Saturday, December 30, 2006

From Leisure Arts leaflet #470 - Three's Company - design by Frankie
Buckley. Stitched away back in the 90's. Not yet framed. Stitched on
a sort of greeny Aida.

The week at work was busy. Not a surprise really, since it's end of month,
we were closed for two business days, and several people were away on
holidays. So I got two full days of work, but part time on Friday, which
was fine by me because we had company coming for dinner that night,
so I was able to get home in good time. A week ago, on the last work day
before Christmas, it was a rainy day out, and it took me about 3 hours to
get home.

I should clarify here that I work for a company that processes work for
the banks, among other companies. I am a part time employee, but
will work full time when they need me. DH drives me to work in the
morning, which takes about 45 minutes, but I have to make my own way
home by transit and Go service. That takes me about an hour and a half
on a normal day. But when the weather's bad it can take longer....much
longer. So on my way home from work I read. Lots!

On Friday night we had friends come for dinner, and my Mom came as
well. Our friends live outside of Glasgow, Scotland but have relatives living
here in Ontario. So every Christmas they come here to spend the holidays
with their relatives. And one evening each year they come here for dinner
and a visit. It's one of the highlights of our Christmas season.

Last night we went to a Fondue party. It's an annual thing put on by one
of the members of the smaller choir that DH belongs to. He belongs to the
main church choir, plus this smaller, folkier one. There must have been
about 35 people, including teenagers and kids of various ages, and
spouses. Long tables were set up in the basement of the house, with
Fondue pots placed at intervals along the length of each table for 4 to 6
people to share. Bowls of raw chicken, beef, potatoes and two kinds of
sausage were also set out in each area and each person had two fondue
forks to use at a time. It is a meal that requires patience, as you have to put your food into the fondue pot and then wait while it cooks in the hot oil.
But it is also the best kind of meal to just relax, and chat with your
neighbours. You can't rush. Desert was cake. One of those confetti cakes,
with a candle in the centre to celebrate Jesus's birthday.

I took my new camera to the party and managed to snap a few pictures. I'm
having so much fun with this little camera, snapping candid pictures as the
mood hits me. And once I load the software onto my computer to be able to
download the pictures onto it I'll be (inflicting) sharing some of those
pictures with you on this blog. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here is Phoebe, settled on the back of the love seat in our living room. Don't
you just love her fluffy tail? You can't tell from the picture, but in the centre
of that white fluffy tail tip is a dot of black fur. Right now she is laying here
on the desk top, on her blanket, next to my elbow purring away.

So how was every one's Christmas? Hope it was wonderful. Since DH has
been nursing a bug for a couple of weeks we decided this year to skip the
outdoor Christmas Eve service that we usually attend in Ballinafad, a small
town just north of here. Instead, after dinner, we drove to the homes of a
couple of our friends to drop off gifts and share a cup of cheer (beer for DH,
tea for me). And to look at the Christmas lights around town. We were
home around 11:00, and into bed soon after that. Didn't want to risk
running into Santa doing his rounds by staying up too late. I hear he doesn't
care for that sort of thing, with adults anyway.

On Christmas day we spent part of the morning doing light household
chores. I made my turnip casserole, which my SIL and Mom and I love and
DH hates. Then I brought the gifts down from the spare room where they'd
been kept safe behind closed doors, away from curious Kitties who find the bows and trim fascinating things. DH arranged them under the tree so that
we could have at least a few hours of seeing them looking pretty under there.

DH picked my Mom up around 2:30 and brought her over, and SIL arrived
soon after. The roast went into the oven to cook, and then we opened gifts.
As usual we were all quite spoiled. I gave DH tickets to a concert by one of
our favourite bands, the Irish Descendants. They are coming to the Rose
theatre in Brampton next March and we love seeing them live. This will be
the third concert of theirs that we've been to. Proving that we certainly
think alike, DH gave me a lovely card, with a beautiful note that he'd written
inside which brought tears to my eyes, and a promise to take me to any live
show that I'd care to see next year. So sweet. I think I'll keep him.

Another gift that knocked my socks off was from Darlene. My very own
digital camera!! Yes folks, soon I'll be taking my own pictures and posting
them all over my blog. And poor Darlene won't have to spend half her visits
here walking around the house, with me pointing at things and shouting
"Ok, take a picture of that! And that! And that over there!!". Of course, first
I have to figure out how to work the thing, which of course means
instructions and assistance from Darlene. So she's not quite off the hook, yet.

More Christmas stuff from around the house. This lot is in the front bay window of our living room. Note the green grass on our front lawn. It has been unseasonably warm for this time of year here, with lots of rain and no snow to speak of. Which unfortunately meant a green Christmas. We should be below freezing now that Winter is officially here, but we're actually 5 or 6 degrees warmer then that, and sometimes more. DH reports that our Crocus's are poking up out of the ground at the front of the house.

Dinner was delicious and we all stuffed ourselves silly. SIL made a heavenly coconut creme pie, which made a nice change from the usual pumpkin pie I usually make. And best of all, she left us the leftovers to finish off. Tonight dinner will be warmed over left overs, which will probably taste better then they did last night.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This is the display that I have set up in our kitchen for Christmas. The
kitchen is blue, which is not the most Christmasy of colours, however
with the help of my friends I've managed to collect a fair number of
ornaments to make the room festive. Behind the kitchen table you can
see the narrow counter which is a part of a built in wall unit made in
the style of a hutch.

With apologies to our friends Rob and Sandy, here is the same area lit
up at night. The red, glowing piece is a glass brick which has had a hole
drilled into it, and a string of red lights pushed inside. Then it's been
wrapped in a bright sliver and red bow and trimmed with beads and
stuff. I picked it up at a craft show in November and I love it.

The coffee table in our living room. The Snowmen and friends under the table are from Hallmark card stores and when you press a button each one sings and dances. Quite cute, quite irresistible.

A blurry picture of our living room on the night of our Christmas party. It shows the Christmas tree all lit up, and from top to bottom. The glowing thing on top of the tree is a gold star. No tinsel, because of the cats. We don't have a fireplace mantel, so the stockings are hung by suction cups on the bay window.

Today I wrapped the last of the Christmas presents. Tomorrow my Mom and SIL come to join us for Christmas dinner. Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, Mashed potato's, Turnip casserole and Cauliflower. SIL is bringing desert.

I hope that everyone has a most wonderful Christmas. Special shout out to Darlene who took all the above pictures, and who is such a dear, wonderful friend to us. Thanks for everything Dar.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Christmas project from Better Homes and Gardens - Cross Stitch
Christmas magazine dated 1992. I'm stitching the boarder with a blend
of DMC #304 and Kreinik metallic #003HL red. The snowflakes are DMC
#321 and #498.

I've never used this metallic stuff before and it's not the easiest thing in the world to stitch with. The thread won't stay straight, and it frays so that little black "hairs" escape and stick out all over the place. I'm managing about 8
to 12 x-stitches before I have to change the blended thread. So it's taking
me a heck of a long time just to stitch a straight boarder. And there is a
smaller boarder inside the square of snowflakes to be done as well. Then I
stitch the words "and on Earth Peace" in shadings of the three reds. It'll
look lovely when done. I love red.

Well, we had our yearly Christmas party here on Saturday. It was a busy
time for us, but in the end it was great fun. And I think that everyone had
a nice time.

To begin, Darlene came out on Thursday night since we were both off on
Friday. We spent Friday baking. I made some of my shortbread cookies
and some mini mince meat tarts. Friday night we, including DH, went to
the pub for dinner and had a nice visit with Brenda, the proprietor and her
daughter Tracey who helps her on weekends to run the place. When we got
home DH went off to bed while Darlene and I sat up to watch a DVD. She'd
rented "The Devil Wears Prada". It was great. Meryl Streep is something
else, isn't she? What an amazing actress. And such a natural, striking
beauty. Very classy lady.

Saturday morning was spent cleaning around the house, setting up the
dining room table as a snack station, arranging chairs around the living
room to supplement the existing seating already there and puttering. I also made a double batch of macaroni and cheese to be part of the buffet dinner. Then a trip to the grocery store to pick up the snack trays that we'd ordered
for the day, as well as other necessities. Then home to sort everything out,
get the M&M's frozen lasagnas into the oven to warm, and to get dressed.
DH went to pick up Mom at the residence and brought her back here just before the official start time of the party.

Promptly at 3:00pm people started to arrive and from there it was a roller
coaster of non stop running for us. In all, counting children, we probably
had about 50 people here, although some couldn't stay the entire time.

