Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best friends are the greatest

Stitching friends - look what my BFF Sarah gave lucky me for Christmas:

Aren't they just too fab?


...the FB Family Furbabies:

Burma - the one who brings home stray laundry

Cheetah - she who yowls

Dini - rats beware!

and say hello to the newest member of the family:

Boodle - the inexhaustible kitten

Friday, December 21, 2007

Seasons Greetings

All the best for a wonderful festive season :)

It's here!

The first day of the school holidays....
so the girls are having a grandma day, which they have been hanging out for for weeks now. This means today is photo with Santa day. Jess picked out her clothes last night, but I'm sure Tamsin and I won't agree on her outfit and there will be a hissy in the offing. Oh well, that's parenting.
Also here is my last day in the office before 3 (yes THREE!) weeks holiday and a new job. I've not had more than 10 days off in a row since I left university.
After 5.5 years with Intermax I am moving on. As with most jobs, it will be the people I miss. On the upside, the company I am going to work for is in the same industry (but not a competitor) and does work for Intermax, so I'll still be in touch. In fact, the directors of current job have known and worked with the directors of new job since Adam was a cowboy, so the whole "I'm leaving" thing has been very friendly.
First day of school holidays is also traditionally the day for putting up the Christmas tree. I wonder when the girls will remember and start to nag me about hauling it out and decorating it?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

If you can't go fishing...

...then you play in the boat on dry land, of course.

This is my wonderful DH (Steve) with his elder brother (Kevin) doing essential maintenance on Kevin's boat in our driveway.

On the proud mama front: Jess now has her back walkovers on the high beam, glide kip to clear hip circle, and cartwheel straight jump dismount (prep for roundoff back tuck dismounts) off beam. Go Jess!

She has had front tuck off beam for over a year, and can do pike - she's mentioned training front layout off beam just recently, but I haven't seen it. Her handsprings are there now too, so handspring front tuck isn't far away; her round off flicflac x3 is now solid and she's working on getting roundoff flic back tuck. I get the feeling Jess is not sure about back tucks - I think she prefers pike, or even layout position, but she only has a front layout (and the odd front layout 1/2 twist) off the mini tramp. Jess gets to train back salto work on the tumble trak, but she's not fond of it as a training aid, prefers to use the proper sprung floor - says she feels her spring/power better.

Tamsin, on the other hand, will move out of PreComp and into Level 1 next term. I won't know if it'll be 1C or 1B till then. Either way she'll be training 4 hours/week, which will hopefully tire her out a bit more than currently! In swim class she tries really hard and her teacher is really impressed with her progress. I am too as a matter of fact. Go Tamsin :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Since the sewing machines were still set up

I made three more tank leotards, using for the contrast a white with pink hearts nylon lycra.
Tamsin's fits perfectly, while Jess' are a bit baggy in the butt.
Still perfecting the pattern sizing and elastic gathering, but I'm definitely getting faster at completing them.

Things that grow in the night....

Every so often, things sprout in the pot that holds our nearly ceiling height ficus.

What amazes us is how there can be nothing at dinner time, but this will be on show at breakfast time. And it proves that air-borne spores do exist.

Very considerate of the fungi to match the wall colour, don't you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sewing frenzy update

11 days later and the girls have:

2 bright peach tops

1 bright orange top (needing a skirt)

1 bright blue top (needing a skirt)

2 tank leotards

The leotards are actually a bit big, so back we go to the patterns.
I will make two more in a smaller size. Jess' one isn't too big, but Tamsin swims in hers!

Jess loves her peach tops, says they're really comfortable. Coach also likes them, and said they're perfect for end of year display - which was the point of this whole exercise afterall :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Believe it or not....

...but I've actually done some sewing!
Jess, unlike the the other girls in her group at gym, wears a leotard (with bike pants over) every class. She came home from practice the other day saying that for end of year display a bright coloured tight top would be required, and short black bike pants (all Jess' black ones are spankys from cheerleading and would be too short). Shorts over a bright tank leo would not cut it :(
So, I hauled out the lycra stash, the KwikSew patterns, the overlocker and the sewing machine and made a start.
Take One: size 7 bright orange cotton lycra. Too tight and not long enough. So off to Spotlight to pick up the next pattern up in the size range (8-14). Agreed that the top would make a great Barbie dress for Tamsin if I add organza or similar as a skirt - so will do that over Christmas.
Take Two: size 10 bright blue faux sequin effect nylon lycra. Fit perfectly but still not long enough. Again, agreed that the top would make a great Barbie dress for Jess if a skirt gets added, again to do over Christmas.
Take Three: size 10 (different pattern this time) in bright peach nylon lycra. Perfect length but a size too big. Painted a small purple flower on the front so it gets put on the right way and into the drawer for whenever Jess gets that big.
So, watch this space for Take Four! And while I was at it I cut out two tank leos - one for Tamsin and one for Jess (since she is wearing out the ones she has), utilising a cute white with little pink hearts nylon lycra as contrast fabric.
Once done, I will take photos and post them, in celebration of a sewing frenzy.
Must get hold of more cotton lycra. It is by far the nicest to handle/stitch, and it's best for making bike pants and leggings - again needed as Jess is wearing out the ones she has; and Tamsin needs a longer/skinnier fit than I can purchase. Plus it's much nicer for practice leos for summer, as the fabric "breathes" better than nylon lycra.

