Friday, 17 November 2017

A snowman

A couple of hours, some determination, a pair of rather tired eyes and the roly poly snowman is completed. 
The kit came with a circular bottle green plastic frame so tomorrow I will lace him up and slot him in ready to add to the Christmas package travelling to Kazumi.   She placed an order for him but the other contents of the parcel will be a surprise:-)

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


The 2017 Christmas ornaments are done!   I was in such a hurry that one is already wrapped and ready for the post.   But here are the others.
And now I have started another.   My good friend Kazumi fell in love with this snowman kit which had Aida fabric and thread of unknown provenance.   I swapped out the fabric for a 36 count linen even weave and am now stitching.  Believe me each cross is a labour of love!
It has been a really busy two weeks back at work and I am once again in sleep deprivation mode.   However tomorrow I have the afternoon off for an appointment which should also be a good opportunity to sew the cover for my piano.   Recently we moved furniture around so that the DBEM doesn't face into direct sunlight which makes her vision even worse.  And the piano is therefore living against a different wall.   To keep the dark wood from changing colour in the bright sunlight I will be like my late Grandmother, suitably Victorian, and cover even the legs on my piano;-)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

After an absence

No blogging for a week!  I've been helping the DBEM with her knitted sweaters.   She knits, I sew.  Believe me, stitching up knitted garments is not my favourite occupation but it is a job that needs to be done and currently I have no stitching project gripping my attention.  So voila!  All sixteen of them.

And with only 44 sleeps until Christmas I need to make a start on finishing this year's batch of stitched ornaments.   The current state is this...
So tonight is to be spent lacing ornaments to card and tomorrow will be cord, ribbon and titivating.  Two are complete, which leaves five to finish.   

Saturday, 4 November 2017

An answer to a question

"Heritage Hall" asked where the Snoopy Christmas ornament came from but is no-reply so I will answer here.

Well, I googled images of Snoopy and that came up on this link  so I chose my colours and away I went.   It has turned out as expected but I didn't really like the large blocks of colour and if doing it again would use a finer linen. 

Hope this helps.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Back to my favourite

After a marathon of Christmas ornaments (finishes to follow later) I'm back to my favourite - hardanger.
However this is to be a tote bag so the fabric is a coarse 30 count linen and the threads are Perle #3 and Perle #5.
At the moment this is side one but hopefully it will look good when done. The jury is out on what colour lining I should use.  The blue of the blanket it is lying on for the photo isn't satisfactory.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, 19 October 2017

And the lights go on again

The "not so little" Snoopy ornament is finished and the lights have gone on.  I had imagined they might look a great deal brighter, however the desired effect is there even if at a dimmer wattage.
I have decided to make this into a circular finish but in the meantime it has joined the pile of "yet to be constructed 2017 Christmas Ornaments".   All is well - there is still six weeks till they will be needed.

Friday, 13 October 2017

And another one

This year's ornaments seem never ending but five down two to go and this one is almost finished.
I'm not fond of stitching blocks of colour but that is what this needs.   Onto the green wreath will go the tiny fairy lights (individually spaced) and voila - a cute ornament, I hope.
Then I am having a break and starting a piece of hardanger for a tote bag.   In the interests of durability I'll be working in heavy linen and thick DMC perle which is not my preferred fabric and thread.   Some degree of persistence will be necessary but I really want to make this bag so will make the effort.
So another long week over and only another 24 month and 13 days until retirement:-)
Off now to some overdue emails.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

This one just needs a fall of snow

Hat on and scarf tied but this snowman needs a good snowfall of DMC 712 to fill out his fat body.  Guess what I will be doing tonight?
The DBEM has said no excursions this weekend, so just the usual chores for me.   But tonight's reward is two hours of the Morse prequel on TV.   Lucky me.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Another ornament

Finally finished.   I rather thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew with this one.   The lettering over one thread on 36count linen was hard on the eyes.  But all good, it spells correctly and looks satisfactory.   This is for a gift, but much as I like it I won't be repeating this and making one for myself.
Do you like?
DQ was asking where I got the pattern for the Sunflower Santa so I took a photo of the deets.   Sorry DQ but you were no reply so couldn't email.
This afternoon I took the DBEM to the doctor and as I used her credit card to pay still managed to keep to my Fiscal Famine.   I picked up that wording and idea from someone else and although I may not be able to do a month's FF like she plans I am enjoying the challenge.   No spending on anything except predetermined direct payments and food(within a stricter budget).   You can read more on Frugal Queen's blog here.
And now to get back to my book...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

He only needs a moustache

A sunflower Santa??   Even in the Southern Hemisphere such a Santa is unknown and the chart for this came from the North where sunflowers would never be blooming at Christmas!
However he is rather cute and will possibly be even more so when his white mini tassel=moustache is added.   But that is later on.   Tonight I start on a stitched mistletoe.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Another Santa

