Sunday, 28 November 2010

Holiday Train

Last night I was returning from a very successful Christmas shopping trip in Ottawa when I came upon a very unusual sight just outside of my village. The first thing I spotted was several cars parked on either side of the railway tracks just outside of town with their 4 way flashers going. What's going on?! It's not unusual to hear trains pass through the village since we're on a freight train route. However, as I approached home, the train that was coming towards me was definitely not the usual freight train! What I saw instead was the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. I believe the train was headed to its next stop in Smith Falls, ON. What a beautiful sight! The train is decorated in hundreds of lights for the holiday and spells out Canadian Pacific Holiday Train on the cars followed by numerous boxcars decorated in festive holiday garland. On top of the engine car sits a lit Christmas tree. Now I knew very little about the train but after I arrived home I looked it up on the web. I found out that this is the 12th year that the train travels throughout Canada and the US, making various stops along the way collecting monies and food for the foodbanks. All the monies and food collected at the various locations stays in those particular communities. What an awesome way to bring awareness to local Food Banks!

Follow the link to this video to get a quick look at what I saw.

I hope all of my US blogging friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My sister lives in the US and was hosting a dinner for several friends and family including my Mom. Normally I'm at work since we've already celebrated the holiday in October here in Canada. But a tangle with a gastro bug saw me at home, watching Macy's parade between numerous trips to the bathroom. Good thing I wasn't celebrating!

This week I decided to tackle some finishing on a few of the ornaments I've stitched over the past couple of years. They've been languishing in the bottom of my drawer of finishes and I figured it was about time I did something about that! Here is the fruit of my labours. Since I'm not much for finishing and sewing, I'm rather pleased with the results. Thanks to Vonna, Dani and JC magazine for their tutorials on finishing ornaments. I've also posted a pic to show you the fabrics I've used for the backings with the exception of the kitten ornament hanging on the right, which is done on felt.

I've decided to hang the partridge ornament from the knob on the door of my grandfather clock. What do you think?

Here's a pic of the progress I've made on Jardin Prive Christmas. I'm thoroughly enjoying my time spent on this one. This is the first of this designer's works that I stitch and I'll definitely be doing more of hers.

I also managed to finish my final pumpkin stitch for the Pumpkin Challenge. I got it submitted just in the nick of time since the deadline for submissions was Nov. 25th. Becky will draw a winner from all the submissions after the holidays. This final pumpkin stitch was a real challenge indeed! The frogs dropped by and camped out for most of this stitch so I'm glad it's finally done.

Now I'm off to try and find my Advent wreath, this being the first Sunday in Advent. Then we'll see if I still have any candles left for it. I suspect I'll be making a run out to pick some up. I look forward to dropping by your blogs over the course of the day. I've been seeing some lovely finishes out there!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The frogs have finally left!

Thank goodness! After almost 2 weeks of entertaining the little pita ( pains in the a$#) they've finally packed their bags and left. That's why it's taken me so long to post. I've had no progress to show until now because everything I stitched had to be frogged out and re-stitched. Mind you, I'm the one that started this whole process with the decision to frog out the green leaves on my C'est L'Automne. But I sure as heck never expected to be entertaining them for such an extended period of time. By the time I'd restitched the leaves I discovered that the taller pumpkin was out and it had to be redone as well. Now I'm on the home stretch and this piece should be done by early next week. I'd like it done sooner but I'm working this weekend and you never know how things will play out. I was off work today and looking forward to some serious stitching time but things have a way of working out differently.
Here's a look at C'est L'Automne and the progress so far. I much prefer the colour of the leaves now.

I returned to my Tuesday night stitching this week but I didn't accomplish much. I spent too much time catching up. However my Jardin Prive Christmas does have a little bit more to show than previously. I've been stitching the bells at the bottom of the piece which I really like. I've also discovered that the characters at the bottom of the piece beneath the tree spell out Christmas in Japanese. I've not quite finished them yet though. This is a really enjoyable stitch and I find myself unwinding each time I pick it up. For now these are the only two things I've concentrated on. I'll get back to Cast All Your Cares later when the mood hits me. Right now I'm enjoying the Christmas stitch.

Work has been very hectic for me lately and next week promises more of the same so I don't know how much time I can squeeze in for stitching. Plus my youngest granddaughter has a birthday coming up and I'm trying to arrange a visit there or for them to come here, whichever works out best. So far that nasty white stuff has been kept at bay but as of today the temperature has dropped and there is mention of that S word for Sunday. On the positive side, the weatherman has been known to be wrong!

I'm constantly being reminded that Christmas isn't all that far off and once more I start to get that panicky feeling. I'm working the holiday this year and know I won't be having a big celebration on the day but that inevitable feeling settles on me anyways. Of course it doesn't help that everyone morning on my way to the lab I pass an office with the countdown displayed on a chalkboard on the door. That chalkboard just might mysteriously disappear!!

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your visits and comments more than you'll ever know.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In the mood

Finally I'm in the mood for some Christmas stitching although it looks like anything but Christmas outside at the moment. It's a beautiful November day. The leaves have all dropped but the grass is still green and it's bright and sunny. Mr. Blue Jay has stopped by at our feeder numerous times this morning. There are lots of other things I should be doing but the day is young and I'll have plenty of time for them later. The need to stitch is waxing strong at the moment.

