Category Archives: Postgrad Study

My Blog Should Be Purple

According to Blogthings. Just in case you were wondering 🙂


“You’re an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything. You tend to set blogging trends, and you’re the most likely to write your own meme or survey. You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you – not what anyone else has to say.”

Well damn straight. Who else is it going to be about?!

Don’t know about that setting blogging trends bit though. It took me until 2005 to even start this thing, so I’d say I’m pretty far behind in trendset-iness.

I’m not really interested in making my blog purple, so nyah, Blogthings. I have many ideas running through my head for my perpetually delayed template re-jig, not one of them is purple.

Dum de dum…

This post is rather full of good nothing-ness, isn’t it? I need more nothing-ness in my life. I would rather be stitching, but in the 10 minutes I’m taking a study break for, I would get next to nothing done, and would want to stitch for the next 2 hours, instead of slaving away on a Web Databases assignment.

Speaking of stitching, I received goodies yesterday! So happy – Laura sent me a wonderful chart, (which Finn promptly decided I should start stitching for him, but since he deleted a vital chunk of my Usability Engineering assignment on Tuesday, he’s not in line to be demanding anything of the sort :grr: ). Sorry, I digress. It’s Unicorn, by Peter Underhill. Finn does have a point, it would be pretty funky for a boy’s bedroom 😆 Then Mum arrived, and forced new fabric on me! A beautiful bluey-purpley solo from Silkweaver – and a huge piece, too. I’m envisioning a Mirabilia Fairy on it. Can’t wait to stitch again.

Before I disappear, here’s the 5 second update on the Grrr things in my life (in case you care):

    ~ Auto-pinging: I think not working. Let’s see how it goes this time. Will manually ping if necessary. Update: nope, it IS working. Yippee!
    ~ Car: fully repaired as of today – ask me again on Sunday! 😛
    ~ Washing Machine: not working, but problem finally diagnosed.
    ~ Washing Machine Company: won’t replace, will repair.
    ~ Stupid motorist who hit my car and denied it: Hmmm, I actually don’t know. Must find out what’s going on with that. I’m kind of curious to know what story she’s going to come up with :giggle:

Before and After

I am now getting to that point in my Masters degree where, because I “don’t work” (aka I am “just a mum”), I am beginning to be asked what my plans are for when I finish. Courtesy of the wacky dudes at the Southpark Studio*, I am now able to demonstrate to you visually, exactly what “my plans” are:

Exhibit A:
Mel before finishing Masters degree:
before finishing Masters degree

Exhibit B: Mel after finishing Masters degree:
after finishing Masters degree

*Link discovered on Robin’s Nest. Thanks Robin 🙂

Smash Magnet


You’re gonna love this!

Five hours after I wrote that last post?

My brother-in-law backed into my car.

My newly repaired car, not four days after picking it up from the repairer.

:grr: :grr: :grr:

I’m able to smile (wanly) about it now. At the time, I had a minor breakdown in the bathroom. Stupid, really. All the things that are going on in my life are so infinitesimally small… it’s just that cumulative effect thing taking a hold.

In better news, the exam timetable for this semester came out today. I know, that doesn’t sound much like a good thing. And in fact, it is a little scary, my two exams are within two days of each other. The good bit is that my exams are earlier this semester, so I get it over and done with. Last semester I had three weeks of twiddling my thumbs er… I mean studying, before the exams. This time, I’ll be done on the 29th of October, so I’ll have two entire months off before my final unit in January. Yay!

No Grey Hairs Yet!

At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted two things on my 30th birthday. To not have any grey hairs, and to have purchased our first house. The big Three-Oh is now two months away.

I’m holding strong on achieving #1 – none to be spied :giggle: And #2 was fulfilled today, hooray! In fact we will settle on the house 6 days after my birthday. I’m so happy that hunting is over. I plan never to look in a real estate agent’s window or website again… until the next time 😆

October is going to be quite the month for me in fact. The 11th is Happy Birthday Mel, the 13th is the deadline for my major assignment in Usability Eng, the 15th is the rollout for our major assignment in Web Database Applications, and the 17th is the settlement. I am scared… very scared. We will probably have an extra week or so tenancy in our current place, so moving can be stretched out a bit, but still…

Our house (our house…. teehee!) is nothing super-special. It will need sprucing up over time, but is perfectly liveable as is. It’s 3-bedrooms, has heating and cooling (big bonus!), and good sized front and back yards (better bonus!) I can’t wait 😎

I’m here, honest

I’ve just been taking a bit of a break from the web for a little bit, induced mainly by the fact that we’ve been all over the state in the last week (didn’t quite make it into South Australia as planned, more on that later). I have had web access on most nights, and have been checking in occasionally with my regular haunts, but I’ve felt no inclination/no time to blog or post to groups. I think it was long overdue for me to take a web-break, really.

