Monday, 27 November 2006

Bremen Town Musicians - done!


A very, very simple design. Do you think that the green used on the trees is too blue? If so, what colour do you suggest to go with the other colours that I noted in my last blog entry?

Friday, 24 November 2006

Bremen Town Musicians

I started the above sampler last week. It's a quick and easy project for a change. I tend to go for quite complicated designs with lots of colour changes and backstitching.

This is an adaptation of a Prairie Schooler Sampler called 'The Brementown Musicians'. I'm making it for my nearly 23 year old son who spent his gap year (2002) on a Rotary Exchange in Bremen, Germany. David knows that I have it in my stash pile but he doesn't know that I've started stitching. I'm hoping to get it done and framed for his birthday on 16th December.

The sampler is stitched on 14 count Fiddler's Cloth using 2 strands of floss. There are only 6 colours - Dk Brown (610), Tan (612), Rust (632), Lt Brown (740), Gray (645), Green (924) & Gold (3045).

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Christmas Newletter Issues

Today, I'm regretting calling my web blog 'blissful' anything! Life, you see, is not all chocolate, red wine and roses. Sometimes that dragon on the left chewing on the knight's lance wins, and he wins big time. My issue today is that I'm having problems with writing the first draft of my 2006 Christmas newsletter and don't quite know how to solve them.

I've been writing Christmas newsletters for about 20 years. They usually run along the lines of lots of good news about the family and our doings, and then happy wishes to the recipient for the coming year. In fact, the newsletter has become such a tradition that my elderly readers start ringing me just to make sure all's well if the newletter hasn't arrived in their letter boxes at least a week before Christmas.

The thing is that while there is lots of great stuff happening in my life and I should just get on and write about all the silver linings, this year, there is a part of me that wants to write a with a tad less blissfulness than usual. I wanna tell about 2006 like it was, warts and all.

Perhaps, the issue isn't the composition of the writing; it's the evaluation of what I do on a daily basis for family and the realisation that I want my life back. Ah, what the heck! A journal is suppossed to be writing practice and while I'll probably get into trouble for this blog entry, too bad. It's written tongue in cheek, a draft to the real Christmas newsletter which will come out in early December. Read the following with the sound of my laughter ringing in your ears ... I figure if I get whatever ails me out of my system now, the final article might just be worth sending. With Paul's ideas on length in mind, I've got a really short one planned.

So, here goes ...

'Dear One and All,

Merry Christmas & happy new year from our house to your house.
(Nothing wrong with that as a salutation, is there?)

We hope 2006 has been a good year and that 2007 promises to be at least as good, if not better (all that should pass muster. The next part is the tricky bit)

As usual, our year has been punctuated with off-spring activities - mostly from the my kids' point-of-view. Sadly, Paul's boys still have their heads in the sand and are hoping to wake up one day soon & find that our marriage was a nightmare that never happened in real life and that they will still inherit the earth when Paul dies.

(No, I can't put that in! It's Christmas, for goodness sake. It's a time for forgiving and forgetting. Tantrums & threats occur at least monthly from one or other of our 7 offspring, all punctuated by the implied if not stated 'If you loved me, you would do/give...' & are part of the deal of parenting in the noughties. All parents experience it. LOL)

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of good bits about 2006 ...

Paul has a new job . (He travels a lot, spending many working weeks in other cities. This is not all bad. He loves his job and I like my alone times.)

As a result of the pile-up of frequent flyers points, we've made some interesting and fun trips together as well this year - Tasmania, Europe, Singapore.
(I WILL expand on this)
I quit my job at FLC in February.

(I don't want to talk about MY work this year. Hello! I quit my job in a huff when a 15 yo spat on me at school and I was the one punished for making a fuss. You missed it? Too bad. It's done with and I'm enjoying my new routines.)
New routines allow for the above mentioned travel with Paul, some house renovating, time for cross stitching and lunch with my kids.

Which reminds me ...
Would anyone be interested in the countless episodes of 'Charmed', 'The Dead Zone' & 'Waking the Dead' that I have watched in recent months? They were very entertaining - my fave shows at the moment, in fact!)

And so my dilema! LOL

I think the everyone will just have to survive on a very short Christmas card this year. People will have to happy with knowing that we are still alive & that they are in our thoughts, I guess.

Your thoughts & possible suggestions on the matter will be greatly appreciated. Email me!

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Which Disney Character Are You?

You scored as Cinderella. Your alter ego is Cinderella! You often find yourself doing a lot of housework, but if you are patient, your hard work usually pays off. You are prone to losing things, so dont rush through everything. Ah, but note well that you are also 88% The Beast & 56% Cruella De Ville & 88% Goofy. There is a balance to all that freakin' housework!

Cinderella

94%

The Beast

88%

Goofy

88%

Sleeping Beauty

88%

Donald Duck

75%

Pinocchio

69%

Peter Pan

69%

Snow White

63%

Cruella De Ville

56%

Ariel

56%

Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with QuizFarm.com

Monday, 20 November 2006

Sydney!


