Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Starting and Finishing

Finally I have a picture to share with you of my latest finish, Warm Winter Wishes. I'd forgotten that the pattern does call for the use of some snowflake buttons. They're not necessary but I think they'd add a nice touch. I do have those buttons somwhere in my stash, I just have to hunt them down. It's one of these times when I wish my craft room was organized and finished to make finding things easier. Right now all my supplies are scattered between three rooms.

In any case I've decided to try adding some of the buttons and I hope to have this finished in the frame called for. I've found a supplier who will make frames similar to those used by the designers at a much reduced cost. They're called Nice Frames, formerly Wood 'N Needle Crafts.

They have a large selection of designer frames which they make to resemble those used in the patterns.

Monday I got started on my new project which is The Wedding by My Big Toe Designs. I decided against going with the called for colours. After emailing my cousin, I learned that the bride was using teal green in her colour scheme. This is the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses and it was also used in the invitations. So on my way home from Ottawa on Sunday I made a pit stop at Michaels and picked up the floss. Here's my progress so far. I'm using an ivory 32ct Lugana for fabric.

I think that I will be working on this more often right now and my CdC is going to have to take a back seat. I want to be sure that I have this one finished in time for the wedding in May. It's sounds like I have plenty of time but things seems to conspire against me at times and prevent me from getting to my stitching. Take this week for example. I haven't returned to work yet because we've had two deaths here, our honorary assistant rector and friend as well as my ex-MIL.

The death of my ex-MIL has meant gathering up my boys and bringing them home for their grandmother's funeral. We picked up the youngest in Ottawa following the first funeral on Monday and drove him to his brother's in Cornwall where the oldest joined them after arriving from Drummondville. Their Grandma or Memere as they called her was just short of turning 95! Her husband had been 95 when he died 8 yrs ago. She was a lovely woman and my ex was her only child whom she had given birth to when she was 45 yrs old. I don't know about you ladies but I can't imagine starting with babies at that age. Wherever did she get the energy?

It's not too often now that I have all three of my boys home at the same time. We were lucky that it was reading week for the college so that Chris isn't missing any school and Jeff had not been back to work since Christmas. He makes roof trusses and the demand for these has been put on hold because of the large amounts of snow received this winter. Not much construction taking place right now. He returns to working on Monday. This made things much easier to get them home. I had a fun visit with them at Dan's place in Cornwall and managed to get a really good picture of the three of them. Following the funeral today they're going to spend an extra day visiting with their Dad and then we should have them all here for a visit on Friday before they return home.

Gotta scoot now and get ready. We've had another 10 cm or so of that white stuff overnight and I know that Cornwall got considerably more (20 cm or so). I want to take my time on the roads. Tonight I'll be back home with time to check in and see how all of you are doing this week.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

A cube finish


I was sorting through my digital pics on the computer last night and found a picture of one of my finishes that I had neglected to share with you. This is the Trilogy Baby Spots which I finished for the daughter of one of my co-workers. I had posted a pic of the finished stitching but not of the cube which is how I'd finished it. Now keep in mind that this is my first time at attempting anything like this on my own. I followed an online tutorial and it turned out pretty good except for one minor detail. When I wrapped the final strip of fabric around the cube I should have started at the bottom to hide the overlap. It wasn't until I'd already glued it in place that I realized my mistake. However the bow covers most of it and my co-worker was absolutely thrilled with it when she saw it. I wanted to deliver it to Mom and baby in person but they live out of town so I sent it off with the baby's Grandma instead.

I had a really difficult time finding something the right size since this was a little larger than the usual cube. Then, when I was cleaning up the storeroom at work, we discovered a bunch of styrofoam containers which were no longer being used. Guess who claimed them?!

I should have a Happy Dance later tonight. I've only got a few stitches left in WWW. I'd hoped to have it finished by now but this week has been crazy. I worked an overtime shift today and tomorrow we are hosting one of my hubby's choirs here for a potluck. I'm off Monday and Tuesday so with any luck I can do some catching up on Cirque des Cercles which has been sadly neglected lately.

