Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope your treats are plenteous and your tricks are few! A stitchy update to follow tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Christmas start, TUSAL and Crumpets

Christmas is fast approaching, at least in terms of stitching it is! Having completed my Halloween Quaker I gave myself permission for a new start. Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler is one that I've had my eye on for some time now. I have several of the Shakespeare's Peddler designs in my stash but this is the first that I've pulled to try. I'm stitching it on LL Magnolia and I'm really loving this fabric! Lots of lovely coloured floss too! I'll be packing this one up for my stitching this afternoon.

The new moon is upon us once more and with that comes TUSAL.
My little ort jars were pretty full this month. Lots of blacks, browns, rusts and golds from Halloween Quaker and Acorn Hill. My large jar appears to be just the perfect size to hold my annual orts. When I stopped by my girlfriend's place the other night she had the same jar but it was filled with potpourri. If you remember, this jar has holes on top of the cap so it's the perfect jar for scenting a room in this way plus it showed off the dried berries perfectly.

Last night's weekly stitch was filled with fun. Many of the ladies had just returned from the Fall Retreat in Gananoque. Unfortunately I was not one of them since it's just not in the budget. The retreats are now being run by Laura of Enchanting Lair designs. Laura hand dyes fabric and she brought a selection of her fabs to retreat. Following retreat the fabrics were sent along with a member of our stitching group for those of us who couldn't make the retreat.
Okay so you all know what happens when there is a table full of fabric and a room full of stitchers! Lots of ooohs, aaahs and major fondling going on!  I had hoped to pick up some more 32 ct for my stash but it all sold at the retreat so I came home with these two pieces of 28ct.

The one on the left is a lugana and the one on the right is a linen. I had a terrible time taking photos of these though. The linen is one of her new colours called Spydermyst. You can't see it from this pic but it has a very subtle mottling throughout it. I already have a project in mind for this one.

 The lugana fabric is oh so yummy! Isn't this a wonderful piece of fabric! That mottling is like a soft copper colour and I snapped this piece up as soon as I saw it. It's called Smouldering Skies. It would work great for an autumn or Halloween stitch I think.

On the lighter side, I've discovered crumpets! I haven't mentioned it here yet but I've been trying to shed some pounds. I have an athritic hip and haven't been able to exercise much. Combine that with my high blood pressure and it's time to drop some weight. My biggest downfall are breads. Actually carbs in general but breads just seem to call my name! We've replaced our bread with the Weight Watchers version but it just doesn't seem the same for my morning toast.
Yesterday I paid a trip to our local grocer and discovered these little goodies on the shelves.

Okay so I'd heard of crumpets but I never really knew what they were. Turns out, this particular brand has 0 gms of fat and a very low carb count. Hmmm, how would they taste toasted? I dropped the package into the cart and headed home with them. This morning was the true test. I love them! The bottom looks almost like a pancake and the spongy surface soaks up my reduced calorie jelly, filling the whole crumpet with flavour. Along with my shredded wheat it is keeping the hunger pangs away quite nicely. Who knew!!

I hope you all have the time to fit in at least a few stitches this week and welcome to my new followers!

Monday, 24 October 2011

A finish of sorts and a flood

LHN Acorn Hill
stitched on 28ct Lakeside Linen Buttercream
using Crescent Colour floss
                                                                       While Acorn Hill may look finished, it's actually missing an inner border. The second border looks just like the one at the top of the house and runs around the inside of the outer brown one. I ran out of floss to stitch this with and it should be arriving any day now. I realized about two weeks ago that I would probably run short so I paid a little visit to my ONS to order another skein. Of course I couldn't stop at just that! I threw in a chart as well, one of the new fall releases by With Thy Needle & Thread. Hopefully they'll make an appearance in my mailbox shortly.
After all the colour trouble I had with this one it turned out not too badly at all.

