I don't have fireflies in my garden - which is a shame... only cats, bees, a dog and the odd dragonfly!! So please settle down with a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quilts 4 Kids

I recently discovered this very worthwhile charity that supplies stitched quilts to sick kids around Australia.  The way I found them was via a blog that I read (The Twisted Stitcher).  Vonna had mentioned on her blog that she was stitching a quilt block for the Love Quilts programme in the US.  So me, being the sticky beak that I am, had a look at the website, and while nosing around I discovered the link to the Australian version - Quilts 4 Kids

Basically the idea is that stitchers sign up to cross stitch a theme square (30cm x 30cm) for the child and then send it to Quilts 4 Kids for making up into quilts to be given to the registered sick children.  The designs that have been stitched are really gorgeous and the quilters do a fantastic job of finishing them and really showing off the stitched squares.  And what a great thing to do for sick kids.  There are some photos on the website of the kids with their finished quilts.  It is amazing to see the number of quilts that have been completed since the group started in 2005.

At the time of my first visit to the Quilts 4 Kids website all the quilts had closed for 2010 and the 2011 children were yet to be listed.

So I waited and checked back a couple of times and then just recently Linde uploaded the 2011 kids.  There are 7 sick kids that the group are making quilts for this year.  I have signed up to stitch for 3 of them, Anakin, Sarah and Alexis.  Each quilt has a due date, and if I can get my fingers stitching quickly enough I would like to try and sign up for a fourth one.  But I do know my stitching limitations, and I just hope that I haven't already bitten off more than I can  chew.... or rather stitch!

So what am I stitching....

Anakin G - Anakin's theme is trains.  So I searched through my old magazines and found a Thomas the Tank Engine design to stitch for Anakin.  The design comes from the UK Cross Stitcher magazine, issue April 2002.  This square is due on 28th Feb, so that gives me just under 2 months to stitch and send.  I started this one yesterday while watching the cricket!

Sarah I - Sarah's theme is butterflies.  I knew that I just had the perfect pattern for this one.  It is an old freebie DMC chart that I sent away for years ago and is called "Wings".  It is a beautiful coloured butterfly with pink flowers.  That square is due on 30th March.

Alexis W - Alexis' theme is the Winnie the Pooh characters.  Well, I do just happen to have one or two Winnie the Pooh patterns, however before I had even had the chance to sift through all my old magazines, books and my stash, the perfect pattern appeared in the latest World of Cross Stitching mag (issue 170) that I bought.  It is a design of Pooh, Eeyeore and Piglet on a Christmas sled.  Just perfect!!  This square is due on 15th April.

So as you can see I have a bit of stitching to do over the next four months!  If I can get a good head start on the first two then I might sign up for a fourth square... but let's not be too ambitious to start with - three squares are probably more than enough for me to handle!!!

So it looks like "Buddha and Bonsai" is on the back burner again.... although I think I might have to spend an hour or so every couple of weeks on it just so that I can get it finished in 2011!

I will post a WIP photo of Thomas in the next couple of days.  So far I have made quite a good start on him and fingers crossed with the next week off from work on holidays I can get him almost finished!

Choo Choo til next time,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Xmas Moggy has landed....

First all, Merry Christmas everyone.  Christmas Day has arrived in it's usual style in Perth - nice cool breeze from the East at 5am which always means a hot day... to be replaced with 30% humidity and a warm 37 deg C.  But a sea breeze from West is due later this afternoon!  Can't wait!!  Love the Freo Doctor!!

This is an late post but not an unexpected one regarding this particular item.  I have been holding off doing a show-off post for my latest finish as I wanted to wait until it arrived in Maribeth's post box in New York.

And it has now has landed in New York, so I can show it off - and how appropriate that it landed in Maribeth's post box on Christmas Eve.

Xmas Moggy Card for Maribeth
This cute little Xmas Moggy came from a free Christmas Card design booklet with the Cross Stitch Crazy issue 143.  All the charts and backing papers were designed by Jenny Ellory.  I didn't use the backing paper this time but I certainly will in the future as they are gorgeous.

I will admit that I made a wee mistake on the stitching - nothing too drastic other than I started stitching the background in 2 threads only to discover that it should have been in 1 thread....  So rather than have a chat with Mr Frog, I decided to carry on... and I think the Xmas Moggy turned out just fine.  The backstitch does show moggy off so my little mistake is really my little design change!!  I do hope Jenny doesn't mind!?

I am now off to have Roast Duck and another glass of champers.  No matter where or how you are celebrating today, the day that Christ was born, have a wonderful day, stay safe and love and cherish one another.

