Monday, 29 August 2011

August TUSAL and a new start

Here's a pic of my August TUSAL. Lots of colour in those orts this month. The red, white and blue are from my LHN America and the LHN Acorn Hill and my new Halloween start are responsible for all those lovely fall browns, greens and golds. My new larger ort jar is starting to fill up. I'll have to squash down some of those orts to make room for more.
Now that I look more closely, I'm sure that I see a white cat hair from Clarisse in among all those orts! It's unavoidable, I find her fur everywhere.

I'm setting aside my Halloween stitch for now until the rest of the floss arrives. Here's as far as I've gotten on BBD Trix or Treat. In the meantime, I put in just a few stitches on LHN America during my Tuesday night SAL. I had too much fun catching up with everyone so my stitching progress was really limited as you can see from the pic below.  Just a few more windows and a small start on the white of the house.

Now I've grown a bit tired of this one and wanted some change.  I'm still waiting for some more floss to arrive for my LHN Acorn Hill  so that one was out of the question. I finished stitching my exchange piece which still requires finishing but I really didn't feel like getting into that right now. What to do, what to do?  Then the mailman arrived (at the post office, not my house since I don't have home delivery). When I checked the mail on Friday I found a package of floss from an ebay win which I'd forgotten all about. I now had all the floss necessary to start Blackbird Designs Sunflower House. This one is #9 in the Loose Feathers series, is out of print and extremely difficult to find. Occasionally it pops up on ebay but usually bidding gets pretty high and I've seen it go for as much as $40! I've had mine for quite some time now. I've always loved it and don't know why I haven't got started up until now. Distracted by too many other choices I guess. Here's a progress pic.

I only started this on Saturday evening and I'm enjoying it so much that I find it hard to put down. I'm liking this fabric too. It's by Enchanted Lair on 32ct Lugana called Ocean's Siren. Such a pretty blue! The picture doesn't do it justice. Although I'm Canadian, I decided to leave the US flag untouched in this design. It just suits the piece. Besides there is some US blood in the family. My DH's grandfather was born in Utica, NY and my sister has taken her US citizenship and resides in Michigan.

I received an email from the new bride that she has received my Wedding Sampler, safe and sound. She is thrilled with it and because her Mom is also a stitcher she appreciates the time and effort that went into it.  I'm so happy that they like it!

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures taken in my girlfriend's yard. I just couldn't resist snapping a pic of this frog which greets you at her front door. Then I found the small group of frogs on a fence around her vegetable garden. They're adorable but she did promise that they don't go travelling!  Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Anticipating fall

Can you feel it yet? The change in the air? I'm certainly feeling it here now. Our days are cooler and less humid and the night temperatures are going down to 13-17C (58-62F). We went from a cold, rainy spring straight into hot, humid summer and now the temperatures have changed drastically again. It's already dark at 7:30 pm so it's a good thing that our new gazebo now has electricity so I can stitch outside well after dark. 

For the past week my sister Laurie, who lives in Michigan, has been visiting us. It's been around 12 yrs since she's been up our way so there have been a lot of changes at the house. We spent her first day here just catching up and had coffee with my son Daniel so that he could visit with his Aunt. On the Tuesday we headed off to the village of Merrickville which is about a 40-45 min drive. This is a lovely Victorian style village situated on the Rideau Canal. Many of its buildings showcase 19th century architecture and it's home to numerous shops and dining spots.
We had a great time checking out the shops, many of which contain crafts and antiques.  This photo of Laurie was taken outside one of those lovely shops we spent time at. There were so  many pretty flower baskets outside each of the shops too.  We had lunch at a lovely pub, The Goose & Gridiron, to break up the afternoon.  Below are a few photos I took of the area.

One of the may shops we stepped into

Lots of summer decor on sale

The Goose & Gridiron Pub
My find of the day was a lamp. I'd been looking for a small lamp for our new gazebo, nothing too large and something unique. I found exactly what I'd been searching for..... a small lamp which looks like a teapot. I love it and it looks perfect in my outdoor retreat.  I just may return for another for the other table!

Wednesday we spent another shopping day, this time at the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa which is right in the heart of the market area. After a quick run through the mall ( most of the shops are pretty expensive), we spent the rest of the afternoon browsing through the stalls in the market area. We stopped for a glass of iced tea midafternoon in a quaint courtyard. I  actually took this picture of the area last year when I visited the market. I didn't have my camera with me this time around since my DH had taken it to work with him. There were far less crowds on this visit. The iced tea we were served was red in colour and was fantastic! When we inquired as to what type of tea was used, the shop owner told us it was a Rooibos tea with apple and sweetened with honey. Really quite nice!

 Later in the afternoon, Bob met us for supper in the market. My sister treated us as a thank you for hosting her visit.

After two days of walking and shopping, we decided to sit out the day on Thursday. It turned out to be a wise choice since there was a pretty wicked storm that passed through our area. Funnel clouds were seen in the nearby village of Mountain and we received some pretty heavy rains and high wind. My entranceway flooded from the rain whipping at the back door. We also had some small hail. The gazebo held up well with only some wet floors due to water running under the sliding doors. All the furnishings remained dry.

