Wednesday, 26 February 2014

February Smalls SAL

It's been a very snowy month since my January post so I thought it only fitting that I stitch up these two sweet winter pillows.
Both are designs from The Sampler Girl. They were quick stitches and I love how they turned out!

 It's hard to tell from these photos but the fabric I stitched these on is an opalescent. I wanted the effect of snow in my background. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll add a hanger to either of these. I have thought it would look great on Gone Sledding. I could hang it in my entry way and greet my guests with my message!

Here's a pic of my latest finishing project. You may recall I stitched this last year and it's been hiding in a drawer ever since. The design called for a small skeleton key charm with it but I found this cute little birdhouse charm sitting in my stash. Perfect! It was time to get this sweet one on display.

I'm already looking at some St. Paddy's Day stitches or perhaps another spring or Easter themed small for next month. I find it easiest to start work on something for the next month right after I've posted this month's finishes. That way they get completed on time, right down to the final finishing.  See you next month!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

February Stitch From Stash

February has seen me continue to stitch on designs and supplies from my current stash. I completed the stitching on last month's new start, The Pink Sparrow Sampler. Absolutely loved this one!!

With Thy Needle and Thread The Pink Sparrow Sampler

I continued stitching on This is the Day. Click on the link to see my progress on a previous post. In addition I had two new starts from stash - PSS Love Thy Neighbour and WTN&T Three Tulips. Here are some progress pics on both.

PSS Love Thy Neighbour
WTN&T Three Tulips

It was as I predicted! It didn't take very long for me to go through my GC from my son and most of the money from my MIL which I received for Christmas, all earmarked for stitching supplies. With the $25 GC from my son I purchased PSS Winter Wienerland and  Cinnamon Stars and Notforgotten Farms Parson Brown. Dan knows that one of my favourite designers is Plum Street Samplers and suggested that perhaps I could order some of her charts which I didn't already have so I followed his suggestion. Parson Brown reminded me of one of Dan's favourite childhood Christmas songs, Frosty the Snowman. When I stitch any of these three I will be reminded of my son. Thank you Dan! The total of these items was $25.17 so I went over budget by 17 cents.

My MIL as I've mentioned before is very generous and I had a total of $200 earmarked to use towards stitching purchases. Of that money I have spent $117.02. The remainder of the money is being saved until Picture This Plus has their Christmas in July sale which is where I often top up my fabric supply. With her generous gift I purchased Rosewood Manor Summer Quaker as well as the floss needed to complete it along with With Thy Needle & Thread Noel Sampler, Silvercreek Samplers Forever Love and a market pre-order for Plum Street Samplers limited edition kit The Beekeeper. There is a theme of love and Christmas from some of my selections which will always remind me of my MIL's generosity. Summer Quaker will be a companion piece to my RM Spring Quaker which was another gift from my MIL. I could have waited on ordering The Beekeeper but because it was a limited edition kit I knew that it had to be ordered now. This particular market selection was ordered before I knew about our market allowance for this month.

Speaking of market, that was my doom. No, I didn't go over the budget allowed but I certainly spent more than I planned to. I ordered charts only, no floss or fabric. Most of these designs will be stitched from fabric and floss in my stash unless I just can't find a substitution that is suitable. A good portion of them will not be stitched this year either.  So here is a list of my market purchases:

1. PSS Count Twice
2. Abbey Rose L'il Abbey's Love
3. RM Cornwall Cottage Sampler
4. SHS A Bee in your Bonnet
5. PSS True Friendship
6. WTN&T Easter Parade

Along with:

7. BBD Give Thanks
8. WTN&T Mary Valentines' Handework

So I managed to stay within the budget allowed for market spending, having spent a grand total of $74.55 and I spent 17 cents from my February budget for the top up on my gift certificate. 
There were so many other market releases which I could have added but I did try to control myself somewhat. In the past I've limited myself to only $50 on market spending but I know that I won't be spending the monthly amounts this year that I have in the past as a result of joining this group so I splurged a bit more within the allotted budget. There should be no further purchases now unless it is with birthday gifts in May (hint, hint family!!) and my annual fabric splurge during the Christmas in July sale.

I hope everyone else is managing to stick to the budget and some of you were able to withhold the temptation of market releases far better than I was!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Hints of Spring - Return visitors and some fresh starts

Spring is just around the corner. I hear it and I see small signs. We've been opening the windows a crack in the morning to air out the house and during this time each day I've heard the increase in bird activity. Clarisse has noticed too as she cries to us to open the bedroom blinds so she can get up on the sill and better watch the comings and goings. During the miserable weather lately we've had very few visitors to the feeder but there has been a flurry of activity this past week. Just look at all the return visitors!

Mr. and Mrs.