Until next time,
One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don't clean it up too quickly.  ~Andy Rooney


Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Source of picture unknown
 Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Well, the big day is nearly here!

We have decked the halls, put up the tree and hung the decorations, wrapped the presents, filled the stockings, laid the table ready for the big Christmas feast tomorrow, Christmas carols are playing in the background, (actually it's the "Hairy Bikers 12 days of Christmas" that I can hear...) cards have been sent and received - yep, I think everything is ready for Christmas Day....

The only thing missing is the jolly man in the red suit!   But according to the Official NORAD Santa Tracker website it's not long before he gets underway.

Christmas means different things to different people and there are so many sayings and songs relating to Christmas, so many traditions and every family has their own way of celebrating the birth of Christ.

This year Mark and I are celebrating the day together, just the two of us (with Daisy, Oscar and Felix, of course).  This will be the first year that we haven't spent the day with the whole family, however we will still be following our family traditions.

So Christmas Day in our humble abode will be:

5am start - the cats and dog will no doubt wake us up as the sun will be shining and their bellies will be rumbling.  Once the animals are fed and we have had our breakfast, we will go down to the beach nice and early so that we can enjoy a walk along the water's edge before it gets too hot, then we will come home, make all the family phone calls and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, then it will be time to prepare the Weber so that we can cook our Christmas duck. 

Yep, while it is scheduled to be 38 deg C (100.4 in the old money - deg F) in Perth on Christmas Day we are still going to have our traditional cooked Christmas lunch!!  All washed down with a lovely bottle of icy cold champagne (my one weakness!), and then it will be plum pudding and custard for afters.  By that time my stomach will be full and there will be dishes to be done and all I will want to do is go to sleep in front of the telly!

Mark grew up in England and I grew up in the north west of Western Australia, but both of our families have the tradition of a hot lunch on Christmas Day, and some traditions never change...

So while Bing Crosby might be "Dreaming of a White Christmas", and some countries around the world have more of a "White Christmas" than they want, little old Perth will be sizzling and sweltering through another hot, dry Christmas season.  But hey, that is Christmas in Australia, and I wouldn't be anywhere else!

No matter where you may be in the world, and whether you will be celebrating the day with loved ones or thinking of loved ones who are no longer with us, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and  a Happy New Year.  May 2011 bring you health, wealth and happiness.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by my little blog spot on the world wide interweb...  I have really enjoyed reading all your wonderful blogs and seeing what you are all stitching and creating, and I look forward to seeing what everyone blogs about next year.

RECIPE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

To a cup of tradition, time-honored and dear,
Add a generous portion of holiday cheer,
Combine with the memories of Christmases past,
Then sprinkle the mixture with joy unsurpassed.
Add a dash or good spirits, stir fondly until...
You set it to rise in the warmth of good will.
Pour love over all in generous measure,
And garnish with laughter and heartwarming pleasure.
~~By Barbara Burrow~~

And Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Til next time,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Look what I got in the mail...

This year (2010) has been a very different year for me in regards to my stitching. 

In January 2010 I joined an online Forum called "Craftbubble" or "CB" for short.  Upon joining CB a whole new world opened up!  I have never been one for online doings but now I have discovered that having online friends that have the same interests as I do is just so good!  It is really nice to be able to talk cross stitch and not have the other person's eyes glaze over!  (not that I can see my virtual friends when I "talk" to them - but I know their eyes aren't glazing over - their eyes will be sparkling with anticipation and love for our craft!!!).  Along with joining CB I also joined an Aussie crafting forum called "Chatterfox" which is managed by the Fox Collection.

So what has this got to do with the title of this blog do I hear you say.. well, since joining the online forums I have heard about Round Robins and stitching exchanges, and I have drooled over some of the beautiful pieces of stitching that have been swapped between these very talented people.

And I have now done both!!! 

I took part in the Chatterfox Christmas RR and have posted photos of what I stitched in a previous blog.  That was great fun and I so want to do another one!  I would like to participate in a CB RR, but with CB being a UK based forum I was concerned that postage to and from the UK could be a problem, but with Chatterfox being based in Australia sending to and from each member of the RR was so much easier - especially as nearly half of us were WA based!!! :-)  (All those abbeviations and acronyms in this paragragh...)

Oops, gone off the beaten track again.....

