Sunday 30 November 2014

Three Blind Mice and an M

Last night I sat up late and finished off the three mice.   At that time of night, I decided not to raid the yard broom but made their whiskers from Perle 5 and am happy with the way they turned out.  AS these are a pincushion two have red pins in their tails and one has black (due to an insufficiency of red!!)
I have found a box and will try to fill it with "little things" for the Embroiderers Guild sale of work next year so this is a good start.  
Three hardanger bookmarks are underway too.   I was going to put little angels on the diagonal up each bookmark but the little angels are proving little devils to stitch so have opted for a safer but simpler filling.   Surely they will be tempting to buyers even if not angelic?
Today Little Sister, her hubby and their Brazilian home stay student called in to see us.   Luiz is being shown the sights of Auckland City and Granny and Aunty are one stop on the itinerary!   It was great to see them and to hear a little about their epic journey along Route 66.  
Little Sister found this tricky box for me in New York.   Wasn't she clever to combine my love of boxes and my love of 'M'.   It's a puzzle box and the M is the key.   Here's a shot of the pieces.  
Well done Little Sister for finding such a suitable gift and carrying it carefully all across the country.
Last week we had the shower over bath changed to a walk in shower and the HD3QBEM is more than satisfied with the new arrangement.   She finds it much safer and for me it will be easier to clean. The workman is coming tomorrow to complete the odds and ends still left to do.   I will be glued to my phone tomorrow as I expect to hear back from the job which I applied for a couple of weeks ago and which I really really want.   Meanwhile I am finding all sorts of home jobs to get done while I improve the shining hours of waiting.

Sunday 23 November 2014

And while we are waiting...

Last week I played the waiting game.   The second interview for the job went well, the recruitment agency gave positive feedback and I was told to wait for a phone call on Friday.   Wait I did. And wait and wait and wait...   But no call.  Hopefully on Monday there will be good news.
But I managed to improve the shining hour.   Progress was made on A Sampler Chatelaine.   I don't really like the way the verse has words split between the lines but I am following the chart and that is what the instructions say.
Also I made arrangements for Dave and John to come and do my bathroom renovations next week.  We need a step in shower cubicle rather than the shower over bath arrangement we have at present as the HD3BEM isn't as limber as she once was.   So on Tuesday this week we move out for five days while Dave and John get working in my bathroom.   I hadn't expected they would have available time before Christmas but this has worked rather well.

One small problem however.   My current project is A Sampler Chatelaine and that is far too fine for me to see by dimmer light in our temporary accommodation so I had a rapid search of the stash and found some scraps of linen and DMC perle thread and made a start on other projects to take with me.
I'm going to make three Maarken Mice as part of my donation to the sale of work at next year's Embroiderers Guild Exhibition.   One has the stitching completed so I am sure I will have all three done by next weekend.  These are Perle #8 on 24 count linen.   Doesn't look like a mouse?   It will, believe me and I will show photographic proof next week, provided I can get the small faceted beads for the eyes.   Whiskers will come from a gentle raiding of the yard broom.
And I am going to use another square of fabric to make some Angel Hardanger Bookmarks.   This is a Carol Pedersen design which I have stitched before.   This time they are being made in 28 count linen which exactly matches the DMC 3823 Perle #8 I have in stash.   Each of the centre diamonds will house a hardanger angel but I am going to do all the foundations first before stitching the 'heavenly beings'
Yesterday the HD3QBEM and I went out for a drive in the countryside to take our mind off "the phone call".   We first stopped at our usual place for a sushi lunch and then on through the hills on the edge of the city until we spied this

I gingerly picked my way through the displays of antiques but no needlework boxes (my promised birthday gift) so we drove on.
Over another hill and onwards until we eventually arrived home.   One of us was tired and the other grateful to have had her mind taken off her troubles!   A light dinner, an hour of Midsome Murders and a good sleep has done wonders.

Sunday 16 November 2014

All that remains

I have been diligently stitching on A Sampler Chatelaine this week and all that remains on the left side are Queen Stitches.   Rather like a child who leaves the detested vegetables on his plate to be eaten last,  I have no choice now, so with music as a diversion the Queen Stitches will be completed tonight.
On a brighter note, I had a job interview this week which looks hopeful as a second interview is scheduled for next week.   So with that in mind I bought some fabric for a new blouse to wear.   After some years working in a warehouse situation, I will need to upgrade my wardrobe to 'professional office wear' if I'm successful in obtaining the position.   Fingers crossed (when not stitching).

