Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Canada Day Finish

Just a small post to show you my pillow finish of my Canada Day stitch. I'd picked out a fabric with maple leaves on it in the red and white but found that it didn't look that great. Then I found this piece of fabric and liked it much better. When I posted the last picture I hadn't added the cardinal button yet either. This button came from a collection of clay buttons I found on ebay last year.
My DH came home from work yesterday with a small funnel for me. I'd already been to 3 different hardware stores trying to find one. I was thrilled that he'd finally found one and finished filling the pillow with the crushed walnut shells.

The weather is much cooler here today and breezy so I have all the windows open to help get rid of all the humidity built up in the house. Shortly after I opened them I heard a familiar cheep, cheep. The cardinals had arrived for their morning snack. I've been trying unsuccessfully to get a picture of the female. She's far more skittish than the male and flys off at the slightest movement. Sometimes I haven't even moved, she sees me and takes off.
This morning I was sitting right by the window, checking out my photo of the pinpillow when they arrived. I couldn't believe my luck. I hid behind the opened vertical blinds and snapped this pic. It's not the greatest but before I had a chance to get a second one she was gone.

The cedar waxwings are also back for their annual visit. The only time we see them is towards the end of June when they arrive to clean off the berries from our neighbour's tree.
I snapped this photo yesterday.

I love the yellow tips on their tails and their masks which make them look like flying bandits!

Now that the mail is back on track once more I'm anxiously awaiting several orders I placed in the last 3 weeks. I just got a peek at the new BBD Loose Feathers chart which has yet to released and I've also been considering the Mystery Sampler by With Thy Needle and Thread. I know that many are doing a SAL of this one. I'm not ready to stitch it right now but would love to have it for my stash. It will all depend on my first pension check. After all, I'm on a reduced income now!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Wedding thoughts

My thoughts have been wrapped up in weddings lately. We celebrated two weddings within our church family and the choir had the opportunity to sing at one. I think we have the best view of the proceedings while sitting in the choir. I always get a catch in my throat and feel the tears well up just at the moment before the bride starts down the aisle. Doesn't matter who or even if I know them all that well. It's just such a joyous occasion and often brings to mind my own wedding day and the happiness I experienced .
Then, later in the week, I was sorting through my photo boxes and came across the wedding photos of several of my best friends and my sisters. They brought back some great memories and I thought that perhaps I should do a photo collage of them. I have the perfect frame for them if I can just find it!
Seeing all these weddings gave me the kick in the rear I needed to get my stitching going once more on my wedding sampler. We've been so busy here lately and in two weeks time we head off on vacation. Time to put the pedal to the metal. So this weekend I had a wedding sampler stitching marathon. That is, when we were home, lol! Just to show you my progress I've posted a before and after photo.

I'm being very careful in not wasting any floss since I seem to be running short. If I have any left I just might restitch the scroll on the bottom left. The upper part just seems a little pale in that spot due to the overdyed floss. This is the same sampler that originally started out in a tangerine colour in order to match the bridesmaids' dresses. However it really didn't suit the design so I restarted things using Gentle Art Sampler Gold Leaf. The design calls for the first and middle names of the couple to be stitched so that entailed a phone call to my cousin to inquire as to the groom's middle name. I would love to have this one complete by next Tuesday so that I can leave it with John for stretching while I'm on holiday. Then when I return it could be dropped off at the framer's. Wish me luck!

Canada Day will soon be here and keeping that in mind I finished off my small patriotic stitch by Veeandco.
As of today I almost have all of the finishing done. I'm finishing it as a little pin pillow. Okay now ladies, help me out here. This is my first time using the crushed walnut shells to fill my pillow. How the heck do you manage to get enough in the pillow without making a mess when you're stitching the top closed? I've looked everywhere for a little funnel with a narrow bore that I could stick in the corner but with no luck. We had all kinds of them at work so I'm thinking that just maybe I might be able to to "borrow" one.
I'm heading into Cornwall on Wednesday and will make a pit stop at the lab so this finish might have to wait until Thursday.
I don't have a sewing machine and my hand sewing skills are atrocious but I am learning! If nothing else I'm determined.

Last week the weather here was absolutely gorgeous and I took the opportunity to visit with one of my former coworkers who has been off of work due to surgery. She was unable to attend my retirement dinner or the get together I had at my place because of this. I wanted to take her a little something. Now that I'm not working I have more time to bake and decided I would make her a fruit loaf. June screams strawberries but it seems I have a surplus of rhubarb in my garden this year. So off I went to pull some of the fruit stalks and this is what I came up with.
The sourness of the rhubarb is offset by the brown sugar/cinnamon topping. This is a recipe I've used for years in making muffins. This time I tried adapting it for a loaf. It sure made a whopper!
I've been putting the rhubarb to good use this year. I also made some loaves and a rhubarb lunar cake for the church potluck and the choir's potluck dinners.

