Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fire ACEO Update

Well, so much for getting caught up on MTM - lol! I haven't been able to put Fire down since I picked it up Wednesday evening!! I am going through a bit of a red phase at the moment so I'm really enjoying this piece, and because of that, I think I will stick with it for a while longer :) MTM will just have to wait :) Who knows? Tomorrow morning when I sit down to stitch I may decide to put Fire away and work on MTM ... or something completely different even - lol!!

Carol made the comment on my last post that the rain must have been refreshing ... well, it was :). It only lasted for a couple of days and now it's back to blue skies and the warm sun, but everything is much brighter. The layers of dust on the buildings and the palm trees have been washed away, the air has been cleansed and the gardens have had a good soaking. We need to make the most of it because it so rarely happens, and the hot weather isn't far away.

I'm keeping it short tonight as I want to go stitch on Fire and watch some more of my Firefly DVDs. I got the series boxset for Christmas and hadn't watched any up until yesterday! I love it and like many other fans out there wish it had been given a decent chance. Serenity will be added to my DVD library as soon as it is released out here.

Bye for now!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Its raining, its pouring, the old man is snoring ... !!

And everything is flooded!! This is a pic of our backyard taken from the back door. Poor Tikki was soaked so I dried her off and bought her inside. She is now curled up asleep under my desk. Unfortunately there are no verandahs or building overhangs where she could have gone to get some protection from the wet. I don't know how long it has been raining for - probably most of the night. Even though our bedrooms are on the second floor you don't hear the rain hitting the roof so I was not even aware it was raining until Caitlin came in to wake me this morning.

Rain is not something that occurs a lot here and so none of the buildings or roads are built to deal with it - no gutters, drains etc. Seals around windows and doors dry out in the summer heat and crack so that when it does rain all these leaks pop up :) We have water dripping down from the ceiling in our master bathroom and a couple of leaks from one or two window frames. It tends to cause people to run around in a bit of panic as well - a bit like Chicken Little - the sky is falling, the sky is falling - lol!

Then there are those who are having a great time with all the water!! This is the boy from down the street with his friend playing football (or soccer as we would call it back in Oz!) on the road ... okay, well the mini river that is our street at the moment! Obviously all weekend school sports have been cancelled today!

Caitlin had a play date organised for this morning but when I came downstairs and saw the weather (it was still raining pretty heavily and foggy) I told her I wasn't driving anywhere so she may have to ring and cancel. Ken had to go into the office this morning (he only gets Fridays off) so he said he would take her and pick her up on the way back (he couldn't bear to see the disappointed look on her face!!). I made him take my car as its a 4WD and higher up off the road. Some of the water on the roads is about four feet deep in places and there are idiots in sedans in our street driving up on the footpaths to avoid the mini creek that was the road, so you can imagine what they'd be like out on the main roads!!! Liam slept over at a friend's house last night - he rang me to say the roads were flooded there too and could I pick him up later. I'd already organised with his friend's mum that she would drop him off later - lol! I think he just wanted to make sure that we were all okay :)

Stitching wise ... well, I didn't get as much done on MTM as I planned - I wasn't at home as much as I thought I would be the past couple of days. I did manage to get all the flowers and grasses backstitched though :) I probably would have continued on with MTM last night but instead I succumbed to the temptation of Fire. Wednesday nights are QS SAL nights on the HAED BB (you need to be a registered member to view this forum) and after reading that Fudgey had started her Fire ACEO I decided to join in. I didn't get much done really (I was really tired so I kept nodding off!) so it is not worth taking an updated pic of my progress. Since it is just me and the dog home this morning and the weather is so crappy, I think I will spend a couple of hours more on Fire and then get back to MTM tomorrow.

My new seatstand is going okay but I don't think it is really suited for large projects like MTM and Egyptian Garden. I think I will have to invest in a floor frame for those and figure out where I can keep it where it is not in the way if I do. Still, it is great for my smaller scroll frame and Q-snaps :)

Well, I'm off to make myself a cuppa and settle into some stitching. I'll leave you with a few more images of the rain :)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

They arrived!

