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!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lovely Gifts from Lovely People

Why do two colours, put one next to the other, sing?  
Can one really explain this?  No. 
~ Pablo Picasso ~

Christmas is gone, New Year is on it's way... and I am back again as I promised to show you some pretty gifts that I received in the mail over the last week or so.

The first gift I received was from Anne from Doll's Musings.  Anne had a giveaway back in November to celebrate 3 years of blogging  The prizes that she was giving away were a choice of 3 designs that Anne would stitch, make up and then send to the lucky winners... of which I was one of the very lucky winners. The design that Anne stitched for me was a Blue Ribbon Designs pretty - "Redbird's Rejoice".  It is beautiful and went straight up on the Christmas tree as soon as I had taken a photo of it!

Giveaway prize from Anne
Blue Ribbon Designs "Redbird's Rejoice" stitched by Anne
Anne also included in the package some thread tied up with green ribbon, lovely buttons and charms, a packet of yummy tea, gold ric rac edging, notebook, some gorgeous red fabric and a Christmas ornament kit.

Thank you Anne, and Titus, for choosing me as a winner of your lovely giveaway.  I feel very lucky to have been the recipient of such a gorgeous gift and your lovely ornament is sitting on the tree for everyone to admire!

The second gift I received arrived in our mailbox on Christmas Eve and was from Heather (Heather's Stitching Story) in Ireland.  Heather was my Secret Santa for the MS Lovers Blog Christmas Exchange.

Gift from Heather - Santa ornament (Margaret Sherry design)
MS Lovers Blog Christmas Exchange 2013
Exchange gift from Heather
MS Lovers Blog Christmas Exchange 2013
I was truly spoilt by Heather as she also included in the package some lovely Dragon Floss hand dyed threads from Polstitches, gorgeous Santa ribbon, gold ribbon, bell pull hangers and a pack of pink spotted aida as well as a.... Margaret Sherry kitty cross stitch kit - "Purr-turbed".  This is my first Margaret Sherry kit... I know it seems strange given how much I love her designs, but all the designs I have in my stash are from the UK cross stitch magazines.  Thank you Heather, I absolutely love the exchange gift you sent me and Santa will be on our Christmas tree every year from now on!

Now for a stitching update.... I am currently madly stitching "Puppy Love" so that I get this finished by the end of the year and I am happy to say that I am almost there.  But no photo yet - I will show him off once I have finished the final puppy!

So my friends, until next time happy stitching!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful
~ Norman Vincent Peale ~

Love, joy and peace are the ingredients for a wonderful Christmas. 
We hope you find them all this festive season. 

Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Noni, Hubby
Oscar, Felix, Mitzi

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The secret is revealed....

T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
~ Clement Clarke Moore ~

Remember this sneak peak...

The secret stitching that I was working on last month was for the MS Lovers Blog Christmas Exchange, and I can now reveal the finished piece that was sent to Olga (Olli) in The Netherlands.

The Margaret Sherry design that I stitched was a brand new one to me.... the magazine that it came with literally arrived just as I was about to start stitching something else for this exchange - but as soon as I saw the booklet I just had to see which one I could stitch quickly for the exchange.

Mice in Holly Wreath
"Christmas Cuties" - Margaret Sherry
Free Gift - Issue 184 Cross Stitch Crazy
When I was stitching this rather cute design I decided to "bling" it up a little bit so instead of stitching the berries as red cross stitches I used little red beads in their place, but I didn't finish there.... I used gold beads instead of where the silver cross stitches were supposed to be.  The gold was a much better match for the fabric I wanted to use to "finish" the piece than the silver would have been.

So the final finish.... a Christmas hanger!

Christmas Hanger for Olli
MS Lovers Blog Christmas Exchange
I also added a few little Christmas inspired pieces in the package for Olli.... lots of little crafting bits and pieces and a Christmas blackboard and chart.

Package of goodies for Olli
My package in the exchange has arrived today... just in time for Christmas.  I will do another post shortly to show you the lovely package I received from Heather.  I also have some more lovely things to show you that Anne sent me as a winner of her giveaway - so lots of pretty pics coming up in the next couple of days!

