Saturday, 29 November 2008

Noel Tree finished

I had a lot more time for stitching this week and finally was able to complete my Noel Tree. I think I'd like to do this one again some other time, perhaps in a different colour. Originally I thought I'd keep this for myself but when I was at home visiting, my Mom mentioned how pretty it was so I'm thinking of giving this one to her for Christmas.
Speaking of my Mom, I forgot to mention the early gift I received from her. When I was young, my Mom had inherited a persian lamb coat and my Dad had bought her a mink jacket one year. Over the years fur fell out of fashion and the coats have remained in storage. This year Mom decided she was tired of paying storage costs for something she wasn't wearing any longer. Instead she took the coats to a woman in Windsor who makes teddy bears out of them! Each of her daughters and her granddaughter received fur bears as gifts.
We each had our choice of bears and I ended up with one of the mink ones. He's beautiful, with moving joints and lovely green glass eyes. The lining of the jacket was used for the pads of the feet and arms. My particular little bear almost looks like he's wearing a fur hat.

I was totally surprised! I had no idea that there was anyone doing this sort of thing. Now I just have to find a resting place for him, preferably one where the cat won't find him. Finnigan's first instinct was to wash the bear for me! As I write this, I'm sitting on the very front edge of my chair since Finnigan has joined me and is taking up most of the chair's seat.

Tonight I've been trying to catch up on my ornament for this month. I've managed to finish off the partridge and now I'm working on the pears for his tree. I don't know if I'll manage to get one complete for the month of December. The first of our choirs' performances takes places starting tomorrow afternoon and is followed by two more concerts on the next two Sunday afternoons in the month. Right now rehearsals are taking up a good portion of our evenings. On top of that it seems that there is a stomach virus making its rounds throughout the hospital staff. As a result we're all having to work double shifts to cover. I had my turn yesterday working from 7:00 am until 11:00pm. Needless to say I haven't done too darn much today!

With work and all the festivities that take place in this month I just don't have the time to do a lot of the finishing work on my stitching that I would like. Flat folds are something that I really haven't done much of but I love the look of them. So I decided to take advantage again of Vonna's finishing service for my M Designs Peace Tree. I mailed it off to her a couple of weeks ago and a few days ago she sent me pictures of the finished piece which I've posted below. I love it! The fabric she chose for the backing is so pretty. I told her I was tempted to keep this one for myself. It's on its way to me now and I can't wait to see it. Vonna does beautiful work so if you're like me and are not really into finishing, I recommend that you take a peek at her site.

This is the first year that I've given so much of my stitching for gifts. I've also had one of my pieces framed for a girlfriend. She loves folk art and I figured she'd like this one. It's the Country Garden by Blackbird Designs.

Now I'm heading off to get some shuteye. We've got a long day in town tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Catching my breath!

It's been a busy couple of weeks here since I last posted. My quest for some quiet time still eludes me and with the holidays approaching I don't expect things will slow down anytime soon.
Two weeks ago I was on a business trip to Toronto where I did manage to squeeze in some Christmas shopping at the Eaton Centre. Last weekend we were off to Windsor to celebrate my MIL's 90th birthday followed by a trip this past Saturday to Drummondville to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my youngest granddaughter.

Stitching?...What's that again?! Well I did manage to squeeze some in mostly in the car on the trip to and from Windsor. My Noel tree is very close to being completed now as you can see. I love working on this one. It's one of those stitches where you don't have to refer back to the pattern very often since one side of the tree is just a mirror of the other. It moves along fairly quickly and I really like the design of this particular tree. I was going to keep this one for myself but my Mom mentioned how pretty it was when she saw it on my visit so I might just finish it off for her.

My ornament for this month has fallen way behind and I more than likely will not have it finished by the end of the month. I'd chosen a Patridge by Prairie Schooler but I'm finding it very boring to work on and I keep putting it off. I've already chosen my next start. It's by Barara Ana Designs and is called Stocking Stuffer. Her designs are just so much fun and this little snowman was calling to me!

This design is part of an 18 piece group of patterns by both Barabara Ana and Helga Mandl. Details on how to receive this patterns are found on Helga's site. The patterns are part of a Christmas SAL which takes place each year and is usually limited to those who receive the group newsletter. This year however, the patterns are being made available to anyone and for only $5 it's an incredible deal. No shipping necessary. Once you've made your payment you will receive an email with a link to the pdf patterns for download. Follow Helga's link and check them out. There's something for everyone. You can also subscibe to the newsletter on her site. Barabara Ana also has a newsletter available at her site.
In my stash I found the fabric which I had originally ordered for my Cirque. If you remember I was disappointed on this one because it had a splotch from the dying process in the middle of the fabric. However when it's cut it will be perfect for this piece. The only thing I'm missing is a couple of the DMC variation floss which I'm placing an order for today.
I promised myself not to get started though until I'd finished my Noel tree.

