Thursday, 29 March 2012


The stitching is now completed and I know why I don't 'design' -  when the artistic genes were handed out I missed my turn and so became destined to be a good follower of instructions and a poor creator thereof!
However, for better for worse the stitching is now done.   But I am stuck.   In all my stash of cotton fabrics there is none that is suitable as the backing for this.   I need to buttonhole separately around both the front piece and the back piece thus attaching a backing to each and then buttonhole the buttonhole stitch to attach the two pieces together.   Got that??   So I am stuck -  like Piglet in the hole.  I cannot go forward and I cannot go back.   I wait, stuck until I can get to the store and hopefully find a suitable fabric.

In despair I looked in my "to complete this year" box which sits on the shelf of the coffee table.  
No,  I don't want to do another animal on the Growth Chart. 
No, I don't want to do another bookmark.  
No, I don't want to start another project. 
Okay, the Heirloom Nativity Sampler it is.   And I fished that out and then decided that I wasn't even going to do that this evening.   I am too tired.   A busy day at work and then a highly demanding session with the trainer at the gym means I am tired and I want a rest.   So it's off to bath and bed.  Goodnight everybody.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Weekend Catch up

This weekend has been delightfully satisfying. 
I woke early on Saturday so got up to do my weekly baking -  a spicy fruit loaf for the HDHBEM's lunches and some ginger crunch for her morning and afternoon teatime snacks.
Then we went on a road trip to Hamilton (one and a half hour drive south) to visit the HDHBEM's favourite dress shop.   Her haul was a jacket, a pair of trousers and a sweater.   Winter weight clothing so it's too warm for the necessary photo.   I promise one later.
After a picnic lunch of sushi at the lovely park beside the might Waikato River, we drove on the Hamilton's only large shopping mall and I succumbed to temptation in a dress shop there.   Two funky tops to wear to work and again I promise a photo later when I can find someone to oblige.  The HDHBEM says her hands are too shaky to take photos now!
Last night I completed the tassell on my bookmark.   I love this and will make another and they will depart on journeys to fellow book enthusiasts in time for Christmas.   Meanwhile I will enjoy looking at them.   Who knows I may make two more and keep one myself.
And then a new start for me... well this too will probably be a gift for an unsuspecting "friend".   Do you remember back in February, Shiela sent me a package containing lots of wonderful lengths of linen fabric?
I put a picture here.  Last night I started this,
 with the pretty pink 32 count linen that Shiela sent.  This hussif design is from Gay Eaton's Wessex Stitchery book pictured at right and here in New Zealand is known as a Mary Stewart Hussif.   An oblong shaped drawstring bag with a tiny needlebook in the base, this is a design I have always wanted to stitch and Shiela's linen has been 'scratching that itch' since February. 
Somehow the pink linen didn't seem to suit Wessex Stitchery so from my stash I 'stole' a border from the Strawberry Season Sampler.   However in the true spirit of Wessex Stitchery I will put a quotation on the reverse.   That seems a happy compromise -  linen somehow seems to call strawberry to me not daisies or poppies.
My TV last night was Midsomer Murders - such fun to see Barnaby and Scott arrive at the solution after there have been three or four murders.   It's a wonder there is anybody left alive in Midsomer!   Next week a series of Miss Marple begins and I expect to fall in live with Agatha Christie all over again.   Whodunnits are great stitching companions.
And the final achievement for the weekend was starting another book.   The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens.  Somehow I fear this may not be to the taste of a lot of folks but for me it brings back happy memories of reading The Shell Seekers (Rosamund Pilcher) some years ago.   Poor Louise is suddenly widowed and equally suddenly, finds that her husband Dudley has, through foolish speculations, left her impoverished.  She is condemned therefore, to shuffling between her three, more or less unwilling, daughters on perpetually uneasy visits.   Published first in 1955 ( and recently reissued by Persephone), The Winds of Heaven is perhaps slightly more sentimental than we would expect from a more modern book but Monica Dickens has an endearingly astute way of describing family relationships.   I haven't yet finished reading this but have already enthusiastically recommended it to several people.   Your local library will probably have a copy - do read it and enjoy it too.
Hoping that you have all had an equally enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mid week progress report

The growth chart for Kelly's birthday (in November) has grown.  So many of these kits are the same, un-numbered DMC thread and Aida cloth!   But in the interests of having accurate measurements - it is a height chart after all -  I am persisting although not yet with a great deal of enjoyment.   Certainly my face doesn't have a grin like this elephant.

