Tuesday 31 March 2020

Strange Day

My doctor phoned me for an entirely unnecessary consultation and ordered a repeat prescription for me (albeit I had ordered one by internet 10 days ago)- faxed directly to the pharmacy which is located in the local supermarket and therefore costing an extra $5!   So with a homemade mask and gloves from my first aid kit I took my new car out in the rain and collected the medicine.   How obedient am I?!   I discovered that most NZ'ers don't seem able to gauge a 2 metre separation distance, that baking goods have been panic bought and shelves are empty, that supermarket staff are angelically patient and careful and that I need to get used to a reversing guide on the screen and not twist my neck when backing out of a car park! 

Then it was home to ignore the DBEM's "are you going to dry off your car?" (no, it can dry itself off naturally!!); complete the sewing for Great Niece E's little dress; finish off the matching rag doll; discover that one of the eBooks from my library was due to expire so hurriedly finish that; eat unnecessary chocolate; discover that six of my carrot seeds have sprouted -  all in all a less than productive day.   It's the rain that did it - on a fine day I get out for a walk and feel better for it:)

Anyway Great Niece E at 10 days old is doing better and she has a summer dress to look forward to when they eventually return to NZ.   And a matching dolly.   However at this stage these are virtual gifts sent by photo only.   Dratted virus has curtailed even the minimal services that NZ Post was offering pre-Covid 19!

And with that March 2020 comes to a close.   Until next...  Keep safe, keep well.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Plodding on

Today the rain held off and I was able to get out for two walks and enjoy the fresh air.
It is strange how this lockdown is affecting us all and we have had phone calls and txt messages from several folk who are normally in the "Christmas Card Only" file.   To be fair, the DBEM had me busy on the email too keeping in touch with her cousins -  I have a new career as an amanuensis:-)
The Christmas Ornament plans changed - I fell out of love with the linen I had chosen and opted for a 36 count and decided to stitch over two fabric threads,   Then I realised it would turn out far larger than I was happy with so chose to stitch only the centre O and today I finish-finished it off as an ornament for my tree.   The chart was difficult to read due to the colour/symbol coding but is available here if you want to stitch this yourself.
Lovely to feel so organised....but tomorrow I must get back to The Birds.
Do you remember me saying that Rag Doll Ruby was predestined to be an only child?   Well, the birth of Great Niece E has made me reconsider and I have started on Ruby's sibling as a gift for the new baby.  So far two legs and one arm only so no photo at this point.   Tomorrow may see the other arm and the body.   I have cut out the fabric for a summer dress for Great Niece E for next NZ summer and will make a start on sewing that tomorrow since the weather forecast is for more rain which means no gardening.   The weeds will wait another day:-)
Until next...Keep Safe, Keep Well

Friday 27 March 2020

Day Two

Day Two of lockdown passed much the same as Day One except for the fact that for most of the day it rained!   Still I managed a 30 minute walk when the skies brightened late afternoon and certainly felt better for it.
The DBEM was feeling cold so I used the oven as a heater again and baked a banana and walnut cake.   We will both grow fat under this virus control regime.
The Birds are coming along.   I forced myself to sit at it today and bird number two is all but complete.   He/she is a little more colourful than that first wing so it was easier to progress.
This morning I sewed my skirt and am letting it hang tonight before putting up the hem tomorrow.
And.... I found some ingredients to make another rag doll as a gift for new Great Niece Baby E.  Tomorrow I intend to cut out the body and make a start on that.   Hopefully there is enough stuffing left in the bag to complete this. I won't be able to go out and get any more!   She may have to remain bald until I can get to the yarn store for some wool for her hair - or perhaps the DBEM will help me out :-)
Until next...

