Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas to everyone

Good evening everyone.  I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.   It has been a great year sharing with you all, keeping up with your wonderful creations and being inspired by so many new and wonderful finishes and techniques.   Thank you everyone.  

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Santa didn't get stuck at Heathrow!

Good evening all.   Santa didn't get stuck at Heathrow -  his journey from Finland to Auckland was quite successful and in our 28 degree heat his snow would all have melted.   But he did manage to bring me this beautiful heart ornament from Taija whom I met on the Crazy Exchange.   Thanks so much Taija -  I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.   Your ornament is already hanging on my tree.

And it's Good Night to all

Monday 20 December 2010

Bargello Sewing Case - FINITO

Good evening all - did you hear the Happy Dance from your place.   The Sewing Case is finito!   In the end I padded it with Doctors Flannel and lined the whole thing with cream coloured taffeta lining which gives a satisfying rustle and a hint of glamour to the inside. All in all I am quite pleased and even more so that the embedded date is quite truthful.
Anyway here are some photos.

The completed front

Opened to show the inside of the pocket

The back

And a close up of the back

This was an enjoyable stitch and had enough variety of specialty stitches to keep me totally involved.
Tonight I want to begin assembling the large frame for The Historic Countries Sampler - I plan on making that the project for 2011 but am itching to get started now; right now -  as in immediately!   But I had better get my priorities straight.   I haven't yet decided on the menu for Christmas Day, nor made the shopping list, nor wrapped the remaining presents.    Well, after all completion of stitching goals is an essential isn't it?!
Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Better late than never!

Today I managed to find time to put up the tree and such as it is we are now officially in the Festive Spirit!

We now officially have the angels singing and Joy fills the house  - well at least it decorates the tree.
The panel behind these angels was stitched with love by the Half Deaf Half Blind Elderly Mother!

These three angels were gifts from Kazumi (on the left) and Mother (on the right) and the poor forgotten angel in the middle, well I can't remember where she came from.   The tall pink angel spins and plays delightful music while the other two have only unharmonious bell clangers.   Never mind -  in my house they sit silent!

And a selection of tree ornaments

Obviously I have a fetish for dating stitched ornaments - and these next ones were from JCS Christmas Ornament Issues.  The series must have come to an end in 2008 as I haven't stitched one since then.  2009 was the Gingerbread Ornament from Victoria's Sampler - in the shot above.
And the sampler on the wall was stitched originally to give away but once done I couldn't part with it.

This was from an old Antique Sampler Quarterly magazine (in the days when I subscribed) and was stitched in pure silks.  It was heaven to stitch and I still enjoy looking at it every day.

The Bargello Sewing case and the Sewing machine must meet tonight and the journey to completion will begin.

Good night all

Friday 17 December 2010

Belated Birthday and Early Christmas

Today has been a day for gifts.   First up the postman brought me a surprise package from my friend Sonoko -  an assortment of things Japanese as a belated birthday gift.   Included in the package and not shown in the photo was a wonderful letter from her too which "re-formed neural paths" in my brain which I feel is not retaining the language I struggled so hard to learn.   Now that I do not work for a Japanese corporate there are less opportunities to read and write in that language so I am very thankful to my friends who continue to believe that I can read and write as well as them!
Chocolates, caramels, Japanese toys and most welcome pen

Then, at work, this beautiful casket arrived -  filled with Christmas chocolates and accompanied by cognac.   Who needs chocolates when there is a box for grabs?   My boss was delighted to keep his alcohol and chocolates and I am delighted with the casket which I can already visualize lined and filled with needlework tools and embroidered accessories.   Wasn't this a wonderful start to Christmas presents!!
View from the top

And a view from the front

On the stitching front I have completed the Bargello Sewing Case and tonight will tack out the construction lines.   This item needs a classy lining so tomorrow I will go out shopping and with 14 days left in this month I may yet be able to complete everything within the year.  

Have a happy evening everybody

Monday 13 December 2010

No strawberries but an answer for Melodee

Thank you for all the lovely comments about the strawberries.   I am sorry for all of you who are in winter now -  but we have had that and it's our turn now for sun!   Tonight's fruit was beautiful sweet watermelon and the promise by weatherman Jim of 27 degrees tomorrow, 19 degrees tonight and 90% relative humidity.  Do you know, I think snow would be great just right at the moment!   Shall I send the humidity to you?

