Thursday, December 29, 2011


I think if I made a list of all the things I could truly celebrate it would be a long one, and it is good to stop and count ones blessings. At the very top of the list would be 48 years  of marriage. Paul and I celebrated our wedding anniversary of December 14th  after all the ups and downs of the past few months this Anniversary became very important to us.
As we were 48yrs ago.

 We decided to go away for a couple of days.... forget the house, the insurance assessor had been and  we know sometime the front room will be pulled apart and new flooring etc will go down meanwhile we have the contents of the room scattered around us, quite depressing at times so we turned our back on it all and took off.
This is what the living room looks like with the dolls house which is taking quite a bit of the space., and this is a tidy room!  others have things from the front of the house scattered through them.

Our destination was Wanganui, not too far, just an hour and a half's drive south from here. We had two nights down there and mostly had a relaxing time, although the weather was damp we did enjoy a trip up the river on PS Waimarie, New Zealand last paddle steamer.

Two nights out to dinner were also treats. we chose a motel with a restaurant so it was only a short walk to dinner. An excellent Chef, the meals both nights were outstanding. we need an excuse to go back again.

I am very grateful for all the messages I have received both through the blog and by email, I have yet to answer them all, as sitting at the computor does not agree with my back so I only do short spells at a time, I share with you one message I received......

Life can and will test us with every breath,
beauty can be enjoyed in the moment which we give thanks for.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Christmas Day here has been a bright sunny day and we (Paul and I) have made the most of it having a quiet restful day enjoying the warmth of the sun and knowing we have God's Blessings..
 To all my blogging friends I send you Greeting and Blessing for Christmas may you have just the most perfect day possible with family and friends. Thank you for all the messages received it has helped to know we have had the thoughts and prayers of friends.
Our family phoned to exchange greetings and share news of their travels they are away in their motor home for several weeks. it is the Summer holidays here and school it out till the end of January.
With all the upheaval of the flood and everything moved round the house I have not put up the big tree this year, only this little one has come out and found a corner in the dinning room, In the half light with the lights turned down it glistens and the blue shades look deeper. To me this tree is the Night sky over Bethlehem  It just need a star above it.
I wanted something special to share for Christmas and found this in my collection I don't know where I got it from however  it is written by Desmond Gilliland........
God made a star and said to all wise men and children wise and all wise women too.  Follow the Star throughout another year. Follow with love and hope and faith - how has the journey been for you?
God left a star. Where is the star now at the dark year's turning, with mists of doubt and clouds across the moon?
Yet we move on, from habit and from yearning, glimpsing the star again, and limping on, until, ahead, a huddled shack, a dim light burning, and the clouds part, and we are running, running towards a great Star. Towards the great Star and the starlit stable, Kneeling, we know that life is love. And love is God, and God has come among us!
Outside the star has gone. The sky  is dark above.    But out of our faith and from the stable's treasure God makes a Star and says to  all wise men, and women wise and all wise children too..........
'Follow the Star throughout another year. Follow its light with a step and true. Follow and it will guide you home again'
God makes- Oh Look! A Star.
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And in the words we sang this morning... Love came down at Chritmas.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

WATER, WATER EVERY WHERE.......................

I realise it is a while since my last post however most of what has been happening here does not make a happy post so I will briefly bring everyone up to date then look to the future. We had a lovely few days in Napier with Joan and Denis, very relaxing and what we both needed, as well as my back problems, Paul's health has taken a downward turn. Arrived home and as we retired for the night I was sure I could hear water running....! we found it..... the front room of the cottage was flooded! There is a small hand basin in the room which we have never used in our 11 years here, somehow one tap had come apart and not only was the hand basin full, the water was now coming out like a fountain and I truly I was wading in water. SOS to the family and it took us 2 hours to get everything out
 We were not using the room as a bed room, the dolls house was there (no damage thankfully) my second computor (Jan checked it the next day it still works) however fabric stored in cane hampers, papers etc stored in cardboard storage boxes did not fear as well. It took days to sort out and salvage what I could and dry out photos, fabric etc.
 The biggest loss was all my research notes specially the Wessex notes, 25 years  research and designs and all I managed to salvage was 5 pages. Although  I tell myself I am no longer teaching and so dont have such a great need for them, I still felt the loss.  My Turkish research was fine and I promise I will share that sometime soon. and the other Workshop designs and notes , and all my genealopg research is out here in a bookcase so safe.
Insurance inspection has declare the floor has to come up and be replaced along with skirting boards etc. so we will be living with the dolls house in the centre of the living room for quite a while yet. With Christmas only a few days now I imagine it will be into January before we see anything done.

