Thursday, 31 December 2020

Farewell to 2020

The housework is done, windows are polished inside and out, the car is clean, the lawns are mowed and the laundry is dry and folded away.   The DBEM has had her fingernails cut(!), and there is nothing else on the list.   It feels good to have everything clean and tidy on the last night of the old year.   And a bonus -  I have two finishes to show off.

First the basket band is completed and has been attached to the basket and more importantly, is already in use.

Basket Back

Basket Front

And to ensure that it fitted the circumference I stitched the year!
I am amazed at how this band addition has elevated a humble basket purchased cheaply from Trade Aid (the local fair trade shop).   This basket is deep enough to hold all my needlework necessities as well as a current project.   At the moment it is missing the project as I have nothing chosen as yet -  a pleasant task for tomorrow :)

And the Temperature SAL for 2020 is complete too.   I am going to miss this from my evening programme.

Palmerston North temperatures 2020

Comparison with Auckland 2019
I am going to mount the Palmerston North one on foam core also and both of them will be displayed.  It has been great fun to see the difference - it is certainly cooler down here in Palmerston North although last summer did have several "Dark Red" days but there were more "Light Blue" days in the winter too.  

Now what will I do for my year long project this year?   Already I have chosen the Christmas Ornaments I want to stitch but it seems strange to begin stitching those in January so I have promised myself a deep dive into the stash cupboard tomorrow and I'll choose something new and exciting.

Yesterday I had another pacemaker check and was told that I will have my lead replaced sometime in January when the cardiologist returns from his summer holiday.   Meanwhile I am taking things carefully and as instructed, keeping driving to a minimum.   I am happy to be out walking again and can now manage a 30 minute walk each evening without my heel and ankle giving any trouble.   I did walk to the library too and picked up my latest request 'The Sewing Machine' by Natalie Fergie.   I have a couple of others to finish before I can begin that one but it looks interesting and I have half promised the DBEM that I will read it aloud to her.

Thank you to all who have read my blog and left comments.   Next month will be 13 years since I began this blog and I still enjoy keeping a record of stitching projects and sometimes "life events".
I wish you all a very Happy New Year.  Stay Home, Stay Safe, Be Kind.


 

Friday, 25 December 2020

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

 This has been a year like no other and for me, today has been a Christmas Eve like no other.    My power supply company offered a "free power" day so I willingly accepted their offer and selected the 24th as my day.   Up early this morning,  the oven was on at 7am and I finally turned it off at 5pm this afternoon.   In those hours I baked multiple batches of scones, a double batch of gingerbread loaves, two ginger crunch slices, three double batches of biscuits, roasted a piece of rolled pork and then roasted a chicken.   All are now nicely packaged and labelled and in the freezer, saving me both money this month and also time in future weeks and months.   My freezer is almost full to capacity but hopefully we will make some room before I harvest vegetables from my garden.   That's another story:)

Pouring rain outside all day meant cancelling my plans to do several loads of washing (and hopefully the ironing too) but I'm feeling quite smug that I made such good use of this "free offer".   A Merry Christmas to you too,  'Mr Energy Supply Company'.   Please do this again next year.

During all this frenetic activity my brother and his wife called in just on lunch time so it was a scramble to put lunch on the table for them and to sit and have a chat and catch up on photos and news of their children and grandchildren.   Thanks to Little Brother,  and the local courier company (Little Sister sent hers this way) there are now a few presents under the Christmas Tree for us to open tomorrow.   It had been looking rather bare:(

The DBEM was completely worn out and had 40 winks in her chair during the late afternoon only rousing for her dinner at night and to watch/listen to the TV news.   She is now in bed and I'm having a quick cup of tea and reading some more of my book before I too visit the Land of Nod.   There hasn't been a lot of stitching today but I'm almost at the end of the Basket Band and have found a comfortable position to stitch for around 45 minutes duration without removing my thumb splint.   So life is looking good:)


Monday, 21 December 2020

Progress

The thumb splint has put a stop to a lot of stitching although I have managed to complete the daily requirement for my Temperature chart.   Hard to believe that will finish in a couple of weeks.   I promise to show a photo of the completed piece.

Today the physiotherapist was pleased to see that the swelling of the thumb had gone down a lot so I have a new splint, some exercises to do three times a day and an appointment for the new year.   But best of all he said that so long as I don't remove the splint I can stitch a little :-)

Tonight I put a few stitches more into the Basket Band.   The date is on this now and I would like to complete the stitching before the end of this year so it will have to be a case of little and often.   There really is not much further to go.  Here's the situation as at today...

