Sunday 25 December 2022

Monday 19 December 2022

Merry Christmas

After cleaning up my stash cupboard I finish-finished a very pink drawstring bag.

Then put some more stitches into the cushion cover (and reacquainted myself with my dislike of tiny eyelets) which is nearing its halfway point.  There are just the cut work parts to do and then the task of making it into a cushion.  Perhaps I’ll leave that till the new year.  Frisian Whitework is tricky but interesting and quite a change from my favoured Hardanger.

Made a start on my sampler cloth.  This will be a long term project and once Little Sister’s Husband has fixed the glitch with my printer I have several more cross stitch bands to continue with.

And all this after recovering from a “nasty itchy body covering rash reaction” to my dentist-prescribed antibiotics.  Yes!  Another one to add to the list of Must Not Take!   I seem to have inherited my Mother’s allergies to antibiotics and various other medications.  Besides most antibiotics, Paracetamol doesn’t like my stomach, Ibuprofen doesn’t like my skin  and Aspirin is a no go so it’s just as well I have a high pain threshold. Ha ha!

So all in all it has been an interesting couple of weeks!   Soon I shall be off to Little Sisters for Christmas celebrations . She has four grandchildren so it will certainly be noisy:)

Sunday 20 November 2022


 I did go to the embroidery store in Christchurch and spent a very enjoyable morning looking at Every Item In Store:).  It was great.  But I was very modest in my purchases - just these.

Something to look forward to when my current projects are completed.

Wednesday 16 November 2022


 I am just nearing the end of a quick trip to Christchurch to visit my elderly uncles.   Worthwhile on that side of the ledger.

And as a bonus I got to visit as a tourist the areas devastated by the 2011 major earthquake.   In particular the 150 year old stone cathedral was badly damaged and is now in the process of a major and V E R Y expensive and lengthy restoration.   The bell tower and steeple crashed forward but amazingly the Rose Window survived.  One bell was irreparably damaged and needed to be recast but the others are safe and in storage awaiting the completion of their new home.   

So many of the landmarks I remembered have been obliterated and I got increasingly sad as I wandered around the city centre.   Until, eventually I arrived at the Transitional Cathedral - a “temporary “ structure designed by Shigeru Ban - the roof constructed from large cardboard cylinders reinforced with steel and walls made of steel shipping containers.   

I  was surprised at how beautiful it was but at that stage in my wanderings it all got too much and I sat for some time in the very uncomfortable chairs and attempted to regain my equilibrium.

Tomorrow’s bonus is a visit to Broomfield’s Embroidery which since the earthquake has been operating from “temporary” premises i.e. the owners home.   Hopefully I can be reasonably restrained as I have no immediate needs for any more stash :)

Then afternoon with the remaining elderly relatives and home to my own house and bed!

Friday 4 November 2022

Long term project

 Having finally managed to procure the necessary yardage meterage, I am making a start on a new project.   Lyn at Embroiderers Guild had this amazing sampler cloth and I’m going to Copy Cat it.   

An interesting way to use up odd bits of thread don’t you think.   But first the hem.  

Then the centre “frame” which in my case will be either a dark blue or a mid blue.  Next I will do the corners and then the centre band on each side and after that I will practise being random!

Friday 21 October 2022

Fine things

 Over one thread of linen must surely count as a fine thing!   It is taxing the limits of my sight but I am soldiering on with Betsy Morgan’s Four Seasons.  The silk floss is a dream to stitch with and I have only the top to complete tonight.

Three hardanger pochettes are completed and I have decided to take a break from those.   There is enough linen left for a fourth but not enough enthusiasm currently.   I need a change.   Once Betsy Morgan is done my stitching basket will be empty and I can trawl The Stash Cupboard for another project.  

Meanwhile in a weeks time  I’m off on a road trip to Auckland where in no particular order of preference I will visit my gravely ill older brother, eat at the Japanese Sushi-Go-Round, visit my much loved embroidery store The Ribbon Rose, call at a fabric shop or two, catch up with friends and see if Daiso is still in the same location and has survived Covid.   Excitement is building and I have stitched a new blouse and taken in the waistband of a pair of jeans, so ensuring that I will look respectable and not provincial for my “trip to the city”.

