Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A year sure goes by fast - 2005 Stitching Review

Okay, I know - there is still a month to go, and in that month I should definitely finish Rose Arbour, and maybe even Celtic Summer ... maybe.

I was thinking about what I've stitched this year, and even more what I haven't! I went back and found my post from the end of last year where I listed all the projects I wanted to do - it wasn't really a goal setting process, I knew I wouldn't get everything done - but I'm amazed (and embarrassed!) at how many I haven't even touched in that year, some of them very longstanding WIP's - it sure doesn't feel like it's been that long!

Here's the list from 27 December 2005 - and next to it what I did/didn't achieve :)

Mirabilia WIP's/UFO's
Ashley's Roses - didn't touch
Rose Arbour - should finish before end of 2005
Sleeping Beauty - didn't touch

New Mirabilias
Lily the Dreaming Fairy - No
Petal Fairy - very small start
Cottage Garden Fairy - No
The Dreamer - No
The Kiss - stitched about a third
Madonna of the Garden - No

Stitch NZ (canvas work)
Gay Day - No
and another - I can't remember it's name. - No

The Silver Lining
All the single roses - started Love, about a third

Indigo Rose
Needlebook - No
Desiderata (a longstanding WIP I haven't worked on for quite a while) - No

Dollhouse - No
Seasons - No
Merry Christmas - No

The Drawn Thread
Perennial Border - Yes, but for ebay - still want to stitch for me
The Sanctary - No
Prairie Garden - No
Marriage of Minds - No
Sampler Gameboard - small progress

Little Mermaid kit - No

Just Nan
Black Magic - No

Elizabeth Designs
Gardens - No
October Sky Sampler - No
In the Garden of my Heart - No

Plus -

Summer Bouquet - No
Amish Quilt Sampler (TIAG) - No
TW - 12 days of Christmas - No
Applique piece from a magazine - No
Bent Creek rows series - No (although did do one for ebay)
L*K - Summer and Winter snippets - No
Victoria Sampler - Sweet Pea Gazebo - Yes, and finished!
L&L - Celtic Summer - Yes, started as a SAL with Blogging friends

and this is what I DID stitch, and finish :)

14 Ornaments
17 RR Squares and Exchanges

Live Laugh Love
Summer ABC’s
Friendship Grows
Friends Make Life a Little Sweeter
Santa 2002
When We Love

Little House Needleworks
The Bookshelf
Peace and Plenty

Victoria Sampler
Sweetpea Gazebo

Shepherds Bush
Violet Sampler

The Drawn Thread
Sunflower Sampler
Perennial Border
Spot of Spring

The Trilogy
Friends Gather

The Prairie Schooler
Garden Sampler

Bent Creek
Bee True
Spooky Row

Setting Sail Kit

So, in summary? I'm disappointed that I don't have any "big" finishes (except the Sailing kit for friends), I'm hoping to change that by having Rose Arbour finished by the end of the year. I seem to have had a bitsy year - lots of ebay things, which is great - but takes up precious "me" stitching time - I don't see that changing next year, through pure necessity, and I'm fine with that - by 2007 I'm hoping we'll be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - and maybe then I can *really* enjoy my "me" stitching.

Look out for my 2006 goals/wishes ... I'm going to start working on them, and hopefully work out some specific goals I really want to stick to - I think 2006 will be a finishing off UFO's and WIP's year for me :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Apache Wedding Progress

It's coming along, albeit slowly :)

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The exciting bit is that I've just about hit the bottom of that side - just the wood things across the bottom and I've only got to "fill in" that side piece.

I'm going to switch to Celtic Summer for a night or two now - then I really have to start looking for a couple of things I want to stitch as gifts for Christmas ... nothing like working to the last minute LOL - I have finished all my exchange obligations though.

Oh! and more good news - I fiddled with the bobbin from my sewing machine yesterday and have fixed it, it did take a bit of tweaking though *phew* ... and I finished up a couple of ornaments, with it working fine.

I've got to drive up to Levin today to sort out some banking things for the Cricket Association, they have a great adventure park up there so I'll stop and Charlotte can have run around - so she'll be happy.

I also want to go for a bike-ride later, not sure when though - possibly after dinner (darn it, that will cut into CS time!). Now I'm doing the eating thing right, I can't let the exercise lapse.

My last lot of ebay items have sold - they didn't the first time and I had a wee panic, I put them on for 99c and got more than I originally put them on for - I hate taking those sorts of risks, but sheesh, maybe I should more often! Good news is I have enough in my Paypal account to transfer over to pay for David's Cricket Camp next week - that is a good feeling.

