The completed baby sampler

Last year (back when I wrote a grand total of one blog post), I mentioned that I was becoming an aunt, and was going to be making a baby sampler as a record of his birth.

Well, I’ve since finished that one months ago and given it to the parents, but I’ve never written about it.

It took me around three months to do the whole thing – luckily it had quite a bit of block colour, as this was essentially the first cross stitch in ten years I’d tackled! I was working to a deadline, though, so that kept me motivated. Much stitching was done on the train, and I got a number of people asking me about it. Eventually I finished it, except for the centre, and just had to wait for baby Dylan to be born to get the birth details.










The pattern didn’t really look as nice with the weight in metric, so after consulting a number of sites (god forbid I get the weight wrong, this thing was getting framed!), I converted it to imperial, and added in the final details.


The final product, after washing. I just love how bright this is. Now, I just had to get it framed.


I absolutely adore how this has been framed. I cannot recommend The Framer’s Gallery in Seaford enough – not only did they help pick out the border and the frame, but haven’t they done a fantastic job?? It’s a bit of a drive for me, but it’s well worth it.

We gave the sampler at Dylan’s Christening, and I could finally put a picture up on Facebook to share – before then, I wanted to keep it quiet. It’s nice having a surprise, but it’s painful when you want to show everyone your progress!


Dylan, a couple of months ago. He’s pretty damn adorable, hey?

One project finished, another to start

I’m proud to say that I have managed to finish the stitchery of my “Love, Hope, Joy, Peace” that I started last month. I’m rather stoked as this is the first stitchery project that I’ve done – and I managed to complete it!

It was surprisingly easy to get the hang of the colonial knots (I’m not sure why I was so scared of them) and I love the finished product.


I just need to finish off the fabric around the edge and do backing, but I plan on finishing that in the new year.

Next up is “Enjoy Today”, part of a set of two that I plan to complete in the first half of the year. I’ve done the iron on transfer so now I just need to start the stitching. I’m heading up to Sydney next week for a few days and am hopeful that I can knock out some whilst I’m away.


Like a lot of Leanne’s designs, I love the colours and I can’t wait to have the finished project. Then I just have to work out – frame it, or put it on a canvas??

And so the stash begins.

I went on a bit of a road trip today, and made my way down to visit Craft Haven in Berwick with a friend to pick up some fabric for a couple of new projects.

Despite having absolutely no idea what I was looking for at the beginning, I’d say it was a very successful trip and I’m hanging out to start work on these projects, but sadly they will have to wait until I finish at least one of my current WIPs.


Fabric for 3 separate projects… love the look of them together!

In the top left – fabric for Gail Pan’s Friendship Daisies bag; top right – fabric and threads for Leanne Beasley’s Enjoy Today & Live Simply companion pieces (I’ve got the pattern for the first, am yet to buy the second, but have bought enough fabric for both so they match), and in the bottom, fabric for Leanne’s Sew, Laugh, Love which I plan on stitching in her colours, but changing out the border fabrics.

If this continues, I’m going to have to find a bigger box to keep my stash…

Another craft addiction? Why not.

As a lot of you know, I’ve been very much into cross stitch for the last couple of years. In typical crafter fashion, I have a number of different projects on the go, because I’m a compulsive starter but not so much a finisher.

Recently though, I joined my mother, who gave me my passion for crafting, at a Christmas Gathering run by Gail Pan and Leanne Beasley. The projects given on the day were stitchery, rather than embroidery, and Gail was extremely patient teaching me the satin stitches and colonial knots that I have now (finally) mastered.

We were given two kits – one from each designer – and I’ve started work on Gail’s design first.


I’m making steady progress on it, and am quite impressed with it as a first timer, but suffice to say I’ve caught the bug and have another type of craft to add to my repertoire. At this point my husband has just stopped commenting when I buy new projects.

Inspired by a lot of the other bloggers out there, I’m going to finally try and post on my blog more often, if only because I’m sure by now my twitter followers are getting sick of all the craft posts, and because going back to see my progress has always been one of my greatest inspirations that yes, it’s a big project, but it’s getting there.

Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll have the finished stitchery to show off (with the bonus of actually finishing a project!)

My name is Alex, and I’m a craft addict.

I’ve recently gotten back into crafting, helped largely by my good friend Bek who keeps mentioning her cross stitch. I had a latch hook that I had started in 2007, intended for a Christmas present … and then never finished it. I’m pleased to say that 5 years later (and only about 2 weeks of actual work!) it’s completed – that’s a story for another blog post.

But midway through doing this, I got hit with the bug. Big time. I think it’s fair to say that I have a bit of an addition going on, based on the amount of things I have been ordering lately!

I originally started by ordering two more pieces on eBay. Then was looking for some more stuff, and found an American store called Stuff 4 Cross Stitch. I placed one order. Then another one, after being egged on from my work colleagues. And then a third one. I’d like to say I’ve stopped, but I’ve already earmarked a few more things to purchase… but I may hold off for a little bit and give the poor credit card a break.

People have asked what I’ve bought, and what I’ll be working on. I’ve bought items that are latch hook, cross stitch (which I have only done a tiny bit last week – the most recent time before that was 10+ years ago), and needlepoint – which I have never tackled. Yes, I am ambitious!

And so, this is a list of the things which are either sitting on my dining table to be put somewhere and worked on, or are in transit from the US to here (curse you, customs, for holding stuff up!) Please ignore the funky spaces, I’ve copied them from the website and I can’t be bothered with the effort to crop the white borders.

Latch Hook:

16″ tall Lion Huggable – I’d never heard of these before, but they’re really cute! Glenn wants me to make one for him, and one for his brother – they’re both Brisbane Lion supporters, so I’ll probably just buy some coloured ribbons to add to them. I’ve got two of these to make.

14″ Frog Huggable – I don’t know who this is for, but it’s cute. This is the first huggable that I came across and ordered from eBay, and have only just received it. I’m sure I’ll find a use for it!

14″ tall Pink Teddy – I have a couple of people in mind for this one… depending on how fast I get it completed. I haven’t tried the huggables so I honestly have no idea on how long they will take to make/assemble.

24″ by 34″ Lab Puppies – This one is for me (just no idea where to put it). I’ll probably start this one in a while, though – it’s not got a time deadline, and it’ll be nice to work on after all the huggables!

30″ by 50″ Sierra – This is going to be my biggest project. Literally – it’s almost the size of me. The chart is HUGE. I don’t expect to have this finished before the end of 2013, and that’s optimistic! But I think it will look fantastic once it’s done.

Merry Men – My current project that I’m working on. Aiming to have it done before Christmas this year, and I’m well on track for it.

27″ by 40″ Lion – At the request of Glenn, who has informed me that we are filling the house with lion-related items (again, back to the footy team). This is my contribution. At least it’s a nice lion!

27″ by 40″ Windjammer – the picture is awful, as it’s an image of the colours of the pattern, rather than a picture of the finished product. This one’s currently travelling to me, so once I’ve received that box, I’ll post an updated picture of what this is meant to look like. Glenn has requested I make this for his father as he likes boats – I’m aiming for his birthday in July 2013 because Christmas is not happening, I have too many other projects.


Admittedly, I’ve never done needlepoint before – or if I have, I was about 7. I’ve looked into it, and it’s similar in concept to cross stitch, which I know I am capable of, so I’ve ordered these:

16″ Long Christmas Stocking – I’m actually hoping to make this for Glenn’s brother – him and his wife are expecting a baby at the end of November. Apparently, I’m going to be ‘that’ aunty that gives a whole bunch of craft as presents! I’ll give it a crack for this year – but otherwise I’ll give it as a present for next year. The baby will only be a few weeks old this year so it’s not a massive drama if it waits til 2013!

10″ by 15″ Asian Butterflies – Again, no clue where I’m going to put this, but it’s gorgeous and butterflies are one of my favourite things. It’s a bit hard to tell in the picture, but that’s an actual coin.

