Saturday, 29 December 2007

Christmas Gifts and Christmas Cheer

Well I hope you all had a great Christmas, because I certainly did. We started the day with helping my daughter open all her presents, although I think the actual opening was more exciting than what was in them. We then had a very yummy and filling lunch at my Mum's. We had antipasto platters, chicken soup, then turkey and pork with lots of roasted vegetables and finally for dessert we had a frozen pudding that I made, but forgot to take a photo. It had fresh mangoes, pineapple and strawberry puree with pistachio nuts, nougat and Grand Marnier, cream and sweetened condensed milk. Yum! After lunch we went to my SIL's house where we had more turkey and ham for dinner. Aurelia received more presents, but was more fascinated by the cats and everyone else's gifts.

On Thursday we went up to Dragonfly Dreams (my LNS) where I spent all of my garage sale and Christmas money on a tidy little stash. I now have all the fabric for my major projects and I have most of threads for them. I have decided to try my hand at stitching on some 36ct and 40ct fabric with one over one. Maybe a little ambitious, but I may as well while my eyesight is still good. Hahaha!

So here is what I purchased, Mill Hill beads, Kreinik blending filament, Whisper thread and beautiful Midnight Blue 32ct linen all for my Winter Angel design.

Thread Gatherer Silk'N'Colours thread and Needlepoint Silks and some 36ct and 40ct linen in antique white and cream for my Black Willow Farm and Pumpkin Farm projects.

Heaps of Gentle Art Sampler Threads, Weeks Dye Works threads and some 32ct linen for my 12 Blessings of Christmas project.

Finally, I also purchased some Q-Snaps, thread heaven and some Dinky Dye threads for my Scissor Fob Exchange and the next Fair and Square Round. Karen also very kindly threw in some complimentary patterns from Rosewood Manor and Blackbird Designs.

I can now show you the completed pendibulles I finished for my Grandmothers. I filled them each with lavender, so they can use them to scent their cupboards. I also started another little project on boxing day. This was a very lazy afternoon of eating, a little bush walking and more eating.

My little angel has been sick over the last few weeks. She had a fever and cold a week before Christmas, was well for about five days and now has another fever and cold, although today she seems much better. In addition to this, her whole routine has been thrown out as we have house guests and I think she is struggling with having strangers in the house. I am really looking forward to everything going back to normal.

Finally, I have had quite a lot of interest in the Lavender & Lace SAL. We will be starting on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of January and then be stitching one day a week from then on. If there is anyone interested in joining, please visit Lavender Angel Stitch-A-Long for more details.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Christmas Wishes!

I would like to wish all the wonderful people who visit my blog a very happy and safe Christmas and a fantastic new year. I hope the new year brings renewed enthusiasm and plenty of time to stitch.

Thank you to all the lovely people who leave comments on my blog. I appreciate every one of them and I feel ever so privileged to have made such great stitching friends from all over the world.

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves" - James Barrie

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Stitching and cleaning

Well our garage sale on the weekend was a great success. Not only did we clean out the guest room and shed of all those unwanted items, but we also made heaps of money. My husband has very kindly let me take all the profits and spend them at my LNS. What a excellent man!! I have produced my shopping list ready to go up there straight after Christmas. Yeah! By the way, Aurelia was a great assistant. She was picking up things in the garage sale and offering them to the people who visited and on a few occasions even gave people a hug. This must be why we did so well. Hah, hah!

I love this photo so much, I have named it 'Peter, Peter, onion eater'. Someone is fascinated by onions and garlic at the moment and very nicely peeled all of the onions for mummy.

Well, if you haven't noticed, I have compiled my goals for 2008. I have two year long projects with my Lavender & Lace Angel of Winter in the SAL and the 12 Blessings of Christmas by Lizzie Kate. These are part of the Flip-It range and I am going to do one each month up until Christmas next year. I am putting them together using the free border chart on the website. My other goals include Black Willow Farm and Pumpkin Farm by Carriage House Samplings and the first one I am going to do, 10 Virgins by Barrick Samplers. This by no means is all that I am planning to do, but these are the major projects I plan to get done.

