Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Stitching Year that was - 2009

The record keeping side of me wants to have one place to see all my finishes for 2009, hence this post, right next to the one yesterday when I thought that would be the last one. Then I saw that Su is having a 'year in review party', so I hope I can set up the link correctly. Regardless, here are the photos. I am embarrassed to tell you I don't know how to do the collage thing yet. Ah-well...

#1 - Family Sampler
by Shepherd's Bush
(while listening to Black Swan Green)

#2 - Friendship Gathering
by Blackbird Designs
(while listening to The Graveyard Book)

#3 - Ellen Birdseye
by the Goode Huswife
(while listening to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)

#4 - Tulip for My Love
by Examplar from the Heart
(while listening to To Kill a Mockingbird)

#5 - Love of Myn
by Barbara Chatteron-Lurring
(while listening to Dreamers of the Day)

#6 - Dainty Housewren
by Carriage House Samplings
(while listening to the Tale of Edgar Sawtelle)

#7 - Friendship Sampler
by Birds of a Feather
(while listening to The Help)

#8 - Sampler Sisters of the Thread
by Primitive Needle
(while listening to The Physick book of Deliverance Dane)

#9 - The Simple Things
by Blackbird Designs
(while listening to An Offer You Can't Refuse, and The Lace Reader)

#10 - Quaker House
by Blackbird Designs
(while listening to After River, and The Whiskey Rebels)

#11 - A Weary World Rejoices
by Shakespeare's Peddler
(while listening to The Serpent's Tale, The Little Stranger, and An Unpardonable Crime)

# 12 - The Windmill Sampler
by Examplar from the Heart
(while listening to The Year of Wonders, and The Boleyn Inheritance)

# 13 - Sarah Salter
by Sheepish Designs
(while listening to The Shadow of the Wind, and Anbody Out There?)

I have enjoyed stitching each one of them. This year I discovered audio books which helped to compel me to keep stitching. Sometimes I can look at a piece and remember what the story I was listening to while I stitched it. After I posted the photos above, I attempted to fill in what I think I was listening to at the time and it sure brought back memories!

At the beginning of last year I had never participated in exchanges or any group 'things'. I got over zealous with signing up for more things than I could handle! But here are a few of the things I stitched for exchanges.

HOE Valentine Exchange

HOE Quaker Winter Exchange

Prairie Schooler Exchange

Another Prairie Schooler Exchange

SBBC Exchange

I started 2009 with a few designs I'd wanted to stitch. Guess what? I didn't stitch any of them! I've discovered I'm so easily swayed by what I either see on other blogs, or what's new, or just plain "what do I feel like today?" So, I won't list any designs down. I do hope to stitch a couple of bigger designs (remember 'size' is all relative!) in 2010.

I'm off to enjoy the last day of the year! I hope you will too. See you again soon!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

and so we've come to the end

It's almost time to say good-bye to another year, and ring in the new! My first year of blogging has been amazing and I have made new friends through stitching which I never would've have otherwise.

For example, I received this in the mail from dear Leena today! A beautifully stitched and beautifully finished ornament.
Leena said this is from a very old Russian reproduction. It is so pretty and delicate. Thank you Leena! Your work is superb, as always!

I hope you've all had a good Christmas and still enjoying some time off during the Holiday Season. I have been busy with everything BUT stitching! The world has turned upside down! I hope that I can get back into the swing of things next week. Here's my progress on my current project:
My Betrothed Sampler
by Birds of a Feather

The finished version should look something like this:
So, you're wondering, what have you been doing? Well, I think a lot of tidy, de-clutter type of stuff. One thing led to another and we ended up doing a bit of redecorating. There was one room that was supposed to be our den but it was a big clutter box and I always felt uncomfortable in it. Well, with some de-cluttering, reorganizing, a couple of much needed floor lamps (go IKEA go) we got our room back. I guess watching all those home improvement shows have paid off!

I have to admit, I am still discombobulated (love that word). About a month ago, while I was still busy with work, I ran into someone I had worked with. She asked me what I will do in January as my current work is finished. I said I don't have new work lined up but I don't mind as I want to take some time to myself, just to...and here she finished my sentence for me..."gather yourself back together again". Yup! Bingo!

She obviously knew how I was feeling. I think we can lose bits of ourselves when we get busy and when that busyness stops, you wonder when your 'self' went to. You can do that through work, school, taking care of someone else, anything that you devote yourself to. So, if you tap my head right now, you might hear a great big echo!

