Friday, 27 February 2015

Spring Giveaway!

Look who's having a spring giveaway!



Did you guess correctly? That's right, it's Nancy over at The Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Just follow the link over to her shop for a visit and to check out her wonderful selection of trims and floss. Then add your name to the comments for a chance at her giveaway. Don't forget to mention that I sent you!
Good luck!


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

February's Smalls SAL

Good morning! It's another cooooold morning in my little corner of the world and snow is lightly falling. I'm supposed to join my local craft group for some stitching this afternoon. I need to get out but I'm so tempted to just sit and stitch by the fire with a cup of pumpkin tea beside me. I think perhaps this is my favourite tea!
However I do have to get in this month's Smalls SAL post first.

I have two small finishes this month. One is a Valentine finish by Stacy Nash designs and the other is for a dear friend and is designed by Annie Beez Folk Art.



The one for my friend will be made into a pillow but I'm thinking that the first design will be made into a finish resembling an envelope. It will take me a bit of time to work at this though since I'm really not into sewing and I tend to procrastinate. My friend Nan suggested this finish though and I think it was a brilliant idea for it!

Yesterday I received two of my finishes which I'd taken in for stretching. I know I could learn to do this by myself but it's very tedious and I don't think I have the patience for it. My framer John has offered to stretch the pieces for our Tuesday night stitching group and that way the cost of framing is broken up somewhat. Now I can at least display these on an easel until I have the funds saved for the final framing. Anyone who follows my blog regularly will have seen these before.... Heartstring Samplery The Strawberry Bower Sampler and Plum Street Samplers Promised Lamb.



 I had an order of fabric arrive this week from a new shop which I think I will be dealing with quite often in the future. I stumbled across it by accident while searching for a particular colour of linen and although it is in the UK, the currency exchange works out better for me than ordering from the US. As many of you may know, the Canadian dollar's value is very low at this time and between that and the cost of shipping from the US it's killing me to order anything. The exchange rate between the British currency and the Canadian dollar worked more to my advantage plus the shipping costs were a flat rate & cheaper and the package arrived a week earlier than if I'd ordered from the states.  I'm not sure why that is but it's not the first time I've noticed this.


 Each one of these Lakeside linen fabrics has an upcoming project kitted up and ready to begin. I just have to finish working on my current stitches first.

I found another treat waiting for me at the post office today. 




My dear friend Jodi had this made specially for me! You may recall that Jodi is one of the ladies I met at the From Our Hands show in Ohio this past November. Jodi and I had never met before and we shared a room during this trip. What a great time we had and I'm very fortunate to have met her. Thank you so much Jodi! I love this and it's already in use.

One last pic for you. I had heard there were a few more snowy owl sightings in our area recently so I took a drive on Saturday afternoon and to my great pleasure I found one!


 
 The snow really started to come down as I was searching and I almost missed him. He just blended into the landscape.
Stay warm and above all stay safe during this nasty, frigid winter. A local man lost his life out here yesterday in a head on crash on icy roads. So sad....

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Winter Doldrums

Those winter doldrums have hit and I'm afraid I don't have much stitching progress to show. I've been housebound too long what with all the snow and cold and I can't seem to settle. Just too antsy as I move from one project to the other. I've had three new starts during the past month but very little done on any of them really. Here's where I am at this point.

 I continue to plug away at Threadwork Primitives Wintertime. I'm looking at this and the lighting is really terrible. You can't see one colour difference from another. Sorry about that!

My first new start is La D Da Briar Rabbit. As you can see, there's no sign of the bunny yet.


This was followed by My Dear which is from Blackbird Designs The Gift is Small leaflet. Not much to show but this is going to be a lovely stitch!


The third new start is the one piece on which I've made the most progress. This is called Such Friendship and is designed by Annie Beez FolkArt. I may be stitching this design more than once since I have a couple people in mind which I'd like to gift this with. There are a couple of new stitches in this one which I'm learning as I go along. One is a Leviathon variation stitch and the other is the Rhodes Heart which I haven't tackled yet.


Besides my cross stitching I've been busy putting together a couple of photo books. One is of all the deer photos which I've taken over the years and the second one is a compilation of all the snowy owl pics I took during their visit to our area in 2014. I had a coupon for the photo books that was expiring at the end of February so I spent a lot of time on these so as not to have the coupon expire before I could use it. I'm happy to say that I managed to get them both done and ordered with one day to spare!

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny but bitterly cold day. Despite the cold, Bob and I decided to take a drive out towards the bird sanctuary and see if we could spot any wild life or feathered friends. We had a bit of success on both counts. About halfway to our destination I spotted from a distance what looked like a log resting on a tree branch. You can see it in this pic to the left of the centre.

Here's what  was revealed as we got closer.


Mr. Turkey was settling down for a nap.

