WIP (Wednesday was a migraine) #252

HI everyone. Hope you’ve had a good week, especially if it’s coming up to your summer. I’m very very jealous! I’m not a fan of winter, and the current family focus (read: everybody but me) of going playing in the snow is making me cold even before we get there. Yay for Icebreaker merino socks.Last week’s #magicalstitches homework was around 12 Grimmauld Place. We could either work on WIP #12 or a combo of one & two – and as #12 is Guardian by Teresa Wentzler, lots of confetti and blends and changes, and I knew I was going to be time poor, I chose the combo. WIP #1 on my list is Fairy Idyll, which I already had out from starting the monthly Extra Credits, and the bonus is it’s fewer colours & some blocks.WIP #2 is, as Murphy could have predicted, my other TW, Tapestry Cat. Thankfully there is still some of the cat to stitch, so it’s sort of blockish. Sort of. Just as well I make working copies, as this is one I have to check constantly to make sure I am actually in the right spot.It was super easy to knock out the Fairy Idyll portion, but not so much with TC. I didn’t take him on the four-day work/play trip, opting for Mermaid of Atlantis (my one-a-day choice) so by the time we left, I had only about 50 stitches in and was thinking I’d be opting out of those points.

The weather turned to custard however on Sunday, so we left half-a-day early & arrived at home before the thunder started – phew! As I worked away on unpacking, cleaning (why oh why did we trust the Screaming Teen at home by himself?!) & stitching, the gutters overflowed and the other two snuggled into their bedrooms & enjoyed some quiet time. Without the “muuuum! Z did XYZ” and “muuuuuuuuum! M did ABC!” moments that graced the last few days, I got heaps done. And hallelujah, filled in enough gaps on TC to hit 536 stitches. Woot!This current week is all about our (not) favourite professor, Umbridge. Pink & kittens & tea & fluffy stuff. It’s been interesting trying to find WIPs to match the prompts.

WIP Wednesday #251 & bonus book mini-review

Morning everyone! This time last week I was absorbing the fantastic Becoming by Michelle Obama (audible version, which has the bonus of being in her voice and so with her intonations and emphasis). It was great, for work and playtime and transit time. The only obvious problem is of course the book hangover that results from a great read. Regardless of your colour, creed, race, status or whatever – this one will have some lesson to take onboard, even if it’s just that what’s on someone’s surface isn’t necessarily true. Look to their actions, and be empathetic. Remember that person next to you in the supermarket queue also has problems and prejudices, and work to minimise yours in such a way that others are enabled. Or at least, not inconvenienced or damaged.

Right. Onto the lighter stuff. Last week was the first relating to The Order of the Phoenix. I worked on the actual challenge points:

  1. Boring neighbour – 300 on something that can get boring – I used Mermaid of Atlantis’ borders and you’d think that would be straight forward. EHHHH no. Not when you look at the chart and count the BS line as where a ten block finishes…and it actually doesn’t! I had to frog 70-odd silk stitches (carefully!) and their corresponding BS line as I was two rows out. I’ve now started on the filigree corner for an Extra Credit task.
  2. Unapproved Magic – 300 on a project that’s been suspended for 5 months or your oldest WIP – Teresa Wentzler’s Tapestry Cat certainly qualified, as I started this in Christmas 2006! I worked in the Greek key sections on that top right corner and got in 600 back stitches. Boring but necessary.
  3. Dementor Attack – 300 on a project that has no faces –a new start, the Mill Hill Princess Carriage. As per, I’m making one for me and one for Ms Lou. I managed to get in all the stitching to be at the beading point – 758 stitches at work/training/travel.

This week’s challenge is around the address of 12 Grimmauld Place, the Black house that lies semi-hidden in London & is the home of the Order of the Phoenix. The options were either 500 stitches on WIPs 1 & 2, or 1000 on WIP 12. I’ve gone for the first option so there will be another session on Fairy Idyll and Tapestry Cat, as I just couldn’t face Guardian. I may or may not get this out – we’re leaving on a combo work/play trip tomorrow and neither of these WIPs is something I can take with me, FI being on the floor stand and TC being a complicated blend of multiple threads (plus white evenweave, eep!). At least there are large blocks of colour on the Mirabilia.

Bonus shot is of a mural we found in Point Chevalier, another suburb of Auckland. Not sure who the men are, perhaps the composers? But I liked it anyway.

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Have a good week!

Te Puna Quarry Park

In March, Louise made a cake for a first birthday, so we took the opportunity for a night away in Tauranga. The party was being held at the Te Puna Quarry Park, just outside the city limits, so while Lou spent time with her friends, we took the opportunity to explore.

The quarry itself ceased operations in 1979, and from 1996 a group of volunteers have worked to create natural habitats alongside art installations. There’s machinery (made safe), musical instruments, a hobbit hole, butterfly houses and more. We walked around for over an hour and probably only caught quarter of it. And the views!

