Monday, December 31, 2007

Stitching Schedule 2008

It's New Year's Eve here now, so I've updated the sidebar to include my stitching plans for 2008. I decided to drop the "Almost UFOs" category as the whole point is to make progress without stressing myself. So now it is focus projects most of the time, plus QS Garnet on Wednesdays, Defender of the Kingdom on the second weekend and Dawn Star on the third weekend.

I'm also stressing to myself that if I don't follow this, it doesn't matter. It is a guideline not a rule!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Progress on Garnet

I was planning to start Garnet today - Christmas Day. However, I haven't been feeling all that great the last few days. I've been feeling pretty stressed and like my brain chemistry is a bit messed up, which equals feeling anxious, a little depressed and very restless. I was wishing that I had brought The Alpine Garden on holiday with me, as I had no stitching until today when I opened up my Christmas presents and got Garnet out of the wrapping paper. Stitching tends to slow me down and therefore calm me down as well, which is why I was lamenting not having anything. Dave pointed out that I still had the .pdf on my laptop and I could always print the first page here and start stitching anyway.

It seemed such a good idea that I went and did exactly that. I now have confirmed the fact that ink jet printers are NOT the ideal printer for printing charts if you use highlighter pens to mark you stitching. It runs and is much harder to follow that a clear, laser printed page. But I got in a couple of days stitching and it did help me feel better, so that was the most important thing.

As I'll only be stitching on her one day a week come the new year, I'm planning to take a photo at the end of each stitching day. So I've done that so far. (Yes, at last we're getting to the pictures in the post, which are far more interesting that my rambling on.)

Day 1 - 23rd Dec, 2007

Day 2 - 24th Dec, 2007

Day 3 - 25th Dec, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Progress on The Alpine Garden

Here's my current progress on The Alpine Garden by The Drawn Thread.

We're going away on holiday tomorrow and I'm not going to take it with me, so I thought I'd take a photo before I put it away.

It remains fiddly to stitch, but it does look lovely as each band gets completed, so I'm looking forward to making more progress on it.

If I do any stitching while I'm away, I'm going to start HAED's QS Garnet. I'll just see how busy I am and how I feel.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Christmas Spirit

Marcus and I were waiting in the supermarket for Dave to pay and there was one of those games where you put in a coin and try to use a claw to catch up a soft toy. A lady and her partner came along and she stopped to play. I hadn't seen anyone do it before and watched with interest. As for Marcus, he was fascinated.

She managed on her second try to scoop up a pink turtle. She put in another coin and skillfully collected a blue sheep. She then took them out, gave Marcus the turtle and started to walk away.

I checked she meant him to have it and she said she did. So I said thank you and wished her a "Happy Christmas". Marcus was and is absolutely delighted.

The turtle has now been named Myrtle (Daddy's suggestion) and is a happy new member of Marcus' family of stuffed animals.

What a lovely experience of the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And the winners are...

Firstly, sorry I'm running a little late with the RAK results. Just the Christmas rush and my own forgetfulness.

Marcus and a friend helped me out by each drawing a name out of a box.

And the winners are...

Steph and selene1123, please email me at so that I can send you your charts. (I'm sure you can figure it out, but change the _at_ to @.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I just marked my third book of the month as a "did not finish". And none of them are bad books either, just ones I don't feel like carrying on reading. It's very much a case of "it's not you, it's me" as I find myself in a huge reading slump.

One of those three books - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I know I would really like if I read it at the right time. I liked what I did read, but it is written in an autobiographical fashion and is 660 pages long and right now I can't cope with either of those things. It's a library book, so I've only have it for a limited time, so I decided to call it quits for now. My [FantasyFavorites] book group is reading it in April when it comes out in paperback, so I think I'll order a copy of that and try again then. Hopefully by April I'll be more energetic and can enjoy it as it deserves to be enjoyed.

I'm going for a reread now - Ascendant Sun by Catherine Asaro - which I want to read before the next book in her series comes out on New Year's Day. I'm hoping this will do the trick and break the slump.

