Monday, 30 August 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Finally I had my vacation and what a great one it was. We left home 2 weeks ago, dropping our boat off at the cottage on our way to my Mom's place for a celebration of her 80th birthday.

Everyone in the family was able to get the time off to join us with the exception of my eldest. My youngest son ended up being a big surprise since he only got the time off at the last minute. So he kept his plans secret and surprised my Mom when he walked in the restaurant at her dinner. What a thrill it was for her to have everyone together like that. It had been 5 yrs since the last time all the cousins were together. Obviously there had been some big changes and it was so fun to see them connecting once again. Here's a pic of the whole family taken at my sister's following the dinner.

During our time together, I took my sons for a drive to show them the neighbourhood where I'd grown up and also to take them down to the riverfront for some pictures against the Detroit, Michigan skyline. Now you can see just how close Windsor is to Detroit. The Ambassador bridge crossing between the two countries is the largest international crossing in North America. I also took the time to visit both of my sisters and their families during my visit.

So basically there was practically nothing in the way of stitching during the first week. I stitched while in the car during our travels and that's it. I did however, manage to find Thread & Eye, a stitching shop in London, Ontario, during our travels. My purpose was only to purchase a couple of skeins of GAST floss which I needed. Did I come out with only the floss? Of course not! I added several skeins of floss, three charts and some fabric. The charts were LHN The Counting House and Love One Another as well as My Big Toe Designs Cast All Your Cares. I just enjoyed being in an actual needlework shop once more where I could actually see things in person including many of the stitched models. Gives you more of a feel for things, you know?

After a lovely first week where the weather held out for us all week, we packed things up once more and hit the road. We dropped the boys off in Toronto including my nephew and then it was off to Muskoka for DH and me! By the time we arrived in Bala I'd stitched more in the car then I had all the previous week. Here's a progress pic of HC. The fabric isn't ironed because I didn't realize there was an iron and board in the cottage. Besides, I'm on vacation!
I'll continue week 2 of my vacation on the next post. By then I should have a picture of my latest happy dance and a new start. After all, I don't want to bore you with all my vacation pics at once!
I'm slowing catching up on my blog reading so if you haven't heard from me yet you should in the next day or so. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

My Family Sampler

I was so excited on Wednesday when I returned home from work. I had stopped at the post office on the way home and discovered that my copy of LHN The Family Sampler had arrived. I couldn't wait until I drove home. I had to open it right there in the car and have my first peek. Diane Williams has designed another wonderful pattern!
I've spent the past few weeks trying to decide just how to go about stitching this one. All three of my sons are from a previous marriage and since I've remarried we no longer share the same surname. So you can see my dilemma - their name, my name, hypenated names(too long)? Then I thought that perhaps I would stitch my own family instead. No, I've already stitched a family tree of my side of the family. So after much thought and discussion I've decided to stitch the sampler using the word FAMILY where the surname should be. Where the W is located in Diane's piece I am going to add another box on the opposite side. Then I will place the inital of the boys' surname in one box and my surname in the other. I can then add the three boys, myself and my DH to the sampler and it can be interpretated whatever way they want. The male in the picture can represent their father or my DH.
Where the pattern calls for "est. in the year..... " instead I would like to stitch "wrought in the year". I'm just not sure I can fit that in. If not I'll figure something out! What do you think?

The past week has been a whirlwind of activity as we prepared to head out on vacation . Between work, errands and packing I haven't had very much time to myself for stitching. I managed to sneak in one hour each evening when I finally sat down to watch TV from 10 'til 11. Halloween Cove was my main stitch and here's where I left off as of last night. I love the colours in this piece and they look really great on the fabric I've chosen. It certainly has felt more like fall around here this past week. The extreme heat and humidity seems to have departed. What we have been seeing are cool nights, warm days, some rain and the start of the changing. The changing of what you say? The changing of the leaves! Yup, as I drove to work I could see it in the woods. The cool nights are a signal to those trees and as a result small splashes of colour are showing themselves here and there. My favourite season is upon us! I've always been a fall kind of girl. Those vibrant colours, the cool evenings and sunny days seem to infuse me with more energy. All those homey (is that a word?) feelings show up and suddenly I've got the urge to bake, clean and you guessed it, stitch! I might even get sidetracked from HC with the arrival on the stands of the JC Halloween issue. Some of this year's ornaments look like a must stitch to me!

I saw pictures this week that had been taken last October at the Cranberry Festival in Bala, ON which is located in Muskoka. Seeing the fall colours, the apples, pumpkins and of course cranberries got me aching for both fall and Muskoka. Speaking of which, that's exactly where we're headed shortly! As I've mentioned previously, we are heading to Windsor to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. Following our week there, we have rented a cottage once more in the Bala/Pt Carling region. I have been looking forward to this for sooooo long! This is where I'm most relaxed, stitching out on the dock. I do wish though that there were some stitching shops in the area.