TUSAL Update

For those of you that have been following my blog, and other blogs in the blogosphere over the last couple of years you will know all about the monthly ORT reports and you will have noticed that we are all very diligent bloggers and upload our ORT reports when the new moon comes around... (most of the time anyway).  You may now be wondering if there will be any more ORT reports for 2014.... well, I am happy to announce that Daffycat will again be hosting the Totally Useless Stitch A Long (TUSAL) throughout 2014.  If you would like to sign up and join in the fun during the year, then pop on over to Daffycat's blog and leave a comment saying that you're in!  The first 2014 report will be on or around 1st January 2014 - see you then!

Til next time, happy stitching!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Adventure away from... the final leg!

Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week
~ Joseph Addison ~

London to Paris... on the Eurostar train.  Finally, I have done the Eurostar! Over the last couple of years I have booked people from work on the train from London to Paris and I always said that one day I would do the trip.. and now I have!

We didn't have a long visit in Paris but it was lovely few days.  The weather was very overcast while we there, (except when we were at Versailles), but at least there wasn't any rain until the very last minute... so our luck held!

As we didn't have a lot of time in Paris we had already planned what we wanted to do... Big Bus Tour, boat tour down the river, Versailles and lots of wandering the streets.... all of which we did!

So are you ready for heaps of lovely photos of Paris?

Day 1 was all about the Big Bus tour and travelling up and down the river enjoying the sights.

Some sights of Paris that may be familiar and some that may not be!!

Isn't it amazing what you see when cruising the rivers of a city?

Our little addition to one of the Bridges of Love in Paris!

Day 2 was our really big day out - we went to Versailles... eventually!  The train line to Versailles had some sort of problem and the trains had stopped..... so after waiting for over an hour we jumped on the first train to come in on that line and just went for a ride... we managed to find another train which stopped near Versailles and walked the rest of the way.

Oh boy, what an amazing place!  It was glorious, stunning, amazing... absolutely gob-smackingly beautiful and so golden!

And look who we saw there.... another one of Mitzi's ancestors!

The opulence in this most amazing palace leaves me speechless....

After wandering the halls of the palace for a couple of hours we then decided to wander the gardens.  No holiday is complete without a selfie!

We had the most amazing day at Versailles, and unfortunately ran out of time to go up to Marie Antionette's Estate which was a real shame... but there is always next time!

The gardens were stunning and we could have spent a whole day just wandering around the gardens without going near any other parts of this amazing palace and grounds.

Day 3 saw us wake to our last day in Paris.  We had a whole day to wander around the city a bit more before going out to the airport around 6pm.

A bit of shopping, bit more sight seeing, off to Notre Dame... a big last day in the City of Love!

Now that's the way to park a car!  Something I am not used to seeing here in Australia, small cars parked sideways... and plugged into an electricity port on charge!

Our last meal in Paris was in the same place as our first meal in Paris.... Le Saint Germain Cafe which just happened to be down the road from our hotel!  Perfect place for a lovely meal or just to sit and watch the Parisians go about their daily life!

Well, that's it for our epic journey...  we had the most wonderful time and as is always the case the two weeks flew by!

Thank you for coming along on my journey of holiday memories... I hope I didn't bore you too much!

Next post I will hopefully be back on track with a stitching update.

Til next time, happy stitching

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our Adventure away from home.... Part 2

Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday
~ Author Unknown ~

Welcome back!  I have another post on what we did in London, and then one more post to show you what we did in Paris... and then that's it - no more holiday snaps!

Day 4
While we were in London we were very lucky to get our timing right so that we could do the full Tour of Buckingham Palace which included the Royal Mews, State Rooms inside the Palace and the Exhibitions. So we spent the whole day taking the opportunity to see some of the most amazing rooms in the Palace, places that I have only ever seen on TV.  We didn't take a lot photos during the State Room tour due to the high security of the areas, but we did take heaps while in the Royal Mews.

The Gold State Coach
Look who we found in one of the Royal Paintings - Mitzi's ancestor!
What a backyard!
Our tour around the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace was absolutely amazing.  It was very, very busy but the organisers have everything extremely well organised.  Fantastic day out!

Day 5
Well here are, almost at an end of our week in London, so today was a bit of a wander around day again using shanks pony!  We started off walking through Green Park and ended up outside Clarence House just in time for the changing of the Guard.

