Monday 29 February 2016

Hello Mr Big Ears

Tonight Part 2 of the Noddy Bag.

Mr Big Ears striped T shirt stretches widely over his fat tummy.   His blue jacket certainly doesn't do up!  And what sort of stylist puts the nautical upper half with green and yellow striped trousers?
Present day illustrators of childrens books would never think of this colour scheme.   Or would they?

I'm off to enjoy a date with Anthony Horowitz and Trigger Mortis.   My request for this book from the local library has been a long wait,  but today I came to the top of the list and have two weeks to read and return.

Good night.

Sunday 28 February 2016

Bye Bye Little Noddy

The HD3QBEM has requested some assistance with her knitting, so this afternoon I pressed the accelerator and finished the stitching on Little Noddy.
My small Lego Noddy is beside him for comparison.   Quite a faithful representation n'est-ce pas?

I'm off to a date with the Antiques Road Show now.   See you tomorrow, with hopefully a start on Big Ears.

Saturday 27 February 2016

The very hungry caterpillar

A couple  of weeks ago I planted some flower plants in the pots on my deck.   Very soon they were attacked.   Ah, slugs!  Or so I thought,   But slug and snail bait had no impact.  Still my poor plant looked pathetic.
So armed with a flashlight I went out one night and found the culprit.
And now The Very Hungry Caterpillar is no longer :-)

Friday 26 February 2016

As hard as diamonds...?

Today has been a hard hard day.  
A power cut over night cut off the CCTV security cameras at work on the very day when visiting offenders decided to play up!
The same power cut caused a fuse to blow in the air conditioning control panel, so the temperature got hot and the tempers hotter still.
A roof top water tank linked to said malfunctioning air conditioner leaked and the sky fell in.   Well to be honest, it was actually ceiling tiles which turned to mush and collapsed downward.
Eventually the water found its desired home in another circuit board and turned off half the computers and the telephone system.
But, did we go home?   No way.   Our client base never sleep or become inactive and thus neither shall The Department.
So what can I say?   Thank the Lord I was wearing cotton and not man made fibres!  I am quite sure Pollyanna would not have been so selfish as I was in inwardly thanking the Lord that it was not my computer that was affected.   I managed to leave my desk clean, all necessary tasks done and an empty To Do List for Monday while still getting out the door at 5pm.   Not bad?!
Anyway, I am in no mood for Noddy tonight so made a refrigerator cake, set the fruit mixture to steep in tea so I can bake a fruit loaf for the HD3QBEM tomorrow morning, and started another diamond.   Hardanger is guaranteed to ease my stress.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Little Noddy no-hands

Another progress report.   Are you sick of Noddy?   I am.  
But I am determined to finish this side of the tote bag before I put him away and give myself a break from half stitches.   So there are two hands, an M on the block Noddy is holding and then the cream colour of the block.   Tomorrow night should finish this piece and I swear you will hear the happy dance all the way to Norwich!!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Little Noddy two Shoes

While he is not fully complete yet, Noddy is certainly more recognisable now with his red shoes and their big blue bows.
Tomorrow night will have to be top stitching I think, unless I succumb to hardanger fever and pick up the diamonds again.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Noddy's progress

Tonight I am stitching on Noddy.   He is looking more like the illustration from the book and eventually should look very handsome on one side of the tote bag.

Why he has orange cheeks I do not know but I have followed the chart faithfully so it must be right??  The pleasure in this stitching is not from the chart -  too many half stitches -  but from the nostalgia factor.   So I'm off now to my needle and my rose tinted memories.

Monday 22 February 2016

And we are underway

The florentine stitch bag is on its way to becoming a  reality and as I am using six threads of floss this will certainly use up the leftovers.
For someone like myself, challenged in the colour and design field this is a relaxing and stress free way to stitch.   Nothing needs to match exactly and counting up to four is the only mathematical challenge.   The next wave will be golds to browns I think.  
Just as well after a hard day at the office.   But now I am caught 'up to date' on what is actually a Guild project so this will go back into the bag until next month.
Last night I recorded the episode of Elementary so I'm off to watch that now.

