Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A quick update

Just a quick update to show my progress on Olga and Breath of Spring. I kind of got sidetracked this week when I went ahead with the start of Psalm 103. So I didn't pull out either of these two stitches until Saturday night. 
First up is Olga.

By the end of this week my cat should finally have a head. I'm glad I went ahead and changed my floss. The colour of the tulip and the quaker motif pops a lot more.

Then there's Breath of Spring.

I'll continue working on this one today until I finish off the second basket. Then I'll switch back to Olga for a bit. 

Does anyone know of any St. Patrick's Day freebies out there that are a quick stitch? I would like to do up some small pillows similar to the Valentine ones I did. 
I have so many ideas in my head right now for new starts. Sometimes I spend so much time obsessing over them and trying to make a decision that I waste a whole afternoon and don't accomplish anything!  I go from computer to stash and then back again.
The Nashville Needlework Market went and put a wrench in my plans because now I suddenly have several other designs added to the mix. I go to sleep thinking about stitching and it's the first thing I think of when I wake. Does it ever end?
Then of course blogging just fuels the fire. I see so many other projects in the works that I'd love to stitch. 
My husband says, "Well then, why don't you just stay away from the blogs?"
Stay away! Is he crazy?!! I can't possibly do that. I've made far too many friends that I love to check in on. Plus I've learned so much from them. If it hadn't been for blogging I wouldn't have learned all the wonderful finishes out there besides framing. He just smiles at me and walks away. I think he thinks I've lost it, lol!

Let's face it, I can't possibly stitch everything that I want to in my lifetime. I wouldn't have enough wall space anyways. So for now I plod along on my WIP..... until the next finish!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A Lenten Stitch

This past Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of the season of Lent. One of the readings at our service was from Psalm 103. As a reminder of my Lenten journey I have started stitching La D Da Psalm 103.

After hearing the psalm read I was sure that I had this piece in my stash. So on Thursday morning I spent some time sorting through my charts until I found it. I'm using DMC and a piece of scrap jubilee left from a previous stitch. This is the first La D Da design I stitch although I have several in my stash. It's stitching up quickly and I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend. I haven't decided yet how to finish finish it. I think I would like to frame it and hang it where I can see it each morning to remind me of the life and love God gave to me in the sacrifice of His only Son.

Wednesday and Thursday were also some of the warmest days we've seen for some time. The remaining ice on our drive melted away as did a good portion of the snow on my front lawn. I welcomed the mild weather as an opportunity to remove my Christmas lights from the bushes and store them away until next year. Good thing I took advantage of the nice day because by Friday we were back to this!

Yup, the lawn's covered once more in a blanket of white. That little taste of spring was too good to be true!  Today the wind is really whipping up all that snow and creating some whiteout conditions on the roads. A good day to stay put and stitch, which is what I pretty well did all day yesterday. I'm hoping this lets up some though this afternoon because I'm getting a little housebound and itching to get out. I want to visit my local fabric shop and look for some spring or Easter fabrics. I have a finish from last year as well as the BBD Breath of Spring that will need fabric for finishing.

Nothing else too exciting going on here. I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend. I'll be back next week with more pics of my WIP.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

February TUSAL

Would you believe it? I left the house this morning at 8:00 am and just returned, a little after midnight! This is the first chance I've had to post my TUSAL for this month. Being it was Shrove Tuesday, I've been at the church all day, preparing, serving and then cleaning up following our annual Pancake Supper. It was a great success! In any case, here's my TUSAL pic for this month. Lots of luscious Valentine reds in my little jar this month. Not as much stitching though because I usually have orts in two of these little jars.  In the morning I will dump these into my main jar and start filling this once more. Maybe with some greens this coming month for St. Paddy's!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Thoughts of Spring

As you can see from my blog, I needed a change. The winter doldrums were settling in quite nicely and I thought a touch of spring was needed. What could be more springlike than tulips and birds?
The past week has been mostly cloudy and gloomy which resulted in next to nothing in the way of stitching. That type of weather doesn't bring out the best in me to say the least! That was until this weekend however, when the sun made its glorious return and two new starts brought my stitching back to life.

In keeping with the spring theme is Blackbird Designs Breath of Spring.

The lovely pastel colours just have that spring feel to them and Easter baskets and bunnies also bring thoughts of spring. I know Lent is just beginning this Wednesday but if I want to have this done in time for Easter, I have to get moving now. I want to finish this one into a small cushion when it's all stitched up.