Speaking of Jess' gym practice: she came out of class buzzing tonight: "I got my long kips Mama, and with a cast at the end! And my russian leaps are at full 180, even my bad leg!"
Her split leaps have been at pretty much 180 for well over a year now - but russian split leaps have an extra movement, so it's great that they're at 180 now too.
I'm mighty impressed that she's got long kips - she's only just got her glide kips 100% (she's had 3 out 5 attempts for about 10 months) - but Jess says she's feeling stronger now so she can really push out her glide and get the kip to pop up, and that the long kip feels easier cos there's more room to swing on the high bar, vs on the low bar for glide kip.
She was sooo happy :)
Way to go Jess!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gotta love the freebies

This, finished yesterday, was one of the many freebies I have stashed away thanks to Cross Stitcher (UK) magazine.

It is a great subscription. The magazine arrives within days of its issue in the UK, it has lots of good charts and info AND there is always a freebie of some sort. Mostly small kits, like Eeyore, but every year they issue a neat calendar, and a good personal diary.

I look forward to getting it every month.

The kitty in the wreath above my profile was another freebie. That one is a Margaret Sherry design. Thanks to Cross Stitcher I have lots of her designs in my stash.

Now, how to make time to stitch them all?!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where does the time go?

November already, and two weeks since my last post!

Again, at least I have something to show for it:

Believe Tree, by M Designs - 25ct navy lugana, over one using The Dyepot 12 perle overdye #238.

As it was a variegated thread, I followed the rule of completing each "X" invidually, which I found quite liberating. Actually, this whole design was great, and I'm really happy at the how it's turned out.

M Designs will do the same thing to people's names, and I'm quite tempted to send away for my girls' names to charted. Just need the ole stitching budget to be replenished, which won't be till well after Christmas.

It has been a very lucky couple of months for me. Thanks to the generosity of DH's boss, a contact of my sister's and the travel agency I use at work, I have been able to attend 3 wonderful events: Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (with DH), The Russian Ballet (with sister, Jess and Tamsin), and We Will Rock You (with DH).

War of the Worlds was great. Hearing the music live was wonderful, and fascinating seeing it brought to the stage. DH wanted to bring the Martian fighting machine home to put in the back yard. He still does, all 9 metres tall of it. We back onto a motorway, so just imagine how many crashes that rubber necking at our garden ornament could/ would cause....

The Russian Ballet was seriously awesome. It was at Auckland's Civic Theatre - the one with the fabulous interior. Tamsin was fascinated with the whole experience - from the lions at the edge of the stage with glowing eyes, to the stars on the painted sky ceiling, and then the dancing, etc etc. I had to remind her at one point that we were in a theatre, there were people behind who wouldn't be able to see if she continued to stand up and try to mimic the dancers on stage! The dancing was good - including a complete setting to Orff's Carmina Burana, a piece I really like and the girls are familiar with.

We Will Rock You. Well, where do I start? It was FANTASTIC. Very funny, very cleverly put together, great use of many, many Queen songs- the whole production was really well done. If you're a sucker for Queen, you so gotta get to this stage show. Really.

Monday, October 22, 2007

some stitching done....

and finally I can show a finish:

Autumn Quilt by Imaginating, done on 22ct hardanger.

I've also got the chart for Winter Quilt in my stash. There's actually four in the series shown in my Nordic Needle catalog but loved the colours on this one and liked the cat on the Winter one, whereas Summer and Spring did nothing for me. So, I was strong and only ordered the two I liked. Along with some packs of petite needles recommended by Dr P at 2muchXS, and they're as fabulous to use as she said they'd be - so thanks Dr P!

As usual, this took waay longer to stitch than I thought. Not stitching for week or so doesn't help admittedly. I find it very frustrating being such a slow stitcher - there are so many lovely things in my stash that I'd love to start but immortality just isn't in my genes so I'm definitely in the SABLE category...

Friday, October 12, 2007


and hi mum and Aunty Barbara :)
My Aunty Barbara is my mum's best friend - same birthday, same school, same home town, the works. She's also my godmother, and lives in the UK. Mum and Barbara have been faithfully and regularly corresponding ever since my parents came out to NZ in '65. Barbara is legendary in our family for never forgetting a birthday - we all, children and grandchildren as they arrived, receive the most beautiful cards in the mail every year. Lately they've been cute e-cards.
Well, I'm a hopeless correspondent. Dreadful. Since the advent of email, I have been a bit better - Barbara at least gets the odd photo and hello now.
I'm a little more reliable at updating this blog, so I took a deep breath and gave Barbara the URL, so that she could "see" what I've been up to, should she wish. Which lead to my mum now having the addy. Up til now my family had no idea I blogged. I did mention it to mum awhile back, but knowing that she hadn't the foggiest what a blog was, I knew it wasn't going to go any further.
So, as Rowyn said the other week: BUSTED! and thus hi mum and Barbara.
And, I'm hoping mum likes the photo of herself posted previously.....

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday again

and we WON"T talk rugby, ok

The girls are back to school today. They had a great time at the Extreme Trampoline holiday programme, so file that one away to do again, like with the skate school one.
Tamsin is so nearly six now. Why? Cos she had her first tooth fairy visitation and is now proudly and forcibly showing all and sundry the gap in her lower front teeth.
Have done very little stitching over the last week, so no finishes or progress pics to post.
With the lovely long bright evenings that are now here,MAYBE that will change. Hope so!

