Sunday 30 January 2011

Lunch Out

Today a rather rare occurence in this household -  we went out for lunch to one of the local Japanese restaurants called Banzai.  

Delicious Tuna and Salmon Sashimi for me

and Yum Yum Prawns for the HDHBEM.  

Yum Yum may not sound totally Japanese but accurately describes the taste.  Mother was totally satisfied and -  high praise this - she commented "we must come here again!"

Highly recommend this place!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Progress Report HCS 4

Hello everyone.   It has been a busy week and I could only make time for needles and thread of a far coarser type than I usually have to hand.   This is the last piece of a summer top and although I am impatient for it to be complete, I am more than satisfied with the way it is turning out.   Knitting in cotton does not come naturally to a New Zealander born and bred on the wool industry but who wants to wear merino in the summer?  This Rowan cotton is not what the pattern specified but a tension square gave identical results and onward I go.   The skirt to complete the bottom half of the outfit is already complete and in use.   My fingers don't move as fast as my sewing machine!

And on the needle and thread of the finer type I have completed Ireland and made a start on Holland on the major project that is my HCS.   This project was started on 22 December last year so I am feeling quite happy with progress so far even though I'm only about a quarter done.   Strangely enough I am looking for a change from this and may have to revise my resolutions and make a side excursion into some smalls - I have my eye and thoughts on a series of Christmas ornaments.

This morning I was up early and made some Grantham Gingerbread from my latest cook book.   These are crisp buttery cookies and why they would be called Gingerbread I have no idea.   A double pencil tick is in the margin of this recipe now and I will definitely be repeating this one.  

We have a public holiday on Monday and I am rejoicing in a long weekend.   The Half Deaf Half Blind Elderly Mother and I are going to our favourite Japanese restaurant for lunch tomorrow and our scheduled treat for Monday is the movies - "The King's Speech" is calling us!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Rosemary flavoured 2 4 6 biscuits

Immediately after my last post Yuko Sawada asked if the biscuits were cooked yet!   Well they are now and here's the proof - cookies and a cup of 'Crystal Tea'.   Don't you wish you could taste them Yuko?   Not only are they aromatic but they taste real good :-)

This cup saucer and plate are part of the tea service the Half Blind Half Deaf Elderly Mother received as a wedding gift in 1952.   It is still complete and still in use for special occasions such as these cookies!!!

Progress Report HCS 3

Today is a dreary grey day trying desperately to fulfil the weather forecast for rain.   Just the right kind of day for stitching but before that I have some baking to do - from my new cookbook.  

The Half Blind Half Deaf Elderly Mother plantively told me that she preferred my home baked cookies so what can a girl do???   This afternoon I will try 2-4-6 Biscuits.   Apparently these are so called because the basic formula is 2oz sugar, 4oz butter and 6 oz flour!   One of the variations offered uses fresh rosemary of which there is an abundance in my garden and so the decision is made.   I will let you know the result - if I am satisfied enough to publish.

Now HCS is progressing well.   England was conquered and I have moved on to Ireland -  three more darning "patches" and an alphabet before I can move onto Holland.   The Ireland section has a series of crowns but no explanation for the K M Q D B L underneath.   Does that mean King Marquise Queen Duke Baron Lord???  

Tonight I plan on watching my pre-recorded James Bond movie (despite the fact that it is that Daniel whatshisname chap and not my friend Pierce!) and stitch happily.   The knitting has reached the - both fronts and one sleeve completed - stage so will go on holiday for a week while I finish the Ireland portion of HCS.  

Have a good evening everyone.

Thursday 20 January 2011

View From My Window

Good evening all.   No stitchy news to tell you tonight.  I am progressing on the Ireland portion of the HCS but the speed has slowed as I am also knitting a cotton cardigan.   Perhaps there will be photos in the weekend.

But today I decided to take some pictures from my windows -
First the view from my lounge window - this is the right hand half of my vegetable garden.   Those white lilies are the bane of my life and next year they will be transferred to a pot and moved some place else.   When my friend Gwen gave them to me I didn't understand that they would multiply nor that they would grow so big!  Hopefully they will bloom fully next week and I can show photos of the actual flowers.

