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!!".