Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Of Gardens, Giveaways and Samplers

On the return from my recent visit to Windsor I stopped off to visit my cousin Sheryl. She is also an avid cross stitcher and had been telling me of a family sampler on her mum's side of the family dating back to the 1800s. This sampler now resides with Sheryl's older sister and she promised to email me some pics of the sampler. This week I received the pictures and what a beauty it is!

Very little is known about the sampler other than it is a direct relative who stitched it and the first of a long line of females named Jane. The sampler appears to be in fairly good shape although it looks like some of the stitches are deteriorating on the second basket and around some of the flowers. The reds are still pretty vibrant  and I just love the border!  The verse is interesting too. I'm not sure what's responsible for the silhouettes or outlines around the lettering. It's almost as if the dark floss was carried over between letters. At some point in time the sampler was framed beneath glass. I could be wrong but I don't think that was done originally.
Did you notice my cousin's kitty Cleo admiring the sampler too?
Once again I'm struck by what lovely stitching was done by these young girls. The sampler was stitched by a relative on my cousin's maternal side and I'm related on the paternal side so this young stitcher is in no way related to me.

The mailman also brought the last of my giveaway wins. I know, I know. It takes forever for anything to get to us here in Canada! Canada Post is not known for its speed!
You will recall that a couple of weeks ago I received BBD For My Friend from Melissa

This was followed on Tuesday by the arrival of my DVD win from Edgar.

I can hardly wait until I get some time to myself and can sit for a spell to watch these. Besides the DVDs, Edgar threw in a package of sweets which are one of my absolute favourites -  SweetTart chews. I have always loved the original SweetTarts but have not seen this version yet here in Canada. How did you ever know Edgar that I'm hooked on these candies? Thank you so much for the wonderful giveaway. What a great idea it was!

Finally, today's mail brought the arrival of 2 new designs from By The Bay Needleart which I won from Donna upon their release.

I adore both of these new designs and don't know which one I want to stitch first! The Funky Bird is the first in a new series of Donna's and I just know I'm going to want more of them!

A big thank you to all of you for these fabulous givings!! I know I'll pass many pleasant hours as a result of all of them.

My Magic Garden Sampler continues to progress although my stitching time has been somewhat limited. I forgot just how many appointments I had scheduled this week!

I don't know if you can tell from the picture or not but I've already had a small visit from the frogs. I stitched the interior of the butterfly on the left in the wrong colour. Don't know what I was thinking! In any case, the frogging is complete and I can continue on my merry way now. I'm having a lot of fun with this stitch and haven't picked up anything else this week.

Speaking of gardens, here are some pics from mine. Due to my difficulties in gardening lately, I'm putting in more and more perennials. 
I love columbine and this one is a favourite.

My irises were a gift from a co-worker who was thinning out her own garden.

My latest addition is called Jethro Tull Tickseed, so named because of its fluted petals. I thought it only fitting since I'm a flute player myself.

I've added lots of hanging baskets to the yard to make up for my lack of annuals in the yard this year. Here is one of my favourites of the bunch. It's made up of double million bells in a gorgeous shade of red complimented with white bacopa. I love the blooms on this one!

On a final note, Happy Birthday wishes go out to my youngest son Chris who turns 24 today! We are heading to Toronto on Friday morning to move him back to Ottawa. It will be so great to have him back in the area again. Hope you had a great day Chris!

Friday, 25 May 2012

My latest TUSAL

Here's a photo of my latest TUSAL. I'm a little late because I've been away visiting family the past week. There seem to be more orts than last month at this time. Lots of pretty spring colours too. Most of these are a result of my Peace Inside finish and my Birds of a Feather finish. I thought it was only fitting to take the picture with my bird of Hope since there are so many Cancer Society Relay for Life walks taking place here in Canada at this time. 

My trip this past week was a busy one and there was very little time for stitching. The only time I picked up a needle was in the car on our journey there and back. I have two new starts though that I can show you. The first is Maissonnette aux Fraises which is designed by Cathy Roy.

