Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We are off on holidays tomorrow - doing a Club Med skiing holiday in Val Claret, Tignes, France for a week, and then afterwards making our way to Toulouse for a few days to hopefully catch up with some friends there.

Tonight we invited our friends who live a couple of doors down for some Christmas Cheer and also so the children could open their gifts to each other. We also did the family gift opening but I've saved a couple for Christmas Day :) It was a pleasant evening spent in good company partaking of a couple of bottles of champagne, with the kids playing Mousetrap (one of their Christmas gifts) in the next room :)

I will probably have limited internet access while away so I'll see you in a couple of weeks!

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable festive season - however you celebrate it :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I love my camera :)

The kids were out shooting some hoops with their friends before dinner last night when DD came running in yelling for me to come outside and bring my camera! I went outside and was greeted with this gorgeous sunset!

Got a bit carried away with the photos - sorry!

Stitching: I have been doing a little stitching although not huge amounts. I seem to have the reading bug lately and my stitching has suffered because of it. Anyway, it is the Christmas/Mermaids SAL on the HAED BB this weekend so I've pulled both Dream of Purple and Sea of Roses out with the intention of making some progress. I also had Plum Gothic QS out earlier this week and once this weekend is over I intend to get back to her and work on her until she is done. Well, that's this week's plan anyway :)

I'll post before and after pics of each after the SAL has finished. Right now I'm heading back to my chair for an hour's stitching before the kids come home from school!

Friday, November 16, 2007

House Guest!

Meet Rabbit!

No, we haven't taken on another dog :) We are just looking after him this week while his owner (a lovely lady by the name of Trudy) is overseas for work. He'll be going home after the weekend - I think Tikki will miss him - they get along really well together. Still, she'll see him at Christmas when he and Truds come to house-sit while we are on holidays :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Camping Trip - Part Two (Warning: Photo Heavy Post!)

Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, trying to upload photos!! It appears Blogger Photos is being nice to me today but for how long remains to be seen!!!

Anyway, here are a couple of shots of the mountain goats (kids) continuing on up the hill - the bit I passed on!

At the very top! DS and his friend continued over the ridge and onto the other side - if you peer really closely at the next photo, you can just see them at the top!

We were only sleeping one night in the rough so after breakfast, we packed up camp and headed back down the mountains towards the main road and the Fujairah Rotana Hotel (ah, showers, toilets and comfy beds!) where we were to spend the second night! We all rolled in to the lobby looking rather dusty and hot, so much so that a lady appeared bearing cool (white!!) face cloths and another nice lady armed with a tray of ice cold juice for us all. I'd hate to be the poor soul trying to get those cloths white again - lol!

After checking in to our rooms, we all had a quick wash, put on our swimming gear, lathered on the sunscreen and headed down to the pool! Since I really didn't get all that much sleep the night before, I promptly crashed out for an hour or so on the lounger!

The kids had a great time in the pool on the water slide ...

and since the hotel is right on the beach as well, on the banana boat ...

in the giant tube ...

and on the beach itself ...

After the beach fun, the kids went back into the pool, while the adults relaxed poolside with a round or two (or three or four!) of cocktails :) We then all headed back to our respective rooms for showers and a change of clothes for dinner. The kids descended on the buffet and the chocolate fountain while the adults went for the a la carte dining. We had a reasonably early night (before midnight) and after a little sleep-in the next morning, buffet breakfast and another little play in the pool for the kids, we were on the road home by midday.

Going home!

Some of the amazing road side scenery!

We enjoyed our first camping trip and will definitely do it again - although DH reckons that next time we skip the first night under the stars and just head straight to the hotel - lol! Perhaps a compromise of one night roughing it and two nights in a hotel :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Camping Trip - Part One

Last Thursday we headed off with four other families for the weekend on our first ever UAE camping trip!

We planned to leave around 2.30pm so Ken took the day off work and I arranged early pick-up of the kids up from school. I had slowly been accumulating all the gear in our spare bedroom the week before and had done all the food shopping on Wednesday so all we had to do Thursday morning was load up the eskies (coolboxes or iceboxes for those non-Australians) with food and drink, load the truck up and head off.

I think we managed to pack everything including the kitchen sink - lol!! Unfortunately, I forgot to get a pic of the truck all packed up but you can imagine how much room two tents, four sleeping bags, one queen and two single airbeds, six collapsible chairs, one collapsible table, clothing, torches, BBQ kettle, eskies, first aid kits, shovel, rope, mini-compressor and other assorted camping gear took up!