 I have yet to face sorting out everything that is spread out in our other room and certainly nothing will get stored in cardboard boxes in future they are like blotting paper when it comes to them sitting in water and not all plastic bags and plastic boxes are water tight too,
On the bright side... I have been saying it was time for a good sort out of everything, well now I have no excuses it must be done !!!

 Back soon on a brighter note.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Life's completeness and richness depends on the things we share
with our loved ones and friends
Helen Steiner Rice
My thanks for all the messages I have received, I will try and reply  to them shortly but although I am much improved, I am still not comfortable sitting for too long at a time. That should improve now as Paul has bought me a new computor chair......... a really delux executive one,

Among the emails received have been two exciting ones
and I am thrilled to be able to share photos of two finished quadrielles, both from America.
The first is from Annette Navarro, you may have read all Annette's comments on the SAL postings as she kept me informed of all her progress as she stitched it.

and this one below is from Antonina Batalova,  her blog is
Well done both of you. I hope you both enjoyed your stitching, now I would like you to email me your postal addresses as I said I would stitch and send a little something to anyone who sent me photo of their finished quadrielle.

On Thursday December 1st, Paul and I will go across to Napier to spend a few days with my sister and her husband and I am looking forward to visiting my favourite Embroidery Shop Heirlooms. This time of the year Sherelyn has a special Christmas display in her lovely old home where her Gallery/shop is situated. Tell you more when I return next week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

I have thought for many years that this summed up my day, my needle has given me much pleasure and stitching is a very relaxing pastime.... till just over a week ago when I found myself not able to do the simplest thing... it seems I must have put something out in my lower back. Enough said, I now have even more sympathy for those who suffer pain and hope by tomorrow to pick up my needle again.
No stitching of mine to share at the moment, but I wanted you to see and enjoy these lovely piece I have received in the last two Stitching Friends exchanges.

This delightful pincushion was made for me by my friend Ann in our Stitching Friends recent pin cushion exchange. It is quite petite only 4cm high, stitched on 40 count linen and the cross stitching of all the little animals is  over one thread.  Its  just too lovely to use .... a real treasure.

The pin keep exchange asked everyone to chose 1 shade of DMC Thread and the challenge was any form of stitching using just that one colour.( beads and extras allowed) I chose 3726 a lovely old world pink and here is what Heather produced for me. Its stump work and all so perfect and the suprise is how well the bronze butterfly blends in. The pinkeep is quite tiny only 6cm across. Her finishing method was different to what I have seen before, inside is layers of wool felt to keep pins from rusting and round the edge she has sewn on narrow ribbon using coral knot stitch.

Back again soon and hopefully stitching

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Thursday, November 10, 2011


Now to the exciting part of making up the Quadrielle.... extra care and time here will make the finish look so much better.

If you have used a backing fabric, pin the layers together before you move on to the next step. The red lines shown here are where you now cut, remember there is no seam allowance at the top or the bottom.

Turn the extra material back behind the points do not cut it off, leaving it makes the finish stronger
Now tack round all the edges to hold every thing in place.
Next step in the fold and iron firmly all the lines that form the sides of the boxes, this pressing makes quite a difference to how the finished piece will look.
Join all the points at the top by whip stitching through your backstitches, adding a loop of narrow ribbon at the top for hanging , dont make this too small as you will be attaching  ribbons to it later

Join the points at the bottom the same way, this time adding a length of the same narrow ribbon you will use to finish. Finally before sewing up the side stuff your quadrielle, (avoid overstuffing as that will make the sides bulge.)

