Sunday, October 26, 2008

Progress & Stash

Instead of my usual chatty post, this will be relatively short. I have been knocked down the second time by the flu although it's not as bad this time. On top of that I did something to my right ankle on Friday so I've been limping around - probably sprained it. I have got so much on my to-do list but it seems like every time I get up Life just seems to like giving me a body slam. So maybe I just have to accept that things will just take longer to get done, and stop gnashing my teeth about it.

On the plus side, I have been stitching more this week. So, here's a progress on BOAF's Winter Sampler. Almost there!

Earlier this month Traditional Stitches had an Anniversary sale here's some Stash! I really needed some linens and these were new-to-me. I especially love the Vintage Patina which is a lovely soft green. The SB chart is something I've been eying for awhile too.
from top to bottom
32 ct Maple Sugar from Lakeside Linen
32 ct Vintage Patina from Lakeside Linen
Family Sampler from Shepherd Bush

Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I hope you & yours are well. I will get a longer post in next time. Take care!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BOAF Winter Sampler

I have started a new stitching project - Winter Sampler by Birds of a Feather. I still love their designs. The recommended linen is BOAF's Meadowlark. Now, I don't know if you are familiar with it. I've had this in my stash for a few years, but when I first got it in the mail, I wasn't sure what to think. It's a wierd green-yellow, with splotches! Hmmm. However, it turned out to be wonderful for Winter Sampler.
It was such a pleasure to start stitching this. Essentially it only has 3 colours. The onyx for the reindeer and some of the alphabet, with some of the alphabet in charcoal, then the light cream colour for the snow flakes! There is a little red heart which is really sweet. I am enjoying stitching this a lot. The other half of the Meadowlark will go to stitch BOAF's Sally Spencer later.

I've spent my down-time last week organizing my projects. Yesterday I went to the giant crafts store Michael's and got a bunch of DMC threads. A lot will go to my MM&IRR neighbourhood, but some will be for my Stacy Nash charts, and Tralala charts.

I am 'anxious' to get stitching again. I haven't had a finished project since August. Since joining Blogland it's been a lot of fun but also it's been very distracting! I have come across two very disconcerting events:
  1. Stitch Envy - this is when you visit other stitchers' sites and go "ooooohhhh, how lovely! I want to stitch that! Where can I find that chart?" then off I'd go looking - or - I see the exchanges and I sigh "oooooohhhh, wish I was getting that". (Next year I'll get into exchanges.) You see, Stitch Envy!
  2. Stash Envy - you all know what feeling when you see someone else's new (or existing) stash and say "LOOK at that!" with mouth hanging open. Again, very exciting but very distracting (especially on the budget).
As I post this it's Sunday morning and I've just come back from a walk with my friend. It's gorgeous outside, a wee break from the rain we've had all last week. I was finally able to get out there to do fall garden clean-up for a couple of hours yesterday so now feel a great sense of accomplishment!

I will leave you with another couple of finished stitching from 2003. I love these and they hang out together on a wall in our bedroom.
Kindness Sampler
Birds of a Feather
Completed 2003

Flower Basket
La-d-da
completed 2003

As usual, thank you for stopping by. I love getting comments from visitors (yes that's a hint) so please don't be shy. You can also email me as well. Have a great week, and happy stitching!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanks Giving, Eh!

It is our Canadian Thanksgiving, so it's appropriate to give thanks (also say 'eh!' as it's so Canadian eh!). Even if, I've been sick with the flu since I came home from work on Friday! However, I have to look at this way, make the most of what life hands you. The good thing was I got what I had wanted to accomplish at work before I got sick, and I think my body just said 'ok, that's done, and it's time for you to take care of me now!'.

There's always a bright side to everything, right? For me, it was because I had to 'stay quiet' that I got to read a fantastic book, and attempt my first pinkeep!

First the fabulous new book I discovered is "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Borrows. What a title! You can tell just by the title it's something unusual and it must be even a tiny bit humorous! I haven't found a book I so thoroughly enjoyed for a very long time and I read a lot! While there are lots of great reads I can recommend, this one is so full of heart that I want everybody to read it.

Here's where you can read more about the book and its authors. I won't go into a review of the book but give you the reasons I loved the book:

1. It's written in the form of letters. I miss the whole grace of letter writing. We are in such a fast paced world that it's difficult to really say it all in an email. Besides, there is the anticipation of receiving a letter in the post and the opening and reading of it - so precious that someone has gone into all that work to say hello! In this book, the story unfolds by the letters written amongst the characters and it's amazing how the characters come to life in front of your eyes.

2. It is very funny - shoulder shaking funny at times. Other times it will catch you unaware and tears with spring in your eyes and your heart will clench. After all this is about what happened during World War II. It exposes the humanity and inhumanity but most of all, it celebrates Life.

3. This book is also about reading. These people belong to an impromptu, and quirky book club that sprung up out of necessity. You'll have to read it to find out, but books are also celebrated in this story.

One final note about the book. As you can see there are 2 authors. The original author is Mary Ann Schaffer. When she fell ill, her niece (already an author herself), Annie Barrow, stepped in to help finish the book. After I finished reading this book, I googled for more info as I was hoping that a sequel is forthcoming. Sadly I found that Mary Ann died earlier this year. What a wonderful treasure she has left for us to enjoy. Thank you to both authors.

The other 'accomplishment' during my sick weekend is that I got to make not one, but two pinkeeps! I have been thinking of trying my hand my pinkeeps for awhile, gathering supplies slowly like a bird gathers bits and bobs for its nest. I had found a couple of stitched ornament pieces that have been kicking around unfinished for years. (Did I mention I am not a 'finishing' type?)

