Monday, 26 November 2007

Paul's Birthday Dinner


Right you lot! Line up now & stop your nonsense!


That's better!
(Gabriella, David, Nadia, Diana, Miranda & Duncan)


Now, how about a photo with Paul?


... And one for Dad & Grandma?


No Mama, you can't stand behind us. You are too short!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Dis...

Disillusioned, disenchanted, disappointed - I'm not sure which is the correct word to use here.

'Naive' is probably it, to tell the truth.

Did you know that some of our most beautiful cross stitch designs are only ever designed on paper or on a computer before they are published? I didn't. I don't know why, but I assumed that if someone or a company was going to ask people to pay good gold for a chart, a prototype would have been stitched beforehand.

That would be the professional thing to do, right?

Surely, if someone charges a very large amount of money for his/her designs (not to mention that the designs incur enormous cost to a stitcher to kit up), s/he would have actually road-tested what is published! Just because something looks good on paper, doesn't mean it is going to work in real life. In any other industry, it's a foregone conclusion that you have created a real a model before publishing. Can you imagine the car industry if this wasn't done? Or even a Butterick sewing pattern?

For my two cents' worth, I have an expectation that what I am about to spend up to two years stitching on(not to mention $300US to kit up) will actually have been road-tested.

I got an email from a designer (through a yahoo group) stating that she couldn't possibly stitch a model of everything that she publishes & so she was requesting a high resolution photograph of stitchers' works so that she could find one she truly likes in order to use it when she publishes her work in print. To add insult to injury, she advises that she is prepared to give the person whose photograph she chooses acknowlegement of the photograph and a copy of a chart as payment.

Pffft!

What say you fellow stitchers?

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Nearly 6 Months old!


Lucy is now 181 days (or 5 months & 28 days) old. I didn't think that I would ever again become so potty about a dog after Lizzie died, but I am. Lucy's a simple delight. Morning & evening strolls have taken on whole new meanings.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Friday, 16 November 2007

Nathan's School Finish


Paul & Nathan after the Valedictory Mass

While all was cool with Gabriella's last week of school. Things ran less smoothly for Nathan's.

After buying him a tie & a shirt for his formal on Wednesday night, he sent me a text message saying thanks for the tie but that I should know that the only reason he wanted me at the dinner is because it's going to hurt his mother greatly (they regularly argue).

What a dilemma! What was I then supposed to do? Go to the formal because Nathan's father, my husband wanted me to go, or stay away so that the ex-wife, with whom the son lives (but with whom he's often at loggerheads) got to have her day in the sun without me?

This kid is really mean! Quite seriously, the fight between son & mother that had me receive the text message was because Nat had taken her pushbike & hidden it at a friend's place so that he could hock it & use the money for alcohol for the party he was going to after the prom. I kid you not. He admitted that he had the bike hidden because his mother won't let him sell the cello his parents bought for him to learn on (which technically belongs to the mother not the child).

If the situation was a one off, I'd have said to hell with it & ignore a family fight, but this abuse by the son has gone on a long time. The first time I met the ex-wife was when Nathan refused to back down from putting a hammer through the windscreen of her car back when he was 12 years old because he was not getting his own way.

So, I stayed away from Nathan's formal at the request of my husband (for the benefit of the ex-wife). The son behaved well enough that he danced with his mother, despite the threat that he wouldn't (a tradition of the school prom is that the boys dance the first dance with their mothers), but was slack enough that he got no photographs with either of his parents. I snuck in the picture above at the Valedictory Mass. Nat posed for the pic & ran off and has not spoken with his father since (even though Paul had a birthday during the week & Nat was invited to dinner but simply didn't show up or acknowlege that he wasn't coming).

I can happily report that Kerry, his mother, thoroughly enjoyed herself with her new partner & basked in the joys of motherhood complete.

It's a sad, sad situation. I hope that Nathan grows up & starts to take an interest in someone other than himself, but I don't hold my breath.

Personally, I've washed my hands of him & his current behaviours. The time I have with my husband is precious (as he works globally I've seen him for about 5 days in the last 5 weeks) & I have my hands full with my own four off-springs' needs. I don't need the crap that my stepsons want to deal.

My Gabriella had a glorious time at her prom & the after party & we both had fun at the Valadictory breakfast this morning. Her siblings & their partners, Miranda & Duncan, David & Nadia, & Diana have shared events & made her week one that she never forgets. I'm very proud of them all.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Belle of the Ball


At last I'm done with kids & high school education - well, at least until the next generation comes along. The cadet princess's formal took place on Monday evening. The pictures below of the 19 year old Cadet Princess, Gabriella, speak for themselves, but I believe a great time was had by all.




Crown Princess: 26 year old Miranda

Gabriella & Miranda

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Remembrance Day



For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Chat



I've started chatting again. It's not something that I do every day or anything, but it keeps me connected with the world at large & with like minds when Paul's away.

There are lots of people who think that chatting is a waste of time. The truth of the matter is that it can be, but it can also be beneficial. Like anything, it depends how one uses it.