My scroll frame and seat stand arrived this afternoon - woo hoo!! I assembled the stand before dinner tonight and am planning on testing it out in a litte while. I need to get MTM basted onto the scroll frame first. Not sure how the seat stand will go with the large scroll frame as the stand is smaller than I anticipated. Still, we'll give it a go and I'm sure it will be fine :)

I didn't end up backstitching any more of the flower stems and grasses last night but I started adding colour to the corner triangles instead!! I probably would have finished them this morning but I was asked out for lunch so no daytime stitching today :) I should get them done tonight though. Hopefully I will get the flower stems etc done tonight as well and then tomorrow I can attack the butterflies! Carol suggested that I do one colour at a time starting with the dark brown bodies as she did with hers, so I shall try that tomorrow. Thanks, Carol - wonderful tip :)

I will post a pic tomorrow night which will hopefully be a Part 3 happy dance if I get what I want to achieved tomorrow!

I'm off to rummage through our DVD collection and see what I can put on to "listen to" while I stitch :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Not a MTM Part 3 finish update but a MTM update nonetheless :)

Friday is our day of rest here and for some unknown reason I was up early!! Not like me at all - lol! Particularly since I am usually up till the wee hours the night before because I know I can get a sleep in the next day. However, I was up so I took the opportunity to come downstairs and hide away in the study to work some more on MTM. I sat in front of my laptop, loaded up The Sims 2 and played while I stitched :) I finished off the gold in the corners and the leaves on the flowers fairly quickly but the butterflies ... arghhh!!
I spent most of the afternoon stitching that lone little butterfly yesterday!! I don't have a problem with the over one stitching (love it in fact) but a couple of the silks were being particularly painful and kept knotting!! Of course I would only discover this after I'd finished that particular colour's section *sigh*! Frogging over one on 32 count is no picnic!! I was going to do all the butterflies at once but now I think I will stitch one then work on another section and so on until they are done. I know that if I take a break from this completely I will get enamoured by something else and then I will get even further behind on this project!! Sorry the close-up pic is a bit blurry - I've discovered the macro button on my camera but it still obviously has its limitations :)

I am currently using my 11 inch Q-snaps on MTM but it is getting to the point now where I need to go to something larger. With this in mind I ordered a 27 inch scroll frame from Sew & So in the UK last week so now I just have to wait for it to get here. I have ordered from Sew & So before whilst here but it was just a few threads. They are very good though so I'm sure my order will be here soon :) I also ordered the Stitchmaster Seatstand from them to try as well. My left arm is starting to ache and I think it's because of the weight and the way I hold my Q-snaps. I did consider a floor stand but I really don't have a set place I can leave it set up and out of the way. The seat stand is a bit more portable too so I can pretty much set myself up anywhere in the house to stitch :) I shall also be able to stitch with one hand on top of my project and one below which, once I've had some practise, I hope will help speed up my stitching!

I do have a scroll frame back in Aus which would have been perfect for MTM and I did intend to bring it back with me after we'd been back there for Christmas. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, it would not fit into any of our suitcases without it getting damaged. So it, along with some other stuff I wanted to bring back, stayed there. We will probably head back to Aus during the summer here so I will try and figure out a way to bring it back then. It will also be perfect for Egyptian Garden :)

I also thought I would post a pic of my progress to date on Fire ACEO (Original artwork by Sara Butcher and charted by Michele Sayetta of Heaven & Earth Designs). Some of you will remember me blogging about starting this piece about a month ago. There is definitely not a month's work on it though as I have not stitched on it for the past couple of weeks. I was so tempted to put a few stitches in it this afternoon but I was good and put it away again after I'd taken this pic :) Since I am a Capricorn my element is actually Earth (which I also have the chart for) but I was drawn to Fire more. Under Chinese astrology I am a Horse but because of the year I was born in my element is Fire. Maybe that is why I decided to stitch Fire first? :) I really, really want to get back to this but I am determined to get MTM caught up first!