Friday was Laurie's last day of her visit. While we had been in Ottawa in the market, she had spotted a boat cruise that took you down the Rideau Canal through the city. There hadn't been enough time that day so when I got up on Friday and saw what a beautiful day it was, I decided we'd take in the boat cruise before her plane left at suppertime. I have done this cruise with Bob before and knew that it was a really relaxing way to spend an afternoon and this time was no exception. Below are some pictures of the sights we saw.

Our Parliament buildings in Ottawa viewed from the boat

The Chateau Laurier Hotel seen in the distance

The original train station in Ottawa, now used as a government conference center.

The view looking down the canal

The Canal Ritz restaurant

Laurie spotted this restaurant on the canal when we passed it on the boat. I asked if she thought she'd like to have a light supper there before our trip to the airport so after the cruise was finished, we picked up Bob so he could join us. It's actually a favourite spot for Bob and me. We love to go there for brunch after church on Sunday and sit out on the patio along the canal. In the winter months, we sit indoors and watch all the skaters on the canal.
It was the perfect ending to a fabulous week! I hated to see her go home, but she promised that the next visit will be much sooner than the last and she'll bring her hubby with her next time.

On the stitching front, I've made a bit more progress on LHN America. I decided to go with the blue roof on the house to add some more colour. Here's where I'm at now.

I'm starting to like the vine on this better now that I've got more of it stitched in.
I've also got a new Halloween start but I don't have enough done yet to show you.  It's BBD Trix or Treat taken from their booklet of the same name. I'll only be able to get so far on it and then I'll have to wait until the arrival of the rest of the floss in the mail. I put an order in to my ONS when I found out I was missing half of the floss. That's what I miss about not having a local store any longer. I have to order all of my supplies online and it's anywhere from one to two weeks before they arrive.

I also got my Wedding Sampler packaged up and mailed out to my cousin's daughter for her wedding which took place this past Saturday. She lives in northern Ontario and only family were travelling for the wedding. When I picked this piece up at the framers I couldn't believe how good it looked. The frame was really gorgeous and I have to thank Kelly at my framer for her help in choosing it.

Now I have to get moving. I'm heading into Ottawa for my Tuesday night SAL. I had hoped that I would be able to attend the open house at Knowledge and Needles in Brighton this past Saturday but I'd been on my feet too much in the past week and my hip (athritis) was screaming at me. I knew I just couldn't do the 3 hour drive. Ottawa is an hour's drive from me so let's just see if it's any better now. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
I hope you are all enjoying some much cooler weather and that the humidity and high heat of the past several weeks has past. Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Gazebo stitching

Our new gazebo is now furnished and I've been spending my mornings out there, coffee by my side, stitching. I've spent most of this past week on my exchange piece which I'm not able to show but I've also spent some quality time with LHN America (Canadian version). I'm really pleased with how the flag turned out but not as pleased with the vine placement. I'm hoping it will look alright when finished. I had to move the vine over some because otherwise it was going to end up trailing right down the centre and cover the maple leaf.
I'm also still playing around with different colours for the roof of the house. Not having the blue in our flag I thought that I might use it for the roof. I just haven't settled on the right shade yet. Without the blue, the design didn't seem to have enough colour with only the brown, white and red.
That's about all I have time to show you for now. My sister is here visiting this week from Michigan. Since my DH is tied up in a conference most of the week we have a lot of time to ourselves to shop and do some daytrips. Today we are off to the village of Merrickville to check out all its quaint shops. I hope you are having a wonderful start to your week. Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A blast from the past!

That's what we experienced over the Canadian Civic Holiday long weekend. Two of my sons travelled to Windsor, ON as well to visit with family but the main purpose of the trip was a reunion of DH's and my high school band, The Forster Band . The reunion included those who had played in the band anytime during the years 1960 - 1980. We've kept in touch with a number of the band members over the years and several travelled to Ottawa for our wedding 10 yrs ago but there are some that I haven't seen since graduating from high school  37 yrs ago. Please bear with me, but I wanted to post this with some pictures for the benefit of those family members and friends who read my blog as well. For those who are utterly bored, scroll on down. There should be one stitching pic near the end of this post!

The weekend started off with a meet and greet on the Friday evening at our local watering hole, The Dominion House tavern. This was a favourite spot for gathering while we were in college, and university and is the oldest continually run tavern in the Windsor - Detroit border region. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Windsor and its weather, I think it's one of the hot spots in Canada. We're talking moist heat, not dry, and the humidity levels are unreal. I'd forgotten just how bad that humidity can be until we stepped outside on Friday afternoon. The temperature was 36 C ( 97 F) with a humidex that made it feel like 46 C (115 F) !
It's difficult to breathe under those conditions. Figure in that the tavern we all met at had only one lone window air conditioner that was trying its best to handle the heat with more than 100 of us inside. You get the picture, we were one hot, sticky bunch of people! Did we care?..... No!!
We had the most fantastic time reacquainting ourselves with one another. The beer flowed freely (yes, we had designated drivers!) and maybe that's another reason why there was only one air conditioner. Thank goodness, there was also an outdoor patio although it wasn't all that much cooler outside.

