Wednesday 30 November 2016

My men friends

Tonight I put buttons, eyes and mouths on all my little men friends.   The DBEM did a taste test and they passed.
Now all I have to do is put them into little cellophane bags.   For Christmas the friends who live locally are getting a boxed sampler selection of home baked goodies.
Most years I do this for at least some of my friends and each year the selection is different.   The 2016 edition will be Gingerbread men, Apricot and Orange Coconut Balls, Walnut Shortbread, and mini mini Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The first of these is to be delivered next Sunday afternoon.   Kathy has a very busy social schedule so she and I start Christmas early!  Actually last year we ran out of time and so exchanged Christmas gifts at the end of January.   Both of us thought that such an extended festive season was not a good idea so we have gone the other way for 2016 :-)

Tuesday 29 November 2016


I was a late starter with both these projects.
Sweet Pea seed planted at the time stated on the packet came to nothing so I put in some plants, a bamboo teepee and voila.... they are beginning to flower.   The DBEM watches their progress daily and we both look forward to a fragrant display.

The Ackworth Quaker trend bypassed me a few years ago.   Well, I purchased several charts but never got around to stitching them until now.   Despite some kilometres of reverse stitching on this one I am making good progress and am enjoying the colour, the fabric and the rhythm of the cross stitch motifs.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Finem Gloriosum

Allow me to introduce to you my favourite angel of 2016
Jo from the Norfolk sent me the chart and Heather from Whanganui sent me the wooden head - thank you very much to you both.
The hardanger is stitched on 32 count linen and the cross stitch with DMC threads so she is definitely not a haute couture angel but I love her.
Even from the back she is elegant.
And a sideways glance
Now to name her.   Gloria? Alleluia? Seraphina?   I don't think so :-)

Friday 25 November 2016


Thanksgiving is not a custom that New Zealand has imported from the United States.   We fiercely embrace halloween which grows bigger by the year.   Christmas decorations fill the shops even before the ghosts and ghoulies have been consigned to the warehouse.  Black Friday sales have reached our shores - well and truly.  But nary a mention of Thanksgiving.

Family gatherings around a special meal, when each member lists what they are thankful for seems to me to be an excellent tradition.   Not so much fun though when it's just the DBEM and me.

However today I tried to be mindful all day of Thanksgiving and created my own little list.
I am thankful for

  • Good health
  • An interesting job.
  • Energy to enjoy life.
  • Embroidery to keep my hands occupied.
  • Books to keep my mind stimulated.
  • Friends who expand my horizons.
  • But above all I am thankful for God's goodness to me
And tonight I am thankful that I have done most of my Saturday chores and now I am off to add some more blue crosses to my needlework and to give the Hardanger Angel some hair..   Photos tomorrow I promise.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Sweet peas and fairies

My lovely colleague Susan brought these from her garden and rather than leave them on my desk they have come home with me.
The DBEM loves sweet peas and is peering closely at my plants each day but as yet no flowers.   Thank you Susan for giving us this bunch of fragrance.
A couple of weeks ago I sewed this little dress for my great-niece.   I fell in love with the Cicely Mary Barker fairies and the internet provided the "Pillowcase dress" pattern and Mackenzie loves it.   No photographs of her wearing it yet but happy dances all round :-)

Friday 18 November 2016

Dress Rehearsal

My lovely boss told me to take this afternoon off as I had been working long hours. So I was able to get the large grocery shop done.  I tried doing the grocery shop once a month, to save time but that has stretched out to once every six weeks.   Mind you I still hate shopping!
Anyway, I have some free time so I have been auditioning bodies for the Hardanger Angel and tonight we had a dress rehearsal.  
The Body Shop flowing soap turned out to have the exact size bottle I required.   Then the plastic stem of one cotton ear bud  and the tip of a bamboo toothpick and voila.   I can see how this will come together.  Maybe not tonight though:-)

Thursday 17 November 2016

And we have Shepherds!

The second "panel" of the Nativity Sampler is now complete - well almost.   I have two rows of specialty stitches and the trailing vines to do before welcoming the three wise men.
But so far so good.
And a close up shot -  each of the "lacy whitework" patterns are different and fun to stitch even if the Silk Mori does catch a  little on my rough hands.
And now I have a letter to write so I'd best be off.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Surprise in the mail

My mailman is my new best friend :-)
Today he brought me a surprise package all the way from Texas.   Phyllis had packed lots of love into the envelope, along with this exquisite embroidered acorn.
Isn't it beautiful?  I love acorns and this one is beautifully stitched and finished.
And guess what....Phyllis sent me a card with this cute sticker on the back.  
Would you wait to open it?   I didn't and inside was this amazing encouraging card.  
Thank you so much Phyllis.
But wait!   There's more.   Another card with another cute sticker.   This one I haven't opened, but Phyllis you have the honour of having sent my very first Christmas card for 2016.

