Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Just quickly taking a break from the day's festivities to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! May it be safe and joyous! For those that don't celebrate Christmas, may you also have a safe and happy festive season :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rocky Road Recipe

It's almost midnight and I've just put a batch of my Rocky Road in the fridge to set ready for Caitlin to take to her class Christmas party tomorrow. I came up with my version this time last year whilst searching for something quick and easy to make for the kids' class parties. I discovered a recipe for Rocky Road in one of Caitlin's "girly" magazines and made a few adjustments. The recipe suggested using raspberry lollies (sweets, candies for non-Aussie readers) instead of glace cherries which I thought was a brilliant idea (no one in this family likes glace cherries!). Due to the unavailability of some ingredients I made a couple more changes and made a test batch which went down well with Caitlin's class mates and teacher last year . Since it is my type of "baking" I made a few more batches for gifts and parties. It has proven to be popular and I have at least two friends asking me to make some for them this year :)

Anyway, I thought I would share the very simple recipe with my readers as my Christmas gift to you all :)

Mel's Rocky Road

400g block of milk chocolate (I use Galaxy because that's the only brand of chocolate I can find in that size here)
340g bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I use Hershey's)
165g bag Maltesers (these are malt balls covered in milk chocolate - I use them in place of nuts)
300g bag Mini Marshmallows (white or coloured, doesn't matter - you can also use full size marshmallows - just cut them in half)
375g bag of Raspberry lollies (these are a soft jube like candy - I struggle to find these here so I use whatever I can find that is close!)

Line a lamington or lasagne tin with aluminium foil or greaseproof paper. In a LARGE mixing bowl put the Maltesers, marshmallows and raspberries (you can cut these in half or leave them whole - up to you). Give them a bit of mix and then set the bowl aside.

In a microwave safe bowl break up the large milk chocolate block. Add the chocolate chips. Microwave in bursts of 40 seconds until the chocolate has melted. Stir in between each burst - do not overcook the chocolate. It usually takes me 2-3 lots of 40 second bursts to melt my chocolate. We have a fairly high powered microwave.

Stir the chocolate mixture well to make sure both chocolates have combined well, then pour over the dry ingredients in the other bowl. Mix well until all ingredients are coated with the chocolate mixture.

Scoop the mixture into the lined tin and smoosh it evenly into all corners. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.

Pop the tin into the fridge until the mixture has set - I will leave mine in overnight - or you can pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge/freezer, break into bite sized chunks, bag it up in cellophane bags for gifts or place on a plate ready to eat!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Just call me slack!

Sorry I haven't posted for so long - I've gotten out of the irregular habit I had before I had the problems with my wrist and fingers!!

Anyway, I have seen the specialist about my wrist and it turns out that the tingling in the fingers isn't anything to do with the cyst - apparently it would be different fingers. I'm still none the wiser about the tingling but as it seems to be gradually going away (only in the tips now) the doc thinks I may have damaged a nerve in my elbow doing something at the gym or leaning on it too hard. I do tend to rest my chin in that hand and then lean on my elbow when I'm reading at the computer or at the table. If it hasn't settled then I need to go back and see the specialist so they can investigate further.

As for the cyst, I got the doc to aspirate it anyway - it only took a few minutes. I had to wear a pressure bandage for a couple of days and I had a mighty bruise but other than that it seems to be fine now. I do think it will come back as there seems to be a bit of a lump there but it may just be that my skin hasn't settled from the original one.

Thanks for the well wishes. I will try and get into regular blog posts again but with the holidays coming up I may still be a bit sporadic with them for a few more weeks.

No stitching to speak of but I have finished a book - "The Sultan's Seal" by Jenny White. Nicely written but I found it confusing and I'm still not sure who did what! Maybe I'm just missing something or I need to reread it ... not for a while yet though. I've just started Labyrinth by Kate Mosse - not sure what I think of it yet - it is still early days :)

Better go and sort dinner out!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Change of Plans

Thank you for the well wishes, Cathy, Kim and Anne, but I won't be seeing the specialist today after all. My appointment for this afternoon was right at school pick up time so I had DH all organised to pick the children up from school and then cart them off to their various after school activities. My poor DH was up at 5am and out the door at 6am so he could be at his meeting by 8am (it was being held just over an hour's drive away). He rings me at 9.45am to say that the meeting has been put back to 3pm! The time of my appointment! Anyway, this is Dubai and these things happen so I told him not to worry and I would change my appointment to tomorrow. Except the specialist is all booked out tomorrow, Friday and Saturday is the weekend, and the earliest I can get to see him is Sunday *sigh*. Still, I guess if I was in Australia it would probably take longer to get in to see him :)

If the kids didn't have their after school activities today I could have picked them up early and taken them with me this afternoon - it is times like these that I wish I had my mum here! She would have sorted out the kids while I went off and did what I had to do. I can't ask any of the small group of friends I know here to run my kids around for me. So I'll just have to put up with a few more days of tingling fingers - I have a full range of movement and they are not turning blue or anything like that - they just feel weird - lol!

Typing is making them feel weirder so I'll finish up for now - think I might go and read a book :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I may be out of action for a little bit ...

I have what appears to be a ganglion cyst on my left wrist. It has been there for a few months and they usually go away by themselves ... except mine appears to be putting pressure on a nerve as for the last couple of days I have had a "pins and needles" type feeling in my left ring and pinky fingers. I saw the doctor today and she has referred me to a specialist who I am seeing tomorrow afternoon for assessment. I am not sure whether he will aspirate the cyst or suggest surgical removal. In either case, I probably will not be able to use my left hand for a few days. No typing or stitching - thankfully I can still play The Sims 2 as that only requires the use of the mouse and my right hand - lol!

I will update you when I can :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What's been keeping me quiet :)

Oh my goodness I didn't realise how long it had been since I last posted! Thanks for thinking of me Anne L - I'm okay, just the usual running around with the kids, plus I have just been offline for a few days (internet has been acting up again too!).

Below is one of the things that has kept me from blogging ... :)

Plum Gothic QS
by Heaven & Earth Designs (c) 2006
Original Artwork (c) Caron Vinson 2006

Started 9 November 2006
Stitched on 27 count white Linda evenweave
with DMC threads (no sparkles in this one)

Recently however I've been sucked in to the Sims2verse again - I'm trying to get some of my older generations to pass on so the younger ones can rule the world for a bit - lol! I need to get out more!!

Actually I did get out this morning - Caitlin's year level (four classes in total) went on a field trip to SkiDubai for a skiing or snowboarding lesson each (her brother is furious - lol) and I went along as a parent helper. They could have done with a few more parent helpers (particularly when getting 80 odd 8-9 year olds kitted up) and I'm surprised they didn't get them, but we managed and the kids had fun. I could have skied if I wanted to but I decided to just help out the instructor of DD's group, picking up those that fell over etc. The Year 4s are learning about different sports for their Point of Inquiry this term, hence the field trip. We are off to the Dubai Rugby Sevens next week, and I am going along to that one too! Since I am not helping out as much with school stuff as I did last year I nominate myself to help out on as many of the field trips as I can :)

A week or two ago I went with Liam's year level (Yr 6) to the Jumeriah Mosque. It was quite interesting and I wished I had taken my camera. Out of respect I didn't bother as I didn't think we would be allowed to but it would have been okay. You have to cover up (long loose clothing, scarf over hair for women), no shoes inside the mosque etc but I expected to have to do that anyway. I will have to go back one day and make sure I take my camera with me :)

Right, time to put my chauffeur's hat on and head out to pick up No. 2 child from her tennis lesson now!

Till next time!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Music Thingy

I've seen this on a few blogs so I decided to give it a whirl :)

Here are the rules: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre. Whether or not they have words or even if they are any good but they must be songs you’re really enjoying right now! Post these instructions in your blog along with with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Come Clean (Remix 2005) - "Most Wanted" Hilary Duff

Party Up (Remix 2005) - "Most Wanted" Hilary Duff

Me & My Girl - "Gasoline" Theory of a Deadman

Just Like A Man - "Change Everything" Del Amitri

Rebel Yell - "Greatest Hits" Billy Idol

Next Contestant - "All The Right Reasons" Nickelback

Chained To You - "Affirmation" Savage Garden

DD's Hilary Duff CD is in the player in my truck at the moment and I must confess to having both of the songs listed above on my iPod as well. They are great working out/walking songs :) That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it - lol! The rest are just favourites that I'm into right now - my step noticeably quickens when I'm out walking and any of these songs come on. Great for the heart rate although the dog is not so impressed especially when there is sniffing to be done :) !!

