Friday, 28 December 2007

The case of the missing gifts

The parliament buildings, Ottawa, ON

I hope you've all had a happy, peaceful Christmas. Christmas this year was pretty quiet around here. My DH and I both worked and so we decided to have our big holiday meal at New Year instead. Bob was finished playing his Christmas services around noon and I returned home around 4. Both boys had slept in. My youngest was pretty tired out since he works in retail when not in school and we all know how busy that was the past few days! We opened our gifts upon my arrival. The boys faired quite well with an ipod for one and a digital camera for the other. They both got books and music as well as towels and sheets for their respective living quarters. Bob and I didn't get a lot for each other but my favourite gift was a coffee mug which had been personalized with a picture Bob had taken of me crosstitching on the dock at the cottage. Now every time I have a coffee I'll think of our great times in Muskoka!

He also got me a lovely pair of lavender mittens to match my winter jacket. Although I almost didn't get them! It's becoming an annual event each year as to which gift Bob will misplace. One year he had me pick out a watch for myself , brought it home and then lost it. It was never found. We think he threw it out in the trash since he had never removed it from the bag and had done a major cleanup of our room just before Christmas!
The following year it was Chris' gift. I'd placed an order online for a gift for Chris in November and it never arrived. At least that's what I thought! When Christmas arrived Bob asked me what about that gift hidden in the crawl space? It wasn't wrapped. When I investigated, it was the online order I'd placed earlier. Who put it there I asked. He did. When did it arrive? He didn't remember!
This year it was my mitts. I found him searching his office on Christmas Eve. When I asked what he was looking for he told me he'd misplaced one of my gifts. He didn't find them until late Christmas night when he went looking for some music in one of his files. He didn't find the music but he did find my gift! Then on Boxing Day he went down to the crawl space for some wine and came back up with another gift for me, a CD. Look what I found he declared!
Bob has an incredible memory for dates, phone numbers, occasions, etc ( really he does!) but when it comes to misplacing things he's awful. As far as the Christmas gifts are concerned I think that it's just because he's so busy at this time of the year with all his music events and his mind is on other things. At least we all get a good chuckle out of it! In the future he's going to keep a file on his computer with the location of his purchases.

My Mom sent me money for my gift which I used to purchase another Jim Shore piece. These are folk art carvings and sculpture which I have received as gifts in the past and just fell in love with! I've always been a big fan of folk art. The particular piece I bought this year was part of a new series based on the Rudolph TV special. I've posted a picture to show you. This was always the favourite Christmas show at our house even when I was a child.

I'm sorry to say that I haven't been able to put in a single stitch the past week! I'm really missing it but I know I'm not going to be able to get to any stitching done until I'm finished with work this Sunday. Even then I have my oldest son and daughters arriving to celebrate the holiday. What are the chances with the little ones around? I'm off work from Dec. 31st until Jan. 7th. Hopefully I can get back to things once my family returns to their home near the end of that week. I did manage to pay a visit to SB&B before their Christmas sale ended and purchase a couple of new charts courtesy of my MIL.
I'm headed off to bed early now. Five o'clock comes much too quickly and we're expecting more snow tonight.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Things here are kinda crazy lately and there's been no time for stitching of any kind. My shopping is all done, the gifts are wrapped, baking is done and my boys are home ( the two youngest anyways). I'm heading into Ottawa shortly for our Christmas Eve service. I have to leave a little earlier than usual since we've had more snow and the roads are slick. My boys are going to stay put and wrap their gifts while I'm gone. Tomorrow is another work day for both my DH and myself. For that reason we've decided to put off our big turkey dinner and celebrate on New Year instead when my oldest son and his girls can join us. My sons are thrilled that they can sleep in tomorrow and we'll open gifts when I return from work at 4.

As you can see from the above picture, Finnigan has some company for Christmas, namely Tugger who belongs to my son Dan. This is where I found the two of them this evening!
Time for me to head upstairs and get some supper ready before I leave. At this time I'd like to wish all of my fellow bloggers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a most enjoyable holiday with your families and friends and the peace of the season rests with all of you. I hope to catch up on your blogs post holiday.

Monday, 17 December 2007

After the storm

Finally the storm is over and I'm able to return home. I was so thankful that I had a place to stay in Cornwall and didn't have to travel to work on Sunday during the storm. My son's place is only a few blocks from the hospital rather than my normal 40 min drive. Final reports are that we had 40 cm in our area. As you can see from the pictures, that's a lot of snow! We are not fortunate enough to have a snowblower but we are lucky enough to have several neighbours who do. I'm not sure yet which one blew out our drive, but it was all complete when I returned home this afternoon. I have a bottle of wine and some gas money ready whenever I find out which one it was. One thing I did notice is that my bushes in front of the house, which were covered in Christmas lights ,are now buried beneath the snow. So much for decorating!

