Friday, December 31, 2010

A final finish for 2010!

Told you I'd sneak another one in! With 3 1/2 hours to spare too :-). I did make a few changes along the way, I personalised the cat with some dark grey markings to look like our cat Jazz, and instead of "Joy" down the side, I made it "Jazz". Here it is:
  • Name of the design is "Joy Cat".  
  • Chart is from a leaflet called "Fast & Festive" by Leisure Arts.
  • Fabric is 28 count white evenweave.
  • Thread is DMC cotton.
  • Stitch count is 33 x 59, but I made the bauble strings longer.
  • Completed on December 31st 2010. Started on December 19th. This will be a Christmas ornament. 

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

We made it to Christmas unscathed!

Yay!! There was no need for bubble wrap either :-). DS #2 is prone to medical dramas in December (right near Christmas) as you may know from previous posts. However, we may just have broken the curse this year! I did worry when he woke, exactly a week out from Christmas, with a sore throat and feeling unwell. I thought, great, just enough time to for it to manifest into bronchitis, or pneumonia, or scarlet fever, or ebola or .......

Anyway, we made it through!! Although yesterday he did manage to jam his pinky finger in the car door. Yes, he somehow found a way to do it to himself, I think that's got to be a first!

On the stitching front, I decided to make the "Buon natale" design into a small framed piece, as I had a plain white frame here that was *just* the right size. Here's the final product:
I'm also sporadically working on my WIP, I should have it done this year if I get a reasonable amount of time to stitch. Maybe on the 31st? Nothing like leaving it to the last minute to squeeze out another finish.

It's also my Dad's 80th birthday today, and I made a giant orange cupcake, filled with orange custard, and decorated with orange icing. Did I mention orange cake is his favourite? Here it is:

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to all

To all who pass by my little corner of the web, I wish you nothing but the best for the festive season. Not all of us have friends, family or other loved ones to share the day with, but I hope you are still able to find joy in your hearts and contentment with your life at this time of year. My wish for you all is health, wealth and happiness. I think that covers it all, if we have those three things, we are pretty blessed. May 2011 be prosperous for you all in every way!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Creating in the kitchen

Well, you can't really call it baking or cooking, when the oven wasn't used at all. Let's just call it creating! I made oreo balls and a fudgy caramel slice. I did make more than this, but these were the only photogenic ones ;-) I suppose you want the recipes too? LOL. Here you go:

150gm packet of oreos, any flavour. 250gm cream cheese. 1 ts vanilla essence (this was my own addition). chocolate for melting (at a guess 250gm?)
Crush oreos in a blender. Soften cream cheese (I also used the blender, but be careful you don't over soften it or the mixture will be too gooey) . Mix oreos through cream cheese, add vanilla essence. Shape into small balls and place on a greaseproof paper lined tray. Freeze for about an hour. Melt chocolate over stove top or in the microwave. Dip balls into chocolate and set back on greaseproof paper to set in the fridge. You could also try other ways of decorating them, drizzling chocolate over, rolling in sprinkles or coconut etc. You could even add other bits and pieces to the mixture: glaced cherries, sultantas, choc bits etc. These definitely tasted better the next day (today!)

250gm packet of choc ripple biscuits. 125gm nice biscuits. 125gm melted butter. 50gm chopped butter. 120gm dry roasted hazelnuts (I used milk and white choc bits instead). 1 egg yolk. 250gm chopped milk chocolate. 1/4 cup brown sugar. 395gm can condensed milk.
Grease and line a 19cm square baking pan, bottom and sides. In a blender, blitz all the biscuits and egg yolk, add melted butter and process further. Press mixture into the base of the pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Place hazelnuts (or choc bits) on base. Make filling by cooking condensed milk, brown sugar and chopped butter in a heavy based pan over low heat until brown sugar melts. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes, and do not allow to burn. When light brown in colour, pout over base and place in fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts (on about medium) until smooth. Spread over filling, cover and refrigerate until hard, about 2 hours. Cut into pieces (using a hot knife to melt the chocolate coating, otherwise it will just crack) and serve.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just testing

Make a Grunge Heart at

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New stash, and school reports.

I'm not even sure how I came across this pattern, probably some enabler on a message board somewhere! There were a few other tribal designs, but this one caught my eye as I like butterflies and could imagine it done on some striking fabric with bright variagated thread. If you'd like to check out the designs, I bought it from a UK company called Sparklies. (The tribal butterfly design is now #1 on their top sellers list)

It's the end of another school year and both kids have now had their reports sent home. Both did really well, with DS #1 getting the academic effort award for his class, a merit certificate in 4 subjects (I don't really know what he had to achieve to get it) and 8 A's, 4 B's & 4 C's. DS #2 got 7 B's & 11 C's. (FYI: A= well above expected standard -from what I can tell 12 months ahead- B= above expected standard -6 months ahead- and C= at expected standard)

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Look what I did today!

