Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Holidays are most productive!

Over the past few days I have been busy cooking, cleaning, preparing for visitors, knitting and stitching.
Today my friend Kazumi comes to visit me from Japan.   She will stay a week and we will be out and about.
In between a major Spring Clean (in her honour) I managed to finish the knitting (yes, it fits well and I promise a photo later).   I also signed up for the 2013 Christmas Ornament SAL here so have made a start already on the stitching for those.   I am determined that everything for this SAL shall be from stash and so far so good.
First up is a mitten (an unknown freebie) stitched in my favourite DMC 115
Then a small Quaker Christmas from an ancient copy of the JCS Christmas Ornament  issue -  again DMC115
Now I am working on the hardanger top for a mini Christmas Stocking.   If this one is successful the HD3QBEM wants me to make a pair for one of the grandchildren for next Christmas!
There is still quite a way to go on this one.  I did make a start on the dreaded picots last night -  Picots and I will probably never be friends but we are slowly getting better acquainted.
And I finished the waxer that Amy sent me for my birthday. 
This was a small packet from Fine-ally Finished and I was unsure how to make it up so dithered for a couple of months before making an attempt at what I thought seemed sensible.   It appears to have worked and so the waxer is now at home in my sewing tool box.
I may not be at the computer for a few days so will take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Happy New Year.

Monday, 24 December 2012

And a Merry Christmas to you all

It is Christmas Eve in New Zealand and so from me to you
Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Preparations

Today has been busy with Christmas preparation, but there are still a lot of items on the list.
Oh dear.
Presents not yet wrapped -  our tree is still looking a little lonely.
The HD3QEM says she has wrapped hers but hasn't put them under the tree to stop me peeking!  Really, what an insult.   I gave up peeking years ago :-)
But my reading preparation is complete.   I have sufficient to last the holidays and beyond.
The knitting is basically complete -  I will do the two tie bands tonight while watching Antiques Roadshow.  So this afternoon I stitched up the Christmas Sampler. This chart is a freebie from Samplers and Santas blog here.  
Somehow it is difficult to get a realistic pear shape and I decided this one looks like a Buerre Bosc while the Sampler Pear looked more like a Danjou.   What do you think?   Would you know they are pears if you hadn't been told?
It has been another fine hot day here during which we are promised a tropical storm as the left overs of Cyclone Evan draw closer.   That's a little hard to believe at the moment but the garden certainly needs rain.
Have a good evening everyone.

Friday, 21 December 2012

A visit from Mary Christmas

Today was the last day of work for 2012 and my what a busy day it was.   We started with a breakfast and a visit from Santa -  actually Santa was busy elsewhere so Mary Merry Christmas joined us.
Obviously he/she ran out of reindeers as I received these antlers which lit up and played Christmas music.  
We all sat down to breakfast in the warehouse
and the receiving and opening of gifts.  I got a "Little Miss Sunshine" coffee mug.   By the end of the day "Little Miss grumpy" may have been more appropriate!
And I didn't get my days work finished before the boss locked the door so my desk is piled high with papers and long list of what needs to be done when I return on January 7.
Tonight I plan to finish the knitted summer sweater. I am itching to start a stitching project but must get the WIPs out of the way first.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tired needles and tired eyes

My "needles without eyes" have been in overdrive this week as the end is in sight on the "Twenties Chic" top.   I am pleased with the way this has turned out and even more delighted that my poor shoulders which generally creak and groan and demand attention with any repetitive action, have survived this marathon well.  That final surgery four years ago has certainly made knitting more pleasurable.  The handsome surgeon was called Mr Wright so what else could one expect!  

In between knit purl and its various combinations, I have completed part 10 of the Confetti of Hardanger HAL.   Picots and I have reached an equable relationship but we will never be best of friends!
The first two pages of the Needlework Masters Monthly SAL for 2013 are tacked out ready to go.   First page is to be Assissi work - but I have yet to decide the colour of the thread.   Have you ever seen this great webpage with lots of free charts? 