Another Santa but this one came accompanied by unfriendly gremlins.   As a consequence there has been weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.   I have unpicked, restitched, unpicked again and restitched again.   One error I have decided to leave but "the hat faux pas" will have to come out.   Before I do so, here's a sufficiently poor snapshot in which you may not be able to see the errors:-)
And Spring has definitely sprung here.   We have bluebells
and we have sweet peas
and we have a tui in the kowhai trees.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Almost but not quite #2

Despite my best efforts tiredness stopped me reaching the finish line last night.   Here is the Quaker Christmas Sampler- almost completed.  The last gap is top right but do you think I should stitch the date centre bottom in the gap there?
I have fabric to make this into a table runner to fit my coffee table and given my usual reluctance to decorate for the Christmas season this may be the only ornament in my room in 2017!
Meanwhile it will go into the "to be constructed pile" and will not be touched until November, or December, or the new year....

After a run of good health the DBEM isn't too well today and is sitting quietly in her chair knitting happily.   We have had to move her chair as facing the picture windows directly was too bright for her eyes (which really only detect contrast now) so the whole room has had a reshuffle.   She's happy and I am adjusting to my new spot so all is good Chez Nous.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Almost but not quite

For the past 23 days it has officially been Spring and the daffodils and freesias have cooperated.   However the sweet peas are more stubborn but today the first signs can be seen so hopefully this week.

Election night in New Zealand and while we are listening to the results on the TV the DBEM is knitting a pretty pink sweater and I am frantically trying to complete my Quaker Christmas Sampler.   The end is in sight and a photo will follow

Monday, 18 September 2017

Almost half a flower

Tonight, despite some reversing I have managed almost half a flower.   This is the last of the big medallions on this piece so it may seem smooth sailing after this.
I must admit I am sick of cross stitch and have even found myself thinking of a piece of free style embroidery!!   However the piece I want to do requires a piece of navy woven material so that will have to wait until I source the correct fabric.   I do have another piece in mind but that is done on black..... oh dear what a choice.

The DBEM is well today and chuckling to herself over her audio book.   She and Jeffrey Archer are becoming firm friends as she steadily "reads" her way through his Clifton Series.   I'm pleased that charming rascal is proving such good company.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

She loses I find

Last weekend Little Brother came to stay and commented that the DBEM had lost weight since he last saw her.  Even at 87 years of age she was upset about this!  So this morning she asked me to weigh her.   We did and she has lost 4kg in two years (yes it is that long since I have weighed her.  Bad daughter!)
Anyway now I know where the 4kg gain I have made in two years has come from.   My dear and generous DBEM has given them to me:-(

I have been sewing up small knitted sweaters for the DBEM and tonight made a start back on the Quaker Christmas Sampler but reversed out everything I put in.   No progress shots as there was no progress.   Check in tomorrow night and I may have better news.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Another finish

Heartfelt Harry I think this one is called.   A very happy fat snowman to be made into a ornament to decorate the tree for an Antipodean summer Christmas!   Rather strange,  but he is so cute and a fun fellow don't you think?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Another finito

Yesterday my friend Kathy led me into temptation.  We met for coffee and I nobly refrained from cake but when we went next door to the Hard To Find bookshop it was a different story.   Recently the local paper ran a story of this bookshop and the landlord who is cancelling the lease to sell the building.  Along with several thousand other devoted customers, Kathy and I are feeling bereft. Armed with our lists we entered.   Books in front of us, above us and all around us.   How long do you think we spent lost in the stacks?  Too long!

Whether they will take this cute old man with them, I don't know but an eager customer will buy his piles of Clive Cussler.
Once home I finished off this red NOEL ornament.   My favourite red floss and a very simple chart but the effect is just what I wanted.   I left the outer border off in an effort to make this a more "tree friendly" size.   All good I think.
Next up is a friendly snowman.

Friday, 8 September 2017


The Christmas Cat Tree is finished.   This I rather like so see more of these, but maybe not this year.
Stash provided the little beads for the candles and now this will rest in the pile to be constructed closer to C Day.
Thank you for all the good wishes for the DBEM.  She tells me she feels much better than yesterday:-)
I'm wondering if charity shops would sell stitched Christmas ornaments.   Unlike the DBEM I will not be knitting sweaters for toddlers when I retire but I would be happy to stitch small items like ornaments, book markers etc.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Half a tree is better than none

Interruptions to the smooth flow of stitching have resulted in almost half a tree. Each green curl has a small red cross to come but I am toying with the idea of a bead instead.
But so far so good.
The DBEM hasn't been well and a visit to the doctor resulted in a phial of large white tablets to swallow. Two in the morning and two at night.   They are huge and I wonder how she manages to get them down.  
But so far so good.

