Sunday, 26 February 2012

A visit to Kelly and a stitching update

This afternoon I went to visit Kelly.   She's now three months old, full of smiles and gurgles of happiness.   At the point where she became 'smelly' I handed her back to her father!

Les Petite Japnaises is coming along.   I have finished the stitching for the pin holder and biscornu as well as the base of the netsuke scissor holder.

The netsuke scissor holder has the 'head' separate from the 'body'.   I foresee a degree of adventure in the construction phase!  

Currently I am working on the head -  but oh the amount of DMC 310 in that black hair of which I have only a partial outline done at present.   Still the end is in sight and I admit I am thoroughly enjoying this piece.  It is simple but effective and I hope I can do due justice to the construction.
Today we have had a sunny day - not too warm, but sunny.   Our summer has not been highly successful this year and already there is a touch of autumn in the air.   The mornings are darker and we have a month until daylight saving ends and that will officially signal the end summer.   Oh dear oh dear.  

Monday, 20 February 2012

All the way from Japan

Look what the mailman brought to my door this morning.

Sonoko, from Kagoshima in southern Japan saw this in a store and kindly sent it as a "cheer up and get well" gift for the HDHBEM.  From what she tells me this came from a cute little "French style" patisserie near her home and the little basket is decorated especially for the Girls' Day Festival on 3rd March.   Naturally we two 'girls' in this house were delighted and have already enjoyed one each -  a delicious cookie for me and a madeline for the HDHBEM.  
Picture from the internet

Traditionally homes display complicated platforms covered in red carpet on which they place a multitude of dolls which depict the Emperor, Empress and attendants dressed in clothing from the Heian Period (around 800-1200AD).   These are displayed from around mid-February but must be taken down no later than 4 March as superstition says that leaving the dolls on display beyond this time may result in the daughters of the house not marrying!!   You can imagine the cost of such displays and the space required so most modern families probably don't have anything so elaborate.

Picture from the internet
But most cake, cookie and sweet shops in Japan will have all types of suitable celebratory goods in store right now.  Strawberry decorated cream sponge cakes, cookies in cute containers etc   The stores are certainly worth a visit this time of year.    Thank you Sonoko for reminding me of  the celebration of Girls Day.   Your "cheer up" gift worked well -  we are both smiling!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

It's a positive symphony!

After a dramatic thunderstorm with accompanying lightning and heavy rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday have been bright sunny and hot.   So hot in fact that zillions of cicadas are now singing their non-melodious symphonies.   Life is noisy in my normally quiet household.
Not only has the weather been dramatic.   The HDHBEM had a dramatic reaction to her antibiotic medication and after a visit to her GP was told that the hospital had prescribed 1500mg daily when it should have been a 500mg daily dose.   Now she is on medication to cure the side effects of the other medication - a veritable cocktail of drugs -  and she has another antibiotic to add to her list of "prohibited items".    Her residual infection from the pneumonia is not yet clear either and as the experts say 'we are monitoring the situation'.   So the HDHBEM has been confined to quarters.
But amidst the noise and drama I have had a busy weekend.   It was Embroiderer's Guild on Saturday and a great chance to catch up with others and see what they have all produced over the summer break.  As usual I forgot to take my camera so there are no snapshots of that - I promise to do better next time.
I have cooked a banana and walnut loaf, caramel pistachio slice (this should have been caramel peanut slice but there were no peanuts in the pantry) and a fish pie.   The various weekend chores all got done.   The HDHBEM was allowed out on Saturday when I took her for a drive along the waterfront and around various city parks.
Last night we both stayed up to watch Midsomer Murders and the HDHBEM made excellent progress on her knitting while I managed to get enough done to make a photo worthwhile.   This Japanese etui is fun to stitch.  Currently I am doing the little ladies on the biscornu.   That needle is a John James tapestry #28 which gives you some idea of size.

According to the chart they are not filled in but I have toning shades of overdyed floss so am thinking of giving their kimono a more solid look in tent stitch over one.    

