Sunday, 25 July 2010

Pitiful progress

So, as promised, here's a photo of my pitiful stitching progress during the past week. I didn't put a single stitch in either Halloween Cove or my LHN ornie. The only thing I stitched on during my vacation was Summer Row and even then I only stitched on the plane there and back. I'm using a Silkweaver piece I had in my stash but it's aida. Does it ever feel strange stitching on this again. I can't remember the last time I used aida and it just feels so stiff even though this piece of fabric is softer than some I've used in the past. Any further stitching won't take place now I'm sure until later next weekend.

Since we've arrived home from Victoria we've been getting the house clean and ready for my family who start arriving tomorrow. My sister arrives first followed by the arrival of all three sons and my granddaughters on Wednesday. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mom was also to have visited and this would have been the first time she met her great granddaughters. Unfortunately, she is ill with vertigo and has been advised not to travel at this time. I know she's very upset about the whole thing not only because she won't see the girls but also because two of my sons are unable to travel to her 80th birthday party later this summer and she hasn't seen them for some time. I told her that we'd try and work something out in the fall or at Christmas when she could see them then. I'm also at work all week and won't be able to spend as much time as I'd like with the gang but I'm only allowed a certain amount of time off during "prime time" and I will be seeing my sister and Mom again in August.
So it looks like stitching will be on the back burner until after everyone departs next Saturday.

I have some more photos now to share from our fabulous trip to BC. We had been told to make sure and make a reservation for tea at the Empress Hotel while we were there. Reservations actually had to be made months in advance since this is a very popular spot in Victoria. The hotel has been serving afternoon tea for over 100 yrs! This is a luxury hotel maintained in the style of the bygone era of the early 1900s. One must dress for tea!
Here's a link to show you the menu which is served for afternoon tea. There is also a selection of six different teas to choose from. I had a pineapple-orange blend which was really nice! A friend of ours from the organist convention joined us for the occasion and we were all quite surprised at exactly how full we felt after eating the little sandwiches and pastries. I think it's because everything was soooo rich!

The hotel really was lovely and it was the perfect spot to start off our trip following church on Sunday. I've also posted a picture of the hotel to show you just how massive it is. Definitely not on our budget!!

One of the other highlights of my trip was a visit to Butchart Gardens. The gardens are a National Historic Sight of Canada and contain 55 acres of floral gardens. I could have spent a whole day there but only had about 2 hrs during out tour to try and cover all the garden. But cover it I did! I think there was only one small area that I missed and I managed to take close 75 photos while I was at it. The flowers and foliage were spectacular. The rose garden alone was breathtaking. As you walked through a portion of the garden, you passed through rose-covered arches from which hung baskets of muticoloured flowers. And the perfume from the roses was incredible! Take a look and see what I mean.

The pictures really don't do it justice and I wish that I'd had more time to just sit quietly for awhile and take in the beauty.

Our last night in Victoria we took a stroll along the waterfront and took this picture of the province's Parliament Buildings. The harbour really is a lovely site even at night!

All in all it was a fantastic trip. I'm already wishing we were back there again.

Once home I found a message on the phone's answering service from my framer that one of my latest pieces was now ready. I had two in for framing and wasn't sure which one it would be. As it turns out it was LK Prayer Connection. You'll recall this one is to be a gift for our new rector at his induction service this fall. I think it looks great! My other piece, Forget Me Not, won't be ready until mid August. It appears they've fallen a little behind in their schedule.

So now I'm back to reality once more but not for long since I have another 2 weeks scheduled for the end of August. By next week I'll be back to my regular stitching routine and should have more progress to report. Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Beautiful British Columbia

I'd heard so much about Victoria, BC , what a lovely city it is and what a lovely province British Columbia is and they are so right! Victoria is a gorgeous city! For those of you who are not Canadian and are not familiar with it, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. It's located on the southern most tip of Vancouver Island which is about 100 km or 60 miles away from the city of Vancouver on the mainland. It's only 25 miles from Port Angeles, WA by ferry or 60 miles from Seattle. And most important of all, it has a needlework shop! More on that later in the post.
This was a working holiday for my DH so I spent a lot of the time exploring the city on my own. Most of the venues were withing walking distance. Our first evening there we took in a ferry tour of the harbour which gave us an idea of the layout of the city and a much better view from the water. That's yours truly in the pic, waiting for the next tour. What I didn't realize about the harbour is that there is an international airport there for the seaplanes and it's the only international airport where landings were suspended because of a whale on the runway!

