Tuesday 31 July 2012

Catch Up

All last week I felt as if I was running late.   Normally I catch up at the weekend but this weekend was not normal.   First up I had all day Saturday at a Trade Show -  not my scene and among all those sales people, who was interested in those who pay the bills?
Under the shadow of the Sky City Tower in the central city, our function was held in the Convention centre and I was rather taken by these panels along the entrance corridor.
As shows go this was nothing extraordinary -  the Sellotape stand had these "people" constructed of 15 large rolls of packaging tape for each body!
We wandered through the various booths,
collected lots of goodies (my colleague Sue got more than others!)
and I got very tired.

I did sneak out and do a few chores in the middle of the day which made a nice break.
Little Sister was up staying for the weekend so there was more talk than stitching.
I made some progress on Kelly's Growth Chart -  the Lion's paw is the bottom so the end of this is in sight.  
Then yesterday the mailman brought me two kits
Alison from Scholehouse for the Needle is amazing to deal with and her carefully packaged parcel brightened my boring day at work.   Of course last night I succumbed to temptation and started one.
Only the tacking out mind you and my poor tired eyes found 35 count linen hard to see.   But I am looking forward to the silk thread and the new techniques to be learned.   The little tassel is a detached buttonhole strawberry - so very cute.
However, I will go no further than this as on Sunday my "Hardanger Stitch A Long" starts and I want to be able to devote my energies to that.   I've chosen 28 count Cashel linen for the hardanger so won't need to worry about failing eyesight!   I'm hoping to learn nine different filling stitches and am looking forward to starting.   You can see a picture of what will be stitched here although I don't intend to stitch in that colourway.
Of course this means that the Papillon SAL will have to be put to bed for a while  -  despite the best of intentions I do not succeed with rotations and function best on a one-at-a-time basis.   Even though I say that,  I have four pieces in progress at the moment.   But the HDHBEM and I are having a weekend away next month and I intend to devote that time to completing one WIP.
Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday 21 July 2012

The week that was....

I was happy to say goodbye to the past week.   What happened?
Well, the HDHBEM is now officially allergic to yet another antibiotic.  That's four at last count!
Monday morning she woke up swollen lips, bright red rash .... oh dear oh dear.   Thinking quickly I administered an antihistamine tablet and made an appointment with her doctor who confirmed my diagnosis.   So it has been a miserable week for her and for me.   Thank goodness the swelling has gone and the rash is fading in colour and coverage. 
I had two half days off work to accompany the HDHBEM on medical visits and was consequently super busy for the remainder of the time.  

Two pieces of stitching were finished -  a hardanger bookmark and the front flap of a small fragrance pocket.   One I am happy with and the other not.   Can you guess which I like?

Today was Embroiderers Guild and as always I was really inspired seeing what the other ladies were stitching.   Our rooms are two story and upstairs there was a class on Japanese Rozashi being taken by Margaret Kinsey.   We therefore had our meeting downstairs in the comfortable chairs in the lounge!   This meant I couldn't get a good photo of the display cabinet where some of "my products" are on display.  
Tonight I hope to finish a further four Prairie Schooler Christmas Ornaments and start another piece of hardanger.  I am working my way through the projects in "Basics and Beyond" trying to teach myself more about the basics before starting the HAL on The Stitch Specialists group.
Once the Olympic Games coverage starts my favourite New Tricks and Midsomer Murders will be off air so I am going to enjoy  a TV marathon tonight.   Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sunday 15 July 2012

It's Happy Dancing here

Last night while watching Midsomer Murders  I finished these three.
The first Christmas ornament for the nieces and nephews. 

This one is for my niece H and her partner L (whoever would have guessed!).   Those tiny bells don't actually make any sound but do look festive.   You can't see the fine black ribbon I used as a hanger -  sorry.  As none of the nieces and nephews have large Christmas trees this year they are getting a "back-to-back" flat finish which shouldn't take up too much space.   Hope they like them.  
Today it is pouring with rain and really dark although it's only 4pm so these photos are not great although they were taken on my fully lighted balcony.    Apologies all.
The second is the mitten which was stitched ages ago and has been sitting patiently waiting to be completed. 

I stuffed this gently with a little dacron fibre filling and edged it with finger knitted cord.   I am happy with this one which will go on my tree.
And finally a small but elegant fragrance pouch.  

I orginally saw a photo of something like this on a blog somewhere so decided to try and imitate.  I have stuffed the velvet base with lavender.   The top is a scrap of 32 count linen and is stitched in four sided stitch, star eyelets and buttonhole stitch.   The hanger is finger knitting cord.  Only small but such fun - apart from making tiny tassels.  This whole thing is about two thirds the size of a golf ball.   I rather like the idea of using up small scraps of linen so bought sufficient of the polyester velvet to make more of these.  Don't you think they would sell rather well at our Embroiderer's Guild exhibition in September?
Tonight there is nothing enticing on the TV so the HDHBEM and I will be listening to an audio book -  she will finish the small mauve cardigan for my cousins new baby and I will try and finish a small hardanger piece which is hopefully to become a pocket flap.   What's that do I hear you say?   Well watch this space and hopefully all will be revealed.   I do have the latest Val McDermid book so that may tempt me from my hardanger.  We shall see.
Have a great week everyone.

