Friday 28 February 2014

I'm fine ... or is that fined?

What a week this has been and what can I say except "I am glad February is over".
There just weren't enough hours in my days this week and my 'forget-ery' was on overdrive so there were several repeats in the mix.   However I made it to Friday and for that we shall be truly grateful.
My February ornament is a mouse - not as small as I had imagined the mouse to be so perhaps more a rat than a mouse, but none the less he/she is finished.
So here we are front and back

I never know how to lace irregular shapes such as this so decided to stitch both sides together like a small pillow, fill with a little dacron wadding and then iron flat under a pressing cloth.   Only then did the beads go on.   Relatively successful I think.
Despite the dismal start to this post I am fine.   But this week for the first time in my life I was fined at the local library.   Can you imagine my horror -  two books overdue and I had to pay a total of $1.20   How embarrassing is that?   I had not even started either book despite having them in my pile for a month.   Shall I show you the pile and then you can see why?
And come to think of it there are two more books in my car (lunch time reading) and another two eBooks from said Library on my iPad and a couple sporting a "New" banner on my Kindle.   Oops.... perhaps my needle needs a sabbatical.  
Anyway I'm off to bed now but not to read and finish the current Kindle book and perhaps make a start on one of those wretched "overdue" books which the kind librarian renewed for me - after having relieved me of the money :-)
Good night.

Saturday 22 February 2014

This week's round up....

I have had such a busy week that by Friday I was over tired and it sure was a struggle to get out of bed this morning.   Saturday I always have a list of chores and currently we are having temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius and around 90% humidity so getting the baking done early in the day is essential!

Today would have been the  HD3QBEM's 62nd wedding anniversary so a day out was in order.   We went for a road trip today to Ngatea -  around 90 kilometres south east of the city.   We packed a picnic lunch and a good supply of cold drinks and off we went.   Why?   Well Ngatea has a cute little shop which stocks jigsaw puzzles and second hand books (satisfies me) and wool (satisfies the HD3QBEM).  Strange mixture I know, but just right for us.   We called at the supermarket and did the weekly shop, picked up sushi for dinner and came home to a very hot house.   Tonight the temperature will drop to 20 degrees which is not good for elderly persons who live at this address!   I keep iced water in the refrigerator for mid night snacks for both of us ;-)

On the sewing front I have completed my Hardanger Sewing Pod and am rather pleased with this.  

Considering that I first saw the chart in a magazine in 1987, this pod has been a long time in the making.  
I lined it with red matte satin, quilted with small red beads and am pleased with the rich effect.

I also made a start on the Mermaid's Sewing Chest.   When ordering the threads from ABC Stitch I was sure I double checked the list but obviously not and Bijoux Smoky Topaz is not available at my LNS.  Oh dear what to do? Given that it took two months for the order to come to me air mail post I am reluctant to order on line again so decided to go with a smoky grey DMC for the 'studs' and am more than happy with the result.
But tonight it is just too hot to comtemplate mermaids or their chests and so I have made a start on a small Christmas scene.
Marty kindly sent me a couple of the watch fobs I had been fruitlessly seeking and I am attempting to recreate the snowstorm effect of Vonna's ornament.  A house, some trees, some snow and then some beads floating ... well we shall see.   Hopefully I can get this finished tomorrow and as the weather man says the humidity levels will be less tomorrow we may be back to mermaids and their chests.

Sunday 16 February 2014

This week....

This week I made a mouse -  well both sides of a mouse!   February's ornament is this delightful mouse shape.   Such fun to stitch and hopefully easy to construct.   I used scraps of 28 count cashel linen, DMC threads and odd beads from stash.   A mouse freebie you might say - stitched from the chart in the JCS Christmas 2012 issue.  Here' s the front and back.

It was Embroiderers Guild meeting yesterday but we had a Sashiko Workshop so no chance to do any of my 'Guild Project' .   Instead I made an effort through the week to make progress on 'Ring O Roses' which I chose for this year's project.  No visible evidence of roses yet but at least a couple of the alphabet letters have appeared.   I am stitching the letters in dark navy and the rest in a beautiful cranberry shade of Threadworks floss.
The three sides of the hardanger sewing pod are now put together as separate units.   Each needs twisted cord around the edges and then to be joined into a pod.   Hopefully this week!
Pamela was asking how my hexagons are progressing.   Slowly but surely.   I find I am interrupted in these by other clamouring stitching projects and many dropped stitches from the HD3QBEM's knitting.  I have 140 precut hexagons and will continue to tack up until these run out at which stage I will begin to join them together.   I want a completely random "granny's quilt" type look so don't want to begin the joining too early.
Am I alone in finding evenings short after a day at work?   Despite finishing promptly at 5pm, by the time I have an hour at the gym, water the garden, cook dinner and wash up there are not all that many minutes until it is time for bed.   I don't want more days in the week -  just a couple of extra hours in my evening.   Is that really too much to ask?
Hope the week ahead is better than the last one.   Off to get dinner preparations under way now....