We met up with the others at 2pm and by 2.30pm and armed with our trusty UAE Off-Road Explorer book, our convoy of four 4WDs were on our way towards Wadi Sidr/Sana on the East Coast near Fujairah - approximately 140kms. Roughly just under a two-hour drive, with an estimated arrival time of around 4-4.30pm leaving us about an hour of good daylight left to set up camp.

Well, that was the plan! With a couple of missed turn-offs by the lead cars trying to break the land-speed record (we were heading up the rear behind the third vehicle at a more "leisurely" 120kms/hr) we ended up travelling in two convoys of two and eventually meeting up further down the track. Then the route up through the mountains had changed since the last time the leaders had been there, so it made more like 2.5 to 3 hours before we finally got to the plateau where we camping for the night.

Still, given there were eight adults and ten children, we managed to get the tents up and the rest of the camp sorted fairly quickly (despite it being very windy to start with!). The kids went searching for firewood so they could get their bonfire happening and the adults set up tables and chairs, dispensed ice cold beverages, got the meat cooking on the barbie, and salads and other assorted snackage spread out just as it was getting dark. It was so quiet and peaceful and so nice to get out of the city for a change. A rather pleasant evening was had by all.

We were up quite early the next morning (6am) so I took the opportunity to take a few photos before breakfast. You can just see the open boot door of our vehicle on the far side of the camp. We were the only people up there which we thought surprising since the UAE Off-Road Explorer book is quite popular.

See that hill behind the campsite in the photo above? Well, the younger kids and I decided to climb up it! It doesn't look like much but it was quite steep and hard going to the point where I thought I was going to pass out! Anyway, about three-quarters of the way up is an unpaved road where I stopped to catch my breath and take this photo. The kids continued up to the top but I passed and after ensuring that the kids were making their way safely back down to the camp, I opted for the easier route back via the road!

*sigh* Blogger Photos is now being totally unco-operative and won't upload at all so I will save the rest of the photos and try to post them later.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Going camping!

Catch up in a couple of days!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

The kids all dressed up and ready to go out and scare up some treats! Liam actually made the little boy from across the road cry when he answered the door to them. I gave him an extra treat and he was soon happy again :)

Tikki got in on the act as well! Ken put my lit-up pumpkin headband on her - I'm not sure that she was all that impressed actually - lol! I think if Caitlin and her friend, Nadia, weren't there she would have bolted!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Look ...

Yes, I've decided it was time for a change :) I came across this wonderful template at Final Sense - I think it works well. Hope you all like it too!

Some Progress

Here's where I got up to with Verdure over the weekend. Blogger Photos is down so I've had to use Webshots.

After the HAED BB October SAL

As I predicted in my last post I didn't really get a whole lot of stitching time. Well, actually I could have spent pretty much all of Saturday stitching away as the kids were out all day but I ended up washing and ironing instead! Need to work on my priorities!! Anyway, some progress is better than none, right?

Next up is my progress on QS Plum Gothic:

After QS SAL (12/10/07)

I had plans to work on her yesterday for the QS SAL but was tempted away by my Mystery WIP (which shall remain unnamed for now). I'll try to spend some time with my Plum girl over the weekend, and maybe get that second page finshed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

HAED BB October Challenge SAL Weekend

This weekend is the October edition of the Yearly Challenge SAL and Verdure comes out to play.

Here's my before pic:

I'm not sure how much stitching will take place as the Eid al-Fitr holiday started yesterday and the kids are off school until Tuesday. I'm sure it wasn't all that long ago they were on summer holidays!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Quick Stitch Wednesday

This is Plum Gothic before I start working on her for the HAED BB Quick Stitch Wednesday SAL. I have spent the last couple of days working away on her and I'm really pleased with what I've achieved. It might be a bit ambitious of me but I'm going to see if I can get the second page finished. I'm not sure that I will but hopefully I'm come close :)

This upcoming weekend is the HAED BB Yearly Challenge SAL for October and Verdure will come out to play. I'm hoping to get a fair bit of progress done on her too :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

14 Years Ago ...

DH and I were married. The day is a distant blur in my memory but I do remember it being cold and wet, I think it even hailed at one point! Just the sort of ingredients you need for a garden wedding :) Thankfully, we had a Plan B and the rainy weather went away long enough for photos to be taken.

