Thursday, December 31, 2009


To all who visit my blog.
 Best Wishes for the New Year,
 may 2010 be a rewarding
and relaxing year.
and do remember to
 " take time to smell the daisies."

Monday, December 28, 2009


We are home again after a wonderful 11day holiday at Napier with my sister, Joan and Denis her husband. It was great sharing all that time with them, and being very spoilt, relaxing and all meals prepared for us along with good weather and I even managed to do some stitching.

I took over Joan's birthday sampler and as it is now hanging on her wall I can share it with everyone. . Stitched on 40 count permin linen, mainly with Maderia Silk threads and some DMC stranded, it is the largest sampler I have done.

The pattern at the top and the bottom of the sampler are original, designed specially for the sampler and
I stitches bands from some of my favourite designs and embroidery techniques making it a one only sampler

Sister's share childhood memories and grown up dreams

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The lights have been found and we redid the tree today,  also our plans for Christmas have changed and we will be going away earlier. Hopefully I might be able to add a posting while at Napier, meanwhile to all my friends ........May you have a wonderful Christmas, and my very best Wishes to you all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Our tree is decorated here at Groatieburn Cottage with white, cranberry,gold and silver decorations, no lights this year they have been packed away at daughter's house and not found this year!. The living room at the cottage is in pink tonings hence the colour choice for the decorations.
This afternoon I put the tree up in the little house. "Summerlee" is the lovely doll's house we built, and completed 11 years ago.

 We designed it to look like one of the old homes in Hawkes Bay NZ and have furnished it as at the 1890's

Here is the resident dolls, Henry and Sarah Barker view the christmas tree this afternoon. The children Emma , Caroline and baby John are still upstairs with Nanny. I will add their photos later.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Here is another   Wessex Stitchery  stitch., again from an old embroidery magazine and simply described as fly and detached chain. Note the fly stitches have quite small tails while the chain stitches have long ones.

Ann has allowed me to  copy her Wessex pin Cushion Chart that is based on this stitch.
The original was stitched on 32 count Belfast material so if you use a different fabric you will need to adjust the fabric size.

Fabric 18cm square Belfast Linen.
4 Colours of no 8 Perle thread. 1 dark, 1 med, 1 gold, 1 green.
Each square of the graph represents one fabric thread.
Stitch 1 Dark colour - 4 fly stitches
         2. med colour - 4 fly stitches
         3. gold centre  - cross stitch
         4. green          - 4 detached chain stitches.
repeat to make a square 5x5, joining the design at the straight stitches.
Finish by using one of the border patterns supplied or make up your own.
 Adjust corners as required.
 Thank you Ann, I hope someone might enjoy stitching this.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


This is the piece I stitched for a Sampler Exchange, the challenge was to stitch a sampler that included the alphabet and at least 5 specialty stitches, and was between 4-6 inches in size.
I stitch this on 40 count permin linen, and used Jane Van Kuelin's wonderful hand dyed threads.
To finish, I mounted at on the front cover of a needlebook, using cotton print of William Morris' Honeysuckle design as the background fabric.
It went to The Netherlands and I have just learnt of its safe arrival.
Unfortunatly my earlier exchange of a Christmas ornament has been 5 weeks in the mail, so it looks like I will need to stitch another one.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I will add some Wessex patterns with charts over the next week as I have friends in England keen to see these and I hope others might enjoy stitching this work too
These are the samples from a Wessex Mystery sampler I designs about 10 years . Mrs Foster who created Wessex Stitchery used a variety of threads and colours in her stitching.

This pattern is taken from one of Mrs Foster's samplers that is shown in the book "Making Samplers" pg 113 If you are able to study the book you will see although she has stitched it in blue, more than one shade of the colour has been used as have different thicknesses of threads. I am sure she would have enjoyed all the varigated threads we have today.

Mrs Foster named this stitch Steepholm and the illustration above comes from an old Embroidery magazine. It is a favoutite stitch of mine.

