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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Christmas ornament

I just finished making this little ornament up. It's for a new little Kiwi, the first grand-daughter of an old friend. On the back I have stitched baby's full name and date of birth.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moving on ...

Midnight Journey is at the framers. That starts an anxious period for me. I find it so stressful to leave my project for framing. I keep envisioning all the things that may happen while it's out of my care. I used to be able to tell myself sternly that I was being unreasonable, and that my treasure was perfectly safe - and then several years ago my niece put her first-ever large cross stitch in for framing a few days before we had a major weather event that resulted in severe flash flooding, and the framer's shop was underwater, and destroyed. Luckily, she got her cross stitch back, as the framer had taken it to his home for some reason, but the unfortunate experience reinforced my fears. So right now, I'm thinking positive thoughts and trying to not worry about my project. I should have it home in about three weeks.

I've chosen a lovely not too wide gold coloured carved wooden frame, and two mounts - a gold underneath and a bright red flock on top. It looks nicer than it sounds! I decided against including the verses in the frame - it would have made the framed piece too long for the space where it is to hang at Christmas.

Good news from the vet - Maddie is responding to her cyclosporin eye drops and has now dropped down to having them just once daily. She still has the other drops 4 times a day. Her eyes look so much better now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Dance with me!

Midnight Journey is finished. I just have my initials and the year to add. They will probably go in the bottom left corner. The "Merry Christmas" message is adapted from Santa and Angels chart by Sandy Orton. The stitched piece is 38 cm (15 inches) wide and 12 cm (5 inches) high. It's just what I need for the space I have in mind. I am very pleased with how it has turned out.
I am so glad I decided to add the extra pair of reindeer. I am almost certain I will print out two verses of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (the one with the reindeer names, and the final verse) and have them mounted in the frame, one at each end of the stitched piece.
I'll be having a little break from stitching over the next week or so. I'm planning a trip to London in a few months, and it's time to do some work on the itinerary. When I do get back to stitching I have one little Baby's First Christmas ornament to finish, then it's back to HAED Jolly Old fellow for a couple of months.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

The reindeer are now all finished. Just few stars, a smaller than charted moon (without the facial features), and the Merry Christmas message to stitch. Yay! Tomorrow I'll get my charts out to decide on an alphabet for the message. Then the next decision will be the finishing. I had originally planned to mount it on a padded board (like a very large ornament), but now I'm drawn towards having it custom framed, as I usually do with my annual Christmas projects. Time will tell ... I'll be trying to make a decision tomorrow when I'm walking up and down the pool. It's good to have something to focus my mind on when I'm walking in the pool - it helps to make the hour go faster.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beautiful visitors

When I opened my lounge room door this morning, this is what greeted me: two beautiful crimson rosellas having a drink from my bird bath. They obligingly stayed for long enough for me to find my camera and take a pic. We are so very lucky here - we get lots of native birds in our garden.

It was obviously my day for bird encounters. Later in the morning we were out on a garage sale run, and I saw over 50 black swans, all adults, together swimming and feeding on the lake. I've never seen that number of black swans in a group over here - the last time I saw a group that size was 25 years ago in Perth WA.
It doesn't take much to brighten my day - those two brushes with nature did it for me today!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Midnight Musings

Well, we all survived the denture clinic visit, though the dental mechanic was a bit shaken a couple of times - like when Dad assured him that he'd actually swallowed his bottom plate in his sleep. That's my Dad - if he doesn't recall what happened he's quick to provide some explanation that more or less suits the circumstances. Usually it's more plausible than "I swallowed my teeth in my sleep". I've known people to have long conversations with him, and never suspect that he has no short-term memory, and very disordered thought processes. Most people don't suspect he has dementia till they ask him the same question twice and receive two very different but equally believable responses. He often has me wondering. I just have myself convinced that he's quite lucid, then he does something like give me a very convincing description of his lovely baked lamb lunch, when I am still sitting at the lunch table where I witnessed him eating grilled fish, chips and salad. Poor old thing. I keep trying to banish the thought that I'm just 25 years behind him ...

The weather was much better here today - still hot but not sweltering. I was pleased to see Miss Maddie brightened up considerably, and even took herself out for her usual 10 minutes in the sun this afternoon. She politely but firmly requested her tea at 4pm, so it looks like her appetite is improving. Tomorrow will be an exciting day for Maddie. We're going to the lake for lunch with a large-ish group of friends and their dogs, and that's something she usually really enjoys. I hope the weather is kind to us tomorrow! I've given up reading the weather forecasts, as they're always promising rain that doesn't arrive. There I go - I promised myself I wasn't going to whinge about our weather while half of eastern Australia is flooding, and part of Western Australia is burning. I have nothing to complain about!