Friday, September 28, 2007

School holidays half over already...

and the girls have done a week of skate school at Paradice Ice Skating in Botany. They have sore ankles, but want to do it again next holidays, so I count that as a success.
The aim of these school holidays was to wear Tamsin out. She's nearly six in so many ways now, and needs challenges and activities to keep her on an even keel. Plus last holidays Jess was away at cheer comps and gym camp while Tamsin was "only" at Grandma's. That Tamsin needed more structured activity (much as she adores being spoilt rotten at Grandma's) was only too evident by the end of the 2 week break.
Next week, they have 3 days at a holiday programme run by Extreme Trampoline, who are based in the gym complex where Tamsin does her rec gym class (TriStar). The girls are looking forward to it.
At the last rec gym class of the term, they handed out the gymfun badges from the testing done the week before. Tamsin successfully passed Level 1 - yay Tamsin.
Evil Gym Mom that I am, I also had a quiet word with one of the rec gym coaches about Tamsin going into competitive gym classes - mainly to get her doing more structured stuff in a more challenging environment. Tamsin being Tamsin was going to be bored by the end of Term 4 otherwise. The lovely coach said she'd discuss it with the other coaches in Tamsin's class and get back to me. Which they have, and they would like Tamsin to try the Pre-Comp class this coming term.
Excellent. I'm not expecting anything fabulous from Tamsin - she's all tangly long legs but momma's gut feel is that she has to have a challenge 90% of the time in anything she does.
So in Term 4 I've booked swim lessons for her, once a week while Jess is at her gym class (there's a teaching pool within walking distance). She's really excited about it.
Heaven help me, but also wondering about continuing the skate school - there's a Sunday class that would fit in the timetable - just to build on the little bit they did this week, and as they want to do the skate school again next holidays it would mean no gap in the learning AND it would help with the keep Tamsin busy idea.
I know, I'm nuts. However, there is no ballet this term as I decided that I couldn't cope with the chaos that is ballet recital. Ballet will happen next year as the girls enjoyed it and the two syllabus programme at Lily Fong's works well for my two. Guess late January will again be the great timetable shuffle as I try to make it possible for both girls to do gym and ballet. No cheer leading in 2008 to complicate things at least!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Proud mama gets to brag AGAIN

Yup - the BAL exam results are in, and one very proud mama simply has to brag about her girls.
BAL doesn't give marks like RAD does, just a "report card" with the examiner's comments and pass level: pass, pass plus, commended, highly commended, honours, honours with distinction.
From what other ballet people tell me, BAL is a lot like RAD was about 20 or so years ago.

Tamsin surprised us all again, like with the cross country a few weeks back, by not only passing the exam (Beginners), but getting Highly Commended!
Miss Lily was very pleased. I thought she might pass, but certainly wasn't expecting such a great result.
Woohoo Tamsin :)

The syllabus work is a bit harder and more involved than the RAD syllabus - the two compliment each other rather well I feel. BAL 3 fits nicely between RAD Grade 3 and 4, providing a nice extension to the techniques taught with RAD. The dances are longer, the barre work more complex and from grade 1 up the students have theory questions to answer as well.

Jessica hated the BAL work to begin with - cos it made her think and work to master it all. By the end of the two or so months that they had to work on their exam pieces though she was enjoying it. And it showed in her result.

Honours with Distinction.

Way to go Jessica!

Mama is so very proud of both her fabulous daughters.

Monday, September 10, 2007

As promised

A pic of Penguins on Ice, framed, on my mum's wall.

And, yes, that's my mum. Now bear in mind that she hates having her picture taken, so I'm taking her willingness to pose for this one as an indication of how pleased she is to have the l'il critters on her wall at last. Especially as she knew I was going to post it on my blog!

Apologies for the fuzziness, I only had my phone with me at the time.

Stitching Update

Trying to stitch on this one a little everyday, and here's a progress pic from this morning (Monday Sep 10):

I've now reached the bottom right hand corner, so that's 3 corners out of 4. A lot of colour changes on the bottom half of this design, which is really slow going, but I'm determined to stick at it awhile longer.

I've left the Stitching in the Dark SAL piece in the cupboard for the moment. I was remiss and didn't say, but it is Dimension's Barnyard Kitties.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Stitching in the Dark

This is another SAL on the group I belong to, 2muchXS. It's a bit of an in joke really, as we're not stitching without lights. The SAL was started when we worked out that several of us were working on pieces using black or navy fabric and decided to "encourage" ourselves to keep on stitching. Here's where my "Stitching in Dark" piece is at as of today:
It's a lovely bright sunny day this morning - just right for stitching on black fabric....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Marty Bell's The Abbey

This is where I had got to in April of last year, and where I picked up from when I pulled it out of the stash cupboard. There is now more done of the trees on the bottom right - will post a progress pic when there is some noticeable progress to show, LOL!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A finish!!

Ballet exams are useful. How can this be? Due to the need to spend two Sunday mornings in a row at ballet waiting for the girls, I got a good chunk of stitching done.

Here's the result:
A finish!
This is for my niece's birthday - as mentioned in a previous post some months back.
Just needs a quick wash, then off to the framers it will go, well ahead of deadline.
It's from the UK's Cross Stitcher magazine April 07 issue, by the same designer as the Dandelion Bear I finished last month.

Now to dig out my Marty Bell's The Abbey (for the UFO Challenge SAL) and go through my stash to find a small new one to start. I want to find a cat one to do, possibly a Margaret Sherry... just love having to have a stash fondle :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

