Thursday, 31 December 2009

Blessings Be Thine

Although the piece may not be finished, the wishes that it expresses are sent from me to all of you. May 2010 find you blessed in love, health and prosperity. I have met so many new friends through this blog and I thank each and every one of you for your friendship and encouragement.

I guess I should have dated this piece 2010 rather than 2009 but I'd seriously hoped to be finished by this point in time. As the holidays come to a close and my house settles back down into its regular routine I should be able to find more time for myself and my stitching.

Our Christmas here was full of fun (and exhaustion!) with the arrival of my granddaughters. We managed to cram in a whirlwind of activity in the short time that they were with us. The weather cooperated and we paid a visit to Upper Canada Village's Alight At Night. The entire pioneer village is decorated with lights during the month of December and into the first week of the new year. Horse drawn wagons are available to take visitors through the village and since the girls had never seen a horse up close before, we opted to tour the sights this way. All I could hear from the youngest was,"C'est beau Grandmaman!"

It wasn't a bitter cold night but it was still cool enough and considering we had a 30 min. wait to get our tickets and then another 30 min. wait for a wagon, I thought the girls were very well behaved. I think they were so awed by the sights and the number of other children there visiting. Following our tour we stopped for hot chocolate and then it was home to bed where not a peep was heard from any of us!

Christmas is always so much more fun through the eyes of a child and I'm so very blessed to have been able to spend some of that precious time with Océanne and Summer.

Our celebrations are still not complete since my youngest son Chris will be arriving here this weekend. I look forward to seeing him and spending some time catching up on his life in Toronto.

As usual, I've found a Christmas piece that I'd like to stitch now that the holiday is over. When visiting another stitcher's blog, I was introduced to some of the designs of Nathalie Cichon of Jardin Privé. I just received a pdf for her Christmas design and I'm looking at kitting it up next week. I'm always looking for something different to stitch and I love a lot of the French designs that are out there. If you get a chance, check out her site.

Now I'm going to try and stay awake long enough to ring in the New Year with my DH and DS. I'm working early tomorrow morning so I might see my bed before I see the New Year!

Have a very Happy New Year and I'll chat with all of you soon.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry Christmas! Finished at last

First of all a very Merry Christmas to all of my blogging friends as well as my friends and family who read my blog. I hope you all had a most enjoyable Christmas. I'm a little late with my wishes but we've been going non-stop here to get the house in order for the holidays. As of last weekend our renovations are finally complete! The painters cleared out the last of their stuff on Saturday evening and then the giant cleanup began. Because this is Bob's busiest time of year as a church organist and with me working right up until Christmas, we could only clean house during the evenings. The entire house was filthy. Trust me you don't want to know just how bad it was. As of now, the living room, dining room and kitchen are back in order with the exception of a few minor details. The bedrooms and rec room where we've been storing everything still remain to be cleaned up but that will take place in the new year. I've still got boxes of dishes and items from my dry sink and curio cabinet to unpack as well as a good portion of my food stuffs. We finished cleaning on Dec. 24th and since my boys are not celebrating with us until later in the week we spent Christmas Day wrapping gifts and putting up the tree. Talk about last minute! I haven't even had any time in which to write my Christmas cards. In any case here is how things now look as I sit and write this post. I think you might even be able to spot Clarisse in one of these. Hint - check out the love seat in the living room.

Speaking of Clarisse, I know now just how much fur she sheds on any given day. Hardwood floors show things which carpeting did not.
This is her first Christmas with us and since we weren't sure just how she would react to the tree, we decided to put up an artificial one. We were afraid that she might knock over the tree, spilling water on the new floors. However she hasn't shown any interest in it with one exception. She has taken to sleeping under it just as all our previous cats have. It's her new sleeping spot. She's not used to the coldness of the new floors and the tree skirt is a nice comfy place to settle on.

