Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2009 is full of blessings for everyone. I know that I have been blessed this holiday season. Two weeks off work and all of my family here! Our Christmas was spent quietly with my two youngest sons and some dear friends who had us join their family for our meal this year. Christmas Eve I'd travelled to Ottawa for church and the weather was so poor (freezing rain) and the roads so treacherous that I stayed overnight in the church with my DH. I returned home in the morning after the salt trucks had been out and done their thing. I knew that my boys would be sleeping in at home so I had a very quiet morning until they woke and Bob arrived home from playing the morning service.

It was a most enjoyable, relaxing Christmas Day and Santa was very good to all of us. Daniel received tickets to see Mama Mia at the National Arts Centre so that is where we spent our Sunday afternoon.
My oldest son Jeff and his girls arrived at his father's place on Boxing Day. He landed in here on Monday after having spent the weekend with his father and family. Since they got here I haven't stopped. The girls are very busy and we have had so much fun with them. Oceanne sat beside me this morning and watched me stitch. Every time I completed a cross she would holler, "X, encore Grandma!" The girls speak French but understand English. I can usually get what they're saying but there has been the odd time when I haven't been able to figure out if it's jibberish or if they're really saying something to me. That X came out loud and clear though and she cried when I finally put down my stitching. Think we have a budding little stitcher there?!

Tomorrow we drive them back to Drummondville, stopping along the way to take Dan home. Chris returned to Ottawa on the weekend since he works in retail and had to be there for all the post-Christmas sales.

We've been invited to a home party in the neighbourhood to ring in the New Year but we're both so tired that we're just going to stay put with the boys. A friend gave us a lovely bottle of champagne with which we'll toast the new year and then promptly hit the sack! After all, we have a 3 hr drive to Drummondville in the morning and then the return trip home. I'm still off work until Tuesday so that Bob and I can enjoy a few days together of blessed peace and quiet. I might find it pretty boring after all the hustle and bustle of the past month.

The only down side to our holiday was that my boss died on Christmas Day after having been diagnosed with cancer just this past September at age 58. He was in so much pain that I'm glad the end came quickly for him. I know it's very diffcult for his family though and my heart goes out to them.

When I get home tomorrow night, I'm going to check my stash and decide on my next new start. I finished off Jingle All the Way just before Christmas. I only have to add a small star charm at the tip of his hat which I ordered this past week but hasn't arrived yet. The past two mornings I've managed to put in a few stitches on Cirque before the girls woke. Boy have I missed this one! I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time on it this weekend.

May you all have a great New Year. I look forward to seeing all your new starts for 2009.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Winding down

Last week I was in high gear trying to get everything done that needed to be. However things are starting to settle down now that I have time off work . I finished work last Friday and with the exception of Boxing Day, the 26th, I don't have to work again until Jan. 6th. Yippee! I went into Ottawa on Saturday and finished last minute shopping, catching some great sales at Michael's in the process. Today I'm doing some cookie baking and tomorrow I'm trying a vegetarian tourtiere recipe since my youngest is a vegetarian and won't be touching the turkey. We've been invited to our good friends' home for Christmas dinner. They're also from Windsor originally and don't have family in this neck of the woods. I'll be bringing the tourtiere(regular and vegetarian) and my DH is making his famous broccoli salad by request. For those of you who are not familiar with tourtiere, it's basically a meat pie usually made with pork or a beef and pork mix, lightly spiced. It's a French-Canadian tradition which I was introduced to by my ex-husband and family. Now our Christmas doesn't seem complete without one.

Dec. 12th marked my DH's birthday and the 15th was my son Daniel's so the two of them shared with a joint celebration on the 15th. We spent the weekend attending various Christmas concerts including one of my husband's choirs. With the exception of Christmas eve, all of our choir concerts are now complete and we are free to take in various other concerts around town of which there are many!

Last night I had time to finish stitching up my Christmas Box ornament. I love how this one turned out. There are three in the series so I'm planning on stitching the other two in the new year. Haven't decided whether I'll do them all in the same colours or not. I had hoped that I'd have a day in which to do some finishing on my ornaments but as usual other stuff got in the way. Besides I'm just too tired!

