Saturday, 27 March 2010

Better a Tortoise than a Hare

Lesson Learned? 

Tortoises take their time and still get there in the end. Hares run like mad but might get stumble over something and get a broken ankle or something. In my case, I was really wanting to finish A Very Fine Sampler before I went back to work.  So, I stitched most of Monday AND Tuesday, despite the fact that I know I shouldn't stitch for long periods . What I ended up with was getting a kink in my neck that went down by my back so I've been very uncomfortable for the last few days with next to no stitching or computer time.

Picture Bride-of-Frankenstein... lesson learned for me, I hope! 

A Very Fine Sampler - progress

Ta-da! The sweaty hard parts are done. I just have to fill in the butterflies, then 4 rows of alphabets, etc. I'm on the home stretch now! 

Award Season - people I want to thank!

As Theresa said, it's Award Season. I want to thank Jennifer and Theresa for passing on the Sunshine Award! 

And I want to thank Cari and Patti for passing on the Beautiful Blogger Award. 

I am going to be a party pooper and not pass these on by selecting blogs. (I already selected 7 blogs in my this post.) I enjoy reading so many blogs that I always feel bad with leaving so many others out!

A Lovely Surprise in the mail 

This week, a lovely surprise package arrived from Anna, as an Easter greeting and an early birthday present! Thank you, Anna! You're so sweet! It cheered me up immensely through a rather uncomfortable week!

I'm looking for a Frog, not a Prince!

...coz I already have my Prince, right? wink wink to my DH.  

I know many stitching friends in the US have started this scissor-frog 'craze'.  I've never seen them here. Yesterday I happened to work by a small charity shop so decided to stop in and check.  I asked if they have any glass flower frogs and the reply was they had just sold one. Drat! Then one of the ladies took me over to the shelves to see if there were any more.   We found this. 

Isn't that odd? I've never seen that before. She said you can put it over a vase (that fits) and arrange your flowers. How clever. However, how can I use it for holding scissors? But at $1 how could I pass it up?   When I got home I found that it fit right over an orphan glass container (the lid was cracked).  Voila, my first scissor frog! 

I went to three other charity shops today and I couldn't see any flower frogs so I was lucky to have found this one.

Out of the Rabbit Hole 

...and back to work I go! At least there is the long Easter weekend coming up to lessen the shock of returning to work!  Hope you are enjoying the weekend! Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week ahead!  (PS my neck and back are feeling better today.)

Friday, 19 March 2010

On the eve of Spring

In a few hours from now, it will be Spring! Will you sigh with relief that Winter is gone (or should be)? I'm ready for Spring and Spring Fever has hit, with some plant purchases already. I will show photos later. 

First, some flowers blooming on my linen: 

The bigger picture
progress on A Very Fine Sampler by Birds of a Feather
There's a lot of stitching in this baby; lots of counting and colour changes. In other words, I had to really pay attention! ;-)  However, the design is forgiving so if you miscounted, which I have done more than once, you can sometimes adapt instead of frog!  The colours of this are really beautiful and much brighter than what you can see in the photos. I just love this one and would highly recommend it! In case you are wondering, the chart is still in print.

Now, I can show you some much awaited for stash! The first one arrived on Monday, then I worried until the second one arrived today, 4 days later.

Just love'em!  When Honeysuckle Manor landed here I did consider starting the samplers but then I knew if I did not continue with AVFS I might run into not finishing it for a long time. 

You see, I'm pretty much a one project at time gal.  I have 3 UFO's.  In the last few weeks I tried resuming 2 of the 3 but I gave up quickly. There were good reasons I had put them aside in the first place and they did not get better with time. So, I learned that it's best for me if I finish something...unless I really disliked it, then it's a moot point! 

However, I will get a few projects kitted up from these designs. I will be going back to work in another week's time! Yes, thank you for all your well wishes and positive thoughts! I will be back working with the same client but different project. I will find out more details when I start. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest of my free days! 

Spring Fever has hit our house. The good part is seeing all the pretty flowers of course, but it's also like greeting old friends after a long time apart. The bad part is the inevitable seasonal allergies. Oh well. So, we bought 3 shrubs that were relatively 'small' as we don't have a lot of free space to plant stuff. 