I'm having colour issues again but this time it's with BBD Trix or Treat. One of the required flosses is a blue-black shade however my skein is pretty much all black so there will be no variation between the crow and his hat. I've put this one aside for now. I was never really happy with the fabric and since I haven't got very far with it, I'm thinking I just might restart the whole thing. I'm wanting to get going on some Christmas stitching so this will get put on the back burner for now until I decide where I'm going with it.

Other than this, I haven't got any other stitching done.Here's where the flood comes in! Late last week Bob and I arrived home to find that our hot water tank had given up the ghost and in the process leaked all its contents on the basement floor. Our basement is a finished one and fortunately the damage could have been much worse. The water ran behind the tank into the next room which is a storage room with a cement floor. However from there it ran out into the hall and soaked the carpeting along the entire length of the hallway and into the spare bedroom. The carpeting was ruined and the drywall soaked up a good portion of the water. It's hard to see in this picture but the darker area is the wet portion of the carpeting. When you stepped on it the water came up and covered your shoes!

 We have replacement coverage for the tank since it's a rental and the gas company was quick to show up with the new tank the next morning. A call to the insurance company has resulted in our wet carpeting being cut up and removed along with the wet drywall and then heavy duty blowers being brought in to dry out the remaining wall and floors. They have assured me that they will replace the entire carpet in the rec room not just the hallway and a fellow from the carpet store is coming out this week to bring samples for me to choose from. Of course new drywall has to installed too. It's the thought of moving everything when they replace the carpet that finally got us geared up to do a major cleaning downstairs the past few days. Our rec room is around 1100 sq feet and besides the furnishings, a good portion of the floor space is covered by boxes and file cabinets. What do they contain? Music, music and more music!! Every available surface down there has sheet music on it. I kid you not! It happens when you marry an organist/choir director!
Since all those furnishings have to be moved, the mess on them has to be cleaned off and all the extra boxes removed. While the new carpeting is being laid, all the furniture will be sitting out in the garage (including my stitching chair and lamp). I haven't got a clue how'll they fit it all in there! We've managed to clean up most of the main room but still have to get everything filed away in the spare bedroom which also serves as Bob's office. This room will also get new carpeting.
So it looks like we'll be living in a bit of a mess for the next couple of weeks. The thought of the drywall dust alone scares the heck out of me. That stuff gets everywhere! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My first exchange has arrived!

Prairie Schooler 1994 Prairie Fairie

This year I decided that I would take the leap and participate in my first exchange since I have a lot more time to stitch now that I'm retired. Angela of Hooked on Stitches offered to organize a Designer Exchange where a different designer would be picked for each exchange. Unfortunately the exchange has fallen apart due to another incident which I know many of you are aware of and this will be the only exchange taking place rather than the four planned ones.

My exchange arrived in yesterday's mail. Our designer that was chosen for this exchange was Prairie Schooler. Gracie has sent me the most adorable flatfold! This is one of the Prairie Schooler Prairie Fairies which were released as promotional cards. It's the perfect stitch for autumn and Gracie has finished it with a lovely sunflower (or are those daisies?) fabric for the backing. I'm so thrilled and can't thank her enough! It is proudly displayed in my livingroom with all my autumn decor. My exchange hasn't reached my partner yet so that pic will have to wait. I really enjoyed participating in this and I'm so sorry that a very unfortunate set of circumstances have forced things to come to a premature end. I'm not sure if I will participate in another because of what's happened. I'll have to think on it.

LHN Acorn Hill
 I was determined to get moving on my Acorn Hill and fix all the things that were bothering me about it. So yesterday afternoon I frogged out the pumpkins for the second time along with all the leaves on the vines and started fresh. This time I used WDW Carrot and it has really worked out well. The pumpkins have more varied colour and the colour fits the design a lot better. I then went ahead and restitched the leaves to match the grass. I'm really happy with how things look now and I'm forging ahead with the rest of the design today.

