Friday, 30 December 2011

Farewell 2011...

Goodbye 2011.  You've been a year of all sorts of ups and downs... To be honest, it has been "The Year of the Emotional Roller Coaster."

I'd have to say there have been as many ups as downs this year - unlike last which was definitely more down than up.  There's nothing like some terrible downs to make you appreciate the good stuff, that's for sure.  Not wanting to dwell too much on the bad but earthquakes and miscarriage made for a lousy start to the year and the ongoing 'quakes in Christchurch and the consequent constant fear for my family meant I slept very little and was pretty darn cranky for a good part of the year.  Like I said though, the good stuff has been really good and I am more than able to count my blessings and thank God that he is there in the valley as well as on the mountain tops!

Stitching wise, this was the year of finishing the UFO's and WiP's.  I pretty much finished everything I set out to finish and even had extras that I started and finished!  I'll update my "2011 finishes" page in the next couple of weeks when I'm adding the daily photos for the Crazy 15.

Tomorrow morning, we're heading off camping - or "glamping" as we coined the phrase last summer.  LOL.  We pitch the tent in our friends' back paddock and still enjoy all the "conveniences" of the house.  Perfect.  As long as it doesn't rain tomorrow when we want to pitch the tent, it's all good.

I'll be starting my Crazy 15 while we're away!  *Gulp*  Hope I don't forget to take anything important!!!

Happy New Year to you all.  I don't make resolutions.  I do plan on stitching lots, using up lots of my stash, adding to my stash, spending more time with my kids, actually using my gym membership and losing a stack of weight.  Not resolutions.  Just ideas for next year.

To all of you who have been following along with my blog for the past few months; Thank you :)  I look forward to sharing lots of "stitchiness" with you in 2012.

Have a safe and happy New Year's celebrations.

See you next year!!!



Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Best Christmas Ever.

My kids announced this late Christmas afternoon: "This is the best Christmas ever!"  I have to admit, I'm inclined to agree with them.

We had an incredibly laid back day.  Summer finally arrived in Sydney - it was a beautiful sunny day.  Lily woke up at 6am, Jacob shortly after 6.30.  They found their stockings, unpacked them and arranged themselves in the middle of the lounge room floor.  I got up around 7 I think.  We puddled around for a while, started getting organised for breakfast and suddenly realised it was almost 9am and Guy's sister and  her DH would be arriving any minute.  Quick showers and a run of the vacuum cleaner LOL.  They arrived about 9.15 and had her BIL with them also.

The kids by now were busting to open their pressies so after moving their "stocking stash" we gave them the things from under the tree.

Late Christmas Eve - Ready for Christmas Morning
They were both totally thrilled with their gifts and didn't have any complaints at all.  By the time the in-laws left, we realised it was 11:30 and we hadn't had breakfast!  I got cooking and at noon we sat down to Pancakes with bacon, banana, strawberries, maple syrup, lemon and cream and fresh squeezed orange juice.  So good!


Being that breakfast ended up being at lunchtime, we weren't fussed about lunch. LOL.  We all chilled for several hours - the kids played with their presents, Guy slept for a couple of hours, I stitched!!!


We eventually thought more food might be in order around 4pm - We ended up having "mouse traps" - glorified cheese on toast! LOL.  Actually, we had cheese, salami, ham, onion, mushroom and tomato - baby pizzas really.  Seriously yummy but not really standard Christmas fare I suppose.

We had good friends and their three little ones arrive around 7 for dinner.  Our DH's took the kids to the park (Summer here, remember, so still warm and daylight) while Bianca and I got the salad ready.  Dinner was cold roast turkey, roast pork and roast chicken with a huge salad.  I'd cooked the chook Christmas Eve and the turkey and pork roasted during our lazy afternoon.

Dessert was the highlight of the evening's menu.  I made it up as I went along after seeing a couple of things in the week running up to Christmas... 


It really was a wonderful day.  Quiet but very happy and one I think we will remember for a long while to come.

I hope you all had a wonderfully blessed Christmas.  

Miss Lily
Santa brought her a new dress
and matching hair ribbons - and of
course other things to make her smile.
Jacob with his stocking stash.
Santa brought him Lego,
a set of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books
and "Uno"
along with other assorted bits and pieces.



Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas from Down Under!

The New Zealand Christmas Carol 'Te Harinui" performed by Haley Westenra

Australia's "Six White Boomers" written and performed by Rolf Harris

Merry Christmas to you all.  Wherever in the world you may be.



Friday, 23 December 2011

Advent Calendar Day 23

Can you believe it's the night before the night before Christmas?  I can't!

For day 23 of the Advent Calendar I thought I'd show you my advent calendar.
I started this a few years ago now but this year I managed to complete all 25 little pieces.  
Next year I will finish the actual calendar so we can hang it for Christmas 2012.
The Calendar itself is on 28ct ivory jobelan.  The daily pieces are on 14ct plastic canvas.

Dimensions Advent Calendar
14ct plastic canvas.

We've been a bit behind schedule for Christmas at our house but we finally got some decorations up yesterday.

Our Christmas Shelf

The kids set this up.  Most of these ornaments have special significance to at least one of us.  The tree up top was a present from one of my students as are the two angels in the centre.  The snow globes belong to Jacob and Lily and Santa leaves them each a new one on the shelf each Christmas.  There's a Santa driving a golf buggy - top right corner - he was my MIL's, she's been gone four and a half years this Christmas and we still haven't got used to her not being around for Christmas.  The snowmen on the left were carved by a very talented lady - Kelly - from the cross stitch forum.  


Our Tree

Sadly, we've never had a real tree.  I'd love one but they're just so darn expensive that it's much better for our pockets to spend money on other stuff rather than a real tree.  Even so, our real fake tree is special to us.  The first Christmas after we got married, we had no money - lol, nothing's changed, we never have money at Christmas, it's the nature of both our jobs.  No teaching, no income - but I was determined we were going to decorate anyway.  Well, this is our 11th Christmas and the tree has certainly given us our money's worth.  Again, we have a bunch of ornaments that are special to us as well as some that are just "pretty little space fillers".  Yes, that's a train running round the base - We all love Thomas the Tank Engine so I bought a Christmas Thomas set which has a carriage that plays jingle bells!   


For us Christmas in Australia is all pretty laid back and casual.  We usually alternate Christmas one in Australia and then one in New Zealand.  This year, we're staying in Australia. Tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, we'll go for a drive to look at the lights.  When the kids go to bed, Luke (oldest Stepson) will run outside to shake the sleigh bells - the kids get into bed like lightening 'cause I tell them Santa's flying over on his way to New Zealand to visit their cousins and will be back to us very soon!  I'm sure they'll be up early to see what Santa has brought them.  We'll have pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, bananas and fresh orange juice for breakfast.  Then we'll open pressies under the tree.  We'll try to make it to church.  Lunch this year is only us, so we're having home made garlic prawn pizza and lots of fresh salad.  Dinner we'll be joined by friends for cold roast chicken, turkey and pork, again with lots of fresh salad.  

We all love Christmas Carols and we listen to them at every given opportunity

My Best Friend knows me very well :)  She posted me this clip on Facebook a couple of days ago.
Oh Holy Night is my favourite Carol and men singing amazing harmonies just reduce me to mush.  So, first of all, this raised all the hair on my arms and then had me in floods of tears... 

Please enjoy Straight No Chaser's rendition of Oh Holy Night.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.  I feel very blessed to have met so many new stitchy friends this year.  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope to get to know more of you in the coming year.

I wish you all joy, peace, prosperity and God's richest blessing for you and your families for 2012.

Oh, and if you want to check out all the entries for the on-line calendar, hop over to Jo's blog to find the link for each day.

Much love


Thursday, 22 December 2011

There WILL be another Happy Dance this Year!

Beading, beading, beading...

I'm finally understanding why so many of you choose to stitch your Mira's on 28ct instead of 32ct.

"L" has a tonne of beads in the vine wrapped around itself.  For me, though, I'm going to continue with 32 count.  I've found if I skip a bead here or there, it's no big deal.  I prefer to stitch on the higher count fabric, so the trade off is to fudge some of the beading.

I'm almost done - another night or two should see my final HD for 2011!




My turn for Jo's advent calendar tomorrow!


Monday, 19 December 2011

IHSW Piccies!