But never fear, time is on my side and I intend to make good use of it!

I want to thank everyone for visiting my blog through the year. I love reading all the comments and I especially like it when you tell me something funny about what's happening with you. I so enjoy visiting your blogs and seeing all your amazing stitching. But also, I enjoy reading your stories.

Beth from Heartstring Primitives has a new freebie here. I especially like what she wrote though about Courage and Charity.

I will leave you with this Irish blessing, which I enjoyed reading on Leena's post, and which I obviously shamelessly stole!

"May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

- Old Irish blessing -

All the best wishes for a Happy New Year! Peace, Love & Happiness!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

The week has flown by and there are still lots to do. No stitching was to be had, that will have to wait till after Christmas. Thank you to everyone who have visited my blog and to all the friends I've made this year - a very Merry Christmas to you!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sarah's Garden

I'm here, I'm here, and OMG, it's one week to Christmas! Alas, my work didn't finish as quickly as I'd hoped. I only finished on Wednesday so I now I am in the one-week-to-Christmas "mild" panic. Yesterday I woke up with manic energy wanting to really make some progress with Christmas only to collapse in mid-afternoon in a coma-like nap. I was telling a friend I think I'm regressing back to a toddler!

Never mind. I have some stitching to share with you! Here goes a slow reveal.

Top left - a sweet young girl in blue

Top right - an odd figure in black - the housekeeper?

Middle left - I embellished this side a bit more than the original design.

Middle right - isn't that a little Christmas tree?

Finally - the whole shebang!
Salter Salter
by Sheepish Designs
AVAS floss on 35 ct (unknown) HDF linen

I actually finished this a week or so ago but I just didn't have the energy to post. So now I have tried AVAS silks and I don't like them as much as NPI silks. AVAS seem to frizz more easily on the ends. It's still a lovely silk - that's just my observation. I'm sure I will be stitching with AVAS many more times to come as a lot of reproduction samplers seem to use AVAS.

My current project is My Betrothed Sampler by Birds of a Feather. I don't have any photos yet as it's just been so dark. We had a spell of sunny, dry, frosty weather so I could take the above photos but I'm afraid we're back to DARK and Rainy! Lots of rainy!!!

Speaking of BOAF, I've been seeing some of their stitched OOP Christmas designs that are so cute! I'd never seen them before - Joyous Christmas, and Dashing through the snow (I think). I think I shrieked then it almost hurts to see them because you can't get them. Drats. Oh well, if that's the worst of my complaints Life is not so bad! I will put out my magical mystical antennas and send my wish for these charts to come my never know, after all it's the season for wishes!

Well, I think the energizer bunny needs recharging. I will be back soon with another post before Christmas I'm sure. Thank you for visiting me and thank you especially to those who emailed me to ask how I am doing. Hope you are all well and bouncy - seven more sleeps!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hooray, the End is Near!

For those of you who have been following my tales of stress over the past two plus months, never fear, the end is near! Yes, very bad rhyme! But there is only one week to go until we implement (next Sunday). I'm so looking forward to it. Last week was so stressful for everyone that when I got home, I didn't turn on the computer, turned off my audio books and turned on jazz instead and tried to tune everything else out. I meditated with my linen and thread!

It's like studying days, weeks, months for the final exam, and as it nears I get calmer rather than frantic because I know I've done all that I could then I just let go, and ask for blessings that everything will go well.

But I have been stitching! It was my first time using AVAS silks - very nice. First, I'll show you the little bird.
She's just sitting calmly waiting for the rest of the stitches to bloom on the linen.
Sarah Salter, Sheepish Antiques

It's quite a lovely stitch and the colours are very vibrant, more so than what you see here as our days have been rainy and dark. I have some questions about silks but I'll save it for the end of the post.

Next is the second giveaway that I'd won from Beth of Heartstring Primitives. It's a lovely pillow filled with some lavender, and she attached a lovely strawberry emery as part of the package. The package was beautifully wrapped.
Thank you Beth for this beautiful giveaway!