There were lots of deer on the road which hightailed it (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!) back into the woods as the car approached. 
We had been told to watch out though for this particular fellow as we continued on our route. Can you see what it is?


A little closer now:


Yes, it's a snowy owl!
 

  This is our first sighting in 2015. I spotted one lone owl at the end of October just up the road from our place. I was excited that they were back in the region but I hadn't seen another one since. Although there are not the numbers around as we had last year, I'm still glad to see one or two of them in the region. They're such beautiful birds and fascinating to watch.

Following this we finally arrived at our destination. The bird sanctuary does have a number of winter birds in residence but we visit mostly to see these lovely creatures.











 We've seen as many as 30 deer in this area but on this visit there were 2 moms and their yearlings. They were picking at some corn that someone had left for them and at times they moved out to the road to lick at the road salt.
As we left to head home we ran into this little fellow who was not shy and was quite proud to show off his fluffy white tail.




 We stopped one last time at the area town dock to snap a pic of the frozen St. Lawrence river. The trees in the distance are on the American side of the river and are part of a park where I camped frequently with my boys when they were young.




All in all it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. We stopped and grabbed a Timmie's coffee on our way home and we discussed the fact that perhaps next year we can return to the area and make use of the trails available for snowshoeing. This year is out of the question as my knee replacement surgery is going ahead on Mar. 16.
I hope you are all finding ways to keep warm during this bitter winter and for those of you down under, enjoy your warmth while you can. Wish I could visit!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Snowy Day WIPocalypse


The snow is lightly falling on this February WIPocalypse and as you can see, I have some feathered friends visiting today.

 I have a finish to show you on this snowy morning. The final stitches were put in on Heaven & Nature Sing last Saturday on a day that was so cold you didn't dare stick your nose out the door. It was a perfect day for stitching by the fire and here are the final results.



This design speaks to me of quiet, peaceful snowy nights just like the one on which it was completed. Soft and quiet!

Since the previous finish I've spent a lot of time sorting through stash rather than stitching it. I had a specific piece in mind for my next start and discovered that I didn't have as much of the required floss as I thought I had. So this new start has been put on the back burner until my order arrives. What to do, what to do? Everything that called to me was a large start and I didn't want to have 2 larger pieces on the go at the same time. So until I made up my mind I pulled out my Threadwork Primitives Winter Time and put a few stitches in.




I also put in a bit of time with a stitch I started in the fall of 2013, This is the Day. No pictures yet though, hopefully by next post.

Yesterday was the night on which my Ottawa stitching group meets. I've haven't joined them for awhile mostly because I haven't felt like doing the hour drive in the cold winter weather. I made the decision to go in last night and I kitted up this little stitch to take in with me. It's by Stacy Nash and is called To My Sweet Pinkeep.



This pic tells you just how much talking took place last night and how little stitching because this is the result after 3 hours of stitching! The lighting here today is just awful so I apologize for the quality of the photos.

One last pic I have to show you is of the Christmas gift my hubby gave me. This year Bob gave me a gift certificate to my framer. I have so many finishes still waiting for frames but this was the choice I made. I finished Weeds Make Haste in July 2013 and really wanted it up on display because I have so few summer designs. This one is designed by Shakespeare's Peddler and I absolutely love this frame.



 



Thank honey for an awesome gift!



Clarisse is busy at her post, keeping watch over all the various feathered visitors. They woke her from her morning nap when one of the birds tried flying through our front window. The bird survived but Clarisse looks a bit stunned!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

First Finish of 2015

The year is off to a good start with my first finish for 2015. Here is Plum Street Samplers Promised Lamb.


I'm thrilled with the way this has turned out and can't wait until I have it framed and on my walls.  I stitched this on 36ct WDW Confederate Grey linen using one strand of floss. This is the first time I've used this particular colour of linen and it won't be the last. I love the colour and find it lends itself to so many different designs.

I love stitching Christmas designs and always have so many that I want to get done and so little time in which to do it. Consequently, I decided to start off the new year with another Christmas stitch. With the exception of the word Noel in the design it looks like more of a winter design and it can easily be left up on display after the holiday is over. I showed you on my last post the first stitches I'd put in on Heaven and Nature Sing but I've progressed much further along now.


This is such a beautiful design and has a real calming effect whenever I pick it up. I'll miss it when I'm finished it. There's still about a few days more of stitching left so it will probably be another week or so before I have this one done up. My stitching time is never consistent.

Continuing with the winter theme is Threadwork Primitives Winter Time. As you can see I'm just getting started on this one. More deer ..... hmmm, do I sense a theme here, lol! In case you hadn't guessed it, I love stitching anything with deer in it. There's been a deer in each of the three designs that I've worked on this year.


I've also been working on some smaller designs for this month's Smalls SAL. I've completed two as well as finished up an older stitch. I don't want to spoil it by showing both of them already but I will give you a look at one of the finishes.
This is from a Trio of Hearts Reproduction Motifs by Jenny Hoffman of Country Rustic Primitives. It's reproduction #2.


After stitching this sweet small I'm getting into Valentine mode. I'll have to see what else I can dig out along those lines. 

I have decided to withdraw my participation in this years' Stitch From Stash for a number of reasons. I will continue to use them as inspiration though and endeavour to stick to that theme. 

That about covers this month's stitching with the exception of one last post this coming Wednesday with all my smalls finishes.  Wow, January is almost done and we've not had near the snowfall as last year. Fingers crossed that February brings more of the same! 

I've been out and about looking for some more of the snowy owls that I saw last year in our neighbourhood. However with the exception of the one I spotted at the end of October, I've only had two other sitings. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me for either of them and smart phones just won't cut it. They don't have the zoom on them necessary to get these pics. So for now I'll leave you with a couple pics of the most recent visitors to our feeder.





 

January Smalls

 Welcome to the 2015 Smalls SAL! Follow the link and check it out. The SAL is open to new participants all year. I hope you'll join us!

 I decided to start 2015 Smalls SAL with some sweet Valentine stitches. I really need some new winter smalls too but I was a little slow on moving to get these done in time. In fact I only got as far as picking out some patterns. I kept getting sidetracked by all the wonderful Valentine designs being released.
I'm picturing three designs but only two have been stitched this year. The larger pillow is a free design by Nan Lewis of Threadwork Primitives and can be found here. I stitched it last year but just finished the pillow this week.


These other two smalls were stitched specifically for this month's commitment. They're both designed by Jenny Hoffman of Country Rustic Primitives and are from a chart called Trio of Hearts Reproduction Motifs. They are numbers 2 and 3 of the trio.




Now I'd like to take a few minutes to share a cause which is near and dear to me. I'm talking about Bell Canada's Let's Talk Initiative for Mental Health. Please take a minute to visit the Facebook site indicated by the link and share Howie Mandel's photo to your Facebook site. For every time this pic is shared, Bell Canada will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives in Canada. Anyone can share the pic. For Canadians, the same applies if Bell is your service provider and you text the message to all your friends and family. Already over 14 million texts and tweets have been sent today. That's over $700,000 for mental health! Last year over $5 million was raised. 
This is a very important initiative for me because several of my family members suffer from mental health disorders including one of my sons who suffers from OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. It's time we all shared and we all talked. Please help pass on the message!

Monday, 5 January 2015

2015 WIPocalypse - First Full Moon of the New Year

Welcome to a new year of WIPocalypse! This is my third year posting as part of this wonderful group. If you have many WIP languishing in a pile than this is the group for you! I don't often have works leftover which have accumulated. I tend to finish what I start for the most part. I will finish up those works which I had not completed by year's end and add to the list as I go along.

You can see a list of what I'd like to stitch this year by clicking on the 2015 WIPocalypse which you see at the top of my blog. The link will take you to the list. I've shortened it a little from last year because I didn't complete all the projects that I originally hoped to. I've found over the years that I'm what I term a mood stitcher. My moods change throughout the year and I just stitch whatever my mood dictates. If you want to join us, follow the link here and sign up! It's a fun way to share your stitching with others with no pressure of deadlines or competition.

One of the pieces on my list is Plum Street Samplers Promised Lamb. I started this design at the tail end of November. As Christmas approached I had very little time to work on it and I knew that it would be a carry over into the new year. Pretty much anything is that I start at that time of the year unless it's a small. 
Here's some pics of my progress at the end of the year and my progress since the start of the new year.



I had hoped to have that house all stitched by now but I got interested in another new start. This is another Christmas design although not too much so.
It's by With Thy Needle and Thread and is called Heaven and Nature Sing.


I'm stitching this on WDW 30 ct Cocoa. I try to stick to the designated floss but quite often the dye lots differ or they don't look right on the material if it is not the same as the designer's. In this case, the proposed colour of the dress, Gentle Art Lexington Green, just sort of faded away into the material so I substituted with WDW Dove which is working out quite well. 

I'm enjoying both pieces very much but will be starting on a small soon as I have also continued my participation in the Smalls SAL for 2015. Perhaps a design for the New Year or a Valentine? Time will tell! 

The weather here has turned bitterly cold after having received only our second storm of this winter. Yesterday we received 18 cm of snow followed by freezing rain, then rain and finally a small dusting of snow again overnight. Talk about a mix of weather!



 Finally I have to show you the latest addition to my eldest son's family. Meet little Luna. Isn't she cute? She's a chocolate point Siamese and apparently is super affectionate.



My stomach tells me it's time to get supper on the go. How about a pot of chili on this cold winter's night? Sounds about right to me!

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