Thursday, 29 March 2018

Blog #61 - Snug As A Bug In A Rug

Saturday,  29 July 2017

Three years ago this month my mum passed away.
Our family had previously planned a weeks holiday together
but this had to be cancelled due to a funeral
and my being responsible for sorting out the family estate.
Somehow the family vacation never was rescheduled
and Keith and I had not taken a holiday together.
We finally made arrangements for a weeks vacation this month at Puka Park -
a secluded retreat amongst the bush at Pauanui Beach on the Coromandel Coast.

Pictured below is the resort restaurant, guests lounge, library, etc.
The day before we were due to leave for our holiday
bad weather affected the whole country - snow, wind and rain.

Woke on the day we were due to travel
to the Napier/Taupo highway still being closed with snow,
so too, the Desert Road with snow
and there had been a slip on the Gisborne/Whakatane highway
that closed that road.
All three quickest routes from the Hawkes Bay to our destination impassable
and no possibility of any of the routes being opened later in the day
and possibly not the next day either.
Late in the afternoon we decided to go the long way to our destination
and so travelled to Wanganui for a night
and the next day travelled from Wanganui to New Plymouth,
to Te Kuiti, to Hamilton, and then across to the Coromandel Coast.
A very LONG trip, finally arriving at our destination late afternoon.
But what a beautiful and peaceful location!
Our double chalet was nestled into the bush
and therefore very private and was very cosy.
When sitting in the lounge there was a view out to the beach/inlet.
Keith had a much needed rest - reading, sleeping and taking long walks
and I spent the days occasionally computer charting more alphabet letters
but mostly stitching.

We rearranged the furniture to accommodate me and my passion!
Here are a few pics of us -
me snuggled up in a blanket and doing what I love
and Keith resting.
I was tired of stitching alphabet letters
and so the piece I was working on was one of Gigi's designs.

A sampler reproduction.
Design Title:   Susie Pierce 1889
Designer:  GigiR
Design Code:  GR:SP
Design Price:   NZD 32.50

 One of the days Keith and I travelled to Whitianga for the day
to the home of Margaret - president of the local Embroidery Guild.
Margaret had arranged a special stitch day and luncheon
for myself and other ladies from Whitianga and Coromandel.

A lovely day.
Unfortunately I forgot to take photos.
It is a small world though.
Nearly 50 years earlier Margaret and I were bridesmaids together.
My lovely cousin, Kevin, married Margaret's equally lovely sister, Merrill.
Where have those years gone?!

Bride:  Merrill
Groom:  Kevin Pepperell
Bridesmaids:  Margaret Dawson & myself
Best Man:  Howard Martin
Groomsman:  Ken Stephenson
Junior Bridesmaid:  Sandrea Dulieu
Flowergirl:  Gillian Dulieu
Sandrea  &  Gillian  -  sisters
and cousins to Kevin and myself
Pepperell is a well-known Upper Hutt name.
Kevin is the son of Cliff & Vi Pepperell.
Cliff Pepperell Ltd  -  menswear store & later, womens too)
Sandrea & Gillian's parents owned and operated a sports shop in Upper Hutt
and my Mum & Dad owned and operated a taxi.
(Due to my Dad's war injuries he was not able to fulfil his dream of being a builder)
My mum was one of the first female taxi drivers in New Zealand.
I was seven years of age when she began driving.
Before doing this she used to do all the clothing alterations for Uncle Cliff's shop.
Today - Kevin & Merrill own and operate a fabulous café in Upper Hutt.
Café Blume  -  14 Main Street, Upper Hutt.
Kevin & Merrill do all the cooking and baking.
Food is delicious and café décor gorgeous!
One of my favourite roses
(and I have several in my garden)
is 'Margaret Merrill'.
I wonder why?!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Blog #60 - 'Sweet Adeline 1873' ... finished

