Monday 29 September 2008

I received a return from Marlies

Saturday's post man brought me a lovely package from Marlies in Gouda, Holland. I chose her from the Crazy Exchange group because I often eat Gouda cheese! And Marlies sent me a postcard of the lovely cows that produce the cheese. Also a delightful little wooden clog key chain. But the "piece de resistance" was her stitched hanging - so bright and cheerful and unlike anything else I have. Thanks so much Marlies for making my first exchange such a great experience.
I am now preparing another one to mail away to an exotic far off country - thank you everyone for including postcards! My fridge door looks really international - one day I will show you a photo of that.

Friday 26 September 2008

Christmas Ornament

Last night I finished this ornament. It is stitched on a scrap of 32 count linen with Needle Necessities 153 and instead of French Knots I put glass beads. I am quite pleased with the finish although I agonised over whether to attempt a star shape finish but my courage deserted me and I settled for a safe circle.
Well, thank goodness it's Friday. I am going to have a lovely weekend and not even think about the stresses of work! Enjoy your weekend too.

Tuesday 23 September 2008


Yesterday I put the final stitches in to Santa and finished the construction. So he can now be revealed in all his glory! And now the confession - he is destined to arrive in time for the festive season at the home of one of the people who I have got to know in all the wonderful exchanges I have joined in this year. Who knows his fat little tummy may even be stuffed with some goodies :-)

So now I have no excuse and I must return to The Queen's Sweet Bag and all that lovely one over one tent stitch! It's rather like a mountain climb but I feel as if I am almost at the pass and soon it will be the downward slope. Sincerely hope so!

Thursday 18 September 2008

Update on Santa

Last night as all the current exchanges were under control, Santa surfaced again at my house and you can see that he now has some grass, sand and even a little water near his feet. There isn't a lot of cross stitching left but then the dreaded backstitching! I have the backing fabric and all the other ingredients ready for construction into the Christmas Stocking which is his destiny! The fabric is actually stark white so as you can see this wasn't shot under the best lighting - actually quite late at night. I have a head full of plans on what I want to do next but my conscience says that the Queen's Sweet Bag should come back as in January I promised to finish it this year and there aren't many weeks left :-)
This morning there was a beautiful rainbow - so surely our wet winter is past. I couldn't help thinking that I shouldn't complain as there are places far worse off than Auckland!

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Another Hobbit photo or 2 or 3!!

At the entrance to the Hobbiton location there is a restaurant called appropriately Shire's Rest and it was there I found this which rather tickled my fancy.

The one Hobbit hole that is actually able to be entered (all the others are facades only) was only made that way as camermen had to get in it and sit to take a photo of two hobbits and their high jinks on the stone steps outside and in the window of the Hobbit Hole next door - but it makes an excellent photo stop now.

The stone steps up to Bag End are genuine stone although placed to look natural by the set creators from New Line Cinemas! But the stone bridge across the lake over which the cart is driven is actually wood coated in polystyrene bricks sprayed with a concrete plaster and painted. The guide showed us a brick to prove it!

The first stop on the tour is the lookout towards the lake and the market area.
New Line Cinema's didn't leave anything there except this excellent photoboard so you can see what it looked like during filming. The film company bought a plant nursery company so that they could produce all the flowers for the Hobbit Hole gardens and for the vegetable gardens. This of course is farm land and they had some trouble with natural pests like rabbits and oppossums but a solution was found - the plants were pumped full of hormones to make them grow large and plump (and consequently more attractive to the pests) and then large amounts of poisons to make them very unattractive! And of course afterwards they were disposed of safely and the ground etc sterilised all at the film company cost. No wonder this was a high budget trilogy - their attention to detail was amazing. Now of course it is just a lovely green hill! With a row of hobbit holes . But it was this natural depression and the large pine tree by the lake that attracted the location scouts as they flew over the farm and then gave the farmer quite a shock when they interrupted him watching rugby on TV and asked him to sign a contract so his farm could be a film location!
At the end of the tour there is a place where if you stand on the spot marked X and hold your hand in just the right way you can get this type of photo. Doesn't my friend Chie look appropriately dark and hobbit like?! Or rather don't I look like an inappropriate 21st century Goliath!

And so endeth my journey to Hobbiton.

Surprise package

A couple of weeks ago a box came from Phyllis in USA and the letter included said another package was on its way too. Well, the postman left a card and yesterday I went for a walk to the Post Office to collect it. The depot is around 25 minutes walk from my house and McDonalds is another 30 minutes from there. I picked up the package and strode out to McDonalds where over a diet coke I opened and read Two Just Cross Stitch magazines and a wonderful beaded heart kit (well I read the instructions for that one!) Much revived I walked home thanking God all the way for such generosity from an "as yet un-met" friend. Many many thanks Phyllis. Here is a photo of the total contents of the two packages - a tie on pillow (with a cute saying), a handmade scissor fob with a peacock charm on the end, two magazines and a beaded heart ornament kit.

