Monday, January 28, 2008

Plum Gothic QS - Page 2 Finish :)

It was a UFO/SWIP themed SAL on the HAED BB this weekend and although I have older HAED WIPs I could have chosen, I really want to finish Plum Gothic this year! Preferably in the first half! I have neglected her woefully and I have made a pact with myself that I am not going to start another Quick Stitch until she is done! Mmm, we'll see how long that lasts - lol!

Anyway, I spent most of Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon stitching away on her and put the last stitch in page 2 late in the afternoon. There is still today to go in the SAL but I probably won't work on her now until Wednesday for the Quick Stitch SAL :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shopping Trip

This is the result of my little shopping trip last Tuesday. I didn't quite get all that I wanted (particularly buttons) but I'm happy with what I managed. I have another trip planned in about a week's time to a different part of the city where I'm hoping to find a few more bits and pieces :)

Thank you for your lovely comments on my first biscornu too :)

I have been stitching quite a bit this week - I just need to upload the pics from my camera to the computer so I can show you :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

My First Biscornu

In the lead up to Christmas and our holiday last year, I found I needed to stitch on something small and simple - something I could pick up and work on for a few minutes when the opportunity presented itself :) I had seen lots of biscornus on various blogs and admired them but had never attempted one myself, so I decided to rectify that.

The fabric and Dinky Dyes silk thread used were from a Dyer's Collaboration pack, and I used this chart - Popular Red Biscornu - from a link on the Own Two Hands blog.

Unfortunately, it is not completely finished as I'm not having much luck finding the right buttons. I thought I might go through my beads this weekend and see if I have something that will work. If not, I will have to go on another exploratory shopping trip further into the city in a couple of weeks time :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thank you ...

everyone for your lovely comments on St Georges. They mean a lot and have spurred me on to get a couple of other WIPs out of the way :)

Right now, I'm beavering away on An Open Heart (The Drawn Thread) - I had hoped to finish the last band tonight but it is past my bedtime so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Then I get to start on the whitework borders.

I did take a progress pic but it was taken at night and unfortunately it's not the best shot. Today was overcast (looks like there's more rain coming) so not the best conditions for picture taking! Hopefully, the next pic will be it finished anyway!!

Must go to bed now - I'm off fabric hunting and thread buying tomorrow ... or should I say later this morning :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

First Major 2008 Finish

Long Dog Samplers "St Georges"
Started sometime (I think) in 2006 and finished 19 January 2008
Stitched with 1 strand of Gloriana "Red Clay" silk over 2 threads
on cream 40 count linen

I was going to start Sampler Cove's Rhapsody in Red Ribbon Sampler or Spanish Rouge next but I'm still waiting on the charts and fabric (for SR) to arrive. I do have Double Dutch from The Gift of Stitching online magazine kitted up but I've decided I will pull out An Open Heart and work on that for the rest of the weekend.

WIP Updates

First up, Long Dog Samplers "St Georges" ...

Next, I managed a few more stitches in Dinky Dyes "The Dreaming" this week ...

A quick post today :) As you can see, I am very close to a finish on "St Georges"!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here yesterday, gone today ...

The rain that is :)

This is what our backyard looked like yesterday after 2-3 days of constant rain:

(Please disregard the sorry excuse of a trampoline - the mat disintegrated from the heat and sourcing a new one is proving difficult.)

This is what it looks like today:

Laura commented that she couldn't imagine a city "not built for rain". Strange, I know, but because they get so very little rain here it just never enters into the equation during the construction stage (no gutters, storm drains, etc). However, when it does rain it causes complete and utter chaos! Flooding, electrical problems, traffic mayhem, etc. All schools were ordered to close yesterday and today by the Ministry of Education because of it. Our school has been affected by flooding and I believe electrical problems.

Just a quick post tonight as I'm keen to stitch a little more on Dream before I head to bed. We have a busy day tomorrow so I don't want to stay up too late but I want to finish the section I'm stitching first!

I should have some WIP update pics for you tomorrow. It is the start of the HAEDless Sampler SAL on the HAED BB and I am working on St Georges this month. There will be a finish in the very near future!