Take two lengths of narrow ribbon , dont cut, but make two large loops and two tails, stitch together at the top  to hold in place then stitch them to the tail on your quadrielle near the base.

Next take 2 lengths of organza ribbon and tie them on just above (or on top ) of where you stitched the narrow ribbon on, finish with a generous bow, turn the quadrielle round and tie on 2 further organza ribbons... this make two bows back to back.

Posted by PicasaFinish by adding to small bows at the top. Feel free to change the ribbons if there is something you like better.

.I look forward to hearing when you have completed your piece and I will stitch a small reward for anyone who sends me a photo of their finished quadrielle.

 If this has been fun, then we might do another SAL next year.

Monday, November 7, 2011

SAL Part 5

The stages  of stitching the centre designs.

1: the circle drawn in the centre form a guideline for the three rows of gold thread that are twined round to represent a willow wreath add one row at a time couching down as you go.

2: Chain stitch (Daisy stitch) leaves in dark green these represent holly leaves.  I work with 3 larger groups with 1 or 2 small groups in between I avoid using 4 large groups as this tends to make the design look square.
Also I dont try and make each of the wreaths inside the 4 squares exactly the same, I like a more natural look, and it makes placing the stitches easier.

3: Next add groups of red beads to represent the berries. I stitch each bead on twice, it does take more time but  it is worth while as they do sit so much better... and use red thread to stitch them on with.
 On my first one I added a few gold beads but there are none on this present one I hope to find more when we shop this friday.

4: groups of straight stitches using one strand of blue green floss is now added to finish the wreaths... these hopefully look like sprays of pine needle.

Finish by adding some gold paillettes or tiny sequins.

Now all that is left is the construction to finish........ Posting again soon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

SAL Part 4

The next stage is to add the heavier Gold thread to create the circle for the christmas wreath design in the centre of each square.  A few couching stitches are used to hold it in place. This is done in 3 stages. the first time round use, the pencil drawn circle as a guide line and try to cover it.

 Dont worry if at this stage it does not look like a perfect circle as the shape will alter as you add two more rows. let these rows twist a little rather than have 3 straight row. Don't try and make all four circles the same,  the thread often has a mind of its own and this can add to your design. I think it adds  to the look if all the circles look quite natural and not to stiff and exact.

I hope this will be enough to keep you working, as tomorrow we go quite some distance to collect son after he finishes a mountain bike race and bring him back here, we will then have just under 24 hours of his company..... so after he leaves on sunday I will post the rest of the stitching instructions.

Annette, I am enjoying your comments that are keeping me up to date with your progress, can you email me as I would love to send a private message in return.
 Happy stitching

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

SAL Part 3

We now come to the exciting part of adding the design. Stitch the motifs on the top and bottom sections first.

These motif are form by first stitching four long armed chain stitch
 also known as Daisy stitch. (my choice was a soft green thread as I did not want the motifs to dominate and catch the eye.)

 Make the centre of these stitches 1cm from the centre square. 
 The straight stitches are added using a fine gold thread, then add  a gold bead in the centre and a few paillettes or small sequins to finish. Stitch all these parts the same.

Before moving on the the centre squares add a backing of calico or light cotton fabric, this is to support the weight of the beads, a few invisible tacking stitch will hold this in place.  To make the stitches, invisible use sewing thread the same colour as your fabric and stitch and slide your stitches under the back stitch lines. It does not take a lot of stitches to hold the backing fabric in place and it will be anchored further as you stitch the centre design

I will be back tomorrow  to continue, meanwhile happy stitching

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


All the lines shown here in green need to be backstitched. I backed stitched over 4 threads using the same colour for all of this and when it came to the second inner row on the squares I left a space of 4 threads.... but remember the choice is yours.
I am now stitching one that has deep yellow for the main outlining and then the inner squares are stitched in red and green alternating. the colours, will look very festive I think finished.. will keep you posted on the result.

