Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Helping out the DBEM

This week I am taking compulsory annual leave.   My boss told me I had too much leave accrued and I needed to take it so this is week one of planned leave.
And what to do?    Well I am practicing "good use of time" for the day when I will be retired and will need to ensure I don't grow lazy.   A list of tasks, a pile of books, planned outings and a happy DBEM.   What more could I wish for? 
Today we went to the yarn store and got yarn to knit a winter jacket cardigan for one of my great-nieces.   She already has a much loved one knitted from the same pattern but needs a second one so the first can go in the wash.   Great Grandma cannot see to do this sort of knitting so I am helping out.
Tomorrow I have cleaning of the oven on the list as well as cleaning of the car.   Car first I think:-)  I want to sort out my books and take some boxes to the second hand store too.   Could be a busy day.
The needlebook and pin cushion are ready for construction and I should then be able to finish the Land and Sea Octagonal box.   I want to start another small project so tell myself that needs to be done first.
I am enjoying my week so far and feel quite refreshed and relaxed.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Relatively consistent

The temperature chart has been relatively consistent orange and yellow these past two months.  
Night time temperatures are dropping now and hopefully daytime will follow suit so there should soon be more green appearing.   This sure is a fun way to make the daily TV weather exciting!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The things you do....

All week I have been fighting fatigue and it has been an effort not only to get up in the morning but also the multiple times in the night when the DBEM calls out.   Then last night she didn't call out as much and I woke every two hours and crept in to her room to check she was still all right! 

Today I had a long list of chores and they have all been crossed off the list so I am now waiting for dinner to cook and procrastinating on my next "Help-The -DBEM" project.
There are lots of little pieces of yarn left from the knitting and I don't want to waste them so here we go.  Granny squares.  When the box is full I will lay them out and decide on a colour scheme before crocheting them all together to form a blanket; size as yet unknown.   I'm sure a night shelter or a women's refuge or some such place would be able to use a warm woollen blanket.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Finishing Day

Bad weather has kept me mostly indoors so I have determined to finish off some of my To Do pile.
Firstly some more Christmas Gift labels.   These are great for using up small amounts of linen and take little floss.  This time the linen was 34 count so these looked better as square labels
Secondly the Christmas Advent Ornaments.   I'm relatively happy that what I planned in my head had transferred into finished product....hopefully the recipient will have space for them on her tree.

Thirdly, the Frustrating  Friendship Quaker.   In the end I crocheted links between the 'cushions' and made them into an accordion.   There was space at the back of the embroidery cabinet so this has gone there quick smart.  The chart for this will be going to a new home.   I have no wish to look at it ever again.
Now I have only the cutting of the Hardanger Doily, the contents of the Octagonal Box and then I need to get back to my final shelved-for-a-later-date project.

Sunday afternoon the weather cleared and the DBEM managed to walk down the ramp (she hasn't used the stairs for years) to the car and we went out for a short drive.   I was worried about coming back up the ramp to the house but with only one brief rest she managed well and is now snoring gently and happily in her chair!

All in all not bad for a weekends work.

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Recently there have been a couple of queries about what this acronym is so an explanation is due.
This was fabricated by me, myself and I as the internet name for my Deaf Blind Elderly Mother.  S
To be honest, she is not totally deaf although the TV volume is now set at 42!!   Nor is she totally blind although with advanced macular degeneration she sees very little clearly and has a white cane, a disability sticker and a Vision Impaired Badge!  (In case you ask we do not have a cat, that is a toy one the DBEM received as a gift last Christmas).

For the past 27 years she has lived with me and has occupied herself with various voluntary positions with a couple of charities, until some years ago when a couple of years of ill health meant I put the brakes on that.
Since then she has been knitting - woollen sweaters and cardigans for small children (up to the age of 4) which, in an annual pilgrimage in April of each year, we take to the local Hospice shop.   Even with her very poor eyesight she continues to knit by the "fingertip feel method" and this provides me with many opportunities to unravel and remedy.
Recently she had a bad fall and has been recovering.   Dutiful daughter insisted that she needed a more respectable dressing gown so now she really is "in the pink"

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Col the Cobbler and an unsatisfactory finish