Camellia - Betty Ridley
* supposed to be more compact in growth. This will be my first camellia ever!

Rhododendron - Starry Night
* actually more intense purple in colour

Magnolia - Pink Star
* oh my - this is actually fragrant, as opposed to the white ones which don't appear to be. I've always wanted a star magnolia and my husband actually bought one for me today, a lovely early birthday present! 
Summer Snowflake

That last plant is a type of snowdrop I think? It's very pretty. The flowers usually hang down but today I noticed one of them opened face up so I had to take a photo! So sweet. It's like she's preening for the camera! 

As I write, it's almost 6 p.m. but of course nice and bright outside. Thanks for the comments in the last post. It was interesting to hear from my stitching friends in England to reassure me that there is still plenty of beautiful English countryside - thank you that's very comforting to know as I will visit again one day! And also, for us non-Brits how many of us do love all things 'English'! 

Thank you for stopping by! Have a lovely weekend, Spring or Fall!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Spring Forward (aka lose 1 hr sleep)

I think there must be Spring Fever around, and I don't mean of the allergic kind. I've read that some of you have not been keeping up with your blogging or your blog reading. *gasp* Well, I'm just as guilty and I chalk it up to Spring Fever. Not that, mind you, we've had sunny gardening days. We've actually had a lot of rain, even a bit of storm to make it dramatic, even a bit of snow in places, and then just to shut us up, some sunshine every now and then! But nonetheless, I think we're feeling restless. 

I've been stitching a bit more on A Very Fine Sampler. First, 2 more houses of the teeny variety. 

Then the big basket, in progress...

I like that little village! 

Next, I can now show you the other exchange I stitched last month. which was a pinkeep for Goldie

The design is Stacy Nash's Monogram Pinkeep. I've stitched this before and I'll stitch it again. It's one of my favourite things to do and I like to personalize it for each person. I used various HDF silks that I had kicking around. When I found out that I was stitching for Goldie, well, I could instantly visualizing stitching this for her, with the 'G' in a gold colour!

Then, I found a nice surprise waiting for me - Beautiful Blogger Award from Kellie. Thank you, Kellie!

I will start off by passing on this award to 7 bloggers though I could name many more!
  1. Jane
  2. Leena
  3. Eva
  4. Margaret
  5. Cari
  6. Lois
  7. Laurie 
Now, here's the hardest part - list 7 little known facts about myself:

1. My favourite magazine is Country Living (British edition). I love the gardening, the cooking stuff, the home decor, the crafts, the far away idea of life in a small English village.  Please don't spoil my fun and tell me how awful it is to live in an English village. I once talked to someone who was British then emigrated to Canada who told me how horribly crowded it was back in England, etc.  and kept on turning the little sunny English garden in my mind into a grey, soggy mess. *sheesh*

2. Some of my favourite books seem to come from authors from England/Scotland/Ireland. Examples: Jane Austen, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Ian Rankin, Minette Walters, Monty Don, Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Sarah Raven, etc.  These books range from fiction to gardening and cooking.

3. My favourite narrators of audio books appear to be mostly with British accents! Examples: Simon Vance, Josephine Bailey, Neil Gamian, Hugh Fraser, etc.

4. My favourite show on HGTV is "Location, Location, Location" and/or "Relocation, Relocation" hosted by Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp.  A few years ago R/R was on and now it's been replaced by LLL. It gives me a chance to see various areas of the country and see inside the houses of course!

5. By now, you're probably getting a hint of where this is going...I appear to be an Anglophile! Not sure how that happened. I suspect it's more induced by books and some good ole BBC programs!

6. I did not read Jane Austen until well into adulthood, and probably after I saw the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. I think seeing the story, the visuals helped me understand the storyline and therefore navigate the language of Jane Austen's times. Before that it was tough for me to dive into her books. However, once in, I'd felt like Alice in Wonderland!

 7. After all that, one English thing I don't like is a trifle. It's kind of a mess, isn't it? A whole pile of flavours drowned out by booze. However, a bakewell tart is a different matter! 