Cross Stitch:

There’s quite a few Christmas themed ones here. I’d like to have at least one or two done for this year, but we’ll see.

Ho Ho Ho Ornament – It’s a small one (so hopefully won’t take me forever and a day) which I thought was quite cute. Something to hang… somewhere… around the home at Christmas.

7″ by 5″ Travel Memories – A bit of a day dream, for me. I’d love to go to Paris (and Europe) one day, so this is a reminder of this. And again, butterflies.

12″ by 12″ Savannah Birth Record – Look, I’d like to have this done for my nephew in November. But it’s kind of large. So, we’ll see how long it takes… otherwise it may just be a late birth record =P Otherwise, someone else is bound to have babies at some point!

5″ by 7″ Stacked Cups – I’m planning on making this for my mother – who’s the first person who got me into cross stitch, way back when. She’s got a few pieces like this that are similar styles around the house, so this would fit in pretty smoothly.

Christmas Sayings – This was the first one I purchased out of the lot of cross stitch. They look fairly simple, so I’ll probably tackle these early-ish, hopefully at least one or two will be done this year, if not the full set.

Christmas Pals – I don’t know if I’ll keep these or make them as a gift – they’re fairly cute! But the kit is Dimensions, and from my (limited knowledge) and what I’ve heard, the thread isn’t as easy to get a hold of as DMC. So I may have to research a replacement before making a decision!

I’m pretty sure that’s the lot of it. Well, the ones that I’ve purchased. I may have had a look online recently and bookmarked a few more cross stitch kits that I want to order to make for people – one for the hubby, and one for my friend who isn’t getting married for a couple of years (so I have plenty of time!)

I’ve recently completed a latch hook so I’ll post that one shortly, along with some pictures of my two works in progress. I’d love to know your thoughts on all of the kits I’ve bought and are going to be attempting, though!

I like getting money for answering questions.

I’ve been promising this post to Renee for ages (I think she’s beginning to suspect I’ve forgotten about it), so here it finally is.

For a couple of years now I’ve been signed up to a number of paid survey sites where I am emailed links to surveys, and get a certain amount of points or $ for completing them. These are then turned into gift cards or cashed out. It’s free money for answering questions, usually when I’m sitting in front of the TV, and who doesn’t like free things? Over the years I’ve easily redeemed over $300 in gift cards/cheques for stores like Coles Myer, Kmart, Target, Bunnings, Sanity, the list continues.

SO, without further ado, I present to you my list that I have gathered over the last few years. A few tips, firstly:

  • Create a separate email account for the surveys. You WILL get spam, hence the separate account. I’ve used Gmail, it doesn’t need to be fancy.
  • Try and check it daily. Surveys have expiration dates and it’s best to get in on them straight away. Plus, if you forget and come back to 300+ emails, it’s not fun to sort through the valid and dead links.
  • You will be screened out of surveys. Don’t get disheartened, just move onto the next one. The ones you do get through will add up.
  • I’ve also found that as you increase the number of surveys you complete, the more invitations you get as they will start to recognise you as a member who continues to participate.
  • As long as the site is legit (a quick Google will sort this out for you), you may as well sign up. Sure, you may not get many – but eventually over time they will add up for you.

PureprofileHas quite an extensive profile to fill out. Not only do you get surveys, but you also get $0.10 per website click they advertise. Minimum cash out is at $25, I have made about $130 from this one so far.  No referral link as yet – they’re revamping their referral program.

Valued Opinions – I’ve received a number of gift cards from these guys, ranging from Sanity to Coles Myer to Bunnings depending on what I needed at the time. Surveys are worth $1.50-5, so they do add up quickly. They also send out a number of surveys the longer you’ve been there. No referral link, but they do have a program where I can email it to you.

GlobalTestMarket – I’ve been a member of this site for years. You get points per survey (35-60) which can be redeemed for a cheque. 1000 points  = $US50, although they do send the cheque out in local currency. The referral program has been removed.