Spring is springing here in New Zealand after an unseasonal dumping of snow at the beginning of the month.   The Polar Blast brought snow even to Palmerston North and the temperatures have still not risen much but the days are mostly fine with clear blue skies now and the garden is screaming for attention.   This week I hope to remove a few more weeds and give a general tidy up to the front.   I have been enjoying Sweet Peas, Lily of the Valley, Alstroemeria, Carnation, Iris and a few late blooming daffodil.   

Tuesday 4 October 2022

A bit of this and a bit of that

While visiting Little Sister recently  I heard myself offering to finish off a small baby cardigan that she was tired of knitting.   So guess what I’ve been doing?   Despite vowing never to do knitting again!!

Not much actually as besides the knitting I brought back a cold from my visit to Little Sister and isolated myself  and lived on lemon and honey drinks.   After three weeks I felt  better enough  to fulfill a promise to my friend to visit her in Tauranga, six hours drive north east of here.   That was a major test of nerve and endurance but I survived!

Now I have stitched a hardanger piece - a Christmas gift surprise for a friend at church.  Don’t worry she doesn’t know I have a blog!  I wasn’t going to line this small pochette but the lace work on the flap really requires a lining so I will have to consider what colour and fabric.  As there is still a lot of the linen left I decided to do another and to vary the pattern on the flap.   Fun but not as wholly engrossing as I had hoped.  And I see that the piece of linen is large enough to do two more!  Apologies for the bad photo -  the linen is a pretty pale mint green and I'm stitching in brilliant white.

It is three months since Mother died and I know I should be feeling more settled but truth be told I’m not.   I feel quite rootless and cannot seem to get absorbed into anything.   Now the weather is improving the garden calls and I need to spend some time out there if I am to win the War of the Weeds and if there is to be any harvest from the vegetable garden.  

Recently while in the city centre I found a small shop called the George Street Collective that sells handmade items on commission.  The very artistic looking lady who was manning the counter was happy to chat and told me she was sure I could sell small embroidery items.   So I might try taking in a sample of some of the items from The Other Drawer and see if they are suitable.   The lady I spoke to makes dangly earrings from beads and told me she likes making them but doesn’t need to keep every pair.   I know that feeling - much of my stitching is like that.  I may begin with Christmas ornaments and some of my small bags.   I need to think about this a little more.  

The weather is bright and sunny and I have been dead heading the irises and lamenting the fact that my asparagus crowns seem to have rotted with the extreme wet winter we’ve had.  But  of the dozen planted only a handful of Lily of the Valley have survived and will give me flowers.  

So today has been a much better day and I think I have earned a cup of tea and a rest!

Monday 5 September 2022

Catch up after lengthy absence

Goodness.  Over a  month has passed and I’ve not posted here.   The reason?   Not much stitching done. I have finished the Ukrainian Sewing Set and with a huge sigh of relief - reverberating around the world I should think - I have consigned it to The Drawer along with the others and when I am next at a reputable needlework store will purchase the scissors and needles to go with them

From left to right

Ukranian whitework (in blue), Cross Stitch, Frisian Whitework (in beige) , Kogin, Blackwork, Hardanger.   Each set is a bag, a scissor fob, needlebook and pincushion.

Since then I went through my fabric stash and found I had almost a metre of 38 count Graziano Linen which is too fine for me to use for Hardanger, Ukranian or other of my favourite techniques so I decided that Drawn Thread bags modelled on "Christine Bishop's Drawstring Bag" could be useful so I have done a couple.  These two will be gifts for my elderly aunts when I visit them later in the year.   In this way the linen is used profitably and does not strain my eyes so much.

This one has a deep purple ribbon behind the Drawnthread work and I will get some beads to add to the end of the draw cord.  It is lined with off white silk.

This one is so well stitched (pat on back pat on back) that the inside is the reverse of the outside. I've not lined it so my prowess will show :-)

Little Sister came to stay for a night last week and cajoled me into booking a weekend at her place and another weekend visiting Auckland.   Not both at the same time!   So on Friday I will venture off on a road trip to Wellington (about two hours further south) and we will visit The Bead Shop as well as two of my nieces one of whom has a new baby and the other has a new house.   Both good excuses for a visit.

This afternoon I went diving into fabric stash again and found some suitable 32 count linen.   I am going to stitch Betsy Morgan's Seasons cube (from Inspirations Issue 87)   I was given the kit but my eyesight is not good enough to stitch over one for this so I am going to stitch it over two and consequently have a bigger cube.   Nor  will I make it have the scissor pocket -  a plain cube it will be.  I'm hoping this will be a longer term project and will absorb me and thus hopefully dispel some of the dismals which seem to have enveloped me at present.  Besides, I don't really want to keep adding projects to The Other Drawer and the cube will fit into my display cabinet.