I feel like I had a rather productive stitchy weekend! Not at all the norm, LOL.

Saturday, I didn't get started until late but like I posted previously, I finished my exchange ornament - to the dulcet tones of Mr Michael Buble.

Have just returned from the post office and said ornament is now winging it's way to Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere.  Pictures will come when my person receives her ornament.  Actually, it's only just occurred to me that I will also be the recipient of an ornament, sometime soon!  How exciting!  I forget that an exchange goes both ways, LOL.  I get so much enjoyment out of stitching for my person that receiving something in return is always a bit of a shock!

IHSW December 2011
  • Exchange ornament: Done.

  • Mapping and gridding for JE Believe/Dream/Hope/Imagine: Done. (Part of CJC 2012)
32ct Belfast.
Vintage Blue Whisper
The fabric is actually a much prettier blue than it appears in the photo.

  • Spend some time working on Letters from Nora; L, for Lily...
                    Before                                                                                          After


  • Map and Grid fabric for Ink Circles First Bass/Altogether Now/Here Comes Treble: Done! (Part of CJC 2012)

This will hang above my piano in my music room when it is complete.

32ct Antique White Lugana

  • Floss Toss for Mirabilia Christmas Elf Fairy. (Also part of CJC 2012)
32ct Opalescent White Lugana
It's so pretty and sparkly.  I wish the photo could do it justice.

So all in all, I feel like this was a good end to the IHSW for me for this year.  Thanks to Joyce for your organisation this year.  I look forward to participating again in 2012.

I'm hoping to have one more happy dance before the end of the year - I'm so close to done on "L."  If the weather stays cool instead of hot and humid, then it will be possible.

Have a great week in this run up to Christmas.  We'll be putting up our tree in the next day or two - better late than never I suppose.




Sunday, 18 December 2011


We have wings.

well, the fairy does.

Still stitching :)

xxx K

IHSW Saturday.

Just a quick update before I head off to bed...

I worked most of the day today but managed to get in several hours anyway.

Achieved a little Happy Dance - a little late but better than never.  I was supposed to post my Christmas Exchange Ornament yesterday but I didn't actually finish it until tonight.  I kept getting to a point where I think "done!", then I'd look at it and think "Oh, but this would look really cool right there!" and so I wasn't finished at all.  I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm very happy with the stitching, I'm just not so sure about my ornament finishing skills.

Sorry, no piccie tonight - I can't post until my person receives it.

The rest of my evening consisted not so much of stitching but of planning and then having a couple of those "Eureka!" moments, where everything just falls into place!

  • I mapped out what I want for my JE Believe/Dream/Hope/Imagine set and then basted said mapping onto my chosen fabric.
  • I played around with my fabric stash and decided I'm going to stitch the Mira Christmas Elf on a piece of white opalescent lugana I have.  Debated over it for a bit but by the time I'd measured and counted and floss tossed and imagined, there's just no other option in my mind.
  • I changed out the  dove grey 16ct aida in my Woodland Enchantress kit for a piece of 32ct stoney point linen that I'm not so fond of.  I bought it for Titania but I don't want to stitch her on it, now that I have it.  I figure the WE is wall to wall, so I won't be seeing any of the fabric when she's all finished.  I would just use the aida but I think the piece is a little skimpy and I like to have plenty of margin for framing.

I'll post a pic of my layout for JE tomorrow - need to charge the phone so I can take photos.  I'm planning on getting some stitches in on the NC "L" for Lily... how many IHSW's have I voiced that intention?  This will be the first time I actually get around to doing some! . . . unless the lure of L*K is too much and I end up putting in some more little exes into the ABC.  LOL.

I hope you are all having a lovely hermitting weekend.  I look forward to stalking the blogosphere for updates tomorrow!


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

IHSW and CJC Decisions

Yup, it's IHSW again already!

The final one for 2011.

If you haven't participated in the "International Hermit and Stitch Weekend" yet this year, click on the cute little "Hermie" button in my sidebar.  He'll direct you to Joysze's "Random Ramblings" and you can sign up.

Now, I've realised I'm going to have to make some decisions regarding my Crazy 15 for January... As much as I would love to start everything I have on my current list I really must re-jig it once again.