Stitch it in stages, Lay and couch the outline threads first,
then Rice Stitch with additional straight stitches
lastly lay threads across and couch with up right cross stitches and an eyelet in the centre.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Every now and then as an embroidery tutor one has that special student that is not only a pleasure to teach but whose work stands out head and shoulders above the rest.
Today's such student was an 8 year old, The project was using star stitch to create a Christmas tree and  in a group of 5 children her work stood out above the rest for her neat stitching and the amount she completed in the hours class.
I mention this because I want to share with you some work by another embroiderer. Jocelyn was in my first Wessex Stitchery class in the mid 1990's, she has gone on to create many, many pieces in Wessex stitchery but also to share this embroidery with many others throught her classes. This week when I received an email from England for more information on Wessex Stitchery I contact Jocelyn and she was happy to share some of her work with you.
Her Hussif shows many of the different stitch patterns that form Wessex Stitchery I will try and add "How to" for some of the patterns in the next few days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Having spent the morning in the garden mostly dealing with storm damage, we have had both heavy rain and strong winds. I am now sorting out designs I would like to stitch for my christmas gifts.

This little design of Campanula Pulla has previously been stitched on a gift bag but this time I will use it for a Floss Ring Tag. I hope someone else might enjoy this design too. the design is 30h x 15w. 
Colours used are DMC
3807 Blue Mauve
3345 Dark Green
3346 Mid green
3347 Light Yellow Green

Thursday, November 12, 2009


When we bought the cottage there were climbing roses as the front, one is a Cecile Brunner  and the other was labeled Bloomfield Abundance,  I always thought these two roses were the same but there is definately a colour diference between these two climbers here.
Every year these  two climbing roses on the verandah posts each side of the front door get a mad burst of growth in the spring and start climbing up onto the roof. This untidy look gets to Paul and he insists they are cut back. This is always when there is a mass of buds coming.! however this year because of weather and other commitments they did not get cut back and I have happily let him do so this week as they are in full flower, the result is that I have several bowls of these deightful roses in the house.
 I think the colour difference is noticable in the photo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


With drooping bells of clearest blue
thou didst attract my childish view,
Almost resembling the azure butterflies that flew
Where on the heath thy blossoms grew
so slightly trembling.
Reginald Heber "The Harebell"
This morning had a session in the garden and to my delight the first flowers of harebells ( Campanula rotundifolia) have appeared. A favourite of mine, with its very dainty mauve bells. A wild plant found in northern parts of the world it is known by many names, Bluebells of Scotland, Alpine Scotch bells, Witches Thimbles, Lady's thimbles, Aul man's bells, Heath Bells, are a few names I have found.
I have used  these little flowers many times in small embroidery designs and share one with you now..

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We chose to visit some gardens south of here together then Joan and Denis drove off to Napier and we headed home.
The morning turned out to be bitterly cold and so not as many stops on our rounds for photos.
These beautiful clematis blooms were my favourites.


Not belittleing  the local restrants, we decided to have the Birthday dinner at home. For those with diminished hearing the quieter surroundings are more desirable. So with lots of practise with some very special recipes we were able to create a very delicious and tasty stuffed schnitzel first course followed by the piece de resistance...... a lime cheese cakes served with Strawberries and cream.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Denis tried very hard yesterday to get a photo of Joan and myself to commemorate our birthdays, we rejected all the ones he took so I thought I would post one of my own choice. Joan on the left and myself on the right.
Later: Am now able to add...... as we are today  and on the opposite sides Joan now on the right..

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Yesterday afternoon we went to the Official opening of the Regional Embroidery Exhibition " ALONG THE GARDEN PATH"   My junior embroiderers group did well taking five awards. 1st in each of the three Junior sections, a third and a special merit award for their group piece.
 As a Grandmother  my special thrill was Caitlin winning her section with her sampler " Butterfly Summer"

 Joan took this lovely photo of Caitlin beside her piece.  Also this one of three generations together.

