So I thought I would stop by and share some pictures I took today.



I'll be back soon with some Frosty Forest photos.

Hope your weekend has been wonderful!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunshine, seaside & snow

After I posted the other day about having no stitching to share I remembered that I had finished my All Our Yesterdays By the Seaside piece a few weeks ago. I have some stripey fabric (to make the mini bunting) and a white frame which might finish it off nicely. Now just to find some time to actually do that!



It's very cold here today. I poked my head out the door before and can see why. I know it's nothing compared to what some of you get (such as a polar vortex), so I'm not complaining. But I am definitely saying, roll on summertime! :-)



Our climate is generally very mild. A few weeks ago we took a walk out at the coast at a place called Makara (where there is a wind farm, some historic World War II bunkers and fantastic views). It was lovely and warm in the sun (a little cool in the shade though) and not like winter at all.



We even let Annabelle have a roll around on a blanket. She ignored the beautiful seascape and spent all her time picking the grass. I guess that's more exciting when you're only one!



I have had to turn comment moderation on, as I'm getting quite a lot of spam at the moment. Thank you to those who leave genuine comments though, it's always great to hear from you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lions, cheetahs and giraffes... oh my

On Saturday morning I woke up and I wasn't too excited about going to the zoo. I don't spend much time away from Annabelle, and whenever I do it makes me a little piney. Of course, I went... and what a fantastic experience we had. Even my hubby said he enjoyed my birthday present. (Lucky him. lol)

First up we met the zoos whole pride of lions - 3 lionesses (full sisters) and 2 kings of the jungle (half brothers to each other). I won't lie, as they approached I was feeling a little nervous! They have an imposing presence and the zoo keeper was telling us that the lions like to get a rise out of visitors by making sudden movements, roaring etc. And they did. Cheeky cats!



The zoo keeper was very passionate about lions, gave us lots of information and allowed us to ask all the questions we liked (it was only me and DH on the encounter). All the handling of the lions the visitors are allowed to do (such as holding their tail) is used in the desensitization of the lions for times when they need medication, need to be weighed etc so it's nothing that isn't beneficial for them.

At the end we got to feed them. I have to say I was pretty scared about this part, but despite their huge teeth they were so gentle! It's a pretty odd experience feeling the breath of a lion on your hand and having it lick you. Scarey but exciting.



Don't panic, it isn't my blood trickling down my hand in the next photo. It was the blood from the meat we were feeding them.





We walked away to our next encounter on a bit of a high! Next up was the cheetahs. This was a completely different experience as there are no barriers. We met two 5 year old male cheetahs (full brothers). We sat down and they wandered amongst us (three zookeepers and two other vistiors). One lay down in front of us and rolled on it's back, legs in the air just like your domestic cat likes to do.

I was a little bit nervous at one stage as something caught the eye of one of them and it was walking straight towards Ronnie and I with a very determined look. We moved a little bit away from one another and it sat between us! Phew, it didn't want to eat one of us. lol

Did you know that cheetahs purr? They are the largest of the cats who purr. Another interesting fact we learned was that if a cat can purr it can't roar - and vice versa.

Again, the zookeepers (all women as these two cheetahs don't like male zookeepers) were very passionate and shared lots of information and facts about cheetahs and cheetah conservation. Exciting and enlightening.





Next stop - giraffes. Unfortunately, Saturday was a cold, cold day. The giraffes were hiding out in their heated enclosure and would not come out - not even for food. :-) So, we didn't get to meet them up close and personal but not to worry we have a voucher to do this again in the future. We are going to wait until the summer before rebooking, just to be sure :-) And we'll take Annabelle with us next time. We took her back in March and even at such a young age quite enjoyed small parts of it - including trying to grab this Bolivian squirrel monkey through the glass.



Anyway, it was a super day and if you ever get the chance to do a close encounter you should definitely go for it (at our local zoo some of the fee for the close encounters goes towards local and overseas conservation projects, which is another plus).

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Annabelle turned ONE!

Annabelle turned one on 15 July! The last year has been amazing, the only thing I would change is for it to have gone a little slower. :)

We threw Annabelle a party on Saturday. It was a lovely occasion, but too overwhelming for her at times.



For her actual birthday we headed north to one of our favourite holiday destinations Mt Maunganui. It has quite a different climate than where I live at the bottom end of the North Island. There were actually people on the beach in their swimsuits! (Back home today there is a dusting of snow on the hills).

