Wednesday 31 December 2008


Tomorrow is the start of 2009. Here in New Zealand we have a four day long weekend so I won't see you all again until after that.
Best wishes for a very Happy New Year. And many thanks to all you wonderful people who have made my 2008 an immensely interesting and rewarding one.
And don't forget to sign up for my blogaversary - here. The draw will be in the morning of 6 January (New Zealand time) and I will mail the box that day. Everything is already packed ready and waiting for its new owner. Here's a peek.

Monday 29 December 2008

After Christmas

Did you all have a good Christmas? It was fine and sunny here and I had a wonderful time.

During our four day holiday (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Saturday and Sunday) I spent a lot of time in the garden and also made a sustained effort to finish off my list of embroidery projects for 2008. So here's a photo of the angel ornament for Stitching for a Cure. You can see all about this project on Donna's blog. I used one of the specified ornament patterns and the threads it stated but finished it as a hanging pinkeep. The back, which I forgot to photograph is a hot pink cotton fabric.
I also stitched a return Crazy Exchange for Carol which will go in the post today. Carol, I know you have had lots of snow so i'm sending you an antidote!! Enjoy!

All other stitching was for exchanges so cannot be shown - yet!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas to you all. I'll see you again on New Year's Eve

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Twin Angels

I managed to sneak in these purchases too when I was at the LNS last weekend. For many years my LNS has had an annual "beaded angel" kit. The first photo is the angel for 2007 - I missed out on the kit but was able to purchase this one completed - she's lovely and sparkly. I think she's charming and such a beautiful garnet red. Next is the 2008 kit - well it was a kit. I came home and made her up straight away. Isn't she cute. Angel 2008 and I will become quite fond of each other I think!

Monday 22 December 2008

Wallet Wins!!

Yes yes, I know that I said Wallet was brainwashed and that I has persuaded her to assist on a big stash grab on Saturday. Well, I'm here to report SHE WON! I bought very little and here's the loot! The threads, ribbon and linen for an ornament for Stitching for a Cure. I signed up to make an ornament for the tree Debbie is coordinating for December 2009. As my surgeon's eagerness for shoulder surgery has upset my plans for early next year I am stitching real hard now to get a start on next years plans and Debbie's ornament is to be the next on the list. Do visit her site here and join in this really worthwhile project.
And so Wallet was happy and to prove it opened her mouth wide -oops. Only a few coins left!! So Wallet we need to visit the bank next - what do you think about that?

Friday 19 December 2008

Dandelion Clock Almost Final Report & Brainwashing Wallet Part 1

Today is the official Almost Final Report on Dandelion Clock. The stitching is complete and now I need to get this to the framers - after getting the clock fitting. Meanwhile this piece is rolled up carefully and put away in the drawer. It was such fun to stitch in DMC threads on Platinum Belfast 32 count linen. How do you like it?

Now for the saga with Wallet whom you have met before here.
Despite being made of Spanish leather and having travelled to New Zealand on Singapore Airlines, poor Wallet has no understanding of Global Economy.
Wallet says that in hard times one should keep one's hand on one's wallet - "but I don' t want your hand anywhere near me!"How sad is that!

Friend Fiona is coming from Hamilton to stay for the weekend and I invited Wallet, on my bended knee, to join us on The Great Stash Acquisiton Adventure". SHE REFUSED!
So I sat her down very firmly and enrolled her in a very brief course - Brainwashing 101.
Lesson 1: No man is an island. In hard times we all need to help each other and Wallet, you can help the good man at the LNS by assisting my stash acquisition. (Slight digression at this point when Wallet asks why we are talking Economics not Geography!)
Lesson 2: No man can serve two masters - and no wallet either! I AM de BOSS. KNOW YOUR PLACE! What's that - speak up Wallet? What do you mean you're lost? Oh I see. You mean you've lost this argument. Fine by me. See you at the LNS.