I am also participating in some exchanges this coming year, the Stitching Bloggers Birthday Club, Fair & Square and Hooked on Exchanging. I think this is going to be a very busy year, but as Aurelia is becoming a little more independent I think it is important to keep myself busy as well, and what better way than to do something that I am passionate about.

I have been really busy stitching and cleaning. The house is almost perfect for our guests that arrive on Saturday and so with little cleaning to do, I have spent all my spare time stitching. I have finished Aurelia's Christmas decoration and it only needs to be stitched together now. I have also stitched the designs for two of the four pendibulles I am making as gifts. They will be filled with lavender and can then be used in draws to leave a lovely smell. Again, I am just concentrating on the stitching and then the finishing can be completed just before Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A taste of Christmas

Yesterday was the last day of playgroup and the annual Christmas party. Aurelia was not really interested in what was going on and during the nativity play was off busy playing with the seesaw. However, when Santa arrived she showed a little interest, but mainly because all the other children where jumping up and down and screaming. As all the presents were being handed out, I think it dawned on her that maybe there might be something for her. When her named was called out she reluctantly sat on Santa's knee, accepted her gift and then gave it back to Santa saying 'ta'. She just loves giving things to other people, how sweet!

We all had to bring a plate, but I just new that it would be chocolate, lollies and chips, junk that Aurelia hates to eat. I decided to make rock cakes, the kids wouldn't touch them, but the adults and Aurelia loved them. The most exciting thing to happen, was that we discovered that she loves oranges and watermelon. Mum and Dad finally have victory over the anti-fruit campaign.

I can't say that I am looking forward to Christmas this year. I am looking forward to giving my daughter her gifts and spending time with my family, but I have guests coming this year. It's not that I mind having guests, but it can be so draining having to entertain them and cook for them, especially when they are very fussy eaters. Currently the house is a disgrace and the guest bedroom buried under a pile of junk. We have a garage sale on Saturday, so I hope that it will be clean after that. Then it's heads down, bottoms up and clean, clean, clean. Oh dear!! At least the ironing pile is completely gone!!!

Rock Cakes
2 cups
self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
90g butter
⅓ cup
caster sugar
1 cup sultanas
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricot
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup milk

Sift flour and cinnamon into a large bowl, rub in the butter, stir in sugar and fruit. Stir in the egg, then enough milk to give a moist yet still firm consistency. Place one heaped tablespoon (about the size of a golf ball) of mixture onto lightly greased oven trays about 5cm apart. Sprinkle the cakes with a little extra caster sugar. Bake in a moderately hot oven, 190C, for about 15 minutes or until browned. Loosen cakes; cool on trays. Makes about 14 to 16 little cakes.

I am not sure where this recipe came from, it was hand written on a scrap of tatty paper from an old collection of recipes I was given.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Lavender & Lace Stitch-A-Long

Well, I am glad to say that I have had some interest in people joining a Lavender & Lace Angel Stitch-A-Long. I have created a new blog, Lavender Angels Stitch-A-Long. The plan is to start at the end of January and anyone who wants to stitch one or many of the Lavender & Lace Angels is welcome to join, please see the blog for more details. I have decided that I am going to stitch the Angel of Winter, so this gives me plenty of time to deal with Christmas and then decide what materials I will need.

Here are a few photos of my stitching accomplishments this week. I have finally finished the Amish Rainbow Quilt, the finishing was really quite taxing as I had to hem it using backstitch through two layers of black Aida. I am so pleased with the result and now I can concetrate on completing the Health and Happiness design and the Teresa Wentzler Whitework project. The Health and Happiness does not look too much differnt from the last time, but I can assure you plenty of time has gone into it.

Here is a great photo of an impending thunderstorm. We have been getting some impressive thunderstorms this last week, but not surprising with the warm and humid weather we have been having. Unfortunately the photo just dosn't do this thunderstorm justice.

