Saturday, 4 July 2015

After a short break...

Winter is truly here.  The temperatures have dropped, snow is falling in the South and rain is falling in the North.   Great weather to sit inside with my stitching.   Even so, I haven't produced much.
Currently the little crosses of my stitching are producing Christmas goodies:
Advent Candles for a friend -  these have yet to be made into candles.  My original idea was to make four trapezoid shapes that when placed together on the Sundays of Advent would make a tree shaped decoration.   As usual desire outran performance and I couldn't summon sufficient energy for the mental gymnastics necessary for that one.   So with the aid of buckram, felt, dacron filling and a few other bits and pieces from stash these will become four stitched Advent Candles. The topmost star will become a round tree ornament and the band at the bottom a bookmark.
However I wanted an Advent tree for me so am stitching the same chart but in DMC115 monotone.
And in a lapse of my usual commonsense I started on this.
A finely woven warm scarf onto/into which I plan to stitch a drawn thread band.   The narrow band is the first of what will become more complex series of bands and proved to me that it will be possible.   Some years ago I stitched a similar scarf (Merino) for a friend with a broad 10cm band of Myreschka embroidery. It was successful and well received so that since then I have looked for a similar scarf to repeat the exercise however no such Merino scarves are now available and I settled for this winter warmth viscose one and it seems to be working.   I do need to visit the needlework store for some black DMC perle.   What are the odds that I come out having purchased more than just a ball of that thread??
Work is going well and I'm kept very busy.   Like funeral directors will always have clients, so too will Probation Services.   Next week we have the Minister of Corrections coming from Wellington to officially open our newly refurbished offices, so there has been a scurry of cleaning and tidying.   Apparently my desk is the tidiest in the office!   We have been practicing a Waiata (Maori song) - He Honore, which I am told, is often sung at official functions as part of the welcome to honoured guests. So I will don my uniform, a bright smile and hope to fade into the background on Tuesday when all the honourable big-wigs come to inspect our premises;-)
Six weeks ago I decided to change the supermarket I use and to change to doing a fortnightly shop and amazingly I have saved myself $30 a week!   Of course that cannot all be price and some of the savings are attributable to the logistics of bulk purchase and longer term menu planning.   However I am very pleased with myself:-)   And on the strength of such frugality have decided to book in for an embroidery class next March.   Do visit this link to see what I hope to stitch (scroll to the second to last) - the Alison Snepp Linen Stitch Hussif.
Well that's enough from me.   I'm off to bed with a hot water bottle.   Sleep well everyone.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sampler Casket is now complete

I have now finished the stitching for the Sampler Casket but need a break so it is put away until I find the right colour silk for lining and then I will construct.
Some simple cross stitch is in order to soothe the soul and I have made a start on this - in a larger count fabric and my favourite DMC 115 this is just what is needed.   I plan on the complexity being in the construction so watch this space.  
And while I am making little red crosses I will dream of my next project.   What shall it be?
Yesterday was Embroiderers' Guild and I took a bag with all the little projects I have made for their sale table as I don't plan on making any more this year.   I'd like to do some hardanger so will need to consult my stash and see if I have fabric and thread for that.   Perhaps I will find a trip to the LNS is necessary?!
The HD3QBEM is recovering well from her surgery and is currently knitting what I call a raspberry ripple hoodie for one of the great grand daughters.   Amazingly enough, the pattern is ever so slightly more complex than usual but there have been less dropped stitches and mistakes so we are both happy!
Well I am off to make dinner now and then have a date with Antiques Road Show:-)

Sunday, 14 June 2015

An unproductive blogging break?

Life and the general administration thereof interfered with both stitching and blogging for a while so I have little to report.
Work continues to be interesting.   This past week on two separate reception shifts I had one offender tell me I am charming and then another tell me I am an f****ing b*****. So you win some and lose some !  Thanks to an intensive training course I am rapidly becoming expert in the electronic monitoring software for home detention offenders.   So not only is the job interesting but intellectually stimulating too.   The first three months have flown by.
The weatherman promised rain each day which thankfully did not come and instead we had clear cold days on which I saw the sunrise on the way to work and the sunset in the way home.   Almost the winter solstice now and I can look forward to summer:-)
Stitching has been boring blanket stitch as I worked on using up linen scraps to make a couple of Mary Stewart Hussifs.   Tonight I will finish inserting the flannel needle pages at the bottom and the final cord. Yay!   Do you like the little wooden bead?   These are made of NZ native timber called Rewarewa and have been in my stash since an impulsive buy some years ago.   great to have a use for them now.
And  I have made a decision re the Sampler Casket and find my enthusiasm for that has returned.  So next up is a sprint/mini marathon to complete that.   It will have initials (of the stitcher-me)  and names of the receiver and her parents (my first great-niece) and I will present it to her for her first birthday in the hope it will become a treasure box for her future.  Inside I am going to place another stitched piece wrapped, beribboned and secure for her to open on her 21st birthday. And inside that will be .... Well I can't spoil the whole secret can I?   I would have loved a mystery like that when I was growing up so hope it will appeal.
My collection of smalls for the sale table at Guild Exhibition is looking good.   Enough at present I think.   I need to get on with other pieces.
Oh and the ruby wedding  pocket is done and now I only need to  print off on small cards the 40 Bible Promises that will be placed inside.   I am well pleased with this one both in colour and idea:-)
Now I am off for a date with a book before I need to think about dinner.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

It's all Jeffrey's fault....