All that snow can look very pretty but for those of us who travel in it, it can be extremely treacherous. I travel to work on the back roads where there is not as much traffic for most of my drive. However I do have to get on one of the major roads for the latter part of my journey. At that point I get on highway 401. The 401 highway is an east/west route from the Quebec border all the way to Windsor, On. At the height of the storm this highway was closed at Cornwall due to a pileup involving six tractor trailors! When I heard that I was very glad that I'd stayed put!

I'd hoped to get some stitching done at my son's during my stay but I forgot my Ott-lite at home and the light just wasn't good enough for stitching at Dan's place. So instead we took a walk over to the local Blockbuster and rented the new Harry Potter release. I enjoyed it but was a little disappointed since they left out so much from the book this time. After this I caught up with a little reading. I almost ended up walking to work from his place this morning because I had difficulty getting my car out of the parking lot at his apartment building. During the night they plowed the lot and my car was surrounded by mounds of snow. I couldn't even see the wheels on it! I managed to shovel a good portion of it and then took a running leap over the last mound where I promptly got stuck. After backing up I had another go at it and this time I managed to get out.

I took the scenic route home this afternoon along what's known as the Long Sault Parkway. This road takes you onto some of the islands on the St. Lawrence River between Long Sault and Ingleside. It was a lovely, sunny winter day today and all that snow made for some very nice pictures. You can see the St Lawrence River in the background of the first picture.

No stitching progress at this point. I'm hoping to get some done this evening and have some new pics for you in the next day or so. Time to go, I hear my DH arriving from Ottawa with supper!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Happy birthday Bob and Dan!

This week saw the celebration of two birthdays in our family. The first was my husband Bob's on the 12th and the second which is today is my son Daniel's. They decided to have a joint celebration yesterday with just the one cake since there is so much overindulging already in progress! Dan chose a chocolate fudge cake much to Bob's delight. He's a huge chocoholic!! Bob is proudly showing off his new Toronto Maple Leafs lunch bag . He's a big Maple Leaf fan which is no small feat when you're living in Ottawa Senators territory!

Daniel is my middle son and turned 23 today. I can't believe how fast the time is passing now. When my youngest son celebrates his birthday next spring, all 3 of my boys will then be in their twenties. I'm feeling ancient!! Especially since this year I had a hard time remembering where I hid all of their gifts. I try to keep them separated from their Christmas gifts so I won't mix them up but I don't have enough hiding places. My oldest son Jeff has a birthday in early January so I have some of his gifts mixed up in there too. I misplaced one of Bob's gifts and spent most of the week looking for it! I managed to find it(quite by accident!) just as I was wrapping his others. Somehow I don't think I planned this very well. It would be so much easier if they were all spread out through the year!

As I'm writing this I'm watching the news regarding the major storm which is arriving during the overnight. I'm supposed to be working but from the sounds of the reports we're supposed to get anywhere from 30-40cm of snow in our area by the time it's over. That translates to 12-16 inches of snow with strong winds and whiteout conditions. I'm trying to make arrangements now to head into Cornwall tonight and sleep at my son's so that I can make it into work. If it was a weekday I wouldn't worry so much about getting in but on the weekends there is a skeleton staff and unless you're on your deathbed or stuck in the ditch somewhere you'd better make it in! Trying to find a replacement for you is next to impossible. The weather forecast for Monday isn't much better so I may end up staying at my son's for a couple of days. My DH is in Ottawa now and is staying put until the storm's end. So I guess it definitely will be a white Christmas for many since this storm is hitting a good portion of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. I spoke to my oldest son in Quebec this evening and they already have between one and a half and two feet of snow on the ground! We have about a foot here already.
So I'm really glad that most of my Christmas shopping is done. I really only have stocking stuffers and a gift certificate to pick up. Oh yeah and my Mother and stepfather's gift. This is the one I'm stressing over since they have just about everything. I'll figure something out!
Christmas commitments and work have kept my stitching on the back burner for now. I've managed to put in a few stitches on my Lynn's Prints ornament but not enough for another picture. I've managed to stitch only one evening during the past two weeks on my CdC and didn't get very far because I was so tired and was nodding off. Here's a pic of my progress to date.

Time to head off to my son's place now. I've got my bag all packed and the snow hasn't started yet so we're going to hit the road while the goings good. I'll check back in with all of you in a couple of days. Keep warm!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lots and lots of snow!