Speaking of whales, DH decided to play hooky on the Monday afternoon so that we could take in a whale watching excursion. We'd taken one of these excursions in the past when we were visiting the east coast. Although we did see some whales at that time, we didn't get in very many good pictures. This time we had somewhat better luck. I say somewhat because we were not successful in sighting any orca whales however we did see a gray whale and a humpback whale.

This is the humpback, which performed very nicely for us, diving in and out of the water.

Next we ventured a little further up the coast where we spotted the gray whale. It really does look like he's covered in barnacles. This one performed by blowing for us although it might be difficult to see in the picture.

After the whale sightings, they took us around a group of islands where seals go to rest and nurse their young. I couldn't believe the number of seals hiding out there. Several of them looked like they'd had more than their share of food lately! We were also fortunate enough to spot an eagle taking a rest on one of the markers in the water.

It was a great day even if we didn't see the orcas which showed up in a large pod the next day of course!
Every one of our days on this trip was packed full of events and concerts and didn't generally end until about 11:00 pm each evening. Day 2 and I'm whipped already!

The morning following the whale tour I had a couple of hours to myself so I set out to explore the shops downtown by the harbour. I managed to get all of my gifts for family in an hour or so and then set out in search of a needlework shop called The Button & Needlework Boutique. It didn't take me long to find and I happily spent the next hour or so browsing the shop and its charts.
I bought a few things including Hedgehog which is a Countryside Miniature kit, LHN Simple Joys and the necessary floss, BTBN Summer Hill as well as a Canadian flag button. For a reminder of my visit to Victoria I bought a lovely needleminder handcrafted in Victoria from Rosewood.

I've been searching for something that I could stitch for Bob and I found the perfect chart, Eye of the Eagle by The Stitching Studio and based on the artwork of Sue Coleman who is a BC native. Bob is really interested in eagles and was thrilled when we saw one on the whale tour. I just can't guarantee how long it will be before I get started on this one!
I'd say it was a successful visit though wouldn't you?
I have a few more pics of my trip that I'd like to share with you but I'll leave them for the next post. By that time I should also have my latest piece back from the framer's and I'll have an update on what little stitching I accomplished on my holiday.
I'm happy to be home but I must say I sure miss the beautiful, comfortable weather we had out west. They have no humidity!!!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Heading to Victoria

I'm afraid you won't see too much from me in the way of stitching over the next week or so. We are currently packing and getting things ready for our trip to Victoria, BC. We leave tomorrow morning and I'm so excited! I've never been to western Canada. As a child my parents travelled throughout the western US with us but didn't venture north into Canada. It was cheaper to travel in the US at that time.
My DH is an organist and is attending the Royal Canadian College of Organists annual convention which takes place in Victoria this year. While he is attending workshops in the mornings and some afternoons, I will be sightseeing. I've already booked for a tour of Butchart Gardens and we have reservations for high tea at the Empress Hotel on Sunday. I'm also hoping to book one of the ferry harbour tours. I'm sure I won't have any problem filling my time!
In the late afternoons and evenings we will be attending concerts of choral and organ music. Definitely not for everyone but I have a growing appreciation of organ music and I was already a fan of choral music.
On the last day of the trip we travel over to Vancouver and spend the day there. I'm taking the laptop with us but I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging, commenting or stitching for that matter! I'm sure I'll stitch on the plane flight though.
We're no sooner home than my sister and Mom arrive for a visit followed closely by the arrival of all three of my sons and my granddaughters. It will be a full house!! Can't wait!
So if you don't hear from me for the next little while you'll know why.

