Friday, 31 December 2010

One more post and one final finish

Just had to post a pic of my final happy dance for 2010. I finished it an hour ago and still have time to work on those ornaments for my granddaughters. The white in the piece shows up better IRL.
Tomorrow it's on to a new start. Stay tuned for pics.

Happy New Year

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Final Post of 2010

So it's finally here, the end of 2010. I can't believe it has passed as quickly as it has. I'm assured by my Mom that time will continue to pass this quickly from now on.
You can see from the picture above my latest progress on Jardin Prive's Christmas. There hasn't been much done because there hasn't been any time to stitch with all the festivities. I'm so close to a finish on this one!

I worked at the hospital on Christmas day this year and we had our family celebration on Dec. 27th. Whenever I have to work on the holiday like that, my sons always spend Christmas Day at their father's home instead. Their stockings, along with my granddaughters', were all lined up waiting for them to arrive. When they did, it wasn't long before those stockings were emptied and the floor beneath the tree littered with torn wrapping. Most of the gifts beneath the tree now belong to the little ones and I fill stockings instead for the boys. They've always told me that their stockings were the part they enjoyed the most on Christmas. Things change and those stockings are now filled with toiletries, paperback novels, socks, gloves and gift certificates rather than candies and small toys.
It was great to see my granddaughters having so much fun.

Santa was pretty good to me as well. I knew that he was bringing a Kobo ereader to me but what I didn't know about was this fantastic teapot. My DH knows how much I love anything that's a cat and I also enjoy a good cup of tea. He stumbled across this teapot during our visit to Muskoka at the Blue Willow Tea Shop in Gravenhurst. As I waited for him at the table before our meal, I do remember wondering what the heck was taking him so long to park the car. Unknown to me he had spotted the teapot, waited while they wrapped it, paid for it and hid it in the car while I was perusing the menu. Gotta love him!!

I also received some money with which to purchase some stash from my MIL. She had already discussed this with me before Christmas and I ordered some items in advance to place beneath the tree. Here's what I can't wait to get started at stitching for next year!

In early December I took in one of my previously finished stitches to Michael's ( 60% off framing!) to have it framed. It had already been stretched but I still figured it wouldn't be ready before Christmas which they assured me it would not. So imagine my surprise when they called on the Monday before Christmas to say that it was ready for pickup. I was very thrilled to have BD Blessings Be Thine hung on the wall in our entrance in time to greet Christmas guests and family. I love how it turned out!

I'm hoping the JP Christmas will be my final happy dance for 2010. As for my first start of 2011, well that remains to be seen. I'm still going through my stash and trying to decide on a new start. I know that many of you have joined the Up For a Challenge blog where you pick 15 unfinished stitches and complete them during 2011. I honestly have only a couple of UFO's around, none of which I particularily want to finish. Then there's the Crazy January Challenge where you pick 15 new starts and start one each day beginning with Jan. 1st. Then you take the rest of the year to complete them. I haven't even got the time to pick out 15 new starts let alone start them. That's way too much on my plate as long as I'm working. So my plans for the New Year are to merely find myself a new stitch to get started on and enjoy myself stitching it. I hope to complete more ornaments during the next year but I'm not going to hold myself to it, lol! My upcoming retirement might allow for more stitching time but who knows what the future holds?
I hope that all of you and yours have a healthy, blessed and prosperous New Year. I thank all of you for the many visits to my blog along with taking the time to comment. And I look forward to checking in on all of you in the coming year to see what your new stitching plans involve.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas favourites

So today I headed into Ottawa to attend church for the first time in weeks and where did I end up? The mall! This was after our church service and it's the last place I expected to be on the final weekend for shopping before Christmas. Why did I endure such torture? Because yours truly forgot about an order for a gift. I'd ordered this gift a month ago and it only just arrived. I received the phone call on Saturday and knew that the only time I'd be in that neck of the woods was this weekend. It actually wasn't as bad as I expected it to be but there are still some crazies out there. People get nasty at this time of year!

Friday evening I attended what is quite likely my last Christmas dinner with my coworkers. Less than half of the staff were in attendance which was a bit of a disappointment. In years past we have had a party with music and large numbers of people but the past couple of years have seen a decline in the attendance. Our lab director has always paid for the meals for all the employees attending but as of this December he will be retired and the good old days will be just that. It was a lovely meal but a short evening for sure. We were back home by ten and that's after a 45 minute drive.

I spent Saturday evening stitching on Summer's ornament but ended up frogging out a portion when the mirror images of the tree branches didn't match up. I didn't realize just how difficult it would be to frog out stitches done over one. Or maybe it was just the fabric I was using. In any case I put it aside after that and haven't touched it since. I've decided there is a good chance these won't be complete in time for the big day but I'm not upset. No one is the wiser and I would rather take my time at them and do a good job rather than rush them, cursing all the way. The girls are still young and there's always next year.

