Friday, 31 August 2007

Too busy to stitch

It's been one of those weeks. You know, the ones where you're running like crazy but getting nowhere! I thought that once the kids had left home I wouldn't have to run as much but this week sure shot that theory out the window. I worked a lot of overtime as well since my supervisor is on holidays and I'm covering her job as well as my own.
Finally it's Friday and I arrived home looking forward to a relaxing weekend but I think I was only home an hour before I had to turn around and do the 40 min trek to work again. It's part and parcel of covering for the supervisor. Glad it's not my job on a regular basis!
Consequently I either didn't have time or I was too tired to tackle much in the way of stitching. I should have been finished with Peaches by now but I'll try and finish up this weekend. Here's my progress so far. Sorry it's not very clear. My battery was getting low and I couldn't focus very well.

When I returned home this evening I found a parcel waiting for me from Stitching Bits and Bobs.
All the overtime I'm working lately is helping pay for my addiction! I fell in love with the Country Cottage Needleworks Home Sweet Home and since I'm enjoying LHN Peaches I decided to pick up another of theirs called Comfort. But it's the Halloween pattern that really caught my eye when I was checking out the new charts. It's called Trick or Treat Lane by The Stitching Parlour. I'm anxious to start this one. Only thing is, I had a look at the pattern and nowhere on it does it list the stitching count or the finished size. It's done on 28ct linen but I guess I'll have to guesstimate what size fabric to use.

Besides the charts I ordered a couple of their project bags to tote my WIP with me. Finnigan rather like these and settled himself down on them for a rest!
I'm looking forward to a restful day tomorrow. I've decided to stay put instead of going into Ottawa with my DH. I'm having a few friends for dinner on Monday so I'm going to check out my cookbooks and see what I can come up with . Lots of stitching is also on the agenda! Hope you all have a good weekend!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Autumn's coming

Despite today's heat and humidity this was the first day that I definitely started to get that fall feeling. The cooler weather of the past couple days brought it to mind but it wasn't until today when I saw leaves changing colour on some trees that I realized how close it is. That, combined with the shorter days. Gee it was almost dark tonight at 8:00. What happened to summer? It feels like it hasn't been around much this year. I've also got the itch to start baking and usually that only happens when fall is approaching. I suddenly have a craving for a home baked apple pie. When fall approaches I also get that urge to start all kinds of new stitching projects. I think it has something to do with the homey instinct that sets in at this time. Hence, the urge to bake!
Seems like this whole thing is happening earlier this year or is it just me!?

I paid a visit to my LNS today. I needed some fabric for some of my smalls and I also took the opportunity to check out which classes are being offered at the upcoming retreat. Jeannette Douglas is taking one of the classes and is teaching a new piece of hers which has not been released yet. I was advised to sign up for this one soon since spots are filling up quickly. Once I'd done that I had to decide which class to take on the second day of the retreat. I opted for a beginner's Hardanger class. I've wanted to learn Hardanger for some time now but I didn't know anyone who could help me with it. I know that my LNS offers classes in this but because they are out of town I find it difficult to get there regularly. Hopefully I can pick up enough in this class to make a stab at it on my own. The class also includes a lovely reference guide which should help.

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my Coeur finish. In answer to one question, the designer is Passione Ricamo. She has a collection of seasonal hearts which are freebies on her site. I'd like to do the winter one next. I've made a small start now on LHN Peaches. This looks like it will be a quick stitch.That's if I can stay off the computer long enough to stitch! I've been spending far too much time lately catching up on blogs and checking out ebay for supplies. Here's a photo of my progress so far. Blogger was a little slow tonight. For a minute there I thought I'd have to post a pic tomorrow.