A few glitches included DH having to make a beer/pop run when we began
to run short. And then there was the food. Every time that we have a party
and I'm planning the food order/menu DH nags me that I'm making/buying
too much stuff and it'll go to waste. I would rather have too much then not
enough. Well, two large lasagnas, a double batch of mac 'n cheese, a large
pile of honey/garlic chicken wings, friend Mary's home made "Mother's
Stupid Casserole" (her name for it, not mine), two of those small smoked
hams, and rolls and butter were laid out for the hordes. And it disappeared
in short order. I think everyone got enough to eat. Well, except me. Being
the good hostess, not to mention a worry wart one, I waited until everyone
else had eaten before I went to fill my plate. I got a few chicken wings and a
roll. And some of the "Stupid" casserole. Nothing else left. And that's after
they'd been noshing on a fruit tray, a veggie tray, two trays of shrimp, a
cheese tray and a bread and spread tray. Good Grief!!

Ah, but it was grand seeing everyone, and the time just went so darn fast.
By 11:30 the last of the guests had left, and the cleanup begun. DH,
Darlene, SIL Nora and I finally fell into bed at 2:00am Sunday morning.

Sunday morning DH was up to feed the cats at 8:00am since he is an early
riser. The rest of us were all up by 9:30. The rest of the day was spent
doing the final clean ups, laundry and just being lazy. SIL went home
around noon and Darlene around 5:30. DH then drove me over to Mom's residence where they were having the family Christmas dinner. DH was entertaining a mild cold so he didn't join us but Mom and I had a nice
meal and visit.

And that was our weekend!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This project was done one summer away back about 18 years ago. I
remember taking it with me to summer concerts at Ontario Place
which is located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto.

At that time there was an outdoor venue there to go and see concerts.
The concerts were free with your admission to Ontario Place. The
concert stage was in the centre of a bowl shaped indentation in the
ground, with seating rising up on three sides. There was a high roof over
the stage but the sides were open to the elements, and you could also sit
on the grass on the higher slopes above the seating area. The stage area
could rotate (like a lazy Susan) during the shows so no matter where you
sat you would eventually have a couple of opportunities to face the

I was on holiday from work for a couple of the shows that my friends and
I wished to see that Summer, so I would go down to Ontario Place in the
afternoon, and pick out seats for us on a row of benches close to the
stage area, and settled in. Usually the person, or group performing that
evening would show up in the afternoon to run a sound check, and would
perform a few songs, and do what ever needed to be done to prepare for
the show. So those of us there early to hold onto seats were treated to a
preview of the show.

To pass the time while waiting for my friends to come from work to join
me at the Forum (which is what the venue was called) for the show I would
take something to read, and my cross stitch. It passed the time quickly and
made the wait of about six hours bearable. Those wooden benches were
hard on the back side when sitting for so long but that was the only draw
back to the whole experiance.

So who did we see back then at the Forum? At the risk of dating myself
I'll list who I remember seeing. Some of these would be Canadian groups
so I don't know how well known they would be away from here.
1) Mike and the Mechanics
2) Rita MacNeil
3) The Monkees (all but Mike)
4) 1964 (a Beatles tribute band)
5) The Box
6) Glass Tiger
7) John Williams conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra....Star Wars
done live....WOW!!
8) Gowan
9) Blue Rodeo
10) The Nylons
Ah, it was so much fun. Now the Forum is gone, a standard concert stage
has taken it's place, and you have to pay a good chunk of change to get in.
It's no fun anymore. We saw The Rankin Family there once and though
they were great the venue was nothing special. And too expensive.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Darlene took this picture of a picture of my parents on their wedding
day 50 years ago last September.

As with many other people back then, all of my parent's official
wedding pictures were printed in black and white. I sometimes wondered
what colours the clothes were that my Aunt and my grandmothers were wearing in the pictures, when I looked through the album. The Bride
of course wore white, and the men were in dark suits. The pictures in
the album were the only ones I'd ever seen of my parent's wedding day.

About eight years ago a cousin of my Mother's came over from England
for a visit, and she brought along a package of pictures that she had
found in her Mum's belongings. These were pictures of us here, taken at
various times over the years and sent to England for the relatives there
to see. Pictures from the time when I was a baby, up until my wedding
day, and some a bit after that too.

Among the photographs was a small box of coloured slides. Now my
parents never used slides. Our pictures were always developed into
photographs. We've never had a projector and screen to view slides with.
At that time that my cousin gave the slides to me I glanced at them and
saw a couple were of me as a baby that I knew we already had in our own
albums so I packed the box of slides away with other family keepsakes
and sort of forgot about it.

Not long ago I was browsing through the boxes of family memorabilia
and came across the box of slides. I opened it, and began to really look
at each of the slides individually. I that's when I realized that there were
about eight pictures that were taken of my parent's wedding day, and they
were in colour!! There were also other pictures of my parents which were
taken around the same time.

So DH and I took the slides into our favourite local photo shop and asked
about having photographs made from them. And the one especially of my
parents, taken on their wedding day, standing shoulder to shoulder. That
one I wanted to have made into an 8 x 10 picture, if possible. We left
the slides at the shop and returned a week later to see what they'd been
able to accomplish.

We were told that some of the pictures were blurry, and many of them
were faded in colour, but the technician had worked with his equipment
to get the best possible prints from each slide. They said that the slides
were probably made within the first year that it had been possible to make
colour slides, so the technology was still being perfected.

Most of the pictures of my parent's wedding day are blurry. But some
are pretty clear, and it's no big deal either way because at least now I can
see the colours of the day, which is pretty amazing after all these years.
Other pictures are of my parents in their first apartment. It's so
strange looking at these pictures because my parents look so young in them.

And the 8 x 10 picture turned out fantastic, as you can see at the top of this
entry. My Mom Norma, and my Dad Chuck (Charles). My Dad passed
away eight years ago. Today my Mom celebrated her 85th birthday. We
gave her the framed picture for her birthday. She never even knew it existed.
Needless to say she was speechless when she saw it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Above is picture of The Drawn Thread's "Spot of Autumn".

I got stash today!! As you may have guessed from the projects that
I've been stitching this year, my stash is rather dated. My stuff is
mainly from around the mid 90's and before. Then I stopped
stitching and collecting charts for about 10 years. Now that I'm
back in the "game" and cruising other stitcher's blogs I see all the
new designers and their lovely cross stitch designs and I want them
all too. But these things are expensive so I'm trying to go slowly and
make sure that the charts that I buy are the ones that I really really

My favourite designers? I seem to be leaning towards the following:
A Prairie Schooler ~~The Drawn Thread ~~Just Nan~~Lavender and
Lace~~Little House Needleworks~~

Today's stash delivery is all designs from The Drawn Thread. They are:
Spot of Autumn~~Spot of Summer~~12 Houses Sampler~~Halloween
House Sampler.

Of course, now that I have these nifty new charts, I need to order the
specialty threads to stitch them with, and the fabrics to stitch them on.
But that will have to wait until after Christmas, when all the bills are
paid and I can afford them.

Oh, and I then need to quit work and stay home so that I'll have all the
time in the world to stitch all these projects, plus all the others sitting
in my crafts cupboard.

I'm currently reading a biography of John Gielguid, written by Sheridan
Morley. A wonderful read and quite funny at times. Sir John had the
unfortunate tendency to unintentionally stick his foot in his mouth when
talking to people. He was quite famous for it. Or would that be infamous?
Anyways, he didn't mean to say the things that he said, or how they would
sound once spoken aloud. But it makes for humorous reading.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

From the booklet by Alma Lynne Designs called "Folksy Foursome".
Date on the booklet is around 1988. There are four designs in this
series but I only stitched the two. They are stitched on a cream
coloured Aida material. I like many of the Alma Lynne patterns and I
have about 8 booklets of her designs. Linda, my crafty friend, has
also made dolls from some of the patterns provided in these booklets
along with the cross stitch designs. She's made me two and even
turned one into a "cross stitcher" doll. I'll have to get a picture taken
of her some time.

On Sunday DH and I went to my Mom's retirement residence where
they were having a wine and cheese party for friends and family of the
residents. A lovely spread was put on for our enjoyment, which also
included smoked salmon on pumpernickle rounds, shrimp salad, a hot
rice dish and lots more. Once we'd finished noshing, we went back to
Mom's room and visited until her dinner time. Then we returned home
and I spent the evening making Christmas bows to put on my parcels
when they're wrapped. Okay, when they're bought and wrapped.

