Thursday 30 June 2016

And the Christmas Puppy has a hat

Thank you to those who agreed that a puppy wearing Rugby Club colours is hardly in the Yuletide spirit.   I replaced the gold with a Winter White and lo and behold....
If I hadn't promised the HD3QBEM a day out on Saturday I might have got these ornaments finish-finished.   But Christmas is still six months away!
I have started knitting the last piece of the green sweater - the back -  and all is going well.   And in this process I have proved that it is not only with embroidery that I have "finish-itis"   What is that?
It is the phenomena that occurs when as you are finishing one piece of stitching you dream about what you will stitch next.   I am knitting the last piece of the sweater and I find myself dreaming about what colour and what sweater I will knit next.   Dangerous:-)   But I have almost promised myself that I will knit an almost-navy blue cardigan (possibly in exactly the same pattern) as it would go so well with my weekend wear.  And my persuasive logic tells me that I would get lots of wear from it when I am retired.   Only 39 months and 26 days to go until R day.

Tuesday 28 June 2016

The bête noire and the Android

Today my perception of the bête noire at the office changed when she came in from her day off to especially bring these for the hard working Administration Officers.   
She is now bête blanc :-)

Well wouldn't you agree she deserves a better moniker after such generosity?   These are a feast for the eyes and the stomach.  This week two of the AO's are away on leave and we, the remaining four are reduced to three,  as another is sick.  So it will be a long week. It is my last in this current position so I am practising my happy dance-  but only where the others won't see me!   And in case you are wondering, there were around fifty probation officers volunteering to eat the fourth cupcake!
My new role requires me to have a Departmental mobile phone and today I finally got it going.   The Department use Samsung Android and my personal phone is an Apple iPhone so I am once again functioning on the borders of my technical knowledge.   Android and I would be friends if HE actually liked my fingerprint and unlocked.   HE accepted my fingerprint willingly to register it but I am still practising the regular unlocking.  HE dings when an email arrives, HE sings when a phone call comes but HE usually refuses to unlock at first swipe.   So tonight HE came home with me for further practice.   I shall subdue HIM.
And now in an effort to lower my blood pressure and stress levels I am off to do some knitting.   Perhaps ignoring HIM will have some effect??

Monday 27 June 2016


This year it is local government elections in New Zealand and the Auckland City Council are busy trying to win the hearts and souls of the voters.   A perennial problem is the city transport links and 'they' now say "they" have found a partial solution.   Not just more buses but bigger buses!
So the route that goes past the end of my street now has these monsters.  
But the solution to one problem created others.  The little group of shops, affectionately known as Mt Eden Village is a conglomerate of old style shops with verandahs over the foot paths.
All the foot paths had to be widened so that the new, taller buses would not collide with the verandahs!   Next problem was the street lights.   These all had to be raised above the height of the double decker bus roof.
But all problems are now solved.   The HD3QBEM and I will try out the new buses soon - but we will not be riding upstairs;-)

Sunday 26 June 2016

Christmas Puppy

A search through the old issues of the Christmas Ornament books unearthed this one.
I'm substituting DMC floss  and the colour photograph in the book shows the hat to be red and gold.   But that looks more like the Waikato Rugby Team colours than Christmas to me, so tomorrow I will undo the gold and restitch in Christmas White.
But he looks good doesn't he? And he will look more festive when the Christmas Stocking is hung off his tail!

Saturday 25 June 2016

Autumn Gold at the end of June!

Although colder it is still unseasonably warm.  Six to seven degrees celsius above normal, Dan the Weatherman tells us.  As if to confirm his statements the Gingko tree in our garden is still shedding its golden leaves at the same time as the mandarin tree is fruiting and the camellias flowering.   It is a crazy winter.
Dan the Weatherman's forecasts are not always correct.   The thunderstorms of this afternoon did not eventuate, allowing one-year-old Charlie from Apartment 9 to roll around in the leaves which proved to be more enticing than his red swing.

Friday 24 June 2016

Finished, finished and almost finished

This week I have been fighting a head cold so progress on the stitching front has been very slow.
But tonight I have these to show off
A finish -  still to be made into the centre piece of a notebook cover
Another finish - to be made into a hanging Christmas Tree ornament.
An almost finished!  This is nearly half of half of the green hardanger runner.
I think at this point I may take a break and go back to my knitting.   Our weather is turning colder and I feel the need to finish off a winter cardigan while it is still winter :-)
My head cold is finally on the mend now and I am feeling much better -  just in time for a busy weekend with household chores and nursing duties.   The HD3QBEM is still not well and needs cheering up.