Sorry about the pic - it is a photo of a photo - so not very clear. Gosh, we look young and DH had a lot more hair than he does now - lol! My dress, veil and head-piece were way more fancier than I'd intended too! So not me! But I guess that's what happens when you ask for your parent's opinion and you're their only daughter! No way was this wedding going to be the simple affair DH and I were hoping for - lol!

I guess that's why we don't usually do much for our anniversaries plus DH has in the past usually been away working for most of them. This year however he wasn't so we went out for a very nice lunch :)

Oh, and in response to a couple of comments from my previous post - I did buy them all - lol! I just want to START them all!! Although I think I've narrowed it down to four now - Green Dragonfly, Purple Dragonfly, Butterfly Dream and Guidance - lol!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I'm in a dilemma!

There have been some new Ching-Chou Kuik Quick Stitch releases over at Heaven & Earth Designs recently and I've fallen in love with almost all of them (!!) - Butterfly Dream, Crystal Magic, Green Dragonfly, Magical Spread and Serene Dawn. I think Green Dragonfly would go lovely with Purple Dragonfly so they are at the top of my list to start next BUT Butterfly Dream and Purple Silk Mermaid are also calling quite loudly! To make matters worse Guidance is also starting to make itself heard. Sigh. Plum Gothic is on my stand at the moment so I think I'll try to keep on with her for a bit and then perhaps I'll go back to Dream of Purple for a bit to see if that will quieten the Kuik callings :)

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I have been quiet!!

Received a reminder from Nicole* today that I hadn't blogged in a while - she wondered if I was still stuck behind the ironing board - lol! No, ironing is pretty much up to date (thanks to our maid who caught it up for me while watching the kids one night a couple of weeks back). I've been a bit restless and just haven't been in the blogging frame of mind. Anyway, thanks for the push, Nic, I seem to be getting into the groove of things again now :)

Okay, so what have I been up to since I last posted? Well, let's see I've continued to read a lot. I discovered The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, the Heather Wells mysteries by Meg Cabot and the first of JA Konrath's Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels mysteries, Whiskey Sour, all of which I've enjoyed. I've also started Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, from DS's bookshelf, which is also looking to be a good read :)

I have also been stitching. There was a New Start SAL on the HAED BB at the beginning of the month which is all the encouragement I needed really :) I chose Ching Chou Kuik's Dream of Purple.

My progress ...
Dream of Purple (Ching Chou Kuik)

I also participated in September's edition of the Yearly Challenge SAL with Verdure and managed to complete the first page plus a little of the second page :)

After the September SAL

This past weekend was the Background SAL on the HAED BB and I chose to work on Molly Harrison's Fairy of the Sea. I had moved over to the top right of the chart and started on the background there a little while ago.

Fairy of the Sea - Before HAED BB Background SAL

Fairy of the Sea - After HAED BB Background SAL

I'm way behind on my PhotoHunt entries, so much so that I think I will stop participating in it for now. Maybe I'll just do my own random pic of the month type of thing or as and when I take a memorable or amusing pic.

Like this one ...

Sleepy time :)

DS was home sick a couple of days this week with pharyngitis. On Monday, his first day off school, he'd come downstairs to talk to me but I was outside hanging out a load of washing. This is what I came back inside to :) Tikki decided she needed her rest too - lol. Oh, and DS is fine now :)

Right, time to take DD to her tennis lesson!


*If you haven't done so before go and check out Nicole's awesome progress on her St Nick in his Study WIP. The detail is just amazing!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The things I do to avoid the ironing pile :)

After lunch yesterday afternoon, instead of catching up on the ironing, I decided to sit down and organise my duplicate skeins of DMC embroidery floss (which is what you see in the pic above). I'd made a vague attempt at trying to sort them out not long after we arrived here two years ago but most of them were still in the original shopping bags from where I'd purchased them. So I dumped them all onto the living room rug, ran down to the local shop and bought a couple of large boxes of sandwich size ziploc bags, came home and bagged them up. I then went and entered them into a spreadsheet on my computer so the next time I kit up something and the colours I need are not in my master set, I can then check there before I go out and buy any!! It took me all afternoon to sort that mess out but it's done now :)

Next on my list is to get my master set, which is stored in a series of large floss boxes, organised. I have a bunch of bobbins from projects that have been done or I've unkitted which need to be put away. After that I can see what needs replacing and either get them from my duplicates stash or put them on a shopping list.

Unfortunately, I cannot avoid the ironing pile any longer as the kids go back to school on Tuesday and I need to get new uniform items ironed and labelled, and I guess DH would probably like some shirts and trousers for work this week too :)! I'll have some stitchy pics next post hopefully!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back from holidays!