Looks like we'll be having more of a winter here this year than we've had for several years! Last year at this time we had no snow at all. If I remember correctly, we didn't have a significant snowfall until Januray. However that all changed this past Monday. We had our first real winter storm of the season and were dumped with about a foot of snow! According to the news, that's the most snow we've had fall before Christmas in five years. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario where the winters are generally pretty mild and we never saw this much snow all winter. When I moved to the Cornwall area in 1977, they had terrific snowfalls. I remember being shocked at snowpiles reaching the tops of the stop signs. We haven't had snow like that for many years now and I wonder if perhaps this year will mimic one of those past years. Today the sun is out and it's a beautiful winter day. This picture is for you Cheryl! I read your blog about all the rain you were having today and wanted to show you that the sun is around. It's just across the ocean that's all! Hope this brightens your day a little.

I've put in very few stitches this week. I've been working on an ornie from one of the JCS issues by Lynn's Prints called Christmas Day Play. However when I was working on it at my DH's office last Sunday, I managed to leave the floss behind on his desk. He has since brought it home for me but left it in his portfolio and took off with it again today! So much for working on the ornament. My CdC SAL was put on the back burner this week as well because of working overtime and other evening commitments. I've elected to stay at home today instead of accompanying Bob into Ottawa so that I can get caught up again. I also need to get started on some of my Christmas card writing. We generally send out about 75-80 cards. Bob does the bulk of them since most of them are former choir members of his from past years. I just do my usual 25 of family and close friends. I'm just waiting for Bob's newsletter to be finished so that I can include it in my writings.

I don't usually start my Christmas decorating until about the 15th of the month but there are some things I bring out a little earlier. One is my snowmen which stay up for the whole winter and the other is my collection of cookie stamps. I got started with the cookie stamps about 10 yrs ago when I received my first one as a gift. I then discovered that the little gift shop near my sister's home in Livonia, MI carried the stamps as well and often had them on sale. So I added a few more. Over the next couple of years I managed to accumulate around 5-10 stamps in the collection. Each stamp resembles a bell (at least the handle does) and is intricately carved. When you turn the stamps over, you find an imprint carved into the stamp which is to be used to decorate cookies with.
After a couple years of collecting these, the company which produces them decided to discontinue them and go with cookie tiles instead. Since then I've managed to add to my collection courtesy of eBay. There are still lots of the stamps out there. I now have 41 in my collection. I think there are about 100 in the total collection produced. There is a fairy tale series with Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks,etc. as well as the Beatrix Potter collection with Peter Rabbit. There also exists a series of Winnie the Pooh of which I have one and a Circus animal series. I've collected several which reflect the different seasons of which my Christmas collection is the largest. When my DH first saw these he wondered if I actually used them. Yes, I have. More so when the boys were at home and I regularily baked cookies. Now I tend to use them mainly during my Christmas baking to decorate my shortbread.

Now I'm off to write some cards and then put in some quality time on CdC. I'm hoping to make up for my lost evening on Tuesday. I'll post an update on this next entry. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Brrrrrr! It's cold!

I woke up this morning to find a significant change in temperature here. According to the weatherman it's -19 degrees C with a windchill of -25. For those of you who live in the US, that's -3 degrees F with a windchill of -13 F!! All I know is that it's cold! Every year it always shocks me the first time the temperature dips below zero. Eventually I get accustomed to it (maybe not!!) and just keep adding all the extra layers of clothes, scarves, etc. Which reminds me, I guess I better go looking for those sweaters I brought up from storage!
Last night was my staff Christmas party. It's been 5 yrs since I've been able to go. They always have it on a Friday night and for the last 5 yrs, Bob's choir has had a concert on the same date. This year however, the choir changed their concert from a Friday night to a Sunday afternoon so that freed things up for us to go. It was a nice evening, good meal and great music ( in my opinion, since Bob's a fan of classical!) but we didn't stay too late because the roads were icy and we both have a full weekend ahead of us. It had been windy all day which was causing some of the snow to drift from the fields across the road. Combine that with the temperatures dropping and the roads suddenly get like glass. It took us about an hour and a bit to get home where it usually takes about 40 min.

This morning I was looking forward to sleeping in a little but was wide awake by 7. I've got some Christmas shopping I want to get done this morning and then it's off to Ottawa with Bob for a choir rehearsal for Sunday's concert. I also hope to sneak in a visit with my youngest son while Bob heads off to play a Saturday night mass. If I'm not too tired tonight when we return I'd like to finish off the Baby Spots cube. I got started on it last week but didn't have quite enough material to wrap around the cube to finish it off. I picked up more material this week along with some ribbon so I'd really like to get to that if possible. Sunday will be a washout for stitching too since we have our church service in Ottawa in the morning followed by the concert in the afternoon and a reception immediately after it. Next weekend is just a repeat of this one only with a different choir! Being married to a church musician and singing with him means that the whole month of December is pretty much tied up this way. If we're not performing in a concert then we're attending one since the music community supports each other. I love it since there's nothing I love more than Christmas music!