We spent the day out at lunch and had some very yummy pizza. Aurelia was most pleased with this and managed two whole slices on her own. She had a very round fat tummy afterwards. Then we all sat down for coffee, gelato and Italian cannoli. Yum!! Oh yes, Aurelia ate most of my gelato surprisingly, as the gelato was a bitter lemon one.

I hope you all had a great weekend, because I did. I finished some stitching, finished my Christmas shopping and had a very yummy Sunday lunch with my brother and my lovely SIL.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Look What Turned Up in the Mail!

Look what turned up in the mail! I recently purchased four beautiful Lavender & Lace designs and one Told In A Garden design. They were at bargain basement prices, so I just couldn't go past them.

Angel of Light
Angel of Summer
Angel of Autumn
Angel of Winter
Piecemakers I

I was hoping to get one of the angels done next year in my stitching goals and was wondering if anyone might be interested in stitching a Lavender & Lace Angel with me in a stitch-a-long. I wouldn't be able to start the design until the end of January and I think that I really would need the friendship and encouragement to get it done. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested, please let me know.

Good news, I have been able to spend the entire day stitching, so I have made great progress on all my outstanding WIPs. I will be posting a photo in a day or two.

PS. Dani at Dani... Black Belt Stitching Wizard is a new visitor to my blog and asked about the GAST threads, yes I do find that they tangle, twist and knot easily, but I have found that if I let the thread go and let it naturally unravel itself, I seem to have a lot less problems. I have had quite a few new visitors, Yuko at Be Happy!, Chiloe at Chiloe's Corner, Marita at Stuff With Thing and Nicky at The Little Needle Case. Thank you to everyone for visiting my blog, I cherish all your comments and look forward to reading them every morning.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

A Stitching Drought!

I haven't had much of a chance to get some stitching in. Unfortunately the weather has turned humid and sticky and the dreaded sweaty hands are back in action. The other problem is that Aurelia will not sleep on her own in the evenings and I end up with her sleeping in my arms until late in the night. However, in the small number of hours I have snatched, I have made great progress on my Health and Happiness design. I can't believe how much more satisfying it is to work on linen. I know that I have been saying that a lot, but those who work on linen will understand. I have been using the Gentle Art Sampler threads and you can just make out the subtle colour variations. These are really great threads to use and can't wait to make more use of them.

What do you do with all your leftover bits of thread?

I have been collecting them putting them in a fancy wine bottle. It sits on the shelf in my craft room and every now and then I take them from my sewing basket and put them in the bottle. That is when Aurelia doesn't get to them first and eat them. The other day she grabbed the small pile of threads put them in her mouth and yelled out "YUM". Oh, well what every makes her happy and swallowing the threads won't do her any harm!

Monday, 26 November 2007

And the winner is........

This weekend we had our Federal election to vote for our great nations government. Well for better or worse, we have a new Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd. Lets just hope that he does the right thing for our country.

I had a great weekend, I picked up a whole lot of Fisher Price toys for Aurelia that I bought on eBay and she hasn't left them alone since. We also went up the mountains to the fruit growing area, Bilpin and bought a box of yummy cherries,peaches, nectarines and plums. Then last night I discovered that Aurelia, the great disliker of fruit will eat cherries. Victory at last for mum!!!

On the sewing front, I started the
Blue Ribbon Designs "A Christmas Wish of Health and Happiness". I am really enjoying stitching on linen, I miss working on it so much. The Amish Quilt is nearly finished and only requires to be sewn onto it's hanger, so I will post a picture as soon as that's done. I have also signed up for Fair and Square Round #5 and I am looking forward to stitching on linen again and making some new stitching friends. I am very excited about this!! I have almost finished compiling my Stitching goals for 2008. I am hoping to get at least two large designs done and complete plenty of smaller designs.

