Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year



"May your fingers be nimble, your threads seldom tangle, and your love be apparent in all that you create." (Dragon Dreams)"

2007 Tally

OK, how many projects did you finish and how many did you start and not finish?

Cross Stitch

I finished 2 samplers ('Amitie' and 'Love with a Capital L', ) & the 'Noel' ornament and should be finished with 'Frederick the Literate' early in 2008.

I started 4 other long term projects in the last 18 months ('Seasons of the Heart', 'Renaissance Lady', 'Teddy Magician' and 'At the Beach') but have not yet finished them.

All in all, I consider 2007 a good stitching year.

Knitting

I started & am about half way through knitting Miranda a cardigan for next Winter.

Beading

I managed about 12 finished projects of necklace, bracelet & earring sets.

How about you? How did you go in 2007?

New Year's Resolutions - How to Make Them

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. The top ten most common resolutions are as follows:

1.Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2.Fit in Fitness
3. Tame the Bulge
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8.Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized




There is a right way and a wrong way to make a New Year's resolution. Here are a few expert tips to see that your resolution actually makes a difference:

1. Create a Plan

Setting a goal without formulating a plan is merely wishful thinking. In order for your resolution to have resolve, (as the word "resolution" implies), it must translate into clear steps that can be put into action. A good plan will tell you A) What to do next and B) What are all of the steps required to complete the goal.

2. Create Your Plan IMMEDIATELY

If you're like most people, then you'll have a limited window of opportunity during the first few days of January to harness your motivation. After that, most people forget their resolutions completely.

It is imperative that you begin creating your plan immediately.

3. Write Down Your Resolution and Plan

Comit your resolution and plan to writing some place, such as a notebook or journal.

4. Think "Year Round," Not Just New Year's

Nothing big gets accomplished in one day. Resolutions are set in one day, but accomplished with a hundred tiny steps that happen throughout the year. New Year's resolutions should be nothing more than a starting point. You must develop a ritual or habit for revisiting your plan. myGoals.com helps you stick to your plan by providing email reminders that arrive when it's time to work on a given task.

And finally...

5. Remain Flexible

Expect that your plan can and will change. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things at us, and flexibility is required to complete anything but the simplest goal. Sometimes the goal itself will even change. Most of all, recognize partial successes at every step along the way. Just as a resolution isn't accomplished the day it's stated, neither is it accomplished the day you reach your goal. Rather, it's accomplished in many small increments along the way. Acknowledge these incremental successes as they come.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Final Update


This is my final 'Frederick the Literate' post until I'm happy dancing. I've had a few lazy hours in front of the television while digesting Christmas leftovers, so I've quietly stitched at the same time. I'm quite excited at the prospect of finishing early in the New Year!

Christmas Gifts


Here are the beautiful beading projects I made for my family & friends.
Everyone seemed most pleased!

On being fat ...


Les Enfants grandis! (Note that the Crown Prince is 6'3" tall)


Women & ideal size has been a subject for talk around family dining room tables (not to mention in magazines, and on television & radio) since time began. In my humble opinion, I think the debate about size has become quite ridiculous. The only people who should be wearing size zero are new-born babies!

This morning, I got an email (through one of the cross stitch groups to which I belong) lamenting about how young, gorgeous, Eurasian women are being socialised into thinking that they are fat when truth be told they are a Bo Derek perfect 10! It happens often that an Asian parent's perception (either Mum's or Dad's) becomes quite warped as to what their Eurasian daughters should look like. Asian women are usually very slight figured, so their Eurasian daughters seem hulkingly large (or super heavy on the scales) in comparison.

I speak from personal experience. I was married from my late teens to my early 30s to an Australian born Chinese who is super tall but very atheletically thin. I'm a short curvy model of a woman. When I was in my 20s, I was expected to be a mere 45kg to meet what he considered the 'ideal' woman. I was hungry for more than a decade!