Consider yourself tagged if you've not done this before :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sleeping Dingo :)

I was browsing Vicky's blog the other day and came across her post about her recent visit to Dreamworld, a theme park on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Check out her photo of sleeping dingoes (third photo) and then compare it to the photo of our muttley, Tikki, that DH managed to capture the other night (she's very camera shy). How freaky is that?!

I think I've got this template thing sorted out now :)

With some helpful advice from Holley and Annette (thank you so much ladies!) and a bit of online investigating, I've discovered that I can't use the Panna templates with the new drag and drop editing features of beta Blogger. Not yet anyway. The code is different and the re-writing of the current Panna templates will take time. However, I can use them in their current form if I revert back to the Blogger classic view template which, as you can see, is what I decided to do :)

Short, sharp and shiny post this afternoon - I need to go and make sure the kids are getting ready for karate and then get myself ready for the gym. I pretend to look like I know what I'm doing in there while the kids are training to become mini Jackie Chan's!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I've been playing again :)

See, I told you I wasn't happy with the look of my blog :) I went back to what I had before and then played around with the colours and added a couple more things to my side bar.

Annette, thanks for your tip :). I used to use Panna whatsmacallit templates before I switched to Blogger Beta but for some reason I get error messages whenever I try to use them now. Not knowing enough about HTML I can't work out where the errors are. I think its a beta thing and if I revert back to my classic template then I could use them but then I can't use the page layout elements that come with beta ... and I really like that feature :) Anyway, I think I might head to Borders next week (now that we have one here - yay!) and see if I can find myself a basic teach yourself HTML book and have a play. I may then steal borrow DH's PowerMac and have a fiddle with PhotoShop and see what I can come up with :).

I actually went to bed early AND before DH last night (which just doesn't happen usually). I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow and I slept for 10 hours straight!! Very definitely not me at all - I am lucky if I average five hours a night, six is a bonus, and usually I wake at least once or twice during that time. Still, I've had a headache free day today so I guess the sleep was what I needed.

In between headaches I did manage a few stitches in Snowflake QS and even managed some frogging!! I'd used the wrong colour in a dozen or so stitches the last time I worked on her it seems, so they had to come out. They are restitched with the correct colour now so all is well :)

HAED are having a Veteran's Day Sale and they have also released three new Selina Fenech charts - Keeper of Secrets, Guardian and Small Things (Coloured). Arghhh! I'm quite partial to Keeper of Secrets but I ordered a couple of charts earlier this week (Plum Gothic QS and Midnight Orchard QS) so I think I will be good and just put her on my wish list for now. There will be other sales :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yes, I know I've changed the look of my blog ... again!

I'm not completely happy with it - I want something different. The standard Blogger templates are a bit dull, and the other templates I used to use won't work. I'm not sure if it's a Blogger beta thing or if it's just me. One day I will get html savvy!! I'm thinking of changing my blog name too.

This is a short post as I've been struggling with bad headaches on and off the past couple of days so I'm trying to stay off the computer for a little bit. I just wanted to come and say a big THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by and left wonderful comments about Girly Gothic. I'm hoping to add Snowflake QS to the finished list by the end of this year (which isn't all that far away!!).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

She is done!

QS Girly Gothic

By Michele Sayetta of Heaven & Earth Designs

Artwork by Caron Vinson

Copyright Heaven & Earth Designs 2006

Copyright Caron Vinson 2006

Stitched on 25 count Lavender Bliss lugana one over one with DMC stranded cotton and Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid for the sparkles.

Started: 14 August 2006
Finished: 7 November 2006

My first HAED finish ... at long last :) Out of all my HAED WIPs this is not the one I thought I would finish first.

Next up, to try and have Snowflake QS finished by the end of the year (which is the one I thought I would finish first - lol)!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How cool!

I stole this from WhizGidget's blog ...

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

I was a latecomer to this series. I bought the series on DVD without watching a single episode and loved it. Drove the customer service staff at the Virgin Megastore here mad waiting for the movie, Serenity, to come out on DVD :)

My latest TV obsession is Veronica Mars (how old am I again - lol?). Luckily for me one of the cable channels is showing Season 1 episodes every day but I'm sure I've missed a few. Season 2 is airing at night once a week as well. I can see however that this will be my next TV series DVD purchase :) Look out Virgin, here I come - rofl!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fish Lasagne

Anne L asked for the recipe for my tuna mornay which Liam calls fish lasagne. I am not sure why he calls it that as there is no pasta or tomatoes involved :)

Anyway, here's the recipe ...

Tuna Mornay Casserole (or "Fish Lasagne")

The link will take you to the recipe I base my dish on. It only serves two so I usually double the quantities and add the following ingredients:

1 small tin of corn niblets
1 small tin of Cream of Broccoli soup
a pinch of Italian Herbs
a pinch of cayenne pepper or a pinch of curry powder (add more if you like a bit more of a kick!)
a little ground black pepper and sea salt if desired

After Step 9 I add the corn and soup, mix well and then continue on with the rest of the recipe to Step 12 where I add the extra herbs above as suggested. Continue on from Step 13. I usually cook mine in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Be careful when eating as it will be piping hot!!

There you have it - enjoy!

Today was a quieter day. Stitched a little on and off then Caitlin and I made brownies after lunch which she and Liam then decorated.

We've had two power outages this evening, the first one just as I was about to start cooking dinner. The power came back on just long enough for me to actually start the cooking process when it went out again! I'd just re-lit all the candles when the blasted thing came back on again - lol! Talk about Murphy's Law!!

Thank you, Lisa, Carol and Leonie, for your comments of concern for Caitlin. She is just fine today - her only complaint being the "disgusting" antibiotics she has to take :) She has her friend sleeping over and Liam has gone down the road to sleep at his friend's house so all is well.

Tikki however hasn't moved out from under my desk all evening. I don't think she liked the power going off and the kids running around with torches, nor the fireworks that were going off a little distance away during the first black-out! Not even a treat of some egg and milk has lured her out - lol! She'll come out when I go to stitch though - she's my little shadow :)

I'm off to grab a cuppa and then go stitch in front of the telly :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What a day!

Today I had nothing planned - the dog had had her morning walk, there wasn't any grocery shopping to be done, no school field trips to help out with, or any other errands. Just a date with Girly Gothic QS and my stitching spot. I want to finish this little lady by the end of this coming weekend.


Around 9.30am my mobile phone rings. It's the school. I wasn't particularly worried as they sometimes ring to confirm if I can help with a field trip etc. I am not an hysterical person but I must admit to feeling slightly concerned when the caller identified herself as the school nurse. Poor Caitlin had been bitten on her right hand pinky by her class's pet hamster, Speedy Max, while cleaning it's cage. The nurse wanted to know when Caitlin's last tetanus shot was because even though she was wearing gloves the hamster bite broke the skin. When I told her Caitlin's last lot of vaccinations (including tetanus) were done just over three years ago she checked with the doctor who said if it was less than five years then she should be okay. She would clean the wound with Betadine, put some antibiotic cream on it and bandaid it up. Now I debated with myself about going and getting Caitlin and taking her to the doctor just in case but when I spoke to Caitlin she said it hurt a little but she was fine, so I left it at that.

I tried to go back to my stitching but couldn't settle so I pottered around doing bits and pieces and caught up on a couple of emails.

Caitlin had a couple of after school activities this afternoon so I left home for school early to drop her tennis gear off and to make sure she was okay and check out this bite. While there I found out that the hamster had not been vaccinated, and after discussing this with the school nurse I decided that I would take Caitlin to the doctor to have a tetanus shot just in case. I had to pull her out of her after school activities (which she wasn't impressed about!) to get to the clinic before it closed. It is a 24 hour emergency clinic but the paedatric department closed at 4.30pm.

We hadn't been to this clinic before but I had heard it was good and they were much closer to home to the clinic we usually go to. I have to admit they were very thorough - checked Cait's temperature, weight, height, ears, eyes, nose, mouth - the works. They even did a skin test 20 minutes before giving her the vaccine to make sure she wouldn't have a reaction to it - not something I've experienced before. Back home you are in and out in five minutes! They cleaned and redressed the wound and prescribed a course of antibiotics just in case there was any bacteria still lurking around that may cause infection. I have to take her back on Monday for a follow-up.

Anyway, roughly 350Dhs and a couple of hours later she was done and I feel much better. Caitlin will have a tender spot on her rump for a couple of days but she forgives me :) Of course, a promise of making brownies tomorrow kind of helped too - lol!

We did have a bit of fun though - trying to explain what a hamster was!!

I'm hoping tomorrow is a little less eventful!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another page done (Girly Gothic QS)!