PS. We have been very lucky and had a whole lot of rain last week. The garden is looking better than ever, but the lawn seems to grow before your very eyes. Oh yeah, the ironing pile is now half of what it was last week. I am so bad!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Arrrgh! The Ironing Pile From Hell

I haven't been able to touch my sewing for days because of the ironing pile from hell. I was very neglectful and left my ironing by the wayside as I was on a stitching roll. Now I have piles and piles of ironing to tackle. The worst part is that it hot and humid and very inappropriate weather for ironing. Oh well! If I get it all done this week, I have a free weekend of stitching for the Christmas Stitch-A-Long. Moral to the story, don't neglect the chores or they get out of hand. Lesson learnt!! Now for question of the week:

How do you store your threads?

I store all my stranded cottons on floss bobbins in floss boxes, that is my DMC, including metallics, Weeks Dye Works, Sampler Threads and Needlepoint Silks. They are sorted by numbers or colour groups depending on the brands. The Dinky Dye, Thread Gatherer, Caron Waterlillies and Watercolours are stored on floss bows and stored in floss bow pouches.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

What a Weekend

We have had such a busy weekend, with swimming lessons on Saturday morning, followed by Christmas shopping for "The Chicken" and then working in the garden. With the week of rain we had two weeks ago, the garden has gone mad making up for all the year of drought. So a job that should have take an hour has taken us all weekend. But boy does it look good and DH is now very, very tired!

This morning we went to the markets and I bought a whole lot of toys for Aurelia. She was very happy with all the new toys and the best part it all cost me less than $10 and a little elbow grease to get them all clean. I especially love the Fisher Price barn, it's missing all the little animals, but for the price I paid, I really can't complain.

Well, I am happy to say that the main body of the Amish Quilt is finished and now only requires the finishing touches to put it on the hanger. I haven't had much of a chance to get in some sewing this week. Aurelia decided that it was a good week to be super clingy and just climb all over mum whenever possible. I love it!

My goals for this year have been a dismal failure, I am so embarrassed by what I didn't achieve, that I have removed them from my blog. Instead, I am going to get some Christmas stitching done and then start on a freebie from Blue Ribbon Designs and then I will set my goals for 2008. This time I am not going to be too ambitious and I am going to try and finish all of the goals. I also finally received my latest purchase, a chart by The Drawn Thread called "Time Flies". I love the design and the colours used in this chart. Maybe part of my 2008 goals, who knows, but I shouldn't get to carried away just yet.

Finally, thank you again to all for the lovely comments about my craft room and the answers to my question of the week, it looks like most of us spend time sewing in front of the TV. These days I really enjoy blogging and everyday I look forward to your comments on my blog. There are so many beautiful people out there doing so much beautiful work. Thanks!!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Organisation to the max!

This week saw us make a visit to Ikea, so that I could organise all my crafting supplies. Now I can finally get all my lace making pillows off the floor and easily find all my materials and threads. I have to thank Kate at Our Red House for inspiring me to go and do this with all her tips on household organisation. I also took a visit up to Dragonfly Dreams again and stocked up on some much needed Weeks Dye Works threads and some Gentle Arts Sampler Threads. Here are a few pictures of my craft room and my new stash.

The bin on the floor in the craft room is full of wool and Aurelia had a tonne of fun pulling it all out after it was just filled up.

Two DMC floss pouches, 28ct linen "Desert Sand", 32ct linen "Smoky Pearl", Gentle Arts Sampler Threads, Weeks Dye Works Threads, Needlepoint Silks

I have decided that I will do a question of the week post, to gauge what everyone out there is doing with their crafting.

Where do you do most of your sewing?

I sometimes sit in front of the television and sew, but I don't often lift my head to watch the show. Otherwise my daughter is usually running around playing and I sew while keeping an eye out for her. This is beset by it's own problems though, because she always wants mummy's threads, scissors, hoop or sewing.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Can I eat it Dad??

This has been a particularly difficult week. Aurelia has decided not to take her midday nap for some reason, so that by bedtime, we have one very grumpy and tired little chicken. We have had a good time at home though with DH. On Saturday after swimming lessons, Aurelia fell asleep in the car, so we decided to drive for a while so she could at least have one nap this week. Well, two hours later we were still driving, good thing we had a full tank of fuel. That night she was an angel and made no fuss about going to sleep. We think the reason she isn't sleeping, is that DH is at home and she don't want to miss out on anything going on. Oh well!!