In short, when my ex made a 'fat' comment to one of our 3 then teen-aged daughters (who are all about 175cm tall), I saw red! My girls don't have a chance in hell of being tiny little moppets, even with their Asian genes, because my father was 6'3" tall!

Unlike the other Eurasian women in my ex husband's family, my gorgeous, gorgeous daughters are able to eat anything they like without an ingrained fear of looking fat, and they do (choosing healthy food first every time). They all exercise, are fit & enjoy family gatherings to the max! The picture above says a 1000 words about their shape, not to mention their ease at being photographed (a sure sign of how one feels about self).

It's time more people spoke up about this issue! Congratulations to the Jennifer Love Hewitts of the world who do.

I'll now get off the soap box & let you have your say, if you wish.

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

SBQ: Holiday Gifts

Christmas 2007 has been & gone. Thank you to everyone who sent messages, cards and newsletters. I loved getting them & appreciate hearing all your news.

Gifts were exchanged on Christmas Day just before lunch. Everyone loved the beadsets I made.

I received a lovely new watch, a red handbag & shoes to match from the MOTH; books to read, a DVD, a candle, mositurizing creams, chocolates & beading materials from the kids.

The gift from my mother-in-law caused the greatest hilarity. She sent me 4 pairs of white bonds cottontail undies - um, sized 'enormous'. What a great sense of humour that lady has! We laughed and laughed! I think that we can work these knickers into a new Christmas ‘tradition’. Any ideas?

Sad to say, no stitching related gifts, but those of you who know me well also know that my family thinks that I have enough stash already. The family is not blind!

Boxing Day is always a quiet one in our household. The lazy day is needed to recover from a day in the kitchen on the 25th. Neither Paul nor I moved off the lounge chairs (except to hang out the tea towels & table cloths and to drifted back and forth from the fridge to sample leftovers). We blindly watched 5 DVDs in a row, the latest being 'The Muppet Treasure Island' while we played with Lucy or I stitched more of 'Fred'.

Ah, the life of holidays!

Until next time ...

Bliss

Boxing Day


Christmas 2007 has been & gone. Thank you everyone who sent cards and newsletters. We loved getting them & hearing all your news.

Boxing Day is always a quiet one in our household. It's needed to recover from a day in the kitchen on the 25th. We usually have a minimum of 18 people for lunch on Christmas Day, but this year there were just 6 of us ... and it was lovely. We are getting great benefit from our relaxed day.

The smaller number came to be because we were originally going to Laurieton for Christmas with Paul's parents, but these plans changed.

Anyway, Gifts were exchanged before lunch. I received a lovely new watch, a red handbag & shoes to match from the MOTH; books to read, a DVD, a candle, mositurizing creams, chocolates & beading materials from the kids. The gift from my mother-in-law caused the greatest hilarity. She sent me 4 pairs of white bonds cottontail undies - um, sized enormous. What a great sense of humour that lady has! We laughed and laughed!

I think she has started a new Christmas tradition - Bonds Cottontails for Xmas the the woman who has everything she needs!

The MOTH & I've not moved off the lounge chairs today (except to hang out the tea towels & table cloths from yesterday and to drifted back and forth from the fridge to sample leftovers). The MOTH & I have blindly watched 5 DVDs in a row, the latest being 'The Muppet Treasure Island' while we've played with Lucy & I've stitched more of 'Fred'. Ah, the life of holidays!

Until next time ...

Bliss

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

To Everyone who reads my Blog:

I hope that the year has been a good one for family, friends and life in general. I hope, too, that you have found lots of time to stitch. I’m told women of our age get in about 12.5 hours a week to do it. I didn’t, but did you?

Thanks for being there in 2007, everyone! I feel like I have spent the year in the company of friends. I can honestly say that, despite physical distance, you have done untold wonderful things for me this year. Without your letters, emails and/or comments on my Blissful Creations blog, or participation in the birthday groups to which I belonged, I would never have achieved so much nor enjoyed creating such works of art as I have in 2007.