My Hari Kuyo Needlebook is making progress too.   The "final resting place" felt pad (well, doctors flannel if we want to be absolutely precise) for the inside back cover is completed and my next decision has to be on the tape/rouleau/ribbon with which to fasten the book.
I had a piece among my Japanese bits and pieces but it seems too dull  in colour so I may have to make my own.  Here's a shot.
What do you think?  Less than inspiring? It really needs a red doesn't it? While I had wanted to complete this needlbook by the end of the year, that dream is becoming less and less of a possibility in the pre-Christmas rush.

And the tired eyes....?   It's all Ian Rankin's fault!   At the library on Saturday to pick out some large print books for the HD3QEM's holiday reading, I spied the latest Inspector Rebus on the What's Hot shelf.   Irresistible and once started, unstoppable.  Not all of my requests have come yet.  At least the email I received told me that five were ready but there's still another 14 on request. I am part way through and enjoying The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year, so I can wait a little longer.   
My library had an interesting Christmas Tree at the door.  I will not be replicating this but enjoyed the one they had put up. Here's a closer shot.
This little ornament went far across the seas and has been received safely now so I can show it.
Cute isn't it -  well for cat lovers it is.
Hope your week is going well.   We had been hoping for a sunny Christmas but it looks as if Cyclone Evan, having destroyed much of Samoa and Fiji may arrive here, downgraded to a storm but still with sufficient reserves of rain to spoil the day.   I hope not!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Today I felt that my library was not my friend!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my library was anything but a very dear friend, stuffed to the gunwales with books to satisfy my every craving.   What is more, they have a fantastic request and hold system!   So far so good.   Over the past week I have been requesting books I see recommended on other avid-readers-book-blogs.   Perhaps my requests have overloaded the system?   I have 19 on request and 8 of them have been in transit for three days.   THREE WHOLE DAYS!   Each lunch hour I have been in, but the hold shelf contains no flapping paper with my name on it in bold capitals.   Disappointed once again I exit.   However I still have 10 beside my bed, unread and each vieing with the other for my attention.
Once again I am back to my friendly needles with eyes.   The knitting is progressing well but the next episode of the Hardanger SAL needs attention.  
This lesson is Part 10 so was easily finished leaving me time to make a start on the inside back cover of  the Hari Kuyo Needlebook.
I have ummhed and aahed for so long over what to put on this page.   The designer has "Broken But Not Forgotten" which didn't resonate with me.   Much scratching of the head and then last night, while knitting, a eureka moment.   Why not go for Japanese. So here it is....
which means Honourable Hard Work.   My needles certainly get that -  both those with eyes and those without.   So they shall rest on a pad of doctors flannel embellished with this notation.   Once that is done construction can be finalised.   The next head-scratching dliemma is what to put on the ends of the cord which ties the whole book together.   I await another epihany for that.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Hari Kuyo

In October I enrolled with Susan Elliot to make  this needlebook and although all instructions arrived in November as promised, I took no action until last night.   Diverted by those needles with no eyes, I was knitting last month but feel that I have earned a side trip down "Tapestry Needle Lane" before I complete the knitting.
So, I cut out the various pieces and yesterday evening made a start.
Here's the cover I made - note I avoided the suggested ribbon embroidery in the interests of retaining my sanity!   I have tried to use all Japanese materials (except for the DMC perle which I used for the embroidery).
I stitched the small labels on each of the felt pages.
Tonight I hope to stitch the "Honourable Rest"  page for used and/or broken needles which is at the back of the book.   Perhaps if I work diligently at this I can complete the whole book this week.   I need to make the effort so that I can get back to the knitting and complete that too.
I'm off now to pick sweet peas from the garden and to give the thirsty plants a drink of water.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The end of a busy day

Today I had a long list of chores and I now feel deliciously tired and satisfied with all chores crossed off the list.
A small Christmas ornament was stitched -  I stitched over one on 32 count linen and my tired eyes complained bitterly.
Fabric (of unknown provenance) and DMC floss were from the stash cupboard and the chart was a freebie from The Sampler Girl blog - here.
Tonight while the fish was baking in the oven I finished this up into a small round hanging ornament.  
Unfortunately although hanging on my Christmas tree for the photo shoot, this ornament is going on a journey to hang on someone else's tree.   Just in time for Christmas!
On Friday amid pouring rain I managed a trip to the Library and here's a photo of the loot.
The bottom one is called Japanese Farm Food and I am really enjoying that and although you can't see from the photo, there are post it notes stuck at pages where I want to test the recipes.   Ginger Milk Pudding sounds really great and may feature on the menu Chez Moi over the next couple of weeks.
This evening however, the television wins over books.   Antiques Road Show and Midsomer Murders hold my attention and I plan on making a start on my Hari Kuyo needle book while watching those programmes.   Have a good evening everyone.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Kelly's Growth Chart - Delivered.