RewardsCentral – Emails are sent out, and you get 10 points for clicking on them. You also have the chance to earn bonus points – 2 points a day for a web click, and 3 for answering their poll. It does add up, particularly if you join the account with MyOpinions (discussed below). They’ve also got an eBank where you can deposit points, as 3300 points = $30 (minimum cash out). Rewards are sent by cheque. [ referral ]

My Opinions – The ‘survey’ site of RewardsCentral, offers 100+ points per survey and generally send out a few a month. As I touched on above, this can have huge potential to add up quickly, and you can link the two accounts. [ referral ]

WDYT – This is largely similar to RewardsCentral, where offers are sent to you, and you get 5-10 points for clicking on them. I highly suggest signing up for the ‘Premium Membership’ as this allows them to send you more emails per day. They’ve recently also brought in TurboRewards which gives 100+ points for each survey you complete. Rewards are in the form of gift cards (Target, Myer, Bunnings, and Kmart) and cashout is at 2000 points ($20).

MySurvey – This was formerly known as LightSpeed Surveys but changed names recently. One of the best things about this company (apart from the regular surveys) is that they have a PayPal cashout option – 575 points = $5, straight into your PayPal account. I’ve earned easily over $120 from these guys which I have been using to fund my online shopping.

YourVoice – Your typical survey point – points are given for surveys, which are then redeemed for vouchers. Whilst I don’t get as many from these guys, it’s still worthwhile as they will add up over time (and keep the flow going).

MyView – Another site where 2000 = $20 (are you beginning to see a trend?) The surveys are quite frequent though, so even if you do screen out there isn’t too long of a wait until the next one. Rewards are in gift cards – iTunes, JB Hifi, Bunnings, Coles Myer – again, the variety is great if you want to mix it up a bit.

OpinionsPaid – A bit of a mix between a survey site, who have a side of forums (which appear to be largely focused on said surveys).  I haven’t used the forums, but I’ve had a few surveys come through here. You earn ‘Zoints’ which are redeemed for gift cards.

Your Opinion – Not as busy as some of the other companies, but still have sent me a number over the last few months. As per the norm, points are redeemed for vouchers. This one doesn’t have a referral link but I can send one through email if you wish.

Zoom Panel – A US-based site which has a higher screen-out ratio (due to geography) but nevertheless still worth signing up for. One of the things I like is they have ‘folios’ of reward options which include things like headphones, not just the normal gift cards.

CafeStudy – Tend to send out 2-3 emails a month, but they’re a bit more community orientated. A minimum of 5 points is given per survey, with a minimum cashout of 200 points ($20). Payment is made by cheque which is almost as good as cold hard cash.

Opinion Matters – I thought this one had been quiet, but skimming through my emails it appears as though they’re still somewhat active. 100 points = $10, and cashout at $20 minimum is in the form of PayPal.

Survey Head – Another US-based site, and once I stopped ignoring these invites because I mistakenly thought I would be screened out, they started adding up. The payouts are sometimes smaller than others, but there are more surveys which adds up. The survey amounts are given in $US but they do also provide a $AU conversion. You also get $5 as a sign up bonus, which doesn’t have any restrictions.

Survey Village – I’ll be honest, the cartoon drawings on the home page always bring a smile to my face. They also have a huge range of gift cards for redemption, more than the norm – including Rebel Sport, Diva, Dymocks, Mitre 10, Rydges, and SportsGirl. Again, points are given for surveys which you can then turn in and redeem.

I have, in the past, been a member of other programs, but I’ve either unsubscribed because of spam, lack of viable surveys, or they just weren’t worth the time. There are probably a few others floating around that I haven’t touched on but I’ve found these to be the most successful out of them all, and hopefully it’s helped some others 🙂

By all means, if you want to sign up please don’t feel obliged to use my links, I’m putting them there merely for pimping purposes 😉 But they are great ways to get extra points especially if your family/friends are interested in getting on board.

If you would like me to send you a referral from the ones that don’t have a link, let me know – from memory there’s about 3-4.

And hey … who doesn’t like free money/gift cards/vouchers for killing some time and not doing a whole lot?