Monday, 30 May 2011

Incredibly busy!

So many people have told me that when you retire you never have time for anything. I'm starting to believe them! It's only 2 weeks since I finished working and I haven't stopped yet. One of the first things I did was to return to the church choir which has been especially busy this month and the next. The weekend of May 21st was a long weekend for us here in Canada and all three of my sons and my two granddaughters came for a visit to celebrate my retirement with me. It was the first time the boys had all been together since Christmas.  We had a blast! There's nothing I like more than when I'm surrounded by my family. Since I'm in need of a hip replacement soon and knowing how much Bob detests gardening, their gift to me was to weed and plant my gardens. Even my granddaughters helped, carrying plants and flowers to and fro. Thank you so much boys! I couldn't have done it without you.
Here's the group after a job well done. Summer had gone for a nap at this point. You gotta admit, Chris' dye job is unique!

Following the long weekend, we've been busy with appointments and spring cleaning. I've hardly touched my stitching at all this month. When I finally did pick it up, I needed a change so I decided on a new start.  Blackbird Designs Their Song had been on my "must stitch" list for some time now. I've searched high and low trying to buy a copy of this OOP chart. I don't know how many ebay auctions I bid on trying to get this lovely. Finally, one of my Tuesday night stitching friends showed me her completed finish. "OMG, where did you find this one?" I asked. She didn't remember but told me that seeing as she was finished with it, I could add it to my own stash if I wanted it. Did I want it?! You betcha! Thank you so much Lori!

Here's a photo of my meager start. I'm stitching this one on PTP Mello with the required Weeks floss.

Spring Quakers is still in the background. I'm working the last side of the design now from the top and am just about finished this big motif.  As for the Wedding Sampler, well I've got both of their names stitched now but have a small bit to frog and restitch. I've put it aside for now but I know that I'll have to pick it up soon again and put in some time on it. I don't want to fall behind with this one. The wedding is not until August but I don't want to be rushing through it at the last minute.
  My latest stash addition was one that I fell for as soon as I saw it. Soar Sampler was designed by Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle & Thread and was inspired by the family of eagles living in Iowa that captured everyone's attention on the webcam online. The sampler was limited to a printing of only 100 and is no longer available. My husband and I are avid eagle lovers. There are very few of these great birds in our neck of the woods but we have been  fortunate enough to see some on our treks to Muskoka.
The suggested fabric for this design is WDW Onyx but I haven't decided it if I will tackle stitching it on the black. I'm going to have a browse through my fabric stash and see if I can find something suitable.
I love Brenda's designs and definitely want to add some more to my collection.

Although there may not be any eagles in my area, there are some very colourful Cardinals which have been making repeated visits to our feeder. The first few years we had the feeder they would make occasional visits but now they are regular visitors bringing the family with them! In fact I hear one chirping out there right now.
I'll leave you with a picture of the male that graced us with his presence this week. Isn't he a beauty?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Zombie gift

Right after I finished sending off my previous post, my birthday gift for my youngest son arrived or at least a picture of it. You see, my son is a huge fan of the horror genre - movies, art, etc. Living in Toronto, Ontario he is able to attend the horror film festival each year which is his highlite of the year. In the past he's met Wes Craven and had him autograph his copy of Nightmare on Elm Street.

Anyways I wanted to do something special for Chris this year on his birthday. Because of my retirement, this is the last year that I'm spending large amounts on gifts for my sons. I just won't have the extra cash in the future plus they're all "big boys" now and don't need as many gifts.

So what could I do for Chris? Knowing his love of horror, I remembered one of the boys mentioning a Canadian artist and illustrator who does zombie portraits using ink and watercolours from photos you submit to him.

Rob Sacchetto has done an amazing job with Chris' photo!! Rob emailed this pic to me this morning and the finished portrait is in the mail and on its way to me now. I can hardly wait until Chris sees it!! Fortunately he doesn't read my blog so I can post this picture here. I've included the before and after pictures. Since Chris works in an art supply store, I figure he can arrange for the framing at work.

