Saturday 27 April 2013

Another Finish

Today has been busy but I did find a moment to sew on a pearl bead fastener for this tiny cylindrical "pochette".  
Too small to be of much practical use - this was merely to use a scrap of linen and to practise the counted techniques of Tallesyning.   So as far as goals are concerned this is a success.
I'm going to look for small scissors and a tiny tape measure and make this into a sewing/mending set for my god daughter.   It was fun way to practise a new stitch and has given me some confidence to try more of this new technique.   Teaching oneself from photographs in a book where the text is all written in Danish is certainly a challenge!
This morning the HD3QBEM and I took the remaining 16 knitted sweaters and cardigans to the local hospice shop.   At the beginning of the month we took 20 to another hospice shop in a different suburb.   This year the HD3QBEM has spread her largesse!   Today was an interesting experience.   We took the garments to the store where an eagle eyed customer watched as the manager took at look at the two top sweaters.  I suspect that she would have wanted to buy one as soon as we left the store.   The manager was very happy to receive these but would have been happier still to sell one immediately.   At around $25 each these provide a good donation to the wonderful work of the Mercy Hospice here in Auckland.
After lunch the rain stopped and I managed to tidy up the vegetable garden and plant broccoli and cabbage plants.   These now have crushed egg shell and Blitzem around them to stop any marauding snails from destroying them before our still warm weather and now plentiful rain can grow them a little bigger.
Now I am going to finish the Strawberry side of my blue Redwork Bag and perhaps make a start on the hardanger for a book cover for Kazumi.   And there's a very interesting audio book on the HD3QBEM's Talking Book machine -  smuggling, fishing, prize fighting and a gripping saga by E V Thompson.

Ornament SAL Update for April

This month my reminder email got lost in the blue nowhere so I am a day or two late loading this.
My Christmas Ornamental Strawberry!  Silver Lotus has my grateful thanks for making me so organised with the Christmas gift ornaments for nieces and nephews.

Thursday 25 April 2013

A new start

After so many finishes recently I have made a new start.   This is supposed to be done in red but I opted for a darker blue/purple variegated silk.   The colours in this photo are not true to life.   I am stitching on antique white linen with Caron Waterlilies silk.  
One side has strawberries and the other acorns.   There is a scissor fob and I will make a needle book and a tape measure cover as well.  The buttonholes at the top are threaded with ribbon and have personalised "fobs" at the ends to make a drawstring closure.
This is a relaxing stitch but I am itching to start another piece of hardanger or a sampler to get more variety of stitches.   But at the moment I am only dreaming as I have three projects on the go and want to get them completed before starting anything else.  
I completed all the cutting out of A Confetti of Hardanger and it is now resting in my drawer of finished-but-not-used doilies.
While on holiday last week saw this bag in an art gallery.   The creator had used the paper from what we call "junk mail" and folded it carefully before weaving into this handbag.  
I also found this necklace made with buttons.   The HD3QBEM dragged me into the knitting wool shop and this was what caught my eye.  Now I want to make one for myself so will be dragging the HD3QBEM around charity shops to rummage through their button collections as I would like to coordinate the colours a little more than this sample.  Great way to use up smaller buttons.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Final Flourish

Today is the last day of holidays - back to normality tomorrow.   But I have one last finish to show.
The chart for this languished in my stash cupboard for years until I was spurred into action by Pamela.   I don't have the charms for this but think it is charming without and am mighty pleased with the result.   Instead of a ribbon closure I made twisted cord in Perle #5 and this works a treat.