Talking of David - he's off for a trip into the city today as recognition to the top English students ... we're very proud of him - he's had a great first year of high school :)

Okay, off to do the mundane ... waking up children, getting them dressed, fed and out the door!

Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm back!

I had a wonderful weekend! I biked my 40km, I think, in less than 2hrs - my little bike computer broke about 5mins into my ride, which was a bummer - but going by the rest of the team and their times, and the total time - I'm pretty sure I made it in just under 2hrs, including walking part way up the huge hill. The atmosphere, organisation and sheer number of people AND bikes (about 12,000 competitors) was just absolutely mind blowing, amazing.

I only met the other two members of our team as we left on Friday (a friend had asked me if I wanted to join her and two other teachers from the college to make up the team of four) - they were really good value, Tomo, in particular, had the most hiliarious stories and great sense of humour.

We stayed in a cabin with four other guys - two did 80km each, and the other two did the WHOLE 160km (wow, and just under 5hrs!) - and had a great time.

Of course, I didn't touch my stitching all weekend - so no updates from me today!

I have managed to finish the stitching for our little NZ group ornament - I might try and finish it into an ornament today, but I can't give you a picture of that until after the 14th :)

Tonight I plan on stitching on my sister's Wedding gift - and then maybe the rest of the week I might spoil myself and stitch on Celtic Summer - I'll be looking forward to it.

I started counting points for WW today - so far so good :)

Friday, November 25, 2005


Just some quick notes - no time for rambling today :)

I'm off to Taupo in two hours ... and I haven't started packing yet, need to get to that next (waiting for some clothes to dry in the drier first).

I re-joined WW this morning ... I need to lose the weight I've put back on since I last went in August ... I've been doing the exercising, but can't keep to the eating. I'm hoping this is the kick start I need.

I'm nearly finished with the stitching part of an ornament for our Doris exchange. Can't peep though - it might be for one of the NZ ladies that reads my blog ;)

I just bought a knitting pattern and wool - partly to take with me this weekend, I have a feeling I might be sitting around a lot (besides the time sitting on my bike LOL) ... and I can't "just" sit ... and my stitching is often too fiddly to do in those situations. Plus all this sitting at the kids' cricket matches does my head in as well - I need something to do with my hands!

Kids are good :)

Now I need to go pack!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Two more ornaments

Firstly - I think my sewing machine is okay, I was directed to an on-line page explaining all about the tension of the bobbin, and turns out there is a little screw on the bobbin that adjusts the tension, it was definitely pretty loose, loose enough for me to tighten with a fingernail, so I'm hoping that was all I needed to do - I haven't had time to actually set up my sewing machine and try it yet (have I mentioned lately how I'd love a craft room where it could be set up ALL the time! yeah, that's right ... I mention it all the time LOL).

On to the two ornaments - they are both for the ornament RR's I'm involved in -

I can't remember the names, but they're both from past JCS issues :)

Image Hosting by This one took a couple of nights to stitch - LOTS of green! - but he's very cute :)

Image Hosting by I've stitched this one before, a couple of years ago, with the required DMC colours - I think I like the hand-dyed look better.

I'm not sure when or how I'll make these up yet.

In other exciting news ... I cleaned out our pantry today! (oh yay, you say LOL) ... gosh it looks empty now though - I didn't realise how much junk was in it, or how little actual food was in it - I seriously need to stock up, maybe over Christmas when we'll have less petrol costs, and less daycare costs.

My biggest boy has just finished his first every exams - they aren't particularly important this year (first year of high school) but good practice, he also wanted to do well enough to make sure he gets in English and Maths extension classes next year (he is in a Y9 "general" extension class this year). He did really well :) - English 82%, Maths 80%, Social Studies 63% (his weakest subject - and naughtest at not studying for!) and Science 69% (his other weaker one). He's very pleased with himself, basically that was what he was aiming for, so he's happy. We're very proud of him too :)

Time to go find an ornament to stitch for our wee Doris exchange, and some charts I can put on bags for Christmas gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I stuffed my sewing machine up *sob sob sob*

I tried to put shirring (is that the right word?) elastic in the bobbin, trying to be smart, it didn't work - and now the bottom stitches, from the bobbin are all loose, and I can't get them right - I've fiddled with the tension, re threaded the machine, re wound the bobbin ... everything I can think of. I *think* I've maybe stretched the clippie thingee on the bobbin with the too thick elastic? and maybe, hopefully, I just need a new bobbin.

I'm so bummed.

I'm loving my sewing and really hope it is a quick (and cheap!) fix.