Thursday 18 December 2008

Some more M's

Last night was a busy one - I went to the supermarket at around 9:30pm and after I got home was determined to do some stitching so was rather late to bed. The dandelion clock now has all the tufts so there are only the numbers to stitch and it will be done. But I forgot to take a picture so instead will show you some more of my M's. The bottom one of these three was a kit and the top two are from one of my many Alphabet Books. Tonight I plan on finishing the Dandelion Clock and baking some Christmas Cookies - not necessarily in that order!

Wednesday 17 December 2008

M M M and more M

Last night I went to hear the Messiah - this is the 153rd time that the Auckland Choral Society have sung this. It was an excellent night out.

And in the theme of M I thought I would show you some of my collection of M's. At one point I was quite obsessed about these but have since, with the help of so many blogging friends, moved on to other obsessions like Quaker, Biscornus, samplers, exchanges, stash acquisiton etc etc etc

First the Solo M. This came in a kit so the fancy printed linen was supplied as well as the threads. I remember having a terrible time with the gold thread in this one but the finished effect was worth the effort.
Next these two which were the products of long haul flights to and from Japan. Of course that was in the days when scissors and needles weren't thought to be weapons of war. I remember that the picture framer persuaded me in to an expensive framing for the bottom one - that shiny part is genuine gold leaf! But as it is only a tiny M the cost wasn't prohibitive.

And finally for today this is my Reward M. I bought this for myself as a reward for dropping 10 kilos in weight when I first joined the gym. It is handmade from New Zealand Kauri and I love it still.

Dandelion Clock Progress Report #2

Good progress on the Dandelion Clock. I finished the bottom left corner. Progress has been faster than I thought but the rush of Christmas preparations is on now so less stitching time!!

The other three quarters are not so interesting as they are only "tufts" and numbers but of course have to be placed accurately which entails lots of tacking and checking!

Yesterday I bought a notebook and made a list - in order of 'must be done' - of all the stitching promises I have made so far. There are four "musts" that I need to do before shoulder surgery on January 21. Far from being depressing this has been a great exercise and I am energised and organised - which is of course good.

Tonight Mother and I are going to the Auckland Choral Society annual production of Handel's Messiah. We go every year and thoroughly enjoy it. Will report tomorrow!

Monday 15 December 2008

HELP Please I'm going MAD

I had a bad bad weekend (not as bad as Carol though - we had sun and electric power!).

I stitched a small ..... well I can't exactly say what as its an exchange gift - and I wanted to finish it as a triangular hanging ornament thingy. Well I was a mathematics teacher so I know how to draw up accurate triangles and did that. Wonderful! Next made the back - fabric covered part. Mutter mutter - aah aah -moan moan but it got done with around 85% satisfaction.

Then the front - the embroidered part. How does one lace the linen into a triangle shape and get sharp corners not these confounded rounded ones. Louder and louder mutters, then even louder and louder mutters, then groans, then tears, etc etc You get the picture right. I'm sure you heard the sobs in Alaska as I threw the wretched thing into the rubbish. I will now stitch another and this will be finished as a square or a circle. I can do those!!

How on earth do all you clever clever people out there make triangle shaped ornaments. I know you must because The Cricket Club has a neat chart of "Kisses" all finished as blessed triangles. I have the chart, the threads, the linen, the cardboard, the pellon, the inclination BUT obviously not the skill to put the things together. Anyone out there got a tutorial for the simple minded but nearly insane Margaret???

We had our company Christmas party at a restaurant down on Auckland Wharf. Beautiful night it was too so here's a snap. See you tomorrow with a progress shot of the Dandelion clock - its one quarter finished!!

Signups still open for the Blogaversary - here.

Friday 12 December 2008

Message from my busy mailman

"Margaret", he said. "How come you get so many presents? I only came to your house a few days ago and before that I have left several CTC (Call to collect) cards. What do I have to do to get gifts like you?"

"Ah ha", Mr Mailman says I. "You need to learn to stitch and you need to learn to blog and you need to meet all the wonderful people I've met."

"You've met all these people? " Mr Mailman sounded a little disbelieving.

"Well, not exactly met" I had to confess.

"Then how come they send you gifts?" he asked

"That's because the are all GSASB (Generous Spirited Amazing Stitching Bloggers)" I explained and quickly took my package.