I wish you all a happy & holy Christmas, and a 2008 filled with lots of love, happiness & laughter, and, of course, time & opportunity for loads of stitching!

Bliss

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Deadline spurs BHP's bid talk for Rio


BHP Billiton Ltd says it is still seeking to engage in discussions with Rio Tinto Ltd after regulators gave it 47 days to either launch a formal bid for its rival or walk away.

The February 6 deadline (February 7 AEDT) was set early Saturday morning by the UK Takeover Panel after Rio Tinto successfully invoked Britain's so-called "put up or shut up" laws.

The laws allow a company subject to a potential takeover bid to request that a time limit be imposed on potential buyers to clarify their intentions.
"BHP Billiton is considering its options in light of the deadline set by the panel executive but no decision has yet been taken on this matter," BHP said in a statement.

"Accordingly, there can be no assurance that BHP Billiton will progress its proposal to Rio Tinto or that any offer for Rio Tinto will be made.
"BHP Billiton continues to seek to engage in discussions with Rio Tinto with a view to obtaining the support and recommendation of the board of Rio Tinto for its proposal."

BHP has already made an informal offer to Rio Tinto of three BHP shares for every one Rio Tinto share, valuing the target at around $150 billion.
But the proposal was swiftly rejected by Rio Tinto's board, which said it "significantly" undervalued the company.

Most analysts believe that BHP will have to produce a much higher offer to succeed.
Rio Tinto welcomed the Takeover Panel's decision.

"We have been very clear as to where we stand and feel it is time for BHP to do likewise," Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner said in a statement.

"Our shareholders deserve to have certainty and therefore we welcome the panel's decision."

Rio Tinto is the world's third biggest miner. A merger with BHP would create the world's largest producer of coking coal, thermal coal, copper and aluminium.
The $400 billion combined group would also have similar iron ore output to leading global iron ore producer CVRD.

Although a bid from BHP can be expected any time now, CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said current turbulence in the global debt market could put it off until later.

"BHP have to talk to a number of parties if they've got to take on debt," Mr James said.

"But it could be the case that BHP walks away for now and comes back later in the year. There's no rush.

"But it makes a whole lot of sense for BHP and Rio to get together because it's hard to develop new mines. It's hard to get the personnel. It's hard to get the equipment."

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=63308

Friday, 21 December 2007

Girls' Day Out


Diana, Gabriella, Nadia & I had a wonderful day in town together, yesterday!

We did a little Christmas shopping & a lot of window gazing and then we settled in at Lennon's in the city for some nibblies, a bottle of champagne & a couple of cocktails. At 6.15pm, as arranged, Paul came and 'rescued' us & took us out to dinner at our fave Chinese Restaurant - The Singapura on Milton Road at Toowong (just next to Forte Music).

Written down in a blog, this seems a simple event, but let me tell you that we created a beautiful Christmas memory that I hope stays with me for life!

I hope that you too are finding ways to show your family members how much you love them this Christmas.

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Fred update!

No, I don't think Fred is going to be finished by 31st December! The MOTH starts a 10 day break after today's day at the office & somehow I doubt that stitching will be on the agenda. Ah well!

Despite this slight hiccough, 2007 has been a good year for my creative urges. I've done a few happy dances throughout the year, most notably the 'Love with a Capital L' & the 'Amitie' samplers, but also some home renovations, knitting for a friend's baby, and beading for Christmas gifts. Frederick the Literate will be finished in the early New Year while Paul is in Montreal.

2008 promises a couple of new cross stitch beginnings. It's also going to be the year of belt-tightening a propos to stash acquisition. Only items necessary to finishing what's already in the pile are allowed to be bought! LOL (famous last words).