So, anyone else got any bright ideas of what might be wrong with it? Something that I can add to my blonde moments? (oh, and I tried changing the needle too).

*sigh* ... I suppose I'll go cross-stitch.

Stitching Update

I've been really busy the last few days and haven't had a lot of time to stitch at all ... I hate that! I plan to make up for it today and definitely finish one ornament (from the Ornament RR), and work on the Wedding piece - we got our invitation the other day, which must mean I need to get moving on it! February 18th is the dead-line :)

I finished off Prairie Schooler's Garden Sampler, from the Band Sampler booklet - this took a week to stitch and is stitched on 32ct Belfast - Putty.

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It is now for sale on ebay (link to ebay items)

Today is definitely going to be a "nothing" day, I feel like I haven't stopped for a few days, with work (which has been busy), trying to clean and tidy the house for Charlotte's birthday BBQ last night, the kids' sport, biking etc ... I'm feeling like a deserve a break! So today is baking for lunches, and then stitching - I will fit in a bike ride as well though.

My biggest boy had an awesome day at cricket yesterday - I know most of you who read this find cricket a totally foreign sport - but for those who do slightly understand the game - he is an opener and the last two games has managed to stay in for quite a few overs, but only scored 1-2 runs. Yesterday he got 47 runs (seven 4's), survived through five other batsmen AND caught somebody with an awesome catch AND bowled the last over for two wickets and 3 runs! He is understandably full of himself today LOL

... and now that it is nearly 10.00am - I should go get dressed and this house in order!

Happy Birthday Sweet Charlotte!

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I can't believe my baby is 4yo already! ... and a sweet little girl she is now too (most of the time!) ... she was a busy, active baby, a hell-raising toddler ... but is becoming easier and easier as time goes on :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mirabilia's Christmas Elf

Christmas Elf

I have been seriously drooling over this ever since it came out - spoke to DH last night and he agreed it would be a good idea for me to buy it, give it to him and he'll wrap it up and give it to me for Christmas :) ... I'm planning on making it my Christmas stitching project - over that two week break I won't be doing my word-processing job, will be ignoring all soccer and cricket work ... so I plan on having lots of time to stitch, and want to stitch a treat ... and this will be it.

I'm pretty excited now!

Another whoops ... and Princess Bags

Can you believe I've done ANOTHER dumb thing? Gosh, I wasn't called Dottie as a child for nothing! LOL ... I went to a meeting last night, put my purse in the car so it would be safe ... of course I took DH's car, and he's gone to work - over an hour away, not to mention he wasn't planning on coming home again until Saturday - and yep, I left my purse in the glovebox of his car - so instead of grocery shopping I'm sitting here! Luckily - he is flying out of Wellington at about 7pm, so he should be able to leave work a bit earlier and stop here to drop it off on his way through to the airport - and meanwhile I'll borrow big son's eft-pos card, transfer some money on to it and be able to do the groceries. Of course, he's in an exam until after 11am, but he'll wait outside the high-school after that and I'll pick it up off him - gosh texting and phones (although they're not supposed to use them in school!) are great :) I suppose I could do some housework to fill in time for next couple of hours ;)

More importantly - I made up the Princess bags yesterday, and am really really pleased with them, they were pretty easy to make, they're not lined, but have french seams - another new thing to learn, and done successfully :D The girls love them - Rhiannon has taken hers off to school with her library book in it, and Charlotte has a couple of nightgowns in hers (maybe she's planning on spending a few nights away from home? LOL).

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I'm planning on making up a couple with a couple of cross-stitch squares for the pockets, and maybe making a needlebook that will attach somehow ... Dh's Aunt and his cousin are quilters and I thought they'd make great Christmas gifts.

Today I plan on stitching the Prairie Schooler Band Sampler, maybe even finishing it - if you're observant you will have noticed I've gone off my rotation, yet again, but once the sampler is finished I'll probably spend a week stitching MY things, rather than ebay things.

Okay ... off to make use of the couple of hours I should be shopping, I'll go do some cleaning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Seriously Blonde

Oh gosh - I have had some very bad blonde moments lately ... and just so you can have some smiles and laughter in your life, I'll tell you about them! LOL

No. 1 - after getting my brand new sewing machine three years ago, I was reading through the instruction booklet looking up something the other day, and came across a part where it mentioned the quarter inch foot. Yep, sure enough - I have one. For the last three years I've been following a line by the usual foot ... with out being nearly as precise as I could have been. I made up a couple of ornaments last weekend and was amazed at how much easier it was with the amazing quarter inch foot!!