Just a quick post - I hit the floor running today! Anyway, I managed to finish the third page at some ungodly hour this morning so I'm on the home stretch. Mmmmm, I still have a couple of days before the end of October - I wonder if I will manage to just scrape in a finish?!!

Thanks as always for everyone's comments - they've helped motivate me the last couple of days :)

I must be off - things to do before school pick up! Anne L - I haven't forgotten the recipe ... soon :) Oh, and Leonie, hope you are having a wonderful time away - wahhhh, I miss those stitchy weekends away!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pics at last :)

Firstly... sorry, Leonie, about not telling you what my new starts were ... but you know how evil I can be (mwhahahaha!) - LOL!

Anyway, not only will I now tell you what my new starts were but I will give pics as well!!

First up however is my current progress on Girly Gothic QS ... I cannot see myself finishing her by the end of this month ... not with the munchkins currently on holiday for Eid and of course, my penchant for new starts! I will go back to her tonight though I think :) You can't see it very well in this photo but there is quite a bit of pale pink and sparkles in the lower right corner - I think the flash going off wiped that section out!

**Oooo, and I think I've finally worked out why Blogger photos was being a pain in the ass! If you try and upload anything more than 3MB at a time it has a hissy fit so some resizing is necessary. And look at that ... it works!!**

Girly Gothic QS ((c) Vinson & HAED)
Okay, the first of my new starts ... Selina Fenech's Dragon Soul QS. The link actually takes you to the full size chart. The Quick Stitch (part of the dragon and woman's face) was a freebie for BB members and isn't available for purchase at the moment.

Dragon Soul QS ((c) Selina Fenech & HAED)

My second new start is Molly Harrison's Fairy of the Sea ((c) HAED) for the HAED BB's New Start SAL last weekend. This is what I managed to get done over the four days.

So there you have it :)

In non-stitching related babble, I picked up the latest expansion pack for The Sims 2 the other day - Pets - so I may be MIA for a bit while I create some weird and wonderful pets for my Sims :) Another reason why Girly Gothic QS won't be finished by the end of this month!!

Oh, and Anne L, I will try and get my brain in order and post the "fish lasagne" recipe for you over the next couple of days. I am what you would call a bit of an adhoc cook - I take a basic recipe and add bits and pieces as I go so the dish never turns out qute the same as the last time I cooked it - lol!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm here ...

I just haven't felt like being on the computer much. Of course you would think that my stitching output would reflect this but sadly not really :) At least I don't think so anyway.

I have had two new starts in the last couple of weeks - one only a couple of days ago for the HAED BB New Start SAL. I love a new start but it's not good for my aim of finishing Girly Gothic by the end of this month though. I may still make it - it depends if I can put this new start down after Monday and pick up GG again. I would say I'm almost done with page 3 but there is quite a bit of detail stitching in her hair to be done yet. I will post some updated WIP pics later this week.

I must go and start dinner preparations - a good old fashioned (with my own twist!) Tuna Mornay ... or as DS calls it "fish lasagne" - LOL.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

For Anne L in Manila

Karen's shop in NSW is called Dragonfly Dreams. I have a link to her site in the sidebar to the right. You will be able to find the address details (and directions) etc there. The shop is definitely worth a visit if you are that way :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Here ya go ...

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Sorry, Blogger Photos is being uncooperative again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I know I promised an update of Girly Gothic but ...

I've been slack and haven't taken one yet. Shall aim for tomorrow!

I woke up yesterday morning expecting to be sore after my foray into the gym thing Monday night but surprisingly I wasn't. So after dropping the kids at school I returned to the scene of the crime and put in another solid workout. My arms were a little sore this morning but I ventured back to the gym after school drop off and took a Body Pump class just to mix it up a little. Oh. My. God. My arms hurt even when I'm just resting them and my legs feel like they are going to collapse every time I walk (and I kept the weights really light!). I can't remember feeling like this when I did it four years ago but I'm sure I probably did :) No doubt my biceps/triceps in particular will stop protesting once they get comfortable with being used again - lol!

I haven't stitched so far today - did boring things like ironing and tidying up after getting back from the gym. I then went into DH's office after school pick up to get the end of month stuff done. I think there's some good telly on tonight - Spooks, Las Vegas, CSI and Veronica Mars (have recently discovered this show and actually don't mind it!) - so I should manage a few stitches tonight.

It's the last day of the working week for us tomorrow - roll on the weekend!

Monday, October 02, 2006

My arms feel like jello!!

The kids had their first karate lesson late this afternoon. I was planning on joining the kids but the instructor said I was too old for the class (Karate - Beginner, I would have been the only adult beginner!) so I had an hour to kill. Since I couldn't come back later for the adult karate class (DH has Arabic lessons) and DH was in the gym I decided to bite the bullet and join him hence the title of this post! It will be interesting to see if I can lift my arms at all tomorrow morning - lol! Still I need to do more than just walking and I've been putting off going to the gym long enough. Now that I know it's not as scary as I thought I hope to get myself into a routine of getting there at least three times a week. I used to go every day before I was married and had kids and then a little later when Caitlin started kinder so I know I can do it :)

Stitching wise my goal for September was to attempt to finish Girly Gothic. Well, that didn't quite happen which was no surprise really. I keep getting majorly distracted every time I sit down to stitch this last week or so which would explain lack of progress. I'm probably about halfway through Page 3 (out of 4) and if I can remember to take a photo tomorrow I will then try to remember to upload a current progress pic!

Friday morning I spent cleaning downstairs and making sure the guest room was ready as we had a house guest arriving that afternoon (therefore no stitching). Saturday morning saw us up bright and early for the live telecast of the Australian Rules Football Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles. We had about 20-25 people (mostly Aussies) turn up for breakfast (bacon and egg sandwiches) and then pies at 3/4 time :) I think the last guest left around 3pm. It was a long day but very enjoyable. I was barracking for the Swans (only because Ken was barracking for the Eagles [grin]) so I was a little disappointed that they lost by a point but it was an excellent game all the same. Again, no stitching - maybe a little Saturday evening while watching Bones but I think I spent more time with the needle poised in the air while my eyes were glued to the tv screen rather than actually making any stitches :)

Speaking of tv, I'd best go and get myself settled in front of it. It's CSI night tonight starting with CSI and then CSI: New York :) Night all!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do you think it's big enough?

I probably need to reword that title but it's all I could come up with at the moment :)

This is what the kids and I came home to this afternoon - lol!

Some background to this picture ... Ken came home a few days ago and said while he was running around getting our vehicles re-registered (not a simple task here!) he noticed an outdoor garden furniture place that was closing down with discounts of up to 70% off. Because we have been wanting some sort of shade structure for our back yard he went in to have a look. What you see above is the result of that look - lol! A 5m heavy duty shade umbrella ... yep five metres!! It's huge! Covers our patio area quite nicely though :). He also picked up a nice wooden setting (table and four chairs) for an unbelievably cheap price which we will probably put up on our upstairs balcony. Ken has his end of semester Arabic test tonight so he took a study day which meant he was home for the delivery.

Heather, I probably managed about 500 stitches during the HAED SAL all up myself. That's not bad progress but not as much as I would usually do. I just kept finding other things to do instead of stitching this weekend :) Anyway, Girly Gothic is back on the frame and I managed to put a nice block of stitches in her last night. I had grocery shopping and Caitlin's school trousers (had to get them made to measure) to collect today so I haven't been home much. I did do a little on her this afternoon and I'm sure I will manage a bit more after dinner tonight :) I definitely won't be reaching my goal of getting her finished by month's end though.

Oh, and I don't think I answered your comment about me wanting to learn Arabic so I'll do that now. I would like to learn some Arabic but I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to learning languages - I really struggle to retain the simplest of phrases! I think if English wasn't so widely spoken here then I would be forced to learn (and use) Arabic - at least enough to get me by. The course DH is doing is very intensive - he is learning to read, write and say it - and it just about does my head in when he tries to explain some of the quirks of the language to me :) It will help him with his work but I don't think it's the course for me. I believe there are a couple of good PC programs about so I will have to check them out next time I'm at the mall.

Now, Leonie, can you really see me as a OAATer? I must admit I have surprised myself by staying with Girly Gothic as long as I have but I have so many lined up to start when I'm finished with her, that I can see myself earning a Serial Starter blinkie before too long !

I'm not sure why I couldn't get into Small Things. I am wondering if it's the fabric (a 28 ct hand-dyed opalescent). I really hope not as it's such a pretty fabric!

