Monday, 21 April 2014

What a weekend!

Easter - eggs, a holiday away and bad bad weather.
This year I received one egg only and I generously gave the calories to the HD3QBEM!   This small egg cup is a remnant of my childhood -  cute isn't it but eggs must have been bigger in those far off days!
We traveled down to Lake Taupo, through torrential rain and gale force winds and were most thankful to arrive safely.  
Our hotel was near the first geothermal power station in New Zealand.   We drove past the warning signs
and up to the look out.


The water needs to be cooled before it can be released back into the Waikato River and so a Prawn Park was established to use the water at one point in the cooling process.   They produce prawns of amazing sweetness and size and have a thriving restaurant and fishing establishment which appears to be on the must-do list for every tourist!   
I indulged in a Mud Wrap Thermal Spa and massage.   It was a wonderfully relaxing two hours and my skin feels super smooth still.
Good Friday we drove through to Rotorua, another city describing itself as a thermal wonderland.   In wet wet weather it merely smells of sulphur!   We did find this yarn bombed tree though.
And in between showers and excursions I found time to finish tacking up all the hexagon templates I have - 150 of them.   This isn't enough to complete the runner I want to make but as I only need another 50 or so I have decided I will start sewing these together and free up some templates to re-use.
Then I made a start on C A Wells Cottage Etui.   This is pretty and enjoyable but will now get put aside while I finish off my other projects.

I have stitched the pincushion/pinroll with its appropriate ends, the scissor fob and the lid of the cottage.   The satin stitch saw tooth border was easy compared to the cross stitch over one.   My aged eyes don't really like that too much but I am determined to persist.
Here's a closer shot.

And then on the way home my car mileage turned over to 100,000 kilometres.   Probably significant only to me but I wanted to record the event.   Unfortunately it all happened in a place where I couldn't stop and take a photo!
All in all we had a happy time away and both feel quite relaxed after the break.



Saturday, 12 April 2014

What a day!

Today was a long and busy day but I mostly crossed everything off the To Do List and managed to clean the car as well!
This evening I have been busy stitching
A start to the Cottage Etui -  four sided stitches for the roof
My homework for Embroiderers Guild -  this is a representation of a New Zealand Pohutukawa, the tree that flowers in December.
and several hexagons
I need to have a minimum of this tin full to overflowing so there is long way to go yet.
Next weekend the HD3QBEM and I are going away for a few days to Taupo.   So far in reply to the question "what clothes are you going to take?" my answer is that I haven't thought about it.   Of course not.   I have been too busy planning what stitching and what books I am taking!!   But I have booked in to have a Thermal Mud Wrap and Massage so that should be fun.  My oh my, I am looking forward to a break away.




Thursday, 10 April 2014

Three bags full...

Over one stitching doesn't grow very fast does it?   I love the colours of this Vintage Brown silk floss but feel as if I need a break before attempting the remaining two panels.   A small anchor, in pearl beads, will go over this completed panel.  Thanks to those who made suggestions for sourcing a simple anchor chart.   Currently I am working on the staves.
Somebody asked me who was the designer of The Mermaid's Sea Chest.   This was a teaching piece by Lauren Sauer and she kindly sent me the chart some years ago in response to my begging email request.   It has taken me some time to source a suitable substitute linen as I couldn't buy what she recommended but I am thoroughly enjoying this project.   However I admit to being a little wary of what looks to be complicated construction.
On Saturday the HD3QBEM and I have a long list of errands, at the top of which is the delivery to the Hospice Shop of her knitting for the past twelve months.   Three bags full!   Despite her valiant efforts, too many dropped stitches and sewing in of ends on coloured stripes used up time which would otherwise have allowed for the completion of the 40th garment.   I'm still awarding her an A triple plus though as even with her failing eyesight and ill health she managed to knit more than last year's total.

She wants a new pair of shoes for the winter so we shall visit her favourite shoe store also and then possibly indulge in a sushi lunch.   After that it is my turn for shoes,  and a new pair of jeans.   I'm wondering whether in all this there will be time for cooking, washing, grocery shopping, a hair cut and all the other weekend chores.   I'm planning to cut out fabric for a new winter dress and a pair of trousers too -  hopefully the hours will be elastic enough to allow for all of this :-)





Saturday, 5 April 2014

A short stroll? I don't think so!

Our Auckland Super City Council try their best to show that they are truly interested in the community.   I love them for their libraries (super service) and the Art gallery (super building) and then last week I saw advertised a 'guided walk' around a newly developed coastal pathway scheduled for Saturday 5 April.   Sounded good to me (weather permitting) so I registered, bought suitable snacks, charged my camera batteries, checked my sunhat and walking shoes and felt my anticipation grow daily.   Then, wouldn't you know it?   After no rain for two months it poured down on Thursday drenching both my garden and my hopes :-(   However Saturday dawned bright and clear and at 9am off I went-  bright eyed and bushy tailed.
 Described as an Epic Coastal walk  it truly lived up to its name.  
Up the hill, down the hill, round the cove quickly to beat the tide, up the hill again and down the hill again, then 285 steps in one zigzag stretch!   On and on it went until hot, tired, sweaty and with very aching leg muscles, at 5pm I was no longer so bright eyed nor bushy tailed!
On the stitching front  I am back on The Mermaid's Sea Chest.   Dark grey studs are all complete and now I am on to the over one cross stitches.   Tired eyes and late nights make progress slow but I a determined to persevere with this one.   Perhaps there will be scheduled breaks for smaller quicker projects but by years end there will be a completed Sea Chest.
My April small finish is to be comprised of these ingredients.  I won't be getting to this tonight but there is little left to be done so I am confident of a month end finish.