I did get some more stitching done on my CdC though. I've chosen to stitch this one on Tuesday evenings. Recently they put me on the early shift at work which means I'm home now by 4:00pm. Since my DH stays overnight in Ottawa each Tuesday, I don't have to prepare a meal and can devote about 6 hrs of stitching on my CdC. Here's a pic of my progress so far. It won't be long before I'm finished my first page and on to the next!

I've been catching up on my blog reading and admiring all the lovely decorating that so many of you are doing to prepare your homes for the Christmas season. It's really beautiful and I don't know where you all find the time to do it! Usually I don't get started on my decorating until around the 15th which is my son Daniel's birthday. I always tried to have most things done by then. We don't put up our tree though until around the last week before Christmas since we always get a real one and it stays up until Epiphany just after New Year. Our outdoor Christmas lights go on this Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent. I managed to get them put out during that week in November that I was off work. The weather was fairly mild then and no snow.

The mailman brought me a couple of parcels I've been waiting for this week. Inside were some new charts which I've patiently been waiting for. Two of the charts are LHN - Snowflake and Acorn Hill. As well I received Mirabilia's Donner and Just Nan's Scream Girls. I'd love to start Snowflake in the very near future. I'm currently working on a Christmas ornament by Lynn's Prints of which I'll have a picture for my next post.

Thanks to all of you for sharing in the joy of our granddaughter's blessed news. Stitchers truly are a caring community! Have a super weekend!!
( I can't believe it but I'm only able to post this now at 11:00pm since my internet's been down all day!)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

It's here!

Snow, that is! This is the view that greeted me this morning as I stepped outside. This is actually a picture of my neighbour's home across the street. I know that by the weekend it's supposed to warm up enough that most of this will melt but I really hate to see it starting so early. It's pretty of course and does brighten up all those browns in the landscape now but I just dread the driving to and from work in all this. It seems the older I get the more nervous I am about driving. I never thought I'd hear myself say that!! I love driving but it's some of the idiots out there on the road that I'm worried about. They never seem to slow down enough in this weather. I actually headed out to work this morning but the plows had not been out around us yet. It was more of a thick slush on the roads since the snow is so wet and it just kept dragging me towards the shoulder of the road. That wasn't bad but I had two close calls with other motorists sliding towards me. At that point I turned around, called in to work and took a snow day. I haven't done this more than 3 or 4 times in my 16yrs of commuting so they can't complain. Driving in snow is one thing, snow/slush is another!

With the weather making it a perfect day for stitching I finished off Baby Spots. I ended up frogging out the stork and redoing it in a white rather than the whitewash called for. I pleased with the results. I think it pops out better. Thanks to Rebecca, I've got back my bookmark to Focus on Finishing and have found a tutorial for making a cube. This is how I've decided I'll finish this piece. I've got some fabric that I think will work and now I just have to head out for Michaels for some ribbon. The plows have been out now and the roads are not nearly as bad although we are expecting more snow over the course of the day and evening. We have to head into Ottawa for choir practice this evening so we've decided to leave a little earlier so I can get my supplies. Bob has said he'll drive, whew!! We're also going to check out Ikea to see if we can find some storage solutions for all of my supplies as well as a table of some sort to put in my craft room for finishing projects. Yeah, we're actually going to make it my room!!

Last night was week 4 of my CdC SAL. I've finally caught up to the group and I'm able to stitch along with them now. Normally I'll be stitching this on Tuesdays but this week I had to attend a wake that night so it was Wednesday instead. In answer to Suzanne's questions, the thread I'm using is a Vicky Clayton premium silk and the colour is Dragon Hoard. Yes, I'm crossing each x individually in order to get that variegation. I'm really pleased with the results so far. Thank you all for you positive comments. I enjoy hearing from each and every one of you!
Now it's off to Ottawa for my supplies!
PS : I almost forgot - Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends. Hope you have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Some fantastic news!