one about Tamsin for a change

For most of the term, the girls' school has been trying to hold the cross country run (before the Zone competition) for all the pupils. The weather here has been standard Auckland weather: four seasons in one day. Thus the run has been postponed and postponed.... well you get the picture. And in the meantime the teachers have had the kids out practicing whenever weather permitted (this exercise thing is part of the curriculum you see).
Jess, who runs well but hates cross country cos it is just that - across country (and where we are, that means cow pats), had been agitating for weeks to get permission to not do it.
Tamsin never said anything, just taught herself to tie the laces on her sneakers so she could wear them to school due to her teacher recommending lace up sneakers as better for running.
Finally, the actual event did get held, using a circuit around the outside of the school instead of the original around the mountain-through-muddy-fields-and-cow-pats one.
I had compromised with Jess and had sent a note giving her permission to decide for herself whether she ran or not. This solved all her concerns and she worked out an on the day solution which she and her teacher were really happy with.
Tamsin just made sure she had on her lace up sneakers and continued to stay out of all the debates about school cross country events.
Anyhoo, I picked up the girls from school as per usual on a Tuesday - in a hurry as it was ballet, then gymnastics. Tamsin's teacher mentioned as Tamsin and I were leaving the classroom to go meet Jess that Tamsin had told her she'd come first but the teacher didn't know if that was true or not as she hadn't been at the finish line. Tamsin has a great imagination so I, bad momma, didn't pay much attention.
On walking the girls to the car, we ran into one of Jess' friends (Brittney) who gave Tamsin a big hug and a "congrats on winning, Tamsin!"
Jess then answers my "did she?!" with "oh yeah, it was cool! and Alice came second!" Alice being our neighbour's tiny tiny 5yr old. Brittney's mum joins us and confirms this with "Tamsin was great, she was lapping people!"
Apparently the 5yr olds had been split into two groups and sent out 5 mins apart (Alice in the first group and Tamsin in the second), so Tamsin had caught up with and then passed all the other kids.
Tamsin meanwhile is just standing there with the biggest grin on her face, finally being the centre of congratulatory commotion for something she'd done, all by herself and not in the shadow of Jess.
Tamsin, my 5 and a half year old, won the 5yr age group school cross country event.
She really really did.
You see, my bright youngest daughter had worked out that it was a race and by running steadily the whole way (no walking or mucking around) beat all the other 5yr olds - and encouraged Alice along the way so she came 2nd.
Way to go Tamsin!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Twelve years later

and finally they're done! Penguins on Ice is officially finished!!
Bought, and started, the kit prior to November 1995 (for my mum's 60th), did about 2 & a bit penguins then stopped stitching entirely for about 4 years, then when I did start stitching again mum received 9 other pieces while waiting patiently for the Penguins.
A huge thank you has to go to the Yahoo group 2muchXS. Without their UFO Challenge and the unflagging support of the list members, this piece would never have gotten finished. One must also point out that my stash has grown exponentially since joining the group nearly 4 years ago, but what's a bit of enabling among friends?
So off to the framers they will go and my mum will finally get her Penguins for her 72nd birthday. Thanks for waiting mum, hope you've got some wall space ready!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Proud mama gets to brag

Miss Lily handed out the RAD exam results to the Grade 3 class tonight.
Jess scored 80 out of 100, so a pass with Distinction.
It is ten sections scored out of 10. She was a bit disappointed with the marks for character dance as she thought she'd done that ok. Sautes were her highest mark for the third year in a row.
Not as good as Grade 2 mark last year (93), but she had lots of extra practice with an older Grade 5 girl last year. This year she didn't do the extra practice, had the distraction of a full on cheer competition straight after the exam plus she freaked herself out about the exam while waiting to go in.
So all that taken into account, 80 is a very good mark.
Now onto the BAL exam in two weeks...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday update

The end is in sight! And I mean that literally: the end of the fabric is in sight.
Penguins on Ice #20 is done, only 2 of the little critters to go.

Wish me stitching vibes so that I get them done by the end of August. I need Sep/ Oct to stitch diligently on Bears on Balloons so it can be framed for the mid-Nov birthday deadline.

I always seem to have stitchy down time after I finish something. Does anyone else have that problem? Or are you so excited at being able to start something else that the issue never arises?

Tamsin got her certificate for doing her RAD Pre-Primary "exam" today. That means that Jess will get her marks for RAD Grade 3 at class tomorrow. Proud mama promises to post the result.

BAL exam is Sunday Aug 25 and then that's ballet done for the year. Jess wants to drop ballet, and reduce down to just gymnastics from now on. Fees-wise I can cope with this decision. I'm a bit sad otherwise cos she's been doing some really lovely dancing lately. Tamsin I'll keep at ballet to at least the same level Jess has reached - the pros of ballet are worth keeping her at it till at least Grade 3.

Tamsin was doing sautes today in class: she is just as springy as Jess. Miss Lily, in the run up to the RAD exam, was telling Jess that the grade 3 sautes were petite, not grande like Jess was doing. Jess then demonstrated what her grande sautes looked like. And as Jess was perfectly in time to the music, Miss Lily had to accept that Jess' sautes were always going to be twice as high as the rest of the class. Coach Richard just laughed when we told him. What else do you expect from a student who can do standing flics and punch front saltos?

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's been awhile...

...but at least I have something to show for it, LOL
This is a Celtic Knot in an issue of UK's Quick&Easy from about 2 years ago. Really liked this one when I first got the magazine, but only just this month found an excuse to stitch it. Not visible on the scan is the DMC Light Effects threads I used, or that it is on a navy blue evenweave. Oh well.
Now I need to work out how I want to "finish" it so I can give it to my sister for her birthday. It will be a bit late, but I gave her a cool bracelet a couple of days early so I'm ok. Thinking of making it into a small bag that the bracelet can go in. It's a chunky shell braclet so the design is not too big for it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Down Under Spirit!

Last post about cheerleading, as we are dropping this activity off the after school list to focus on the ballet and gym commitments.

I have now got some photos taken by people who went with the team, and of course proud mama had to share them!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July Finish, yay!

Dandelion Bear, from the June 2007 issue of UK's Cross Stitcher is finished. Yeeha. This is to go in a cot quilt being made by Sarah for a mutual friend who's baby boy is due in November.
Jessica is home from gym camp - she had a great time and is happy with her progress. This is good since it is only 4 weeks to a competition the club is planning to go to.
And school goes back tomorrow (so back to making school lunches, oh well) and Tamsin will be in her new class, woohoo.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday again

Tuesday really does seem to be my day for blog entries.
Anyhoo, Jessica arrived home safely last Wednesday. She was tired but buzzing from a very enjoyable trip. No photos yet as those that took any are yet to get back and send them to me :( Still, that's what I get for not going. However, I truly believe Jess had a much better time without her family tagging along.
Then it was 3 days of solid ballet plus back to gym class. The BAL exam is the last weekend in August, so the girls have lots to learn and perfect.
Right now Jess is at a gym camp til Saturday. She'll be glad to get back to school for a rest!
Meanwhile, I have been stitching and Dandelion Bear is progressing nicely. Pics soon I promise!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Allstars Rule!!

