Saturday, 1 May 2010

Taken up by the Tornado

-or - "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

I haven't been so glad to reach a weekend as this one! First, the flu snuck up on me the day after my last post and I was out of commission for a week! I hadn't been sick for a long time so I guess it was my turn.  Then it was return to work to do catch up, then this week they gave me another project, which was both a blessing and a curse.  

You know how when you have new work, there's a learning curve involved. Well, imagine when you have to squish in 4 weeks in 1 week and it's been absolutely exhausting. But the blessing is that it's a really interesting project and so far I've met some great people so off to a good start! I am very excited when I get to learn new things. I just have to remind myself to remember to breathe!

Meanwhile I've been off the blogosphere for awhile and my stitching has suffered. Hope to fix that this weekend, and I will start with a long post! There's a great video at the end , about 5 minutes long but well worth it, so you might want to get a cup of tea or coffee and settle in!

I did manage to get my Blackbird sampler finished - happy happy dancing!

The name of the sampler is "Hannah Lovina Josalin - 1856" from the Honesuckle Manor book by Blackbird Designs.  I used all the recommended floss but used 35 ct WDW Parchment which really looks like the antique version shown in the book.  

Note of advice - I used 1 over 2 which does give it a delicate old look. However, the colours to start off with are quite muted. If not for Red Pear and Baked Apple the sampler might have just looked very washed out.  You may want to use 2 over 2 as well which will give it a boost. 

Here's the pink house that saved my sanity...

As I neared completion, the question became "who will I dedicate my sampler to?"  Actually, it came quite easily to me. See if you can see it in the following angle shot.

Yes, it's dedicated to the wonderful Jane Austen. The sampler, to me, just embodies her spirit and her books. Think "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma".

While I was sick I did get back to reading books as all I could do was hang out in bed for a few days.  I read:
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.  I have a love/loathe reaction to this book.  I think it has a lot of heart and quite interesting things to say. I like it enough to wish it was better by (1) not having a misleading title like that - it should've read "the Radio Gal" though that's not so romantic is it? (2) the structure of the book could've been better and (3) I loathe grammatical errors in published works!
  • Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler.  Her books are gentle and takes a giant magnifying glass to a neighbourhood and people in it. This one was fine but I liked "Digging to America" much better.
  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. This was her first book (1995) and is quite amazing. I have tried many times to read this book and failed. But somehow this time I got through the door and really enjoyed it.
  • I've left the best for last - Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. To me, this is just an awesome book. This was written by a German writer who lived in Nazi Germany. After the war, he was given a Gestapo file on a middle aged German (non-Jewish) couple who was a tiny thorn in the Gestapo's side, simply by leaving one or two postcards every week in various places of the city. The cards were their simple acts of defiance at a time that non-compliance (to the Nazi regime) was persecuted.  
  • This is the first book that I've read that gave me a sense of what it meant to live as ordinary German citizen, who were not Nazi supporters,  in that time. The writer wrote it in 24 days and died before publication (I think).  This was 500 pages that went very quickly and I felt deeply moved afterwards.  This is the closest to a 5/5 that I want to give to a book.  You won't find happy endings but it will make you feel and think, about the past, the present, and the future.

OK, now onto something lighter.  Look at this cool marble plaque. We saw it before my birthday, at a garden center.  My husband and I read it at the same time, then looked at each other and he said "let's get it".  I call it my "Words to Live By".

Anyone inspired to stitch this on linen? Yeah, that thought crossed my mind, then I said "let's just buy this baby!"

And to follow the spirt of the words above, I bring you the following video. It will absolutely put a smile on your face.  I would suggest that you click the play, then pause it and wait a minute for it to load up, then you can play the whole thing without interruptions. Dance if you wanna!

I just love the pure joy in this video. If you want to learn more about Matt and his adventures you can visit his website to see more.

Lastly, I will leave you with a hug in a Heart. My husband was doing his super he-man power washing of all the walkways and he did this little heart for me! Is he cheap, or just very clever in finding joys in the simple things? 

