Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Come Dance With Me!

That's right, it's happy dancing time. Cirques des Cercles is finally finished! I'd hoped it would only take me a year but in total it took 16 months. I had a heck of a time getting a picture. I laid the finished piece on one of my tray tables outside on the deck and then stood on a chair in order to get the whole piece photographed. Next it's off to the framer's which will be my birthday gift. There's not enough material for mats so I just have to decide on a frame. This wasn't my first choice for material but when I ordered the original colour it had a flaw in it. Pressed for time, I searched my stash and came up with this piece of fabric which I actually like better than my original choice. However this was a 28ct as opposed to the 32ct which I'd ordered so I knew I wouldn't have enough fabric for matting. This was stitched on a Silkweaver Solo so I think I'll enter it into their Showcase contest. Prizes consist of free fabric!

Now for more fun.... new starts! I needed another small project for work and recently found a freebie offered on By The Bay Needlearts. This one is working up very quickly. I needed something to replace Cirque but didn't want to start something quite that large. I'd been browsing through some designer sites and discovered Whispered By The Wind. I ordered one of their new patterns called Spring Lace. The floss used is Hydrangea by Threadworx and is a really pretty mix of pinks and greens. I got started on it on Tuesday night with my SAL group in Ottawa and I love the way it's shaping up. I really haven't got much to show yet but I took a pic anyways. I'm really enjoying my stitching evenings on Tuesdays. As I've mentioned before, I could never join them when they used to be scheduled on Thursdays but now it's great. Great setting, great people and some fantastic stitching! I'd love to go every Tuesday but the commute in after a full day at work can sometimes be just too much so for now I'm limiting my participation to every other week. Plus now that the nice weather is here I think I should spend some time in my garden getting it ready for spring planting. Speaking of weather, it's supposed to be sunny and 27 C tomorrow. Yippee!

My son Dan came out to visit me last weekend and brought his cat Tugger to meet Clarisse. We figured it was about time the two got acquainted since they will be spending a week together this summer while we're on vacation. As expected, they didn't think much of each other the first day. Seemed to be an awful lot of growling going on mostly on Tugger's part. It was hilarious to watch Clarisse chasing him all over the house. The shoe's on the other foot now since it used to be Tugger chasing Finnigan all over! After only a day though they adjusted to one another and are now great friends. So much so that I kept Tugger for the rest of the week after Dan returned home. Clarisse will really miss Tuggs when he returns home. I've been telling my DH that she needs a playmate but so far he's not biting!

Last night Dan was back to join me for a Sci-Fi Spectacular at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The NAC Orchestra was performing music from science fiction movies and TV show including Star Wars, Star Trek, Close Encounters, Harry Potter, etc. The narrator for the performance was none other than George Takei also known as Star Trek's Mr. Sulu! This was a Christmas gift for Dan and he's been looking forward to it for some time now.

When we arrived we found the NAC lobby full of sci-fi characters such as Darth Vader, Imperial Storm Troopers, Princess Leia and various Star Trek commanders. These were all NAC employees dressed for the occasion but there were also several audience members who dressed in costume for the event. We saw some Harry Potter characters there. I'd been wishing I'd brought my camera when I remembered that I had my cell phone camera. So I managed to get a couple of pics of Dan with some of the characters. Too bad I haven't figured out yet how to send them to my email for downloading.
The concert was fantastic and we both enjoyed our night out. Now I've just returned from taking Dan and Tugger back to their place.

Can you believe it's taken me 3 days to get this posted? I haven't been home long enough on any evening to finish my posting. My life is way too busy lately. That's good, right?!
Now I'm off to enjoy a beautiful afternoon. The winds are a bit strong but the temperature feels like summer. Hope you are all enjoying a great weekend as well.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter!

A most blessed and Happy Easter to all my stitching friends. It's been rather cold here today but a fairly pleasant day nonetheless. I spent the day at work as did my DH so our Easter meal will be celebrated tomorrow. I'm still working tomorrow but Bob will be home all day and is currently planning our Easter meal. A leg of lamb on the barbecue is in the works. Mmmm! My son Daniel and some friends will be joining us so I'm really looking forward to that. Chris is working and Jeff and family are never able to join us due to the lack of a road worthy car. If I hadn't been working I would have picked them up for the weekend. Perhaps next year.