Sunday 21 February 2016

My challenge

At Embroiderers Guild yesterday I somehow found myself signing up to participate in a challenge.
So once home I went looking for my creativity and never found it.   Perhaps I never had any?
While I can follow instructions well, I am in no way a creative embroiderer.
This is the proof.   But as one small triangle among 150 others this will not be obvious (I hope)

Saturday 20 February 2016

A date with Jeffrey

Today has been the usual busy Choresday Saturday and with Embroiderers Guild this afternoon I had more to condense into a morning.   The only thing still on the list is to cut the HD3QBEM's fingernails so I haven't done too badly.
Item 6 on the list was to return library books and when I went they had another for me.
So between lunch and Guild, Jeffrey and I had a quick catch up.   We met again immediately I returned home, only to separate a few minutes later while I cleaned the bathroom and washed the floors.   But this was only a temporary separation and soon we were back together again.   TV One interrupted our tete a tete with The Amazing Race, the evening news and MasterChef Australia.   Advertising breaks allowed me to get the dinner and wash the dishes!   Now I am off to another session with Jeffrey!

Thursday 18 February 2016

Hardanger runner

Every girl needs a diamond...
Will I feel the same way about diamonds when I have stitched another 13 and done all the filling stitches?   I hope so.

I am happy with this and in reality it is simple to stitch so is quite relaxing.  Just what I need after a dismal day at the office.
Off to bed now.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

An on going battle

The top right hand corner of my garage door has been claimed by a spider as his territory.  
Every day I grab the broom and destroy his delicate web.
Every day the spider spins the web again.  
It takes him overnight to spin a web about 60 cm in diameter.
And I tell myself every day to bring down the can of spray and get rid of him.
And every day I forget.
It is easy to forget as I never see him.  I just see his web, or feel it in my face when I forget to dodge:-)
Then this morning Mr Spider and I had a meeting.
Yes!  There he was busy spinning yet further extensions to his web.
And I didn't have the spray to hand:-)
Instead I pulled out my cell phone and took a couple of photos, thinking that tonight I would come and spray him.

Too late!   Tonight he was gone, but assuredly not forever and he left his completed web as a souvenir.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

A combined effort

Collaboration is the name of the game in our house.
Usually in the following manner: the HD3QBEM knits diligently all day, at dinner time discovers a mistake well back, gets frustrated, leaves it to me to reverse out of quandary and restart forward progress.
But!   This regular pattern is sometimes interrupted with positive collaboration and below is part of the result.   Which of these two halves do you think was knitted by the HD3QBEM?  Left or right?

Whatever -  the results look good but cannot be displayed in full glory yet as this is for a gift.

Monday 15 February 2016

Hurrah For little Noddy!

Does anyone else remember the first book?

I have been thinking of my well worn, indeed practically worn out, Noddy books and wondering whatever happened to them.   With two younger siblings, they were probably passed down and fell to pieces from too much loving.
This embroidered Noddy is never going to suffer from too much loving.   The crazy designer adores half stitches and this crazy stitcher hates half stitches so we have a toxic combination:-)   However Noddy now has a hat, a bell, a bow tie and hopefully tonight he will get eyes, a nose and a mouth.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Valentine's Day

It's hot here and chocolate is melting.
The red roses are blooming in the garden.
The HD3QBEM tells me she loves me.   Does that count?

Saturday 13 February 2016

My stash cupboard is tidy

A pleasurable chore has been completed.
I went through my stash cupboard and tidied it up.  In the process, I familiarised myself with charts that I need to stitch, those that I want to stitch and created a pile of those I may never stitch.
Believe me I have 'ingredients' so many potential projects there will never be a sense of deprivation!

Friday 12 February 2016

The Oxford Comma

Today's trivia is provided by a happy moment in an otherwise dour week.

"Know It All" and I were talking about the evident lack of a good background in English language we have both noticed in the young, newly-graduated staff.   
"Oh yes," we said, "education is not what it was in our day".   Then we nodded sagely at each other as only two women of a certain age can.
"And not only English," she said.  "Geography, history, and general science too".
Why yes!" I said, "Some of that age have never even heard of hanging valleys".
Silence.   Then,
"I haven't", said she. “What are they?"   And so into an explanation which would have made my geography teacher proud.
I could see "Know It All" rattling through the filing cabinet otherwise known as brain cells.   Then the light bulb moment.
"Do you know what The Oxford Comma is?" She looked triumphant.   But alas, her balloon was destined to be popped.  I do.  Ah, the bliss of victory.   