Most of you do not know that when my youngest granddaughter Summer was born last year it was found that she had several holes in her heart. They told us that a couple of them were quite small and would close over on their own but one hole was fairly large and it was felt that she would probably need surgery to repair it. She has been on heart medication since birth and has been monitored closely by doctors in Montreal at the children's hospital. My son Jeff just called to report that following this week's checkup in Montreal the hole has healed on its own and she will no longer require surgery. The doctors were a little suprised themselves since they really thought that surgery would be required for this one. We are all thrilled!! Although this is really quite common in newborns ( more than I realized!), it is still worriesome and you hate to see a young child go through a surgical procedure such as this. She does have a slight case of asthma at this time but could outgrow it at some point. They no longer have to make the frequent visits into Montreal and can be followed now by their own local doctors. We can now take her name off of the prayer list and thank God for our many blessings. What a lovely first birthday present!! She will be a year on the 27th.
Since that phone call I have been too excited to sit still and stitch! I was rather restless anyways tonight and can't seem to stay on any one task for any length of time. Perhaps I'm overtired. We were out last night in Ottawa for a performance of Handel's Messiah and only returned home at midnight. Then it was up at 5 for work! When I booked the tickets originally I wasn't supposed to be working today. Then they changed our schedule on us. I wasn't about to give up the tickets though. We were in the first row with the soloists right in front of us and this was a special treat for my middle son Dan. He is gaining an appreciation for classical and choral music thanks to my DH's influence. He had expressed an interest in seeing a performance of this at some time and was very excited to hear that our friend Stephen was going to be conducting it this fall. I got just as much pleasure out of watching his reaction as I did listening to the music. It was a great evening.

I'm just about finished working on Baby Spots. I decided to restitch the stork in white and have just finished frogging out the original stitching. It won't take long to restitch it and all that is left after that is to attach the diaper pin charm and do the finishing. I'd love to finish it as a cube if possible. Does anyone know of a tutorial out there for this?

I'm finally caught up with the others in my Snowbird's SAL. I'll be able to stitch alongside them on week 4 this Wednesday. This is the night that most of the group is doing their stitching on. Most of the time I will be stitching on Tuesday nights since it's better for me however I have to attend a wake this Tuesday night. One of my coworker's mother died this weekend.

I've posted a pic of my progress up until now on this CdC SAL. I apologize for the lousy colours in the photo. I just didn't have good light when I took it and was too tired to have another go at it. It's so much fun watching everyone's progress on this one as well as the progress of those stitching Pardigm Lost. They are two lovely pieces and a real delight to stitch!
Well I'm off to bed now. Things are catching up with me now and I'm making far too many errors as I type this!

Monday, 12 November 2007

A new start and a visit to Drummondville

Thank you all for your comments regarding my Baby Spots piece. I'm not sure yet whether I'll backstitch or not. I think not but I'm waiting until I'm finished the whole thing before I decide. Speaking of which I better get a move on it. I just got a phone call this morning that the girl who it's intended for as a gift has just gone into labour early. Her due date was Nov. 25 and I knew they had decided to do a C/S on Nov 21st but I guess the little one has decided to jump the gun!! (as I'm writing this I got the call that the baby arrived this morning! Now I really have to move)

Thank you also for your kind comments on my framed pieces. Judy had asked me about Michael's and if I thought they were good for framing. I haven't had any problems with them. They have a large selection of frames and the finishing has always been very nice. Mind you I generally use them for my smalls and take my large pieces to my LNS. I like using them whenever they have a big sale on their framing. My DH reminded me that I did take one of my larger pieces to them that I had done for my Mom and they did a lovely job. I've posted a picture Judy to show you.
Last week was absolutely horrendous at work. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I was off for a week starting on the Saturday. So consequently I didn't get much stitching in. I was just too tired in the evening. Saturday morning I took my son Dan and we headed off to Drummondville to visit my eldest and his family. The baby will turn a year old on the 27th and I'm not able to go up at that time so I took all her birthday gifts up with me. My DH always works weekends so he can never go up with us unless he's on holiday. It was a long drive there due construction but it was worth it. We had a lovely visit with them!

The girls are getting so big! The oldest, Oceanne, is talking up a storm now and it's a mix of French and English but heavy on the French of course. The baby, Summer, is pulling herself up on everything now and it doesn't look like it will be long before she is walking. Then the fun starts!! I took my role of grandmother seriously and spoiled them rotten while I was there.

Since I had lots of presents for the baby I didn't want Oceanne to be left out so I brought her a little toy telephone which rings and plays tunes. For Summer we'd found the cutest rocking horse. Only it's a cat not a horse! It sits low to the ground and is made for ages 9 mos to 3 yrs so both girls will get some use out of it. It plays Beethoven music as they rock and when you squeeze the ears it meows!! Both girls spent the afternoon playing . They missed their naps but were good as gold. I decided to give Jeff and Mimi a break at supper and prepared a stir fry for all of us. After that it was time for the return trip home. I'm hoping to be able to pick them all up at New Year's to spend a few days with us then since I have to work Christmas.