Today I took Kelly her "first birthday present" - the growth chart over which I laboured a few months ago.
Having been to the Zoo on the actual day of her birthday, she seemed to recognise all the animals and a smile of utter delight crept across her face as she pointed out all the animals, including the "flutterby",  
Satisfaction level on a scale of one to ten?   About twenty five, I should say.   For both Kelly and me.
Tonight I am back to the needles without eyes in an effort to finish the left front, all the while listening to this audio book.  Both the HD3QEM and I are enjoying this.   If you've ever read and enjoyed The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher, you will love this one too.   I wish Jan Minshull had written others, but apparently she now runs a hotel in The Lakes district.   I have added both the name of the hotel and the coast to coast walk to my "plan-of-things-to-do-on-the-great-adventure-to-the-UK" note book in which I keep the ever growing list.
Have a good night everyone.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sweet Peas and progress

Today I picked a large bunch of sweet peas from the vines.  These are the HD3QEM's favourite flowers and our lounge is filled with their sweet scent.
At New Year a friend is coming from Japan to stay for a week so this afternoon I planted flower plants and did a general tidy up in the garden.   Now the weather forecast is for rain and wind tomorrow.   Oh well....
I managed to complete the next step of A Confetti of Hardanger HAL.  This week was picots and I am never very confident with those.   I followed the instructions very carefully and completed the small motif, all the while telling myself that practice makes perfect!
Now, after a busy day I am ready for bed so good night all.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A snowy day in Auckland!

Today I have a "snow" photo
The street where I park to eat my lunch is lined with what we call Pepper Trees and currently they are in blossom. So much blossom and today so much wind that it was like a snow storm!
And then the dog across the road decided I was not to his liking.   Fortunately I was absorbed in my book and able to ignore him.
Tonight I started the finish-finish of a Christmas ornament. This ornament will travel to North to a new home and experience a snowy Christmas.
Now I must finish a few chores before going to bed.   Hopefully more news later in the week.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Eyes are important!

The majority of my time has been spent with those long needles otherwise known as knitting pins.   I am now halfway through the Twenties Chic Top but have severe withdrawl symptoms from lack of eyes.   In my needles of course!
Unable to restrain myself I picked up a small bookmark kit and have created leaves and a poppy, all the while continuing to keep those knitting pins happy.  Half the bookmark is done and I intend to complete this over the weekend.
The HD3QEM and I have made an itinerary for our shopping tomorrow in an effort to cross off as much as possible from the dreaded Christmas Shopping List.   As we will be travelling in the direction of my LNS we will of course stop there and I have a list of "needs" which can hopefully be fulfilled and allow me the pleasure of a final decision on what to stitch in 2013.  
At work today the boss had a major clean out of old stock and I put my hand out for these. 
Now I am hoping there will be time over the weekend for a clean out of the stash cupboard.  However I do have a list of chores to do and the stash cupboard comes under the heading of pleasure, so we shall see how time goes.
I still have a very sore throat and am waiting the results of a swab test.   'Not talking' is not really an option is it?   Reading is more pleasurable when the book is shared with others; TV is better when discussed; even audio books require a post mortem when complete.   I do a far amount of talking in a day and by 10pm at night my poor throat lets me know of the overwork.   So this could be a quiet weekend?
Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Another Wet Saturday...

Yet another wet Saturday but as usual I have been busy.
This morning I was up early to bake: two fruit loaves, 5 dozen chocolate chip biscuits, a fruit slice and a banana cake.   All turned out well and I am hoping this banana cake will all be eaten for morning tea at church tomorrow morning.
In the afternoon I went to Embroiderers Guild and forgot to take my camera.   We had a most interesting talk by a lady who makes porcelain dolls.   She hand sews and embroiderers the complicated clothes these dolls wear.   Some of the baby dolls wore knitted layettes -  the yarn was a really fine #100 crochet cotton!   I was most taken with the tiny 1 inch high hand knitted little Gollywog.
While at Guild I completed the stitching on this ornament from the 2012 JCS Ornament Issue.  Airforce Blue doesn't seem a really Christmas colour to me so I changed it out for DMC 816 which satisfies me a lot better.  I'm really pleased with this- easy to stitch and being circular it was also easy to finish.

