July WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

Since I last posted, I have some finishes! Un Ricarmo per Rinascere is done, and the following day I finished the beading on Nora Corbett’s Winter Bear. He’s a little altered from the original, as I am going to mount him on a canvas and I used a different bugle bead. Otherwise he’s as per the chart, on 28ct Evening Shadows Lugana from Countrystitch. URPR is on 28ct Geyser Lugana from Countrystitch, beads and threads as charted.

On a positive note, I found the fox biscornu bag! I haven’t opened it, but at least I know where it is now – in my WIP pile in my stitch dresser. I also did some “housework” and cleaned up my DMC threads, added them into Stash Cache and sorted out all the other brands (Anchor, Sullivans) to go to another stitcher.

There’s an upcoming WIPocalypse challenge based around the Summer Olympics. From Measi’s blog:

The rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics will take place July 23 – August 8, 2021. For the duration of the Olympics (defined as beginning of the day to the end of the day in your time zone), you can pick and choose from the following “events” to add some spice to your stitching. All optional, of course!

  • Marathon – pick one piece, and dedicate yourself to progress on that single piece for the duration of the Olympics.
  • Olympic Flag – You may stitch on any piece or combination of pieces, but only stitch in the colors of the Olympic rings – blue, yellow, black, green, and red, as well as white (the background of the flag).
  • Sprint – Choose either a time block (for example, 3 hours) or a number of stitches that you can do fairly quickly in an afternoon, and see how many projects you can work on during the Olympics. If you prefer to limit to a certain number of pieces and just do a rapid rotation, this also would count as a sprint.
  • Decathlon – Pick ten pieces by ten different designers and complete at least 200 stitches OR 3 hours on each during the Olympics.

The Bothy Threads kit Moongazer (why did I call that Moonlight last month??) arrived at work while I was away sick, and so therefore all temptation to have a new start ceased, and is the real reason I have two finishes J however, I intend to do the “marathon” event for the Olympic stitching, and hopefully this one will be a finish long before the Games are over. He really is very beautiful, confetti and all! I am stitching him on 28ct Cashel (for a change) in Waterfall from Countrystitch.

Moongazer after four days work

On that note, and probably because I am risk-adverse and at heart a scientist, but What The Actual?? Who thinks it’s an okay idea to run an event of this size and nature during a pandemic? Also, Boris et all should be taken out the back and locked up for being criminally negligent. Pretty happy the Australian and NZ Rugby League teams won’t be travelling to the UK in a few months.

July 25 – Have you ever attended a stitching retreat? If so, tell us about your experiences. As I said last month, I attended the Christchurch meet-up that was open to all NZ members. It wasn’t a retreat as such, as the accommodation and the event were in different locations, but it’s opened me up to meeting new people. I’ve attended two of the three West Auckland meet-ups, and once rugby season is over, I’ll be going to the monthly North Shore events too. 

In Praise of Picture Books

The other month, while on the way to rugby training, RNZ said something almost unforgiveable. The Great Eric Carle was now the Late, Great, Eric Carle. From the back seat came a howl.

I am unabashedly a book worm. I’ll read (need!) almost anything printed, and always have. I’ve tried to bring up all four of our kids as readers, and like to think I’ve succeeded with three of them. We have solid collections of favourites, from Winnie the Pooh to last year’s The Inkberg Enigma (buy it from Unity!) and cover a wide range of genres, especially when you add on their dad’s favs, and books are part of day-to-day life.

The howl had come from Mr 11 and his mate, Kobe the First. They reminisced about The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and made their own list of what they could or would eat should they have the sudden urge to hibernate (rather less fruit and veges than the original). We then moved onto some other favourites and here’s some we think you can’t go wrong with.

