16 Dec. 2009

Retreat..

The retreat was amazing. The owners of where we stayed were extremely hospitable and welcoming. The chef was truly wonderful, I wanted to take him home with me, seriously for his cooking. The food and accommodation were a package deal and I thought that we might have had a choice of menu items for our meals, so we were truly spoilt with the chef making recommendations and asking what we liked/disliked. The food was to die for, mouth watering steak, we had garlic prawns done in a cream sauce with rice, gorgeous tarts for morning/afternoon teas, there was some sort of Thai chicken dish. With three wholesome meals per day and morning and afternoon tea also, I never had a chance to ever feel hungry I was just 'topping up' all the time.

These are the tarts that we were given for morning or afternoon tea, I can't remember now, but they were delicious. We had to include the scissors and threads as props as it was a stitching weekend after all!






These are the other two girls who attended. Bek on the left and Gayle. They are both gorgeous girls and we had many laughs together. Gayle has a little called Caitlyn, it is spelt the same way as our Caitlyn. Given the many variations we thought that this was great. Bek is busy planning for her up-coming wedding, such exciting times ahead for her.



Here is Bernadette with her 'almost' completed Ida May Crow. Bernadette bought her shop along and we were all able to add to our stash. Bernadette is planning another retreat in May 2010 so check out the link to her shop for more details.





I haven't taken a picture of my little finish yet, soon I promise.
We will get the keys to our house tomorrow, YEAH!!! HAPPY DANCING HERE. So all that is going on at the moment is lots of cleaning and packing. DH has gone to Bendigo with the kids, who have all finished school now, to attend his Dad's retirement function. Tomorrow night after work I am getting the train to Melbourne and then on to Bendigo so that we can celebrate Christmas with my family. Once that is over we will be coming home so that we can start moving into our house on Sunday. WOOHOO!!!

I won't get a chance to post for a little while so I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas, and a safe New Year.
Much love and hugs to all
Joanne.

22 Nov. 2009

House Photos

Here are the photos of our house being built, at long last.

This is quite early in the process after the site was 'scraped' and leveled off. If you can see the steel rods sticking up out of the ground, they are for the placement of the pipes for the plumbing.







This one is of the concrete slab after it was poured. You may remember that I wrote about having some trees removed before we could begin building. Well, they caused us some problems during the site preparation for the slab. As the builders were excavating for the footings (deeper parts of the slab for stabilisation) they kept on pulling out large root systems. Our builder was concerned and waited a few days to get another opinion on the design of the slab. The original design was drafted by the company that our builder is affiliated with and they had classified and designed the slab incorrectly, ignoring a recommendation from the company who performed the soil test to determine the type of slab that had to be built. Due to the delays that all of this caused, including some pretty wet weather, our builder got the tradesmen to complete the slab on a Saturday, unheard of in the Australian building industry. This was a big surprise for us, and
we had no idea that this was happening, so no photos of the actual process. There was also a significant increase in the cost of the slab, our builder apologised to us for this, but we totally understood that if the base wasn't right, how could we expect the rest of the house to be right.









Next up is the frame. This is taken from the front. The big beam across the front is a roof support and the entry to our garage.







And this frame shot is from the back of the house. The mound on the right hand side of the photo is what is left of the trees that were taken down. We asked the 'tree men' to mulch some of the trees so that we could use it for our garden.









The house is being 'wrapped' in a type of insulation and the windows are in.










And here is the roof and the completion of the brick work. The brick layers were amazing. Only two of them, always on site early, 6:30 am, and would work until around 3:00. We would go there during their lunch break to see how everything was going and they would always be laughing and joking with one another, great to see. An acquaintance of ours said that they were the best 'brickies' around.









This is of the gyprock (walls) after it had been hung. The black pipe curling over is the water pipe to our kitchen taps (faucets). There will be an island bench here with the rest of the kitchen to the right and rear of this photo.










Looking into our rumpus room from the alfresco area. The area in the photo above is to right in this photo. These two rooms are accessed by two large sliding doors. We would have liked to have had the pillar in the middle taken out, but that would have involved changing the whole structure of the roof and would have escalated the cost considerably. Seeing what happened with the slab it was a good thing that we didn't.