My oldest son Jeff will arrive this coming Monday with his girls for our Christmas. Daniel will also be joining us for the week after visiting at his Dad's place. Jeff is only able to spend two days with us because we share the visit with his father. Following Jeff's return, Chris lands in from Toronto on New Year's eve. He will spend New Year's Day at his Dad's and then return home for a dinner and gift exchange with us on the weekend before returning to Toronto late Sunday. This was the first time that he wasn't home with us at Christmas. Because he works retail, he only had the 25th off which wasn't enough time to get home and back for work on Boxing Day. I worried about him being alone but one of the girls in his neighbourhood when he lived in Ottawa is actually from the Toronto area and she invited him to spend the holiday with her family in Acton. Judy, if you're reading this, he was in Georgetown in your neck of the woods on Christmas eve, checking out the lights. I guess there's one particular house that's pretty spectacular.

I'm so tuckered out from all the cleanup this past week that I've decided not to cook a huge Christmas meal. Instead I purchased some stuffed turkey breast from M&M meats along with some of their lovely desserts. When Chris arrives we will do an Italian meal since he's vegetarian. I'm hoping to do a little baking tomorrow afternoon so that Grandma has cookies in the house for Oceanne and Summer's arrival. I have to return to work on the 29th and it's my turn to work on New Year's Day so we will visit with friends that evening.

I'm looking forward to being able to sit down this evening and stitch. Yayy! I can't wait! I wanted to show you the kitty stitched ornaments that I purchased at our church's bazaar.

Aren't they cute? I had no idea that some of the ladies do stitching but they tell me that they limit it to items like these because their eyesight is so poor now. I also have a new ornament on our tree this year to add to my Jim Shore collection. I love this one!

One other thing that has been a highlight for us this past month was the Olympic Torch run which passed through Cornwall.

The winter Olympics are being held this coming Feb. in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A good friend of ours, Ann Jardin-Alexander, was carrying the torch during this portion of the run. Ann is a former Olympic medal winner having won 2 bronze medals for relay swimming in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. I couldn't get the day off work to see her but luck had it that her run was taking place during my lunch hour. I drove downtown where I met Bob and it was only 5 minutes later that she passed by us. It was so awesome to see! To think that the flame has come all the way from Greece and already crossed through Eastern Canada on its way to its final destination. Ann stopped by at our place later in the afternoon and brought her torch with her so that we could have a look at it. I was surprised that it wasn't at all heavy.

Now I'm off to finally pick up my stitching after weeks of doing next to nothing on my pieces. With any luck I'll have some significant progress pics for my next post. I hope you are all having a very safe and happy holiday.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A month already!

I can't believe that it's been a month since my last post! I know that I tried to post last week but with the renovations things were so topsy turvy that I couldn't even find my laptop when I sat down to blog. I don't think I have ever seen my house in such a mess. It really is a disaster. We are in the final stages now with the painters having arrived this week. I know it will be lovely once it's complete but I doubt now that things will ever be back in place for Christmas. The holidays seem to be kind of screwed up anyways this year. It is very doubtful that my oldest can make it home with his girls and my youngest will not arrive home until New Year's Eve. Working in retail really makes it difficult for him to get any time off over the holidays. Since neither of his brothers will be around at Christmas, Dan is thinking that he just might visit with his father over Christmas. Wow, that means we'll be alone here to enjoy our mess!

Stitching has been a real challenge right now due to lack of time plus the amount of dust and dirt around the house at the moment. Sounds like I live like a pig, eh? I've managed to put in some stitches during my breaks at work and on my Tuesday night SAL. The result is some progress on Blessings and a little less on my M designs name tree. You'll see that the name tree is now complete on one side and you can now read Oceanne's name. And yes, it will be a gift for next year, lol!

Finally I have received my LHN first ornament chart, Fa La La. I joined Vonna's SAL for these ornaments but I'm afraid that I will always be bringing up the rear. By the time the chart arrives here in Canada, the others are well on their way and in some cases, ready for the next ornament. I will do my best to plod along after everyone.