Also, with splendid advice from my stitching buddy Sophie I have completely finished the Angels' Song wall hanging and have agreed to enter it in the Regional Exhibition in August 2021   I had such a lot of pleasure stitching this one and am thankful that Sophie badgered me into fully finishing it or it might otherwise have languished in the Drawer of Doom.

I have made a small start on the Mill Hill kit which was my prize from The President's Challenge.   My first foray into stitching on perforated paper and I can tell you already that I much prefer linen.   But so far so good and I am on track to have this completed by the time of our next Guild meeting in February.  Isn't it wonderful we have a long summer holiday during which I will be able to complete all my projects and have plenty for the Show and Tell at Guild meeting.  Ha ha ha. 

For the remainder of this week we have a succession of visitors and I plan on doing a major cooking day on 24th as for that day my Electricity Company have graciously given me a "free day" so I intend to make maximum use of my oven and will stock up my freezer with baked goods and meals.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

What a week!

The past seven days have been quite the roller coaster here.   The vigilant eyes of Jenny, the pacemaker technician, at my regular "warrant of fitness" found that the electric lead running between the unit and the heart was faulty.  And before I could even catch my breath I had an appointment made for a venogram to check whether the existing vein currently housing two leads could accommodate another.   That is done and the cardiologist will now put in a new lead.   He seems to think this a great deal more urgent than I do and laughed uproariously at my na├»ve assumption that as I have a base heart rate of 25 beats per minute there was really no great hurry!   So I'm expecting to hear soon the date for that.

And on Monday I went to the physio for advice and treatment about my thumb.   He diagnosed Trigger Thumb and fitted me with a black splint which certainly keeps me from overusing the poor thumb but is a severe handicap to someone who is right hand dominant.   No stitching for a while so frustration levels are on the increase.   Rubber gloves to do the washing up, the laundry, the garden but to assist the DBEM with her shower I remove the splint.

On a more positive note the weather has been glorious for the past few days and the laundry and ironing are all up to date, the lawn is mowed and today I managed to get quite a bit of the back flower garden weeded.   Also, as my foot is now so very much better I have been out for a walk and can manage 40 minutes now before even feeling the slightest twinge.   

So in mathematical terms two negatives plus two positives equals zero.  But actually we are well in positive territory.   It is a year today since I shifted into my house here in Palmerston North and although it has been a weird year we are both still very happy with our move and enjoying our new life.  And one day soon I will be able to stitch  - at least I hope so as the basket band needs to be completed before the 31st December if the embroidered date is not to be a lie :-)


Tuesday, 8 December 2020

What a surprise!

 Last night was our final meeting of the year at Embroiderers Guild and we all presented our finished articles for The President's Challenge.   This year the topic set was "Inspired By a Book" and as I have posted on this blog before I stitched a tin topper and an inside lining.   If it had not been for the encouragement of a friend from Guild I may have conveniently "forgotten" to take my piece.   However,  unwillingly,  I took it along and placed it quietly on the table and learned that the winner would be decided by viewers choice.   So satisfied that I wouldn't be called to account for what I feel is a poor piece,  I enjoyed the company of the others and admired their work and caught up with their current projects.


After a delicious pot luck dinner and a successful AGM the president announced the winner and guess what.... my poor effort had won!   My jaw dropped open and I was speechless.    So thank you Sophie, my friend for your encouragement to enter.   A splendidly successful way to end my first year at this new guild.

The prize was this little kit which I shall stitch over the summer holiday so that I have something for the Show and Tell table at our first meeting next year.

Today I have been putting the buttons on several dozen Gingerbread Men, ready for the boxes of baked goodies I will deliver to the neighbours in the small cul-de-sac where I live.   Also the DBEM has needed my help in finishing off her current knitting project.  And I have had the latest Jeffrey Archer book on loan from the library.   So on a windy wet day it has been good to stay inside and be happily occupied.   But I'd love the weather to clear up as my garden desperately needs some tender loving care after the gales of the last couple of days.



