Saturday, 30 July 2011

A day out in the countryside

Today the HDHBEM and I drove 85km south to the city of Hamilton to visit Sarah.   She is my very favourite picture framer and today I entrusted her with The Historic Countries Sampler.   Her initial "wow" of reaction was gratifying and she helped me choose a suitable frame.   Despite taking my camera I completely forgot to take photos of the process so I'm sorry but you will need to wait for the finished product.

However on the way home I took a few shots of the Waikato region agricultural countryside.   This area, of which Hamilton is the main centre, is renowned for its dairy production and there are cows everywhere you look.

Even on top of the local veterinary surgery!

Further along the road a disused dairy factory previously producing butter has changed direction and now produces sweets.   The outside is painted attractively with a gaping mouth of pristine white teeth for the entrance.

Inside, these giant lollipops and chocolate confections ensure the dentists of the district will have plenty of work for years to come!

And further along the road is the small town of Huntly - famous because it is where I grew up!   Well, that is technically not correct -  it is famous as the home of this coal and natural gas fired power station.
The Waikato River is NZ's longest river and although wide and deep, moves only slowly as despite its 425 kilometre journey from mountains to sea it drops only 2700 metres in  height.  The power station has strict controls on the temperature of the water it discharges back into the river in order to ensure the river does not grow too hot for the fish and eels that live in it.
Here's a better view when the sun broke through.

Tonight I have a Cinnamon Fruit Loaf to bake before I add the words "Five Golden Rings" to the fifth of these Christmas Ornaments.  

These are done over one thread of 28 count Cashel Linen in the charted DMC threads.   Charts are from The Marking Sampler -  I am amazed at the number of charted errors in these.   Considering the price for the charts it seems rather poor to have so many mistakes -  were they not checked properly before printing?   However nothing that cannot be corrected with some reverse stitching and a great deal of muttering under the breath!   I intend to make these ornaments into a matching set as a gift for one of my nieces.  
Well that's all for me.   Have a great evening everyone.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A finish to start the week

While watching my favourite TV show, Lewis , last night I finished this Advent Calendar.   It was a pre-printed fabric so I only needed to sew it all together but it has turned out well and with chocolates and small gifts in the pockets will be a lovely countdown to the great day.    Christmas is not too far away either is it?!

Also a shot of my hardanger bookmark.   This turned out not bad for a first attempt -  the filling stitch didn't quite look like the pattern so I will try again and tighten my tension a little more.  

And tomorrow is thse start of another working week.   Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A visit to Ribbon Rose

Since Thursday I have had a horrible head cold and had the weather been as the forecast promised I may have remained curled up under the blankets.  But it was a beautiful sunny warm day so I wrapped up and went to see Stephen at The Ribbon Rose.   Last month I won the door raffle at Embroiderer's Guild so had a $25 voucher from that and also a 10% discount voucher so list in hand off I went.  And the result??

Well first up a picture of all the items - oops I see that the new packet of needles and the two hanks of DMC 310 got left out!

Some of the Ultra suede will become the backing of the Christmas ornaments I am currently stitching.   This is hard to get here so I took what the shop had while they had it.
And next - this is what the Navy Coton A Broder and Lugana fabric are for

Yes-  another needle book.   But I love Kogin (Japanese Darning) and as I live in the Antipodes -  well. how could I resist?

And the pink Cashel linen and matching DMC perle are for this Pulled Thread piece which will become a cushion for a gift to a friend.

This week I completed the little Winter Bell - I had thought it would look very like this Pink Tassell I made many many years ago.  

The Pink Tassell has been stitched many times in many colour combinations (Blue, Green, Cream, Peach etc etc) and been given away as gifts.  I was rather disappointed with the finishing technique for the Winter Bell -I think having four "leaves" and them not being separate makes for a messier look inside.   But it was interesting to stitch.   I had a brass bell which seemed to finish it off nicely so here we are -  A Winter Bell!
I also finished a small hardanger bookmark but no photos of that I'm sorry.   Tonight I plan on sitting in front of the TV and making a start on quilting yet another Advent Calendar.   Christmas is only 5 months away and I hope to be prepared well in advance.
Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A finish and a new start

Today has been bright and sunny and relatively warm at a mere 15 degrees celsius!  The HDHBEM and I went out for a drive past the Royal New Zealand Naval Base and enjoyed both the sunny weather and the beautiful views of Rangitoto Island.   The view in this snapshot is actually taken from Mt Eden, near my home and the naval base is on the small peninsula in the mid-left of the shot.