Also thank you for your comments and welcome to new readers - there are a few that I want to reply to and I hope to do that soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

HAED BB 2008 Challenge SAL - January Edition

Dream of Purple (Kuik)Before Dream of Purple (HAED & Kuik)After

Dream of Purple
Original Artwork: Ching Chou Kuik
Charted by: Michele Sayetta of Heaven & Earth Designs (c) 2007

Stitched 1 x 1 full cross on 25 ct pale aqua lugana using DMC threads

I finally started stitching on her Sunday evening for a few hours and then managed to get a few more hours in on Monday. I filled in a lot of the empty spots so I was pleased with my progress.

We have had quite a lot of rain today and this city is just not built for it (or US President's visits for that matter!) so after having my plans shelved because of the inclement weather (DD's class was meant to go on a field trip today and I had volunteered to help out) I dropped the kids at school, came home and settled down to stitch for the day :) I'm continuing to work on Dream of Purple until tomorrow when I switch her out for QS Plum Gothic. Several schools are closing tomorrow (including the one mine go to) because of the heavy rain. It has caused quite a bit of flooding and electric problems.

As I said before, this city isn't built for rain :)

I leave you with some shots (not taken by me) of our main freeway yesterday closed for the Bush visit.

Monday, January 14, 2008

So ...

George W is here and the whole town has come to a standstill. Yep, because of road closures and traffic disruptions during his visit, the Government have declared tomorrow (Monday) a public holiday - Chaos in Dubai ahead of Bush's visit!!!!


I loathe politics ...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's raining ...

my tumble dryer is kaput and my new one doesn't arrive until tomorrow! My house, therefore, looks like a Chinese laundry (must find out where that saying comes from)!!

I managed to put a length (six strands) of floss into The Encounter but it's just a pitiful blob of blue :) I then sat down to work on Dream of Purple, delved into my WIP box and came out with my WIP and the chart but not the threads or the actual page of the chart I'm working from! Figured I had put it in one of my overflow boxes which are stacked on top of the wardrobe in the spare room before we went on holidays. My search of the boxes I could reach was fruitless and since DH had gone to bed I was going to have to wait until this morning for him to get the boxes right at the top down for me so I could have a look. I could have gone back to The Encounter but I'd already taken him off the stand and the Q-snaps and put him away.

This morning my much taller DH got the boxes down and I now have my threads and the first page of the chart ready for tonight's stitching session on Dream of Purple.

During the search I came across an old WIP of Dinky Dyes' The Dreaming - that looked a more soothing stitch - so I pulled that out and worked on that instead. I'm not sure when I started it, probably sometime in 2006!

This is how it was when I picked it up last night ...

Dinky Dyes

I might squeeze a little more time on it over the weekend so I'll hold off from taking a progress pic until early next week.

I also put a few more stitches in St Georges this afternoon while waiting for DD at her tap class. Thank you also for the lovely comments - it is coming along quite well and I'm really pleased with how the thread colour stitches up.

Rightio, I'm off to iron the essential uniform and work items for the kids and DH for school/work tomorrow and then settle down to reacquaint myself with Dream of Purple!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pay It Forward 2008

I've gone and done it now - I've joined Karen's PIF challenge :)

So, if you would like something stitched by me sometime during this year (2008) then please be one of the first five (5) people to either leave a comment here or email me at buffster_fan at yahoo dot com dot au and I will be in touch. In turn you must post to your blog the same challenge and accept five people to send to. They do the same and forward it goes :)

If I do not have five people sign up then I will send five random parcels to different parts of the globe :)

I didn't get a lot of stitching done on The Encounter yesterday - prepping the fabric (I actually dragged out the sewing machine to edge the fabric), pulling the floss and gridding the outline of the first page took longer than I anticipated. We also went out last night for dinner so I didn't really sit down to stitch until quite late. I probably managed about 20-30 stitches before I headed for bed. I will work on this some more next week after the HAED Challenge SAL which is this weekend and I will post a progress pic then.

However, I will leave you with the latest progress on my Long Dog Sampler "St Georges" - not the best photo, sorry but you can see that it is almost done! I did quite a bit of this in the last week of our holidays.

