Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Won't you join me in a dance?

I'm dancing! Yes finally, my Nantucket Summer Sampler is a fait accompli! In many ways I'm feeling wistful. I think that this has been my favourite stitch up until now. I'm so pleased with how it has turned out. It's off to the framer's with this one next week. I think a white frame might be nice. Any thoughts? Here's a couple of closer views of the piece.

I dropped Clarisse's Sampler off at the framers on the weekend and in the process I picked up my HoaN. The did a really great job on it. When my local needlework shop closed, they recommended this framer to us. It's the same fellow doing all the stretching that had been doing it at the needlework shop so we know that it's being done right.

We had a lovely long Victoria Day weekend here. The weather cooperated with only a sprinkling on the Saturday. My son Chris arrived from Toronto and along with his brother Dan, we all met in the Ottawa market area for my birthday dinner on Friday evening. It was such a beautiful evening that we ate outside on the patio. I chose Tucker's Marketplace for our meal because it's buffet style and that way the vegetarians in our family can also fill up their plates. Following our meal we took a walk through the market and then headed to Chapters bookstore where I was treated again as a Mother's Day gift by Chris and a birthday gift by Dan. I could stay all day in a bookstore! But finally we headed back home where we sat and caught up with the boys.

We're having extreme heat this week! The temperature today is 35 C or 95 F! I returned to work yesterday (unfortunately) and the hospital was downright sticky. Only certain areas such as the OR, Emergency and Obstetrics are air conditioned and the hallways were almost unbearable. Fortunately our department has some air because of all the instruments and the amount of heat they put off. Without the cooling we run into problems with some things overheating. We didn't stay all that cool though because there are always people coming in and out who forget to shut the doors behind them allowing all that hot air from the halls in.

By the end of the day I was exhausted due to a combination of the heat and working my first full day post-op. I collapsed into bed upon arriving home and napped for an hour or so. Today I'm off again. They brought me back to work on reduced hours this week. I'm working every other day. They suggested half days all week but because I commute 45 min each way they decided that perhaps alternate days would be better. Next week I'm on for 3 full days followed by 2 days off. Then it's right back into the swing of things with a 7 day stretch. Somehow I think I'll be a tad tired!

I've started 2 new stitches. First off is Lizzie Kate's Prayer Connection. This is to be a gift for the new rector at our church on the occasion of his induction service. I have until October 4 before the service so there's plenty of time. I thought this piece was appropriate since Gregor was responsible for starting up the prayer group in our parish.

I've also put in my first stitches on Forget Me Not by Midsummer Night Designs. There's not enough stitched yet for a pic but I should have one by my next post.
My DH has just finished making up a pitcher of his homemade ice tea. Pefect on a day like today! Here's hoping you can stay cool wherever you are.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Almost finished.....not!

I don't know what I was thinking when I figured I was almost finished with Nantucket Summer Sampler. I said that I only had to finished up the border but as I was stitching it yesterday I thought something was missing. Sure enough, I was missing the last part of the landscape including the lighthouse. I don't know how I managed to miss this whole section. Sometimes I think I haven't got my head screwed on right! In any case I finished the border minus a few of the flowers and decided to get started on the last bit. As you can see I've got the water done and now I'm working on the last hill where the lighthouse will sit on top.

I've still not started my next LHN ornament. I'm suddenly having a hard time getting started at any Christmas stitching. In any case I did find fabric for it and will probably give it a start this weekend. What I've been concentrating on instead is......

TaDa! Clarisse's Cat Sampler or Colette's Cat Sampler as it's properly known. I finished this up on Monday while I waited at the doctor's office.
I'll be dropping this off at the framer's when I go to pick up my Home of a Needleworker. I'll use some of my birthday money for the framing.

Speaking of birthday, I had a very quiet celebration since my sons are not getting together with me until this weekend. My youngest is taking me out for dinner on Friday night with the family and then to Chapters bookstore to pick out something I like. So on the actual day my dear friend Michelle invited us over for coffee and said she had a gift for me. My DH had picked up a birthday cake for me and not a small one either. It was a vanilla slab cake! I don't know what he was thinking. Maybe he was confused and thought the boys would be here on that weekend. In any case he took this cake with us over to my friend's house where would you believe it? She also had a birthday cake for me! Hers was a little more weight watch friendly since it was an Angel Food with strawberries and kiwi spooned over it. We had cake coming out our ying yang! So we left home later, each having traded some of their cake for the other. We never did get through it all. If I'd been smart I would have frozen some until the boys did land in. But my mind never works that way.