But I got some brilliant news yesterday that I just have to share. The semester from hell is not only over, but it seems I came through with the goods despite the horror. Marks were out Friday, I finally logged on and got them yesterday – 92 for Secure E-Commerce, and 90 for Intelligent Web Systems (which means I must have aced the exam, since I was on about 82 average for the assignments). Go me!

Will be back tomorrow with an updated pic of WFS. She’s gorgeous – all stitching (except a little bit of braid and backstitching that I might do tonight) is finished, only the beads after that. I can almost taste a HD!

25 Questions: 6-10

Before I get to the next set of questions… the exam went well. It was a satisfying exam, in that it was solid and comprehensive, and I think I performed well on all the sections. I am so pleased to be on a break now though. With any luck, next semester should be less horrible than this.

In other business, for Cathy, here’s a pic of my Storyteller. I’ve done a little bit more since this picture was taken – backstitching the top border – which gives it wonderful definition. After the Annual stitchalong (this weekend), I’ll take another picture.

And now to the next batch…

6. What is your favourite stitched piece?
Um er… well, I described WFS as my favourite WIP recently, and that will probably be my favourite when finished. But for the time being, my favourite finished piece would probably be Celtic Christmas. I don’t have a good deal of finished pieces yet 🙁 … soon.

7. What is your favorite fabric?
Quaker cloth. It’s 55% linen, 45% cotton, has the appearance of 100% linen, but is a fraction cheaper, and in my opinion, nicer to stitch on (a softer handfeel). It’s also what I’ve been doing my hand-dyeing on, and I’m very happy with the results – a little more subtle than 100% linen.

8. What is your favorite fiber?
I’m not sure I really have a favourite fiber. I love to stitch with silks, but the designs I stitch don’t call for silks much, which I’m fine with, due to the extra cost. Variegated cottons are fun, I like trying to predict how the variegations are going to fall. And although metallics are sometimes a pain to stitch with, I love the result. Of the metallics, Rainbow gallery petite treasure braid is my all time favourite, it is simply lovely to stitch with, and has a beautiful shine to it.

9. What is your favorite needle?
According to my records from the last 2 times I bought needles, Piecemaker Needles tapestry #26! I do have some #28s, but they’re mostly too fine for my liking. I think I also have some John James needles hanging around. I use Beading Needles (size #10) for beading, the ones I have are blunt-ended, not sharp. They go through delicas, and most Mill Hill beads. I hate the really fine, supersharp beading needles, that’s just a recipe for disaster in this house!

10. Do you prefer black & white or colored charts?
Black and white, hands-down. Colour charts, ick, ack, euw :yuk:

{still to be continued…}

25 Questions: 1-5

At the exact time this blog entry is posted, I will have just started reading time for the Intelligent Web Systems exam. How is this so? I love this tricky little feature – just alter the timestamp of the post, Publish, and the post will show up after the given time. Nifty!

Anyway, I’m pinching the 25 Questions about Stitching from Belinda’s blog (among other places). I don’t plan to fill my blog with memes, but I think since it’s primarily a stitching blog, these questions are probably worth answering, just so you know. But I’m not going to do them all at once, oh no. Five at a time… you’ll just have to come back to read the rest of the answers later :giggle:

1. How old were you when you started cross stitching?
When I was 12 or 13, my Aunt gave me a stamped cross stitch kit (I know – :yuk:). It was a daisy pattern, to be made up into a cushion. That was also my first colour conversion – I’m not that crazy about oranges and yellows, so I changed them for pink and purple. Amazingly enough, I believe I finished that project… I’ve no idea what happened to it since though.

2. Who taught you to cross stitch?
I did! Well, I guess the instructions did, but nobody specifically showed me how to make an x.

3. What inspired you to begin cross stitching?
After that stamped kit, I was an on-again-off-again stitcher until about 4 years ago. Mainly because I picked too-hard charts. I bought Teresa Wentzler’s Spring Carousel Horse, and later, Mirabilia’s Garden Verses and Winter Queen. None really qualify as beginner designs, and while I had big ambitions, I just didn’t have the patience for these big designs. Finally, at 25, stressed-out by work, I found some freebies on the ‘net (Ellen Maurer-Stroh) , and took it up as relaxation. I found TW’s freebie Stretch around the same time, and subsequently the TWBB, and ebay, and… well, you get the idea. My stash came into being, and I have never looked back.

4. What has been your most difficult cross stitch piece?
So far, I would have to say Stretch. I know he’s only small, but for me it was the first time doing loads of fractionals, and blends. My most difficult in progress is TWs Storyteller, for the same reasons, but on a much bigger scale.

5. Do you have friends that stitch?
I introduced Mum to cross-stitching after she became interested in surface embroidery. Her fabric stash is a great resource! I have 2 friends who stitch – but one is in the UK now, and the other doesn’t get a lot of stitching time, so no SAL-ing for me (other than with online friends).