Would you like a peek at The Other Drawer?   

As you can see there is space available so I will be able continue with unframed smaller projects to use up stash.

So until next time, and I promise not to leave it so long .....


Wednesday 20 July 2022

Ta da!!

I promised a photo of the finished zipper purse so herewith.   I think it will be useful and I’m happy to have it completed in time so win win :)

Now I am working on completing another of the sewing sets for my great-nieces.   The needle book, scissor fob and pincushion for the Sollerosom set are mostly done and I need to mark up the linen for the bag.   This is being done on 34 count linen so counting is best done in daylight on a sunny day.  Currently it is mid-Winter in New Zealand so those days are few and far between.   

That's it for tonight - back to my needle and thread.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Ready for Final Finishing

 At the beginning of August my friend K has a birthday.  She loves cats and so I've stitched this to make into a Zipper Purse for her.   The pretty gingham check Graziano linen has been in my stash for ever so it was great to find a use for it.  I saw something similar on the internet so set to with graph paper and a pencil and am pleased with the result.   Here's hoping that I can make up the bag to look professional!

Tomorrow I plan to complete this and also to get my Black Quilted Jacket to the buttonhole stage.   My local sewing machine shop have told me they will do the buttonholes for me (I don't trust my ancient Elna for this) but that I will need to cut them open.   First I need to choose the buttons although I am still dithering as to whether to go buttons or to use sew on press studs.   I may trial the latter and see how I feel.

Thank you to all who left comments of sympathy on passing of my Mother.   Life seems rather empty and some days I feel a little downcast.  But I am cheered by the cards, emails, blog comments and the sympathy of so many friends.   Thank you so much.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Counting Correctly

 I wanted to try an Aztec Stitch Scissor Case from instructions off the web but I didn't use canvas and instead experimented on a scrap of linen.

Tired eyes, tired brain and recent stress combined to make even the four sided stitch edging difficult and then I came to grief badly when cutting to draw threads.   

So pen and paper to hand I did some mathematical calculations and started again.   Success this time - well enough to make a passable imitation of side one.   I'm using threads from deep stash for this as it is only an experiment but so far so good.  Navy, Red and White seems a patriotic choice.

I've also started a gift for the next new baby in the family and hope to have some progress on that one to show in a day or two.  

Somehow I can't seem to settle to stitching much at the moment but at least I have needle in hand again.  I may have to go through my stash cupboard and find a new project that will grip my attention.

Monday 27 June 2022



My lovely Mother ( edit:  Madge) otherwise known on this blog as The DBEM has gone to heaven.  Thank you all for you comments with messages of support.   Very soon I will pick up my needle and be back to stitching but not for a few days yet.

Monday 13 June 2022


 Just checking in.   Very little stitching is being done here as the DBEM is gravely ill and is moving into care tomorrow.   My sister has been staying to help and today my brothers came so we all had precious time to spend with Mother.   It was good to all be together for what may well be the last opportunity.

I have done a square of four sided stitch which miraculously met up accurately at the end but I won’t push my luck tonight while my eyes are heavy with exhaustion and tears.   

However I will be back soon with some stitching to report but I didn’t want to disappear suddenly and cause worry.


Monday 30 May 2022

Repeato Ditto

 On Saturday afternoon I once again had to push the ambulance emergency button as the DBEM collapsed on me.   So off we went to our "favourite spot" in Emergency Department where we were promptly seen by a lovely young doctor who ordered lots and lots of tests.   So of course hours later we were still awaiting results.  But being more au fait with ED now after the visit the week before I went home, phoned the siblings, had a very late dinner and took myself to bed.  Whereupon in the middle of the night the phone rang; a call from the lovely doctor.   There had been an influx of Covid cases and she wanted to send the DBEM home where the doctor felt she would be safer in my care.   Naturally this is what the DBEM wanted too so I got dressed again and went out into the cold frosty night to collect her.   (No serious diagnosis just 'frailty of old age')

Result is I am currently confined to quarters as I can't leave her alone and she requires assistance to mobilize and to toilet.   Little Brother came for a couple of hours today and I managed a quick visit to the gym to exercise off some stress.