And this afternoon I did motif number three of the Confetti of Hardanger HAL so am up to date with that one too. Another six motifs to come and then the lacy edging.   I am enjoying this.
Tonight we will watch the Antiques Road Show (no talking allowed which will be good for my sore throat) and I plan on starting another Christmas Ornament.
After a few days of knitting I have decided that, yes, I do prefer needles with eyes.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Knitting not stitching

For someone who prefers to have only one project in action at any one time, I have certainly strayed.  
The blackwork etui idea didn't really work out so I finished that piece as a mattress pin cushion.   No particular purpose or destination in mind, I just wanted a finish.

I unpicked the blue cotton top I had knitted up last summer as I intend to undo it, wash the yarn and re knit it two sizes smaller and then it should fit.  (One of the dangers of weight loss!)

I started this summer top and so far so good.   It is knitted all in one piece  so I am following the instructions very carefully and praying all the while that everything will work out.

Everything else that is just started, almost finished or only half done has been put in a big box until my enthusiasm returns.   I still have bad earache, a totally blocked right ear and a sore lumpy throat but my doctor says that sometimes these residual symptoms can take a while to dissipate and  to come back and see her after FOUR weeks if I don't feel better!!
But it is Embroiderers Guild on Saturday and so tonight I will kit up a small Christmas Ornament from this years JCS Ornament edition.  Photos later I promise.
I'm off to do the dinner dishes and then watch Downton Abbey.  

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Enough is enough, I told myself.   You must be feeling better now.    
So, I drove off to the Zealong Tea Estate with my friend Tomoko.   Who would have thought that camelias could turn into delicious tea?   A Taiwanese man, certain that the climate was suitable to grow camelias and the particular breed that turns into Oolong tea formed this tea estate in 2009.  
The entry way was lined with these huge bronze teapots and tea cups.  Each different but huge -  here's a perspective shot!
Once at the Camelia Tea House we ordered our tea.   A choice of pure, aromatic, dark and black.   Our obliging waitress, Grace told us that we could get 8 infusions from each spoonful and she was correct.  A small hibachi beside the table kept us supplied with hotwater and we certainly infused 8 cups of tea each from our pure (on the left) and dark(on the right).   We decided that pure tasted like Japanese Green Tea and that dark tasted like Japanese Hojicha.
Perhaps I was distracted by the beauty of the surroundings though and lost count?
Tomoko and I opted for Classic High Tea - and I expected cucumber sandwiches, scones and petit fours.   This is what came out
Tortilla wraps, filo baskets, toasted tortilla crisps with pesto dip, freshly baked scone with vanilla bean mascarpone, house-made raspberry preserve, and two almond tarts.
Well replete,  Tomoko and I soaked up the scenery and sun before driving home to Auckland.  
And yes, I am feeling better now although am still half deaf, croaky in voice and tired of being confined to home, books and DVDs.
Somehow I don't really feel like any stitching tonight so will curl up on the sofa to watch Antiques Roadshow and Silent Witness.   Perhaps my enthusiasm for stitching will return if I force a break?
Have a good evening everyone.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Today I have been off work after a night with terrible earache, cough fever and general malaise.   This morning the doctor told me that I am unbalanced because of a middle ear infection!  

So I have been lying on the sofa, drinking plenty of hot drinks and reading books -  I finished

and am now part way through  
Both are completely different styles of books but have kept me entranced for the day.
I have made a new start too -  a self designed blackwork "etui".  
Some time ago my boss gave me this cute little tin which I can just see with an inset pincushion and a tiny pair of gold scissors.  
The fabric is Graziano Nuvo Ricamo 38 Count and I am stitching in DMC 310.   Later I will add some gold to spice it up.   Hopefully I can transfer my ideas into reality.  
The HD3QEM has cooked dinner so I'm off to enjoy that.  Have a good evening everyone.