 A Gold Finch wearing his winter clothing

 Mrs. Downy

In the spirit of new beginnings I've had two new starts this past weekend. 

I started off with a design that has a real spring feeling to it. With Thy Needle and Thread Three Tulips.

We've had some overcast days lately so the light really hasn't been all that great for my pictures. I'm stitching this on Picture This Plus 32ct Legacy linen. It isn't the called for fabric and consequently I ran into a problem with the called for floss. I've swapped out just about every floss that is required for this design. The original floss either looked washed out on my fabric or the dye lot was considerably different. I spent an hour going through my existing stash and matching colours before I could actually start stitching. The floss I'm using for the bunny is one of Nina's threads which I won in an earlier giveaway. It's perfect and I'm really liking it. No knotting or twisting so far.

Hot on it's heels is Plum Street Samplers Love Thy Neighbour.

I've chosen another Picture This Plus linen for this stitch. It's 32ct Earthen. So far I've only had to change two floss due to the fabric colour. Paulette charted this design in a UK/Canadian version to accomodate our difference in spelling neighbour. I mentioned something to her in an email and within a very short time she sent me the file attachment containing the new chart with our spelling. Thank you Paulette!

I'm starting to feel a little house bound on account of the difficulties with my hip. I've been having an increase in pain since the new year and just the thought of going out with all that it entails (putting on boots, getting in and out of the car, driving, etc.) stops me in my tracks and I stay home. I've seen a surgeon now and an MRI has confirmed severe osteoarthritis of the joint. My right leg is now shorter than my left due to the wearing down of the head of the femur as it rubs bone on bone. I'm on the list for hip replacement and was originally scheduled for March but now I'm told it will be sometime in April. No definitive date yet. 

This past Monday my hubby took me for a drive for a change of scenery and then out for supper.  I brought the camera despite the fact that it was getting near twilight.  We spotted two owls on our travels. This first one was a fair distance away and I zoomed in for the pic which is why it's not all that focused. I also find the extreme temperatures make it difficult for the camera to focus properly.

We thought perhaps the owls had left our area but it appears not. It was a very cold afternoon and we were on the hunt for a pizza restaurant in a nearby village. Unfortunately the restaurant had closed for our Family Day holiday. So we switched direction and headed west to the town of Kemptville.  On the way there I spotted these two horses foraging in the snow, for what I'm not sure. They each wore blankets and looked so miserable. I wish the light had been better. Then you could see that one wore a red blanket and the other a green.

As we neared our destination the sun was slipping away from us and I grabbed this last photo.

A heavy rain is slowly washing away a good portion of our snow today. I'm hoping the white stuff doesn't make another appearance this season but I have my doubts. No robins yet!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Pretty in Pink - February WIPocalypse

For February's WIPocalypse and just in time for Valentine's Day, I have a finish -The Pink Sparrow Sampler.

While I was laying this out for the photos I found some pretty pink buttons that I thought looked nice with it. I had been pulling them out for another finish.

I didn't realize I owned that many pink buttons!

I finally finished stitching the tree on This Is The Day and then I added the little sheep. They don't look much like sheep to me though. They look more like goats. I'm still not convinced with the colour of them either. It's the called for floss but I find they don't stand out enough. I tried tossing a more white floss on the fabric but then it just seemed out of place with the more primitive colours of the design. So I'll leave them as is for now and see if they grow on me.

I completed a Threadwork Primitives Valentine freebie which I featured on my Smalls SAL post.

I also completed two smalls for this month's commitment which I'll be posting on the last Wednesday of the month. Here's a sneak peek of one of them.

Snow is exactly what the weatherman brought our way for this Valentine's Day. We were expecting only 2-4 cm (1-1.5 in) but it seemed there was quite a bit more on the ground when we woke and as the day progressed the forecast changed. Now it appeared we were expected to get 20-30 cm (8-12 in). As it turned out we did indeed end up with the 30 cm and the last time I checked it was still snowing lightly. See for yourself!

It may be hard to tell in these photos but the banks of snow on either side of the drive are now close to 5 ft tall.

This is the snow outside our back door. You can see my hubby's footprints where he tracked around the gazebo as he removed the snow from its roof.

Even the birds' home is leaning with the weight of the snow! 

Clarisse took it all in from her window perch on the back of our loveseat. It appears that all that snow hasn't fazed her a bit!

I was going to start With Thy Needle & Thread's Snow Day as my next start but I think I'm just about snowed in now. Instead I'm going to get started on another of Brenda's designs, The Strawberry Hill Sampler. Looking ahead to thoughts of spring!