I got into bow making thanks to Darlene's sweetie Tony. It's all his
fault. Really. He made a bow to put on my Christmas present one year
and I loved it so much, because it looked so beautiful on the parcel. Well,
I had to insist that he make me a new bow every Christmas for that years
present. So now I have about 6 Tony bows out around the house as part
of the holiday decor.

But then I decided to try my hand (and the accompanying 10 thumbs) at
making bows too. I started about 2 years ago and began to collect rolls
of fancy Christmas ribbon, and then I looked for things to put on them.
Since I'm a crazy person for glitter and sparkle I was especially on the
lookout for things with lots of glitter on them. I usually made about
5 bows per year, but this year I got carried away and I've made a dozen.
Since Sunday.

I have to work in the kitchen because that's the most practical place to
spread out my supplies. Trims and ribbons on the table, a large plastic
tray on the counter with my hot glue gun, glue sticks and scissors and
stapler. Now you, dear reader, should know that I'm a messy crafts
person. When I put glue on something, I put glue on everything in the
immediate vicinity. Strings of glue stretch from project to project, and
wrap around scattered trims and clog up my scissors and stapler. Glitter
that has rubbed off of the trims speckle the counter, my shirt, the floor
and the cats. In short, the kitchen looks like Tinkerbell exploded in it!!

Once I'm done for the evening I pack everything away and wipe up the
kitchen as best I can. It usually looks fine once I'm done cleaning, but I've noticed the next morning at breakfast that the toast has a certain gleam
to it that isn't quite normal.

Perhaps I'll get some pictures of my bows before they get given away.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I can't remember if this sampler was my second or my third cross stitch
project. It came from the same book as my first sampler, which I wrote
about in an earlier post. At the time that I did this my favourite colour
was pink. So I stitched this thing in pink. Pink is no longer my favourite
colour. It hasn't been for a long while. I find it hard to look at this poor
sampler now because not only do I hate the colour, but it's also gotten
stained with a yellow age mark, and because I stitched it on white Aida.
It was a nice, soft piece of Aida, but I just don't care for it anymore. And
the size of it would make framing it quite expensive.

However, every cross stitch project done is a learning experience. And
I do love doing samplers, and this one sort of reminds me of those lovely
Long Dog samplers that various Bloggers are doing which I hope to try
someday myself. Only, not in pink.

Meanwhile....found last years Christmas cards!! They were in a plastic
bag, hanging on a hanger in the closet behind me here. Oh well. I spent
yesterday morning sorting through them and cutting them up into gift

Our Christmas tree is up and the decorations are out throughout the
house. Many thanks to Darlene who comes every year to help me sort
through the chaos and make magic out of it. DH hauls all the boxes up
from the storage space in the basement and then leaves us to it. We
start in the early afternoon and it takes all afternoon to do just the tree.

This year we bought a new 6 1/2 foot pre-lit Christmas tree. I've been
wanting a pre-lit tree for some time now, and since our old tree was
getting worn out, and the lights we used on it were beginning to burn out
we decided that it was time to order a new tree. I love it. It has coloured
lights and it's stand turns the tree if you want it to. We don't. The cats
are attracted to the tree enough when it's standing still. Hate to think
what they'd do with hanging ornaments that they can chase!!

Gina, I asked DH and it seems that no one took pictures of the church
float before, during or after the Santa Claus parade. Pity. And none of
the pictures in the local paper were of their float either. I have got to
get me my own digital camera so that I can take the pictures that no one
else seems inclined to take.

As for stitching my first real project on evenweave or linen. Well, I think
that since I didn't know much about cross stitch at the time and didn't
realize that there were different materials, with various degrees of
difficulty in using them, not to mention quirks, so I just got on with it.
Ignorance is bliss. One stupid thing that I did do on that first sampler
is that when I decided where I was going to start my boarder, to make
my first stitches on the project, I made a small dot on the fabric with a
blue magic marker to remember where to put my needle. Doh!! It isn't
too noticeable, but I know it's there.

Hmmm. Funny thing Gina. I was planning on winning the lottery in the
next few months too. How weird is that? 'Course, since you live in Oz and
I'm here in the Great White North we won't have to worry about stealing
the prize from each other. So, how do you like your tea? Cheers!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A picture of Rupert alone, and a picture of Rupert with DH in the
background. The second picture shows off Rupert's colour and his
stripes quite nicely. With his colouring Rupert is easier to take
good pictures of then Phoebe with her grey fur. Plus he's a ham.
Oh, and he's crazy about Darlene (who took these pictures of course) so
he'll do just about anything for her.

One Sunday, about two weeks ago, I was doing the weekly laundry.
I'd put the first load through the washing machine and I transferred it
to the dryer as usual, and pushed the "on" button to start it up.
Nothing happened. Hmmm.

Fiddled around with the knob and jiggled the electrical cord and reset
the dial for choosing the method of drying but nothing had any effect.
I even kicked it a couple of times, to show it that I meant business.
Nothing. Rats!! DH was out to a choir practice so I had to wait until
he got home to run a check of the systems. He had no better luck with
it then I did.

On the Monday after work DH picked up a new starter button for the
dryer and installed it that night to see if that might be the problem. Nope!
So on Tuesday he called to request a visit from a repairman from the
place where we'd bought the washer/dryer originally. The soonest that
they could send someone out would be Nov 28th!! Swell!

So in the past two weeks I've been running the towels and the unmention-
ables through the washing machine and then we've been running them
over to a Laundromat to dry them. Sheets I run through the wash and then
hang on my drying rack to air dry. Oh, and no I do not have a clothes line
outside to hang stuff on in an emergency such as this. Most clothes I
also wash as usual and then hang to air dry. We've been managing, but
it's been a nuisance.

We did a run to the laundromat this evening and brought home two
laundry hampers full of clean, dry towels and our unmentionables. Which
reminded me of how much I love the smell of hot, clean laundry.

I am now in the process of looking for last years Christmas cards. The ones
that we'd recieved from our friends and family. Every year, after Christmas
I pack up the cards and put them away somewhere to save for the next
year. I trim them up and use them for gift tags whenever possible. Except
that I can never remember where I put them from year to year. I swear
that scattered somewhere in this house there are boxes of old Christmas
cards just waiting to be discovered. Sigh!

Monday, November 20, 2006

My current x-stitch project as of last Friday. It is Prairie Schooler's
"A Prairie Garden". I believe that the publishing date on the chart is
1992. I am stitching it on evenweave fabric in a light cream colour
with the recommended DMC threads. So far, every time that I begin
another flower, I decide that it's my favourite flower on the project
...until I start the flower in the next square.

This picture was taken in the bay window in our living room. I was
kneeling down, trying to get the material as flat as possible by holding
it with my arms and hands. Darlene stood over me and leaned down to
try and take the picture without getting my arms or any other portion
of my anatomy in the frame as well. What we must have looked like
from out on the street I hate to imagine.

I have decided that I need to be stitching a Christmas piece now,
since it is officially the "holiday" season. Yes, it is. Officially. Santa
arrived in Toronto on Sunday afternoon in the 102nd annual Toronto
Santa Claus parade.

I can remember going to the Santa Claus parade way back when I
was 3 or 4 years old with my Dad, my Uncle Don and my cousins.
Back then it was known as the Eatons Santa Claus parade because it
was sponsored and run by Eatons department store. I vividly remember
the year we were in the back of the crowd lining University Avenue to
watch the parade. But that wasn't a problem because my Dad had
brought a ladder along, and he just set it up, and set my cousins and I
on it according to size, with the smallest on top.

Eatons is no longer in existence, having gone out of business a few years
ago. A few years before that they'd decided to stop running the parade
to try and save money. The uproar that the announcement of this decision caused throughout Toronto was enormous. It would not be allowed. Major retailers in the city volunteered to help carry the cost of running the
parade and I think the city of Toronto took over the organization of the
event. It is held on the third Sunday of every November and Torontonian's consider it the official start of the Christmas season.

I've chosen to stitch a smallish piece from an issue of Cross Stitch
Christmas dated 1992. It is a square shaped project stitched in three
shades of red, with a border of snowflakes and in the centre it says
"and on Earth Peace". I'm stitching it on white evenweave material.

A special hello to Gina who's been so very kind with her comments on
my blog. It is such a delight to hear from you Gina. Wish we lived close
enough to each other that we could share a cup of tea and a visit. I
suspect we'd have a blast. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This was a favourite project of mine. It came from another issue of Cross
Stitch and Country Crafts dated probably over fifteen years ago. I saw the
finished project that Linda had done and wanted one for myself. But this
one I did stitch for myself and enjoyed doing very much. I love the colours
and I love all the patterns within the heart.