Anyway, back to what I received in the mail!  I did finally join a stitching exchange on CB - it was the Crazy for Kitty's Christmas Exchange.  I stitched the little white cat - picture in previous blog for Catdragon (Alison) in the UK and sent that off a couple of weeks ago with a surfing Koala bear christmas tree ornament.  Catdragon stitched and sent her package to me and it arrived safe and sound a week ago.  Then I just had to wait unil the unveiling day on Monday 13th December, and...

this is what I received in the mail
Crazy for Kittys Christmas Exchange
parcel received from Catdragon (Alison)
 Alison stitched and crafted a gorgeous card, a kitty key ring and a sweet kitty saying (which is hanging up in the kitchen as I write!)
Royal "Kitty" Seal of Approval from Oscar!
Thank you Catdragon (Alison) for your lovely parcel - it was a real delight opening up my package this week.

Yep, joining the online forums this year has certainly changed my stitching habits.  It has made me stitch to a deadline and finish something.  But more importantly it has given me my stitching mo-jo back which had started to wither away slightly - mainly because I was only doing big projects and when I was struggling I would put them away and not do anything else until I found them again!  I hadn't realised that I needed a bit variety in my stitching - after all "variety is the spice of life"!!!

So until next time,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And now for something completely different and totally useless!

I have found something completely and totally useless to do in 2011, but at the same time something so quirky that I have to do it!

A week or so ago while reading some of the blogs that I follow I saw a post about a TUSAL.  It put such a smile on my face that I thought "Yep, I have to do this!".

What's a TUSAL?  I wondered the same thing until I read It's Daffycat: A Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long, then all was explained!

So now all I have to do is stitch, save my old ratty threads (ORT's) and keep an eye on the date, take and post a pic of my lovely bits of ORT's in their jar or wine glass (or whatever I can find to hold them in) each new moon - I can do that!!

I have even listed the new moon dates below so that I can't forget when they are!

2011 New Moon Dates:
January 4
February 3
March 4
April 3
May 3
June 1
July 1
July 30
August 29
September 27
October 26
November 25
December 24


If you want to see what all the fuss is about and maybe even join in this quirky SAL, pop along to Daffycat's blog and have a look at It's Daffycat: A Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long

Til the next new moon!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another addition to the ever increasing stash...

Well I guess it is true, you can never have enough in your stash....

Recently while checking out some cross stitching blogs I came across a really lovely Maia design that I couldn't stop thinking about.  It is called "Winter's Majesty" and is based on the artwork of Karl Bang.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it - so I started searching online for the design in Australia and didn't get very far.  But, I did find it on the "Sew and So" website, and while I know I should be supporting Australian online and local retailers, with the Aussie Dollars being so good, I decided to buy online from the UK.  Unfortunately, while I was on the Sew and So website I also found 3 other Oriental style kits that took both my fancy and my hubby's fancy....  Plus they had a very good sale on and a good sale is my one weakness!

I was really pleased (and surprised) that I only had to wait just over a week for the package to come from the UK - not bad! 

So now all I have to do is finish my "Bonsai and Buddha" and then I can start "Winter's Majesty".

Winter's Majesty

Pagoda View

Temple View

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
(this is the one that Mark asked me to order)
Now that my stash has increased yet again, I will need to add another couple of years to the already amazing lifespan that I must have if I am ever going to stitch everything I have in my stash!

Still, what is a cross stitcher without a stash??  I don't think there is any such thing!!!

Until next time,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Latest Finish - Christmas Card

This is my latest finish.....

I stitched this Christmas card for the Craft Bubble "Crazy for Kitties" Christmas Exchange.  This little white cat will be winging it's way over to "Catdragon" in the UK tomorrow.

The exchange brief was to stitch a kitty card for Christmas.  I spent a couple of evenings going though all of the Christmas magazines that I had and found a couple of kitty designs, but decided to do the "white cat" from the "World of Cross Stitching" issue 39 (Nov 2000).  Just as well I keep all my old magazines! 

The design is from a set of four cat & dog cards designed by Julie McLaughlin.  It was a reasonably quick design to stitch and used gold and silver Kreinik thread to add some shimmer to the ornaments and presents!

The card was one that I had in my box of freebies from my craft magazines and I chose the shiny red one as a base and cut up a small gold one to frame the stitching.  Then used green glitter brads on the corners, and added the Seasons Greetings sticker rather than trying to write on the foil card.

All in all not too bad a job given that I am not normally a card maker.....


Til next time

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cats sleep anywhere

How true is this....  I found this little saying on a website this morning while looking for cat sayings.
Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window-ledge, in the middle, on the edge.
Open draw, empty shoe, anybody's lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don't care! Cats sleep anywhere.

Eleanor Farjeon (1881 - 1965)
And I have the perfect pictures to prove it!


Oscar is in the bin, Felix is lying on Daddy's quilt block!



Felix sleeping in the filing tray!