Thursday, 3 December 2020

Happy Dance (or rather, a walk)

Tonight I went for a walk!   This momentous occasion needs to be recorded and as I don't keep a diary I'm logging this on my blog.   For well over 18 months I have had a painful left ankle/heel and last summer I exacerbated this by walking many many kilometres on it.   Neither the arthritis nor the heel spur appreciated my efforts at physical fitness and the result was I couldn't walk any distance without severe pain.   Now after six months of physiotherapy I have been for a 20 minute pain free walk tonight to the post box and back.   Oh happy day!!!

Now it is my right thumb that's giving me pain :(   I'm learning to use my left hand as the right thumb just doesn't work.   Another series of physio visits commence next week to address this.   Stitching time is of necessity limited but is not completely absent from my life.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Basket Band #3

 Despite mentioning at the beginning of the month that I needed a Grab And Go project I still don't have one prepared and at 3am this morning  I once again followed the ambulance carrying the DBEM to the hospital. I had no project to take nor did I think about it at the time.   Mind you I'd had only 3 hours sleep so probably wasn't in a good space to be stitching even though I had the time while sitting in the uncomfortable chair beside her bed.   We are both home again after the doctors gave her multiple tests and pokings and proddings.   A verdict of angina (?) and the DBEM is currently snoring in her arm chair.   I have done a few chores, generally tidied up after this mornings hurried exit and will now update this before retiring to my chair and having a few snores myself :)

The Basket Band is making good progress and I have the left hand side almost completed.   There is another batch of over one lettering to go in the floral cartouche (yet to be finished) so that will definitely wait until my eyes are less tired and my currently painfully inflamed right thumb has settled down.   The satin stich flowers in the left hand diamond band are not yet completed either.

My garden continues to delight and to provide surprises,  one of which is a very healthy peony which is covered in great cerise blooms.   The sweet peas are producing so many flowers that I cannot keep up even though I know they flower better if kept picked.   We have had heavy rain and wind for a few days so the roses are looking rather beaten about.   I need to get out and tidy things up this week.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Basket Band #2

 Progress on the Basket Band is slow with a great deal of reverse stitching but I'm liking how it looks.

This is designed for a rectangular basket and as mine is round the panels will not be so obvious in many ways.   However I am following the instructions with only one or two changes.   The first being that the Florentine (Bargello) cartouche should have been up higher and the stitcher's initials go below.   I am leaving out my initials at this point and will instead highlight them in the alphabet which comes in a different place on the band.

The pulled work panel was a real tribulation but it eventually turned out well and the little leaf stitch flowers are lovely.   So far this is my favourite part.   Certainly the over one cross stitch for the words was not at all comfortable for my eyes :)!

The DBEM has completed the knitting on another small garment so one of tomorrow's chores will be to sew it up and do the final finishing.  Meanwhile she has started another and is talking about needing more yarn so she won't run out of things to do over the Christmas / New Year holiday break.   I foresee a trip to our local Knitworld.   Funnily enough on Friday we went for a drive out to a nearby village and found a lovely wool shop but the DBEM didn't purchase any knitting yarn.   Instead she succumbed to the temptation of a lovely blue Possum Merino cardigan.   I think this yarn may be unique to New Zealand so Mr Google's definition is as follows -

Possum Merino is a wonderful blend of possum fur and superfine New Zealand Merino wool with a texture similar to cashmere - luxuriously soft, incredibly lightweight, exceptionally warm and easy to wear.

I thought the purchase rather out of season but today has been bitterly cold with strong winds and the DBEM has been making good use of her new purchase :)

Monday, 9 November 2020

And on to a new project

The Hardanger Apron is now in the messy process of construction.   But also on the sewing table is an all-but completed blouse which I need to finish so I can wear it in the appropriate season which is now!   So aprons must wait their turn.

Meanwhile I need another project and so this has been begun.   There are 34 inches of stitching to do to complete the basket band this will become, so a long way to go.   A quick visit to the Trade Aid shop and I found a really suitable sisal basket so while stitching this will ponder the colour I'll buy for the lining fabric.   

One thing I will not be doing is stitching the matching scissor fob, pincushion and needle book. Already I have too many of these and need no more.   But this new basket will contain not only my box of tools, needle books, scissors and glasses but will still have ample room for the current project meaning I can grab it and go when off to stitching groups.

How I wished I had a small "grab and go project" last week when the DBEM got carted off to the hospital and I sat by her bedside for the next three hours.   What a lot of stitching I could have accomplished, instead of which I sat and watched the feverish activity of the Emergency Department and wished desperately for a hot drink:-)   The DBEM was treated, checked, issued with a discharge certificate (electronically to her local doctor) and with dire warnings sent home.   For the remainder of the week she has been less than energetic and I've not been free to get out and about much.   Hence the sewing of the blouse (see above).   