Thursday 26 March 2020


Thank you to all who have left comments on previous posts.   I am trying to post more regularly so I keep motivated and active. Before our lockdown started I read on a blog of another person in another country who had decided on "something productive, something in the fresh air, something cooked or made from scratch and something I love to do"  every day.   So today I have been out for a solitary walk around the block, baked scones and biscuits for the DBEM and for the other two the report is as follows...
My woollen jacket, sewn to wear out to my various activities is complete now - ready and waiting!
This afternoon I cut out a toile/muslin for a winter tweed skirt, fitted that and cut the fabric.
Fortunately there is a further supply of fabric in the stash box as I have a new Great Niece and need to make a summer dress for her.   Currently she and her family live in Switzerland but will return to New Zealand in time for our summer, once she is bigger and the current lockdowns are lifted.   Yesterday I even heard myself say that I might make her not only a dress but a matching rag doll.   This lockdown is addling my brain!!!
The Birds is progressing and this wing is now done.  I'm working on the rail of the feeder box which will hopefully ensure the next bird is in the correct place.   Colouring in the chart as I stitch is vital in this one and shows my ineptitude in cross stitch. 
I kitted up the first of this year's Christmas Ornaments too after some calculating to ensure it would come out the correct size. Eventually I settled on a scrap of 24 count linen and the suggested DMC threads.   I will stitch over one thread of fabric but probably with two threads of floss.  JOY seemed a suitable choice for this current situation and besides that, Christmas is not too far away:)

Until next...

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Made it!

For years now I have been saving to buy a brand new car when I retired but then the sale/shift interrupted the plan.   I waited until we were settled and my bank deposit matured and then ordered my new chariot.   Covid-19 restrictions threatened to derail the timetable but in the nick of time, just before the country goes into lockdown my little Mazda arrived to live at my house.  
She won't get much mileage on the clock over these next weeks but I will enjoy the planning and dreaming.
And in another meaning of this post's title I made face masks for the DBEM and myself.   These are impossible to obtain for love nor money anywhere if you are not a practising medical professional so I found some white cotton lawn in the stash and following Tanya's instructions here created one each.
Tomorrow we go to the doctor for the influenza vaccine and knew we needed to have a mask if only to look the part.   Can I just say, the DBEM is not a great fan of masks:)

So until tomorrow when I may have some stitching progress to report...

Monday 23 March 2020

Preparing for Lockdown

From tomorrow New Zealand goes into lockdown to prevent community spread of Covid-19.  Already confined to quarters as being in the "at risk" age group, the DBEM has been busy with her knitting and then tells me she has no stock pile of yarn. What??!!   In this situation we need yarn....
A quick trip today to the yarn store and we are prepared - I hope.  Anyway the DBEM is happy.
My preparations are already in place gardening, sewing, stitching, knitting and reading.   Photo evidence to follow as the dreary days of lockdown progress.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Completed and preparing

The pincushion and the lavender bag are now complete -  proof in the snapshots below.

Our temperatures have suddenly dropped along with our spirits - at least the DBEM is fairly dismal.  Yesterday I had to put blue into my temperature chart but today is back in yellow.   The nights are much cooler and the days growing shorter so Autumn is in the air here.
Because of the fine day the landscaper was able to finish building my raised garden bed in the back yard (the photo below is part way through the construction).  This is one part of my preparation for social distancing due to Covid-19   If I am not going to be allowed out and about socially I will need something to do at home so vegetable gardening it is.   I plan to go to the garden centre tomorrow (maintaining the recommended distance from others who may be there) and get the necessary to plant up for my winter veges.   Do you think this garden bed (18 metres long and 0.6metres wide) will be large enough to produce vegetables for two old ladies??
The flower garden in the front is still doing its thing and I am fighting a winning battle with the aphids on the roses.   It seems they do not like to be sprayed with a mixture of soapy water, oil and baking soda!   So I am able to enjoy the last of the flowers and continue to contend with the inevitable weeds.
Another more satisfying preparation has been this.
I purchased this Lanarte cross stitch kit around 25 years ago and it has languished in the stash cupboard ever since.   However it would look good framed and on the wall of my bathroom. So I decided that if I am confined to quarters I should improve the shining hour and I have got everything ready and made a small start (a whole 24 crosses!!) on this.   Along the way I will lose interest I know, but if I can stitch a bird at a time I should be able to continue to completion.
I have promised the DBEM to get her some more knitting wool tomorrow when I go to stock up on Library books.   So far there are no cases of Coronavirus in our city so I am using these next few days to make preparations worthy of a military strategist :-)