Have a wonderful week my friends. I will probably still be snowed under with work until I can get every THING and every ONE organized!  I will try and do better with visiting your blogs this coming week. Thank you so much for visiting and your comments encourage me (or guilt me!) with keeping my blog posts up! ;-)  Take Care!


Anonymous said...

Sorry you've been ill Melissa - illness always seems to coincide with new jobs somehow. Love your Hannah Joslin sampler, what a great idea to dedicate it to Jane Austen, it's perfect!

Thanks for the book recommendations too - I blogged this week about some new book purchases/swaps that I've made and this fits right in with my current reading/book buying mood. I'll definitely be checking out your last recommendation.

Andrea said...

Sorry you've been sick, that's not fun at all!

I LOVE your sampler, it's just gorgeous! The one over two makes it very beautiful and unique!

That plaque is very neat!

Dovilė said...

gorgeous sampler:) I love them both these samplers from this book.

Margaret said...

Bummer on being sick! Congrats on the finish though! What a good idea to dedicate it to Jane Austen. I love it! And your reading -- thanks for the critiques. i've been wondering about at least 3 of the ones you mention. And that last one -- cool, I'll have to find that one for sure! I like that plaque you bought. And the heart -- how sweet! Now, will you stitch that plaque up? :D Hope you catch up with work and all! Take it easy!

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

I'm so sorry you've not been feeling well, Melissa. I hope you're all better, now. Love your sampler. I gave up on it 'cause I didn't like the muted colors just as you've said. Looking at yours though - I think I need to give it another chance.

Love the plaque and I love the heart your hubby did - I think that's super sweet!

Love the Matt video - I saw it not too long ago and just loved it! Who among us would join in? Count me IN!!!

Cari-in-VA said...

Melissa, it's so good to hear from you. I am sorry you have been sick and that work is so all encompassing - I hope things will even out for you soon. Love your finish - it is beautiful.

What a sweet guy your husband is, definitely a keeper!

Hope you are having a restful weekend!

Carol said...

So glad you're feeling better, Melissa--I missed your posts!!

Your newest finish is so lovely and I think the dedication to Jane Austen is perfect.

I felt exactly the same way as you did about The Postmistress...Just got the audiobook of Noah's Compass. You and I must like the same reading material! Love the video--joy is joy around the world :)

valerie said...

Sorry to hear you've been sick but glad you're feeling better! Great BBD looks great!

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend before hopping back into the trenches.

Jan said...

Melissa, what news to hear of you being ill, so sorry about that! But it sounds like your new assignment at work is intriguing and I agree, what fun to learn new things!

I love your finished sampler, it really does look like an antique and I agree on using Jane Austen, just perfect to have her name on this sampler!!

I think your hubby is a keeper, no matter what the reason, and as for the video, well the smile on my face is lingering and will for the rest of the evening. Thanks!

Jane said...

Melissa, thanks for the email. Looks like work is keeping you very busy but as you say, it's giving you a good challenge.

I absolutely LOVE the BBD sampler you've completed!!! The colours have come up wonderfully and you've chosen well with the Parchment fabric. Great idea for the Jane Austen dedication too. Another beautiful sampler for your wall.

What a sweetie your husband is. Look at it as being romantic, than being cheap. :) It's the small, unexpected things that count.

Have a good week and don't stress too much about work. It's nice to have your needlework as a distraction.

Catherine said...

Sorry to hear that you were sick, but am glad that you are feeling better!

Your stitching looks beautiful and I love the dedication.

How sweet of your husband. I'll take gifts like that any day over something expensive and store bought!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

SilkLover said...

The video made me laugh! How fun! Thanks for sharing.

Annemarie said...

Thanks so much for the uplifting post, Melissa. Sorry you've been sick though :o(

I just luuuuurve that sampler, and the dedication! AND the plaque and the heart your husband made for you. You're a lucky girl ;o)

Patti said...

