Woo-hoo!!

Hello everyone! I am feeling on top of my little world right about now, having finished the Auckland half marathon series with a PB in the 5KM portion (which is what I am limited to), finishing at 53:40 and 219/259 finishers. Si also got a PB yesterday for the half, and Mase ran in his first race and pulled up happy with his performance, but outraged that his age group is from his 11 to (family friend’s son) James’ 19! He will need to learn how to pace himself, as he went too fast in the first two K, then walked a bit, then ran the last 2K. Here he is at the finish line:

I’ve hung my collection of medals from the 10K at Devonport & Omaha; and the three 5km events from Maretai, Coatesville and the Waterfront on the end of my desk, as a daily reminder that even tho these things can be hard, and getting out there is important.

WIP Wednesday #285 & a WIPocalypse update

Hi everyone. Again, long time no write. I am really struggling for motivation, both in work and play. Our clocks went back on Sunday last week, wah, and it feels like summer has up and left. Saturday I was lounging around in shorts, and Sunday I was scrambling for trackies! The rest of the week we’ve been hovering in that almost overcast 21 degrees area, so it’s not quite sundress but not quite a wrap weather.

I made the decision to leave #magicalstitches for the remainder of this year at least. I wasn’t keeping up with the reading, let alone the stitching, and the notifications were overwhelming. It’s too big a group for me and was making me more anxious – the very thing your hobby shouldn’t make you! I did very little stitching for a good 2-3 weeks, just spending (oh boy!) and therefore I’m not going to keep up with SFS this year either. It’s all good as I don’t have a budget as we’re very lucky to not have our incomes affected, and still afford to have teenager appetites scrounging off us.

So no finishes since the last time I wrote, and I’m waiting on one order from Catherine at Countrystitch, two 123Sttich orders, the last Sassy Devils pouch (I cancelled this sub as the quality has dropped over the last two pouches, possibly as they had one of the team leave) and I added on the Spring box from Cotton & Twine as it has an exclusive Emma Congdon/Stitchrovia design that I want to do. Even if it is on the (to be supplied) aida! I could always give that away I suppose.

So, to WIPocalypse and the questions. February was What stitch-a-longs (SALs) are you participating in this year? and March was What is your process for working on WIPs? Are you a one-at-a-time stitcher, a rotation stitcher, or something else?

So. Feb is easy now – absolutely NOTHING (please say NOTHING in your best Sergeant Schulz voice, okay?).

And for the March question – that’s much harder. Right now I am whateverying, or stitching on whatever I have a whim to work on. Last week I pulled out Mirabilia’s Fairy Tales, looked at it for a few days, frogged the offending colours, looked at it again for a few days, then started stitching. I am not a fan of the rose colours here but I can’t get them quite right – hopefully third time will be the charm! I do want to finish this one and maybe Un Ricarmo before I start another – I have several mermaids, plus Holly, Feather Fairy and the Christmas Fairy to start. Or I just start all the things!

WIP Wednesday #284

Hey everyone! Hope you are having a better week than I am…well, no, that’s a lie. There are highlights (Si brought me an electric bike and it is AWESOME, I did a virtual 5km for Maretai and will get a medal) and lowlights (the anniversary of Mum’s passing, Lou still not speaking to us, work is noisy and horrid and pressure-filled). I am reading romance that makes me giggle, and listening to the end of Nalini Singh’s Quiet in her Bones (I read and listen to her books) and about to start Billy Connolly’s An Audience. There was a documentary about Billy this week on TV and I remember how he makes me smile.

This week I am again ignoring the weekly prompts and focussing on the monthly. I picked up the piece I dropped this time last year, Jim Shore’s 12 Days of Christmas, and worked out where I needed to pick it up. I am just focussing on needle thru fabric right now, and the rhythm of doing just that. Progress photo next week, promise.

Anyway, take care, especially if you’re not in NZ.

WIP Wednesday #283

Top o the morning to ye… happy St Patricks Day to all my fellow Irish descendants out there (clearly, there’s more than a few at Google)! I am about to relax for the rest of my day, the last of my “sick leave” before I have to go back into the office. I’ve worked thru from home and I’m stuffed. There will have to be a conversation with the boss about this, as the office “manager” won’t allocate someone  to even part of my role while I am on leave or sick, unless it’s Christmas. My pay is great but condition wise this sucks eggs.

Because I am so tired, I’m really not stitching. This week I have not even started the prompts; I’ve FFO’d one of the Hands On pieces and that is that. It is pretty gorgeous tho! I also scored some stuff from Hospice shop, two boxes of threads for $30. One half is pretty much Anchor thread, but I can use that for little things or embroidery so all good there.

Anyways, have a lovely week.

WIP Wednesday #282

Hey everyone – sorry for the long delay in writing. We are into another lockdown, and this household is actually in isolation at home, due to sickness. I am hoping to get the covid swab results today for the three of us that had tests yesterday; and also hoping that Mase actually “just” has strep throat and nothing too serious.

