Sunday, 23 April 2017

Owari. Finito, The End

Christmas Bling has been added and the Heirloom Nativity Sampler is now finished.
Whether or not it becomes an heirloom is debatable but satisfaction is high at having ticked this one off the list.
Small pearl beads, white stars and a red heart

Gold and bronze petit beads

And I am beaded out!   No more beads for me.   I'm ready to start something new so what's next on the list?   A navy woolen cardigan which I need to have ready by the end of August.   Off we go...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Spring is coming ..... I hope

The days are beautifully clear this week with the crisp temperatures of Autumn.   On the walk to the office I pass the garden centre and am reminded that now is the time to plant Spring bulbs.   So this weekend I will plant these in hope of a fragrant display in Spring.
Last night the hardanger was mainly in reverse direction but all is well now and I hope to make better progress tonight.  The maybe I will put the roof on the stable and finish off the "picture".  Not far to go now but there are a lot of beads on this one.
End in sight though.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Just before the Easter long weekend Cyclone Cook made landfall in New Zealand - at almost the exact spot where we had beach accommodation booked.   Rather than brave the weather we delayed our departure by a day.   And so it seems did everyone else!  The roads were either blocked by large earth slips or gridlock.  The usual route being rendered impassable, I opted for the "long way round" and after  six and a half hours on the road and only travelling 175 kilometres the DBEM called it quits and we turned around and came home.  Lesson learned for me.   Staycations will be the way to go for the future - the DBEM hasn't been at all well since we came home :-(
But I have improved the shining hour and my sewing is up to date.   So much so that today I went and bought another length of fabric -  my favourite blue and grey/black combination for a winter dress.
I cleaned up up plastic box full of scraps and made this apron too.
And with the book finished (and highly recommended) I will be stitching tonight.   And back to work tomorrow :-)

Monday, 17 April 2017


Before I take my sewing machine to the repair shop tomorrow I was anxious to sew up a top I had cut out so this morning off I went.   And voila.....
Then this afternoon, a quick scurry to The Ribbon Rose for a ball of Perle #8 in DMC3813 so I can finish off the Hardanger Table Runner.   But I got distracted by a new library book.   This is one of those "recent releases" which can be rented for the princely sum of $6 for 14 days to save waiting in the interminable queue.   And I am engrossed....
So a quick post tonight and I am back to my book.   Sorry to the DBEM as I won't be talking tonight:-)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spot on

Two projects to show tonight.
First up my $5 top.   A local trader called Geoff's Emporium has end of roll fabrics at ridiculously cheap prices and these serve me well when I want to trial a pattern with little cost.   This spotted top is one such.   I copied this successfully off a casual T shirt top I bought years ago and which now shows signs of loving wear.  All in all spot on I think.
The Heirloom Christmas Nativity Sampler is nearing the end.   Thoroughly sick of the cross stitch nativity scene I ventured into the hardanger end piece.   Kloster blocks proved a challenge to get correct when this afternoon I had a pleasant interruption of Oldest Nephew and New Fiancee.   However persistence paid off and the result was spot on.
Tomorrow is what my UK friends call a bank holiday and more sewing is on the plans.   Also by then my equanimity may be restored and I can relate the sad tale of my planned Easter holiday :-(

Thursday, 13 April 2017

My Faithful Friend

Fifty five years ago my father persuaded me to part with the huge sum of $300 to purchase a swanky new Elna SU.
Since then it has sewn me thousands if not millions of kilometres of beautiful even stitches and hundreds of buttonholes.  But today my friend failed me - the gearing on the buttonholer has seized up.  So I need to quickly get my next two projects finished before taking her off to her second ever mechanical overhaul.
Currently I have this fabric almost completed and when the final stitching is complete it should transform into this
And why have I had a day sewing?   We were planning to travel to Tauranga for a brief holiday over Easter but Cyclone Cook is disrupting plans and is currently making landfall just south of where we are booked to stay.   So we will travel tomorrow instead and I have made use of the time today.  See you when we get back:-)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