I have four big binders full of clear plastic sleeves holding patterns
from cross stitch magazines circa 1988 to 1998. It's mind boggling to look
through those binders at all the potential projects that they contain.
Especially since I've begun collecting current patterns that have caught my
eye and charmed me since being reintroduced to cross stitching via blogging
in the past year or so. Back then most of the projects were stitched mostly
on plain old beige linen, with DMC thread. Hand dyed materials and threads
were just beginning to appear and beads, charms and buttons were fairly rare.

On Monday I took the Go bus down to Toronto and met my friend Elaine for
a visit. She lives in the Beaches area of Toronto and is not fond of driving so
getting together requires some planning and allowance for transit time.

We had a lovely visit. We sat in her kitchen, next to the gas fire, and yakked
away for hours. She made us a delicious lunch when we realized that we'd
talked so long we'd forgotten to go out for lunch as we'd originally planned
and time was running away from us.

After eating we went for a long walk in the Beaches. A lovely, old part of Toronto which boarders on Lake Ontario (hence the nick name for the area) with charming homes, lots of building styles, and big old trees lining the streets. The streets can be quite steep to walk along as some seem to plunge suddenly down towards the lakeshore.

It was a grey, overcast Autumn day but the colourful leaves scattered across the sidewalks and the fading glory of the last of summer's flowers and bushes changed to Fall inspired hues made for a wonderful excursion.

It was past 6:30 when I got home, and I had to stop on the way at the public shool to vote in the municipal election. When I got home DH was just headed out to a church admin. meeting. I wasn't hungry after our late lunch so I just headed upstairs with Phoebe and we settled down for the rest of the evening to read blogs, stitch and cuddle. It was a great day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This was a gift from my friend Linda one Christmas. It was a pattern from
an issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts of many years ago. She'd made
a doll for herself and when I saw it I fell in love with it. So when she offered
to make me something for Christmas I jumped at the chance to ask for one
of these. I love her so much. We regret that the magazine never saw fit to
offer a male counterpart for this little lady. It would have made a cute pair.

I'm on holidays this week. Woo Hoo!!

On Saturday, in spite of the nasty, wet and cool weather DH and I joined a
group of people from church to put together a church float for the George-
town Santa Claus parade. We met at the home of one of the parishioners
and while the men stayed outside to work out the logistics of stringing lights
on the float, the women stayed indoors and worked on decorations.

The float was actually a hay wagon on loan from a local farm. It had a metal
bar frame which made stringing lights easy to do. Hay bales on the plat-
form provided seats for the choir which would be riding the float in the
parade. A screen at the front of the float showed a PowerPoint present-
ation about the church.

The ladies sat in the dry warmth of the house and drank hot apple cider and
cut out large snowflakes from Styrofoam plates, covered them in glue and
then sprinkled them with silver glitter. We made 300 of them. Some of
us probably drank hot apple cider with bits of glitter adding texture if not

Dinner was pot luck, which ment lots of yummy food to indulge in. The men
came in to warm up and enjoy their meal, and then headed back outside
to continue with their technical work.

Sunday afternoon the group got together to finish decorating the float, which
included hanging the 300 snowflakes. The Santa Claus parade took place in the evening so that is why they had lights on the floats and could do the
PowerPoint presentation. Thankfully the weather improved on the day of the
parade so there was a good turnout of people along the route and the people
taking part in the parade didn't freeze.

I spent Sunday afternoon and evening visiting my Mom at her retirement
residence. We watched a movie, I stitched and she knitted, and we worked
on a jigsaw puzzle. We had a nice dinner in the diningroom and relaxed in
the evening watching home decor shows on tv.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It is a wet and cold Remembrance Day here in Toronto and also in Ottawa where the official ceremonies took place. It seems appropriate somehow to have rain falling during our observance of this most emotional of occasions.
The sound of the lone trumpeter playing the haunting "Last Post" never fails to send chills down my spine and bring tears to my eyes. The sight of the
aged faces of the veterans, many experiencing emotions and memories that
most of us cannot begin to imagine, also evokes a lump in my throat and
further tears. The rain is a physical manifestation of the sorrow we all feel
watching the events around the war memorials and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

A few years ago a spontaneous gesture by a member of the crowd after the
ceremonies in Ottawa inspired a new tradition that continues to be carried out today. As the veterans parade passed by, and the politicians and dignitaries got back into their limousines, someone took off their poppy and walking up to the tomb of the Unknow Soldier placed it on top of it. Others saw this and they did the same. Before long the tomb was covered in small, red poppies. A single poppy may not have the presence of a large wreath, but a couple of thousand poppies speak eloquently of the respect and the pride and the emotions of the common people who gather in the cold and the pouring rain to remember.

We Remember.....We will never forget.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This is my very first full size cross stitch project. It was stitched back in 1988, over one, on some sort of linen/evenweave material. I bought the material in a fabric store near where I worked at the time in downtown Toronto. I'd been told to go in and ask for material to cross stitch a sampler
on, which is what I did. The sales person pulled out this huge bolt of fabric and
asked if it was suitable for my needs. I said that it would do just fine - like
I really knew what I was talking about back then. So she cut me a huge piece
of this material and I happily took it home.

The sampler that I chose to work on was from a book that I'd bought, published
by Better Homes and Gardens called, appropriately enough, "Cross-Stitch Samplers". It's actually the project that was featured on the front of the book. I would eventually do two projects from this book, and my Mom did one as well which I will blog about another day.

I remember well working on this project because I had a really nasty virus which had me off work for about a week. I sat in the kitchen of my apartment and worked away at this piece between coughing and sneezing bouts. I especially loved doing the lettering on it. If I ran into difficulties with something or had a question about what I was doing I would phone my friend Linda (crafts person extraordinair) who would advise me on how to proceed.
At that time she lived across the city from me so getting together wasn't easy and especially not when I was hacking up a lung.

I have also included a picture of this sampler on the wall where it currently hangs in our den so that you can see how it is framed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On Sunday evening DH, my SIL and I had the pleasure of attending the covenanting ceremony for a good and dear friend of ours who was becoming a
lay minister in the United Church of Canada.

Sue had always dreamed of becoming a minister someday but actually spent the first 28 years or so of her working life in banking. She was one of those hard working employees who put in enormous amounts of personal time - without pay, knew her job inside and out, never took a sick day and was a great favourite with her clients and staff. Her walls were covered in commendations, awards and stuff and she even got sent on a trip for being one of the bank's top employees one year. So naturally the bank showed it's gratitude and recognition for such an outstanding employee by eliminating her position and packaging her off. Over the phone. Nice.

Fortunately the bank does have a nice separation package, which included the opportunity to take courses, which they would pay for. So Sue decided that the whole thing was a sign, and decided to follow her dream of studying for the ministry. She's been working hard at her studies for the past couple of years.

Sue often led services at the church that she's been attending here in Georgetown for many years when the regular minister was away. The congregation of that church became her sponsors when she began her training and many of it's members worked with her on her studies. This Fall she was ready to apply for a church of her own. She had several interviews and was chosen to become lay-minister in training for a church in Bramalea.

One would expect member's of Sue's new church to attend the covenanting service of course, but I swear more then half the attendees at the service last night were from her church in Georgetown. One of the Georgetown ladies had made the stole that she was wearing at the ceremony. Two other
Georgetown ladies did readings during the service. Sue began the service with a song, which she sang solo. Sue has an incredible voice and her congregation are getting a bonus in that regard alone. Music is very important to Sue and she makes it a vital part of her ministry.

After the service there was a reception with refreshments and a cake to mark the occasion. Sue's husband and daughters, her Dad and her sisters were all there as well as a bunch of us who have been her friends for many years, and the members of the Georgetown church who were her sponsors. We were all very proud and happy for her.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Here is the room where I blog, and sometimes where I x-stitch and stuff. I've pulled the chair away from the desk so it doesn't block the shot. The poster framed and hanging over my computer is a map of Narnia which I've had for many years. It was sent to me from England by relatives who knew of my love for the books. The blanket is for Phoebe and Rupert, although they rarely lay on it together and often Phoebe spends her time curled up in my arms rather then on the blanket. This makes typing on the keyboard difficult.