My next start is Plum Street Samplers Olga. This is such a fun stitch and is moving along fairly quickly considering I just started it on Saturday. 

I've swapped out one of the floss colours because I wanted more of a contrast on the tulip. The original floss was a sort of gold-brown colour but I'm happy with my colour change which I think fits in well with the rest of the design.

I noticed a bit of a flaw in the linen near the top of the alphabet after I'd got started but I have no intention on changing things at this stage. 
Once this is completed, I hope to stitch its companion piece, Boris

I had some stitching frustration earlier in the week which didn't help my mood any. I picked up The Good Shepherd once more and discovered that the DMC conversion of the silks was not a good one. I got ready to stitch the deer and he was going to look more pink than beige. Before I went any further, I started checking out some of the other floss colours and found that there were too many differences from the original colours and that the piece was not going to look anything like what I'd hoped it would. Besides that, I wasn't too happy with the linen I was using. The colour of the fabric was fine but the weave of the linen was just too loose for my taste and it was slowing me down.
Do you get the idea that I was becoming a bit disenchanted with things, lol?!

If I'm going to continue with this stitch then I'm going to have to start from scratch with a new piece of material and use the called for silks. Unfortunately those silks just aren't in the budget right now. There are 27 of them needed to finish this and that's just way out of my price league at the moment. I've removed this one from my WIPocalypse list for now. I really do want to stitch it at some point in time, but it just won't be in my immediate future.

Instead, I'll be replacing it with Country Stitches Birds of a Feather. I added this one to my stash when the designs were first released but didn't have the time then to follow along with they Mystery SAL. My friend Trish spotted this one in my stash and fell in love with it.  I had told her I would stitch something for her as a thank you for the use of her sewing machine for my small finishes. She offered to pay for the floss and fabric so as soon as they arrive I'll get started on this one for her.

The sun is so spectacular today and I'm enjoying its warmth at my windows. I don't know why Clarisse isn't sitting at the windows chasing after all the ladybugs it's brought out of hibernation. Instead she's hiding in here! 

I hope the sun makes its way into your corner of the world. Happy stitching, my friends!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

As you can see from my header pic, I finished off both of my Quaker Valentines over the weekend. I love how they've turned out. With some practise, I'm getting much better at these finishes. The backing fabric is a perfect compliment to the design too.

The Stitcherhood Quaker Valentines
32ct Enchanting Lair One-of-a-Kind
using Belle Soie Sister Scarlet


This morning I got up early to finish off this Valentine for my husband. This is a complimentary design from The Gift Of Stitching magazine. Trying to do finishes of anything other than squares and rectangles is beyond my finishing skills. I'm lousy at trying to fold back the fabric on unusual shapes. Then there's the fact that I can't draw worth beans so I spent a good part of the week looking for a heart template that would suit my needs. I was getting a little discouraged until I paid a visit to our local pharmacy. I dropped by there to pick up some Valentine cards and candies for my granddaughters. I didn't want anything too big since I was planning on sending these through the mail.  Didn't they have the cutest little heart shaped boxes filled with chocolates! As I looked at them a lightbulb came on and I thought they just might be the right size for my finish. I bought one extra box, brought it home and the first thing I did was eat up all those sweet little chocolates!
After all, I needed the box, right? This was a priority! Then I grabbed my stitching and placed it over the box top. A perfect fit!! Rather than do a box finish, I used the box instead to draw my template. Folding my fabric over the mat board shape was a little finicky but not as bad as I was expecting. 
I used some fabric  and trim I had left over from my granddaughter's Christmas ornaments and voila!
One not too shabby Valentine finish, if I do say so myself!
Of course, Bob will love it but I'm also sure he would have loved it just as well if I'd have given him the box of chocolates instead, lol! Perhaps I'll run out later and pick up another one of those little boxes. It's all in the interest of crafting you see. Bob has to work all day today and because he knew he wasn't going to be around he suggested that we spend some time together on his day off on Monday and take a drive to Montebello, Quebec. This is why I find myself working on his Valentine at the last minute.

 Now Montebello is home to a very luxurious hotel and spa getaway which at the moment is out of our price range. So what else is there to do in the area? Visit Parc Omega! Not exactly a romantic getaway but definitely on our list of places we've been meaning to visit.