I've got my fabric now for the piece I'm doing for my cousin's wedding. Just have to get all my floss. I'd like to get started at this one asap. Her wedding invitation arrived on Friday and I have until May to get this one finished. I have to give myself time to get it framed before the wedding date.
I just took another look at the floss requirements for this one and realized that the two colours called for in this pattern are ones I've just finished using for WWW. They're the two colours used in the snowman's coat. However in the accompanying picture of the pattern of The Wedding they look nothing like the actual floss colour. The darker colour which is used for the shading in the coat is pretty much the same but the lighter colour they show sure doesn't look like the colour used in that coat. I realize we're talking about variegated threads here but they sure don't look anything alike to me. Take a look at my last post at the colour of the snowman's coat and then follow the link of The Wedding to see what I'm talking about. Is it just me?
I might just pick some DMC floss which is similar and go with that. I don't think the variegation is really needed in this one anyways.

I'll leave you with some pictures I took of the lunar eclipse on Wednesday night. I wanted to see how my camera would perform. I wanted to take some pictures of the first stages of the eclipse but I soon realized I needed the tripod in order to minimize blur. Bob was out at a rehearsal and I didn't have a clue where the tripod was so I had to wait until he returned home just before the full eclipse before I could start shooting some photos.
They don't look too bad but I'm sure if I've have them developed we'll see that they're not all that clear. I wanted to take more but it was getting late and it was absolutely freezing outside. Geez, you'd think they could have picked a warmer night than this one!
My son Dan has a telescope at his place and said it was pretty awesome seeing it that way.

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend. I'll check in later this week with a picture of Warm Winter Wishes.

Monday, 18 February 2008


Okay so I've been tagged by Chrisanne.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged

I'm not very good about doing these but here goes:

1. I love organ and choral music. I listen to lots of other types of music but you must admit that there are probably very few people out there who like this type! I could blame the organ music on my DH (an organist) but I've loved choral music long before we got together and sing in choirs.

2. I'm a shopaholic. This one I'm definitely blaming on my Mom!

3. I love olives and lately I've been putting sliced olives on everything - salads, chili, in sanwiches... well you get the idea.

4. I'm a huge cat lover and can't imagine living without one! I even had a fur-covered stuffed cat that I carried around everywhere with me as a child.

5. I pull my hair...a kind of obsessive thing but then a lot of stitchers I know are obsessive, at least about their stash!

6.I don't watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read or stitch. If the TV is on, it's often just for background noise.

7. I'm really not very coordinated and have very poor balance. My hubby teases that some of his entertainment comes from watching me try to stand on one leg and put on my shoes or socks.

Now it's my turn to tag! I'm tagging Wendy, Sue, Judy, Suzanne, Cheryl, Vonna, and Pam.

I've had a really stressful week at work and when I return on Wednesday it looks like more of the same. It seems there are two separate illnesses making the rounds of staff - colds and the stomach flu. Consequently we are even more short staffed and it's putting a strain on everyone. This past weekend they even quarantined one of the wards in the hospital because of the outbreak. I normally work with one other person plus my supervisor in Chemistry but on Friday I worked alone. Between work and commuting in some lousy weather I just haven't felt much like stitching when I've returned home. I didn't even touch CdC this week! I was so looking forward to it but ended up doing some frogging after two attempts and decided to hold off on it until next week.

I have managed to get some stitches in on Warm Winter Wishes. I just have the rest of the lettering to complete as well as a few of the snowflakes and then it's happy dance time. One thing I noticed about this fabric is that there are a couple of folds which I haven't been able to iron out. They were present on the fabric from the time I bought it. I've ironed it with steam and the creases remain. Any ideas on how to rid myself of them?