That's it, seven things! Not terribly exciting I know. For some good read of their own  7 things, check out Terri's and Deb's blogs as well. 

By the way, I'd forgotten this but the 2010 Paralympics just started!  We watched the opening ceremonies last night and it was really good. There was a lot less pomp & circumstance, less razzle dazzle but it was one big party atmosphere with some amazing performances.  Tonight we'll be catching up on all the events I'm sure! 

Thank you for visiting with me. I really enjoy reading your comments and telling me what's happening in your world. Have a happy weekend! (And remember the dreaded time change tomorrow - my body just doesn't like losing the hour!)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

One Stitch at a Time

A New Start: 

And here's some more:

 And here is what it will look like one day soon:

A Very Fine Sampler 
By Birds of a Feather

I have had this chart for many, many years. I always put it off because it felt too 'big'. Well, now that I've been stitching for awhile this no longer feels too 'big' so I jumped right in. I am using all the recommended fibers (Weeks floss and BOAF Barn Owl linen).  The colours are just wonderful and I'm really enjoying stitching this one! 

Yesterday brought an exchange received from Marie. It is a pinkeep using a Mary Garry design. 

It is beautifully stitched and finished. I love it. Thank you so much, Marie! 

I am still waiting to hear from my exchange partner for the pinkeep exchange so hopefully I will be able to show it to you in the next post. 

The weather has been really wacky. The cherry trees have been blooming but the last few days have brought some chilly weather, followed by rain this morning, followed by sunshine. Who knows what's next?

Thank you for all your comments about "Be Kind and Be True" (SAL with Jane) and all your well wishes for me to find some good work soon. It's working! I can't divulge details yet as they haven't been finalized so I am keeping my fingers crossed! 
Hope you are enjoying the week and that warmer Spring-like weather is chasing the snow away! 

I am going to leave you with a link to a very funny video. Even if you don't have a dog, you'll love it.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

March Forth and Conquer ...

I've always liked the date of March 4 because it sounds like 'march forth' which to me says 'Go forth and Conquer' whatever it is you've been meaning to do.  For me, it's time to get back to work, but let's talk about some fun stuff to start and I have lots of things to show you! 

Since I last left you, here are the new bits of Be Kind and Be True that you haven't seen.

Here's Wilma and Fred once again. 


Here is my attempt at an artsy shot! And, yes, those are my new Dovo scissors!
And here is the whole shebang, finished!
Be Kind and Be True
by With Thy Needle and Thread
SAL with Jane
February - March 2010 
I am still pondering whether to tea-dye the finished piece. I quite like it the way it is but I shall think about it.  I finished before Jane only because she's been out and about having more fun than me! ;-)  Thank you Jane for a wonderful SAL. We'll have to do it again!
Annemarie and I did a private exchange. She has received it and absolutely adores it (ok, I made that last bit up).

The design is a freebie and can be found here. It's stitched on Reindeer linen (LL) using some NPI silks that I had around. I modified the design to hold the "A" at the bottom of the heart. I stuffed the pillow with a bit of lavender in addition to the usual 'stuffing'. I just love this clever design and I'm sure I will stitch it again. Thanks to KarenV who first posted about this freebie a few weeks ago.

I also sent Pelle a pair of red Winter Olympics 2010 mitts.  Annemarie, I hope you'll show a photo of Pelle with them on. I bought a bit bigger than I thought would fit Pelle right now so that he may be able to wear it for a few years. 

Now, onto some stash of a different variety. 
Sheep in a meadow 

Horus the Cat Burglar

Remember when I said I wanted to get some creations from all the talented people on Etsy? Well, here are a couple of them! I love felted wool!

My stash from the Superbowl Sale at the Silver Needle arrived today. Or I should say the first of two. Like what happened to Jane, it's unfortunate that they didn't combine the packages as the second one is just 2 or 3 charts and would've fitted in.

This stash was just a few tools. Pictured above is a small Namaste container to hold your scissors, etc., a cheapie pair of small scissors for travel use, and a telescopic magnet thing for when you drop a needle or something and you can extend it to help you reach those hard-to-get-at places.