Cathy and Von, thanks for your comments - you are both sweet :)

Oh, and Cathy, I'm thinking of joining the "finish 10, 25 or 50 projects before buying any more stash" too. Please note that I put the emphasis on "thinking" though - lol! Like you, most of my projects are BAPs so if I'm going to attempt this challenge then I would start with 10 and go from there :)

Right, I'm off to get the kiddos some ice cream and myself a cuppa then I'm heading for my stitching chair :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Small Things

I give up on Blogger Photos!

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Didn't really do a lot - just couldn't get into it.

Girly Gothic will be back in the frame tonight :) Need to make up for lost time!

I finally got to meet Lisa yesterday too!! We didn't do any stitching but had a nice time chatting away :) Next time we'll try to put some stitches in - lol!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The HAED UFO SAL begins

I started working on Small Things for the start of the HAED UFO SAL yesterday. I had planned to divide my time between Small Things and Shimmer but I've decided to restart Shimmer. I'm just not very happy with my stitching on her and I haven't done a lot so I'll start her again on 25 ct this time rather than 28 ct.

Blogger Photos is being uncooperative again (was too good to last!) so I'll upload before and after SAL photos of Small Things on Tuesday morning after the SAL finishes.

Thank you ladies (Leonie, Anne & Von) for making me feel better about saying no to being class mum. I don't know if they have managed to find one yet but then again I haven't been hanging around the school much lately to know! All the moaning and bitching and in-school politics drove me batty last year and I just know I don't want any part of it again this year. My children are happy, they are learning and that's all that matters really :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bits and pieces :)

It was QS Wednesday on the HAED BB yesterday so I just continued on with Girly Gothic :) I have the outline of her right eye done, filled in some more background and started on her other ponytail. I will try to remember to take an updated pic later today.

Tomorrow is the first day of the HAED UFO SAL which goes through to midnight Monday. I don't really have any HAED UFOs as such but I do have WIPs that haven't been worked on for quite some time so I have decided to participate in the SAL. At the moment it's a toss-up between Shimmer and Small Things - both have been calling to me lately. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I could do two days on Shimmer and the other two on Small Things ... depending upon how much actual stitching time I get over the next four days, that might work out well.

I think I'm in the running for the bad parent of the year award ... again! At DD's "Hopes & Dreams" conference the other week her teacher asked if I would be interested in being the class parent. I said no (which is a big thing for me!). I am happy to help out with field trips and activities in the class room that need parental involvement but I don't think I'm suited to the role of class parent. I did it for DD's class last year (I have a hard time saying "no") but didn't overly enjoy the experience. I'm not really an outgoing social organisey type of person - I was incredibly shy as a child and still can be. Big social events scare the hell out of me particularly if they are corporate functions and you need to be on your best behaviour! I'm not good at small talk, schmoozing or mingling! Anyway, DD bought home a flyer from the Parent's Association yesterday saying that her class still didn't have a class parent so now I'm feeling bad for my child and wavering *sigh*.

It appears that I can now leave comments on non beta blogs - yay! I shall have to spend some time catching up :)

Every now and then we treat the dog to a proper spruce up and have the mobile dog grooming van pay us a visit. She gets a good pampering and at the end of each visit the Shampooch lady loosely ties a cute little bandana around the dog's neck. Because Tikki is so camera shy this is not a very good shot as I had to stand at the other end of the house and zoom in on her, but you can see the bandana :) Very cute!

Woo hoo! Blogger photos worked this time!! Obviously the trick is to add your photos first before typing anything!

She's not very happy with me at the moment because I'm heating up some left over spaghetti bolognaise for my lunch which means she misses out :) Any left overs still in the fridge at the end of the week get served up to Tikki - she hasn't done too well this week - lol!

Right, well by the time I have lunch it will be time to collect the kids from school so I'd better get on with it. I need to work out what we are going to have for dinner as well. Caitlin has a birthday party to go to this evening and DH has Arabic so it is just me and Liam tonight. Something quick and simple I think :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thank you :)

For all the lovely comments on my Girly Gothic progress - they mean a lot and are great motivators :) I just wish beta Blogger would hurry up and enable me to start commenting on non-beta blogs again so I can repay the compliments!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Came across this ...

on Kim's blog :)

Your Hair Should Be Orange

Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.
You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

I think I'll leave it at that and go back to stitching - lol!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Update on Girly Gothic QS - Page 2 is done!

Image hosted by
by mel_w

If I am to achieve my goal of finishing her this month, I'd better get a move on!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

He's back!

Yep, that pesky little frog paid me another visit yesterday! Thankfully I caught the mistake early and there weren't too many stitches to be ripped out :) I'm on a CSI thing at the moment and after watching CSI:Miami on TVLand and then catching a rerun of a Season 4 episode on America Plus I decided to pop one of my Season 1 DVDs in the player! No wonder the frog paid me another visit - I would have been distracted more than usual :)

Friday is a lazy day in our house - it's the first day of our weekend so we usually chill in front of the telly or potter around doing odd bits and pieces. Today I plan to continue working on GG's bodice and watch a movie or two, and maybe update the songs on my iPod so I've got something new to listen to when I walk the dog each morning :) Oh, and no doubt there will be some minor household chores thrown in like laundry and mealtimes.

No photos of my stitching progress so I'll leave you with this one instead.

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Argh! I really do NOT like Blogger photos!!

We don't get much rain here but we do get dust storms! This is the state of my truck a couple of hours after it had been washed! See all the dust on the windscreen? Ah well, such is life here :)

Hopefully I'll be back later with an updated pic of GG!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How to lead a glamorous life

by acquiring a copy of the latest The Sims 2 "stuff" pack, Glamour Life, that's how! Yes, the reason for my lack of posts lately is that I have been sucked into the Simverse glamming up the lives of my Sims :) Sleep is highly over-rated - lol!

So, because I have done little or no stitching for a couple of days, the second page of Girly Gothic is not yet completed (tsk, tsk!). I did spend some time with her yesterday and last night and very briefly this morning so it is getting closer. The rugrats finished at noon today (and again tomorrow) for "Hopes and Dreams" conferences with their teachers. I had both of mine this afternoon and the house is clean so I should get a couple of hours in tomorrow afternoon ... if I can stay away from the computer - lol!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Rip-it, rip-it!

Yep, the delightful and charming Frog Prince paid me a visit yesterday. Not once, but twice!! In the morning I discovered that I'd used the wrong colour in her choker the night before so had to rip that out. Then last night I discovered that I'd miscalculated when gridding the page outlines and was out by about three rows at the bottom. Thankfully it hasn't affected what I've done so far but of course I had stitched a section in the bottom left hand corner hadn't I?

Note to self - do not stitch dark colours at night whilst very tired and with Underworld on the telly!

Anyway, the offending stitches have been sorted and I have restitched all that I had to pull out plus a little bit more :) Hopefully there will be no more visits from the Frog Prince for quite some time.

I am hoping to have Page 2 finished over the weekend so look for an update on Sunday.

I believe people are having trouble leaving comments? My apologies but I think it is a Blogger thing as I also cannot leave comments on non-Beta blogs. Hopefully this feature will be added soon.

In other news, I was saddened to hear of the death of Peter Brock who was killed in a rally crash outside of Perth, WA today. I have been a Holden girl ever since I can remember and I was a big fan of Brock growing up. Very sad and I feel for his family.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A quick Girly Gothic QS update ...

This was my progress this afternoon - she has a wing! I've done a bit more since this picture was taken but won't take another picture now until I've finished the second page :)

Image hosted by
uploaded by mel_w

Yep, Blogger photos is again refusing to co-operate!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

RIP Steve Irwin

I was shocked to hear the news yesterday of Steve Irwin's (aka The Crocodile Hunter) death. Whilst I wasn't particularly fond of his show he did a lot for Aussie tourism and he will be missed. My thoughts go to his family at this terrible time.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I am such a ditz - lol!

Thanks to a tip from Lisa I popped in to the local supermarket this morning after dropping the kids at school and bought myself a Philips energy saving bulb for my lamp. It works beautifully!! Honestly I don't know why I thought I had to use the specific Daylight Co bulbs?! As long as I use the correct wattage and end cap fitting I should be able to use any type really. Anyway, I still have two Daylight ones coming from Sew & So - they are in transit so I cannot cancel the order now. Now that I will have plenty of spares the Philips one will probably last forever - lol!!

As I mentioned briefly before the children went back to school today. Both of them were a little nervous as they didn't know who their teachers were or if any of their friends from last year would be in the same class. School starts at 7.40am and it is only a five minute drive away so we left home at our usual time of 7.30am. We would have been better off walking!! There were cars everywhere and we had to park off-road in the sand a little distance from the school and walk (I love my truck! I know 4x4's have a bad name but out here with all the roadworks and construction going on they are very useful!). This is the second year the school has been opened and it only went up to Grade 9 last year. This year the high school is open so there has been quite an increase in children attending, hence the increase in traffic! I'm sure it will settle down in a couple of days.