I think I'll separate the multiple part projects that I counted as one piece and count them as individuals - like the IC Treble/Alto/Bass clefs.  I counted them as one but they are actually three single pieces.  The same with JE's Hope/Dream/Believe/Imagine - They are four single designs.  Already, this makes seven individual pieces!

I'm thinking the new list will look something like this...
  • Ink Circles: Here Comes Treble
  • Ink Circles: Alto Gether Now
  • Ink Circles: First Bass
  • Joan Elliott: Dream
  • Joan Elliott: Believe
  • Joan Elliott: Imagine
  • Joan Elliott: Hope
  • Shepherd's Bush: Road to Bethlehem
  • Shepherd's Bush: Holly and Ivy
  • Nora Corbett: Lily Pixie
  • Nora Corbett: Christmas Elf (Mirabilia)
  • Sweetheart Tree: Dragonfly Dreams
  • Randall Spangler: Train of Dreams (HAED)
  • Ruth Sanderson: Woodland Enchantress (Dimensions)
  • Ellen Maurer-Stroh: Garden Alphabet
Hmm... Yes... this is making me feel happier... 

I've been over to Measi's blog and signed up for the WIPocalypse,  I'm going to need to participate once I get into the CJC, that's for sure! LOL.

Oh my!!!  I just checked out the signup list to make sure I actually did remember to sign up.  Do you know there are now 231, yes that's two hundred and thirty-one participants???  


So, if you're not signed up yet, what are you waiting for?!?!  

Oo, I must remember, a quick thank you to Jo of Serendipitous Stitching - I'll be posting day 23 of the advent calendar.

Have a great day everyone.


Sunday, 11 December 2011


I soooo need new glasses!


Usually, I love beading.  I have no trouble with the YLI invisible thread, in fact, I love it.  But not tonight.

I can't get my needle threaded.  I can't see the eye of the needle.  I can't see the hole in the bead.


I'm desperately trying to get my one and only Christmas ornament finished in time to post for an exchange. I've still got a couple of days up my sleeve but my eyes are driving me nuts.

Ok.  Whinge over.

The positive side of things - I'm really rather chuffed with how the ornament is turning out.  Can't show photos of course... which reminds me - I don't believe I showed photos of the scissor case and fob I made for the last exchange.

Hold on a mo and I'll see if I can rustle up a couple of pics...

Scissor Case and Fob.
Stitched on 28ct black Monaco.
Gloriana Silk "Twilight"
Lining 28ct Lilac Cashel Linen
Mill Hill Glass Beads

Stitched design is mostly my own with a few "borrowed" elements from here but the finishing instructions I found in an excellent tutorial here.  This was my first attempt at real hardanger, ie: cutting, my first time stitching on black and my first time using silk!   The case is lined with lilac linen to match the gorgeous variegation in the silk.

Ooo - I've just noticed I've got some new followers!  How very exciting!

*Waving*  Hellooo!  How lovely to have you.  Thank you for joining me here!

Well, I'm off to bed to give my poor eyes some rest.  It's almost 1am. Again.

Night, night.  Sweet dreams.



Back view.
I made the centre of the back to match the back of the fob.
Both cut sections are lined with purple satin.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Advent and a Bethlehemian Rhapsody

My Best Friend was a cross stitcher in her dim and distant past - she hasn't touched her stash in years and years.  A couple of years ago she hauled out her finished pieces to show me and we discovered her advent calendar.

She is now a web designer and the discovery of said advent calender got all her geeky creative juices flowing... so, this year sees the third annual roll out of the Web Princess' Advent Calender, complete with clickables in the banner (check the angel on the mantel, the book, the mousehole, the stockings...) and animated characters for each day.  My apologies, I don't know the designer - If anyone is able to enlighten me, I'll add in designer details.

And seeing as we are now firmly headed down the path to Christmas; A friend of mine posted this on Facebook a couple of days ago.  I love Queen.  I think these guys have done a fabulous job.  Whoever is doing the vocals did Freddy and the boys proud.

Hmmm... Only a couple of days left of school for the kids now - they finish on Thursday.  I finish up the bulk of my teaching load on Thursday too.  Then it's onto the holidays - bring on Summer and loads of time to stitch!