I hope you are all enjoying your start to the weekend and that you are enjoying a lovely Valentine Day. I intend to prop myself in front of the TV and continue watching the Olympics coverage. Go Canada Go!!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A New Framing Addition

I'll start off today's post with a picture of a finish I completed back in March of 2013.... Baby Its Cold Outside. This is designed by Heartstring Samplery and I started stitching it last year during one of our final storms of the season. I knew that I wanted to have it completed and framed to hang the following year during the winter. Courtesy of a Christmas gift, I am pleased to say that it returned home from the framer a week ago and is currently adorning my dry sink.

The frame isn't white as it appears in this photo. It is a lovely mix of grey and cream and is textured to give the appearance of barn wood. When we were looking at different frames for this we tried out a pure white frame and it just didn't do the picture justice. 

There, I gave it one more try and this is closer to the look of the actual frame. You can see a lot more of the texturing in this one too.

As for stitching, here is what I've been up to recently.

With Thy Needle and Thread - A Pink Sparrow update:

Saturday I put this aside and went in search of something else for a change and found Hands To Work -This Is The Day which I'd started last fall. When you last saw this I only had the house completed.

I've also been working on some smalls for February's Smalls SAL. I've completed two already including the final finishing which is amazing for me. Here's a peek at one of the finishes. I've chosen an opalescent fabric for this one although you can't tell from the picture. Can you guess which design this is?

I also wanted to show you a lovely card which I received early in the new year from Chiara in Italy. 

Chiara sent this to me with Christmas greetings. It is actually a postcard with the greeting and address on the reverse. Each of these words is the word Beauty in English, French, Italian and Spanish. I think it is actually a lovely stitch for Valentine Day and I hope to have time to work on it this month. Thank you so much Chiara for your wonderful greeting!

One of my step-grandchildren has shown an interest in learning to cross stitch. Although all the grandchildren like to watch me and inquire as to what I'm stitching, Yanie shows much more interest in how to accomplish my design and is always complimenting me on the many framed works in my home. So for Christmas I found some beginner kits on Ebay and ordered one for each of the kids, although I knew that Yanie might be the only one who completed her design. She's 10 and has the concentration to stick with it.
On Sunday I spotted this post on Facebook announcing her progress.

Yeah Yanie! I'm so happy that she was able to finish this and in such a short time. I haven't talked to them lately but I can only hope that she enjoyed it as much as I do and that she didn't just complete it to make me happy. The kit I had sent for Summer was a stamped one. She's 7 so I figured this would be a bit easier for her until I opened it. All the other kits came with Aida but her design was stamped on a cloth similar to evenweave but the weave was quite tight. She was unable to see the holes in the fabric so I mailed them a piece of Aida when I returned home and told them she would have to follow the chart like the others. So much for making things easier!

Yesterday was a beautiful, bright and sunny day here. My son Daniel had been visiting us for the weekend and I was heading back to Cornwall to take him home. He has been quite interested in my owl sightings and inquired whether I had seen any lately since he would love to see one up close. I told him that if he didn't mind we'd take a longer way home and see if we could spot one for him. Luckily we didn't have to go far. This fellow was sitting on a post just outside our village on the main highway. This is the closest owl I've seen to us yet.

We also spotted one other during our travels, sitting just around the corner from our local Tim Hortons coffee shop.

The sun seemed to have drawn the wildlife out just as much as the people. On our return from Daniel's place the sun started to slowly sink in the sky and the deer suddenly started to emerge from the woods and the cornfields in our path. We could only inch along this one portion of the road for fear of running into one. There had to have been between 40-50 deer in this area crossing the roads back and forth at various times.

After leaving the deer, we rounded the corner and in the distance near the rail tracks we saw another owl.

I was driving and my hubby was snoozing during the latter part of the drive. Suddenly I saw a large dark mound in the top of the trees as I drove towards the woods. Was that a hawk? It seemed a little too large. No, it's an eagle!! I made a quick U turn (we're on the back roads at this point and there is very little traffic) and headed back to the spot. Bob woke up and quickly grabbed the camera. He was so thrilled and in his haste he didn't focus properly when he took this shot.

Unfortunately it was the only pic we could get. I think we spooked the bird a bit and immediately after this he flew off further into the woods. This is the first time I've ever seen one of these magnificent birds anywhere near our area. I've seen them when we've been boating on the St. Lawrence River but never this far ashore. I would love to return to the area again and get a better pic but I'm sure that's the last we'll see of one for quite awhile.

I've been watching the weather reports and I know that many of you received more snow on the weekend as we did and are expecting still more in the next few days. It seems our Ontario groundhog, Wiarton Willie emerged from his home only to discover his shadow, immediately signalling another 6 weeks of winter. I not sure exactly how accurate rodent predictions are (LOL) but from the long term forecast in my area it appears he may be right! Keep warm, keep safe and keep on stitching!!