Saturday 29 October 2011

And the birthday evening was spent at .......

Yesterday was a really exciting day.   I got to ride in a thoroughly modern ambulance and spend my evening sitting in the emergency department of the hospital.   Yes!!   The HDHBEM got sicker and sicker so we pushed the Lifeline alarm and - I wish I could say tout-de-suite but in reality it was lots longer than that - Nick and Matt the ambulance men came and carted us both off to ED.   Of course I went!   Sans stitching, sans book, sans camera, sans everything except the taxi fare home, my mobile phone and the front door key.
So when I got home at 1:30am I had to wash the dinner dishes (I had eaten my solitary meal many hours before), wash my tired white face and only then could I go to bed but not to sleep well.
This morning at 7:30 the hospital phoned to say come and collect your HDHBEM (well it wasn't exactly a request, more like an order to get there quickly) so I obediently went off and did so.  She is now resting in her comfy chair, dozing on and off and at this precise moment in time attempting a Sudoku!  The very firm doctor who discharged her told her to drink 12 glasses of water a day!   Seemed to me to be rather a lot of work for her solitary kidney but I will make sure she keeps the fluids up -  I don't want another scare like that again!
However, at the very firm instructions of the HDHBEM  I made a quick sortie to the LNS and spent the vouchers.   The birthday gift shopping date has been postponed -  not cancelled!   More on that later but here's a quick snapshot of todays loot.   I wanted to replenish my basics of Cashel and Belfast linen,  the four brown flosses are for a project currently underway but alas, not yet photographed for the blog, and the other two are, well impulse buys added extras.  

Now it looks like there is a quiet afternoon ahead so perhaps the roses will get finished, the pulled thread completed and, oh yes, the ironing may get done too!
Have a happy weekend everyone.

Friday 28 October 2011

57 years ago today....

57 years ago today, the HDHBEM brought me into the world and has loved me to bits ever since.   This morning she presented me with a beautiful card and vouchers to the LNS and tomorrow she is taking me to buy me a birthday present.   She insists that I choose it myself so a-shopping we will go.

HDHBEM isn't well tonight so we will leave the birthday meal until tomorrow when we plan to go to a Japanese restaurant across the harbour.   That is after we have been to the LNS and birthday-gift shopping.

I started this last weekend and was really up to speed last night until I found that in all my mountain of stash there was no DMC 225.   Near my work there is a small sewing machine repair shop which has a few DMC threads and fortunately the one I needed, so tonight I will complete this.  Only another two roses to go.   Why oh why, do roses have to have so many shades of colour??  

My mental list of "want to stitch" grows ever longer but I have three must-be-finished pieces.   Two of those are for Christmas gifts so I have an immovable deadline which is probably a good thing.   Although I may be distracted by these....

My requests at the Library came in this week.   I'm looking forward to seeing whether Jeffery Deaver's James Bond is as fulfilling as Ian Fleming's were.   Sebastian Faulk's 2008 Bond novel failed to meet my expectations and became, for me, merely one crossed off the list.

Hopefully back with some more progress and photos tomorrow.   Have a great night everyone.

Monday 24 October 2011

Labour Weekend

Today, the fourth Monday in October is Labour Day in New Zealand and therefore a public holiday.   So it has been a long holiday weekend.
On Saturday I drew up a list of everything I needed to get done and the order in which I would do it so as to be home before the roads closed at the Eden Park Rugby Stadium.   Then I started this .....
Once the tacking was completed I searched my Perle Threads for a suitable match and no luck.   Oh dear oh dear.   Quickly, before Hercule Poirot came on the television I started this....   
No tacking needed and necessary Perle Thread in stash.   Dear old Hercule accompanied me to this point and at 11pm I went off for some beauty sleep.

Sunday I did some more of this......  Not far to go now and I intend to make this into a cushion for which I have purchased the backing fabric.   That was a marathon shopping effort -  I looked at pink.   No this is definitely not pink.   Try apricot.    No definitely not apricot.   Try a print - too large; then too small.   Run out of patience and declare "I must go home" and lo and behold the exact toned print material appears before my eyes.   Whoopee.