Well, to be honest little in the above is true except for the GSASB part. Yesterday a surprise package from Carol on the Crazy Exchange arrived. Carol has to be one of the top 10 GSASB people! She made me an absolutely exquisite Christmas Ornament that quickly found a home right at the front of my Christmas Tree so I can enjoy it. Isn't it really neat? And there is a cute little star button right in the top. I love it.
Included in the package (but not the photo) was a cute Christmas Card and a Prairie Schooler card chart of Santa. Many many thanks Carol. It was a wonderful surprise!

Don't forget to leave a comment and mention blogaversary if you want to be in for the draw.
I put details here.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Blogaversary Mystery Giveaway

Whoa! This year has gone fast. Last January I stumbled into the world of Blogging Stitchers and now not only do I meet up with so many of you in UK and USA but Google Translate and I are good friends as use GT's help to read some of the French, Russian and Finnish blogs too. Let's be honest here Margaret - you are hooked big time! My stash cupboard is full to the brim, I have learned new techniques and have proudly introduced friends at Embroiderers Guild to Biscornu and Pendibuile -even if they mostly call them "those fancy little things you make Margaret"!!

So I thought long and hard about what I could do as a suitable Blogaversary Gift and then remembered this box I had stored away for a special occasion. Isn't it beautiful??? Spectaular enough for such an event. So on January 6th this blog will be one year old and as a celebration I am going to fill this box with goodies and send to one lucky person.

There is only one rule for participation: Please leave a comment on my blog mentioning that you'd like to receive the Blogaversary Giveaway. Entries close on 5 January 2009 (New Zealand time).

Under the strict but impartial supervison of my nearly deaf, half blind elderly Mother ( you don't believe me do you!!) the draw will be made (I'm assuming there will be more than one comment ;-) on 6 January (NZ time) and I will post the winner the next day. Please make sure I have an email contact so I can let the winner know.

So to all of you out there who have so enriched my life this year - a big bloggy thank you.

Dandelion Clock Progress

Last night there were other chores that needed doing so stitching time was rather abbreviated. However I did make some progress on the Dandelion Clock so here's a shot. I had to change the colour of the seed head flower slightly as DMC Ecru didn't show up enough against the Platinum linen. Tonight is to be devoted to getting the yellow flower completed on the left of the seed head and to start the tufts that denote the hours. Look out for some more pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

This Christmas piece is a Lynne Nicoletti design and I just love it. 'Robin Redbreasts' have been a favourite since childhood - possibly the influence of all the picture books as we don't have any in New Zealand. This was originally stitched to give away but I couldn't part with him!

Yesterday I got a postcard from Taija (on the Crazy Exchange) - she and her husband had been away for a short holiday to Tuuri pictured on the card. Can you see the stamp I have superimposed on the top left? Its amazing. A "movable skier" - as you tilt the stamp back and forward the skier slaloms left and right!

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Santa Staci's Scissors

A mystery package was waiting for me when I got home from work last night.
I wondered who from and why as all my exchanges were complete and I wasn't expecting any orders of stash to come to home (they all get delivered to work).
But Santa Staci (aka Angel Staci) had made me a cute mmmmmmm ribbon scissor tag with a fantastic flower eyelet. And on the end was a cute pair of scissors.
Thank you very very much Stacy for the wonderful gift and the surprise factor! I love the little card and assure you that I will put these scissors to good use over our Christmas holiday break.

This peacock sampler is the first GPA design I ever did. I still love it and the beautiful colouring of the threads. Peacock will have to retire and hand its wall space to the Susanne Sampler when it gets framed so I thought I'd share this picture with you now. I have been photographing (not very well!!) some of my hanging pieces which are going to make way for other new ones in the New Year.

Monday 8 December 2008

A New Start

O happy day! I made a start on my Dandelion Clock. A couple of years ago I stitched one for a wedding gift and was so reluctant to part with it that this one is staying in my house! The hardest part is getting the tufts of dandelion that denote the numbers accurately placed so there will be a far number of tacking stitches to make sure!