As to my Blackbird Stash, well, I phoned the ONS yesterday and they hadn't even gotten around to my order even though I placed it before the Market. The shops get very busy I understand that. At least I phoned so now maybe in 2 weeks I will be happy dancing! 

Now I need a little of your well wishes. As my regular readers probably remember, I finished my contract just before Christmas and was hoping to be back at work in March. So if you can, send some magic vibes my way for a 'great new job working with wonderful people' - that would be so great! 

Thank you for all your positive comments on the last post including all the nice things you had to say about the Winter Olympics here. We are all in withdrawal, BUT, we will carry on with the paralympics starting March 12. Not sure how much media coverage there will be but I hope they will catch some of the good vibes still hanging around here! 

So glad you could come by today! After this long post, I will need to work on what to stitch next. The weekend is almost here!

Monday, 1 March 2010

What a Magical 17 days!

The Winter Olympics ended yesterday, a party that lasted 17 days and sparked some magical awakening of Canadian spirit in this country!  I will write more in a minute as, frankly, it's a bit emotional for me to write about it. I'll warm up with an update on my SAL with Jane

I just love all the colours that have been added since last time. It makes it very spring like, doesn't it? I'm feeling recovered from whatever I had last week though the hay fever bit is still hanging around.  I'm so enjoying stitching this, and doing it as a SAL with Jane has been lots of fun!  I'm already thinking I want to stitch another of Brenda's design, Mary's Best Handwork.  I love all the reds in it!

But what I really want to stitch next is the new Blackbird Designs' Honeysuckle Manor, whenever it arrives! 

Now, I want to write about the Olympics because my heart is so full if I don't tell you this story I'll just burst.  The last event of the Olympics was the Gold Medal Hockey game - Canada vs USA.  If anyone didn't realize how much hockey is part of our national psyche, we found that out yesterday! Me? I don't normally watch any sports games but this was BIG, this had a whole nation anxiously cheering on our team. 

The game was a nail biter. The USA team was amazing in scoring the goal that tied up the game with less than 30 seconds to Canada's win, and drove the game to overtime. Here's where you can have a good laugh picturing me. 

In the last minutes of the game, before USA scored the tieing goal, I was pacing back and forth between the TV room and the kitchen, practically running on the spot because I was so nervous. My DH was laughing at me and said 'hey this is good exercise for you! You should do this more often.' Ha-ha.  When the tieing goal was scored, you could feel the whole crowd collapse in disbelief.  I'd wanted to cry and I noticed my heart was racing. I was shaking! Can you believe it? My logical side said 'It's only a game'. My emotional side said 'It's about Canada!'

I couldn't watch the next period. I had to go to the next room and pick up my needle to calm down my heart rate. After awhile I heard kind of a roar. I walked into the TV room and saw the Canadian team piling on top of each other in celebration, and the crowd absolutely roaring! I tell ya, it could've gone the other way and the US could've won. Then I would've feared riots, national depression, and me eating my way through tons of chocolates! 

I never would've thought myself being that emotionally attached to the outcome of a game! But this Olympics has been a magical one and woke in many of us a pride in being a Canadian. Normally, we are all so laid back and quiet but this, this was really like getting together as a family and watching your kids compete and do their bests. Teary moments were aplenty.

Maybe you had to be here to just feel the vibe. It was the strangest thing but most heart-warming.
With this final Gold medal, Canada achieved 14 Golds which is the most that any nation has ever achieved in the Olympic games!  That was amazing considering when Canada went into these games the worry was if we would win ANY Gold medals at all on home turf!  (You see, this never happened when the games were in Montreal and Calgary.) So much for small expectations and grand surprises! 

My bit of Olympic blathering isn't meant to be self congratulatory (ok, maybe a little but that goes to the athletes!) but just to record this moment when one day I look back on my blog and can then recall this special moment.  I want to send a big thank you out to everyone who have made these games an amazing time! 

Lastly, I just want to thank you for stopping by. I know the East has been hit hard with more snow. I send you some sunshine with these flowers and hope spring will come soon in your part of the world. Take care and I'm sending each of you a hug just because I'm still tuned into this happy vibe right now! ;-)