'Til next time,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The wonder of Mother Nature

One of the wonderful and amazing things about life on this planet of ours is the beauty and tenacity of Mother Nature.  Last year I had two Californian Poppies growing in pots on the patio.  They flowered but not very well and unfortunately they died....

But at some point they dropped their seeds and we now have a beautiful orange poppy growing in the patio!  That's right in the patio.... or rather in the dirt around the patio support!  Certainly not where I ever thought one would grow!

Isn't it funny how I couldn't get them to grow when I wanted them to grow but Mother Nature has worked her magic and one tiny poppy seed has grown to produce a mass of stunning colour!  I am looking out the back door while I type this and I can see them sitting up proud as punch in the sunlight.

I took the photo below yesterday and since then all of the other flower heads have opened up to show their faces to the sun.  While I was outside with the camera I also took a photo of our roses in the front garden as they are in full bloom at the moment as well.

The wonder of Mother Nature..... 
  
There is also a small catnip growing in the
same spot - this has also grown from seed!




Friday, November 12, 2010

Life imitating Art.... or something like that!

I have been sitting here this afternoon using the laptop to update my blog, upload some new cross stitch photos to my online album, stitching forums and Facebook while watching the movie "Julie and Julia".  So in a sense it has been a bit of a "life imitating art" sort of afternoon.  I might not have been cooking but I was blogging!

Julie Powell's idea of blogging and cooking her way through 524 recipes in 365 days is quite intriguing, don't know if I could do it though!

I have to admit that I quite enjoyed watching the movie - wasn't too sure about it as I am not a real Meryl Streep fan, but it was a good way to spend a lazy Friday afternoon!

Bon Appetit!



Image from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_&_Julia
 

Image from
http://www.abebooks.com/books/mastering-art-french-cooking-cookbook/julia-child.shtml
 'Til next time,

Round Robin has come home

After many months away my Chatterfox Christmas Round Robin has come home.  It is simply gorgeous.  The six other ladies that stitched on my RR have done such a beautiful job.  It has been such fun doing this RR and I am going to miss the monthly parcels coming to the post box.

Thank you to Brenda, Helen, Luella, Andi, Yvonne & Kirsty for stitching on my RR and for letting me stitch on yours.  I look forward to our next RR.
Chatterfox Christmas Round Robin 2010
'Til next time,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

Well here we are, it's Sunday and I have not done a single stitch this weekend on the Christmas Card that I am supposed to be stitching for an exchange!  And why is that do I hear you ask?

Coz, I have been too busy designing and playing around with my Blog!  I have spent the last couple of days looking at other people's great blogs to get an idea of what to do with mine and I think that finally this is the finished product!  I do hope you like it.

There is still one or two things to be tweaked and added, but that will happen as time goes on.  But for the moment I am happy with what I have done.  I have learnt lots of things along the journey and managed to also remember some of the HTML coding that I used briefly a very long time ago!  Not that you need the HTML codes to create a blog but sometimes I do find that it helps to know HTML a little bit when it comes to formatting...

I have even managed to upload some of my crafty photos onto Flickr and play around and add "sticky" notes to my photos in Picnik.

It just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks!!

I am now off to make a cup of tea and to try and get in a hour of stitching this afternoon.

See you all next time

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Christmas Stitching Round Robin Style

We may be still 2 months away from Christmas, but I have already started my Christmas stitching.  Some online friends and I have been partaking in a Round Robin (RR) over the last few months and now as October comes to an end so does our Round Robin.  It has been very exciting waiting for the parcel to arrive each month.  Now I am just waiting for my RR to come home.

The design I chose to start off my RR was "Christmas Chickadee" by Valerie Pfieffer. I found the design in Issue 118 of The World of Cross Stitch.
 
April 2010
Christmas Chickadee


May 2010
stitched angel for Yvonne
June 2010
stitched for Helen


July 2010
stitched for Andi




August 2010
stitched for Luella

 

September 2010
stitched for Kirsty
(design by Carrol Nielsen)

October 2010
stitched for Brenda
(design Joan Elliott)













This Round Robin has been a lot of fun to do and I am looking forward to getting my finished RR back from Yvonne.  I will post a picture of the completed RR once received.

What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon.....

Well, what started as a quick "play" this morning has turned out to be an all afternoon thing....

I decided after seeing a number of different Crafters' blogs that I would do my own.  What fun you can have once you start.

This blog is still a work in progress and I will no doubt change it a few times before I am happy with the layout, but it is at least off the ground and published!

So now that I have done my first page and my first post, it is back to seeing what else I can add.... the mind boggles or should that be blogs!!!