Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Angelic interlude ...

I'm enjoying my break from stitching on Jolly Old Fellow. I've made 15 prs angel earrings (11 small and 4 tiny) and 5 large beaded angels. This is the first time I've used purchased angel wings for my angel earrings, and I quite like the way they look. The next batch of angel earrings will have beaded wings, though - I've now used up all the wings I purchased on e-Bay. I'll make angels until Friday, then at the weekend move on to stitching an ornament or two. It has been 6 months or more since I've made any angels, and I found I didn't have as much beading wire or bead caps as I thought I did, so I'll be making a visit to my local bead shop tomorrow to replenish my stocks.

Ellie is now back to her usual happy, hungry self, demanding food at ever decreasing intervals. It's great to have her back to normal. She seems determined to regain the 300g she lost when she was ill. She has to go in on Saturday to have stitches removed, but that should be a simple procedure, no anaesthetic or sedation required.

I was saddened today by the unexpected death of my father's budgie, Sam. Although he was my father's pet, I did most of the caring for him (feeding, cage cleaning etc). He was only 3, and as far as we knew quite well. Yesterday his behaviour was perfectly normal. He was chatting as he usually did, and immediately started nibbling on the lettuce and millet heads I put in his cage, and came out for a fly around as was his habit - his cage was always open during the day, and he went in and out at will.. This morning he was sitting in the corner of his cage, quite dead. I really was shocked and upset. RIP Sammy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

HD at my house tonight

Page 4 is finally finished. I seem to have been working on it for so long. I really like the holly and berries on Santa's hat fur - they are so realistic. I am now so keen to get pages 5 and 6 stitched, but I have decided to stick with my plan to have a JOF-free week (or maybe 2). I really want to make some beaded angels, a couple of Christmas ornaments, and a bird design quilt square. I'll start with some angel ear-rings tomorrow.
Another reason for the HD is that Ellie is almost back to normal - eating and drinking well, and back to all her normal tricks. Such a blessing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Totally Useless SAL - April

I have to admit to starting to feel embarassed at my floss extrvagance. My jar has been tamped down several times - the last time being just before I started stitching the holly and berries on Jolly Old Fellow. I have some good advice from several stitchers on ways to reduce my floss waste, but I think I'm unlikely to change my wicked ways on this project. I'll have to do it gradually, start slowly on a small project till I find my way so to speak. To tell the truth some (possibly large) part of me really loves seeing the threads pile up in my TUSAL jar. A friend (who knows that I am a Christmas lover) suggested placing the TUSAL threads into those clear plastic two-part baubles, and turning them into Christmas decorations. I do happen to have 4 large clear plastic baubles in my craft rom, so don't be surprised to see my TUSAL jar contents on display in my house this Christmas.

Addit: I had intended to edit out the demi-johns in the background of my TUSAL jar pic, but when I saw the pic I really liked it, so I left them in. They usually live on the floor adjacent to the box - they were only on the box because I was in the middle of washing the floor when I took the pic.

WIP Progress Pic

Page 4 is still not quite finished. I'm a bit behind schedule as I had no opportunity to stitch for the past 3 days, while Ellie was needing extra TLC. I've put in a bit of stitching time today, and I am keen to actually finish this page. I'll have a JOF-free week as soon as page 4 is finished. I think I'll make up some beaded angels, by way of a change. I also want to stitch a design - probably another bird - for the Victorian Bushfire fundraising quilt being organised by Terry Louise at Stitching under the Southern Cross board.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ellie is on the mend!

I am so very happy, Ellie is improving rapidly. We had to leave her in the vet hospital for 24 hrs for IV fluids, which was extremely hard for me to do. But this morning when we picked her up at 9am she was so much brighter and more alert. The vet sent us home with a syringe , special food, and instructions to syringe feed her food and fluids, and bring her back Monday for review. But when we bought her home she immediately started drinking from her bowl, and when I tried her with some mashed up food she ate it straight away. I was so excited! She's had oral painrelief and antibiotics, and 2 small meals, and her behavour is almost back to normal. It's a happy household today!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm not even thinking about stitching today. Ellie's not doing so well. She hasn't drunk anything or eaten yet. She seems settled, and is sleeping a lot. We had her back to the vet this morning, and she got injections for painkiller and antibiotics. We'll take her back tomorrow for more of the same, plus she'll have to get some IV fluids if she doesn't start drinking tonight. We've tried everything the vet suggested to get some fluids into her. We've tried syringing water into her mouth, but she just got distresssed, and the water just ran back out of her mouth. The vet said the problem is that her tongue is sore and swollen, and she will have to re-learn to drink, as at the moment she can't manipulate her tongue well enough to scoop water up with it. It's such a worry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A stressful day