I have been stitching away at the #magicalstitches prompts and getting in some finishes! I am ready to FFO both parts of the Hands On Design Stitching by the Sea, the pincushion and basket; and last night finished beading the Jim Shore Christmas Spirit Santa – he just needs felt glued to the back to FFO him. I think he’s super cute, very vibrant colours! Up to this point I have 18930 stitches for the year and am feeling quite productive!

Jim Shores Christmas Spirit Santa

I also started the next Hands On Design piece last night, Oh Say Can You Sea. I have altered the colours and am doing it on the same piece of coffee/tea dyed fabric that I did the other two on, as I plan to put them to work in the same area of my home. I will have to work on something else this week too, as it fits 6 of the 10 prompts and even if I have to stitch penalty stitches (which is on Tapestry Cat) I would still like to keep up with this weekly challenge. At least I am not bored!

WIP Wednesday #281

Hey everyone! It’s a grey, humid Wednesday here in Auckland and I’m doing my best to be focused. I’m kind-of over work, from the POV it’s repetitive but then again, that helps with the anxiety side! There is a lot of noise as people return from holidays (we had two long weekends in a row) and of course, the issues that slow production and even slower shipping have in all retail businesses these days.

Stitching wise I am hitting the weekly #magicalstitches goals with even a little playtime mixed in. I didn’t stitch Friday/Saturday this last week as I had a migraine; but my week started with a small finish and #FFO so all is good!

My wee finish is an etsy seller’s adaptation of van Gogh’s Starry Night. This is one Mase actually chose for himself, and now I’m kitting it up to use as a teaching aid for a workmate who also wants to learn to stitch. I’ve purchased a copy of the Great Wave from this seller also – I might end up with a museum gallery on my work wall!

Last week’s challenges revolved around the first chapters of the book Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief. There was a beach scene, a WIP containing stockings, a WIP that is blue, a WIP that has an animal AND a human, a WIP that has a dessert and a WIP that has an activity I would do at camp. I chose new starts for all the options – Hands On Design’s Stitching by the Sea pincushion for the beach (350 stitches and super cute seagulls), Jim Shore’s Christmas Spirit Santa for stockings (320 stitches), and Mirabilia’s Athena (1249 stitches) for the remaining tasks.

Book one, Week one

This week’s challenge is a little less intense, with 1200 stitches divided between a WIP that’s plumbing related, a WIP that contains a flag and a WIP that has something I could give up. I’m already done with one set and half-way thru the second…

January WIPocalypse Update

Hi everyone. Apologies if you’ve been looking for a post from me, I took several weeks away from most media. It’s summer here and while we’ve had a few crap days, on the whole it’s been good weather and good family time. Three of us went down to Rotorua; walked in the Redwoods forest, around lakes and did the gondola/luge (Mase loved the luge so much we are now the proud owners of annual membership passes, #facepalm) and ate like kings. Then back to work, in the horrid lead up to the fiscal year end, and I cannot wait for this to be over!

Up in the Redwoods

I made up my mind regarding stitching –following along with the Magical Stitchers group again. The group is following the Percy Jackson series, so lots of Greek gods and legends; it’s the series Mase and I planned to read together this year anyway. Last time I did this I did stitch a heap and on a wide variety of projects, and I wasn’t bored for very long at all. So far, closing week five, and I’ve got (to be precise) 9948 stitches in on my focus full coverage (Mirabilla’s Red Skies at Night) and so have a finish for 2021, and I only started it on December 27th.  Yes, I do have the “new start” buzz! It does mean that I will need to find another Full Coverage to focus on – I’m thinking a Christmas stocking as I’ve had a particular chart for years. All up for January I did 10128 stitches, so feel like I channelled a bit of Stephanie!!

Red Skies

My other goals are to complete the Autumn/Winter and Spring series from Hands On Design; and to get at least a couple of Sandra Cozzolino Santa’s done. That doesn’t seem too unachievable. I’ll measure the Stitch From Stash just for my own curiosity – it got very ugly in the last few months of the year as I brought all the things…so I have 25 smalls on my list which is far more than ever before. I have also spent quite a bit this month so…yeah. Without any further purchases (not likely) and any finishes (I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few) I will finish the six months in credit, but just. Purchases included some silks and beads for Red Skies, two FQ from Countrystitch (Fern & Feijoa), a Nora Corbett chart and the etsy one I mentioned above.

This month I have also worked on Tapestry Cat (a massive 180 stitches) and kitted Mase up in an Etsy version of van Gogh’s Starry Night. He is doing this on plastic canvas and I think I’ll do one on gold perforated paper, and cut the result out like a frame. There’s a few more by the seller, Cross Stitch By Narnie (no spaces on etsy) including The Scream, American Gothic, The Kiss, The Great Wave off Kanagawa etc. I’m pretty happy he’s stitching again as it’s good to have a hobby that doesn’t involve his computer screen!