Once inside things were quite calm compared to the chaos outside :) All the class lists were pinned up on boards just outside the admin office in year levels. We found where the kids had to go quite quickly. I introduced myself to each of their teachers (they are both new to the school) and then left them to it. Caitlin looked a bit lost when I left her - one of her friends from last year and who is going to be in her class this year (according to the list) hadn't arrived yet. She will have made friends with the other girls by the end of the day though I'm sure :) Liam had three friends from last year in his class and they had saved a seat for him so he was pleased. I am sure I will hear all about it this afternoon when I go to collect them. Hmmm, maybe I should leave now - lol!

The new sofa for upstairs was delivered this morning - a nice bright cheery yellow :) I need to move a couple more things around this afternoon then I will take an updated pic. The guys that delivered it for me were very kind and took the old uncomfortable sofa bed downstairs for me as well. They ended up taking it with them as we didn't want it and were only going to put it outside with a "Free to take away" sign. K will be pleased :)

My brother sent some more photos of my nephew through today so I will leave you with this one of my niece playing big sister :)

Image hosted by
uploaded by mel_w

*As usual Blogger won't let me upload photos so this is from Webshots.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

September Goal

To finish Girly Gothic QS :) Haven't had a great track record in the past with keeping to goals so this should be interesting - lol!

HAED are having a Labor Day Sale (thanks, Anon!) which will be a temptation to purchase and start something new and of course put my September goal in jeopardy! I haven't purchased anything yet as I like to wait until the last day to make sure I catch all the new releases :) No doubt there will be something!

Thank you for commiserating with me about my lamp :) A big thank you also to Heather for offering to get me some replacement bulbs - I'm okay for now though. I have two on their way from the wonderful people at Sew & So so hopefully they should get here in the next week (but the way the mail has been going lately it will more likely be closer to two!). I have a back-up portable Ott-Lite and I am managing with that in the interim. As Anne has suggested I will just have to stitch more during the day :)

Two more sleeps and then it is back to school for the kids. I will be spending some time tomorrow making sure everything is labelled, especially the new stuff, and making sure their bags are all packed and ready to go for Monday morning. Shouldn't take too long. Then I will also at some point during the day need to set to and re-arrange the upstairs activity area. We have a new couch being delivered Monday AM and we've decided to change the current layout around.

Looks like I've got a couple of busy days lined up :)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Darn it!!

I was just about to settle down to stitch for the evening when the bulb on my new daylight lamp blew *sigh*! I know these things happen but in less than a week? Maybe I overworked it a bit - lol?! The only problem with these lamps not being available in this country (as far as I know) is that I have to order replacement bulbs from the UK and then wait rather impatiently for the parcel to arrive (safely I hope!!). I've gone and ordered two bulbs so that I will always have a replacement if this happens again (which I'm sure it will, hopefully not so quickly though!). I'm kicking myself now that I also didn't order a replacement bulb with my original order! Thought about it but didn't act upon it - didn't think I would need it for a while. Ahhh well - life is never dull :)

Anyway, thank you all for your wonderful comments on GG - she is a great stitch :)

Hello Anne (waving madly) - nice to have you here :)

Amy, me, organised? I have spurts but they don't usually last long - lol! I must admit that I don't do any major housework around here - I have a lovely part-time maid that comes twice a week to clean for me. I resisted for quite some time at getting a maid but in the end I compromised hence part-time. I just tidy, cook, do the laundry and ferry the kids around :)

I didn't end up stitching this afternoon after all. The kids were invited to the movies this afternoon by their friends so I took the opportunity of being child-free to hit the shops :) Firstly I collected Liam's school pants then headed to the Mall to pick up school supplies (oh, and wasn't that fun!!). I also rang DH to see if he was finishing work early like he normally does on a Thursday and if so could he meet me at the furniture store there as well. He was and he could :) I had already been browsing and had my eye on a couple of items so by the time he arrived all I had to do was show him and see what he though. He liked so then it was just a matter of payment and organising delivery, very quick and painless - his kind of shopping :) We then went and had a late lunch, he headed home and I picked up a few last minute things and then headed home myself.

The kids got home not long afterwards - they'd had a great time - saw Monster House which they all said was good. Caitlin's friend wanted her to sleep over so she said hello, grabbed her things and headed out again :)

Well, I'm think I'm going to attempt some stitching!

She has an ear!! Girly Gothic QS Update :)

I stayed up way way way too late last night (yet was still up and out walking the dog by 6.30am this morning!) to try and finish up page 1 last night but didn't quite make it! Managed this morning though while everyone was still snoozing :) I even managed to tuck the stray threads away while taking the pic this time!

Thanks again for the comments re my nephew. I'm hoping my brother will send some more pics through soon and regularly as I won't see him "in the flesh" for quite some time. He weighed in at just under 8lbs I think so he's a reasonable size.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to reorganise DS's cupboards to find places for the extra stuff we had shipped over (hence the need for the mega stitching session last night - lol!). I haven't done too badly but there is still a pile of things on his desk that need sorting out. I'll get to that later today maybe. Right now I'm enjoying the quiet - the kids have gone to the pool with their friends and DH is at work - so I might make myself another cuppa and move on to page 2 of GG for a little bit. Although now that the school has sent the stationery requirements list through I should really go and get that sorted. Mmmm, I might go and ring the school uniform shop and see if Liam's trousers (had to be altered) are ready to be collected. If they are then I will go and get them and do the stationery run at the same time. I'll stitch later :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My new nephew

Kane Joshua

Born 29th August 2006

Thanks for all the congratulations. As far as I know mum, dad and baby are doing fine, although mum (my SIL) is very tired.

Leonie, when I upgraded my template after switching to Beta I had to revert back to one of the old Blogger designs. I guess when editing in HTML is accessible again I can go back to using the other :).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boxes and Beta Blogger

While in Australia recently we started packing up some more stuff to get air freighted back here - well, 11 boxes of varying shapes and sizes arrived yesterday! My house looks a tip and until I can reorganise existing cupboards and get some more furniture (predominantly bookshelves) it will remain that way - ack! I was kind of hoping that the stuff wouldn't arrive till next week when the kids are back at school - dragging unenthusiastic kids around furniture stores isn't exactly a fun way to spend a day! However, I do know I will be making one lucky furniture salesperson's day next week though :)

Anyway, all the boxes are unpacked and for the time being most of the contents will live on the beds in the spare bedroom. Thank goodness we are not expecting any visitors - lol!

Like Jo (and no doubt many others) I received my invitation to switch over to Beta Blogger and have done so. I haven't had a chance to check it all out yet - so if you find some things that don't work please email me and I'll see what I can do to fix it.

Oh, and in family news I've just had word that I'm an aunty again!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I am loving ...

my new Lowery workstand! Easy to set up, easy to use - I'm really happy with it and am glad I finally decided to get one :) I can now stitch one hand below and one hand above my work although not well ... that will come with time.

Now a couple of quick replies to comments ...

Heather, now that you've pointed it out, the new template does blend well with the colours of my profile pic. That was taken many moons ago!! I was a bridesmaid for an old school friend :)

Anon, I guess I'm a bit of a closet wannabe Goth - lol! I don't know what the words mean - they were just part of the template :)

Well, I've been up since 6am and have had three to six children coming and going through my house at varying stages today so I think it's cuppa time. Might even steal a few stitches too!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Time for a change ...

Yep, decided to revamp the look of my blog :)

By the by, has anyone tried the new beta Blogger yet? I'm still undecided.

And then there was light!

My new stitching lamp and workstand I ordered from Sew & So last Monday arrived today! I received a phone call mid-morning from Emirates Post telling me to come and collect a parcel from the Central Post Office. I figured it would be my stand and lamp but was a bit puzzled as to why I had to go and collect it when I'd paid for courier postage. Anyway, after going through the three-ring circus that is Emirates Post it eventually became clear that there was some duty to be paid on the lamp. Mystery of collection solved :)

I was very keen to get home and set it all up but by this time the kids and I were hot, hungry and thirsty so we stopped in at the Mall of the Emirates on the way home to refuel :) I also needed to stock up on printer cartridges as I'd been printing off some HAED charts yesterday and went through quite a bit of ink!

Anyway, as you can see I'm all set up now! I have a roast in the oven, DD is playing Bratz in her room with a couple of friends and DS is playing Age of Empires III on the computer, DH has arrived home from work and is heading for the gym, so I think I might just christen my new workstand for half an hour or so.