Winter has finally arrived with a dump of some of the white stuff this past week.We received about 22cm or 10 inches. More is expected in the coming week. However, this is one of the only times that you might hear me say that I wouldn't want to be in Muskoka right now. This area, known as cottage country, received 80-100 cm of snow over 2 days. That's around 3 ft of the stuff!
Highways have been closed and the towns of Huntsville and Bracebridge declared a snow emergency. A close friend of ours who lives in Gravenhurst called tonight and said that he has been pretty much marooned in his own home. The snow is waist deep in some spots. Check it out here.
Now I'm off to bed after a day of Christmas shopping. Malls wear me out! I'm too pooped to post any longer.
I'll leave you with a couple of pics of my granddaughters, taken on a visit to their place to celebrate the youngest's 3rd birthday in late November.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A Christmas start

I got the urge to work on something with a Christmas theme this week. Must be all the ads on TV and radio for the holiday or maybe it was all that Christmas music playing in the stores already (can you believe it!). In any case I've concentrated all my efforts on Blackbird Designs Blessings and a new ornament start from M Designs. Unfortunately my efforts over the past two weeks have been rather pitiful. Due to our home renovations, the house is full of dust. It's difficult to find a clean place to stitch. Some nights we're limited to just the use of our bedroom and spare room, neither of which has good lighting. So my stitching has had to be set aside some evenings and I've become a couch potato or rather a bed potato in my case, lol! My Tuesday night stitching has really become a thing of need even if only to get me out of the mess that's my house.

My new start is a name tree that I ordered more than a year ago from M Designs. Actually I ordered several of them with the names of various family members. Right now I'm working on one for my granddaughter Oceanne. If you turn you head sideways you can see part of her name. The fabric I've chosen is a Silkweaver Opalescent Solo and there is enough of it to do a second ornie for Oceanne's sister, Summer. I'm using a DMC variegated floss and for the very first time I'm stitching over 1! It's not as bad as I feared but then again this is a 28ct not 40ct. The use of my magnifying lens is a must though. I've tried without it and those darn sparkles get in the way and make it difficult to see where the holes are.

I think it's turning out very pretty so far. I've only been able to stitch on it for two evenings mainly because I didn't have access to my stitching spot after I got started. I'm going to try and do some on it today in the daylight.

Blessings is coming along slowly but surely. I've still got to frog out the star and replace it with a brighter white but I am enjoying this one now. I wasn't sure when I first started it but it's growing on me.

My little Ink Circles Spotted Owls has been on hold waiting for floss replacement thanks to Clarisse taking off with the floss I had been working with. The new floss arrived this week and I managed to do a small amount on this one. It's close to a finish but might take me longer since my stitching days are often being cut out. I haven't touched Nantucket in weeks now but it will resurface later. I just want to concentrate on small projects right now. I don't want to risk getting it dirty with all of our mess.

Speaking of which, things are progressing. The cupboards are now in and only require some minor finishing touches such as the crown mouldings. Countertops should go in next weekend.The hardwood floor is all down with the exception of one corner where we ran out of wood and therefore had to place another order. The supplier had ordered originally based on an estimate and forgot that he had to wait for confirmation once it was measured correctly.

Flooring is down in both the kitchen and entrance now. Basically the stairs still need to be done along with refinishing the existing railings. We have to repair the ceiling in our hallway thanks to an electrician who slipped while in the attic and but his boot through! Since the ceiling is one which had been sprayed for effect, we're not quite sure how to handle that one yet. It'll be their cost though, not ours . Then comes the big cleanup (which I'm dreading) following which the painters will move in to finish things off. I figure it will be the second week of December before everything is back in order. Just in time to get ready for the holidays. So my stitching time will continue to be limited until things are finished. Here's some pictures of the kitchen before we started and where we are at this point.

My Tuesday night group of stitchers has decided to have a Secret Santa night. We've all drawn names and are limited to $20 dollars for our gift. We'll get together the second week in December for a wine and cheese, at which time we'll exchange gifts. Should be a lot of fun! Gifts are not limited to stitching but stitchy items are not excluded either. Any ideas?

I received an email from my cousin this week and I'm now calling her an enabler! She sent me an email from her LNS detailing the Little House of Needleworks new Christmas ornament releases soon to start. It's an automatic shipment program. In addition they will send you a list of supplies needed for each stitch a week or so prior to the chart shipment so you can place an order for any supplies you might need in advance. The supplies will then be shipped along with the corresponding chart. Could I resist? Are you kidding me...NO! I signed up immediately. I think I might join the group over at Vonna's who are planning to stitch these.