We are now good friends:-)

And I need to find another such happy moment with "Do Nothing" at work and we too, could become best friends.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Voila, le biscornu

It is finished.
I was so sure I had swarovski crystal beads in this shade of green, but they are nowhere to be found so I opted for simplicity.   The centre bead is jade from a keyring given me many years ago by a friend.  Why waste a jade bead on a keyring?
And the back?   Well that is plain.
I don't know much French but I do know that everything is either feminine or masculine.  A biscornu?  Must be masculine I think, with all those stick-out corners :-)

Wednesday 10 February 2016

The Year of the Monkey

For the past couple of nights we have been kept awake by fireworks in a nearby park as the Chinese Community celebrate the New Year -  The Year of the Monkey
While sleepless last night I remembered that I too had monkeys.... three wise ones in fact.
These were Great Grandmother's and look like they could do with a good polish!   Where Old Gran got them from I do not know but there is an Indian inscription and the word England on the bottom.

So today it is New Year Greetings from "Speak No Evil, See No Evil and Hear No Evil"

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Waste not want not

In my latest hardanger foray there was a small rectangle of fabric left so I decided that it was time for another biscornu.  

So here we are.   The back will be plain and I have yet to decide on the filling stitches for the top.   Somewhere in stash I have green Swarovski crystal beads which may give this otherwise plain object some sparkle.
Short and sweet tonight.   The HD3QBEM and I spent too long talking and then I helped with her knitting so time ran out.  Good night all.

Monday 8 February 2016

Guild Bag

Well, would you believe it?  Noddy is way too much counting to be a suitable Guild project.  I had two reverse trips last night just settling him in to the fabric.  So that's a No Go.   Even the HD3QBEM said she didn't think he'd like Guild!
So back to the thinking chair and then I remembered this.
Now, long long ago in a far off town, Grandma wanted to use up her stray embroidery threads.   The result would need to be something useful, she thought.  So she started on a piece of scrap canvas and the random result was this.
She used it well and in due course the HD3QBEM inherited it and made good use of it.  Now it is my turn for the bag but one of the handles is broken and  Margaret, Margaret quite contrary wants to make her own rather than just replace a handle.   Well wouldn't you,  if you had a bag of threads dumped on you with the comment, " you stitch so you will use these".   I have canvas, I have threads, I have time at guild, so result is guaranteed non?   Mes Amis, I will tell you that, after the last Guild meeting in December:-)

Sunday 7 February 2016

She can, she can't

Look at this.
Would you believe I actually like cooking and experimenting with different foods?   I do and I don't.   I do love it but I don't do it.
The HD3QBEM has digestive problems and the list of foods that cannot be eaten far outweighs the list of foods that can.   So her meals are a dietitian's nightmare as they are so nutritionally imbalanced.   We neither of us worry about that.   Is nutritional balance so vitally important at 86?
Add into the mix a hypersensitivity to Vitamin K which upsets the balance of her warfarin medication and the only applicable adjective is boring.   Tonight was teriyaki chicken, potato and carrot.   Tomorrow will be the remainder of the teriyaki chicken, potato and broccoli. That's right.  Every second night is either broccoli or silver beet and in that way I maintain her INR at levels the GP attributes to her own medical skill ;-)
However my lovely, perpetually cheerful HD3QBEM always says "Thank you dear.   That was delicious."  