My DH had ordered a lovely birthday gift for me back in mid April but it ended up being on backorder and arrived a couple days late. So last Friday we took a trip into Massena, NY which is just on the border of Cornwall, Ontario. We picked up my gift and it's so lovely!! It's a jewellry armoire. Not that I have tons of jewellry but I don't have a jewellry box big enough for what I do have and consequently my dresser in the bedroom is covered with my earrings, watches, etc. This beautiful piece of furniture will hold it all and then some. The doors open on either side for my necklaces and what I didn't discover until today is that the top also lifts and has a tray for rings inside. This is such a cool gift!

At the mall where my gift had to be picked up is an incredible antique shop. Besides antiques they also carry Folk Art, Americana, etc. While I waited for Bob I wandered through the shop.

Now I've been seeing some lovely scissor frogs on different blogs lately. I've always known about flower frogs but had never even thought to use them this way. So after seeing Sharon's and Von's frogs I went on a hunt. I knew that I had one of these in the house which used to reside in one of my vases. Took me a while but I found it. I also found a lot of others things that were MIA! So while I was wandering through the antique store I discovered a small bone china dish. Hmmm, looks like my frog would fit in that perfectly. I took a chance, bought it and sure enough the scissor frog fit in like it was always meant to belong there. Thanks for the idea ladies!

I'm itching to start a new piece, any piece. I feel like I've been working on my other stitches forever! It's time for a change. So on that note, I'm off to check out my stash.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Two weeks and counting....

Until I return to work. I've got a taste these past few weeks of what it's like to be at home and knowing that I have only one year left until retirement makes for a very looong year yet to come.
When I return to work I'll certainly miss my time spent stitching at home. Our Tuesday night group is on hiatus at the moment which is just as well since my DH is preparing a lovely meal for me here tonight in celebration of my birthday. Just the two of us and afterwards we're visiting with some friends. I'll see my boys later in the month. Number two is visiting with us later this week and my youngest is returning home on our holiday weekend this month. I've been told I'm being taken out for dinner at that time for a combination Mother's Day/birthday celebration. My oldest son is just too far away to visit and I did spend some quality time with him there just a week ago.
So since I had no family plans this past weekend, I did the next best thing. I spent it stitching with friends! Dani had a stitchy weekend planned at her place which is about an hour's drive from me. This was to have been my month to host but with my surgery and all Dani filled in. I'm on for July now. It was great fun! I caught up with Dani, Rebecca, Kathy, Beatrice, Christin, and Bonnie and made a new stitching friend, Lori. Lori moved to Ottawa from Calgary, Alberta a year ago and managed to connect with Dani through blogs. She was thrilled to meet other stitchers in her area.

It was great to spend time with these lovely ladies again. There is always so much talk, laughter and of course, eating. I fell off the wagon with my overeating all weekend. I was only able to spend the Saturday stitching but I'm so glad that I did. I got to see all their projects firsthand that I'd been following on their blogs... Rebecca's tulips, Bonnie's Kaleidoscope, Beatrice's China Blue, Dani's Celestial Dragon, Chritin's Giggles and Kathy's Mirabilia RR. Check out their blogs for some amazing stitching! Me, well I plugged away at Nantucket Summer Sampler as well as my Cat Sampler but I have very little progress on either. I made more progress on Sunday evening than I did all day Saturday! I think I spent way too much time catching up, lol. Since my surgery I'd spent too much time as a recluse and it was just nice to get out again. Here's some pics from all our fun. A big thank you to Dani for hosting such a great weekend.

From the top are Rebecca and Beatrice, Christin and Bonnie, Dani and Lori and finally Kathy with Rebecca listening to her vacation story. As you can see, Christin had to share her lap with Shadow who seemed to think that he should be occupying that chair!

Over the past couple of days I've had to frog and restitch the name and scrollwork on my Cat Sampler three times! If you remember, I replaced Colette's name on the sampler with the name of my cat which then meant that I also had to redesign the border on either end. The first time I stitched it, I wasn't happy with some of the letters in the name. So redoing them meant moving everything. The second time I screwed up because I started in the wrong place. Frog out, start again! Now it's finished and I'm not totally happy with how it looks but I'll be damned if I'm going to frog it out once more and restitch! Do you sense a little frustration here? Me and my bright ideas! Next time I'll leave it as it's charted.