January WIPocalypse & OLW Thrive

Hello everyone! I hope you’re well. 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.

My January goals were:

  • Finish Jardin Prive’s Eiffel Quaker COMPLETED
  • Mill Hill Golden Tannenbaum for my Small/Christmas All Year Round BOTH FFO
  • Hello There March (& FFO) not started
  • 341 stitches in Shakespeare’s Fairies for the HP SAL ACHIEVED

Additionally, I’ve got over a thousand other stitches in SF and at work, I’ve stitched two Genoa Santa’s (one for me, one for Lou), and started two of the Wales version. I’ve also touched one of my yearly goals and stitched on Fairy Idyll – one of the monthly HPSAL goals was 500 stitches in gold, so I’m used her dress. So far, there’s only 3 days this month I haven’t stitched, & I’m happy with that.

Late last year I asked Belinda (@aussiestitcher) if she wanted to part with her copy of Coffee Quaker (the one that says “first I drink the coffee, then I do the things”) and she sent me a huge haul. Three needleminders (great for holding up copies of charts on the frame), two pieces of Colour Cascade fabric, the chart and her thread remnants, some of which will be enough to complete the smaller portions on the chart! I’m spoilt.

February goals:

  • Bead & FFO Genoa Santa’s
  • Complete stitching on Wales Santa’s
  • Stitch & FFO Hello There March
  • Work on Fairy Idyll
  • Work on Shakespeare’s Fairies

Question: What SAL’s are you participating in this year?

After last year’s abysmal failure, I’m only doing two. One is the #ChristmasAllYearRoundSAL via my Instagram posts (if you don’t know, I’m Christmas mad) and the other is the #HarryPotterSAL via the Facebook group. I’ve completed a few challenges this year & I’m looking for ways to incorporate more WIPs into the rotations.

A LATE EDIT, JUST FOR STEPHANIE January Stitch From Stash has come out positive, despite the NZD-UK Pound exchange rate. Idyll cost quite a bit! And some fabric sales came thru the bank account last night, moving me from my already positive 59cents. LOL.

Jan-19
Budget $25.00
Fairy Idyll for Gail -46.76
Spotlight DMC*6 -11.40
Eiffel Quaker 21.25
Golden Tannenbaum *2 12.50
Fabric Sales (Lani) 70.00
Total Available Budget $70.59

As my One Little Word this year is THRIVE (and Simon has also adopted it when it comes to us as a couple, like he did with YES in 2018), we took advantage of a child & work free day and went to Hamilton on Monday. It was super hot very early on, so we didn’t spend much time in the sun but on the drive, I not only finished the stitching in Genoa but made a start to Wales. I enjoy these pieces when we’re driving. We ended up at the Gardens, a favourite place, and took in the new Katherine Mansfield garden. It’s based upon her short story, The Garden Party, and while I forgot to take shots of the tennis court area, the house had us going ah…

 

It’s just a 3-4M deep facade, but so much detail. In another year, when the garden is that much more established, it’s going to be beautiful.

And of course, in the entry piazza that leads to these extra garden “rooms”, there’s Alice & the White Rabbit:

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Uh Oh. Prepare for a long one, folks…plus WIP Wednesday #218

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote. I have no real excuse, just a general malaise with everything. I guess a mild semi-depression that I am working my way out of.

HEALTH – this is the biggie. The growth found on my annual physical in February has now been excised and a biopsy performed. And the best news – it’s benign. I am so relieved. However I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to boot camp & right now, I’m sticking to walking.

WEEK IN THE LIFE – I have completed my album – which was an achievement in itself! I am not happy with the volume of notes I made, & luckily I have enough in the way of embellishments that I can repeat the exercise in November (before December Daily). Ali’s newest Travel collection is somewhere in the NZ Post system so I hope to get that later this week. Photo post to come!

TRAVELLING – We’ve done a few small trips lately, as you would know if you followed my Instagram. We tried to get to a car wrecker in Whangarei the other weekend but due to an accident (no fatalities but two hours on a 2km stretch of road was frustrating) we couldn’t get there before closing. We ended up staying at Lang Beach, just south of Waipu Cove & did a lot of exploring around Whangarei. I also caught up with a previous workmate Jill, who has Si’s total admiration for sailing around the world (multiple times as long term readers will know) and not killing her husband in tight confines. Last Saturday we got up early, drove up & found the bumper we needed for the Toy Car – and the targa glass panels and covers & some other bits too! Also if you’ve coveted one, I can confirm that a Blunt umbrella is awesome. I got myself the Karen Walker limited edition, as it’s pretty and the odds that the boys will want to be seen using it are low!