This month’s WIPocalypse question is: Tell us about a WIP on which you’ve really struggled to make progress. Explain its history. What appears to be the reason you’re struggling? Easy! Tapestry Cat is one I am definitely struggling to focus on. I brought Fred as a kit in December 2006 and he’s been in and out of rotations ever since. Part of that is that it’s the typical Teresa Wentzler design, with lots of blended threads and half/quarter stitches and a ton of backstitch. That top portion of the frame is just about complete! Part of the reason is that I need quiet to concentrate on him; and the other bit is that right now I have positional hypotension (low blood pressure) and he’s just too complicated. Sorry Teresa!

WIP Wednesday #281

Hey everyone! I’ve not had much brain space for stitching as we gear up into fiscal year end/Christmas/oh dear me in Retail land; plus home life isn’t slowing down. I have missed 3 of the last 7 days, but have the middle Summer hoop stitched and a start on the third and last hoop; and some back stitch done on the biscornu. My 123Stitch order arrived and was promptly “hidden” from me (FYI fam, a large yellow envelope down the side of your bed isn’t hidden).

Merry Christmas to you and yours – I wish for you health & happiness.

WIP Wednesday #280

Hello lovelies. I’m writing today from my lovely home desk; looking out at the pruned lavender and roses – that was a Sunday job, in the hope more bloom will be out for Christmas Day. I’m watching Bridgerton promos, hoping these turn out at least half as good as the books. At the very least they seem to be educating a few on the Georgian court/clothing/colours. And I’m mildly celebrating the Electoral College confirming Joe Biden as the next POTUS.

There hasn’t been anything exotic this last week, unless you consider only having to cook a couple of nights as exotic! Not only did we eat out twice (once for work do, once with a very dear friend) but the boys decided not to clean up the kitchen. If there isn’t workspace, I don’t cook! No travel, no adventure – I’m needing to hunker down for a bit until Christmas is done. Irrespective of it being our Saviour’s birth, it can be a very stressful time.

Stitching wise I am slowly moving along with both the middle Summer hoop of Hands on Design’s Well Rounded, but I’ve completed the stitching portion of the top side of the Faby Reilly biscornu. There is a LOT of back stitch in my future…

Stay well – stay home, wear a mask, support your local retailers where you can. x

WIP Wednesday #279

Hello lovelies. I’m going to start today’s post with a bit from the wonderful, gentle soul that is Kristen Strong. Long time readers might remember me talking about her books Girl Meets Change or Back Roads to Belonging. I really do go back to these books, and Change in particular. I am NOT good at change.

Kristen has one passage today that really spoke to me. “This Christmas season may be the most difficult one you’ve experienced to date. If that’s true, then I’m so sorry. Like the people of Israel who didn’t receive what they expected but needed, I pray the Lord shows you today, even this hour, a glimpse of His Light telling the dark corners of your heart  exactly what it needs to know.”

If you want to read the whole blog entry, or see more from Kristen (who is also part of (in)courage) check her out HERE https://kristenstrong.com/letting-go-of-expectations-and-letting-in-the-light/

On Sunday Si & I went back up to Omaha and competed in the half marathon/10K distances. Both of us finished, both slightly slower than Devonport despite the fact the track was flatter as it was HOT! I ended up needing medical attention as (for the first time in my life) my blood pressure dropped like a stone. I don’t know why as I drank heaps during the walk; I can only put it down to eating breakfast which I wouldn’t normally do prior to exercise. I shan’t make that mistake again, as I’m still a little shady.

A sculpture I walked past about half way…

I am planning on scheduling in training times, adding in a few bootcamps, getting proper orthotics for my plantar (on-the-shelf product isn’t working as well as I would hope) and maybe doing a virtual event between now and Valentine’s Day, which is the next event on the calendar.

Stitching wise, I had a thread finish on the Barbados Santas but I didn’t want to take beading away with me, so I took the Hands On Design (Cathy Habermann) Well Rounded summer stitching away with me. I have completed the smaller design of the three and started the middle, which has the beautiful use of negative space that I like. I think I will hoop finish these then put Velcro on the back, so I can hang each season vertically down a wide ribbon.

The first Summer circle is stitched

I am still trying to think about 2021. Do I want to float from project to project as the wind or whim takes me, or be focused via the Magical Stitches list? Or simply pick 21 projects for 2021? That at the least might help reduce my WIP or stash pile, which has grown by a huge chunk (and is about to grow more, as I spent a ton on 123Stitch’s Pre-Christmas sale).  I wanted to stitch a stocking or two this year, but didn’t even start one. I have all those lovely charts that I picked up from Tina’s clearance, and most of the threads, so that would be inexpensive to roll out… decisions decisions!