He WAS a good looking guy!!

To see some more of Rob's work just follow the link to

I know this is going to be a big hit with Chris but I'll have to wait until the end of the month before I see the reaction.

Then comes the question: What kind of a mother gives her son a Zombie Portrait??!!

Friends, Fun and Stitching Too!

This past weekend was the annual SAL at Dani's . I had been looking forward to this because it had been many months since I'd seen some of the ladies. I was unable to spend the entire weekend with everyone because we had a house guest. However I did mangage to spend most of the day on Saturday with everyone. We had great fun! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Our hostess Dani on the left and Kathy who is working on her Fairies on the right.

Bonnie was doing some serious stitching on Ink Circles Cirque des Cercles. I wish I'd got a picture of it. If you follow the link from her name you'll see a picture of it on her blog. She also had the most amazing beaded fobs with her which she made. Naturally, I forgot to get a picture of them as well. They're awesome Bonnie!
Rebecca was stitching on a lovely birth sampler for a friend.

Beatrice brought with her some gorgeous project bags she'd made. I've posted a picture of mine. She's used the lovliest shade of blue for this one and it's lined with a pretty print as well.
They're wonderful and I thank you very much Beatrice for sharing them with us. I love mine!

Christin is stitching Butternut Road's Earthdancer. It's a gorgeous design and I love watching her progress on it. Amy pulled out her current project which just happens to be the same design which Rebecca recently finished. I don't know the name or designer but it's of two cardinals sitting on a tree bough covered in snow. Very pretty!



The group surprised me with a cake to celebrate my retirement which took place on the previous Wednesday. Rebecca had heard that I like lemon and she brought the most delicious lemon treat! Thank you so much !! Sharing something as special as my retirement was made even more special when sharing it with all of you!

I spent most of my day at Dani's working on my Spring Quakers. I finished one large motif and started working on the next. Here's the one I finished off first.
It was when I returned home on Sunday that I discovered an error. This latter motif has two parts to it, each printed on a different page than the next. I had already stitched the bottom portion of the design and as I continued my stitching on the upper portion I discovered that the bottom was out by one line and would not match up with the upper. Curses!!! Kathy, those darn frogs followed me home from Dani's and I spent two hours Monday frogging out all of the bottom of the motif. Yesterday I restitched things and all is now well. I had considered a new start recently but I'm on a roll now with this one and the Wedding Sampler and I think I'll just let things be for now.
As I mentioned before, my retirement from work took place earlier this week. Although I'm not officially done until May 31, I'm now on vacation until that time and will not be returning to the bench. I've worked at the same hospital for just short of 34 years, mostly in the Chemistry lab, so it has been a big part of my life. As I said to my coworkers, I think I've spent more time with all of them than I did with my family. We've had our ups and downs, shared laughter and tears and they've been an amazing bunch of people to work with who I will miss dearly. On my final day, they presented me with an orchid corsage, balloon and a cake. A retirement dinner will be held in my honour in early June after my official date. My DH arrived at the lab on my final day which was also my birthday and took a few photos to mark the occasion including a group photo of those present. This is only about half of the actual staff. We'll get photos of the remainder during the upcoming dinner.

It's been bittersweet leaving but now I'm off to new adventures or at least I hope so!! I haven't had the time to respond to all your wonderful comments this week but I'd like to thank all of you . Please know that I may not always have the time to reply but I definitely love hearing from you and appreciate all your kind words.

Note: I've tried editing this numerous times so that this post lines up better but blogger is just not cooperating!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sweet Little Berries

Those sweet little strawberries should be ripe in a little more than a month from now but until that time I'll gaze on my own sweet finish and dream of the pies to come.