I haven't managed to stitch yet today so I'm off to make myself a cuppa and then head to my stitching chair for an hour or two!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

HAED BB Quick Stitch Wednesday SAL

<- Before

-> After

I didn't get as much time as I'd hoped on this last night so progress isn't very noticeable but at least I managed to put some stitches in before my eyes grew heavy and I had to go to bed! I really had hoped to finish Plum last year but it wasn't to be. She will most definitely be finished this year though and hopefully in the first quarter!

Just a quick post from me today - January's edition of the HAED BB 2008 Challenge SAL starts tomorrow (I think - must check) and I will be working on Dream of Purple this year instead of Verdure.

Before the SAL starts however I want to put some stitches into my New Year's start. Because I was away I obviously didn't get to start it on 1st January 2008 but today, rather conveniently, marks the start of the Islamic New Year so I get another chance :)

The chart/design? Well, I am in the Heaven & Earth Designs Birthday Club and whilst scrolling through my wishlist trying to decide on what chart to get, DS spotted this one. Am I insane?! Quite possibly :) DS said he wanted it for his birthday (which is in July). However, he didn't specify which birthday so I told him he may get it for his 21st, or if he's lucky, his 18th - lol! That gives me six to nine years to stitch it up :)

On that note, I'd better get to it! I shall report on my progress tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

2008 Ornament Challenge

The Aussies Institches Yahoo Group (of which I'm a member) are holding a 2008 Christmas Ornament Challenge using the 2007 JCS Ornament magazine. Each month we vote for our favourite two ornaments from a set page in the magazine. We can then choose one from the top two to stitch the following month. So in December we voted for January's ornament and we are currently voting on February's ornament and so it goes. This way it gives us plenty of time to gather our supplies etc. I am going to be using it as an opportunity to use what I can from my ever expanding stash pile!!

Anyway, because of this blasted cough/cold I have kept myself at home the last couple of days and have spent my time stitching and gathering supplies online for upcoming projects (more about that in another post) as well as throwing in the odd load or two of washing!

We can stitch the ornament at any time during that month but I decided to get in early as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th weekends are alloted to other SALs (mostly with the HAED BB!).

I sat down yesterday and started on my choice for January and this morning finished it off ...

Fill With Love by Designs by Cathy Jean
2007 JCS Christmas Ornament Magazine

Stitched on Natural 28 count Cashel linen
with The Gentle Art Sampler and Simply Shaker threads

Started: 8 January 2008
Finished: 9 January 2008

This chart was a relatively quick stitch although the backstitching for the branches/pine needles and wording I am positive took longer than the stitching up of the stocking!! I didn't have all of the Sampler/Simply Shaker Threads called for in the chart so I substituted the ones I didn't have with similar colours. I think it turned out reasonably close :)

I must say that after stitching over one for so long it felt rather alien to be stitching over 2 again, especially on 28 count. The stitches looked enormous!

I hope to have an ornamentifying day towards the end of the month to completely finish it off. It is finished off as a pillow ornament in the magazine but I am not sure if I will do the same or use some other method. I will need to go in search of backing fabrics and stuff though as I don't have any of that sort of thing here. That will take up pretty much most of a morning - no quick dash to Hobby Lobby or similar store for me here! Hopefully, I will feel like it one day next week - might ring around and see if a friend or two are interested in coming along :)

Okay, well it is the Quick Stitch Wednesday SAL on the HAED BB today and I want to put a bit of time in on Plum Gothic before bed so I will end this for now (and so I can blog about her tomorrow!).

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Winter Holiday Report (rather long, sorry!)

**I had intended to add various photos of our trip to this post but Blogger Photos is being unco-operative at the moment so I will leave them out for now. I have started uploading them to my Webshots album and will hopefully finish that off tomorrow. I will add Webshots thumbnails to this post then.**

Our first stop was Geneva where we experienced our first really really cold weather in a long time! DH even had to borrow my hat to keep his head warm until he could buy one of his own. I have lots of hair to keep my head and ears warm ... plus the hood on my jacket :)

We spent a couple of days here wandering around sight-seeing. Spent some time at the Martime Museum which was okay but spent quite a long time at the Roman Museum (which was included in the ticket price to the Maritime Museum). They had an archaelogy student there that day who was available to answer any questions we may have had about the displays. The kids spent quite a bit of time with her and found it very interesting.