Sunday was the start of a new piece for me. As I've mentioned before I've joined the Snowbird's SAL and I'm stitching Cirques des Cercles. My fabric arrived at the end of the week and I was really disappointed in the colour. It wasn't quite the colour green I'd been expecting. So I took another look through my stash and found a beautiful Silkweaver Solo that I thought would work. My floss is a Vicky Clayton silk called Dragon Hoard and it's really lovely. I like the way it's shaping up on the fabric. CdC is so much fun to stitch that I think I'm going to have a hard time putting it down. Most of the group is stitching on Wednesdays but I think it will be Tuesday for me. Bob works up in Ottawa on Tuesday nights and I can usually get a lot more stitching accomplished when I'm by myself. I'm playing catch up right now since the rest of the group started two weeks ago.

Tomorrow is a cleanup day around here for me. I'm going to try to get all my summer clothes packed away and sort out the winter things.
Then I have to sort and put away my stash which is lying all over the place in my bedroom. It's beginning to take over the room! Hope you're all having a good week and get lots of stitches in!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

To backstitch or not to backstitch?

Since I had Thursday and Friday off work I was able to make some significant progress on Baby Spots. Now I'm wondering if the floss called for on the stork stands out enough on the fabric I've chosen. I really didn't think the fabric colour I've been using differed all the much from the chart. I'm using a potato lugana instead of lambswool linen. The DMC floss choice for the stork just doesn't seem to make him stand out enough on this fabric. In the picture it actually looks a bit better than the real thing. So.... do I backstitch the stork or not and if so, what colour should I use for Bs? Or... do I frog out the stork and restitch him in white? Any and all comments are welcome. Personally I think I should restitch it. I'm hoping that when this piece is done I can try finishing it off as a cube.

My fabric for my Cdc SAL has finally been shipped. I'd ordered it on the first of October but I suspected it might take a little longer because I'd chosen a Kiwi Illusions fabric which generally takes 2-3 wks to arrive at the ONS. Sure enough they emailed me to say the fabric had arrived and was shipped on Wednesday. The SAL started on Nov. 1st ( although a few jumped the gun!) so I'm hoping I don't end up too far behind. If you check out the Snowbird's SAL you can see the group's progress.

I spent most of the week cleaning up my gardens and planting some tulip bulbs. With any luck the squirrels won't get them this year. Last year I didn't have as many come up as I thought I'd planted. I remember my Mom planting bulbs in the garden only to find them coming up in her yard or even in some of her planters when spring arrived thanks to said squirrels!
Now the only thing I have left which I really want to get done is to pack away my summer clothes and bring up the winter ones. Ugh! Depressing isn't it?
My DH recently took in one of my pieces to be framed as a wedding gift. One of the gentleman in Bob's choir recently turned 87 and surprised us by announcing he was getting married today. His wife died about 7 yrs ago and 5 yrs ago he became good friends with one of the ladies attending his church. They have been constant companions since but most of us thought that they were just that.. companions. Particularily since there is a 20yr age difference! Guess they fooled us!! We only found out about the wedding 2 wks ago so I pulled out one of my pieces waiting to be finished and gave it to my DH to take in and have framed. It's by Dinky Dyes and is called Cottage Garden. I wasn't able to get it there in time otherwise so I let Bob decide on the frame. After all the gift is from both of us, right? Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the wedding either because I had to work.
As well I've posted pictures of the other two pieces I recently had framed during one of Michael's half price sales. I'm really pleased with the Brittercup Best Buddies.

Hope you all remember to put your clocks back an hour tonight! Gotta love it, an extra hour of sleep!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!

It's perfect Halloween weather here, no rain, mild and a slight breeze. We're up to 87 spooky visitors so far but things are slowing down now and I don't expect too many more. That's down in numbers. Last year I had about 110 kids at my door and I really expected the same this year especially with such good weather. A few of the neighbours around me are retired and no longer opening their doors so perhaps that keeps the kids from this end of the block. After all, we always knew which were the best neighbourhoods to hit! My DS tells me another carload just landed in so we're up to 94 now.
Over the years Halloween was a big thing around our house. We always decorated inside and out and quite often my boys' father would answer the door in costume. I find now that my boys are all gone I don't feel much like decorating . Perhaps if my granddaughters lived closer I would. However I still like to carve my special pumpkins. That's what my boys always called them. Here's a sampling of this year's jack-0-lanterns.

