Sunday, 24 May 2015

It's all Jeffrey's fault....

Little progress has been made this week.   I managed to press the trial hardanger pocket and the final result is acceptable and awaiting the ribbon closure.   The needlebook is now fully finished and its maker happy.
And the tassel has the hanging portion complete.   Here it is suspended from the HD3QBEM's Ott lite.

But the ruby red creation??
Not much to show is there.   Jeffrey Archer is to blame.   His Clifton Chronicles became an obsession and I read all five last week which, combined with long hours at work, limited energy levels and dare I confess it, a dislike of the thread(not the colour just the fatness of the floss) meant I didn't put in many stitches.   Only the eyelets and specialty stitches to go though.
This week I have three days of 'training' and for that need to travel an hour to the prison.   Oh joy and delight!  I expect to be very weary by the end of the week but Saturday is a regional gathering for the Embroiderers Guilds and I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The casket is on hold....

After completing the fence and checking that the size of the front panel was correct I found I have still not decided whether to make this a 'family' casket or not.  So for now, the couple remain faceless and the front lawns empty.  My favoured quote to go along the bottom edge is too long so perhaps I will settle for initials of forebears?
Anyway, for now, I have put this aside and am finishing up the hardanger pieces.  Do you remember my desire to use up a piece of linen?  I feel so very righteous for using up virtually all but a few threads of this piece of linen and am hoping that my Embroiderers' Guild will be able to sell these at the end of year exhibition.    The needlecase still needs a flannel page and the tassel on the left needs its tassel.
And now I have a new start.   My best friend has her fortieth wedding anniversary later this year, hence the ruby colour and the expensive silk floss.  I am looking forward to stitching this one - linen and silk are such a luxurious combination.
(Photo from Internet)
This week is the Auckland Writers Festival and on Thursday evening I went with a friend to the gala night.   None of the writers participating that evening were familiar to me but the seven minute slots in which eight selected authors had been persuaded to tell a "never before told personal story on the theme Strait Talking" was amazingly entrancing.   Amy Bloom has my vote for best, with Alan Cumming a close second.   He's such a tiny little fellow but so engaging. I am on the wait list at the Library for his memoir.   Ben Okri's poetry will be next.   That man has such a wonderful vocabulary.
(Photo from Internet)
Yesterday I went into the City again to spend an hour with Anthony Horowitz.   Not a one on one you understand.   As you may remember, each year I try to be impressed with the satorial splendour of the authors.  Well, Anthony did not win in the dress stakes but I, along with many others, was smitten with his smile and engaging manner.  There were several hundred others there,including a grandmother and her two young grand sons.  The boys were obviously avid readers of " real books Granny" and could have won a Mastermind Quiz as both were expert on all details of Alex Ryder.   I do hope they met Anthony afterwards.     A really fun day, only clouded by the fact that the housework awaited me on my return home!
And tonight I'm off to watch Antiques Roadshow and enjoy my stitching.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

They are at the holding hands stage.

Once again today has been a busy day but I found time to take a photo of the HD3QBEM in her new top.   I sewed this for her for a Mothers' Day present and she is already wearing it!   She's looking quite well don't you think?
Tonight I 'grew' my Hardanger Christmas Tree and it now just needs some holly leaves and berries around the base and it will be truly complete.   Unfortunately such accessories are not in the shops in May so that will have to wait!
And my lady and man are now holding hands at the garden gate - all the while remaining faceless.   Once again i am stitching Queen Stitches, this time for her colourful skirt.   Once I finish the lady and the vine on the front fence I will take a holiday from this piece and finish some of the hardanger pieces that are awaiting construction.
Anyway, I have been up and busy for 16 hours so am ready for bed.  Good night.

Monday, 27 April 2015

All fenced in

Saturday was fine and unseasonally warm for Autumn so the HD3QBEM and I went for a drive to a local park.   One of the City forefathers left a huge tract of land in the central city which is now a working farm but also has walking tracks, gardens, cafes etc etc.   We were content to sit and admire this view.
Then last night while watching Elementary I stitched a fence and part of a tree.   Oh yes, a red bird too.  The top panel of the Sampler Casket is coming along well which is great as I am getting a  little tired of it and longing for a change.   Very soon decisions will have to be made on the lettering/wording and I am still not sure so maybe will leave that for a later date?   So here's a progress shot -  wrinkles and all.
Monday has been a public holiday and was wet and stormy all morning so I was able to curl up with the latest Jacqueline Winspear and shed a tear or two over the tragedies befalling Maisie Dobbs.   Oh, Ms Winspear why do you do this?   Just when it was all romantic and a "happy ever after" was looming you give us so much pathos and grief.
Now I am off to cook dinner and then to hem a top I have made the HD3QBEM for her Mothers' Day gift.   It does feel so good to be early :- )

Sunday, 19 April 2015

And now I have a man!