I am sorry that these have taken so long. There has been much more work done on the house since these photos have been taken, so I will have to take some more at some stage and put some on here.

Next in store are some photos from the stitching retreat, and a stitchy update, and a (drum roll please) finish.

22 Oct. 2009

I AM SO EXCITED!!

I was going to post some wip photos and house building photos, but now I can't find the camera. The camera bag is there, the usb cable is there, but not the camera. So apologies once again. (The camera is working, even though it is still doing the 'jittery thingy', DH replaced the batteries DOH!!)

I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I am finishing work early and then making way to a little place called Narbethong. What for you may ask? A Stitching Retreat!!! This is being organised by a fellow stitcher and ONS owner Bernadette. Check-in is any time after 2pm, I am hoping to arrive at around 5pm. I am thinking a which wips to take, perhaps a new start also. I suppose that I should also take some clean clothes and other stuff, toiletries etc.

I have met Bernadette on a couple of other occasions, so I am looking forward to catching up with her, but as I have only ever been to one stitching afternoon before, at Bernadette's house, I haven't met many other stitchers and bloggers. There will be 'goody bags' and stash shopping as Bernadette is bringing her shop with her.

Just so there is a photo for this post here is a picture of how our house will look when it is finished. The photo is from the National Builders website, and if you click on the link it will take you to a page where you can down load a pdf file to see the floor plan of the house. Ours is the Sandhurst 3ooE. We have changed a couple of things; taken out the hall-way behind the kitchen to the home theatre and just 'moved' the kitchen back. The door to the home theatre will then be past the kitchen. And we have added an additional 1.5 metres onto the width of the garage. The entry was huge, a room all of its own, so we made that a bit narrower and gave the extra space to the study and living rooms, but we still have the double doors at the front.











Well I must go and start packing for the weekend and try a do some house work just so that DH doesn't have so much to worry about.
Bye for now, happy stitching and stay safe.

3 Oct. 2009

Thank you!!!

I would sincerely like to thank everyone who read my last post and left a message. You are all truly wonderful and I consider all of you to be true friends.
Pokua, thanks for the tip about the fabric for MOTM, I will certainly make sure that I am happy with the coverage before I get too far along with the design.
I have been stitching, every night as my de-stress, but I can't get my camera to work to show you any progress pictures. Joel, our 7yo, thinks that the camera is a toy and I think that he has damaged it. We have trouble turning it on, and if by some chance it does turn on the screen does this jittery sort of thing before actually turning on.
I have mainly been stitching on Impatient Ballerina by HAED, and a little on CDC by Ink Circle of a lunch time (I only work 2 days per week so progress is quite slow, but it all helps.) I have also had a new start, Spanish Geometrical Sampler by The Needle's Content. Here is a link to the completed design. The colors and silks are amazing!!
It is a week of birthdays at the moment, mine was on the 30th of September, Caitlyn (my baby) had her sixth birthday on the 1st of October and DH has his on the 5th, I am caked out!! LOL
The building of our house is coming along great after some initial delays. There was a problem with the design of the concrete slab, so our builder had to consult with another company for the fault to be rectified. Once that was all sorted out and the slab laid, the frame and roof tiles went up, and the windows were put where they had to go. Last week the plumbers and electrician were there, and the heating and cooling units were installed. The bricklayers and plasterers are due to be there in the coming week. Sorry, there are no photos due to the camera problem.
Well I must go, I am about to do an order for the latest JCS ornament issue, plus some other things, I have to justify the postage HEHE. I am going to get some threads so that I can kit a few things up.
Happy stitching everyone, and stay safe.