This is a really sweet design and just perfect for the upcoming strawberry season.

My second start was  Shakespeare's Peddler Magic Garden Sampler. When I got started on this one I discovered that my floss list was missing two symbols and their corresponding floss. A quick email to Theresa solved the issue. It seems that I have one of the early releases of the pattern which was later re-released with the corrections. I know that I'm really going to enjoy stitching this one!
Here's my progress so far.

One of the reasons for our trip home was to attend our highschool reunion. This is the 90th anniversary of the school and my DH and I really felt we should attend because there is talk that the school may be closed in the next couple of years. We had seen many of our friends last year at the band reunion but this time my sisters and Bob's brother were also involved which made it all the more fun.
Here's a photo of me with my younger sister Laurie, enjoying the Saturday night dance. I think she looks fantastic, having lost 80 lbs over the course of the past two years! Way to go Laurie!

I was disappointed that we didn't manage to get a picture of all three sisters together. Lana didn't attend the dinner dance and on the Friday evening her decade was partying in a different location.What the reunion committee did was to arrange the closure of one of the streets near our school where many of the local hangouts are located. Each pub was host to a different decade from pre 1950s to the 2000s and because the street was closed to traffic you could wander back and forth between locations if you wished. All the street lamps on the street had either red or white bulbs to reflect our school colours. 
On Saturday the school was open for touring along with various activities such as a basketball game against one of our rival schools who were also celebrating their anniversary. A dinner dance completed the day. 
During the tour of the school I discovered this picture of the Hockey Team from 1948. I was thrilled to spot my Dad in the picture, second from the right in the top row. I knew he had played basketball but I had no idea he had been on the hockey team! My Mom is also a graduate of the school but was not well enough to attend the reunion.

We had a fabulous time and I'm so glad we made the trip. The rest of our time was spent visiting family and friends before we headed home on Thursday. With any luck I'll be putting needle to fabric this evening after cleaning up here at home. We're hosting a potluck with one of my hubby's choirs here on Sunday so there's lots to get done. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend especially my American bloggers who are celebrating their Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mother's Day, A finish and giveaways galore!

I hope that all of the mothers out there in blogland had a most enjoyable Mother's Day. Our day turned out to be absolutely glorious with sunny skies and warm temps. My youngest son, Chris, returned home unexpectedly for a job interview so he treated me to a lovely lunch on Sunday at my favourite bagel & deli haunt. Chris' girlfriend and my son Daniel also joined Bob and me. Only Jeff was unable to join us, having visited two weeks ago.

We had a great time catching up. It looks like Chris will have a job waiting for him when he returns to the area on June 1st. It may be only part time for the summer but they expect to have a full time position for him by September. Following our afternoon, Daniel accompanied us back home and spent the day on Monday helping me weed the gardens and lay mulch. Thanks so much Dan! It was a fantastic Mother's Day gift since my hip is not cooperating these days and I wasn't sure just how I was going to get things done.

The lovely weather continues and I was able to plant my containers on the patio. However, prior to my gardening, I had another stitching finish. Early this morning I put in the final stitches on Peace Inside. 

The design called for my initials but there was a gap just above the left side of the house that I filled in with the year of completion as well. This was a delight to work on and only reinforced my love of Midsummer Night Designs. This won't be my last one by any means!

Luck has been running with me in the past couple of weeks since I've been the winner of three separate giveaways! One of my winnings has arrived (BBD Friends booklet) which was a giveaway from Melissa . However I've also been fortunate enough to win two of Donna's latest chart releases. One of these is the start of a whole new series called Birds of a Funky Feather. Love them! Click on Donna's link to drop by at By The Bay Needleart and have a peek. Then this week Edgar emailed me to let me know I'd won a set of Musicals DVDs. How lucky can a girl get? Thank you so much to all my generous blogging friends for hosting these giveaways. Since I just finished celebrating my birthday last Friday, it has been almost like a continuation of the celebration! I'll post pics when all the items have arrived. 