One Quarter

My stitching has had a hurdle to overcome this week.
I completed one quarter of the Quaker Christmas Sampler - doesn't it look good?
Then on Saturday morning I woke to my right eye the same colour red as the Sampler!  By Sunday the white was all gone but today, Thursday, a quarter is back to a pale pink which I tell myself is white:-). No pain just self conscious at the strange look.
Tonight I have been stitching Mary and Joseph and the end of the Heirloom Nativity Sampler is in sight.  As is the end of the week of torrential rain and serious flooding which has passed over.  I am hopeful of a fine weekend.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

This year's pilgrimage

Today I took the DBEM to the Hospice Shop to deliver her knitteds. A total of 30 this year  and a colourful photo they do make.   Lots of stripes - they seem easier for her to knit.
We were amazed at the warm greeting given by the two ladies running the shop who chatted to us for a while.  It was a lovely encouraging outing for the DBEM who isn't at all well and is much more restricted in what she can do.
I'm off now to do the last two items on today's list of chores.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Christmas is coming....

A break from hardanger due to running out of thread means I'm back with the little crosses.
I'm currently working on the half done large motif at bottom left.  Then a couple of snowflakes will fill the gap near the centre top.  Snowflakes are whit but that won't work on Antique Whute linen so I auditioned several DMC before settling on 648.  Hope it works as I'm sick and tired of reverse stitching:-)
This is one quarter of the total Sampler - how fortunate it is still only March!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Goodness me! Godiva!

I opened one box of the gifted chocolates, saving the golden ribbon of course.

But it was the other three boxes that proved to be a visual delight:-) Aren't they wonderful?

Friday, 24 March 2017


The DBEM had a visit from the postman today and even when I enquired on my daily lunchtime phone call as to what mail there was, she never let on.   So when I did get home it was a real surprise to see a well wrapped parcel from Japan.   Kazumi sent me this beautiful tin.

On White Day (in Japan the women give men chocolate on Valentines Day and on 14 March the men return chocolates to the women) Kazumi had received 14 boxes of chocolates and she generously shared with me.
Look at this....

But wait, there's more!

And the insides?   Well, the gold box is Godiva chocolates- far too posh for us:-(
I'll open it and show you those tomorrow!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Wrinkles and all

Progress was so good.  Enthusiasm was great.  And then I ran out of Perle #8 in this colour and ground to a halt.   I don't trust my wrist cutting the threads for the lacework - nor with the iron yet.  So here 'tis - wrinkles and all.
But the end is in sight and this evening I'll get back to another WIP.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A blue sky day today

The Tasman Tempest which flooded many parts of the city is now a distant memory and we have been enjoying wonderful clear Autumn days.
On my walk at lunchtime I looked up and saw this.
The last of the summer hibiscus?   I hope not.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Helping the DBEM

This week I have been helping the DBEM by sewing up  half a dozen of the little cardigans and sweaters she has knitted.   Our temperatures are dropping as Autumn arrives and she is getting anxious to take her "produce" to the Hospice Shop for them to sell.   However sewing up and attaching buttons is now beyond her so yours truly to the rescue.   She vows that she will not buy any more wool and will instead knit up her stockpile.   I don't believe her:-)
The buttons on this flecked red cardigan were sent to me all the way from Asahikawa, Japan.  Do you remember these Yuko?
For the past two weeks the DBEM has been most unwell and had a minor fall at home.  I am amazed at how much this has decreased her confidence and she now uses her Zimmer frame all the time.  The radius of our "circle of adventures" is now quite small; simple pleasures it shall be from now on:-)

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Catching up

While confined to quarters by the Tasman Tempest which dropped a month's worth of rain in one night, I have time to catch up on my blog.
The splint may be off my hand but I have aches and pains which the hated splint kept at bay.   My physio seems happy so I try to be.  At least I can stitch.
I finally took a photo of my latest sewing - this was not a pleasant dress to make.  The print of the design was off grain and everything seemed to go wrong.  But for a cheap fabric it has turned out not too bad and makes a change.
I did choose my next project and dug into stash to find the ingredients.  All good.   I now need to tack out the linen and then we are away.   This will be a good use for a piece of Dublin linen which I had thought to coarse to use.
And this morning when I ventured out to do necessary chores it was WET!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Free at last.

