Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Totally disgusted

That's how I felt when I got up yesterday morning and looked out my front window to see this view. Where the heck did that stuff come from?! We haven't had any snow since the last week of February which is a new record in itself. Yet here it is again. Even the poor birds looked pathetic, huddling on the branches of our tree. Fortunately temperatures have risen again today and there is no sign left of the white stuff. Except of course for the effect it had on some of my poor tulips. They wilted under the weight of the wet snow and have not recovered. Only the ones which had bloomed for a couple of weeks were affected and the rest seem to be back to normal. For the first time I planted some parrot tulips and I love them. I couldn't even remember what colour I'd planted and was delighted to see their colour when the buds opened. I must plant more of these beauties for sure.

I've had one small finish during the last week. I figured I'd better get moving on my LHN ornament for this month. I knew it wouldn't be long before they shipped out the next one. Sure enough, the day after I got started stitching, I received an email to say that the next ornament was shipping out. Snowy Pines is the name of this pattern and I must say that when I first saw it I didn't like as much as some of the others. However it turned out that I really enjoyed stitching it. I love the colour of the house and the little bear is just too cute!
I've just finished backstitching around it in preparation for a pillow finish which probably won't happen until next week. Tomorrow I plan to bake cookies which will go with me on a visit to my granddaughter's home on Friday. That just might wear me out since it's my first full day out of the house since my surgery. Therefore I'm leaving Saturday as a quiet day to recuperate.

Besides the ornament I've pretty much concentrated only on Nantucket Summer Sampler. I love stitching on this one and I'm getting so close to a finish now that I'm going to really miss working on it. I will definitely be doing more of the By The Bay patterns. The colours are so vibrant and I love the waterside scenes.

Naturally since I'm approaching the finish line on this one, it's time to kit up the next! This week my floss for Midsummer Night Designs Forget Me Not arrived. I dug through my stash and found a lovely hand dye fabric from The Blended Needle called Parchment which will be perfect. I'm tempted to get started on it right away but the sooner I start it, the later my NS finish. Shall we take bets on how long I can keep away from this new lovely?

Before I finish I have to wish a Happy Sweet Sixteen! to my niece. She's the one on the right in this picture, celebrating with friends. I was just cleaning out some drawers and found the watch that my parents gave me for my sixteenth birthday. Somehow I don't think thats on the list of wishes now. In fact my niece wanted a pair of Ugg boots which her parents chose not to get because of the cost so all her friends chipped in and bought her a pair. Not that she can wear them at this time of year but for now she's wearing them around the house. She says they're as comfy as slippers. This is the only niece I have and I dearly wish we lived closer so I could spend more time with her and her family.
Happy Birthday Dana ! Hope you had a super day!

Now I'm off for a walk to the post office. Hoping to find more stash!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Alphabets and lettering

That's pretty much what I've been stitching during the last few days. I didn't plan it that way but that's where I arrived on all three pieces I'm working on. I started by pulling out NS once more. Besides the lettering I'm also continuing with the border around it. Not much progress on this one since I only pulled it out yesterday.

Next up is He is Risen. The pattern calls for the use of a small letter h in the second phrase but I prefer to use a capital H when referring to the Lord. Well changing that meant I could no longer fit in the punctuation but I don't think it's really necessary on this anyways. I also didn't like the way the capital H looked once I got it stitched so I altered it slightly. I guess I better finish stitching the first word in the phrase. It looks a bit silly without it right now.

Finally we have my new start, Colette's Cat Sampler. There are just two more words left to be stitched in the quote but I got tired of working on the lettering and decided to move on to one of the cats for a change. The quote in this piece is by a French novelist, Colette, and consequently her name is inscribed at the bottom of the stitching. I've decided I want to substitute it with the name of my cat, Clarisse but once again I find there is no room to fit the entire name in. If I changed the spelling to Clarice it would work and I might have to do this if I can't figure something out. The latter spelling is the one that most people use anyways but I'll have another look at it this week and see if I can adjust things somehow to make it work.