Several years ago, well thirteen to be precise, the DBEM and I went on a trip to Norfolk Island.   Apart from relaxing on the quiet beaches, enjoying early morning walks up and down small lanes, eating delicious food and absorbing the abundant history, I enjoyed the shopping - in particular two pairs of shoes.   Both are still going strong and today Col the Cobbler repaired one pair for me.  I had little faith in him, his pokey, grubby little shop or his inability to say when the repairs would be completed.  His billboard outside the shop is a wooden replica of Col himself.  Would you have faith in a woolly headed man whose face you can hardly see?
I have been painstakingly whipping the Quaker squares together in an effort to complete this Friendship Book project from 2016.  And now with one to go I find I've made an error.   A right disaster from start to finish this has been no enjoyable project.   So I have determined that five squares will be finished.  They will not be connected into an accordion book as the alphabet does not run consecutively.  They will be contained in a yet-to-be-sewn blue silk bag and consigned to the back of the display cabinet.   But I will be able to tick this one off the list.   I may have to make a label for the outside of the bag however - we shall see.

The stitching on the Hardanger Doily is now complete.  Currently I am sleep deprived and more than a little anxious over the DBEM's physical health so the cutting of the border will wait until I am in a better frame of mind.   It will become a birthday gift in April so there is time yet.
And that's all for today.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Christmas Ornament Number 3

This ornament is adapted from the one designed by Forget Me Not In Stitches in the Just Cross Stitch 2004 Christmas edition.
I stitched on 32 count natural Belfast linen with DMC threads.  To make the white stand out more I used whipped back stitch only for that colour.   On reflection I should have thought more about the interlaced effect....but it is what it is :-)

Friday, 8 February 2019

Not everything is doom and gloom

Life is proving a little trying at present and it is easy to fall into the rabbit hole of gloom.   But today I had occasion to be very thankful.  Prior to giving the DBEM a shower I removed watch and earrings, at which point this happened.....
My lovely sapphire earrings, a gift from said DBEM on my 55th birthday, came apart.  How fortunate this happened at home and I didn't lose the stone.   I'm quite sure my friendly neighbourhood jeweller will be able to reset the stone.   At least I hope so.  And while he's at it I'll get him to check the setting on the other also.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

I really thought today would be a green day

I've had to keep a cardigan on all day so I really thought today would be a green day but.....only yellow.   The temperature SAL is going well and is definitely making the daily TV weather forecast an exciting part of my life.  Ha ha!
Here's a shot of what we look like as of today.
The DBEM is recovering but is still a mass of dark bruises.   Fortunately I've worked half days this week and have been able to look after her.  As a bonus I got to cross off more items from my cleaning list in the unexpected free time.  Today the man came to organise a repair for the shower door which got knocked off its hinges in the debacle.   Soon both house and the DBEM will be back to normal.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Me a nurse?!

The DBEM had a couple of falls in the night and is battered and bruised but thankfully no breakages. Anyway that meant I was confined to nursing care duties today which resulted in two things:
(1). Only 1200 steps on my Fitbit rather than the usual 12,000+
(2).  Time to complete the stitching on this Christmas Ornament.   From the 2010 Just Christmas Ornament issue, in the DMC threads specified and on 32 count Belfast natural linen.
I plan on making a set of four "Advent" ornaments for a friend so the linen and the finishing fabrics will be the same.   Next up to be either Love or Hope once I have finished searching through my Ornament charts.
I am sick of reading, tired of the hot humid weather, frustrated at not being able to get outdoors, uncertain as to what the immediate future holds as to my "nursing" requirements, limited by my sore elbow to a strictly rationed time of stitching, and looking forward to a repeato ditto day tomorrow as I've had to take a day off work.   So on that Poor Me note I'll sign off.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A red day today

Poor DBEM.   While I had the benefit of air conditioning in the office (apart from the interruption of a fire evacuation drill), the DBEM had only electric fans to circulate the warm air.   Our Australian cousins kindly sent their heat wave over the Tasman Sea to us and although it has cooled a lot it is still hotter than usual and oh so muggy.
So tonight the Temperature SAL got a red square.  (Excuse the odd perspective of this bad photograph). Hopefully there won't be too many of these!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Christmas Ornament Number 1