Monday 20 June 2016

Christmas Cat

Today I have a croaky voice and a sore throat so was sent home from work early.  We had a fine sunny day and it was great to have time to curl up on the sofa, slowly sip a hot drink and finish my next Inspector Rebus book.
Then I decided to proceed with this Christmas ornament.   I have decided that, at a little over 3 inches square it is too big for an ornament but would make a splendid notebook cover.   One would need an enormous tree for ornaments of this size.  IMHO it really needs to be stitched over one, but I am not about to repeat this to prove my point, so a notebook cover it will be.
On the way home I diverted to The Ribbon Rose and purchased DMC319 and a small gold star to finish the other ornament, so may achieve two finishes this week.   I am sure that stash will provide fabric for the backings.

Sunday 19 June 2016

What to do when you run out of...

I was sure I had another hank of DMC 319 floss, but no!   So this piece has ground to a halt.
However, nothing daunted I have searched through stash and found the ingredients for two more Christmas ornaments and even made a start on one.   My nieces and nephews are 'dog people' so this cat ornament may find a place on my tree:-)
This weekend has been a quiet stay-at-home one as I have tried to shake off my cold.  The HD3QBEM is not well again today so with the CD playing very quietly in the background we have been reading.   I have a Inspector Rebus book and she has a new Talking Book on her earphones - we are both happy.  Tonight is soup and cheesy toast.

Thursday 16 June 2016

There may be radio silence

This morning I was wide awake at 3am with a slight tickle in my throat.
Tonight my throat and eyes are sore an I can no longer convince myself this anything but an incipient head cold.  All energy will be devoted to ensuring I don't pass on the bugs to the HD3QBEM.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Preparing to mitre

I have retrieved the green hardanger runner from its box and started work on it again.  My aim this time is to complete half of it before having a break.   So tonight I planned to back stitch and satin stitch the border while watching my recorded Episode 3 of The Dunedin Study documentary.  

Alas!   Somehow my pre-setting of the recording had failed.   Doom and despondency until I remembered that I had registered for TVNZ on Demand.   So the HD3QBEM and I sat in front of the computer and watched and we both feel as if we have made technological advances :-)
Last night we tried to Skype Little Sister and although we could see her she couldn't see us.  That too was doom and despondency until I had a light bulb moment and realised that I had pushed the red button not the blue one.  Oh yes.   Of such technological insight is my life filled!   So tonight I Skyped "the husband of Little Sister" and he saw me and I saw him.  And, he laughed at my limited skill at mastering even such a simple thing as this.   He and he alone is my only Skype contact, so now I know how to work the stupid amazing technology I may call them again.
Anyway, back to the stitching.   I have tacked out in three different colours guidelines for a mitred corner - the edge of my runner - thereby ensuring mathematical precision when I come to the hem.
However before the great day of hemming arrives there are endless back stitches, multitudinous satin stitches and innumerable eyelets to finish.   This will be a long term project??

Monday 13 June 2016

And I just kept going

This was to be a project at Guild on Saturday but tonight I came home from work, stressed, picked this up and just kept going!
I will leave the frame around the edge for Saturday, I promise.

Sunday 12 June 2016

Where did last week go?

Although it was a very short working week for me time seemed to fly by.  The HD3QBEM wasn't well all week which only added to the stress but thankfully she is OK again now.
I did do my knitting and have now finished the second sleeve of the green cardigan.   Only the back and collar left now but I need some stitching so the knitting is put away for the moment.
The first half of the florentine stitch bag is now done and I am very pleased with it.  This is a shot of the right hand side.  Thank you to all who suggested the colourways for the top and bottom.   It certainly looks more "one piece" that my colour choices:-)
Next Saturday is Embroiderers Guild so I made a start on another Christmas Ornament to take and stitch there.   However I will be devoting stitching time this week to further work on my green hardanger runner.  Too many WIPs make me stressed.

Tuesday 7 June 2016


Today I had an extra day of holiday and the HD3QBEM took me out for a celebratory sushi lunch at our favourite Sushi-Go-Round.
As we turned the corner I had a momentary panic when I saw a new sign for Daruma.   But they have actually opened a ramen shop as well and our favourite sushi is till very much operational.
We are always greeted like old friends and the waiters escort us to the same seat each time so we don't have to walk the length of the restaurant.
Up until now, the HD3QBEM had not attempted anything raw but today she tried snapper, tuna and sweet baby prawns -  all very raw.   I was sure that she would prefer the nori rolled sushi but no!  
A combination of a sense of adventure and very blunt false teeth make raw fish more acceptable!   We both enjoyed a lovely meal.
Celebrating what you ask?   I have been offered a new position and once all the paper work has been processed will become District Manager Administration Support.  Still in the same office but without the stress of reception duties, direct offender contact or participation in the fractious and fractured administration team, this is a more independent position and will hopefully mean slightly fewer hours.
But tomorrow it is back to work and I still have a few things to do this evening.  My four day long weekend is coming to a close.