The second picture is of the top of two Ikea cupboards lined up together against the wall to the right of the window in the first picture. I have a few of my x-stitch books here, some pictures of the cats, and a colourful box which holds some of my partylite candles. The pictures on the wall and propped against the wall are needlepoint pictures which were done by my Mom about twenty or more years ago. Actually, I think that the one propped against the wall was her first piece. That one would be about 30 years old. Knowing my love of England my Mom stitched the pictures on the wall, which are of Windsor Castle, and of The Shambles in York.

We were out shopping for a birthday gift for the 3 year old daughter of a friend this morning. We're going to her party this afternoon so I've been busy wrapping the presents (some books and a x-stitched piece that I did some time ago) and getting her card ready. My friend Charmaine is an amazing cook and she always puts on quite a spread when she throws a party. DH has been fasting for days in anticipation of this.

I'm reading another Elizabeth George book which is called "A Traitor to Memory". Its quite a thick book and the story is a bit complicated but as usual it is a riveting read and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

I have a tendency to get some of my authors names mixed up because they are so similar. Margaret George = Elizabeth George = Elizabeth Peters - all favourite authors and whenever I'm writing about one of them I have to pause and think "now which one is the one I'm reading". I'm spaz that way.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Here is the finished project from Cross Country Stitching that I completed a month ago. I changed the two colours in the centre of this piece from those recommended by the magazine and now I wish that I'd used a darker colour of rose to balance the darker colour of the blue border. Ah well. I still like it a lot and someday perhaps I'll get around to framing it.

Since I am posting new pictures on my blog it means that Darlene and her camera came for a visit last weekend. It was meant to be a movie weekend since we were planning to go and see "The Queen"....The movie not the Lady Herself. We've been hearing great things about this film and it's star Helen Mirren from all over. However it turns out that it wasn't showing anywhere in this neck of the woods because it's in limited release, so we had to give up that plan. We'll wait for the DVD.

So we did the mall instead, and while there I broke down and bought season 4 of "Buffy" in Walmart. I've no will power at all you see. But the price was really excellent, and I really love "Buffy" there! DH picked us up after we'd walked the mall and we went to the Shepherd's Crook pub for dinner. I had liver 'n onions, Dar had Shepherd's Pie and DH had Lancaster pot pie. Yummyness all around.

Then home, where we watch several Halloween episodes of "Buffy" in honour of the holiday. It was a rainy weekend (again) here so perfect for watching DVD's and vegging.

Halloween was fairly decent weather wise, which was lucky because we've been having pretty cool temperatures this month. Below what it should be for this time of year by five degrees or more. The kids didn't need to wear their winter gear under their costumes and it didn't rain so no need for umbrella's either. We had our first customers around 6:00 and the last just after 8:00. About 40 kids in total, many of whom were in their early teens. Not too many little ones.

Our neighbour's two year old son was a big hit in his over sized bear costume, complete with mask, paws, and a "bear" bottom. Lol. Too cute.

Then there was the kid who came to the door with a crowd of his friends. He must have been about 13. His costume consisted of a piece of bristol board with pictures of teen starlets (Britney, Hillary, Paris etc) stuck all over it and he was wearing it across his chest. I paused in handing him his candy, regarded the artwork on his "costume" and asked him what the heck he was suppose to be. He grinned at me and said "I'm a chick magnet!!".


Sunday, October 22, 2006


It's raining out. Again!

It seems that this has been a particularly wet and rainy Autumn season
here. Not just the odd shower here and there but whole entire days of
nothing but rain. Many people are depressed by the grey skies and the
cool weather and the wet. Not me. I love it when it rains. Probably
because I'm a home body and a nester. I am at my most happiest when I
am sitting at home in front of my computer, with cross stitch project to
hand, the radio on to either music or my favourite talk radio programs,
and a good book nearby. I'll stitch a bit, read blogs a bit, stitch some more,
and then pick up my book when I need a break. Usually I have a cat at my
elbow keeping me company.

DH is the dedicated gardener in this family. I like to putter out there but
I tend to hibernate at this time of year. (see above) DH is an anxious
gardener. He wants the lawn mowed to just the right height for over-
wintering. He wants a layer of leaves piled to such and such a height
spread on the gardens. The rest needs to be raked and bagged for pickup.
The bulbs must be dug up, spread out in the garage and left to dry for a
week. Bushes and plants that require cutting back for the winter must
receive their finally trims and the rose bushes have to be wrapped against
the frost and snow.

Time is of the essence. Especially with the weather being so uncooperative. He works and plans with one eye on the weather reports, watching for that first report of snow or at least heavy frost. And he worries about getting it all
done in time. So the rain frustrates him. It's raining too hard to work out
there now and from the weather reports it sounds as though that's the way it'll
be for the rest of the day. But he got a lot of work done yesterday and so it may
only require a day or two more to get the final bits done. Our big maple tree
still has most of it's leaves yet, and so does the birch tree clump and the mountain ash, so that chore must wait on the pleasure of the trees.

I bought myself a new winter coat yesterday. My old purple "Barney" coat is over ten years old and worn out. I'll save it for messing around in. My new coat is a cream colour, with a hood trimmed in brown fake fur. I bought chocolate
brown gloves to match and a new taupe coloured purse to replace my old worn
out summer purse. I buy cheap purses at Walmart to use because I'm so hard
on them and don't want to waste money on an expensive purse that can't hack
the stress and strain that I will put it under.

I also found seasons 3 and 4 of Buffy on sale at Walmart yesterday and grabbed season 3 for my collection. I'll try and go back for season 4 when I get my next paycheque. Season 3 of Buffy was one of my favourites, what with the wonderful Faith, the Mayor and all. Oh, and I got the Christmas ornie issue of
Just Cross Stitch (I think it is) and I've got my eye on a couple of projects. But it will mean leaving off "A Prairie Garden" which I'm reluctant to do. Hmm.

Well, gotta make up the grocery list, and do some shopping and then some laundry and cleaning. Cheers all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Our cats Rupert and Phoebe are around 3 1/2 to 4 years old. We can only estimate their ages because we adopted them from the Brampton animal shelter as strays. Because they are still quite young they both have lots of
energy and playfulness. At least a couple of times a day they take turns
chasing each other throughout the house. We have a four level side split
home and the cats will race from the basement to the top of the house, one
chasing the other. Most of the time it appears to be all in good fun, although
on occasion there will be wrestling and hissing and arched backs and laid
back ears. We don't interfere unless the growls begin. Generally it's Phoebe
who gets upset (or fed up), and Rupert who regards her in wide eyed surprise when she does.

A week ago DH and I were watching the evening news while eating dinner in the den. The cats were having one of their charges through the house. They'd flown up the basement stairs and torn around the corner and up more stairs to the main level of the house. We could trace their progress through the house from the sound of their paws pounding the floors above our heads. They ripped through the house and then we heard an ominous "tinkle" sound that had us both on our feet and hurrying up the stairs at once. In the living room a pair of nonchalant cats were strolling through the room as if they had not a concern in their guilty little souls. But the table cloth on the dining room table was all askew and one of my Partylite candle sticks was on its side, the crystal candle holder broken into many pieces.

Usually when Rupert chases Phoebe and she wants to escape she leaps onto the dining room table, runs across it and leaps into the dining room window, balancing on the narrow ledge and glaring back at Rupert who skids to a halt on the table and is forced to give up the chase. That's what they probably expected to happen that night. We don't usually leave a table cloth on the table, but I'd put one on for Thanksgiving, and so I imagine the cats landed on it and couldn't put on the brakes like they normally do.

So, since we got them about three and a half years ago they have managed to break 1) a vase/ornament holder which was a gift 2) the chimney from a bedroom lamp which was a gift from my parents - we were able to replace the chimney at Home Depot 3) a spun glass, two foot tall snowman which was a gift and 4) the Partylite candle chimney which was - yes - a gift. All these pieces were probably victims of the cat chasing cat stampede described above.

Now in all the years (around 11) that we had our first cat Eponine (Eppie) we never lost a thing that I can recall. I guess when there are two cats in a household there's more likely to be these sorts All I can say is it's a good thing that they're cute!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Checking in......

Cross Stitching....

I started Prairie Schooler's "A Prairie Garden" in the spring. I decided to stitch all the squares for the project first and then fill each of them in with the flower design once the less interesting part was done. There were twelve squares to stitch. It took awhile.