I am so sorry you have been ill and hope you are feeling better now. I loved the Where is Matt video - it was great but not as great as your BBD Finish which is awesome. Can't wait to see it framed. Wish you better my friend.
Lots of Love and Hugs
Patti xxx

WoolenSails said...

I am glad you are feeling better, I was worried you might be sick. Sounds like you have been busy though and your piece really came out beautifully. Love how you did he thread, really looks like an antique piece.


MyLifesAStitch said...

What a fantastic post!!!

Well, not because you were sick, of course (I am SO glad you're feeling better!!)...

The video (Awesome!! Definitely made me smile. :) I'm posting it on FB as soon as I'm done here)!

The plaque! The heart from your DH (no, I didn't think "cheap" I thought "sweet". Thought of something and made the effort to do it to bless you - that's a "score!" in my book!)!, and your Honeysuckle/ Jane Austen finish. It turned out beautifully, Melissa! When I saw Jane Austen stitched up there I thought "yep, perfect!" I don't know why exactly, but yes, it seems very Jane Austeny to me. :)

Have a fantastic week!!

P.S. No guilt over the blog posts!! We all understand what it is to be busy (or sick!!!) and unable to get to the blog. :)

Lois said...

Sorry to hear you've been feeling so under the weather. Add in pressure at work and well, being sick is no fun!

I love your BBD piece and I've made a note about the colours as this is one I'd really like to stitch at some point. Just perfect to dedicate it to Jane Austen!

Look after that DH of yours - he's definitely a keeper!!!

Off to watch the video.

Nicole said...

I'm so sorry you caught the flu Melissa. Having the flu is the worst!! I had it last year and I remember how miserable I was. Beautiful BBD finish! I just love this sampler. I love how you dedicated it to Jane Austen. Thanks for the book reviews. I'm always on the lookout for good books to read and/or listen to. :)

Katrina said...

Yuck on being sick! I hate it when I don't feel well. And the plaque is wonderful, it reminds me of the Lizzie Kate Art of Aging Gracefully.

Hannah Lovina, aka Jane Austen ;-), is gorgeous. Love it.

Suzanne said...

I am sorry to hear that you have been unwell. I hope that you are feeling much better now.

I love your BBD sampler, it's really beautiful.

Your husband is a true romantic, how lucky you are!

Karoline said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Hannah is gorgeous, congratulations

Siobhan said...

That heart from your husband is so sweet! :) Thanks for sharing the video. I've seen it posted on Facebook but since I just glance at FB quickly on my iPhone, I hadn't paid attention to it. Very cute. I am glad that you're feeling better! I hope things aren't too stressful. Remember, we all understand that life gets in the way so don't stress on behind behind on blog stuff!

Your sampler finish is B-E-A-Utiful!! Fantastic. Love the dedication, too.

Deb said...

Melissa - I'm so sorry to hear that you've been sick. Hope that you're feeling better by now - I'm really slow on catching up on blogs once again.

I love your Hannah sampler! I think that I like your fabric better than what they called for. I'm going to make a note of it because I'm hoping to stitch this one and put my grandmother's name in it. I never knew her as she died long before I was born but her name was Ella Maud and I think it would look good in the sampler. I'll take your advice on stitching two over two for the sampler too.

I'm going to have to take a look at the books that you mentioned. I do love Anne Tyler's books quite a bit, but never have read anything by Kate Atkinson.

Hope you're feeling a lot better now.

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Kajsa said...

I'm happy to hear that you are better, it's such a pain to be sick!

The sampler turned out great!

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Brigitte said...

Oh wow, that sounds like a really busy job. Hope fully after a while it doesn't cut so much into your stitching time.
I love Kate Atkinson. I've also read Behind the Scenes At the Museum and liked it a lot. A very unusual novel and writing style. I have all her other books in my TBR pile and just need the time to read them, lol.

Raven/Missy said...

I am sorry to hear you were sick and am glad you are feeling better!

The sampler looks wonderful! You did a great job.

Wow your work sounds very very busy, but at least it is interesting. Remember to breathe! :)