My November Reads

I've just noticed that I never put up my November reading list. Since I like having these for myself, whether anyone else reads it or not, I'll belatedly put it up today.
  1. Lord Valentine's Castle - Robert Silverberg. Science
    Fiction/Fantasy. Reread. 9/10
    Read the review here.
  2. Lord of the Fading Lands - C. L. Wilson. Romantic Fantasy. 8/10
    Read the review here.
  3. The Last Hawk - Catherine Asaro. Science Fiction. Reread 10/10
    Read the review here.
  4. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon. Historical. DNF
    Read the review here.
  5. Dies the Fire - S. M. Stirling. Science Fiction. DNF
    Read the review here.
  6. Cast in Shadow - Michelle Sagara. Fantasy. Reread. 8/10
    Read the review here.
  7. Creation in Death - J. D. Robb. Futuristic Mystery. 8/10
    The latest Eve and Roarke book and another good story. The villian was certainly disturbing this time and it was a riot to see Roarke officially working with the police and trying to cope with being in the police station. His on-going disagreement with Eve about whether or not he should be shouting the entire task force decent meals to save them from the staff cafeteria was also fun. Eve did do something unusal at the end that I hope is brought up again in the future. The Eve from the beginning of the series would never have done such at thing and while the person Eve is now would, she wouldn't do it without at least so reflection on it later. I hope we get to see that reflection in future books. Not the best in the series, but certainly a good read.
  8. Kidnapped! - Jo Leigh. Category Romance. 6/10
    I wasn't feeling well and wanted something I could read quickly and easily so I did shoe shopping for a few Harlequin romance ebooks. I don't remember a lot about this one now, except that for an over-the-top premise (which I knew when I bought it) it was handled pretty well. I liked the hero and the heroine wasn't too stupid, which she could have been, given the setup. I particularly liked the end where she finally found her strength and the very end where she went to find him. Certainly not my best book of the year (and equally certainly not the worst) but perfect for where my brain was at at the time.
  9. Upon the Midnight Clear - Sherrilyn Kenyon. Paranormal Romance. 7/10
    I enjoyed this next installment in Kenyon's universe, although it was a pretty simple and short story really. A warning to readers, this is really a novella printed in large type to make it look like a book. If you know that going in, you're less likely to be disappointed. I don't mind her Dream-Hunter books, but they seem a bit pointless compared to the Dark-Hunters and Were-Hunters and I'd rather have more of them. Hopefully she's going to tie it all in together. The little Christmas vignettes at the end are not really necessary, but it is lovely to see a glimpse of favourite characters who haven't been around in a while. Poor Nick, he's got himself in a mess and I don't know how Kenyon is going to get him out. There's another Dream-Hunter book coming out early next year, but I'm really hanging out for Ash's book in August.
  10. Eternity in Death - J. D. Robb. Futuristic Mystery. Short Story. 7/10
    Just a cute short story in the "Dead of Night" anthology. Eve goes hunting for a killer that may or may not be a vampire. The atmosphere is nicely done and the resolution of the vampire-ness of the villian is neat.
  11. Lady of Light and Shadows - C. L. Wilson. Romantic Fantasy. 10/10
    This is the second half of Lord of the Fading Lands and it was a stronger, better book. I wish I had felt up to doing a full review as I did for the first book, but unfortunately I didn't. Ellie and Rain continue their courtship as things get nastier around them. By the end the mages are revealed as returned villians, a character is given a chance for redemption, significant characters are killed and Wilson rounds off the story in great style. I'm looking forward to the next pair of books next year.
  12. Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder. Fantasy. DNF
    I had read this before and loved it, although I found it slow reading at the time. I liked it all over again, but found it slow again and just didn't feel like persevering, which is a pity as this is a good book. Don't let the fact I didn't finish it put you off. It was a case of "it's not you, it's me".
Books read this month: 9
DNFs this month: 3
10/10 reads this month: 2
New reads this month: 6
Rereads this month: 3

Books read so far in 2007 = 121
DNFs so far in 2007 = 13
10/10 reads so far in 2007 = 16
New reads so far in 2007 = 106
Rereads so far in 2007 = 15

Monday, December 17, 2007

Flickr Update

I've just spent a good hour or a bit more, updating my Flickr Account. I let the pro status lapse back in June and recently realised that if I want to collect my various stitching projects in their own albums etc, then I needed to cough up the cash and get updating.