Happy day everyone!

A great Kiwi weekend!

She told me I could help her with the Christmas gifts for Church Home Group and then dumped the ingredients right on top of me!

What am I supposed to do with candy canes, chocolates, ribbon and those funny Christmas paper bags? Oh I see - put them in then tie a ribbon to decorate. Tie a ribbon?! I only have feet and a beak - doesn't she ever read? Kiwis don't have wings - but someone forgot to tell the Chinese manufacturing plant when I was made -so she's forgiven - nearly ;-)


Now I can sit back and relax. No? There's more? Goodness me, no wonder she asked for help. Anyway all done now and I can put my feet up!

Friday 5 December 2008

Christmas Exchanges

Taija (Crazy Exchange) and I did a Christmas Exchange. It was fun deciding what to put in the package. Here's what I sent. My mother knitted the cardigan for Taija's little boy and we put All Blacks boots with it so he's now a real New Zealander! Raspberry Tim Tam chocolate biscuits, Jelly Beans, a cross stitch kit and 'the box'. I've already described the "Merry Christmas" box here. Then yesterday the mail man handed me a return package from Taija. Bless her heart she went to such a lot of trouble to make it a Finnish package - I LOVE it! There were two Christmas Ornaments which have gone on my tree immediately,

a finnish hand towel, cross stitch kits, wool and Finnish chocolate and licorice.
Many many thanks Taija for your great generosity. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Two reasons for the Happy Dance

Did you hear me? Last night at around 9pm? I was dancing the happy dance. My Midnight Stitching's "Quaker Faith Hope Love" was complete. This was a really satisfying stitch and I am looking forward to getting it framed and hung on the wall. I stitched it on 28 count Vintage Mocha Cashel Linen with the recommended Gentle Arts Sampler Threads. I don't remember the name of the blue one but the red was called Cranberry and its really luscious. Perhaps DMC115 may have a rival for my affections??

Speaking of rivals for affection brings me to the other reason for the happy dance. Totally unrelated to stitching. I went to see Quantum of Solace - for some reason I love James Bond movies - I scrunch my eyes during the shootouts, gasp during the car chase, ooh and aah as the baddies get their dues, oh la la at Bond (how could M be so harsh - doesn't she just melt inside?). Fortunately my pacemaker has an accelerometer and it sure speeds up as I mentally tick off the list to make sure they include all the classic Bond ingredients :-)
I have another finish tonight and tomorrow (watch for the pictures) and then I've promised myself a new start in the weekend. Have a good day everybody.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Some more stash!

Last night I stitched Love and made a good start on Faith - Hope is already done and so I expect to have a photo to show soon. I am enjoying this stitch and the beautiful threads. I'm doing it in the recommended Sampler Threads on a piece of Vintage Mocha Cashel Linen. I got the pattern here - it is Quaker Faith Hope and Love by Midnight Stitching. Watch out for the photo.

In the New Year I will get this and several others to the framer.

And then yesterday a package arrived which delighted me and at the same time increased the stress of an already bulging "must do" pile. Don't you think these are wonderful?

They are from Giulia Manfredini and must say I think having matching beads and buttons for these biscornu is a fantastic idea. I'm looking forward to stitching them. Giulia was so helpful when I emailed her as my LNS didn't have these (they had never heard of her!!!) so this time I had to eat humble pie and purchase from across the Tasman. Trust the Australians to have what NZ doesn't!!

Monday 1 December 2008

I've been tagged

This is a first for me but I have been tagged by Lynn and so here are the rules

Post the rules on your blog
Write 6 random things about yourself
Tag 6 people at the end of your post
Let each person they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
Let the tagger know that your entry is posted on your blog

So here we go!

1. I hated foreign languages at school but I am fluent in Japanese!
2. I think Roger Moore was the best James Bond - I've seen all the movies and tomorrow I go to see Quantum of Solace.
3. I have an American made cardiac pacemaker implanted- does that mean I can get a Green Card?
4. My favourite childhood book was Anne of Green Gables - followed closely by Little Women.
5. Given a choice of tea or coffee I usually ask for water.
6. My first love in music is Country and Western, but I love Mozart, Bach and Handel. How bizarre is that?

