Sunday 29 May 2011

Strawberries in the Winter?

Last night while watching the Antiques Roadshow I completed this Strawberry Biscornu.   You might remember that I sent a "kit" of this to my Aunty recently.   She was delighted and her wonderful letter of thanks inspired me to complete the construction on the one I had stitched.   This free design from Gift of Stitching is just beautiful but were I to do this again I would use pure linen as this fabric (Lugana?) was not so forgiving during the construction.   Anyway here's a snapshot of the top and sides of Strawberry Biscornu number one.

And so my holiday is over and I'm back to work tomorrow.   This "stitching break" has been just wonderful and I am revitalised to finish the final quarter of my Historic Countries Sampler.   Look out for the next update!
Have a good evening everyone

Saturday 28 May 2011

Holiday food and an embroidery update

Today is really the last day of my week's holiday  - tomorrow is the start of a new week and its back to work on Monday!
While on holiday I completed this Advent Calendar  -  early preparations for Christmas presents!   There only remains the buttons to sew on and the cord tags for each piece but they need a good hard press with the iron first.

As I hadn't taken any other work to do I made a quick call to the local needlework store and purchased a Victoria Sampler kit and finished this small square too.   Hopefully next weekend I will stitch this into a small lavendar bag-  somehow the colours seem to suggest that type of finish.

Today I spent all day at a gathering of all the Embroiderer's Guilds in the Auckland region and as well as listening to interesting speakers, looking at wonderful stitching and avoiding temptation at the "merchants mall".   There were several tables of work exhibited from each of the Guild's present and this snapshot is of the East Auckland Guild who were hosts for the day.   Isn't that a lovely example of a Reticella mat  in the foreground.    
 I managed to complete the stitching on this small Christmas Ornament.   This is stitched over one thread of fabric in one strand of DMC threads on a scrap of unknown linen from my stash (I think 28 count) and is a Gift of Stitching chart and will be finished as a hanging ornament for my niece's Christmas tree.  

And now a couple of food shots from my holiday.

Louise cake was a real blast from the past -  and sooo delicious.

This was called Cafe Cake - and I was really tempted to ask for the recipe!

Finally, the HDHBEM found a friend in this bronze man sitting on his bench in the small village of Katikati.   We went back to see if the apartment behind the BNZ where I spent the first year of my life,  was still there.  It was.   Even though the logo and the facade have both changed out of all recognition, the apartment behind has had little more than a coat of paint in the intervening 55 years!  

And so its Good Night from me as I'm off to do the ironing.   Have a good evening everyone.

Thursday 26 May 2011

I'm back!

We had a lovely break away at Papamoa Beach  -  four days of beautiful golden weather and then the Weatherman heard I was on holiday and ordered up a storm.   Packing the car and driving home in the gales and torrential rain was no fun but we arrived safely and for that I am thankful.
Our motel was right on the beach front and I enjoyed walks on the sand, while from behind the picture windows I sat in my armchair and stitched away on a piece of handquilting for a gift.  No photos of that at present but here are some of "our place"

The HDHBEM took her knitting but as you will see from these photos she also took her wallet - and increased her stash!!! 

This little yarn store had a huge stock and Wallet and Mother had a great time.   Look at the snap of the stash -  how many little garments do you think this will make for the Hospice Shop next winter?  

Maybe more than 16 - that was just the reflection of our motel number.   Here's the stash in all its glory!

But not contented Wallet and Mother paid a second visit to the store and added another 20 balls of yarn to this total!!
Well I'm off to do some stitching now and will be back tomorrow with some more photos and hopefully and update of the stitching.
Have a good evening everyone!

Saturday 21 May 2011

A surprise package from Kazumi and an embroidery update

The mailman brought this surprise package from my friend Kazumi.   A small soft Rabbit, a pretty butterfly mat, a pictorial guide of the Rembrant exhibition she had been to and this wonderful tulip "mascot" were among the contents -  along with a wonderful long letter!

 Sorry the photos aren't too wonderful but at least you can see some of my  goodies. 

And here's acloseup of the golden tulip which is now hanging from the strap of my handbag so although it is Autumn here the tulips are blooming at my house!   Thankyou so very much Kazumi.

This afternoon was Embroiderers Guild and I finally stitched the last of the Christmas Pyramid  -  the top of the H will go on tonight!   

I have also been stitching on a strawberry biscornu (a free chart from Gift Of Stitching).   There are seven more daisies to go on this and then the back to stitch.  

Saturday night is my TV watching marathon and I am sure that Antiques Road Show and then Midsomer Murders will give me enough time to finish the stitching on both these pieces.   However the construction will have to wait until later on.

Last Thursday I had an assessment at the gym and was surprised to find I had lost 6kg!   My reaction was one of total surprise but Patrice (my trainer) was overjoyed.   He's French and was hugely expressive of his approval - apparently all the scientific measurements etc were vastly improved too.   At times I wished he didn't push me so hard but Thursday night was not one of those nights.    I was soooo happy (if not quite as expressive as Patrice!) 