And another amazing occurrence....I got hooked on a science fiction book.   Quite possibly the first I have ever read, this was a translation from a Chinese author and I fell completely into the spell he wove.  So much so that dinner was delayed last night until finished.   For anyone interested it was The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.   I don't intend to read others in the trilogy, nor will I venture into the world of Sci-Fi but despite my poor academic record in physics I was intrigued by this and found it a real page turner.

And now it's dinner preparation time again so until next time...

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Helping the DBEM

Tonight I got a plantive call from the bedroom, "there's a big black spider on my wall".   This from the DBEM who has known for the past sixty six years of my almost paranoid aversion to spiders!!   Indeed, on the memorable "Spider Day" when I was but four years old, she was cleaning out a top cupboard in the kitchen and tossed a small supposedly empty cardboard box down at me.   It fell on my head but not  before I had glimpsed the Daddy Long Legs Spider living inside it.   I yelled and rushed out the back door and fell head long down the back steps.   On that occasion the DBEM was filled with remorse and full of loving comfort.  BUT not so tonight.   I, the daughter who hates spiders, had to go to her rescue :-)    She's now soundly asleep so all good.

I have begun construction of the Hardanger Apron and the bib insert is almost completed.   So far so good. Cutting around the hardanger piece seemed to take forever as I went fabric thread by fabric thread so as to avoid any nasty mishaps.   The wider band to go along the bottom will be even more stressful to cut out but slowly slowly...

My next project is a Christmas gift - a notebook cover for which I dyed the fabric, a 40 count linen which was Persil white and therefore totally unsuitable for a book cover.   Google came to the rescue and a coffee dye bath later the linen is a much more satisfactory and practical colour.   This will be surface embroidery rather than counted as my eyesight couldn't cope with counting 40 threads to the inch!  However before I start I need to consult at Embroiderers Guild as to the colours I have chosen from stash.  Several of the members are really expert at that sort of thing so I will seek their advice.   That's Monday night so I should be able to make a start early next week.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

B Day

Today the DBEM was determined we would celebrate so after her INR blood test we had a late start and drove to a cafe in a nearby village.   The lunch hour was well over by the time we arrived so choice was a little limited but below is my 2020 Birthday Cake -  a Dutch Apple Tart.   It was delicious and I savored every morsel without a thought as to how this would affect my determined efforts to shed the unwanted Covid Kilos!  (That is yogurt rather than cream though)

Home again and I decided to do some of the sewing that has been sitting in the pile.   An old sheet was sacrificed to make a toile of a summer top pattern and wonder of wonders, with minimal alterations it fitted well straight from the packet.   So I proceeded to cut out some wonderful rayon Navy and White polka dots purchased on my day out last week to Whanganui.   Tomorrow's planned morning activity has been cancelled so I shall sew myself a new top and with each stitch hope that the temperatures will once again warm up and summer will truly come.

I think I forgot to record on my blog my trip to Whanganui.   These "street art" pencils have recently had their points sharpened and were looking particularly attractive so were the perfect place to have my Subway lunch.   A day out on my own felt really liberating but the DBEM did fret a little and I had to phone her several times to assure her of my wellbeing and whereabouts.   But the cobwebs got blown away and I do feel refreshed for the mini-vacation.

The hardanger is almost finished and I have collected the ingredients for the next stitching project.   More of that next time.


Saturday, 24 October 2020

Check first!!

The hardanger for the apron is completed and now for construction.  I did not plan out this hardanger for the apron - merely began stitching and then did a general measurement.   Now of course when it comes to construction.....well, let's just say that the lace heart motifs for the top of the bib portion have not been well thought out by moi:-)  Lesson learned.   An hour or two spent in detailed planning is not wasted time and saves aggravation further on.    
The broad lace band for the bottom edge of the apron is perfect and can be attached easily.   But for the bib I will have to restitch a single heart motif and then measure carefully to make the triangle in which to insert it.   Fortunately I have sufficient linen left in this piece and can easily stitch another heart.   The DBEM laughed at me!   She has commented several times today that she thought she had taught me better than that.   "Did I not recall her lessons on the value of preparation", she asked.   Well of course I did but I just didn't want to spend the time!!   Anyway I will have to spend the time now won't I?

