February WIPocalypse & a Finish!

WIPocalypse is hosted by Mel at her blog http://measi.net/measiblog/ ; it’s my favourite SAL, mostly due to the host organisation (which is spot on), the range of topics & the wide variety of stitchers participating. There’s always something to oooh over! Click on the link to the right.

February 28 – Gadgets! Show us your favorite stitching gadgets! and How did you do with Olympic Stitching, and what goals did you achieve?


My favourite gadget is pretty and simple – the Clover pendant thread cutter. Most planes won’t allow scissors but this negates the need & they are widely available. An unpicker would be a close second.

My “Olympic” goal was to get the rabbit, topiary and wings done on this RHS of Fairy Idyll. I wanted to be focussed on Bethlehem at work & Idyll at home.

Achieved! Last night (Feb 28th) I put the last few stitches into Bethlehem (for the SM “Christmas All Year Round” SAL). It’s on Silkweaver 28ct Goldspinner Opalescent Lugana as I imagined the Star to have illuminated the stable & surroundings as it says in Luke 2:9 “Suddenly, an angel of the LORD appeared among them, and the radiance of the LORD’s glory surrounded them…” I made some changes; the flowers didn’t fit my viewpoint, so they were gone; the smaller stars got lost in the opalescent, so they are gone; and the crow is now a dove (eggshell plus DMC 168). I’ve just realised I forgot to initial it – doh.


And while the next RR piece arrived mid-month, I didn’t start it. I have until mid-April, so it will now become my home piece until completed. I carried on the focus on Fairy Idyll (she even came to Wellington & road tripping with us) and I got the RHS wing, topiary (less the Kreinik strands) and bunny completed. I even got some of the grass done along the base and am in a pretty good space to continue after the RR witch.

SALS – For the Jane Austen SAL, I listened to Juliet Stevenson read “Sense & Sensibility” (the Jan/Feb choice) but as I am waiting on my LHN Bookshelf chart to arrive, stitchy progress is nil. So I didn’t meet the stitchy portion of the SAL, but not too worried. I’ll make it up when Bookshelf arrives. The next one is P&P – my favourite Austen.

Satsuma Stockings.jpg

For the SM “Christmas All Year Round” requirements, my next purse project was given to me by a co-worker in a not-so-secret Santa two Christmases ago. It’s one of the Satsuma Street/Jodi Rice mini stocking designs. I’m choosing to start with the reindeer and I’m subbing a few threads. We’ll see how it goes! Satsuma St patterns are available thru her Etsy shop – here’s the link to the Stockings https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/472290722/mini-christmas-stockings-set-of-four?ref=shop_home_active_5

SFS – I’m still in the black! I did buy a couple of things from Stash Unloading but so far am being good. This may be blown as I intend to visit Crewel Gobelin in Sydney this month – don’t you just love that name?

Budget $25.00
Portrait of Columbus chart -4.75
Scent of Old Roses chart -10.86
Spotlight 3 DMC -5.07
LHN Bethlehem 16.15
Rollover $56.10
Total Available Budget $76.57

WIP Wednesday #216

Very little progress this week – some days I can get a few threads in, other days I can’t. Last night I was the only guest at #stitchandbitch, so I got the manger, second sheep, the angel and started the tree leaves. Look at the French Knots on my angel! Pretty stoked with those, TBH.

Hope your week is going well!

Wellington, or There & Back Again

NOTE: hover over the photos to show captions!

A couple of weekends ago, we took advantage of a gap in the Tag schedule and flew down to Wellington for a quick getaway. We left Auckland in horrid squally weather (Mase & Si looking at the nearby planes gives it away as to how bad it was) but when we landed in Welly it was much clearer. Perfect for outdoor breakfast watching the seabirds catch fish at Oriental Bay, walking around the city centre & meeting friends for lunch (hello Catherine & Kerry!!).

We took in the Lego exhibit at Te Papa – huge masterpieces with some very clever detail. Si found Jeremy Clarkson’s Robin Reliant next to Big Ben – if you haven’t seen that episode, please PLEASE stop reading now, go to YouTube and search it up. It’s freaking hilarious to see people’s reactions & he even made a live news broadcast! The Mona Lisa is fully made of the 1*1 blocks – like a plastic cross stitch. The boys even made their own addition to the exhibit with a pokeball (I don’t know the name, can you tell?!).

We’d signed on to relocate a car back to Auckland – a dollar a day, plus insurance waiver, 900 free kilometres plus a tank of gas. I’d do it again, but I wouldn’t use Budget purely because of the customer service at Wellington airport. I actually made a complaint & I don’t normally go that far.

The end of day one found us at the Hacienda Lodge in Palmerston North. I do recommend this place; the hosts were lovely, full of useful recommendations; it’s clean & tidy (we ended up with the end unit which is also wheelchair friendly).

Day two & we chose to drive up the lesser roads as far as we could. I found a church I’d love to relocate! Then five minutes up the road, one I wouldn’t – it was one of those 1920’s concrete ones and to strengthen it the contractors had obvs removed the stained glass windows & replaced with plain aluminium, ick. At least it was in use!

We stopped at Waiouru Army Museum (Te Mata Toa) as we do nearly every time we travel SH1. This time they had a new temp exhibition, which consisted of photographs taken in the tunnels under the WWI battlefields in Arras, France. We couldn’t do the Passchendaele exhibit as we were warned that it was too graphic for Mase, but the kids loved the games and graphics in the Food Glorious Food exhibit, especially the game where you caught the ingredients as a rat knocked them off the shelf.

Late lunch in Taupo, then a quick drive to the rental depot at Auckland Airport. It cost me more than either the Jetstar tickets or the car rental to park our car for the 48 hours but we’ve got lots more in our memory bank.

WIP Wednesday #215

This week we travelled, and I can report that a Toyota Corolla isn’t the best ride if you don’t want to stab yourself often. Bump bump. Altho in part this was bc we did take the back road a free times…

I took Fairy Idyll as this is my main Olympic focus piece. I think I would have finished Bethlehem had I taken that piece, but I’m happy with my progress!

Book Review – A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Long-time readers might remember I raved about a book waaaay back in November 2016. Today’s title is connected to this series and is just as good! It released state-side today, so pop into your local retailer and buy it.

alothSYNOPSIS: Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

MY THOUGHTS: It’s no wonder RT Book Reviews have given this 4 ½ stars – it’s detailed, well-written, empathetic and good. I devoured most of this while at the A&E with my eldest son, & it was hard to put down.

Moriyah as a character is well rounded but as we met her, cloistered within her own shame and closed off to the voice of Yahweh, even tho she heard Him as a child. Her scarring means she is the focus of mean comments and she does allow this to influence her daily actions. Things change when her friend urges her to dance; then she meets someone who will influence the remainder of her life.

At one point so much happened to Moriyah that it was a bit rollercoaster, but on a re-read this might well smooth out.

I am in awe of the amount of research that went into this book. The background is so rich and colourful and seamlessly enhances the story. The theme of redemption thru sacrifice resonates.

I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review – but I’m buying it anyway! Book 2 is scheduled for this year; book 3 for 2019.

The Hux Part Deux & WIP-yesterday-was-Wednesday # 214

About this time last year, I climbed the Hux with the BBM crew. This year, as a family we decided to do it again, opening up to whomever wanted to meet us but not letting the lack of “me too” hold us back.

The Hux, or Hakarimata Mountain summit climb, can be divided into two portions. There’s the relatively easy walk to the site of the 1922 dam (nice waterfall is just past this) or the more strenuous climb to the summit. 1K almost straight up, 1349 stairs.


Because I haven’t been very active, my personal goal was halfway plus two flights. I kind-of bullied Karl into the same (he originally had halfway) but then we just kept on moving. And moving. And after about an hour, we were there (Si & Mase had done it 1.25 times by then & Louise & her friend A were a little behind us). Woot!

On the way up I’d seen part of the Tuakau and some Rewa league boys & on the way down, some of the Hamilton BBM crew. It’s nice to see familiar faces but even more so, nearly 99% of everyone else on the Mountain is also doing it tough, no matter how you measure them from yourself. There’s a lot of encouragement & good vibes.

On the WIP front, my work/travel piece is still Little House Needlework’s Bethelehem. I’ve finished with the lettering as of last night and YAY it well fits into the fabric with plenty of room. And I got some progress in on Fairy Idyll – not visibly much as it is such a big piece, but counting & double-counting has got me to the far right. Sorry for the crinkles – I am also stitching this one in hand.

Music wise I am slow to the party & have just discovered Sam Hunt. Gorgeous voice and a STORY in the song? Yes please. Also Do Right by The Glades – she has a beautiful voice.

Book Review – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

InnkeeperofIvyHill_mck.inddSYNOPSIS: The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business. But with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?


I have a book recommend (well, two now as she published the second in Dec 2017) – Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill & follow-up, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. Set in the same era as Jane Austen’s writing, and very, very well done.

I recognised characterisations & phrasing from the more popular Austen Pride & Prejudice but rather than thinking “plagiarism” I felt like I was re-reading an old friend. There’s nothing blatant, but there is definitely a Lady Catherine character! Plus, easy to recommend to secular people who like a good regency, as the romance and Christian themes are subtle, and it’s all about how the characters grow and develop. Even secondary characters are rich in detail and the way she describes the customs & environment of the village are spot on. I loved it.

My copies were purchased on Amazon Kindle; the second volume is on sale as I write this.