I promised a few more pics and so here are some I took of my favourite ornaments on the tree.
The first is one of my Dad's picture which hangs on our tree every year since his death 16 yrs ago. What I love about this is that there is also an ornament of a Coke bottle which hangs beside it. Anyone who knew my Dad knew that he was addicted to Coca Cola. Even when he was hospitalized he had family members sneak some in to him. When he died we made sure he was buried with a can of Coke beside him!
This is followed by our new ornaments... a snowman and a cupcake. I loved this little snowman so much that I purchased two more for each of my sisters. A friend gave me the Jim Shore ornament of Santa and baby Jesus. It's really beautiful and although I received it last year, this is the first time it has hung on our tree. Then there is the little penguin which always reminds me of my oldest son. He's loved penguins from the first time he saw them and would beg us to take him to see them at Montreal's Biodome. Now that my sons are grown, they are in the process of dividing up several of the ornaments which they made as kids to put on their own trees.

Not long after Bob and I married 9 yrs ago, I was looking through his photo albums and spotted a picture of him with Santa. I then dug out mine to show him. We put them aside to show the kids. In the meantime I found Christmas frames for them and decided to display them along with the pictures of my sons that had been taken with Santa when they were younger. We have had more comments on these pictures then any of our other Christmas decorations. Last year my granddaughters spotted them and were confused when we explained that one of them was their Papa!! Mine is the only black and white photo of the group and was taken with my sister when we visited the Christmas wonderland at J L Hudson department store in Detroit. I'm the one on the right. Don't you just love the outfits?

Dan & Chris together and my eldest son Jeff in the other.

I'd like to take this time to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2011 bring blessings to all of you. I want to thank you for taking the time to drop by my blog and for all of your kind comments. I love hearing from each and every one of you!!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A little stitching and celebrations

I can't believe that so many days have passed since I last posted. Time is getting away on me and I'm starting to panic as Christmas approaches. There don't seem to be enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Add to that the fact that I'm always sleep deprived and you get the picture. I enlisted my son Daniel's help this week in order to get the house decorated. As you can see, the tree is now done!I also wanted to spend some time with Dan since he is celebrating his 26th birthday tomorrow. My husband Bob also saw a birthday pass on Sunday so we had a joint celebration yesterday. It was the only day that all of us could get together. With Bob being an organist and choir director, this is an extremely busy time for him and we haven't seen much of him lately. I had hoped to try a new dessert for them that I found on Carol's blog but there just hasn't been enough time so I bailed out and bought them a chocolate fudge cake from the local bakery. The neighbours came over and joined us too so there isn't much cake left now, thank goodness. It's just too tempting!!

I've made a small amount of progress on Jardin Prive Christmas. The top line with the word Christmas and the church is the latest stitching on this one. When I stitched the church, it called for the windows to be left so that just the fabric beneath showed but my fabric was so light that you couldn't tell there were windows there. That's when I decided to backstitch the windows to make them more visible. After stitching in the top of the piece I decided to put it aside in favour

of my M design name trees. I ordered these last year (or it might even have been the year before ) to stitch for my two granddaughters, Oceanne and Summer. Oceanne's tree is stitched save for the beading but I hadn't even touched Summer's yet. Time to get my butt in gear if I want these done for this year. I'm still not even sure that will happen! In any case here's a pic of Summer's tree up until now as well as a pic of Oceanne's tree. If you look at Oceanne's tree sideways you'll be able to see her name within the branches.

Ooops, I've run out of time! I'm heading out with my son for dinner and possibly a movie.
I have lots of other pics to share with you so I'll try and post again within the next day or two.
Enjoy your evening!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Holiday Train

Last night I was returning from a very successful Christmas shopping trip in Ottawa when I came upon a very unusual sight just outside of my village. The first thing I spotted was several cars parked on either side of the railway tracks just outside of town with their 4 way flashers going. What's going on?! It's not unusual to hear trains pass through the village since we're on a freight train route. However, as I approached home, the train that was coming towards me was definitely not the usual freight train! What I saw instead was the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. I believe the train was headed to its next stop in Smith Falls, ON. What a beautiful sight! The train is decorated in hundreds of lights for the holiday and spells out Canadian Pacific Holiday Train on the cars followed by numerous boxcars decorated in festive holiday garland. On top of the engine car sits a lit Christmas tree. Now I knew very little about the train but after I arrived home I looked it up on the web. I found out that this is the 12th year that the train travels throughout Canada and the US, making various stops along the way collecting monies and food for the foodbanks. All the monies and food collected at the various locations stays in those particular communities. What an awesome way to bring awareness to local Food Banks!