The great weather also resulted in our first boat outing. We're a little late heading out this spring due to some alterations, including new seats, that had to be done first. Our first trip was the result of a win by some friends at the church's silent auction. Every year my DH offers up an afternoon boatride for bidding at the auction. This year our friends John and Sally were the winning bidders. We put the boat in the Ottawa River at Rockliffe and headed out. Usually we go down river towards the Parliament buildings but this time we thought we'd try going in the opposite direction. There really wasn't much to see but the weather was pleasant, there was a nice breeze and it just felt good to be out on the water. We did manage to catch sight of this osprey nest with Momma sitting with the eggs.

This morning I felt rather lazy, maybe an after effect of the food consumed at the potluck dinner last night. In any case I put my clothes sorting on hold and dug out Their Song for a change from the wedding sampler. I seemed to be operating on one mode today.... slow! I did manage to get these two little flowers and tree stitched though.

If there is any time left after all the sorting tomorrow then I hope to get back to my LHN America (Canadian version). I'm making a colour change here or there as well and may have to make a stop at Michael's later in the week if I can't find what I want in my stash.  As for a new big start, I'm still undecided. Apparently the mail will be back on track here tomorrow and with that should come the arrival of a few charts I ordered as a retirement gift. Maybe Sixteen Birds?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Springing to a finish

With spring coming to a close and summer fast upon us it was only fitting that on Friday morning I put in the final stitches on Spring Quakers. I ran out of floss for the backstitching on the final word, Hyacinth, and had to do a bit of improvisation. I cut sections out of the other two green floss which was similar to the dark green and using some last small cuts of floss from the original, I was able to piece all the colours together so that it looked similar to the other backstitches. I wanted this to be complete by next Tuesday since our framer and stretcher John will be dropping by at our stitch night so I'm happy I made my deadline.
This design has been a true joy to stitch!  I love the Valdani floss and will definitely use it again.  Below are a some pics of the different motifs within the design.

I have yet to decide what will fill the void left by this one. The Canadian postal strike will postpone my start on Sixteen Birds since everything I've ordered is in mid-transit, stuck somewhere in postal land.
In the meantime I needed a small, easily portable stitch . I have wanted to stitch a small patriotic Canadian design for some time now. There are very few of them out there. Most of the Canadian designers have larger designs available but I want to make some smaller designs which I can turn into pin pillows. I put out a request on my last post and Karen sent me the link to this VeeandCo freebie called O Canada. I started it on Saturday and managed to get this far.       
I worked on it again yesterday and I'm actually very close to a finish on it now. I have a little bit of backstitching and beading left. While I was in Ottawa on Saturday I went on a little side trip to Fabricland in the hopes of finding some patriotic fabric to finish it off with. Imagine how pleased I was when I found out that not only did they have 5 or 6 different prints to choose from but they had an inventory sale going on as well! I chose 3 different prints at 50% off and also picked up some Warm and Natural quilt batting at 3 for the price of one!

Just prior to the postal strike I had ordered two larger patriotic designs from 123 Stitch.  They're also stuck somewhere out in postal land so I got thinking. I have a copy in my stash of Little House Needleworks America. I dug it out and had a look at it to see if I could do a conversion of the design to a Canadian one. Things looked fairly simple so I then emailed Diane Williams of LHN and asked her permission to make the changes and substitutions. She replied and very graciously told me to go ahead with my changes and enjoy! Friday afternoon was spent graphing the necessary changes such as the Canadian flag for the U.S. one.  A check of my stash found the fabric and floss needed so I'm hoping to get started on this one later in the week.

I've had a productive morning sorting through piles of winter and summer clothing and designating what can go to Goodwill as well as cleaning out my bedroom dresser drawers. As a reward I'm now off to spend a couple of hours stitching on my Wedding Sampler. I need to start putting in more time on this one since the wedding is coming up the latter part of August. Our trip to the cottage is a little less than three weeks away now so I expect I'll be stitching on this one out on the deck at the lake. I'll also take the LHN design with me and Their Song. Now that I'm retired and my vacation time is not limited we've booked two weeks in Muskoka instead of just one. The weather here has been sublime with warm days, cool nights and little rain. I hope it follows us to the lake!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Close to a finish

I can't believe how quickly time has passed since my last post! This has been a very busy spring for us. Last night was the first evening in a week that I had spent at home. I have managed to squeeze some stitching in here and there.  I had really hoped that I would have a finish by the time of this post. I'm oh so close! I'm finishing up the last motif on Spring Quakers. I'm pushing to get this one done before our stretcher and framer returns to our stitching group next week. I want to leave it with him before I head on vacation.  Here are pictures of the last three motifs I've finished in the design. I've also included a picture of the final motif. All that remains is to stitch the mirror image of what I've already stitched in the last motif. Then there are a couple of flower names remaining to be backstitched and that's it!