While I'm at it, I'll post an exchange (SBBC) I did for Su for her birthday in October. That seemed so long ago! It was my first attempt at a needlebook ... I need more practice!
I was delighted to find that Eva has sent me this award! Thank you Eva!
Now, the tough job of having to choose 5 blogs to pass this onto! There are lots of lots of blogs I love and each for a different reason. Closing my eyes, I will pick 5 blogs that I haven't picked before (I think):
  • Tanya of Scarlett House because she's constantly inspiring me with those huge old samplers!
  • Glenna of Eye of the Needle for her samplers too (but secretly it's her bunnies)!
  • Laurie of Corgi Cottage because she's a new blog gal and we like spreading awards to new bloggers don't we? She's also been inspiring me with her A & E obsession!
  • Lois of Of Needles, Pins & Stitching Things because she's a new gal too and I've been so enjoying her stitching.
  • Cari of Serene Stitches because she's such a sweetie. Check out her latest starts!
Now, I think I am nearing the end of the post and will ask some questions about silks.
  • I've seen many of you do conversion from DMC to silks. How do you do that? Are there colour cards that you can buy? Or are there reliable conversions online, or do you just go to a LNS?
  • What's your favourite silk?
I think I've become a silk junkie! I've tried HDF, NPI, and now AVAS. I have yet to try Belle Soie and I'm sure there are more. Fun fun fun!

Well, it's time to go. My "boys" are wondering about lunch. I would love to hear your advice on the silks. Thank you for stopping by. To my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving to you! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Windmills are tamer than Brick Houses

This windmill was easier to stitch than the brick house in my last post, but each has its own charm.
Here is the Windmill Sampler finished! Ta Da!
Windmill Sampler
by Examplar from the Heart
linen is 32 ct Nightingale by Birds of a Feather
floss - used mostly recommended and added a few of my own

I added GA Old Hickory (for the windmill), Chamomile (the lower branches), and Pumpkin Patch (to replace Old Brick) but I also swapped out colours as I felt like it and what worked against the linen I had used. I also modified/added some motifs from this great book Alphabets, Motifs & Borders by Brenda Keyes. I bought the book a few months ago and though it is barely 30 pages, it's been very helpful.

So, after doing the happy dance yesterday, I got down to the serious business of preparing linens for the next few projects. You know how much fun, and agony, that can be! Usually there's an explosion of linens in my room then everything has to be put back after all the cutting and prepping have been done.

Here's my next project, which incidentally I saw on Glenna's blog as well this past week. It's Sarah Salter, and I did pinch the photo from Glenna (hope you don't mind!). I am so looking forward to doing this one. I'm still waiting for one floss colour to arrive.

The above shows my linen (35 ct grab bag line from HDF) and the AVAS silks (missing one). Now when I was laying out the linen and floss for the photo I realized there's a heart shape right in the center of the linen that I had cut and trimmed. It was un-intentional but what a lovely surprise. (Can you see it?)

So off I went happily pleased at this little 'gift', attached the linen to my scroll rods and started stitching the border. Only then did I look down at the heart again and noticed 'the wart'. If you click on the photo you can see it. What do you call it if not 'the wart'? It's a flaw in the weave and it's bigger than one cross stitch worth. I pondered what to do. Should I leave it and hope it will work when I get there, or should I flip the linen now because the other side seems ok?

I frogged the little bit of border I had stitched and ripped out the stitching attaching it to the scroll rods and started over again. It was a bit of disappointment in that I'd felt I had wasted some time but I'm glad I did it because later on it might have caused me heartache ...or heartburn!

It's funny, isn't it? I was so enamoured seeing the heart that I didn't see that little wart on the side. Doesn't that say a lot about us? We see what we want to see, or not to see?

I've been on a bit of Sheepish Love trip lately and slowly finding old charts like Sarah. I especially love the Sheepish Antique charts. They are do-able for someone like myself who haven't committed to big honking samplers like some of the stitchers I've admired (you know who you are because I've told you!) :-)

A couple of weeks ago I received emails that I had won two giveaways! Wow, I've never won anything before! Anyway, the first of the two arrived from lovely Margaret down under.
It's a little kit to stitch a Santa and for putting in a locket. You can see a better photo of the finished item from Margaret here. She did a beautiful job stitching and finishing it. I hope I can too! Thank you Margaret!

I will show you my other giveaway won when it arrives in the mail, hopefully this week.

It is a DARK and STORMY day here. They forecast loads more of rain and possible flooding in low lying areas. Last year it was Winter Wonderland all through, this year it may be a replay of Noah's Ark? Hope not. Besides, our fair city is hosting the Winter Olympics in February so we could use with snow this year!