Unfortunately, on the afternoon of Annabelle's birthday we took a walk around the base track of the Mount, and my Dad took a tumble on the uneven path (basically he face planted into the ground). Oh my, I have never seen so much blood pour out of someone. So off to the medical centre we went. We cut our trip short and came home the next day.

Here are a couple of photos of beautiful Mt Manganui. It sits on a spit, and the other side has beautiful sandy beaches that go on for miles. It is amazing in the winter and the summer time!





I've recently started scrapping my photos of Annabelle with the Project Life system. I have scrapbooked in the past, but hate all the mess - so Project Life helps cut down on that. I'm enjoying it so far! I've been a bit slow with my stitching lately with everything else that has been going on, so don't have any to share this post.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and as a pressie from my husband on Saturday I am going to the zoo for not one, not two, but THREE animal encounters. I'm going to meet cheetahs, lions and the giraffes up close. I love animals, so it's the perfect pressie. The weather forecast is for sun but it won't be very warm, but that's OK I met red pandas at the zoo a few years back in the pouring rain and it was still awesome!

Sorry I didn't get around to replying to those who left comments recently. I do definitely read them all and love hearing from you. Hope you're all having a great week.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Busy busy

Hi everyone

I finished up Part 6 of Frosty Forest the other week, and Part 7 arrived a few days ago. It's hard to believe that there are only two more parts to go after this. Please excuse the wrinkles.



I recently joined our local library, and borrowed an All Our Yesterdays book from the craft section. It reignited an old love of these designs. So I started a sweet design called 'By the Sea'. I have lots of AOY patterns in my stash, so there might be a few more in the future.



Here's my progress on Blackbird Designs Her Sampler. I think that will be it for new starts for a while. I really should get some WIPs finished up. I cleaned out my craft drawers the other day, and there were a few more there than I realised. How old is your oldest WIP? Do you have lots? Have you ever given up on a WIP, and if so what did you do with it? I'd be interested in hearing your answers.



The same day Part 7 of Frosty Forest arrived, this Lizzie Kate chart popped through the letterbox. I loved this little design when I first saw it, so when an ONS was having a sale recently I knew exactly what I was going to order. (Annabelle was only 7 days old in this photo).



Here's my little cherub a few days ago. Next month she'll be turning one. That saying about babies not keeping, is so very true. I love that she is growing up, having fun, exploring new things... but I do miss those newborn snuggly days where she'd fall asleep on me and I could hold her close without having my hair pulled, a finger in my mouth or an accidental poke in the eye. lol :)



I got some amazing news a few weeks back. My employer is allowing me to work part-time and from home on a permanent basis. Wow! My boss told me to submit my dream return to work option, so I did and the firm agreed. I am soooo happy that I get to be a Mum to my baby and can continue to work for my employer. The thought of having to relinquish some of my responsibility for Annabelle (i.e. putting her in the care of someone else) had been distressing me and giving me restless nights for many, many months. I have worked for my employer since I left school, and they have always been very generous and great people to work for. I'm feeling incredibly lucky right now!

I hope you have lots of stitching lined up for your weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blackbird Designs SAL

Have you seen the pretty SAL from Blackbird Designs that was released this week? (If not, then you can click here).

I don't need another new start, but I figured it could be justified if I could gather together the supplies from my stash. I managed to pull out some thread colours and fabric I was happy with. Here they are -



As I was taking the photo above I saw someone's eyes light up, and I knew what was coming next.... roll, roll, roll, GRAB....



Annabelle will be 10 months old this week. Somebody STOP THE CLOCK!

I took her to her first music/baby group this week. It melted my heart just how much she enjoyed herself with the other babies, songs, stories and toys. We'll definitely make that a regular occurrence.

It's nice seeing Spring photos on blogs from the Northern Hemisphere at the moment. Spring is my favourite season. It's such a wonderful time when the garden starts to wake up, the days get lighter for longer and the sun comes out again. Right now, it's looking rather Autumnal in my backyard -





Of course, whenever I'm outside I have company. I was trying to get a nice picture of Meg, but she started clowning about! Silly Meggy.



I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets lots of stitching in.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Frosty Forest - part 5

I finished up part 5 of Frosty Forest yesterday. I can't wait until I have them all completed, this is such a cute series.