In fact we've been back for nearly two weeks but we've been kind of busy during that time - mostly with unpacking and laundry and playing chauffeur for me and catching up with friends and snowboarding camp for the kids.

We had a great holiday - went away with three suitcases and came back with five! Mostly stuff for the kids (games, books, clothing, etc) plus a heap of books and DVDs for me that I can't get here. In Hong Kong on the way back home we spent a day at Stanley Markets and bought ski gear for all us - good quality stuff and very cheap! We are planning to go to the French Alps during the winter break hence the need for the ski stuff.

It was nice to catch up with family and friends while in Australia and I got to meet my nephew for the first time too. He's a cutie and a livewire and is certainly going to keep his family on their toes!! My niece has grown considerably taller and is getting more beautiful by the day. She is only nine years old but is now as tall as her 12yo cousin (DS) and me (which isn't very tall really!).

I managed some stitching (mostly on a mystery WIP which is going to remain a mystery for a little while longer ... because I'm evil - lol!). The lighting wasn't very good in the holiday apartments we stayed at, so I mostly stitched early in the mornings before everyone else got up. I did buy one of those little itty-bitty clip-on craft lights and it helped a little to stitch at night but we were quite busy socialising so I mostly read.

I joined the RBL Summer Mystery Reading Challenge earlier this summer and so far have managed to read nine books! All by the same author, Kerry Greenwood, an Australian author, who I read about on the RBL site. Our apartment wasn't quite ready when we arrived in Adelaide so we went for a walk down the main shopping street (five mins away from the apartment complex) and the first store I came across was a book store - lol! The kids and I walked out with an armful of books and several dollars lighter in the purse! Anyway, getting back to Kerry Greenwood (I am easily distracted!!), I picked up the first three books of the Corinna Chapman series - Earthly Delights, Heavenly Pleasures and Devil's Food plus the first six books in the Phryne Fisher series. Wonderfully light and quick reads - I really enjoyed them. I have two or three others on the go but whether I will manage to finish them before the 31st of this month remains to be seen - especially since the kidlets are still on holidays. A little over a week to go!

Okay, children need to be feed so I'll sign off for now. Hopefully I'll get a chance to catch up on my blog reading over the next week or two although I suspect that that may have to wait until the kids are in school. I also hope to have some pics next post too - just need to download them off the camera :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

And now for something completely different ...

a stitchy update!!!

First up, my progress on Plum Gothic QS. One full page is complete and I've made good progress on the second. I have put her aside for now. We head off on holidays in a couple of days so I probably won't get to her before we go. I shall pack her in my suitcase and hopefully I'll get some time to work on her while we are away - depends on the lighting in the holiday apartment too I guess.

Next, is my progress on Verdure. It was the monthly HAED BB Challenge SAL this past weekend so it was her turn to get some attention. The SAL runs until midnight tonight and although I didn't get any stitching done on her yesterday, I am hopeful of getting some in tonight. Entirely reliant on whether I have gotten all the jobs on my list for today done or not though!!

Speaking of today's list, back to sorting out clothes to pack!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Up to date!! This week's PhotoHunt - "Shadows"

Leaf shadows cast on to my entry way wall from my palm - I struggled with this one!!

PhotoHunt Catch Up Part 2 - "Sweet" & "Fake"

DS's deliciously "sweet" cupcake birthday cake from his recent birthday :)

My "fake" camels :)

My apologies for the small pic!

PhotoHunt Catch Up - "Hair" & "Shiny"

I'm covering both topics with one pic here :) This is a photo of my son with some of his friends in their very "shiny" robes with their teacher at their recent graduation from elementary school - he's the "long haired hippy freak" (as my DH lovingly calls him *grin*) on the right without the mortar board.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I had no idea it had been so long since I'd blogged!! The kidlets started their 10.5 weeks summer school holidays on June 21 and have kind of contributed to me not being on the computer as much. We will be heading off to Australia later this month for a few weeks so that should break things up a bit (I hope!). Nothing as exciting as our trip last year but still its a break from this constant heat!

I'm behind on my PhotoHunt posts so I'll have to try and find some time to catch up on them this afternoon. I've also got some stitching progress to report as well but I haven't got much time to do it right now so that will have to be another post.

Thank you everyone who left comments about my framed pieces - I still haven't hung them yet but I have decided on a spot! All we need to do now is get the house painted inside and out then they can go up :)

Monday, June 11, 2007


DH picked these up from the framers for me this afternoon!!

