Saturday, July 30, 2005

For a moment I forgot it was Winter...

Today was relatively mild, my OH installed my water feature for me (thanks Honeybuns), my first spring flower bloomed (an Iris), and I was busy looking at my brightly coloured Polyanthus plants... and then I remembered, it's still mid-Winter. It was a nice almost-summer feeling, while it lasted.

Meg was keen to check out the water feature -

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But Giggsy would only look from afar...
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Meg is especially obsessed with running water. Today I looked out the window and both her and Giggsy were sitting ON the road fascinated by something I couldn't see. Then I realised my OH was letting a bit of water out of the pool and it trickles down the street, and this was what was engrossing them!

I plan to spend tomorrow stitching, it is supposed to be very wet tomorrow and my OH is doing a business course and has an assignment to do, so it will be the perfect opportunity to indulge for the day.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A stitching lull...

I only managed a wee bit of stitching on Lily of the Valley this week as I just wasn't feeling too stitchy, but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things this weekend.

I'm still in a huff with Lady Leona so she's been put away for now. I think the difference in the thread shade has been a major de-motivator.

I said farewell to Casper on Saturday afternoon, and my Mum had to have him put to sleep on Tuesday as his health deteriorated very rapidly. I'll miss going around to my Mum's and being hissed at and smooched, all within the space of 2 minutes. And I'll always be thankful to Casper for years ago bringing me home 'Buns' the epileptic rabbit. You're not supposed to keep wild rabbits in NZ, simply because they are a pest - but anyone with half a heart wouldn't let a teeny tiny bunny wabbit fend for itself. She used to pee orange because she would nibble on the orange carpet we used to have, the joys of having an indoor-outdoor rabbit!

I managed to get the issue of Cross Stitcher (the UK version) I was after this week with the Michael Powell 'Venice' design, the Margaret Sherry cats and the Lilliput Lane cottage in it. I went in on Monday and it wasn't there, and on Thursday I thought I'd try my luck again and lucky I did as there was only one copy left. Perhaps stitching something from the issue will re-motivate me!?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

My employers...

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Scrapbooking attempt no. 2

You wouldn't believe how long it took me to do this simple page this afternoon (over 3 hours!!). Still my sister was still working on hers when I left (and she has masses of supplies to be creative), and my Mum had her first ever go at scrapbooking and came up with something in less than half the time.

I don't think scrapbooking will ever take over my love of stitching, but as they say - variety is the spice of life!

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Lily of the Valley

Here's a progress pic of Lily of the Valley by the Drawn Thread.  I have had a little difficulty with some of the specialty stitches, so I'm going to practice those on another piece of fabric.  It's probably not that the stitches are hard, it's just me trying to understand the diagrams provided.

I haven't worked on Lily of the Valley so far today.  My Mum and I went out for lunch and I did my weekly shop, then we decided to hit some garden shops we didn't go to the other day.  I ended up buying quite a few pots and plants, including a Lily of the Valley plant!  I thought it was pretty apt to buy it when I saw it, I can't wait for it to sprout and flower in the spring time.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon, the best bit being I got quite a few discounts and then when I got home I realised I hadn't been charged for two large pots and four small ones.  Bargain!  I even have them potted already, I finished up just as it got dark.

Tomorrow I am going out for lunch again (that will be three times in four days, the joys of having a few days off work!) and then my younger sister is coming around for a scrapbooking afternoon.  Apparently when she scrapbooks with my older sister, she tries to tell her how she should be putting her pages together and lil sis doesn't like that!  LOL.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lady Leona WIP

Here is a progress pic on Lady Leona.  As you can see in the top right hand corner the first four or five rows down are a noticeably different shade of brown from the rows beneath it.  I am going to see if I can find a more suitable thread.

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I started on Lily of the Valley by the Drawn Thread last night, as I watched the movie 'Under the Tuscan Sun'.  I will share a progress photo after I have a few bands in.  I haven't done a band sampler before with specialty stitches, so it will be interesting to see how I go.  I plan to spend this afternoon stitching, so I will continue on Lily of the Valley.

At the moment I have a Caramelised Ginger Pear and Orange cake which has just come out of the oven.  I hope it will taste as lovely this evening, as it smells at the moment. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A little sad tonight...