So, here is the first pinkeep done on Saturday. I followed the instructions from Nicki's class here. Thank you Nicki! It was also helpful to have the lovely pinkeep Leena stitched for me as an example.
from Holiday Homestead
Prairie Schooler

This one was stitched in the "olden" days, circa pre-2000, using aida (eeek!) but you can see that I was at least getting away from white aida! I was all thumbs when I was making this one into a pinkeep. It was accompanied by mutterings and grumblings about how I don't like finishing!

Well, it didn't turn out too badly, after lots of adjustments of course. The next day, I decided to try my hand at the second pinkeep.
Garden Angel
by TLC Designs

This second one was stitched on linen and it was part of a kit to make into a hanging ornament. Like I said, I am not great at finishing stuff into anything other than getting it framed! But I am learning! I was amazed that I felt more comfortable doing this second pinkeep and am quite pleased with the result.

Isn't she a sweet angel too? TLC Designs is a local designer by the name of Tina Chau. I'm not sure how much she is designing these days. She used to work at my LNS but that store closed a few years ago. Some of her designs can still be found at Button & Needlework Boutique in Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

So, I'm recovering slowly. I'm still feeling so tired and achy. But I have a wonderful book to re-read, and 2 new pinkeeps to keep me company! Have a good week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Almost the weekend!

Well, there's one more work day to go till the long weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving. Work continues to be hectic and stressful so I am looking forward to a break. The weather has turned quite chilly this past week, dipping to 2-3 degrees. I'd better get out in the garden and do fall clean-up before the frost turn the plants to mush!

I am going to kit up a few stitching projects this weekend. Small projects. I have decided that I need to get some quick projects to complete so I feel that sense of accomplishment. I am also going to try making a pinkeep, or two! I found a couple stitched but unfinished ornament size pieces from many years ago so they will be good for my first try. Wish me luck.

Here are a couple of stitched pieces from a few years ago.

Garden House
Ewe & Eye & Friends
Completed 2003

I really like EEF but this is the only one I've stitched. When I saw the Tralala chart "Maisons de Campagne" the houses reminded me of this house.

Bloom
Birds of a Feather
Completed 2003

I've seen this chart featured in a few MM&IRR designs. It's such a fun and happy look. I don't know what's happened to the BOAF designers. I know the 'new' owner has decided to focus on needlepoint, and they are lovely, but I miss the x-stitch designs!

I hope to get more organized and get involved with some exchanges in the new year. If you have any suggestions let me know. I know we are living in very shaky economic times right now. I hope you are keeping well and stitching is keeping you in good company.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oooh-La-La!

Well, here we are, another Monday, another beginning of a long work week! But wait, what is that white envelope waiting for me when I got home today? It's Stash! It's Euro-Stash!!! Oooh-la-la! Toto is doing flips!

One day last month, I was bopping from one blog to another, following new links never seen before (!) when I found a SAL for this chart. The stitched portion just had the 2 houses, and the blog was in Spanish and it took me awhile to figure out the designer was Tralala, then I frantically searched for their charts.
Maisons de Campagne

Of course, once I found it, I found other charts I wanted to buy. I emailed my friend Leena and ordered this and two more charts from her store. There are more cute ones to be had - check it out!
ABC Bienvenue

Miss Tigri

Usually I would say I don't do "cutsy" but these just spoke to me. They really appeal to my whimsical side. I just love them. Somehow, Miss Tigri reminds me of my Miss Daisy. I'm sure this will not be the last of the Tralala designs in my stash. Oh what a lucky girl am I! Who cares if it's dark and rainy outside? Who cares if it's just Monday and there are 4 more days to go? I have new stash! Always a wonderful thing!

Life is quite busy at the moment. Work is crazy busy. The garden is calling for care because it's time to get it cleaned up and ready for the long sleep till spring. Books are calling as Fall is the season for the new books. I have holds on new books now arriving at the library and bookstores for me - on top of the usual novels, there are lots of great cookbooks! Then of course there's all the stitching ... sometimes, there's too much of a good thing and not enough time!

"An embarrassment of riches". Not sure where I've come across that expression before, but that's a good phrase. I am very thankful though, even if I do get a bit cranky I can't get to it all on the weekend!

I hope you are all well out there in Blogland and having fun stitching. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for leaving your nice comments. Take care!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Nice Start to October

What a wonderful start to October. It was 24 degrees driving home today! There's a bit of rain coming but I hope the weather gets nice again for the weekend.

Well, I've gotten back to stitching, thank goodness. I can finally show you the progress on Elizabeth Savilles. We are still experimenting with lighting when taking photos. The first one was taken with the OTT light, which I use for stitching. You can see the stitching better but the colours are washed out. The second photo was taken with regular lighting so the reverse is true. The colours in the second one is truer to what the fibers look like in real life.
- taken with OTT light-

- taken with regular lighting -

I must say stitching this piece, for me the biggest I've ever tackled, has been an exercise in patience. I know it will be worth it in the end but all those other charts are calling me!!! I'm sure you all know the feeling.

Someone had asked about how I do stitching. As you can see I use a scroll frame. I used to use hoops when I first started cross stitching. However about 10 years ago I was in a cycling mishap and broke my collarbone, on the side that I use for stitching. I found that up and around movement when using a hoop just gave me pain. Even though it is not so portable, I like the scroll frame a lot.

Lastly I will leave you with one of my very favourite stitch this year. I never took notice of this chart on the ONS (poorly photographed I think) until I saw it stitched on someone's blog, and then I had to stitch it too.
Beneath the Sunlit Sky
Blackbird Design
Completed 2008
As always, thank you for stopping by on your travels through Blogland. Hope you are enjoying Autumn (or Spring!) in your world.