A few weeks ago I bought a create-your-own-Christmas-cards kit. I thought, "Why not make some home made cards this year?" Brilliant idea! However, I'm really, really good at getting fantastic ideas like this, but they more often than not never make it to fruition. Much like the make-it-yourself earring kits, or the beaded Christmas stars kit, or the ready-to-decorate cane wreathes, or the photo insert Christmas cards, or the mini family scrapbook, or the....... Anyway, you get my drift! These brilliant ideas usually sit amongst my craft crap stash for ages, until once in a blue moon when I get the urge to purge, and they get given away (or sold if I can find a sucker fellow crafter to pay to take them off my hands!) in a "what WAS I thinking?" moment. Anyway, I's what I actually, really, truly made this afternoon. Honest! The proof is in the picture ;-)
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Buon Natale Freebie Finish

Here's a design I started on Wednesday and put in the last few stitches this morning. Another poster on the 123stitch message board was looking for an Italian Christmas ornament design, and it got me thinking that would be the ideal thing to stitch for my MIL. I wanted to get her a little something extra, and thought a cross stitched gift would be nice (she also crafts - embroidery, crochet, knitting etc). I searched through all the suggested designs and decided upon this one. It's not really the usual design I'd go for, but something about it struck my fancy. Here it is:

  • Name of the design is "Buon Natale".  
  • Chart is a freebie from this blog.
  • Fabric is 28 count white evenweave.
  • Thread is DMC cotton.
  • Stitch count is 71 x 57.
  • Completed in December 2010. This will be finished as an ornament for my MIL. 

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas karate bear finish

It's rare I stitch a design more than once, let alone twice in one year, but that's exactly what I've done with this design. From memory, it was my first finish of 2010 when I made it for DS's birthday. I stitched it without the hat, on opalescent blue fabric, and framed it in a matching blue frame. This time around I added the Christmas hat and stitched it on plain white fabric, turning it into an ornament for the tree. Here it is:
Turns out it's not the first karate ornament I've made for the instructors, this one I made at least 2 years ago:
Anyway, here's the details on the latest one:

  • Name of the design is "Karate".  I did add the hat from a design in the same book called "Christmas".  Wildly original names, I know!
  • Chart is from a Leisure Arts leaflet titled "101 Bears with Personality" by Lynn Busa. 
  • Fabric is 28 count white evenweave.
  • Thread is DMC cotton.
  • Stitch count is 31 x 40.
  • Completed in December 2010. This was for DS's karate instructors, a husband and wife team. 

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Awards Night Update

Well, I'd like to be able to tell you the awards night for DS #1 went smoothly, but it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Thankfully, nothing to do with us! On to the good stuff first though, DS got the award in his class for academic effort, and a girl in his class got the one for academic achievement. It appears they gave one of each award for each class in each year level. (There's about 9 classes of year 7's this year) As for the musical number, apparently he came in a count early (which I didn't pick up on - neither did anyone else) and was mortified. I keep telling him he has only just started to play, and already he was chosen as one of 4 trumpeters to perform and he has done so well picking it up. Oh, and while talking to his French teacher afterwards, we found out he got 101% in his recent French exam. Much like the 11/10 on Junior Masterchef, I'm not a fan of anything more than a perfect score, but apparently there were bonus questions, which makes it OK.

Now, for the memorable part. If you are in the least bit squeamish, then you should.....



Ok, you have been warned!

During the year 9 awards, I noticed a lady and her son (probably about 10-12 years old) get up really quickly and try and make a fast exit. Thankfully, they were close to the middle aisle, but as they got up, he projectile vomited down the aisle. Without going into detail, you can imagine it wasn't pretty, with us all packed in like sardines. Then to top it off, he slipped and fell while exiting! Comical, if not gross and sad. Then another kid, trying to escape the aroma, slipped also! We had what you'd call the perfect viewpoint, just out of reach, but close enough to catch all the action. Some of the teachers jumped in and took care of it, all while the awards kept on coming. Now THAT's mortifying!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Awards Night Tonight!

DS #1 has his school awards night tonight. Learning to play a musical instrument was part of the curriculum this year, and he chose the trumpet. After picking it up really well, he has been selected to participate in a musical number with a small band tonight. Not only that, but he will be picking up an academic award, not quite sure for what, we’ll have to wait and see. Proud mum will be there with video and digital camera in tow!

On the stitching front, I've finished the Christmas karate bear design that will be an ornament for the karate instructors. The last class for the year is Thursday, so I'll wash, iron and finish it tomorrow. Will post a pic then.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another XS finish - but I can't show you yet!

It's a gift for someone overseas, so I can't post pics until the recipient gets it. Therefore I can't say much about it just yet! It stitched up quickly, on white evenweave fabric, using 10 different DMC threads. The stitch count is 41 x 60. It looks cute, even though my finishing technique, or lack thereof, caused it to hang a little off centre. :-(

I've also started on another quickie, this one needs to be finished for Thursday to give to DS's karate instructors. I doubt they read the blog, so I can describe that one. It's a cute bear in a karate gi, with a black belt. I've used part of another design to add a Santa hat to it and I'll add the year too. It will end up as a Christmas ornament.