In the space left on this piece of linen I have stitched yet another hardanger tassel.   These always sell well at sales table so it will not go amiss.

One of my must-have flowers in the garden was to be Lily of the Valley.   I had the most suitable position; the climate here is perfect - just cool enough and just damp enough; so off I went to the garden centre several weeks ago and arranged for them to get me some to plant.   Sure enough at the appointed time a phone call came - they had plants but these were pink.   Did I still want them?   Well, yes.   Even pink was better than nothing so I planted pink.   Then the next day the garden centre phoned again.   They now had white.  Did I want those too?   I sure did.   So planted some of those too.   Such obliging little plants.   They all rooted well and both the white and pink ones produced one flower each.   Then surprise, surprise.   In the small garden at the foot of a rose bush out the back of the house I spied.....yes!   At least a dozen plants of Lily of The Valley, all obligingly coming into flower right now.   

I am pleased to have them but wish I had checked first and saved myself that money:-(   But the pink is cute, don't you think?

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

President's Challenge

 Each year the Embroiderer's Guild has a challenge, issued by the president, and displayed at the AGM at the beginning of December.   My current Guild in The New City has only around 30 members so an absence of participation would be noted.   But I am not a creative type of person to design my own piece of work; nor did I want to spend a lot of time on something I didn't really want.

The challenge was "Inspired by a Book" so after a lot of thought and the production of several new grey hairs I settled on this after having read the book The Chocolate Tin by Fiona McIntosh.

And inside the tin I will have a stitched explanation.  This is currently straining my eyes and my patience as I stitch all the lettering over one on 32 count fabric.   Hopefully this week I will finish this and put it in a bag to await the great unveiling at Guild meeting on 7 December.   You will probably hear my cries of anguish in the Northern Hemisphere if Covid lockdowns mean that meeting has to be cancelled.   Currently we are at the quasi-normality of Alert Level 1 and long may it continue.

But on the good news front the temperatures are slowly rising and we have had seven days in a row where green has been the colour of choice for my Temperature Chart.   It is good to get out in the garden and feel the warmth of the sun.   My seeds are germinating and I do daily checks to ensure that marauding snails and slugs do not get to them!




Sunday, 27 September 2020

After an absence

 I'm back!   After the DBEM's birthday party she caught a bad head cold and then generously passed it on to me.   It has taken me longer to shake off than I anticipated and even now I'm not at 100%.   Not helping is the fact that since coming to live in The New City, the proximity of farms and forests has given me allergies and I wake sneezing and snorting (yes and generally bad tempered for a short time !)   My doctor says unsympathetically "You're closer to farmland here than in Auckland.   What do you expect?"   Well certainly not this - and a little more sympathy wouldn't have gone amiss either:-)

Spring has sprung here and with it the usual fickle variable weather.   If you look at the bottom row of my temperature chart you will see the colour changes in one week.   It doesn't seem that long ago I was bemoaning the fact that it was all blue -  well we had an orange day yesterday and have had several greens too.   

On the stitching front I've not really got a project that is grabbing my interest.   The hardanger piece is complete and I now need to visit the Quilt Fabric shop to get something suitable so I can complete it.  There's no rush as this is for a gift and not required for some months yet so it can wait a while.

In my stash I found this piece of lovely raspberry linen and am making it into a needle book - decorated front and back with pulled thread work.   However the fine linen (32 count) and the matching floss (perle 12) is proving quite a challenge for my eyesight so progress is slow.   

While I am persevering at this one I am thinking that I need to get my piece for the Embroiderers Guild annual challenge completed.   To be honest I'd like to be a non-participant in that one but with a small Guild every entry counts so I need to persist.   I can see the end in sight but I'm not enjoying the fact that this is a free style embroidered piece, mixed techniques and self designed so no right or wrong which I find disconcerting.   I much prefer to follow instructions and know that I have done what is required.   I will post a picture when the whole object is complete. 

Meanwhile, we have dropped back to Covid Level 1 and life is near new-normal once again.   I need to push the reset button and start activities once again.   The events of this year have not been helpful for getting to know people and make friends in The New City but onwards and upwards:-)


Friday, 4 September 2020

Progress Report as promised

 Angels Song is all but finished.   I left one of the larger bands of Ukranian Stitch incomplete and ploughed on to the end of the chart.   Now I need to go back and complete that band and then stitch on the zillions of beads and buttons.   The end is in sight!   I have no idea what to do with this but it has been fun to stitch and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the specialty stitches.

