Sunday, 29 September 2013

60 weeks until ...... number 5

Once again today has been busy but I have managed to prepare the meals for the week ahead.   This is a regular weekend exercise and means the HD3QBEM needs only to heat the dishes up each evening. We have compromised in this way so that she feels she is contributing to the running of the household and I have a meal ready and waiting when I get home from the gym.
My new recipe for the week is this
Chickpea and Apricot Tagine.   Amendments were  two teaspoons of raw sugar instead of the specified palm sugar disc as I have no idea what that is.   We had white rice, in deference to the HD3QBEM's delicate constitution.
I think this is a keeper but there is a divided verdict in this house, perhaps attributable to the generation gap.   It is still going on record in my recipe book and I will be repeating this one.

Daylight saving has begun here in New Zealand and I lost an hours sleep last night.   Hopefully my eyes will remain open until I can do the dinner dishes after which it will be off to bed for me.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

And what comes next?

Since finishing my UK Trip Book I have been busy making Suffolk Puffs.   Lots of them.
Well, to be honest, thirty six in total.
And what am I going to do with those?
These will form a Christmas Tree for my friend in Japan who has no space to put up a real tree in her home.   She will put up my tree on her wall and hang small ornaments from it.   Clever don't you think. 
So far so good.   It is hard to place randomly when your mind works mathematically!  
Now I need thirty six large buttons to go in the centre of each puff.   Probably gold ones or failing that bright red and bright green.
A tree trunk, a bucket, gifts around the base, backing, binding.....  
No Margaret!   This is not yet nearly finished.   You still have some way to go ;-)
Now I am off to watch Heston Blumenthal create "the world's greatest Christmas pudding".   That guy is mad.   Mad but interesting!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dreams are free but they are such fun...

Oh Happy Happy Day!
At my house we are doing the...
The stitching on my UK trip book is finished.   It will be finally finish-finished onto the book cover and will look like this.
At the moment it is only pinned on but I couldn't wait to dance the dance!   Belgian linen has an open weave so I intend to line this with a piece of doctors flannel and then stitch to the fabric book cover. This has been hard work - one thread of floss over one thread of 30 count fabric but I have thoroughly enjoyed the dreams I have stitched into this.   Anticipation is in every cross!
I have the Trip Book ready.   I have the money in the bank.   Now all I need is the time and the freedom.   Look out UK - here I come (one day).

September Christmas Ornament

It is time to reveal my contribution to the 2013 Ornament SAL that is being run by Silver Lotus.
It must be well over five years ago that I downloaded this chart from Gazette94's blog and I have finally gotten around to stitching it on a scrap of linen with an oddment of the Anchor equivalent of DMC 115.   Unfortunately my scrap of linen, while large enough for the actual stitching, proved insufficient for the desired triangle finish and this was the result.  
Not too bad, if I say so myself.   I'm not keeping this one - it will go into the sale of work at our Guild Exhibition in November and hopefully find itself a new home.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

60 weeks until ..... number 4

Today Spring has finally arrived!   It is warm.  It is sunny and the cherry blossoms are a wonderful pink cloud.  

After the dreadful thunder and lightning last night, today's weather was a real surprise but most welcome.
This weeks new recipe is not really a new taste but I wanted to try this in my slow cooker.  
Slow Sweet and Sour Chicken.   The verdict is "delicious" and I will definitely try this one again, possibly even when I have guests for dinner as it looks great too.   I used tinned pineapple - well drained.

The Wales band on my UK Trip Book is half finished and tonight I plan to concentrate on that.   This afternoon I made a list of what stitching and sewing I want to accomplish before Christmas - that was a bad idea!  The list is daunting.   The HD3QBEM always told me "your eyes are bigger than your stomach" and obviously that holds true for more than just meals;-)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

An almost finish, an almost started and a part way done!