Snowflake QS - Framed!

Snowflake QS

Girly Gothic QS - Framed!

Girly Gothic QS

I'm really happy with how they've turned out!! The pics aren't great, sorry, but I was trying to avoid flash reflection on the glass. I'm not quite sure where I'm going to hang them yet but I suspect DD will want to snaffle Girly Gothic for her room!!

I managed a dozen or so stitches into Verdure last night but my plans to spend the better part of today stitching on her didn't happen. Let's hope I get a good chunk of time on her tonight!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summer Mystery Reading Challenge


I am and have been since I was a young child, a real bookworm. I love books and will read just about anything! My favourite types of books to read though are mystery/crime and fantasy and I enjoy discovering new authors, so it was no wonder this challenge caught my eye while reading Nicki's blog recently :) Since moving here I have found that I read a LOT during the summer months - over the four weeks we were travelling last summer I read three of Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan series. It may not sound like a lot but when you factor in playing tourist etc I thought three books wasn't a bad achievement. We are not playing tourists this summer so I should be able to manage to read the six books required for this challenge.

Anyway, today I was scheduled to drop off DH at the physiotherapist (we are down to one vehicle at the moment, DH had a minor accident in his a couple of weeks ago and it is in being repaired), then I was going to pick up Snowflake and Girly Gothic from the framers nearby. Unfortunately, it turned out they weren't going to be ready till this evening so I had some time to fill in before heading back to the physio to collect DH. As luck would have it however there was a nicely stocked book store close by and of course I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to go in for a browse - lol! I didn't leave empty handed either (I never do!) - for the mystery challenge I picked up "Death of a Red Heroine" by Qiu Xiaolong and for fun, "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger. I might have to schedule a trip to Borders sometime this week and have a browse through their Mystery section and see what else I can add to my challenge reading list :)

I haven't managed a lot of stitching so far this weekend - tomorrow is looking like a quiet day so I'm hoping to spend most of it making some progress on Verdure. I'll post my progress, however minimal it may turn out to be, tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

PhotoHunters "Shoes"

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I'm sure the shoes in this house breed - we always seem to have huge colonies near every main entrance door! We bought shoe cupboards to try and combat the problem but I think DH and I are the only ones who seem to understand its purpose - lol!!


Okay so the sandals are mine but I always leave a pair near the back door because I am constantly going in and out and the ground is too hot at the moment for bare feet! But they do get put away at the end of the day. The other two belong to DD. Normally there would be at least another three pair in that spot - DS and DD's Etnies (skate shoes which double as school shoes) and DH's flip-flops - but the kids are wearing their Etnies and DH had put his flip-flops away.

Where they are supposed to be!

Put away where they belong!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

HAED BB Yearly Challenge SAL

I didn't participate in last month's SAL because I didn't want to stop working on Snowflake but I don't have that excuse this month :) I'd really like to get the first page finished this weekend and maybe even a good start on the next one. We'll see. Weekends can get fairly busy around here!!

Before May HAED BB Challenge SAL

My before pic :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

PhotoHunters "Art"

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Just in case you weren't aware, I like camels (no, really!!??) so when DH and I were browsing for some pictures to put on our very bare walls and came across this, there was no way that I was going to leave the shop without it!


Before I go, Happy Birthday, Mum!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

PhotoHunters "Colourful"

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Big Ben in the background and a bright pink cab to the right!

London cabbies aren't just black anymore - check out the bright pink one on the right!

A big thank you for all the wonderful comments about Snowflake - they are very much appreciated :) I spent a couple of days working on Fairy of the Sea but will wait until after the next time I work on her before sharing a progress pic. I picked up Plum Gothic yesterday so will spend a few days with her now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May I present ....

Snowflake QS (Selina Fenech & HAED)

Snowflake QS
Original artwork by Selina Fenech
Charted by Michele Sayetta of Heaven & Earth Designs
Stitched on mystery 25 count hand dyed evenweave from CountryStitch
Started: Mid September 2005
Finished: 24 May 2007

There were many months where I didn't stitch on her at all because I kept getting distracted by other shiny sparkly things!! Anyway, she needs a nice warm bath and an iron, then I must get her and Girly Gothic framed!!

Thank you again for the comments everyone :) I'm off to dig out a very neglected Fairy of the Sea from WIP box and work on her for a bit. I did plan to spend a bit of time with Verdure but I need a break from detail stitches for a couple of days!