This year I decided that each time I completed a finish for myself I could finish-finish some of the small "bits" I have stitched up and they can go on the sale of work table at the Embroiderers Guild exhibition in September.  Here is the collection so far.  A small lavender bag, a bookmark, three small hanging ornaments and a "fishy" needlebook.
The heart ornament was the first time I had tried a ruched edge -  and the verdict is time consuming but effective.
Tomorrow is the last day of a frantically busy working week.   But not so busy that I didn't manage to read a book (or two or three) including this one.  
This novel starts in 2003 when a group of jurors must decide the winner of a competition to design a memorial to be built on the site of the World Trade centre.   Naturally the entries are anonymous and when the selection is revealed.... the architect is one Mohammed Khan.   Mo, as he is known, is born in Virginia and brought up a wholly secular American but the fact that his ethnic heritage is muslim causes immense waves of discussion, diasgreement, prejudice, argument and conflict.   I will tell you no more, as you should read this book for yourself.   The final section of the book takes place 20 years after the events of the opening chapter and  Amy Waldman's crystal gazing, while not entirely plausible is certainly desirable.   If you can get hold of a copy do read it.   Today the HDHEM started the book so I am predicting a couple of days of silence as she loses herself in this very readable book and I look forward to a lively discussion afterwards.
Well that's enough of book reviews.   Hope you all have a great evening

Sunday, 18 March 2012


Last night while watching Inspector Barnaby of Causton CID I completed the stitching on this bookmark.
It was on Riona's blog here that I first saw this and she kindly gave permission for anyone to stitch from her photograph.   So a scrap of linen and odds and ends of floss and here we are!    Now I need to decide how to finish this - there is enough linen at the top to fold down and make the back.   Then  nice cord and tassel, but will that need to go top or bottom???

Thank you very much Riona - I really enjoyed this and will be making others I am sure.   Deciding on the colours of the spines and the thickness of the books was fun.
Tonight I will look through my box and choose the next project.   Perhaps the next "block" on the Heirloom Nativity Sampler?   Or the next animal on Kelly's Growth Chart?   But I am itching to do some hardanger too.... so many choices.
Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy dance at my house today!

Last night I sat and stitched and glued (and watched Doc Martin) and completed two projects.   So it is the Happy Dance today at my place.
First up the Japanese Etui - a biscornu, a scissor keeper and a pinkeep.  All cute but on my "never-to-be-repeated" list as the instructions and chart are terrible.   I do like the little pins for the pinkeep though.  The little Japanese ladies dancing along the edge of the fan are really cute.

The bead slides up and the head rises to free the scissors from the body of the scissor keep.   Not immensely practical but they are to live in my curio cupboard so practicality isn't essential.

The front
And the back...

And the pinkeep...

See what I mean about the chart  -  don't you think that if you had designed it you'd have made it fit the fan shape better???   I'm not happy but I'm not repeating either.

Next up is the Stitching Toblerone -  I found this one on the internet a long time ago and it was to be my project for stitching at Embroiderers Guild meetings this year.   But it is already finished and has been on a visit to the Guild "new work" table so now I need to choose another project.  Tonight I will go through the box into which I put all my "want to do in 2012" pieces and choose the next project.
This toblerone was a fun stitch and easy to construct.   Despite the instructions being in French, the photographs were excellent and I am really pleased with the finished result.  
Inside I used fabric from my stash and was pleased it coordinated so well.  I stitched with my favourite DMC 115 and even found some red handled scissors to match.   The cord to hold the scissors is fastened with a small press stud and the button holding the flannel piece is a red bobbin shape.   Wasn't that a grand coincidence!