OTHER STUFF – the Auckland Photography exhibition is on and Rory, a friend & official Briscoes photographer, has an exhibit on at the Wintergarden Café by the Auckland museum. His theme is birds & flowers & there were some pretty things.

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I went to a number of NZ Comedy Festival events – the 7 Days live screening with Louise, Paul Choudry with Si & then Lou treated us to Jamie Bowen – whose surprise guest was Dai Henwood. It wasn’t comedy as such, more a discussion around a wide range of ideas/events, but it still had laughs and things to ponder. I liked it.

20180530_173025I cleaned and re-stocked the big tank. Tubbs is happier! I do have the smaller tank still set up, much to Si’s disgust, and I think I will get some more mollies and a betta for this one – plus a new light. It needs a light desperately, now its winter and the sunshine hours have reduced.

READING – a lot of trash interspersed with some good writing. June/July looks good for me, with a lot of my fav authors released or releasing for the Northern Summer. I read the latest Rosalind James as part of the pre-release group; there’s a Nalini Singh Psy-Changling & a Tracey Alvarez Bounty Bay next week, a Kirsten Ashley Chaos & Eloisa James Wilde in July, and two LH Cosway to come (all pre-ordered to my Kindle). I had forgotten about the last two Nora Roberts releases so they’re on my Kindle now too.

20180519_065758Non-fiction has been Brene Brown & “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders & “Slow” by Brooke McAlary. I brought Si “Spymistress” by William Stevenson for Audible and he recommends that one.

I also brought Cocktales, not for the writing but because of the cause. If you are not a romance writer you may be unaware of the huge uproar over a certain author deciding to trademark a word, which in this instance was “cocky”. Her reasons are as shallow as a bird bath is to the ocean, and multiple organisations are now funding the court battle against her, including an union organisation for authors. I don’t believe any one person can TM a commonly used word (it’s not like Xerox or Hoover, where the brand is now also the action) & I think her actions were malicious in intent.

STITCHING – I haven’t stitched all that much since I wrote. 8 instances on the LHN Summer Band Sampler got me to a finish; then 5 sessions on a new start, home*stitch*ness Four Seasons (New Zealand) version which I have quickly fallen out of love with (I think it’s the Cashel fabric, it’s not evenweave & very scratchy); two beading sessions on Mill Hill’s Honey Pot so those are now glued onto felt and ready to cut out as FFO’s; and at work/travel I am working on the two Trinidad Santa’s from last year’s Mill Hill/Sandra Cozzolino release. I’m up to the fiddly parts & making sure thread doesn’t carry on the back of the plastic canvas version. And at home I’m back in love with Fairy Idyll and nearly done with the greenery at the base of the rabbit. My round robin also came back; I need to stitch the square left & bead it all but that’s a budgeted finish for when I’m a little tired of FI.

STITCH FROM STASH – I had my first “no purchase” month in quite some time. This at least brought me back from the brink & I finished in the positive. I’ve also sold (for the same price as I paid) the second copy I had of the Mirabilia Cinderella design so this month looks good too.

Apr-18 May-18
Budget $25.00 Budget $25.00
Melinda – 4*mags -11.04    
Andie – OOP Miras -40.00    
home*stitch*ness 4 Seasons -9.81    
Spotlight Cashel FQ -34.99    
Spotlight 10 DMC -16.90    
       
Melinda’s RR Gigi 12.56 SOLD Angel of Christmas 10.00
Countrystitch Credit (dye) 4.44 LHN Summer Sampler 14.63
LK Be Bold 9.25    
       
Rollover $25.20 Rollover -$36.29
Total Available Budget -$36.29 Total Available Budget $13.34

WIPOCALYPSE QUESTIONS: I’ll post these in the June entry. I need to make sure I post more regularly!

thanks for reading!

March WIPocalypse

WIPocalypse is hosted by Mel at her blog http://measi.net/measiblog/ ; it’s my favourite SAL, mostly due to the host organisation (which is spot on), the range of topics & the wide variety of stitchers participating. There’s always something to oooh over! Click on the link to the right.

March Focus:

  • Mira RR piece – started, I hates it
  • CAYR SAL – started Satsuma Stocking #3, the reindeer one
  • Flosstube update – Feb’s uploaded in the first week of March

Yep. March came in and stole my stitchy bug. The weave on the RR piece is very tight (32ct opalescent that was then dyed) and I am not enjoying my progress. I have to wear the reading glasses and work short stints, or my head aches. And bc my reading glasses are so focussed, I can’t do my usual and stitch along to Flosstube, as I can’t even focus on the (very large) TV across the room. It’s going to be a daylight only, headphones on, gripping audiobook to get me to the finish line here. I managed maybe 5-6 thread lengths yesterday. Or the skirt train bit, if you’re more visual.