Not only does Casper definitely have kidney disease, but it is at a very advanced stage. The vet has told my Mum not to let him outside anymore, because he is a wanderer and so sick - if he goes out he may not have the energy to return. If only our pets life spans were more in tune with our own.

On another not so great note, the thread from Dimensions is obviously from a different dye lot than the thread that was in the kit because it is slightly darker. At the moment it stands out quite a bit, but I'm hoping that because there is some tweeding in this area that once that is stitched in it may not be so noticeable. Here's hoping.

I went out today with my Mum and Dad for lunch and we went around some garden shops, and I didn't spend any money at all (much to my OHs relief I'm sure). I think it is the wrong time of year, so I will hold off spending until the Spring plants are out... which can't be far away as I saw some daffodils in flower today. A few years ago I went to the Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands, and my love of spring flowers was further fuelled by the delights I saw there.

We stopped in at a pet shop too where I saw about 5 teeny tiny rabbit babies, the mother had obviously dug them into the straw and pulled out her own fur to make a nest. Very sweet. I also got nipped twice by a little puppy that was running around. Little rascal.

I watched an interesting programme last night on ghosts and paranormal activity made here in New Zealand. I was thinking it was pretty lame because they just seemed to be wandering around this theatre spooking themselves out, but at the end they analysed their photos and footage and there were some creepy things on there - orbs, strange lights and an ectoplasm which seemed to follow a guy down the stairs. I wouldn't say I believe in all of that stuff, but it sure is intriguing! I must watch it again next week :-)

I feel like some S.E.X. (that's a 'stash enhancement experience' for the uninitiated) online, so I'm off to see what grabs me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thank you Elaine in Scotland...

It was my birthday yesterday, and here are the gorgeous gifts I got from Elaine in Scotland for a birthday exchange.  There was also chocolate in the parcel, but that has long since been devoured.  :-)  Many thanks Elaine!
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I have had a full on few days.  On Saturday night we had a SingStar night.  Even though I never win (although I did manage to win a game against my OH's six year old nephew when he visited in January, ha ha) it's always a lot of fun.  On Sunday night we went out for a buffet dinner, and of course ate way too much.  Then last night, the actual day of my birthday we went to my Mum and Dad's for dinner.  I was also spoiled with some lovely garden and kitchen related birthday pressies.  We are soon going to be replacing the downright ugly fence around our backyard and pool, and will then be redoing the garden how we want it which will be fun.  I've still got a water feature to come from my OH.  Trust me to pick the one the shop didn't have!  But then who ever heard of a shop that displays water features that they are not actually selling and don't know anything about, including who the supplier is?  Crazy.

I was thrilled to find the thread from Dimensions for Lady Leona waiting for me when I arrived home tonight.  Talk about speedy!  I will write and thank them for such excellent service.

On a not so happy note, I am presently a little sad for one of my Mum's cats.  He's been very sick after a bite to his foot, and because he has been so unwell they have done tests for kidney disease.  Although Mum hasn't got the results yet I'm expecting them to be positive because we lost two other family cats to this disease, including my beloved Benson who was a big black beauty with a lot of character and Tammy who was a sweet and affectionate all ginger female (which is a rarity).  Still nothing is certain and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Casper the grumpy but loveable wanderer! 

I'll finish up on something positive - I have the rest of the week off work.  YAY!!  And now that I have the thread for Lady Leona I hope to find the time to get her near to being finished.  I'll be sure to post a progress pic.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Magazines galore...

There were lots of new magazines at the mag shop today, but I was very good I only came away with the August 2005 issue of Just Cross Stitch. There is the most lovely Dragonfly Sampler in this issue, in fact it is about the only thing I would stitch from this issue - but it's such a lovely chart that it's worth the price of the mag!

I tried stitching on Lady Leona last night, but not having the thread to 'go for it' so to speak has really hindered my enthusiasm. I was hoping to get her finished next week on my days off, but that is unlikely now. However, I was very pleased to receive an email from Dimensions today advising I would hear from them by mail within 7 to 10 business days. That will be excellent service if they come through with the thread for me. Maybe I'll work on something else in the meantime, afterall it's not like I don't have enough charts and magazines and kits....