I hope, too, to I finish a few more of those WIPs to the left. I'm so OVER the 'Follow Your Dreams' piece on the side but am determined to finish it. I hope, too, to finish the Seaside Trilogy. If I get all of them done, that will more or less have me up-to-date with starts (there are a couple of UFOs but these are on hold until I hear the pitter patter of babys' feet - my future grandchildren or friends' grandchildren). I think what I will have to do is rotate a few items. Blah! I'm usually a one-project-at-a-time girl, but I won't finish that Dreams unless I can have some diversion therapy.

Want to hear something nice? I was over at David's house the other day & went into his bedroom to put something on his bed. What do you think I spied on the wall (apart from a Rosina Wachmeister framed poster - my fave modern artist - & a couple of his gf, Nadia's, works of art)? He had up a little Suzy's Zoo cross stitch effort that I had made as a name plate for his bedroom door when he was about 8 years old. How sweet is that?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas


It's a long, long time since it fell into my hands . Usually, there are off-spring here to trim the Christmas tree, but this year, even the cadet princess is somewhere else. So, with the MOTH off in Perth this week, the job falls to me.


Boy, I had fun! It's not finished, but there's still another week until the day...

WIPs & Gifts


Stitch by stitch, Fred's getting there!


An example of the beading I'm doing for Christmas gifts this year. I can share this one with you because I know for sure that the recipient will not be checking out this site! I love Swarovski beads!


My dear friend, Paula, sent me this incredible booty, which includes a chart for 'Enchanted Alphabet'! She says that it's not a Christmas gift, but I feel like all my Christmases came at once! Thank you, Paula!


Finally, one of my finest WIPs. The Crown Prince celebrated his 24th birthday & graduation with honours in music from the Conservatorium of Music on the weekend.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Comparisons & Fair Play!

While neither job mentioned below is being offered a salary of at least the average Australian wage, I find it interesting & sickening that Governments around the world wax lyrical about how education is important yet don't follow through with how teachers are paid.

Here is an example from University of Queensland, one of the key universities here in Australia.

UQ (INSTITUTE OF CONTINUING & TESOL EDUCATION) wants a TESOL Language Teacher & (The Centre for Biological Information Technology) an Administrative Officer.

To get a $42,000 - 60,000 salary (sans superannuation) as the TESOL applicant, the candidate has to have the following:

'a bachelor’s degree with postgraduate qualifications in TESOL or a postgraduate qualification with a significant TESOL component. Applicants with a degree, certificate level TESOL qualification and currently undertaking postgraduate qualifications as above will be considered. All positions require 1,500 hours adult teaching experience.'

That’s asking for someone with 4+ years of university study plus 5 years teaching experience. Knowing what teachers do for a living, the candidate would also have to be the dynamic team player wanted in the administration candidate, not to mention work more flexible hours and weekends of out-of-worktime unpaid hours doing marking, preparation etc that comes with the teaching profession.

Yet to get a similar salary for a one year job ($49,000 to 51,102 which includes superannuation), the admin candidate should only possess

'a diploma in administration (or equivalent) plus at least 2 years general experience in administration, and experience in processing accounts payables and receivables. To be successful in securing this position it is essential you possess accounts experience, a high level of initiative and maturity and be a great team player. You should also have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to exercise sound judgment. You will need to be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel. Previous experience in UQ departmental systems would be an advantage but is not essential as training will be provided to the right candidate.'

Come on people, play fair! You are asking a lot more of the teacher but not really giving much extra (if anything) in return. Just remember, you are only going to get what you pay for.

Personally, though I am well qualified to do the teaching job, I wouldn't wake up in the morning for that squidgy amount of money! My teaching services are worth more than that. I might have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed but I'm not that desperate to work that hard for so little! Generation X would be even less inclined to do so.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Friday, 14 December 2007

One of those days ... & snoring

I'm having a day on the bed today. I have a fever, probably as a result of both ear drums blowing badly in the plane from Sydney yesterday afternoon.