And the Temperature chart -  you can certainly see that Palmerston North has cool (cold) winters.  There is so much more blue in this year's chart.   Today we were back at the favourite 14 degrees Celsius but are promised 17 tomorrow.    


And with that I need to conclude today's activities and get myself ready for bed.  


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

The Birds are fully finished and framed

Today I collected the framed Birds and found a home for them on my wall.   Considering that it was the DBEM who purchased this kit 25 or more years ago it seems fitting that they should go in her room but we can still both enjoy them,

Thank you to all who sent greetings for the DBEM's big birthday.   We had a super time celebrating her big nine oh and she seemed to enjoy herself (while getting thoroughly exhausted).   This snapshot is of her watching the photo show which my clever Little Brother and Brother-In-Law put together and showed on the big screen.   It was fun for all the generations to look at photos spanning nine decades and we all out-talked each other commenting and reliving shared memories.   It was a fun afternoon.   And as the DBEM said, this birthday has been truly international thanks to all my blogging friends.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have a progress shot of Angels Song which is coming along well.   I am relieved that the piece of fabric is well long enough.   Today at stitching group,  a friend told me of a method to mount pieces onto artist canvas which is what I plan to do with this since it will only be displayed once a year and thus doesn't require expensive framing.

The Temperature Chart is plodding along -  yesterday was a Green Day (over 18 degrees) and today was .... Light Blue (only 10 degrees) so you can see that the weather is still fickle.   I promise a progress shot soon.


Friday, 28 August 2020

Angels Song

I have been conscientiously working away on this but my, oh my, the little houses (castles?) took ages to stitch.   They are most satisfying though I am looking forward to moving on to more specialty stitch bands.   The next row is Step 22 and there are only 33 in the whole project so the end is in sight.
This week I have been busy making masks for the DBEM and myself so we are now prepared.   Currently use of masks is only mandated for public transport which we don't use but I can see that this edict will eventually change and the use become more widespread.   So I am now ready for whatever the Director General for Public Health throws my way.
Tomorrow is the DBEM's birthday party.   I think I am all prepared -  just need to get up earlier tomorrow to make smoked salmon sandwiches.   The DBEM needs to have her hair washed and blow dried too so it will be a busy morning :-)   This afternoon I collected the cake and the Birthday Girl is thrilled with it - so much so that she gave me a big hug!   I am pleased too - it is exactly as the cake shop lady described it.  She has done a great job.   

Anyway I've crossed the last item off today's list so am off to read some more of my book and then to bed.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Magnetic Personality

 For quite some time now I have been growing more and more irritated at this -  wherever I am someone else always wants to be on those exact GPS coordinates.    In the car park -  another driver always wants the car park I have indicated I am turning into.   On the footpath -  if I keep to the left so do all the other pedestrians and I have to move aside.   In the Supermarket -  other shoppers always want the trolley I have stretched my hand out to take and my position in the aisle is always the favourite of the other shoppers nearby.  At the bank - other customers step ahead of me in the queue with a bob of their head which I interpret to mean 'sorry'.   Even at the library - other clients put their hand out for books I have laid on the table beside the checking out machine while I fumble with my library card    Excuse me!!!   That's mine!!!     What. Is. It????   Is it my magnetic personality?   Is it my short-fused temperament?  

Currently I am considering purchasing a bicycle and am aware that this aware phenomena will no doubt pursue me on the cycleways also where I will well feel less protected.   The DBEM thinks I should not get a bike - "you're an adult woman and I shouldn't tell you what to do but...."    However I have problems with my left heel and ankle that are curtailing my walking at present and the physiotherapist has suggested a bicycle.   I may go to the store and investigate.   Currently the weather is not really conducive to such activity.

Anyway - enough ranting.   Today has been a beautiful day despite the weather forecast for rain and I managed to clean some of my outside windows and do some gardening in the vegetable beds.   All is well in that part of the world :-)

Tonight I will help the DBEM with her knitting and finish off one of the books I have downloaded.   So a quiet and restful day

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Christmas Ornaments

With inclement weather the last few days I made myself a To Do List and have been completing some inside jobs. First up was the family 2020 Christmas Ornaments.   All have edgings now but no backs while I decide what to do about decorations and hangers.   I don't want these hanging around in a half completed state so will make a valiant effort tomorrow to fully finish them
But so far so good.
The Silent Night one which was stitched first, I have decided to keep for my tree and to put ruched ribbon around the edge so that is not in a state to be photographed quite yet.   More to come on that one.