Little brother is coming to visit this weekend and I am making a menu and a shopping list.   Saturday morning will be busy as I try to fit in all the chores (and a visit to the Library) so tonight I have baked a Gingerbread Loaf.   The room is now cosy and warm and the DBEM is salivating.  She loves Gingerbread.   I have joined the Spring Challenge at work and along with others am trying to eat less and be more active.   Hard work.
But so far so good.

Monday, 4 September 2017

A finish and a start

The blue knitting is finished, the last stitch is recorded and the much used pattern has been ceremoniously despatched to the place all good patterns go to.   Having knitted this one three times I am not about to do another:-)
My cardigan needs a good steam with the iron and it can go in the drawer until the cool weather comes again in 2018. The photo above is a better indication of colour -  the garment is certainly not two toned!
As a reward I have made a start on this...
The Christmas Cat Tree.   Check back in a  few days to see how this turns into a tree.
Today was an easy day at the office as I took part in day one of a Transitions to Retirement workshop. Apart from the one hour of Tai Chi in which I unskillfully and unwillingly participated I have not learnt anything new.  Maybe day two tomorrow will be more productive (and inspiring)

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Farewell to footwear

What do these two photos have in common?

Well, those on the top are "Swedish Hasbeen" and those below are "Margaret's Has Beens"
Ten years would seem too short a life for leather shoes.   I like these and they have served me well.   But they are Has Been.   Today I farewelled them to the rubbish man.   Why?  Well look at the soles; the heels have holes and they squeak and leak.   The uppers are still good but the sole has gone.
My soul has gone too :-)   I will need to look for new shoes and being possessed of a narrow foot in a land of wide-footed people that is no mean task.
So as a "pick me up" I fetched out the Christmas Ornament books, selected six and found appropriate fabrics.   Tonight I will sort out the floss and kit them ready to go.
All in all not a bad day.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Daffodil Day

August 25th is Daffodil Day here with money raised for the Cancer Society.
We had a "mufti day" at work to raise money and I raised a beautiful potful of miniature daffodils
These were bought as two pots of teeny weeny daffodils three years ago and they've happily grown up.   Like  all who grow older they have increased in size too and are now mid-sized rather than miniature.
Oh well, back to the knitting.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Christmas Sampler

Life administration and aged care fill the hours of my days that are not occupied by gainful employment and little else seems to get done.   Well, that is not entirely true.   I did manage some sewing and am almost completed a new dress for myself.   And some stitches have been added to the Christmas Quaker Sampler.   The gap towards the centre  under the wording is for the date.   I don't want to tempt fate and put 2017 just yet:-)
When the bottom right quadrant is completed (hopefully tomorrow) I will put this aside and finish my knitting.   And I need to get started on the family Christmas ornaments too.  There are only 128 days till Christmas.   We have had to put in requests for Christmas Leave at work and I am hopeful of having two weeks off so in anticipation have already made a To Do List; mainly DIY tasks but I want to do some sewing too.  
Today we had a visit from a niece who brought her second daughter to visit Great Grandma. It has been too much for Great Grandma who is at this very minute snoring in her armchair!   Admittedly Great Aunty is also rather weary after two trips to the airport and some energetic baby admiration:-)

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Top and tail

The left front of the cardigan is complete so I put it aside and have gone back to the Quaker Christmas Sampler and much progress has been made.
I was really concerned this would not "meet up" so have done the motifs along top and bottom and then with a running stitch confirmed the intersections are as plotted.   QED.
Tonight I made the DBEM a special Japanese meal as she has been voicing a hankering for Chawanmushi.   It was rather tasty if I do say so myself.   It has been DBEM day here1   During the afternoon I stitched a Pop Over Presto Top for her in a cerise merino fabric.   When we have so many sheep in New Zealand there seems little reason not to go for merino:-) besides which this past week has been chilly temperatures.  
Tomorrow I have a day off work -  for a WOF for my pacemaker and my teeth.  Surplus time will be spent sewing - for myself this time.
And a funny story.  Last weekend I was clearing out a cubby hole in my roll top desk and happened across an old wallet stuffed with Australian Dollars, lots of Australian Dollars:-)   So I took myself off to the bank and turned them into my favourite New Zealand Dollars and indulged in a new toy and banked the balance.   It is many years since I had a trip across The Ditch so it felt like unearthing buried treasure1
This is for my Active August Campaign!