The home phone rang last night, around half 7. A very excited voice said "Hi mama, WE WON!! And the seniors won their division too!!"
Go Allstars Junior Elite Development, yeah.
Also got a text around the same time from friends over in Surfers for a holiday and coincidentally staying at the same (huge) hotel as the cheer teams to say that Jess had a medal and that they'd managed to get some photos of her with medal and the trophy. Won't get copies of those till they get back in about ten days, but great that they took some for me so thanks Mark & Jo.
The teams have workshops today, then off to Movie World. Seaworld and shopping tomorrow, then they head home on the midday flight on Wednesday. Wouldn't want to be on that plane - figure it will be pretty loud!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

be afraid Surfers Paradise, be very afraid

cos the Allstar Cheer teams have landed.

Farewelled one very excited junior cheerleader at the airport this morning. Today was THE DAY to get on a plane to Brisbane to then go to Surfers for the Down Under Spirit Champs. I did only manage one photo on the mobile of the event, but the chaperones have promised to take lots of pics during the 6-day trip.

Feels very odd to be doing nothing after school - normally we'd be in the car heading for gym practice by now. Jess better hope I don't get too used to not doing it, LOL!

I'm hoping I get lots of stitching done.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Number 19 done!!!

Only 3 to go, woohoo. The end is in sight, and if I keep up the finish-a-penguin-a-month pace, then the piece will be finished with time to have it framed ready for my mum's birthday in November. YEEHA. Eleven years to stitch 22 penguins can't be too slow, can it? LOL I counted up how many other things I've stitched for mum in the meantime and it added up to 9 things, which makes it not so bad :)

Anyhoo - here's number 19

And this is what the row 1 thru 19 looks like in total

Only 3 sleeps to go and Jessica is on a plane to Surfers. She's sooo excited now. The bag is 90% packed, last minute items sorted out and by Wednesday night she'll be good to go.

Sunday, after cheer practice, the team got to perform the routine during half time at the Harbour Heat vs Hawks basketball semifinal. It was a great experience for them and they really enjoyed the atmosphere. I'd not ever been to a live basketball game before and I was astounded at the speed and ferocity of the play - no wonder there's several refs out on the court!

The team tracksuits got handed out. Thank heaven for my fabuous MiL. Jeanette is a wonder at alterations (trained sample machinist, now works for a drycleaners as their alterations guru), and just as well as the pants have to be virtually remade to fit my tiny 10 year old. Funny thing is Jeanette had already altered a pair today for another team member! Talk about small world. Apparently her boss's granddaughter or niece is Jess' back base, and her track pants needed major alterations too.

Must remember to take photos at the airport, if only on the mobile's camera. Jess will definitely want a record of this trip :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Weekend by Evil Gym Mom

Here is my report on the weekend, LOL.

Saturday went well logistically, phew. Sunday went well logistically too, yay!

Ballet exam went ok for both girls, and then Tamsin had a lovely grandma day while Jess was competing Cheer Nationals.

Jessica was in two teams competing in Division 1 - East Development (her home team) and Junior Development (a combined team for the Aussie comp). East placed 5th and Junior placed 1st! She was really happy. It was a good afternoon and she had lots of fun with her cheer teams.

Now we're on the countdown to flying out to Australia (June 28). Only Jess is going, but she'll be really well looked after by the chaperones and the bigger girls. There is another Jess in the Senior team who has "adopted" Jess, and calls her "mini-me". Big Jessie is a lovely young lady and I have no fears about Jess travelling without us. In fact, I suspect she's going to be spoilt rotten!

As promised, I took photos of Lady Scarlet after recharging the camera batteries.
She really is rather lovely :)
My dear friend Sarah has her now, and thinks her new stitchy travelling companion is very cool.

Friday, June 15, 2007


This has felt like a very looooong week. It started with a busy weekend: lots of extra ballet and cheer practices in the lead up to exams and competition. Then I was off work due to a very sore arm (now well on the mend, yay!) so the days seem all muddled.
Anyhoo, here I am at Friday. Comtemplating an even busier weekend. Saturday is ballet class for eldest, after which she is heading off for cheer practice while I get youngest to gym class. Some other cheer moms are picking her up from ballet and taking her for me so that T doesn't have to miss gym. Then T and I will trundle over to join J at cheer.
Then on Sunday we will really be pushing it. T has her ballet exam first thing, so we have to have her, with her just to shoulder length fine hair up into two buns, at ballet by 9am. Then J has her 45min ballet exam at 11.45am (no make up, hair up in one bun). Then J is due at cheer comp for warm ups by 1pm - in uniform, hair done (high ponytail) and make up on. Talk about rush rush, and J eating lunch in the car yet again.
Still, that's two big events out of the way. One to go - J flies out with her cheer team on June 28 for the Down Under Spirit Champs in Surfers.
And then it will be back to mostly normal, yeeha.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

As promised

a pic of Lady Scarlett's Secret Garden. It's not very good as the camera decided not to work, so I had to scan it. I'll post a better one when I get the camera up and running again. The little needle book is too cute, and was not bad to stitch and make up. I might stitch another one for me.

This is a gift for Sarah, my best friend and eldest DD's godmother. Sarah made quilts for both girls and then on our anniversary gave us the huge quilt she'd made for DH and I.