Valentine's Day my DH hoped to ease some of my stress by taking me for a delightful dinner. We celebrated at a local spot called The Village Antiques & Tea Room. I always want to call it the Williamsburg Tea Room since it's located in the village of Williamsburg, ON. Besides being a restaurant it is also a B&B and an antiques shop. The restaurant is filled with antiques and is very small and intimate. I think there are only 6 or 7 tables all told. We had a lovely dinner of Chateaubriand. My hubby had never had this and I convinced him to try it. It was the right decision since it was delicious. We topped things off with warm apple crumble. Yummy! After our meal we wandered through the shop checking out things. Bob spied some liquer glasses that were produced in the 1920's by a company called Farber Bros. They're chrome plated and rather unique. So I purchased them for him for his Valentine gift! They only had 2 left but I've since found some on ebay and hope to complete the set for him.

I heard back from my cousin and we both agree that we think her daughter would prefer My Big Toe Designs The Wedding as a gift for her upcoming wedding. I received the chart today and when I go into Ottawa tomorrow I'll look for some fabric and floss. The chart calls for 34ct linen but I've only ever stitched on no higher than a 32 ct. Plus I think it will be difficult to find a 34ct around here. I'm also starting to check out my stash for other new projects. It won't be long before WWW and my Angel Stitchin ornament are done and I'll need some replacements. Then I think that maybe it's time to pick up Mirabilia's Easter Fairy again. We'll see!
As you can see from the photo below, Finnigan is quite comfy as I blog. He's settled himself into the closet here in the downstairs bedroom which also serves as an office. Of course he managed to find my favourite throw to lie on. I've been looking everywhere for it and didn't realized that my son had thrown it into this box when he last visited us. Finnigan however has found it for me. I guess that I'll be brushing fur off of it before I'm able to use it again.

I've had a few new visitors to my blog lately and want to tell you how much I enjoy your comments. I love meeting new people and when you comment it also gives me the chance to visit your blog and see what you've been up to. So many of the designers that I love I would never have known about had it not been for all of you out there. So thanks, and drop by anytime!

Monday, 11 February 2008

The sun makes an appearance!

Yes, it's true. The sun is still out there! It's been so long since we've seen it around here we were beginning to wonder. I'm off today and so have been enjoying the sunny day but don't let it fool you. The temperature has been extremely cold and there's a bitter wind out there as well. Today's temp is -16C which is 0 degrees F.

I finally had a finish on Sunday. USA Tree is now complete. I had a bit of trouble when I started in on the second half of this. It's supposed to be a mirror image and things didn't seem to be working out. I counted and recounted thinking the problem was mine but it turns out that it was a problem with the pattern. I had downloaded this pattern from PatternsOnline and upon closer examination I discovered some errors in the pattern. Hence all my trouble. So I made a few minor adjustments to the left side of the tree which I'm hoping are not noticeable. I think it looks pretty good. I've decided to finish off this piece as a flatfold. I haven't got any fabric right now which is appropriate so I'll put off finishing this until the fall when the Christmas fabrics are released again. I'll be giving this one to my sister as a gift next Christmas. Today I'm alternating between Warm Winter Wishes and my Christmas Joy ornament. When I get tired of stitching on one I pick up the other.

The mail today has brought me more stash! Some of this I have been waiting since December for! Hazard a guess as to which online supplier is the culprit? I think a number of you know who I'm referring to since you've also had some recent problems. This particular ONS has great prices but never seems to have anything in stock. I've decided to deal with them again only when I'm not in a hurry for anything.
The stash that arrived included Stitchy Kitty's Snowman Trio, LK's 2007 Special Edition Christmas Kit- Ho,ho,ho and a lovely little ornament from Stone & Thread called Snowflake Mitten. This one is so cute . I can hardly wait to start it! I think this will be the next ornament I start on. Just gotta find some fabric. I'd also ordered some Mill Hill snowflake treasures for the HS Cat in Snowman's Clothing. I've yet to find some fabric for this one. You'll recall that when I started it recently I discovered a fault in the linen which was definitely going to show up in the piece. On my next visit (next Tuesday) to my LNS I'm going to check their waste fabrics. These are smaller pieces from the ends of the bolts or pieces which customers have had cut and then returned. They package them up and offer them for sale. They're great for use as ornament cuts. The other new chart shown is one I won on ebay. It's by A needle and Fred and is called I Love My Carbs! It comes with the floss required which is mostly GAST and a couple of Crescent Colours.
This little piece speaks to my heart.
There's nothing I love more than my bread! Since last week I've definitely been trying to curb my carb intake. It helps that I've given up all the bad ones (cookies, cake, chips, etc) as my Lenten commitment. This seems to be the only time I can actually stick to things. Once I've passed the first month or so without them it seems much easier to bypass the breads, potatoes, and pasta. I'm not a big fan of drinking water either so I'm making a concerted effort to drink more which will help flush the little nastys( can't check the spelling, Blogger spell check isn't working) from my system. Wish me luck! I've booked a trip to Ft Myers for the end of next month so I'm hoping to have shed a few pounds by then.