The front had the word Amitie and I changed that for what you see here.   I made a finger knotted cord for the ties and pilfered the gold end beads from a small bag in my drawer.

You can see why this was called a Stitchers Toblerone!   The back has lots of hearts - I think because originally this was a SAL with the theme of friendship.

Well that's all my report for today.   Hope you are having a great day and that your weekend weather is better than mine.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Good afternoon,
How do you measure time?   Is it by the stitches crossed?  This morning while the HDHBEM had a skin cancer removed from her neck, I stitched this.   Others in the surgeons waiting room seemed distinctly amused but I was pleased with progress.  As usual this is my favourite DMC 115 and the linen is a scrap of 36 count cream Edinburgh linen.
The HDHBEM is resting up comfortably and soon I will make a tasty chicken dinner for her.   Then I can do the final two rows on this Christmas mitten and call it complete!

Les Petites Japonaises Etui is over one third done.   I have finished the biscornu and tonight hope to stitch together the pieces of the scissor keep.   Maybe by the weekend I will get the pinkeep done too.  I would certainly not recommend this chart -  the photo looks cute but the instructions and chart are poor and very difficult to follow so I am not at all satisfied with the result -  especially with the scissor keep.   Hopefully the photograph can be at favourable angle!

 Yesterday the Mazda car company sent me a magazine in which I found this article.   Can you imagine an organza so fine that one square metre weighs only 5 grams?   Amazing isn't it.   Probably not much use for embroidery but still amazing.
This afternoon I had a chest xray and then I made a quick stop at the dress shop to get some new jeans.   Over the last four months I have dropped three dress sizes so it was time for some new clothing.  The Chinese tailor in the local mall has altered my work clothes once and then twice so I decided that was uneconomic and this time bought new.   Hopefully the weight loss will stop soon as this is getting expensive!
Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

And now for the construction....

Well, what have I been up to this week.   Apart from a busy time at work I have had been

The chain reaction of seemingly random events might seem an unlikely basis for a book but I found this one to be so engaging I read it twice!   On the second reading I puncutated the pages with orange Post-It stickers of all the quotes I wanted to note down.   Charlotte's mugging is the start of the chain of events, and I found some of the comments about her relationship with her daughter and her frustration at the limitations of old age to be very close to home.   Besides which, Charlotte is an avid reader (woman after my own heart) and talks of her house having 'walls lined with language' -  I'd love a house like that.  Currently I have only two walls that could be described in such a manner!   Surely the author must have first hand experience to write from the daughters perspective "She felt these painful twinges of compunction where her mother was concerned.   Not just on account of the hip, but the whole business of age, of what has happened to her, what happens, the way in which a person is pushed into another incarnation, becomes a different version of themselves.   Her old mother was still herself but she was diminished in some way, had lost emphasis, was not the figure of Rose's childhood and youth and Rose felt in some irrational way, guilty."  
But enough about reading.  Next was

30th March is Red Dog Puppy Day and as part of the fund raising for these guide dog puppies, biscuit cutters have been made.   I attempted some dog biscuits using mine. 

They taste good but look a little insipid and I realise how much I lack in cake decorating skills!   Perhaps next time I will try and make a proper red coat or at least some chocolate chips in the mixture to give more colour.
And I did some stitching.

The Japanese Etui stitching is complete and now I need to begin the construction.  Tonight while watching Midsomer Murders I will do the back stitching and plan to cut the card shapes tomorrow.  And now looking at the photo I see I need stamens on the cherry blossoms.   Oh dear.   The designer was obviously intending a Japanese Maiko (trainee geisha) hence the bouffant hair style

but this is a very poor chart -  the photo showed a cherry blossom in the hair but it was not charted and the codes for the colours require a high degree of detective skills and much reverse stitching in order to get the correct combination.  I do not recommend this chart and just hope that the finished product looks satisfying as well as satisfactory.
Hope you all have a good evening.   Tonight's menu is homemade pizza so I am required in the kitchen.  Good bye for now.