Other stress relief has been the cross stitch Map of the World.   I'm almost complete now and it is such fun.  There are only a couple of icons I cannot guess  -  perhaps you can help out.   What is the one below the bottle of maple syrup in Canada?  A turkey??

Hopefully a photo of the completed map tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Goodnight.

Monday 23 May 2022


 I’ve been travelling…to and from the hospital to visit the DBEM. Today her doctor said she could come home if I was happy!   Currently she’s in ‘her’ chair in the sun catching up on sleep.  Too much Covid and early Winter virus are causing overload at the hospital so she’s better at home.

So not much stitching has been done.   I have made a little progress on the world map and that’s all I have to show.   I’m still enjoying this “journey round the world” and enjoy the puzzle of deciding what the various icons actually are.   Not all have been puzzled out but I was quite smug to realise that the frog with a fly on the end of his tongue was for "French Indo-China" and that Japan was chopsticks with a bowl of noodles.   Many like the Matroyshka and St Basils are immediately obvious and others not so.  I did message the designer asking for a list of the icons but so far no reply so I am left guessing.

Hopefully life will return to normal and I can get some more stitching done.   My quilted winter jacket is at the stage where I need to make metres of bias binding tape and I have the fabric ready to begin that.   Perhaps these next few days I will actual make a start.   But the weather is supposed to be fine after severe storms and I need to get outdoors and mow the lawn and tidy up a little.   

Sunday 8 May 2022

Hardanger Sewing Set and....

 Today I completed the cord drawstring for the hardanger sewing set and I'm very pleased with the result.   Only two more sets to go and each of my brother's grand daughters should have one :)

I have begun a new cross stitch - a map of the world created of icons from most of the countries (but not all).  It is addictive as well as enjoyable.   Some of the icons I cannot 'decipher' so have sent a msg to the designer asking if they can provide a list of those they used.   I'm not 100% hopeful of a reply but meanwhile am enjoying this stitch.

I'll be back in a few days with some progress to report.

Friday 29 April 2022

Ukrainian Whitework, Hardanger and ....

 I’m midway through another two Sewing Sets for the Great Nieces.   And I’m justifiably tired of this project!   The hardanger one will get completed as I’m currently working on the bag. 

 Pincushion, scissor fob and needle book are done - minus a couple of finishing touches such as scissors and a fastener on the needle book.  I put emery in the scissor fob to add weight - a satisfying touch that will also be useful for keeping needles healthy.

But the Ukrainian Whitework set has come to a grinding halt.   I finished the needle book and the scissor fob.  They too need the scissors and a fastener for the book.   In this scissor fob I put a New Zealand $1 coin - a satisfactory weight and a secret that may well go undiscovered into posterity😉.  I cannot summon up the enthusiasm at present to complete this sewing set so it will sit in the box while I work on my next “itch to stitch”.  

At the same time I have been working on a Quiet Book for my newest Great Niece.   She is only 3 months old so I have plenty of time to work slowly on this but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

So far 1) a zip up tent with a small teddy bear who sleeps inside fastened by a press stud (dome).   He's tied by a ribbon so can't get lost!

2) the centre page -  fruit in a bag that can be buttoned on to its matching pair 

3) threading a mouse through the holes in the swiss cheese from his little 'mouse hole'

My face is slowly recovering from the fall but my confidence to go out walking has completely disappeared.  I needed to go to the post box a day or two ago and it required the summoning of tremendous amounts of courage for just that 20 minute stroll.  Even the fact that I got there and back safely hasn’t restored me to the regularity of daily exercise so I think I will join a gym and use their treadmill - surely handholds on each side of me, even if not used, will be enough to get me back to my regular 60 minutes a day?

And I have the Downton Abbey movie to look forward to at the end of next week.  Yay!

Thursday 14 April 2022

 What have I been up to?   Well my eyes rebelled at the diagonal round eyelets in the newly started sewing set and after the third unpicking I put the whole thing into time out and started another piece in my favourite hardanger.   A small Christmas Ornament which I took some time to cut out very carefully.

The DBEM is much improved and in a far better frame of mind regards Covid so I can see that my “release date” will be soon and I can resume my small number of activities.  It has been very lonely staying away for these past four months and I will be happy to be back among people.   Our local Health Board tells us that ‘the Omicron Peak has passed but the Pandemic has not’ so we are still all being very careful. However now that the DBEM is less fearful I am much relieved.

I have begun yet another sewing set - this one in hardanger - and in a rare divergence from my usual tone on tone I decided to do this one in bright white on dark blue.   So far so good and I am hopeful that the final set will look as I envisage it.