Saturday 14 March 2020

Life is full

Life is full and I don't know how I ever found time to work!   I find I am having to be very disciplined and timetable my days in order to get through all the home jobs as well as my new found activities.   But a full life is a good one :-)
This week I have helped the DBEM a lot with her knitting -  we have reversed out of problems; I have knitted up yarn that is too dark for her to see the stitches clearly; between us we have finished two garments (and bought yarn for another) and tonight we decided that having "donated" so much time to her knitting, this coming week I can stitch.   However, this coming week is full to the brim with planned activities so there may not be a lot of stitching either.
Still, I have made a biscornu pincushion to sit by my sewing machine
Also a small lavender bag to place among my blankets to discourage any bugs.  (Photos of these next post)
A teeny tiny gift which was quite a struggle as my fingertips are sore from pricks by rose thorns (no photo of that as it is a gift)
And I finally found a cheap frame for my blue Sajou M and it has found a home on my wall (bottom left).

My raised bed vege garden is to be built this coming week and as I didn't want to be embarrassed in front of the landscaper I have been outdoors a lot these past few days.   Most of the garden is very tidy now, the lawns are mowed and the one aphid laden rose bush has been dowsed in buckets of soapy water.   I am tempted to get rid of that rose bush -  the vicious thorns bite me badly and I am punctured all over yet still the aphids cling on.   Far away from the aphids, the silver beet I planted is growing well and seems to like its position between the red rose and the purple lavender.  The DBEM loves silver beet and each day on her return from her walk checks the growth on these plants.  But there's still some days/weeks to go before she will be eating home grown.
Hopefully next post I will have more stitching news...

Sunday 1 March 2020

What I have been up to.

The days fly by and I look back wondering what I have accomplished.   Sometimes not much:-)
Mowing the lawn and tidying the garden seems to occupy many hours and I have yet to develop a true love for that part of my responsibilities.   Presently it is a needs must situation and after rain yesterday the lawn is telling me it needs another haircut.   I tell myself that this must surely be increasing my Vitamin D levels which for many years have been so low that my doctor has issued dire warnings.   She would be pleased to see me "enjoying" more time outdoors.   I am enjoying the flowers though and the DBEM wanders through each morning and then tells me where I need to weed and what needs cutting back!   She is technically Vision Impaired but can still manage to nag me into working in my garden (ha ha).
I have been sewing as I am determined to use up the pieces of fabric in my stash. 
This navy wool gaberdine was purchased about 20 years ago and has been kept safely to make a jacket and skirt for work.  Well I don't need that now and I wanted to try out a new pattern for a warm jacket.   As the New City is cooler in winter than Auckland I interlined this with a flannel and also added a thick lining so it has become a Heavy Warm Jacket.   Taking time over this to ensure that it is well made and fits properly has been satisfying and now I face the task of hand sewing in all the lining.   With temperatures still in the high 20's I don't need to rush as I won't be able to wear it for many weeks yet.   Having proved the pattern to be a success I will go ahead (after a short break) to make up the black quilted woolen fabric I have for the real deal.
On the stitching front I am finishing off the hardanger piece which will make the front panel of a bag.  This piece of linen is woven with off white thread one direction and brown thread the other and although it has been in my stash for some time it has never sparked joy.   However I think it will make an excellent durable tote bag and so will this week go to the store to choose a coordinating fabric and interfacing to complete that.  The chart had this as a cushion design but I don't have such things in my house so came up with the bag as an alternative.   There is still a piece of linen left but I have ideas to use that so watch this space.
At a Craft Morning at church we made needlecases.   This is on the fringe of my comfort zone - I don't have much artistic sense and was flummoxed as to how to decorate the shape.   However the end result is passable.

Tomorrow night is Embroiderers Guild and we have Book Club.  Each member has been asked to take a book and a piece of embroidery inspired by that book.   I'm not sure if this means an embroidery book or a "real" book so have one of each and will then be able to participate.