So it's sayonara from a tired Margaret!


Monday, 31 March 2014

Well where did that weekend go?

I was so looking forward to my weekend and had ever so many items on the To Do List.   Where did the time go?   Very little got crossed off the list....oh dear.
Saturday,  I slept in to be woken gently by the HD3QBEM at 8am.   No time for baking this morning it was a rush to be ready on time.  
I caught the bus and went into the University to attend a couple of lectures arranged by the Centre For Brain Research/Neurological Foundation for Brain Day.   This year the theme was Our Sense-ational Brain and lectures were on the various senses.   First up was an interesting lecture on Amblyopia or Lazy Eye.   Having suffered the indignities of eye patches as a child and as an adult in vain attempts to correct my wayward eye and now having a thick prism in one lens, I was interested to hear that it is possible to achieve correction as an adult.   Despite the prevalent thinking that the adult brain has insufficient plasticity to be retrained, the Centre for Brain Research is having success with treatment using an adapted version of the Tetris Video game.   Too late for me I am afraid.   Neither do I have time to be a guinea pig in their clinical trials but I was super interested in this lecture.   The fact that the Professor was tall, slim, dark and decidedly good looking helped too :-)
In the afternoon I was in shopping mood so wandered down town -  to buy tickets for two sessions of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival.   This is not until May but I didn't want to miss out on a seat to hear Alexander McCall Smith and Camilla Lackberg.   While waiting in the queue I browsed a pamphlet about the Auckland Easter Egg Hunt.   100 giant sized eggs are 'hidden' at locations around three of New Zealand's main cities and enthusiastic hunters can txt in codes to hopefully win a 340g 18 carat gold ingot.   I found four eggs -  two so uninspiring I didn't even take photos and one inside the Louis Vuitton store where I was too afraid to take a photo.   This one outside the library intrigued me but I also like the infinity pool in which it is sitting. Win-win!   The water pouring over the edges makes lovely reflections too.
Still in a shopping mood I wandered further down town, didn't find what I wanted, swallowed the story from the sales lady at the last store who told me the store way up the hill stocked what I wanted.   Back up the hill I trudged.  They didn't :-(   Back down the hill.  Shopping mood now totally vanished so I caught the bus home.   Whereupon I lay on my bed in the cool and read my book.   Donna Tartt's, The Goldfinch is a lot of reading and although it was an interesting story, for some reason the library supplied me with a large print version which is huge and ever so heavy to hold.      I am almost through this so it should be back to the library before due date - I don't need any more fines.
I worked some more on Ring O Roses.   This is supposed to be a Guild Project and by definition worked on only once a month.   I am now officially addicted to this and it was hard to put down.   Looks good n'est-ce pas?
Sunday I made a start on the lid for The Mermaid's Sea Chest and am liking this one too.   None so fickle as I?   On Saturday I am in love with Ring O Roses and on Sunday, The Mermaid's Chest.   But I stitch better when I love the project.  I don't want to do my initials in the seed pearl panels -  maybe an anchor at each end a solitary M in the middle?   But I don't know where I could find a simple anchor chart.   Any suggestions?
This week our cleaner is sick and can't come so rather than have the HD3QBEM attempt the cleaning (she is prone to be helpful!) I will be wielding duster, vacuum cleaner, scrubbing brush and bucket tonight.   Then there is the ironing to do as well.   How come I am crossing items off a list that I didn't even write??
Good night all.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

It's Spring (somewhere)

Spring arrived at my house this week.   Look at these!  
My dear friend Kazumi kindly sent them from Japan and just in case these don't add enough calories to the diet and grams to the weight she sent these too.
I shall enjoy each delicious mouthful and hopefully not feel too guilty.
Today I took the HD3QBEM out shopping.   She got slippers and a new jumper for the winter and I bought a new pair of sneakers.  
On the way home we called at The Ribbon Rose for these.
I am going to build a new house -  well a cottage to be precise -  and in it will live pins and needles and scissors and.....   But as I can't buy Gloriana thread here in Auckland I had the clever idea to clip together all my DMC substitutes and find a variegated silk that would match.  Not bad?   So now when the next attack of Chronic Start-itis hits me I can begin on this project.
Today has been successful -  baking done (Coffee Drops, Chocolate Fudge Fingers), shopping done, walking done, a new recipe ready for dinner, and a visit to the LNS to spend my voucher.   Yeah!   Oh, and I finished off the bookmark!
All in all not too bad.   Now I'm off to watch TV.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Counting to two...

I love numbers.   I work with them all day.  But I can't count to two or by two!

A simple bookmark all but defeated me.   Four sided stitch completed perfectly.   Scroll edges stitched all around.   Threads drawn and cut and..... disaster!  One or two  four sided stitches short on the length.   Oops.
A fresh start has not gone well.   I have re-stitched each scroll border twice!   But the cutting and drawing of threads has gone well and I have made a start on the Aztec stitch.   This time I did buttonhole stitch and not four sided as I feel that is more secure.   Fun and games all round but I do like the Aztec stitch and after all that was the purpose of the project.

The next medallion on Ring O Roses has a cute little rabbit so I would like to get a few crosses into this one tonight if I can.   And I plan on tacking up a few more hexagons for my patchwork which is not progressing fast.   I am embarrassed to show a progress photo of that project.
So I am off to count ... two, four, six , seven, eight.   Oops:-)