On the stitching front, I've started two new works. The first is By The Bay Needlearts Halloween Cove and the second is The Trilogy's Summer Lineup. Halloween Cove is being stitched on Wichelt 28ct Storm Gray Lugana and for Summer Lineup I'm using up some of the fabric in my stash and stitching on Silkweaver's 16ct Days Gone By Aida. It's been a very long time since I've stitched on Aida of any kind and I'm not sure yet if I'm liking it. This particular aida is not as stiff as some, which is better but it's yet to grow on me. I just hate the idea of ordering more fabric when I have so much at home I could be using. Too early for a picture yet.

I got started on HC on Tuesday evening with my stitching group. I'd just started stitching one of the pumpkins when Chantal mentioned to me that the colour didn't look anything like those in the picture. The jack-o-lanterns in the picture are orange and the one I was stitching was a medium copper-rust. I hadn't even noticed at this point, I was just enjoying the whole stitching thing!
Had I purchased the wrong floss in error? Nope, DMC 920 was called for and 920 was what I was stitching with. The girls thought it wasn't really a bad colour but I agreed with them that jack-0-lanterns should be orange. Several of the ladies had a multitude of floss with them and we poured over the various oranges to see which would look better. I decided on DMC 720 which then made me wonder if it had been a misprint to begin with. In any case, 720 it is and I'm much happier with my pumpkins.

I think I will probably stitch either my LHN ornie or Summer Lineup on the plane trip since both of these pieces are smaller and easier to work with. Summer Lineup is really a filler while I wait for other orders to arrive. I'm really waiting for the arrival of Shakespeare's Peddler Garden Magic Sampler. If this shows up in today's mail it's going with me. If not SL it is!

Speaking of my LHN ornament, here is my progress up until this point. I'm afraid I'm not making very fast progress at this. My heart just isn't into the Christmas ornaments at this point.

Rain today has brought a cooler temaperature which is a relief and I've been told the the temps in Victoria right now are a much more comfortable 20-22 degrees C as opposed to the 28-30 temperatures here. I can do with a bit of a break from all the humidity. I hope everyone is getting in lots of stitches whether it's your summer or winter break. Take care and I hope to check in from beautiful British Columbia next!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Dancing with Friends

I had another happy dance today. This time it happened among friends, a whole house full of them. The occasion was a summer SAL at my home with some great stitching friends. A lot of laughter, great food and some serious stitching results in a fantastic day! I'm sure you'll recognize several in the group and there were also some new additions to all the fun.

From my Tuesday night stitching group were Leslie, Lori and Roseanne. That's Leslie in the orange top and Roseanne in the plaid. Chantal was to have joined them but was ill. Chantal, we're so sorry you couldn't make it this time and I promise a repeat in the near future.

Lianne (on the right) is a local stitcher who found my blog as well as Dani's and contacted us in the hopes of getting together to stitch. We're so glad you were able to join us! Now that you know where I am and I know where you are, we'll have to make sure that this happens again soon!
Rebecca brought her mom, Sylvia, to join in on the day. I hope you know Sylvia that you're welcome to come again anytime.

All in all the group numbered 11 and filled the house with stitching chatter and laughter. I must admit that other than my finish I didn't put in any other stitches. I was too busy catching up and preparing the spread of food that always goes hand in hand with one of these get togethers. I swear we had enough to keep us holed up here stitching for days!

Clarisse even got in on the act, surveying things from her perch behind Lori's head. She also followed us into my stash room and crawled in where one of the drawer's resides. I guess she thought it was a good spot from which to observe. Later she delighted everyone with her toy mouse antics, dropping the mouse at their feet in the hopes they would throw it for her to retrieve. She also made it a point to greet each guest upon arrival and accompany them to the door as they left. The perfect hostess!!

A lot of the fun in these get togethers is checking out the stitching of your friends which you've admired on their blogs. I got to check out Beatrice's and Kathy's Desert Mandelas (that's Kathy's on top, Beatrice's on bottom) as well as Kathy's Royal Holiday, her Fairies and of course her lighthouse RR. Awesome Kathy!! Those ladies did a phenomenal job on that RR. I look forward to seeing it framed. Naturally I forgot to take a picture of it. I was too busy checking it out!!