 Parc Omega is an 1800 acre park containing various landscapes such as forest, meadow, valleys and hills. It's home to a number of wildlife species including many species of deer, some of which, like the fallows and reindeer, have been brought in from Europe. I love deer!
There are some walking trails within the park but for the most part, you drive through the park, observing the animals in their natural habitat, snapping pictures and feeding the various deer who approach your car. Now, if you don't want the animal to stick his/her head into your vehicle in an attempt to take off with all of your carrots, then you only open the window partway and offer the carrot to your friend . This results in much slobbering and licking of your side windows especially when you've run out of carrots and don't dare open the window to avoid a search! Besides the deer, there are numerous wild boars running amuck who also come to your window to investigate. 

See all of that lovely dried slobber on my windows? Gross! Does he remind you a little of Pumbaa from The Lion King?

Wild Boar

They are rather inquisitive animals but not exactly cute!

Here are some more pics from our drive through the park.

Red Deer



Alpine Ibex



Fences are found in some areas to keep the animals from wandering among other species within the park. For the most part this is not like a zoo where the animals are caged but rather an extensive landscape where the animals wander in the habitat that suits them. The following two pics are my favourites from my visit. 

I love how the arctic fox covers his eyes with his tail so as not to be spotted in his habitat. I made a noise so that he would peek out at us.

Wapiti, otherwise known as Elk

Unfortunately we didn't see any of the bear, timber wolves or arctic wolves on  this visit. Of course the bear would be hibernating and the wolves travel in packs throughout the vast park. There are also many species of birds within the park and we did spot this handsome fellow during our drive.

We spent a little more than two hours driving through the vast park. It's much easier to see the animals against the snowy backdrop and without all the summer foliage however I do want to return again especially in the fall. The colours would be phenomenal! I'm sure my granddaughters would love a return visit. This park is only a half hour drive from their grandfather's home and they've visited here a number of times.
On our exit from the park we ran into this group of red deer, whose rear ends look as if they've all sat in a can of beige paint. Such long legs too!

I should have some more stitchy pictures in the next couple of days. I do have another Valentine finish but until the final finishing is done on this one I can't post a pic. It's all part of the contest over at The Primitive Hare. Click on the link on my sidebar to see all the details and join in the fun.

To all of my blogging friends, I wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

February's WIPocalypse

Wow, the last month really flew by, didn't it? The full moon has shown its face again and it's time for February's WIPocalypse. So far, I think I'm not doing too badly. I've managed to finish off three of my WIP, I've completed two ornaments and finished two of the items on my list. My previous post showed pics of the Quaker Valentine finish. I've also started the companion piece to this one, Be Mine. Once again, I'm using the same fabric and floss as the previous finish. It should be finished by the end of the day. I say should because I'm getting very tempted to start something new.

My other finish is BBD Eveline Cunningham which I've renamed Dennis Kearn. Eveline was stitched in memory of the designer's grandmother. I decided to stitch mine in memory of my father because this is a winter sampler and he was born in December as Eveline was. My Dad was a very special man who was taken from us far too early. I know I will smile every time I look at this in fond remembrance.
When I first started stitching the design I hadn't made up my mind how I would personalize it so I stitched it using the charted colours. Once I decided on the memorial to my Dad, I just didn't think the pink flowers would work. As much as I loved the colour, I found some replacement floss in shades of blue to restitch the flowers and stitch in the name. The blue colour isn't as striking but it actually will fit in with our decor better.

A Blackbird Design Bonus chart
stitched in memory of my father
using 32 ct Silkweaver Purely Primitive
using GAST, WDW and CC floss

I want to thank all of you for your sweet comments on our dear Clarisse. What I neglected to mention is that my hubby is really not a cat lover at heart. He would never admit it but he's rather smitten with her too. However he still likes to tease me and offers to send her home with anyone who comes to visit.
No, she is not going anywhere!

I have also passed on your kind comments to my friend Pam regarding her stitched piece. She sent me an email yesterday to say that she was wrong on the designer. It is not a French design but an Italian one, by Renato Parolin. Is anyone out there familiar with this designer at all? The is the first time I hear that name. 
I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I look forward to checking in and seeing all the amazing progress out there. You never disappoint!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Clarisse Update

Recently I had a couple of requests for a Clarisse update. For those of you who are not familiar with her, Clarisse is my furbaby. She is a blue lynxpoint Ragdoll cat who thinks she's a dog, plays fetch, sits up and begs and loves it when company visits.

How can anybody resist that face, you say? It's easy, especially since she's been getting into so much mischief lately. If you look at the picture below, you might see a definite lump in the comforter on our bed.