And for those of you who have invited me to join in the Paradigm Lost SAL, thank you I'm thinking about it. I've just never tackled a project that big before. I know it's only for one night a week but I'm afraid I won't stick with it. I'll let you know soon whether or not to count me in.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Another finish

I found time today on my coffee breaks and lunch hour to finish off the remaining
stitching on Coeur. The pattern was missing one of the accents on the first E in Ete. (sorry I can't put them in with this keyboard either!). It was bugging me and several of my French coworkers mentioned it so I added it tonight when I got home. I think I'd like to try another of these seasonal hearts but for now I've decided to get started on LHN Peaches. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that I think will be suitable and I plan on getting started right after this post. Easter Fairy just isn't calling to me right now. Maybe I'll take her to the Cross Stitch Cupboard's stitching retreat in the fall. When I'm with other stitchers I'm always more motivated. I don't expect I'll get too much done tonight. I'm playing catchup with my sleep. This past Tuesday night I took DS#2 to see Phantom of the Opera in Ottawa which didn't finish until quite late. Consequently we got home around 12:15am and I still had to get up at 5:00 for work! It was worth it though. I'd seen it before but I got such a kick out of seeing Daniel's reaction. He was just awestruck! He loves the theatre.

I'm thinking it's time to get started on another large project to tide me over the winter months.
Originally I'd been thinking of one of the Mirabilia mermaids but I'm not so sure now. There are so many other designers that I'm becoming interested in now thanks to seeing their works on the pages of my fellow bloggers. That's what I love about blogging, it opens so many doors to meeting new friends and seeing new works!

Over the past year, my DH and I have joined the ranks of birdwatchers. We're amateurs to this of course but we have always enjoyed watching the birds who come to our feeders. Now we're starting to know the names of some of them. One of our feeders is located right outside our dining room window where we can watch while we're eating. The other night during supper we had a newcomer to our feeder. My son was visiting for supper and he spotted it first. It had a rose coloured breast and was black with white underpatches. Turns out it was a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. I wasn't fast enough to get a picture though. Finnigan loves to sit on the back of our loveseat and watch all the goings on outside. All this time I thought he was watching the birds but it's the squirrels that really get him going. He got out briefly last night and chased one right up a telephone pole!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Coeur update

As you can see, I've gotten a little bit more done on Coeur d'Ete. I'd hoped to finish it this weekend but it was busy at work and I actually had to work! Weekends are unpredictable in the lab. It was a nice enough weekend weatherwise so I figured that not too many people would pay a visit to the hospital. Boy was I wrong on that count! Emergency was packed both days which generates a lot of bloodwork for us. Oh well, that's what they pay me for!

Since this piece is wrapping up, I've been checking out my stash and trying to decide what to do next. I found which chart the Weeks threads I'd ordered belong with. It's Blackbird Designs Country Garden. I'd like to do either this or one of the LHN charts I just received but I seem to have a lack of fabric. I've got lots of the hand dyed in my stash but it seems I've run out of plain fabric in the neutral shades. I'd love to do the Country Garden on linen but I really have a hard time with linens. I tend to pull too tightly which of course shows much more on linen so I stick with the evenweaves. A visit to my LNS isn't likely to occur until Saturday since I have to drive into Ottawa. Which means I may have to resort to stitching on Easter Fairy. For some reason I've grown tired of this one but maybe it's time to get back to it.

Something I really have to do in the near future is to learn some finishing techniques. I look at all the lovely finishes on my fellow stitcher's blogs and I feel so inadequate. I'm afraid I'll screw things up during the finishing. I have printed out some tutorials from Vonna and Dani's blogs. Now I just have to get up the nerve to try some!

The summer seems to be going by sooo fast! I can't believe that Labour Day is almost here. At that point my DH goes back to rehearsing with all his choirs and we won't have much time for boating anymore so we've been trying to squeeze in whatever chance we get. Last weekend was a washout because of high winds and whitecaps. Today however was beautiful! I drove to Morrisburg on my way home from work and met Bob at the dock there. We put the boat in and took a lovely little cruise down the St. Lawrence. We've haven't had much rain here this summer and the water levels were way down. I didn't have any problems getting into the boat but I sure needed a hand getting out! My legs are just too short to make the jump up from the boat to the dock. Fortunately there was a ladder at different intervals on the dock just for this purpose. The only thing I don't like about getting into and out of the boat is that there is always an audience at this dock. The dock is situated at a waterfront park which is always packed with people sunning , picnicing, etc. I'm not too coordinated and I have been known to give them a show in the past!!

Here's a pic from our little sojourn on the water. I don't know who the sailboat belongs to but it sure was lovely.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

New stash

I've finally got some pictures of all my new stash. The first few items I found on ebay. There are two by Calico Crossroads - Awesome Autumn and One Is Not Enough. The latter I've wanted for a while since I've always maintained that you can't have too many cats! The other is one by Rosewood Manor and is a Mini Sampler Trio. I haven't done any samplers before but I find my tastes are changing and I'm really wanting to do one. I thought these smaller ones would be good to try and see how I like them. I also like the colour scheme. I also ordered some WDW threads but for the life of me I can't remember which chart I got them for! I've pulled so many from my stash lately to look at. I'm going to have to go through them again and see if the threads belong with any of them. Pretty bad, eh? The mind has been doing that a lot lately!

The rest of the stash I ordered during Stitching Bits and Bob's 4th of July sale. I just love the LHN and Crescent Colors kits. I ordered two - Peaches and Faith, but I'm sure these won't be my last. I don't know which I want to start first! Then there's Blue Ribbon Designs Comfort and Joy and finally by Drawn Thread, For the Birds. I couldn't help myself , there are just so many designers out there whose charts I want to do! I keep telling DH that I'm getting my stash together now because I won't have as much money when I retire but that's 4 yrs from now. I can accumulate an awful lot in that time period!!

I didn't get much of a start on anything today though. Originally we'd planned to take the boat out to Big Rideau Lake and stop in to visit friends who cottage at Westport. The weather didn't look too promising with rain forecast for a good portion of the day. Instead we headed into Ottawa. My DH had received a phone call that a friend of his was visiting and wanted us to join her for lunch. It turns out that this particular friend is a former teacher of ours from grade school, Grace Lewis. Grace taught us band and was responsible for giving us the music bug. I learned how to play the flute from her. Bob learned sax but later switched to clarinet. She's now 85 but is still directing a senior's band in Windsor, Ont. Bob and Grace have remained in contact over the years since they both direct handbell choirs.
We had a lovely lunch at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau followed by a free concert at the museum. It was a choral concert by Chor Leoni which is a men's choir from Vancouver,BC. They were awesome! I really enjoy listening to choral music and judging by the response, so did everyone else. All in all it was a lovely afternoon. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up here at home since we are having guests for dinner tomorrow night.
I may not get a chance to post tomorrow because of that but I should have a progress pic by the weekend of Coeur d'Ete. I worked on it a bit tonight and plan on taking it with me to work this weekend. I'll be thinking of some of you fellow bloggers who I know are going to a stitching retreat this weekend at Ann's. I hope you have a really enjoyable and relaxing stitch weekend!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

I'm a winner!

So I checked my lottery tickets yesterday and yes I'm still working but as far as I'm concerned I'm still a winner since Vonna drew my name in her Bloggerversary contest!! I'm thrilled! I think the only other thing I've ever won was a cake in a Christmas draw at work. And this will be sooo much better! Vonna does incredible stitching! I've only been a blogger for a couple months now but I've marvelled at all the lovely work that is being done out there by my fellow bloggers. You are all an inspiration to me. Thanks Vonna!

I've gotten no stitching done the past few days. It seems like I'm glued to the phone as my friends and family are catching up with me post vacation. I've also been trying to get most of my photos uploaded to Webshots so that they can all have a look. I didn't realize we had taken so many shots and of course my computer acting up has not helped me to get this task completed any time soon! There's a photo contest running right now at Costco stores here and I submitted an entry for my hubby which he'd taken while we were in the Muskokas. Now I have to find one which I took so that I can participate as well. Can I be so lucky as to be a winner twice?!
The pictures can be of anything.. friends, family, nature, vacation , just as long as they were taken since the start of the year. I thought maybe the one of my cat Finnigan but my DH also suggested the loon. Here's my DH's entry.

I finally receive my order from SB&Bobs today but my camera battery is being charged right now so a picture will have to wait. I love all of it. Now I've got the itch to start a new one soon. After tomorrow I'm off work for a couple of days. We had originally planned to do some boating on Big Rideau Lake near the village of Westport. However they're forecasting rain now so maybe I'll actually get some stitches in!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Catching up

I've spent most of this week trying to catch up on laundry, cleaning, reading blogs, etc. since we've returned home. I find it hard to get back into the swing of things. My mind is still at the lake! I've also spent the better part of the week sorting through computer problems. It's been extremely slow lately so I suspected we'd picked up some spyware. Got that cleaned up and then I had internet problems all week. I think it's a loose connection on my cable modem. Anyways I think I'm back in business now.
I picked up an overtime shift today at work. With everyone taking vacation we always run short on bodies to do the work. Helps with the holiday expenses!
Not much stitching accomplished since I've returned. I received a small amount of stash but I'm expecting my order from SB&B next week. In the meantime I'm still working on Coeur d'Ete. I just haven't felt like getting back to my Easter Fairy. I'm getting the itch to start something else. Perhaps an autumn piece. Hmm.... time to check out my stash!

We had a lot of fun on vacation playing with our new camera. Here's a couple of shots we took.

The heron was a visitor who showed up on our dock our first morning there. Bob came sailing back into the cottage looking for the camera when he spotted it! The loons were regular visitors. The cottage sits on a point, so there is lake both in front of and behind it and we hear the loons calling back and forth to each other. This shot was taken while were on the boat.
I saw quite a bit of wildlife just this morning on my way to work. As I headed out of our village there was a deer running along the shoulder of the road. I can't imagine where it came from since there are no wooded areas nearby. It ran alongside the road for quite a bit before it finally darted out in front of me and headed into a corn field. Then just after I got onto the highway I came across a rather large porcupine who couldn't make up his mind whether or not to cross the road. Everytime I tried to go around him he'd change direction! Finally there was a family of raccoons making a trek across the highway. I certainly wasn't getting anywhere very fast for sure!!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Back from vacation

As you can see, we're back from 2 fantastic weeks of vacation! We spent 10 days at the cottage we rent near Bala and then 5 days visiting friends in Parry Sound and Sault St. Marie. We had super weather. It only rained once for about 20 min at the cottage and then we had some showers in the evening in Parry Sound. Lots of boating, swimming and just lazing around the cottage(stitching of course as you can see from the pic!). The only down side to the whole vacation was that we ran into some car trouble. It started on our way to Cobourg the first night. We had to pull over on the highway when we smelled rubber and then smoke was coming in through the ventilation system. We let the car cool down and had a look under the hood. It looked like it was probably a belt which was coming apart and burning. So we got back in the car and headed out again slowly, this time on the back roads. So far, so good, no smoke. The next morning we had the car checked and they told us it was our air conditioning compressor which needed to be replaced. We decided we could do without the air and would have the car checked in Muskoka when we arrived.
After making an appointment we were told that their computers were down and they didn't know if they could get the part for us. Okay, so we can do without the air until we get home(during a major heat wave!). Of course we didn't use the car for the next 10 days. We went everywhere by boat! It wasn't until we left Parry Sound for the Sault that we ran into trouble again. Just before Sudbury we ran into the same problem, smoke and all when we hadn't even been using the ventilation system. A Ministry of Transport patrol stopped and recommended an auto shop in Sudbury for us. It seems that the hub which supports the compressor is what was falling apart and the pieces were burning on the engine. All told the part wasn't much but of course the labour was costly. Along with the hotel room we had to get in Sudbury the whole thing set us back about $900! Good thing I ordered all my stash before I left home!!!

Our first weekend at the cottage we had a visit from my cousin and her husband. Sheryl loves to stitch as well so we spent the afternoon on the back deck doing just that! Over the next day I managed to finish off my Celtic Heart. I'm still not sure if I like it or not. Any thoughts? I also got started on a freebie from Passione Ricamo - Coeur d'Ete. This is one of her seasonal heart collection. I hope to do the others at some point as well.

When I wasn't stitching I was reading and managed to finish off two novels one of which was by Jodi Picoult. If you haven't read any of her books give them a try. I've read 4 now and they've all been excellent! Some of my stash has arrived during my absence and I'll post some pictures later in the week. For now I'll leave you with a picture on Lake Muskoka which we took while away.