I am tagging

Olenka Her needlework is fantastic and I want to know more about her

Carol R Carol's photography is brilliant - maybe I will learn how she got to be so good

Tammie Tammie is so busy with her family and yet she still has time for stitching and knitting How does she do it?

Cheryl Cheryl's baby is almost due and so before she gets busy I'd like to hear more about her

Staci I know Staci is an angel but is there anything else she can tell me?

Hola If you haven't visited her blog you should!! And Google Translate will help you with the language. Her photographed work is inspiring!!

Good luck to all I've tagged.

Christmas Ornament received

Saturday the mail man brought me a fat package from Nicky - my partner in the HOE Exchange

Inside were Christmas goodies, some threads and fabric for my stash cupboard, a very tempting "spa" pack and a beautifully stitched, fat, needle roll. It is done in rich Christmas colours and several speciality stitches so took a close up shot to show you.

Isn't it great.

As I was decorating my Christmas Tree on Saturday I had to place my new needle roll prominently and here it is in pride of place with a Kiwi Santa!

Friday 28 November 2008

Quaker Ornament finished

This is stitched on Dublin linen over one thread with DMC 115 and it has turned out small as I wanted for my tree this year. Although from JCS Ornament Issue of 2002 (thanks Staci!!) I have changed the date of course.

Last night's stitching was on an exchange so no snaps yet. I hope to do the finishing tonight as I have everything I need in the stash cupboard. Then there will be the happy happy dance as I have only three WIPs in the box.

Thursday 27 November 2008

It will officially be Summer next week!!

December 1st it will officially be summer but the weather man hasn't found out yet! It is still cold and stormy at times and the mountains still have plenty of snow. I took this photo on my recent quick trip to Wellington. This is Mt Ruapehu which is in the middle of our North Island.

I thought you might like to see the little Christmas Box I made for Taija in the Crazy Exchange. She lives in Finland and I stupidly thought the parcel of goodies might not get there till nearer December 25. But as always, the Post Office are not predictable and Taija received her box of goodies this week. Included with the usual chocolates, candy etc etc there was this little box. It originated as a Louis Vuitton box (from which my boss had extracted a wallet) - Yes! My box fetish is known even at work! But some cross stitching, some felt and a little time turned it into a sneaky peeky Christmas Box filled with bath items. You can see the other pictures on Taija's blog here. Like me you might not be able to read Finnish but now you know the story you can guess the rest from the snaps and see yet another box I scored from a colleague!

A few steps past a floss toss

Here's a shot of a WIP - destined to become an exchange so it must remain a mystery. I do like the colours and it is fun while stitching to think of what goodies I will put with it.
There has been no stitching for the past couple of days. I have driven to Wellington and back (8 hours each way) for the funeral of a family friend so there hasn't been time or energy. Tonight I plan to return to this - which will be a really cheerful thing to do after a dismal few days.

Monday 24 November 2008

A surprise from Japan

I told you the mailman left a card to tell me to collect a package at the Post Office. Well, Saturday morning I walked across to find it was a PIF from Yuko. What a lovely surprise - inside was a beautiful stitched biscornu, a card of ribbon, a DMC variegated thread I had not seen before, two cherry blossoms to perfume my drawers and a small notepad. Thank you so much Yuko - I am really pleased to have some of your beautiful stitching. I love the colour and especially the beaded edging.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Progress reports

I'm making good progress on my current piece but it is secret so can't be shown completely yet. I'm enjoying all the different stitches and textures although this photo shows I need to redo the satin stitch - it's not exactly flat is it? Perhaps a good steam press will work wonders? Do you like the colour scheme -I followed what the chart said although I suspect that my "Dirty Linen" is slightly darker than what was recommended. However on the enjoyment scale this is up the top.

Thanks for all your comments about Lisa's reindeer ornament. Denise if you email me I can give you the details you wanted. Just click on the email button on the left hand side in my profile.