As I write this, my little Clarisse sits on the ironing board behind me, keeping me company. She is no longer little and no longer a kitten, having turned one year old yesterday. She is turning into a beautiful cat but she hasn't quite lost all of the kitten in her. After spending all day locked in a bedroom while renovations are taking place, she then tears pellmell through the house upon her release and gets into absolutely everything she can just to show her displeasure! I can't blame her though. I certainly know how she feels being confined to just one area.

Now I'm off to run some errands. I'm trying to get my Christmas lights put outside on my bushes while the weather holds out. There's nothing I hate more than trying to put them out in early December while it's snowing and my hands are freezing. I figured I'd get smart this year and get them put on early. I won't turn them on though until much later in December.

Hope you all have a super weekend. Keep on stitching!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Friends and Fun

That's what the past weekend was all about when I made a trip Kingston way for a SAL at Rebecca's home. I landed in on Friday evening after being stuck in a traffic nightmare on the 401 highway. Waiting for me was Rebecca, Dani and Christin. Not long after I arrived we were joined by Bonnie from Cobourg. Following a yummy supper provided by Rebecca we all settled in, stitching in hand and caught up with each other.

Saturday morning the group got a little bigger with the arrival of Trista, Kathy, Beatrice, Barb and Judy. Ann and Beth had both called with regrets due to illness so our group was complete.
I know that in the pictures which Dani took, it appeared that we were all business but there was still a lot of chatting going on while we stitched. Dani made terrific progress on Tour de Marque. Rebecca is now backstitching her wolves which we all agreed doesn't necessarily need to be done on everthing called for in the piece. Some of the stitching around the mouth just didn't look right and we all felt it looked better off without it.
Barb and I seemed to be visiting with the frogs (as well as snails which slowed us down) and I think I might have heard them in Kathy's corner as well or was that just Kathy, lol! Everyone else seemed to be making great progress. Trista's Taj Mahal Mandela was beautiful! I wish I'd taken a pic to show all of you. Later in the day the frogs departed and I did make some progress on Nantucket as well as a little on BD Blessings.

Here's Rebecca who hosted

Beatrice and Barb followed by Christin and Kathy

Beatrice with her Mirabilia along with Judy and Dani
enjoying the potluck

Trista with her Chatelaine
and Bonnie with her Blackstone Fantasy Garden

Nantucket Summer Sampler

Pot luck was on the menu for supper, one of my favourites. After a few more hours of stitching following supper, the Brighton contingent headed back home.

I've been having some issues lately with foot problems which in turn has resulted in pain in the back, knees and hips since I'm shifting my weight . I spent the weekend hobbling around and on Sunday morning made the decision to head home early. I really wasn't comfortable and it was putting a damper on things. A very special thanks to Rebecca for being such a super hostess and to her hubby for supplying one of my favourite drinks.

Since I last posted I also made a start on a little freebie that arrived with one of my online orders. It's an Ink Circles freebie called Ink Spots #6 - Spotted Owls. Can you spot the owls?

I love working on this little piece. I'm using a Dinky Dyes silk and figured I'd have plenty to finish things off. That was before Clarisse took off with some of my floss! I had cut all of the floss into lengths and laid it on the arm of my chair. Then I stepped away for a few minutes. When I returned, all but two of the lengths had disappeared. I looked everywhere for them with no luck. There are so many hiding places in my house right now courtesy of my renovations and the boxes of kitchen goods. She might have eaten some of it but I don't think she had enough time to ingest all of them. In any case, the floss is no more and I had to place an order for another skein to replace it. That'll teach me to leave my floss lying around, lol!

Speaking of Clarisse, she's really out of sorts now that the kitchen renovations have begun. We have to keep her cooped up in one of the bedrooms all day while they and we are working. There's really no other place for her. We don't have a door to our rec room to keep her downstairs. Usually we confine her to a bedroom during the night but now we're giving her free reign of the house while we sleep so she can get a bit more exercise. Of course there's plenty of dust which she's running around in so I'm sure she'll need a bath when it's all said and done.