Anyway, thanks again Ally for enabling me into this lovely Just Nan kit :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

here we are at Tuesday again...

...which seems to be the only day I get around to posting!
Anyway, I finished the needle book part of Lady Scarlett's Secret Garden last night and it's too cute. I'll post pics once I've done the pincushion part.
Well, that's Queen's Birthday Weekend over No more long weekends till October. Admittedly I will take time off before then to deal with school holidays, so the big gap isn't so noticeable.
Ballet exams and cheer regionals are rushing towards us. Coach/ teacher are looking a bit flustered about the small number of practice times left, so extra practices are popping up all over the place. Some schedule juggling coming up :) Nuts, that's what I am, LOL.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday again!

The week has gone too fast.

So, yes, I have made lunches and afternoon tea again ready for the afterschool dashing about.

But, I have finished Penguin #18, yay! Only 4 to go. AND this gives me "permission" to start on Lady Scarlett, woohoo. The fabulous Silver Needle in Tulsa had these lovely kits available and I managed to get one! They sell out very fast and I really didn't think I'd get it, so the parcel arriving was a lovely surprise.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

another Tuesday rolls around

which means that I've made two lunches for school bags, and a big bag of afternoon tea for the car. Why? Cos Tuesday is the day I race home to be in time to pick the girls up directly from school, to get to ballet and then race across town to get to gymnastics.

If I could find the "evil gym mom" switch I would not only turn it off, I would permanently remove it.

Still, one teddy on a balloon is stitched, two plus clouds to go. No stitching on Barnyard Kitties or the Penguins however, sigh.

No stitching last night as Cheetah and Dini took turns at sitting on me in such a way as to immobilise my arms. Man, it's tough being a cat!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I've been tagged!

eeek. I'm sure most of you know the rules by now: post 8 random things about yourself and then tag 8 more people. Problem is, all the bloggers I know have already been tagged!
Anyway, here's my 8 random facts
1. I'm a chocoholic, a hopeless case
2. favourite chocolate is dark with peppermint
3. I've only (so far) been in a cast once - broke a bone in my foot
4. I am an evil gym mom. Ask my DDs, they'll tell you!
5. I belong to a fabulous Yahoo group called 2muchXS. Thanks to them I now have waay more stash than I ever used to, but I have actually finished things now :)
6. I'm the youngest, with one sister and one brother
7. i'm 40 next birthday
8. I'm left handed

And I tag Rene, Marisa and Ally (I know, not 8, but I don't know very many bloggers!)


Monday, May 7, 2007

I am such a newbie

and how does one realise that one is still a blogging newbie? When I see that there are comments on my posts and I hadn't noticed!! [blushing in embarassment]
Thank you!
I will try to be more vigilant in future :)

Happy stitching everyone

and the autumn sunny blue days continue

Another beautiful blue Auckland day, following on from lovely Saturday and Sunday. In the opinion of my work colleague based in the Hawkes Bay (shipping apples) long may it continue. Us in the fresh produce industry are manic weather watchers.
Not much stitching lately, :(
I did get the Lickle Ted gift away, and it was received kindly so all is good there.
My left hand started to ache so I wondered if I had over done the stitching. It is fine now, so I'll try to get back into it. Out of unread books in the house so really I have no excuse LOL

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Another beautiful blue autumn day...

and the ironing awaits.
I'm onto Penguin #18 and I dug Barnyard Kitties out of the WIP box and put some stitches in after months of neglect. Now that it has resurfaced I'm going to try to stitch on it every Wednesday - the day of my Yahoo group's "Stitch in the Dark" SAL. As Penguins on Ice is my piece for the UFO SAL I'm going to stitch on that every Sunday. That way, those two will get worked on (and who knows? maybe even finished) while leaving other days to work on the other WIPs in my list, and make a start on the Bears on Balloons sampler for Grace's birthday (Nov). It's gotta be worth a try, right? Rotation systems work for other people, I know.
Now, onwards and upwards...
to do that ironing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday blues

Sunday blues cos if today is Sunday, then tomorrow is Monday and sometimes I'm a bit Garfield. You know, fat orange cat that hates Monday? I'm not orange, agreed, but I am fat and I'm not fond of Mondays. I'm ok once I'm in Monday, but I surely don't look forward to it.
Still, it is a BEAUTIFUL blue sunny day, DH and Tamsin have just left to go fishing, I've caught up on the blogs I like to read and Jessica is supposed to be getting dressed. She is currently sitting on the couch reading, half out of pjs and half in clothes. And by half I mean she has the tshirt over her head, but no further. sigh.
Well, passport application for Jessica is all done, just needs to be sent off tomorrow with a cheque attached, and then we wait for the real thing to come back.
The stitch show was ok. Only half a stand devoted to cross stitch, never mind. It was just nice to spend the whole day with my dearest friend Sarah.
when her DH arrived to have dinner he brought with him the quilt that she had sooo casually mentioned that she'd finished during the week.
It was "our" quilt!!!! the one she designed, made and quilted for Steve and I!!! It is soooooo awesome. It is pansy fabrics (cos Steve loves pansies), there's lots of yellow (I love yellow and our house interior is painted yellow) and it is quilted with hearts all over it. Woohooo - best 10 & 11th anniversary gift ever!!
I promise I'll post a photo.
Lunch with mum & dad then take Jess to cheerleading practice, then home and maybe the fishers will be back.
In the meantime, I'll "motivate" Jess to finish getting dressed, do her stretching, conditioning and ballet practice and hopefully motivate myself to finish penguin #17 and put Lickle Ted on the towel so that I can send it to my colleague as the gift it's meant to be.
Roll on Monday and back to "normal" routine of school etc :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lickle Ted finished :)

Lickle Ted, along with a bath time duck from Cross Stitcher April 07, is all done. Woohoo. Two finishes for April. If I try hard, I might get Penguin #17 done before the end of the month as well - which would be too cool.