I have an Easter basket filled with some decorative eggs on my coffee table and Clarisse has spent the day retrieving the eggs from the basket and batting them around on the livingroom carpet. The basket has now been retired to higher ground!
Speaking of Easter, my Mirabilia Easter Fairy came close to being finished, but no cigar! I managed to complete everything except for the beading surrounding the fairy. I just haven't had enough time lately to devote to her. Can't say as I like the backstitching around her. The colour of choice in the pattern just doesn't agree with me. I find it's a little on the dark side especially around the legs, but at this point I have no intention on redoing it. I thought I'd never finish her wings! You'd think I'd never worked with Kreinik before what with all the trouble I had. I finally found my Thread Heaven a few weeks ago and that made the going a bit easier. At least it got me to the finish line. There's quite a bit of beading remaining which I'll work at over the course of the next couple of weeks. I could get it done a lot sooner if I wasn't spending so much time on other projects. It's hard to tell in the picture but the fabric is a lovely opalescent. The picture doesn't do it justice at all.

I'm also coming very close to doing another happy dance. This one might even be a whopping jig! You guessed it, Cirque des Cercles is nearing the finish line. I'm working on the interior of the last circle now. On Tuesday night I joined the ladies from my former LNS for a group stitch and put in some serious time on this one. The evening was a lot of fun and I hope to join them again if not every week then every other week. Below is a photo of my progress. The next pic I post will be the finish, I promise.

We have some major renovations that need completing around here in the near future. I suspect that the roof is going to need replacing either this summer or next since it's now 19 yrs old. The carpets and flooring are the originals (19 yrs) and are showing significant wear. They're fraying around the edges and lifting in places. Next on the list is painting. We last had most of the indoors painted just before we married 8 yrs ago. In addition to all this, our kitchen cabinets have lost the finish on most of the doors. The cabinets are oak but from the very beginning I spotted problems with them and knew that they wouldn't last as long as they should. I don't think the original finishing was done properly. Now that the finish is worn, the wood is drying out and splinters are appearing especially around the door edges. We know that the flooring was never laid properly either. I'm not impressed with the contractor's work on this house and would definitely not buy another of his. There was a big difference in quality between this house and my last.

All of this has necessitated a visit to my friendly neighbourhood banker to see if we can get any help. I'm very fortunate that being in the health care field my job is fairly recession proof. Add to that the fact that I've been in this job for 32 yrs now.In fact we're still advertising postions for techs. If all is a go with the bank then I suspect we will be in a mess around here for awhile especially since we will be doing as much of this as we can ourselves. So much for getting my craft room up and running! Maybe all this will force us to do a major cleanup around here!
Clarisse is doing well and growing very quickly. I'm trying to decide what to do about her claws. I bought a product called Soft Paws to try. However she's not co-operating. Why does this not surprise me?! I can't even get her to sit long enough to clip her nails. These Soft Paws are a soft pliable material and are like putting on false nails. They completely cover the cat's nails and are applied with an adhesive. I read the directions today and the adhesive can bond skin like Crazy Glue can. I have visions of trying to put these things on and gluing my fingers together in the process! I think the cat will have to be restrained but Bob isn't much help. He's not comfortable holding on to her and ends up in fits of laughter every time he imagines me trying this. She doesn't like me playing with her claws so I'm spending 5-10 min every night for the next few days massaging her paws until she gets used to me handling them. I'm also bribing her with treats! Any suggestions ladies?

Bob has just brought down some coffee and Easter treats for me. Now that Lent is over I can have some but I'm trying to eat very little in the way of sweets. Don't want to get back into a bad habit!

Have a great week and I'll check in with all of you again soon.

Monday, 6 April 2009

On vacation

I took this week off work to try and get some spring cleaning done but I seem to be seriously lacking some motivation. Fortunately it hasn't spread to my stitching since that's the only thing I really feel like doing at the moment. I finished stitching my ornament for March which if you remember was My Christmas Tree in Blue by Country Garden Stitchery. All that remains is the finishing on this one. I think I have some fabric that will work in my stash but if not the finishing will just have to wait until the fall when the Christmas fabrics return.I also managed to finish off my PS Bunny which I finished stitching last week. My egg shape isn't exactly perfect, in fact it's a little wonky on the one side, but as far as I'm concerned it'll do. I attached the cording with pins rather than gluing or sewing it so that I could remove the pins and use the stitching either on a wreath or in a basket. I plan on stitching several more of these in the future. Hopefully I'll get better at the egg shape as I go along!