No. 2 - remember I commented that my camera just wasn't taking pictures like it should? Um, I cleaned the front lens today, and they look sooooo much better again. In my defence, there is one setting on the camera that is definitely not working, and I can hear the shutter working or doing something and I'm pretty sure I never used to - so I still think there is something else wrong with it!

... there is nothing like laughing at yourself ;)

More importantly - here are the couple of progress pictures I took - with the newly cleaned lens!

Wedding Apache - I worked on this on Sunday, it doesn't look like a whole lot of progress, but I did a lot of backstitching which took a while.

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and one of Praire Schooler's Band Samplers - I'm planning this as an ebay sale.

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... oh and another we blonde moment - I remembered that I could inter-mix my Q-snaps - they are a wonderful fit for the sampler like that!

Talking about ebay - I often get people ask whether it is worth it etc (someone in my comments did, Heather?).

I don't think you ever get back the time you put into the stitching. But for me, it's an "extra" source of income, for the "extra" things that always seem to come up with five children! I'm lucky in that I seem to stitch pretty quickly (or so everyone tells me ;)), I have a heap of stash, that I'd never get my money back on selling as "stash" and I LOVE stitching - I'm definitely a process person, I love the finished product, but seriously, after 20yrs of stitching I have a huge pile of unframed things that in all realty, will probably stay that way for a few years yet. So, I choose charts that I like, knowing that I'm going to sell them I don't become too attached, and I know that most of them I stitch I can always stitch again for me one day, and plan to with most of them. I find that the medium sort of size get the best value, people don't seem to buy the really small ones as much, large ones sell for a lot less than they should (I think because of the Indonesian (is that the right place?) cheap laboured ones that are always for sale). I'm not always successful, I just had six up for sale, and only three sold, with only one bid on each. Occasionally I'll manage to stitch something that obviously more than a couple of people are interested in and will bid against each other. At the moment I'm $50 away from having enough to send my oldest boy to a cricket camp in about a month - it's US$200 which is a lot of money for us to find at this time of the year with Christmas gifts etc to buy, so it's a definite weight off my shoulders to know I've nearly paid for it. - way more than you ever wanted to know? LOL

In other ramblings ...

I just went and visited a friend (mother of 14yo's best friend) who had a hip replacement a few weeks ago, she is still hobbling on one crutch and very frustrated at her lack of movement and being more housebound than she'd like, and on top of that they have just found out that her mother (early 60's) has breast cancer, luckily they seem to have caught it early, she will lose her breast and then have radiation. Makes me remember how blessed and healthy my family and I are!

In stitching ramblings ...

I've had this insane idea of stitching ornaments from the JCS Mag ... starting from the first one in the book and carrying on through it ... it would be interesting to see how many I'd get done over the year - I'm thinking of spending 1-2 days a week on them next year. Something I love about the ornament RR I'm in is the lack of making a decision and having them all kitted up ready to go. So I thought if I sat down and kitted up say five at a time - it would be fun to just pick up the next one in line and go for it - I'm always amazed at how I can pick up something I never thought I'd like, or normally try and find it's easier, or nicer than I thought.

I'm off now to try sewing up a simple bag - I'm going to use Princess material and hopefully stitch up a couple for the girls as an experiment ... if it works I've got ideas of doing the same for project bags :)

... so I should run and do that, because it's only an hour until I have to pick up kids from school etc!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

All I want for Christmas

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are my two front teeth! LOL ... poor Rhiannon is VERY happy to have a toothless gap. For the past year or so she has had to explain that "no, the gap in her teeth IS NOT from missing teeth - just a huge gap".

Friday, November 11, 2005

You Should Get a MD (Doctor of Medicine)

You're both compassionate and brilliant - a rare combination.
You were born to be a doctor.

More pictures

I'm surprised at myself, at how prolific I seem to have been with my stitching lately - I think it probably shows that shooting season is over, soccer season is over, and cricket is more organised - meaning I have a lot more time in the evenings now than I did in the winter. It feels good, my stitching is definitely a stress release for me.

