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.