And the last of the holiday photos are from a visit to a small village near where Little Brother lives.   This small village has the unfortunate name of Bulls - named after the original store owner James Bull.   Nowadays they market themselves with a plethora of puns on the town's name.   Previous signs of "New Zealand gets its milk from Bulls" have been replaced by this one.
The police station is named Consta-Bull, the dress shop is Fashiona-Bull etc etc.   The HD3QBEM and I had a bite to eat at a small cafĂ© and I thought these were adora-bull!
And today while out this car fluttered its eyelashes at me and I just had to take a photo!
Have a good week.  I intend to.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Stitching and The Sarjeant

While on holiday I did stitch and feel quite satisfied to have completed several items that have been in progress.
The adventure in frugal use of linen has almost come to an end.   I have concentrated hard and managed to cut around three edges of A Confetti of Hardanger.   Surely there is a quicker method than one thread at a time - but I don't want to endanger the buttonhole edging either so clip clip clip it is.
On that piece of linen I also stitched a hardanger tassel which is now completed and hanging on a cabinet handle.  
Then there was the perfection of angels -  so named by me because seven is the perfect number!   I had a small disaster in cutting this one out of its linen prison and had to resort to a dab of Fray Check to prevent a total catastrophe.   However, as a book mark it works well and is already in use.
Also on the same linen I stitched a Tallesyning cylindrical hussif which is still in pieces and needs me to chose lining fabric before I can complete it.  More on that one later.
In a gift from over the seas I received a piece of Picture This Plus 28 count linen overdyed and named Da Vinci.   This linen has been made into the small notebook cover you see in this photo.
I stitched two Christmas ornaments.  One is complete
and the other needs something in the middle. 
It is supposed to have the year but I am thinking of putting 'Merry Christmas' instead and that will mean graphing out the words.   So at present it is in the incomplete pile.   I have been so very frugal with this linen that I will need to sew on a matching fabric and create a 'frame' if it is to be of any use.
While on holiday the HD3QBEM and I went to visit The Sarjeant Gallery as I had read there was to be an exhibition by an artist who I took to be a calligrapher.   Not so.   She is a graphic artist recently returned to live in Wanganui.  Commissioned by the gallery to create a comeback installation/work in the dome she came up with this
Based loosely on a Greek Flag waving in the breeze, the letters on each panel of the beautiful dome spelled out 'come back'.   It wasn't immediately obvious and created a momentary  "eh?" feeling in the viewer.
The Dome was beautiful -  both the fantastic Matai flooring and the majestic dome.
The gallery had been purpose built in neo classic style so the colonnades glowed with natural light.  
We had a great time here.   Just two items that took my fancy
What do you do with all the sea shells you collect on beach holidays?  This of course!
And how's this for a huge frame?   I was more taken by the frame than the painting.
Tonight I am stitching my Redwork Bag -  stitched in Waterlilies Dark Shadow which is a subtle blue green mix so this will turn out to be a Bluework Bag.

Friday 19 April 2013

A lack of Needlework stores!

Last night we arrived home from our brief road trip to see Little Brother and his mini farm.
Little Brother has five new calves and of course we had to be introduced.   Spot, Patch, Elle Macpherson, Millie and Bertha were indistinguishable to me but respond to Little Brother and to anyone who appears and may be likely to have a bucket of milk or some sticky molasses. 

The weather man had forecast rain for the week we were away but none of the clouds we saw produced any.  Since we have come home it has rained!
I had planned on visiting needlework stores as well but found only one and amazingly that contained nothing to tempt me.   Obviously I am too well supplied at home!
Palmerston North has an Art Trail and is a totally flat city so I walked for miles to find the various sculptures and art works described in the brochure.   Variety was evident and I enjoyed all the different pieces -  here's a selection


The most interesting one was outside the library.    A small plaque said that the creator had been inspired by a book he had as a child which described the length of a whale as being equal to the height of ten elephants.   Without the explanation I may have wondered 'Why?' but it was certainly intriguing.
In between explorations I stitched and now have plenty to construct over the weekend at which time I can consider my holiday to have been both enjoyable and productive.  More photos tomorrow.