I've spent most of today moving on and stitching the top part of this sampler. Pics to come next time, maybe even a finish. Although NSS is calling to me, my next LHN ornament has arrived and I'm heading off to find fabric for it in my stash. I'd like to get a good headstart on it before I return to work. With all this time off work I'd hoped to do a lot more finishing but I've been lazy about getting to it. Finishing is just not my forte and I've been putting it aside whenever I think about it. I'd just rather be stitching.
I hope all the Moms out there had a lovely day on Sunday and continue to have a great week. With lots of stitching included of course!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I am so much enjoying my time away from work and the extra stitching time as a result of this! Mind you, today I've been rather lazy which could be due to the fact that I'm fighting a cold. It had better hightail it though because this Saturday is a stitching day at Dani's. Actually it's a stitching weekend, starting Friday evening through Sunday. I'm only able to join in on Saturday though due to prior commitments one of which is my DH's annual spring concert with the Seaway Valley Singers. I was supposed to have hosted a SAL at my place this May but Dani beat me to the punch which is just as well on account of my surgery. I'm hoping that several of our stitching buddies from Belleville and Kingston way are joining us. It's been a while since I've caught up with them.

As close as I am to a finish, I grew tired of NSS this week and pulled out Colette's Cat Sampler.
I'm just getting ready to stitch the name which I have adapted to Clarisse. I spent an afternoon graphing this out and hopefully it will look okay once I have it in place.

The rest of my past week has been taken up with baking and visits. In anticipation of my visit to my grandchildren, I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies. It had been so long since I'd baked cookies of any kind. I ran out at the last minute when I realized we didn't have enough margerine only to find out that this particular recipe calls for shortening and not butter or margerine. How could I forget that? I can't count how many times I've made these over the years. I must be losing it! I used to know the recipe by memory but there's not too many reasons for me to make these anymore. Those grandkids just got to move closer!!

I had a wonderful visit with the girls on Friday. My son finishes work at noon so we were able to spend a good portion of the day visiting with them. We celebrated the oldest's 5th birthday which I'd missed due to the surgery. Then I spent the afternoon making "mud pies" (otherwise known as chocolate macaroons or chocolate drop cookies) with them. This is something that I don't often have the opportunity to do with them and the girls really seemed to enjoy it. Following a BBQ supper, we headed outside to blow bubbles which the girls found in their Easter baskets. Then the long trip home again. It'll be midsummer before we see them again. My son is hoping that the shop where he works closes down for vacation at the end of August rather than midsummer so that he can attend the 80th birthday celebration for my Mom. She's yet to meet her great-grandchildren.

The trip there and back took its toll on me but not until Sunday. This was another full day for us in Ottawa between church and my hubby's concert that afternoon. I had to drive myself there and back since Bob had stayed overnight in Ottawa following a late rehearsal on the Saturday night.
The concert didn't start until late afternoon so I spent the time until then wandering through the tulip gardens at Dow's Lake in Ottawa. The Tulip Festival doesn't officially begin until this Friday but the tulips are out in full bloom. They've bloomed earlier than usual this year due to our unusually mild weather. The gardens were lovely. A rainbow of colour as far as the eyes could see. I loved seeing all the different varieties and I got some ideas for my own garden.

By the time we returned home after the concert I was zonked! But do you think I could sleep?
I didn't fall asleep until after midnight and by 3:45 am I was wide awake. Clarisse joined me in the livingroom as I sat and read until the sun came up.

The past few days I haven't had a lot of energy and I've been fighting a cold so there really hasn't been a lot of stitching going on. I felt a bit better today and dug out my recipe for Blueberry Tea Bread. I have lots of wild blueberries in my freezer to use up. The bread has been a real hit around here and this loaf is earmarked for the reception following Bob's next concert Friday evening. I'm thinking this might go over well at Dani's on Saturday too.

Some of the results of my overactive clicky finger arrived today. One of the charts I've been trying to acquire for a long time . Blackbird Designs Sunflower House, one of the OOP Loose Feathers patterns, has been on my wish list for about 2 yrs I think and finally I won one of the auctions on ebay. Yaaay, now to get it all kitted up.

Two other charts were purchased on Kathy Barrick's Etsy site. Now that Kathy has announced her retirement from designing, I'm trying to get ahold of any of her charts on my wish list. Carriage House Samplings Pumpkin Farm and The Gilded Cage are two such wishes. I'd love to stitch one of her Village charts such as AaHRH but will I ever have the time? They're such big undertakings and until I'm finished working I just can't see it happening. Even then I have more than enough to keep me in stitches. I'll bet you're saying, "Really, I can't imagine having that much!".
The weatherman says that the next few days will be cooler with rain all weekend. Perfect weather for the SAL at Dani's. Keep on stitching!