But I also did a complete stocktake of my stash cupboard and sorted out the next project - once I have the Shepherd's Bush Angels Song completed.   My WIP basket was getting seriously overloaded but now only has three items : - the ongoing Temperature Chart, the Shepherd's Bush project and a piece of hardanger which has a "must be completed" date of February 2021

Next on my list is some sewing - I want a new hooded jacket and also a long sleeved button through blouse so will get the fabric for those cut out tomorrow.   I find once the fabric is cut the whole project seems less daunting and I find time to get the sewing done.  

I doubt there will be much time for stitching next week as I make final preparations for my share of the DBEM's 90th Birthday Party.   She is getting quite excited and has already received several cards and gifts.   I promised her that tomorrow we would put up a string so she can hang her cards and enjoy looking at them.  

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Back from the framers

 Today I collected the Quakers in Japan from the framer and I am very pleased with the result.   It is now hanging on the wall where I can look at it easily and allow the waves of nostalgia for Japan to sweep over me.   This is a truly wonderful design from Tempting Tangles.

It was hard choosing a frame and supplies are limited due to import restrictions from Covid-19 but I am pleased with this one and think it suits well.

Now I am back hard at work finishing off the Shepherds Bush Christmas epic and this years quota of ornaments for the family.   Hopefully there will be another update on progress this weekend.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Progress report on Shepherds Bush and Christmas 2020 (Ornament production)

The dreadful vine section has been completed and I'm now back into the more comfortable groove of specialty stitches and words. Much more enjoyable and relaxing. Here's a picture for proof :-) 
The 2020 quota of Christmas ornaments are underway too and I hope to complete the pinecones (in the middle of this photo) in the coming week. I need five for my family commitments and also would like one for my own tree. 
After several years when I didn't bother to get my tree out and hang all the ornaments I am determined to do so this year. My new house has a great bay window in the front which will be just the spot for the tree and I will even buy a new set of lights to provide the necessary twinkle. Today I found a shop - The Christmas Heirloom Shop - so that was fortuitous. Surely they will have the necessary lights?

The DBEM turns 90 at the beginning of next month and we are having a family party a few days beforehand.   She is getting quite excited and preparations are well underway.   In the coming week we have a visit to the hairdresser because as she put it "I look like my own grandmother" and by her tone of voice I don't think she was too happy about that!   Perhaps a haircut and some new clothes will change her image?   

Blog Hop

The lovely Jo in the Far East of England has once again organised a blog hop.   So let me introduce to you my "mystery" blogger

This lady is almost my next door neighbour down here in The Antipodes - she lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley of Australia .   She loves stitching - she churns them out as we say here in New Zealand.   The list on her sidebar of completed pieces would, in my mind, make her eligible for a Gold Medal at the Stitching Olympics.  And what's more she keeps to a theme.  I'll give you a hint as to what that is  
Ho ho ho; Angels; trees; stockings....  
Can you guess?

Yes, this lady stitches Christmas pieces (mainly) Those she keeps for herself are sometimes massive masterpieces.   Currently the huge piece she is working on has to be sideways in her frame!   But she also stitches for family and friends.  I really admire her use of beads in finishing some of her smaller items.    

I particularly liked the Australian Alphabet names she has stitched for her nieces children and wonder whether a similar pattern exists in my country.

I searched through my stitching for something she might like and came up with this.

If you can't guess from all I've written then try this link and go visit Elfie   You too will be inspired.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Shepherds Bush progress

I am plodding along with the Shepherd's Bush Angels Song.   All was going well and enjoyment levels were high until the current band -  somehow the counting involved in getting all these leaves and vines correct is too much for my brain.   There has been some reverse stitching and some diversions into other pastimes.
Anyway, a progress shot - I have decided to leave all the beads until the very end so this is very much unadorned.
On Friday the DBEM and I went down to Foxton -  a small village about half an hours drive south west from here.   They have a splendid new library/community centre in which there is a marvellous display about the Dutch migrants to New Zealand.   The DBEM took her magnifier and we pored over all the items there were to see.   One huge carved sideboard had drawers that could be opened and the smell of the spices used in creating the wonderful Dutch Speculaas biscuits was amazing.   We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and as the cafe was closed early that day we came home for a slightly overdue afternoon tea.   The DBEM was so tired she promptly fell asleep and nodded off for most of the next day too:-)