Saturday 8 February 2014

I'm on a roll...

This week I decided that I needed to actually construct my finishes so retrieved the Acorn Sewing Roll.   Three times I read the instructions and three times they made little sense.   There was no picture, no diagram, no sketch and temporarily I thought, no hope!   However I decided to go it my way and the roll is now complete. 
Well it needs a good press and since the photo I have made a hedebo loop and sewn on a pearl bead for the closure.  

I made an elasticated pocket inside and since this will live in "the cabinet" I opted for no scissors, tape measure etc.   Already there are too many hermit scissors in my cabinet!   I am well pleased with this roll.
Tonight I started the construction of the Hardanger Sewing Pod and hopefully this week will get that completed.   I need to buy another two litre container of ice cream as the plastic lid is needed for the stiffener in the pod.   We don't have ice cream in this house unless there are guests so I rarely get ice cream containers. (Sorry but I don't fit the statistic that every New Zealander eats 18 litres of ice cream a year - I probably only have 250grams!)   However in the interests of embroidery, I will transfer the ice cream to another container and leave it in the freezer, so freeing up a plastic lid for my pod.   Weird?
The hardanger tassel is now complete.   I like this one - colour and construction -  so will I be able to part with it?  
Today the HD3QBEM and I went out to a local beach.  
It was fun to sit in the sun and watch all the activity going on around us.   The ice cream van came singing along the street but we nobly resisted these unwanted calories and instead I opted for this
Noble of me n'est pas?

Tuesday 4 February 2014

And this year's tally is ......

Last weekend I persuaded the HD3QBEM to sit on her bed surrounded by her knitted garments, partly as a record and partly so we could count how many in this year's tally.
So here we are!
Generally we take them to the local Hospice Shop just before Easter as that has traditionally been the change to cooler temperatures.  This year Easter is later and who knows what the effect of all this global warming will be down here in the Antipodes.   So we will make the trek, laden with bags of knitteds, at the end of March.   Just enough time for the HD3QBEM to produce at least 5 more ;-)
Tonight she is making rapid progress on sweater number 33 and I am about to continue snip snip snipping each fabric thread on my hardanger pieces, all the while hoping I concentrate enough to ensure that I do not accidentally cut the buttonhole edging.   If you hear weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth you will know what has happened!

Sunday 2 February 2014

60 Weeks Until .... Number 23

Each week I make a baked loaf for the HD3QBEM to enjoy with her cup of tea.   Gingerbread is a favourite as it fruit loaf but this lemon one looks set to surpass all others

Zesty Lemon Tea Loaf
225g butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
Grated zest of 2 large lemons
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.   Grease and line 2 regular loaf tins

Beat butter and sugar until creamy.   Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.
Mix in the zest of the 2 lemons.
Sift the dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk until all are well combined.
Pour into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer

Combine the juice of the two lemons with 1/2 cup sugar and spoon over the hot loaves as soon as you take them from the oven.

Leave to cool and enjoy!


This week I have been patiently working on my piece of cream linen.   Initially I tacked this out for the Hardanger Sewing Pod and followed the instructions to the letter.   Well!   There were huge areas of unused linen and at such a high price per metre I was not happy, so decided to make small  items to fill in the gaps.
Inspired by the fob watch ornaments that Vonna made I went to my local Spotlight store (thinking it was similar to Joanns and Michaels) and they looked at me as if I were off another planet.   Three attempts and no luck so I searched out an old hardanger book and found the charts for little book mark tags.   These will go in to the sale of work at our Guild later in the year.   I've also managed to fit in one hardanger tassel -  I think this is the 25th one I have made of this pattern.
The threads I ordered in October have finally arrived so I made a start on the Mermaids Chest -  the back stitch outline.  
I will need to keep my wits about me with this one as the instructions are not all that comprehensive and the chart is hand drawn which always makes me feel it is more prone to error.
But the threads look lovely and some of these are new to me so I am looking forward this project.
Yesterday the HD3QBEM and I went for a road trip to Hamilton (about a one hour drive south) to visit Dave's Emporium (cheap buttons) and Browsers Bookshop (cheap secondhand books) and Spotlight (for fob watches - no luck!).   A great day out on a warm day.