At Embroiderers Guild a small group tackled Hardanger Tassels and of course I had to join in.   Someone asked how many I had made…I don’t really know but a quick estimate got me to about 60 and there are now another two to add to the total.   No more for a while.  I am rather “tasseled - out” 😉

Yesterday while out walking I fell over (again!) and this time injured my chin ( a deep gash), my left wrist (a sprain it seems) my teeth (two chipped and broken) and my iPhone (now replaced).   So I am feeling a little sorry for myself and am on pureed foods only until I get to the dentist.   That will be good for the weight loss.

Back again when I have more to report.

Friday 1 April 2022

Finished….what to do next

 The small sewing set is finished - I even had a pair of small scissors to suit.   

And that is three sets complete.   

With six great-nieces in that branch of the family I am only half way!   But I am determined to use up my fine count linen and so what to do next.   Another sewing set of course!   

This one is on some 32 count blue linen from stash with DMC 932 in perle 8 and 12 ( also from stash).  Some years ago I did a course in Ukrainian Whitework with Gay Eaton and it seems fitting to be stitching that technique at present.  Her book is no doubt long out of print but it is a great resource and from it one can really teach oneself this technique.   Admittedly my eyes are complaining at the strain of diagonal round eyelets but I am enjoying this greatly.  I have started on the needlebook -  which since taking this photo is well on the way to completion.

The DBEM has been unwell with a chest infection which is not Covid as the doctor did a Rapid Antigen Test to check.   Currently she is on a course of antibiotics and seems to be improving.   We have been enjoying several audiobooks and are with Michael Palin on his Pole To Pole at present.  

And that's about all for tonight.   I've had a busy day with the DBEM's medical appointments and so will make a cup of tea and it's off to bed for me.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

A finish or two.

 A dedicated effort on my hardanger tray cloth and voila, the end.  But wouldn’t you know it!?  I’m already dreaming of what hardanger piece I shall do next!

Several commented on my last post asking for details of the hardanger stocking.  I found the chart via Pinterest and the link to this blog.  Hope that helps.   It was really simple to do.  For the back I stuck two layers of felt together and stitched the hardanger (after all the beading was complete) carefully to it before trimming even more carefully.  

As a palate refresher I stitched this little Christmas Ornament.

And then as a result of gentle but consistent nagging by the DBEM I looked through my stash of fine linen.  The DBEM seems to think I will end up with macular degeneration like her and doesn't want me to "waste that high count linen".   There are no signs of any changes in my macular yet so I consider I have time but the nagging wore me down and I have tacked out the grid to do another needlework set for one of my great nieces on 38 count Graziano linen.   This one will be in Blackwork technique.   I have five great nieces and another due in August and with only two sets complete I'd better keep moving if all the girls are to get one:-)   So far there are only tacking lines to show so no photographs.  Perhaps tomorrow when I hope to make a start on the actual stitching.

Until then.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Christmas ornaments

 The hardanger bug has bitten again and I’m now absorbed in the tray cloth.   But before I got back to that I did finish off some more Christmas ornaments.

O Little Town of Bethlehem was from the JCS Christmas edition of  2021 and I’m pleased with how it turned out.  

The tree was Pinterest inspired but I did make a mistake and it is not as tall as the original showed.   Just as well because the linen scrap wouldn’t have allowed for more branches.   I want to try another with the correct height and have ordered some more beads for that.

The hardanger stocking was a joy to stitch and this one will definitely be staying on my tree.

Now I am back to the tray cloth and obsessed with it I must say.   So far so good and the rhythmical stitching is soothing as I have been rather unsettled lately.

Besides the stitching I have been busy in the garden removing a couple more rose bushes and bucket loads of ancient old bark from the corner of the back yard.   Then after spraying to ensure no weeds survived I laid around 30 square metres of black weedmat and have organised for fresh bark to be delivered on Tuesday.   My cousin obligingly lent me a shovel and I will use my wheelbarrow to cart the bark from delivery point to the back garden.   Once these Herculean labours are over that will be one less part of the estate that needs regular weeding/maintenance.  In late Autumn I plan to plant two dwarf fruit trees in super large pots in this area and to have smaller planters of herbs and flowers around the outer curve.  Pictures to follow when it looks less of a mess.

Meanwhile I’m off to keep the DBEM company with her audiobook - a biography of Barbara Bush.