Wednesday, 23 June 2010

So I missed the quake

It's not that I missed it really, I was there during it but I just didn't feel it. Neither did my son in Toronto or his brothers. Well, you know, no sense, no feeling! I just happened to be in an elevator at work when it occured and didn't feel a thing but most of my coworkers sure did. I'm only about an hour and a quarter from the epicenter and most of my neighbours work in Ottawa where they really felt things moving. My DH is away visiting family in Windsor and felt nothing but my BIL in Michigan said his desk was shaking during it. This is the third earthquake that has occured since I moved to this area 33 yrs ago. I remember seeing the wrought iron railing on my porch swaying during the first one and I slept through the second one. They're not an unusual occurence in this area but this one was a little stronger than they have been in the past. It was a bit of a crazy day because not long before the quake hit we lost power in the hospital followed by a loss of power to our generators! Thank goodness it didn't last long.

Since my DH has taken the camera with him on his visit I haven't been able to take any update photos of my stitching. Not that there's been a lot occuring so far this week . I've been way too tired to stitch the past few evenings. Work has been a little hectic and I haven't quite got my energy level back to where it was. I've made a point to take things easy in the evenings and for the most part have been getting to bed earlier. Here's a pic of Forget Me Not which I took just prior to the camera leaving town. I love that little sunflower!

This is the only thing I've touched recently. I've put aside the ornament for now and hopefully will pick it up again next week. I'm working all weekend but have several days off next week during which I can catch up. Now it's off to get my beauty sleep! Take care and I'll check in again soon.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A quick stitchy update

I hate to be so brief this post but I have very little energy going for me this week. I can't believe how much fatigue I'm still experiencing which I'm sure has a lot to do with being back at work full time. I don't remember being this tired after previous surgeries but then again I was a lot younger then! This is also the reason that I've fallen behind in my blog reading. I hope to catch up on the weekend.

As I write this it's teeming buckets outside, perfect for a stitchy evening. Here's an updated photo of my LHN ornie. Not much done on it and I haven't touched it again since this pic was taken last week. I already know there's a counting error and I don't feel like dealing with the frogs right now.

As for Forget Me Not, that one has seen it's share of frogs too. Mainly because I've not been happy with some of the colour choices. I spent this past weekend stitching and restitching the birds and numbering three times with different shades of blue until I found one which I liked. I've also restitched the butterfly wings, the windows in the house and the flowers which make up the border on the left. When I first saw this pattern I really like the colour choices in the picture. However as we all know, pictures don't always give an accurate representation of the actual piece. So as a result, once I got more stitches in on this one I realized that the floss colours didn't match those in the photo which I'd admired so much. I spent several hours, pulling out alternate shades and giving them a try. Finally I think I've come to the point where I'm happy with the results. Keep your fingers crossed....some days there's just no pleasing me, lol! So here it is so far. What do you think?

A fellow choir member has asked if I would stitch something for her. She said that she has long admired my work and would really like to have a large framed piece for her home. She has insisted on paying me for my time and will have the work framed herself when completed. I really haven't got a clue what I should charge her and don't really like the idea since she is retired and is on a fixed income. I would rather give her the piece as a gift. She has chosen a pattern by Tree of Life Samplings called New Mercies. I pulled it out yesterday to get started at finding fabric when I realized that it had been stitched on 40 ct. I've yet to try 40ct and don't think it would be wise when it's for someone else. However it's going to be a rather large project when stitched on 28ct. I tried to find something in my stash in a 32ct without luck. I don't want to incur the extra expense of ordering more fabric so the 28 ct it is. It's actually a lovely Silkweaver Solo in a lovely beige colour. For most of the floss I'll use the DMC equivalents except where the overdyed blending would look better. So I hope to be getting started on this on the near future. I don't want her waiting too long. After all it might take me a year to get this one completed.
Now the rain continues, I'm tiring and I've written far more than I intended. I'm off to bed with a good book. I'm afraid if I pick up my stitching at this point, the frogs will see all those lovely puddles out my window and decide to stay for awhile!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A surprise find

