Monday, 31 March 2014

Well where did that weekend go?

I was so looking forward to my weekend and had ever so many items on the To Do List.   Where did the time go?   Very little got crossed off the list....oh dear.
Saturday,  I slept in to be woken gently by the HD3QBEM at 8am.   No time for baking this morning it was a rush to be ready on time.  
I caught the bus and went into the University to attend a couple of lectures arranged by the Centre For Brain Research/Neurological Foundation for Brain Day.   This year the theme was Our Sense-ational Brain and lectures were on the various senses.   First up was an interesting lecture on Amblyopia or Lazy Eye.   Having suffered the indignities of eye patches as a child and as an adult in vain attempts to correct my wayward eye and now having a thick prism in one lens, I was interested to hear that it is possible to achieve correction as an adult.   Despite the prevalent thinking that the adult brain has insufficient plasticity to be retrained, the Centre for Brain Research is having success with treatment using an adapted version of the Tetris Video game.   Too late for me I am afraid.   Neither do I have time to be a guinea pig in their clinical trials but I was super interested in this lecture.   The fact that the Professor was tall, slim, dark and decidedly good looking helped too :-)
In the afternoon I was in shopping mood so wandered down town -  to buy tickets for two sessions of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival.   This is not until May but I didn't want to miss out on a seat to hear Alexander McCall Smith and Camilla Lackberg.   While waiting in the queue I browsed a pamphlet about the Auckland Easter Egg Hunt.   100 giant sized eggs are 'hidden' at locations around three of New Zealand's main cities and enthusiastic hunters can txt in codes to hopefully win a 340g 18 carat gold ingot.   I found four eggs -  two so uninspiring I didn't even take photos and one inside the Louis Vuitton store where I was too afraid to take a photo.   This one outside the library intrigued me but I also like the infinity pool in which it is sitting. Win-win!   The water pouring over the edges makes lovely reflections too.
Still in a shopping mood I wandered further down town, didn't find what I wanted, swallowed the story from the sales lady at the last store who told me the store way up the hill stocked what I wanted.   Back up the hill I trudged.  They didn't :-(   Back down the hill.  Shopping mood now totally vanished so I caught the bus home.   Whereupon I lay on my bed in the cool and read my book.   Donna Tartt's, The Goldfinch is a lot of reading and although it was an interesting story, for some reason the library supplied me with a large print version which is huge and ever so heavy to hold.      I am almost through this so it should be back to the library before due date - I don't need any more fines.
I worked some more on Ring O Roses.   This is supposed to be a Guild Project and by definition worked on only once a month.   I am now officially addicted to this and it was hard to put down.   Looks good n'est-ce pas?
Sunday I made a start on the lid for The Mermaid's Sea Chest and am liking this one too.   None so fickle as I?   On Saturday I am in love with Ring O Roses and on Sunday, The Mermaid's Chest.   But I stitch better when I love the project.  I don't want to do my initials in the seed pearl panels -  maybe an anchor at each end a solitary M in the middle?   But I don't know where I could find a simple anchor chart.   Any suggestions?
This week our cleaner is sick and can't come so rather than have the HD3QBEM attempt the cleaning (she is prone to be helpful!) I will be wielding duster, vacuum cleaner, scrubbing brush and bucket tonight.   Then there is the ironing to do as well.   How come I am crossing items off a list that I didn't even write??
Good night all.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

It's Spring (somewhere)

Spring arrived at my house this week.   Look at these!  
My dear friend Kazumi kindly sent them from Japan and just in case these don't add enough calories to the diet and grams to the weight she sent these too.
I shall enjoy each delicious mouthful and hopefully not feel too guilty.
Today I took the HD3QBEM out shopping.   She got slippers and a new jumper for the winter and I bought a new pair of sneakers.  
On the way home we called at The Ribbon Rose for these.
I am going to build a new house -  well a cottage to be precise -  and in it will live pins and needles and scissors and.....   But as I can't buy Gloriana thread here in Auckland I had the clever idea to clip together all my DMC substitutes and find a variegated silk that would match.  Not bad?   So now when the next attack of Chronic Start-itis hits me I can begin on this project.
Today has been successful -  baking done (Coffee Drops, Chocolate Fudge Fingers), shopping done, walking done, a new recipe ready for dinner, and a visit to the LNS to spend my voucher.   Yeah!   Oh, and I finished off the bookmark!
All in all not too bad.   Now I'm off to watch TV.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Counting to two...

I love numbers.   I work with them all day.  But I can't count to two or by two!

A simple bookmark all but defeated me.   Four sided stitch completed perfectly.   Scroll edges stitched all around.   Threads drawn and cut and..... disaster!  One or two  four sided stitches short on the length.   Oops.
A fresh start has not gone well.   I have re-stitched each scroll border twice!   But the cutting and drawing of threads has gone well and I have made a start on the Aztec stitch.   This time I did buttonhole stitch and not four sided as I feel that is more secure.   Fun and games all round but I do like the Aztec stitch and after all that was the purpose of the project.