If you look closely you'll see all the cat hair sitting on top of the stitching. Whenever I'm completely finished stitching a design I have to go over it with my little brush to remove all the cat hair. There's no point in doing it until I'm completely done because I'm only going to end up with more of it on there. Clarisse doesn't sit on my stitching but I think I transfer all the fur from my clothing onto the piece. So consequently she's a part of all my stitches.
Most of the stitching on these motifs was done on the weekend as I patiently waited at the church for Bob while he rehearsed for a concert that took place Sunday evening. Sometimes I get more stitching accomplished while I'm there because there are no other distractions as there are at home. I've enjoyed working on Spring Quakers so much and have decided to go with another large stitch when it's completed. I recently found another Rosewood Manor design that I'm in love with which is a possibility. It's called Sixteen Birds and I found it online quite by accident. I've ordered a copy and it's on its way to me.

 Also here is an updated picture of Their Song. I look forward to working on this again soon but in the meantime I've got to get back to putting in some stitches on my Wedding Sampler.

This past Wednesday evening my former coworkers took Bob and I out to dinner to celebrate my retirement. We had a great meal at a Greek restaurant in Cornwall where we were joined by almost 30 others!
Included in the group were my former boss Mitchell and his wife, who are both now retired, our retired pathologist Dr. Macaulay and a former coworker who I hadn't seen for many years. Cathy had met me at the airport in Ottawa when I first arrived for my interview and she also took me all around Cornwall apartment hunting. I worked with her in Chemistry until she left us to work in Ottawa, closer to her family. I was so surprised to see her. As she put it, "I saw you into the lab and I'll see you out!". It was a fantastic get together and at the end of the evening they presented me with a set of Swarovski crystal earrings and matching bracelet. There was also a lovely table arrangement of flowers for me to take home. Another coworker Karen, who now only works casually in the lab, has ordered a Jim Shore piece for me. She knows I love Halloween and cats and so I will receive the Witch Cat whenever her order arrives.  I was overwhelmed! They are such a special group of people. We've had our ups and downs but they have been incredible to work with and I'm going to miss them.  I will continue to see them at upcoming lab events and there are several whom I'm close to that I will touch base with regularily. Please indulge me as I post several pictures from that evening. There are several who regularily read my blog and want to see the photos.


Now I have a question for the Canadian bloggers out there. I'm enjoying so much the posts of all the lovely patriotic stitches done recently by our American friends. There are very few Canadian patriotic stitches out there. I'm aware of one by Lizzie Kate as well as Sam Sarah Designs. Are there any others out there that I'm not aware of? Your help would be greatly appreciated. A big thank you to those who have taken the time to drop by my blog and leave your comments. I've enjoyed your visits and hope you continue to pop in on a regular basis.
Now I'm off to drop some mail at the post office. Not sure if it will get anywhere though with all these rotating strikes!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011



I can't believe it's time for my TUSAL post again. Although I've had a busy month, I have managed a finish, a new start and some progress on Spring Quakers. However it seems that I have very small orts. I use my thread almost to the end especially when I was stitching Sweet Little Berries and I had a limited amount of floss in the kit. I have a really hard time taking pictures of this little jar. There seems to be a lot of glare whenever I try so this time I took it outside on my front porch and snapped this pic.

After snapping the pic I took a drive over to the post office to pick up our mail and found a surprise waiting for me.  Earlier this month Rhona had her first giveaway on her blog and I was the lucky winner. Good thing she emailed me to let me know. I was behind on my blog reading and had missed her post with the winner. Her giveaway included a pair of stork scissors, a magnetic needle case and some  DMC Gold needles.

 She also stitched the most adorable card with my initial on it. Isn't it sweet!? Thank you very much for everything Rhona!!

My DH just arrived home with another surprise. There is a soup kitchen which runs out of his church and they also have items such as clothing which are dropped off for those in need. Today, among some of the drop offs was a 17" Q snap. He waited until the end of the day to see if anyone had claimed it. Nope, it's yours! he was told. I was pleased when he showed it to me and surprised that he knew what it's used for. I guess he is paying attention to what I'm doing!

Since I just posted yesterday I have no new stitching to show but I do have a picture of my most recent framed piece. It's LHN North Wind and I felt this frame was perfect. The framing of this piece is a retirement gift from my Aunt and Uncle and I'm very pleased with it. Kelly, who works at my framer's, is amazing at picking out just the right frame for the stitching. I always hope that she's working when I drop by with a new stitch.
I'll leave you with a picture of my fur baby, Clarisse. She calmly sat and watched me as I went about doing laundry and cleaning up today.Usually she's got her nose right in everything but it appeared she was having a lazy day.

We have had very high winds here today and my laundry was dry in record time!