Melodee, Thanks for your comment.   The "Quaker look" ornament was from the July/August 2009 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Preview edition.   Instead of white on red,  I stitched red on white and this week it will be mailed off to my niece for her tree.

Here's a photo of the cover -  in case you want to go looking for the magazine.

Good night all.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Strawberries - and summer temperatures

It's strawberry time in NZ.   Hot summer days and delicious strawberries.   Both in my dinner and in my needlework!   And just for the record I prefer the edible variety.   The sheer quantity of Queen Stitches in the stitching strawberries is a major test of patience.  Today has actually been rather too hot and humid and to cap it all we are promised a "tropical night"!!

Here is a more complete snapshot - in faith I have already stitched the date and I am on track to make this true.

Have a good night everyone.

Friday 3 December 2010

An update on the Bargello Sewing Case

Good evening all.   Friday evening and I am exulting in having two days to myself!   Well apart from a long list of chores that is - but still I am glad to have the time to myself.

Progress has been slow on the second "page" of my sewing case but here's a shot of where I am up to.
You can see the panel left for the lettering and so my energies are expended on this next....

Yes, I have to chart my name and the date.   This chart was done in 1994 so basically I need to graph the whole line - Margaret S finished Dec. 2010   Perhaps my faith is too great but as the lettering is in petit point I won't be undoing it.

Well that's all for tonight folks.  Hope you have a great evening

Friday 26 November 2010

And this time, an embroidery update

Since returning home to superior lighting and comfortable seating I have made good progress on the Bargello Sewing Case so here are a couple of snapshots showing progress.   This has enough variety of stitches to keep my interest and is small enough to enable relatively speedy stitching.   I am using 36 count edinburgh linen in an antique white shade with the DMC and Needle Necessities floss as charted (there is also some gold thread for which I substituted one I liked from my stash).

Anne in Scotland - you left a comment on the last post about this piece.   If you would email me (address in my profile) I will gladly give you the information you need.

Anyway, here's the progress photos.

Front Cover - complete

First panel of the Inside "Page"
Have a good evening everyone.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Honkey Dorey

A snapshot tonight of this cute little car, named Honkey Dorey by its owner - a really eccentric and loveable resident of Norfolk Island-who owns New Kids on the Block,  a small shop selling designer kids clothes to all the Granny and Grandad tourists.   Don't you think the wind up key and the eye lashes are cute!   What a fabulous sign post when parked outside the store.

I think the average age of the tourist who visits must be somewhere between 54 and 90 -  I lowered the average age of the island the minute I stepped off the plane!!

See you all tomorrow night - I need some sleep now :-)

Wednesday 24 November 2010

I'm back!

Hello everyone.   I'm back home again after a week on Norfolk Island.   Only one night's rain and beautiful sunny days were a delight for tourists but not so welcome for the 1800 permanent Islanders who rely on rain for their water supply.

Electricity comes from a diesel generator and cost means that all electric light bulbs are around 60 watts and no conducive to stitching.   So the productivity result for a week was stitching zilch but book reading seven books (and one audio book off my iPod!)   All in all very refreshing and I feel great benefit from my week away.

This little Island has great history of descent from the mutineers of HMS Bounty and of convict penal settlements and provides a lot of interest for visitors.   Here's a few snapshots to show you some of what I saw.

Anson Bay on the North West coast

The foreman's house at the time of the penal settlement -  since restored of course

The famous Norfolk Pines that Captain Cook found had too many branches and knots to be used for ship masts for Her Majesty's Navy

The commemoration of where Captain Cook first landed in 1777
A view to the only accessible swimming beach on the south coast of the island

And I'll be back soon with some more snapshots and an update on the Bargello Sewing Case.

Saturday 13 November 2010

I'm off on holiday tomorrow morning !!!

Just before I turn off the computer and do my final packing here's a shot of the finished ornaments.

