Friday, June 27, 2008

Why do I like being Orthodox? And life, too.

Someone posed this question on The Ancient Way, one of the subforums of where I hang out sometimes.

Here's my response -
I suppose saying 'everything' is cheating?

I love the community that I belong to, that I am never alone. I love priests who are real people, and real fathers, who look after me and put up with an awful lot from this weirdo ex-protestant who asks too many questions. I love that there is an unbroken line in this faith, which remains the same throughout the ages. I love that we can claim history and to be the True Church.

I love the Saints, who pray for me and I know of their prayers. I love calling Mary Theotokos and Panayia and asking her for help. I love the fasts, even though they're hard and I complain about them sometimes when I want to eat cake or mcdonalds I love the feasts that fasts culminate in - and enjoy them all the more for having fasted.

I love my community, the family Christ promised to all who left 'fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters...' I love being on this road to becoming who I was meant to be, no matter how hard.


Alright, for those of you who dislike the religion stuff, you can start reading again now :)

Here's just a quick post to let you know I'm still alive, kompoiskini on my wrist and sore feet. I've had an incredibly quiet week, apart from some car trips with my dad and making up an awesome pumpkin and lentil soup recipe - its here for those who want it. Be warned though, it makes a metric ton of the stuff - we're going to freeze a lot of it in serving sizes for peoples' lunches and for starving Kyriaki during the fasts. It's nestissimo - lenten, for anyone who would actually need that information, except it does use some oil to soften the onions etc in the beginning - swap it out for some other oil if it's an 'olive oil free' day, or do whatever your pet trick is if you don't use oil at all.

Today and tomorrow have been/will be field trip days for History, which means I got to meet my teacher - awesomeness, and one of my classmates plus a bunch of others from different classes. Today was the State Museum, especially the two Aboriginal exhibits - the static one and a visiting one on basket weaving in the far north which was COOL. We had half an hour break (I grabbed a prawn salad since I was starving by this point) and went to the art gallery to look at colonial art. We had lunch - a salad and tuna sandwich with avocado on brown bread for me, I took some painkillers and we went back for the final museum of the day at the Migration Museum which is on the site that used to be the Destitute Asylum, which I plan to write my major essay on, God-willing. This was very interesting but I plan to go back sometime soon and revisit it all when I have time, especially the section on the DA itself.

Dismissed for the day I dropped into Dad's office, swapped my laptop/school bag for the tote bag with my Bible etc in it and headed off to the markets and my favourite tea shop for a chai latte made with soy milk...yum. Probably the nicest one I've had, I think. I sat and drank that slowly while reading the paper then walked to Jo's work as she was taking me to study/fellowship tonight. We grabbed hot chips (fries, to you americans) on the way to her place and made chip'n'sauce (ketchup) sandwiches for dinner, and I had a bowl of fasolada as well (vegie and bean soup) but Jo doesnt like most vegies...weirdo. Fellowship was NUTS - we had every chair in the room full plus we went and stole a few more from the hall next door, and we had two priests as Fr John dropped in for the night too which was nice. We hung around for coffee, chatted to the new Serbs who have been coming, and then ran to the Church for Compline. The scarf-wearing-brigade is growing - it used to be just me and Rodika but her daughter Dana had one on tonight too, as did the other Dana who is serbian and new :) It's nice not to be an odd one out sometimes. I need to buy more of the handkercheif style ones, but they're hard to find in non-garish patterns that actually STAY PUT on your head. Not so much an issue now, but lemme tell you in lent with all the metanias and prostrations, having your scarf firmly pinned is a valuable asset. Especially during the bridegroom services of Holy Week where you find yourself juggling candle and prayer book while doing prostrations and trying to keep your scarf on your head. Fun stuff - and Jo and I added a fan to the mix this year too!