I've had to re-think my text plan for Midnight Journey. When I actually checked the words of "'twas the night before Christmas" I found that the last line is "Happy Christmas to all ..." not "Merry Christmas to all ...". Silly me! I really do want a "Merry Christmas" message, so my revised plan is to stitch some sort of fancy-ish "Merry Christmas" under the reindeer, and have the entire text of the poem framed with Midnight Journey. I'm thinking of dividing the poem in half, printing it out on a nice parchment-style paper, then placing one piece at each end of Midnight Journey (horizontally). I'm not sure that what I wrote sounds as nice as what I'm envisioning, but I think it will work well. It will also make the framed piece wider, which will suit the spot where it will hang. I need to have the framed piece very wide and as small in height as I can make it. I still have a few days to make a final decision, so I may change my mind again. And again.

I have to be up and walking in the pool in less than 7 hours, so I'm off to bed - soon. I may just finish stitching the reindeer's leg first ...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the home stretch now ...

Another pair of reindeer stitched - just one more pair to go now, and then the message to stitch. I've decided to stitch the final line of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. It will go under the reindeer, perhaps in three lines of text:
Merry Christmas
to all
and to all a good night
(if those are the actual words - I haven't yet checked to see how accurate my memory is on this one). Looks like I'll have my alphabet charts out soon, to work out the text details.
I'm starting to feel confident that I may finish this project by the end of February. If I do, that will be the earliest I've finished a Christmas project in the 19 years I have been stitching myself an annual Christmas cross-stitch. As soon as Midnight Journey is off my floor-frame I am going to put my HAED Jolly Old Fellow back on. I will work on it all March and April, and see if I can get at least another page stitched. It really is such a beautiful Santa, and it does deserve to get some attention soon.
Enough about stitching - on to more important news. here's Miss Maddie in her favourite position these days:
She has spent the past week in her basket, except when I take her out for food or eye drops. She's not coping at all well with the heatwave we've been experiencing in the past week or so. Most of the time she's been inside, in an airconditioned room, but even so she's been off her food and very lethargic. I'm not too concerned, though - she livens up considerably when she hears the lid come off the treat container. I lift the lid so carefully, but she'll hear it even though she appears to be asleep in her basket downstairs in the loungeroom. By the time I get to the top of the stairs, she's dancing round in circles at the foot of the stairs waiting for her treat. We clipped her coat before her bath this week to try to cool her down a little. Her hair is now so short that her pink skin shines through - that pinkish glow in the photo isn't an artefact - that's really the colour she is. Her ear infection has cleared up, and those drops have now been stopped, so that's some progress. She is such a little angel with her eye drops. I am so lucky! I'm hoping for good news when we go for the vet review on Tuesday - I'm hoping her cyclosporin drops can be reduced to daily.
It's almost 1am, and I have an early start tomorrow, so I'd better start thinking of bed. Tomorrow I'm taking my Dad for the first of five visits to the denture clinic, and that may be an interesting experience for all concerned. He is suffering from dementia, and has almost no short-term memory. He lives in a secure aged care hostel, but seems to think he's in prison. He is usually quite delightful, but if the mood takes him he can really spit the dummy - not tomorrow, I hope!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two more reindeer have joined the team ...

and I'm putting my needle down now till after the weekend. I've started thinking about the message I'll add to this project. It has to have "Merry Christmas" in it - that's the only definite decision I have so far. I'm thinking maybe two lines from The Night Before Christmas - the line with all the reindeer names, and the final line - goes something like "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night". If I go that way, I'll stitch the reindeer line in smaller font at the top, above the sleigh, and the other line in larger font (possibly graduated) under the reindeer. Maybe. I've got another week at least to work it out and come up with a plan.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maddie's news

I took this pic of Maddie tonight, in one of the very few moments she was alert and not receiving drops of some sort - she slept most of the day and evening after we got home from the vet visit. Not that I blame her - it was uncomfortably hot today, all day - even sitting in the airconditioned lounge-room. We have another week of this stifling heat to look forward to - though given that Queenslanders are expecting a severe cyclone to arrive soon, I'm not going to complain too much about the heat here.It was odd at the vet surgery today. When we arrived, there were already 3 Maltese Terriers in the waiting room, and another arrived right after us. I've never seen that before. It looked like a Maltese Terrier convention was taking place.

Maddie got a good-ish report from the vet. Although her eyes are no longer discharging, and quite clean, her tear production hasn't improved at all. So, she has to continue with the daily prednisone tabets, the twice daily cyclosporin eye-drops, and the 4 times daily liquid tear drops. She also now has to have ear drops twice a day to clear up this ear infection she's developed. Poor little babe, she is so very good with all her treatments. We have to go back for another review in 2 weeks. I'm hoping the tear production will be back to the normal range by then.

It's time for more drops, and Maddie is stirring, so I'm off to play doggie-nurse.