Thursday, 24 July 2014

Catching up

Spring has come to my garden and the daffodils are blooming.   However the weather is still really cold and wet and in the south they have snow.   These winds come straight off Antarctica and cut to the bone.   When oh when will winter end?  I am mighty tired of boots and woollen coats!
I have been stitching away on Ring O Roses since Guild day last Saturday and have now completed the next page.   Only four pages to go I think, so for now I will put this away and return to the Mermaid's Chest.    I am eager to get this finished and constructed but I tell myself it was to be a Guild project for the year and it is only July!!  This weekend I am going away for a couple of nights to visit a friend and will take a couple of small Christmas ornaments with me.   We will be talking non-stop I'm sure, so concentration levels may be low and a simple small will be just right.
Yesterday I took the HD3QBEM to the ophthalmologist and he confirmed that her vision is much poorer than a year ago and seemed genuinely sorry there was little he could do for her.   Neither of us were surprised and it was really to check out the health of the eyes that we had gone to see him.   She continues to knit and has multiple projects on the go so that dropped stitches can be laid aside until I come home to fix them for her.   Admittedly, she is slower and the knitting plainer but still the small cardigans and sweaters are warm and welcomed by the Hospice Shop.   Last weekend we went to the wool store to stock up on some more yarn for the next 5 or 6 projects.   The HD3QBEM is always busy with something on her needles
I'm off to do my chores and place a few things in a bag.   Judy and I are planning to go for a soak in the hot pools.  Lovely!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Fabric Bomb!

Have you heard of Fabric Bombs?  I hadn't and then I was the lucky recipient of a Fabric Bomb from Pamela.   Do go and visit her blog and see her lovely variety of work.   You can read more about the beginnings of these fabric bombs here.   
Yesterday I collected my bomb from the Post Office and here is the grand unveiling (in photos). 

Thank you so much Pamela.   I love blue and am sure that even such an uncreative person as 'moi' can make something beautiful with these ingredients!   Crazy patchwork?   Trapunto?  Fabric weaving?   Applique?   Who knows I may yet try a completely new technique.
My bomb contained
2 one yard pieces of Japanese Yukata fabric
2 cotton fat quarters
1 small piece Japanese silk
1 vintage whitework handkerchief
1 packet John James Twin point needles
Petite Frosty Rays
Quilters Yardage Card
2 Star Buttons
DMC Perle cotton #3 colour 798
DMC Perle cotton #5 colour 334
Needle Necessities Spring II colour 358
One yard of lace trim
3 pieces ribbon
Mill Hill Beads colour 62034
Embroiderers Guild of America Charm
I don't know what I will make yet but I do know that I have a pair of wooden bag handles and that I need a new tote bag for work and that mathematically,  handles + fabrics + time = new bag.   All I need to provide is the time and a couple of days annual leave in front of the sewing machine should complete this equation.  
Now, I’m offering a bomb to someone else. I will ship internationally.  In order to enter, leave a comment below and be willing to offer a fabric bomb of your own. I will choose a winner in two weeks time on 3 August.   If you want to play along, here's what you do - please leave a comment on this post 
1.    The fabric bomber should try to be as creative in their selection of materials, buttons, beads, threads and whatnot, as the recipient will be in their use of them.
2.    The fabric bomb must fit into an A5 envelope, to keep postage costs to a minimum, and to make life easy for the postman.
3.    The recipient can make whatever they like with their fabric bomb–patchwork, toys, bags, collages, doodles, fabric books–anything goes. However, in the spirit of fabric bombing, the packet of scraps should be used creatively, preferably to try out something new, or something you wouldn't usually turn your hand to.
4.    You can add other fabrics to your make, but please don't just incorporate the fabric bomb into an existing make.
5.    You don't have to use every item in the fabric bomb in your make–but it would be great if you could!
6.    It isn't just about getting: once you've received your fabric bomb, please make a bomb of your own to send to someone else. Perhaps photograph the fabric bomb you've received, or the item you make with it. 

7.    Once you've done that, grab the fabric bomb button, post about your make, and prepare a fabric bomb (it must be a surprise, so don't reveal what's inside it) to send to one of your readers, so starting the process all over again.
Today I have come into the 21st Century and my new SmartPhone is all connected.  The very nice young man at the Vodafone shop happily set it all up and told me it was like teaching his mother!   Strangely enough that felt like a compliment as I'm sure his mother would be very proud of having such a well mannered son.
Now I am off to cook -  Lamb Shanks in Maple Syrup and Orange Juice, Pork Fillet and Mushrooms in Balsamic Sauce, Chicken Drumsticks in Sticky Plum Sauce  and that should be enough to keep the HD3QBEM sound in body and soul for the week.   I have Wednesday off work to take her to the ophthalmologist and we are both anticipating a "I am sorry for the further degrading of your vision but there is nothing I can do to help" report from the lovely doctor.   So long as the verdict is only that and nothing more sinister we will be able to manage.   
Have a good week.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Baby blue and girly pink...