I've discovered as I lie quietly listening to the world rather than playing music, etc, that it's not only my darling husband who snores in this household.

Lucy & Gypsy are clinging to me like limpets today (read: sleeping as close as they can physically get). I guess they missed me while I was gone from Sunday to Thursday. Anyway, both cat AND dog snore! Poor old Paul! I've been blaming him for my recent sleepless nights but it might not have been him at all. LOL.

Lying quietly is always good plotting time. I've organised a girlie day out with some of my daughters for next Thursday. The crown princess won't be in town, but the other two will be, so we are going Christmas shopping & then out for a champagne afternoon tea. Paul's going to rescue us later in the day, stow the parcels we buy in the boot of his car & then take us all out for dinner. Christmas is a nice togetherness, huh? I love my family!

Sadly, lying quietly on my bed has also got me disowned by half my family - um, Paul's whole family, in fact.

I've gotta tell you that this is one hell of a family of seasonned drama queens (male & female)! Anway, this time the drama is about an email I answered from a niece in London that I wish I hadn't answered. The over-reactions to misreading my reply & subsequent fallout have have them so angry that the whole family is going to have an apoplectic seizure & outlive my FIL! My sister-in-law vows never to speak to me again. Pfft! Who cares?

Poor Trevor (my FIL) has had bypass surgery & while it went well, he's still not 100%. He's over 80. I think the women of the family believe that he will be running marathons in the next few weeks. My 17 years of nursing tell me otherwise, not that I actually said that. I simply told the niece that Trevor has lost his appetite & that the doctor has said that he will have to go home to Laurieton (from Sydney) in an air ambulance rather than taking a train or car.

Well, did I do the wrong thing, or what? She got all stroppy because she read that I had told her that Trev was going to die & how dare I do that when she was so far away & that her 'Pa' was the closest relative she had & that I was worrying her, and, and...

Again, another chance for that particular generation of Davies kids to rub in that I am the outsider & not the one who gave birth to Paul's three sons. I've heard it all before! I'm afraid I lost it and that I was a bitch and point blank asked why the niece wasn't home here if she cared so much about her grandfather. Her partner came home last week. Kim's coming home in a few weeks but says she will come home sooner 'if anything happens' to Trevor. My point is that Kim is the girl to call after someone dies but not to rely upon her before the event, nothing else counts as 'anything'.

Say some prayers that the stress levels in both niece & her mother diminish soon. I don't particularly care either way if they don't talk to me again (quite honestly, it's a relief is Kim doesn't), but I think it sucks that Paul is the meat in the sandwich. I was sincerely trying to be a loving aunt.

Oh, and say some prayers for Trevor that the rest of his days are more comfortable than the last few months. He's just had his third bypass (& goodness know how many other heart ops) so he won't be running races or perhaps even back in fine form any time too soon but he is a physically strong man with few problems apart from his heart issues. He should eventually recover some of his former vigor. Please God, make it sooner than later!

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Frederick the Literate


Stitch, stitch, stitching! My Frederick doesn't look all that different to the picture taken in October, but it is progressing nicely.

The 31st December 2007 finishing date is looking tight as I have to go to Sydney next week because my FIL is having bypass surgery. However, not to worry (about the stitching, I mean). Paul's away for work for most of the time between now & Christmas and then again after New Year. I will finish sooner than later.

Besides, I'm dying to start a new project!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Lucy_at_home

While the general household endures the rigors of living in three time zones at once for Paul's work - Paris, Montreal & Brisbane, Lucy is living in the lap of luxury & sleeping as well as Gypsy, the family cat. Spoilt dog!

Now for what happens when dogs don't have their own special sleeping places. My online friend Lucy found out the hard way! Priceless!



Size Comparisons - How my baby has grown!
Lucy with 'Dolly' back in July when she was 7 weeks old and Lucy now with same 'Dolly' (whose saving grace is that she squeaks when Lucy chews her)