I spent some quality time with this on Friday and had it finished in no time. Would you believe I ran out of the CC Spinach used for the leaves with only 8 stitches to go? I had purchased this as a kit and there was just enough floss needed for the design. For every other colour I had floss left over but in this case I ran short. Now I know I didn't waste any. I made a point of being very frugal so I wouldn't be in this position. When I discovered my dilemma I made a foray into my stash and found some CC Desert Mesquite that appeared very close in colour to the floss in question. I don't think it's all that noticeable. You'll find it in the upper left corner in the dark leaf. For the sake of 8 stitches I was not ordering more floss!

I've decided that this will be a pillow finish. Now I'm on the hunt for some coordinating fabric.

I hope all the Mom's out there had a most enjoyable Mother's Day. My Mom lives 500 miles away so I don't get to see her very often. This photo was taken on the occasion of her 80th birthday this past August and she is surrounded by her three daughters.

My day was a very quiet one. I worked my final weekend at the hospital and upon returning home I had phone conversations with mythree sons who called with their wishes.
We will all be together on the Victoria Day long weekend in 2 weeks to celebrate my belated birthday and my retirement both which take place this week.

With SLB out of the way, I started concentrating on the Wedding Sampler for my cousin's daughter. If you remember, I'd hoped to stitch this in the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses. The dresses are tangerine and I started stitching the piece with a DMC floss which matched. The colour though just didn't suit the design. I talked with my cuz about it and decided to frog out the tangerine and go with something more suitable. The design calls for the use of metallics which I wanted to avoid. Instead I've decided to go with GAST Gold Leaf. I'm happier with it so far.The picture quality isn't the greatest since it was dark by the time I was able to grab a picture. I'll try and get a better one in daylight later in the week.

While shopping last week, I caught the straps of my purse in the shopping cart. Somehow during the process of trying to remove it I managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder. This in turn has aggravated some pre existing bursitis so at this point I'm not able to use my left arm much. I have pain when I lift it past a certain point. It's most definitely annoying. I can't hand my money out the window and grab my coffee at the Tim Horton's drive thru!! This is a major concern, lol!Nor am I able to swipe myself out of the hospital parking lot. I'm having to reach over and use the right arm instead. Consequently it bothers me when I'm holding my stitching in hand for any length of time. I've been icing it in the evenings and it is improving but very slowly. So stitching may have to sit on the back burner for now. I still want to drop by at tomorrow's stitch night though to drop off one of my pieces for our framer John to stretch. This is Cast All Your Cares which I stitched for my friend Priscilla. I told her she wouldn't find anyone better at looking after her piece. Once stretched, she can take it to the framer of her choice.

Now I'm off to get my pants pressed for work tomorrow. I can't believe I'm almost retired.

I hope you all enjoy a great week. The sun is staying with us for the next several days so it should be a good one.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Scanty orts

I know I didn't stitch a heck of a lot this past month but wow, is that all there is?! I expect it's because I am very frugal when it comes to the Valdani floss used on SQ. It's pricey and I don't want to have to order more so I'm being very careful with it and leaving very small orts. Lots of reds and greens in that jar from Sweet Little Berries as well. Since these all resulted from spring stitches, I thought it only fitting to photograph them with my little spring chick. Sorry the pic isn't all that great. I've only just returned from work and there is next to nothing in the way of good lighting left. So much for my Tuesday night stitch too. Ladies, if you're checking in at all, I had full intentions on coming but work is getting the best of me right to the bitter end!

I neglected on my last post to mention how much I've appreciated all your sweet comments on Spring Quakers as well as the many visits to my blog. I just haven't had enough time lately to reply to each one of you but that doesn't mean I've forgotten you. I continue to enjoy all of your comments and hope to have the time to check in with you soon as well as catch up on my blogging.

Something else I forgot to mention was the wonderful gift I received from Tatyana this past week. Recently she posted pictures of all the fantastic beaded fobs she'd been creating. She just couldn't seem to stop and wondered what to do with all that she was accumulating. I suggested she sell them and I'd be more than willing to buy one. She took the suggestion but insisted on making one for me as a gift rather than selling me one. You'll never make any money that way Tayana, lol!