Here is the easy method I used to make the points top and bottom,  
I found the centre of each by counting my back stitches and then carefully drew pencil lines which I stitched over- try to make the stitches  an even size as it is not possible to count threads here.
Don't make these stitches too big,  smaller stitches will make the construction finish neater.
 In the centre of each square I   drew a circle approx 2.5cm or 1inch across.  I found an empty plastic spool that DMC Perle 8 threads come on excellent to trace arround these pencil lines will be covered later.

 Will be back tomorrow with the next part  till then happy stitching

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


You may use any count fabric you wish, it does  need to be an even weave to make stitching the outlines neater.
My sample is worked on 40 count permin  linen but it would work equally as well on 28, 32, or 36 count.

 The finished size of the stitching before it is made up is- 22 x 12cm (approx 9 x 5 inches) but it is easier to work on a slightly larger piece of fabric. The same size piece is needed which ever count you decide to use.

You will also need-
Threads colour of your own choice for all the outlines.
(I used some scraps I had of DMC  Flower thread 2725)
2 shades of green dark and light bluegreen.
gold thread in 2 thicknesses-
fine for adding paillettes   and beads and couching the heavier thread.
gold and red beads.
gold paillettes (flat sequins) or tiny sequins.( here in NZ I can buy tiny ones on a long thread.)
calico or cotton for backing and a selection of ribbons.
Tacking thread.

Do feel free to make changes to colours of threads, ribbons and beads, you may have something you would rather use.

Select your material and tack up ready as shown here.
There is 1cm  seam allowance at each end (none top and bottom)
The centre squares are 5 x5 cm ( 2x2 inches) and the top and bottom ones are 5 x 3.5cm (2 x1 1/2 inches)

I will continue to post the parts of the SAL at intervals over the week, it is quite quick to make once the preparation is done.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This year the our two Daphne birkwoodii bushes  have been a mass of blooms, this later flowering Daphne has a softer perfume and I have enjoyed sharing these lovely sprays with others. Caitlin and  I managed to make 44 little posies over several days,  before the rain came ( yet again!)

 One of our church members is a hospital chaplain at one of the local rest homes, she took away the first basket of posies with her on her weekly visit. The others took them to folk we knew in the other two rest homes and the final basket full went with me to church last Sunday and there were shared with those present.  I feel very blessed that I was given such an abundance of blooms and through others have been able to share them.

Now I have something I would like to share with you all.

My stitching friends group have had a Mystery SAL  We were given the instructions for making the shape and from there the choice of design was our own.  This is my finished one.... a  Christmas Quadrielle  and I am delighted with how easy it was to make and how it turned out, so I have decided to share how to make one like this as a SAL. on this blog. I am now on my second one and have ideas for others, these are fun to make.      The stitching is very simple it includes back stitch, chain stitch some couching and lots of beads!  so if you are interested in making one drop by tomorrow for the first of the instructions


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Thursday, October 13, 2011


I have just learnt that the halloween ornament exchange piece I sent has arrived, I am always nerves till I know the postman has made the delivery, although only once has a piece gone astray, sometimes they take simply ages to get to their destination. The design I stitched is a Sue Hillis design called Best Witches and was a freebie from  I have since found another version of the design of this witch design at look under freebies.

Along with the witch ornament , I sent a tiny " trick or treat bag" with a tiny felt owl inside.
I have been making some of these small owls, they are about 6cm tall and a handy project to have, to stitch in the car. I started making them,  to go on the bags for our junior stitchers, then I came up with the idea of a Halloween Owl, the first Halloween Owl has arrived in its new home in Canada, the next one is ready to fly to its new home and if you visit my other blog there is a third one waiting to find a new home.

It must be today's weather, the light is not good for photography and this photo does not show
 the true colours of the biscornu I  received from Sandrine in France,  in the Halloween exchange. the fabric is soft apple green and I just love the smiling faces of the little witches. I have it hanging by my computor so I can enjoy it.

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