I've had a few questions about this series, so here are the details for curious minds -

I'm stitching this with the recommended threads and fabric. I'm on auto ship from Cynthia at Beach Cottage Stitchers (she charges actual postage, which is great if you live overseas!). The auto ship includes the fabric (first month only obviously), chart, DMC threads, specialty threads and the button. I think I might stop with the DMC threads for the final parts though as I am ending up with a DMC overload. Also, if you're thinking of stitching this I don't think you necessarily need the specialty threads. A lot of the variation in the cottages is actually two close shades of DMC used alternately.

I went with the recommended layout which I think I saw on the Country Cottage Needleworks Facebook page, but can also be found on Nikki's blog - here. I didn't deviate because (a) I'm not that imaginative (b) when I started I didn't know what the parts looked like.

The only change I wish I had made is stitching on fabric with a little bit of sparkle. While I dislike the cold of a frosty morning, I do love how pretty it can look as the sun comes up and glistens on the frost.

Well, a certain little lady has just woken up so I had better bust a move. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Catching up

I recently finished up part four of the Frosty Forest series. As usual, I can't wait for the next part to arrive. It should arrive this coming week.



I decided to put some stitches into a couple of my WIPs, rather than starting something new. So out came Growing Like a Tree (a Moira Blackburn sampler). I can see an end in sight with this one.



I've also been working on Freelove Hazard by the Scarlet Letter. The main part is finished and I'm working on the border. The border is quite intensive as it is all stitched over one.



I've had a few comments about achieving quite a bit of stitching while having a small baby to look after. I basically only get a few hours in the evening to stitch. It's how I wind down after busy days looking after Annabelle and working (I currently do 10 hours a week from home for my employer). I try and fit as much as possible into my days while my little one sleeps.

Speaking of my little one, in a few days time she'll be 9 months old. She is such a joy, so happy and laid back. Always laughing and already showing a love of animals.



And speaking of time flying, would you believe that my niece Phoebe turns 5 years old on Monday and starts school the same day! She is such a crack up. She came to my house for lunch the other week and I couldn't find my make up bag for her to play with, so she only had some lipstick on. A few minutes after applying it she says 'It's going to be a bad day' then she paused for a bit... 'without any mascara'. lol



I'm currently enjoying following the Royal Tour of New Zealand via the news and internet. Prince William and Catherine are here with baby George. They passed by the end of our street the other day, but Annabelle needed a nap and by the time she woke up they had already passed. That was a shame, I would love to have been able to tell Annabelle in years to come that we had given them a wave. There are other opportunities to see them, but I don't like the thought of taking Annabelle out into huge crowds and in the miserable weather we're having. I saw Prince Charles and Camilla in 2012, and as a child I saw Princess Diana (a fleeting glimpse as she passed by). Maybe sometime in the future we'll get an opportunity.

Hope you have a great stitchy weekend!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

What I've been stitching lately

I have been keeping up with the Frosty Forest series, managing to get each one finished before the next arrives. I will stitch the buttons on at the very end. I'm not sure that I'll like the buttons on the finished piece, but I decided to get them anyway.



Last year I was lucky enough to win Midnight Ride by Blackbird Designs and the threads to stitch it from the lovely Melissa. It is a striking design, especially with that pop of orange. I think I will finish this simply with a black round embroidery hoop (unless I can find a round box at the craft store). Thanks again Melissa!



I currently have two projects on the go. First up is French Country Baby Carriage (which I've posted about before). I just have to personalise it with the details of Annabelle's birth.



Next up is Just Nan's Little Snow (which finishes up as an owl ornament). I was quite enjoying this piece until last night, when my eyes decided that they just couldn't distinguish between the fabric and thread anymore. The colours are quite muted. I think I'll have to finish it off during daylight hours.



Hopefully I'll be back soon with a couple of finishes.


Monday, February 03, 2014

Giveaway winner and TUSAL

Hi everyone

Earlier today I had my trusty assistant draw the winner of the 500 posts giveaway. My assistant was happy to grab the bowl and delve right in there. Annabelle ended up grabbing a number of names, but the last name stuck in her hand (after slumping to the right since she hasn't mastered sitting up yet) was Kiwi Rach.



Congrats and thanks to everyone for taking part. Please email me your snail mail address when you get a chance Rach. In the meantime I'll work on your prize.

I also nearly forgot to do my TUSAL update, so I had my assistant do the modelling for that too. (Yikes, I didn't expect her to pick up the bowl!). In here are the ORTS for the Frosty Forest series, the French Baby Carriage by JBW Designs and for Midnight Ride by Blackbird Designs which I have recently started.



If you want to join in the TUSAL details can be found here and here

Have a great week!