The postman also brought me another surprise besides my exchange. Nancy of the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe had a giveaway in September to share some of her new dyed trims with her blogging friends. I was lucky enough to have my name picked and my assortment arrived yesterday. Look at these wonderful trims! I just love her chenille and I'm planning on using some to finish off some pillows this weekend. Besides the chenille, the giveaway included hand dyed ric rac, cotton twill tape and even hand dyed buttons! Thanks so much Nancy, I will definitely putting these to good use. If you haven't checked out her shop, follow the link and have a peek. In her sidebar is a link to her ebay shop. She also has some wonderful hand dyed lace trims.

The other pleasant surprise I received yesterday came from Becky. Last year Becky had a pumpkin challenge on her blog of which I was the lucky winner. My winnings were put on hold because of some personal tragedies which hit Becky and her family and forced her to quit blogging for some months. Becky is now back and contacted me this week to say that there was a GC to 123 Stitch waiting for me at their site. Thank you Becky!! This was worth the wait particularily because now that I'm retired I have less spending money available than I did when I worked. I already have an extensive wish list at 123 and now I just have to decide what to choose for my winnings.

After such a wonderful day my mood has improved significantly and my stitching mojo is in full force. Off to grab lunch before my Wednesday afternoon stitching date! Keep on stitching!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Out of sorts

Out of sorts is exactly how I was feeling most of the past weekend. I can't say that I felt ill. It's more like I don't have a lot of energy and can't seem to settle on any one thing. Unfortunately this is what I was experiencing on my weekend visit to Rebecca's. I was so glad to be able to join with some of my stitching friends but once there I'm afraid I didn't seem to get anywhere with my stitching. Perhaps it was the weather.... overcast, cold, rainy and really windy. Yeah, that sounds good, let's blame it on the weather even if I know better! In any case, I started out working on Gobble only to find out that my border wasn't lining up. Okay let's switch to BBD Tricks or Treats. We haven't seen that one for awhile and it looks like you won't see it anytime soon either! Despite the fact that I had a stitching lamp beside me, I just couldn't seem to see the linen well and progress was painstakingly slow.  I have decided that I definitely don't enjoy stitching on R & R linen and will stick to something else from now on.
That only left LHN Acorn Hill. I wasn't too enthused with this one either but it was that or nothing and a wasted day. So I stuck it out. My pitiful progress was actually only the grass in front of the house. It's stitched on the diagonal. The rest of the stitching I completed at home last night. This is the second time I've stitched the pumpkins and I'm still not happy with them.
I didn't use the called for Belle Soie silks but instead went with the conversions for the CC cottons. The pumpkins are to be done with CC Copper Penny. If you look at my previous pic below you'll see that they're more peach than pumpkin.

I didn't want to have to order the silk so I dug through my stash and found this orange silk by Silk n Colours. Okay so now they're the right colour however the picture doesn't show that it's more of a neon orange. Not the look that I wanted! I still have WDW Carrot and Pumpkin in my stash as well as some GAST Bittersweet. I'm going to give the carrot a try before I break down and order the original silk called for.

Then there's the issue of the leaves and the grass. The conversion to the cottons called for either CC Eve's Leaves or Weeping Willow. The leaves have been stitched with Eve's Leaves since I had already had some of that. However, that's when I found that the floss didn't have enough variation to stitch the grass. So I ordered the Weeping Willow and waited until it arrived before tackling the grass. It's a darker shade of green so now I'm thinking I should frog the leaves and restitch them using it as well. Any thoughts or suggestions? Oh yeah, gotta restitch those tiny little flowers also to match the pumpkins. Might as well have started from scratch!
I am not having a good time with this one! Might be Christmas before I get it finished.

Despite my stitching woes I did enjoy my time with the ladies. I only stayed the day because of commitments on Sunday but it's always good to see them and get peeks at what they're working on. Take a look!