Before I go I must mention Carol's wonderful first finish for 2006 - Celtic Winter by Lavender & Lace. Katrina also finished hers on the same day!! Go and have a looksee - they are both beautiful!

I was also really pleased to see that Karen (of Dragonfly Dreams fame!) has a new blog. Karen also has a first finish for 2006 - An Open Heart by The Drawn Thread. It too, is beautiful!!

Speaking of An Open Heart ... Carol, if you are reading this, I plan to start mine on March 1st ... which doesn't leave me much time to get caught up on MTM - LOLLL!

Once again I'd like to thank all of you who leave comments. I enjoy reading them and in turn visiting your blogs :) In the past I haven't been so good at leaving comments but I'm working on that and I think I'm getting better :) I hope so anyway!

Now, I think I might go and finish back-stitching the flowers and grasses on MTM :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's not my birthday but ...

I came across this on another blog I was reading this morning and it sparked my curiousity (as things like this are prone to do!). So, I entered my birth date and voila!

Your Birthdate: December 30

You have the type of personality that people either love or hate.
You're opinionated, dramatic, intense, and very outspoken.
And some people can't get enough of you - they're totally addicted.
Others, well, they wish you were a little more reserved.

Your strength: Your flair

Your weakness: If you think it, you say it

Your power color: Scarlet red

Your power symbol: Inverted triangle

Your power month: March

All I can say is, this ain't me AT ALL!!! I think that most of the time I am quite reserved and like to keep to myself (I have my moments though and can be quite the loony *smile*), nor am I dramatic or intense. Whilst I can be outspoken at times, it is usually with people I have known for some time and am comfortable with. I certainly don't say what I think (although sometimes I wish I had) and if you could see me right now you certainly wouldn't say that my strength is my flair - LOL!!!

After my parents' visit I've pretty much been in hibernation this week (yep, I'm a bear - lol!) just pottering around home and not really going anywhere except to the shops to get essentials. I was planning to get a load of stitching done but well I really haven't done much of that either, so no Part 3 of MTM update today!! The reason? I started off the week well stitching wise but then I got caught up playing The Sims 2!! I don't know why, but I love the game :) It is an incredible time sucker though! Still, I'll get bored of it soon enough :)

Right, time to go and pick up No. 1 child from his friend's :)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Introducing the latest family member!

Her name is Tikki and she arrived this morning :) She is a desert dog and is about four years old. We have adopted her as the family she belonged to are moving to Canada in June.

The kids have wanted a dog for ages and Ken and I had been discussing about getting one so when I heard that Sheri was looking for someone to adopt Tikki, I put my hand up.

It will be a surprise for the kids when they get home from school this afternoon as they didn't know she was coming today - they'll be over the moon! I'm sure Tikki will take a few days to settle into her new surroundings - I thought she had found the perfect spot but I've just checked on her and she has moved again :) We have a covered area for her with a new bed etc ... what we've dubbed the Tikki Mahal ... but she's not really interested in that just yet. Too busy exploring the rest of the yard. She has worked out that's where her water bowl is though. She just needs time and lots of loving and she'll soon realise this is her new home now :)

We need to dig a patch out in the corner of the garden and put some sand there for her. She likes to dig herself into the sand and sleep during the day ... well, that makes sense really given that she's a desert dog - lol! That will be this weekend's job I think :)

I'm off to settle myself where I can keep an eye on her and stitch some on Medieval Town Mandala. Oh, and to keep an eye out for the gardener as well - he doesn't know we have her either yet!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Finally!! Part 2 of Medieval Town Mandala is done!