Last week's preparations for the Ottawa Doors Open display of my needlework resulted in a surprise find. I was rooting around in the drawers of my extra dressers looking for plate frames and stands on which to display my finished needlework. In the bottom drawer, tucked under some seasonal garden flags, I found 3 pieces of finished needlework. Two of these are from a group of projects I completed during my first few years of stitching and I've been looking for them ever since then. Because I was new to stitching, they were naturally done on aida. The first piece if my memory serves me right was from an issue of either BH&G Country Cross stitch or For the Love of Cross Stitch. It consists of three mittens hanging on a line surrounded by the quote, "A mother holds her children's hands for awhile, their hearts forever". The finished piece was meant to be inserted into a wooden coat rack with pegs. I remember I loved it because I had three sons and each of the mittens represented one of my boys.
The second piece, also on aida, is a monochrome done in blue. It consists of a cabin surrounded by woodland animals. Both pieces have yellowed and have marks on them from taping my edges as I stitched to prevent fraying. Obviously I never got around to washing them. Any ideas on how I can get them cleaned up? The monochrome piece was stitched on a piece of fabric which was obviously not large enough and as a result it can't be framed unless extra fabric is sewed on. Even then I'm not sure there's enough fabric around the top and bottom of the piece for stretching. Maybe a standup finish? Any ideas are more than welcome.

The third piece was also from another magazine which I'm unable to remember. Knowing the designer didn't seem to be important to me at the time but I sure wish I knew now! It's called Winter is For the Birds. Somewhere from my mind has surfaced the thought that this one is stitched on 25ct bone lugana. I noticed in my pics that there are marks from the hoop on this one. Hopefully they'll come out when washed. I'm thinking this would make a great pillow. Hmmm, I just noticed something. It looks like there's some backstitching missing on the last 2 pickets in the fence. Guess I'll have to do something about that.

Now I'll need to get pictures of these three developed so that I can add them to my album of finishes.

I also spent the past week updating said album so that I could include it as part of the exhibit of my needleworks. Apparently the weekend event was a hit and there were quite a number of people who came to visit our church and take in the displays. My works were well received and the ladies who volunteered at the event hope that next year I can join them so that I can answer questions as they arise. Hopefully I've sparked an interest in someone out there to find out what cross stitching is all about and enough interest to give it a try as well.

Just before the weekend I got a call that my cat sampler was ready at the framers so I rushed over so that it could be included as well. I've shown a closup pic of the frame so that you can see the small flowers all around its border. The girl at the framers' thought this one was perfect since it matched the flowers stitched in the corners of the piece. I'm really pleased with its finish.

Late last week I managed to finish LK Prayer Connection, well ahead of its deadline. It'll be headed to the framers shortly. I then got started on my LHN ornie of the sheep. This one is just too cute!! What little I have done was completed on my breaks at work. In the evenings at home I've concentrated on Forget Me Not. It's moving along slowly but surely. I find the colours in this are so pretty and its a fun stitch as well. I just realized that I've forgotten to take pics of these WIP so I'll do that tomorrow when the light's better and save them for another post.
Would you believe I'm already perusing my stash for my next start? After all I might have to place an order for fabric or floss so I have to give myself plenty of time! Perhaps I'll check out Halloween charts so that I actually have a finish ahead of schedule for a change.
Speaking of Halloween, have you seen the sneak peek of Donna's Halloween Cove over at By The Bay Needlearts? This one has definitely piqued my interest and I can hardly wait until she completes it.
Tomorrow is a day of rest for me after having just completed my first 5 consecutive full days at work. And am I pooped!! After alternating days the first 2 weeks back I was feeling pretty good but I expected that after my upcoming 7 day stretch I'd be done in. The health nurse suggested that I work only 5 , booking off a couple of days, and boy am I ever glad that I took her advice! My DH is having a day surgery procedure tomorrow and while I wait for him I intend to sit and stitch to my heart's content.