All of our carpet is being replaced with hardwood so the carpet is now gone. I always camped with my boys so I'm used to eating and cooking out of boxes but I could do without all the dust. Meals are limited right now to using our microwave, toaster oven or the BBQ. Eating out is looking better all the time!
Since cleaning is out of the question at this time, I'm off now to sit and stitch a bit before bed. Hope you're all having a great week.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


I'm not indecisive, I just can't make up my mind! I'm ready for a new start and I just can't seem to settle on which piece I want to do next. I've even gone so far as to actually start one and then wish I'd started something else. Am I the only one like this?
At this Tuesday's SAL there was a new start in the form of Blackbird's Designs Blessings Be Thine. I've admired this one for some time now. The plan was to start LHN Home of a Needleworker but the fabric which I thought I still had in my stash wasn't anywhere to be found and until I find something suitable it's been put on hold. Hence, the backup plan, Blessings. The fabric is a WDW 30 ct linen and I'm finding it's a looser weave than I care to stitch on. Sometimes that's all it takes to turn me off of a project and then I'm searching for the next start. Add to that the fact that I'm already going to have to frog out the star and replace it with another choice of floss colour. The white just isn't standing out enough.

My order of the new releases from St. Charles' Market arrived this week and that's calling to me. I fell in love with BD Midnight Watch! I know, I know, I said no more Halloween stitching but you should see it! Then of course there were all the new little Halloween quickies from Val's Stitchin' Stuff. Too cute. On top of that, with a recent online order I received an Ink Circles freebie called Spotted Owls. The owls are hidden within the design. Now I'm thinking, "What floss should I use for this and I wonder if I can find fabric for this one in my stash?" And how could I possibly forget the fact that I finally found a copy of JCS Christmas ornament issue at my local pharmacy. I can't count the number that I want to stitch from this year's issue. Help! So what have I done so far? Nothing. It's like my mind has shut down and now I don't feel like picking up anything. It's merely on overload and once I've calmed down my hand will reach for that needle again and I'll be alright. Everything will fall into place and I'll know exactly what I'm doing. I think!

Before the mind got too carried away, I did manage a little progress on Nantucket.

The camera came with me to SAL this past week and I snapped a few pics of my fellow stitchers . There didn't seem to be as much stitching this week. Instead there was a lot of talk of the upcoming retreat and much poring over the latest Herrschner's catalogs. Although I'm not able to make the retreat this year, I will be joining some of our fellow bloggers at Rebecca's for a weekend of fun, laughter, eating and oh yeah, stitching. Can't wait!

From left: Sylvia, Barb and Maria

Sylvia, Maria and Sally

Looks like a floss toss to me!

Roseanne et moi having some fun while Sue checks out the latest Herrschner's catalog.

Sally admiring Louise's latest stash purchase

Chantal and Leslie checking out the catalog.

For all you book lovers out there, Diana Gabaldon was in town this week for a reading from her latest release, An Echo In The Bone. I've been to one of Diana's book readings in the past and really enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of her Outlander series and can't wait to read this, the 7th in the series. I would have loved to gone to this reading but driving into Ottawa for three nights in a row after working in Cornwall all day is just too much commuting for me. Especially when I have to work the upcoming weekend. As it is I bailed out of my choir practice tonight after a particularily rotten day at work. The old gray mare she ain't what she used to be!

Kitchen renovations are slated to begin next Wednesday so keep your fingers crossed. While I was cleaning out the existing cupboards I found that I had a lot more selections of tea than I realized. A couple of my girl friends prefer tea to coffee especially the herbal decaf varieties. This led me back to drinking tea which in the past I'd limited to when I was ill. I have a love for all types of chai - regular, white chai, holiday chai, green tea chai, chocolate chai but this week I found a new tea which I'm equally hooked on. It's one of Tetley's teas and is called Warmth - Cinnamon Spice with Orange Blossom (decaffinated). I've managed to get my son Dan hooked too. So excuse me now while I go pour myself a cup and think of new starts. See you next week!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Snowmen and Palm Trees

That pretty well sums up what I've been stitching for the past week. I dug out a UFO, The Trilogy's Secret Snowdrift, that's been sitting untouched since last winter. I'm so close to finishing this one and I'm waiting for supplies for my next start so I decided to get this one moving first. I've only got one more snowman and a penguin to complete and then the border. I was so keen on this little piece when I started. I've never understood exactly what causes me to lose interest or why it only happens with certain pieces but it does happen. Maybe it's boredom, who knows.