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Next Project

After the millions of crosses in The Birds I needed a palate cleanser of speciality stitches and what better than this Shepherds Bush kit.   If my memory serves me correctly this was a gift from an overseas stitcher but it has languished in my stash for several years.   However the combination of linen fabric and silk floss is irresistible and I am enjoying this.   The bands of specialty stitches give interest although I have reservations about the rose pink angel wings.   There are a multiplicity of beads and sequins to sew on at the end and the sparkle may well dilute the heaviness.
I have a couple of Christmas Ornaments on the hoops at the moment too as they are a good size to take to Guild and to Stitch Group.  A further three ornaments are needed to meet family 'obligations' and then I want to make four initialed notebook covers for friends at my KYB group. 
And as a reminder myself I will document here the current state of my 2020 Presidents Challenge.   Explanation to follow when I have more to show.    This is my first time to stitch on "wash away" over top of the final fabric.   I will eventually make the piece into a top for .... a chocolate tin (and perhaps stitch some imitation chocolates for the inside) but learnings so far from this - I can follow instructions well; I can do near faultless counted work BUT I cannot design or create free embroidery/creative pieces :(    The oval cameo, currently loose, will be appliqued on after the lettering and cording are done.   But I needed to stitch that first to get the size and relativity.     By the way I'd recommend the book which was the inspiration.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

And another finish

The Birds is finished and I will be able to take it to the framer on Monday.   I decided that I wanted to remember the last stitch I put in on this one so made sure it was the eye of the bird in the air on the extreme right.   Probably such minute detail will quickly fade from my memory but it felt good at the time.
This afternoon I explored stash and found a Shepherds Bush Christmas Sampler kit (received as a gift some years ago) which has specialty stitches as well as the cross-stitch-I-am-so-tired-of.   Another attraction is that the floss in the kit is silk and that is such a pleasure to stitch with.   Progress shots will be uploaded in due course:)

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

And a finish

A month or so ago a friend at Embroiderers Guild loaned me her copy of Inspirations which featured this pocket and biscornu done in Swedish Sollerosom 
Counted work and in my favourite blue and white combination!   I was hooked.   So I searched through stash and substituted what I had to make do and finally this morning I completed the little pocket.   I had returned the magazine before I realized the construction notes were on the foldout so had to do as I saw fit....still a reasonable fascimile was possible.
 28 Count linen from my stash, DMC Perle #8 floss from stash, silk lining from stash and a button from the DBEM's button box.   The only cost here was time :)
And.... there is even a space for this in my display cabinet.   Happy Dance here tonight.  (and I am on the last bird of the Lanarte Bird sampler so might even get that finished this week)

Monday, 13 July 2020

More Birds

It is amazing how much an audiobook has helped progress on The Birds.   In the middle of last week I downloaded an audiobook from my local library site and the DBEM and I were entranced.   Tracey Chevalier speeded up my needle and I am coming to the final stages of my Bird project.   Yes!!  The end is in sight:  the current bird and the feed box to complete and then one free flying bird on the right hand side.   I must remember to stitch the year into the corner too -  I don't want the designer's initials as is charted.
Besides that, the DBEM has completed another small cardigan and is well on the way with a second one.  We shall have to get some more audiobooks ;)
Our Embroiderers Guild has an annual President's Challenge and I decided to participate in this one.  The challenge given was "Inspired by a Book" and after some delay and deliberation I am on the way with this one.   And.....it is not counted work.   Well not all of it.   I was reluctant to take time to stitch something I didn't really want but in a small Guild everyone's efforts count.   I'm not spending money on this one - all the ingredients will come from the stash cupboard.  Even the chart for the central cartouche is from Pinterest:).  I have until the beginning of December to complete this one so I'm not having to rush.
In searching for the necessary charts etc I flipped through the folders of The Gift of Stitching.   Anyone remember that resource?   And I have found the Christmas Ornaments for this year's stitching.   So after The Birds I will be making 2020 Christmas Ornaments and on my finest linen as I need to use that before my eyesight will forbid anything lower than 28 count;)
And now I am off to do some exercise  and the evenings chores.