PS please don't suggest cabbage or she will become an unlovely uncheerful HD3QBEM!!  That is on the can't list, I just forgot to write it down.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Comfort stitching

Having completed both the basket and the thimblepod I am allowed to part company with the little crosses and indulge in some comfort stitching/
My next project is going to be a hardanger runner for my coffee table. So tonight I stitched the kloster blocks on a sample motif.   This I will make into a notebook cover (the spiral backed sort of notebook not the computer version) but first I wanted to check the size etc - rather like kntting a swatch to measure gauge I suppose.  
This will be satisfactory and on Monday ( public holiday here) I will make a trip to The Ribbon Rose to get the necessary DMC perle thread.   The fabric is a 28 count evenweave - Jobelan I think -  from stash and is actually a pretty greenish shade rather like DMC 522.   I don't really like stitching on anything but linen but this fabric is stable and really suitable for the runner I have in mind.
Today has been wet and hot so indoor jobs are all done and my stash cupboard has been cleaned and tidied.  
I even managed to finish my book - the latest Val McDermid.   Now I am off to bed with the latest Peter May.   Both of these were ordered from my local library and I had a long wait as they were very popular.  Other readers will be waiting so I cannot renew and must finish by the due date.   So off to bed I go:-)

Friday 5 February 2016

Et voila!

Tonight the thimblepod is finished.   Complete, but totally useless as a container for a thimble.
I collected up all the thimbles we have in the house and yet there is room for more!
Left to right these are Royal Albert from Windsor(courtesy of Niece Number One), Sterling Silver Dorcas thimble (courtesy of Old Gran =  great grandmother), silver plate thimble from my LNS, two Indian brass thimbles (source unknown).  Five of them but they still rattle around in my thimblepod which if I had stitched over one as directed would have housed one only!
However, there is space in my cabinet for this and I am satisfied - so what,  if it is a mammoth thimblepod.   I should just rename it....but as what??

Thursday 4 February 2016


The HD3QBEM and I have both been to the podiatrist.   She goes every 6 weeks as she can't see her toes now and I'm not confident to cut those, although I do her fingernails.   I go only when painful corns make it absolutely necessary as,  not yet being an old age pensioner, there are no reduced rates for me.
But we both have beautiful feet tonight.   At least they feel beautiful although they don't look it!!
And the thimblepod is stitched together and now awaits the twisted cord for final completion.
And the bottom showing one three way corner.   These corners  were rather a mission to hold while stitching.
Well I'm off to twist threads!   Do you think this looks too large for a thimble?   I promise a comparative photo tomorrow:-)

Wednesday 3 February 2016

The construction highway

Embroiderers Guild starts again this month and I really wanted my new workbasket to take,  so foot to the pedal and voila!
Although perhaps not completely to the designers instructions, I am still very satisfied with this and intend to use it.   However I am not going to stitch the scissor fob, needle book and pincushion to match.   Already I have enough of these, so will use what I have.

The Woodland Delights piece was made into a little zipped purse.   I am definitely not totally happy with that one and while I will be using it (container for my spectacle cleaner and cloth when I travel) I plan on stitching it again in two separate pieces and trying again.

Tonight I will stitch these three pieces together and construct the thimblepod.  Looks like I need to remove the tacking thread first?!
Then and only then, will I allow myself to start a new piece.  Noddy is to be my Guild project for the year which is a cunning way of allowing myself the pleasure of choosing another piece from my stash for my "at-home" stitching.   So the hardanger books are coming out of the cupboard -  oh yeah!

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Another conversation at cross purposes today!

I was telling a colleague that I had bought myself a notebook to record the good things that happen at work and therefore to see if I could shake myself free of the negative defeated feeling that has come over me.
"Oh yes", says she.   "What model?"
Eh?   How many models of notebook are there, I think.   Croxley, Staples, Office Max, Moleskine, Paperblanks ....I think, mentally listing those I thought she might be thinking of. Then I told her that I had splurged on a fancy notebook made in the UK and that it had a cunning magnetic closure.

"Oh," says she.   "I thought you meant a notebook."
Well I did!!
I like notebooks; the proper sort with thick pages on which you can write with lovely pens, preferably fountain pens with gold nibs:-)  Yes, I like pens too!

She is young and I am old and there is a generation gap.

Monday 1 February 2016

The day the telephone died

Last night my cordless telephone died.  a few short beeps and then nothing but silence.   I blame the thunder and lightning but then again it could have been the battery.
Anyway today is a public holiday in Auckland so I took the HD3QBEM to JB HiFi and a very helpful young man sold me another.   It is named appropriately isn't it?  Loud & Clear:-)
We only need a simple phone with no bells and whistles but the number panel must have BIG numbers.   Apparently bells and whistles are normal now but we did find BIG numbers, so life is back to normal.