Now anyone who knows us is aware of the fact that my hubby does not like the idea of pets on or in our bed. Clarisse is very cognizant of this fact however when she thinks I'm not looking, this is what I find.

Shhhh, we won't tell Bob, it's just our secret, okay?
In actual fact, quite often she will visit our bedroom and peek over the edge of the bed to see if Bob is in there with me or not. If he's not, then she figures the coast is clear and hops right up there beside me.  However she is not a very good bed companion because when she figures it's time to get up, she scoots under the sheets and takes a nip at my behind in order to get me moving rather quickly! Not a pleasant way to wake up, I assure you!

Then there's the matter of her mouse.

She prefers this fur mouse which is a new replacement for the old one who over time became bald. She has a strange habit of leaving it in her water bowl as a trophy. I don't know what the significance is unless she figures she drowned him and wants to show off her hunting skills.
Her other trick is to deposit the mouse on our bed in the middle of the night, knowing that if I feel it on my face I'll pitch it at which point she gladly runs after it and returns, wanting to play the game again. Not something that I appreciate at 4:00 am! Of course, this only takes place when Bob is staying overnight in Ottawa and she knows she has free rein in the bedroom.

Yesterday afternoon my friend Pam dropped by for a visit. Clarisse loves it when she stops by because Pam and her husband operate a dairy farm and have a number of animals of their own in the house. Clarisse loves to stick her nose in Pam's purse and other belongings, checking out all the other animal smells that only a furbaby can detect. On this particular visit, I was stitching and Pam was knitting as we sat and talked. Here's what happened next.

Who, me? I didn't touch a single thing!

I love how she squints whenever I take out the camera. You see, she's anticipating the flash. I've found it's much easier to take pics of her in daylight without the flash so that I don't get that red eyed look.

Pam and I did manage to get some of our knitting and stitching done during our visit and as well, she brought over her latest stitchy finish for me to check out.

It's stitched on 14ct Aida and unfortunately Pam didn't have the name of the designer with her although she was pretty sure it was one of the French designers. Does anyone recognize this piece? 
I think she did an awesome job and it will look lovely on her wall next Christmas.

That's about all I have for you at the moment.  I should have some updates on my stitching at the full moon this Tuesday for WIPocalypse. I'll leave you with one last pic of Clarisse. We've been cleaning out some of our rooms and getting rid of any items we're no longer using. We left an old TV stand in our entranceway to take to the rummage sale at our church. Clarisse thought we'd left it there for her benefit since it's her favourite spot to sit in the entrance and wait for our return.

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon! Siesta anyone?

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Valentine Finish

The Stitcherhood Valentine Quaker
32ct Enchanting Lair One-of-a-Kind
using Belle Soie Sister Scarlett

I got a little sidetracked this week when I spotted this wonderful design on The Stitcherhood website. I knew that I had the perfect fabric for this in my stash. I purchased this wonderful piece of fabric from Laura at Enchanting Lair.
Laura is responsible for organizing our local stitching retreat and although I haven't been for a few years I was lucky enough to reap some of the benefits when some of Laura's fabric made an appearance at our Tuesday stitching group.  This particular one belongs to her One-of-a-Kind fabrics and I absolutely love the mottling in this piece. I still have a fair bit left for some other stitches. Then I was searching for a floss in my stash when I came across this Belle Soie. I knew that it would match the fabric I had in mind for the finishing.I will be finishing this into a small pillow but I would like to stitch the companion piece Be Mine first.
Here are a few more pics of the finish.

I haven't been stitching on anything else other than this the past few days. I did, however, manage to chart out my Dad's name and date of birth for the Eveline Cunningham design. I'll be putting that one back on the frame today for some one on one before I get back to my Valentine Quaker.

Monday evening I met with my friend Trish to see a movie and before the evening ended I left her with several patterns to browse through. I told her I would stitch her something as a thank you for letting me use her sewing machine this past year on all my pillow finishes. She returned them to me on Wednesday and has given me several to pick from. That way it will still be somewhat of a surprise in that she won't know which design I'm stitching but I know it will be something she really likes. Now I have to sort through my stash and see what supplies I have available.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I really enjoy hearing from you and  as a result of WIPocolypse I've met some lovely new stitching bloggers. I'm trying to make a point of visiting each of your blogs. My Google Reader is really piling up though as a result so I'm slowly trying to catch up.
I hope you all have a great weekend and you are able to put in a stitch or two!