Saturday, 31 December 2016

At year's end

Vestiges of my time living in Japan still remain with me and one of those is the inner urge to do a complete clean of my house, my car and me before midnight on the 31st December.   You can imagine how busy the past few days have been!!  Now it is almost midnight and the fireworks will soon begin, so a ‘clean me’ is off to sleep in my clean house :-)
And my final "job" for 2016 was to add up and average my food bill spend.   Did you hear the happy dance?   I managed to reduce the weekly average by $4.09.   So for the past four years I have been able to continuously reduce the supermarket spend -  a total weekly average reduction of around $50. The DBEM was impressed and then said "I didn't think you were trying so hard this year" which kind of popped my balloon a little.   I am pleased and will definitely try again in 2017.   What has helped is doing a bulk shop every 5 to 6 weeks and only getting a few fresh fruit and vegetables each week.   This has been a huge saving on time and has made me very strict about writing a menu then a shopping list and sticking to it.   
I’ve not had time for a lot of stitching these past few days as the DBEM has needed a lot of help with her knitting.   Today we counted up the garments she (and I) have made in the nine months since April – a happy total of 25.   Several of these need buttons so I have promised her a trip to the button store next week but I do want to get my sewing done too.  
So the Quaker Christmas Sampler has not had much attention.   Here’s a progress shot -  I’m working on page four and trying to get to the top of the sampler.   She looks like an unbalanced Angel of the North although possibly a little prettier.  The remainder of the left wing is on page three!   I am tiring of the nearly monotone colouration of this so when page four is finished will have a break and stitch on something else.   Next post I hope to show you my “want to stitch” list for 2017

Meanwhile Happy New Year and thanks to all for reading my little blog.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

The DBEM and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year

Thursday, 22 December 2016

All the better to see you with

Several weeks ago I went to the optometrist and received good news and bad news.

Good news was that my distance vision had not changed but bad news,  a tweak was necessary on the close vision.   Result = new spectacles.   Ostensibly French, I suspect these might be the "designed in Paris made in China"  type but they are light weight metal frames and will hopefully last me well into my retirement.   The lovely Grant told me that at my age I could expect to see little change to my vision.   I'm not convinced but it was lovely of him to say so.
Good news is that my cornea are slightly thicker than normal and will be a protective factor, which is helpful given the bad news that I have optical hypertension.   Result = annual checks for glaucoma.
Strange how the pressure in my eyes can be high when my blood pressure is low??

And tonight I am putting the new specs to good use as I stitch more on the Quaker Sampler while watching Masterchef.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Last new start for the year

Progress on what I have termed the Quaker Christmas Sampler.    In actual fact the real name is Stickideen von der Wiehenburg Christmas Quaker 2008!
Anyway two cherubs, an angel's skirt and part of a word later this is a reasonable start and one page of a 28 page chart.   I wonder if I will finish by Christmas 2017??
And for the record this is on 40 count Antique White Linen and in the charted DMC floss (red, green, gold and white)

Monday, 19 December 2016

Thank you very much Mr Z!

My cousin put up a happy comment on FB today that she had attempted this and had been told she was estimated to be 33.   She's a couple of years younger than I am so I decided to attempt it too.
And the happy result....
Mr Zuckerberg - you are truly a friend even if you are a terrible judge of a woman's age!!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sacrificial lamb etc