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Buy this in a board format. Buy it as soon as you know you’re pregnant, or on the way to the baby shower. Stash a few at home for Welcome Baby presents. You can’t go wrong with this one.
  2. The Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy. Perfect for the child whose imagination blurs with reality, this Kiwi classic is on its second generation in our household. The extra beauty of the writing is that the main character (AKA the Boy) is never named, so you can very simply personalise this with your favourite person (hint: your child. That’s supposed to be your child). Another great Mahy is the Man Who’s Mother Was a Pirate.
  3. The Kiss That Missed by David Melling. This picture book is the start of a trilogy, all cleverly illustrated with plenty of subtle detail. It starts off with the King being in an awful hurry, and not stopping by to kiss his Prince good night…very relatable! Melling has plenty of other picture and hard books to choose from too.
  4. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd – another Kiwi classic that is just about on the second generation! Hairy and his mates are now in board book, paperback, video, live action plays etc and littlies love the rhythm and rhyme of these titles.
  5. The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathon King– a Kiwi graphic novel that is aimed at 8+ readers or anyone that still loves Tintin.

A Very Late May WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

I haven’t written for a while. We had a wee drama in the family (be proud of me, I didn’t rip someone’s head off for destroying one of my babies self-confidence & happiness) and a trip away from home. Lots of rugby training and games – Mase took out both Coach and Manager’s choice one Saturday. A RunAuckland walk, where Mase only beat me by a minute or so. A cold running its way thru the house, and antibiotics for me. Si & I have been to both a 7 Days and a Taskmaster episode filming (making up for not being well enough to attend the comedy festival in early May). The weather has turned to winter (boo) and it’s getting time to snuggle in and hibernate, despite the Christmas Eve rose still going strong.

Our trip was to Christchurch, the major city in the South Island. I had brought a ticket for the two-day NZ Cross Stitch group meet-up, and Si, Lou & Mase came down also. We flew in the day before, and out the day after, and the three of them explored all over the general environs. My favourite spot was the pier that goes out from New Brighton beach; it was almost full moon, crisp and clear. I love the sound of the sea.

The meet-up was good too! So lovely to get together with like-minded people, and I attended the lacing class. I’ve more than a few things to frame, and now that the local framer’s lacer isn’t available anymore, I can do that first step myself. Much better than staples or tape! I also dropped in plenty of charts for the freebie table, and got a few more back – a couple of Mirabilia and two more Teresa Wentzler’s. I really need to finish Tapestry Cat so I can start another TW. Fred will look gorgeous up on the wall.

May 30 – What was the first project you ever stitched? (whether you finished or not)? I can’t remember the first pieces, but I do remember the first one I had framed. It is a Stoney Creek design that I’ve seen a few times, the mother dog and puppies from the cover. I stitched it for my brother Johnny & his wife Tania; no idea if they still have it! I’ve stitched the puppy on the left for a couple of people as requests also, and still have the much battered chart booklet. I stitched the Alsatian by the letterbox and the cat on the front cover; possibly even the Yorkie. Zac has the cat framed in his room.

I can tell you what my latest project is – the Craftiness is Happiness April kit from Cotton & Twine, the UK subscription box. I finished that today (June 8th here in NZ) and will FFO tonight in the hoop as per their suggestion. That’s washi tape around the edge, also from the kit, and I’ll use that on my Hands On Summer hoops that I stitched earlier, as some 4” hoops have arrived and I think that’s a good look.

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.

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 #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#274

Hello everyone! Sorry for not keeping up with at least the weekly posts but this world? It’s got me hiding under the bed mentally.

Auckland has had another lockdown, due to Covid reappearing in the community after we had 102 days of normality. I’ve taken this hard in some ways, with my anxiety high, sleep is hard to find and frankly, I’d give Grumpy a run for his money.

So this month I have a finish – hooray!! – and a lot of progress beading on Shakespeare’s Fairies by Mirabilia. My finish is When Life is Done, by Dianne from Silver Creek Samplers.

It’s full on a tribute to Carol, with the butterfly instead of a bird, and the script in an autumn thread as we both loved the trees changing, and tulips as Mase chose those for her service. We’re waiting for Homestead to reopen then we’ll chose a frame together.

In the NZ XS group there’s a weekly focus challenge. I’m nearly there with Shakespeare’s Fairies & expect that I’ll have this one complete next week, if I have enough beads… So many beads…