Follow the link to this video to get a quick look at what I saw.

I hope all of my US blogging friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My sister lives in the US and was hosting a dinner for several friends and family including my Mom. Normally I'm at work since we've already celebrated the holiday in October here in Canada. But a tangle with a gastro bug saw me at home, watching Macy's parade between numerous trips to the bathroom. Good thing I wasn't celebrating!

This week I decided to tackle some finishing on a few of the ornaments I've stitched over the past couple of years. They've been languishing in the bottom of my drawer of finishes and I figured it was about time I did something about that! Here is the fruit of my labours. Since I'm not much for finishing and sewing, I'm rather pleased with the results. Thanks to Vonna, Dani and JC magazine for their tutorials on finishing ornaments. I've also posted a pic to show you the fabrics I've used for the backings with the exception of the kitten ornament hanging on the right, which is done on felt.

I've decided to hang the partridge ornament from the knob on the door of my grandfather clock. What do you think?

Here's a pic of the progress I've made on Jardin Prive Christmas. I'm thoroughly enjoying my time spent on this one. This is the first of this designer's works that I stitch and I'll definitely be doing more of hers.

I also managed to finish my final pumpkin stitch for the Pumpkin Challenge. I got it submitted just in the nick of time since the deadline for submissions was Nov. 25th. Becky will draw a winner from all the submissions after the holidays. This final pumpkin stitch was a real challenge indeed! The frogs dropped by and camped out for most of this stitch so I'm glad it's finally done.

Now I'm off to try and find my Advent wreath, this being the first Sunday in Advent. Then we'll see if I still have any candles left for it. I suspect I'll be making a run out to pick some up. I look forward to dropping by your blogs over the course of the day. I've been seeing some lovely finishes out there!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The frogs have finally left!

Thank goodness! After almost 2 weeks of entertaining the little pita ( pains in the a$#) they've finally packed their bags and left. That's why it's taken me so long to post. I've had no progress to show until now because everything I stitched had to be frogged out and re-stitched. Mind you, I'm the one that started this whole process with the decision to frog out the green leaves on my C'est L'Automne. But I sure as heck never expected to be entertaining them for such an extended period of time. By the time I'd restitched the leaves I discovered that the taller pumpkin was out and it had to be redone as well. Now I'm on the home stretch and this piece should be done by early next week. I'd like it done sooner but I'm working this weekend and you never know how things will play out. I was off work today and looking forward to some serious stitching time but things have a way of working out differently.
Here's a look at C'est L'Automne and the progress so far. I much prefer the colour of the leaves now.

I returned to my Tuesday night stitching this week but I didn't accomplish much. I spent too much time catching up. However my Jardin Prive Christmas does have a little bit more to show than previously. I've been stitching the bells at the bottom of the piece which I really like. I've also discovered that the characters at the bottom of the piece beneath the tree spell out Christmas in Japanese. I've not quite finished them yet though. This is a really enjoyable stitch and I find myself unwinding each time I pick it up. For now these are the only two things I've concentrated on. I'll get back to Cast All Your Cares later when the mood hits me. Right now I'm enjoying the Christmas stitch.

Work has been very hectic for me lately and next week promises more of the same so I don't know how much time I can squeeze in for stitching. Plus my youngest granddaughter has a birthday coming up and I'm trying to arrange a visit there or for them to come here, whichever works out best. So far that nasty white stuff has been kept at bay but as of today the temperature has dropped and there is mention of that S word for Sunday. On the positive side, the weatherman has been known to be wrong!

I'm constantly being reminded that Christmas isn't all that far off and once more I start to get that panicky feeling. I'm working the holiday this year and know I won't be having a big celebration on the day but that inevitable feeling settles on me anyways. Of course it doesn't help that everyone morning on my way to the lab I pass an office with the countdown displayed on a chalkboard on the door. That chalkboard just might mysteriously disappear!!

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your visits and comments more than you'll ever know.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In the mood

Finally I'm in the mood for some Christmas stitching although it looks like anything but Christmas outside at the moment. It's a beautiful November day. The leaves have all dropped but the grass is still green and it's bright and sunny. Mr. Blue Jay has stopped by at our feeder numerous times this morning. There are lots of other things I should be doing but the day is young and I'll have plenty of time for them later. The need to stitch is waxing strong at the moment.