Yesterday was Embroiderers Guild and at the meeting I stitched on an Aztec Stitch bookmark.   We had an interesting speaker talking about her trip to Machu Picchu so my concentration was not so good at times :-)   Last night while watching The Great British Bake Off I made further progress so the end is in sight.
The HD3QBEM is not so well today so I will sign off here and go keep her company.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

A finish and a new start

This small hardanger needlecase can really be considered a finish I think.   I only need to put a couple of decorative tassels on the base of the front and they will be done tonight.  Considering it is only scraps of linen and perle thread from stash this has turned out well.
And I made a start on A Sampler Chatelaine
Yes I put the date on as I think this will be done before year's end although now I am stitching an abundance of Queen Stitches the pace has slowed.   There is a metal acorn button to sew in the white gap of the top Oak Leaf band -  when all is completed.  Short rows and a variety of stitches make this an interesting project but I doubt that I will ever wear this chatelaine hanging around my neck as the designer intended.   Back of the curio cabinet perhaps?   A curio it certainly is -  why would the boxer have partly floral pants and be holding a strawberry??  
Apart from sending out applications for work, I have been sewing ( a new summer dress) and reading.   This week is going slowly but the weather is not suitable for outdoor pursuits.

Friday 7 November 2014

A walk in the park

This afternoon when I returned from an hour and a half at the gym, the HD3QBEM asked if I'd like to go to Cornwall Park for a walk!   We went and enjoyed time outdoors on a beautiful warm day.
Here's a photo to prove it.   Now I am tired!
Currently I have a small hardanger needlecase almost completed, a cobalt blue summer dress almost completed and three "possible projects" from which I am choosing.   This needlecase is fun and I have stitched it so many times it too is almost a walk in the park!
I have tacked out the linen for my major project of 2015.   For many years I have carefully stored a wooden casket which has insert panels on sides, front, back and top.   The charts for this I found in the Sampler and Antique Needlework  A Year In Stitches book.  You can see a photograph of what the finished casket will look like here (scroll down about two thirds of the way).   On my list for tomorrow is "sort out the threads for casket".   I doubt this project will be a walk in the park :-)
My other three 'possible projects' are a small thimble holder - a Betsy Morgan design,

My Favourite Things Stitching Basket - an Ellen Chester design and

A Sampler Chatelaine - Historic Needlework Guild (yes I have had this chart a looong time!).  

I plan on doing all of these projects but am trying to decide which to do first as I am little tired of plain cross stitch.  Now back to stitching.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Baby post

Today I finished the stitching on Lynne Nicoletti's Baby envelope.  (Excuse the wrinkles - I have not ironed the piece)
Unfortunately I stitched this all from stash and the linen is a 28 count so the envelope is rather too big for what I initially envisaged.   Methinks a cushion may be coming up on this one but it will languish in a bag until I find out whether I get great-nieces or great-nephews or one of each?!
I love the little 'perambulator' but I am certainly not going to now do a pink version just on the off chance.   Should both babies be girls there could be a problem and I may be looking for a friendly recipient :-) and frantically stitching a pink perambulator.
And today I visited the Embroiderers Guild annual display of work.   Unfortunately no photographs allowed so you will have to take my word for it that there was a wonderful variety of work on display.   The HD3QBEM peered through her magnifying lens at the pieces that took her fancy and had a very decided opinion on her Viewers Choice ballot!   Obviously visual impairment didn't dim her enjoyment.  
After that we went to the local Spotlight store and I got some thin vilene to trace off a dress pattern, some buttons and some velcro to repair the HD3QBEM's slippers and spent the afternoon cutting out fabric for two dresses and a blouse.   Tomorrow is to be a marathon sewing day - broken by a lunch date with a friend.
All this activity to take my mind off the applications for work which I have sent off into the internet.
Oh yes and I did an hour and a half session at the gym before coming home to cook dinner.   What a good girl am I!

Sunday 2 November 2014

United at last!

Last night I stitched diligently all through Midsomer Murders but the programme was not long enough to get my stitching finished.  So today a quick sprint and the final stitches were in.   The four countries are united at last.   I am really pleased with this piece and now must research how to make an accordion book and construct the item.   Well, I need to source some suitable paper first of all.   Wish me luck!
A blog reader asked what Little Sister had given me for my birthday (she gave it to the HD3QBEM to hide until the actual day!) so here's shots of the beautiful wooden jewelry box.

There are cute little button feet on the bottom.   I need help with suggestions for charts/designs that can fit in the 4" by 6" aperture -  bearing in mind that it is under glass.   Any suggestions?   Hardanger or specialty stitches rather than cross stitch only I think.

 Another reader asked to see the finished name tag.   It is really nothing special -  just small with clear  font so it serves the appropriate purpose.   Here's a selfie showing the tag in use and photos of front and back(I used a Japanese fabric from Pamela for the back 'lining')
Other spare moments have been spent sewing up seams and sewing on buttons for the HD3QBEM's knitting.   Great Grandchildren are due to make an appearance in two separate families next March and April so The Great Knitting Splurge has begun.   With gender being as yet unknown and likely to remain so, colours are gender neutral lemon, aqua etc etc.   I'd like to show you a photo of the HD3QBEM's smiling face as she knits, but whenever I point the camera her direction the smile fades into a grimace of intense concentration.   Considering the hurdles of knitting with impaired vision, these garments are truly a labour of love.   And yesterday we went shopping for yet more yarn!!