Saturday 14 July 2012

What does one do when......

What does one do when there is "spare" linen around the edge of a finished piece?
Make Christmas Ornaments for the nieces and nephews.   These are Prairie Schooler Christmas Alphabet - what a pity there are two A's and two L's.
What does one do when the HDHBEM cannot manage to read the pattern for the knitting she has chosen?
Why, you take over and do the "hard" part for her.  I did it last night and then dropped a stitch on the feather and fan pattern so had to rip it off and start from scratch again.   All is well now.   I have caught up, handed it over to her and am back with my favourite needles (the ones that have eyes!!)
What does one do next when one has finished the stitching on the Christmas Ornaments?
I use up sceaps of linen and DMC Perle from the stash.   These bookmarks will be included in Christmas Cards for friends.   Linda Driskel has excellent hardanger charts and great instructions.  She taught me how to do hardanger.
What does one do when the library is next door to the HDHBEM's hairdresser?
There were still some books on the shelves after I had selected mine.  Would you believe it if I told you there are another five in a pile beside my bed.   And yes these will all get read before the month is out.

Thank you all for your concern and thoughts for the HDHBEM.  She was discharged from hospital on Thursday and is recuperating at home now.   Life is slowly getting back to our normal.  
The freezing temperatures and fine sunny days have gone and we now have the normal freezing temperatures and bleak grey days of winter.   Tonight I have my two favourite programmes on TV so once I have made the Bara Brith (Fruit Loaf) from the postcard Ann sent me from Wales, I shall sit and stitch and savour the delicious smells.
Hope you all have a wonderful evening too.

Saturday 7 July 2012

We have a loyalty card at the hospital!

Yes!   Yet again the HDHBEM and I have spent hours in the Emergency Department and I have begun the regular commute of visiting hours.  The HDHBEM is now flat on her back in a room with this view.  She is being pumped full of antibiotics (and I think all employees of the Health Board are aware of her allergies if my efforts have been successful) and is looking a lot more cheerful but is still not very well.
So far I am happy with the care she is getting and thankful that the hospital is so close to home.   Although cold it was fine and clear today so I walked over -  35 minutes each way - and felt better for the exercise.  
I have had a busy day though.   Washing the car, washing the windows, weeding the garden, doing the shopping, visiting the hospital, cooking for dinner guests tomorrow...... and in between times I found I had run out of DMC 930 so a quick trip to the LNS as well.   Now I am ready to settle down in front of the TV with my linen, floss and needle.
 The hardanger UFO is finished.   I can now rename the UFO box as it is empty and I do not intend that it shall ever be populated again.
 Ah happy dance here - but I have no energy left! Now, in tribute to my Scots ancestry, I am using the linen around the edge to stitch Prairie Sampler Christmas Alphabet letters for ornaments for the nieces and nephews. It seems prudent to leave the cutting of the buttonhole edge for a less stressful time.

  Tonight I need to complete five rows of knitting for the HDHBEM then I hope to stitch an L, a T and a G and possibly the outlines for an A and an N.   And I have found my chart for hardanger bookmarks so may try and start one of those on another corner of the linen.   I feel quite restless so some stitching will help quieten me down I think.

Sunday 1 July 2012

The Week that was

For the past few weeks the HDHBEM has hardly left the house except for medical appointments so yesterday we set off on a small road trip.
Our destination was the small town of Pukekohe, just to the south of Auckland.
At the quilt shop we found some fabric to back Christmas ornaments (yes I have begun the stitching for those!) and buttons for six garments that the HDHBEM has completed for the local hospice shop.   It was a cold cold day so we rugged up .  Hat, gloves, scarf and leather jacket - you'd be forgiven for thinking there was snow!
The shop had a quaint old fashioned cash register.
Do forgive the quality of the photos.   I forgot my camera and my cheap phone was the only alternative.
I have been stitching steadily on my UFO hardanger piece and should have it finished this week.   In anticipation of a finish I have pulled out floss for the Christmas ornaments for the nieces and nephews.   Each year a stitched ornament is included in their Christmas Card and while the HDHBEM writes the cards I get to stitch the ornaments.   This year the Prairie Schooler Christmas Alphabet, DMC floss and Belfast Linen will constitute the ingredients for the Christmas mix.
And, while clearing out a cupboard in my garage I found a large square box containing ..... this!
I had forgotten I had this.   Some years ago(perhaps six or seven?) the Embroiderers Guild had an exhibition and the theme was "A View of Auckland"   I stitched this and called it a view from space!   The inspiration came from a freebie off the Piecework magazine site.   I didn't stitch on silk as per the instructions and was never really satisfied with the completed piece- hence the sealed box in garage I expect.  It will go back there now.   And I will go back to my beloved counted work -  stem stitch and surface embroidery are not my best friends!
Hope you all have a great evening.