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!

WIP Wednesday #278

Morena everyone! I’d say “happy singles day” but what?? I may work for a mainstream retailer but this just looks like another excuse for a sale day – except of course in the actual country of origin, China, where it is both celebration and retail day: Via Wikipedia: The Singles’ Day, or Bachelors’ Day, originated at Nanjing University in 1993. Singles’ Day celebrations spread to several other universities in Nanjing during the 1990s. November 11 (11/11), consisting of four “1”s, was chosen as it represents four singles.

Anyways, back to me. It’s all about me, right? Hmm. Si generously passed on his man flu to me and I ended up needing 7 days off work, plus all the weekend days, to get myself back to anything resembling normal. It wasn’t covid, thank you Lord, but another virus that is almost as heavy. I do the weekly “flu tracker” emails and interestingly there has been a spike in recent weeks. I have the gift of catching every bug that does the rounds!

I haven’t done that much stitching in the meantime. I did suss out the ribbon conversion in Luce Mia – the original is reasonably bright teals, so I went to corresponding blues, which looked awful, so then I went to a colour range that is also used in Mermaids of the Deep Blue. I am now at the part of completing the fin edge so I can blob out this weekend and stitch the one colour of her tail. I have converted that to a GAST for a bit of variety tho. The Barbados Santa’s are coming along, and I have joined the Mill Hill Monday group to keep me motivated there.

Reading has been a lot of forgettable stuff until this last week. I have the ARC of the new Rosalind James; and I’ve been well enough to listen and follow the Peter Robinson DCI Banks book Careless Love. Sadly I am nearly at the end of that series, having made the 20+ books last nearly two years – write faster, Peter!! Not sure what I will move onto after those, as I enjoy both the writing style, & character development and the tones of Simon Slater, the narrator are lovely. Any suggestions?

Book Review: Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristen Harper

Synopsis: Up in the attic, with views across the sparkling bay, she opens the lid of the carved trunk. Carefully moving aside the delicate linen wedding dress once worn by her great-aunt, she unpacks all the smaller boxes inside until she finds the leather-bound diary. She knows this will change everything…

All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, being spoiled with cranberry ice cream and watching the tides change from the rooftop. Now, heartbroken from a recent breakup, Zoey can see her elderly aunt’s spark is fading, and decides to move to the island so they can care for each other.

When she arrives to find her cousin, Mark, sitting at the solid oak kitchen table, she knows why Aunt Ivy hasn’t been herself. Because Mark—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.

With the cousins clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when the local carpenter who’s working on Ivy’s cottage takes her side. As he offers Zoey comfort, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper, and throws doubt on Mark’s claim…

Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. The discovery could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but can Zoey trust that the carpenter really has Ivy’s best interests at heart? And will dredging up an old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?

A stunning and emotional read about old secrets, new love and never forgetting the importance of family. Perfect for fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Robyn Carr and Mary Alice Monroe.

My Thoughts: I admit I clicked on this title initially because of the cover (oh la la) and the name of the author – I didn’t read past Kristen H!!! However, win on my part because this was very, very enjoyable.  The book has changed a little since the synopsis was written, but the general idea is there. The characters grow and change, the dialogue and situations are realistic (I was sniffing a bit at the examples of early stage dementia, having only recently experienced this with a relative) and overall, I’d give this four stars. I will be looking for more from this author.

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage releases on Dec 7th 2020. I received my copy as an ARC from Bookouture via NetGalley.

WIP Wednesday #277

Morena everyone (that’s Māori for Good Morning). It’s another sunny humid spring day down here in Auckland and of course, I’m stuck at work. If there is one thing 2020 has taught me, it’s to be grateful that I’m “stuck” at work. To have the ability to move freely within my country, to have the ability to pay my bills, to have the ability to buy frivolous stuff, go to sporting matches, walk on the beach or in a park, go out for dinner or a show – it’s all so very, very good. There’s a load of shite being posted on Twitter from a group of UK central/right wing activists about how NZ has been transporting people to concentration camps and the like – I can assure you that is not the case!

Next stop, the Australian coast…

On Saturday I went out to Liz’s at Murawai. She lives on the cliff above the beach and the gannet colony, and the view is *chef’s kiss* I took part in an introduction to surface embroidery (I’d forgotten most from a previous course) and am currently blitzing away at a kit of hers, that of course I am converting to my own colourway. The kit can be found here: https://www.thestitchsmith.co.nz/categories/embroidery/embroidery-kits/aotearoa-tree-of-life-2?gn=embroidery%20KITS-preprinted%20fabric&gp=2

I am also working on Luce Mia when the light goes on in the lounge (embroidery is much easier in daylight) and at work, the Barbados Santa duo is coming to life.

Readingwise, I am currently reading the new Eloisa James romance, My Last Duchess, which is the latest in her Wildes series. I have loved Eloisa’s novels for years (yes, I know who she is IRL, not really Eloisa) and have often gone on reading tangents after. I might even be more tolerant of Shakespeare! I’ve also read an ARC of an upcoming title via NetGalley, which will be my Friyay post. I’m trying to get a “new to me” author at least fortnightly. It’s one way of expanding the boundaries I pulled around myself this year.

Anyways, take care, especially if you’re in a covid hot-spot. Let me know what you’re doing to help yourself mentally too – we should all be sharing the good stuff!

WIP Wednesday #276

Well, it’s still Wednesday somewhere in the world, even tho it’s definitely Thursday for me!

Barbados Santa – #3 in the series

I put away Fairy Idyll last week – she wasn’t bringing me any happiness and it felt like a chore. I guess a two week slog every now and again will be the norm with her. Instead, I worked a few days on the Barbados Santa pair (I’d only got the hat/hair part completed before) and then a new start – Luce Mia from Nora Corbett on Countrystitch Cook Strait (cause mermaids always belong in the sea, right?) which is the other half of the fabric used on Sirens of the Sea. This is two of her hair colours complete, and I’ve kind of worked out a GAST conversion for her tail (it’s mostly one DMC which is booooring). She’s about the right mix of size, complexity and interest that I want now, as we head into the busy retail season and all the end-of-year things.

And today I opened a parcel I’d ordered in APRIL from a local crafter. These are the initials of everyone in the family and my plan is to hang from the light garland that will be on the big mirror on the lounge wall. I’ll have to either add new initials as partners/children come into the fam or give the ornament away when child moves out – I like the first idea better! Have a lovely week. If you’re in NZ, stay safe this Labour Weekend and enjoy some time in the outdoors.

WIP Wednesday #275

Hey everyone! Look at this, a post with stitching on a Wednesday. Wow.

This week I’ve only dawdled on Fairy Idyll, severely unmotivated as I was worried about the event last Sunday. I have finished around with adapting Cathy Habermann’s Year in Chalk December chart to fit a specific frame, so here it is:

The original, available from 123Stitch
My version, in GAST chalk on Jade PTP Belfast

As for the event, it was my first competitive 10k, based on the Devonport Half Marathon. Si completed the half, just outside the time limit, and I completed the 10k just inside that limit at 1:51. My plantar didn’t give me too much grief (it did hurt at times, and I did cry when the site physio manipulated it after the event) but I’ve pulled up okay. Roll on Omaha in December!