Oh, and in case you are wondering I got a Lowery Silver Grey Workstand and the Ultimate Floorstanding Lamp from the Daylight Co. I have struggled to find a decent lamp for night time stitching here so I decided to buy myself an early anniversary present :)

Before I go, here's Girly Gothic's current state of play ...

Sorry about the stray threads across her face - I'll remember to tuck them out of the way for the next update!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Wow, thanks ...

for all the nice comments you have all left - you are all so sweet :)! I'm just sorry I've taken a few days to acknowledge them (bad Mel!).

Re Quick Stitches - they are a smaller section (usually) of a larger design. My QS Girly Gothic's finished size will be 6 x 6-1/2 inches using 25 count fabric whereas the full size is 16 x 21 in. My QS Snowflake QS will be 4 x 5 inches and my Fire ACEO will be 6 x 8-3/8 in. Actually Fire will be smaller than that as I'm stitching it on 28 count. Depending on what fabric you use the finished size could be smaller or larger.

I've still been stitching away on Girly Gothic although not as frequently or as long as last week during the contest :) I played Sims2 rather than stitch for a couple of days this week so that has slowed progress. I did spend a bit of time on her yesterday and today (being our weekend) though - lots of detail stitches so it doesn't look like I've done much (to me anyway)! I consider myself a slow stitcher because I spend more time looking at the chart then back to the stitched piece then back to the chart trying to decide which colour to do next - lol! This is why I need to stick to one column at a time!! I will take a pic after tonight's stitching session and upload tomorrow.

Not much longer and the kids will be back at school! We did the uniform thing this week and other than a couple of things that need to be altered they are all set for this year clothing and shoe wise. We will go to the Mall one day next week and pick up the basic stationery supplies and a new school bag for DS while all the sales are still on. Their friends from down the street arrive home tonight too - no doubt they'll be knocking on the door early tomorrow morning. Looks like I'd better go to the supermarket at some point tomorrow and stock up on food for hungry kids - lol!

Speaking of hungry kids I'd better go and make a start on dinner. DH will be back from the gym soon to take the dog for her second walk of the day (I usually take her early in the morning and DH takes her in the evenings). The kids go along on their scooters which leaves me peace and quiet to start dinner preparations. It's a good system :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

And so it endeth ...

the HAED Stitch-A-Thon that is :)

Here's my progress for the week.

I managed 5,557 full crosses which for the purpose of the contest equals 11,114 stitches. I'm not a fast stitcher so I was pretty pleased with my effort this week. I am easily distracted too although with the kids banned from the downstairs lounge room this week (one of them left a lollipop stick on the couch and their father found it - ooops - lol!) I was able to reclaim my stitching area back and stitch in relative peace! Wonder if I can make it a permanent thing - lol!

I think I will continue working on this one for a little longer as I'm really enjoying her but don't be surprised if I change my mind - lol!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Some replies to comments ...

Thank you for all your lovely comments on Girly Gothic - I appreciate them :) Oh, and yes, Leonie, I can hear you cheering me on - lol!

Now, for the person who asked what fabric count and threads I'm using, here goes :)

I'm using 25 count Lavender Bliss lugana and stitching one over one with DMC floss. I also have WIPs on 27 and 28 count evenweave. If you enjoy stitching one over one and want to try stitching a HAED then my best advice is for you to head on over to the HAED BB (you may have to register to EZBoard - it's free) and check out their Tips & Techniques section. There is a whole host of wonderful information and advice there. Check out the WIPs Gallery and the Chart Details sections too!

I wouldn't call HAED charts easy but then I wouldn't call them difficult either! They only use whole cross stitch, no partial stitches or back stitching but they do use lots of colours and can be quite detailed - long term projects :) I hope that helps some?

It is Day 5 of the HAED Stitch-A-Thon and I have made some good progress today so far. You may have noticed (Leonie did - lol!) that I am heading over to the right side of the page in order to get down to her face :) I've hit a patch of detail stitches in her hair but I'm almost through them and should be starting on the face very soon.

So, on that note, I'd better get back to it :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

HAED Stitchathon ... I see hair!!

That dark curved bit on the left hand side is hair (believe it or not) and there's also part of a wing happening too.

I am halfway through Day 4 of the contest and this is my progress on Girly Gothic QS so far. I still have a few more hours of stitching after dinner before I tally up today's total stitch count though :)

I'm off to stitch some more - lol!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And So It Begins ...

The week long HAED Stitchathon started today. I was woken at 6am by DH telling the dog off from our bedroom window (she was barking)! I gave up trying to go back to sleep and was out walking the dog by 6.30am. By 7am I was stitching :)

I made good progress today. I started off by putting a couple hundred stitches into Snowflake QS. Most of those were detail stitches so it doesn't look like I've done much.

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Once again, Blogger Photos is playing up so these pics come courtesy of Webshots.

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Around 9am I switched over to Girly Gothic QS which is my new start specifically for the contest. I managed a total of 1016 stitches by midnight :) Sorry about the terrible photo - the lighting isn't all that great in the lounge at night.

I spent a fair chunk of the day stitching although I did have a few breaks. The kids and I headed out to the Mall of the Emirates and Virgin Megastore to buy some tickets to Jimmy Barnes for DH and a couple of his friends. He's doing a show on Saturday night here. While there the kids picked up a couple of PS2 games (Eyetoy 3 for DD and Dynasty Warriors 5 for DS).

I also popped into the pharmacy to stock up on sunscreen. We have friends spending the day with us tomorrow - they are on their way back to Australia from France. Their boys (they have three) want to go to Wild Wadi Water Park (hence the sunscreen) so the menfolk are taking the kids there while us womenfolk go shopping :) Another reason for mega stitch session today - I'm not sure how much (if any) stitching time I will get tomorrow since I'll be out most of the day.

After arriving back home the kids disappeared upstairs with their new games (see there is a method to my madness - lol!) and I got back to stitching :)

I had another break to feed the kids lunch and then later on in the afternoon we made blueberry muffins. Stopped again to cook dinner but then settled in for the evening after the table was cleared. I slowed down a bit then as CSI:Miami and CSI:New York were on the telly and they distracted me a bit - lol!

Anyway, that's it for the day - hopefully I'll get a few stitches in the morning before we head out for the day.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Verdure Update

I finished the fourth column last night so now I am officially half way through page 1 - only 19.5 pages to go - lol!

(Good grief! Blogger Photos actually worked for a change!!)

I thought about continuing on with her tonight but Snowflake QS will be coming out instead. The HAED BB are having a stitchathon next week and I am starting something new for it (haven't quite made up my mind for it yet though)! I thought I should probably spend a little quality time with at least one or two of my HAED WIPs before my new start :)

That's it for today - the kidlets want to go and see Nacho Libre at the cinema so I'd better go and get organised!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Re-Start :)

While in Sydney on our holiday I picked up a few silk threads from Dragonfly Dreams with Southern Jewels in mind. Some of you may remember that I started it some time back but didn't have enough of one of the colours I'd chosen and couldn't get any more since it was a limited edition colour.

Well I completely restarted it a couple of days ago :) I wasn't really happy with the 28 count fabric that I started it on so I'm using a white 32 count opalescent that I found whilst going through my fabric the other day. I'm also using different colours - Silk 'N' Colours "Papyrus Leaf" for the four corners and "Jewel of the Nile" for the centre. "Jewel of the Nile" is what is called for in the chart but I didn't realise that at the time I was choosing colours - I just picked what appealed to me :)

I finished stitching the first corner this morning, just need to add the Rhodes stitches later ...*sigh* and just for something completely different Blogger won't upload photos so I'm using Webshots. Just click on the picture if you want a closer look.

Image hosted by
by mel_w

Thanks for the comments on our candid family shot - we certainly kept the people in the line behind us entertained - lol! And, Kim, you're right, these sorts of shots are the "real" family pics. They will be the ones that trigger the memories later in life :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Kodak moment (although in our case, Sony) :)

After reading Kim's blog about her family's quest to take the perfect family photo, I thought I'd share this one taken on our recent trip.

It was taken whilst we were waiting in line to go on the Pirates of Caribbean ride at Disneyland. My beautiful son can talk his way out of a wet paperbag with a mouthful of pebbles while underwater - lol!!! Most of the time he is entertaining to listen too - other times, just annoying - lol! Ken clicked the shutter at one of those moments - rofl!!

Getting a decent family photo is not an easy task :)

HAED Update

Okay, so I wasn't going to add a pic of Verdure until I'd finished the fourth column but I am fickle and change my mind frequently so here goes - lol!