The next medallion on Ring O Roses has a cute little rabbit so I would like to get a few crosses into this one tonight if I can.   And I plan on tacking up a few more hexagons for my patchwork which is not progressing fast.   I am embarrassed to show a progress photo of that project.
So I am off to count ... two, four, six , seven, eight.   Oops:-)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cyclone Lusi

All week the weather man has been issuing dire predictions of Cyclone Lusi - huge rains, high gale winds, sea swells etc.  We were all told to have our disaster kits at the ready and not to venture outdoors on Saturday or Sunday.   In a state of semi disbelief but of major preparedness, I went to bed last night and tossed and turned, listening for gale force rain.   What?  I woke this morning to a lovely light rain, perfect for my garden and not a breath of wind.   My preparation of buckets of water, fill the thermos, fill the water jugs, check the torch batteries, unearth the disaster kit were all rather Over The Top.  
Thinking I wouldn't be able to get out doors and go to Embroiderer's Guild I had stocked up on library books
Look at that top one - this promised storm could go on for days and I wouldn't run out of book :-)
I sorted out stash for a new start (check this out on Pamela's blog )   On my list for 2014 is "one small item per month" so this bookmark will fulfill that for March.   Thanks Pamela.
Now in my head I can hear the gasps of disbelief - a new start?   Well I have run out of Maple Syrup floss for The Mermaid's Chest and wasn't brave enough to go to the embroidery store this morning so have reached a stop sign on that project.
But I do have a ship, a light house and the outer base of the chest stitched.

This is fun.   I need more of the Maple Syrup so I can complete the lid of the chest.   The inner lining is stitched on a pale Mermaid Pink and is full of little pockets and slots for embroidery tools.

The rain and wind did come - just a little later than the weather man promised.   After getting drenched this morning when I went out to get a newspaper, I had given up on Guild, but this afternoon the rain cleared and I'm not worried about wind, so off I went.   We had a really interesting speaker who told us all about Malaysian Tekat.   This traditional gold embroidery is used for decorative items in the palaces of the Sultans of Malaysia and although generally done by hand, there are machines which now mass produce for the consumer market.  I listened carefully as I could see myself with a pair of royal blue velvet slippers decorated in lavish gold - sadly I know this fantasy will never come to reality!

Tonight we have the promised gale force winds but it is 19 degrees celsius which is probably not surprising since Cyclone Lusi has come to visit us from Vanuatu and Fiji.   So I am off to another restless hot night!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Gentle Let Down...

Tonight I was let down gently.... two gentlemen from the factory next door to where I work kindly told me I had a "very flat tyre, miss" and drove off.  
Sure enough - it was flat - very flat.

I pulled out my mobile phone (kept only for just such emergencies and never used otherwise) and my Automobile Association card and began the unfamiliar process of dialling.... when along came a gentle Pacific Island man who said "leave it to me, miss".   And ten minutes and a lot of huffing and puffing (on his part) later my flat tyre turned into this.

I drove carefully home feeling quite uplifted at help received and tomorrow will get a new tyre - I hope!
This one feels like a toy tyre:-)
Tonight I have visitors for the evening so no stitching.

See you later.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A break for Life Administration

Occasionally I need a  break for what my niece describes as Life Administration.   You know: the chores like cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, shopping, bill paying etc.  Usually the HD3QBEM does some of these but she hasn't been well at all and so to the above list I should add nursing.   Thankfully life has settled back to a regular rhythm and I have picked up my needle and silk floss to add many stitches to The Mermaid's Chest.
This chart is not the easiest to read and the instructions are somewhat sparse but on the whole I am pleased with this and think I can see how it will look when completed.   I am on the look out for dull grey or black D rings to sew on the sides and I am running out of one thread so that sounds like a good excuse for a trip to The Ribbon Rose.  (excuse the bad photo)

Although the "start a new piece" itchy feeling has returned I am determined to stick to my resolutions written down in the infamous To Do List.   Next weekend is Embroiderers Guild and I will pull out Ring O Roses and stitch on that for the week.   Rhythmic crosses and Quaker medallions may be just what I need and hopefully this piece of The Mermaid's Chest will be close to finished by then.

Interruptions to stitching rhythms, in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes on the BBC series, occur only on Saturday night TV at my house.  He is rapidly becoming my new favourite :-)   Sherlock may be a geek, incapable of expressing his feelings in any articulate manner and be a right know-it-all but is he really keen on Molly?   I hate it when my favourite programs come to the end of the series and there is nothing but a great blank and at present I am left with only Benedict and The Biggest Loser!!

Last week my regular life and eating rhythm was interrupted with a wonderful care package from my Japanese friend Sonoko.   These chocolates have cheered the HD3QBEM and tempted me.

Yesterday I met up with Kathy for bagels and coffee.  Kathy had heard that Unity Books were having their annual sale so off we went, Kathy armed with a list and me armed with great resolve.   Both of us exited two hours later - Kathy with only some of the books on her list and me with broken resolve and an enthralling John Boyne (Next of Kin) which kept me up until close on midnight last night.   Oh dear.

Tonight I am off to bed to sleep, perhaps to read a little but hopefully it will be lights out before midnight.