{to be continued…}

Stash of a Different Variety

Aaaah… feeling better today. I went into the city, ostensibly to study at uni, but I got up to some retail therapy as well (forget now everything I said about saving money the other day 😆 ). Prompted by my answer to the gift certificate question on The Wagon, and encouraged by OtherHalf, I went to Lush. I bought:

  • Dreamtime ~ for tomorrow night 🙂
  • Double Bubble ~ for sometime when I feel like being… pink and glittery!
  • Black Magic ~ clary sage, geranium, ylang ylang… yum! I think I could become addicted to their massage bars yes-indeedy
  • Little Monkey ~ for Finn. He had some in his bath tonight. It turns the water a disconcerting shade of yellow 😯 but it smells great

plus I was given a sample of:

  • Demon in the Dark ~ which smells glorious (big mint fan here), and I think I’ll shower with it pre-exam tomorrow, to give me the edge 😆

But wait, there’s more. I recently (like in the last 24 hours) discovered that there’s a new Borders open in the CBD… just across the road from uni. Well, we all know where I’ll be spending my ‘study time’ now, don’t we! I popped in there – it’s a bit smaller than the other two Melbourne stores, but still a great sized book shop. I picked up

Hmmm… seems Finn scored more today than I did! Never mind. I had fun. Notice how all those books are about Wild, Energetic, Loud young children? I wonder if there’s something in that? :giggle:

Grrr Argh!

Am totally irritable today. Like PMS without the M. My studying is erratic because of it, and I just can’t get into any sort of groove. Minor little issues from a couple of BBs are getting under my skin, so procrastinating on there is not even helping 😡 So instead, I’m day-dreaming about my month off 😆

Exam number two is on Monday evening. Evening! An exam that starts at 5.45pm! Crazy behaviour. My plan on finishing that is to come home, open a bottle of red wine, and have a long, long bath. I’m not even going to stitch that night (or at least, not much!) I plan on getting the first of many early nights – at least pre-11pm, I hope. Not having enough sleep lately (…for the last 6 months) is no doubt contributing much to my current mood.

For the time I have off, I have 3 planned stitching finishes:

  • Something secret… for my seasonal exchange partner. It’s approximately half stitched, but I have some fancy ‘finishing’ to do on it as well.
  • Little Angel Birth Sampler, for an expected nephew. This will only be a near-finish… obviously I’ll have to wait for the name/date/details to stitch on later.
  • Waiting For Ships. Waiting to be finished. This will be my first Mirabilia finish, despite having bought my first two Mira charts some ten years ago! There will be much rejoicing!

After that I plan to have another attempt at setting up a rotation. I expect it will all turn to mud again in the first month or so of my next semester, but I do hope to get a bit more stitching done in the 2nd half of the year than I have in this. The focus piece of my rotation will probably be the dreaded Noah’s Journey. It’s supposed to be a ‘birth’ piece for Finn. I might have mentioned he’s 2 and a half already. 😳 Oops! It’s such a pain to stitch (Dimensions colour chart, need I say more?), but I really do want to finish it. I’ll post a WIP picture here soon, but trust me, it’s not that impressive.

I also plan to do a bit more hand-dyeing. I have some white Quaker cloth and some Cashel (I think), and I want to get a good colour for my planned Lilly conversion.

The most important non-stitching plan is a trip across to the Clare Valley (South Australia) for several days of camping and cellar door hopping. We haven’t done that since before Finn was born – that should be fun, what with the 10 hour drive each way :ill:

Anyway, I have to survive until Monday night first. Nose back to grindstone then… 🙁

Good Riddance to SeC

Exam number one went better than could be expected, considering my lack of motivation to study for this one. I expect around 80-85 overall for the unit… better than I expected, but sadly a bit of a blemish on my overall program results (I would have been in raptures with an 80 in my undergraduate degree – I was far less conscientious back then :giggle: ). It’s a public holiday here tomorrow, so OtherHalf is home. I’m planning to head off to the library for a while to start reading up for exam number two.

But tonight, way hey, I’ve stitched! I think my goal of finishing WFS during my month off school is achievable, I really do. Last weekend I managed to sneak enough stitching around my exam revision (told you I wasn’t motivated 🙁 ) to finish off her arms, and tonight I’ve stitched her face and neck. I toned down the “Adam’s apple” she seems to have. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like this design at first. Added to the fact she has a fairly prominent chin, I felt it made her quite masculine. Come to think of it, she’s fairly flat chested as well. Hmmm… perhaps she’s a merman in drag?! Well, you’ve got to admit, it would explain that rather lurid shade of pink lipstick 😉 !

I’m teasing. Really, she’s very attractive. And now, with a smoother neckline (I didn’t alter the chin), I’m really glad I’m stitching her. The only thing bugging me now is that I’ve left all the beads for last, even though I swore I wouldn’t do that again after Celtic Christmas. I’m considering an alternative to YLI Invisible thread for stitching the beads on this time… I hate wrangling that stuff. I know some stitchers use blending filament, which is a bit more visible, and it gives a nice extra sparkle too. Perhaps I’ll try that.