Monday 21 May 2018

A quick update post.

My return to work has slowed things down a little, but I have still been working on Spring Queen, and finally managed to complete the bottom half of the chart.
I opted to leave the beading for now and add it later, once all of the cross stitches are complete.
The top half of the chart doesn't have quite so many stitches, but there are some very pretty colours to come as she is holding a bouquet of spring flowers. I'm looking forward to those.
Although I am now able to return to work, I still ended up going back to my doctor as after a couple of hours I started to sound like Scooby Doo again. I have a different antibiotic to take and he also took some swabs from my throat, to make sure nothing else is going on. After a week on the new meds, I do feel much better and the weird voice has almost gone, it didn't set in until the end of my shift on Friday, which is a huge improvement. Many of the regular customers commented on my return and were happy to see me back. That was nice. :-)
My chores for today are done, and now it's play time.

Monday 14 May 2018

Weekend progress

I didn't do as much stitching over the weekend as I would have liked, but progress was made.
I decided I was fed up with the yellows and mustard shades and made a start on the hem of her dress, where some pretty pinks and purples make an appearance. Soon I'll have to make a decision about beading. Do I add the beads on this half now, beading my way back up to the middle, or do I wait and add all the beads later?
Sometimes it can feel a little like starting all over again if you leave all the bead work to the end.
But by adding them now I also risk damaging some of the beads.....
I shall continue to ponder...
This morning I unrolled her from the bars. I'm finally working very close to the bottom of the design, but I still have all of the top half to do. But I can't help plotting and wondering about my next project. What to stitch? There are so many to chose from. LOL
Thank you for all the get well wishes. I'm still not 100%, but definitely improved, hopefully enough to stick it out at work for a whole shift. 
Much as I have enjoyed the extra me time, I really do have to make another effort to get back to work, and I suppose I'd better catch up with the housework too, so I'm not sure how much stitching time I'll get today, or indeed how things will go this week.
I'll keep you posted.

Friday 11 May 2018

Spring Queen Update

I was feeling better on Wednesday, and was busy in the kitchen for most of the day. I enjoyed myself, making samosas and naan to go with the beef madras I made for dinner. I thought seeing as I was feeling so good, I ought to go back to work.
So I tried it yesterday, the boss took one look and sent me home. I phoned the Doc and and I'm signed off work again. If I don't improve over the weekend I've to go in and see him again.
It would seem that getting up at 7 ish and pottering around doing things in my own time, is somewhat different to getting up at 4.15 am and being at work an hour later! LOL
The frustrating thing is, in myself, I feel ok, I can get on a do stuff, I'm not snotty or coughing and spluttering, I just sound weird, like Scooby Doo! There is something sitting in my sinus and my ears, I can feel it! I wish it would go away!
So I'm still making the most of the extra stitching time and getting on with Spring Queen.
This first image is how I left her on 30th April, I put her away for a few days as the threads for the elephants had arrived and I wanted to finish them.
And here you can see what I've stitched over the last few days, since finishing the elephants.
You know you're nearly half way when you see the clips that hold the fabric onto the frame.
I plan to spend some time with her again today.
And just because I can...
An updated pic of my gorgeous Grandson Floki.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

A Finish.