Monday 6 June 2016

Happy Birthday Your Majesty

Queen's Birthday holiday today and I celebrated by cleaning the house thoroughly, making a new ironing board cover, putting a new lining in an old skirt, taking the HD3QBEM for a drive to a local park where she enjoyed the last of the Autumn leaves while I went for a walk, and then making a start on the second sleeve of my knitted cardigan.   What a busy day!   No wonder I have spent the evening with an unstoppable nose bleed :-)
However,  the HD3QBEM has gone safely to sleep clutching her new hot water bottle and nestled under her new mohair blankets so I am going to attempt to finish Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama which is due back at the library.   This translation into English from Japanese has been labour intensive in its reading and only now at page 502 do I sense the multitudinous strands of plot coming together.   Only another 133 pages to go.

Sunday 5 June 2016

Bookmark finished and question answered

A lot of my stitching is done to the accompaniment of British TV productions.   I cannot really say I watch them -  I'm focused on my stitching -  but I do listen.
The hardanger bookmark was completed last night to the background strains of Midsomer Murders and its requisite three murders and inheritance disputes :-)
"Heritage Hall" left a comment wanting to know who the designer of this bookmark was.  It is a 1988 chart from Linda Driskell.   Over the years I have made so many of these as gifts and still don't have one for my own Bible.  I'm not in the mood to do another immediately though!  

Taking my example from other blogs I am accumulating a pile of "still to be constructed" items and will have a Completion Day soon.   Before that I want to get my scissors, both dressmaking and hardanger, sharpened.

Saturday 4 June 2016

O Canada

For the past week I have been distracted from my stitching.  No, it was not a loss of mojo.
Rather I was engrossed in a book.

Over the departmental intranet we receive notice of new books added to the departmental library.  Usually these are ponderous sounding tomes on criminology or psychology but last week one title caught my eye.   Instead of trusting departmental lending,  I logged into my wonderful local library and they had a copy available on Overdrive.  So for the past four days I have been absorbed in this.

O Canada!   I did not fall in love with Margaret Attwood.   I adored Lucy Maud Montgomery's red headed Anne of Green Gables. Now I have fallen in love with 'Ann without an E'.
'Ann without an E' was traumatised by a mugging while living in England which definitely shook her faith in the fundamental goodness of human beings.   But once back in Canada she was persuaded by her friend Carol to become involved in a book club in a prison. This book follows the lives of six particularly involved book club members and at the same time traces the growth of the Prison Book Clubs in Ontario and other parts of Canada.   An amazing selection of books is read and discussed by the book club members and it is notable how their lives and thinking are changed, but even more notable is how Ann is enabled to move on from her own trauma.   I loved this book and have already been recommending it to colleagues at work.  I am so grateful to have read it.

This afternoon I have been sewing a warm woollen skirt and tonight will be stitching up the hem and doing the last hand sewing.  it is definitely cold now so it is tights and wool skirts weather.

Friday 3 June 2016

Good progress tonight

Having finished all the eyelets for the tassel, I'm now working on the lace filling for the bookmark.   This is done in two 'journeys' so all being well I should get this finished tomorrow as journey one is completed.
During the week I watched the first episode of an interesting documentary on The Dunedin Study.   This world renowned  multi-disciplinary health and development study has followed 1037 people from their birth in Dunedin in 1972.  You can read more about it here.   One of the psychologists told of five personality types they had defined during this study - Undercontrolled, Inhibited, Confident, Reserved, and Well-adjusted.  

Now why have I mentioned that?   Well, I feel very Undercontrolled at present with far too many projects on the go.   So I must must must finish the tassel and bookmark, then the florentine stitch pocket, then my knitted cardigan and then the hardanger runner for my coffee table.   By which stage I will be ready for some construction.

My reward for all this activity will be to stitch a hardanger angel -  which is already kitted up and providing an unnecessary temptation :-)

Thursday 2 June 2016

The roses have bloomed

Tonight I finished the last of the rosebuds but have just run out of time to complete all the eyelets.
Hardanger tassels have lots of eyelets.   I am pleased with the delicate colourings of this - just what I imagined, which is a surprise.   The floss colours are as per the chart but I used a scrap of 32 count linen from stash so wasn't certain it would look just like the picture in my mind.  Well done Margaret!

We have a long weekend as the first Monday in June is always a public holiday to celebrate the birthday of the Queen.  I have taken an extra day annual leave so won't need to go back to work until Wednesday.