The front of the fan shaped pin keep is all stitched.   I am delighted with that and look forward to the construction day.   First I need to finish the biscornu and then there is a scissor keeper in the style of a netsuke.  Hopefully I will get to that this week.
This is all stitched on 30 count linen with DMC threads as charted by "Les Petites Japonaises" by Dessins DHC which I purchased through The Silver Needle.   Having lived in Japan for a number of years I am enjoying this greatly but being originally a French design there is a lot that is lost in translation and I don't rank this chart very highly on my scale of "good charts".  
Barb wrote to say that the Blogaversary gift had arrived and that she had enjoyed the chocolate and had made the Angel so here's a shot of what I sent.

Linen and matching thread - by a New Zealander textile artist, a beaded Angel, a souvenir teaspoon of Auckland and some New Zealand chocolate.   Thanks for letting me know you received this safely Barb.
Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A little stitching update

Good afternoon to you all.   It is a wet day here but very humid.
Last night I completed the back of this fan pinkeep.   There are a biscornu, scissor keep and pin holder in the set and I intend to make a drawstring bag to hold them all.    The whole thing is stitched on 30 count antique white linen with DMC threads  -  sorry for the dull photos: it's a dull day here!

Which of the two Japanese decorations do you think would look best at the base of the fan?   I can't decide.
The front of this fan has a stylised cherry blossom pattern which should be fun to stitch.   I can't remember the name of the designer at the moment but I know I bought it from The Silver Needle.
Have a good day everyone.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A sunny and hot weekend

Whew, I am pleased that this week is over.   Today started off with a fine drizzle of rain but has cleared to a beautiful hot sunny day.  
Yesterday the HDHBEM was discharged from hospital but while it is good to have her home she hasn't strength or energy to do much more than move from bed to chair.   This morning I washed and set her hair in curlers for her and even if I say so myself, I did a reasonably creditable job!   However I have no wish to become a hairdresser and when she says "Thank you dear.   It feels much cleaner" I feel damned with faint praise. Ha ha.
Then this morning I had to take a pair of shoes to be repaired so called in at the LNS and at the Library.
Here's a picture of the stash from each.   Can you tell which came from where??

The new embroidery hoop was a necessity as my current one is starting to delaminate - proof of overuse perhaps.   The hardanger runner was made by the HDHBEM around 25 years ago -  I love it and have it in constant use.
And the books are to add to the stalacmite of reading material beside my bed.  "Friendship Bread" seems to have a recipe for a 'bread bug' at the core of the plot.   I wonder about those bugs and am mindful that this book is fictional but it wouldn't be very expensive to try it out.   Some years ago I did have a 'yogurt bug' which worked well.   Perhaps this is something similar.
I am currently stitching on Victoria Sampler's Heirloom Nativity Sampler and truth be told I am not enjoying it very much.   When I get the words and the next two bands done this piece will go into respite care for a time and I will try something else.   As it isn't needed until Christmas I can please myself a little can't I?  Here's a wrinkly snapshot of the top.   A gold star charm goes into the middle of the top and pearl beads go above each white heart -  at the end when I will do all the beading in one fell swoop.

Have a great evening everyone.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What did I do to deserve this????

Good evening all.   Thank you so much for your good wishes to the HDHBEM.   She is doing well and in her own words "the lovely Indian gentleman doctor insists I stay here until he is happy" so she certainly won't be home for a while.   Pneumonia is best controlled in hospital so I am happy to concur with the lovely Indian gentleman doctor :-)

Now you won't believe what happened to me today?   I went to work early so I could leave early to visit the HDHBEM.   But at around 8:30am the general manager came and asked me to take a colleague to the Emergency Department.   I could hardly believe my ears.   Hadn't I just spent a major portion of my long weekend in precisely that place?   But orders are orders so off I went.   At 10:30 the ED doctor sent us off to another hospital for a hand specialist to review and comment.   A loooong wait and finally at 2pm we met a nurse who said the doctor would be along soon.   At 3pm the doctor came and we both got back to the office at just after 4:30pm; my colleague in a cast and me barely holding on to the remnants of a good mood.   No lunch, no morning tea no afternoon tea and no sense of humour left!  I hereby go on record that I do not care if I never see the inside of a hospital emergency department ever again.   Whatever did I do in a previous existence to deserve this????   What a day.    Of course I went up to visit the HDHBEM after work and told her the story..... and you know what?   She laughed!