Tomorrow is CdC night for me. Can't wait! In the meantime I'm looking for another start. It occurred to me that I have a family wedding coming up for which I might have the time to stitch something. I've got 2 choices available which are small enough that I could have them finished in time. They're The Trilogy's Wedding Spots or one by Big Toe Designs called The Wedding. I'm rather partial to the latter although I don't think I'd use the required colours. If you're reading this Sheryl - what do you think? Which would Stephanie prefer? Sheryl is my cousin and is the mother of the bride-to-be. I'm open to other opinions as well and if you have any other suggestions, let me know.

I'll leave you now with some pictures I took this weekend after waking up to find hoary frost on everything. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about and think the whole thing sounds a little perverted, I'll explain. Hoary refers to anything resembling gray or white hair or down. This type of frost results generally when there has been fog overnight which freezes on everything. It turns even the simplest dull twigs into things of beauty. I took a little drive around the neighbouring roads to take a few shots before the temperature rose and melted it off .

Friday, 8 February 2008

Watching the deer

On Monday when we were driving to my son's place to return his cat to him, my hubby and I decided to take a little side trip. The weather was good and it was late afternoon when we paid a visit to the Upper Canada migratory bird sanctuary near our home. This is a favourite spot for walks in the spring and fall but is also very popular in the winter for another reason. Besides being a great spot for crosscountry skiing it is the home of a large deer population. I'm not sure how long this has been going on but people come and feed the deer here - right beside the Do Not Feed the Wildlife sign! I have been known to bring apples and carrots along but mostly I just love to watch them. Just when you think there aren't any around you look in the rearview mirror and suddenly spot a group of them. It seems they know the sound of the cars and what they bring! Most will venture fairly close. I had brought our new camera with me in the hopes of
getting some good photos. All this time we had the cat with us in the car. I was sitting in the back seat with Tugger and lowered the car window for a better view. You should have seen him when he spied the deer! I captured a pic of him at the car window. He never made a sound but he watched their every move. When one of the deer spotted the cat, she sniffed the air and hightailed it back into the woods. I counted 20 deer around us on this particular visit. If you want to see the other pictures I snapped, follow the link to my Webshots album.

Shrove Tuesday left me no time for stitching. I flipped pancakes at the church supper. The choir sponsors this fundraiser every year and combines it with a silent auction. We're a small parish and served meals to only about 65 people but we managed to make $400 on the supper and another $700 on the auction. All the items for the auction are donated by parishioners and the community. My DH offers a boat ride as one of the items. Bidding is always fierce and this year some close friends were the victors.
I was gone most of the day and evening so consequently there was no time for my CdC SAL. I made up for it the next day though and devoted a few hours to it in between housework.
I wish I could spend all my time on this piece. I find it's very therapeutic.

Thursday marked a return to work and another nerve wracking drive in a snowfall. We were only forecast to catch the tail end of this storm and weren't expecting a large amount. However Mother Nature had other ideas and we ended up with a lot more snow than expected in our area. My first indication of how bad it was occured just a short piece up the sideroad where there was a snowplow in the ditch and two others trying to pull him out. The road was blocked so I had to turn around and take an alternate route. Then when I hit the main highway 401, I found only a single track in the center had been plowed and blowing snow was already filling it in. I thought I'd given myself plenty of travel time but this slowdown and the detour cost me and I was late for work. When I arrived everyone was so surprised to see that I'd made it! Guess I should have just parked myself at home in the drive. Next time I will!