So I've just added the stitching photos I recently added to my blog - so if you've been reading this, you've seen them all.

I did also get my scrapbooking layouts album up to date. That means I've just added 39 layouts to Flickr. I did get a bit behind, didn't I?

If you want to take a look, my account is at

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Laying it on the Line

Here's my proposed stitching schedule for 2008. I honestly have no idea if I'll be able to keep to this, but I know I want to. When 2008 starts, I'll update my side bar to reflect this.
  1. Wednesdays (except any 5th Wednesdays):
    QS Wednesday with the HAED BB
  2. Second weekend (Fri to Mon):
    Heaven and Earth Designs SAL
  3. Third weekend (Fri to Mon):
    Character Creations SAL
  4. Fourth weekend (Sat and Sun):
    My almost UFOs
  5. Rest of the time:
    Focus projects
  • Focus projects = Alpine Seasons, The Alpine Garden
  • QS = QS Garnet
  • HAED = Defender of the Kingdom
  • CC = Dawn Star
  • Almost UFOs = Dawn Mist at Eilean Donan, The Ice Dragon's Kingdom, Aurora Castle

    It's in the focus projects that I hope to do some smaller designs and get some finishes, while the rest of it is so that I can continue to make a little progress on my current WIPs rather than stopping them completely. And as for QS Garnet, she got added in because I just can't resist her.


Man, NZ totally sucks at cricket.

Here we are, at 3/12 after 3 overs.

I talked Dave into getting the digital sports channels over the summer so I could watch the cricket. Normally we leave them off and save the money as neither of us is a great sports fan. Except that I like watching the cricket in summer and stitching.

But right now the only thing I can think is, "I'm paying money for this?"

I guess the less I'm prepared to look up at the disaster, the more stitching I'll get done.

Sunday Stitching Progress

The Alpine Garden - The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 30-count Moss Green Murano

I started this as a travelling project back in March - about the time I put my big projects on scroll rods - and I've worked on it slowly since then.

I decided to go back to it when I realised I need a break from Alpine Seasons. (The fact both are called "alpine" is a just a coincidence.) I've done the bottom of these bands (mountain violet) in the last few days. The rest was already stitched.

The second and third bands will both be getting beads for the centre of the stitched flowers. The pattern says french knots but I make awful french knots and I'm going to use beads instead. The odds are good that I have some in my stash that will work in each case.

There's another cricket match on this afternoon (which I predict NZ will lose) so I hope to get started on the next section, which is a picture panel of some mountains with flowers around the border.

I love this design, but I'm not particularly enjoying stitching it. There's a lot of empty space between stitches in a particular colour and I don't like carrying my thread across the back too far or across a space where there won't be stitching on top and I have to do that quite a lot. But it looks really pretty when done - I especially like the mountain violet band - so I'm sticking with it.

Christmas Concert

I've blanked out the name of Marcus' daycare centre. You should be able to read the labels in the big version.

Frame cluster by Natalie Braxton
Stars, heart, tag, folded ribbon from "Chloe's Treasures" by Paint the Moon Designs
Background paper, large alpha, present and greenery from "Christmas Warm" by Jofia Designs
Trees from "Candy Cane" by Heidi Larsen
Ornaments by Dani Mogstad
Small ribbon from "Project 26 - Lamington" by Tracy Ann Robinson
Block alpha by Natalie Braxton
Fonts are Jane Austen and Lisa

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Can you tell I just love this photo. I've already posted it here and on my LJ and now I've scrapped it as well.

Cardboard overlay by LindaGB; everything else by Tracy Ann Robinson (all from December Lucky Dip except background paper); font is FG Virgil.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And for something completely different...