Felicity, Aldith, Betty & Barbara having morning tea at The Intercontinental

Paul & I spent the weekend in Sydney. The trip was organised to suit a meeting Paul had to attend, but I went along for the ride so that I could help celebrate Paul's birthday, catch up with my sister, Aldith, who lives in Canberra, my sister-in-law, Jo, & husband, Steve, & some (adopted) Aunts from UK who were visiting.

Restaurants you MUST try when you are in Sydney include : The Little Snail & The Flying Fish.
I can't wait until we go back in Janaury with Gabriella!

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

School Formal 2006

It has certainly been a big year for Gabriella! Pictured here with big sister, Diana, GFT is decked out ready to go the KSHS 2006 school formal (Prom in American). It has been a delightful week of shopping for dress, shoes & bag, getting hair done & putting on makeup. I have gorgeous girls!

Monday, 13 November 2006

Thank You!


A very B-I-G thankyou to Stitch or No Stitch for her beautiful gift. A picture does not do this tea towel justice! It's gorgeous & cute. As a stitcher, I'm used to giving gifts not getting them. I'm chuffed!!!

Also, thanx to everyone for their words of encouragement in the comments section. It gives me heart to go on.

Blissful stitching always, stitchers.

Bliss

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Framed!


My master pieces are finally framed! Above you can see The Gang and Pooh's Seasons. Aren't they beautiful?

Below are works that have been sitting unframed in a box. As I once said, I don't tend to frame my work until I have found a home for it. This time around, I decided to keep these special things for myself - for the time being.

The Willow Pattern was a project I did for nostalgia. My parents had these plates when I was a small child. The Seaside picture is one of three from a series that ran in a cross stitch magazine in 1989. I'm still to do the other two.



Thursday, 9 November 2006

Melbourne Cup helps the nation tick

One of the big events that we missed while Paul and I were in Singapore was the Melbourne Cup. I found this article by Tim Harcourt, chief economist of the Australian Trade Commission and the author of Beyond Our Shores on today's Age Online site, so I've reprinted it here. It gives a different view of something that goes beyond my tiny one-eyed view of Singapore being souless because of its chase of the mighty dollar.


WE SAW history in this year's Melbourne Cup. Two Japanese horses — Delta Blues and Pop Rock — came in first and second. They were carefully prepared by a Japanese trainer and the winner was ridden by a Japanese jockey. An Australian rode the runner-up.

Should we true-blue Aussies be worried about foreign interest in an iconic event such as the Melbourne Cup? Not at all. After all, to succeed in racing, like any successful industry, we need imports as well as exports. That's the first lesson of international economics. No country can just export to foreigners and buy nothing in return. Not only is it unrealistic, but it is also against our own economic interests.

Of course, the Melbourne Cup is a major event in international trade as well. When you mention trade to most people it conjures up images of coal, iron ore, wheat and wool rather than horses. Trade stories usually deal with multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organisation in places such as Geneva, Doha and Cancun. But the mounting yards at Flemington are indeed a trade venue, and the bookies are great trade negotiators in their own right. In fact the Melbourne Cup is an international trade event in more ways than one.

First of all, there's the race. The Melbourne Cup is a reflection of globalisation in many ways. We have foreign horses and foreign trainers trying to win the multimillion-dollar prize. And there are also foreign punters. The Melbourne Cup is one of the big events on the international racing calendar and a major scalp for any racing syndicate — whether they be Australian or foreign.

Along with the success of the Japanese this year, Irish trainers and horses are always in the running, and in more recent years the leaders of horse-mad Dubai in the United Arab Emirates have taken a big interest in the events at Flemington. After all, it is called the Emirates Melbourne Cup, following the sponsorship by the UAE national carrier.

And is this a bad thing? After all, we've often had foreign horses winning the cup, so why not foreign trainers? Think of the many great New Zealand horses — from Phar Lap to Kiwi — in the cup's history, and remember Vintage Crop, Ireland's first winner in 1993. Foreign entrants also lift standards, enhance competition and skills and, ultimately, the amount of prizemoney on offer.

The global nature of the Melbourne Cup has helped develop Australia's own racing export industry. According to Austrade's racing industry specialist, Geraldine Doumany, the Australian horse industry contributes "around $8 billion a year" in economic benefits in terms of feed, floats, live horse exports and tourism. "Much of the industry is based around the thoroughbred racing sector, with big sales around events such as the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast, which grossed almost $80 million this year," she said.

"Most of the buyers are from Asia — mainly Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines — but there are an increasing number of UAE based buyers, particularly in Queensland."

Racing-related products are also a big part of our export industry. For instance, one South Australian company, Steriline Racing, is a leading exporter of racing technology. Steriline specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of starting gates and running rails. Steriline has won contracts to install 14-stall starting gates in France and Germany.