Christin, hiding behind her PS Alphabet block

Rebecca, with her Sepia Baby

Tracey, giving evenweave a try

Tracey is a new member of our group. She is a coworker of Dani's and is just starting to get back into stitching. Before her go at evenweave, she was stitching on a lovely design of Labrador Retrievers.

Rebecca's Mom, Sylvia

I wish I'd thought to take a picture of Sylvia's stitching. She was working on the cutest baby sampler, a kit which she'd picked up for only 8 or 10 dollars, I can't remember which.

Bonnie, all comfy in her spot
Bonnie was working on the cutest scarecrow for her Mom. Follow the link to her blog and you'll see her finish.

Dani, stitching her PS Alphabet block

Both Dani and Christin were working on PS Alphabet blocks to be used in their friend Nan's quilt. They too had finishes on their blocks as did Rebecca with her baby stitch.
Earlier in the day Beth had joined us and Trista was there on the Friday evening and was expected to return on the Sunday. Both Kathy and Beatrice had previous commitments so we were unable to catch up with them.

Thank you so much Rebecca for opening your home to us! The company as well as the food (who can forget the food!) were wonderful.
I'm hoping my mood improves as the week unfolds and I can get back on track with some of my projects. In the meantime I have a few pillows to stuff and stitch closed from previous finishes.
Keep those xs crossed!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Halloween Quaker

Quaker d'Halloween by Jardin Prive
stitched on 28ct linen Kauri by Kiwi Illusions
using DMC floss
I finished up my Halloween Quaker on Wednesday afternoon during my get together with my local group of crafters. There were only four of us out and we did a little happy dance to celebrate. I love how this piece looks on this fabric! This photo is the closest that I've come to capturing the actual looks of the fabric. I will be having this one framed for sure, maybe with a distressed black frame. I'll have to see how it looks but I think that might work.

 Now I've given myself permission to start something new. I thought I might get going on Paradis Perdu but with Christmas not all that far off  I'm in the mood for a holiday stitch. I'm just doing a toss floss for Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler by Shakespeare's Peddler. I've narrowed it down to two fabrics from my stash. I'm trying very hard to use up what's in my stash, at least until after Christmas.

I've been baking and cooking up a storm the past few days. I'm headed to Rebecca's tomorrow to spend the day stitching with our group of travelling stitchers. I originally planned on driving there tonight but I haven't been sleeping all that well lately and I thought it better to sleep in my own bed tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and in preparation I baked some Skor blondies and made a roasted vegetable dip. Then I found out that my DH and I are on for the coffee hour after church on Sunday so that meant baking some more goodies. So it's been rather warm in our kitchen!  Between Bob and myself we've baked two fruit loaves, three pans of squares and roasted the veggies for the dip. Bob is known for his banana bread and I thought I'd try and outdo him with this cranberry pumpkin loaf. I'll let you know who wins the bakeoff!
Thanks for all your comments on our Thanksgiving turkey dish. I've had a few requests for the recipe and if anyone else wants it, just email me and I'll send you a copy.

Time to pack my stitching bag for tomorrow. I hope to have a few pics from our SAL to show you on my next post. The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy for our day. Perfect for spending the day inside with our needles!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Family, Fall and a Halloween Quaker

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and for my Canadian bloggers, how was that turkey? Yes, it was Gobble Day here yesterday in Canada and boy were we blessed with an awesome weekend, at least in this part of the country. Let me show you a taste of the bright skies and gorgeous fall colours which we are so fortunate to have in this area.

I didn't realize I had the guy wires captured on film as well in that first photo. Kind of spoils things a bit.
Since our weather has been so gorgeous the past few days, I spent many hours in the gazebo stitching. I decided to concentrate on my Halloween Quaker and I'm happy to say that I'm nearing a finish on this one. I haven't got a clue yet what I'll do with it when it's complete. Most likely it will be framed and I'll hang it in our rec room. I really like the colour of this fabric unfortunately the mottling doesn't show up very well in the pics. At some point in time I'd like to stitch Prairie Moon's Thine is the Trick and the Treat which is waiting in my stash and this fabric would work really well for it as well.