I have enjoyed beans, rhubarb and silver beet.   I'm waiting for the Bok Choy, the aubergine, and the beetroot to mature for harvest.   Many meals of beans have been frozen in preparation for the winter and I have dried much of the parsley and basil for use when the fresh is not so readily available.   Stupid coriander went to seed before I could blink!

Next the view from my car window as I drive to work.

The sky looked black and I expected rain but in fact today turned out a beautiful blue sky and HOT HOT!

Finally the view from my office window.   Not the best view in the world is it?   I look out on the warehouse from my perch in the mezzanine where once again it is HOT HOT!   Yes, we have an umbrella inside to cut down the glare for the poor guys on the packing bench.

And with that I am off to put a few more stitches into HCS and I promise progress photos and an update in the weekend.
Have a great evening all.

Monday 10 January 2011

ABC of Me

Valerie posted this on her blog and I decided to play along ...

ABC's of me...

A - Age: 56
B - Bed size: King Single
C - Chore you hate: All!   Why do you think I have a cleaner?   But I love ironing!
D - Dog's name: No dogs in my house but I adore Golden Labradors
E - Essential start of the day item: My three alarm clocks!
F - Favorite color: Blue
G - Gold or Silver: Gold is worth more I think?
H - Height: 5'8"
I - Instruments you play: The piano a little
J - Job: Administrator
K - Kids: Nope!
L - Living arrangements: Solo
M - Music you love: Classics and most Country and Western.
N - Nicknames: Never had one and I refuse to answer to any.
O - Overnight hospital stay at hospital: Too many times to list -  my claim to fame is three hospitalisations in Japan.
P - Pet Peeve: not sure that I have any of these really
Q - Quote from a movie: "I hardly ever watch movies so ……asked my little sister who happened to call and she said “I don’t know – will have to get back to you”!!!!   Must be a genetic defect here.
R - Right handed or left: Right
S - Siblings: Three, 2 brothers and 1 sister
T - Time you wake up: 5:45 is when the alarm goes off ~ and so far this year I have got out when the first alarm rings and turned off the other two back ups!
U - Underwear: Of course
V - Vegetable you dislike: None that I can think of - I love my vegetables
W - Workout Style: Half hour fast walk up the local mountain (oops read hill for that although it is called Mt Eden) first thing in the morning and a further half hour at my local Curves every night after work.
Y - Yummy food you make: I love both baking and cooking but won’t be winning Masterchef any time soon.My Ginger Crunch has been known to collect compliments
X - XRAYS you've had:  it feels like a gazillion and the stack of them is several inches high but the ones I love the most are the regular chest xrays which show up my pacemaker and the helpful radiologist says "you've got a pacemaker in your right upper chest"   -  isn't it lovely of them to tell me this!
Z - The best place to visit: For you? New Zealand, of course! For me? I have a notebook full of my “must see +must do +must eat” in the UK and hope to do the grand tour when I retire in 9 years time. Yes – I’m counting down already.

And now you know my ABC won't you join this game with me.   Leave me a message so I can visit your blog and get to know you too.
Well, that's it for tonight - I'm off to wash my dinner dishes and settle down for some serious stitching.   Tonight I conquer the England section of HCS.
Good night all.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Progress Report HCS 2

Today is the last day of my summer holiday and I am basking in the last of the evening's 25 degree heat as well as the smug sense of satisfaction that comes from having crossed off all the items on my 'holiday to do list'.   And the final item on the list??   To make a 'January to do list' !!

I had hoped to conquer England Since 1700 by the end of this weekend but, oh woe is me,  I am a bird and a border short of my target.   Apparently after 1700, band samplers were no longer in fashion and English samplers tended to be moralistic verses surrounded by floral vine borders.   This section includes a couple of floral vases and that pesky bird that has eluded me.  However here is a progress shot  - this is around two thirds of the final completed width of the sampler and already I have chosen the spot on the wall where this will hang.   Of course this has to be a prominent position where I can sit and gloat - but I get ahead of myself.   Gloating is on the list for next year.