My trip to Windsor although brief was a lot of fun. Saturday was spent with my family and the Sunday with Bob's. We also managed to find time to meet with a friend for lunch on our way down in Port Hope and then lunch with some close friends from Michigan on the Saturday. Saturday night following a lovely meal and chat with my family, we headed to a club downtown Windsor to hear my DH's brother's band play. Bob's brother is a drummer and plays in a number of different groups. This particular group was playing a lot of music from our time in the 70's and it was just like a high school reunion. When we arrived at the club there were quite a few of our former high school friends some of which I hadn't seen in 35 yrs! We had a blast catching up with everyone. When they heard that we were in town for my MIL's birthday, several decided to drop by our open house on the Sunday since they had grown up in the same neighbourhood as Bob and family.

The open house on the Sunday was a huge success with about 75 people all told dropping in with best wishes. This was followed by a family dinner at one of the new restaurants in town. During the meal it started to snow and there was still a light snowfall during our trip home the next day. We also ran into some snow squalls in London where we stopped to share a coffee break with Bob's oldest brother. My son Daniel was able to accompany us on the trip and he also had a super time catching up with his cousins. Below are a few pictures from our visit. On the top right is one of moi with my two sisters and Mom. Top left is my son Daniel and his cousin Andrew. Bottom left is myself and Bob with a group of our school band friends along with our band teacher from grade school and the bottom right is a group photo of Bob, his Mom and two brothers.

Once home again, it was off to Drummondville to celebrate my granddaughter's birthday. The big celebration is actually taking place this coming weekend but I have a choir rehearsal taking place that day plus the weather was more promising for travel this past weekend. Drummondville gets a lot of snow and I didn't want to be driving into one of their storms.

Summer is turning 2 next week so she still isn't really sure what all this fun is all about yet. Her older sister Oceanne was more than willing to help her unwrap all the parcels and teach her how to play with everything! Both girls are getting so big now. I can't believe the curls that Summer has. Her dad says that when her hair is washed and all those curls are stretched out that it's really quite long now. They have a terrible time trying to put a brush her hair. She fights them every step of the way. Her sister Summer is getting to be quite bilingual now. I speak to her in English which she understands perfectly and she answers in French. For the moment I understand everything she says but the time will come when her French will far exceed my abilities. By that time we hope she is speaking more English. My son hopes to send them to English schools. In Quebec you are only allowed to do this if one parent has been raised English which Jeff was.

Daniel joined me for the trip since Bob had to work all day Saturday. It's a long drive.... 7hrs all together going and coming. I really wish that they lived closer but it could be worse. Some of our friends have grandchildren who live halfway across the country and they only see them once a year.
We're planning on having them to our place sometime between Christmas and the New Year. I remember what it was like trying to travel to my Mom's for Christmas with everyone's gifts so I think it's easier to wait until afterwards to get together. Besides you never know what the weather will be like around here and this gives us a little more leeway.

I hope everyone has a good week and gets in a lot more stitching than I have lately! Although I may not have time for comments, I am checking in on your blogs when I can. I enjoy seeing what all of you have been up to lately. To all of my friends in the US, have a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a safe holiday weekend.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Christmas stitching

Now that October and Halloween have flown by I'm turning my attention to some Christmas stitching. First off I have a small finish albeit a little late for fall this year. I know the US is yet to celebrate their Thanksgiving but for us Canadians our fall celebrations are complete and thoughts have turned to Christmas. My JBW Pumpkin will have to wait until next year to complete my autumn decor. In the picture you'll see the fabric that I've chosen for my backing on a pinkeep finish.

I've made a start on my November ornie which is a Partridge from Prairie Schooler. Not enough done yet though for a pic. I took it on the road to Toronto with me this past week. I travelled with a coworker to attend a chemistry conference. I'd hoped to get in some stitching during the evenings at the hotel. My coworker had other ideas however. We were only a short walk from the Eaton Centre which is a major shopping mall in downtown TO. So consequently our evenings were spent shopping (window shopping in my case). My stitching didn't even make it out of the bag! The car trip was my first experience with a GPS. I've never felt the need for one since I'm pretty good with directions but my coworker insists she can't go anywhere without hers. Honestly it drove me crazy! Recalculating, recalculating.... as you can see, my driver didn't neccesarily follow the directions given. The GPS was always right but my coworker didn't trust it since some of the street names it used didn't jive with the street signs. So why does she insist she needs it?!

