Monday, 22 December 2014

Advent Calendar Blog Hop

Today's stop on Serendipitous Stitching's Blog Hop Advent Calendar is at my house.
I want to share my favourite handmade Christmas Ornament.    These sweet little mittens are totally out of season for a mid-Summer Christmas here in New Zealand but I love them and have displayed them on my tree every year since I first stitched them.   They are always given an especially prominent place.
Jo asked that we share a memory of our best present ever.   I have had so many lovely presents over my life but I think the Christmas surprise that was the most lovely was when I was six and woke to find black footprints right beside my bed!!   Tracing these back, I found them starting at the fireplace beside which was a real pine Christmas Tree with a pile of presents underneath it.   Santa Claus had actually been to our house and what's more he had come down the chimney!   Details of the presents have faded over the intervening years but the wonder of that Christmas morning is a delightful memory..
And so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Progress on the Acorns

In between cleaning, cooking, gardening and the 1001 pre-Christmas chores I have managed some more stitching on the Acorn Sampler Reticule.
The scissor fob stitching is finished
The scissor keeper stitching is finished
But there are still thousands more stitches to be done on the bag and then the Squirrel needlebook to stitch and fit to the base.   The florentine should be fun as the middle row of diamonds are stitched to be stitched to look like acorns -  what else:-)
I love the row of little acorns.  
They were fun to stitch but perhaps I was over enthusiastic in stitching the date on the scissor keeper??  However there are still 11 days until the end of the year so perhaps a final sprint will get me over the line.   Sure hope so.

Monday, 8 December 2014

And it's Queen Stitches again

Friday night I didn't have the energy for Queen Stitches in The Sampler Chatelaine so threaded the needle and opened the instructions for Acorn Reticule.   Yes, the scissor fob would satisfy the new start I was craving.   But what's that?   Yes! Queen stitches again.
Here's a progress shot.   I rather liked the Woven Stitch square in the middle but found the instructions sparse and ended up using two needles - one of each colour thread - which seems cumbersome.   The result is good though.

Now I'm working on the scissor keeper and after that there will be no excuse, I will return to The Sampler a Chatelaine and finish that off before Christmas.

Baking is underway with several varieties of cookies in the freezer.  The menu for Christmas Day and for Boxing Day is all planned.   This morning I made a start on the other DIY job on the HD3QBEM's  list - a reprint of the ceiling in the bay window.   Amazing even myself I managed the preparation and undercoat thus morning before fatigue and bright sunshine called a halt.   No photos as it's only a white ceiling:-).  Now I'm off to the gym for some physical jerks and turn plan on baking a batch if chocolate and cranberry cookies.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Doesn't look like an Acorn Reticule does it?

I had sorted out all the ingredients supplies to start on the Acorn Reticule recipe chart when a roadblock came into view.   The HD3QBEM asked for a hardanger book mark to include in a Christmas Card so another quick rummage through the stash and voila!  Looks good doesn't it, but nothing like acorns.

In between kloster blocks and wraps I have been encouraging the HD3QBEM to type up some mini-memoirs that her grandson had asked for.   Although winning prizes for speed typing back in the day, it was rather more agonising on a modern keyboard.   But I'm proud of her.
She did well and the 30 point font meant it was possible for her to see what she was doing and then Mr Gates performed his miracles of spell check and font reduction. Today I put the letter in the mail, complete with Grandma's shaky signature, and hopefully the postman will do his job quickly.
And now having temporarily lost interest in the Acorn Reticule I am going to make an effort to complete the Sampler Chatelaine.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My bathroom's a mess.