I am also in a state of shock that Blogger allowed me to add a pic two days in a row!!

Leonie, I bought three Nadia Tate QS in the HAED sale ... Dragonfly Fae, Kimono Fae and the Earth/Fire/Ice/Wind Mermaid quartet :) As you know I have Girly Gothic (you have a budding junior goth child on your hands there - lol?) printed out ready to be started so let me know when you are ready and I'll happily stitch along with you. At least until I start something else - lol!! Oh, and I printed Dragonfly Fae out this morning too! I wonder if I'll qualify for a HAED Serial Starter blinkie - lol?

Hmmmm, think I may have pushed myself a bit hard on my walk this morning - either that or the Berocca has finally kicked in!

Right, on that note, I think I will go and have some breakfast!

One down, three more to go :)

Yep, the kids and I have been in Dubai a year now. Boy, has that gone fast! I am sure the next three will fly by!!

Thank you for the welcome back - and that you found my holiday entries readable :) I'm afraid my entries won't be quite as interesting from now on ... until our next holiday at least - lol!

I am actually managing to stitch again - have worked pretty steadily on Verdure the past couple of nights but I will wait until I finish the column I am working on before sharing a pic. Once this column is done I will be halfway through the first page - only 19.5 pages to go - lol! I am hopeful of getting a couple of days in on Snowflake QS this week although I purchase three new QS this week in the HAED sale and I am being very tempted by one of them! I need to be good and resist!!!!

Okay, seems Blogger is letting me upload pics so I thought I'd show you my last major finish, which was in the first half of last year sometime ... I think! I remembered to take a photo while I was back in Australia before storing her away.

Lavender & Lace "Celtic Christmas"
Stitched on 28 count Ecru Quaker Cloth with DMC, Kreinik and Mill Hill beads

We have only just passed the halfway mark of our summer school holidays so finding ways to entertain the kids is continuing! It doesn't help that their friends are still away. Today we went to see Garfield 2 at the movies. Cute film but I think I would rather have seen Pirates II again. I then dragged them into Ken's office so I could do the end of month accounts stuff. They are good kids and they always manage to find ways to amuse themselves. Tomorrow I might take them 10 pin bowling or perhaps swimming?!

It's 1.30am so I'd better go hit the hay. No doubt my body will have me up and out walking the dog in six hours time, if not earlier!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Around The World in 30 Days - Los Angeles through to Hong Kong - the last two weeks :)

Boy, am I way behind in updating this! I suggest obtaining a beverage and possibly food before settling in to read - this is going to be a long one - lol!

Okay, back to Los Angeles which is where we were when I last posted :)

We spent a full 12 hours at Disneyland from 10am to 10pm!! There are two theme parks - Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure - we only did the one and we just managed to cover Disneyland in that time. It was a full on day but loads of fun. We went on pretty much all the rides there except for the ones for the little tackers. I did drag everyone on to It's A Small World ride and I still don't think I've been forgiven by Ken and Liam yet - we must never speak of it again - lol! It wasn't quite what I expected but it was a relaxing change from some of the other rides we had been on :)

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was a must of course :) The ride was the inspiration for the films - the attraction itself is almost as old as Ken and I :) Liam, Caitlin and myself also bought pirate-themed hats although mine was more of a cowboy hat with a pirate patch stuck on the front. I did buy it for sun protection purposes though as I'd forgotten to pack a hat for myself!!

We saw some of the fireworks show but we had to be back at the designated pick up spot for the tour bus at 10pm so most of it we watched from the carpark :) It was pretty close to midnight by the time we got back to our hotel (we were the last to be dropped off) so we were glad to fall into our beds and rest our weary bodies, not to mention our aching feet!!

The following day we slept late which was fine as we'd made no specific plans for the day. After a leisurely breakfast we walked over to Rodeo Drive (nothing spectacular in my book really but then again I see the same type of shops in the malls here) and then jumped in a cab and headed to Hollywood Boulevard. Saw the Kodak Theatre where they hold the Oscars and the Mann's Chinese and El Capitan Theatres (which was pretty busy as Pirates II had just been released). We took a look at some of the stars in the footpath and Liam had his photo taken with that of Jackie Chan's :) We found a good vantage point in a nearby shopping mall to take a photo of the Hollywood sign plus I also took the opportunity to venture into the Gap store and do some minor retail therapy (I needed more t-shirts!) ;)

Trying to find a cab to head back to the hotel was interesting - there were hardly any and the couple that we did see were not for hire. We ended up having to go into a little English type pub that we found and ask them to ring one for us. It was a bit of a change to New York where just about every second car was a cab!

After we got back to the hotel we headed over to the Westfield shopping plaza across the road in search of another suitcase! We had only bought two and they were starting to get a bit full! It just so happened that Macy's were having a sale on selected lines in the luggage department so we picked ourselves up a bargain :) We also called into the cinema there and purchased advance tickets for Monday morning to go and see Pirates II.

We had a quiet night in as we had Universal Studios planned for the next day :)

Universal Studios was excellent! We upgraded our tickets to get Front of the Line passes (no waiting in queues and special reserved seating at the shows) - we were there at a busy time of year so they were well worth the extra money. There was lots to see and do, more rides to go on (the Jurassic Park and Mummy's Revenge rides were our favourites) and shows to watch. The Waterworld (based on the Kevin Costner movie of the same name) show was another favourite :) We also enjoyed the Studio Tour - saw the sound stages where some of my favourite tv shows are shot and movie sets from The Grinch and War of the Worlds amongst others. I'm not a Desperate Housewives fan but we did see some of the Wisteria Lane set. Normally the tour goes along the street but the day we were there it was closed off for filming.

Loads of fun and another full on day :)

Monday was our last day in Los Angeles so after a leisurely breakfast we headed over to the cinema to see Pirates II. I loved it but to have to wait until May next year for the third instalment to find out what happens is cruel - lol!!!

After the movies it was back to the hotel to pack and then head for the airport for our late pm flight. Next stop, Sydney!

We arrived in Sydney around 6am on Wednesday 13/7 feeling reasonably refreshed - we all managed to get quite a good amount of sleep on the flight. Being winter in Australia it was also quite a bit cooler than what we had been used to!! We were dressed warmly for the plane anyway and had jumpers in our carry on luggage so we were okay :)

After eventually checking in to our hotel (slight problem of there being no record of our reservation for us - a bit disconcerting when you've prepaid! Next time we will book it all ourselves rather than rely on the travel agent, this wasn't the first occasion where things went slightly awry!) and organising a hire car we headed off to Katoomba (about an hour's drive from Sydney) so I could go and visit with Karen and check out her wonderful shop, Dragonfly Dreams.

Caitlin and I spent a wonderful afternoon chatting and browsing and eventually buying (lol!) with Karen while Ken and Liam went off and did some sightseeing :) They came back a couple of times but we weren't done so they went off again - lol!

Thank you, Karen, for making my visit so enjoyable :) It was really nice to finally be able to meet you!

Liam and Caitlin haven't been to Sydney before so the next morning we took a quick walk down to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. That was all we had time as we had to head back to the hotel, load up the hire car and head out to the airport for our flight to Adelaide.

Adelaide was a whirlwind! We had nine days and pretty much most of that was spent sorting out our house there so we can rent it out. It was nice to catch up with family and friends, mum and dad in particular, and the kids managed to spend some time with each of their best friends. I managed a quick lunch with a couple of friends and saw my stitching buddy, Leonie, and my other stitching friends from the Embroiderer's Guild. I had been through my stash and had a car load of stuff that I didn't want but knew would find good homes with the ladies there :)

Before we knew it it was time to pack up and move on! This time to Perth to catch up with Ken's mum and dad for a couple of days. Then it was on to Hong Kong and back to the warmer weather :)

After checking in we went for a wander down to Nathan Road and just generally took it all in. We found a local Chinese restaurant that Ken had been to before and had a very enjoyable meal. The kids had fun trying to eat with chopsticks :)

The next day we walked down to the Star Ferry and headed over to the island. We then boarded a double-decker bus bound for the Stanley Markets. Now, these are the way markets should be! No one sidling up to you peddling copy watches, handbags and DVDs every five minutes like they do in the markets here. Let me look without hassling me, give me help when I ask for it, then I am more likely to buy :)

After the markets we caught a cab up to The Peak. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy so the view wasn't as spectacular as it can be. We then caught the tram down to the bottom, wandered about for a bit, travelled on the longest escalator, and ended up on the Metro back to the hotel. We were planning to go to Ocean Park the next day so we decided to try the Italian restaurant in the hotel and then have an early night.

