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…

The Mount

For some odd reason, every Kiwi seems to have the knowledge built in that if you’re going to the Mountain, you’re off to the snow; and if you’re off to the Mount, it’s all about sun and surf. It was part of my childhood, growing up in a suburb of Tauranga, we spent a lot of time at the beach and it’s something I remember fondly.

Bay of Plenty

We had the force’s apartment thanks to a last minute cancellation. The mattress is well past expiry but the location and other features of the apartment well overcame the annoyance. Look how close we are to the Mount!

We drove down Friday after work – ugh – and spent Saturday exploring. We had arranged to view some MR2 parts down in Whakatane (which is about an hour further down the coast) so once we’d done that, it was all about the exploring. We went down to Ohope Beach peninsula, then back to the small township (best hamburger, chips & milkshake combo we’d had in a long time), then Whakatane township, then Te Puke, Papamoa then back to the apartment. Si rested for a while and Mase and I went out exploring.

That kid simply did not shut up for the next two hours! We went along the surf beach and clambered on Moturiki Island. Onto the Cenotaph, where we watched the moon rise up from the sea and the sun setting over the Mount.

Sunday was travelling home via Hamilton and the new Waikato expressway; family dinner and going over Grandma’s photo stash. Good memories.

May WIPocalypse

Hello everyone if you’re still following! I have been deliberately limiting my web activity during the NZ lockdown (I worked thru apart from the one week of bereavement leave, and an afternoon where all I wanted to do was throw this !#$%*$%! laptop out the window) so I cut down on everything else. I read a lot (lots of romance, as I couldn’t follow non-fiction to save myself) and stitched and gardened and Lego. Nearly every cupboard has had a clean out, a lot of maintenance is already done and I’m ready for a long, solitary holiday.

Since I wrote the March WIPocalypse, I’ve had a few finishes. The Antique Celtic Sampler by Elisabeth Designs; Hands on Design covid freebie, Choose Happy; two Sandra Cozzolino Genoa Santas; a mash-up snarky hoop for a friend using a Brooke’s Books Elphaba and lastly, Nora Corbett’s Garden Party Cakes. I haven’t brought much, a Santa from Michelle Bendy that still hasn’t arrived and I spent a whopping buck fifty at the op shop in Paihia this weekend. I’m actually $20.30 in credit, so should finish the first half of the year in the black.

Currently I am beading Shakespeare’s Fairies, and I took Fairy Tales away last weekend. I have been more about finishing all the things rather than starting, although I would have liked it to be about working on 12 Days it’s nearly all Mirabilia. But I’m not beating myself up about goals or haul or tidying up or whatever – simply surviving without a breakdown is the short term goal, and measured daily.  

April’s question was Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO. My oldest WIP is still Tapestry Cat by Teresa Wentzler. It’s still about 75% complete and I don’t think I’ve touched it this year. It’s not something I can focus on as yet…

May’s question was Tell us about a piece that you absolutely loved stitching. For me, this was my first Mirabilia, Stargazer. I adored this piece from when I first saw an image but it would be 10 years before I came across the chart, and I only completed it 4 years ago. She is in my hall so I walk past her daily, and she’s one of the few charts I would consider stitching again.

All the best to you and yours – I’m not sure if I will rejoin as a weekly post yet but I will try to post for June WIPocalypse at the least.

The Friday Recommend – Self Recalibration

Normally, I’d be at the office today. Instead, I’m at the dining table & Mase is at the breakfast bar, working on his Passion Project which has to be handed in at 3pm today (he’s chosen to learn about Mull, as this is where my maternal clan came from). We’re already missing the Dawn Service and it’s only the 24th.

HISTORY: from https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/anzac-day/introduction

The date marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles and open a sea route to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Ottoman Turkish defenders.

Thousands lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Ottoman Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians. To this day, Australia also marks the events of 25 April. Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about one in six of those who served on Gallipoli.

They may have ended in military defeat, but for many New Zealanders then and since, the Gallipoli landings signalled that New Zealand was becoming a distinct nation, even as it fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.

Anzac Day was first observed in 1916. The day has gone through many changes since. The ceremonies that are held at war memorials up and down New Zealand, and in places overseas where New Zealanders gather, are modelled on a military funeral and remain rich in tradition and ritual.  

standasoneTOMORROW: instead of joining thousands of others in the pre-dawn dark at Auckland War Memorial Museum, we’ll be out at our driveway, one of us holding the cellphone listening to the radio transmit the service. From the Last Post to the Prayers, we’ll be remembering the sacrifice of those brave men and women (and animals!) who won freedom. It won’t be our expected tradition, but we will still be able to join in gratitude.

Please join in.

Friday Review: 10 Things

Hi everyone! Day 9 of official NZ lockdown, day 14 for us and things are pretty level. We are allowing the kids to do whatever today, although Si is now out with a drop saw, so good luck with the “sleep all day” goal that one of them set!

10thingsThis morning I have been listening to Laura Tremaine. I’ve talked about her work in the past and I’m sure I’ll talk about her in the future – I find her to be real, to show empathy, humorous and good-natured, and I think she’s probably a pretty awesome wife & mum too. This last episode was aptly titled : Marry The Person You Could Quarantine With & I think too, I’m fortunate in my choice.

Laura’s intro is:

 

I’m Laura Tremaine.

I live in Los Angeles. I’m a reader, a podcaster, a wife, and a mom.

At all times, I have (at least) 10 Things To Tell You. And I know that YOU have 10 Things To Tell.

This place is about connection, with each other and with ourselves. We can only do this by opening our eyes and seeing others and (even harder) by letting ourselves be seen.

Let’s tell our stories.

Let’s share our stuff.

I’ll go first.  

https://www.10thingstotellyou.com/podcast