Changing of the Guard at Clarence House
From Clarence House we headed off towards Trafalgar Square to see the pigeons only to find out there are no more pigeons in the Square - but there was this rather gorgeous fellow!

The reason there are no pigeons in Trafalgar Square
And also there was this rather amazing bird...

The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square
From Trafalgar Square it was off to Regent Street and Oxford Street to visit to fantastic stores... Hamleys and Liberty. And who did we meet at Hamleys?

The Royal Family.... made out of Lego!  Totally amazing!!

Lego Royal Family
Mark chatting to the Queen!
They had other Lego creations in the store as well, but the Lego Royal Family were absolutely brilliant!

On the way out I managed to get a cuddle with the Hamleys' bear mascot!

Christmas display at Liberty
We then rounded our day out with visit to "The Vault" at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Another busy day of sightseeing done and dusted!

Day 6
Last day in London.... time to take stock and work out what we haven't yet seen that we really wanted to see.

After going past St Paul's Cathedral to take some outside photos (we forgot to do that the day we were there!), we walked over the Millennium Bridge on our way to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for a look around.  Unfortunately as the whole place was inundated with school children on tour we decided not to try and get in and do the tour, so it was off on a boat ride down the Thames to our next stop - the Houses of Parliament.

Millennium Bridge

Big Ben
We spent most of the afternoon at the Houses of Parliament including doing the guided tour of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.  Absolutely amazing tour!  We are so pleased that our timing coincided with the opening times of the Houses of Parliament to the public.

Nelson Mandela's plaque in the hall at Westminster
The Weekend
Friday dawned and it was the day that we were to leave London and head off for the weekend and the wedding of Hubby's niece.  We hired a car from London and headed out of the city and onto the British motorways to Essex to visit Hubby's old school, and then to the hotel to meet up with Hubby's family.

The wedding was fantastic and it was absolutely brilliant to meet all the Hubby's family at long last!

Wedding Flowers - aren't they beautiful
Sorry no photos of the wedding festivities, but how about a pic of the gorgeous flower decorations!

Sunday saw us in Hubby's old home town and meeting up with more his extended family, and then Monday after a wander around the town centre it was back in the car to head back to London in time to drop off the hire car and onto the Eurostar to Paris!

So that was our week in London.... next time I will show you some photo's of our four days in Paris.

Til next time, happy stitching

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Adventure away from home.... Part 1

It's a dangerous business Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to.
~ Bilbo Baggins ~

So here we are finally... the first holiday post... from our holiday in September!  Well I did tell you that my days and months appear to have flown by way too fast this year!

So onward and upwards and into the breach once more!!

I don't know if we did anything that you would call adventurous on our holiday, but we did indeed go on a big holiday!  Maybe not a big holiday in the sense of a grand epic adventure or grand tour, but we did go overseas and end up on the other side of the world.

And what did we find there?

Day 1
We arrived in London in the early hours of Saturday morning, and after going to the apartment where we were staying in Queensgate to check in, shower and change (we paid for the night before so that we could do the early check in!); it was off to Waitrose's for the essentials - tea, milk and breakkie cereal... it was time to get out and start walking!!

And walk we did.... down to Hyde Park for a wander around, through Kensington Gardens and out of the park near the Australian War Memorial where we stopped to watch what looked like a police motorbike exercise.

Peter Pan Statue

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Police Motorbikes - practice or real?

From there we walked through Kensington and stopped off at Harrods for a look see and finally back to the pub around the corner for dinner.

Day 2
Up and at 'em early - funny how you manage to wake up early when you're holidays!!

Another busy day planned starting with spending the morning at the V&A museum.  Amazing place to go and walk around; the exhibitions are just fantastic.  We had a great walk down memory lane while wandering around the "Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980's" Exhibition - especially for Hubby as he grew up in the UK and remembers the fashions... most of which didn't quite get to where I lived in the hot north west of Western Australia!!
Performance Art at the V&A Museum
From the V&A we caught the tube to Covent Garden where we had lunch at Jamie Oliver's restaurant "Union Jack".  After wandering around Covent Garden we made our way to the Embankment so that we could be in position to watch the last stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race.