Naturally there are no stitching photos but I have a snapshot of the small cardigan the HDHBEM knitted for baby Kelly.   I hope to see her again this weekend and deliver this.   Don't you love the buttons -  they are a perfect match.

Have a great night everyone.

Monday, 6 February 2012

How not to spend a day off work!

Today is a public holiday in New Zealand and I had a long list of 'chores and of pleasurable activities'.   However last night we made yet another visit to the Emergency Department and the HDHBEM is tucked up in bed on Ward 65  and I still have my long list of 'chores and pleasurable activities' as well as a slight giddiness due to fatigue.   Before hospital visiting hours start this afternoon I am determined to cross items of that list so....
The car is washed
The runner beans have been taken out of the garden and consigned to the organic refuse bag
The laundry is done and pegged on the clothes line
The GARDEN BALL is completed
The cardigan for Kelly has its buttons sewn on (photo of that one later)

Oh yippee.   All the chores are done.   I can cope with a list of pleasurable activities!

Now for a report.   The Twisted Oaks Designs "A Patchwork Garden Pincushion Ball" was a joy to stitch.   I love the mathematical twist to the construction, the chart instructions were excellent, the floss was a joy to stitch with and it turned out pretty well.   This chart is highly recommended.   Sometime designers have wonderful ideas but their instructions lack a certain something.   Not this one - it's wonderful.  Here's a couple of not so good photographs.

 And following my "promise to self" that each finish means I must tidy up the unfinished smalls -  I am stitching up a tiny lavender bag.   Only three of these unfinished smalls to go, so that has been a satisfactory lesson in self discipline.
My niece and her partner have just returned to New Zealand after three years in the UK.   They travelled home via India and during their three weeks there, Heidi came across these lovely lace motifs which she kindly brought back to her Aunty.   I'm looking for inspiration as to how to use the elephants as I already have an idea for the flowers.   Any suggestions?
And this is one of the beautiful white lilies that I have flowering at present.   Its scent and beauty are a real cheer at present.
Hope your day is going better than mine. 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The postman has been busy this week!

Good evening to you all.
This week the postman has been busy.
First he brought me a package all the way from Japan.   I won a giveaway on Tussie Mussie and Sanae sent me some wonderful charts, beautiful silk threads and Japanese needles (made by a firm that is 300 years old!)   Do go visit her blog -  she currently has a snapshot of some wonderfully unique Bird Apartments!

Next the postman brought me a box from Shiela (no blog).   One of her stitching group ladies donated a lot of linen and kind Shiela thought to send some to me.   Some of the colours are not readily available in New Zealand and I feel really blessed to receive this wonderful supply. 
In my mind these pieces are already turning into, needle cases, hussifs, samplers, hardanger etc etc etc Wouldn't it be nice if every weekend we had extra long days, extra supplies of energy and the optimum conditions for stitching! I think I would love that.

Today I went out for a walk twice!   Once around Cornwall Park where I wished I had my camera with me.   If the weather holds fine we will go back on Monday and I will take some snap shots.    Then late afternoon I went for a walk up and around my local volcano, Mt Eden.   So thoroughly exercised, well fed and watered I am settling in for a night of stitching and TV.  I have been continuing on my Garden Ball -  I am doing this exactly as the kit and each of the pieces is a different colour of 28 count linen.   This is a dreadful photograph but shows the progress made.

Only one colour linen to go and then I should be able to construct the ball itself.   Hopefully this will be a finish by the end of this long weekend -  yes!!!  Monday is another public holiday.   Does anyone else plan out what they are going to do next, even before they have finished the current project?   I do.   I have a list of projects that I want to do in 2012 (an ever growing list I should say) and I have already chosen that the next project will be The Victoria Sampler Heirloom Nativity Sampler.   This is already kitted up and ready to go so of course I am getting impatient.   Today when we went out shopping I didn't go anywhere near the needlework shop -  too tempting by far.   There are enough projects and supplies in my cupboard to last me into next century (well almost) so I don't need to go out adding to the stash.   How long will this self-control last I wonder?
Well, that's all to report for today.