It has been a surprisingly good day ;-)    I'll be back tomorrow with some stitching progress.

Monday 14 November 2016

Shaken about

I will not fear when the earthquakes come and mountains are cast into the sea

But I will be thankful I live in the North Island  :-)

Sunday 13 November 2016

The Shepherds

The coloured portion of this band is complete.  I rather love the little cardinals.   We don't have those birds in New Zealand but they are certainly more colourful than our birds.
Now I am working on the white band and first is what is called Broad Cross Stitch.
A really 3D stitch this has 8 steps for each complete stitch.   I am wondering if there will be enough of the white silk to complete this.  
Today I planted five planter boxes - two with flowers for the DBEM.   Pink and blue petunias which I hope will provide a great deal of pleasure for both of us.   Also lettuce and silverbeet which will definitely feed both of us.
Now I am ready to take the lasagne out of the oven and that is the last item on my weekend To Do List.

Friday 11 November 2016


At this stage of the Heirloom Nativity Sampler I am stitching snow.  White, white and yet more white.  So I decided some light relief was necessary.   Well to be totally honest I wanted to cross another chore of The List.  
Late last year Little Brother brought me a huge container of walnuts from his venerable old tree.   Still in their nuts!   So little by little I have cracked the shells and extracted the nuts, until my hand got too sore.   Tonight I promised myself I would finish the job.
As Rudyard Kipling said, "desire doth outrun performance" and despite cracking countless shells and filling this bowl, there is still a huge quantity remaining.
Tomorrow morning some of these will be chopped up and disappear into cookies for the DBEM.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Out of sight and Out of mind

Tonight I have decided I must be "out of my mind".   I can't even count to 3 correctly :-)
Here is a progress shot of squares three and four of the Quaker Friendship Book.   Looking good?
Well take a closer look and tell me if you can see the error?
Top right there is a square which is four threads wide when it should be six.   Bother.   The joys of poor eyesight, poor concentration and 36 count fabric.   I am not going to reverse stitch this but will leave it as is.   There is plenty of fabric to start again and I will do that and discard this piece. Bother again!
And "out of sight"?   Well look what I found hidden away.   How embarrassing.  I thought I didn't have any Unfinished Objects.  This is from The Victoria Sampler -  "Heirloom Nativity Sampler"
I started this at least three years ago (I see it was actually four) and only got this far, less than a third.   As this is a complete kit and I have all the threads, beads and bobbles necessary I am going to finish this off in time for Christmas .....2017

Sunday 6 November 2016

Wisdom gained

On the way home from Church this morning I stopped to buy the DBEM's magazine which contains her weekly dose of Royal News.   Right next to the corner store is the local Fish and Chip shop, The Ancient Mariner" and as usual they have a board outside with a wise and funny saying on it.  This one tickled my fancy and seemed worthy of photographic record.

This afternoon Kathy and I went to Little & Friday cafe in Newmarket.  Obviously very popular, the place was crowded but the Lemon Meringue Pie was delicious and well worth the wait.    Strange name for a cafe isn't it?   I asked Kathy if it was the names of the owners but not so she said and made some enquiries.  Apparently it is so called because initially, the self taught baker/proprietor Kim Evans opened in a "little" shop on a "Friday".   Well, if my nephew and his wife can name their new baby girl London, I guess Ms Evans can call her cake shop Little & Friday :-)

Saturday 5 November 2016

Spring Cleaning

With Spring almost over and my Spring Cleaning not yet completed I set to and polished, wiped and generally cleaned the sunporch today.   Now I bask in the after glow of satisfaction that one complete room is crossed off The List.
The DBEM decided to help by sorting out the old photographs.
One pile for each sibling.  The biggest pile for the sibling whom I have nominated to be Family Historian.   Next week these will be sent to each one and I will be happy with the space in the cupboard and the knowledge, that while the DBEM can still see a little we have notated and archived some family history.   I am almost totally without sentimentmyself but found two photographs of the DBEM as a young girl that reminded me of photos of myself at a similar age.   Those I have kept to look at when folks say to me "you look like your father".   I shall look at these ancient photographs and smugly think-  You Are Wrong!

Friday 4 November 2016

Two out of ten isn't bad.

I have completed two of the ten panels for the Quaker Friendship book.   36 count antique white linen from stash and DMC 930 is exactly what I hoped for.  More blue than this photo would lead you to believe,  I am already mentally going through my fabric stash wondering if I have any blue silky print to finish this off.   I know there is some blue Liberty Lawn but a blue silk would be better.
Little Brother came to visit during the week and it was lovely to see him.   DBEM is feeling a little tired so we may not get up to anything energetic during the weekend.  I plan on a visit to the Library and will meet up with a friend for coffee at Little and Friday.   Strange name.   I don't know why Little or why Friday but may find out more on Sunday when we go.   Kathy is a cafe connoisseur and on our meet-ups we generally investigate a different cafe each time.
See you soon.