We all wore name tags and there were lots of us whose eyes dropped to the chest first  to check out the name before we said hello. After all we didn't want to open mouth & insert foot! Thank goodness I wasn't the only one who was much a little larger! A lot more gray hair around too! Some even dared to wear their red blazers, part of our former band uniform. We were known about town as the Travelling Redcoats. During the years 1967 - 1972, the concert band travelled to Expo '67 in Montreal, Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan and in 1972 to Windsor, England to perform at the Windsor Music Festival.

Lots of this going on!

Ray, showing off the signature blazer

Bob and me chatting up fellow band members

After a very late night and now knowing which face went with which name, we all headed home to grab some shuteye before the band practice on Saturday afternoon.

Here it is, Forster Secondary School or Forster Collegiate Institute as it was known when I attended.How many times did I walk up and down those steps?  God only knows! 
Before the band practice took place in the old Music Room we were free to wander the halls of the school, reminiscing. For most of us though, every spare minute of the day was spent in the music room and that's where we all seemed to be drawn to. The practice was to begin at 1:30 and we were all in there, instruments in hand and ready to go shortly after 1:00pm . Now I was a little nervous about all this. After all it had been 37 yrs or more since many of us had taken up our instruments. I have my own flute and have been playing some over the years but not much recently. For those who didn't own their own, instruments were provided with a small rental charge. Our conducter, Ernie Gerenda, travelled all the way from Mexico where he has now retired to be with us for this special occasion.
What a hoot!! As you'll see from the following pictures, laughter was the order of the day. I gotta tell you though, we sounded pretty damn good!! Even Ernie was surprised and said that he figured it would only take a couple more rehearsals and we'd be good to go again.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ernie directing the group

Yours truly on the left, playing my pop bottle!

That's my DH on the left!
My hubbie has gone on to make a career in music as an organist & choir director.

My BIL on the right. He continues to play percussion in a number of jazz groups.

Bob getting ratted out for playing the wrong note. Some things never change!

How you doing with those bifocals fellas?

Thanks, we had a blast!

The practice overwith, we all returned home for a quick catnap before the evening festivities. The organizing committee had arranged a lovely dinner for us. They combined it with an evening of reminiscing through slideshows of pictures from our Japan and England trips along with a video of the afternoon's practice which had been put together so we could hear ourselves. The rest of the evening was spent saying goodbyes and exchanging contact info.

Several of the group from our grad year

My forner highschool sweetheart Peter, myself and Bob sporting the famous redcoat

All of us who attended the same grade school, Prince of Wales

Myself, Ernie, his wife Freda and Bob
Freda was like a den mother to us on the band trips

The weekend was over far too soon. It's not likely to happen again. Sure there will be those of us who still see each other in the coming years but it is unlikely that so many will ever gather again. There were 200 of us at the dinner, coming from as far away as Mexico and Hawaii.
Many have gone on to careers in music either playing or teaching . There are those of us who are doctors, health care workers,teachers, sound recording engineers, land developers, social workers and auto workers . None of us however will ever forget the lessons we learned under Ernie's direction.....  those of teamwork and that hard work and diligence pay off! Thank you to all involved for the remembrance of a lifetime.

Now if you've lasted this long, it's on to some stitching. It's unfortunate but my stitching has taken a backseat lately. Our summer has been a busy one with very little time to myself. Now that our travelling is over with I should be able to get going on some things again. However my sister from Michigan is arriving this Sunday for a visit so I'd better be quick!
Some of what I'm working on is for an exchange so I'm unable to show it at this time. I signed up for the Rotating Designer exchange . This is my first  and I'm looking forward to meeting some new bloggers and stitchers thanks to it.

I've finally found the red floss I've been looking for to use on the Canadian flag on my version of LHN America. I paid a visit to Thread & Eye needlework store on my way home from Windsor. It's a convenient stop right off of the 401 highway in London. There I picked up CC Ribbon Red which is just what I'd been looking for. Now I'm finally getting back to stitching on this piece. I'm still not sure yet what colour the roof of the house will be. I'm trying out blue at the moment.

I've also got an updated picture of LHN Acorn Hill. Not a heck of a lot done since the last photo but like I said, it's been a busy summer.

I want to thank each and every one of your who left concerned comments regarding the train derailment my son was involved in. All is well, he returned home by train once more following the long weekend. Unfortunately the young man who was hit by the train died of his injuries this past Thursday. He was only a year younger than Chris. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to his family in their time of grief.
I also want to apologize for not responding to some of your comments. It seems that while I'm away and using my mobile browser I can receive emails but I'm not always able to send outgoing mail. I'm not quite sure what's with that!
If you've survived this lengthy post, well done! Hope you are enjoying a good week and I'll touch base with you again soon.