Then in order to ensure I can legitimately call myself a New Zealander I prepared for a rugby watching session on the television.   Having got through this Rugby World Cup without watching one match I felt compelled to see this final one through.   My brothers are to blame for my singular lack of knowledge of our national sport.   They didn't play rugby so I have no idea of the rules or the tactics but I do know how to score and to yell speak loudly at the television offering advice to "my" side and telling the French where to go and when to stop and what to do!
"Just hold on to the ball", she shouted.   "There's only a minute and a half to go"!!  
Now, I know I live very close to the stadium but this was really a little over the top!   Anyway with my expert coaching and sideline encouragement the All Blacks WON!!   My whole city, indeed my whole country is happy and very tired.
And since you ask, yes the HDHBEM did sit up and watch.   She's far more enthusiastic than I, but today she is not only half deaf half blind, she is also half awake and her heart has gone into atrial fibrillation.   So she's medicated and in bed!   How silly of us both to suffer so for a sport we don't even enjoy.   But then, we do enjoy basking in the glory and gloating over our win.
This morning in honour of our win I stitched myself a black pencil skirt for work.  Nothing major but a good fit and tonight I will put up the hem.   How suitable, I thought to myself, a black skirt to commemorate an All Black win.   I don't even need to go into The City to join the victory parade.   I can have my little celebration right here at home!
This afternoon I drove out to Muriwai Beach;  without my camera so these shots were taken on my cheap mobile telphone.   It was a glorious day and there were several intrepid men gliding off the cliffs in these fragile looking paragliders.   Good on them.   For me this is definitely a specatator sport.
Well I have had a lovely weekend and I'm off now to grill chicken for dinner and then it will be an early night as I have work tomorrow.   What a shame!

Thursday 20 October 2011

Drum roll please - the winner is.....

Good evening all,  Madame Muriel Flat Flossie here for a very important announcement.
My stay in New Zealand with my hostess and her HDHBEM has come to a close.   My hostess has prepared my travel capsule and tonight the HDHBEM took out her special bowl for the grand drawing.
Apparently there were 7 people who wanted me to come for a visit.   How great is that!    I feel very very popular and honoured that my fame has travelled so far around the Globe.   Why, there were offers from Canada, America, Germany and the United Kingdom.   I checked to make sure that all entries were in the bowl.
Anyway, let me just tell you how honoured I was that this bowl was used.   The HDHBEM received this bowl as part of a tea set 60 years ago when she got married.  How amazing!   It's still in one piece because my hostess doesn't use it except on very special occasions.  
So I watched closely while the HDHBEM drew a paper.   I will really miss the HDHBEM -  she might be really ancient but she is so kind and her hands are sooo soft.   Must be all that knitting she does.
Anyway the result of the drawing is that I am going to visit Jo
Jo says she lives in East Anglia and my hostess got out her Road Map of Great Britain to show me.  
Can you email your postal address to my hostess please Jo, and she will ensure that I get on the correct aeroplane.    I look forward to meeting you and the boys very soon.

Many thanks to all of you who extended an invitation.   Please don't give up -  I will come to you soon

Farewell New Zealand.    Rule Britannia!!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Needles with no eyes!

Good afternoon all.   This week has been crazy.   I think I have told you before that the HDHBEM knits childrens cardigans and sweaters for the local hospice shop.   She loves it and has great fun planning what to knit next.   We have now crossed dark wine coloured yarn off our list,  haven't we Mother?   So much reversing and so much frustration that eventually 'obedient daughter' issued an ultimatum - "you will not knit any more of that.  I will complete it."  Believe me folks, this was a very generous offer from one who does not like needles without eyes!   Anyway the garment is now finished and the HDHBEM is knitting a lovely grey marl which even her poor eyesight can manage perfectly.  Just as well:-)
I am back on my pulled thread piece. 

This chart has nine small squares of nine different pulled thread stitches.   This photo is of square three.   Look to the left a little -  can you see the "sad area"?   Squares one and two have been stitched -  and reversed!   I have decided that although numbered one and two they shall be last and second-to-last.   This chart is all in French so I am getting very good at guessing: have to be really as the last time I used French was over 40 years ago. 

Here's a bad close up photo of the successful effort.   A little pale but this was taken in the last of the daylight.  Still you can see the effect.

Today was Embroiderers' Guild meeting and I did some more work on my Pochette ABC'Dair.   All that tacking was a major test of patience but it is paying off and I know that all the pieces will line up when I come to construction.
Tonight is the first of the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.   Wales versus France.   I will not be watching but as the venue is only 5 minutes walk from my house I will hear the crowd I'm sure.   After stitching while watching Midsomer Murders I will check the internet to see who won before going to bed.   Good plan??
Just between you and me, I don't really care who wins tonight.   It's the game tomorrow night between New Zealand and Australia where I need to have New Zealand win.   Can you all cross your fingers for that please.
Well, I will talk to you later.   Good night all.

