Wednesday 30 January 2013

Christmas Ornament SAL - First month post

My enthusiasm for Christmas ornaments led me to sign up on this SAL.   Added to the delight of actually stitching, there was the pleasure of going through my stack of charts and chosing 12 that I would stitch during 2013.
First up is this mitten which showcases my love of winter Christmas scenes.   I live in the Antipodes and have summer Christmas and don't we all want what we can't have?   And I love DMC 115 so they combined well for this first ornament.

Monday 28 January 2013

An almost finish

Today has been a public holiday here in Auckland and we have enjoyed beautiful hot weather.  I love days like this - my to do list is always long.  Did you hear the satisfied "mmm" as I crossed off each item?
Garden weeded - yes!
This week's meals cooked - yes!
All  net curtains washed -  yes!
Ironing done -  yes!
Finished my book - yes!
And of course some stitching got done too.  This is the almost finished piece.   My niece Heidi brought me these two lace elephants from India last year.   A couple of rows of drawn thread hem stitching + a struvdor on the flap = a handkerchief sachet.   This is still only pinned and tacked but hopefully the seams will be stitched and the lining inserted this week so I can call this complete too.
Oh well, back to work tomorrow....

Saturday 26 January 2013




A Christmas Stocking in January??

Today I have finished off this little Christmas stocking.   Stitched in order to practice picots and to use up a scrap of 28 count Antique White linen, I am pleased with the finished result.  The photo doesn't show up the colours well but the stocking is actually a deep Sherwood Green velvet.   Yes!   We have a happy dance!

Friday 25 January 2013

HAL Catchup

Tonight I have concentrated really hard and caught up on the two installments of A Confetti of Hardanger that were waiting to be done.
First was the Spiders Webs -  Abi Gurden gave really good instructions for these and I have more confidence now.

Second was a Struvor -  again brilliant instructions and I love this one!
This Hardanger- A- Long has been a wonderful way of gaining more confidence in the fillings that I avoided from fear.   And it has confirmed my love of this stitching too.   I foresee many more hardanger pieces in years to come.  I should really take photographs in daylight as these colours are far from true.
Anyway that's enough for tonight.  I need some beauty sleep.

Sunday 20 January 2013

A visit to the Embroiderers' and Lacemaker's Guild

Today this guild hosted a stitchy day.   This is always a pleasant way to start the new year and it's great to catch up with other stitchers and see what they are doing.  This  guild hold their meetings in the Car Club rooms -  hence the background.   Our speaker was a master calligrapher who can not only claim some fame and expertise in his field (he authored the definitive textbook on calligraphy for Denmark) but also that his parents were responsible for this children's book.

Peter Gilderdale took us through a potted history of calligraphy (why oh why were my history teachers not this interesting?) and demonstrated just how easy the art is after years and years of practice.
Several of the stitchers present had brought their work to share - I was especially taken with the closure on the Celtic looking book.

There were two or three of these pretty little display cases -  an interesting way to showcase delicate and intricate stitching.
I have been stitching an Assisi Rose to send to my Aunt who has just had surgery.   Methinks this will last longer than the florists bunch although the fragrance may not be so sweet.
Tonight I will finish the back stitching and hopefully decide on what finish it shall be -  a keyholder?
Also finished the first of these twelve ornaments.  I plan on making identical finishes although they are all different sizes and shapes.  
Tonight we have the Downtown Abbey Christmas 2012 special on The Box so I am off to get dinner ready and will settle down to watch that.   Hope you have all had a good weekend.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Five Good Things (with apologies to 1066 And All That)

Have any of you ever read Sellar and Yeatman's book 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates.  

It is a very humourous re-writing of the history of England.   My father introduced this book to me -  back in the Dark Ages and I have read it over and over and over again.   Arguably it may not suit all readers but I love it - especially the way they make lists of events and conclude with "and that was a Good Thing".
Today I have five such Good Things to report -
I have
-   Crossed every item off my "phone up and make appointments" list
-   Ironed the first page of NMMSAL page so I can post -  ta da.    Assisi and Drawn Thread work.   I am none to happy with the corners on this so have cropped the photo severely.
-   Completed the stitching on the small house re-stitch which I mentioned yesterday.   Tonight I will be stitching the felt on the back. 
-   Started reading this book and managed not to get so emeshed that I was late back from lunch ;-)

-    Had my start-of-the-year assessment at the gym, survived and don't feel completely demoralised :-)

My next stitching is to complete the Hardanger Top for a mini Christmas stocking and then over the weekend to complete the Lavender Hussif.  To get both of those done could perhaps be described as An Excellent Thing!