Surprisingly I didn't loose interest during this phase of the project. It was a bit of a mindless task (yes, I know, right up my alley) which also turned out to be quite relaxing as it went along. I just had to remember to keep an eye on my stitch count to make sure that each square was 55 stitches up and 55 across. A perfect square. Then I ran out of the green required for the boarder, and for the leaves of the flowers in each square as well. The LNS in Acton didn't have any thread (DMC) in that colour in stock. Neither did the wool shop here in Georgetown which also stocks DMC. So I had to wait for an opportunity to get to the Michaels in Brampton.

I put the project aside and picked up the "antique woven coverlet" pattern from the June 1995 issue of Cross Country Stitching to do. I finished that one early last month. I promise a picture of the finished piece someday. Really.

Meanwhile, during the summer, I'd finally gotten to Michaels and picked up a load of DMC threads that I needed for various projects. Thus once the "coverlet" was done I could once again pick up "A Prairie Garden" and continue with my squares. I finished the squares about three weeks ago and am now in the process of filling them in. I've got three squares done. It's a fun easy stitch with no back stitching and no half/quarter stitches. But quite pretty. I've had this pattern for a good 10 years now I think, perhaps longer, and I don't think that it's available to buy any longer.

What I've been reading:

Kim Harrison -Dead Witch Walking -Fantasy
Lynn Flewelling- The Oracle's Queen -Fantasy
Jacqueline Carey -Kushiel's Scion- Fantasy
Susan Vreeland -The Forest Lover -Fiction
Marcia Willett -A Week In Winter -Fiction
Diana Gabaldon -A Breath of Snow and Ashes- Fiction
Maeve Binchy -Whitethorn Woods -Fiction

My "Books I have to have .... really, really can't live without" list is growing like Alice. It seems many of my favourite authors have decided to publish in the last little while, when I'm trying desperately to save my pennies for Christmas and for a new winter coat. I do buy the odd book here and there when it's an author that I adore above all others. Last Friday I got Elizabeth George's latest book. She is my favourite mystery writer. Such amazing stories she writes!! You've never read her??? You must!! Now!! (Note: Read her books in order of publication. I suppose you could read them out of order a bit but the emotional impact in the back stories of the main, reoccuring characters would be lessened).

Work has been busy for various reasons, time of the month, short staffed, computers going wonky, etc. This is good because I need the money for Christmas, books, winter coat, books and food.

And speaking of food, DH is out having dinner with friends from work so the cats and I are on our own. I'd better go see what they've made us to eat. I'll try and be back soon for all you loyal readers. Hi Dar! Cheers!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

As summer draws to a slow but inevitable close I present the above picture of one of our hanging baskets in it's prime back at the beginning of August. We've had some rain in the past few days which has left these mini petunas soggy and straggly. They look pretty sad now.

Saturday DH and I went to visit my Mum at the retirement residence where she lives, which was having a family barbecue. First thing in the morning we'd had a heavy downpour of rain but by noon the rain had passed, although the skies remained heavy and gray until late in the afternoon. It was too cool and dull to sit outside for the barbecue so the crowd of people filled their plates and found seats in the diningroom or the activity room. We joined some friends at a table and had a great time eating and talking. Hamburgers, chicken kabob's, potato salad, garden salad and a truly yummy rice salad were on the menu. And for desert there was ice cream.

After we got home from the barbecue DH laid down for a nap, still recovering from the liquid portion of the previous nights meal at our neighbour's. I cross stitched and read blogs and basically just vegged.

Sunday I dug out my Autumn nick nacks and decorations and put them around the house.

Booking Through Thursday.....

1) Do you tend to read more books written by one gender over the other? If so, which one? Men? Or women?
2) Is this a deliberate choice? Or just something that kind of happened?
3) And (without wanting to get too personal), is this your gender?

Now this is an interesting set of questions. Off the top of my head I'd have to say that over all most of my favourite authors tend toward the female. But in the fantasy genre specifically it may be that the authors are more balanced evenly.

I don't think that it is a conscious, deliberate choice.

I'm female.

Cheers all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Booking through Thursday....and...

1) We asked last week about what draws you to your favorite kind/genre of book. This week, we want to know--how often do you depart from that comfort zone? If you love mysteries, do you ever read fantasy? If you primarily read cookbooks, do you ever read a good romance?
2) How MUCH variety is there in your reading? Do you mostly stick to one type, with just the occasional toe-dip into a different style? Or do you generally read a variety of things, just, maybe more of your favorite style than anything else?

I really do try and mix up my reading genres. I could just read fantasy all the time but I don't want to become bored with it, and besides I do love other types of books. I never use to read mysteries but now one of my all time favourite writers is Elizabeth George who writes amazing mystery novels. I look at my list of books that I've read and if I see that I've been reading the same type of book for the last little while I make an effort to read something else. I browse through book review sites and if a book's description/review tickles my fancy I'll add that book to my "Get It" list. I don't care if it's fantasy, romance, mystery or general fiction. It's the story that I'm interested in.

We had a lovely evening last night at our neighbour's home. We were invited there for dinner in part as a thank you to DH who mows their lawn and keeps an eye on things for them when they are away on a trip or something. After a long hectic day at work it was just the ticket to start the weekend off right.

Our neighbours have a lovely yard, divided by a cedar hedge into two sections. One section is an area of grass surrounded by garden, with a little shed tucked into the back under a tree. They have one of those things that you can build a fire in, if you know what I mean? It's portable, and people can sit all around it and enjoy the fire from any side, and is great for roasting marshmallows over. The second portion of the yard holds the inground pool, and the walkway around the pool is paved with small multicoloured pebbles and that is surrounded by gardens. They also had built a glass solarium, which is big enough for both a seating area and also an area to eat. At one end is a gas fireplace with glass brick walls on either side of it. A lovely room.

We joined our neighbours, plus another couple for before dinner drinks (beer for everyone else and pop for me, I don't drink). Then dinner was served at a table set up in the solarium. What a spread!! Chicken cooked in the barbecue, baked potatoes, roasted veggies, rice and mushrooms, cauliflower, and Caesar salad. Wine with the meal for those who wanted it. For dessert, a cake topped with plum halves and served with a bowl of luscious whipped creme. Yummy!! Our neighbours and their friends are German so after dinner the Shnapps came out. Six different flavours of Schnapps!! DH tried two of them!!

We sat talking at the table for hours and when it got dark we realized that we could see flashes of lightning in the distance. This continued for quite awhile. Then, around 10 o'clock the wind started to pick up and the lightning spread across the sky in bolder, more vivid flashes. It was obvious that something was brewing and so we decided that it would be prudent to pack things up for the night. The other guest couple got in their car and drove off while DH and I walked home. Five minutes after we got home the storm struck. It was quite wild there for awhile and there was no point in going to bed since the thunder and the heavy rain was making too much of a din. It was fabulous! I love a good storm.

Finished reading Kushiel's Scion this morning. What a story. I hate when such a wonderful book comes to an end. But she's got two more in this series to write so I'll try and be patient and wait for them to come out. Cheers all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The end of summer....

Well, perhaps not officially but traditionally Labour day does mark the end of the holiday part of summer. Another sign of summer's end here in Ontario is
that it's the final day of the Ex. The Canadian National Exhibition. The Grand Old Lady by the Lake. Midway, Food building, Horticultural building, games, stuff for sale and all that sort of thing. And during the final weekend there's the air show featuring the Snowbirds. I have to admit that it's been many years since I last made my way down to the Ex since I'm not fond of crowds, I don't do midways and it can be expensive. It's the sort of place that you go to once in a blue moon, and that is enough for a number of years until your memory fades and you're ready to go back and experience it again.

Thanks to hurricane Ernesto this has been something of a dull, grey and at times wet long weekend. Saturday was suppose to be windy with rain, heavy at times. While it did rain much of the day and it did get breezy, the heavy rain and really miserable weather that we'd been bracing for didn't really materialize. It's been in the high 60's - low 70's temperature wise, which isn't too bad.

Saturday we brought my Mom over and her brother Allen and his step-daughter Annette came from Kitchener for lunch and a visit. Allen is younger then my mom and they haven't always been close by any means, but in the last five years they have reconnected and like to try and stay in touch and visit when they can. Since my mom isn't comfortable in a car for great distances due to health issues and Allen is blind so can't drive himself and has to rely on Annette to drive him places the times that they can get together are few. They had a nice visit.

Allen brought me some more old documents pertaining to my grandfather Fogden, his and Mom's father. Allen doesn't have kids of his own, and I'm an only child and therefore the only grandchild, so Allen has been giving me a bit of stuff that he's had from Grandpa and Grandma Fogden. Birth certificates from before the turn of the previous century, marriage certificates, WW 1 documents (including a citation which may be signed by Winston Churchill himself!!), and letters of recommendation from various people. My grandfather was also an inventor and I have papers and things relating to gadgets he invented for use in early airplanes.