Monday 10 October 2011

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go....

Well, it's me again and that title really says it all.   My hostess has been asking where I want to visit next.   Apparently she will book my flight anywhere I want to go but I must have an invitation.   She said there might be visa problems if I don't have a suitable sponsor hostess.

So tonight we had the atlas out.  All those pages - some of them very dog-eared too I might add.  I wanted to suggest just sticking a pin at random into one of those multi-coloured pages but my hostess was aghast at that idea.   She flatly refused to assist me with that and suggested a blog posting instead.  
Here we go with a little post I had prepared previously....

Unaccustomed as I am to posting about myself or my travels on this blog (or indeed any other blog), I have drawn on every ounce of my courage to make this plea.   I need a place to visit.  
My requirements are few so I list them below:
1.   I need an invitation from a willing hostess.
2.   The willing hostess needs to show me the sights of her town/city of residence and agree to take photographs and post them on her blog.
3.   The willing hostess will need to fill in my passport -  I find it very difficult to hold a pen in my hands and require the services of a scribe who can read, write and speak English.
4.    The willing hostess will need to provide a postcard of her town/city of residence to help fill the pocket in my passport.
5.    The willing hostess will need to provide a small gift for me to take with me when I journey on from her place to the next.  (BRIBE here -  I will be bringing with me a gift from my current hostess)

Yes!   I have just checked with my hostess and her HDHBEM and apparently that is the total requirement.  So if any of you out there who are reading this blog, are longing to meet me in person please leave a comment on this post.   The HDHBEM said she will assist in drawing a name from "Grandma's Bowl" on 20 October and my hostess said she has my luggage ready so I can travel immediately my destination is decided.  

PS   Perhaps I should let you know my destinations of choice are (in no particular order)

Scotland (anywhere they have tartan kilts)
Wales (A photo of me with Wills and Kate would become a family heirloom)
Dublin (I hear this is in the Emerald Isle and I just love emeralds)
London (a visit to the Queen would be high on my list but I would settle for Phillip, Charles, Andrew, Edward, Sophie, Camilla, Beatrice, Eugenie,  .... OK OK you get the picture )

and to a different continent
Zanzibar (I am told the beaches there are beautiful and I didn't get much of a tan while here in Auckland)
South Africa (If those emeralds I mentioned above aren't possible well there are diamond mines here)

or perhaps
Canada (I'd love to meet one of those handsome Mounties)

well anywhere really.   I'm not fussy!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday 8 October 2011

A day out at the Embroiderers Regional Day

We were both up early this morning to travel to Orewa.   Yes!   I didn't know where this was either - but it's a small beachside town about half an hours drive north of The City.   My hostess hates being late so we were early!!!   But this gave us time to go to the lookout and she kindly took a photo so I can show you the beach.   What a pity the tide's out otherwise I might have been tempted to swim.

My hostess drives a little blue Mazda car but you might be wondering how I get around to all these places she takes me.   So last night while she was preparing I suggested a photo of my 'travelling style' might allay all this curiosity.
My previous hostess found me this wonderful travelling pod.   It really protects me from too many knocks and bruises although it does rather crush my velvet skirt :-)  

My hostess says that this pod is fine for international travel but she feels it is too confining for domestic trips so she sat me in her special embroidery basket.   I was well cushioned by her "tool box" and her needle book.

Oh?  You want to see what's on that band?  So did I,  so this morning before we left I asked for another photo.   The other side is different but she said one photo was enough!   What?   So we compromised on a close up of the detail on the other side.

This regional day is for all members of the embroiderers guilds from the very Far North down to The City.  There were about 200 women there and I think I lowered the average age immediately I entered the hall. Ha ha! 

But here's proof -  all the grey hair here!  I was so pleased I kept my bonnet on and covered my own tresses.   These old greyheads ( to borrow a word from my hostess) were all looking at samples of work from each of the Guilds.   Apparently there's a lot of cross pollination in this field and many of the tutors travel from one guild to another teaching the same technique on different projects.