When I got home I was really in the mood for a new start. What to do, what to do? I took a look through some of my freebies and found a lovely pattern by Gigi R found on her blog. I think she's retired her freebies at this point but check back later, they pop up from time to time. This one is a Christmas tree, a picture of which is currently posted on her blog on her Oct. 25th post. I've chosen to do this one as a redwork, using one of the DMC variations. Here's my progress so far:
Sorry, the picture isn't very clear. The battery on my camera is getting low. I love the look of this little tree. I've even got my fabric already chosen since I might try finishing it as a flatfold or if all else fails, a pinkeep. This one looks like it should stitch up pretty quickly. That's if I can sit still long enough to stitch!
The fall season has passed so quickly for me. We've had a full calendar here at our house and I feel like I've neglected blogging of late. I've managed to post a couple of times but there's not been much time for reading blogs and commenting. So please accept my apologies if I haven't stopped by your blogs lately. I'm slowly getting caught up but there is often little time for commenting. Trust that I am reading them and will get back to commenting in the very near future.
Once again, the approaching weekend will see me travelling. This time it's back home to Windsor where we will be celebrating my MIL's 90th birthday. It's a very quick trip since neither my DH nor myself can take much time off work at the moment. We'll head down on the Friday and return on Monday, spending Saturday with my family and Sunday with Bob's. I'm going to try and stitch in the car since there will be no time for it once we've arrived. It all depends how bumpy the road is or whether or not I can keep awake long enough! When I'm a passenger car rides tend to lull me to sleep. Here's hoping you all have a good week filled with lots of stitching.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Finally... a finish!

Well it's certainly taken me long enough but finally I have finished my M Designs Peace Tree. I managed to squeeze in some time for stitching last weekend and on Tuesday I put in the final beads. This one is to be a Christmas gift for my youngest sister. It's stitched on a 28ct Silkweaver Opalescent Solo using DMC variations.

Also managed a finish on a mitten ornament but my finishing didn't turn out quite the way I'd planned it . It's far easier to finish off a square or round ornament than it is to manage a mitten shape. My skills need some fine tuning to say the least!

Now I'm trying to decide what will be my new start. In the meantime I'm trying to finish up my JBW Pumpkin (hopefully this weekend) and I'm considering giving some long overdue time to my Cirques des Cercles. It would be nice to see this one again, wouldn't it?

Last night was the perfect evening for Halloween... no rain or wind and mild temperatures. We had 110 at our door this year with the best costume being a butterfly. There was one unusual sight this year. An adult dressed in a ghost costume and carrying orange glow sticks wandered through the neighbourhoods. He would stop at the foot of your drive, spread out his arms and bow to you! Honestly, he was quite large and rather creepy. At first I thought it was the parent of one of the kids, taking them around but no, this guy was on his own. My son thought it was a pretty cool idea and a neat way to take in all the sights around the village on Halloween.

I did my usual carving bit as you can see in the pics above. Chris and I found a new site this year online for obtaining carving patterns called Zombie Pumpkins. You pay a $20 dollar fee for access to over 150 different patterns with a portion of the sales being donated to charity. I guided Chris through his first carving, a Michael Myers pattern. Now he's hooked and anxious to try more!
The fact that we had such a great evening weatherwise was no small feat. Just days before we had a freak snowstorm which came out of the northeast, dumping us with 15cm of snow in our area which is about 6-7" for those of you who are not into metric measure. I couldn't believe it when I first heard the forecast. I thought I was dreaming and it was still January or February but unfortunately I was wide awake and it was definitely coming! I desperately tried to get my snow tires put on but all the garages were booked solid. It started snowing Tuesday night around supper and didn't quit until late Wednesday morning. I left for work at 5:30 instead of my usual 6:00am and this is the sight that greeted me. How depressing is that?!

Notice my poor scarecrow on the left. I actually have two , one on either end of my front garden and one of them keeled right over with the weight of the snow. Quite a few tree branches came down because the snow was heavy along with the fact that many had not lost all their leaves yet, adding extra weight. Our area lost power several times during the night, the first time just as I'd sat down in a hot bath. It's kind of weird bathing in the pitch dark!

I managed to make it to work with no problems although I did spot several cars in the ditches. On may way home I took a few more pictures now that I had light. If this is any indication of the winter that's coming then I'm moving!! I had more than my fill last year.

It's an absolutely beautiful sunny morning here now and I'm off to check out my stash and decide on my new starts. I don't promise I'll have much accomplished by my next post since I'm off to Toronto this coming week for a Chemistry symposium with a coworker. It's not all business though since we are planning to squeeze in a shopping trip to the Eaton Centre in downtown TO. Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend and keep those fingers stitching!