The mailman brought me a special gift this week. At the end of the summer I entered a contest on Vonna's blog. She was celebrating her blogger anniversary and had a draw of which I was lucky enough to be one of the winners. She would make a special little something for each of us. On Tuesday my special gift arrived!! I just love it Vonna! I know I saw pics of it on your blog but they didn't do it justice. It is just the sweetest pinkeep!! Vonna knew that autumn was my favourite season and with this in mind she stitched up a pinkeep on that theme by Prairie Schooler. It's my very first pinkeep and has a place of honour on the dry sink in my living room. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

I've had another new start. A co-worker's daughter is expecting her first child at the end of November. Erin and my oldest son are the same age and often played together when young. I decided that I would do the Trilogy's Baby Spots as a gift for the baby's arrival. Although she already knows that the baby is to be a girl and has chosen a name, I've decided not to take any chances(or jinx things!) and will stitch the name last along with the date of birth. As you can see from my progress pic I haven't got very far on this one yet. I'm off the next couple of days and hope to put some stitches in on it then.

My Snowbirds' SAL has chosen tomorrow as it's date to start but I'm going to be a little delayed. Although I ordered my fabric on Oct. 1st, it has only just come in and was shipped out today. Let's hope Canada Post is good to me and there are no delays in my receiving it. Otherwise I'll just have to spend a couple of days stitching on it to catch up. There are two groups participating in this SAL. One group has chosen LD Paradigm Lost to stitch and the remainder of us has chosen IC Cirques des Cercles. I'm doing the latter. I've chosen a Kiwi Illusions fabric in a soft green (Apple mint) along with some Vicky Clayton overdyed threads called Dragon Hoard. If you check out our blog you'll see some of the lovely threads and fabrics chosen. I'm anxious to get started so I hope that fabric flies here!!

Well, Halloween is over for another year. The doorbell hasn't rung for 30 minutes now.
The final tally - 110! It seems we've equalled our previous numbers after all!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

My first flatfold

After returning to a very hectic work week I was very happy when this weekend arrived, knowing I'd be heading to another SAL. This time the hostess was Dani and the group is our Yahoo Southeastern Ontario stitchers' group. The SAL was slated to start on Friday evening with a sleepover followed by another full day of stitching and a flatfold tutorial. Some of the group were also staying over Saturday night. However I was sooo wiped out at the end of the week that I chose to sleep in on Saturday morning and join the group midday. Besides, Bob was playing an organ recital on the Friday night which I felt I should attend. It turned out to be a very interesting evening with several organists playing music for the macabre to celebrate Halloween! Following a very restful sleep I headed off to Dani's place in the morning and landed in just before noon.
It was the perfect day to stay put and stitch. The rain came down for most of the day but we were comfy cozy inside with stitching, movies, good company and all sorts of munchies.
The group consisted of Rebecca, Chrisanne, Christin, Dani and myself. This was my first time meeting Christin who is a very good stitcher and made me jealous with pictures of her stash closet in her apartment! Talk about stash, Dani then proceeded to show off her stash room!!
Imagine a room with binders full of charts, drawers full of beads and fabric as well as a wide selection of threads. On top of this she has a table and room to do her finishing. I wasn't thinking or I would have taken a picture for you. Thanks ladies! I mentioned these lovely stashes to Bob and he's considering re-doing our extra bedroom as a craft room for me !!

I managed to take a few pictures of the group although Christin was camera shy so I'll have to get her next time. In the left picture we see Rebecca and Chrisanne who are sharing an Ottlite because some of us forgot ours! Thanks Becky for bailing me out. On the right Dani is at work on her RR.

Christin was busy with TW The Castle. Check out her blog for pictures. She's chosen a really lovely piece of fabric. Chrisanne has a number of ornaments to complete (14 if my memory is correct) and tried her best to involve us but there were no takers! Rebecca was working on Xs and Ohs Children of Quilters which is to be a gift for her grandmother. I have a new start, PS Pumpkin Patch.

In the afternoon, Dani took the time to show both myself and Rebecca how to finish one of our pieces as a flatfold. She had emailed us earlier in the week with a supply list we needed so we were all set to learn. After cutting our mat boards she showed us how to lace our pieces rather than pinning them so that we'd be familiar with this method. I chose to do my HM Blood Donors and Rebecca had Lizzie Kate's Fall Y'all. After a couple of hours (and a little cursing!) I had a finish. It's not perfect by any means but I did it!! I'm planning on asking for some of Judy O'Dell's finishing books in the future as gift ideas.
Thanks Dani for all your help. Now that I've seen it done once I think I could manage another on my own.

