Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Meet Ruby

Do you ever fall for projects in a magazine and disappear down an unexpected route?   I did that with my rag doll.
My cousin had made a rag doll for her granddaughter, complete with a whole wardrobe of clothes.  What a good idea, I thought.  Then just as I heard about Christine's creation, I saw a pattern in the English Womens Weekly magazine.  Eventually I got the enlargement done and cut out the pieces.   And only then did I realise that I couldn't stitch this on the sewing machine and everything would need to be hand made.  
Slowly the pieces came together and she began to look like a doll.  The DBEM said she needed a name so I christened her Ruby.
Creating Ruby's head of hair - and what a boring process that is - took most of one afternoon.
Conclusions from this foray....

  • Ruby will have only this one set of clothes; a dress, knickers and shoes.  The pattern called for pajamas and slippers and I did have notions of a raincoat and boots (ha ha)
  • Ruby will never have a sibling.   I am sworn off making rag dolls!!!

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

February already!!

January seems to have slipped by very quickly and although I have a lot to show for it there truly hasn't been much in the stitching front.
The new house has a lot of garden and I have been diligent in working on that.   The back has been cleared ready for raised vege beds to be built this month in time for autumn planting.   In the front I have dispensed with several plants I don't like, cleared away the "undergrowth", made friends with two Songbird Thrush who keep me company and eat the snails and I am feeling much happier that I will be able to manage what my cousin described as a "pretty garden". Hopefully it will remain so:)
Besides that I have been pounding the pavements walking all over this delightfully flat city exploring various places.   It took several thousand steps and some degree of frustration until I finally found an Asian Food Store which sold fresh tofu.   Yay!   The general supermarket is much closer and the greengrocer is closer still so I am well supplied.   The DBEM and I have been enjoying our meatless days. Her appetite is small and ailments preclude many foods which coupled with blunted dentures means that meatless meals have increased in number and provide me with welcome opportunity to scan my cookery books.
Last night I went to the Embroiderers Guild for the first time.   It is held in the chapel of a funeral directors facilities so I sidled past the hearse and hoped I didn't go in the wrong door!   All the women were really friendly and were wearing name tags.   It is funny how many Margaret's I am meeting in The New City.   At church there are five others and at Guild I have a namesake also .   Perhaps this is because I have moved into a different age demographic socially??
Currently I am working on a couple of pieces of hardanger - a lacy border for an apron.   This will be a gift for a special birthday in 12 months time so yes, I am planning ahead!
The other is a cushion cover pattern from my Japanese Hardanger book but I am thinking I might make this into a bag.  Still some way to go to completion so plenty of time to decide.
Today has been very hot - almost too much for the DBEM.   We reached 32 degrees celsius and both of us wilted.   It did mean that my temperature cross stitch changed from orange to red.   If the weather man is to be believed tomorrow it will go to yellow.   I do hope he is correct!
At Guild I was told this year's Presidents Challenge is ' a piece of embroidery that illustrates the name of a book'.   I had instant inspiration so may attempt this even though I know it will be out of my comfort zone.  Over the next week or so I will gather the ingredients and see how I get on.   I am thinking a box with a clue on the lid and various scenes from the book on the sides.   I will need to devise some way of making this in counted embroidery as I am not good at satin stitch etc to attempt freestyle embroidery for a project like this.   I have until the end of November to complete it shuld be possible - after all I now have all the time in the world!
And on that note....adieu.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