Jessica arrived home safely from a week of gymnastics in Napier. She said she had lots of fun and is much happier about some of her skills. Excellent :)

We'll head of in a minute to go to regular gym class (Thursday 5-8pm). Leaving early so that we can stop at West City mall on the way to get passport photos done. That way, her godmother can do that signature thingy for the application tomorrow (since we're meeting up to go to the Stitch show) and then off it goes to get processed. And that will be one more step on the road to Jess in Australia for cheer comp. Plus one more thing ticked off the to do list, yeah.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday here again

and another day at work done :)
DH has today and tomorrow off work to be home with Tamsin. Jessica is still in Napier - very tired but getting a lot out of 5 days straight gym training. Home does not feel right without her here DH and I have agreed.
It's official - DH is taking up fishing. With Tamsin's help he bought a rod and reel today while out with his brother (the one who has a boat and goes out fishing). It's only fair. I have cross stitch plus he gets left at home while the girls go to ballet/cheer/ gym. And it's good for him to chill out with his brother. He has to clean anything he catches though!
Lickle Ted is coming along nicely - the end of the x's is in sight, then the backstitching will commence.
So all going well the next post will have a finish to show

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Day 6 of my looong weekend

And Jessica has gone to Napier, DH is at work leaving Tamsin and me to chill out at home. My Cross Stitcher arrived yesterday, lovely. It has a really cute Lickle Ted design in it, just perfect for a new baby gift. Arrived just after I finish kitting up three designs to do ready for the birth of my colleague's baby - none of which I felt was just right, but I thought they'd "do ok". Classic Murphy's Law, that. Never mind, will kit up the Lickle Ted and do all four and then I'll have finished baby gift items in my stash - always a good standby item! Need to get a move on though, Tracey's baby is due in a month!
I really should give the house a good going over, but I simply can't get up the enthusiasm to start. With most things for me, once I start I'm fine. Just getting started though is sooo hard. And some days harder than others. So many things I could be doing - have option paralysis!
Right, big deep breath and I'll go do something
really I will

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

Well, here I am, middle of my six day weekend. Have spent most of it at the ballet studio while my girls attend holiday classes in preparation for the RAD exams in early June.

Jessica is happy as she has mastered some things in the dances that were giving her some difficulty. We knew this might be a problem due to changing studios - her old one had the exams in late July/early August so they hadn't really started in on the grade work meaning she was a bit behind the class at her new one, which had. Tamsin is just enjoying doing ballet classes. Preprimary is sooo cute, yet the basic building blocks are all covered.

Jessica has shown some lovely work over the last week at ballet - such a joy for a proud momma to see. I'm also proud of Tasmin's application to her work. I didn't put her in any classes last year as all she did was play around and not focus. I decided to wait until she started at school in the hope it would make a difference to her attitude, and it has. Possibly being in a pink leotard and pink net skirt has helped too!

Took the Penguins with me today instead of the Sudoku and actually put some stitches in. The ballet girls were quite fascinated.

Made it to an LNS yesterday. Kitted out three designs from various issues of Cross Stitcher and Quick&Easy, all in Anchor. Realised this morning that I had forgotten to pick up the missing DMC for the Balloons sampler, du uh. Oh, well - having to go again won't hurt, will it? Why is my credit card running away do you think??? LOL

There is a Stitch show coming up that I am planning to attend, so must save some budget for that :) My girls are happy to tag along, and my closest friend is coming with me too. Should be fun! I'm on annual leave for the first day of it, so will go then (girls still on school holidays), woohoo.

The new, bigger fridge arrived on schedule Thursday afternoon - what a difference! So easy to fit everything in now. And I cleaned the old one today, so it's all ready for a new home. Just need to get it into Trade&Exchange and hope we get a buyer.

Got to the optometrist last week as well. Slowly ticking things off my list, very satisfying. Took Tamsin along as her new entrant vision test had had a query on it. Glad I did. While her eyes are healthy with none of the stereo/squint issues that I've had, she does have a "vision reduction". No panic (or glasses) at this stage as school this year doesn't involve distance work, but the optometrist wants her back in 12 months to look into it further. Tamsin was so good for the optometrist, just like she was at the dentist. I've attached the photo of "model child at dentist". Why is this such a milestone for us, you ask? Cos her elder sister is sooo nervous of dentistry that what is normally a 20min appointment takes an hour with her. She is getting better thanks to a lot of effort on her part, and a lot of careful pre-explanation by Loy, our dentist (also an old family friend).

Last day for ballet tomorrow (just Tamsin's classes) and then Jessica will be off to Napier for a week long gymnastics training clinic. She is really looking forward to it. She went down for a similar weekend in February and had a fabulous time, so she's looking forward to seeing all the Napier coaches again. She also wants to work on the skills for the Level 4 routines, especially with competition season starting in May. Personally I can't see her being ready until June at the extreme earliest, and then it will clash with a cheer practice for Australia (the last one before leaving in fact!). This year was always going to be full of clashes until after the Australian comp, so no surprises there.

It will be interesting to see how we go with fitting in Tamsin starting gymnastics. Proud momma that I am, I hope she takes to it and also ends up competing. She's picked up some of it by osmosis from hanging around Jess for over 2 years, so we'll see. She can do a mean glide on bars, but has no idea about a cartwheel or handstand. Can be very funny to watch. Either way, it'll do wonders for her gross motor skills which is no bad thing.
Meanwhile, the pantry is now absolutely full of chocolate Easter eggs the girls have been given over the weekend. Just as well they do so much activity to work off all that sugar!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

April finish!