Having lots of time on my hands while I recuperate, I decided to try my hand at finishing again. I dug through my drawer of finishes and found my Waxing Moon Checkerboard Bunny freebie. Perfect for spring. Next up, find a corresponding fabric. Okay, that only took me about 30 minutes! Because it had been more than a year since I'd tried a pinkeep finish, I looked up my copy of Vonna's tutorial to guide me once more. After only a couple hours of trying to figure things out, here are the results.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself!

More time on my hands also means more time for online shopping! Not always a good thing according to my DH but this time I found a goldmine. Since the demise of Sugar Maple Fabrics, I've been looking for another Canadian source of hand dyed small fabrics. I prefer having smalls for the ornies I want to stitch. Of course it always works out that you find something when you're not looking for it. I was looking for a particular floss and kept finding listings for Ayrloom fabrics. I decided to check them out. Turns out they are an established dyer of yarns and wools in the Ayr, Ontario region which have now branched out into dyes for needlework fabric and floss. I ordered some of their itsy bits of fabric which included 10 pieces of 9x9 fabric in various counts of linen and evenweave per package. The cost was very reasonable. They arrived yesterday and I was thrilled with the fabrics and colours. Take a peek!

The floss has since arrived and I love it as well. I'll try and remember to have a picture for next time to show you.
Yesterday I tried the drive into Ottawa to join my Tuesday night stitching group. Between my trip to Florida and my surgery it has been 4 weeks since I've stitched with the group. It was so good to see them all once more and catch up with all their stitching. Most of the group are headed off to a stitching retreat in Gananoque this weekend. I opted not to this time because of my recent Florida trip plus the fact that I'm saving for a trip out west this summer.
Although it was fun joining the group again I did find I was pretty tired from the drive and left earlier than usual so I could hit the sack as soon as I got home. I couldn't have sat any longer anyways. The trip to Gananoque would have done me in for sure.
I'm wondering if anyone can help me out? I've been admiring many of the pin pillow finishes on several blogs. I find they are just too cute and would love to try one out. Trouble is I don't know where to start. I don't have a machine so I would be hand sewing everything. I know how to make a standard little pillow but I'm not sure just how to insert the piece of stitching in there. Are there any tutorials around?
It's another beautiful and warm day. A cold front is passing through overnight, dropping temps again so I'm going to head out and enjoy the day while I can. Stitching on the deck anyone?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

So much time, so much more stitching!

It's amazing how much stitching one can accomplish when you actually have the time. Since arriving home from my surgery that's pretty much all I have on my hands right now is time. The surgery went well with just a slight complication which has left me a little more sore than usually is the case. Consequently sitting for any length of time was extremely uncomfortable the first couple of days home. This of course does not bode well for stitching! However as things start to improve I'm able to sit for longer stretches which allows me more time to stitch. I picked up my work for only a short time at first but the past two days I've been able to pretty much stitch for as long as I want. When I start to get uncomfortable I get up and take a short walk or sometimes a short nap and then I'm good to go again.

As a result, I have a finish. Home of a Needleworker Too is ready to head off to the framers. Driving is still not easy right now (bumps are a real pain) but I'm hoping that by late next week I'll be able to accompany my DH into Ottawa to the framers. I want to hang this one somewhere in the entry of our home.

I put aside Nantucket for a short while to concentrate on He Is Risen. I'd neglected this one while I was in Florida. For starters, I was afraid it would get dirty when stitching at the pool and then I realized that it was much easier to stitch this one when I had my daylight lamp at home. The lighting at my Mom's just wasn't all that good. So I spent most of yesterday on this and here's the progress I have to show.
While I was on vacation, our church made the announcement that we had found a new rector who happens to be a friend of ours. Gregor studied as a postulant at our church and we attended his ordination two years ago. We were thrilled to find out that he is being appointed the rector of our church. There will be an induction service for him, I'm guessing sometime in early June. So I started to look for a piece that I could stitch for him as a gift for the occasion. It didn't take long. I'd only just logged onto Stitching Bits and Bobs when I saw one of the new Lizzie Kate snippets. Prayer Connection fit the bill! I've ordered it although from another source since SB&B just take too long. Hopefully it will be a quick stitch allowing me to get it framed in time for the induction.
Finishing HoaN also meant I could start looking for a new start. I have several larger ones waiting but I don't want to start anything too big until Nantucket is finished. So I settled on two smaller stitches. Forget Me Not by Midsummer Night Designs was my first choice but I didn't have all of the GAST called for. I quickly added what I needed to my order with the LK piece so this start will have to wait a bit. In the meantime I found fabric and floss for Primrose Needleworks Colette's Cat Sampler. Not enough completed yet for a pic but hopefully in the next few days I can put fire under my needles.
I also have my next LHN ornie in the series but I just don't feel the urge to get started on this one yet. Perhaps it's the stitching of a Christmas piece when the weather is so springlike and lovely. I've dusted off one of the outdoor chairs and am setting myself up on the back deck to soak up some of the the warmth and watch the birds as they check out our accomodations out back. I'll check in again soon.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Home Once More