This lady is from the Far North and my hostess owes her a BIG obligation.   This lady was the tutor who taught my hostess how to do Kogin - look at that fantastic sample on her knee. I think this was right side up -  her work is soooo beautiful that the back is as good as the front.   Not like the work my hostess does (ha ha hee hee)  

They had a speaker too. Priscilla is an expert in Silk and she has travelled The Silk Road several times.   Today she spoke about her recent six weeks from Shanghai to Samarkand -  not only was her lecture interesting but her textile art and clothing were amazing.   Just look at this.   She made that quilt and her own jacket -  all out of silk.   I was speechless when she told us she had torn up ten and a half yards of handpainted silk into strips about quarter of an inch wide.   She then knitted all those strips into a cardigan.   For goodness sake, I thought to myself.   Hasn't the lady ever seen a yarn store?   But I loved the sweater and tried to persuade my hostess to buy it for me.   My hostess snorted!   She really did.   And after the snort she told me she didn't have that much money in her bank and if I wanted to buy it then I could pay for it.  
Anyway my hostess made good progress on her "project to carry to guild meetings" -  the first alphabet is finished.  She told me to tell you the details, so here we go -   Pochette ABCD'air; one strand of DMC 115 over one thread of Antique White 28 count Cashel Linen and the chart is from here.   (Hope I got that right)
My hostess sat next to her friend Beth today and Beth kindly took this photograph of me.  
And just so you don't worry, my hostess put the last cross in Z just as the lady in charge said "thank you all for coming.  Please take care as you drive home."    We did take care and we are home safely now.
I need to talk to you all tomorrow about my travel plans but meanwhile I'm off for some beauty sleep.   Goodnight all.

Sunday 2 October 2011

A visit to the Exhibition

Good afternoon to you all,
My Hostess belongs to the Auckland Embroiderers Guild and their annual exhibition finished today.   Just before closing we managed to find time to visit.   The cute little old building is called Bishop Selwyns Residence but it's only his ghost that lives there now.  

We had a good look around all the beautiful pieces -  somebody called Stella had stitched that famous piece called Beatrix Potter Companion Quaker.   I liked that one but my hostess and her HDHBEM were really attracted to all the artistic pieces.   The HDHBEM liked a thread picture of the New Zealand bush -  she told me it was in Silk Shading and my hostess said she hates doing that so I don't hold out any hope of a souvenir in that style.
In school holidays the Guild run a class for children called Little Sew and Sews and they had a colourful table of all their work.   Really interesting.   Those children are clever - see that big piece just behind HDHBEM in this picture.   Those children stitched that for a national exhibition and they won a prize.   I almost took my hat off to them - but I thought it might mess up my hair!

I wasn't allowed to take many photos of the pieces but the kind ladies Con and Rebecca said they would smile for me. 

They have to sit by the door and make sure people sign the visitors book and buy raffle tickets for those baskets.   The HDHBEM and my hostess both bought tickets -  I hope they win something as those baskets were filled with all sorts of luxuries.
On the way home my hostess drove us past the house where the New Zealand Prime Minister lives -  even though she said "my friend John" I think she must have been joking as we didn't call in for a cup of tea.

Then she took me to see her "favourite building in Auckland" -  this huge building is on top of a hill and looks out over the city.   It is the Auckland War Memorial Museum and my hostess really loves it.  She told me all about it but I've forgotten a lot -  the names of the battles where New Zealand soldiers fought in World War One are engraved all around the building above those windows.   At least I think that's what she said.  I said I thought that on a fine day, the building would look even more stupendous  - she had to agree with that!   Today is once again, wet and gloomy.

Just down the hill from her favourite building is the Winter Garden.   Strange name for it really, as inside it was full of colour - Spring flowers and so so fragrant.   I loved it there.   So did the HDHBEM.  
We all loved these spiky orange tulips and the dark, almost black ones,

Across the courtyard was another building that my hostess said was the tropical house.   But she was concerned the heat and humidity might make her my hair frizzy so we just admired from a distance and then came home.
So endeth another day.   Despite the grey wet conditions of this weekend I think my hostess has done me proud.   I'm enjoying seeing all her favourite places and I love the way that the HDHBEM absolutely insists on having her share of the photographs.  
My hostess has a busy week at work this week so I will be home keeping HDHBEM company and possibly helping her concentrate on the knitting pattern which seems to be causing some frustration!
Bye for now.

Saturday 1 October 2011

A stitching update and the results of a draw

Hello to you all.   It has been chilly with threatening rain here all day and although I have been out and about the HDHBEM has been indoors knitting.  She has two garments on the needles at present -  one is a test of concentration and is consistently put aside while the "neural paths" revive.   The other is plain knitting and is definitely the favourite as little concentration is required!!