Then we can't forget Dani's Celestial Dragon or Rebecca's Kaleidoscope, Beatrice's Cirque des Cercles. There was so much great stitching going on. I'm sorry that I've forgotten all the names of the pieces the other ladies were working on but believe me there was some fantastic stitching going on! I also find that these events give you a chance to see so many different tastes and styles of stitching. I always come away with a new perspective or interest in new designers and charts that I otherwise might not have investigated. Thank you ladies, one and all! I sure needed a day like this after the long week I had at work this week in that horrible heat.

Here are several more pics of the day. First up is Dani, getting ready to snap some pics, followed by Beatrice working on her Cirque. Then we have Rebecca followed by a pic of her mom Sylvia and Lori (on the right). Last but not least is Christin and Kathy.

For pics of yours truly, I'll think you'll find some on either Dani's or Beatrice's blogs. I know they snapped a few.
Now I'm off to grab some shut eye after a long but fun day. Tomorrow brings the hunt for a new project to tackle. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

My Easter finish - a little late!

So Easter may have come and gone but I finally got around to finishing my LHN He Is Risen.
I stitched up a storm on the weekend with this being the result. I ended up backstitching the wings so they'd stand out more. I also went back to the original phrasing with the small he in the second part of the phrase. After all, a girl is allowed to change her mind isn't she!!
I just got my order today from Volarium with my new charts from Tra La La and Tournicoton. I love them all and want to get one or two kitted up as soon as possible. I'll post pics later.
I can't post any other stitchy pictures and updates because my DH has gone to help his mother move and he's taken the camera with him. I'll have to wait until after the weekend to post more. By then I should have lots of stitching pictures since I'm having a SAL at my place on Saturday.
I'm expecting anywhere from 7 - 11 ladies to join me for a day of fun. Can't wait!

The weather here is extremely hot and humid and is expected to remain so for the next couple of days. I'd planned to go to the Cornwall Liftoff, the hot air balloon festival with my DS but if it's still this hot by Thursday I'm staying put in airconditioned comfort. I just can't handle that humidity anymore, I find it's difficult to breathe at times. It's too bad because following the liftoff of the balloons there is a concert by Our Lady Peace. You know you're getting old when your son tells you that you probably won't want to go to the concert because they don't start performing until 9:30 or 10:00pm and after all I have to get up at 5 for work in the morning! It's that working the next day that screws everything up doesn't it?

I think my hanging baskets in my garden this year could be considered patriotic if I was living in the US. They're a lovely mix of red, white and blue with bacopa, million bells and lobelia. I'm trying to keep them looking good in all this heat.
As far as escaping the heat is concerned, I'm very excited because as things have turned out, we are able to return to Muskoka again this summer! When we decided to go to Victoria, BC we figured that we couldn't manage both trips but things have worked out and we just booked a cottage rental this week. It's not our usual rental since that cottage is not available during the month of August. Our usual rental sits on a point of land which is surrounded by 2 bays in Lake Muskoka and the cottage we've rented this year is on the other side of the point on the North Bay. So technically it's on the other side of the road from our usual spot. The cottage is actually a boathouse which has one bedroom and an open concept living/kitchen area. When you step outside, it's onto a large deck with a lovely view of the lake. We'll head there on the return trip from my mother's birthday celebration. We can hardly wait!!
Have a good week everyone and keep cool!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Canada Day Stitching

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian blogging and stitching friends and family! I hope you all have a very enjoyable day no matter how you choose to celebrate it. Myself, I plan on spending the day stitching . The weather is cooler than usual and the crowds will be larger than usual with the Queen's visit to Parliament Hill in Ottawa so we've decided to stay put for the day. We may go down to Morrisburg on the St Lawrence River for fireworks this evening if the weather holds.

After having just worked the last weekend, I had several days off which allowed me to get a lot of cleaning done at home. Now I'm home free, so bring on the stitching!!