It's hot and muggy here and Marcus fell asleep on the sofa in his t-shirt and undies yesterday afternoon. Look at that pose. Doesn't he look just so sweet and angelic?

Floss Toss for QS Garnet

I made my decision and chose QS Garnet to be my new HAED start. There's a needlework shop near here that is closing this week so I decided to go down there and see if that had any of the threads I was missing and/or some fabric at sale price.

I managed to buy 11/21 threads I needed and a fat quarter of Ash Rose 25-ct Lugana at just over half price. Being that close to having the whole thing kitted, I came home via Spotlight and picked up the rest of the threads. I'm two short as there are two on the pattern (781 and 3773) that simply don't exist on the DMC thread racks here in New Zealand. I have no idea if they exist in the US or if they shouldn't be in the pattern but I'm following up on it.

Since we're going to be going down to my parents' place for Christmas on the 23rd and I'll get to reopen Garnet on the 25th, I'm going to prep the threads and fabric now, take them down with me and make starting Garnet a Christmas treat to myself. It can be my holiday project and then I'll go to stitching it on Wednesdays with the HAED BB stitchalong.

Of course, these are all just plans at the moment. I have lots of good ideas about what and how I'm going to stitch but due to health and my own basic lack of organisation, it doesn't always pan out that day. Still, I enjoy the planning and imagining that I am finally going to be organised.

Latest on Alpine Seasons

Here's the latest photo of Alpine Seasons. This is about 5/12 of the two outer borders. I moved on to do the next section and found I just couldn't take the huge size of it, the scroll frame and all anymore. I know I'm so close to finishing, but I need a break from this. I figure that as long as it is done by the end of February then I've finished it within 3 years. So I'll just cover it up and take a bit of a break until I'm ready to tackle it again.

I'm going to get out something small to work with in the hand in the meantime. It will probably be Alpine Garden by The Drawn Thread, so I'm still in the mountains.

There's a cricket match on this afternoon, so the sofa, the TV and some stitching in the Q-Snaps sounds perfect.

More spoilage

Thanks to Barbara (see, I found out who you are) for another beautiful HAED chart. This time it's "Tapesty", again by Meredith Dillman. I love it.

I have been planning an ambitious stitching schedule for next year that will allow me to work on new and smaller projects as intended, but still keep up work on Defender of the Kingdom and Dawn Star. I've already altered it to add the HAED BB Quick Stitch Wednesdays to let me start Garnet. Now I can see I'm going to have to seriously stick with it and make good progress on these three projects or I'll never have the opportunity to start any of the other lovely patterns I have before I die.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I am so spoiled

Heaven and Earth Designs are having a Christmas sale (go and take a look, you know you want to). I have been so spoiled in the last two days, being treated to RAKs from Shannon and Angie. I now have two lovely Meredith Dillman charts, QS Garnet and QS Amethyst, and a serious problem as I try to decide if I can justify starting one and if so, how will I choose which?

I would just love to share the Christmas spirit, but with our finances at present and the fact I've been Christmas shopping for the family, I can't really justify to cost. So I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to give away two of my own charts, which I can afford to do.

For anyone who posts here on my blog listing their favourite Character Creations chart, I will randomly pick two winners next Wednesday and email them a PDF of their chart of choice. The only charts excluded are the really enormous $18 & $20 ones.

This only applies to replies on my actual (Blogger) blog, as these posts feed through to Multiply and LJ as well. You have to come to to play.

Thanks again to Shannon and Angie, who have been so lovely and given me such a warm, loved feeling. I will be printing both their charts, wrapping them up and putting them under the Christmas tree. Then I will be able to enjoy my presents all over again on Christmas day.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Alpine Seasons Part 10

Lookie, lookie! Only two more parts to go.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December at Character Creations

Two lovely releases from Abranda Icle Sisson this month, both of which are 20% off for the first week.

Carrie by Abranda Icle Sisson

Ashley by Abranda Icle Sisson

I hope you like them.