Last week the HD3QBEM and I moved out of home for four nights so the tradesmen could renovate my bathroom.   Now this week we have been put out of the house for two days while they complete their task.   I am sick and tired of feeling rootless.  Tomorrow we stay home:-)   Last night the shower looked like this but today it is all completed and able to be used once again.  Hallelujah!
So today while sitting at a small sunny cove on the southern harbour, I tacked out a piece of 36 count linen for a new start.   I needed something pleasant to think about and this project is just that.
Nice that I had the linen and threads in stash too.   Less expensive and more conducive to an immediate start.   Although, saying that, I am indulging in a feast of Laurie R King's Mary Russell novels at present and my attention is diverted from stitching to books.   But first I need to go and cook dinner before I can think of either stitching or reading.  
Have a good evening.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Three Blind Mice and an M

Last night I sat up late and finished off the three mice.   At that time of night, I decided not to raid the yard broom but made their whiskers from Perle 5 and am happy with the way they turned out.  AS these are a pincushion two have red pins in their tails and one has black (due to an insufficiency of red!!)
I have found a box and will try to fill it with "little things" for the Embroiderers Guild sale of work next year so this is a good start.  
Three hardanger bookmarks are underway too.   I was going to put little angels on the diagonal up each bookmark but the little angels are proving little devils to stitch so have opted for a safer but simpler filling.   Surely they will be tempting to buyers even if not angelic?
Today Little Sister, her hubby and their Brazilian home stay student called in to see us.   Luiz is being shown the sights of Auckland City and Granny and Aunty are one stop on the itinerary!   It was great to see them and to hear a little about their epic journey along Route 66.  
Little Sister found this tricky box for me in New York.   Wasn't she clever to combine my love of boxes and my love of 'M'.   It's a puzzle box and the M is the key.   Here's a shot of the pieces.  
Well done Little Sister for finding such a suitable gift and carrying it carefully all across the country.
Last week we had the shower over bath changed to a walk in shower and the HD3QBEM is more than satisfied with the new arrangement.   She finds it much safer and for me it will be easier to clean. The workman is coming tomorrow to complete the odds and ends still left to do.   I will be glued to my phone tomorrow as I expect to hear back from the job which I applied for a couple of weeks ago and which I really really want.   Meanwhile I am finding all sorts of home jobs to get done while I improve the shining hours of waiting.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

And while we are waiting...

Last week I played the waiting game.   The second interview for the job went well, the recruitment agency gave positive feedback and I was told to wait for a phone call on Friday.   Wait I did. And wait and wait and wait...   But no call.  Hopefully on Monday there will be good news.
But I managed to improve the shining hour.   Progress was made on A Sampler Chatelaine.   I don't really like the way the verse has words split between the lines but I am following the chart and that is what the instructions say.
Also I made arrangements for Dave and John to come and do my bathroom renovations next week.  We need a step in shower cubicle rather than the shower over bath arrangement we have at present as the HD3BEM isn't as limber as she once was.   So on Tuesday this week we move out for five days while Dave and John get working in my bathroom.   I hadn't expected they would have available time before Christmas but this has worked rather well.

One small problem however.   My current project is A Sampler Chatelaine and that is far too fine for me to see by dimmer light in our temporary accommodation so I had a rapid search of the stash and found some scraps of linen and DMC perle thread and made a start on other projects to take with me.
I'm going to make three Maarken Mice as part of my donation to the sale of work at next year's Embroiderers Guild Exhibition.   One has the stitching completed so I am sure I will have all three done by next weekend.  These are Perle #8 on 24 count linen.   Doesn't look like a mouse?   It will, believe me and I will show photographic proof next week, provided I can get the small faceted beads for the eyes.   Whiskers will come from a gentle raiding of the yard broom.
And I am going to use another square of fabric to make some Angel Hardanger Bookmarks.   This is a Carol Pedersen design which I have stitched before.   This time they are being made in 28 count linen which exactly matches the DMC 3823 Perle #8 I have in stash.   Each of the centre diamonds will house a hardanger angel but I am going to do all the foundations first before stitching the 'heavenly beings'
Yesterday the HD3QBEM and I went out for a drive in the countryside to take our mind off "the phone call".   We first stopped at our usual place for a sushi lunch and then on through the hills on the edge of the city until we spied this

I gingerly picked my way through the displays of antiques but no needlework boxes (my promised birthday gift) so we drove on.
Over another hill and onwards until we eventually arrived home.   One of us was tired and the other grateful to have had her mind taken off her troubles!   A light dinner, an hour of Midsome Murders and a good sleep has done wonders.