Sunday 31 December 2017

Out with the old and in with the new

During this last week of the year I have crossed lots of items off my list.  
A red rose pincushion was made for my friend Kazumi.  
The stitching in the large Hardanger Angel was finished. 
I got the Hardanger Bag out of the basket, had a look at it and promptly put it back.   
No, I needed a new project to finish off the year.
So what to do.
I had an old Anchor Embroidery book, carefully saved for the last 45 years and on a recent trip I purchased closewoven black linen to stitch one of these
But would the 45 year old iron- on transfer still work? With great faith I purchased the necessary DMC equivalent floss and found a packet of sharp needles in my bag.
One fine morning I cut out the fabric and overlocked  the edges before tacking a line down the vertical centre.   Then and only then did I pin on the transfer, heat the iron and with bated breath transfer the design.   IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!
So here I am venturing down the road of a new adventure.   
This piece is not counted.  
This piece requires an eye for line and design.   
This piece is a mammoth step into the unknown.   
And last night to the accompaniment of an Agatha Raisin movie on the TV I crowned a minaret:-).  

Progress will probably be slow and I foresee necessary hardanger therapy at intervals but it would be good to fulfill this long held dream.   Well done Anchor for the high quality of your publications.  Did their technical advisers ever think that transfers would last 45 years??

Sunday 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

The DBEM and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday 10 December 2017

An afternoon with the Corsini's

Today I met up with my friend and together we visited the Corsini exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery.   A fantastic collection of renaissance paintings from the private collection of the illustrious Corsini's whose history goes back to somewhere around 1300 and includes a family saint, three cardinals and Pope Clement XII.   I was interested as I had read that one painting was by Caravaggio and another by Botticelli.  Well, I didn't hit it off with Caravaggio but the Botticelli was amazing!
The two angels on the left hold the hyssop and the spear, while the two on the right hold the nails and the crown of thorns.  Mary has her eyes closed "as she anticipates what is to come"  - the notes told me all this.  But I was most impressed with the painting of the velvet robes of the Madonna.   I felt that if I reached out and touched they would be soft and luxurious.   Well done Botticelli.
It was a well curated display and obviously every effort had been made to impress - this is the first time the private collection has left Florence.  Fancy coming to the Anitpodes on your first overseas trip!   The portrayal of the robes, the lace, the velvet, the brocade was amazing and the ornate carved wooden gilded frames were to be envied.   Some of the ancestors looked forbidding and one Cardinal was distinctly austere.   The religious iconography was interesting; I hadn't realised there were so many styles of halo.   The two paintings which were the samples painted for the ceiling frescos were incredibly detailed - one was of smiling fat cherubs carrying the palace and the coat of arms heavenward.   A facsimile of that one was on the ceiling in the room which had the ornate table setting of Corsini family china and cutlery and reinforced that the rich and famous live totally different lives. 
Obviously castles are cold places and this huge portal curtain was on display - not for its draught stopping qualities but because it bears the coat of arms of the family.    Embroidered in gold and silver on a heavy velvet type of fabric it had survived the centuries reasonably intact.
Thank you to the princes and princesses of Corsini for your generosity to Aucklanders in allowing your valuable painting to come to our City.

Sunday 3 December 2017

Christmas has arrived at my house

I have had a productive weekend and two Christmas finishes are now done.
Neither would be given a 100% pass mark for construction but given they will appear for only one month each year  I am happy with them and will enjoy them
The Heirloom Nativity Sampler by Victoria Sampler was stitched on the designated fabric and with the thread and beads finishing kit sent all the way from Canada.   This one was on the wish list for a long time (7 or 8 years?) so I am well pleased to have it done.   The tightwad in me didn't want to purchase a hanger for the top so I snapped an old bamboo knitting needle to the correct length using my Dad's old pliers and sharpened the point with my heavy duty pencil sharpener.   Two wooden beads from stash - some glue and some brute force and voila!  The silver and white cord came with a bunch of flowers some time ago and has been kept "in case it is needed" :-)
The Quaker Christmas Sampler was stitched to be framed but fiscal prudence dictated that was an unnecessary expense so I have created a runner for the top of my wooden coffee table.   I matched the quilting fabric to the thread of the sampler and am very pleased with it.   The deeper red 'ends' are perfect for a couple of Christmas Ornaments - the first of which is Hardanger Angel Number 1.   Her big sister Hardanger Angel Number 2 is still without a body, a head, arms or even a skirt so she will not be appearing this Christmas :-(
Yesterday the DBEM and I went to the shopping mall for the last time until 2018.  An aged parent using a Zimmer Frame and the Christmas crowds do not mix well and it was a test of patience for both of us.  We are having a quiet Christmas this year - just the two of us -  and with the DBEM's dietary limitations it will not be the traditional fare either.   If the weatherman is to be believed it will be fine and hot so we may take a gourmet picnic to the park and enjoy the wonderful Pohutukawa which flowers Christmas Scarlet at this time of the year.

Friday 1 December 2017

Frustrating Friday is Finished

It has been a long week.  A very long week.   And today, Friday was a long and frustrating day.
But there was one episode to brighten my day.
After spending all day up at the prison yesterday (for work!) I was surprised to find this on my desk this morning.   Well it was actually in a box and well concealed.   I won this for participating in our Spring Challenge at work and coming .......fourth!
It's cute but would be difficult to drink from. 
We are promised a fine weekend so the car will get washed and chores will get done.