On a different note, I recieved a chart this week for my first Funky Flower. These adorable flowers are designed by Donna Bayliss of By The Bay Needleart. I think this particular flower, Annabelle, is one of the first of the designs. These look like such fun stitches to do especially over the upcoming long and dreary winter. They would certainly brighten things up! Donna has also planned a garden sampler for these flowers which you can find on her Funky Flowers Gardeners Blog. I'm planning on doing a layout of just three of the flowers. I figure I can use this layout many times over and just change the flowers within.

I'm hoping to blog while I'm away but if you don't hear from me for a couple weeks you'll know I'm having just too good of a time! I'll catch up with all of you once more in September. Wow, September! In the meantime, keep crossing those xs.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

More giveaways

It never ceases to amaze me at how generous stitching bloggers are. I have stumbled across two more very amazing giveaways. Check them out at Lynn B and Belinda's blog. Belinda is giving away some gorgeous project bags and tool pouch. You have to check out her fabric....lovely!

As you can see from this picture, Lynn has created the most amazing Marie Antoinette box. These are two very talented ladies and I thank them very much for the giveaway offers.
I only hope that one day I can achieve some finishes that are as beautiful. I'm not very talented when it comes to sewing and I just drool over some of the finishes out there in blogland. So I decided that when I retire next year I'm going to look into taking a sewing course if there are any available in my area. I took the basics many years ago when I was in high school but my mother didn't sew and I didn't have access to a sewing machine and consequently lost the skills I'd learned. I have no desire to make clothing but I would love to do pillows, projects bags, etc.

It's an overcast Sunday here. There has been some rain and the temperature is a bit cooler than it has been. I worked an evening shift yesterday which is something I haven't done in years. I was originally hired as full time evenings but that lasted only a year before I moved up to the day shift. Several evening shifts became available this summer as the result of a fellow employee resigning. We are short staffed and don't have anyone to replace him so as a result everyone was expected to pick up some of his shifts even if it meant you had to work a double. Double shifts are just getting too hard to do in the healthcare field so I was lucky enough instead to pick up an extra weekend shift in the evening. It was busy enough and when I returned home at midnight I was too keyed up to sleep right away. So I pulled out my Halloween Cove and started putting in some stitches.
I had a little setback with this one earlier in the week when I discovered that I'd stitched the one small pumpkin up a row from where it should have been. I thought about leaving it and working around it but figured I'd probably screw up even more as a result. So the frogs took up residence for a brief period of time and then I restarted at that point. I have made some headway though and it is coming along. I've just started stitching one of the ghosts now. I do love the raven on the branch. This is a really fun stitch which I'm really enjoying! The pattern calls for the use of 3 strands of floss over 2 but I really dislike stitching with 3 so I'm only using the 2 strands. I suppose it would look much better if I'd used the 3 on the tree but by the time it's framed and up on the wall it won't be quite as noticeable.
Speaking of frogs, isn't this fountain of frogs great? It was in the gardens of Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC when I visited there on vacation this summer. I loved it as soon as I saw it however I do wish they were spouting water at each other rather than in my direction!

Other than HC, I haven't got any other stitching to post at this time. I'm gearing up for vacation in a week's time and I'm trying to decide which projects to bring along with me. I'm hoping for lots of stitching time on the dock at the cottage. I have waaaay to many that I want to start now but of course that's not possible so I have to limit myself. Having 4 or 5 new starts would frustrate me to no end since I just don't have enough hours in the day to devote to them.
Okay so the rain has returned in earnest now and I'm feeling the temperature drop as I write this. I've been writing this post over the course of the whole day. Time to get supper underway so that I can sit once again and cross that x. I'm trying a new recipe for Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with grilled chicken. My mouth's watering as I think of it!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A small finish

Well it's taken me long enough but I've finally finished my LHN ornament Winter Sheep. After returning home from work on Saturday I got in the mood to Christmas stitch, dug it out and finished it lickety split! I've just placed the cardinal button on it for now. I had this one in my stash but I've got another slightly bigger cardinal button on order that I will use once it's arrived. So now it's on to Red House in Winter. I'm looking forward to stitching this one.

Although I worked the weekend I managed to get in quite a bit of stitching. It was one of the quietest weekends I've worked in a long time. Everyone's vacationing I guess and staying away from the hospital. So I put in some time on Summer Lineup. I started to put in the french knots for the watermelon seeds but got very frustrated and it didn't take long! Knots are not my forte and there are quite a few of them in this piece between the watermelon seeds and the dots on the ladybugs so I went online and ordered a pack of black Mill Hill Petites. I feel much better now!

