Sunday, 29 March 2009

Two new starts

Hi everyone! Thank you for all your nice comments and well wishes. I'm feeling better though I can feel that it's not out of my system yet. Oh well, one foot in front of the other, let's keep moving!

Two new starts this week.
Ellen Birdseye
from Volume One book
Designed by The Goode Huswife

If you want to see a lovely completed design of this, go see the header on Jan's blog. She made colour changes in that the birds are all red. I made some colour changes too by making the flowers red. Little tweaks of colour here and there as I'm craving colour at the moment! I'm stitching this on 32 ct Lentil by Lakeside Linens, with GA Old Blue Paint, Old Red Paint, Chamomile, and some DMC. (This is more grey than it looks in real life. It'll be better next post!)

My second start is this:

This is the Day
from JCS Jan/Feb 2009 issue
Designed by Hands to Work

Joanie asked me to do a SAL with her so this is how far I got to. I think we're going to do one week out of a month on this as this is not our primary stitching. We'll see how it works out. I am using 32 ct Vintage Meadow Rue by Lakeside Linens. I was all ready to start stitching about a week ago, then found on Nicole's blog (which led to Jan's blog) about colour changes. I liked the softer colours so then I had to dive around my stash to come up with the goods! The border is stitched using CC Cocoa Bean and Wild Berries. The inner border is GA Picnic Basket.

Well, since I've already started with changes in colour I started modifying the design slightly. Those of you stitching this will be able to see that the inner border is different. We'll see how it morphs as time goes. Do you see the broken border in the upper right hand side? I was all finished that border when I flipped the scroll frame to tuck in the end stitches then realized I had a bit knot way back at the beginning. I debated whether to fix it or not. As you can tell I did rip out the stitches - it was painful and thoughts of ruined linen crossed my mind as I was trying to frog those babies!

I am enjoying stitching both of them immensely! As I have only 2 scroll frames that's the extent of my rotation! I've been playing with the lighting for the two photos above. I tried using my Ott light which turned everything grey as is evident in the first photo. For the second photo I had to switch to regular lighting so that the real colours show up otherwise the brown linen looked grey! No wonder I am often surprised when I get the recommended fibers and they don't like the photo of the finished design on the chart!

While I have been stitching, I've been listening to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. It came out in 2006 with lots of praise that it's along the lines of Harry Potter. I don't think it is, other than it's about magic. I bought the book itself - it's a great door stop but had great difficulty getting through the first few chapters. Now, listening to the story I find myself fascinated.

On the reading front - love The Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It's a very funny English mystery starring a new "detective" in the guise of 11 year old Flavia, "an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison". I'm about half way through and enjoying it a lot!

The other book I just picked up yesterday is a non-fiction called The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz. The sub-title says "bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world". I'm only on page 34 but I find it highly readable and it's about her experience in trying to help poorer nations and finding that traditional charity doesn't work. Anyway, I can't tell you much more as I'm just starting out but it's a very engaging read.

The weather has been crazy, like most everywhere else I think. It's sunny today, however cool, so I will go out and visit the garden and see what's what!

Thanks for visiting! Have a good week. End of March! Where did it go?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lovely Needlebook!

Yesterday there was a bug going around the office. Honestly it was so wierd like you could see this bug flying around biting people on their necks and people dropping off like flies. (Oh wait, I've been reading too many things on blogs about Twilight, Edward, and all that!) But yeah, the flu bug was going around and by noon I was seriously exhausted.

Today I stayed home feeling like I've been through the wringer. Then - Lo & Behold, the postman cometh with a lovely looking package! It's my HOE Winter Quaker Exchange! Ooooh, lookee here! Look at this beautiful Needlebook! (and of course those beautifully coordinated goodies!)

This beautiful package came from Marie. Thank you so much Marie! it is beautifully stitched and finished. This is my first Needlebook ever and I love it! It will serve as my prototype so I can feel more confident about making a needlebook myself.

That just lifted my spirits to no end. Although I still crashed for a couple of hours in the afternoon before I could even feel sensible.

I am amazed at the generosity of stitchers. I think "what goes around comes around" really holds true. Both Nicole and Karen offered me their Earth Sampler. Thank you both! Because Nicole has already finished stitching hers, I took up her offer. I feel very blessed and thankful.