My new Christmas start I have to share is one by Jardin Prive called simply Christmas. (I've been trying to figure out how to add the french accent on the word Prive but I've had no luck!). I got started at this one yesterday afternoon and already I'm frogging. I've made a slight error on the word Noel but it's nothing major and shouldn't take much time to fix. DMC 3865 is the recommended floss for all the white bits in the pattern but I'm using a slightly lighter shade of linen and found it really wasn't standing out all that well. So I'm using B5200 instead. It's a fun stitch so far. I also paid for and downloaded the pdf for Jardin Prive Patchwork Hiver. I'm hoping to start this one after Christmas.

I'm putting this stitch aside for today while I concentrate on C'est L'Automne. I've decided that I don't like the contrast green colour chosen for the leaves and the heart so I'm going to frog out all that today and start replacing it. I've chosen DMC 368 for the replacement. Here's where I am prior to the frogging. Hopefully I'll have new pic soon with the replacement colour.

And finally I have an update picture on Cast All Your Cares. This one is coming along slowly but surely. It's not a difficult piece but it's really not grabbing my interest all that much. Too much of one colour at a time I think. The picture really doesn't show up the colours all that well. The writing is a lovely shade of purple.

So that's it on the stitching front. I kitted up LHN Merry Skater ornament but only put in a few stitches and put it aside. I'll return to it later probably once my pumpkin stitch is complete. I also have to dig out the Christmas ornament I stitched for my granddaughter. It still has beads to be added to it and I haven't started stitching one for the youngest granddaughter yet. I have a funny feeling they won't be done in time for this year.

Besides stitching, today I have to drag out my winter clothing and put away the summer stuff. This should have been done weeks ago but I've been procrastinating and still haven't got around to it. I think it's always worse when you're bringing out the winter stuff as opposed to the summer attire. After all it just gives you an indication of what lies ahead. Could this be another reason why I dislike November so much?

This morning my DH dragged up all the boxes of sweaters and pants and left them for me in the spare bedroom to go through. Ugghh! I hate this job! It usually involves me trying on various pieces of clothing because my shape is never the same from one year to the next. Last year I'd lost some weight, this year I've gained some! I swear I'm going to start labelling the boxes as fat clothes and fatter clothes so I don't have to go through this each year. Maybe once I've finished work and don't have that stress factor in my life I can actually make a serious effort at losing weight and finally have a skinny box of clothes!!

Monday, 1 November 2010

The November Blues

For those of us living in Canada, both Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone now as November greets us. November has always been such a bleak month for me with so many people that I've known having died during this month including my father and father-in-law. So I'm continuing my fall stitching since it cheers me and brightens up an otherwise dreary month. I know I should be getting on to some Christmas stitching but I'm just not in the mood yet. By the time I am it will be too late for any stitching, lol! So here is the latest happy dance, stitched in time for Halloween but not quite complete. I originally thought of a cube finish for this one but it's bigger than I expected so now I'm not quite sure how I'll finish it off. Any suggestions?

This week I found a lovely treat waiting for my when I visited the post office. Living in a rural community we don't have home delivery and must stop by the post office each day to pick up our mail. When I checked in on Friday I found a parcel waiting for me. Seeing the return address I knew it was my giveaway winnings from Carol. Oh Carol, this is such a lovely treat!! From the wrapping paper with it's Halloween greeting down to the cute card with greetings from your website to mine. They're such lovely touches! My DH is quite fond of the chocolates he found within and I'm in love with the pin pillow. It's adorable!! I can't wait to try out some of the lovely fabrics both for stitching and for finishing. Then of course there are the Halloween charts and floss. This was a very generous giveaway and I'm absolutely thrilled. Thank you very much!! As you can see from the picture the chocolates have already disappeared!

After opening such a spooky treat I was in the mood to get my Halloween carvings done. Several years ago I got hooked on the fantastic carvings of Pumpkin Masters. I have several books of their patterns accumulated and last year my DS got me interested in another source of patterns from Zombie Pumpkins. So this year I chose a pattern from each source, one simple and one difficult. I knew that after carving the difficult one I wouldn't have a lot of patience left for anything other than a simple one. The most time consuming portion of these carvings is the scraping of the inside of the pumpkins. You have to scrape them thin enough to make the carving portion easier and if you don't it will be too difficult to remove small pieces and the effect when lit won't be quite as nice. Here are this year's displays, Oogie Boogie and Evil Mind. Oogie Boogie is for my sons who are big fans of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I saw Evil Mind lit I knew it had definitely been worth the difficulty carving it.

Next up is a picture of my latest start. It's a freebie pattern from Gazette 94 and it's called C'est l'automne. It's pumpkins done in a Quaker style and you guessed it, since it's pumpkins I can enter this one into the pumpkin challenge. I'm enjoying this stitch immensely.