I have been diligently building my house.   The East and West wings are now done and I am ready to put windows in the main building.   The two trees need to be planted on the right and a lady should appear at the gate.   I already have the man - and the lady-to-come can have him.  I don't think much of this fellow who is, at present, faceless:-)
Somehow this Casket has really gripped me and although I am too tired at night to do much stitching I am anxious to get it all done.   There are still some major decisions to be made -  such as what to stitch in the cartouche on the back panel; what inscription to put along the base of the fence on the lid panel; whether to put a garden in the space inside the fence or to put two boys and two girls.   Originally this was to be a 'family casket' but now it almost complete I have decided that the American influence in people and architecture is a possible obstacle to this becoming a family piece.  Perhaps I will make it completely neutral (ie no family initials, symbols etc) and hope that a niece or nephew may decide it would suit them.
Next weekend is another long weekend for us with the 27th being a public holiday.   I have promised to make a top for the HD3QBEM; pattern is chosen and fabric is purchased so it should be able to be done quickly.   I have promised myself to read some of the books on my bedside pile.   Since starting this new job I haven't been doing so much reading or stitching.  Last week I received my Nordic Needle catalogue and have ordered one hardanger chart which they tell me has already been despatched.   I am looking forward to starting that too.
Meanwhile I am off to cook dinner and relax with The Antiques Road Show.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The annual tally

Another busy day almost at an end.   Today the HD3QBEM took her bags of knitting to the Hospice Shop where she was greeted enthusiastically and we both came home with warm fuzzy feelings :-)
This year she managed 37 garments (plus 3 more for the annual church Making Ends Meet Bazaar next month) and here they are spread out on her bed before we bagged them up.  Each is labelled and marked with size.   The shop manager said they sell at around $25 - $30 each and go very quickly.   The HD3QBEM is now inspired to surpass her total of 40 next year.
I went to the GP and had my annual flu vaccine.   Strangely enough, before the nurse jabbed my left arm she wanted to weigh me and measure my height.   I was delighted (?) to find that I have lost three kilo since starting this new job but less delighted to find that I have shrunk 1cm in the past 12 months.   At this rate I will vanish in a puff of smoke before I get to go on my planned trip to the British Isles :-(
Progress continues on the lid of the Sampler Casket.   The bricks are all laid and I have built the fence and twisted the creeper across the front.   Oh dear, it is difficult to get lazy daisy stitch to sit well.   I had to settle for slightly imperfect!  Next will be laying the lawn and then I must decided whether this is to be a 'family' casket and therefore I stitch people in the space or whether I will make it a 'neutral' casket and stitch a garden.   The pattern is charted for either.   I must make that decision or progress will be delayed.   Currently I am stitching the blue bird of happiness on the left.
Tonight I have a date with Sherlock and Watson in my weekly dose of Elementary so will bid you all adieu.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

And brick by brick I'm building a house

My sampler casket is coming along well.
The strawberry panel is perhaps my favourite so I will need to look out for a display spot where I can see that panel all the time :-)
But the lid has a house.   Well, not just a house - a veritable mansion -  which I am building brick by brick.   This is only the West Wing! I changed the colour of the windows as I am stitching in DMC rather than the silks specified so went with my preference since no exact substitute was given.   These look OK I think.
I think the tree is perhaps supposed to be a pear tree, as the fruit are that colour.   And the cross to the left of the house is actually the top of the 'picket' fence which frames the piece.   There is a bird to stitch too.   A blue bird of happiness.
This is a fun stitch and has been much quicker than I first imagined.   Already I am thinking "what next?"
Work is still interesting.   Our clientele ('affectionately' known as offenders) are many and varied in their dress, their demeanour, their manners and their moods. This week I am rostered on two hour shifts at reception each day and being friendly to all comers is rather tiring.   I find myself escaping to the filing room when my shift is finished,  for some peace and quiet.   No one bothers me in the filing room!  I am loving the lessened responsibility in this position and so far the HD3QBEM seems to be managing well during the day without me. I am managing to get to the gym most week nights and to do some stitching most nights so at present don't have to edit the profile of my blog!
All is well Chez Nous.