Today was an almost day.   New Zealand almost won the Americas Cup yachting race, wasting a couple of hours of my precious time in the process and starting my day off in the way it was to continue ;-)
This afternoon was Embroiderers Guild and I started this small Christmas Ornament.   Our speaker was so interesting my attention was diverted and this is only an 'almost finish' which I plan on completing tonight.   It will become a triangular ornament for the Christmas Tree.
I have decided to up-cycle a skirt which I bought for my nephews wedding eight years ago and have only worn twice.  The wedding was in my pre-digital camera days so I have no photo to show you.  
But the skirt is now far too big and as I like the colours, the questionable ruched bottom was removed.  The elasticated waste unpicked.  Now I have fabric to cut a pencil skirt and make it to fit.
In a couple of weeks I should have the knitting you see to the side complete -  a cotton cardigan to wear with the skirt.   Success is almost guaranteed.   (Is this how the New Zealand yachting team feel?)  So this is my 'almost started'
My conscience is screaming at me to finish my UK Trip book which is neither an 'almost start' nor an 'almost finish' but rather a boring old 'part way done'!!   Here is the current state.   Aren't those two houses cute?   Hopefully tonight I will get the tall crane? adit? completed.   Give me a week and I plan on having this project move to the 'almost finish' state.  
And next?   Yes I have that sorted and here is a shot of the materials and a hint of the project!

Have a good evening.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

60 Weeks until .... number 3

This week I decided to go 'healthy' and chose a recipe from my monthly "Healthy Food Guide".
These taste great but the jury is still out on whether or not they really are healthy?!

Ginger and Coconut Balls

1/2 cup dried dates chopped finely
1/3 cup dried prunes chopped finely
1/4 cup crystallised ginger chopped finely
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup unsalted cashew nuts

Mix all these ingredients well in a food processor until they form a tight mixture.
With damp hands roll the mixture into balls.
Using 1/4 cup fine desiccated coconut dust the balls thoroughly before placing in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

The HD3QBEM loves ginger so these are sure to be a real hit with her and I can see myself making this recipe many times to use instead of "after dinner mints" when I have guests.   Yep!   This is a keeper but I wouldn't classify it as healthy ;-)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A day out in the city ...

The weather was kind enough to allow my day out in the City and kindly saved the rain until the bus ride home.  It was very windy though and the ferry ride across the harbour was bumpy.  
There were lots of small yachts and catamarans out on the harbour -  I think all New Zealanders have yachting fever at the moment as our boat is doing so well in the Americas Cup racing in San Francisco.
I had a delightful time crossing items off my shopping list and a less than delightful time agonising over which spectacle frames to choose.   "Can you read the bottom line" and "Is it better this way or this" are a lot easier questions to answer than, "do you like this one" when you can't even see the frame clearly.   However, ably assisted by a capable technician I was persuaded convinced that Tom Ford was for me and a pair of spectacles were duly ordered.   My lenses are to be made in Germany so the pain of paying the expensive bill has been delayed until they are delivered!   By the way who is Tom Ford?   Should I have heard about him?
So I have new spectacles -  well almost.   A new diary insert for 2014, new ink cartridges for my fountain pen, a couple of new notebooks (which I love but don't really need) and a new Christmas kit.  
Don't you think this should be easy to make?   I sure hope so.
Tonight I plan on stitching more of the Wales band of my UK Trip Book.   I can see light at the end of this tunnel.   The small colourful colliers houses should get their slate roofs tonight and hopefully the bottom row of Prince of Wales feathers can speed on its way to completion.   Desire usually outruns performance and I plan for much more than I accomplish.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Finish and a Halfway ...

I completed the Blue Blackwork and am feeling pretty well satisfied with this one but decided that just the navy blue and white was a little stark.   So I put a running stitch of red sewing thread around the hem and voila!
This is the tenth page in my book for the NMMSAL.
Two more to go... and the next will be Fisherton-De-La-Mer.  
This was a technique of pulled work and surface stitchery which was initiated by a Mrs Newall to provide a cottage industry in the village of the same name in England.   Several years ago an embroiderer in the south of New Zealand resurrected this style of embroidery and I did a class with her.  
Dear Mrs Newall had a great love for bullion stitches but fortunately for me they are wrapped bullions and as such are a great deal easier on the patience levels. Basically the designs I have been taught are a special locked back stitch with bullions to decorate.   I am using 32 count Belfast linen (colour Amber) and DMC perle #12 in Ecru.  I have small trefoils of bullion to do at each point of  the outside trellis and then broken eyelets in each diamond.  More to come on this one later.
Quite a lot more work to do, so at this point I am putting this to rest for a time and will go back to my UK Trip Book.   I have the Wales band to do and so far have done one "leek".   Not the most exciting start ;-)
I'm off to do the dinner dishes and then pick up my needle and thread.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