I'm also continuing to stitch on my Jingle All The Way ornie. I only have limited stitching time right now which is usually in the evenings and it would be nice to have this one complete soon but I'm not holding my breath. Lately I've been known to fall asleep in my stitching chair just minutes after settling in!

The Noel Tree which I recently finished stitching arrived here this week from Vonna's place where she did a flatfold finish for me. What a beautiful job she did!! This time I provided the fabric from my stash and I love how it turned out. It's difficult to see in the picture but the fabric is covered in gold trees. Thanks Vonna! As I sit here blogging, I'm listening to the all the Christmas tunes from your playlist. That, plus the 20cm of snow we've received in the past few days, is putting me in a very festive mood!

The Christmas following my marriage to Bob, I decided to do away with my old decorating scheme and purchased new lights, ribbon, etc. for our tree. I went with a blue and white theme since blue is one of the predominant colours in my living room. After 7 yrs of this I wanted a change and dug out the old red and green beads and plaid ribbon once more. As you can see I never throw anything away! I updated the old lights with some of the new LED ones which made a big difference. Since the kids have grown older I've started collecting handblown glass ornaments for the tree. When my grandchildren come I just move some of the glass ones up higher where they can't reach. Fortunately my cat has never been one to bother with the tree. He just likes to sleep under it as you can see from the picture at the start of this post. I've posted a few pictures below of some of my favourites glass ornaments.

All three of these ornaments have sentimental value attached to them. The skate was my first Christmas present from Bob. The moose was a special gift from my sister the first Christmas I spent alone with the boys and the owl we brought home from Muskoka to remind us of the woods around the cottage. Now I'm looking for a loon to remind us of our summers at the cottage. Instead of a star or an angel adorning the top of the tree we have something a little different. It's Father Christmas. This was a gift from my boys one Christmas and proudly sits at the top of our tree watching over all the goings on below.

To finish, I wish all of you a very blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that the year ahead is not filled with as much uncertainty as I know it is for so many, myself included. I am very thankful to have made so many good friends through blogging and I thank each and every one of you for your lovely comments and your expertise. Enjoy your holidays and I'll see you in the new year!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Sticking with smalls

I've decided not to touch any larger projects until after the holidays are over. Working on smalls is much easier right now since I spend a great portion of my time stitching in the car while we travel from one event or one place to another. Besides, when I finish one I feel I've at least accomplished something because I'm certainly not getting anywhere with my Christmas preparations! Life is quite busy as I'm sure it is for many of you at this time. I'm determined not to get stressed out about things this year. So what if the tree doesn't get put up until the weekend before Christmas? We're not here most of the time to enjoy it anyways. Same goes for baking. Nobody home to eat it right now! Since the tree isn't going up until a bit later, then I figure my finishing on my ornaments can wait a bit too. I finish work on Dec 19th and then I'm off until Jan. 5 except for one day - Dec 26th. Other than Christmas Eve, all of our concerts will be finished by that weekend so I'm going to enjoy the time at home baking and decorating.

I've managed to complete one ornament and I'm currently working on two others at the moment. My Prairie Schooler Partridge is my latest finished ornie. My two new starts are both ornaments, one called Jingle All the Way by Sweet Pea Designs and the other is a Christmas Box Ornament by Country Garden Stitchery. Jingle is from the Dec. 2007 issue of Just Cross Stitch.
The Box ornament is actually number one of three. I think they're all very pretty and delicate and hope to stitch all of them. The pattern calls for floss by The Thread Gatherer ... In The Burgundy. I decided to go with my own colour choice which is Shiraz by Dinky Dyes. I had this particular one in my stash along with a lovely piece of a Silkweaver Opalescent Solo. I picked up some beads and Kreneik gold cord on the weekend to match. Below is a picture of my progress so far. It's stitching up pretty quickly. I've also posted a pic of the little bit I have completed on Jingle.

Tonight on ebay I won an auction for some of the TG In the Burgundy silk floss so I'll use this for one of the others. If by some small chance I finish stitching these before Christmas, I have another start in the wings. It's Button Up for Christmas #1 by Cathy Jean of the Victoria Sampler. I'm really enjoying taking a break from bigger projects to stitch on these lovelies.

We're currently having our first major snowfall of the season as you can see from the picture below. I'm not counting that storm we had before Halloween because let's face it, that was just a freak. This storm is dumping a bit more than was predicted. On top of that, the transit system in Ottawa is set to walk out tomorrow which means more cars than usual out in all that mess since the buses won't be operating. What a miserable time for a strike with the holidays approaching. I know my son is quite concerned about how he'll get to work since he often has to open the store where he works. Many students rely on the transit system and with exams just around the corner it's making life difficult for them. I hope things can be resolved fairly quickly although it's not looking very promising. I took this photo from my front porch. I was going to head out to shovel but my neighbour cleared the drive for us with his snowblower. My DH stayed put in Ottawa tonight so he could avoid the miserable drive and as a result he can drive my son to work in the morning. After that he's on his own to find rides.

Now I'm off to work a little on our Christmas letter and then a bit of stitching time before bed. Mornings start earlier whenever there's a snowfall. Hope you are all safe and sound and having a good week.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Noel Tree finished

I had a lot more time for stitching this week and finally was able to complete my Noel Tree. I think I'd like to do this one again some other time, perhaps in a different colour. Originally I thought I'd keep this for myself but when I was at home visiting, my Mom mentioned how pretty it was so I'm thinking of giving this one to her for Christmas.
Speaking of my Mom, I forgot to mention the early gift I received from her. When I was young, my Mom had inherited a persian lamb coat and my Dad had bought her a mink jacket one year. Over the years fur fell out of fashion and the coats have remained in storage. This year Mom decided she was tired of paying storage costs for something she wasn't wearing any longer. Instead she took the coats to a woman in Windsor who makes teddy bears out of them! Each of her daughters and her granddaughter received fur bears as gifts.
We each had our choice of bears and I ended up with one of the mink ones. He's beautiful, with moving joints and lovely green glass eyes. The lining of the jacket was used for the pads of the feet and arms. My particular little bear almost looks like he's wearing a fur hat.

I was totally surprised! I had no idea that there was anyone doing this sort of thing. Now I just have to find a resting place for him, preferably one where the cat won't find him. Finnigan's first instinct was to wash the bear for me! As I write this, I'm sitting on the very front edge of my chair since Finnigan has joined me and is taking up most of the chair's seat.

Tonight I've been trying to catch up on my ornament for this month. I've managed to finish off the partridge and now I'm working on the pears for his tree. I don't know if I'll manage to get one complete for the month of December. The first of our choirs' performances takes places starting tomorrow afternoon and is followed by two more concerts on the next two Sunday afternoons in the month. Right now rehearsals are taking up a good portion of our evenings. On top of that it seems that there is a stomach virus making its rounds throughout the hospital staff. As a result we're all having to work double shifts to cover. I had my turn yesterday working from 7:00 am until 11:00pm. Needless to say I haven't done too darn much today!

With work and all the festivities that take place in this month I just don't have the time to do a lot of the finishing work on my stitching that I would like. Flat folds are something that I really haven't done much of but I love the look of them. So I decided to take advantage again of Vonna's finishing service for my M Designs Peace Tree. I mailed it off to her a couple of weeks ago and a few days ago she sent me pictures of the finished piece which I've posted below. I love it! The fabric she chose for the backing is so pretty. I told her I was tempted to keep this one for myself. It's on its way to me now and I can't wait to see it. Vonna does beautiful work so if you're like me and are not really into finishing, I recommend that you take a peek at her site.

This is the first year that I've given so much of my stitching for gifts. I've also had one of my pieces framed for a girlfriend. She loves folk art and I figured she'd like this one. It's the Country Garden by Blackbird Designs.

Now I'm heading off to get some shuteye. We've got a long day in town tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Catching my breath!

It's been a busy couple of weeks here since I last posted. My quest for some quiet time still eludes me and with the holidays approaching I don't expect things will slow down anytime soon.
Two weeks ago I was on a business trip to Toronto where I did manage to squeeze in some Christmas shopping at the Eaton Centre. Last weekend we were off to Windsor to celebrate my MIL's 90th birthday followed by a trip this past Saturday to Drummondville to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my youngest granddaughter.

Stitching?...What's that again?! Well I did manage to squeeze some in mostly in the car on the trip to and from Windsor. My Noel tree is very close to being completed now as you can see. I love working on this one. It's one of those stitches where you don't have to refer back to the pattern very often since one side of the tree is just a mirror of the other. It moves along fairly quickly and I really like the design of this particular tree. I was going to keep this one for myself but my Mom mentioned how pretty it was when she saw it on my visit so I might just finish it off for her.

My ornament for this month has fallen way behind and I more than likely will not have it finished by the end of the month. I'd chosen a Patridge by Prairie Schooler but I'm finding it very boring to work on and I keep putting it off. I've already chosen my next start. It's by Barara Ana Designs and is called Stocking Stuffer. Her designs are just so much fun and this little snowman was calling to me!

This design is part of an 18 piece group of patterns by both Barabara Ana and Helga Mandl. Details on how to receive this patterns are found on Helga's site. The patterns are part of a Christmas SAL which takes place each year and is usually limited to those who receive the group newsletter. This year however, the patterns are being made available to anyone and for only $5 it's an incredible deal. No shipping necessary. Once you've made your payment you will receive an email with a link to the pdf patterns for download. Follow Helga's link and check them out. There's something for everyone. You can also subscibe to the newsletter on her site. Barabara Ana also has a newsletter available at her site.
In my stash I found the fabric which I had originally ordered for my Cirque. If you remember I was disappointed on this one because it had a splotch from the dying process in the middle of the fabric. However when it's cut it will be perfect for this piece. The only thing I'm missing is a couple of the DMC variation floss which I'm placing an order for today.
I promised myself not to get started though until I'd finished my Noel tree.

My trip to Windsor although brief was a lot of fun. Saturday was spent with my family and the Sunday with Bob's. We also managed to find time to meet with a friend for lunch on our way down in Port Hope and then lunch with some close friends from Michigan on the Saturday. Saturday night following a lovely meal and chat with my family, we headed to a club downtown Windsor to hear my DH's brother's band play. Bob's brother is a drummer and plays in a number of different groups. This particular group was playing a lot of music from our time in the 70's and it was just like a high school reunion. When we arrived at the club there were quite a few of our former high school friends some of which I hadn't seen in 35 yrs! We had a blast catching up with everyone. When they heard that we were in town for my MIL's birthday, several decided to drop by our open house on the Sunday since they had grown up in the same neighbourhood as Bob and family.

The open house on the Sunday was a huge success with about 75 people all told dropping in with best wishes. This was followed by a family dinner at one of the new restaurants in town. During the meal it started to snow and there was still a light snowfall during our trip home the next day. We also ran into some snow squalls in London where we stopped to share a coffee break with Bob's oldest brother. My son Daniel was able to accompany us on the trip and he also had a super time catching up with his cousins. Below are a few pictures from our visit. On the top right is one of moi with my two sisters and Mom. Top left is my son Daniel and his cousin Andrew. Bottom left is myself and Bob with a group of our school band friends along with our band teacher from grade school and the bottom right is a group photo of Bob, his Mom and two brothers.

Once home again, it was off to Drummondville to celebrate my granddaughter's birthday. The big celebration is actually taking place this coming weekend but I have a choir rehearsal taking place that day plus the weather was more promising for travel this past weekend. Drummondville gets a lot of snow and I didn't want to be driving into one of their storms.

Summer is turning 2 next week so she still isn't really sure what all this fun is all about yet. Her older sister Oceanne was more than willing to help her unwrap all the parcels and teach her how to play with everything! Both girls are getting so big now. I can't believe the curls that Summer has. Her dad says that when her hair is washed and all those curls are stretched out that it's really quite long now. They have a terrible time trying to put a brush her hair. She fights them every step of the way. Her sister Summer is getting to be quite bilingual now. I speak to her in English which she understands perfectly and she answers in French. For the moment I understand everything she says but the time will come when her French will far exceed my abilities. By that time we hope she is speaking more English. My son hopes to send them to English schools. In Quebec you are only allowed to do this if one parent has been raised English which Jeff was.

Daniel joined me for the trip since Bob had to work all day Saturday. It's a long drive.... 7hrs all together going and coming. I really wish that they lived closer but it could be worse. Some of our friends have grandchildren who live halfway across the country and they only see them once a year.
We're planning on having them to our place sometime between Christmas and the New Year. I remember what it was like trying to travel to my Mom's for Christmas with everyone's gifts so I think it's easier to wait until afterwards to get together. Besides you never know what the weather will be like around here and this gives us a little more leeway.

I hope everyone has a good week and gets in a lot more stitching than I have lately! Although I may not have time for comments, I am checking in on your blogs when I can. I enjoy seeing what all of you have been up to lately. To all of my friends in the US, have a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a safe holiday weekend.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Christmas stitching

Now that October and Halloween have flown by I'm turning my attention to some Christmas stitching. First off I have a small finish albeit a little late for fall this year. I know the US is yet to celebrate their Thanksgiving but for us Canadians our fall celebrations are complete and thoughts have turned to Christmas. My JBW Pumpkin will have to wait until next year to complete my autumn decor. In the picture you'll see the fabric that I've chosen for my backing on a pinkeep finish.

I've made a start on my November ornie which is a Partridge from Prairie Schooler. Not enough done yet though for a pic. I took it on the road to Toronto with me this past week. I travelled with a coworker to attend a chemistry conference. I'd hoped to get in some stitching during the evenings at the hotel. My coworker had other ideas however. We were only a short walk from the Eaton Centre which is a major shopping mall in downtown TO. So consequently our evenings were spent shopping (window shopping in my case). My stitching didn't even make it out of the bag! The car trip was my first experience with a GPS. I've never felt the need for one since I'm pretty good with directions but my coworker insists she can't go anywhere without hers. Honestly it drove me crazy! Recalculating, recalculating.... as you can see, my driver didn't neccesarily follow the directions given. The GPS was always right but my coworker didn't trust it since some of the street names it used didn't jive with the street signs. So why does she insist she needs it?!

When I got home I was really in the mood for a new start. What to do, what to do? I took a look through some of my freebies and found a lovely pattern by Gigi R found on her blog. I think she's retired her freebies at this point but check back later, they pop up from time to time. This one is a Christmas tree, a picture of which is currently posted on her blog on her Oct. 25th post. I've chosen to do this one as a redwork, using one of the DMC variations. Here's my progress so far:
Sorry, the picture isn't very clear. The battery on my camera is getting low. I love the look of this little tree. I've even got my fabric already chosen since I might try finishing it as a flatfold or if all else fails, a pinkeep. This one looks like it should stitch up pretty quickly. That's if I can sit still long enough to stitch!
The fall season has passed so quickly for me. We've had a full calendar here at our house and I feel like I've neglected blogging of late. I've managed to post a couple of times but there's not been much time for reading blogs and commenting. So please accept my apologies if I haven't stopped by your blogs lately. I'm slowly getting caught up but there is often little time for commenting. Trust that I am reading them and will get back to commenting in the very near future.
Once again, the approaching weekend will see me travelling. This time it's back home to Windsor where we will be celebrating my MIL's 90th birthday. It's a very quick trip since neither my DH nor myself can take much time off work at the moment. We'll head down on the Friday and return on Monday, spending Saturday with my family and Sunday with Bob's. I'm going to try and stitch in the car since there will be no time for it once we've arrived. It all depends how bumpy the road is or whether or not I can keep awake long enough! When I'm a passenger car rides tend to lull me to sleep. Here's hoping you all have a good week filled with lots of stitching.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Finally... a finish!

Well it's certainly taken me long enough but finally I have finished my M Designs Peace Tree. I managed to squeeze in some time for stitching last weekend and on Tuesday I put in the final beads. This one is to be a Christmas gift for my youngest sister. It's stitched on a 28ct Silkweaver Opalescent Solo using DMC variations.

Also managed a finish on a mitten ornament but my finishing didn't turn out quite the way I'd planned it . It's far easier to finish off a square or round ornament than it is to manage a mitten shape. My skills need some fine tuning to say the least!

Now I'm trying to decide what will be my new start. In the meantime I'm trying to finish up my JBW Pumpkin (hopefully this weekend) and I'm considering giving some long overdue time to my Cirques des Cercles. It would be nice to see this one again, wouldn't it?

Last night was the perfect evening for Halloween... no rain or wind and mild temperatures. We had 110 at our door this year with the best costume being a butterfly. There was one unusual sight this year. An adult dressed in a ghost costume and carrying orange glow sticks wandered through the neighbourhoods. He would stop at the foot of your drive, spread out his arms and bow to you! Honestly, he was quite large and rather creepy. At first I thought it was the parent of one of the kids, taking them around but no, this guy was on his own. My son thought it was a pretty cool idea and a neat way to take in all the sights around the village on Halloween.

I did my usual carving bit as you can see in the pics above. Chris and I found a new site this year online for obtaining carving patterns called Zombie Pumpkins. You pay a $20 dollar fee for access to over 150 different patterns with a portion of the sales being donated to charity. I guided Chris through his first carving, a Michael Myers pattern. Now he's hooked and anxious to try more!
The fact that we had such a great evening weatherwise was no small feat. Just days before we had a freak snowstorm which came out of the northeast, dumping us with 15cm of snow in our area which is about 6-7" for those of you who are not into metric measure. I couldn't believe it when I first heard the forecast. I thought I was dreaming and it was still January or February but unfortunately I was wide awake and it was definitely coming! I desperately tried to get my snow tires put on but all the garages were booked solid. It started snowing Tuesday night around supper and didn't quit until late Wednesday morning. I left for work at 5:30 instead of my usual 6:00am and this is the sight that greeted me. How depressing is that?!

Notice my poor scarecrow on the left. I actually have two , one on either end of my front garden and one of them keeled right over with the weight of the snow. Quite a few tree branches came down because the snow was heavy along with the fact that many had not lost all their leaves yet, adding extra weight. Our area lost power several times during the night, the first time just as I'd sat down in a hot bath. It's kind of weird bathing in the pitch dark!

I managed to make it to work with no problems although I did spot several cars in the ditches. On may way home I took a few more pictures now that I had light. If this is any indication of the winter that's coming then I'm moving!! I had more than my fill last year.

It's an absolutely beautiful sunny morning here now and I'm off to check out my stash and decide on my new starts. I don't promise I'll have much accomplished by my next post since I'm off to Toronto this coming week for a Chemistry symposium with a coworker. It's not all business though since we are planning to squeeze in a shopping trip to the Eaton Centre in downtown TO. Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend and keep those fingers stitching!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A new graduate!

I'm sorry but I don't have any stitchy updates to report this week. Life has been so incredibly full and busy lately! So busy that I'm desperately missing my stitching time and I'm wound pretty tight right now. Following our Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family (which btw was great!) I was out every evening after work until this past Monday.

The day following the holiday was a big one for us - my youngest son graduated college ! Chris is the first of my boys to receive a post-secondary diploma and we were all pretty exicited here. The graduation was held in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre. It's a fairly big venue but apparently the spring convocations are held at Scotia Bank Place which is home to the NHL Ottawa Senators and holds a significantly larger group than ours. However I thought the NAC was a much nicer spot for the graduation. Although my DH was unable to attend the convocation, he was pleased to hear that there was actually a pipe organ playing the processional and that it was a friend of ours who was playing. Chris' brother Dan and I went early since seats were general admission and managed to get one of the box seats which have a great view. My camera has a 15X optical zoom so I was able to great some great pictures. Chris' Dad was also able to attend so following the ceremony we were all able to meet up for drinks and a mini celebration of our own. So here he is... a graduate from the Algonquin College Class of 2008 receiving his diploma in Small and Medium Enterprise Management. Chris, we are all so very proud of you!!

Chris hopes to manage his own business some day but in the meantime is getting valuable experience in retail right now. He is working full time as a supervisor in a retail chain and hopes to work his way up to management at some point.

The next day I was back in Ottawa after work to take Chris for dental surgery. He had an evening appointment to have his wisdom teeth removed and needed a ride home after having been put out for the procedure. He came through very well and only one of the four areas is bothering him a bit. I stayed with him at his place until one of his roomates arrived home so he wasn't alone. Plus I needed to give instructions to his roomie regarding medication since Chris was still acting rather silly following the meds. Then it was another late return home.

Thursday saw me back in Ottawa again for choir practise and then it was out again Friday for a Partylite party at a friend's home. After pulling an overtime shift on Saturday , it was back into Ottawa this time with Dan who was attending a birthday celebration at a friend's home and of course Sunday again for our church service and a concert that evening.

By the time Monday rolled around, I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day. We all know though that as responsible working adults we can't do that (Why Not?!). So I trudged back to the lab. Now my charge tech is away on union business for the next three weeks so I'm doing her job and my own. Murphy's Law being what it is, when I walked in the door on Monday they informed me that one of the chemistry instruments was down and they were unable to use it. Who gets to fix it?.... you guessed it- me! After troubleshooting for a couple of hours on the phone with technical service, we discovered the problem. One of the internal parts had been hit and was bent. The only way that could have happened was if someone had actually hit it. When I asked the other techs about it, it came out that yes, one of the new grads had knocked the part when she was doing maintenance but was afraid to tell anyone. With the part replaced we were back on track but had to work an hour overtime to catch up with everything.

Now I'm up to 9 hrs overtime with my shift the previous Saturday. Then I was foolish enough to return to work on Tuesday. Now what?.... the computer hard drive in Chemistry has crashed and we are without the computer which operates our analyzers.Back to manual procedures and reporting and another 4 hrs overtime working with IT to try and get the computer up and running. It was a temporary fix which we had to complete yesterday following work which led to another hour overtime. During all this time I had another instrument go down which resulted in service from Montreal having to come and repair! Could anything else possibly go wrong?! You know I should never have voiced that thought! So I'm up to 14 hrs overtime since last Saturday and I already know I have to put some in this coming Saturday after my shift to help train some of the nurses on some new point-of-care equipment. The government will love all the extra tax they can collect on my paycheck this week.

I'm off today and Friday and only just crawled out of bed an hour ago. With any luck I can actually pull out some stitching today! I've told my DH not to answer the phone if he sees the hospital number come up. I'm not paid to be on standby and the other techs can call service for help the same as I can. After all, when Louise and I retire in 2-3 yrs, they have to be able to do this on their own and they need the experience once in awhile.

I really want to get my Peace tree finished by next week so I can work on getting it finished for a Christmas gift. I'm fast losing interest in some of my Halloween projects and fear that some will join my UFO basket. My eyes are already wandering, looking for new projects to start. I've just received my first order form San-Man Originals Secret Shop. The items offered for sale in their shop are only available if you are on their newsletter list. They send out a newletter every few months which contains lots of goodies for purchase, along with a free chart. However there are limited quantities for a lot of the items. By the time I check my email and find the newsletter, a good portion of the items are already purchased. However last month I happened to be at home checking my mail when the newletter arrived. There were so many cute little Halloween goodies! I placed an order and hooray!... finally I was able to pick up some of these little designs. I don't know if you can still subscibe to the newsletter since their main webpage seems to be closed.

When the order arrived in my mail last week I was so surprised. Inside the envelope, the order had been placed in a lovely little fabric bag tied with ribbon. Inside the bag I also found a number of Halloween stickers. I was thrilled with my order and hope I happen to be home again when her Christmas newsletter arrives. All of the items are very reasonable in price and the charts and frames are really quite cute. I've posted a few pics below to show off some of what I received.

At this point I think it's time I got showered and dressed since we will be heading into Ottawa sometime this afternoon for choir practice. I hope you are all having a great week and are doing lots of the stitching that I don't have time for right now. I'll leave you with a lovely fall picture that my son Daniel snapped last week on a road tour we took of the Long Sault Parkway along the St Lawrence River.