Here is an interesting website I found today.

We're Not Afraid

I'm off to decide whether I'll start stitching something new, or whether I'll try and motivate myself to keep going with Lady Leona. Take care!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Aahhh fiddlesticks...

The Lady Leona kit is short on dark brown thread! I was stitching away happily last night and came to the last piece of thread and then realised there was no more to be found. I have emailed Dimensions, so hopefully they'll be able to provide me with some more. Fortunately, I can carry on with the rest of her as it looks like there is plenty of all the other threads.

It is the Twelfth Day today, a big celebration for the Prodestants in Northern Ireland. I am sure my OH's thoughts are firmly back home at the moment. Every year I think we should mark it somehow, but every year I leave it too late to think of anything. Maybe now is a good time to think of something apt for next year.

If you are American then Ballymena in Co. Antrim (where I lived when I was over there), may hold special interest for you. There lies the ancestral home of the 21st President of the USA - Chester Alan Arthur.

click here to view the Ballymena website

We're not entirely sure, but we wonder if someone tried to get into our house on Sunday night/Monday morning while we were sleeping. There was banging which woke us (and frightened the kitty-cats), but we can't find an explanation for it. I searched the Geonet website for earthquakes around 2am, but there were none. It was a still night, so it wasn't the wind. It wasn't anything which fell from the sky as there is nothing on the roof or around the section. Could be stash hunters, I suppose!? Some of them would go to any lengths, I am sure :-)

Anyway, it is back to Lady Leona for me...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Like pot?

I do! I am talking of the variety you put plants in, of course. Today I got a huge bargain on some lovely glazed pots - 8 in all. I called my Mum to tell her in case she wanted some. She said not really but that she might call by the shop for a look, and apparently ended up with four!

So I spent this afternoon (which was lovely and sunny) repotting plants and planting spring bulbs. I hope I haven't disturbed the plants too much, as mid-winter is not really the time of year to be repotting plants. However, some were root bound so I may just have done them the world of good. Time will tell.

I am now just hoping the cats don't go digging up the bulbs. I'm sure it is very tempting for them to go digging when they see a pot full of dirt. Although, they aren't just interested in bare soil. I have three little cacti on my kitchen windowsill and the other night there was dirt spread out over the kitchen bench and one empty pot. The missing cactus was later found at the other end of the kitchen. You would think the prickles would put them off playing with them, but no not my two furry felines. I did a paw check for prickles, but the culprit was not identified.

Now, where is the wierdest place you have ever lost and found your cross stitching needle? The other night I lost my needle and we looked everywhere in the immediate vicinity for it, but it could not be found. We eventually gave up and I got another needle out. As I went to sit back down on the couch I looked at my OH and it was sitting on the collar of his fleece. We have absolutely no idea how it got there!! I personally think he is a secret stitcher and pinched it while I wasn't looking... he thinks I must've been trying to stab him when he wasn't looking. Doo-doo-doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doo (that's Twilight Zone music, in case you were wondering).

I'm off to stitch some more on Lady Leona...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Shocked and deeply saddened

... by events in London. What more can one say!?

I worked some more on Lady Leona last night, and I'm already thinking about where to hang her when she is framed. My OH even commented that she was coming along well and how amazing all the detail was. Thanks Honeybuns! I wonder if he'll be so happy when I tell him I want to hang her in the bedroom?? :-)

I went out to buy a gardening magazine today (I'm not quite so addicted to those, although even as a youngster I had a fettish for magazines!) and got back to work with that and the latest copy (well the latest copy available in New Zealand which is a couple of months behind the UK) of Mary Hickmott's New Stitches. I had a quick flick and it has a couple of pretty things in it which I'll be adding to my '(getting longer and longer) to do' list.

Looks like the weather isn't going to be up to much this weekend, so I hope to get a lot more stitched on Lady L.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I will work out how to add multiple day

... but in the meantime, there is three posts for today!  :-)

I decided to take a walk to the nearest LNS today to have a look through their charts, and came away with Dragon Dreams Fairy Tale Sampler and BOO! by Gloria & Pat.  The lady who served me commented that they were two very different charts - but I chose them for different reasons.  I have had my eye on Fairy Tale Sampler for quite some time.  It appeals because my Grandad used to tell us lots of Fairy Tales when my sisters and I were young.  He would make them up as he went along, although there were three main characters - Cowboy Charlie, Twinkle Toes and Mr Ruff Ruff.  This design has always reminded me of him, so today I finally added it to my stash.