I love your comments on the last post, particularly about the Vikki Clayton silks and linens. I would say in general people are happy with the silks in that they are well priced. However, one cautionary note is that dye lots can vary greatly sometimes so make sure you buy enough for your project.

As to linen, the ones who like them love them. It's true that it's just your personal preference. Me - I love the softness of Lakeside Linens and Birds of a Feather. While I will stitch with R&R they are not my first choice. I've never stitched on Picture this Plus, nor Silkweaver. Recently I bought Tin Roof from Weeks and that was new for me. I'll see how I feel about it once I stitch with it. Right now it feels very soft and light and while nice to the touch, not sure how it'll feel to stitch with.

Oh, this is all so much fun! Lots of new discoveries for me.

By the way, while I'm here. I will share some recent books, both audio and the tactile kind, that I have enjoyed. On the audio front, I seemed to be on a kids stories kick. First was Inkheart read by the wonderful Lynn Redgrave. It was a bit slow at times but it was a good 'listen'. Then I listened to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and read by him as well.

I {heart} Neil Gaiman as an author. He writes adult books as well as children's books. He writes fantasy, ghost stories, fairy tales. Anyway, it turned out he's a wonderful narrator as well. I really loved listening to the Graveyard Book. At the end he really surprised me by the sentimental bits.

On the reading front - Little Bee by Chris Cleave is my first favourite read of the year. It is well written and it's just a book that will stay with you. It'll hurt, it'll make you think, and it'll make you smile. I myself admire such writing.

On the other hand, after reading a 'heavy' book, I need to counter that with something light but not so light that it will give me a stomach ache. Last year, I discovered Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and I thought it was a delightful fairy-tale like story. So, her latest, The Sugar Queen was a good pick-me-up. Then I plunged into A Darker Domain by Val McDermid. She is a wonderful Scottish writer of the mystery/crime novel genre.

I don't think I can ever have a short post, can I?

Thank you for stopping by. I love visiting your blogs too and seeing all your wonderful stitches, photos of wherever you are, and of course your stories of the day! Back to the couch!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Flowers in Bloom!

It's a beautiful sunny day outside and inside, I have a bunch of flowers in bloom. Ta-da! A finish! So happy happy happy!

Friendship Gathering
from "A Fine Collection" book
by Blackbird Designs
Linen used is Nightingale by Birds of a Feather with recommended floss

So, what's next? Today I have hauled out my charts, floss and linens so I hope to get a few things kitted up. My room looks like a small explosion has happened. Hopefully I can get everything put away by the evening!

I had been hoping to stitch The Earth Sampler since it came out but now it'll have to wait awhile. For those who've followed my blog you'd know why. I have updated my wish list blog and put it on the list. I will also set up a trade blog in the near future so maybe I can trade for this chart. If anyone has finished stitching the Earth Sampler and sees something on my blog that you might want to stitch, just drop me an email.

Yesterday I found a pot of lovely flowering bulbs. I think it's some type of snowdrops but I'm not sure.
Such a pretty cap for a fairy, don't you think?

I'm going to rush off now and make the most of this wonderful day. I hope you are enjoying the beginning of Spring (or Autumn) in your part of the world. The weather is up and down here too but we lucked out on a sunny weekend.

Oh, one last thing as I always like to ask questions - I have not used any linens or floss from Vickki Clayton before. Yes, I know. Remember, I'm still a relative newbie. If you have any likes, dislikes about the linens and floss, could you share? For example, what are some good colours in linen?

Have a great week, everyone. I found more wonderful blogs to visit yesterday but longer visits will have to wait for a rainy day! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Spring is off to a good start!

The leprechaun must still be working on my behalf, as I've been given 2 awards.

First, thank you Carin for the Kreative Blogger Award. The colours are so pretty!

Now, the last time I received an award, I said I was passing it onto all of you out there because I think just by having a blog and stitching, you deserve it as much as I do. This time, I still think the same, however, on this lovely spring-like Saturday morning, I am inspired to make new friends. So I am nominating a lot of new-to-me blogs just to encourage the "stitcher-hood".