Wednesday 16 January 2013

I must stop doing this...

No panic.  I am not ceasing to stitch but I must stop reading a book at lunchtime.   For the past few days I have been parking my car under a shady tree (well, it is around 25 degrees celsius here and the sun is hot) and while eating my lunch have been eating a book.  Oops, make that reading a book.   All the best dietitians and nutrition experts tell you this is bad for the digestion.   I don't know about that but I do know I lose sight of time and barely make it back to my office by the end of my lunch break.   Definitely not a good way to start the year!
   But I highly recommend this work of fiction which held me in its grip yesterday.
Thanks to the boring sports portion of the TV news hour I finished the book and so did make some progress on stitching ;-)
I have completed the January page of my NMMSAL and made a start on the February page.   After the page is ironed you can see a picture but at the moment there are too many wrinkles. 
I have completed the stitching on the Lavender Hussif (started way back here) and hope to get some of the construction done this weekend.   A zipper needs to be purchased and metres and metres of twisted cording, for the edging, needs to be made.   Oh dear, this part is the least interesting.
I have retrieved Shelley's Jewellery Box from its 'retirement home' and will make an effort to complete this during 2013.  This can be my Guild project -  at least until I get too bored something else takes my eye.

I have decided what I am going to make with the two lace elephants my niece brought me from India.  My grandmother always called the size pouch I have in mind, a handkerchief sachet.   Well, I won't be using the pouch for handkerchiefs but I will be making just such an object.

Beyond this I have made no plans -  there are plenty of charts and linen and floss in my stash cupboard so I will not be totally bereft of possibility.

I don't think I have shown this -  a gift from a friend for me to stitch.   the little house needle holder I am going to redo as I finished it with some linen showing as a border and that is apparently not correct so a re-working is necessary.  Tonight perhaps?  The floss ring is buttonhole over a plastic curtain ring -  clever no?  Those little felt flowers on the pin heads (next to the scissors) require small fingers to manipulate!!
Well that's all for today.

Monday 14 January 2013

A surprise from Japan

Just as I was about to leave for work this morning the post man brought me a package from Japan.
My friend Sonoko had sent me a package filled with all sorts of unusual food treats and souvenirs  Among the many items included were these two.
These chocolates are beautiful to look at and taste wonderful too.  We have eaten two -  can you guess which one the HD3QBEM ate?
  A red heart!   Delicious, apparently.   Mine was too!
And this little round item contained a surprise.   Sonoko made this herself. 
I pulled the red tag and lo and behold, a tape measure.   Thank you so much Sonoko.   This is so cute and I will certainly treasure your handiwork.
I am off for a walk around the mountain now and then hope to finish off my Assisi page for the NMMSAL.
Have a good evening.

Saturday 12 January 2013

What a week this has been!

Coming back to work after a holiday is always hard labour isn't it?   I finally caught up on Friday afternoon so hopefully next week will go smoothly.
On the home front all was equally as busy.   My sister and her husband came for a meal on their way home after a holiday up north.   We had a great time catching up and I managed to sit and stitch while they were here.   Tonight my niece and her husband are coming for a meal so don't you think I can be forgiven for feeling as if I have spent too long in the kitchen??
Never fear, I have managed to find time with my needle and from last week's goals can truthfully say that this is the status quo as of this afternoon
Complete construction on two Christmas Ornaments - Done
Finish two bands on the Assisi page for my NMMSAL -  Will complete the last one tonight
Sort out projects for this month - Done
Kit up and bag a project to take to Embroiderers' Guild meetings - Not yet

But I did one item not on the list!!   My Hari Kuyo Needlebook is completed. 
Allow me a few moments of satisfaction while I show you these photos.....