Stitched on Edinburgh Linen with my favourite red Threadworks floss 

One medallion from the Wiehenburg Christmas Quaker stitched on Edinburgh Linen in my favourite red threadworks floss

Stitched on Edinburgh linen in a Christmas Green Threadworks floss -  store bought tassels to finish

EDITED   Hazel to answer your question I used two threads of floss as I wanted good coverage
These three are all destined to become gifts for people who don't know my blog exists but they have certainly been a fun stitch and I am certainly thankful for the inspiration of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issues.   While I never use the recipes I usually find some ornaments I like!
As you can see it's dark outdoors and I need to go "shut eye" in preparation for an early start tomorrow.   See you all in a week's time with a report and hopefully some snapshots of my week in Norfolk Island.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Post Anne Progress

Good evening all,
Since the Anne Book completion I have stitched three Christmas Ornaments and 'finished' them only to find that I have no narrow ribbon to go around so no photos yet!   I want to do a finish-finish before I take photographs.
Then it was a case of what next?   Out of the KITS box came an ancient purchase; it was checked over and is now in my suitcase.   More on that later.   But then the problem; out of all this stash what to do next.   When in doubt consult the Half Deaf Half Blind Elderly Mother and she said that this particular item from 1994 must surely be next.   And so it is.

This Bargello Sewing Case is proving interesting and quick and so by Christmas this should be finished - at least the stitching part although construction may have to wait.   My New Year resolution is to stitch the Historic Countries Sampler and nothing will thwart me from that goal.   So I'm speeding on with this one in order to keep my stitching schedule on course.

And why the suitcase?   Well as a reward to ourselves the HDHBEM and I are off to Norfolk Island for a weeks holiday.   Having been three times before we know what to expect and stitching (for me), knitting (for HDHBEM) and lots of reading are on the agenda.   Also lots of walking (for me), swimming (for both) and exploring the island.   Don't you wish you were coming too?   See you all when we get back

Sunday 24 October 2010

The Anne Book is Complete!!

Did you hear the happy dance?   My Anne book is complete.   This has been a real saga; a veritable marathon; almost but not quite, a never ending story.   In 2008 my best friend Kazumi, who knows I love Anne of Green Gables, sent me a whole series of stamps celebrating the 100th anniversary of the cute red-head from Prince Edward Island.  Inspired, I decided to embroider my own celebration of Anne (with an E) and on investigation found a sampler from Charland Designs.   But it was the book that had enthralled me so a book it must be and the sampler was split into pages and off I started -  with little idea of the creativity or expertise necessary to design my own piece.   At times this project was sheer enjoyment and at others only dogged determination but today I have finished!   This is never going to become an exhibition piece and to my eye only the faults are visible but at present nothing can dim the satisfaction.  
Here's some of my lousy photography to show off.

The cover  -  my idea of rustic
An embroidered record of the reason for the book
A is for Anne with an E of course
Ah, but she did forgive Gilbert Blythe and countless girls over the century later have loved the romance of it all
And the stamps from Kazumi that inspired this whole saga.

And now my UFO's are all completed I am off to my stash cupboard to decide what to do next.  Have a  good evening everyone.

Saturday 16 October 2010

10 weeks until Christmas

Only 10 weeks until Christmas they tell me, so it's just as well I have made a start.
Here's a few snapshots of what I have been up to this week.
These little pendibules were a freebie from a site I can't remember so I apologise for not giving credit where it is due.  A scrap of 36 count linen and assorted DMC threads, some ribbon from the stash box and all is fini!  Once again my photography skills are not good -  the middle shot shows the colour best- I took the final shot too late at night but if nothing else it does complete the sequence.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Frilly Tassell

Last night I paid a visit to my stash cupboard and found a Catherine Howell kit, which was a birthday gift some years ago.   As I felt like having a new start and this looked like a one evening project, I began.   Even the hated silk ribbon and mini teeny tiny sequins didn't put me off.   Here's the finished result.  The silk ribbon and silk thread of the tassell are Colour Streams in colour called Monet.   Great colour combination isn't it.

And voila ! a fifth tassell is added to my collection.   I seem to have got the lighting right this time as it is true to colour in this shot - but the tassell threads aren't uneven as they look here.

Hope you are all enjoying your week.   Nice to think we're half way through isn't it?

Monday 4 October 2010

Ukranian Mat Finished!