Next it was back to the airport to catch the ski-bus to Tignes (this trip was a bit of a Planes, Trains & Automobiles type experience - lol) - about a three and a half hour trip. A little tedious but the scenery made it worth it, as did the looks on the kids' faces when they saw snow.

Upon arrival at Val Claret (the resort we were staying at) we had a long walk up the hill pulling two large suitcases plus assorted hand luggage and watching for icy patches to Club Med. I was very happy to hand over the luggage to the strong young gentlemen there to greet us at the door!!

It was then a flurry of booking in, having something to eat because we were starving, booking ski lessons, sorting out ski/snowboard equipment hire and attending information sessions before we finally managed to get out and go for a walk in the snow before dinner! This is the kids first experience of real snow so of course the first thing to do is have a snowball fight and build a snowman. A bit of a poor excuse of a snowman though - lol!

For those of you who have never done a Club Med skiing holiday before ... the next six days involved skiing twice a day in groups according to your level with an instructor. I struggled the first day or two in Level 1 (I can do snow-plough turns but it has been 15 years since I last skiied and lacked confidence) so made the decision to go back down a level to Beginners. Another lady who was struggling with me decided to do the same thing yet she had no problems in that group the year before!? A lot, I think, depends on the instructor and abilities of the group. Our instructor was very disinterested in those that couldn't keep up and while the people were very nice were also very competitive. I found out later that most of them had come down from Level 2. No wonder I found it hard! Anyway, the beginners group was perfect - really nice people, no competition, keen to have a bit of a laugh and some fun as was the instructor, so the next four days were really enjoyable :)

The kids were having a blast in their respective groups - DD was in her element - both skiing and socially. She had formed a nice little group of friends and was having a great time! DS found a buddy around his own age in his snowboarding group so he too was having fun. DH found his Level 2 group a little difficult so he came down to Level 1 so he could work on his technique. He caught a bit of a head cold so didn't ski one day and then mostly stuck to the afternoons.

Mealtimes are a big communal affair and each night there is something different to entertain you and the staff are great. It was Caitlin's birthday (and mine too) while we were there and I organised a cake to be brought out at dinner on the last night :)

All in all, we had fun although I wouldn't really call it a holiday - skiing twice you are constantly on the go from 7am every day. I think if we did one of these holidays again, I would leave DH and the kids to the snow and I'll do the spa package, find a cosy corner in the bar and stitch :)

From Tignes we had less than an hour's taxi ride to Bourg-St-Maurice to catch the EuroStar train to Lyon and from there we switched over to the TGV to Nimes. We spent the night here and then the next day back to the Hertz rent-a-car office (at the train station!) to pick up our hire car and start on our journey to Toulouse.

There are some rather spectacular Roman ruins in Nimes so before heading off we decided to pay one of them, at least, a visit. A short walking distance from the train station is the Arenes (Arena). Apparently, it is still used today for various events. You get an AudioGuide gadget that you listen too as you walk around and stop at various points of interest.

It was quite windy the day we were there and I was rather worried that Caitlin was going to blow away when she was right up at the top. I went up to have a look at the view from up there too but I'm not keen on heights so I didn't stay too long :)

After a rather delicious jambon (ham) baguette for lunch for me and hot dogs with fries for DH and the kids (they looked really yummy too - real sausages, covered with grated cheese and then grilled and then they put the fries on top inside the hot dog) we piled ourselves into the car and started our 2-3 drive to Toulouse. We marvelled at the wind farms at various points along the way and various castles and cathedrals dotted throughout the countryside. We took in as much green and trees other than palm trees and hills as we could (we don't get to see scenery like that here!).

Getting to our hotel in the city and then finding a carpark was interesting - in the end DH spied a 24 hour secure carpark across the street so unloaded us out the front of the hotel and then went off to park the car while I checked in. He was gone some time and I was starting to worry a little but he eventually made it back after half an hour or so. He had to go "half way around the world" as he puts it to get back to the car park because of all the one way streets.