Thank you for your visits and your comments, especially your support during my crazy work period. They've been very nurturing to the soul. I wish you a wonderful week wherever you are, and hope you don't find any 'warts' in your stitching! ;-)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Fear of Brick Houses

Where else but in stitching could one develop a fear of Brick Houses?
Sometimes you hit that Mt Everest in your piece of stitching, the one that seems to take forever to do! But what it taught me was patience and preseverance and led me to this...

A Weary World Rejoices
by Shakepeares Peddler

I changed the design slightly just to remove a lot of the motifs as I usually like things a bit more sparse. I added my blue birds of happiness, and a few snowflakes. I used all the recommended for fibers. I am very happy with this finish (and relieved that it's done!). This was yesterday and I decided to hop back onto the Windmill Sampler.

Last time I left you with this:

And as of now, it looks like this:
The Windmill Sampler
by Examplar from the Heart

I must say I am glad I put this aside before when I got so frustrated with it. The break was good because when I picked this up yesterday I was really enjoying it. Of course I had some time to ponder what colours I would use and put aside the GA Old Brick.

So that's my bit of stitching update!

Work-wise, we have 3 weeks left to when we implement the project. Think of it like it's 3 weeks to the Wedding date and you and your team have to have everything organized for a great wedding to take place. There are lots of organizing to do, last minute things, and of course things outside your control. I think it's like when you are in a marathon and you can finally see the finish line like a tiny beacon way up ahead! Can't relax yet! We are all pretty tired though and we try to prop each other up.

Meanwhile I'm keeping to my strategy of staying quiet and low key. One of the good things is that I've starting cooking and baking a bit on Sundays which helps with the work week. As I speak I have the slow cooker going and a pot of soup on the stove. Yum.

I probably have other things to say but I just can't remember right now! Still too many things swimming around with those little grey cells!

Thank you for stopping by and I always enjoy your comments and hearing what you've been up to! Have a great week!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Weary Stitcher shows up

I am popping my head out of my hobbit hole for a few minutes for show and tell. Yes I am still around and, thankfully, still stitching. I was at one point stuck on my current stitch because of the tedious alphabets, but I was saved by this pretty little basket and bird, which got me over the blahs!

The basket and bird are a tiny part of:

A Weary World Rejoices
by Shakespeares Peddler

I've been busy, mind a bit scattered with too much information (work related), and fighting the seasonal viruses. I'm fine, just keeping very low keyed. Hence a very quiet post.

Thank you for your comments and concerns in the last post. No one was hurt by the fallen tree as far as we know. We told my parents yesterday when we had lunch today and they both blanched at our lucky escape!

Sorry for this rather bland post. I had contemplated not posting but then a post with stitchy photos is better than no post, right? :-) I have enjoyed visiting your blogs though and seeing what everyone is stitching. That is always inspiring.

Till next time, thanks for coming by! Have a wonderful week, and a fun & safe Halloween!

ps Just finished reading Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan - if you like Chocolat by Joanne Harris, I think you will enjoy this one, although it has one of the most vile characters I've ever met on the page! Email me if you want to chat about the book.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Things to be Thankful for:

One - See the dance of the wild happy turkeys - My Quaker House is finished!
My Quaker House by Blackbird Designs
from book With My Needle

Small changes - I changed the red bird to a blue one, being I like the idea of "the bluebird of happiness". I used WDW Dolphin, a lovely grayish-blue. I also changed the red door to a gray one and added a little red design on the front of the house. I've seen houses where they have a design tiled above the front door so this was just my nod to that little design feature for MY Quaker House! I really enjoyed stitching this one, but that's usually the case with Blackbird Designs!

From my last post asking for tips on better photos - both Irma and Jane recommended (1) take photos in daylight if possible (2) use macro setting and (3) use a photo-editing software. I had a very quick try with Picasa. What do you think? I only spent 5 minutes with it. It will take sometime for me to play with it and learn how to use it but I like the idea of being able to "brighten" the photo. Thanks for the tips, Irma and Jane!

While stitching this, I listened to The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss. What an absorbing story and it sure made me want to keep listening and stitching! Thanks for the recommendation, Siobhan!