I have been very busy doing a whole lot more sewing. I am about halfway with my Amish Quilt. For those who requested it, here is a link to what it will look like once finished. It's from a company called "Cross My Heart Inc". I have also tried my hand at a pendibulle. It hasn't come out too bad, but unfortunately the Aida I was given isn't exactly square. So even though I did exactly the same number of stitches down as across the square turned out to be a rectangle. On the whole though, I was pretty pleased with the result. I am going to make a few more of them (with different Aida) and fill them with some lavender, then give them away as Christmas gifts.

To answer a few questions, the Christmas designs come from a book called "Leisure Arts Best 250 Christmas Quickies". Unfortunately I just don't quite have the talent to design them myself. As for the cooking, well I have been trying a few different recipes with great success for DH and myself, but Aurelia is not particularly interested in salad, so we have had to give that one a miss, so it's back to sandwiches again. Boring!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Christmas Ornaments

This weekend has not been that successful on the sewing front. I participated in my first Christmas Ornament Stitch-A-Long. I was able to finish one complete ornament, but due to sweaty hands and a bad headache I was not able to do terribly much more.

Here is a photo of the Amish quilt. As you can see, I have made some more progress and it is starting to show it's colours. DH is doing really well and can already notice the difference with how much better he can breathe through his nose, despite it being a little stuffed up, otherwise, there is little else to report.

Hopefully I will get a whole lot more stitching done this week. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 26 October 2007

An Update

Well DH is home from hospital today.He looks like nothing has happened, he just sounds like he has a bad cold. Apart from a little pain, he says he feels quite good. Now I have him home for the next two weeks I have to come up with lunches as well as dinners. I think this will be a great time to try a range of salads. There is a great website, that has a whole load of recipes. So now is the time for me to experiment. I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks with him and I am sure that my daughter will be pleased as well. If he is feeling well enough, perhaps a trip to LNS might be in order.

My sewing has been going slowly, another case of the dreaded sweaty hands. I did manage to get a little done on the Amish quilt. Hopefully they will be dry this weekend as I am doing my first Christmas Ornament Stitch-A-Long.

Thank you to everyone for their wonderful comments, I feel much better today. It turns out the one person I didn't think to ask was my SIL, because I thought she was working. It turns out she was home all day and would have happily taken us to the hospital. Silly me!!! At least I know that there is at least one person whom I can rely on.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

A Depressing Day and a Whinge!

DH is in hospital today getting his nose fixed. He has been having real problems breathing and it causes him to snore badly. He finally decided that he just could not put up with it any longer and his sleeping difficulties.

Unfortunately I don't drive, so he had to rely on my Father to take him to the hospital. I feel a little depressed because he has to be alone for the whole time and I won't see him until tomorrow when he comes home. The annoying thing is that everyone is too busy to take me to the hospital to see him and with a 14 month old it's not easy getting around on public transport, especially when you need to use two bus services and carry a pram.

I very rarely ask for help, but the times I do, everyone seems to be too busy or have more important things to do. This operation has not come as a surprise, we have known since August that it would be today. I don't know, am I being selfish and whinging unnecessarily??

Monday, 22 October 2007

Let's Introduce.....

I decided that today, I would seek out some new blogs and introduce them to everyone. Emily at The Floss Box introduced my blog and I was able to meet some lovely ladies this way. I think now it is my turn to pass on the favour.
All these blogs have some very beautiful work and should not be missed.

Our Red House - A fellow Australian stitcher!
Another Cross Stitch Addict - This blog is full of cross stitch. What a prolific stitcher!
Stitch Or No Stitch - Another very busy stitcher.

A Busy Weekend

We have had such a busy weekend. We attended my cousin's wedding on Saturday. Aurelia was all dressed up and was so cute. I must say, she was very popular with all the relatives and the wait staff at the reception. The wedding was beautiful and held in a lovely old church in Mosman and the reception held at Shores Restaurant by the sea was magnificent. We had such a beautiful meal, where we all had a choice of the selected menu. The wedding cake was a whole lot of little chocolate puddings with soft gooey centres, served with cream and fresh berries. Yum!!