  1. Julie at Julie's Keepsakes
  2. Suzanne at Squazi & the Chickens
  3. Katrina in NZ at Kiwi Stitching
  4. Katrina at The Needle's Promise
  5. Lee at Lake Stitcher
  6. Andrea at Deep Fried Cupcakes
  7. Tammy at Witchy Stitches
  8. Rachel at Willing Hands
Here are the instructions:

1. Copy the logo of the Kreativ Blogger Award in to your blog
2. Make a link to the person's blog who nominated you
3. Nominate 8 other blogs
4. Add their links to your blog
5. Leave a comment on the blogs, that they have been awarded

Second, thank you Jennifer for this award. Jennifer was my first HOE exchange partner.
I'm off to leave comments on these blogs. I'll be back tomorrow with more! Have a good day!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Happy St Paddy's Day!

Well, it's just been a wonderful day. It must be because it's St Paddy's Day - luck of the Irish? I've been to England and Scotland but never Ireland. Hopefully one day! So, why was it a wonderful day?

One: The sun came out a bit today - or - it wasn't rainy and windy!

Two: I actually had a good day at work!

Three: My Goode Huswife's Book of Designs Volume No 1 arrived. Beautiful stuff! Hooray!

Four: I heard from my HOE Winter Quaker Exchange partner, Edda, that my little package has arrived in beautiful Iceland! Edda said she is very happy with the goodies, which in turn, of course just made my day! So, here are the photos of the pinkeep I stitched for Edda.

The flirty side

The shy side

I created the design myself. It was meant to represent a snowdrop (the flower) underneath falling snowflakes. I was a bit behind stitching this so I had to make the design smaller than originally planned. The linen is a dark blue-y green remnant from one of those line grab bags.

Well, it's a short post. Thanks so much for your comments. I feel like I'm getting to know a lot of you now with every post. That's so great! (and yes, Miss Jane, I am working real hard on finishing Friendship Gathering by the weekend! I stitched one flower last night - 4 colours in it!)

Enjoy the rest of the week. Now, I will go visit some of your blogs!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Healthy Obsessions

A year ago, I had just resumed stitching after a 5 year absence. I was just doing my own thing, browsing the ONS every now and then, and stitching of course! I had not discovered stitching blogs quite yet - it was in the spring sometime. When I first stepped into the stitching blog world, it was like being a kid in a toy store, and seeing all these other kids in there playing. Initially when I came across bloggers who introduced themselves as "obsessive" or "addicted" about cross-stitching, I raised my eyebrow a bit and wondered "really?" ( I had never felt like I liked stitching THAT much. Ha!)

When I started my blog in late September and actually making a few friends and acquaintances, I got just more "infected" with that stitching obsession virus! It was fun and still is. I've mentioned I'm going through some stress at work (who hasn't?) lately and I have to confess my remedy has been to collect charts - old charts. Now, the great thing about this is, I'm not alone! You all know about being 'addicted' to stitching and all that goes with it, right? I have not started collecting scissors or anything like that, so I figure charts are ok. (I know what you're thinking...) Here's a snap of some latest stash.

There is one new chart in there and is the one in the lower right hand corner, that was a Nashville release.

Last week, the ongoing saga of my delayed package from February finally arrived. However, it was minus 2 new releases and favourite ones at that - GH Home Sweet Home, and PN Earth Sampler. To put it mildly, I was very disappointed (picture banging my head against the wall). I had so wanted to start the Earth Sampler but now the excitement has just left me. So, here's another great thing about stitching blogs - I am going to live vicariously through Karen's and Nicole's blogs as they are stitching this lovely design.

Last week I did manage to finish my exchange piece and sent it off. With work being so busy, I didn't get to finish Friendship Gathering this weekend as I'd hoped!
Last photo

as of last night

Yikes - I just realized the lighting is so different in each photo! There are a couple of 'sprigs' of flowers on each side of the basket I still have to stitch. So, hopefully, next weekend I will have it finished!

Thank you so much for your comments, as always. I want to go back and answer some questions but I'm sorry that will have to wait. I did remember someone asking about this BBD book "A Fine Collection. There is one more design from the book that I've stitched but I don't think I've shown you that yet. So, here it is.
August Melon
by Blackbird Designs

I have shown you June Berries but here it is again so you know all three comes from the same book "A Fine Collection.