So to a chorus of "thank you dear, that was lovely" from the DBEM good night all.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

My garden thinks it's Spring

The temperatures are low, there is snow in the South but my garden thinks the winter is over.   I was so pleased to see this cheery yellow bloom brightening up the dreary outdoors.
Today has been a good day.   Good, because the DBEM was well enough to come with me to the shopping mall where we crossed off all the items on her shopping list.   Then it was off to the Post Office (watch out for a package Little Brother), the Library, a drive through the park to see the field of daffodils and then home.
On the knitting front I have almost completed the left front of the cardigan, so will then do another page or two of the Quaker Christmas.  I seem to maintain momentum better with short bursts like .this, besides which there is a deadline on this cardigan so I must keep up speed.   I am knitting in NZ merino 4 ply yarn which has an immense mileage per ball.  Unaware of this I bought 15 balls and will only use around 8 for the current project.   What to do with the remainder has been perplexing me for some time.   I even read a couple of Elizabeth Zimmerman books to see if I could design my own?!  However, my faithful English Womens weekly magazine had a pattern  which will be perfect for what I want and will use this yarn so I am happy.   A short sleeved cardigan is on my list of wardrobe planning for The Great UK Trip.
So all is well Chez Nous and the DBEM has just consulted her calendar/diary to tell me that she hasn't had a "good Saturday" since 17 June.  So she is Very Happy.

Saturday, 22 July 2017


This week I have made real progress on the Quaker Christmas Sampler and am almost at the half way point.  
When I get there this project will get a rest and I will need to return to the knitting - I need my cardigan by the end of September!

This evening I managed to attach the floral K to the book cover and am pleased with the results.   It sure does brighten up the black watch tartan fabric from which the cover is made.
The DBEM is unwell and today has been a dressing gown and pajamas day.   She has had a couple of these this winter.   This too is a sign of progress - of sorts.
Jo of Serendipitous Stitching aka Blogger Extraordinaire, hosts a Blogger of the Week.   Do pop over and check it out;-)   Thank you Jo and 'kia ora from Down Under'

Monday, 17 July 2017

Warm feet

A slight detour from the planned path of the Quaker Christmas Sampler.   The DBEM needed new bed socks to keep her chronically icy feet warm in bed, but she can't wear ordinary socks as they are too tight around her lower leg.   Last winter I tried altering a baby bootee style shape, with limited success.   So this year opted for these TV slippers.   Success :-)
And the Quaker Sampler is about to turn the lower left hand corner.  
Now off to another date with my needle.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Hard to find...

Today the DBEM is still unwell but as this is the first day to see the sun after a bad storm and a "polar blast" we decided to wrap up warm and take the newly washed car for a drive.   A local park has a pond and is a "dog friendly" zone so we sat and watched the dogs chase balls, each other and the ever patient sea birds.  
On the way I stopped at the "Hard To Find Bookshop" - not that the shop is hard to find you understand.   It is named that, as they stock otherwise hard to find books.   Little Brother had asked his library for a book I recommended but they couldn't oblige. I thought I still had my copy but a lengthy search proved memory false, so today at this bookshop, the obliging assistant directed me up the stairs, around the corners and I found exactly what I wanted.
The knitting is at another "have a rest" place with the back and two sleeves completed.   I am well on track to have this finished by the desired due date so it is back to the projects.
A toss up between the Hardanger Angel and the Quaker Christmas Sampler.   I really need to get half way on this project and only three and a half chart pages to go to that mark.
Why the sampler not the angel?   I am still debating what to use for the "body" of this angel as she is taller than number one.   That puzzle is paralysing my ability to do the necessary lacework to complete her.
Meanwhile I need to get dinner ready.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Chores Day

Chore number one.
Up early to do baking for the DBEM's treats.   Ginger crunch, chocolate chip biscuits and a gingerbread loaf.   Can you guess that teh DBEM likes ginger?
Chore number two.
I braved the crowds at Pak n Save and did my grocery shop.   Oh what a test of patience that was.  I do dislike shopping!   Usually I go one every four weeks but on the journey home I vowed to eke this out to six weeks....we shall see.   The car boot was completely full and there were several trips up and down the stairs to unload.
Chore number three.
As a reward to self I called at the Library.   Now this pile of books is calling my name and Fred Forsyth has tempted me from my knitting.
Chore number four.
And, the K is finished.   I need to have a finishing day sometime soon.  This is destined to be a circular "medallion" on the front of a notebook cover.
Now my last "chore" for the day is to watch Antiques Road Show.

Good night all.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

What makes my garden grow?

Tonight we have watched a recorded session of The Amazing Race and in so doing my Flower Initial has grown.
None of the flowers I talked about last night!   But roses, solomon's seal, periwinkles, viola and some cyclamen have now been "planted".   Hopefully this will be finished over the weekend and I can get to and make this into a notebook cover.   Strangely enough despite not really liking this type of embroidery I am thinking of stitching an M for myself:-)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

And the flowers are blooming...

No, the knitting did not get started.   I picked up another project and am making good progress now on the Flower Initial.
As a lover of counted work I never find free style embroidery easy but this is coming along well.   This choice of shot silk from my stash was not the most inspired choice as the colour makes a hard base to match floss but so far so good.   Hopefully in the weekend I will get a photo in natural light which may show everything up a lot better.