Over the past week or so I've pulled my USA tree out of hiding and been putting some stitches into it as well as WWW. Both are coming along slowly but surely. As you can see, the USA tree is now complete on the one side and the initials are in place.
This weekend promises to be another busy one so tonight I'm staying put by the fire, stitching in hand. Happy stitching everyone!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Winterlude 2008

This past weekend marks the beginning of Winterlude in Ottawa. Winterlude takes place the first three weeks in February and involves a celebration of winter. There are ice carving competitions, snow sculpting, the world's largest children's snowplayground and bed races and skating on the Rideau Canal, the world's largest skating rink. The Canal is 7.8 km long and makes an awesome skateway. Unfortunately Mother Nature is not cooperating much this year and the full length of the canal is not open for skating because the ice is not thick enough. We just haven't had enough cold temperatures. You need several days of cold temps in a row and this year the temperatures have been up and down. For example this past Friday we had a snowstorm with about a foot of snow and now the weathermen are calling for rain tomorrow and Wednesday! That may put a damper on some of the activities!
Sunday afternoon was fairly mild so we took advantage of the weather and headed off to Confederation Park in Ottawa to view some of the ice sculptures. I always marvel at how they manage to do these. The sculptures are particularily nice to see at night when they are lit up with coloured lights. I've posted a few pics of some of the better ones. I was a little disappointed. Although they're lovely, we found they weren't as spectacular as some of the pieces in the previous years. The snow sculpting is supposed to start on Tuesday but with the forecasted rain it may have to be postponed until later in the week. They're supposed to be on display in Jacques Cartier Park on the Quebec side of the river next weekend so we're planning on paying a visit there Saturday or Sunday. I've taken a few other pictures of the canal and surroundings which I'll post in the next few days or so.

Of course no visit to Winterlude would be complete without trying a BeaverTail. Sounds strange you say? But I can assure you it's one of the most scrumptious treats! It's actually a hot pastry which is shaped like a beaver's tail and is covered with sugar and cinnamon. Mmmm, Mmmm! We had ours along with some hot apple cider. Warms you up great because after all the tootsies start to get a little frosty after walking around all afternoon in the snow.

In keeping with the winter theme I spent the rest of the afternoon stitching on Warm Winter Wishes. I was only able to work on it for a short time because we had a piano concert to attend in the evening. We passed the afternoon at the church where I sat and stitched while my DH did some practising and had a nap. Friends of ours had given us a gift certificate at Christmas for a quaint Italian restaurant in Little Italy. This area of Ottawa is just a few blocks away from the church so we decided to use our certificate and try it out. It was quite nice and I'll think we'll try this one again sometime. We had the place to ourselves because it was Super Bowl Sunday and everyone was either at the bars or at home hosting parties and watching the game. We would have loved to do the same however hosting the concert is part of my hubby's job and I wasn't about to drive home and then come back for him. We'd come into town in one car. I supposed we could have come in two cars but we spend so much time commuting and there's also the gas cost to factor in.
I'm hoping to spend some more time stitching tonight. Right now we're heading into Cornwall to return Tugger home to my DS's apartment. He's been gone a week and has been missed very much!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Feeling better

I can't believe how much time has past since my last post! Thank you all for your concern regarding my recent health issues. I have been making a concerted effort to get more rest but it definitely is cutting into my stitching time! I don't have the option of quitting work at this time so I have to tailor things in an effort to slow down the pace. My doctor talked about taking a stress leave which I didn't really want to do. My employer hounds anyone who takes sick time which is a stress factor in itself. However I had a Godsend this week which will definitely help. In 2004, the hospital in which I work combined with the other hospital in town to become a new community hospital. Both hospitals used different payroll systems and vacation accrual. In the past we had to have worked a full year before vacation was earned whereas the other hospital earned their vacation on a daily basis. Consequently we were behind by one year. In an effort to equalize the system, our employees were given an extra year's worth of holidays which amounted to 6 weeks for me. Well over time I have used only about a week's worth of those extra holidays but we have been told that we have to have them all used up by September of this year. I still have 5 weeks left in my bank in addition to the 7 weeks which I now earn. That means I have a heck of a lot of vacation time to use up this year! Wahooo!! I'm booking off a few days every few weeks as well as taking off a number of afternoons. This should really help. I started by taking off today since we had another winter storm scheduled as well as 3 days next week.