My new Christmas start I have to share is one by Jardin Prive called simply Christmas. (I've been trying to figure out how to add the french accent on the word Prive but I've had no luck!). I got started at this one yesterday afternoon and already I'm frogging. I've made a slight error on the word Noel but it's nothing major and shouldn't take much time to fix. DMC 3865 is the recommended floss for all the white bits in the pattern but I'm using a slightly lighter shade of linen and found it really wasn't standing out all that well. So I'm using B5200 instead. It's a fun stitch so far. I also paid for and downloaded the pdf for Jardin Prive Patchwork Hiver. I'm hoping to start this one after Christmas.

I'm putting this stitch aside for today while I concentrate on C'est L'Automne. I've decided that I don't like the contrast green colour chosen for the leaves and the heart so I'm going to frog out all that today and start replacing it. I've chosen DMC 368 for the replacement. Here's where I am prior to the frogging. Hopefully I'll have new pic soon with the replacement colour.

And finally I have an update picture on Cast All Your Cares. This one is coming along slowly but surely. It's not a difficult piece but it's really not grabbing my interest all that much. Too much of one colour at a time I think. The picture really doesn't show up the colours all that well. The writing is a lovely shade of purple.

So that's it on the stitching front. I kitted up LHN Merry Skater ornament but only put in a few stitches and put it aside. I'll return to it later probably once my pumpkin stitch is complete. I also have to dig out the Christmas ornament I stitched for my granddaughter. It still has beads to be added to it and I haven't started stitching one for the youngest granddaughter yet. I have a funny feeling they won't be done in time for this year.

Besides stitching, today I have to drag out my winter clothing and put away the summer stuff. This should have been done weeks ago but I've been procrastinating and still haven't got around to it. I think it's always worse when you're bringing out the winter stuff as opposed to the summer attire. After all it just gives you an indication of what lies ahead. Could this be another reason why I dislike November so much?

This morning my DH dragged up all the boxes of sweaters and pants and left them for me in the spare bedroom to go through. Ugghh! I hate this job! It usually involves me trying on various pieces of clothing because my shape is never the same from one year to the next. Last year I'd lost some weight, this year I've gained some! I swear I'm going to start labelling the boxes as fat clothes and fatter clothes so I don't have to go through this each year. Maybe once I've finished work and don't have that stress factor in my life I can actually make a serious effort at losing weight and finally have a skinny box of clothes!!

Monday, 1 November 2010

The November Blues

For those of us living in Canada, both Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone now as November greets us. November has always been such a bleak month for me with so many people that I've known having died during this month including my father and father-in-law. So I'm continuing my fall stitching since it cheers me and brightens up an otherwise dreary month. I know I should be getting on to some Christmas stitching but I'm just not in the mood yet. By the time I am it will be too late for any stitching, lol! So here is the latest happy dance, stitched in time for Halloween but not quite complete. I originally thought of a cube finish for this one but it's bigger than I expected so now I'm not quite sure how I'll finish it off. Any suggestions?

This week I found a lovely treat waiting for my when I visited the post office. Living in a rural community we don't have home delivery and must stop by the post office each day to pick up our mail. When I checked in on Friday I found a parcel waiting for me. Seeing the return address I knew it was my giveaway winnings from Carol. Oh Carol, this is such a lovely treat!! From the wrapping paper with it's Halloween greeting down to the cute card with greetings from your website to mine. They're such lovely touches! My DH is quite fond of the chocolates he found within and I'm in love with the pin pillow. It's adorable!! I can't wait to try out some of the lovely fabrics both for stitching and for finishing. Then of course there are the Halloween charts and floss. This was a very generous giveaway and I'm absolutely thrilled. Thank you very much!! As you can see from the picture the chocolates have already disappeared!

After opening such a spooky treat I was in the mood to get my Halloween carvings done. Several years ago I got hooked on the fantastic carvings of Pumpkin Masters. I have several books of their patterns accumulated and last year my DS got me interested in another source of patterns from Zombie Pumpkins. So this year I chose a pattern from each source, one simple and one difficult. I knew that after carving the difficult one I wouldn't have a lot of patience left for anything other than a simple one. The most time consuming portion of these carvings is the scraping of the inside of the pumpkins. You have to scrape them thin enough to make the carving portion easier and if you don't it will be too difficult to remove small pieces and the effect when lit won't be quite as nice. Here are this year's displays, Oogie Boogie and Evil Mind. Oogie Boogie is for my sons who are big fans of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I saw Evil Mind lit I knew it had definitely been worth the difficulty carving it.

Next up is a picture of my latest start. It's a freebie pattern from Gazette 94 and it's called C'est l'automne. It's pumpkins done in a Quaker style and you guessed it, since it's pumpkins I can enter this one into the pumpkin challenge. I'm enjoying this stitch immensely.

Although I haven't quite been in the mood for Christmas stitching, I have got a jump start on the holiday. I'd booked Friday off work last week which was supposed to have followed a very late night out at my son's punk group performance. However the venue was double booked and Chris' group got rescheduled so suddenly I was left with a vacation day and no plans. I decided to take a drive over to Watertown, NY which is a 2 hr drive from us. They have some lovely stores there where I could get started at my Christmas shopping. Not that they don't have lovely stuff here at home but the sales are just too good to pass up along with our Canadian money being almost at par. So off I went with the hopes of picking up a few things. A few things?? I managed to finish all my Christmas shopping for my granddaughters along with Summer's upcoming birthday gifts and a few items for myself. With a 15% coupon which could be used on the already 50% markdowns I saved a whopping 65%!! As my DH is fond of quoting, I do love to shop! No stitchy items this time, I've already bought my quota for the month. Oh yeah, that was October and now it's November. Guess I can get started again!

Have a great week everyone and may it include lots of stitching.