11 Aug. 2009

The Last of Our Firsts

Yesterday, August 10th, marked the first year of my Mum's passing. We have had a year of firsts, first birthday, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day etc, hence my title.
Dad lives five and a half hours away by car, with no stops, but we always stop half way for a break and a meal so the trip invariably stretches out to six or more hours. On Friday night we made the trek to stay at DH's Dad's house, half an hour from my Dad's, so that we could spend some time with my Dad. On Saturday afternoon DH and the kids took me to Dads and I had a sleepover at his place. He cooked tea, quite well I might mention, he is a very capable cook. He would often cook meals for us, I am one of five, when we were growing up as Mum worked alot of nights in the kitchen of a hotel.
Dad has got a little dog, a Jack Russell called Bessie. She is such a blessing. I am sure that she is the reason that Dad gets up in the morning. We, my siblings and I, are so, so pleased that Dad has her. Bessie sleeps with Dad during the night, however when I stayed she came to me during the night and snuggled with me. Dad called her a traitor, lovingly of course, and he was glad to share her with me.
Dad has begun to attend church. I was able to go with him on Sunday morning. My three sisters joined us, albeit a little late, while my brother (church is so not his thing) waited for all of us outside. After a cuppa with the parishioners we all went to the cemetery. One of my sisters bought a bunch of balloons, in rainbow colors, for us to release. DH and the kids had arrived by this stage, and the kids took great delight in being able to release a balloon for their Nanny.
We then went to a hotel for lunch. It was a good day, and a fitting way to remember Mum.
Dad had some misgivings, he made a comment to me that he would like nothing more than for the day to be like any other, for it just to slip by quietly. But with two of my sisters that is just not possible, the bigger the fuss the better as far as they are concerned. Even to the point of 'dancing and stomping' on Mum's grave so that Mum knew that we were there. I was disgusted. I had always been taught that to even walk on someones grave was very disrespectful. I haven't spoken to Dad to see what he thought, but I am sure that he would think the same as me.
Dad spoke of how badly he treated Mum at times, but it mustn't have been all bad as they were married for just shy of 57 years. We had a very stable upbringing. I lived in the same house until I was married, and I never had to change schools, except for going to secondary school when the time came. Dad thought that Mum did a great job of rearing us kids. You see, Dad wasn't always around. He was a shift worker on the railways. I assured him that he was and still is a great influence on all of us.
Mum, I miss you so much, you were always there for us. Whenever I was unwell, you would always come to help out. I still expect you to answer the phone when I ring, or to be on the other end when I answer our phone. I love you Mum and you will always be in my heart.

19 Jul. 2009

Stitchy Update.

So here are the update photos that I spoke about in my previous post, mind you, I have stitched more than what shows in these photos LOL. That is what I get for taking so long to post.
First off is Gypsy Rose. There is more stitched in this part, as well as some progress on the far left of the design, just me going off on a tangent.







Next up for show and tell is Faery Tales, this is the completion of this page and is of course The Ugly Duckling, sorry for the crappy photo.









Here is another photo of Faery Tales with an 'almost' complete Cinderella, and we can see the emergence of Prince Charming.










And last of all is Impatient Ballerina, there is quite a bit more done on this one.










That is it for the stitching updates.
As for the house, the builder should be given the go ahead next week, so we should start to see some progress. We have been and selected all of our colors, including a red front door and magenta glass splash backs for the kitchen. What have we done??? The color consultant suggested that we make a feature of our front door as it is a double entry door, so we did!! As for the splash backs, what were we thinking? We had a cinnamon color chosen and DH kept on referring to it as baby poo yellow, and I just would not be able to live with him saying that all the time. We had already chosen the bench tops and cupboard doors and didn't want to have to change them again as well, so we went with magenta. Everything else in the house is neutral. Neither myself or DH are 'out there' sort of people, these selections are so out of character for us, but have a couple of WOW factors really appealed to us.
Well best go and see if I can get some things around the house accomplished.
Stay safe and happy stitching.

20 Jun. 2009

Bad, Bad Blogger

It has been some time since my last post (hangs head in shame), no excuses really, just that life gets in the way of blogging at times. I am finding at the moment that I would much rather stitch that blog or read other blogs, but when I do read blogs I do enjoy it, seeing what everyone is up to and stitching on.

There hasn't been any further developments as far as the house is concerned, the trees are still living on our block of land, but their time there is limited, they should be down next week. We are waiting on the final plans, then they can be submitted to council for approval. Is still could be a month or more before any sort of construction work begins.

I saw that a fellow blogger, Ranae, was working on a CCN project called Princess Parade. I left her a comment that I had made several attempts at ordering it but had been able to resist, you all know how weak I am and that being able to resist ordering anything for me is a major miracle. Anyway, Ranae very kindly offered to send me the chart once she had finished with it, and here it is.