The floss I was waiting on for Paradis Perdu has now arrived and I'm anxious to get going on it so hopefully I can have the HQ finished within the next couple of days.

Our Thanksgiving meal turned out really well. I tried 3 new side dishes and the cauliflower casserole was the unanimous favourite. It seems our family just isn't that fond of sweet potatoes with the exception of my oldest, Jeff. So he went home with the bulk of the remaining dish along with a good portion of the remaining pumpkin pie. I didn't want that sitting around where I could dig into it all the time. Daniel took the other half home with him. The crockpot turkey was amazing. No slicing involved, the turkey just fell off the bones when we went to remove it from the pot. The meat was so moist done this way that I will definitely be using this method again. It's a perfect way to have turkey throughout the year without all the fuss of stuffing the bird. As you can see from the pic below, we all looked pretty pleased as we sipped on coffee following the fixings. My youngest phoned from Toronto and I was happy to hear that his group of friends had all pitched in to have a traditional turkey dinner. Chris and a couple of the others are  vegetarian so there were 4 different veggie dishes for them. I was really surprised at how much food they all prepared especially since most of the group are males.

The weatherman has told us that today will be the last nice day for awhile. Cooler temps and rain are on our doorstep. With that in mind, I'm heading outside now to get my gardens cleaned up and remove some of the dying flowers.
Have a great week!

Monday, 10 October 2011


Glorious sun and warmth, fall colours, the love of family, friends - both old and new, music, apple crisp and pumpkin pie,  a bountiful turkey dinner, pumpkin chai tea, good health, retirement, my stitching........ these are some of the many things I have been blessed with on this beautiful Thanksgiving morn. I hope that all of my Canadian friends and family enjoy their Thanksgiving Day and take time to reflect upon how lucky we are to reside in a country as bountiful as Canada.
Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A new group

I was fortunate enough this week to be invited to join a new group which has formed in our village. I had run into one of the ladies earlier in the month at a church supper. When she found out that I was now retired she inquired as to whether I would be interested in joining a group of local quilters on Wednesday evenings. You don't have to quilt, she told me. Just bring your stitching and join the group. Well before I could make it to the first night, the group evolved into something a little different. We have decided to meet on Wed. afternoons now and you are welcome to bring any craft of any kind with you to work on. We are meeting at our new church in town, called The Gathering House . This church has formed a community cafe where groups can meet and it's absolutely fantastic! The setting is a cafe atmosphere, complete with tables, comfy sofas and a gas fireplace! They were very accomodating and set up several tables for us. It's a wonderful place to gather and our hope is that the group will learn from each other. Anyone learning to knit can receive advice or if someone wants to learn cross stitching, I can give them some tutoring. I was pleased to see the mom of one of my youngest son's childhood friends is part of the group. I hadn't seen her in years! Several of the ladies said they would be glad to help me with my ladder stitch and blanket stitching. I think that this gathering will be a fabulous learning experience for all or us as well as a chance to form new friendships.

As  you can see, I took along my Jardin Prive Halloween Quaker and put some quality time in on it. I also stitched on this last night at the Tuesday group. I had grown a little tired of stitching on Gobble and wanted a bit of a change. I think I'll stick with the HQ for the next couple of nights and then pick up Gobble again on the weekend.
I also picked up LHN Acorn Hill but ended up sharing some time with the frogs. The progress I had made on it yesterday ended up coming out along with some previous stitches so no pics. I finally put it away in disgust. For some reason this piece has given me nothing but trouble and I can't figure out why. It's not like it's difficult!