Home once more, after a restful and relaxing vacation! The weather in Florida was lovely, I couldn't have asked for better. The view on the lanai while stitching was also much improved from the usual view out my front windows. Lush greenery and palm trees waving in the breeze.....makes me wish I was back there already! Does anyone know what the tree in the above photo is called? They're very pretty and have these fuzzy red flowers which hang from the tree. Whatever they are, the bees love them!
Isn't this a cool palm tree? It looks like a giant pineapple to me.

We've had a pleasant Easter weekend both company and weather wise. The temperatures were well above average for this time of year. Friends of ours were also returning from a trip to Florida . Their plane arrived at suppertime yesterday so we invited them to join us, along with my son Daniel, for our Easter meal. We had planned on doing a leg of lamb on the BBQ but the burner died and DH wasn't able to replace it in time for our meal. So I roasted the lamb instead along with some yummy asparagus. DH has a signature dish, rice almondine, which he prepared to accompany the meal. For dessert I tried a new dish. It consisted of fresh crushed raspberries, orange juice and tapioca. You cook it until it thickens,then add a small amount of sugar, and refrigerate. It basically is like a raspberry filling for pie. When you serve it you add either a vanilla custard sauce or Dreamwhip. DH preferred his served with angelfood cake. I was looking for something light and relatively fat free and this filled the bill.

During Lent, both myself and DH usually give up our sweets and snacks. This year I also tried to make healthier eating choices. The result: I've lost 12 lbs and DH has lost 11! I was pleased to see that I even managed to maintain the weight loss during my vacation. I stuck to eating lots of fish and chicken along with salads. On my last night there I treated myself to a Florida specialty....Key Lime Pie. Mmmmm! It was worth it.

Okay,enough of food talk. I'm getting hungry! I have a small finish to show you. This is the piece I worked on during my flight and while waiting in the airport. Hoppity was a very quick stitch. Not sure if I'm happy with the floss colour of the bunny but I don't feel like stitching it over. I got started yesterday to make it into a small ornament and discovered that my glue gun has gone missing. Perhaps a pillow finish instead.

Nantucket Sampler surfaced during my last few days of vacation. I just have to add the long stitches to the tree on the left. After that what remains is to finish up the flower border and then add the mermaids and the alphabet to the top of the piece. Doesn't sound like much but I'm slow.

Next up, HoaN (too). Pretty well only the borders top and bottom remain on this one. I really dislike doing borders. I know it means I'm close to a finish but they're so boring.My next LHN ornament, Snowy Pines, arrived while I was away. I just have to dig out a piece of fabric for it and then I'm ready to go. I didn't touch my LHN Easter piece while away so I want to concentrate on it for awhile. I'm limited though to evenings at home since I need my light and magnifying light for this one. I'd really hoped to visit a needlework shop that I know of in Port Charlotte while I was away. Problem was, I shared the rental car with my sister but my name wasn't on as a second driver. So I had to depend on others for transportation. We did head that way but spent the day shopping for other things and ran out of time. It's not like I really needed more stash but I would have like to look at fabric.
My surgery is scheduled for this Friday. I've been fighting some cold symptoms so let's hope it goes ahead. I don't think it will be a problem since I'm almost over my sore throat. I haven't had a cough, fever or runny nose. Just a bit of congestion. I'm thinking allergies rather than a cold. I'm having an epidural rather than a general anasthetic so it shouldn't be a problem.

Back to work tomorrow for a couple of days and then lots of down time while recuperating. Today is overcast with scattered showers. A good day to sit and stitch and a pleasant way to end my holiday.