Although I haven't quite been in the mood for Christmas stitching, I have got a jump start on the holiday. I'd booked Friday off work last week which was supposed to have followed a very late night out at my son's punk group performance. However the venue was double booked and Chris' group got rescheduled so suddenly I was left with a vacation day and no plans. I decided to take a drive over to Watertown, NY which is a 2 hr drive from us. They have some lovely stores there where I could get started at my Christmas shopping. Not that they don't have lovely stuff here at home but the sales are just too good to pass up along with our Canadian money being almost at par. So off I went with the hopes of picking up a few things. A few things?? I managed to finish all my Christmas shopping for my granddaughters along with Summer's upcoming birthday gifts and a few items for myself. With a 15% coupon which could be used on the already 50% markdowns I saved a whopping 65%!! As my DH is fond of quoting, I do love to shop! No stitchy items this time, I've already bought my quota for the month. Oh yeah, that was October and now it's November. Guess I can get started again!

Have a great week everyone and may it include lots of stitching.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A Halloween finish

It's been one of those weeks. You know, the ones where you run around a lot but don't seem to accomplish much! Yup, I'm exhausted but when I take a look around to see what I've done it doesn't look like much of anything. Maybe I'll catch up this weekend. Yeah, right!
On the stitching front however, I do have a finish to share with you. Ta da! It's Halloween Cove!

I knew there wasn't much left to this one but because it mostly involved stitching in the spider webs and the fence I left it until I could sit uninterrupted and give it my full attention. Otherwise I knew the frogs would be stopping by. I also had to give a bit more attention to the ship in this one. When I started stitching the rigging things just weren't adding up and it was because I had stitched in an extra row on the back end of the ship. So some frogging was involved and then I had to restitch the rigging which of course I just loved doing (not)! I'm so pleased with how this one looks and although I can't possibly have it framed in time for this Halloween, I know it will grace may walls for sure next year.
As far as the pumpkin challenge is concerned, I'm almost done with the stitching on another small which I'm hoping to finish as a cube. Halloween Sampler has been an easy and quick stitch which was a lot of fun to do. After it's finished I think I will concentrate on getting some more of my LHN Christmas ornaments stitched.

I have one other new start to share. It's designed by My Big Toe Designs and is called Cast All Your Cares . This one is being done for a friend who I sing with in the church choir. She has always admired my stitching and asked if I could do a piece for her for her new home. We originally picked another design but I wasn't really happy with it and thought this would make a nicer gift. I'll use it as a housewarming gift which will be a surprise to her since she is expecting to pay me for it. I just don't feel right about taking anything from her. She is a good friend and I'd rather do this for her as a gift. I'm stitching it on the recommended Jobelan lambswool and WDW floss. Not much to show yet as you can see.

I've had three unexpected surprises this week. The first was from one of my coworkers, Karen. She also enjoys cross stitching as well as her niece. However it appears that her niece is giving it up and was looking to find a good home for some of her supplies. Karen asked if I was interested in taking the following patterns and floss. There is a lovely Thistle kit, an M Designs piece and 2 samplers from Butternut Road - Summer Sampler and The Rose Sampler. As well there was an assortment of floss including some Caron threads and WDW. I was thrilled and gladly accepted them.

The second surprise was from my friend Trish. Trish and her husband own a local store and she does all the buying for the craft department. It seems she placed an order and when it showed up there was a Jim Shore piece which she didn't remember ordering and which she didn't think would sell well in their store. She asked if I wanted to purchase it from her at a reduced rate because she knew I was a big fan of both Halloween and Jim Shore. Did I? Looky, looky and feast your eyes on Jim Shore's Frightful Halloween Tree. It comes complete with all the ornaments shown. I love it!! I have to apologize for the quality of some of the pics. They're a little grainy. It seems my camera battery is getting low. The little pieces in the foreground did not come with it but did come from her store. Thanks very much Trish for thinking of me!

As for the third suprise, I was the winner of a Halloween draw by Carol. Follow the link to her blog at Stitching Dreams and you can get a peek at my winnings. I was thrilled!! It was a very generous giveaway and I can't wait until my gift arrives. The fabrics she chose look so yummy!

We had our first snowfall here last night. I looked out the window just before bedtime and it was coming down pretty good. Wasn't long before the rooftops were white. Fortunately the ground isn't frozen yet and the temperature was warm enough this morning that when I woke it had all disappeared. I took our boat over to the fairgrounds this morning for storage which is another sure sign that winter is almost here. I can't believe how quickly autumn is leaving us!

Many thanks to all of you who drop by my blog for a visit. I love reading your comments. Thanks!