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

When I arrive home from an overseas trip I am always very tired
and it takes me several days - often a week or so - to recover.
Preparations beforehand, setting up, exhibition days
and dismantling an exhibition site is really hard work.
Consequently, once I have unpacked my clothes suitcase,
I spend most of the time
for the next two weeks in my threadbare stitching chair -
relaxing to replenish my energy levels and, of course, stitching -
before I tackle replying to the hundreds of emails,
opening the mountain of mail correspondence,
unpacking the ordered stock that has arrived,
replying to all of the telephone messages,
restoring unsold stock to the Needlework Gallery,
unpacking & setting up the stitched needlework models throughout the house,
restoring and replenishing the 'set-up' supplies in readiness for the next exhibition
and attending to any needlework orders received.
Therefore, today I finished 'Sweet Adeline 1873'
 a dear little design by GigiR.
A reproduction of a sampler in the collection of my friend, Gigi,
who lives in Belgium.
The original of this design is stitched with a red thread but I chose a rust colour.
Actually, I have stitched this design twice.
Once over two fabric threads as per the original design
(as shown above)
and the other over one fabric thread and finished it as an ornamental.
Design Title:   Sweet Adeline 1873
Designer:  GigiR
Design Code:  GR:SA
Design Price:   NZD 29.50
Materials Used:
Fabric:   Belfast Linen  -  Dirty Linen
Thread  (Sampler):   Mulberry  -  Sampler Thread  by  The Gentle Art
Thread  (Ornamental):   DMC Stranded Cotton  -  918
When I was exhibiting at 'Celebration of Needlework'
I received many requests for designs that feature a single letter.
Consequently, in addition to relaxing and stitching,
I also spent many days hand-drawing letters of the alphabet designs.
There are a lot of letters in the alphabet!!
To date only done a few of the letters.
The process of designing is quite a long process.
After I have drawn a chart by hand
I then choose
the fabric count and colour
and the thread colours.
Once  these are chosen I then stitch little "test" samples
with the thread colours
to ascertain whether they suit the fabric colour and decide whether I like them or not.

Once these decisions
have been made
I stitch the design
and when completely finished
I then create the chart
in my computer charting programme,
draft the instructions
and layout of the design by hand
and when completely satisfied,
I then type up the hand written notes,
insert the charts,
photograph the stitched model
and add the image of it to the cover
and print out this copy and review it.
So often changes have to made
to the wording of instructions or correction of spelling mistakes,
tweaking/repositioning of charts and/or stitch diagrams,
adding a space here or there or taking one out, etc. etc.
Below is a photo of myself concentrating on charting one of the letters
into my charting programme.
Keith caught me unawares!
I was totally focused on what I was doing.
As you can see, I look pretty "worn out"
all snuggled up in my blanket in my threadbare stitching chair.
Also you can see how well my lovely man looks after me -
lunch had been provided by him!
(Empty luncheon plate and empty teacup of tea beside me)
I hadn't had to move - all brought to me.
And too - you can see all the other clutter around me -
pens & pencils, threads, stitching hoop,
a finished/stitched letter on the nearby couch cushion,
my daily reading books, another piece of needlework in progress,
and for when I got tired of charting, the TV remote in readiness
so that I could watch a programme that had been recorded whilst I had been away.
And finally, my pussy cat, Tabitha.
When I saw this photo I thought to myself, 
"Oh, my goodness, you look just like your mother!"
Look at the receding hairline, the thinning hair and the age spotted hand!
A bit scary!!  Mum was 20 years older than myself.
However, the older I get, the more I realise a lovely soul
is more important than being lovely in looks.
Here is a sneak peek at one of the alphabet letter charts
- the letter, "G" and one of two models stitched -
My plan is to stitch two models of each letter.
One model with the letter stitched with ecru coloured thread
and the other with the letter stitched with a coloured thread
(a shade lighter than the flowers and outlined with a darker shade).
I'm also going to finish the letters as ornamentals
so that they will be easy to take with me
whenever I am exhibiting overseas.
One side of the ornamental will be the plain thread letter,
the other side the coloured thread letter.
Lots of stitching to do  -  52 pieces!!
That's all for this time.
Hopefully I will have another one or two letters to show you next time.
Bye for now.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Blog #59 - Samplers, Samplers and more Samplers ...

Saturday, 27 May 2017

As promised in my last blog - more pics of amazing samplers
that adorn the walls at the beautiful home of Ellen & Tom Chester
and too, other exquisite needlework pieces.
This time all samplers and needlework pieces are in Ellen's office
and all are Ellen's creations,
published under her company name of
'With My Needle'
Almost all her designs are currently in stock
and therefore are available to be purchased from the Needlework Gallery.