Thank you Dani for nominating me for the You Make Me Smile Award! The rules are to pass it on to 10 people whose blogs bring me happiness and inspiration and make me smile. I can't pick any favourites anymore. I love reading the blogs of all my stitching friends. You all make me smile and bring me loads of happiness and inspiration. I haven't met a better group of ladies yet! So consider yourselves awarded, one and all, and know how much I enjoy you.

As I sit here writing this we are in the midst of another winter storm. It started this morning and continued to snow until mid afternoon . It looks like we got about another 6-8 inches. Since then we have received some freezing rain on top of things. My DH just went out to do some shovelling and says that now the snow has returned. It can't seem to make up its mind what it wants to do out there! I received some stash in the mail today that is very appropriate. It's one of the new Waxing Moons designs, Let It Snow. I also received two of the mitten ornaments by JBW- A Nordic Mitten and French Country Mitten.

I recently joined the Christmas Ornament SAL. On the fourth weekend of every month they have a virtual SAL. As luck would have it I happened to be working for January's weekend. However it was a fairly quiet weekend and I did make quite a bit of progress on my ornament. I started one from the JCS 2003 ornament issue, called Christmas Joy by Angel Stitchin. It's got a cute little bird sitting on the end of a snowman's nose. I'm continuing to work on this one as well as Warm Winter Wishes over this weekend. Both are great travelling pieces which I can take to work with me.

I also spent some time over the past two weeks on my CdC SAL. The first week I'd completed about an hours worth of stitching when I discovered that I was off by one stitch. So I spent the rest of the evening with the frogs and re-stitching the area. This week I was able to make a little more progress. I love working with the silk threads on this one. In answer to Laura's question, the threads I'm using are silks by Vikki Clayton in the colour Dragon Hoard. They're so much fun to stitch with.

My son's cat Tugger is visiting with us at the moment. It appears he has the same problems as Finnigan. My DS called me at work last Saturday to say that the cat wasn't eating or using the litter box and did nothing but cry. I called our new vet who was too busy to see him but said he had to be seen because it sounded like a blockage. I wasn't impressed when she wouldn't fit him in so I called our old vet where they still had Tugger on file. Although he was closed he said he would meet me at the office as soon as I got off work. After examining the cat he felt it might be due to hairballs and said he'd like to hang on to him for a few days. They ended up having to give the poor kitty some IV fluid the next day since he was dehydrated from not eating. Sure enough hairballs seemed to be the problem. I suspect that that's Finnigan's problem as well rather than a food allergy. The vet told me that the recent winter thaw which took place has screwed up a lot of the animals' shedding cycles. Consequently they are digesting more fur lately than normal. I know Finnigan is shedding massive amounts of fur lately. Both kitties are now on a special Fiber formula diet.
I'd originally planned on taking Tugger home to my son's place today but since he lives in Cornwall, plans were cancelled with the arrival of the storm. So Tugger is spending a couple of days here and I'll return him home on Monday. He seems very pleased to be away from the confines of the vet's cage and was running around like crazy here today. Things caught up with him though and this is where I found him sleeping tonight. He's lying on the mantle above the gas stove where it's nice and cozy.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us which is why I took off 3 days next week. Since Tuesday is also Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday, I'll be flipping flatjacks at the church. The choir puts on a pancake supper at this time every year. It also involves a silent auction as a fund raiser. DH always volunteers a boat ride as one of the bidding items which usually ends up in a bidding war!
I hope all of you have a great weekend and thanks again for all your well wishes!