Anyway, checked in and the car safely parked, we decided to head out and do a bit of scouting about. Our hotel was on the edge of Place du Capitole, it was New Year's Eve and things were starting to get busy. We found a nice little pizzeria place around the corner that we thought would be nice for dinner and managed to get a reservation for a little later that evening. Gave us enough time to go back to the hotel and get showered etc. We enjoyed a very nice dinner and then back to the hotel. I'm afraid we were all asleep well before midnight so didn't see the New Year in although I vaguely remember briefly waking when they left off the firecrackers.

New Year's Day found us heading 15-20 minutes outside of Toulouse to DH's friend's house for a walk in the forest with their dogs and then dinner. It was a great afternoon and a very enjoyable meal with wonderful company. Beatrix told me of a craft shop not far from our hotel that I might be interested in and when we left much later that evening, I had a hand-drawn map of the location in my gloved little hand :)

The next day we decided to take it easy and just explore and in my case, go searching for the craft shop. It wasn't very far away at all and we found it quite easily. There was another shop next door that looked interesting too so I sent the family off for a wander for half an hour while I had a browse through both shops. Unfortunately, neither of them had anything I was really interested in - the first one was mostly haberdashery type stuff and the second, La Droguerie, whilst it had some lovely things (mostly knitting kits, yarn and buttons and beads) there wasn't really any one thing that jumped out and said "buy me"! I must have been sick (actually, I am, but that's another story!).

I still had 20 minutes or so before the family were due back to meet me so I headed out of the shop and went for a little wander along the street. I went around a slight bend in the street and something in a window on the other side grabbed my eye so I went over to investigate. It turned out to be a little quilt/needlework store! It was a lovely little store, lots of French designers (although no Long Dog, not that I could find). I was happily pottering around and deciding what to buy when I looked at my watch and realised that I was overdue for meeting the family! They would be wondering where I was when they discovered I wasn't at the other store, so I hurriedly paid for my purchases and rushed back to meet them. They had just decided to head to the store I'd found as they had noticed it while walking about and figured that was where I was probably was :)

The next morning/early afternoon was spent walking around the city exploring some more. I don't think I saw much though as I was constantly walking with my head down watching where I was placing my feet to avoid the dog poop! That was one thing that put me off my visit to Paris many years ago although Toulouse was not quite as bad. We spent much of the afternoon relaxing in our rooms - I managed to get quite a bit done on St George's - and an early night as we had a big drive ahead of ourselves the next day back to Geneva for our flight back home.

We started out quite early the next day because we didn't want to rush the journey. About an hour and a half out of Toulouse we stopped at Carcasonne for some breakfast and a little look around the Medieval city - DS loves this sort of thing :)

We continued along our way, stopping every couple of hours or so for DH to rest his eyes and take in some sustenance. There was quite a lot of rain in patches which required lots of concentration. After one wrong turn we finally made it to the hotel where we had dinner and collapsed into bed. We had another early start the next day to give ourselves plenty of time to find our way to the airport, return the car and get checked in.

The next morning we found our way to the airport fairly easily, returned the car and checked in, in plenty of time. I finally managed to see Rush Hour 3 and The Bourne Ultimatium on the plane ride home so I can cross them off my list to see now. Enjoyed both of them.

So, now we are back home, where the dog was very happy to see us, and I am making my way through the mountain of laundry. The kids are back at school and DH is back at work. I have managed to pick up a cold along the way (usually it is DH or one of the kids but I was the lucky one this time) which is unfortunate but happens :)

I enjoyed our holiday but I'm glad to be back home too :)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Okay ...

who stole the last month and a half of 2007?!!! Boy, those last few weeks went by in a blur!

Since it has been a while I have lots of updating to do which I will get to this week. We only just got back from our winter holiday last night and I'm still unpacking and ploughing my way through two suitcases of laundry!

The kids are back at school tomorrow (they were supposed to go back today but since we didn't get back till late I gave them an extra day off) so after an essential shopping trip for groceries in the morning and some more laundry, I should be able to sit down in the afternoon and get this sorely neglected blog up to date!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas or however you celebrate the season and here's to a great 2008!

Back soon!