To view designs -
Here are a few pics of 'With My Needle' designs that have been stitched
and are on display at the Needlework Gallery -
WMN:KIND  -  Kind and True
 WMN:BHPRIMER  -  Blue House Needle Primer
WMN:HUSWIF  -  Mrs. Waddelow's Huswif
WMN:QU  -  Quaker Samplings
(model stitched over one thread)
WMN:REM  -  Remember Me Sewing Pocket
(front view)

WMN:REM  -  Remember Me Sewing Pocket
(back view)
And finally, a work in progress -
WMN:FEMALE  -  Of Female Arts
In addition to all of Ellen's designed samplers
hanging on the walls of her office,
there was also an antique cabinet containing all other items she has designed -
needlebooks, huswifs, etui's, needlework boxes, scissor fobs
and more   ......
An amazing collection - and of course - all so beautiful.
Ellen has been given a wonderful gift.
We are so fortunate that she has shared her awesome talent with us all
so that we can recreate the wonderful pieces she has designed.
And finally, up against the last wall in her office is a bookcase
on which are the most fantastic needlework books.
A wonderful library.
And - all so neatly stacked and catagorised.
As per my previous blog - I really cannot find the words to adequately describe
all the beautiful needlework on display
and the gracious, elegant home in which they are housed.
Only one more day in Cincinnati with Ellen & Tom
-  Thursday, the 11th of May  -
In the morning Ellen and I spent some time together - stitching, chatting and enjoying
one another's company and in the afternoon whilst Ellen caught up on some tasks
I went for a walk around the area in which they live.
A beautiful place.
All homes are surrounded by a golf course,
huge trees, streets fenced with white railings.
So peaceful.
That evening Ellen, Tom and myself went to the golf clubhouse for dinner.
Very nice dinner and very nice surroundings.
Next day (Friday), hugs and kisses again as we said our farewells
and I flew from Cincinnati to Houston, to Auckland, to Napier,
arriving at home the following Sunday
-  Mothers' Day and my birthday   -
to more kisses and hugs
(this time from Keith).
What a wonderful time I had experienced in the USA
and what a wonderful welcome home.
I am truly blessed.
Bye for now.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Blog #58 - A Visit With Awesome Friends

Tuesday,  23 May 2017
 Tuesday, the 9th of May, time to leave Nashua.
In the morning travelled by car back to the Boston airport to fly to Cincinnati, Ohio,
as I had been invited by Ellen & Tom Chester (of ‘With My Needle’ fame)
to stay with them for a few days.
Arrived there late that afternoon to be met with huge smiles and hugs
from both of these lovely people. 

Together we drove to their golf course community subdivision,

 along the peaceful tree-lined streets to their street  -  Shaker Run


 past the golf clubhouse


to their beautiful home

 and was taken to my gorgeous bedroom!
Antiques and samplers everywhere!!
I felt like royalty!!
That evening - and the next - enjoyed a delicious dinner
at their gorgeous antique table
in their elegant dining room
with antique samplers adorning the walls.
Every morning Ellen wakes early and settles down
on her favourite couch in the family room
to stitch for a few hours before beginning her daily chores.
Isn't this an awesome spot?!
The arms of the chair are not threadbare like my stitching chair!
Later in the morning Ellen and I went "antiquing" and at lunchtime Tom joined us
at the Golden Lamb Inn which was built in 1803.
Since being built this inn has hosted many USA presidents for a night
and so most of the rooms were named after those who had stayed.
Unoccupied rooms were 'roped off' but open for viewing
and the décor in each room was fabulous.
Rooms on the top floor were "mini" museums showing the articles and lifestyle
of the original Shaker owners/family.
On the walls of the dining area hung antique cross stitch piece after cross stitch piece -
each piece worked on perforated paper.  Just wonderful!

Back home at Ellen's I wandered from room to room to room
in absolute awe of Ellen's handiwork.
On every available space on every available wall
(front lobby, lounge, dining room, family room, hallways, landings, bedrooms, etc.)
sampler after sampler after sampler hung.
I can't possibly show you all but to follow are a few pictures of them -
the first being the picture Ellen posted on her blog when she and Tom
first moved into this lovely home.
And here are a few more - but only a very, very, very few of the many.
One of my favourite areas was what Ellen called, "Quaker Alley".
It was the walkway between the hall/dining room and the kitchen.
On both sides of the walkway there were Quaker sampler designs -
all reproductions of samplers created by girls in the late 1700's and early 1800's
at the Ackworth School, England - the boarding school for children of Quaker families.
One wall -
and the other wall
As for the samplers on the walls in Ellen's office - I will have to show these in my next blog.
In addition to the wonderful array of samplers hanging on the walls,
there were cabinets and baskets throughout the house
overflowing with needlework pieces -
huswifs, pincushions, scissor fobs, needlebooks, etc., etc.
The cabinet pictured below is filled with antique needlework pieces.
On top of this cabinet were baskets
and just look at the contents of just this one basket!
All pieces stitched by Ellen!!
I cannot find the words to adequately describe the feast for the eyes
and peace for the soul.
As mentioned above  ....  more in my next blog.
Till then  .....  enjoy stitching your current project.