I'm home now, and very happy, and peaceful. I've got a bunch knitted on my sock now, and I may start the next sock tomorrow depending on what happens. I'm going to bed, anyway :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

All Saints Day

Technically I'm a day late, we're into the Apostles' Fast now (begins after the Sunday after Pentecost each year, ends on the feast day of the Apostles Peter and Paul - ie next Sunday) but yesterday was All Saint's Day. To quote my priest, it's to commemorate all the Saints we know of (so happy name day everyone, heh) and all those we don't because some 'got died' in secret, or under persecution, or were just too humble to show to anyone that they should be a Saint. I included the 'got died' because my priest who natively speaks Arabic said it about ten times during the homily yesterday, and usually his english is very good and I don't pick up on the mistakes but there was something cute about that phrase. The readings yesterday were among my favourites, too - Hebrews 11:33-12:2, and from the Gospel of St Matthew 10:32-33; 37-38; 19:27-30.

Whoever does not leave father, brothers, mother, sisters is not worthy of Me...

...but whoever leaves [these things] will receive a hundred fold and eternal life...

(from the Gospel)

and "since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of our faith"

(from the Epistle reading)

Beautiful stuff.

I've been meaning to write but haven't got the movivation to do so in the last few days. Friday was quiet - Dad and I went and ran a few errands and got lunch at our favourite bakery (which was wonderful because for once on a Friday I could eat anything I wanted since it was the week after Pentecost - cream buns and a chicken and mushroom pie, YES) and went to IKEA. I needed a lamp for stitching - I've needed one for a long time but we've never gone and got one. It's just a floor standing lamp, and black, with a spotlight globe. Very cool. I also got some hanging shelves and a rack to hang them off to try and organise my closet, which was impossible to find anything in before while it was all hanging up and cluttered. I put the lamp together, and put everything in my closet on my bed while I set up the shelves in there, and then put all the winter clothes back in with a few inter-seasonal things there too, just in case. It's early winter though so I shouldn't need them for a while! I also took out all the things I wasn't sure about which were winter clothes, and gave them to my sister to decide whether she wanted them or to give them away. Summer stuff didn't really get sorted, just all neatly put in piles to put into my drawers until needed in four or five months' time. The piles are still on my desk and kinda scaring me, actually!

Saturday was my sister's birthday party, so we spent the morning cleaning and then the parents and I went to the Apple store to pick me up a new laptop (nameday present, and also because my old one doesnt' really work anymore) except we were using an education discount, but despite being told a thousand times the other day that she needed a payslip to do that my mum hadn't brought one...long story short we went up to her school and got one, and finally picked me up my shiny macbook :) I bought myself an iPod nano too since I spend so much time on public transport and want to be able to listen to podcasts etc. I had a shuffle but...y'know. Her birthday party was fun, and I'll probably share a few photos at some point. We all dressed up as 5 year olds and they watched and analysed disney movies which was thoroughly amusing to listen to.

Yesterday was All Saints, and I drove to Church. We were early, yay, and I settled down in my spot in the second to front pew near the chanters desk. I've always sat there so Jeremy could translate and help me when I got lost in the service books, and now I sit there so I can chant along softly and learn. I was the only one there for all of Orthros (matins, the service before the DL (mass) - think the singing before the main part of the service in a normal church) and for part of the DL too! Very weird. We got a whole tribe that don't normally come though, and Father used a lot of english for their benefit, and the sermon was basically all in english and really good. Usually it's half english (at most) half (or more) arabic.

That over, my godmother was supposed to come get me but forgot so I stayed for coffee hour and talked to people, and then drove Jeremy's car to her house...she wasn't there either. Finally we met at the church, and I went back to her place while she got ready and we went to the church (again) for a quiz night, fun! I was on a table with my friend (and quiz night partner) Andrew - who also made my Cross, and his brother and a few relatives. We came second, a fluke in our opinion because both Andrew and I (who answer most of the questions) were really tired and not at our best. Fun! We won bottles of wine, little books with the Church calendar and addresses of parishes etc in english and greek, and the morning and evening prayers (again two languages), and kompoiskinia - prayer ropes, think a 33knot rosary-type thing made of wool that fits around your wrist. Mine has a bluey-purpley bead on it :)

I fell asleep in Jeremy's car on the way home (at about 9) and collapsed into bed exhausted. A good day, but I am resting very firmly today because I want to be well for Thursday and Friday when I have a history trip with my school in the city.

Edited to add:
Koukla @ 12 weeks
Here's our lovely Koukla at 12 weeks old. And that's my shiny new laptop too :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday of Pentecost

I had a very full day, out with Nona aka my godmother for those who don't speak Greek. She picked me up from my place, and we headed into the city to the markets to pick up food for dinner - chicken, fish heads and vegies. We also sat down and ate sushi which was delicious. I tried on a pair of pants but didn't buy them, bought a little wooden fan because i've wanted one for forever, and we had a lovely chat to a lady who owned a fruit and veg stall about the fact that Nona is Greek and I'm halfway there! Half in Greek, as usual with these chats. Good fun. Nona also bought a bunch of henna, and 12 bangles from an indian shop for me, they are all different (she got me to pick them out) and they jingle wonderfully. I'll get a photo sometime soon. After doing the shopping we ran a few errands and went back to her house, and I had a history lesson which was good, I'll write more about it later. Lesson over we talked, she made soup, and I paraphrased the book of Job, ate food, and ate the soup. Fishheads make very good soup, it's delicious. And cheap!

We left for the nearby mall because she wanted a massage in the chairs, I got one too, and I got a heatpack that doesn't need heating, which is excellent. We grabbed coffee and headed off to Church for fellowship/study group, which was one less person tonight because apparently we are terrifying and Father ran away interstate, so Jeremy led it and did a very good job. We talked about Pentecost, and I got a bunch of notes which I'll try to type up sometime soon. Good stuff. We got a few extras too which was lovely, all from the Serbian Church, and Dmitri brought me home. Another cool part of today though was that I need a new dress, a winter 'party dress' or gown to go out in since I really don't have one. I mentioned that I wanted to go shopping for one with Jo in passing...and a few hours later, Nona turned up in the kitchen with an armful of chiffon, saying it was from her Aunt's closet and she'd never fit into it. "It" was this:

Nona's dress
A 1970's gown, based on the edwardian 'tea gown' (remember Rose's dress from titanic?), just brushes the floor. Not a thread pulled, not a single mark, and it's designer label too and about a thousand yards of chiffon. Beautiful.

A full circle skirt
It has a double hem, and the overskirt is a full circle skirt. I can't get out of my head that I look like some kind of moth in this photo though! See the roses?

And a curtsey!
It's a very twirling skirt, and I couldn't help spinning and dipping a curtsey. Mum caught it :)

I also have another photo - St Nicholas.
18th June 08
This is from last night, no work got done on it today. The top left section of border is basically done, now I need to start work on the left side, and the top right bit. I've also started work on the inside of the piece, mostly background so far but I started the plaque with Christ's initials. That's the blue thing. It will say the slavic equivalent of ΙC ΧC, ie Jesus Christ, but I don't know slavonic well enough to type them! The background is lovely, but very shaded and time consuming. As usual.

Anyway, it's late. I'm off to bed :) Goodnight all. Καληνύχτα σας!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flu and a meme

Koukla is currently occupied with a ball of scrunched up paper and is tearing around the room chasing it, so I've got a chance to blog :)

She's adorable and settling in well, except for deciding to pounce on my feet at 4am for which she gets locked in the bathroom (with her bed and food dishes) until morning. And I have the flu and have been sneezing madly for a couple days, but oh well. I'm also getting a new laptop, yay, because we can get one for half price if we get it before the end of the month as we can claim it on tax. Awesome. I've been stitching, but there's not much to show for it. Mostly I've had a very lazy day. On the upside, I've been listening to AFR and a few podcasts and am in a much better mood than I have been. Abouna was right - the Gospel and the Church are medicine for the soul.

I haven't much more to say, really. Life is... good :)

What is in the back of your car? Air. I don't have one.
What color is your toothbrush? uh, blue and white
Name one person that made you smile today? does Koukla count? And Isaak
What where you doing at 8am this morning? Sleeping
What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Watching a doco on harlequin ichthyosis (I have a milder form of the same condition ie mine's not likely to kill me)
What is your favorite candy bar? Anything with chocolate and nuts
Have you ever been to a strip club? Nope, and planning on keeping it that way
What is the last thing you said aloud? "please don't knock the bin [trash can] over again Koukla.."
What is the best ice cream flavor? Macadamia and caramel
What was the last thing you had to drink? Orange juice
What are you wearing right now? Pyjamas, senior year hoodie from a couple years ago when i did the first half (it's blue and faded and comfy), white stretchy headband, black kneesocks with flowers and sparkles, komboiskini (prayer rope) on my left wrist, baptismal cross and enamel cross Jo gave me on a single chain around my neck (baptismal cross' chain is being fixed so it's sharing a chain with the other cross, usually i just wear the one)
What was the last thing you ate? rice pudding and apricots, unless butter menthol lozenges count
Have you bought any new clothing items this week? Nope, not yet
When was the last time you ran? A while ago. I don't run much, it's hazardous to my being able to get out of bed the next day.
The last sporting event you watched? Football game i think?
What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? butter
Who is the last person you sent a comment/message on my space? facebook? Tegan.
Ever go camping? Yeah!
Do you take vitamins daily? I'm supposed to
Do you go to church every Sunday? Yes, and Saturday night
Do you have a tan? Not at the moment it's winter!
Do you like Chinese food over pizza? PIZZA! real chinese wins, but I don't think that's what the question is asking.
Do you drink your soda with a straw? Not most of the time...
What did your last text message say? Jeremy asking if I was still awake and telling me if i was going to church he'd meet me at 9:40am and there was a bbq after.
Are you some-one's best friend? I don't know, I don't think so anymore.
What are you doing tomorrow? Sleeping, a s.o.s. class, homework and a lot of sneezing i think! Maybe getting my computer?
Look to your left, what do you see? A wall of bookshelves covered in books (most of which are engineering/maths and i don't understand, they're dad's)
What color is your watch? I think I have one somewhere, it's silver
What do you think of when you think of Australia? Where I live :)
Do you use chap stick? When I have one handy, all the time
What is your birthstone? Diamond
What is your favorite number? 7
Do you have a dog? Nope
Last person you talked to on the phone? Um, my maths teacher I think!
Have you met anyone famous? Define famous? I grew up a diplomat's kid, and I've met the first heirach of ROCOR (the top bishop of one of the Orthodox Churches)
Any plans today? It's 11:40pm. Not really. Keep Koukla from destroying anything else!
How many states have you lived in? 2, one in Australia one in the USA
Ever go to college? Nope
Do you dye your hair? No, tried once and it turned green. Not tried since.
Biggest annoyance in your life right now? This flu!
Last song listened to? Exerciser by Rhubarb (I love this song even though it's kinda old now)
Can you say the alphabet backwards? if i concentrate
Do you have a maid service clean your house? No
Are you jealous of anyone? I try not to be
Is anyone jealous of you? I've been told so. I tell such people they're crazy.
Do you love anyone? I do, but there are four words for love in Greek. Not romantically, no.
Do any of your friends have children? Yeah
Do you eat healthy? Most of the time, when I eat.
What do you usually do during the day? Sleep, stitch, hang out on the net, do schoolwork/class/both, keep kitten out of trouble, go to Church
Do you hate anyone that you know right now? I make a point of not hating people
Do you use the word 'hello' daily? Yeah, in varying languages
What color is your car? I don't have one. Invisible.
Have you ever been to Six Flags? No
Do you like cats? There is a baby one on my lap. Jeremy's answer to that question the other day was 'sometimes, with garlic and onions'
How did you get your worst scar? I don't have any really visible ones. The one on my knee was from hitting the pavement running a few years ago and taking about 2" round off my knee about five layers deep (ow), the one under my lip from being hit by mistake by a softball bat and putting two teeth through my lip, and the one in the middle of my lip from biting my lip in half when I was 2.

Fun meme for a change :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I'm more important than the paper, surely?

Ειναι Κούκλα μου. This is my Koukla. She's about 10 weeks old and came home with me this afternoon. She's a pretty little thing, and knows it! She likes to be paid attention to, and is always in the way in adorable ways. Kittens are great. I was forbidden to name any more animals after Saints, so Koukla it was - basically 'sweetheart' in Greek. All the yia yias call me Koukla and my sister thinks it's funny, so the name got given to this little 'doll' - the other meaning of κούκλα.

I ownz this paper (and you)
She likes to be the centre of attention, as you may have noticed...

My car, too!
And she's mostly white except her face and tail, and a black spot under one paw :)

Very cute!

Practicing silence is good...

...but I am not good at it. Working on it. Kyriaki and silence do not usually find themselves in the same sentences, but oh well.

The last few days have been fairly uneventful, except for cleaning my room up a lot (I'll vacuum tomorrow and hopefully it will be liveable again and my doctor won't yell at me) and knitting a stupid amount. I should get a photo of my sock - it's my first one ever and i'm knitting it top down and have got to just the straight knitting around the foot now, the heel's all done. It's a lot of fun! I get really impressed looks from people for knitting on four double points, very funny.

I sat down and watched a crazy amount of Gankutsuou which I totally fail at spelling and had to look up! It's an anime based on the story of the Count of Monte Cristo, which I loved. The ending's different though - I'm not finished it yet, got one dvd to go, but it's gone beyond the 'canon' novel stuff now. I loooove Haydée, who is much more likeable in this version than in the books. Maybe she's just harder to 'see' in book form. Isn't she cute?

I wanted better photos but they're hard to find :( The 'unchained melody one' is now my desktop, in much bigger form.

While I watched that, the news, an episode of Rosemary and Thyme and part of the first Narnia movie I stitched. Here's my icon:

13th June 08

It's growing! I've filled in most of the holes that were left in the corner now, and I've started work on the inner 'arcs' which form the background, it's just very shaded. Good fun.

Anyway it's freezing cold and 2:23 am so I better go sleep. It's also the Saturday of Souls - may the Lord grant rest to the souls of His servants who lie asleep in all the world.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Yep, it all still aches

I'm weak today too. My arms were shaking as I was holding the q-snaps but I'm stitching in the top left hand corner so I can't put it on the stand to work on it.

Oh well, I got a bit of work done - see?

9th June 08

Mostly filling in the darker colours in the background though there's some light stuff too. The border edge is getting more and more defined. I'm definitely thinking about starting to fill in the inner shading, at least, ready to start the inside.

I got another 55min towards my driving log tonight too as I went up to get my sister from her boyfriend's place. It was a weird trip - much singing along loudly to Godspell, the car was shaking weirdly but it settled down, we found a bag of oranges on the road in the middle of nowhere (looked like they fell off someone's truck), and we saw a koala who was quite happily sitting next to the road. We stopped to look, and he stayed for a while, then headed for the spindliest tree he could find and climbed it! There were all these big thick ones, contrary thing.

Other than that, today's been very uninteresting. More like a Saturday than a Monday as it was a public holiday, but Saturdays have Church and today didn't, more's the pity.

Oh, I forgot to add. Last year I made a dress for Caitlin, my godsister. At the time, it didn't fit, which was irritating as I usually try stuff on to check the drape and she and I are a similar size. I borrowed it to check how I'd done the neck (I'm making a copy for my sister) and on a whim tried it on - and it fit! So I've lost a lot of weight. That's not a good thing, but fitting into the dress is fun. See?

And from the back/side:

Yes, my hair is messy. Sorry. How cute are the sleeves? It's meant to be medieval-esque, yes I know full well it isn't period in the slightest!

The table in the back matches - the cloth is made from an offcut from this dress. That's my icon corner, where it is for now. When I get my bigger icons I'll shift it all to my bedroom but it takes rearranging my room and that's not happened yet. I have more wall space in my room :)

On the table are small icons of Christ and the Theotokos (Mary), an angel that Jo gave me for my baptism and a candle in a candleholder with Psalm 117 on it that Troy's brother made me for Christmas a few years ago. There's also a palm cross, and tucked in behind in the lower level is an olive branch from Palm Sunday, holy water, oil from Holy Wednesday, a bowl with incense and more wax in it for the candles, and a box that holds my incense that was a gift from a lady at my parish. On the shelf are varying prayers and small icons that aren't mounted yet. The calendar is my parish calendar - the icon is of the Church's patron Saint, and rather than normal dates each day has the more important few Saints remembered on that day, and the fasting days are highlighted in pink. It's a good reference!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hmm, everything aches

Seriously. This is beyond a joke. Everything hurts! It's my own fault, I am beyond exhausted. Given that I am always fatigued, when I get tired I get really tired. And this...this is nuts. I better start looking after myself or I'm going to get stuck in bed and Jeremy and Pater will yell at me. Okay, Pater never yells. I'm sure he'd do something that would have the same effect! Probably be very disappointed in me. That'd be worse than yelling. Anyway, that'd give me incentive to get my room cleaned up - I don't want anyone visiting me sick with my room in its current state.




Today was rather lovely, otherwise. I got up, decided that I wasn't going to wear the same thing I've worn to Church for the last two months, and pulled my good black pants and black and white kimono-dress-top-thing out. It's the length a lot of girls wear as a dress with tights, but I wear it over pants! Strictly speaking I should wear a dress or skirt to, it's just long enough to satisfy me. Probably not the yiayias, but there weren't any at the Church I was at today :) It was nice to wear something different, to be dressed up nice. I put my hair up too, and it stayed up, much to my delight.

I drove to Church and didn't crash into anything, so that was good. I've never driven that route before so it was something different. I dislike changing lanes on the major roads immensely but I'll have to get used to it since there's a lot of it on these roads that I have to take to get to both my Churches. We weren't late, even though we were there late, and I was there with Huwaida and we looked at all the icons which are new around the Church. They're about A3 I think and in frames along the side walls. The ones I remember are Christ giving Communion to the Apostles, the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) with all the Old testament Saints around her (so Jeremy and Daniel are happy), and the Bridegroom icon of Christ. Church started and went by in its usual blur - so quick even though it's quite a long time.

We had coffee afterwards, I talked to Father for a minute or two, and he told me he got an icon of St Kyriaki with all the others that he will show me next week. COOL!

Jeremy got a message on his phone, laughed, and asked me if I wanted to go to lunch somewhere. I asked him if it was my house and he said yup. It was my mum asking, as we were having a roast and needed someone to help eat it! So I drove home, though we stopped at the supermarket for some cream for dessert and Jeremy bought a bottle of wine and we had a lovely lunch and stayed talking for ages, which was nice. Then he left, and Mum watched the football. I came up here and did stuff on the net for a while, then went out to watch the second half of the football and stitch on my icon. Dad came home and there was nothing on tv so we watched another Poirot mystery, and I kept stitching. When I finally put it down a while after the mystery ended this is how it looked:

8th June 08

Steadily the background's being filled in, and the lightest colour is outlining the edge of the border in the top half of what's been done, following the arc. It's hard to see though. The rubies are done, and the sapphire's begun, and there's lots of all the other colours in there too. I'm thinking I'll start filling in the actual picture sometime soon now that I've got a good start on the border. I'm still debating how I'll do that - I think I'll make it up as I go along, like when I started work on the border. Markinch, the icon is St Nicholas, from Solaria Gallery under 'Religious Designs'. I'm loving the designing (the shading is lovely! it almost glows) and the chart is quite easy to follow, though in the border I've traced the lines of the different colours in different coloured coloured pencils to make it easier to plan my stitching. I miss stitches a lot less now!

Now though, I'm tired, and I should go to bed. So you have a picture and an update, and I'm going to rest soon.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kyrie eleison

A young seeker approached an elderly monk asking: "What do you do in the monastery?" The old monk replied: "Oh, well, we fall down and we get up. We fall back down again and we get back up. And then we fall down and get up again."
I came across this quote early in my inquiry into Orthodoxy, and it's stayed with me. Of my experience with monastics they'd say that it's true - but also that it applies to the laity as well. And I'd agree. Falling down, getting up again, saying Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) and moving on. I remarked to someone tonight that I was such a good person before I got into this Orthodoxy stuff, and now look at me! Tongue firmly in cheek, of course. He laughed, too, since he knew what I was getting at. We're not allowed to remain comfortable in the bad habits we've formed and ignored, so we become aware of them, and that's when the quote above comes into play. Here's another brilliant one I found tonight:
No matter how right you may be on various points, you must be diplomatic also. The first and important thing is not rightness at all, but Christian love and harmony. Most crazy converts have been right in the criticisms that led to their downfall; but they were lacking in Christian love and charity and so went off the deep end, needlessly alienating people around them and finally finding themselves all alone in their rightness and self-righteousness. Don't you follow them!
- Fr Seraphim Rose
Yeowch. He's right too. I'm trying to be good.

Okay, enough religion, back to your regularly scheduled stitchyness before I go run off to bed.

I have photos! Okay, one of them is religous...but it's stitching, so that makes it alright ;)

Firstly, here's my St Nicholas icon, as of Thursday and a few hours' work:

5th June

And another photo after some serious work last night:
7th June

The diagonal you can start to see appearing at the bottom right of the ornament is the edge of the border, which is quite cool. I'm trying to get the border filled in a bit more before I start on the inside though. The shading in this is awesome, seriously. In reality, the threads seem to glow. The red square outlines will be filled in with a couple more shades of red and they're rubies, there'll be a sapphire in the centre. This is a commission for a friend of mine who was named for the Saint, which I figured I'd better get back into working on. So I did. It's fun! Such happy colours.

On the other hand, here's what I worked on the most on Thursday - SK Iris Keeper. Gloomy colours, but pretty.

5th June 08

The holes are more obvious now - I need to get the colours I'm missing. About 300 stitches are left of this row, not counting holes :)

Anyway, I should duck off to bed. It's late. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tonight's update

After making that post and pottering around the internet a bit, I decided I'd had enough of wasting time, and my neck muscles were starting to hurt again. So I got up and sat down on the couch with my spare DMC stash, and set about kitting up SK Iris Keeper - JosephineWall (HAED), which Sally had gifted me with a few weeks ago. I had the fabric gridded already from an afternoon at Jeremy's with nothing much to do and no painkillers, but the stitch count and a spare piece of fabric in my project bag. I'm missing a few colours, but I marked them in a different colour as I went, and I'll fill them in when I get the chance to buy them.

Want a photo? You know you do. Here's the fruit of a couple hours' stitching:

which was done during the news, All Saints and a medical reality show thingo that I was only half watching. About 300 stitches, which isn't bad for me - I'm not a fast stitcher at the best of times, and it's a new start on top of everything else. I'm pleased with how it's stitching up, the background is so dark and swirly on the artwork it's hard to predict what it's going to stitch up like. There are some unexpected colour changes, but they look great! It's 1x1 (as usual) on 32ct cream linen. I don't usually stitch HAEDs on linen, but I figured this was a small one so why not try, and I'm really enjoying it. 32ct is even enough that I think it's alright :)

I think I have the flu

Or something! I'm braindead, achy, and generally miserable. But there have been a few things recently that brightened my day :)

I posted on The Wagon and on the HAED BB about the slump I've found myself in with life, let alone stitching, and got some good advice. On The Wagon, the advice was to knit socks - easy, methodical, can do it in bed with my eyes shut - when Mum gets the chance we'll grab some new DP needles and some sock yarn, just ordinary stuff as I'm not really wanting to get into the whole yarn off the net mayhem, I spend enough on stash as it is. The HAED BB brought advice and comfort of a different kind - I mentioned that I had CFS and FMS, and got some wonderful advice and encouragement that helped me see that how I am at the moment is my illness, not me. Some of the replies came in email and PM, some in public comments, all are valued and treasured. Rachel (rachelsparkles) told me about herself and described ME, and what she wrote helped me so much I wanted to say I did, in a sneaky way, and it was nice to do something to make someone else's day.
Some other sneaky fairy sent me an RAK of CC Kuik's Spring, which is just beautiful, see?

I have absolutely no idea who it was, either. Thankyou, secret fairy.

Among the advice was to sit down and just try to stitch, and to think about starting the SK I've had for a few weeks. A different colour pallet can be very useful.

I did 'just sit down and try to stitch' through Amazing Grace (movie, brilliant, saw it in the theatres and watched it again on DVD last night), the news, an episode of Rosemary and Thyme thanks to my mum borrowing the dvds, and Good News Week. When I got done I realised I hadn't taken a photo in a month, and while I hadn't done much in any one sitting I'd done enough for a new photo. So here you are:
2nd June 08

All the new work is in the lower section. The black motif in with the words got most of the background filled in (there was only one row of black before) with leftover black thread from each time I used it in the scene, and most of what's in the scene now is new. Both sheep at the top are now finished, the outline goes to its minimum turning point (heh, too much maths...) and starts going up again, and all those flowers and that nice fat sheep are new. The little orange blob in the sky is another of the little angels, and the brown half-a-thing is a dog. There are two of them, running up the hill. With the exception of the last row of white on the fat sheep and the stems of the orange and yellow flowers all the details of this section of grass are done, so I can just fill in the background now. This page is almost done now, except background, so when I do finish the grass I can move the frame sideways to finish the overlapping parts of pages 7 and 8, and have 'killed' another two pages. It's lovely having the scene there, just makes everything so different.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Goals and stuff

I don't want to look at these, this month has been weird and I've been in a slump for a couple weeks. Yuck. But lets see...I'm in a down mood and maybe doing something will help.

  • finish part 3 of JOB Nope, actually haven't touched it
  • make a good start on part 4 see above
  • work some more on peaceful paradise This, I achieved.
  • finish Jeremy's gift, start another one for whoever's next in line nope. sigh.
  • enjoy the paschal season very much so :)
  • attend church whenever i can *nods*
  • start reading the old testament again, cover to cover this time I've read some, I'm not being very disciplined with such things. Not good.
  • buy at least an icon of St Kyriaki, and as many others as I want/can afford that are on my list Still haven't done this, I'm not sure why.
  • try and actually keep my Rule most of the time
  • drag myself out of bed for morning prayers at least some of the time Some of the time. I usually spend the first few hours of the day adjusting to not being well because my body seems to forget overnight.
  • Make biscuits that aren't ANZACs Nope. Again, not sure why not.
  • Make biscuits that ARE ANZACs see above
  • Make dinner at least four times in the month I don't remember, but I know I made it at least twice and I think more than that.
  • Nag Mum to get the magazines photocopied so i can put recipes in binders well, we have a few photocopied, but no binder. it'll happen.
  • Finish boxing up the bookshelf, box up that side of my room/corner between that and the desk I've made a lot of progress. The boxes are neatly stacked here in the study now.
  • Put desk drawers contents into boxes after rationalising them no, not that disciplined (as with everything)
  • Sleep more often! As with all, yes and no. Sometimes I sleep a normal amount, mostly I don't. I don't know why.
  • Stitch something on any of my projects
  • Stitch a bit on Peaceful Paradise
  • Get Nikos' icon back out again and work on it
  • Finish apron (just needs bias binding, pretty much)
  • Finish Bindi's medieval dress
  • Work with Nana on my black skirt if she comes
  • catchup notes for current history topic, others if possible
  • go on excursion (yay!)
  • catchup maths homework and stay caught up
  • do the S.o.S. assignment I've been avoiding
  • try to get into the discipline of 1hr work/subject/day from M-Th each week
  • do the History assignment that's hanging over my head
Everything else:
  • continue cooking
  • binder-ise recipies
  • make some sweet things BEFORE the Apostles' fast!
  • cook dinner a few times
  • try to keep an easy Rule, at least