Such a stressful day! We picked Ellie up from the vet at 3pm, and brought her home. The vet said sh had bitten her tongue during the op, and her tongue was swollen and protruding from her mouth. Apart from that, everything looked OK, given that Ellie was still very drowsy after the anaesthetic. We drove home and we;s been home only about 10 minutes when she started having problems breathing and she started bleeding from the mouth. She was panting extremely fast and gurgling - very scary. We took her back to the vet, and to cut a long (very anxious) story short, she had to have an injection to reverse the effects of the long-acting opiate she'd been given, then have another anaesthetic to suture a bleeding tooth socket. Poor little baby. She's much better now, very settled and breathing easily, no further bleeding at all. Her tongue is still swollen and protruding, but even that is settling slowly. Ellie's the one in the jacket, the other baby (the one actually on the cushion) is my Madalyn, whose nose is severely out of joint because Ellie is getting all the attention. It wasn't my idea for Ellie to lie in the position she chose, next to my chair. But I left her there as the vet said to have her head lower than her body if possible, and that's just how she arranged herself. If she continues to be settled I may even consider taking us all up to bed soon - a few hours ago I thought I'd need to sit up with her all night.

No stitching has been happening in my house today!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A stressful day ahead ...

Today has been rainy and cool - the sort of day that suits my mood right now. I am really concerned for my 15 yr old Bichon, Ellenor (Ellie). She goes into hospital tomorrow to have some dental work, and I am worried about how she will tolerate the anaesthetic and the procedure. The last time she had an anaesthetic was a couple of years ago, to remove what turned out to be a rapid-growing localised tumour on her head, and she was very drowsy and not herself for a couple of days. It was a difficult decision to put her through the stress of another anaesthetic, but her teeth are worrying her, and the vet advised the procedure. So, think of me at tomorrow at 9.30am, handing her over to the care of the vet and staff, and then fretting about her till I can bring her home in the evening. I won't be the only one missing her tomorrow. Madalyn, my 10 yr old Maltese, will be wondering where Ellie is - they are so very rarely separated. I'd like to think I'll make good use of my waiting time, and get some stitching done, but that's probably unlikely - I doubt I'll have the concentration that my WIP demands of me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More progress ...

My progress on Jolly Old Fellow has been slower than I expected - it's the confetti stitches that are slowing me down. I'm also blaming the confetti stitches for my excessive floss use. I've not been able to adopt the carrying floss technique, and I can only ever control one needle when I'm stitching, so I finish off the threads after stitching each set of symbols, and get a new piece of floss for the next group of the same symbols. Sometimes that means one length of floss per stitch. I know that's wasteful, but these days it's the only way I can keep control of the situation. And the result is that my Totally Useless SAL jar is growing by leaps and bounds.
I now expect to finish page 4 sometime in the coming week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thinking of Christmas ...

This is my progress at the end of tonight's stitching session. I'm fairly confident that I will finish this page by the end of this week. I'm enjoying stitching the holly leaves and berries - I have always liked stitching with green and red floss.

I have almost decided on my next Christmas project. I've got plenty of time to get organised - we're talking a January 2011 start at the earliest. But it doesn't hurt to plan ahead. I was half-thinking of HAED Merry Christmas To All (I do have the chart, and I really do love it), but I think back-to-back HAED projects would be a bit much for me. So, when I finish Jolly Old Fellow I plan to stitch L&L's Angel of Hope or maybe L&L's Christmas Angel - the jury's still out on that decision. Either will be a good companion piece for Angel of Love which I stitched in 2005. At this stage I'm favouring Angel of Hope. Though ... the new Angel will hang on a white wall for Christmas 2011, and the brighter colours of Christmas Angel would look very pretty on the wall. Obviously, more thought is required before a final decision. Luckily, time's not an issue here ...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More progress ...

I finally feel as if I am really making some progress on Jolly Old Fellow. I am always slow to 'get into' a project (that's the main reason I do just one at a time), but bonding with Jolly Old Fellow has taken a record time for me, as usually after working on a project for this long I would have finished it! I'm now about half-way through page 4, and now that I've started using some greens it really does feel like a Christmas project. I am going to try and finish page 4 before April 20, to give me a chance of getting page 5 almost done by the end of this month. Then there's not much to do on page 6, so I hope to have the first 'layer' done and dusted by mid May. That's the plan, anyway.

I feel some beading coming on soon, so I'll take a little break after finishing pages 1-6, and make some beaded angels and bookmarks, and also maybe a few cross-stitched ornaments. I'll wait and see what flows.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April already ...

This is the current state of Jolly Old Fellow. I've almost finished the sky on page 4, and I'm over a third of the way through page 4. I hope to be finished page 4 and well into page 5 by the end of April. I've decided to stitch on JOF all this month, no JOF-free week for me in April.

It's been well over a week since I posted here. The time has just slipped away. We've been renovating the kitchen (new walloven and all the doors taken off, sanded, re-stained and sealed), and that has been amazingly disruptive to the normal order of things. In the process I've cleaned out and reorganised every cupboard, and discovered many 'treasures' that I had forgotten. In the past couple of weeks I have also found eBay and I've been having great fun buying and selling. I'm sure I'm making Australia Post very happy. The postman is bringing me parcels every day, and I've been visiting the local Post office frequently to mail things out. This could be my new hobby!