Today I was given the green light to shed my splint:-).  I carefully checked with the hand therapist whether I would be allowed to stitch (although I fully intended to do so anyway) and was given permission.
So I have made a start on the last panel of the Heirloom Nativity Sampler.   Despite looking longingly through my stash I decided that I needed to finish off current projects so will make an effort on this one.  Maybe before my Easter holiday I can complete it?

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Japan Day 2017

Today I caught the bus into the city as Japan Day was being held on the waterfront.   I was amazed at how many people were there.  
Several younger women were in beautiful summer yukata.  Some older women demonstrating ikebana and tea ceremony wore elegant and more formal kimono but I could only manage to snap these.

All around the venue were stalls selling food and the smells were a nostalgic reminder of summer festivals in Japan.   I felt as if I had travelled back in time!
Crepes -  paper thin

Tornado Potatoes -  Spiral cut on a skewer and deep fried
Even the lanterns strung up were reminiscent of summer festivals!
It was a fun afternoon - but that is enough photos for one day :-)

Thursday, 23 February 2017

And now for a change

Despite a black silicon splint I have managed to make progress.  Reverse stitching has been frustrating though and so I have decided this piece will go to Time Out.  
My physiotherapist tells me that next Tuesday we can celebrate a separation from the splint and then she will give me a stress ball to squeeze and thereby strengthen my hand.   I could have done with stress ball in the last five weeks!  Anyway I will forgo stitching until then and meanwhile spend evenings poring over sorting through some boxes from the stash cupboard.   If I can't stitch easily I can still dream big!   I feel the need for something other than cross stitch so watch this space!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bugs in the night


I have always worried that I wouldn't wake in the night of the DBEM called out.  However last night a small "event" confirmed that I could and in fact did.
At a little after 2am the DBEM called out to me that there was a large black cricket in the bathroom.  Could I come and dispose of it.  
Rather disbelieving and half asleep I stumbled through to the bathroom and looked for said cricket.   New spectacles or not I couldn't see anything until a slight tickle at my bare feet revealed a large cockroach.

Already dopey from the DBEM's lavish application of insect spray, the poor creature couldn't run fast enough to escape.  Once disposed of we both returned to bed where snores soon emerged from her bedroom while I lay awake for ages imagining my home invaded by both black crickets and brown cockroaches!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

An exercise in frustration

I am almost at the point of no more stitching till the splint is removed.   So much time is spent reversing!  

Never before has my trusty "reversing tool" had quite so much use.   But the physiotherapist says another 3-4 weeks and I cannot possibly go that long with no stitching so.....onwards I plod.

Friday, 10 February 2017

A necessary farewell.

For many years now the DBEM has repeatedly told me I wear my clothes "just too long".   She's not talking about the length of the hem :-)
Yesterday a favourite skirt did this to me.   Or maybe I did this to the skirt?
Whatever, having given me at least eleven summers of wear this is now a necessary farewell!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Desire outruns performance

For the past two weeks it has been frustrating me that I can't stitch freely.   The large motif of the left has been reversed and restitched multiple times.   But after a sprint to the finish yesterday my hand is sore and no stitching tonight.  Just a photo:-)

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Trip to the City

Today I caught the bus into the City armed with my trusty shopping list.
First up was the optometrist to get my replacement spectacles underway. Surprise!  The insurance company had already been in contact and everything was in process.  Great, I will have them in two weeks.
Next I wanted a mini loaf tin.  Just one, not four, but these are sold in sealed plastic bubbles as sets of four.  Bother, I crossed that off the list and left them in the store.  Specialty kitchen shop or not I didn't want four!
But I did want a Lid Sid.  Do you know what he is?
I didn't realise he came as a twin.  Do you know now what they do?
Another clue
And here's the explanation. 
And now I'm about to do some stitching.   Perhaps a shot of that tomorrow.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Progress #2

Can you hear the happy dance?   I am feeling so much better.   My splint has been reduced a little and I have more freedom of movement in the fingers.  The grazes on the face have all but vanished and I feel much happier to be seen in public.
We have a public holiday on Monday, so next week I will go back to work on Tuesday.   There are still therapy sessions for my hand, appointments at the dentist to replace the broken tooth and visits to the optometrist to replace the broken spectacles.  But all is looking good:-)
And tonight I was able to stitch again so there is progress on the Quaker Christmas too.
So on that note....until next time