Hello all.   Before this mat begins it's journey over the seas here's a couple of photos to show off.   I am rather pleased with this one - again from Gay Eaton's book.   In this book each stitch combination is named and this was Andrij -  the instructions for this stitch combination were again very easy to follow.   While I loved the colour of this piece the linen wasn't easy to work with being too soft but the finished product doesn't look too bad.   These photos were taken after work in what was left of the natural light and then indoors under the Ott light and neither give the true colour -but they do show the stitching

Ukranian Whitework Mat
Fabric :   Weeks Dye Works Handdyed Linen 32 Count
Threads :  DMC Perle  #3813

It's only October and already I have made a resolution for next year -  to do a photography course and learn how to take better photographs.    So with apologies for the quality of the photography, I bid you all good night.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Spring is here and I have a new toy!

Although it has officially been Spring for over a month the weather and temperatures haven't made it feel so.   But today is beautiful!   And these cherry blossoms are too good not to share.

On the stitching front I hope to finish the Ukranian Mat tonight and then I promise a photo.  Unexpected visitors, a particularly gripping episode of Midsomer Murders and a late night phone call to Kazumi all combined to hinder stitching progress yesterday.   But this afternoon I have made a batch of lemon biscuits, a ginger crunch slice and am now going to have half an hour indulgence reading Awakening by S J Bolton and I will be back to my stitching.

Yesterday I went to the camera shop and bought a new macro lens for my camera - hopefully this week I will have time to begin trying out the new toy.   Here's a shot the guy at the Camera Shop took to show me just how great it was.  No good me trying to pull out the grey hairs is it -  by the looks of this every second one is grey!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Ukranian Whitework Mat - update

Good evening everyone.   Thought I had better update my current Work In Progress.   While the aim was to have this finished by the end of the week, I now think it may take the weekend as well to fully complete.   However, I am now on to the 'square eyelets' and then there are the VerkHopLoot triangle borders and the hem.   Reading instructions sure slows down progress but is certainly essential!   There has been a lot of reverse stitching in this mat.

Have you ever wondered what it is in the human psyche that while we are working on one thing we dream of everything else we want to do?   I found this Quaker Chess Board recently (do click on the link and see it) and despite my resolutions and plans I find myself wanting it. So far so good and I am sticking to my resolutions and plans but how long I can hold out against the voice of temptation I am not sure.   May be if I purchased the chart it would ease the pressure??

On 1st October GST (Goods and Services Tax) rises by 2.5% and work is busy making sure that all systems are go for that.   And as a consolation prize income tax drops so I've had work to do on the payroll system to ensure that is all updated too.   Still only two days of the working week to go.

Have a good evening everyone.   See you sson.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Ukranian Whitework Mat

A snapshot tonight of my current Work In Progress.   This is a small mat in Ukranian Whitework - well although that is technically the name of this type of embroidery the colour is a beautiful pale aquamarine.   The linen is a piece from Weeks Dye Works and the Perle threads are DMC 3813   Satin stitch and ladder hemstitch, while rhythmical, are not the most interesting stitches but those Ukranian connected eyelets were great fun.
I feel as if I have turned the corner tonight when I literally did so and everything added up!   Such a sense of satisfaction when all those threads count out correctly.   Hopefully another week or so will see this finished.

Today I made an appointment with the dentist and was a little shocked to find that it's 5 years since I paid him a visit.   Paid is the important word in that sentence!   Dentists fees are so expensive.  I remember him asking then why I didn't come more regularly.   My answer at the time was that I preferred to spend money on my eyesight as while false teeth were available false eyes were not, a philosphy I still adhere to.   

Well good night from stormy Auckland.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Historic Countries Sampler

Denise has asked about the sampler I plan to do next year and which I erroneously called the World Sampler.   It is in fact the Historic Countries Sampler and is from The Gift of Stitching here as a kit or you could purchase all the back issues and build a fantastic resource of wonderful charts and ideas.  

Sorry this picture is not clickable -  you will need to visit the actual website to check out details.
You can see that this sampler comes in the category of Masterpiece (my description) and will require all my time and attention so needs must and I just have to get my UFO's finished first.

Talk to you all again soon