With our Sydney trip happening mid-month, most of my external, non-work, focus was on this. Extra grocery shopping, paying bills early, getting out of my laundry cycle – none of this helped with stitching! This trip was just Si & myself, and we crammed heaps into the two days in Sydney then tried to do a lot of the things on the cruise ship, so even tho I took Fairy Idyll, even she didn’t see much progress. Still, as Katy says, every stitch completed is a stitch closer to the finish. As always, hover or click for captions.

Coming back has been full on too, with a couple of work projects and the netball – Si & I attended night two of the Taini Jamieson Trophy games. Next for these teams is the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia – we’ll be there for Tag later in the year. FWIW Jamaica won the trophy this year.

April Focus:

  • Finish the Mira RR piece
  • Continue with the Satsuma Stocking
  • FFO a 2017 ornament into a flat fold
  • March Flosstube update – even tho it’s going to be very short!

 

SFS – still in the black! The Stash Unloading things I brought on 01/03 still haven’t arrived, so a refund has been supplied, but the Lizzie Kate charts I brought (Red White & Beach and Be Bold & Brave) did. I didn’t manage to carve out the time to get to Crewel Gobelin but as the bug is missing, I wasn’t too upset. Today I brought two “oddball” cuts from Catherine at Countrystitch – because they are unusual cut lengths left when processing orders, she sells the pieces at a discount. I’ll have about 4” to each side of the Renaissance Mermaid but that’s perfectly fine with me!

Mar-18
Budget $25.00
Jodi – HOD Latte Love -6.76
Jodi – Stitching Feeds my Heart -15.21
Countrystitch Orphan A6 Bourbon -37.67
Countrystitch Orphan A9 Cook Strait -19.93
LK Red White & Beach -12.43
LK Be Bold & Brave -12.43
Refund Supplied Jodi 21.97
Countrystitch Credit 6.09
Rollover $76.57
Total Available Budget $25.20

March 25 – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend? I’m not sure I’ve discovered anyone completely “new”! For fabric dyeing, I obviously love Catherine’s products as the DMC comp is spot on to the actual fabric that arrives, and she allows for shrinkage when she calculates your actual fabric size. Try Countrystitch if you’re looking for something different.

On Etsy, I like Satsuma St, Jenny @ Home*stitch*ness & Stitchrovia. None are completely “new” either but one thing I know about stitching – my tastes change, & every designer has merit.

Wellington, or There & Back Again

NOTE: hover over the photos to show captions!

A couple of weekends ago, we took advantage of a gap in the Tag schedule and flew down to Wellington for a quick getaway. We left Auckland in horrid squally weather (Mase & Si looking at the nearby planes gives it away as to how bad it was) but when we landed in Welly it was much clearer. Perfect for outdoor breakfast watching the seabirds catch fish at Oriental Bay, walking around the city centre & meeting friends for lunch (hello Catherine & Kerry!!).

We took in the Lego exhibit at Te Papa – huge masterpieces with some very clever detail. Si found Jeremy Clarkson’s Robin Reliant next to Big Ben – if you haven’t seen that episode, please PLEASE stop reading now, go to YouTube and search it up. It’s freaking hilarious to see people’s reactions & he even made a live news broadcast! The Mona Lisa is fully made of the 1*1 blocks – like a plastic cross stitch. The boys even made their own addition to the exhibit with a pokeball (I don’t know the name, can you tell?!).

We’d signed on to relocate a car back to Auckland – a dollar a day, plus insurance waiver, 900 free kilometres plus a tank of gas. I’d do it again, but I wouldn’t use Budget purely because of the customer service at Wellington airport. I actually made a complaint & I don’t normally go that far.

The end of day one found us at the Hacienda Lodge in Palmerston North. I do recommend this place; the hosts were lovely, full of useful recommendations; it’s clean & tidy (we ended up with the end unit which is also wheelchair friendly).

Day two & we chose to drive up the lesser roads as far as we could. I found a church I’d love to relocate! Then five minutes up the road, one I wouldn’t – it was one of those 1920’s concrete ones and to strengthen it the contractors had obvs removed the stained glass windows & replaced with plain aluminium, ick. At least it was in use!

We stopped at Waiouru Army Museum (Te Mata Toa) as we do nearly every time we travel SH1. This time they had a new temp exhibition, which consisted of photographs taken in the tunnels under the WWI battlefields in Arras, France. We couldn’t do the Passchendaele exhibit as we were warned that it was too graphic for Mase, but the kids loved the games and graphics in the Food Glorious Food exhibit, especially the game where you caught the ingredients as a rat knocked them off the shelf.

Late lunch in Taupo, then a quick drive to the rental depot at Auckland Airport. It cost me more than either the Jetstar tickets or the car rental to park our car for the 48 hours but we’ve got lots more in our memory bank.