I have promised myself to stitch one ornament a month through the year so here's the first.   From the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue 2012 in 32 count linen with DMC white and Threadworks Christmas red overdyed.  I decided against adding the year to the stitching and will be finishing this into a circular ornament.   It's about 5cm wide so a perfect size.  The over one of the word was rather hard on the elbow but it's all done now and some Volataren Emugel on the elbow will take the pain away - I hope!
Today has been very hot with hotter to come so it's an orange night tonight on the Temperature SAL and if the weatherman is to be believed we may get to a red for a day or so this week!
I'm off out for a long walk now and back to work tomorrow.   This has been a fun public holiday (=day off work) and I've accomplished all I planned to do.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Octagonal Box is finito - well almost

Today I had a half day off work to escort the DBEM to the cardiologist.   This also allowed time to do a quick grocery shop, a brisk 5km walk, to complete construction on The Octagonal Box and to sleep through the TV weather report!   Just as well the DBEM was awake and could listen to the report of today's temperature - I have stitched the little square to signify today=24 degrees celsius.
The Octagonal Box is complete bar hinges and fastening.   The lid is currently pinned with glass headed pins while I decide how I am going to do the hinges and while I search through my bead box for a front fastener.   I do have a sterling silver anchor charm which I thought might be suitable for the fastening but this box suits gold more than silver!  What is certain is that I don't have the inspiration at the moment so this will go in the cupboard as "half done" while I complete the hardanger doily.
We have next Monday a public holiday in Auckland and I have a long To Do List which will hopefully involve some sewing.   I'm trying to tweak a trouser pattern to get a good fit as I want to make some navy wool gaberdine lined trousers for this winter.  It is hard to generate the required enthusiasm for that in these high temperatures:-)

Monday, 21 January 2019

In which we continue the yellow streak.

Today we were promised rain in the evening and I had decided that I'd forgo the evening walk and stay in to stitch up two small cardigans knitted by the DBEM.   But the weatherman was wrong so I went on my walk and only sewed up half a cardigan!
But I did watch the TV weather and add today's square to the Temperature Chart.   This is fun!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Only a year late!

Inspired by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching I have made a start on a 2019 Temperature Chart.   Unlike Lowestoft, Auckland does not have such a huge range in temperature from season to season so it will be interesting to see how the colour variations show up.   This may indeed prove the claims to sub tropical climate  which Aucklander's use as an excuse for almost every garden growing hibiscus!
Progress has been slow and until tonight consisted of writing down the daily temperature.   But I now have the colours to hand and have made a start,  These are the first 10 "little squares" that form the centre of the big spiralled square and tomorrow I will catch up and be able to do one a day.   Quite achievable and will still allow time to complete the Octagonal Box - only three sides to complete now and then the final construction.
The Temperature Chart may well prove to be a depiction of the DBEM's health too -  she finds the "orange days" hard.  Today she had insufficient energy to accept the offer of a drive to a nearby park to sit in the cool of the shady oak trees. 
I on the other hand have derived an almost Calvinistic satisfaction from crossing off every last item on my Saturday To-Do list and can now go to bed happy after turning over the page in the notebook -for tomorrow's list!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Back to Work

Back at work this week and all is still quiet in my department.  But you know what it's like when the days seem long and the evenings short!  By the time dinner is prepared and eaten; the dishes washed and the once round the walking circuit completed there isn't much time for anything else.   I continue to plod away at The Octagonal Box and with the lid and the base complete I'm working on the sides.   Fortunately my 'tennis elbow' seems to have settled a little and I can manage with minimal discomfort if I'm careful.
We are having hot days and muggy "tropical" nights here so energy levels are depleted for the DBEM  who can usually be revived with a stroll for a few minutes in the evening shade and cool.   Her exercise physiologist comes for a review next week and hopefully he will be pleased with how she has maintained her strength and balance.   So all good on that front at present.

I counted up the list of books read last year and found to my surprise that it was 105.   Surprise because I didn't include on the list any of the e-Books borrowed through the Library, so in reality it would have been many more.   Out of that number some of course are forgettable and some eminently memorable.   Yesterday I finished reading aloud to the DBEM - A Year in the Life of The Yorkshire Shepherdess (Amanda Owen) and we both enjoyed it very much.   The DBEM has just completed Anne Frank's Diary on her Blind Foundation Talking Book so a tale of life on the high dales of Yorkshire was a complete contrast.

And so the new year begins Chez Nous.