 These small bead-like appendages were actually made by moi - from Japanese fabric and cover a knot on the rich purple Japanese cord which came on a package of delicious Japanese kinako mochi cakes.
 The pages inside are supposed to be a true rainbow of woollen felt but this needlebook was made from what I had on hand so we are not a true rainbow.
 The small Bohin scissors came as a gift from Amy and the fob was originally on a gift from a friend at the company where I worked previously.  It is exactly right for this book!
And although no needles were harmed in the making of this book one wore out and so has been laid gently in the "honourable hard work" page.

In the rules of the Christmas Ornament SAL the photos must be posted on pre-ordained days so I cannot show you anything but a teaser of the two I have completed.   Watch this space.
Tonight my favourite TV programmes will be set to record and while Anita and Neil are here I hope to complete the Assisi page for my NMMSAL
This week I will not set goals -  there's still plenty of potential in my "want-to-do" box and I need to make up my mind about a Guild Meeting project for 2013 as my first outing is on the 20th.
Have a good week.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Chasing my tail

Back to work this week and I have been chasing my tail in an effort to catch up!   Today I finally managed to clear a portion of my desk of paper and can once again see the wood -  but the end is not yet in sight.

On the stitching front I have made a little progress but can see that the pace must be picked up if I am to meet my targets for this week.  Last night I cut out the cardboard shapes for two Christmas ornaments so you can guess what I will be doing tonight.
However a hindrance in the form of this has come across my path.
Have you ever had a book which gripped you to such an extent that morning tea and afternoon tea breaks and even the lunch hour are not long enough?   That's me at the moment.   By an effort of will I am not reading in time that should be designated to the following
- care for the HD3QBEM
- general boring household chores like cleaning, wshing, ironing & watering the garden
- exercise
- stitching
etc etc
Hopefully tomorrow I will have some stitching to show -  with three things only a hair's breadth from completion even I should manage that.

Sunday 6 January 2013

A quick catch up

We are already six days in to the new year!   The past week has been a whirlwind of activity as Kazumi was visiting from Japan.   We went north to see the Treaty House where the 'founding document' of our nation was signed and New Zealand became part of the British Empire
I said hello again to the 'man' with whom I linked arms around 50 years ago!
The fearsome warriors consented to a photo shoot!
We went a little south to a delightful Edwardian Spa where we enjoyed soaking in a hot tub and then a wonderfully relaxing massage. (This is not us by the way -  we are much better looking!)
Wooden tub
We went to the souvenir stores, the supermarket and to the bustling Auckland Waterfront.
It was a delightful week - but without much activity with needles of any sort!
My first page for the Needlework Masters Monthly SAL (NMMSAL) is begun.   I have no talent as a designer so this is stretching my imagination and capabilities.   Hopefully all will be well.   I plan on doing each page with a single stitching style and this one is Assisi.   Each page will be bordered in hemstitching and drawn thread work.   Well, that is the plan!
This isn't very true to colour.   I am stitching on platinum Belfast 32 count linen and using Sampler Threas Dried Thyme stranded floss.
And I received in the mail a belated Christmas gift from Phyllis.   Don't you love this bookmark.  It is made from a vintage table runner.  Thank you Phyllis.  
My order from an online store arrived too.
This week I expect to sort out my projects for the next month or so and to make a good start on those.   Dare I write a target list for this week?

Complete construction on two Christmas Ornaments
Finish two bands on the Assisi page for my NMMSAL
Sort out projects for this month
Kit up and bag a project to take to Embroiderers' Guild meetings

Well we shall see how I get along with that lot and a busy week back at work?!

Thursday 3 January 2013

Inspiration at the museum

For the past two days I have been travelling in the north of New Zealand with my friend Kazumi.   We visited one of the mission houses where the Treaty which made this country a part of the British Empire, was signed.   Among all the historical objects were some very old and remarkably well preserved samplers.
This map was stitched on a very fine uneven linen and I can't begin to imagine how this was accomplished in the days of candle-light.

Further along on another wall was this sampler
Stitched in 1848 this one has obviously been kept in in a dark places as the colours had not faded much considering the years that had passed.  
And at the same place was this bed -  it doesn't look as comfortable as mine and I'm off to bed now.

Good night to all.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

We had glorious sunny weather to welcome the new year so I have been outdoors and no stitching done.