Tuesday 27 November 2012

A snowy day in Auckland!

Today I have a "snow" photo
The street where I park to eat my lunch is lined with what we call Pepper Trees and currently they are in blossom. So much blossom and today so much wind that it was like a snow storm!
And then the dog across the road decided I was not to his liking.   Fortunately I was absorbed in my book and able to ignore him.
Tonight I started the finish-finish of a Christmas ornament. This ornament will travel to North to a new home and experience a snowy Christmas.
Now I must finish a few chores before going to bed.   Hopefully more news later in the week.

Friday 23 November 2012

Eyes are important!

The majority of my time has been spent with those long needles otherwise known as knitting pins.   I am now halfway through the Twenties Chic Top but have severe withdrawl symptoms from lack of eyes.   In my needles of course!
Unable to restrain myself I picked up a small bookmark kit and have created leaves and a poppy, all the while continuing to keep those knitting pins happy.  Half the bookmark is done and I intend to complete this over the weekend.
The HD3QEM and I have made an itinerary for our shopping tomorrow in an effort to cross off as much as possible from the dreaded Christmas Shopping List.   As we will be travelling in the direction of my LNS we will of course stop there and I have a list of "needs" which can hopefully be fulfilled and allow me the pleasure of a final decision on what to stitch in 2013.  
At work today the boss had a major clean out of old stock and I put my hand out for these. 
Now I am hoping there will be time over the weekend for a clean out of the stash cupboard.  However I do have a list of chores to do and the stash cupboard comes under the heading of pleasure, so we shall see how time goes.
I still have a very sore throat and am waiting the results of a swab test.   'Not talking' is not really an option is it?   Reading is more pleasurable when the book is shared with others; TV is better when discussed; even audio books require a post mortem when complete.   I do a far amount of talking in a day and by 10pm at night my poor throat lets me know of the overwork.   So this could be a quiet weekend?
Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Another Wet Saturday...

Yet another wet Saturday but as usual I have been busy.
This morning I was up early to bake: two fruit loaves, 5 dozen chocolate chip biscuits, a fruit slice and a banana cake.   All turned out well and I am hoping this banana cake will all be eaten for morning tea at church tomorrow morning.
In the afternoon I went to Embroiderers Guild and forgot to take my camera.   We had a most interesting talk by a lady who makes porcelain dolls.   She hand sews and embroiderers the complicated clothes these dolls wear.   Some of the baby dolls wore knitted layettes -  the yarn was a really fine #100 crochet cotton!   I was most taken with the tiny 1 inch high hand knitted little Gollywog.
While at Guild I completed the stitching on this ornament from the 2012 JCS Ornament Issue.  Airforce Blue doesn't seem a really Christmas colour to me so I changed it out for DMC 816 which satisfies me a lot better.  I'm really pleased with this- easy to stitch and being circular it was also easy to finish.

And this afternoon I did motif number three of the Confetti of Hardanger HAL so am up to date with that one too. Another six motifs to come and then the lacy edging.   I am enjoying this.
Tonight we will watch the Antiques Road Show (no talking allowed which will be good for my sore throat) and I plan on starting another Christmas Ornament.
After a few days of knitting I have decided that, yes, I do prefer needles with eyes.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Knitting not stitching

For someone who prefers to have only one project in action at any one time, I have certainly strayed.  
The blackwork etui idea didn't really work out so I finished that piece as a mattress pin cushion.   No particular purpose or destination in mind, I just wanted a finish.

I unpicked the blue cotton top I had knitted up last summer as I intend to undo it, wash the yarn and re knit it two sizes smaller and then it should fit.  (One of the dangers of weight loss!)

I started this summer top and so far so good.   It is knitted all in one piece  so I am following the instructions very carefully and praying all the while that everything will work out.

Everything else that is just started, almost finished or only half done has been put in a big box until my enthusiasm returns.   I still have bad earache, a totally blocked right ear and a sore lumpy throat but my doctor says that sometimes these residual symptoms can take a while to dissipate and  to come back and see her after FOUR weeks if I don't feel better!!
But it is Embroiderers Guild on Saturday and so tonight I will kit up a small Christmas Ornament from this years JCS Ornament edition.  Photos later I promise.
I'm off to do the dinner dishes and then watch Downton Abbey.  

Saturday 10 November 2012


Enough is enough, I told myself.   You must be feeling better now.    
So, I drove off to the Zealong Tea Estate with my friend Tomoko.   Who would have thought that camelias could turn into delicious tea?   A Taiwanese man, certain that the climate was suitable to grow camelias and the particular breed that turns into Oolong tea formed this tea estate in 2009.  
The entry way was lined with these huge bronze teapots and tea cups.  Each different but huge -  here's a perspective shot!
Once at the Camelia Tea House we ordered our tea.   A choice of pure, aromatic, dark and black.   Our obliging waitress, Grace told us that we could get 8 infusions from each spoonful and she was correct.  A small hibachi beside the table kept us supplied with hotwater and we certainly infused 8 cups of tea each from our pure (on the left) and dark(on the right).   We decided that pure tasted like Japanese Green Tea and that dark tasted like Japanese Hojicha.
Perhaps I was distracted by the beauty of the surroundings though and lost count?
Tomoko and I opted for Classic High Tea - and I expected cucumber sandwiches, scones and petit fours.   This is what came out
Tortilla wraps, filo baskets, toasted tortilla crisps with pesto dip, freshly baked scone with vanilla bean mascarpone, house-made raspberry preserve, and two almond tarts.
Well replete,  Tomoko and I soaked up the scenery and sun before driving home to Auckland.  
And yes, I am feeling better now although am still half deaf, croaky in voice and tired of being confined to home, books and DVDs.
Somehow I don't really feel like any stitching tonight so will curl up on the sofa to watch Antiques Roadshow and Silent Witness.   Perhaps my enthusiasm for stitching will return if I force a break?
Have a good evening everyone.