Unfortunately we didn't make it to Ocean Park as Caitlin was ill throughout the night - poor kid. We were up at 5.30am sorting her out and getting housekeeping to change the bed etc. It wasn't anything she'd eaten as her and Ken had shared their main courses the night before and Ken was feeling fine. I think it was just one of those bugs that come and go. Anyway, we decided to postpone Ocean Park to another time and just had a quietish day. By mid afternoon she was feeling better so we ventured out for a bit of a walk but didn't go too far as to tire her out too much. It was mostly so housekeeping could come in and service our rooms :)

By dinner time, Caitlin convinced us that she was just fine so we went out for dinner to a really nice steak house not too far from our hotel. Missy didn't eat much but it was something and she kept it down :)

I spent from after breakfast until lunchtime the following day re-packing the suitcases, then it was out to the airport to catch our flight back home.

We arrived home late last Thursday night (good grief, we've been back a week already!), dumped the suitcases in the entrance way, showered, had some toast and Vegemite and then collapsed into bed :) Friday morning we went and collected Tikki - she had been very well looked after but was very excited to see us. Ken welcomed her home by giving her a bath and then taking her for a big walk - lol! She's not keen on the bath bit but she loves her walks.

Saturday, Ken went back to work, I took the dog for a walk and then the kids and I went grocery shopping - what fun! It will be another month before I can go grocery shopping on my own again! After getting back from the shopping, it was Liam's turn to be ill. I figured the heat and travelling in the car (not that we had far to go) could have been a contributing factor because he was fine for the rest of the afternoon ... until Ken came home from work *sigh*. Anyway, we packed him off to bed and he was fine the next day so I think it was something similar to what Caitlin had. So far it has missed Ken and I and for that I am extremely grateful :)

Anyway, that's our trip - a fantastic time was had by all :)

I had intended to upload some photos with this post but Blogger Photos is again being a right pain in the butt and will not, for some reason, upload them ... grrr!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 12 - New York/Los Angeles

We arrived in Los Angeles mid afternoon, eventually checked in to our hotel (the cab driver took us to the wrong one!), did enough unpacking to get the kid's swimming gear out and then headed down to the pool :)

Tomorrow we are heading to Disneyland!

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 11 - New York

After a very late night last night we had a quiet morning before heading to Broadway and the Minskoff Theatre where we were going to see The Lion King.

Wow, what a great show! I was so glad we were able to get to see it - things like that just don't come to Dubai :)

After the show we did a little more shopping and then dropped into Planet Hollywood in Times Square for dinner. Then it was back to the hotel to pack!

Tomorrow we are off to Los Angeles :)

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 10 - New York

July 4th - American Independence Day and Liam's birthday :)

We went wandering down to Times Square after a leisurely breakfast and hit one or two shops in search of birthday presents :) After a visit to Virgin Megastore and Toys 'r' Us we had a happy boy in our midst :)

After lunch we headed down to the East River to check out spots for the fireworks later that evening. There were people already camped out and the fireworks were still several hours away.

Not long after we got back to our hotel it started to rain! Thankfully it didn't last long because it would have been a disappointing end to a pretty good day for Liam. Ken disappeared for a bit and then came back asking us how long it would take us to get ready as he'd organised a 4th July fireworks dinner cruise on the harbour and we needed to be at Chelsea Pier before 6pm! It didn't take us long and we were at the Pier in plenty of time :)

The cruise was expensive but it was a great way to see the fireworks and we didn't have to battle crowds down by the river front. Best of all ... Liam had a pretty memorable birthday :)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 9 - New York

We did a bit more walking today but also experienced the subway. Not as good a system as the tube in London I must say. Still we worked it out and got to Battery Park where we joined yet another queue to get tickets for the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Islands. It was going to be an hour long wait in the queue for tickets (you can tell its summer holiday time :)) but whilst we were waiting a very kind lady gave us her tickets as the queue to actually get on the ferry was too long, and her party didn't want to wait any longer. She actually had given us five tickets and since there were only four of us, Ken found someone else in the queue to give the spare ticket to.

After lining up and going through security we eventually boarded the ferry and headed out to the Statue of Liberty. It is actually smaller than I imagined it would be. I have only ever seen it in pictures or on tv. It was a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time. It is such a tiny painting and not at all what I'd expected!

We had a wander around Statue of Liberty Island and took lots of pictures :) After the kids and Ken consumed hotdogs we headed back to the ferry. We missed the last one to Ellis Island but by this time the kids were quite weary so it wasn't a bad thing. We didn't have too long a wait for a train in the subway and it pretty much took us all the way back to our hotel so we didn't have much of a walk from the station.

Tomorrow is Liam's birthday so we will be having a quietish morning checking out some shops and doing some birthday present shopping, and then later we will head down to the river to catch the fireworks :)

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 8 - New York

Today we put on our walking shoes and did some exploring of the city. Our destination was the Empire State Building via Broadway and Times Square.

During our travels we came across a theatre along Broadway that was showing The Lion King and since we couldn't get tickets to see it in London we thought we'd try here. We managed to get tickets for the Wednesday matinee session so we were pretty pleased about that.

By the time we arrived at the Empire State Building the queue to get tickets was 90 minutes long, then it was another 20-30 minute wait after that to go up to the observatory. We didn't fancy standing around in the hot sun for 90 minutes so we decided to leave it for another day.

We are not rushing to try and see everything each city has to offer otherwise it wouldn't really be much of a holiday. There will be other trips :)

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 7 - London/New York

We were up at 6am so we had plenty of time to get dressed and catch a cab to Paddington train station to catch the Heathrow Express.  The cab driver we had thought we may have a wait at Paddington as it had been closed to the public earlier in the morning by the police.  Not sure why.  Thankfully it was open by the time we got there and we had a clear run all the way to the airport.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare :)
For the next seven or so hours we spent on a plane so no real excitement there :)  I did manage to stitch quite a bit on St Georges although I probably should have tried to get some sleep like the rest of my family!  I was a bit weary by the time we arrived in New York.
After we'd checked in to our hotel and freshened up a bit, we went for a bit of stroll around Central Park, grabbed an early dinner and basically had an early night.  We've got some more walking planned for tomorrow :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 6 - London

We ended up going to the British Museum for our dose of culture and history :) I am not sure why but Caitlin was keen to go to the National Gallery and see some art. Perhaps next time we are in London I will take her to see it and the V&A as I don't think the boys were particularly keen :)

There was lots to see in the museum and it kept us all entertained for the better part of the day. It was then back to our hotel so I could finish packing while Ken took the kids and himself for one last swim in the hotel's pool.

Then I think it will be a light meal in our room and then an early night for all of us. Our flight to New York isn't too early but we still have to be up at the crack of dawn to get ourselves to Paddington train station to catch the Heathrow Express to the airport in plenty of time.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 5 - London

Another beautiful day and after a lazy morning we decided to take a stroll through St James' Park to Buckingham Palace.

We then had a bite to eat and then took the tube to London Bridge and the London Dungeons.  Interesting show (Ken and I thought it a bit camp) but the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and that's the important thing :)

Tomorrow is our last day and we think we might expose ourselves to a bit of culture and visit the National Gallery or V&A Museum :)

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 4 - London

I forgot to mention in the last couple of posts that the weather did indeed fine up and has in fact been lovely and sunny.  We only have a couple more days here so I hope it continues :)
Today we explored the Tower of London and afterwards went up on the Tower Bridge.  It was a great day and after picking up some laundry we stopped in at a nice little Italian cafe/restaurant for dinner before heading back to our hotel.
We have done A LOT of walking (and don't my feet tell me at the end of each day!!) but as Ken keeps telling Liam, not only is it great exercise, it is the only way to explore :)

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 3 - London

Today we had hoped to catch a matinee session of The Lion King but unfortunately there were only standing room or restricted viewing tickets so we decided to give it a miss.

Instead we decided to go to Harrods and have a browse. I had planned to buy a Harrods bag for my WIPs but ended up not doing so. I did buy some books though :)

In the afternoon we took in the London Eye. Given that I'm not a big fan of heights I actually enjoyed it :) Spectacular views!

Tomorrow it's the Tower of London and possibly Tower Bridge!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Around The World In 30 Days - Day 2 - London

Today we did a bit of exploring on foot and on the tube. Saw the changing of the Household Cavalry at Whitehall, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square (the column is undergoing renovation however so we didn't get to see it), Parliament House and the Jewel Tower in Westminster.

After a bite of lunch we jumped on the tube and headed to Madame Tussaud's and spent the afternoon with famous people :)