Lastly, check out the new Blackbird Exchange that Joanie has set up. I think it will be a lot of fun!

I have to go now and get on with all the "other" demands of life. Thank you for stopping by and I'm always so delighted to read your comments. Happy Stitching!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Tea for Two!

I had such a good day today. There were a lot of "little" things that went right and they all came together to make it a Great day! I really needed this!

OK, first, I heard from Joanie that my PS exchange arrived. I was so glad it arrived before the weekend. That's 2 weeks from Vancouver to New York - crazy, huh? Never mind, here's the unveiling!
The flirty side
The shy side

The design was taken from Prairie Schooler's W for Welcome . I used some Crescent floss instead of DMC. The colours actually look brighter in real life. I really love this one and will have to stitch one for myself one day.

Joanie said she loves it which of course makes me very happy. It's funny, when I was first given Joanie's name and I went to visit her blog, I was just amazed not only at how similar our tastes were, but also we "sounded" similar. It was really weird, but in a nice way! Anyway, we've struck up a nice conversation via email and will probably keep in touch now, and maybe even do a SAL together. Isn't that wonderful?

Another little wonder today has to be told in a little story. I found this wonderful new blog Days of a Sampler Lover recently, but like all new blogs on Blogger the comments option (default) is such that some of us can't comment. (I know you've heard this before, hang in there with me please.) I was fortunately able to email the blog owner Margaret as I'd wanted to ask about the design on her blog banner. At the same time, I mentioned to her about not being able to leave comments. She said she's had others say the same thing and she didn't know why. Ah-ha! So, I gave the instructions to Margaret on changing the comments option and it worked! (Thank you Margaret!) I was happy that what I thought was a solution worked, and she was happy because the solution works for her as well! Two happy people solving one shared problem. Easily. You gotta love it!

Now I must get on the soapbox for a bit. Don't worry. No rant. So, here I go.

Soapbox - the Economy. (really, no rant)

So, lately, I have been reading on various blogs of people losing jobs, or their spouse losing jobs, or fear of losing jobs. There is a lot of worry abound which I can fully understand as I'm right there with you. However, let me share my experience in the hopes that it may help.

Remember the dot-com bust that happened around 2001, then dragged on by the tragedy of 9/11? We were out of work for 2 years. Yes, you heard right. I wont' go into details. Suffice to say we survived. You find creative ways to manage if you want to survive it in a positive way - we overhauled our garden, we went on a family road trip, we spent more time with relatives, we volunteered, etc. In other words, we had time and not money but hey, what a precious commodity Time is!

Luckily we did not have a big expense life style so cutting back was not as painful as it might be otherwise. On top of the usual cook and bake from scratch, I learned to bake bread which turned not only to be fun but delicious. The Library was and still is the biggest bargain us taxpayers have! It is a wonderful resource.

I remembered telling someone at the time we didn't eat out, not even a Starbucks. She asked "not even order in a pizza?" Oh please, why would I spend $20 on a pizza? I made the pizza for much less. Some people had a tough time with the concept because they had never experienced being out of work with no hope of getting work in the short term!

I'm on the soapbox just to say "please take care of your health". You will survive this. No, life will likely not be the same, but when is life not ever changing? Health is precious and please don't let the stress cause you illness.

I write this post also for myself, so I can look back on it one day. You see, I freelance. I work on a contract to contract basis. I know my contract will end the end of this year, if they don't cancel it sooner. I know I will have to find work after. How will things be? I don't know. One thing I do know is that I/we will survive it.

So, please take care of yourselves. That's it. Off the soapbox I go.

We've had a beautiful spring-like day here. DH was out in the garden, cutting down the apple tree. Before anybody gets upset, it was an old tree and it was time for it to be recycled. This will allow more space for the italian plum tree beside it (much yummier) and more sun for other plants. It's lovely to see the little bulbs peeking out now. The snowdrops are finishing and the crocuses are starting to come up!

Thank you for all the great comments about your shopping preferences. There were ones I haven't shopped at before and will certainly give them a try. Umm - actually I did today...123 Stitch not only has a sale on Primitive Needle, but also Carriage House Samplings. Yeah, there's no hope for me, as far as stash shopping goes.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Pincushion in the mail

While I've been anxiously waiting to hear from my Prairie Schooler exchange partner to see that my exchange has arrived safely (still haven't heard yet), I received a little package. For me? Isn't it funny? I hadn't even thought about something arriving in the mail for me. Of course - it's an exchange, silly! I'm still so new with the concept.