At last night's stitching get together I decided to concentrate on Halloween Cove for awhile. I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. Several of the ladies who hadn't been there for some time made an appearance and there was a lot of catching up and ooohing and aaahing over current stitches as well as much enabling going on as we browsed each other's new stash. So this is where I am at this point. I hope to concentrate on this one a bit more now.

Just as I headed out for my weekly stitching I received a phone call that my latest stitch was ready for pickup at the framers. I was so excited to see it and I wasn't disappointed. The frame is really lovely . The pictures just don't do it justice. It's a dark red mahogany and is a perfect match to the red floss in the stitching. I've taken a closeup so you can see the detail in the frame.

One piece of news I have neglected to tell you about since my return from vacation is that I was the winner of a draw on Diane William's (LHN) blog. Diane was giving away a copy of her soon to be released new design The Family Sampler. I was so excited when I read her blog post and found out my name was one of 5 picked. Can you believe it? She had to draw names two more times because winners didn't respond within the posted time. I'll tell you it sure didn't take me long to respond! I LOVE Diane's designs and am really looking forward to seeing this one arrive in my mail. Thank you Diane!

I was just about to finish off my post tonight when my BFF Pam (no blog) dropped by for a visit and showed off her latest finish. I met Pam many years ago when I moved to my village and joined one of her decorative tole painting classes in an effort to meet new friends in the area. Pam and I became fast friends and I have shared my love of stitching with her. She informed me tonight that she always could spot a designer of a piece of tole work by their style and now she is starting to do the same with cross stitch thanks to my enabling, lol! I love her latest finish and asked if I could post a pic on the blog. Here it is - Like Home by La D Da.

Special birthday wishes are headed out to three of my stitching friends. Wish a Happy Birthday to Christin, Beatrice and Kathy who have all celebrated birthdays within this past week. Ladies, I hope you have spent your day doing something you love! Hopefully it included stitching.
Happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Fiona is celebrating! She's just reached 100 followers and in celebration she is having a giveaway for some lovely goodies. I am always amazed at the generosity of stitchers. They are a very special people. I hope to repay them in kind when I've retired next year and can stitch up a storm. Anyway I hope you are having a good weekend and I'll have a stitchy update with pics in a day or two.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

My First RAK!

Yesterday was my first day back at stitching with the Tuesday group so I didn't head home after work or check my mailbox at that time. Instead I checked it on my way home during a rather torrential downpour. "I must be crazy to stop during this storm and check the mail now", was my thought as I made a mad dash for the post office door, jumping puddles (rivers!) and fumbling for my key. But to my delight there was a lovely surprise waiting for me. I recognized the name on the return address at once and wondered if this could possibly be a stitchy treat for me. Yaaaay, it's my very first RAK!

Dear sweet Sharon, otherwise known as Daffycat, stitched this lovely pin pillow for me! It's stitched and finished so perfectly. Just look at that little crow on the back. He's adorable! The pillow is also filled with lavender which I just love the scent of. She could not have known, but Autumn is my favourite time of year so this is absolutely perfect. It also reminds me of cooler days ahead as we suffer through another bout of heat & humidity. Thank you so very much Sharon! I love it and will proudly display it with my other stitches.
As I mentioned, it was the return to my weekly stitching which I desperately needed after a 2 week drought due to vacation and visits. Here's what I managed to accomplish on my Summer Lineup. I probably could have gotten further except for all my chatter as I got caught up on everything I'd missed. I am enjoying this little piece. I love the bright colours in it. When I tire of it, I'll return to my Halloween Cove.

Here's the reason I didn't cross one x this week.

That's right, the grandchildren were back!! The whole family was here including my youngest sister who hadn't been up to our place in 8 yrs. Although I had to work, we managed to cram a lot of activities into our evenings and had a ball. While I was at work, my sister and the boys took the girls to the park and for ice cream at the local snack shack.

Evenings were spent BBQing and going into Ottawa to check out the Busker Festival and the new light show on Parliament Hill. Through it all the girls were real troopers, not complaining a bit and trust me we did a lot of walking! Now they've all headed back to their respective homes and we are left with the aftermath - noseprints on windows, cat fur everywhere (from the girls chasing Clarisse), a laundry basket full of towels (courtesy of my boys), alphabet magnets all over my fridge and a wading pool full of grass. I miss them already!!! Clarisse however, does not and is extremely happy to have her house back. She was not amused!

Happy stitching everyone!