Just completed the last Jessica stitch about half an hour ago. Took this pic and then made a start on Part 3 :) I have a lot of catching up to do on this project, especially since there is quite a bit of work in Part 5. Even though it's a beautiful piece, I lost interest part way though Part 2 so put it down. I think that was about the time I discovered Heaven & Earth Designs - lol! Anyway Carol's recent progress pics gave me much needed inspiration and the kick up the butt I needed to get on with mine :)

We drove down to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday afternoon just to give mum and dad a quick tour of the capital city of the UAE. For a capital city it is much quieter than Dubai - it made a nice change of pace :)

We checked mum and dad in the Emirates Palace Hotel for the night while the four of us stayed at the Crowne Plaza :) A night at the Emirates Palace isn't quite within our budget just yet (even if Ken did manage to get mum and dad a great deal on their room)!! We did manage a meal there though which was very nice - wore the kids out though :)

Thursday morning we were up early (after getting woken with prayer call from the nearby mosque at 5am) and checked out of the Crowne Plaza to head back to the Emirates Palace to meet up with mum and dad for breakfast, and also so the children could have a swim.
The Crowne Plaza pool was closed for a private function Wednesday afternoon so we promised the kids a couple of hours in the water park at the Palace instead. The kids had a great time - it is really set up well for families with children. They have a more relaxing adult type pool at the other end of the hotel so they cater for everyone :)

After checking mum and dad out we did a brief driving tour around Abu Dhabi and then headed back to Dubai. The weather is starting to warm up so Ken and Caitlin headed for the pool at the golf club to cool off while the rest of us unpacked and I made a start on dinner (green chicken curry with rice - yum!).

Tomorrow things will be back to normal as mum and dad left tonight to head back home. It's been nice having them here and I think they've enjoyed themselves. They are talking about coming back so they must have - lol! I will miss them but I am also looking forward to getting back into our normal day to day routines :) Our next lot of visitors (Ken's mum and dad) are due in April but they have been here before so I won't need to play the tour guide quite so much :)

I am going to print off Part 5 of MTM which I downloaded earlier this month while the printer is free :) I'll then put a few more stitches into Part 3 and then hopefully Ken will be back home from dropping mum and dad at the airport. By that stage it will be well and truly bedtime!!

Hopefully my next post will be about having completed Part 3 !

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More sightseeing!

Mum, dad and I went back to the Nad al Sheba Racecourse yesterday so dad could have a wander around the Godolphin Gallery. Godolphin is a very prominent and successful racing stable here in Dubai owned by the ruling Al Maktoum family. The gallery houses all the trophies and photographic memorabilia captured by the stable over the years, and is also home to the famous 2000 Dubai World Cup trophy won by Dubai Millennium.

Upon entering the gallery all I could say was "Wow, this place is incredible!". The photographs of the horses are brilliant - Arabian horses are such beautiful creatures!

We then headed over to the Race Club itself so dad could visit the souvenir shop :) My dad has a thing for polo shirts and has managed to add quite a few to his collection since he's been here - lol!

After our visit to Nad al Sheba we headed to one of the nearby shopping malls so mum could do some last minute souvenir shopping :) She got a few things but we are going to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday so she thought she would maintain some control and wait and see what she could find there. No doubt dad will find another polo shirt - lol!

I was also very proud of myself as I managed to get us to Nad al Sheba then Ibn Batutta and then back home without getting lost once! Since I am geographically challenged that is quite a milestone for me :)

No real stitching for me last night :( I tried but I just kept nodding off so gave up in the end.

Today was a quiet day although mum and I ducked down to the Mall of the Emirates to get a birthday gift for Liam to take to a birthday party this afternoon. Mum also wanted to pop into Carrefours (hypermarket) for a few things so she managed to get her shopping fix today :)

We've just been down to the Lakes Club for dinner and everyone else but me has gone to bed. I think I might just do the same thing now - I'm worn out :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lunch at the Burj al Arab, Race Night at Nad al Sheba and some sightseeing!

On Thursday we again went to lunch at the other restaurant in the Burj al Arab - the one at the very top that juts out from the main building! The view from up there is spectacular!! We had originally planned to go for dinner but since it's winter here and gets dark early and the main views are looking out over the ocean we changed our booking to lunch as we wouldn't really see much otherwise :)

The food was delicious and the service excellent (as you would expect!) - I enjoyed this lunch much more than the seafood restaurant.