Steriline's managing director, John Fargher, likens export success to the 3200-metre race that has become the Melbourne Cup. "It requires stamina and persistence and a good knowledge of the form," he said.

Secondly, there's that other great Australian sport — fashion. The spring racing carnival is also a major part of the fashion industry's year.

From Jean Shrimpton's mini in the 1960s to Megan Gale's appearances this year, fashion has always created as many headlines as hemlines at the Melbourne Cup. It is a great way to showcase Australia's fashion export talent, which is doing wonders overseas. For example, at the recent Celebrate Australia Australian Style Week in Shanghai, many prominent labels such as Ess Hoshika, and Fashionassassin performed as well as some up-and-comers, including Kanchai of Mosman and the Newcastle-based trio of sisters, High Tea with Mrs Woo.

Finally, there is business networking that always occurs in hospitality tents and maybe later in the car park. Hospitality is the name of the game and Australia's fine food and beverage exporters use the Melbourne Cup to raise awareness of their brands.

In addition, following on from its great success at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the Rugby World Cup and the Sydney Olympics, Austrade's Business Club Australia was also there to facilitate international trade and investment.
The BCA has generated about $1.7 billion in exports and investments through its 8500 members (38 per cent of whom are overseas).

The BCA is working closely with the Victoria Racing Club to promote international business through the Melbourne Cup and it is already paying dividends.
So congratulations Delta Blues and arigato (thank you) Japan, you have helped raise the standards of what could well be regarded as the greatest horse race on the planet — the Melbourne Cup.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Singapore

The famous Raffles Hotel where we had high tea

Hello from Singapore where we are having a marvelous time. It’s an interesting place with its Hippo buses which the tourists use to get their bearings when they first arrive, wall-to-wall shopping malls if you are into that kind of thing, great (and cheap) places to eat and 4 million local people for me to sit and watch all day if I had so want.

Notre Dame de Paris on Friday night was everything I expected it to be. It was magical! I bought a new dress for the event (what girl wouldn't? It was the premier, after all), glammed up my hair and then sat and watched and listened in awe! I'll also admit to humming along to a few numbers ... LOL.

Before the show, Paul and I sat outside at an Indian restaurant on the water's edge and sipped a 'golden chandon' each - erm, I drank his while he enjoyed a local beer. This is a new taste sensation for me and I guess you can tell that I liked it. It's champaign with a parfume of Cointreau & Tia Maria. Most delicious!

Singapore is not like other places I have visited. I'll preface my next comments by saying that I did little reading about the place before I left Australia, so don't send angry emails if you don't agree with my next statement. I find the city to be souless in a way I've never experienced before. The core aim appears to be to chase the mighty dollar. Also here is none of the Asian insense or signs of religious awareness that I've seen in other Asian countries (and I've been to a few). Apart from a church and Raffles Hotel, all that isn't new and about to make mega millions is torn down and replaced with something that will.

Take, for example, the Sentosa magical light & laser show in the musical fountain and the beautiful jetty that welcomes visitors to the island. Although these attract thousands of people, they are being pulled down to make way for a casino to augment the entertainment value of the golfing facilities on the island. Will the Merlion (part fish part lion) standing majestically at 37m tall also be bulldozed for the sake of progress?

The funny part about the Casino is that it's not encouraged that locals waste their money there. There is to be a compulsory $100 entrance fee for Singapore residents that will not apply to gamblers from other places. Husbands can ring and forbid wives to enter (and I suppose vice versa) so that the housekeeping $$ stay intact. Weird, huh?

Sadly, I can't find any craft outlets and few book or music shops, so I'm going home empty-handed except for some duty-free lipstick and a couple of cheap watches. I think the thing that shocked me most about shopping was the lack of places to buy books. I can understand that cross stitch may be my passion but not everyone's passion so it's not popular in shops, but books??? There are many libraries here, but large proportions of these structures are devoted to books that are not allowed be borrowed. Everything has its purpose and place. It smacked of little done for pleasure - except for eating, of course.

The food! What can I say about the food except that I will have to go home and starve for a month because I have eaten far too much? My guess is that there are no kitchens in the homes of the Singaporeans. LOL. Everyone goes out and eats in restaurants, in food 'markets' etc. The latest fad is the chocolate fountain idea that Paul and I first encountered when we were planning our wedding. There is liquid chocolate, solid chocolate and chocolate icecream laced with more liquid chocolate in nearly every food location. Even I, who never goes out of her way to buy a chocolate here in Australia, was tempted to try a little.

All in all, I enjoyed the trip. Next time I go (which will probably be on the way to somewhere else), I'll make sure that I get a few days in with one of my daughters. Each of them inherited their grandmothers' shopping genes that skipped my generation. LOL.

And that's my story. More news and views of Daily Bliss from home later in the week.

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss