Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Join me in a little dance

A happy one of course! I have two finishes to celebrate. The first is my Tantes Zolder piece followed by my August ornament. Both are pretty quick stitches but that doesn't mean that I was that quick! Too many things going on over the summer months prevent me from getting much accomplished. I'd hoped to get the TZ one finished as a pinkeep yesterday but I couldn't find any fabric that would work in my stash so I'll have make a trip to FabricLand to find something.
The ornament will be finished into a pillow(at a date yet do be determined!).

I had to work this past weekend but when I'd finished on Saturday, I took a drive to the village of Cardinal to join some friends for more stitching. I met Cathy through our South Eastern Ontario Yahoo stitcher's group. We've had a number of SALs through this group but Cathy has been unable to attend any so this time we decided to bring the SAL to her! I was joined by Dani and Rebecca. Cathy has no blog so I've been unable to see some of her many finishes. Saturday's stitch was a chance to get acquainted with her and view some of her fantastic finishes. My favourite was one by Barbara Baatz which I believe was the Fairy Godmother. It was a lovely visit although short but we are planning to do this again in the near future. Thanks Cathy!

This weekend I'm off to Brighton to the home of Kathy for a weekend SAL. Some of the stitchers are arriving on the Friday evening but I'm going to head out early on Saturday morning. I'm just too tired after working on Friday to do a 3 hr drive. It's my understanding that several of the stitchers in the Brighton area will be joining us for the day Saturday which will include a trip to Ann's shop, Knowledge and Needles. I'm looking forward to meeting Ann and the others as well as seeing several other stitcing friends. In the past Ann has invited me to a couple of her SALs which I've been unable to attend and I'm really wanting to spend some time in her shop.

I'd hoped to stay for the day at Kathy's on Sunday too but it looks like I'll have to head out shortly after lunch. I'm taking a friend to see Wicked in Ottawa on Sunday night. Then I'll have Monday at home to recuperate from all my travels!

This is my new start. It's by Waxing Moon designs and is called Witches Garden. I'm stitching it on 28ct SMF Howling at the Moon. As you can see I've managed to finish the bottom of the witch's dress. The original pattern calls for this to be done on a much darker fabric and the colour of the dress was a much lighter gray which just couldn't be seen on this fabric. So I hunted through my stash and came up with this gray. It's still not quite as dark as I would have liked but I think it will turn out okay in the end.

Now I'm off to hunt for a pattern for next month's ornie SAL. Hope you're all having a great week!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

It is still summer, isn't it?

Is anyone out there noticing that the leaves are changing much earlier this year? Since when do they start changing the first week of August? In the past I have noticed colour changes during the latter part of August just before the kids return to school but on our way home from Muskoka I spotted several trees that had completely changed and were a vibrant red. I opened my mouth to comment on it and my DH said he had been thinking the same thing. I don't know if it's the cooler nights we've been having this summer or what but I for one am not impressed! Don't get me wrong, I love autumn but this summer I'm feeling cheated. It's rained at some point in time nearly every day. We had an incredible storm just last night. It carried on through most of the evening.We've had very few stretches of sunny days at all lately. When I see those trees changing it just reminds me of that miserable winter we suffered through. It's returning far too quickly.

On my last two posts I've neglected to say thanks to both Von and Dani for nominating me for a Brillante Award. Both of these super ladies nominated me while I was on vacation but I declined to pass on the award because of my limited access to a computer. Now that I'm home I couldn't possibly limit this award to only 7 people. There are too many bloggers out there whose work inspires me. Thank you to all the many bloggers who have shared so much with me over the past year and from whom I've learned a lot! A special thanks again to Von and Dani for choosing me as a recipient.

I'm not terribly ambitious so far this week. There has been a somber mood at work. During the past two days alone we've had some bad news. First, one of my co-workers' brothers died at age 40 from a stroke. They had been estranged but it has been hard on her family.As if that wasn't enough, today our secretary's husband was brought into Emergency feeling short of breath and within an hour he had died. Only 56 and it appears he has suffered a stroke as well. I happened to be the first to arrive at work right after this happened and received a call from one of the nurses to tell me that our friend was down in the hospital family room alone with no-one to comfort her. All her family lives out of town and apparently they are not close. I'm feeling kind of shell-shocked. She was so terribly distraught and not knowing her all that well,(she's only worked with us for a short time) I just didn't know how to console her. I kept trying to imagine how I'd feel in her place.

Then shortly after came the news that our boss, who has been suffering from back pain, is now diagnosed with lung cancer which has already spread to the bones and brain. He's only 56 as well and is the fifth person within our lab to be diagnosed with cancer.We've already lost one co-worker at age 45 with ovarian cancer. Although he's our boss now, for many years prior he worked alongside us as a tech. He'd just taken retirement and come back to work part-time on contract. We are all feeling as if life isn't very fair to these people and their families. As much as I may complain at times, I feel so blessed that my DH and I have our health and a loving, close family who support each other. I'll be saying extra prayers tonight.
As a result of all this I haven't stitched for the past couple of nights, but I do have some progress to show. I worked a little more on the weekend on CdC and even picked up my other Tantes Zolder piece for a short spell. Here's the results. I'm about a third of the way into my fourth page on CdC ( which is actually page 6 since I'm working my way backwards now). I'd like to continue working on both but my ornie needs to be complete by the end of the month. I only have the border to finish on that one. Plus I'm getting the urge to get started on my Witches Garden. Then I think I should be starting the Christmas present I'm stitching for my youngest sister in order to have it completely finished in time. I'm planning on stitching M Designs Peace Tree for her as a flatfold rather than an ornament. My head is just swimming at the moment so I think the best thing right now is to head off to bed early and leave the decisions until later. Sorry for such a depressing post. Here's hoping for better days ahead.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Halfway there!

Can you believe it? I'm half finished my Cirques des Cercles! I'd fallen so far behind in the last couple of months and I really had hoped I'd get in a lot of stitching time on my vacation. That wasn't the case as it turned out. We were much too busy on holidays and my CdC languished at the bottom of my stitching bag. So when we returned home I made an effort to get back on track with this one. I vowed that I wouldn't touch anything else during the past week and so I removed all my other projects from my bag and hid them. Below are the fruits of my labour. I've also posted a "before" picture to show my progress. The bottom photo is actually closer to the true colour of the fabric. I had taken the first one during the evening using my flash whereas I took the latter one this morning in daylight.



I feel much better now that I've turned the corner and am halfway there. I definitely want to have this piece done by the end of the year. Besides there's another SAL starting up in January involving a Mirabilia piece which I want to take part in. If I haven't got this finished by then, I'll never finish it!! I really do love Cirque though. Everytime I pick up this piece I don't want to put it down. It's just so soothing to stitch on.

So that's the only stitching I have to show for now, however, I did find some stash in the mail following my return from vacation. I'd almost forgotton about some of this in my rush to get packed and away. First off is LHN Home of a Needleworker, CCN Joyful Summer, and a couple of The Cat's Whiskers Krazy Kitties including the Halloween Kitty. ( I love this one!) Then there's Dinky Dyes Mount Coot-tha and Midsummer Night Designs Forget Me Not. Now you can see why I had to hide everything to concentrate on Cirques! I was so tempted to start one of these new lovelies. Just posting them here gives me the itch to get started on one. I guess I should have used my flash on these pics but I was afraid I'd get glare from the packaging and I was in a hurry to take them. My DH was taking off with the camera today and I wanted to get these photos before he left.

Now I'm off to see Mama Mia with my friend Michelle. I saw this one already last week with my son but Michelle hasn't seen it yet and knowing her DH wouldn't accompany her I jumped at the chance to see it again. It really is a fun flick and besides I don't mind looking at Pierce Brosnan one bit!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Home once more

Warning: Picture intensive!

Home again, but already wishing I was back at the cottage. Our week there passed far too quickly and was much busier than usual. We arrived on the Friday at noon, anxious to put the boat into the lake, only to find the motor was dead when we turned the key! The battery had been charged before we left, could it be that the battery needed replacement? After towing the boat to a nearby marina the mechanic informed us that it was a relatively minor problem. The cables from the battery to the engine were shot and needed to be replaced. He could do the job for us the next day. Disappointing, but not as expensive as we'd feared and besides, it rained most of the day Saturday so we didn't mind not having the boat.

The cottage was as lovely as always. The owners had put in a new dock this year and are now awaiting their permits for a new boathouse. After lunch on Saturday, my cousin Sheryl and her husband Bryan arrived to spend the weekend with us. It was great seeing them again. It was their daughter who was just married that I had stitched the wedding piece for. We spent Saturday catching up and enjoying a marvellous meal which Bryan prepared for us.

After attending church on Sunday morning (by boat!), we took them on a boat trip to Port Carling for a picnic lunch. Following our return they headed home.

During their stay we had warned them that the cottage had several mice which had taken up residence. The owners had left several mouse traps around but said they hadn't seen any yet. We had seen several last year and one joined me on the couch on our first night there this year! Now at this point I have to tell you that my DH is frightened of mice. So on Sunday morning when we found a mouse dead in one of the traps I knew that he wouldn't be disposing of it! Thanks to Bryan for getting rid of the mouse for us. Although several mornings later it was my turn... not one but two dead mice! Ugh!! At this point Bob suggested not replacing any more of the traps until we left. That way neither one of us would have to deal with any more dead mice!!

Bob and I were invited on Tuesday night to a friend's home to hear his son give a vocal recital. We were both looking forward to this since Fred has a lovely home with an incredible view of Lake Muskoka. The photo above is the view from Fred's deck as the Segwun steamship passes by. What better setting for a recital? However on Sunday afternoon we received a phone call to inform us that the pianist who was to accompany the recital was ill and could Bob possibly fill in? Our lakeside vacation suddenly became a working vacation! Bob was more than happy to help out since Fred had previously owned an island in the Muskokas where Bob cottaged (no charge) for many years and where we had spent our honeymoon. During the next two days while Bob rehearsed for the recital I sat on the deck at Fred's place and stitched. Heaven!

However this was to be one of the few times in which I could sit and stitch. We spent Monday visiting Bob's stepcousins who now have possession of his maternal grandfather's cottage. Beautiful spot on Lake Muskoka just down the lake from the Taboo resort. The cottage is approximately 85 yrs old and is a true old-fashioned cottage. In fact Bob said that nothing had changed and the cottage still looked the same as he remembered from his childhood. On the bottom picture on the left you can see the welcoming crew who greeted us at the dock. We had travelled to visit them by boat which takes about 1 hr from Bala to Gravenhurst. On both our trip there and back we checked out some of the cottages in the many bays off the lake. I prefer the old cottages to the new ones but either way we won't be investing in one anytime soon. A 900 sq ft cottage with 50 ft of lake frontage goes for about $400,000 to $500,000 and many of the newer cottages with 100 - 150 ft of lake frontage range from $1 million to $4.5 million in price! I'd be happy with their boat houses!! If you click on the link in my sidebar to my webshots albums, I should have the Muskoka pictures up by the end of this week and you can see some of the shots I took of cottages and boathouses.

One of my favourite past times at the cottage is to sit in the morning on the dock with my coffee and stitch. I only got the chance to do that on one morning this year! Most of the time it was too windy to sit at the lakeside. Patterns and floss would be flying! So this year I took to sitting on the cottage porch and awaiting the arrival of the hummingbirds who stop by the feeder each day. I sat very quietly with my camera and managed to sneak a few pictures. It could be clearer but I was taking it through the porch windows.

Wednesday was a washout because of rain so I did manage a wee bit of stitching indoors before we had more visitors arrive. This time it was the neighbours, also related to the cottage owner, who remember when Bob's family cottaged in the area. Following this we had tickets to see a musical performance in Parry Sound. Every summer this town hosts a 3wk music festival called the Festival of the Sound. If you follow the link, the picture on their home page just happens to be the concert which we took in. We saw our first concert there last summer and hope to take one in each time we visit. The music is varied and very reasonable in price plus it's an incredible concert hall.

The following day we were invited to lunch at the former Jones' cottage which is 5 doors down from where we rent. The current owners purchased the cottage from Bob's grandfather in the sixties for $16,500 and the cottage is now assessed at $600,000! I don't think we could afford the taxes even if we'd inherited. The cottage was sold long before any of the Jones' boys were old enough to take possession. It was a lovely visit and certainly another trip down memory lane for my DH.

Despite our many visits and visitors we did manage to make several morning trips by boat into Bala to stop in at Don's Bakery for scones and pick up fruits and veggies at the roadside market. I love going everwhere by boat! On one of evening trips around the lake we managed to get very close to one of the loons and I took this picture.

Then before you knew it, it was Friday and time to leave the cottage for our B&B in Gravenhurst. We had hoped to get the cottage for 10 days but because of the approaching holiday weekend, the owners were returning on Friday. So off to the B&B which was the next best thing. This particular spot is located on the Hoc Roc River, just off of Lake Muskoka. We were able to tie our boat at their dock with easy access to the lake. Our stay though was very brief since yours truly developed a stomach flu overnight Friday and spent most of Saturday in bed. Other guests were arriving and since we had a shared bathroom, we made the decision to head home late Saturday afternoon . There's nothing worse than being sick away from home, especially when you don't have the bathroom to yourself! Of course the drive home was no picnic but I plied myself full of drugs so that I slept most of the way and my trips to the bathroom would be few.

Feeling better today but I still don't have much of an appetite. Maybe that's good considering all of the junk I did eat while away! I'm hoping Bob doesn't come down with it next since he says his stomach just doesn't feel right today.

Although I didn't stitch as much as I'd hope this trip, I still had a fun, relaxing time. I even managed to pick up Cirque again. I'll save a picture of that one for my next post. I hope to work on it again tonight. My August ornie is almost complete and I did put in some stitches on my Tantes Zolder piece as well.
Tomorrow is my return to work, yuck! It's a short week though and I'm only working 3 days next week. We are hoping to visit a friend's cottage on Big Rideau Lake that week. She's a fellow stitcher so that should be great fun. I look forward to catching up with all of you in the next few days.