We leave tomorrow for a short break at Papamoa Beach and I will be away from all computer contact but intend to do a lot of stitching, a lot of reading and also a lot of shopping.   My favourite clothes shop is near where we stay so I have already phoned Jan and asked her to look out some things for me.

Keep stitching hard everyone -  I look forward to seeing all your updates on my return

Saturday 14 May 2011

A gift for an Aunty and Progress Report 10 on HCS

Hello all.   It has been a beautifully fine Autumn day here and my car is clean, my garden tidied up, two batches of biscuits are in the tins, the shopping is all done and I now have a few minutes to myself!!

The whitework panel in my HCS is now complete and any hankerings I had to stitch a whitework sampler (yes I have at least two charts in my stash) have been well and truly put away.   Despite conquering the horrid faggot stitch and having at least six enjoyable spider web roses in the panel I did not enjoy this particular area and am mighty glad it is finito.   Here's a snap before I cover it up with a slip of white fabric to keep it clean.   Tonight while I watch Antiques Road Show and Midsomer Murders I will happily stitch on the remaing panel for this section which has two half clad men, a couple of acorns and a tudor rose!!

Today I kitted up a small gift for my Aunty.   She and my Uncle live in Christchurch and their house was badly damaged during the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes.   So far the only progress towards their repairs seems to be visits from 'engineers' who all give conflicting opinions as to what should be done.   Meantime Aunty Rachel and Uncle Geoff (in their 70's) have a house that has no heating, has several gaps in the roof, is leaning askew on its foundations and is decidedly airy.   At least they can remain in their house - it is deemed liveable.  Perhaps this GOS strawberry biscornu will make Spring seem not so far away??  

I think I may have told you my forebears came from Christchurch -  indeed my Great-Great Grandfather, not only one of the founding doctors at Christchurch Hospital, was apparently an advocate for equal education opportunities for women and was prominent in the establishment of Christchurch Girls High School.   Pre-earthquake there was a Black Oak tree planted in a suitably eyecatching position to mark the esteemed Dr Silas Stedman.   Apparently the Girls High was badly damaged and there has been significant demolition - I wonder if said Oak tree is still standing?  
This wooden baptismal cover was in the Cathedral -  right beside the entrance to the Belltower staircase.   Belltower and staircase became a pile of masonary rubble during the earthquake so methinks this Stedman relic may have become shards of native Kauri timber and be consigned to the annals of history.  

On that note I will say goodbye and talk to you again soon.

Monday 9 May 2011

Progress Report HCS 9

Hello there everyone - we have had a weekend of wonderful weather.   Clear blue skies and the golden hue of autumn - my favourite season of the year.
And it was Mother's Day on Sunday.The HDHBEM and I went to our favourite restaurant Banzai where we were greeted like long lost friends.   Although I try to spoil my Mother everyday, I did go to a little more effort on "her day".   You have all seen recent photos of her  -  how about one from last century??

Isn't that pram just so cute -  probably not so hygenic nor user friendly as the modern version but much more romantic!  

Progress has been made on the Historic Countries Sampler too.   This is the top left hand corner and is "England Pre 1700"   How on earth they stitched such complicated work by the light of poor quality candles I don't know!   The 'spot area' at the top had several specialty stitches but I particularly liked the Roman Stitch in the top right.   It was a new one to me and very rhythmical to stitch.

The first third has gone well enough and now I am on the Whitework Band down the middle.   There were a multitude of Queen Stitches in this first band and I find them rather a trial but oh how I dislike Faggot Stitch -  with an intense dislike.   The fear of making an error and having to reverse stitch, combined with the slower speed resulting from my dislike of the process of stitching Faggot Stitch is making this section my very very very least favourite~!!   However all good things come to pass and I hope to work steadily at this band during the week so as to be able to move further left and enjoy the Tudor Rose that comes in the next band. 

Hope your week goes well.  

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Progress Report HCS 8

Good evening all.   I have been diligently stitching on the Historic Countries Sampler and finally the France section is complete.  It was fun to stitch this but I am left mystified at what the brown "thing" is to the right of the tree shape.   The notes didn't give any information about that.

I did the initials in the same colourways as the Memory Book -  a subtle significance that may well be missed by any future generations who view this piece!   I am well over half way now and so have begun dreaming of what I will do next.   This is a big piece but only four countries to go now.

This morning the postman rang the bell and brought me another box from my friend Sonoko.   Of course I opened it immediately and had a brief look at all the wonderful goodies inside!   Here's a small sample.

First there were several beautifully wrapped packages of Kagoshima Cookies, Ramen Noodles and Kagoshima Pork - how did that one get past the Customs Officer??

Next were beautiful handmade bead key ring dollies -  with instructions from Sonoko to share with the HDHBEM and Little Sister!   Three of these cute little people.   I think they will look great on my Christmas Tree ;-)

And aren't these strawberries beautiful -  sparkly and colourful. 
Now wasn't that a great present -  no wonder I was a little late for work.   I wore a broad smile all day -  even the boss commented on that!
Have a great evening everyone.   I'm back to my chair to start stitching the England Before 1700 section.