I have been stitching and the first of the Brides Tree Ornaments is completed.   These will not be finished as ornaments.  I intend to quilt them - with a suitably coordinating fabric- and create a table runner for one of my nieces.   Being quite sure that she would not want twelve hand made ornaments for her Christmas tree, but having confidence that she would appreciate the symbolism I decided on a "non-ornamental" finish.  No way these will be finished for Christmas this year -  this is a long term project with completion scheduled for November 2012.

My pale pink pulled-thread piece is also started.   I'm really enjoying the change from little XXX's but as the instructions are all in French this is proving somewhat of a challenge.   There are nine little squares each with a different 'stitch' and I plan on making the completed piece into a cushion.

Now as promised, today was the day for the draw.   I persuaded the HDHBEM to perform once more and here she is...

Despite cataract surgery the left eye still has poor vision - and in my book both ears are half deaf !! -

But nothing wrong with the hands - or the curiosity to see who is the lucky winner.

And so Ann if you will email me your postal address the 12 Days of Christmas chart will be on its way to you.   Perhaps you will get these stitched in time for December 25th?? Eighty four stitching days left.
Thankyou to all who participated in this draw.   It is encouraging to know so many actually read my ramblings.
Have a good evening.  I am off to do my dinner dishes before settling down to watch Midsomer Murders.

A visit to Devonport

Kia Ora
Today is cold and grey but my hostess kept her promise and took me in on the bus so we could catch the ferry to Devonport.

This is the ferry - well not the one we travelled on of course but her sister!   The Hilton Hotel behind was built over the water to look like a cruise ship.   My hostess told me she had stayed in the Bow Suite.   I'm quite sure I smiled politely but she must have thought I didn't believe her and she found a photo to prove it.

Looking back from the ferry I got a lovely view of Auckland City.   That large whiteroof in the centre front is called The Wave by the architects and Party Central by everyone else.   The left hand white roof is the BIG screen where the Rugby World Cup games are shown.  Tonight is England versus Scotland and there were ever so many lovely Scotsmen in their kilts walking around the city.   When the wind got up it was really exciting!   I blushed a deep deep red and worried that my hostess might be embarrassed.

We saw their Harbour Bridge.   Apparently there are some rude people who call this 'the coathanger' but I really can't think why.   It had four lanes when they first built it but the silly planners didn't calculate the number of cars correctly and they had to ask a Japanese engineering firm to make some extra car lanes and clip them on the sides.   Now the folks here in Auckland call those 'the Nippon Clip-ons'.  
Devonport is only a five minute ferry ride from Auckland city.  The first thing I saw when we got out of the terminal building was this....

"Do you think I'm going to ride in that", I asked.   But, she said the thought had never crossed her mind and she had no intention of paying $8 to ride in some old fashioned thing like that!   Perhaps I should have asked more politely and she might have said yes!   Opportunity missed.

This place was great.   Can you smell the chocolate?   I had a great time here.  This place makes so many flavours of chocolate -  even a special Hokey Pokey one.   It took three people to explain to me that Hokey Pokey is a butterscotch toffee type sweet that crackles when you eat it.   New Zealanders put it into chocolate and into icecream and they love it.   Not wanting to soil my pristine white apron I was reluctant to try it out so cannot vouch for the accuracy of their descriptions.
We went to the yarn shop and to the quilting shop but alas, my hostess forgot to take a photograph of me there.   When I timidly voiced my disappointment she dismissively said "well you have better where you come from.   I'm trying to give you unique experiences you know".  
Maybe that is why she took me past this place.

I remembered she said that Kiwis cannot fly so wondered aloud why they needed a Flight Centre.   Then, oh dear, she said with tears in her eyes that she thought I might like to consider where I wanted to visit next.
Uh?  Truth to tell I am enjoying myself so much I hadn't thought about that.  Anyway we had a discussion and apparently the itinerary is -
Tomorrow we go to the Auckland Embroiderers Guild Annual Display of Work at Bishop Selwyns Residence.   Doesn't that sound posh.  
Next Saturday we go to a place called Orewa, where all the embroidery ladies from this region get together for a stitch and chat day.
Methinks I might like to visit those but then perhaps I need to think about where to next.   My hostess said she will write about it all on her blog in a week or two but she was rather hoping I could stay until her birthday before I went on with my journey.   Anyway I pleaded with her to put out the word and see if there was anyone else who had a spare bed for me and would show me other interesting places.   Please think about it.
And now I'm really tired so its back to my sleeping pod and bye bye for now.