Sunday, 19 April 2015

And now I have a man!

I have been diligently building my house.   The East and West wings are now done and I am ready to put windows in the main building.   The two trees need to be planted on the right and a lady should appear at the gate.   I already have the man - and the lady-to-come can have him.  I don't think much of this fellow who is, at present, faceless:-)
Somehow this Casket has really gripped me and although I am too tired at night to do much stitching I am anxious to get it all done.   There are still some major decisions to be made -  such as what to stitch in the cartouche on the back panel; what inscription to put along the base of the fence on the lid panel; whether to put a garden in the space inside the fence or to put two boys and two girls.   Originally this was to be a 'family casket' but now it almost complete I have decided that the American influence in people and architecture is a possible obstacle to this becoming a family piece.  Perhaps I will make it completely neutral (ie no family initials, symbols etc) and hope that a niece or nephew may decide it would suit them.
Next weekend is another long weekend for us with the 27th being a public holiday.   I have promised to make a top for the HD3QBEM; pattern is chosen and fabric is purchased so it should be able to be done quickly.   I have promised myself to read some of the books on my bedside pile.   Since starting this new job I haven't been doing so much reading or stitching.  Last week I received my Nordic Needle catalogue and have ordered one hardanger chart which they tell me has already been despatched.   I am looking forward to starting that too.
Meanwhile I am off to cook dinner and relax with The Antiques Road Show.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The annual tally

Another busy day almost at an end.   Today the HD3QBEM took her bags of knitting to the Hospice Shop where she was greeted enthusiastically and we both came home with warm fuzzy feelings :-)
This year she managed 37 garments (plus 3 more for the annual church Making Ends Meet Bazaar next month) and here they are spread out on her bed before we bagged them up.  Each is labelled and marked with size.   The shop manager said they sell at around $25 - $30 each and go very quickly.   The HD3QBEM is now inspired to surpass her total of 40 next year.
I went to the GP and had my annual flu vaccine.   Strangely enough, before the nurse jabbed my left arm she wanted to weigh me and measure my height.   I was delighted (?) to find that I have lost three kilo since starting this new job but less delighted to find that I have shrunk 1cm in the past 12 months.   At this rate I will vanish in a puff of smoke before I get to go on my planned trip to the British Isles :-(
Progress continues on the lid of the Sampler Casket.   The bricks are all laid and I have built the fence and twisted the creeper across the front.   Oh dear, it is difficult to get lazy daisy stitch to sit well.   I had to settle for slightly imperfect!  Next will be laying the lawn and then I must decided whether this is to be a 'family' casket and therefore I stitch people in the space or whether I will make it a 'neutral' casket and stitch a garden.   The pattern is charted for either.   I must make that decision or progress will be delayed.   Currently I am stitching the blue bird of happiness on the left.
Tonight I have a date with Sherlock and Watson in my weekly dose of Elementary so will bid you all adieu.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

And brick by brick I'm building a house

My sampler casket is coming along well.
The strawberry panel is perhaps my favourite so I will need to look out for a display spot where I can see that panel all the time :-)
But the lid has a house.   Well, not just a house - a veritable mansion -  which I am building brick by brick.   This is only the West Wing! I changed the colour of the windows as I am stitching in DMC rather than the silks specified so went with my preference since no exact substitute was given.   These look OK I think.
I think the tree is perhaps supposed to be a pear tree, as the fruit are that colour.   And the cross to the left of the house is actually the top of the 'picket' fence which frames the piece.   There is a bird to stitch too.   A blue bird of happiness.
This is a fun stitch and has been much quicker than I first imagined.   Already I am thinking "what next?"
Work is still interesting.   Our clientele ('affectionately' known as offenders) are many and varied in their dress, their demeanour, their manners and their moods. This week I am rostered on two hour shifts at reception each day and being friendly to all comers is rather tiring.   I find myself escaping to the filing room when my shift is finished,  for some peace and quiet.   No one bothers me in the filing room!  I am loving the lessened responsibility in this position and so far the HD3QBEM seems to be managing well during the day without me. I am managing to get to the gym most week nights and to do some stitching most nights so at present don't have to edit the profile of my blog!
All is well Chez Nous.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Day Out