After lunch we checked mum and dad out of the Burj and then headed home for another quick pitstop to get ready for a night at the races (I'm planning a very quiet week after mum and dad leave - lol!)! Ken had organised a car to come and pick us up so we could all enjoy the night and not have to worry who was going to drive home. As there are six of us it had to be some sort of people mover but we weren't prepared for what actually turned up!! OMG, it was huge!!! You can just imagine the stares we were getting, especially from the maids out in our street at the time - LOL! Still, it was a bit of fun (although I felt a bit pretentious!), and the kids had a great time pretending they were somebody famous!

We had a great night at the races - there were 12 of us all up as we'd invited some other friends along so we had a small box to ourselves. Gambling is illegal here but they have a raffle type system where you choose two horses from each race (the winner and runner-up), and you collect points for each winner or runner-up you've chosen. The leader board comes up on a television screen and you can see where you are and whether you have a chance for any of the prizes on offer. I think dad and I were fourth at one stage but I quickly headed down the list not long after that, whilst dad remained up there for a little while longer before he too started cruising downwards - lol!

We had a slow start Friday morning - it was nice not to have to rush off somewhere for a change :) Friday afternoon we headed into the city and had a wander around the creek area amongst the traditional style buildings. We were a bit early so none of the souk stalls were open yet though - they don't open till quite late in the afternoons on Fridays. They are doing some renovation work around this area and this sign we came across made us smile - something definitely got lost in translation here - lol!

We then headed down to the nearest abra station and jumped in an abra (water taxi) to take us for a short tour up and back along the creek. It was nice being out on the water although I was a bit worried when our driver seemed to be doing everything but driving! If mum or dad or one of the kids asked Ken and I what a particular building was, he would jump up from his seat and come and tell us :)

We had the abra driver drop us off on the other side of the creek near the Gold Souk. There is just shop upon shop selling gold (and some silver) jewellery - it is quite incredible!! Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture with my camera so I can't show you this time.

In behind the Gold Souk area there are small textile and souvenir stalls where mum had a great time stocking up on pashminas (Kashmiri shawls) mostly ... although she did buy a pair of tiny embroidered shoes and some beaded head dresses as well to take home with her. The shoes in the photo are a pair I bought some time ago which I have on display in my entranceway.

Saturday we got up quite early and headed for the mountains :) Ken was keen to try one of the day trips out of his UAE Off-Road Explorer book so we packed up some morning tea and a picnic lunch in the esky, loaded it and everybody into the TrailBlazer and headed off. Our destination was Wadi Bih which is north of Dubai and so we travelled through four of the seven emirates that make up the UAE - Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Ras al-Khaimah. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it to Wadi Bih as it's in Oman (which I didn't know at the time!) and we didn't have our passports so we were turned back at the checkpoint! Never mind, we still managed to find a spot to go off road for a bit and find a place to have morning tea :)

We then headed back along the coast for a little bit and found a nice place for lunch which didn't involve any off-roading :) All in all it was a nice day out and mum and dad enjoyed it and got to see something different.

Tomorrow we are heading back to Nad al Sheba Race Course to have a look around the Godolphin Gallery so dad can pick up a couple more polo shirts as souvenirs :) Mum then wants to go to one of the nearby shopping malls to also do some last minute shopping so we will do that also tomorrow. I think Tuesday will be a quiet day as we are heading to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, back to Dubai on Thursday and then Friday will be spent packing as mum and dad leave in the early hours of Saturday morning to go back home!

It's been a very busy time the past couple of weeks but I think they've enjoyed themselves :)

On a brief stitching note I picked up Medieval Town Mandala to take with me in the truck on Saturday. I'm not a very good passenger and usually am unable to stitch whilst travelling but as I'm still plugging away at Part 2 (!!) and only had some back stitch on the vines and the outer gold square to do (which doesn't really require much concentration), I thought I would give it another go. As luck would have it, I was fine so now all the backstitching is done as is most of the gold outer square. Hopefully I will finish that off over the next day or two and then get stuck into Part 3!! Might go and put a few more stitches in now in fact :)