All this is fascinating stuff, and I have to try and ascertain whether Winston Churchill actually signed that citation or whether it's just a stamp or something. I also need to find out how to preserve and store all this paper safely and yet have it easily to hand to look at. Many of the documents have been folded multiple times which I know is not good for them but also much of this stuff is also in remarkably good condition considering it's age. It gives me a thrill to handle something that has been around for 90-100 years. I wish that I'd known Grandpa Fogden but he died when I was four and I really don't remember him at all.

I have spent the rest of this weekend cross stitching, listening to the radio, reading blogs on the computer (hello everyone) and puttering around the house. Oh, and drooling over cross stitch stuff on the computer that I want to order. Am pondering joining the FOTM club from Silkweaver since I have very little in the way of material to stitch on and we don't have much selection around here to choose from. Those hand dyed fabrics and the sparkly fabrics are so gorgeous!! I also have a long list of patterns that I want, including many from Little House Needleworks that are a delight to the eye and don't look too difficult to stitch for an amateur like me. I'm waiting on delivery of four patterns from a LNS that I ordered on line but they will take 6 weeks to get here since non were in stock.

I'm getting into the mood for Autumn. The cooler weather and the end of summer vacation has triggered it. Autumn is my most favourite time of the year and this is reflected in some of my stitching preferences because I love the Halloween and autumn pieces that are available. Autumn for me is the time to start the indoor hibernating and nesting. And I love Fall colours.

Well, tomorrow will be a long and busy day at work so I'll be back when I can. Until then....Cheers all!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

1) What is your favorite kind of reading? Novels? Biographies? Mathematical textbooks?
2) What do you like best about your favorite kind of reading? What keeps you coming back to that kind of book? Following a gripping story? Watching characters develop? Being educated about things and places you didn't know about? Letting your mind relax into someplace completely different?

1) Mathematical textbooks?????? I have always loved fantasy. I read and reread C.S. Lewis's Narnia series over and over again when I was young and still hold it dear to my heart. I didn't realize that there were fantasy books for "grownups" until a friend recommended "The Lord of the Rings" and then Anne MacAffrey's Dragon books. I also love historical romances, and historical fiction, mysteries and biographies. And general fiction.

2) There are a lot of reasons why I love fantasy. The worlds, the peoples, the magical laws and traditions, and the creatures all created by an author out of their imagination. The more detailed the better I like it. An escape from the everyday world that we deal with and sometimes despair of.

Speaking of fantasy, I'm currently reading Jacqueline Carey's latest novel "Kushiel's Scion". Ever since I discovered Ms Carey's books a few years ago I have been a fan. She is an amazing writer with a tremendous talent for creating not only characters, but also a history and a world that are rich with detail. And her words are potent and vivid. She is one of my top favourite authors of all time now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I expect that I've used this picture of Phoebe in my blog somewhere before, but I'm running out of pictures to post so I'm using it again.

Where do the weekends go? On Friday I met DH at the grocery store after work and we did the shopping and headed home to pack it away. The plan was to put away the groceries and then go back out to the antique car night in olde Georgetown. There was to be a live rock n roll band, the stores would be open later and of course all the lovely olde cars. Unfortunately the weather gods were not inclined to co-operate for the occasion. It was heavily overcast, with periods of brief rain, and it was obvious that it would only be a matter of time before a heavy, steady and long lasting rain would start. Knowing how fussy the owners of olde cars are regarding rain and their baby's we figured that the turnout for the event would in all probability be light and once the rains moved in the cars would move out. So we opted to stay home. It began to pour rain around 8:00.

Saturday was cool and cloudy. We were invited to a barbecue at our friends house starting around 2:30, which included the opportunity to swim in their pool. My Mum was also invited to the party so we picked her up at her residence and then drove over. It was a lovely party, with good food and a mix of friends and relations of our hosts in attendance. In spite of the cool temperatures it was comfortable enough to still sit outside and visit. We had dinner around six and after that those of us who were going swimming began to change into our suits. The temperature outside was around 70 degrees, while the pool temperature was around 85 degrees. Thus it was warmer in the pool then out of it. DH was first in, which is almost traditional. I followed and then a handful of others. It was lovely. I guess that we were in for about an hour or so, perhaps longer. Then thunder and lightening drove us reluctantly from the water, although the bad weather never really amounted to anything. It was harder getting out of the warm water into the cooler then, then it had been to get in. Once dressed we spent the rest of the evening in the house talking.

Sunday was chore day. Laundry and cleaning. DH mowed the lawn. I got ambitious for dinner and decided to make Pork Tenderloin with roasted apples and onions, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. I got this recipe out of the latest issue of Everyday Food, a magazine put out by the Martha Stewart folks. I've never cooked pork tenderloin before, and I'm not a great cook by any means, but I'm learning. The food turned out great and got a thumbs up from DH.

We are collecting the mail for two sets of neighbours this week. One group are off to Myrtle Beech for the week, by car. The other neighbours are away camping and for them I am also fish-sitting. Gotta keep the bedroom door shut because Rupert is very anxious to make friends with the little guy.

I am now reading Lynn Flewelling's latest book "The Oracle's Queen" and it is quite good. It is book three in the series. Cheers all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Froggy came a-courting....

I spent about an hour last evening sitting out on the front stoop stitching away on my current project. It's about 3/4's done now and I can feel a finish is near.
By 8:10 the light was getting dull and so I packed up my gear for the night.

This morning I got to work at 7:30 and set out my cross stitching and sat down to finish a motif in the middle of one of the corner medallions that is in the project. I had gotten it about 3/4's done the previous evening. I looked at it as I set needle to fabric, and looked at it....And realized that I'd stitched it two squares over from where it should have been. Now why didn't I notice this goof last night?? It was as obvious as could be since it didn't aline with the rest of the pattern. So I had to pick the darn thing out and start it again. It wasn't a big deal I suppose, but so annoying.

I don't know if I'll get much done on the project for the rest of this week since tomorrow I'll be starting work at 8:00 instead of 9:00, and we're going grocery shopping after work and I prefer not to haul my cross stitch bag around the store, jammed into the shopping cart with my purse and my book/lunch bag bag. Saturday we're going to a barbecue/pool party at a friends but I may do some stitching in the morning. Sunday will be chore day, if I feel motivated. Oh, and tomorrow night is a classic cars night down in Olde Georgetown and if the rain holds off DH and I will drop off the groceries and then go down to have a bite to eat and check out the cars.

Finished reading a book by an author new to me today. Kim Harrison's "Dead Witch Walking". Quite an enjoyable read with humour and a mystery and some lovey stuff. A supernatural romance/mystery novel. Love 'em. I'll be collecting the rest of her books for sure. Cheers all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I thought that you would all like to meet the bosses of this household. My DH and I have worked for these harsh task masters for nigh on 3 years now. They are merciless in their demands and exacting in their standards. Our every waking moment is spent catering to their tiniest of whims. They have only to raise a paw and we leap to obey the imperial command. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. Behold the awesomeness that is Rupert (on the left) and the sublime vision that is Phoebe (on the right).

Here you go Gina. The little purr machine who spends her evenings curled on top of my desk, in the crook of my arm with her head and sometimes front paws resting on top of my arm is Phoebe. She gets very annoyed with me if I dare to spend any time outside cross stitching. And she hates when I'm typing on my blog and need both hands (and arms) to get the entry typed properly. She squeeks at me until I give up and stop typ.....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A cockeyed view of the front of our house. That's an oak tree peeking into the picture frame on the left. Just by the front porch you can see the stone planter that is built in under the den window, next to the garage. This planter is just the right height to sit on and I often sit there in the evenings to stitch. Our house faces west so the backyard gets shadowy and cool in the evenings, while the stone work at the front of the house retains heat and the last bit of sun lingers over all. Good spot to watch the neighbourhood go by too.

I would like to send greetings and a big welcome to Gina who has stopped by my blog and left a lovely greeting all the way from Oz. So lovely to have you visit Gina and I'll be popping over to see you at your blog soon. Isn't it amazing that we can reach out over unimaginable distances to make contact with other people who share an interest in the same things as ourselves. We are encouraged and inspired by the pictures and words that we see and hopefully we develop a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of those others that we encounter.

Sadly, today marks the final day of my and DH's two week vacation. How depressing is that? It has been a wonderful and restful two weeks, and it went by all too quickly.