60 Weeks until ... Number 2

Today I tried another recipe as part of my self-inflicted challenge.
Moroccan-style Carrot Salad is definitely a success  although I may have been a little heavy handed with the cayenne pepper ;-)  
I polished up the HD3QBEM's silver serving spoon especially for this photo but despite the effort I don't think it adds much.
And on to other news.   I have finished The Dress.   Did you hear the happy dance from your place? 
Hopefully at the wedding I can persuade someone to take a posed shot for me to show off.
After an hour or two of energetic effort my garden is planted out with beans, silverbeet (chard), redbeet, lettuce and just for balance sweet peas and geums.   The daffodils which miraculously appeared in my vegetable patch three years ago have generously provided many blooms this year (they must love being ignored?) and my freesias have been abundant too.   But women cannot live on flowers alone and I look forward to a harvest of fresh vegetables over the summer.

Tonight I plan to complete the Navy Blue Blackwork and perhaps get a start on the Wales band of the UK Trip Book.   Heston Blumenthal is on TV and will keep me company tonight.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Blue Blackwork...

Should this still be called blackwork if stitched in navy blue?   Ah, one of life's little mysteries.
Many years ago a colour expert told me I shouldn't wear black but navy blue was pronounced quite suitable.   I wonder if that "pearl of wisdom" was what influenced my choice here?   I don't think so!   In actual fact,  I couldn't find my DMC 310 and this was next best.  
What do you think of progress so far?   The tacking threads defining each square will be removed at the end which will probably change the look of the whole piece completely.
Truth to tell I am not overly fond of blackwork but have you seen this designer's wonderful pieces.   Pamela (one of my followers) has a note about Jeanine's blog Italian Needlework which showcases a fantastic designer and I admit to being tempted on some of the designs there.   Hop on over and have a look.
The only other news of importance from my place is that the postman delivered a large parcel this morning.   Look at all the lovely Japanese goodies.
 Sonoko goes to such a lot of trouble to send me all sorts of Japanese crafts and treats.   Don't you just love the coasters - I particularly like the one shaped like a fan with a touch of sashiko. 
And there was a box of Halloween chocolates - so cute they will probably not last to Halloween!
Actually on Monday morning there was another large parcel came full of Japanese rice cracker cookies but that was addressed to the HD3QBEM and she has hidden them all away so that I don't get to eat any of her favourites!!   She loves it when Kazumi sends boxes of these treats to her and this birthday gift brought a real smile to her face.   Thank you Kazumi.  
Oops.... the HD3QBEM says she didn't hide them -  just put them in the pantry and I am to put up a photo of the rice crackers too!
Well that's all the news from my place. I'm off to do some more navywork!

Monday, 2 September 2013

60 Weeks Until ...

It is 60 weeks until I turn 60 and my celebration has begun.
Just for a little fun I decided to try a new recipe each week for 60 weeks.  
And the first - Smoked Chicken and Red Pepper Risotto - has been declared a success by the HD3QBEM, my official taster-in-residence.   Can you imagine me standing over a stove stirring in the stock spoonful by spoonful?   No way!   This was all mixed together and cooked in the oven ie I did not follow the recipe exactly.   Easy peasy and super delicious.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Well what do you think?

I have only the finishing -  lining and hems -  to go.    A smile, a string of pearls, some high heels and a joyous heart and I should be well prepared for Nephew's Wedding?!
This "selfie" was taken sans tripod, sans remote in my bedroom mirror so I could gauge my satisfaction.   What do you think?
Hope you have all had a good weekend.