Here's what I found waiting for me when I arrived home last Friday. A lovely postcard with some of the beautiful sights in Moscow and this very pretty fob. Lookie what she attached to the end of it! Tatyana remembered my love of cats and personalized it with this pretty scrolled cat.

Isn't it sweet? Thank you very much Tatyana. You've brought me a little closer to your homeland!

Now I'm off to put up my feet and pick up my needle. Got to find a pair of scissors for this pretty fob too!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A truly lovely weekend!

This weekend it finally felt as if spring had truly arrived. The weather was almost balmy and Saturday there wasn't a cloud to be seen. After a week of high winds and rain it was most welcome. I keep peeking around the corner 'cause I know it's just too good to be true!

For the first time this year I was actually out on the deck stitching. Yeah!! It didn't last for long though and this is the reason why

My two most favourite little girls in the world arrived Saturday afternoon to spend an overnight with Grandma Lynn. We've been trying to get together for weeks now but either my schedule or Dad's just wouldn't jive. In the meantime, both Easter and Oceanne's 6th birthday passed us by. Finally we were able to all be together and celebrate both occasions.

Seeing as it was such a fantastic day Saturday, we spent the afternoon out on the deck blowing bubbles with fancy bubble pipes and the like courtesy of Uncle Dan. Great fun was had by all!

When the girls were in bed for the night, an exhausted Grandma attempted to continue stitching but ended up falling asleep, needle in hand.

The picture now following will show you how the day began today! Summer is such a little clown!

So now I sit recuperating, tired, but loving every memory of every minute spent together this weekend. The girls are home in their own beds now but will be returning in three weeks time to help celebrate my retirement. They may have to put me in a home after that visit, lol!

My pitiful stitching progess of the past week now follows.

First up, Sweet Little Berries. You'd think I'd be finished with this little quickie by now but it has been tossed aside lately in favour of Spring Quakers. I'm finally getting around to stitching the berries. The pattern suggests using the floss in such a way as to shade the berrries, dark on one side and light on the other. Unfortunately, the overdyed floss does not always cooperate. What I have left is not all that varied so I'm just stitching the berries as charted. There is some small variation in colour and it's just fine.

Next, Spring Quakers. I've concentrated only on the one motif this week. I'd really hoped that I'd have it finished by now but as you can see I made it only halfway throught.
There are so many colour changes in this piece with a lot of confetti stitching that I find I waste a lot of time changing my needle. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting nowhere fast. I'm sitting here looking at the pic of it and I apologize if it appears a little blurry. Or is that just my tired eyes?

The only other stitchy related pic I have for you this week is of a recent framed stitch which I picked up.

Waxing Moon Witches Garden has been sitting folded in my completion drawer for some time now, just waiting for me to pull it out and head off to the framers. It looks a little washed out in this picture due to the bright sunlight. The leaves on the sunflower's stem are almost invisible! Trust me though, it looks much better indoors.

I may not have been stitching much this past week but I have considered it a rather lucky week. First I won $40 on two of my Lotto Max tickets which had been hiding in the bottom of my purse. Then I received an email informing me that I'd won another giveaway! Karen, a fellow Canadian, celebrated her 300th post with her first giveaway. My winnings are a $40 gift certificate from my favourite online needlework shop! Thank you so much Karen!! I was so excited when I found out. I seem to be on a roll lately.

Speaking of giveaways, Deborah of Cranberry Samplings is having a wonderful giveaway to celebrate her 400th post! She is offering a lovely stitched sewing box, personalized with your inital and filled with sewing related goodies. Go ahead and check it out. Wow, and to think I was excited by 200 posts!

Now I'm off to put up my feet, watch a little TV and perhaps put in some of those little crossed things. That's if I can keep my eyes from crossing too!