I have returned to The Mermaid's Chest now and am working on the stitched lining.   The linen is as close as I can get to that specified and the floss is exactly as the designer ordered.   Strange colours for a mermaid don't you think?
I have both ends done and the respective pockets.   Next the sides and their pockets while I think about what I will do for the base.
Here is what the instructions say ( a photo of a photocopy) - I don't like the way the letters are spaced unnaturally so that they peek out between the ropes.   Either ropes or lettering, but not both I think.  Any suggestions?   Can you even read the verse?   I feel like offering a prize to any who can as I think it is such an unintelligible puzzle.
Our rain had gone and we had three days of near freezing temperatures and clear skies and just as we enter the weekend we get....rain again.   I am baking a batch of Cranberry, Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Cookies tonight -  the oven will keep the room warm and I can get a head start on my weekend chores.   Little Sister is coming to visit tomorrow and the HD3QBEM likes to have home cooking to eat with "crystal tea".   Strangely enough the females in our family only drink hot water (although I am known to have decaffeinated coffee when out) and as requests for this are always greeted with strange looks I coined the phrase Crystal Tea.   Even though an explanation is still required, people seem to accept it better than"just Hot Water please" ;-)
Tomorrow is Embroiderers' Guild and I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

At my house today

Come join with me at my house today for the
The Naxos Necessaire is finish-finished!
So a few photos to show off

I learned a few new techniques with this including how to make a small detached buttonhole stitch button which the tutor assured us would be unobtrusive enough to allow the splendour of the stitching to shine forth.  Huh?  A year after the class and I managed to finish-finish this and to feel happy with it.   Now all I need to do is to find a place in the cabinet for this.   Shall I displace Grandma's Royal Doulton bowl or the HD3QBEM's wedding present tea set???

Friday, 11 July 2014

And the Naxos Saga is almost over

If I am honest, the construction of this Leporello style Necessaire rather scared me and although the stitching was completed months ago the pieces languished in their bag while I plucked up courage. 
Now I wonder why!   The class may have been a year ago but Alison Snepp is a magnificent tutor and she gave such wonderful instructions that I have been able to follow step by step and, miracle of miracles, to feel 100% satisfied with my work.   Precise counting of linen threads may have made the pre-stitching a pain but it certainly pays off in the construction phase when every piece matches so well.
So here it is -  all the pieces ready to be lined.   That red gingham silk is what I will use for the lining.   Considering it is a year since I did this class I am pleased I still have all the pieces - even the floss ring, the piece of flannel and the hand stitched button.
Ah, this weekend I refuse to be interrupted by household chores or any such thing.   I will finish this Naxos Necessaire even though I have a hole in my middle finger from lacing the squares and sewing the pieces together.
Oh dear, I have just remembered.   We have dinner guests coming on Saturday evening :-(

Now what to do next....Some patchwork hexagons, a Sashiko Tote Bag, a piece of hardanger, the other sock??   No, I must make a start on the 'inner' of The Mermaid's Sea Chest.   From now on I will go back to one a time so I don't feel overwhelmed with too many projects on the go at once.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

We have crossed the Rubicon

Today has been momentous for two reasons.
1.  The HD3QBEM told me she can no longer see well enough to read large print books and so life for her is now circumscribed by talking books supplied by the Foundation for the Blind.   I, who read voraciously, cannot imagine what it must be like to live in such a limited fashion.   Life will become more oral in our house from now on.   Her left ear still has good hearing and we are glad of that. Like Pollyanna, we will go forward finding things to be glad about and generally be cheerful.
2. I built me a house.   All the talk here is about affordable homes.  It is election year and all political parties have policies and views as to how every New Zealander can have a home of their own.   I too have an idea.... build a C A Well's Cottage.
Isn't this so cute?   From either front or back, this house is picture book material and I am more than satisfied.  The road to completion seemed long and at times was fraught with difficulty but I am so pleased with the result.
Here then, is my Cottage Etui.   I still need to get three pearl buttons and make the twisted cord fastenings but getting this far has allowed me to feel that I can cross this one off The List.
Tonight I shall stitch another page of Ring O Roses and watch Midsomer Murders, full of self satisfaction.  Ahhh.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Half a roof, half a cottage and a whole fairy.

This week has been full of interruptions and plans gone awry.  At least the HD3QBEM is feeling better and now able to wash and dry the breakfast dishes so I am not late for work of a morning!
The Needlebook is finished and I even fond a tiny pair of scissors to put into it.
My Cottage has half a roof.  I used my new Clover Awl to make a hole for the eyelet and was so happy when it worked well.   Scrabbling through my fabric stash I found some gorgeous cream silk duponi which will make an excellent lining for this cottage.   My that does sound luxurious -  stitched in silk and lined in silk!  Hopefully over the weekend I am going to get the Cottage itself constructed and then I can check the fit of the roof.
Christmas is coming so I took time to iron on Giggle Cloth to these printed squares.   I have plans for these and if all the ingredients are ready then construction will be simple....I hope.   Note, these are not technically a new start just a preparation.
Some time ago, Kris sent me a stitched Fairy.   Last night I finished her into a small Christmas Tree ornament.   She is cute and will look good on the top of my tree.   Thank you once again.
Next is the Naxos for which I have all the ingredients.
So busy week it may have been but some small progress has been made.