Next up will be another small Buon Natale design for my MIL for Christmas. Seems I'm making a mad dash to get a few more finishes under my belt before the year is out!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

The A-Z of me!

I came across this quiz on another blog and thought I'd share here. Feel free to post your answers on your blog, it's a fun way for your friends to get to know you. 

A - Age: Do I have to??? 40
B - Bed size: Queen

C - Chore you hate: So many to choose from. Vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the toilets etc etc
D - Dog's name: Don't have one now, but as a child I had Midnight then Toki, both mixed breeds.
E - Essential start your day item(s): A drink of any sort (No, not an alcoholic one!)
F - Favorite colour: Pink, closely followed by purple
G- Gold or Silver:  Silver
H - Height: 5' 4" or 164cm
I - Instruments you play: None, although I tried really hard to learn the guitar. Epic fail!
J - Job: Mum/Sales assistant
K - Kids: 2 boys, 13 & 8
L - Living Arrangements: With hubby and kids in a house
M - Music you love: Varied taste.....hard rock, 80's stuff, top 40.
N - Nicknames: Thankfully none
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Twice for Addison's Disease, once for pneumonia. Oh, and a total of 5 weeks when pregnant/giving birth to DS #1
P - Pet Peeve: How long do you have? LOL. Ok, people parking in the middle of 2 car parking spots, so their precious car doesn't get scratched. Why do the rules not apply to them??

Q - Quote from a movie: That would require a memory, of which I do not have one.
R - Right or left handed : Right handed for almost everything. I eat left handed and carry a bag on my left shoulder
S - Siblings: 1 sister
T - Time you wake up:  If I'm lucky enough to wake with the alarm, 6.40 on weekdays, 7.30 on weekends.
U – Underwear: Let's not go there shall we?
V - Vegetable you dislike: Pumpkin. Thanks Mum & Dad!
W - Workout Style: What's a workout?
X - X-rays you've had:  I'm not sure, I bet there's been some. Oh yeah, my mouth, looking for wisdom teeth. Sadly I have none. Wisdom, or wisdom teeth.
Y - Yummy food you make: My kids would say parma's and carbonara.
Z - Zoo, the best place to visit: Any of the primates. Reminds me of visiting the in-laws. Joking!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

My hand towel finish

Another day, another finish! Here's the cross stitched hand towel I made for DS's school teacher. School finishes up in 2 weeks, hard to believe the year is almost done and dusted.

Here's the details:
  • Name of the design is unknown, it just saved as 20070626_19_Robyn
  • Chart is a freebie from My Aunt's Attic, but the collection of charts can be found here.
  • Fabric is a pre-finished cream hand towel.
  • Thread is a variegated blue and purple thread, DMC 4215.
  • Stitch count is 27 x 133.
  • Completed in November 2010. This will be for DS's school teacher. There were just enough spaces down the bottom to fill in his teacher's surname, so I decided to personalise it that way.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

A new/old finish!

Ok, I found this one when cleaning out my stash. I've had it completed for probably a few months, but haven't added it to my blog or stitching album as yet.

Here's the details:

  • Name of the design  Ink Spot #4
  • Chart is a freebie from Ink Circles
  • Fabric is a unique piece of hand dyed 28ct green opalescent fabric from who knows where! 
  • Thread is a silk called "Isle Green" from Hand Dyed Fibers.
  • Stitch count is 35 x 35
  • Completed in, hmm, let's say about June 2010? This will be another cupcake for my stand.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A few cross stitch finishes :-)

I finished this Christmas cross stitch design a few weeks ago, but I'm making a few changes and need to find a button supplier (for cherry buttons) to fully complete it for framing. I also realised after I took a pic that I didn't finish off one of the mints!

Here's the details:
  • Name of the design  "Christmas Calories" by Sue Hillis
  • Chart was purchased from 123stitch
  • Fabric is a piece of 28ct lugana called "Strawberry milkshake" from Silkweavers
  • Thread is DMC cotton
  • Stitch count is 84 x 124
  • Completed in November 2010. I plan to add some buttons and sequins for effect and I bought a plain white frame today to mount it in.

I also whipped up this design for another cupcake for my stand:

Here's the details:
  • Name of the design  simply "Hearts"
  • Chart is adapted from a freebie by Karen at Cross Stitch Directory
  • Fabric is a piece of 28 count purple evenweave
  • Thread is Sue Purple 6103 silk by Hand Dyed Fibers
  • Stitch count is 32 x 32
  • Completed in November 2010. This will be another cupcake for my stand.

I'm now working on a cream hand towel for DS's teacher. I'm using a variegated blue/purple thread and just stitching a repeat freebie pattern. It's working up quickly and I should be finished in a few days.
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