Two - miracles:

There are many everyday things I'm grateful for so I won't bore you with that. I will tell you of a spine tingling experience we had two weeks ago Saturday. It was a beautiful sunny day but unusually windy. We were out and about doing our usual Saturday errands. For local folks, we were driving east on SE Marine Drive, heading close to Boundary Road. This is a 6 line semi-highway (3 lanes each way) lined with stands of tall skinny trees, maybe cottonwood?

As we were driving along, I was admiring the lovely weather then noticed a sprinkle of leaves coming down in front of us, followed by what I saw was a branch falling over the driver's side window. As I pointed this to DH, he looked and instantly looked in the rear view mirror. Thank God he didn't stop driving. He said 'Look behind us!' As I turned around in my seat I can see that a tree had fallen across the road and three lanes of cars were stranded behind us! (This all happened in seconds.)

Yes, we passed under a falling tree! It was a miracle it did not hit us or anyone else. Thank you God!

So, what did DH do (is this typical male)? He said 'hey, we should turn around and see how big that tree really was! I said 'Are you nuts? Are you trying to thumb your nose at fate and try for it the second time?' After all, there are tall trees on the OTHER side of the road too!

We did not turn back. We just thanked our lucky stars!

Now, look this photo.

Yesterday afternoon when my husband looked out from our bedroom window, he could see the sunlight reflecting off our room and onto the garage. Can you see the heart in the photo? I could see it instantly. Awww, isn't that lovely? Of course it was one of those fleeting moments and I was so glad he caught it with our camera.

Three - the long weekend was wonderful.

It's almost over now but it sure was a lovely break. Thank you too for your well wishes. I just love'em! You are such nice people!

All good things must come to a close, so now it's back to the busy-ness of the office tomorrow. But first, I still have tonight to enjoy and I will have to figure out what my next project will be. Oh, I had such a lovely visit with my local stitchy friend this morning too so I'm all filled with starry stitching goodness!

Have I shocked anyone besides myself with 2 days of consecutive posts? And you can notice the difference in tone between yesterday's and today's. One more day of rest on the weekend sure helps! Now it's back to burrowing in my hobbit hole!

I hope you are enjoying Fall (or Spring) in your part of the world. Look for those miracles...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Thanksgiving House

It's the Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I think my current stitching project certainly represents to me the spirits of thankfulness and contentment.

My Quaker House
by Blackbird Designs
from the book With Needle and Thread

Imagine the colours more vibrant than what you see. One of these days I hope to find out how other people get such nice bright photos! The camera probably has a lot to do with it but I'm sure there are other tips. I am using a Canon PowerShot A2000IS. While it's a lot better than my previous camera, it's still a pretty basic model. If you have any photo taking tips and tricks, I would love it if you could share!

I'm really enjoying stitching this design and that's generally true of any of the BBD that I've stitched.

I don't really have much else to say. I'm just keeping heads down these days, running that race to the finish (work to complete in about 2 months). I'll just keep on needling!

Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. It's always nice to know who's checking in! And for those with blogs, thanks for keeping up with your blog posts as I always enjoying reading them too. Have a great week.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Happy News...

...for Theresa who won the Blogoversary Giveaway! I told Theresa I was amazed when her name came up because she seemed to have won a few of these (or at least one other) giveaways lately! Theresa, go get a Lotto ticket, you never know!

First year giveaway - Quaker Calendars by Plum Street Sampler

Thank you to everyone for entering the giveaway because it gave me a chance to read about your favourite stitch. It seems to be that most people's favourites are the ones they have made for a loved one.

Since my last post, I have put away my Windmill Sampler and have been searching for next projects to do. I will have to order some floss this week! Thank you to Barbara for pointing out something about the colour "Old Brick":

"I've seen that GAST "Old Brick" turn up in some REALLY different shades/colors. I had one skein I loved, that really did look like old faded out brick, but everything I've had since is either too pink or too brown."

Well, at least it was good to know it wasn't my imagination! But it's frustrating when you see such variations in the dye lots!

On Friday afternoon I received Sarah Woodham from Shakespeares Peddler. Here's a photo of it. I just love this design.

Isn't she pretty? I just love her. I probably won't stitch her for awhile yet. Looking at that all over one stitching, I know I will need a time when I am not so busy with work. But I can still just look and admire her!

As usual, thank you for stopping by. I hope I will have some stitching to show you next time. Thank you for your kind regard, as always.
Have a wonderful week. I am sending you "Rosy" thoughts!