Thank you Suzanne for the lovely pinkeep! I don't have this chart so it's doubly nice to have it stitched up.
P for Pincushion
from Pins and Needles booklet by Prairie Schooler

I don't have much progress to show at the moment. I also realized I have the HOE Winter Quaker Exchange to do, for mailing next week and I haven't even started! Guess what I'll be stitching this weekend?

Meanwhile, let's say hi to a few new-to-me blogs!

First is Terri from Chocolates for Breakfast, Stitching for Lunch. I love the name of the blog and it makes me hungry when I go there, both for chocolates and stitching! Terri, if you are reading this, thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been by yours many times and have admired lots of your lovely lovely stitching! However, I am handicapped in that I can't leave a comment on your blog. A little technical difficult with Blogger setup I had written about last month. I would love if if you can email me (my email is in my profile) as I had wanted to ask you about one of your stitching.

Another is Tanya of the Scarlett House. I am loving those big ole' samplers again! Tanya's stitching of The Plantation Sampler is wonderful and she's doing it on 45 count!

Last but not least is Anna from Anna's this-and-that. Anna's blog has been around but Anna's been away. I happen to find her first post after her return, and we struck up a blog conversation last Saturday evening, which was very delightful. You will have to go to her blog and find out what we were talking about. In the end, Anna, I did buy that 'thing' we talked about. I may try and add my own custom touch - I'll let you know!

It's been a week of waiting and waiting. As I've said I haven't heard about my PS exchange arriving safely yet. Also, I have been waiting for this stash delivery, last heard of via email Feb 10. I don't like to 'nag' shops but I finally checked today. It turned out she didn't mail until Feb 26! I wish she would've told me there was a delay. That would've fixed my expectations. I was extremely disappointed at the lack of communication from some shops - makes me wanna cry!

So, which ONS do you like to deal with, or avoid? I have had positive experiences with Drema at Needlework Corner, and Mary Kathryn at Handrafts Online, Homespun Sampler, the Stitch and Frame Shop and the Silver Needle.

That's it for now. I've been enjoying visiting your blogs and sighing over your lovely stitching! So much so I am online more than I'm stitching. Hmmm, seems like I'm falling back to bad old habits!

Thanks for stopping by! The weekend is almost here!!!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

March - waiting for Spring

The snowdrops are out in full force. Spring is just around the corner...we hope.

We had a cold spell last week, with a dusting of snow mid-week although some outlying areas got as much as 25 cm! Luckily not much in the city so life carried on. However, with the weather change there seems to be bad viruses going around. It's either the sinus and cough variety, or the stomach bug one. I got something like the stomach thing last week although I probably survived it better than most. I'm just incredibly tired. Work, of course, is not helping as it's getting crazier all the time.

I hardly stitched during the week so I must've been really sick! However, I did finally picked up the needle the last couple of days and have made some progress.

Friendship Gathering
by Blackbird Designs

One of the nice things that happened on Monday when I was at home sick was that I got some stash in the mail! Wouldn't it be nice if stash could drop down from heaven just when you need it? Instead of a stork delivering babies, I think we need a stork delivery cross stitch goodies!

some new Nashville releases from Blackbird Designs

a couple of oldies but goodies from Carriage House Samplings

I must say when I opened up the new booklet from Blackbird "My Heart is True" I was very surprised not only by the primitive style but how much it reminded me of Stacy Nash designs! Needless to say of course I love this booklet! However, most require hand finishing so not sure when I'll do those. It's still a nice little book to look through.

As to CHS, it's another designer where I am catching up on their older charts. With Spring in the air, I want to stitch "The Song they Sang".

I will make this a shorter post than usual as I'm feeling tired so will just take it easy today. A sore throat is threatening to overtake me and I won't let it!

I've read a lot of you are sick as well with one virus or another. I hope you feel better soon. I will probably be back next time with photos of my Prairie Schooler exchange as I think my partner should have received it by end of the week.

Thank you so much for the lovely comments you left on my last post - they are wonderful medicine in themselves! Take care!