I'll start off with a pic of my Nantucket Sampler which I picked up at the framers on Tuesday. I wanted a frame for it that gave that beach or cottage look and this is what we came up with. I love the results and it proudly resides in the entrance of my home over the deacon's bench. I've been so pleased with the framing I've had done here. I was worried about quality framing and stretching of my stitching after my LNS closed. They had always done such a fantastic job. This shop has picked up where my LNS left off. We've been fortunate that the man who did the stretching for us at the LNS agreed to continue to do so at this framer.

My trip to the framer's had a dual purpose. Besides picking up Nantucket, I dropped off my LK Prayer Sampler and while I was there I chose a frame for my upcoming finish of Forget Me Not. I only have a few days of stitching time on this one and it'll be done. I got started on stitching the remaining flowers on the top border and found I didn't really like the colour of floss called for. Since I've altered some of the colours in this already, the floss called for just didn't seem to fit in with things. I rummaged through my stash and came up with several choices which I took with me to my Tuesday night group for some input. I had a choice in mind and as it turned out the majority picked the same colour that I'd chosen. So instead of GAST Used Brick, the flowers will be stitched with CC Clay Pot. The frame I've chosen for this one is a red mahogany which really picks up the colours in the piece. I can't wait to get this one finished and framed! I trying to get as many pieces framed as I can afford during the next year before my retirement. My budget will be limited after that. That's also the excuse I'm using for enhancing my stash!
Speaking of which I'm awaiting the arrival of a copy of BTBN Halloween Cove as well as an online order from Violarium of some charts by Tra La La and Tournicoton. I'll be anxiously checking the mail during the next week or so!

I brought out LHN He Is Risen this week to try and get finished. I was going great guns on this one and then it came to an abrupt standstill while I worked on completing Nantucket. Here's where I am after last evenings stitches. I might have to do some BS around the angels' wings. They're not showing up very well with the white on white. What do you think?
I'll continue stitching on this one today. I'm also hoping to bring out my Winter Sheep ornie. It's long overdue for finishing. Speaking of the LHN ornaments, Diane Williams just posted on her blog that she's designed another year's worth of the ornaments so the SAL should continue. I thought it was great news because I'm a big fan of LHN designs and I really love these little ornaments.

My upcoming weekend SAL has been changed to only a one day stitch. I hated to do this but we have a lot more going on here than planned in the next few weeks which takes priority and I really need the extra days to get things organized. My DH is in the process of moving his mother from her apartment into a retirement home after she had a nasty fall recently and I have my sister and Mom arriving for a visit the week following our return from vacation. Our vacation begins on July 15th with a trip to Victoria, BC planned to attend the Canadian organist convention. I'll be seeing the sights while Bob is at lectures, etc.
We're only just arrived home from BC when my family visits. The trip here was unexpected but circumstances are such that my sister is alone for the week and would like to come up and see all our renovations. Mom then jumped on the bandwagon and asked if she could join her. I can hardly wait since it's been several years since my youngest sister was up here. When I heard my Mom was going to join her, I called up my eldest son to see if his vacation coincided with their visit. My Mom has never met her great grandchildren and this would be the perfect opportunity. Jeff and family are not able to travel to Windsor for her 80th birthday party in August so this would be the next best thing. Yahoo! He's off work during the last 2 weeks in July and is able to join us for the visit. My other 2 boys are also hoping to land in that week. Now I'm scrambling to get things organized. I only have the next 2 weekends left before holidays in which to get things cleaned up around here. You see, I've been using 2 of my extra bedrooms as storage rooms during our renovations and have yet to get them cleaned out again. And I'm definitely going to need that extra space for all the beds. After all isn't that what a bedroom is for!!

On top of all this we were informed at work that there are several extra evening and weekend shifts that need to be covered. We had just finished training an extra tech for this purpose however he gave his notice and left! Now it looks like we'll be pulling some double shifts this summer and one of them for me is on the Sunday of my SAL. We were really trying to avoid a lot of overtime costs but have no choice now. Same old, same old. This sort of thing seems to happen every summer. I can't say I'll miss all this when I'm finished work.

I'll take this time now to wish a Happy Fourth of July to all my US stitching and blogging friends. I hope you have a great holiday weekend and may it contain lots of stitching!