When I went looking for fabric for the backing on this piece I struck gold. I didn't feel like going into Ottawa and instead went into the fabric shop in our small village. I really wasn't expecting to find a lot based on past experience but was pleasantly surprised to see several lovely new fabrics. It seems the shop is now offering quilting classes and has increased their inventory and selection to go along with the needs of the classes. Many of the fabrics are now being offered as fat quarters. I found some really great pieces for finishing off ornies and pinkeeps. It's kind of hard to tell from these photos but the fabrics actually have the appearance of some overdyed or hand dyed fabrics. They also have small tulips as part of the pattern. It's so nice that I won't have to travel very far now for my finishing supplies.

Now that my LNS has closed I'll have to buy most of my cross stitch supplies online which means using a little more planning. No more waiting until I've run out of something and replacing it right away. Now I'll be looking at 1-2 weeks before new supplies arrive once I've placed an order.

Besides these two ornies I took out Secret Snowdrift in an attempt to get this one finished in the very near future. I have several other projects kitted up and ready to go but if I don't finish this one first I figure it'll sit there until next winter. I'm making a concerted effort to put in time on my Easter fairy as well although I'm pretty sure she won't make her Easter deadline. I've given her one leg now and later tonight I'm starting on the second leg. I'm giving myself a bit of a break from working on the wings since I get so frustrated using the Kreinik. Not that there's much left to be done there either. If I can finish up those sections this week that will only leave the beading. I know I'm working Easter weekend and I have a busy week ahead of me before then so I won't be surprised if it just doesn't happen. I'll be happy if I can just get her finished before the end of April. I'll have an updated pic soon as well as an update on CDC. I'm still putting in stitches in on this one whenever I get a chance.

This past Saturday I made a trip up to Drummondville to visit my son and granddaughters. Daniel came with me to keep me company and to spend some time with his brother. Being the good grandma that I am, I had a car full of Easter gifts as well as Océanne's birthday gifts. Her birthday is two weeks from now and it was easier to bring them with me rather than mail them later. I actually could have gone up on her birthday weekend but they're expecting a houseful with all the family on Mimi's side. None of them speak English and they're all smokers which is enough to keep me away. By going up a bit earlier I get the girls all to myself and don't have to share them. It's a lot quieter and I don't have to deal with all the family. A bit selfish, I know!

I figure they get plenty of Easter candy from their parents and everyone else so I took things like board books, little purses shaped like carrots, blowing bubbles, stuffed bunnies and a summer dress for each of them. I found these cute little gift bags at the dollar store which I used as Easter baskets. I've included some photos of my visit including ones of each of the girls in their dresses. The day past by far too quickly and before you knew it we were on the road again. It's a 3 1/2 hour trip each way so by the time I returned home that night I was beat. Add to that the fact that my DH played in a recital on Sunday which meant we were gone from home all day. So yours truly spent a few extra hours in bed this morning trying to get caught up on some lost sleep.

Clarisse's antics this weekend included knocking over the plant in the bathroom just prior to my departure for Drummondville. Dirt everywhere including in the furnace vents and all over the toilet so consequently I ended up leaving a little later than planned after time spent cleaning up.
We've been using a water bottle on the mist setting to deter her from certain areas. When she sees us take out the bottle now she either runs or squints her eyes because she knows what's coming but it certainly hasn't stopped her from attempting things anyways.

My LNS had a stitching group which got together on Thursday evenings for a SAL. I could never make it because it conflicted with my choir practice. However, now that they've closed, one of the members of the group has offered to continue the SAL on Tuesday evenings at her book shop. I'd planned on going last Tuesday but was much too tired so I'm going to try and make it tomorrow night since I don't have to work the next day. Now I'm off to try and get some stitching in before bed. I'm hoping to get caught up with some of you tomorrow when I actually have some time to read blogs.