Yesterday we attended a family reunion of my DH's clan. He is a McClure whose origins go back to Ireland about 2 hundred years ago. His ancestors settled in the Brampton area of Ontario and have farmed here ever since. There must have been about 175 people at the reunion yesterday, all descendants of several branches of McClures. This amazes me. If my family held a reunion of Hatteys there would be maybe, oh say at the most 20 people. If we brought guests. On my Mum's side (Fogden) there were be less then half that. Oh well.

I'm fascinated by the old pictures and bits and pieces of paper that we have from our family's past. Panoramic pictures of past reunions, the first one taking place back in 1922, were on display and one was taken to commemorate yesterday's gathering. DH's father, a toddler, is in the picture from 1922 and presumably so are his parents. We sat at a table with a couple who'd come all the way from Sydney Australia plus people from Arkansas, and Pennsylvania in the U.S. and from Surrey, B.C.

I've been good today and spent some time doing housework. Also laundry and even some mending. I have to go make some dinner now, which means shifting Phoebe (purring kitty) off of my lap. She is not going to be happy when I'm not home tomorrow. She's gotten lots of cuddles and attention during the past two weeks. Ah well. Gotta work. Need money for books and cross stitch stuff. Cheers all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Up until last winter the bird bath that we had in our yard was one that had originally belonged to DH's grandparents. It was at least 40 years old, and had been a fixture in their garden before he inherited it. We used it year round, summer and winter. In winter we ran an outdoor extension cord to the back of the yard and attached a heating coil which sat in the water of the bird bath. The temperature was just warm enough to keep the water from freezing solid so that the birds could drink. The water level was kept high to discourage the more fool hearty of avian visitors from trying to take a bath after quenching their thirst.

unfortunately, one day last winter DH went out to add clean water to the bird bath and discovered it to be bone dry. A hairline crack ran across the bottom of it, just big enough to allow the water to continually drain out. It was the beginning of winter and not a prime time of year to go shopping for bird baths. So we had to wait for the Spring season to roll around before we could go out in search of a new bath. But we found one eventually that we liked and put it in place in the garden. It took awhile but the birds started to return and make use of it.

Then a few nights ago, after DH had retired for the night, I was sitting here at the computer reading blogs when I heard a bit of noise outside. It was a cool evening and the windows were open. Phoebe was on her blanket next to me on the desk and she heard it too. She stood on the desk with her front paws on the window ledge and peered out into the backyard, tail swaying gently back and forth. I looked as well but without any real expectations of actually seeing anything because it was too dark. As I settled back to the computer I heard a loud clinking sound and thought perhaps something was poking around my flower pots. I got a flash light and shone it around as far as the beam would reach but everything looked normal so I had to leave it and wait for morning.

The next morning I was up early because I was catching the Go bus down to Toronto to meet my friend Linda for lunch and shopping. DH got dressed and went out side to check on things. He walked down to the end of the garden and found what we'd been dreading. The bowl of the bird bath laying in two pieces on the ground next to the pedestal. We assume that either a squirrel or a raccoon tried to perch or rest on the side of the bowl and it tipped off the pedestal and hit the paving stones that we have under the pedestal to keep the bird bath balanced.

So now it's back to the gardening centre for another bird bath. And those things ain't cheap!! Dang! (Or would that be cheep????)

The old bird bath is now planted with succulants and enjoying a new lease on life. We weren't about to get rid of it since DH had such fond memories of it in his grandparent's backyard.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Booking through Thursday question ....

1) Do you plan ahead for your reading? Work off of a to-be-read pile? A reading list? Or do you wing it, choose whatever you're in the mood for?
2) If you do plan ahead, how far ahead? Do you have two or three books waiting in queue? Or are you backed up by dozens of volumes waiting their turn?
3) If you do not plan ahead . . . well, never? What about if you're reading a series? Or someone gives you a book for a present?

1) I rarely plan ahead when it comes to choosing a book to read. And I don't have a to-be-read pile of books stacked on my night table. I just go down to my library and wander around until something strikes my fancy. I may have a book that's number 3 in a series, usually fantasy, and I may be eager to read it, but sometimes I just like to leave a long waited for book on the shelf for awhile to savor the anticipation of reading it. As long as it's safe on my bookshelf, where I can grab it at any time.

I have a bad habit of not choosing a book to read until the last minute before leaving for work. DH is waiting at the door and I'm downstairs scanning the shelves trying to make a decision. Nothing like a little pressure to make the choosing a bit harder or urgent.

I also don't usually like to read several books by the same author in a row. I do do it, as you can see by my "books read" list on my other blog but often I find that if you read several books by one author you begin to notice a formula emerging in their style of writing or story telling. Then I find I get turned off by this. A really good author keeps you so involved in the story and keeps their writing fresh and original so you don't see a pattern/formula.

2) No queue. Always a back up pile. And of course then there's books that you reread even when there are new ones waiting.

3) There are exceptions to every rule. But I really don't have a system for choosing my next read. Its left a great deal to whim and mood.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's been a long time since Loreena McKennitt released a new album. If memory serves me (which it usually doesn't) it must be over six years since her last studio CD came out. Way too long. Always worth the wait however. Today I received an email announcing that her next album will be out in the Autumn. I can't wait!! I love her music so much. Perhaps if a new album is out this fall then that will mean a tour within the next year? Dare we hope?
I've seen Loreena in concert twice, plus I attended the taping of a television show that she was guesting on. I met her once. I have a picture of Loreena, my friend Charmaine and I standing together. Loreena and Charmaine are smiling for the camera.....I look as if I'm about to lay an egg. I don't handle meetings with celebrates well. I usually go into shock. I babble. I get red in the face. You get the idea. But that picture is on the table in the den where I can see it often and remember what a thrill it was to meet such a wonderful, talented woman who succeeded on her own terms and without compromising her voice and her vision. Here is Loreena's website for any who might wish to find out more about the new album.

Today we were up early since I had an appointment with a specialist regarding testing for Glaucoma. My regular eye exams show indications that I might eventually develop this disease so I have to go to an eye specialist for semi-annual checkups to make sure that it doesn't become a reality and go untreated for any length of time. Today was the eye drops and flashing lights in the eye exam. In October I go for the two special tests, one of which will set me back $100.00. It isn't covered by OHIP. I'm not complaining. I'm glad that there's a test that will more accurately diagnose the condition if it does develop. I hate those drops though. It took about four hours before I could see properly again. During the drive home I had to keep my eyes shut because whenever I opened them they'd tear up and cause a flood.

Once my eyes returned to normal I spent the rest of the afternoon on the deck, cross stitching. DH mowed the lawn and puttered.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It is one of those perfect summer days that you just live for. Warm in the sun, but with a gentle, cooling breeze to keep the temperature comfortable. Sitting on the deck cross stitching, with occasional breaks to pick up a book to read for a bit. Lunch on the deck. DH working his way around the garden, trimming and pruning and neatening things up. The birds are singing, and the cicadas are humming. All is right in our small corner of the world.

Sunday's birthday celebration for DH's great aunt Elsa went very well. The weather was perfect for an outdoor party, and the home where the festivities were held was in the country, with the property located right on the river. We got there mid-afternoon, just as the guest of honour was arriving with her son and his wife. Aunt Elsa had one son, he married twice and the children from his first marriage and his second wife's first marriage all consider Aunt Elsa their grandmother. From them she has many great grandchildren and also great-great grandchildren. DH and his sister are her brother's grandchildren. Aunt Elsa has failing eyesight but is otherwise in good health and her mind and her memory are quite sharp. She was having a wonderful time visiting with all her family and friends. A reporter from the local paper arrived to take pictures and interview her. Many family pictures were taken, which often required chasing down the younger members of the family and coaxing them to stand or sit still and SMILE!! I loved the two boards made up with pictures of Aunt Elsa and her family and the places that they'd lived over the years. Some of those pictures being over 90 years old.


1) Do your reading habits change for the summer months? 2) If so, how?

Actually no, I don't think that there is a change in my reading habits
much during the summer. I love to read, and have a lot of books that
I want to read and it's a great way to spend part of a summer day.

Not all this time has been spend in relaxing and goofing off. Yesterday DH helped me to clean the library. This requires climbing on chairs to clear off the tops of the bookcases and then vacuum. Also, emptying smaller bookcases to shift and vacuum behind. It took us about three hours to do. With DH working with me I was kept from stopping every five minutes to pick up a favourite book to browse through, and reread my favourite parts. Thus we finished the job in one day.