Boo Tree freebie by Rose Krizan

Yesterday morning I was in the mood to do some finishing so I pulled out one of my previous stitches, Boo Tree. He was supposed to be a pinkeep but I forgot to put in my pins before the glue set on the trim so it will remain as is. I'm not happy with the fact that I didn't get it straight from top to bottom but seeing as it's only for me I can live with it. I do love the backing fabric on this one. I think I found it on ebay and it's such a cool Halloween print. I also took a picture of the trim I used since you can't see it all that well in these pictures. It's a fuzzy orange trim which I stumbled across at the dollar store.

Don't you just love the little witch standing beside my Boo Tree?

I like to call her Wanda and she  is a new addition to my Halloween decor.

I've also included a closer picture of her below. I just love the face on her!

I want to take this time to also welcome any new followers of my blog. I love getting to know other stitchers out there and I always appreciate it when you take the time to drop by and comment.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Turkey Talk

Plum Street Samplers Gobble

As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches this coming weekend my thoughts seem to be centered on turkeys. This little fellow, or Tom as I like to call him, has occupied some of my time this week. I wish that I had time to complete this before our holiday but that's unlikely. I'm just not that quick of a stitcher. So should I tack him up somewhere as is for now and complete him after the holiday or should I just forge ahead and forget about displaying him this year? He's a pretty fine looking fellow if I do say so!

My other thoughts have been centered on whether or not to cook turkey this Thanksgiving. I always have in the past and then repeat the same meal again at Christmas. After all, turkey is a pretty easy meal to cook. It's the side dishes that take so much time. This is the first major holiday where I'm no longer working and have more time to prepare the meal. Should I alter the mix, or leave things as status quo?
 My oldest son is bringing home a young woman with him with whom he has been spending a lot of time lately. For those of you who may not know, he has been separated from his partner for almost a year now. We were not unhappy with the split since the relationship was never a great one from the start and we are thrilled that he has found someone to share things with. As parents we never stop worrying about our children no matter their age!
Jeff told me that she is a good cook so is that why I suddenly want to changes things up? In any case I'm ready for a change. I have found a recipe for cooking turkey breast in the crockpot with wine, apple, carrot, celery and a whole host of herbs. It sounds absolutely divine and works really well for me since we are at church for most of the morning which limits my preparation time. I can prepare most of this the night before and just plug in the pot before I leave the next morning. It's still turkey but not quite the same as our usual roast with stuffing. It also suits my needs since I recently started Weight Watchers and it's a much more healthy alternative to all that gravy and stuffing. As for the pumpkin pie, I'm replacing it with apple crisp and some pumpkin pie squares which are made with oats.

Lately I've spotted an increase in the amount of these wild turkeys showing up in our area fields.
I used to spot the odd one or two and maybe a small group of four but their numbers seem to be increasing . Yesterday I spotted a field with close to twenty of them. I'd watch out fellas if I were you! Has anyone ever tried cooking wild turkey? I'm sure the taste is far different from our store bought versions.

I also want to share with you the lovely exchange gift which I received from Lynn last week. I have long admired Lynn's work. Her finishes are superb and when she announced another giveaway I jumped at the chance to win some of her lovely work. I was thrilled to bits when she posted that I had won her Paris giveaway. Look at the lovelies that I received!!

Paris pillow(with crystal accents), cupcake needlebook, cupcake pin, strawberry fobs
Front view of the needlebook

Closure with a Swarovski crystal

Handmade pins

Isn't everything fantastic!! Seen in person, Lynn's finishing skills are even more impressive.  Both the pin and the fobs are accented with beading and the pillow and needlebook with crystals. I can only imagine the amount of time she put into this finishing. Thank you so very much Lynn for sharing some of your talent with me. I love it!!
It seems my dear stitching friend Kathy is also an admirer of Lynn's talents and has been entering her giveaways for some time with no success. She has been teasing me and threatening to spirit away my winnings the next time she visits. I may just have to hide these pretties, lol!

I'll leave you with a recent pic of my granddaughters enjoying one of my favourite fruits of the season,hand-picked! I hope all the recent cool temperatures spur you on to even more stitching.