Speaking of my birthday, my DH surprised me with a Brother sewing machine especially for novices. Let the fun begin!! I've only seen pictures because it's on order and we've asked them to hold off shipment until we return from a trip home for our high school reunion. During my absence I won't have a lot of time for blogging. As it is, I need to apologize for my lack of comments lately. Spring cleaning, family matters and getting the yards cleaned up has been taking up a good portion of my time. I've still been checking in to read blogs but I haven't had the time to leave comments. I'm hoping things will settle down mid June. I'll be celebrating 6 yrs of blogging then and I think it's time for me to have a giveaway. Six years of blogging, nearly 300 posts and almost 200 followers! Wow! Time to start planning!  

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

WIPocalypse update

I was so close to a finish on the full moon that I decided to delay my WIPocalypse update until I'd completed the stitching. 

Feather Your Nest
by With Thy Needle & Thread
stitched on 32ct LL Magnolia
using DMC

Feather Your Nest was a delight to stitch! It's pouring rain here today and as I look at my latest finish I'm reminded of a children's song by Raffi. I can't remember the title but I remember some of the words. "Robin in the rain, what a saucy fellow. Robin in the rain, mind your socks of yellow." What a saucy robin indeed!

With the arrival of my floss order, I spent some quality time with Peace Inside. This design has such pretty colours and I was sailing right along until I discovered an error. When I started stitches the small motif of vines at the top of the house they weren't matching up as expected. I still haven't found out where my mistake is. I've patched things for now but I'll stay away from this area until I can figure things out. I was just too tired last night to spend anymore time with it.

My next big project is for a friend. I'm sure many of you will remember With Thy Needle & Thread Mystery SAL, Birds of a Feather. Do I sense a theme here, lol?  I'm stitching this one for my friend Trish . She has been so generous with her time in helping me sew my stitches into pillows. I asked if there was anything I could stitch for her and this was her request. This will be the first time I stitch on anything higher than a 32ct though. The charted fabric is 35ct so I will really need the use of my magnifier for this one. I figure it might be a little slower going at first too until I'm used to the count.
This one won't be travelling with me so I'm off to check out my stash for something that I can take to my Tuesday group, in the car, etc.

I 'll leave you with a short video of a saucy little fellow who stopped by to clean himself up and dry out his feathers at the tree outside my front window. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

That's a Robust Robin!

That was my husband's comment when he saw my recent progress on Feather Your Nest. I ended up working on nothing but this on the weekend during what little time I had to stitch. Not much left now!
My stitching time was curtailed due to the arrival of my favourite little girls, Oceanne & Summer!

Their Dad drove them down for a very short weekend visit with Grandma and to celebrate Oceanne's recent birthday. We had hoped they would arrive on Friday since it was a professional development day at school but their Mom had enrolled them in an activity day instead and I didn't want them to miss that. So our time together was short but sweet! As you can see by the winter jackets, our weather was cool but the girls had a blast and by the end of the day they weren't tired out but their Uncle Dan sure was! He spent most of the afternoon outdoors with them, blowing bubbles and playing hide and seek. Here's one of my favourite pics of the day.

This one's for you Sharon - They're playing Zombie!!
The weekend passed far too quickly and before I knew it they were gone again. We're making plans to get together next on the Canada Day weekend. By then school will be done and we can spend more time with them.

Monday's mail brought me a lovely package. I'd placed an order from Nataly for some of her lovely counting pins. I didn't expect them to be wrapped so pretty!

Such cheerful little cards! Here's what was hidden within them.

Thank you very much Nataly! They're gorgeous and I can hardly wait to use them!!  

The weather today is rainy but warmer than it has been. I'll be stitching on Peace Inside once again. I'm hoping to join the group this evening. I've had some vertigo and I don't want to drive if it's still lingering. Keep your fingers crossed. It's so much more fun with the group than by myself!

I almost forgot! Nancy over at Victorian Motto is having a couple more giveaways, including one for $25 worth of goodies from her ebay store. Drop by and pay her a visit to enter.