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.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Day Out

Today the HD3QBEM and I went for a day trip to the Matakohe Kauri Museum, about two and a half hours drive north west of the city.   We have been before but for the HD3QBEM who was brought up in bush sawmills this is a trip down memory lane.
Although the surrounding area is now cleared land and profitable farming but the rural community who have lived there for generations have created a wonderful museum dedicated to preserving the story of the early milling of the Kauri forests.
These giant trees covered the land of the north in times past and history can be measured in the tree rings.   Click the photo to see what dates New Zealanders consider important ;-)
Naturally such large trees produced a lot of timber -  look at this.  Slabs cut from a kauri and this is not classed as one of the giants.
But among all the machinery and items of interest for the males I found this...  The right of the photo has interesting stitching and knitting items and I loved the lace on all the white clothing.   Wouldn't the laundry have been a nightmare though?

And the HD3QBEM found a lamp very similar to the one in the house of her childhood.   
She learnt cross stitch and embroidery by the light of flickering kerosene lamps like this!  And now I will sit under my daylight lamp and put some more bricks into the cross stitch house I am building.