Yay - I did it. Forever Friends chart from Quick&Easy June 2005 is done. Not sure what I'll do with this one. A work colleague is pregnant, due next month and I might finish it somehow and give it to her. Unless I see something in one of my magazines that I think will suit better...
And while I was uploading it, I thought I'd scan and post the Penguins on Ice #15&16 I completed in March. Only 6 of the little critters to go...

Now to get to an LNS to pick up the DMC I'm missing to finish kitting up the Bears on Balloons birth sampler from Cross Stitch March 2007. I'd promised myself that I couldn't start it until I'd finished the Forever Friends piece.
I think it will suit my niece, Grace, perfectly for her 4th birthday in November. I had bought one (a detailed Noah's Ark sampler in muted colours) not long after she was born, but never felt like starting it. I'd chosen it as I thought the colours would suit the decorating tastes of her parents. Anyway, when I saw the preview for Bears in my Feb Cross Stitcher it screamed "for Grace!" at me and I couldn't wait for the March issue to arrive to confirm that it was the one for her. The minute the magazine arrived I went through the stash and kitted up fabric and floss, and it has been waiting for me to finish a WIP since. I'm trying hard to not start anything new until I finish one of my WIPs first.
So far, so good. :)

3 days to go

till I get a 6-day weekend, woohoo.
It is Easter this weekend, plus I'm taking 2 days leave to cover part of the school holidays. Between my mum, my DH and myself the school holidays are covered. Jessica is off to Napier for a week of gymnastics in the middle, and Easter itself will be spent at ballet doing extra classes for exam prep.
I've managed to do some stitching, so the end is in sight on the teddy, yay! I was hoping to finish last night but was very slow due to it being backstitching and my watching Bones then Heroes. But I can see that it will be my April finish.
It's a fine day today, great. Tamsin is off on her first class trip: Auckland's Botanic Gardens. She came home from school yesterday and lectured me on all the things she needed to take with her. At least I know she listens to her teacher!
Work is a bit quieter for me now. Avocado exports are all finished, including payments to the growers. So my focus turns now to kiwiberry payments and the upcoming persimmon and kiwifruit seasons. The auditors are with us at the moment, driving the admin team nuts.
Next month will continue to be very quiet for me as the manager I do the most for is off on holiday for 4 weeks, to Spain. She's planning on getting to see some of the America's Cup racing, so cool. Go Team NZ!

Friday, March 30, 2007

...and more money out of the bank

Bought a fridge today. Bit the bullet and did it.

There is nothing wrong with our 11 yr old fridge other than it is now just too small. We have had to face facts and deal with it. But it feels weird to replace something that expensive when it's not broken.

As our current fridge is a small one (it was bought, at the time, to fit the gap available), when we built our present house, we made sure that the fridge space was bigger than the current fridge, knowing that we would have to upsize one day. However we found to our horror when out looking at all the whiteware stores, that new fridges now tend to be bigger than the gap in our kitchen! eeek!

Fortunately, our home grown appliance maker, Fisher&Paykel, still have a model that fits our gap AND it is a model that I like. Honestly, some of the fridges out there have so much internal plastic and do dads that there is no room for the actual food.

School holidays are fast approaching, with the end of Term 1 being next Thursday April 5.

Tamsin appears to have coped ok with her first term of school - she certainly runs into her classroom every morning quite happily. And at home all she does is practise writing her letters and numbers, which can't be a bad thing. Her "s" is now around the right way every time. Her "8" is still wonky, but I remember not being able to do those properly until my second year at school.
No more progress on the stitching :(
Last day of March tomorrow so I'd better get a move on if I'm to squeeze in a finish for the month.
That said, I'd better be off to bed as another busy Saturday coming up: housework, ballet, cheer fundraiser, gymnastics, grocery shopping - that covers 7.30am till 4pm non-stop. Sunday not much better, LOL. Go to work Monday for a rest, I think :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Another day, another dollar... spent

The cheque account is going to be very battered and bruised by the end of the week. Everything seems to be falling due at once: ballet holiday class and exam fees; gym class and holiday course fees and the next installment of the cheerleading trip to the Australian competition. I knew it was all coming so had the budget in place but it still knocks the bank account around alarmingly!

So here I am at the end of Tuesday having done the Tamsin to ballet, then Jessica to gymnastics trek. Tomorrow is Jessica to ballet followed by cheerleading class. Thursday is just Jessica to gymnastics. Friday is a free afternoon (yay!), then Saturday with Jessica to ballet, then get Tamsin to beginners gymnastics followed by Jessica's gymnastics class. Thank heavens for fabulous DH who gets dinner ready every week night.

When I'm "good" I actually get some stitching done, but mostly I just play Sudoku (I have a travel set). I have to admit the Sudoku has been good for my math/ logic. And it means I don't watch Jess too much and do the evil gym mom act. I can tune her out even better if I have a good book along. Tamsin is getting very bored with all of the tagging along to Jess' activities hence the starting her on ballet this term, and adding beginners gymnastics next term. But to be fair, she does behave very well during the 14 hours Jess is at classes per week. Actually, Jess behaves very well for that time too! In fact, the only time Jess throws a hissy is when I threaten to drop one of the classes cos I'm sick of the travelling etc involved.

Next year something is going to have to be dropped - just for the budget's sake, never mind that Jess' gym coach is getting to the end of his patience with "other than gym activities", and wants her to really focus on gymnastics now.

No stitching tonight, but I did do some last night - yay!
Made a start on the backstitching on the Forever Friends piece from Quick&Easy. Note to self: aim to get it done on Friday to be my finish for March. Then I must get going on Penguin #17.

Cooper's birth sampler was my Feb finish, and these two were my January finishes.

My goal this year is to finish something every month. So far, so good!