Along with the chart, Ranae also included some fabric to stitch it on. And see the Cross Stitch Crazy Certified, that is the top of her note pad, is that not the cutest thing that you have ever seen? Thank you so much Ranae for you generosity, I shall truly enjoy stitching this.

In the comments of my last post Alison Gunning from South Africa left a comment regarding the jungle animal sampler that I completed for my son Luke. She asked where I got the pattern from. Alison if you are reading this, I got the pattern from a craft book which contained various crafts to decorate nurseries/babies rooms. I can't remember the exact name, sorry, it was started some time ago, Luke is now 14. I have looked for my chart but am unable to locate it at the moment. If I do happen to find it I would be more that happy to send it to you.

I do have some stitchy updates to share with you, but I will leave them for another day, in the not too distant future, I hope.

Take care everyone.

3 May 2009

We have a winner!!!

Congratulations Billie, you guessed correctly. My secret project is in fact Impatient Ballerina by Lisa Victoria, here is what she will look like when she is completed.
I noticed that Billie has already e-mailed me with her address, the package will be in the mail in the next few days.

Weekly Update

No one guessed the name and artist of my new start, there is not much to go by, is there! It is a HAED design and the name of the artist is Lisa Victoria, good luck everyone. The first person to leave a comment with the correct design name will win a stitchy package from me.

Here is an update photo of the mystery project, even though the picture is a bit blurry, the colors are pretty close.
Also, there has been some work on Faery Tales, not too much as I was trying to get more done on the mystery, but every little bit helps.
This week I was called into work to do some extra hours, is it so wrong that I do not mind at all!! It is never a problem as long as it doesn't interfere with collecting the kids from school, so they make it during school hours.
Luke has been sick for most of the week, with some sort of viral thingy, so we have been dosing him up on pain relief and basically just letting him rest, I am sure that he will be off to school tomorrow.
Joel's school thinks that there is something impeding his learning and they are leaning towards Aspergers. I have done some research and just can't see where he fits, I know that the spectrum is quite large and that just one or two characteristics can have an impact on a persons life. He has a specialist appointment on Friday just to see what is happening with him.
Caitlyn is simply loving school, her teacher and her friends.
Today after church a few young families got together at a wonderful park/playground for lunch. We had a lovely time, it was great just sitting in the sun catching up with some people that we would not normally get to see much of.
Thank you to everyone who stops by and checks on us, I appreciate you all so much. Take care everyone and stay safe.

26 Apr. 2009

I am so Weak!!!

I have succumbed to startisis. Just in the last week I was e-mailing Ranae and telling her that I was trying to avoid any new starts, well I caved. I was going through my charts and Caitlyn was sitting beside me. I came up to a particular chart and she said "Oooohhh, that one is pretty, I like it." That is all it took to convince me that I needed to stitch it. I have been fortunate since I have been blogging and have won several give aways on other blogs, so I have decided to have a competition. The first person to guess the name of the design will win a little package of stitching goodies from me.


Here is the first wip picture;





It is not the best of photos, it is stitched on white evenweave. As you can see, it is stitched over one, and it is a HAED. So all you have to do is name the artist and the design. If nobody has guessed it by next week-end I will give a further clue.


I while ago I joined the Our Friends HAED SAL, back then, rather than a new start ahem, I thought that I would pick up one of my other wips and get some stitches into it. So a search through my wip containers brought up Gypsy Rose. I don't have a before shot, but here is an after one:





and here is a picture of what she will look like when completed. So as a part of the SAL I will be stitching on Gypsy on Thursday nights.







This week I have also put some stitches on Faery Tales and here is an after shot.



I have decided do a 'sort-of' rotation. I will continue with these three wips, alternating between the new start and Faery Tales a row at a time, and Gypsy on Thursdays. If I need a break from over one stitching I will spend some time on either A Love Song or CdC. The last time I had a rotation I failed miserably, seeing that this is a 'sort-of' rotation, I just might do better!!

Louanne asked me in my comments the details of my CdC and A Love Song. CdC is stitched on 28ct navy lugana, 2x2 with Dinky Dyes silk in the color called Desert Sands, and A Love Song is stitched on 32ct Antique White linen using HDF (Vicky Clayton) silk in Garnet.
Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments on my last post, I hope that you are all well and doing lots of stitching, stay safe.

21 Apr. 2009

What have we been up to?