Little progress has been made this week.   I managed to press the trial hardanger pocket and the final result is acceptable and awaiting the ribbon closure.   The needlebook is now fully finished and its maker happy.
And the tassel has the hanging portion complete.   Here it is suspended from the HD3QBEM's Ott lite.

But the ruby red creation??
Not much to show is there.   Jeffrey Archer is to blame.   His Clifton Chronicles became an obsession and I read all five last week which, combined with long hours at work, limited energy levels and dare I confess it, a dislike of the thread(not the colour just the fatness of the floss) meant I didn't put in many stitches.   Only the eyelets and specialty stitches to go though.
This week I have three days of 'training' and for that need to travel an hour to the prison.   Oh joy and delight!  I expect to be very weary by the end of the week but Saturday is a regional gathering for the Embroiderers Guilds and I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The casket is on hold....

After completing the fence and checking that the size of the front panel was correct I found I have still not decided whether to make this a 'family' casket or not.  So for now, the couple remain faceless and the front lawns empty.  My favoured quote to go along the bottom edge is too long so perhaps I will settle for initials of forebears?
Anyway, for now, I have put this aside and am finishing up the hardanger pieces.  Do you remember my desire to use up a piece of linen?  I feel so very righteous for using up virtually all but a few threads of this piece of linen and am hoping that my Embroiderers' Guild will be able to sell these at the end of year exhibition.    The needlecase still needs a flannel page and the tassel on the left needs its tassel.
And now I have a new start.   My best friend has her fortieth wedding anniversary later this year, hence the ruby colour and the expensive silk floss.  I am looking forward to stitching this one - linen and silk are such a luxurious combination.
(Photo from Internet)
This week is the Auckland Writers Festival and on Thursday evening I went with a friend to the gala night.   None of the writers participating that evening were familiar to me but the seven minute slots in which eight selected authors had been persuaded to tell a "never before told personal story on the theme Strait Talking" was amazingly entrancing.   Amy Bloom has my vote for best, with Alan Cumming a close second.   He's such a tiny little fellow but so engaging. I am on the wait list at the Library for his memoir.   Ben Okri's poetry will be next.   That man has such a wonderful vocabulary.
(Photo from Internet)
Yesterday I went into the City again to spend an hour with Anthony Horowitz.   Not a one on one you understand.   As you may remember, each year I try to be impressed with the satorial splendour of the authors.  Well, Anthony did not win in the dress stakes but I, along with many others, was smitten with his smile and engaging manner.  There were several hundred others there,including a grandmother and her two young grand sons.  The boys were obviously avid readers of " real books Granny" and could have won a Mastermind Quiz as both were expert on all details of Alex Ryder.   I do hope they met Anthony afterwards.     A really fun day, only clouded by the fact that the housework awaited me on my return home!
And tonight I'm off to watch Antiques Roadshow and enjoy my stitching.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

They are at the holding hands stage.

Once again today has been a busy day but I found time to take a photo of the HD3QBEM in her new top.   I sewed this for her for a Mothers' Day present and she is already wearing it!   She's looking quite well don't you think?
Tonight I 'grew' my Hardanger Christmas Tree and it now just needs some holly leaves and berries around the base and it will be truly complete.   Unfortunately such accessories are not in the shops in May so that will have to wait!
And my lady and man are now holding hands at the garden gate - all the while remaining faceless.   Once again i am stitching Queen Stitches, this time for her colourful skirt.   Once I finish the lady and the vine on the front fence I will take a holiday from this piece and finish some of the hardanger pieces that are awaiting construction.
Anyway, I have been up and busy for 16 hours so am ready for bed.  Good night.

Monday, 27 April 2015

All fenced in

Saturday was fine and unseasonally warm for Autumn so the HD3QBEM and I went for a drive to a local park.   One of the City forefathers left a huge tract of land in the central city which is now a working farm but also has walking tracks, gardens, cafes etc etc.   We were content to sit and admire this view.
Then last night while watching Elementary I stitched a fence and part of a tree.   Oh yes, a red bird too.  The top panel of the Sampler Casket is coming along well which is great as I am getting a  little tired of it and longing for a change.   Very soon decisions will have to be made on the lettering/wording and I am still not sure so maybe will leave that for a later date?   So here's a progress shot -  wrinkles and all.
Monday has been a public holiday and was wet and stormy all morning so I was able to curl up with the latest Jacqueline Winspear and shed a tear or two over the tragedies befalling Maisie Dobbs.   Oh, Ms Winspear why do you do this?   Just when it was all romantic and a "happy ever after" was looming you give us so much pathos and grief.
Now I am off to cook dinner and then to hem a top I have made the HD3QBEM for her Mothers' Day gift.   It does feel so good to be early :- )