I first started chatting because it was a way to communicate in French. My professor recommended it, so I went with the flow. I don't have a microphone, so it means that I have developped incredibly fast typing skills & I have learned an amazing amount of written day-to-day French.

Nowadays, I also chat with a group of cross stitchers. It's marvelous for motivation to continue & advice when I'm stuck on a particular aspect of a project.

What I've discovered is a community of people online that I don't have a hope in hell of ever meeting in real life here in Australia but people who, over a ten year period, have grown to be quite good friends with similar interests, senses of humour or even family situations. They are academics, engineers, teachers, & house wives ... all sorts of interesting people. We've developped a support group of sorts. We are definitely true friends, regardless of whether we've met or not.

Having said that, I have to admit that Paul & I have met some of these people. In our travels we've met people in Townsville, in Melbourne, in Adelaide, in London & even in Vienna. As we have shared experiences with them that have been either repeated or developped with time, they have become just as real & meaningful friends as has Honey who lives down the street.

Most of my chat friends are long term. I occasionally have an off-the-cuff simple chat, but the majority of people I've known online for years and years. I started chatting in 1999. I think that of the sixteen people on my chat 'friends' list, twelve of them have been there for somewhere between 5 & 8 years. All of them know that I'm married to Paul (many of them have met him in real life or chatted to him), all of them think it's bloody marvelous!

Have you tried yahoo chat or some other program? My suggestion is 'go for it!'

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Knitting

Thank you everyone for your wonderful support of my handcrafting. It's a fantabulous encouragement, believe you me.

Don't you love watching deadlines fly right on by? It happens often to crafters, I'm sure.

I'm no exception. I'm very much aware that I have a 'Frederick the Literate' cross stitch deadline of December 31, but I'm also aware that a more practical piece of handcraft has to be finished for the next Australian Winter: crown princess, Miranda's, cardigan that (technically) was her birthday gift back in August 2007.

One of the things I notice about some craft bloggers is the ability to commence projects of immense proportion & cost, but the rare announcement of a finish. People who do Martina Weber Ch√Ętelaine Mandala designs are particularly guilty. I can't believe the money people tie up but don't finish! Hence most of the time, I only do one hobby / handicraft: cross stitch. I can imagine the financial meltdown & the overflow of stash if I did more.

That's not to say that I never babble in other crafts for a short period. I do. It's usually for one particular thing rather than a sudden desire to 'do it all!'. For example, last week's beading. I had 'something' I specifically wanted to do as a Christmas gift, I did it, cleaned up the mess & am now done.

Sewing falls into this kind of category. I'm a sewer from way back. I've made it all - kids' clothes, housefuls of curtains, I even made my own 2005 wedding dress! Nowadays however, I only make one of my three daughters an outfit sometime during the year - & only if we cannot find a ready made that will do the job. This year, I made nothing.

Stop Bliss! Excuses, excuses, excuses! You are babbling. Just get on with telling your readers what you are doing right now instead of stitching that darned cat...

Right now as I said, I'm knitting my 26 year old crown princess a 'tartan' (read: sea green) coloured cardigan in the style above. I've done the back & half both fronts, so far. It won't take long. Miranda is somewhat 'retro' in her clothes choice and is long & classically fine with dark eyes and long black hair (I was often ased if, as a blonde, I was my children's stepmother or the babysitter) so this is going to look magnifique!

I'll post a picture of the actual article when the camera comes home from Montreal with Paul later in the week - yes, Montreal. I won't go into details of that here. You'll have to read those on my Daily Bliss blog

Bliss

Cat Ownership

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Engaged!


Michael Davies & Tiffany Camilleri are engaged!
Congratulations to the happy couple!

Paul in Montreal

I don't often mention Paul's tripping around, but today I will. He's always going somewhere for work. In fact, he's been so busy for the last month that I've barely seen him - Perth, Sydney, Melbourne & Parkes are the most common destinations.

This time last year, we both went to Singapore while he conferenced. This morning, he's off to Montreal & while I'm pleased for him I'm also sooo jealous (LOL). Being the French speaker in our household, it's me who should be going! Montreal's one of the places I want to see before I die.

I'll go next time. We are planning a North American holiday for some time in the next few years.

Meanwhile, Paul's going to bring me back a pressie. I've asked him for the French version of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows. It was released this last week. I can't wait!

Blissful Beading


This week, cross stitch took a back seat to a new interest. My dining room table has turned into a beader's atelier! Much as I would have loved to, I didn't go back to the Craft Fair last week, I went to my local Spotlight & melted Paul's credit card buying beads.

How did I get into this situation? I found a beautiful project that I wanted to make for a Christmas gift (you'll have to wait for pictures of the finished work until a later date). Being a beading novice, I had to make a prototype just in case I was a total disaster at this beading gig. Needless to say, yes, I am able to slide beads onto wire & crimp the whole lot closed. Consequently, youngest princess, who was encouraging my endeavours, suggested other options for similar Christmas projects. I'm on roll!

I can't show you a whole lot of work because I don't want to ruin the element of surprise for gift recipients, but here's the prototype...