You may recall some time ago that we put our house on the market (not the one we are living in, we are currently renting, but one that we built ten years ago,) well it has sold. Now we have secured a block of land and chosen a house design to build WOOHOO!!! We will officially own the land on the 14th of May and building should begin soon after that. Before it can start though, we need to remove some trees, five all up, as they have been planted in a row almost diagonally across the block. I will post some pictures in a little while.
We went to our holiday house over Easter and had a very relaxing break. My DH has a very warped sense of humour, around Easter every year he organises for all of us to have dental check ups, he takes great delight in reminding us when this is coming up. We all came away without anything overly major happening, but the dentist has recommended that Joel sees an orthodontist as he has a quite severe over-bite.
Joel and Caitlyn started back at school yesterday, and Luke went back today. So today is the first child-free I have had for a couple of weeks and have just decided to chill today and get back into routine tomorrow.
On the 5th of April my three months probation was up at work, and even though there was no mention of it, I assumed that they would be keeping me on. Well yesterday I spoke to my manager and said that my probation was up and could I then assume that they would be 'keeping me'. He was surprised that the time had gone by so quickly, and then proceeded to congratulate me and said that it did look like they would be keeping me. Another WOOHOO!! I am really enjoying my job, it is such a great and positive environment.
As for stitching I have been concentrating (obsessing) on HAED Faery Tales, and have now managed to complete nine out of sixty pages.















When I am not working on Faery Tales, I am putting some stitches into Four Oaks Designs A Love Song. Not too much more to go on this one, I predict a finish, mmmm, by the end of the hhhhmmm, let me see, year, hehe. I am not one to stick to dead-lines, and not wanting to over extend myself LOL.













And I have also been putting some stitches into CdC, nearly done with this one also.













So that is a condensed version of what we have been up to, I hope to not leave it so long until I post again, I really love getting comments from all of you, it warms my heart when I read them, bye for now and stay safe everyone.

19 Apr. 2009

Times just flies!!!!

WOW two months have passed us by without a post on this blog.
The first thing that I would like to show you my readers is a wonderful gift that I received from
Anna. I won her monthly draw for March, Anna made her stitched piece into a pillow cover and I absolutely love it. The stitching and finishing are perfect, and I love the wooden star buttons that Anna embellished it with. Thank you Anna for your kindness, this is the first stitched piece that I have ever received, it will truly be cherished.














I will be posting again soon with some news and some pictures of my active wips. Hope you are all well, and getting lots of stitching done.

11 Feb. 2009

Firestorm.

I am at a loss for words at the destruction and heart-break that so many are experiencing. The worst fires ever experienced are wreaking havoc on areas of Victoria. Small towns have totally been burnt out. So many have lost their property and so sadly their lives. The death toll is rising, and there have been estimates as high as 300 possible deaths.
I am not going to post any pictures or links, I am sure that you have seen the devastation elsewhere.
I have had some comments from some fellow bloggers, knowing that I live in Victoria, asking about our safety. Thank you very much, we are safe. The closest fire to us is in a place called Dargo. The terrain is mountainous and the risk of it moving into populated areas is not great at the moment, it is about 100 kilometres north of us.
On the week-end we were invited to my sisters 50th birthday. We declined, as it was 5 and a half hours away and Joel and Caitlyn were tired from being back at school, if we had of gone we wouldn't have been able to get back home as the major freeway between us and Melbourne was closed.
It makes me so angry knowing that some of the fires were deliberately lit. All I can say is that there are some very sick individuals about, and I hope that they are caught and dealt with accordingly. Many of the victims didn't stand a chance. The weather conditions were perfect for the fire, incredibly high temperatures, wind gusts of up to 160 kph, extremely dry, a lot of Victoria is in severe drought.
One of my friends and her family were evacuated as their house was under direct threat, but thank goodness they were spared. Another friends parents house came to within 500 metres of being burnt and was spared also.
My heart and prayers go out to all of those that have lost their lives, their homes, their livelihood's, or are battling to survive in hospital. I am also thinking of the people who are grieving for lost ones.
I take my hat off to all of the firefighters, many of whom are volunteers, and to all of the other volunteers who are working to help make life easier for those affected.
I am in no way playing down what people in Queensland are going through at the moment, ironically floods, but my Grandma used to always say that "You can clean up after a flood, but not a fire".
Take care everyone.

4 Feb. 2009

Another Page Finished



This is page number 53 completed. I am still really enjoying working on this one and will continue with it. It is exciting, to me anyway (easily amused HEHE), to see what emerges as I stitch. The mermaid now has a tail and the orange blobby thing is a big fish. The white area on the right hand side forms part of the Fairy Tale of The Ugly Duckling.

In this design there are apparently 28 different Fairy Tales depicted and some remain a mystery to me. I will need to do a google search at some stage and see if I am able to learn what each one is.

The kids all went back to school on Monday, for Caitlyn, it was her first day. I had mixed feelings, but she on the other hand, just took it all in her stride. In the lead up, I kept telling her that she wasn't able to go to school as she is my baby and that she had to stay at home with me (naughty aren't I?), but she said that she had to go to school. She was so confident and comfortable with the school as she had been going with me last year to help in Joel's class room. Joel is in Year one and I think he is feeling a bit out of sorts, having a different teacher, room and so on. I am sure that he will be fine in a week or two. Luke is in Year 8 and is enjoying being able to socialise with his mates once again after having had a very long break. He finished school last year on the 5th of December, so he has had two months off school, too long in my opinion.

All this week Caitlyn finishes at 1:00 everyday and beginning next week she goes for full days, til 3:20, but she has every Wednesday off until the second term, which commences after Easter.

Well that is enough rambling from me, the housework awaits. Thanks everyone for stopping by and leaving comments. Stay safe, and I hope that you are all getting lots of stitching done.

24 Jan. 2009

Five weeks, no post.

Hi everyone, I am still about, just been busy.

We had a real estate inspection last week, we are renting at the moment. I went through Joel's and Caitlyn's clothes and toys, discarded what was broken or damaged and sent what they had grown out of to charities. I always seem to do this post Christmas as they seem to get so much, not just from us but from our relations also. We also managed to rid ourselves of an excess book case and some other things that we haven't used for a long time. The agent ticked everything off as good, from a list that also included fair and poor, PHEW!!, and we were able to make them aware of some minor maintenance issues. The owner came for a visit and was pleased that we were taking such good care of their house, so all is well for the time being.

Work is going well. The people are lovely and helpful. Yesterday was the first day that I was able to log-on to the computers, so I was able to do the first of 37 computer assessments. I also completed one of six modules, which forms the next assessment. I have been mainly counting business express deposits. It is amazing how quickly those cash counting skills came back, it was almost like I have never stopped. I was initially quite hesitant to answer the phone. I have had to get my head around saying not only a different town, but a different bank name also. I am pleased to say that I have been able to answer the phone without making a total fool of myself or confusing anyone on the other end, though passing on messages has been interesting!!

We had a great break at our beach house and a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Christmas day was spent with the in-laws. On the way back to the beach house we were able to go through the town where Mum is buried. I wanted to go to see her plaque, it wasn't in place at our previous visit. Well I decided that I wanted to have a Christmas drink with Mum, we had a partly finished bottle wine left from lunch in the car, but no glasses or cups available. So I went to the grave-site and stood there drinking straight from the bottle of wine :0. I am so glad that no-one saw me, HEHE, but I am glad that I was able to 'share' a drink with Mum for Christmas.
At the moment my bloglines reader sits at 542. I will not mark all as read as I am truly a sticky-nose and do not want to miss anything that all of you have been up to. So there may not be much commenting but please know that I am reading your posts.
On to the interesting stuff; stitching of course. I have been mainly working on Faery Tales and have now managed to complete 5 pages, so here are some update photos.
The first picture is of page 31 completed and the other picture is of pages 41, 42, 51 and 52.









I have also been doing some stitching on CdC and 'only' have two pages to go until it is finished. I have not started anything new as I feel that I have more that enough wips at the moment, but that hasn't stopped my from adding to my ever growing/never shrinking stash. I managed to get the JSC orni issue for '08, and some fabric and threads to start kitting up some projects.
Well must go and do some work and spend some time with the family, oh and watch some tennis, love this time of year for the tennis.
Stay safe everyone, wish you lots of happy stitching.

An Aussie girl who loves to cross stitch