Yesterday I was feeling very tired and lethargic, and looking for something to stitch for my next ebay project, and I felt totally unmotivated - I actually thought maybe I've been doing too much stitching and was heading towards a slump. I got a chart and it's cottons ready (one of the Prairie Schooler Band Samplers) and thought I'd take it with me and see how I feel. By the time I sat and started stitching it - I of course enjoyed it and didn't want to put it down to come home! ... so my slump must have lasted all of about 3 hours ;)

Anyway - pictures! Firstly, a few ornaments -

PS - Miniature
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Another PS Miniature
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I can't remember the designer - but this is from my Ornament RR group, I *loved* stitching this one - but must say, the heart template and finishing off was hard work! I'm pleased with the result though :)
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and a PS Santa (from Kris Kringle booklet) for a PS exchange
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The Drawn Thread - Spot of Spring - I did this to sell on ebay, I've previously stitched all four as one bell pull - I'm tempted to stitch all four again as pin cushions like this for ME :)
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and, last, but definitely not least - a progress picture of Celtic Summer (as requested by Carol ... but I was going to take a picture today anyway LOL)
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- not the best picture really, it's still in the q-snaps and I think my camera needs servicing, all my cross-stitch pictures have looked faded lately.

Nothing exciting to report on in life ... and it's time to get kiddoes ready to head out the door for school!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Summer time!

I love the summer :) ... we live about 10min walk from the beach and try and spend lots of time down there (but often life gets in the way). Lately the bigger kids have moaned and not wanted to go down there when DH has tried taking them for walks in the weekend (signs of growing up!) ... so I took Charlotte down before school finished yesterday afternoon. It was pretty dirty (as in weeds and sticks) at the edge where she'd usually play/swim so we ended up playing in the sand rather than the water - but still fun. She loves it down there - I think it's the freedom of running around with no boundaries and the fresh air :)

I was fiddling with the camera and the settings and along the way got this photo - I love it!

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I also finished up an ornament yesterday - ready for an exchange later in the month, I'm feeling very organised! I got out Celtic Summer and stitched on her too, I've missed her - so much so that I think I will stitch on her today as well :)

Monday, November 07, 2005


... firstly, thank you, as always for the lovely comments on my previous entries :)

Just pictures today - I figure you hear enough of my rambling LOL

L*K - When we Love

The Trilogy - Friends Gather

L*K - 2002 Santa

All stitched on Natural 28ct Country French Linen (I had a big piece!)

and a progress picture on the Apache Wedding Blessing - it actually stitches up pretty quickly :)

I've also got a few small PS ornaments to make up, plus DT's Spring Spot to make up - pictures after I've had time to get my sewing machine out :)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

50km ... and still walking!

I biked my first ever bike race today - Tour de Waikanae - local to us and pretty flat and easy :) ... I biked the 50km section in 2hr15min, and I'm very proud of myself :D ... definitely not the fastest or near the front of the race - but I did it!

In stitching news - I've finished lots of little things ready to sell on ebay over the past couple of weeks, and haven't really worked on my other big pieces at all. I really need to work out a good rotation that takes care of everything, that, or have an extra couple of days every week!

I'll take photos tomorrow, maybe.

Okay ... here we go -

November Rotation

Sunday - Apache Wedding Blessing
Monday - Ebay
Tuesday - Celtic Summer
Wednesday - Ornament
Thursday - Ebay
Friday - Ebay
Saturday - Ebay

We'll see how that works out ... I have the baby sampler I should be doing too, but I'll leave that for this month or slot it in if I have a quiet afternoon during the week.

... and now that I'm feeling super virtuous, I'm going to go stitch the afternoon away!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

No stitching room aka organised mess!

Okay, I've been browsing through various blogs showing off their stitching rooms ... can you say "seriously jealous"??? ... I would LOVE a craft room, all of my own, sad fact is - we have five children in a four bedroom house and it will be a LONG time before that changes. Having said that - be assured, I DO know how lucky I am - I know there are women out there who would easily give up their stitching havens if it meant having a child, I DO know we are very blessed with the healthy, happy five we have ... and the roof over our heads.

Anyway - I organised my magazines this morning, and got carried away and went through a few other things too ... so thought I'd take some photos of my various little "hideaways" throughout the house :)

Link to non-stitching room album

and I've got to say ... all the quilting magazines, all the quilting fabric etc? I haven't actually done a lot of quilting - I'm working towards it and really truly plan to do more as time lets me - but I'm embarrassed at the amount of quilting "stash" I have, when I hardly ever use it!

Also in defence of the mess in our front lounge - it is also an extra TV room for the kids (or us), it's my office for all the work I do from home, has the computer, as well as a lot of my sewing things :)

... and now I've wasted most of the afternoon doing all of that, I'll go stitch for about half an hour before the after school rush starts. I am taking Cameron into Wellington for an Artsplash concert - a combined schools concert, he is in the choir. I'm hoping DH is going to be home in time to take care of the other kids - otherwise I've got to get hold of my sister in the next half hour or so and make sure she can - big son who would usually do it got his cricket practice changed to today at the last minute!