This extinct volcano in the Auckland Harbour is quite an icon for us and on one memorable day a few years ago I climbed to the top!   While I'm not prepared to put that photo onto the internet, here's one taken at the volcanic caves just below the summit.

But now the sun has gone down, the curtains are drawn, the chores are all done and it is time for dinner in front of the TV news and a night of stitching.

I managed a small ornament finish - only to find that I had no extremely narrow red ribbon so had to improvise. White ribbon, silver pins and shiny red beads.   I can't make the computer rotate this photo tonight so here's the sideways shot!

It was Embroiderers Guild last Saturday and I made a start on a hardanger "hanging bell" which is proving fun to stitch. The main grid is now laid down and I need to do the back stitch and the beading before attempting the construction.

I decided to use only what I had in my stash so this is 28 count Cashel linen in a pale apricot shade with DMC perle number 8 and number 12 in shade 950.  My stash cupboard has some glittery icicle coloured beads so that will  create the glitter.
Have a look at this website and see if you'd like to make a "Winters Tale" too.

So that's it from me today.   Have a good evening everyone

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A couple of finishes

Hello everyone, how was your week.   It has been wet and cold here - last night was thunderstorms, lightning and hail storms.   Yes, it is mid-winter here and only the skifields are rejoicing!

I have been indoors enjoying some small stitching projects.
First up the start of christmas ornaments for gifts.
These are from the series 12 Days of Christmas by The Marking Sampler and I am stitching in one strand of floss over one thread of 28 count Cashel Linen using the DMC as charted.   I intend to finish these all as small flat hanging ornaments with the same backing fabric and ribbon trim.

Second are these small baby bootees for a friend who after some years of trying and a disappointing miscarriage the year before last is finally pregnant with her first baby.

Third is this Dutch Sampler Needlebook taken from an old copy of the Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly magazine.    This was an easy stitch over two threads of 28 count Cashel linen but the construction was, well shall we just say that the instructions left a little to be desired and so I eventually followed my instinct rather than the printed word.
So here's some photos of front, back and inside as presented by my old friend, Floral Bear.

So after some months of a major project it is great to be back on smalls again.   However, I have ordered the fabric and threads for my next major project -  The Heirloom Nativity Sampler from Victoria Sampler.   This has plenty of colour and lots of specialty stitches so I am hoping it will catch my interest and keep me occupied and amused for the duration.

I wanted this to be one I didn't have to pay for framing so plan on stitching this as a wall hanging - which should be quite satisfactory given that it will be on display only once a year.  The intention is to have this finished for Christmas 2012 -  but perhaps I will surprise myself!

Hope you all have a good week everyone.  It promises to be a busy one for me.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Happy Dance

O happy day, but also slightly sad -  opus magnum perfectus!   My masterpiece is complete. This has been a true pleasure to stitch and so although I have done the

and not once either -  twice!!

I am truly sorry in many ways that this journey is over.

Dare I say it, the section that commemorates my closest neighbours, Australia,  is the portion I dislike most -  that trite verse and that cat and the black swan!   Somehow they don't seem to fit with the 'Historic' part of the name but as I have said before each single portion of this amazing sampler blends to form a whole, both in colour and design.   The lines of specialty stitches on this portion took me back to my childhood days of learning stitching with wool on a freshly washed hessian sugar sack!   Oops does that show my age a little?

Anyway from start to finish this has been one of my most lovely and memorable stitching journeys and I worry that I will not find again, another such masterpiece to tempt me and my needle.   22.06.11 would have been more satisfying but was impossible to manage and in a fit of pique I decided to omit the zero in front of the six and so emphasize to myself for evermore that try as I might I couldn't get this finished early enough to have a truly symmetrical start and finish date.   With slight deviations for a few other necessary projects such as The Memory Book, the road to completion took just over six months.   Not once did I lose interest; only once did I complain about one of the stitches (that dreaded faggot stitch!!).  

And finally here is the HDHBEM holding up my lovely and beloved Historic Countries Sampler.

Have a great weekend everyone.   I will be back next week to tell you what my needle has chosen for the next project.