Okay so what could be the final game in the Stanley Cup is starting now and I'm heading to watch it with stitching in hand. It's been pretty fast hockey, think I'll actually get any done, lol?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Rainy Day Stitching

Finally I have a chance to park my butt in an attempt to get numb bum. I had hoped to stitch outside in the gazebo but indoors will have to do on account of the rain that is now falling. The rain is a welcome relief to the warm, dry weather of the past week or so. Our lawn has been yellowing and the gardens in need of a good soaking. Yesterday saw a haze settle over our area along with a smoky odour due to the forest fires currently raging in northern Quebec. There are about 50 fires raging, several out of control, and the winds carried the smoke as far as Boston and Rhode Island. Today's rain will be a blessing and help them gain back some control.

I returned to work last week on alternating days and found myself exhausted. Work, followed by the commute and the heat did me in. I'm only working 3 days this week before I start a 7 day stretch on the weekend. Our health nurse has suggested that I book a couple of vacation days so that I only work a regular 5 day week rather than the 7 days so I'm working on arranging that. We've also had a busy weekend here with overnight guests from Sault Ste. Marie on Friday followed by a potluck dinner for one of Bob's choirs on Sunday. Saturday I joined my friend Michelle in checking out the garage sales in the nearby village of Winchester. They put on a village wide sale each spring. This year it coincided with the huge Glebe garage sale in Ottawa which I'd definitely like to check out next year.
Because of all this my stitching has suffered this week. I did make some small progress on Prayer Connection and have a pathetic start on Forget Me Not. I seem to have a bit more energy this week so hopefully I can advance my progress.

Each year in Ottawa an event called Doors Open takes place. If you're an architecture or history buff it's great fun because you get to check out a lot of historic buildings and homes, some of which are off limits to the general public. Our church, St. Luke's Anglican, participates in this event by not only opening its doors but showcasing the talents of its congregation. In the past we've had some displays of sculpture by one of our parishoners as well as music ensembles made up of members. This year I was approached and asked if I would display some of my needlework throughout the church. What fun! I've chosen several framed pieces as well as some of my pinkeeps and flatfolds to display. I also had to write up a little blurb about how I got interested in stitching which I completed last night with the help of my DH.

Wouldn't you know it though! I have to work this weekend so I'll be unable to be present during the whole thing. I hated to ask someone to swap weekends when I've only just returned to work. One of the parishoners has said that she will be present to discuss my stitching. Toni is a needleworker herself having learned her craft at school in Ireland. It was a regular part of the curriculum at that time. She's offered to teach me drawn thread when I have some time on my hands.

My flower gardens are starting to come to life finally. I had a friend's daughter, who is studying landscaping, clean out and weed my beds for me since I had orders not to do any gardening post-op. I planted all my containers 2wks ago which are really starting to fill out now. My irises have finally bloomed and the peonies are just about ready to open. I'm pleased to see that some of the perennials I planted last year are really taking shape and my clematis is finally blooming again after a hiatus of 2 yrs. Here's some pics of my irises and the columbine I planted last summer.

Tuesday night stitching resumed last week but since it was my first day back at work I chose to stay home that night and rest. Tonight though I'll be there! Woohoo! Since I'm off work today I'll have plenty of time to rest up before going. Nothing like a good stitch with friends to make you feel great.

While making a pit stop at the pharmacy yesterday, I picked up a copy of the homecrafts entries for this year's fair. This is the first year in about 5 yrs that I won't be on vacation during the fair and will be able to submit entries. I was disappointed to discover that this year there is only one category for cross stitch which is stated as one small article of counted cross stitch. Perhaps we are a dying breed? Quilting seems to dominate this year's entries. There are a couple of other categories including a Christmas article of your choice where I plan on submitting my Noel flatfold and perhaps I can finish a biscornu in time for the Fancy pin cushion entry. It's too bad really. I always enjoyed seeing all the needlework displayed at the fair.

Barb recently asked how sweet, little Clarisse was doing. As you can see from the photo above she's being her usual pesky self and she isn't so little anymore! Look at the devil on her face. The minute I open my stitching bag she jumps in. I've found that while I'm sitting, quietly stitching, she'll deliberately jump up somewhere she doesn't belong in an effort to get my attention. She won't move until I get up and come towards her at which point she'll jump down, get her ball and drop it at my feet hoping I'll play. Now I'm off to do exactly that as she's just let me know it's time she got some attention!