In spite of my viral infection keeping me off work, I haven't been lazy, even though the doc told me to rest, I've been keeping busy. Granted the housework has been even more minimal than usual and I've sat with my cross stitch in a warm sunny room.
All the extra stitching time means I've been able to finish the elephants.
And here they are, on their 'Serengeti Stroll'
The chart was designed by Karen Bowdish back in 1990 and the stitching was started by Debbie in about 1996. For what ever reason, she put it away, and over Christmas 2017 she asked me if I would like to complete it for her. 
Well of course I would.
The image below is how the project came to me. With only one of the six elephants stitched and about a third of the skyline stitched too. Love the sunset.
And in the next image, you see the part that I stitched.
As you know I ran out of one of the grey brown threads, with three elephants still to stitch, and in the over 20 years since Debbie started it, that particular colour had become a grey green!!  EEK!
With the help of some wonderful people on the NZ cross stitchers page on facebook, I was able to finish it off. Two of the threads I received came out of stashes that had been inherited, so must be very precious, I am especially grateful to those ladies.
These next two pictures are not the greatest, sorry, but you should be able to make out that I signed and dated each end of the design.
The left end for me in 2018.
And on the far right..
Debbie in 1996, which is her guestimate of the starting date.
Debbie has seen a photo of the piece, which I sent on messenger and  I know she is happy to see it completed.
I enjoyed stitching it, it offered some relief from the acres of yellow in my Spring Queen.
Speaking of her, I made some great progress while waiting for the elephant threads to arrive and have her all set up ready to go again this afternoon.
The virus is progressing. (sniff)
Hopefully I'll be back at work on Thursday, meanwhile, it's on with the stitching.

Monday 7 May 2018

Quilt Exhibition

I went to a quilt exhibition yesterday. Sadly both Claire and Debbie had to work and not wanting to make the hour long drive alone I asked Tony to come along. He drove me. :-)
The exhibition was held at Annie's Country Quilt Store, a shop you should all be familiar with by now as it it a regular haunt of mine. 
The International Quilt Challenge Exhibition held in association with Aotearoa quilters is on the road travelling around new Zealand at the moment.
Quilters from New Zealand, Japan and France took part in the challenge, with each country nominating iconic natural wonders around the world. Then one quilter from each country would interpret said wonder into fabric and create 20 inch quilt.There were ninety quilts in total, with thirty subjects. I didn't get photos of all of them, nor did I get artists details, but hopefully I did at least remember which country the quilters come from.
If you google images for each of the subjects you will see some of the stunning natural sights that inspired these talented quilters.
Sadly, my camera is not the best, but hopefully you get an idea of how amazing some of these pieces truly are.

The Great Blue Hole in Belize. 

 This piece was made by the NZ quilter. Her free motion quilting was lovely.

 Staftafeli, a national park in Iceland with an amazing ice cave.
 The NZ quilter created this amazing blue piece.
 The Japanese interpretation was completely different, and very frosty feeling.

Halong Bay in Vietnam.
 Another beautiful interpretation by an NZ quilter.
 And the Japanese depiction.

 The Giants causeway in Northern Ireland.
 This piece by the NZ quilter is 3D The hexagons speak for themselves if you have ever been to or seen images of the causeway. It is made up of great basalt hexagons, as they cooled the volcanic rocks set into 'crystals' rather than the usual basalt slabs we are more accustomed to seeing. The buttons in the centres of some of the hexies depict the water that lies in some of the hollowed out tops and in places there were extra quilted hexies sewn onto the quilt, these depicted mosses and lichens that grow on the rocks. And of course, because she is a good kiwi, she made sure to include a pair of jandals (Flip flops.) in the bottom right. 
 The Japanese composition also referenced the hexagonal rocks and their fiery origins.

 Aoraki Mount Cook. NZ
Mount Cook is the tallest mountain here in NZ, known as Aoraki to the Maori people.
The NZ quilter produced this striking artistic depiction.
 The Japanese quilter depicted it in a more scenic light, showing the great numbers of lupins that flower in the national park.

 Moreki Boulders is another iconic NZ natural feature. 
I only captured a part of the NZ quilt which you see below.
 The Japanese quilter has again chosen a more scenic interpretation. 

 Antelope Canyon in Arizona USA. A beautiful rock formation created by wind and water.
 The NZ quilter.
 And french quilters all produced quite different interpretations.

 Piton de la Fournaise, which in English means Peak of the Furnace. This is a volcano on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
 Of course NZ knows a thing or two about volcanoes and the local quilters interpretation depicts that. 
 I didn't capture the Japanese quilters entire work, but you can see a little of it under the Kiwi piece. It was more reminiscent of  flowing lava than the peak of the volcano.
And below, the French piece, again featuring the fiery peak.