Tuesday 6 November 2012


Today I have been off work after a night with terrible earache, cough fever and general malaise.   This morning the doctor told me that I am unbalanced because of a middle ear infection!  

So I have been lying on the sofa, drinking plenty of hot drinks and reading books -  I finished

and am now part way through  
Both are completely different styles of books but have kept me entranced for the day.
I have made a new start too -  a self designed blackwork "etui".  
Some time ago my boss gave me this cute little tin which I can just see with an inset pincushion and a tiny pair of gold scissors.  
The fabric is Graziano Nuvo Ricamo 38 Count and I am stitching in DMC 310.   Later I will add some gold to spice it up.   Hopefully I can transfer my ideas into reality.  
The HD3QEM has cooked dinner so I'm off to enjoy that.  Have a good evening everyone.

Monday 5 November 2012

My Baden Powell moment!

Two years ago when the major earthquake destroyed Christchurch City I made a start on a disaster kit.
A gas cooker, a couple of gas canisters, a radio, a torch, matches, plastic bags etc etc etc.   All of the above carefully placed in two carry bags in the bottom of my wardrobe.   I figured that the HD3QEM could carry the lighter one and I would have her on one arm and the other heavier disaster bag on the other.   Well, two years is a long time.   There is no way now that the HD3QEM could carry one bag , no matter how light.   In a disaster her walking stick would be all she could manage.  So a drastic rethink began and continued and continued and ....
You get the idea?
Then Superstorm Sandy visited the USA and I decided that action was necessary now so thoughts got transformed to actions.  I found on line a supplier of disaster kits like this one
It has all the essentials like a folding shovel (for digging a latrine?!), a wind up torch and radio (no need for batteries), first aid kit, emergency blankets etc etc etc.   There is also a supply of dehydrated provisions supposedly sufficient for four people for three days (but that presumes the provision of clean water!)  The disaster bag has a good strong shoulder strap.
That accounts for one shoulder and one portion of necessary disaster kit.   Our Civil Defence agencies provide helpful lists of what is necessary and in a back pack I have the aforementioned gas cooker etc etc as well as food and water sufficient for two people for three days, and water purifying tablets so that aforementioned dehydrated food will be usable.
So with a back pack keeping me erect, a disaster bag hanging on my left shoulder and the HD3QEM hanging on my right (thereby ensuring I can talk into her "good ear"), I am prepared for the inevitable disaster.   Apparently in Auckland that is likely to be a volcanic explosion which seems reasonable considering that the city is built on the dormant remains of 53 volcanic craters.   According to Wikipedia, this volcanic field is likely to erupt again within the next "hundreds to thousands of years".   Now, wouldn't Baden Powell have been impressed with my preparedness?

Sunday 4 November 2012

Confined to quarters

Today I been indoors all day as the HD3QEM will not let me out in to what she describes as "biting cold".   The sun is shining so it can't really be that bad, can it?
So I have been indoors beavering away at my lavender hussif and listening to this
This was a fun audio book -  the baddies got what they deserved and the goodies excaped almost unscathed!
I have also been blog surfing and found this
(Taken from this site http://www.dailydropcap.com/tag/m)
Can you see that transformed into an embroidery piece?   I can and my conviction that I can only do counted work has suffered a slight denting as I consider how this M could be interpreted in floss and linen.   Perhaps I would change the orange to a royal blue but I can see myself adding yet another M to my collection.
I'm off for some afternoon tea and another dose of cough mixture.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Under the weather

For the past two days it has been very silent at our house.   My voice has vanished and left in its place a hoarse croak and a pitifully non-productive but extremely irritating cough.   I dragged through a busy day at work on Friday sustained only by the thought that in the weekend I would have time to recuperate and to indulge.   Well....

Today the HD3QEM and I travelled to the south of the city to visit the exhibition put on by a neighbouring embroiderers guild.   Inclement weather, and her loving daughter's  ill health couldn't dissuade the HD3QEM from this adventure as she had deduced, with rare enthusiasm, that on our return journey we would pass by Daruma Sushi once again.   We both enjoy sushi and chawan mushi so it was a shared pleasure.
The exhibition was wonderful.   This particular guild always have a strong bias to traditional stitching and I enjoy the inspiration and stimulus I receive in seeing all the beautiful work.   My camera battery was dead so I took these using my iPod. Can you guess which section of the exhibition was my favourite -  yes yes yes!  The counted traditional work.   These are some examples of Hardanger, Punto Antico, Schwalm, Reticella and Ruskin Lace. I did take my Moleskine and despite being artistically challenged sketched one or two ideas that some time in the future I may try to imitate.
I have completed the one medallion on Part 7 of A Confetti of Hardanger.   This is needle woven bars and I am desperately hoping that the next medallion will be slightly more complex and give a greater degree of satisfaction.

The front and back of Shelleys Jewellery Box are now completed and have been put into hibernation to allow me to complete some of my other projects.   I really like the centre panel of this one.   Here's
a close up of that part -  the colour is not correct.
Currently I am working on a "tone on tone" counted thread hussif.   This is chewing through the thread and I had to call in to my LNS and stock up on some more floss.   Originally I had planned to use linen and floss from my stash but didn't count on this using quite so much floss.   Hopefully the finished product will justify the outlay. The linen is a pretty lavender 28 count cashel linen and the thread is GAST Lavender Pot Pourri.
 Well, I'm off to make dinner now and settle down for a stitching evening.