Rachel on the left, then myself , Caitlin and daughter Jan.
 It was a double celebration as both Grand daughter and Grandmother took awards in the same exhibition. as " Roses for Rachel " also won first in its section.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


We started with a visit to Hollard Garden and also to the Farmers market that was being held there, where these delightful Scarecrow people took our attention..

We had all visited the Hollards gardens earlier in the year, but todays visit was really at the right time, The rhododendrons were in full bloom.

and every where you walked lovely burst of colour appears and not only the rhododendrons but the deciduous Azaleas were out standing

Joan and I were both busy with the camera. top photo is mine and the lovely view of the glowing orange azalea is her photo. And she also took this one of Paul and I, as I was getting a photo of the lovely soft apricot primulas. there were several other shades but the apricot really the ones that impressed me the most.

above the photo I was taken and here a close up shot by Joan.

Friday, October 30, 2009


My sister Joan and her husband Denis have arrived to spend a few days with us. It's to be a very special time, as for the first time since we were children we are having a joint birthday celebration, our birthdays are 10 days apart, and its made more special as we are celebrating Joan's 70th Birthday.

Its is also start of the Taranaki Rhododendron and Gardens Festival so we have both chosen places we would like to visit during the next few days..

We started the day with a visit to Tupare in New Plymouth as not only did we wish to visit the gardens, the house tour was a must on our list.Tupare was a private family house and garden established in 1932 and is now owned by the Taranaki Regional Council. it was amazing going through the house. built in the arts & craft style it is a Chapman-Taylor designed house. see for photos of the house.

The gardens are extensive and in parts the paths are quite steep, we only did part of the walks today, its a must for a return visit soon.
 I loved this display of deep blue Iris Siberica gainst the brick wall in part of the garden near the Gardeners cottage.

After that we visited two gardens each having chosen one, we chose small gardens that compared in size to our own, and each quite different.
"Thorveton"  a small secluded town garden was full of all the tiny delights I enjoyed and was beautifully layed out. In contrast the other garden we visited was a newly developed one on a small section and Joan was interested to see the use of textures and layouts as her own garden is quite a new one.
From there to Lake Mangamahoe for our picnic lunch. The sun came out but unfortunatly the clouds covered the view of the mountain, in the distance beyond the end of the Lake.

We then went on to visit Kings Garden on the way home.A large garden, beautifully set out with lovely paths that rambled through the garden. I specially wanted to see the yellow Candalebra Primulas growing beside the tiny stream. I  would love to have a stream in my garden and be able to grow them. In our garden we have made a bog corner and at this stage  two pink ones are growing well.

Joan and Denis admiring the primulas.

A corner in the King's Garden

Monday, October 26, 2009


The Hussif is finished.
I have named it for the Exhibition as "ROSES FOR RACHEL"
Red is her favourite colour and the outer material matches a piece I have done for her previously. The inside is decorated with Bullion Stitch Roses,
I think the bullion stitch roses were some of the earliest things I learnt to stitch, taught by my mother.

Here is a close up showing some of the pieces that go in the pockets...Floss Ring tab, Pin keep and Tape measure. All the material on the inside is silk.
And a close up of the top of the hussif, it all rolls up for easy carrying.
In my hurry to pack it up for delivery the last photo of the hussif rolled up did not come out well it looks a bit screwed up!!!!


Deadlines are looming for both pieces of work I am currently stitching, however I told myself a break in the garden would do me good this morning. Today was forcasted as a fine sunny day and we have not had many of these, so an opportunity not to be wasted as the garden is much in need of attention. Came inside several hours later I am sure the fresh air did me good and the time spent certainly did the garden a lot of good. Now it is back to the stitching.
I have nealy completed the piece for the Regional Exhibition, it is also to be Rachel's birthday present.She is turning 15, for friends who remember her over the years she is now tall and slim like her Uncle Barryn. It is a Hussif, which I know is something she really wanted.Rachel came in to see the nearly completed work and gave it her blessing with that lovely teenage word "COOl"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have now mounted Caitlin's sampler " Butterfly Summer" as a bellpull and  am very proud of her effort.