On Sunday, we had a big family picnic by the beach. It was a great opportunity to meet up with relatives from interstate, who had travelled for the wedding. We were also able to introduce Aurelia to the rest of the family that we don't see too often. It was such a pleasant day and Aurelia had such fun. She was so incredibly tired that she slept all the way home and then went to sleep quite early in the evening. So did mummy, while watching the election debate. Hmmm!!!

I have completed my very first pincushion. It's only very tiny, but was fun to do. I decided to do a design in a Halloween theme, even though we don't celebrate Halloween. I have also started a new cross stitch design. It's an Amish quilt design and I love this one because it's geometric and easy to stitch.

The white work is coming along really well. I have found that a lot of the stitches I was afraid to try, have been really quite easy. I am about three-quarters of the way through. Sorry about the blurry image.

Both Beatrice and Claudia have received their Christmas Ornaments. I am really pleased that they both like them. I had so much fun stitching them and hope they both have fun as well. I look forward to seeing some of the finished designs.
Thank you for all your lovely comments. To answer some questions. Leila, I am going to work on the 10 Virgins design first. I think this one is really cute. The rest, you will have to wait until the new year to see my list of projects goals for the year. Cheryl, I love the Prairie Schooler designs as well. I have only recently discovered them, but hope to do a few next year.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Who makes me Smile?

Well I have to send a big thanks to Jaimie for her You Make Me Smile award. What a lovely thing to do, I feel very privileged. I know that I am going to find this really difficult, because so many people make me smile and if your not mentioned here, you also make me smile too, but here goes.

The rules are you have to pass it on to ten people that make you smile.

Claudia at Me, My Bubble and my Stitching
Beatrice at Stitching With A View
Karen at Little Cat Blogs
Anita at Anita's Stitching
Lelia at Stitches of Life
Joanne at Aussie Stitcher
Barbara at The Sanguine Stitcher
Sandra at Sampler Lovers Blog

I think this is a great way on introducing all these wonderful peoples blogs. These lovely ladies are all doing some beautiful work and I would like to thank you all for sharing them with us.

I would also like to share the beautiful designs that I recently purchased, I am particularly pleased with the Toccata Number Two purchase as this is one from my wish list.

A Diminutive Dutch Sampler - Barrick Samplers
1797 Ship Sampler - Carriage House Samplings
Ten Virgins - Barrick Samplers
The Dreaming - Dinky Dyes
Southern Stars - Dinky Dyes
2005 Santa - Prairie Schooler
Toccata Number Two - The Drawn Thread

Finally, a thank you for all your lovely comments regarding Aurelia's haircut and thanks for the suggestions for combating the sweaty hands. I have almost completed the fall pincushion and the white work project is coming along nicely. I will update those with pictures soon.
PS. I just realised that I have 11 people. I am so bad that I can't count. But I am breaking the rules and having 11 people. My blog, my rules....hehehe!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Time for an update!

This week Aurelia had her first hair cut. Apart from looking around and not being able to keep still, she was really good for the hairdresser. They even gave her a cute little finish to her hair. We also went out for a beautiful Yum Cha lunch. Aurelia really enjoyed this, polishing off two steamed dim sims, a rice noodle cake and three-quarters of a mango custard. We think she must have hollow legs??? Mind you, she wasn't really interested in dinner that night.

On the sewing front, I have had horribly sweating hands (eeww! TMI) and have not been able to touch my sewing for most of the week. I am very unhappy about this, but there is nothing I can do about it. We had a little cooler weather on Saturday, so I was able to finish a few bits which I am going to make into small pincushions.

I thought it was time to share my immense stash that I recently purchased on ebay. I know that I am a believer in supporting your LNS, but believe me, now I have heaps more that I need to purchase from the LNS as most of the designs require specialty thread.

PS. There are some more photos to come of all the patterns I purchased as well.