Last time that Little Brother came to visit he told me he had left some meat from his farm in my freezer.   So he had.   Two large roasts, one mutton and one beef.   Last week I had the brilliant idea to roast it for one meal and then mince the remainder to make cottage pie.   However our daytime temperatures are in the mid-twenties celsius now and our house is west facing so gets very much hotter than that in the afternoon.   Nothing daunted I rose at 5am this morning and set the roast going then went back to bed having set my alarm clock for two hours later.   Roast cooked to perfection, a slightly longer sleep than normal for me and I still got to church on time:-)
This afternoon I sliced/carved the leg of mutton, retained some for dinner tonight and minced the other in my good old fashioned cast iron mincer.
Herewith, sacrificial lamb which shall tomorrow be made into cottage pies for the freezer.  Enough energy has been expended on this for one day.   This will make several cottage pies for several people for several days :-)   I shall freeze them for cooler weather.   Lean cuisine this is not but it is delicious.
I have been diligently stitching on the Quaker Friendship Book and it is all but finished.   My initials and the year fill in  gaps on the cover and I need to stitch a couple of small motifs to fill in the gaps on a couple of others-  the ABCD square and EFGH square have gaps.   Gaps have arisen because I have not done this as a round robin with initials of friends. So here she is in all her glory - including the two false starts which I just left.
This may be the last finish before Christmas as this week looks to be really busy.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Mr Postman loves me

Mr Postman kindly brought me two gifts this past week.   Neither of them were wrapped in Christmas paper and marked "do not open"

Little Sister sent me a package with some material to make a skirt and this fancy Christmas Tree she had made at her quilting class.
At the top are two glittery angels.   Little Sister has only angels on her "real Christmas Tree" so of course she had to make this a replica :-)   Thank you very much Little Sister.   I hope to get the skirt made in time for my Christmas Holiday.
And from Japan, Yuko sent me a parcel of mixed ingredients.   Ah...a real nostalgic wander down memory lane.
Two types of Japanese green tea, fancy correction tapes, two reels of novelty Japanese washi tape, note paper(in the front), yellow 'secret post-it' papers and buttons.   Guess what?   The DBEM immediately said she could find a use for the buttons!!   Thank you so much for such a pleasure-giving-gift Yuko.   I'm going to share the secret post-its with my boss.   Currently she tucks messages under my computer key board so this could be a great alternative:-)
I have only two squares left to stitch on the Quaker Friendship book so have already decided on my next project.   Of course!   I'm going away for four days at Christmas and I need a project to take so what better than a Quaker Christmas Sampler.   Watch this space.   I may be able to show progress pictures soon.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Bluebird of Unhappiness

Today was information overload at work.  I drove home looking forward to relaxation with my needle and thread.   Not to be!   This darned bluebird is not correct.   I have already reverse stitched the wings  - only to find that what I thought was an error was not :-(  Now, seemingly complete, the darn bluebird is all wrong.   Ah woe is me.
So I started another piece and this seems to be progressing well.   At least so far everything adds up.
There are 10 pockets in the Quaker Friendship Book so I am well on the way to completion.   Certainly by the end of the year.....I hope.  
But the good news was a lovely surprise package from Pamela.   Look at these cute mug coasters.   Such even blanket stitching.   I am very impressed.   And I am looking forward to a nostalgic cup of green tea too.   Thank you very much Pamela.
I plan on doing some sewing on Saturday - a T shirt and a dress are both cut out ready to go.   And tonight I washed up a piece of fabric for a skirt.   Can you tell I am wanting some new summer clothes?   The DBEM and I are going away for a few days at Christmas and I thought it would be nice for us to have something new.   The DBEM's new top is already complete (and she has already worn it twice !!) but mine have yet to be started.   I wonder how much i will get done this weekend?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

An interruption

Today at persistent prompting from the DBEM I put up my Christmas tree.   I always begrudge the amount of time it takes but I love the finished product!   I have at least a dozen angels of varying types hanging on it but the angel and tree I love the best are these.   And they are much easier to put up!
Another interruption from the DBEM was this.   Can you see what is going to happen?
Yes!   I am to sew in all the ends and sew up the garments, iron them and then put on the buttons.   The DBEM does the knitting but finishing is beyond her now so I have these to complete.   This will interrupt my stitching schedule in a major way but what can one do??   The DBEM suggested I took them away on holiday at Christmas but I can't face that so will try and get them all done well before that.   Do you think I could manage to complete one tonight while watching Midsomer Murders?   I'm going to try.