 The Great Barrier Reef, an Australian national park.
I didn't capture the NZ quilt, but as you can see from the tiny taste of it above, it was a stunningly typical reef scene.
 Of the three interpretations, I was most struck by the French piece.
These tiny diamond shaped log cabin blocks were amazing. each log finished at quarter of an inch!
 In her description the quilter explained that the tiny pieces represent each of the organisms that live on and create the reef and the paler lightening strike shape is representative of an S for SAVE. Hinting that we humans must do something to protect and look after the reef before we lose it.
In an effort to show how tiny those pieces are, I got Tony to put his hand in there. He was very good and didn't touch the quilt. I taught him well. :-)

 A Fjord Norway.
 Kiwis also know a thing or two about Fjords as the NZ quilter shows here.
 The Japanese quilter went along a more artistic and interpretive route.
 I wish my camera was better and you could see the beautiful quilting, both by hand and machine.
 The French quilter depicted a typically scenic and peaceful Nordic Fjord.

 And for my final group of images..
the Northern Lights.
 The NZ quilters depiction was strikingly colourful.
 The French quilter used those same bright colours against a darker sky in this stunning quilt. 

My camera really does not do justice to these stunning works of art, nor could it capture much of the detail that went into them. The whole exhibition although small was truly inspiring. It will be 'on the road' for quite some time so if you get an opportunity to view it, do go along.

The nasty virus I mentioned in my last post has moved out of my throat and is now sitting in my sinuses, thank goodness, life is more comfortable now.
If I could just get it to shift outta my ears...
Although it is/was painful and uncomfortable, I was still able to stitch (And visit exhibitions) and picked up the elephant project again. I've made great progress with that, and will share next time.

Friday 4 May 2018

Shhhh, it's oh so quiet....

I woke up yesterday with a bit of a sore throat, but I went off to work as usual.
As my shift wore on, things got worse and I went from sounding like Scooby Doo, to almost no voice at all, and very painful ears too! Once I got home I was just about able to make myself understood when I called for a Doctors appointment and scored the last one of the day.
Apparently I have huge tonsils, which are very red and inflamed.
I'm on antibiotics and have to rest my throat for a few days, so no talking for me! 
Which means no work either.
So I get a long weekend off work.
Maybe I'll sit and sew.
Some of the grey brown / elephant threads that were promised to me have arrived and one of them is a perfect match. I could get on and stitch elephants, but I've really been enjoying my own project, Spring Queen, and as you see below I've made good progress over this week.
And here is what she looks like now.
I'll make a decision about what to stitch soon, first I want to show off something new.
Tony and I made home made pasta the other day. It was our very first go and we agreed that if we are going to make a habit of this, then we want a pasta rolling machine!
But for a first effort we were pretty happy with our ravioli.
It is filled with a sweet potato filling and was served with a dressing of walnuts and sage.
Here it is before it went into the pan.
Sorry, no after shot this time, we ate it!! LOL
Right, I'm off to decide what to do with my quiet day.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Meet Floki

My grandson has arrived.
He was born on the Isle of Man on Monday morning.  After keeping his mum, Josie and dad, awake for most of the night.
Welcome to the world little man.
He looks a lot like his dad. 
Floki is a Nordic name, which followers of the 'Vikings' series on History channel will recognise.
There is a strong Viking heritage on the island as many Norse men settled there, marrying and living with the locals, many place names on the island have Nordic origins. So a Viking name seems appropriate.
His dad Jonathan, a fisherman, looks like a Viking these days too!
I would love to be there and cuddle all three of them, but sadly that isn't going to happen for a while.
I'll just have to send lots of love instead. I'm sure I mentioned that I have sent blankets, quilts and hand knits to him already and the little angel cross stitch I recently completed arrived the same day he did! And is charged with watching over the whole family and keeping them safe.
Time to go, I have chores to do, before I sit and sew.
I might get some more pictures of Floki before they go to sleep for the night.