And a close up to show the butterfly, floral vases and the satin stitch hearts.  

One bird on a tree and a speciality stitch border and then I move to Ireland with a shamrock border I am so looking forward to.
Many thanks for all your wonderfully encouraging comments.  Have a good evening everyone.

Thursday 6 January 2011

It's still Christmas at my place!

Today a Christmas parcel arrived - all the way from Japan.   Now, I know that the mailman is extra busy this time of the year but this was posted on 14th December from Asahikawa!   Nevermind, it has arrived and was a box of Japanese calorie free "treats" which made me very happy.  My friend Yuko was an English student in my former life in Tomakomai and is extremely talented and artistic herself, so she sent crafty items -
The daisy cloth is one of those amazing Japanese dish cloths and besides that there are cards, buttons, reels of fancy paper tape, a mini CD of Japanese songs and a cute little box of all sorts of Japanese paper.  What do you think the pink item in the middle is??   I can almost guarantee you will never guess so here's a close up shot -
Yes! It's a bottle top.   But no ordinary bottle top -  a heart shaped one and the reason why was prinited in Japanese and English on the packet so I took a photo of the explanation as I am sure you are wondering why.

Thankyou so much for a wonderful surprise Yuko, I wish I could send you some of our heat and humidity to melt your Asahikawa snow!

(Please note all pictures should be clickable)

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Progress Report HCS

Good afternoon one and all.   Warm greetings from an extremely hot (26 degrees) and humid (70%) Auckland.  Today efforts at gardening and car washing sure wore off a lot of energy -  I'm in front of the fan now recovering in order to be able to stitch tonight:-)

First up a progress report on the Historic Countries Sampler.   Last night saw Joshua and Caleb and their huge bunches of grapes completed - don't the two men look really Germanic - certainly not realistic Israelite spies!

I enjoyed this section with its five little areas of specialty stitches under the stags and the interesting colour combinations.The Germany section is now completed. This chart has a page with each section giving historical information about the samplers of each country which is proving very interesting.   Now I have moved left to start the vine on the England since 1700 section.   Hopefully more of the vine and its hanging roses and strawberries will be completed tonight.

This morning the Half Blind Half Deaf Elderly Mother and I sorted through all the knitting wool stash and decided on four "lots" that she will turn into small knitted garments.  Although the eye sight is dim the fingertips still seem to see well enough for her to knit childrens sweaters and cardigans which she donates to the local Hospice shop.   Easter is the self imposed deadline and she wants to have 20 to take -  so far progress is 16 knitted and 14 fully completed hence the decisions of this morning.   Well done Mother!   I will show off on your behalf.
I go back to work for the day tomorrow -  staff need to be paid and statements need to be mailed - but have Thursday and Friday off before starting back full time on 10th January.   Hip hip hooray -  I may get more stitching and certainly will finish my dress making -  more about that next time I see you.   Have a good night all.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to one and all.   My friend Sonoko sent me this New Year greetings card so I will share it and wish everyone the very very best in 2011 -  the year of the Rabbit.

And as is the accepted custom in needlework blogs there need to be some stitchy resolutions.   Having been vocal about doing a major project in the New Year I decided on the Historic Countries Sampler from GOS.  

 My last project for 2010 was completed on 22 December so I immediately made a start and here is a progress snap.  

The top centre section - Germany is almost completed.  Just Caleb and Joshua and the outsize bunch of grapes to go!   Because of the size of the finished piece - hence the size of the linen fabric and the fact that I am using only a small hand held round frame I will not be working these sections in the order published by GOS, rather working from left to right across the piece of linen.   I look forward to starting 'England after 1800' next.   The linen is 34 count "Devonshire Cream" and I am working in the DMC conversion supplied.   Can you tell by this speedy progress how much I am loving this??

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderfully happy stitching year.