Riders in Stage 8 - Tour of Britain Cycle Race

While the race was on we took the opportunity to walk along the Embankment up to the Houses of Parliament where we stood and watched the riders for awhile longer before heading over to Westminster Abbey and started heading back to the Apartment.  Another day over....

Day 3
Monday bought more grey skies.... but no rain luckily as we had decided that Day 3 was the day for our Big Bus Tour of London!  It is amazing what you can see from the top of a big red bus!

Under construction - facade of a new store in London
We absolutely loved the Big Bus Tour of London.  What a great way to see all the sights in one day!  We did get off the bus to visit Paddington Bear at Paddington Station as well as St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.  We had planned to stop off at the London Eye but given the grey skies we decided not to as we probably wouldn't have seen much from the top anyway!!

Tower of London
I have been to the Tower of London before (when I went to London back in 1987) and I remember bits and pieces of the Tower and the exhibitions there but the main thing of course that sticks in my memory is the Crown Jewels!  Seeing them again in the setting of the 60th Anniversary of the Queen's Coronation was amazing - they were better than I remembered from the last trip!

While on the Warden's Tour at the Tower of London we were shown where in 1674 the bodies of two children were found...  these bodies were (and still are) thought to have been the bodies of the 2 little Princes in the Tower (sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville).  Now when I watch "The White Queen" I can remember that spot in Tower where the two Princes were taken too and later thought to have been discovered nearly 200 years after they disappeared.

And so ends Day 3.... and this post.  Stay tuned for the part two very soon.

Til next time, happy stitching

Friday, December 13, 2013

Last TUSAL of the year!

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
~ Mulan (Walt Disney Company) ~

Here we are again.... TUSAL time (actually it's past TUSAL time... but that is normal for me these days!)

Over the last month I have been a bit slow in filling the ORT's jar, but there are definitely some new ones in there!  As you can see green is probably the most predominant colour on top this time, with a touch of black and white.
TUSAL December 2013
Celebrating Christmas
The ORT's on top are from my Secret Santa stitching for the MS Lovers Blog Christmas 2013 Exchange.  My package is now on it's way to it's destination but I can't tell you where as it's a secret!!

Sneak Peak....  Fabric Scrap preview
Seeing as how I can't actually show you what I stitched and made for the exchange... how about a sneak peak at the fabric I used!  Very pretty isn't it?  Love the name of the fabric - "Christmas at Home"!

Unfortunately this is the last TUSAL post for the year... another year almost over!  I know we always say that time flies these days, but I have to say this year seems to have absolutely flown by quicker than most.... Christmas is just around the corner and a new year is about to begin.  Next year is a big year for our family.. but more on that as we come closer to the big events!

Now that you have seen my last little ORT report for the year, are you interested in checking out what is going on with all the other final ORT reports of the year?  If so, pop on over to Daffycat's blog and join in the fun. I did read that Daffycat is going to host the TUSAL again in 2014, so if you're up for a bit of fun make sure you sign up for 2014.  This is such a fun thing to be part of and it's a good excuse for a blog post and a blog hop!

How about a bit of stitching update!  I haven't done a lot of other stitching other than my Secret Santa stitching, but I have put one or two stitches into my Chatelaine and I even managed to pick up Puppy Love again.

Mini Mandala B - 12 December 2013
Mini Mandala B has now got some backstitch happening around the gazebo and pond.  With a bit of luck it won't long before I get this one all stitched up and I'll be starting on "C".

Puppy Love - 12 December 2013
Puppy Love (MS Lovers Blog SAL) is back on the Qsnaps!  I have three little puppies to stitch between now and the end of year.... oops behind again!! My plan for the next couple of weeks is to get this one finished before New Year's Eve.  From the 1st January 2014 my stitching has a new path to travel... no hints or sneak peeks on this one, you will just need to wait and see when the big reveal happens!

Well, I guess that's about it for this flyby update....

Til next time, happy stitching everyone, see you again soon!

New Moons - 2013
There are no more new moons for 2013!

New Moons - 2014
1st January
30th January
1st March
30th March
28th April
28th May
27th June
26th July
25th August
23rd September
23rd October
22nd November
21st December