Sunday, 29 March 2009

Some projects from 2008

Since I didn't do any blogging in 2008 I thought it would be nice to put up some photos of things I worked on and finished that year. First I'd like to show Cottages at Oak Bluffs I by Debbie Patrick which came out really nice and is beautifully framed and in my son's room. I love the blue and yellow tones of this piece. In January last year we also painted my son's bedroom and he chose a blue feature wall which is where this piece is hung so everything ties in together very well. Since this was one of the rotation pieces I was blogging about in 2007 I thought I should show it off as a finished piece.

The other project I've worked on in the lead-up to two Christmases is a Bucilla Christmas calendar which has turned out to be a massive job. It's still not finished but I'm planning on adding it to my rotations in the second half of this year and hopefully will finish it off then. I finished the pockets in late November 2007 and worked progressively finishing the ornaments which go in them in the lead-up to that Christmas. I finished all but one ornament--the reindeer--that year. I started working on it again in early November 2008 hoping and assuming I would actually finish it in time for Christmas but it has turned out to be a bigger project than I anticipated.

In 2007 I made four flannel quilts--one for myself and three presents and late last year I made two identital photo memory quilt which came out really nice. The photos are taking a long time to upload so I'll put up photos of those in another blog. I've also got a few new pieces of stash that I could put up.

It's nice to be able to blog about things I've finished!

Friday, 27 March 2009

A massive effort on Verandas

The right side of Verandas finished--except for the backstitching!

Close up of house #4

Close up of house #s 5 & 6

Well I put a lot of pressure on myself last week to finish House #6 and the whole right side of this cross-stitch by Sunday. I did it but only with a massive effort staying up late stitching many nights and working for hours on the weekend. I finally finished the bush to the right of the house on Sunday night at 11:15pm. I'm so glad I brought the piece to this point as it will be more encouraging to pick it up on the next rotation because I'll be starting on a new house (#3) back in the middle of the pattern. The downside is that I'm a little bit burnt out from cross-stitching so this week I've been taking it a bit easier and not pushing myself so much.

My rotation for this fortnight is the New England Sampler and I'm working on the middle pannel which focuses on nautical themes. So far I've done a couple of small boats and am working on a rocky headland with a lighthouse. It's a total refreshing change from the Verandas and I think that may be one of the keys to keeping the rotations fresh--that and not pushing myself too much all the time.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Coming to the end of my Verandas rotation

Just coming to the end of my second week on the Verandas. I've put in some late nights stitching in a push to try and finish House #6 and environs. I'm down to the bush on the right of the house and it's touch and go whether I finish it today. Because I'm going to be out all day Monday and Tuesday I thought at least I'd write about my progress and then wait and see how far I get today before I put up a photo of it.

The weather is very hot and sticky and it's been a job to keep my hands clean for stitching. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather.

I'm trying to decide actually how to use this blog. It's really no fun if I only post once a week but I don't want to be taking photos of my work constantly. I am finding that doing this blog again and doing fixed rotations is spurring me on hugely to make progess. I want stitching to be fun though. The purpose of stitching is the journey not the end product.

In addition to stitching I've also been decluttering. I've done the filing cabinet, which was so full I couldn't file anything away! Now it's got plenty of room. I've reorganised and tidied the papers in the kitchen which used to take up one whole bench. Then I've done the window seat cabinet in the study where lots of old papers were hidden. I'm now in the process of clearing out and tidying up the triple cupboard in our upstairs hallway. My tidying up is motivating my kids to also tidy their rooms and closets up. There's still lots more to do including organising all of our photos--digital and print. That's got to be a several months job in itself. Anyway, I keep plugging away at it bit by bit which is the only way to get things done.

Tomorrow and Tuesday my daughter is going to be at a gymnastics training camp so I'm bringing my stitching and hoping to get some done somewhere even if it's at a coffee shop nearby. Evidently parents aren't allowed in the gym to watch!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Update on my speedy stitching

I've just finished my third week back into stitching, my second week on the Verandas piece. I'm working very hard on House #6, the house on the far right. When I started on this rotation only two colors of the house were present--a dark brick red and the white balcony lines. Now I've just about finished the house proper and the palmetto tree on its right. As you can see from the photo of the finished piece, though, I still have a lot to do to finish this side of the pattern. There is the foreground which has a lot of colour changes and a large bush as well. These will take time and I don't think I'll finish them in the coming week. But maybe . . . Ideally, I'd like to finish the whole right side of the piece at the end of this rotation so that when I come back to it I'm back to the middle of the pattern starting House #3. You can see that I did do a lot of stitching since I blogged on this piece. I finished Houses #4 & 5 in that time. This was mainly in the second half of 2007. I was doing 1week rotations then. So far I like doing 2 week rotations as I can see more progress on each piece. Last night there was a pretty awful movie on TV called 'The Core' about a group of people who travelled to the Earth's Core to save the world. Absolute rubbish but a great background for stitching. Before that was on I also stitched through Ice Age 2, a much better quality movie.

I now need to decide which piece is going to be next in my rotation. There is the New England Sampler and also my bugbear the Australian map on linen whose border I'm trying to redesign. When I was last working on it it wasn't coming out well. I think the centre of the piece is pretty much finished. There are flowers in each of the 4 corners which I have to do. Gee I really should try to finish this one.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Over 3,200 views and no comments!

I've just looked at my webshots site which shows photos of my crafts and noticed that since it's been up there have been over 3,200 visitors to the site. And not ONE of them has left a comment! That is amazing! Did they find nothing they liked? Did they go to the site by accident? I think that is a shame that no one has shown enough interest in my work to say anything about it!

Oh the site is Enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

I'm stitching again

Well it's been a long time since I've added to this blog. From my recollection I was still stitching in '07 but just not blogging. But then '08 hit. What a frantic and frenetic year with work, study and kids. I totally abandoned stitching.

This year looks to be very different. Firstly, my uni position has not been reinstated and so far I haven't looked for any other work. I do have some weekend work as an English as a second language examiner so I'm doing that more regularly to make up for not having the other job.

Secondly, I finished my Graduate Diploma (major equivalent) in Chinese!!! Hooray!! However, I would still like to continue studying Chinese in some form but I haven't been able to find anything formal. And, really, after 9 years of Chinese what I really want now is to be able to speak more fluently and classes just weren't giving me that. So I'm continuing to meet my language partner from uni once a week and getting some Chinese practice in that way.

Thirdly, my daughter's gymnastics commitment is getting heavier and heavier to the point where it's going to be pretty difficult to find work around the times I need to be available to drive her to training. Right now she's doing 17.5 hours per week over 6 sessions and some of these impinge upon school hours. I haven't given up on the idea of weekday work but I want to finish things I'm doing around the house first.

So I'm home, doing a huge declutter of over a decade's worth of course notes from courses I've done and teaching handouts from classes I've taught. I started with the filing cabinet then progressed to numerous boxes stashed all around the place. I'm still not finished but I can only do it sporadically as I fill up the recycling bin quickly! I've also gone through the kids clothes and given away heaps to the bushfire appeal.

A couple of weeks ago I got out my stitching and started working on it. I'm going to rotate my pieces like I was doing before as I think that is a way to make progress and prevent boredom. I started with my smallish Golden Gate Bridge by Debbie Patrick. It was going so well that I kept with it for 2 weeks. Now I've just switched to the Verandahs of South Battery from Charleson. I'm working on my third house and in just one day have done heaps. I'll have to take photos as all the pieces have advanced from the last photos on this blog. I don't know which project I'll rotate into but I'd like to stick with the Charleston piece for a couple of weeks and possibly finish the third house.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog!