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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Retirement Finally & Australia/New Zealand Too!!!

March 1st, 2015 I delivered my intent to retire effective May 29th, 2015 and talk about an emotionally draining few days after that.  Not sure why as I've known for FIVE years now that I was going to retire - postponed first because of a loan, then timing for the trip was off so delayed more, then another dream trip to Ireland in 2013 and again decided to delay until this spring!  NO MORE DELAYS!!!  LOL!
 
Here I thought I’d not have to start the heavy planning for my September - October "down under trip" until after retirement but not the case as I need a more in stone itinerary with stop overs planned back to my travel agent in two weeks!!!  My life is definitely not going to be normal for a while!!!
 
So on Wednesday I had my first visit with the travel agent specializing in Australian tours.  She did warn me it was an expensive place to visit, you need time and money but it was well worth the expense and to do it in leisure, not rushed!  She did say air fare would be around $3,500 and the sooner it’s booked the better the deal - I'm not keen on waiting for discount deals or standby etc - nope I like to know all is planned.  Then she can work on the mainland travel itinerary and book additional flights, train and coach travel within the package along with motels/hostels where needed. 
 
Just from talking with her she got a grasp of what I want to see and will pick the best of them out so I don’t have to see like 3 zoos or 5 sanctuaries etc, spread my spending monies around more.  Then it was suggested where to start from, how to travel to next, with less criss crossing or double backing etc and I liked most of it.  I wanted more freedom to come and go and change plans but that is not likely except in those couple days of stop overs as flights etc have to be booked. 
 
This will help too with visiting friends – they’ll know when I’m in their area and hopefully we can meet up for visiting/touring.  She asked what my budget was and I got the feeling I’m well under what is needed so will have to give her my thoughts of where I’d like to go etc and then we’ll meet again when she’s put together a few different packages to look over.  Also changing my return flight is not really possible as it’s  not only a $500 change fee but also buying a new ticket!  So I have to decide and stick with it I guess!  YIKES!!!
 
I’ve already sent out emails to my quilting/stitching friends Down Under and some have come back to me with wishes to visit.  Now that I’ve sort of an Itinerary (tentatively mapped out) I’ll have to sit down and plan my stop overs.  I’ve started a new excel file for friends to visit, places to see and shops to check out (not saying I’ll buy too much there but something besides pictures to bring back).
 
Today I downloaded JPGs of Australia and New Zealand maps and pinpointed my major stops with descriptions and possible days at each. 
Now to figure out the time involved and see if it fits into my 6-8 week plans.  I also have to make notations of where my friends are and possible meeting places.  This I truly want to do as many have been so nice and pleasant within emails and having our quilting/embroidery passions in common it would be awesome to personally meet up. 
 
Yes time is a running out especially for my retirement plans!!!  FINALLY!!!
 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

TIAS 2015 - FINALE!

OH well I was wrong again, there was no little finger support on the ring that was partially completed in Day 12's instructions.  But that's OK as it's been a lovely mystery with no great challenges (at least for me this time) and I just LOVE my lovely green scissors!
 
Again thank you Jane for this exercise in keeping the LOVE OF TATTING alive and who knows maybe it's growing but "under cover"?  Please keep dreaming these up for us to enjoy and it sounds like you love the challenge too and hearing back from us during the session! 
 
If you'd like to check out others' attempts or even other TIASs (bottom left of blog) please check out Jane's TAT IT AND SEE blog!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

TIAS 2015 - Days 9 through 12

I'm sure Jane wondered where I was and if I hit a tough spot and/or dropped out?  NO, NOPE, NADA!!!  I was just away for a 4 day quilting retreat with my sister, niece and friends finishing of some WISPs and feeling good about it!!!

So here are days 9, 10, 11 and 12 to get caught up to date with the tatting mystery.  BUT heck this obviously is not a mystery anymore, just the finishing aspects of this last piece to the scissors!



 
I LOVE these mystery tatting projects that Jane dreams up!!!  Check out others at Jane's blog!

Alan's Celtic Runner

OK I managed to find some Celtic fonts for MS Word to download free and saved myself some tedious printing time and a much nicer label too!

Then after my massage I delivered it to Alan and actually see it on display!  Just lovely and yes both Alan and Karen were very pleased with it. 

AND to boot Alan walked me through some APPS and key options with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S and gave me some pointers too - a win-win situation for both of us!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Another UFO Completed

This project was not started until the fall or early winter as I was away on vacation when Alan gave his retirement notice and basically was gone before I got home from Western Canada.  Since he had admired my own Celtic table runner from the red/orange panel I bought while touring Ireland in June 2013, it was a no brainer of what he would like.  But this time I asked for his input before ordering the fabric panel from Fabric Freedom which ended up to be one-third the price from the US supplier on EBay and it arrived in 5 days - WOW!!!


So I had a couple of visits with Alan and Karen recording their input of which blocks to use and the layout and his choice of green for the inner border - I was not up to making that decision when Alan is a very meticulous person of varied interests!  I wanted this table runner to be his choice so he'd be pleased to display it and remember our working days together.  The left over two blocks I made into coasters for his glass coffee table.

I worked on framing the inside blocks with a mottled green and have like a very small piece left over - PHEW.  Then went over again with various blues for the outer border and wouldn't you know it the one that we all liked best I did not have enough of!!!  So back online trying to figure out where I bought it from and it was like a week before I finally found it at Oma's Quilt Shop!  She had 2.2 metres left and I asked for all of it - lucky too as I have like a ten inch strip of it left - it was just enough to use for the backing too!  This table runner was specifically measured to fit his side table and was finally finished off this weekend at the Gimli Retreat with the charms Alan ordered himself and the label in Celtic font finished yesterday evening.
Thank you Ola for providing the comparison.

I was teasing Alan that I really love this table runner and should keep it for myself.  But I won't be that mean - anyways, I have my own red/orange table runner and my left over blocks will be made into a skinny vertical wall hanging to go with the runner.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Gimli Retreat 2015 - followup

It was a lovely weekend, lots of creativity and friendly visits with returning and new retreaters.  I think it worked out well not having lunches included as the three of us had salads with breadsticks and cheese and fruits in our suite and that was OK.  The breakfasts were ordinary but the two suppers (one was chicken and ribs and the other was prime rib with gravy - naturally other dishes included) were delicious but this retreat definitely lacked organization. 
  
I managed to FINISH all the sewing of Alan's retirement gift - just the label left to do and then I can deliver it (not a good picture taken - will come soon). 

Then I worked on attaching and stitched bindings on two Aurora Quilters' charity quilts.  Next to deliver them to our chosen charity.  (Not sure why my pictures that were rotated and saved are reverting back to sideways - but you get the drift!!!)

I hoped to get started and maybe finish the top for another wall hanging gift but doing the hand stitched bindings on my Family Challenge along with the long blue table runner my time ran out!  Oh well will do such at home.

Some of the gals were talking about maybe gathering some information etc for a better retreat for quilters next year - not necessarily leaving it up to the hotel who really does not care about our retreat - just the hotel management part.  It was too bad that the person in charge of this was away in Florida at the time either.  And we all missed Jocelyn this year but we all were wishing that her daughter and her first baby are well and enjoying their visit.  Congratulations Jocelyn!

It was also a weekend of using my new toy - checked emails and played some games with the WIFI option and also used my camera including easier selfies with the reversed camera option - WOW!!!  But it takes some getting used to and had to dump a number of pictures which were not infocus.  I'll get better.