On the way to completion

This week I decided that the basket of projects needed some attention and so
1) the embroidered Japan Box was put in a tin and put in a cupboard.   I am not good at free embroidery and prefer the constraints of counting on linen.   So the box is put away until inspiration strikes again.  It is not yet at the point where I can see completion ahead so...
2) The hardanger tassels were cut out and stitched up and.....oh no!  I have no DMC 712 to make the tassels and no time to go to the store.  So this finish is half done :(
3) The Betsy Morgan Etui had been stitched and prepared for completion before the big shift and I am well on the way now.   Home base is in sight and I'll have this done by the end of the week - Filial Duties and Family Visits not withstanding. 
I am rather pleased with how this is turning out. 
But have discovered that I really miss my needlework store The Ribbon Rose for the "extras"   This needs a couple of suitable beads to finish the closures and some wool felt for the needlebook pages.  Here in The New City we have a Spotlight (big box store of Australian origins) and they can supply DMC thread and basic white and antique white Cashel and Belfast Linen but anything else will be mail order now.   I hadn't really listed a needlework stork in the necessities when we chose Palmerston North!!
Today I tackled some of the garden kept company by a Songbird Thrush who was delighted to scoff the snails I uncovered.  He and I will become closer friends in the days ahead -  there is a lot of garden at this place.   I have cut back, pulled out, dead headed and cleaned up about a quarter and have already had two trips to the Green Waste Dept at the Resource Recovery Centre.   The back garden will go into vegetables but the front is supposed to be pretty flowers - we shall see.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Farewell to the past year

And so on the last night of 2019 I have been reflecting on the past year.   It has been one of change for me and (for my records) I have made a list ...

  • Reached Gold Card status
  • Retired from paid work
  • Sold one house and bought another
  • Moved to a new city to commence a new life
  • Without being convinced of the accuracy of my count it looks like I have stitched 26 individual items and only two still need construction and final finishing.  
  • Kept my weekly food bill under $100 - this year I managed an average of $95.65 per week

Tonight I completed the last stitch in the fascinating Temperature Chart.  Somehow in the house shift I have mislaid my graph paper so the centering of the letters on each side is not totally mathematically pleasing.   However, I intend to make this into a cushion to sit on my sofa -  once I find a suitable coordinating fabric.   In 2020 I will stitch the same for my new city and have a matching pair of cushions.
And I lined and constructed the Maria Katarin's Reticule (Betsy Morgan) for which I attempted a DMC subsitute for the Gloriana Silks.   All in all not a bad effort I say.
I lined the piece with a scrap of ivory silk which gave a pleasing neutral finish and a good shake of the button box revealed two small buttons for the fastening,
While I won't be sorry to say goodbye to this old year it has not been entirely unprofitable and I can only hope for better in the year to come. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Twilight stroll

Every evening in the beautiful twilight the DBEM and I go for a slow walk to the end of the driveway and back.   She isn't walking so far now and certainly not so fast but we toddle up and back admiring the neighbours gardens and appreciating the fine weather we are having.   It is a splendid way to end our happy days.

We are settling in to a new rhythm of life and finding plenty for which to be grateful.   

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Settled in

With neither accident nor breakage the shift went well.   My sister-in-law is a bundle of energy and with her enthusiastic support all the boxes were emptied on shifting day and are now sorted into their permanent homes.   More to the point, the DBEM placed her chair, her Ott Light, her table and all essentials in "her spot" and has since been singing the repetitive chorus "I love this place".   I'm happy she likes it and feels settled already.
This is helped by a beautiful flower garden.   Just a little past its prime it is still providing beautiful roses to cut and we are enjoying these beauties.   I know nothing about roses, including names, but a pretty garden is a real bonus.
Also some stitching has been done. Back in September I purchased an Inspirations magazine because it had an interesting looking project from Betsy Morgan.   But I didn't want to pay the price for Gloriana Silks so attempted a substitute.   At this point my lack of "the artistic gene" was evident and I'm not super happy with my choices.   Not having a variegated floss required some adapting of the design too.  Anyway this is progress so far.  Only the wording left to do and I'm not sure what I will put in that box.

 Nothing daunted I purchased a Wildflowers silk variegated and attempted to choose toning DMC floss for the other colours.   I'm still stitching this experiment and am no more satisfied.   The second attempt is too dull I fear, but we shall see.

Anyway there is plenty to tempt me away from stitching at the moment.  For the first time I have a dedicated sewing space that is not in the main living area so I can shut the door on a mid-project mess!   First up is two sets of shorts and tops for my great nieces to take away with them on holiday in late January. 

We are having a quiet Christmas here enjoying the new surroundings.   Seasons Greetings to all out in Blogland who may be reading this.   Hopefully more updates will follow now that life is settling to a better, less stress-filled rhythm.