Following this Dani had a yummy lasagne supper for us complete with Caeser salad and garlic bread. Yours truly supplied a Skor creme pie for dessert and then it was back to more stitching. Don't you just love it! Rebecca took her leave around 8:30 to head back since she was hosting a birthday party for her oldest the next day. I left around 10:00 to join Bob in Ottawa which is only about a 20-25 min drive away. We thought it was just easier to stay there for the night rather than return home since we were both in the area and would only have to return again in the morning for our church service where Bob is organist (an hour's drive from our place). This saves us some commuting time as well as giving us an extra hour's sleep. At the church there is a room complete with couches, kitchenette and bathroom which we take advantage of at times particularily in bad weather. We just leave a couple of sleeping bags at the church. They don't mind having us there because it's extra security for them having someone onsite.
Now I'm home again and headed off to prepare my lunch for work tomorrow. I won't have much stitching time the next couple of nights because I'll be busy carving my pumpkins and roasting seeds. Hopefully the weather will cooperate on Wednesday for all the Trick-or-treaters. I just love Halloween!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Back to the real world!

As much as I wished the weekend would continue we all know that sooner or later reality sets in. So it was back to the grind this morning. After being spoiled with all the fine meals and snacks I found the hospital cafeteria food a little lacking!

Now I'm home I'm able to share some of my pictures of the weekend with you. The picture above is of the Gananoque Inn, a back view. The brick area at the bottom of the inn where you see the arches is where our stitching room was located. The area directly above that is the dining room. The outdoor patio wasn't in use at this time. The room I shared with Dani was in the main portion of the inn but several of the ladies had rooms in the area to the left where the flower beds are located. Some of these rooms have fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs.

Next you see me and Jeannette Douglas. She is just a super lady and I really enjoyed her class. In the picture I'm holding her newest piece we were stitching called Pomegranate and Pears. Below are Dani and another stitcher Caroline, checking out the project for the next day's class.

At the Saturday evening meal several of the ladies like to make the evening special and dress up. I didn't bring a dress but did have some dress pants and a fancier blouse with me. I thought Dani and I cleaned up well!

Next is a picture of some of the wonderful new friends I made over the weekend. Jeanne and Prima were also "newbies" and are looking forward to returning next year.

Sunday's lunch was a lot of fun with singing and door prizes. Some of the ladies at our table were teasing and saying how all the "newbies" win all the prizes. Right after that they called my name!
I won a lovely bath package including body silk and bath crystals

Dani's turn was next. If you've read her account of the weekend you know by now that Dani held the glass slipper in her goodie bag. I can't believe she managed to keep it a secret!! For being so quiet she won two beatiful oval picture frames.

Bob and I had a great finish to the weekend. He arrived at the inn on Sunday in time for sharing one of those great suppers with me. I figured I might not spend much time stitching after his arrival but not long after we finished our meal he asked if I wanted to go join my fellow stitchers for awhile (About half of the ladies were staying on the extra day until Monday). Turns out he wanted to watch the Boston/Cleveland baseball game! So I left him in the room while I joined the others for some more quality stitching time. Because of this I had a little happy dance later since I was able to finish Faith.

Monday we woke up to the perfect day. It was sunny and the temperature steadily climbed until it felt like August again. After another fantastic breakfast Bob headed off to explore the surroundings while I was booked for a full massage. This was the first time I've ever allowed myself this luxury and boy was it worth it! I could feel all the kinks working their way out. Although we'd had lots of room in which to stitch at the inn, the chairs just weren't as comfortable as my own stitching chair at home and consequently I'd ended up with a sore neck and lower back from being bent over my stitching all weekend. Apparently I wasn't the only one either. Several of the ladies had taken advantage of the inn's spa for the same purpose. After a relaxing hour being pampered I went in search of my DH only to find him booking a tour boat ride of the Thousand Islands. We had hoped to take the tour that Dani had taken a couple of weeks previously but it turned out that that was a 5 hr tour and it wasn't operating that day. Instead we booked a 1 hr cruise out of Ivy Lea. Ivy Lea is a little hamlet or village about a 15 min drive outside of Gananoque and it was on our way home. We had missed the morning tour boat out of Gananoque. So we joined the ladies for one last lunch at the inn, said our goodbyes and headed off.
It was the perfect afternoon for the tour . The last of the fall colours really added to the landscape. For those of you who are not familiar with the region, the Thousand Islands are a chain of islands which straddle the Canadian/US border on the St Lawrence River. They run for about 80km(50 mi) downstream from Kingston, On and are made up of more than 1800 islands. Some of the smallest of these only support a tree or shrubs whereas many others are populated by cottages. Here's an example of one of the smaller islands which supports a cottage.

Then of course there's Boldt Castle which resides on the US side of the river.

It was the perfect finish to a super weekend. Needless to say I've already pre-registered for next's years retreat!