Monday 15 September 2008

Lord of the Rings - Hobbiton ( Photo heavy)

No embroidery pictures today as over the weekend I went to Hobbiton - the area where this was filmed for The Lord of the Rings trilogy is only two hours drive from my house. On a marvellous Spring day here, I did the tour with my elderly Mother and a Japanese friend. At the start of the tour we were greeted by lambs - including these twins. Yes, they are twins although one is black and one white. The black one has just a smudge of white on his/her tail! Then the start of the tour - the restrooms were in character - even to the toilet roll holder shaped like a Hobbit house. Through the gates and across the farm we went and then there before us was what New Line Cinemas had left of Hobbiton. All the gardens and frontages have been removed but it is possible to still enter in to Frodo Baggins house up at the top and see the view from Bag End almost as he and Sam saw it.I won't post all the photos - you'll need to come to New Zealand and see for yourself.
After that adventurous day I stitched all evening on exchanges while watching Lewis (I love that man almost as much as Morse ;-) but can't show any of the results of that productive evening yet!!

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Needle Roll Exchange Received

Yesterday the postman brought me a lovely package from Marie - a beautifully stitched needle roll sparkling with beads, some fabric for backing smalls, needles, nail files, a hank of delicate blue thread. It was a huge thrill. Thank you so much Marie.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

PIF Number 2 has now arrived

I have just had an "email postcard" from Deb to say that the PIF package has arrived. It was fun reading way back through Deb's archives to see what she liked and somewhere I found a list that said she liked paper products. So....inspiration struck and I made a small French Sampler (from SALexandre) stitched on linen in a colour that toned with the handmade paper journal I found at a missionary charity stall. Just perfect I thought and fortunately so did Deb. Deb, I had immense enjoyment out of stitching this for you and imagining your reaction when you received it. As usual my photography skills are not great but here's a glimpse (and for those of you that look carefully, I know that there is no W in the alphabet. Apparently that's because its French and they didn't have W's peut etre ??) You can see a better photo on Deb's blog here

And because only two people signed up for a PIF I have chosen one person out of all those who have exchanged with me since I joined the "Stitching Bloggers World" and that person will get a surprise in time for Christmas.

Have a great day.

Monday 8 September 2008

PIF Number 1 has arrived

Tammy has left a note on her blog to say that her PIF has arrived. I read on Tammy's blog that Lilac was her favourite colour and so decided to make this needlebook for her. It was a class I took some years ago with a needlework designer from the Waikato region of New Zealand. This needle book is her design and although it looks complex is actually quite a pleasure to make. As I forgot - once again!! - to take photos I have borrowed these from Tammy's blog and you can read her write up here.

Surprise Package

Guess what arrived at my house over the weekend - an envelope all the way from Finland. Taija (whom I met at the Crazy Exchange) had sent me a postcard, some lovely Finnish teas, a sheet of stickers from a Finnish Artist and two gorgeous Finnish stamps. Here's a shot. Don't you just love it? I think the glittery snow crystal on one of the stamps is so cute - and one of the stickers has a rabbit knitting!! Many many thanks Taija. Your surprise made me really happy!

Friday 5 September 2008

Santa has come - well almost!

Last night I worked some more on Santa at the Beach. Here he is entering the surf!I am really pleased with the way he is looking and know that the backstitch will bring him to life at the end. But there is a little way to go before the back stitch will appear. The beach needs some sand; and his boots need to show up somewhere; there's even another seagull or two yet! And you will see what surprise he has in his sack ;-)

This piece will get some more attention tonight so I should have more to show next time. Bye for now.

Monday 1 September 2008

Nothing but flowers to show

I haven't got any stitching to show you today. It has all been exchanges so they can't be shown yet. I did get the second PIF completed and it is off on its long journey today.

My fingertips are really rough at the moment and no amount of handcream helps. Obviously the linen I am working on is too hard on my soft skin?! Or perhaps its just the end of the winter and now with Spring all will come right.

Talking of Spring do you like these tulips? We also have daffodils and freesias aplenty. The bright colours are like cheerful smiles after our wet dull winter

Needle roll exchange

I stitched this Indigo Rose design "forget me not" for Veronica and she told me it has arrived safely. I used Belfast Linen and DMC threads.As I forgot to take a photo I have "borrowed" this photo from Veronica's blog - do go and read her interesting blog here. I am pleased you liked it Veronica. Have a happy day.

A Wonderful Weekend

Sorry this is picture heavy but there's a lot to tell you. On Saturday I went to the Regional Day for Embroiderer's Guilds. Around 250 women together for the day - what a noise! Around the edge of the hall, various embroidery supply retailers had "temptation depots" set up. Very few resisted the chance for stash acquisition.It was great fun seeing what others had done, showing off articles from the various guilds, listening to speakers and enjoying each others company. I was rather taken with this Christmas Tree - hence the close up photo. But others had done some beautiful traditional work too. All quite inspiring. I finished off both PIFs over the weekend and is in the mail today - first day of Spring! These daffodils are proof :-) I need to get a couple of goodies for the other one so it will start its journey later this week. Also stitched on a couple of exchanges but no pictures of those yet!!

Wendy Jo and I met on the Crazy Exchange and she sent me out of the blue a blue thread keeper. I read her blog and found that she likes red so made her a chook! It has arrived so I can show you all here. I fell in love with this bird and had a hard time parting with her so will have to stitch her twin sister for myself I think.