Today the HD3QBEM and I went for a day trip to the Matakohe Kauri Museum, about two and a half hours drive north west of the city.   We have been before but for the HD3QBEM who was brought up in bush sawmills this is a trip down memory lane.
Although the surrounding area is now cleared land and profitable farming but the rural community who have lived there for generations have created a wonderful museum dedicated to preserving the story of the early milling of the Kauri forests.
These giant trees covered the land of the north in times past and history can be measured in the tree rings.   Click the photo to see what dates New Zealanders consider important ;-)
Naturally such large trees produced a lot of timber -  look at this.  Slabs cut from a kauri and this is not classed as one of the giants.
But among all the machinery and items of interest for the males I found this...  The right of the photo has interesting stitching and knitting items and I loved the lace on all the white clothing.   Wouldn't the laundry have been a nightmare though?

And the HD3QBEM found a lamp very similar to the one in the house of her childhood.   
She learnt cross stitch and embroidery by the light of flickering kerosene lamps like this!  And now I will sit under my daylight lamp and put some more bricks into the cross stitch house I am building.   

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Just a brief catch up tonight as I have a nasty head cold and am in no state for stitching or blogging.
This week I have been making strawberries and after completing one Florentine Stitch band on the left hand side realised it was half the designated width.   How fortunate that this stitch does not require reversing and additions are easily made :-)   What a messy shot this is but you can see what I mean.
And the local supermarket had these mini daffodils on sale for Easter!   It's autumn here in New Zealand and the deciduous trees are shedding their leaves, the chestnut tree is loaded, the walnuts are ready for harvesting and the shop decides it's Spring??   Anyway, I am a sucker for these cute miniature daffodils and we will enjoy them indoors, then I shall plant them in the garden and in September we shall enjoy them again.
I'm off for a date with a lemon honey drink and a box of tissues.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Results are thin on the ground this week

Each day had been filled to the brim from 6am until I fall to sleep at 10pm but little stitching has been done!   The clientele of my new job populate my dreams and create restless nights so I waken feeling less than refreshed.   Oh the joys of a new job:-)   But this is the view from the car which I park only a short walk from the Court House where I work.  A view from the very North End of Auckland SuperCity.
However I did complete the grape panel of the Sampler Casket and am pleased with progress on this. A strawberry panel for the other end and then the very interesting lid panel are the only pieces left.
Last night I managed to stitch together the back and front of the Hardanger Christmas Tree and while out today bought ribbon to stitch over the join.   I will have to wait until much later this year to get the artificial holly and pine cones to place at the base although I will 'plant' it in its pot now.
Today was once again a full list of chores and at 6am this morning I was baking muffins having promised to contribute two dozen to an upcoming function at church.   Household cleaning, washing, a haircut, a trip to the library, grocery shopping and yet another trip to the yarn store for the HD3QBEM.   Yes!   She cogitated for a week and found the 20% off irresistible :-)
There are still the floors to wash and then I hope to finish a small hardanger scissor fob so may have more photos next time.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Oh dear oh dear

Today was once again filled with pre-scheduled chores but thrown awry by an unexpected doctor visit, blood test and a multiplicity of road works on almost every road travelled!
But the biggest spanner in the works was this.....
The HD3QBEM was shocked to find this sign on the wool shop window but delighted to see a 20% off sign on the wool shelves inside!   Her express intention was to buy only three balls of yarn to knit a garment for the new Great-Granddaughter, but who can resist a bargain, and somehow an extra eight balls of yarn came home with us.
My stitching took a side road this week too and I have been working on this.....
Great Niece Number One is already here and goes by the pretty name of Inara Calliope, but this band is to be stitched on a soft white towel for Great Niece Number Two who is to arrive next month and for whom a baby shower is planned next weekend.  Name as yet unknown hence this non-specific choice.   A sustained effort this evening should complete this gift and I can then return to the basket of grapes for my Sampler Casket.
Now I am back working full time there seem to be less minutes for stitching, reading and even the gym.   However the initial exhaustion of adjusting to a new workplace will surely fade and life may return to something close to normal.   I hope so!