I chose BOO! because it's really cute and I thought it might make a nice gift (either the chart itself or a stitched version) for a Halloween exchange.  I quite often participate in exchanges with a BB I frequent.

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I am taking a few days off work later in the month.  My OH can't take time off, but that's no problem because I plan to do lots of stitching!  No doubt I will be able to convince my Mum for a day out and a trip into Nancy's which is a LNS in Wellington, which I haven't been to yet.  Unfortunately, most of the LNS are on the outskirts and not handy to get to in my lunch hour.  I don't think I need anymore charts right now, but I hope to pick up some fabric.  And maybe we'll hit the garden shops while we're out too!  :-)

Stitching Bits and Bobs stash

Here's a pic of the stash I received a couple of weeks back.  I decided not to unbag them in case all the beads, charms, threads etc got separated from their charts - so please excuse the glare of the flash!

Amongst them is -

The Drawn Thread - Perennial Border, Spot of Spring, For the Birds, Lily of the Valley (kit), Welcome Spot Sampler, The Cat's Meow and The Alpine Garden

The Prairie Schooler - Woodland Santas

The Workbasket - God's Critters

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Lady Leona WIP

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Robin has landed

Yay, look what was waiting for me when I got home from work today... my Victorian Tile RR.  It's absolutely gorgeous, and I think I might just have to get it framed.  Thanks Maddison, Louise and Nicola for your efforts in the '3 Brits and a Kiwi RR' - it was a lot of fun and very rewarding.

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Please excuse the odd looking photo, the fabric wasn't chequered... honest! 

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Here's Pengy

Introducing the 'Little Penguin' (of the North Island variety). A pic of the completed RR is in the previous post (I haven't taken the time to figure out how to get two pics in one post yet!). 
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Today has been a glorious day weather-wise and even quite warm out of the shade, so I spent some time in our garden.  I had just been complaining to my OH earlier in the day about how I find it hard to visualise what we can do with our garden.  But as I was weeding away in the raised vegie garden I was struck by inspiration and now have an idea of how I want that corner to look... I want it Balinese style.  Pebbled with a little Buddha and a lantern, along with potted plants around the edges and maybe even a small water feature.  There is a big fern which is already growing in one corner which will help add to the tropical look.  If it comes to fruition I will be sure to post a pic.

I received a parcel in the post today for a birthday exchange I am participating in.  I'm now going to have to resist the temptation to open it, as my birthday is still a few weeks away yet.

I have a little confession to make... I sat down to watch the rugby tonight and actually..... (gulp)..... enjoyed it!!  Well done to the All Blacks who had a terrific game and won the series.

The completed RR

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Friday, July 01, 2005

Royal visit

Prince William is in town, he visited the British Lions rugby team yesterday at the hotel across the road from my work. I would like to have seen him in person, but I think waiting around to gork at someone is kind of strange... so I went to my LNS and bought a bookmark kit for an exchange I'm about to participate in instead!

Now something I really regret not seeing is two big cats sitting in a van in the courtyard of my work yesterday... apparently Wellington Zoo is trying to get cheetahs or leopards (the reports vary) more accustomed to people and noises etc (I guess so they lead more relaxed lives at the zoo). I always miss all the good stuff!

I finished the penguin for the RR last night, so I will post that back to the lady in England who it belongs to this weekend. I'll take a few pics before it goes home to post on here. I also got an email tonight from the lady who stitched the last section on my RR saying that it is now on it's way home. I'm so excited - she thinks it is the best looking of the lot, so it must be looking well. My theme was Victorian Tiles from an issue of New Stitches. I'll be sure to share a photo of that too when it arrives.

It's still freezing down here, although I shouldn't complain - one town in the deep south had minus 12 degrees Celsius overnight. I can't even imagine what that would be like! Hope it's warmer wherever in the world you are reading this from!