The palm trees are found in Nantucket's Summer Sampler and I finished stitching the first palm tree while at my Tuesday night SAL. So far, so good, I haven't lost interest in this one yet!

Besides this I've had one small happy dance. I finished off my Cricket freebie for Halloween. One of the ladies in my group suggested finishing it as a bellpull or banner. Since I'm not much for sewing, I'm going to enlist the help of one of my coworkers for the finishing.

No more Halloween stitching for now. I want to pick out something to stitch for Christmas even if it's just an ornie. I'm anxiously awaiting the new JCS ornament issue. I'm told that it's now available in Ottawa so I'll try and get a copy this weekend. In the meantime I chose another start, LHN Home of a Needleworker. This one will be framed and hung in my entry so that everyone who enters our home will know exactly what I've been up to.

I've been having a great time checking out the new releases from St. Charles Market. Two of the ladies in our stitching group (formerly of the Cross Stitch Cupboard) attended the market and brought their new stash this past Tuesday for us to check out. There was plenty of drooling, oohs and aaahs. It was almost as good as Christmas morning! Speaking of Christmas, it seems that there are a few in the group who will be doing a Christmas of Hawkrun Hollow SAL. That's just too big a project for me at the moment with everything else that's going on around here. I have however ordered the new Shepherd Bush, Holy Night. Of course I couldn't stop there! I just had to have Blackbird Designs Midnight Watch. I also sprung for a couple of Val's Stitchin' Stuff smalls. Both with cats on them of course! This was my treat for all the overtime at work that I've put in lately.

Besides cross stitch, the ladies also brought back some beautiful beads for another fellow stitcher. She has been one busy lady, using these beads and others to create some fabulous fobs. She's taking the scissor fobs with her to the upcoming stitching retreat to sell. Because of our home renovations, I'm not able to attend retreat this year. Cry, cry, sniffle, sniffle, since this is the last stitching retreat that will be occuring. Unless of course someone else wants to take over the job. Up until now these retreats have been hosted by The Cross stitch Cupboard or Knit One, Stitch Too as it was recently known. Now that the store has closed, the owners feel that they would like to devote their energies to other pursuits. Anyways, because I'm not attending retreat, I got to pick out and purchase the fob of my choice at our gathering.

Isn't it pretty? Each fob has a protector attached which nicely fits over the point of the scissors. I'm so pleased with it and can't wait to see the new fobs that Elaine creates with all her lovely new beads.
On the renovation front, my kitchen cupboards have arrived! They are sitting inside my garage and have been sitting there for a week now while we wait for the contractor to start. He was supposed to be available the first week in October but is still finishing off another job. Meanwhile we have started to live out of boxes as will be the case well into December I'm sure. We can prepare meals on the BBQ once things are under way. We are fortunate that our BBQ has a side burner for heating pots. There's also the microwave which is sitting on a cart in the spare room where our kitchen table resides. Something tells me though that we will grow sick of this soon enough especially when we won't have our sink available. I expect I'll grow sick of eating out. For the first time in a long time I may actually look forward to cooking when everything is completed!
This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. Since I can't prepare the bird this year we have made reservations at a favourite haunt in Ottawa. I just purchased a bus ticket online for my youngest to come home from Toronto. His ride backed out at the last minute and Mom came to the rescue. His brother in Cornwall will be joining us as well. My oldest doesn't get enough time off work to come home plus his car is only good enough for short trips and not the highway driving needed to get to our place. So I'll be paying a visit to their home next month when we celebrate my youngest granddaughter's birthday. I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing weekend and to my fellow Canadian bloggers, Happy Thanksgiving! In these times of job insecurity and uncertainty, I consider myself truly blessed. Thanks be to God.