Friday 12 April 2013

I'm off

Tomorrow morning the HD3QBEM and I are off to see Little Brother and his family at their mini farm. 
We went there ages ago when we took Madame Muriel Flat Flossie on a road trip.   You can see that here.   This time she will not accompany us - I wonder where she is now?   Fallen off the edge of the world I expect.
Little Brother has five new calves.   They will eventually follow the way of the previous five and be roasted, braised, made into sausages etc etc.   No room for sentiment when living The Good Life on a mini farm.   Little Brother has two huge walnut trees and I have put in my order for some walnuts and for some 'perfect' shells. 
Anyway, off we go.  We will be away five days and  I have packed seven stitching projects and six books.   Well, the weather man forecasts rain!   Yep.   On my holiday he gives rain, after months of drought here in New Zealand.   So I have prepared for incarceration!   Two of my stitching projects are WIPs and hopefully there will be a happy dance mid way through my holiday.
My perfection of angels -  well, the hardanger angel bookmark -  is complete but I need good light, a  steady hand and 100% concentration to cut around the buttonhole edge. 
So the suitcase is packed, the camera batteries are charged, the car is clean and full of petrol and we are off.   I'll be back in a week's time.

Sunday 7 April 2013

My 1kg project

Feeling quite colour deprived after some weeks of tone on tone, I paid a visit to my stash cupboard.
Pamela had inspired me with her post here.  I knew I had that chart in my stash so several minutes later chart, linen and floss were all selected ready to go.
Once my needle hit the linen there was no stopping.  This week in spare moments after work I have stitched and have vanquished the "colour deprivation" as well as the "after dinner nibbles" so am well pleased with myself.   An almost complete Miss Kitty's Dragons and a 1kg weight loss - all in one week.   Unusual construction techniques really appeal to me and this one has all four corners folding in with mathematical precision to create a cute little needle book.
Here's the two corners - opposite corners are identical.
There is just enough variety that I don't grow frustrated with cross stitch only.   Here there are Smyrna crosses, leaf stitch, leviathans (?!) eyelets and a large-size rice stitch variant.   These pretty colours are not really my usual choice but they sure work well together.   Stitching on this will probably be completed tonight.
Now what project can I choose that will lose me another 1kg this week??
Yesterday morning this greeted me as I rose for the day.   Summer is over here and we are feeling the Autumn cool in the air and the weather forecasts talk about cool southerly winds.   But I love Autumn and the changing colours of the oak trees.   The huge chestnut tree on our boundary is covered in green spiky balls which will hopefully turn into glistening dark chestnuts to go into the cook pot for chestnut rice.  Yum!
Have a good week everybody.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Surprises all round!

This afternoon I came home tired after a hard day at work and there was a surprise package waiting for me.   Packages with Royal Mail on the top right hand corner are always welcome in my house and look what this wonderful surprise contained.
Already I am designing (in my mind) an etui using some of the linen and the wonderful lining fabric.   The colours of wine red, blue and a hint of beige work wonderfully together.  
Can you see the small royal blue ort bag -  that will help me be a tidy Kiwi!
This next photo is of a surprise I am making for my friend Kazumi.  
You didn't think I was going to show you the whole piece and spoil the surprise did you?   No way.   Her husband reads my blog and he might drop a hint to her  ;-)  
I am stitching with DMC perle on a 28 count variegated linen which came to me in a gift package from the USA.   The star in the centre is a Tallesyning Star -  as opposed to a Hardanger Star.   After stitching both I am now convinced that Hardanger is easier but that could possible be because I am copying these Tallesyning stitches from photographs and am finding that a whole lot more difficult that a chart.
Tonight I think I need some colour in my life.   For some weeks now I have stitched tone on tone and I am feeling more than a little colour deprived  so plan to look out a multi-colour project to start.   The HD3QBEM and I are going for a few days holiday in a couple of weeks and I will need multiple projects for that trip.   That, good friends, is my rationalization for starting yet another project when I haven't completed those already on the go.
My "experiment in frugality" is almost complete.
The Confetti of Hardanger only needs to be cut out.   
The hardanger tassel only needs to be cut out and constructed.  
The self-designed tallesyning hussif needs to have two ends worked before I can construct the cylinder.   Oh yes and then there are a couple of small needlework tools to go inside the cylindrical hussif.   Yep.   Quite a lot more work on this one :-(
The "angel hardanger" bookmark has six more angels to be stitched before I can cut it out.
Oh dear.   I'm not really as near completion as I had thought.   But I definitely need some colour.   Surely if I stitch only from stash I could consider a new project to be frugal??