Monday, July 30, 2007

The rest of this week is going to be impossible as far as finding the time to
write up any new posts for my blog, so I'm doing it tonight when I have
the time, instead of stitching. I wanted to post a progress photo of my
Spot of Tea sampler. This is a weeks work, with much of it being done
over the weekend. It's interesting to see each motif come alive with
needle and thread. Especially the little animal ones. Too bad there aren't
any kitty ones in amongst the patterns.

Many thanks to everyone for their comments about The Bookshelf. I
wonder if this isn't one of LHN's most popular patterns, since so many
seem to love it, and the theme. Well, we all seem to love books as well
as our stitching, don't we?

Michelle, your suggestion to frame The Bookshelf, and then stand it up
on a shelf in front of my books is actually a great idea. But this is a tall
piece, even before framing. It wouldn't fit on any of the shelves that I
have, unfortunately. I have a x-stitched piece that my Mom did for me
awhile ago framed and just standing on a counter top in my kitchen. I
don't have any wall space in my kitchen to hang anything, so this idea
works very well indeed.

Now, perhaps LHN should work on a companion piece or two to this
one. Say, a bookshelf for modern authors that we all love. If they did,
whose names would you all like to see on it, and which books

Mmmmm. Let's see. Going for female, historical and/or romance
writers I would love something with Maeve Binchy, Diana Gabaldon,
Nora Roberts, Rosamund Pilcher, Kelley Armstrong and Audrey
Niffenegger. Books represented with a little image of some sort would
HAVE to be The Shell Seekers, The Time Traveler's Wife, Outlander,
and Tara Road. Now my favourite fantasy authors would be another
sampler altogether. Then a mystery writers sampler. Oh my.

Filling space. A little project from some years ago now, done at the home
of my friend Linda, under her expert tutelage, not to mention encourage-
ment. The bears were stitched on plastic canvas and I used a half stitch
to do them. The picture is a little dark. These guys are a dark rose

This is a picture of some of my Mom's knitting handy work. These are all
dolls that I played with when I was a child, back around the stone age.
Some of you may recognize Chatty Baby on the left. The middle doll I
named Ginger, and the doll on the right (which is the oldest of the three)
is Susie. They are up on a shelf, away from kitty cat paws and claws and
teeth and fur. You know how it is.

Karen asked me how Deathly Hallows was going. Oh boy! What a read.
It's one of those occasions when I keep picking it up to read "just a few
more pages" and then can't put it down again. I'm on page 220 or so and
it's zipping along. A riveting story that just motors right along. I know I'll
feel so bereft when the final page is read, and there will be no more to look
forward to in the future. Meanwhile, I'm trying desperately to avoid any
and all possible spoilers both on the internet and in magazines that I read.
It hasn't been easy.

First of the month this week means lots of hours to put in at work. But
once we're through to Friday I'm off on holidays for TWO weeks!!!
I can't wait. No plans of any significance. Just pleasures such as reading
and stitching and movie watching. And chores such as cleaning the
library. Ugh!! Takes forever because I keep picking up books and browsing
instead of dusting. It's going to be hot here this week. Wonder what it'll
be like next week.

Rupert says "Hey!". Have a great week everyone! Cheers

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's time to celebrate. Well, actually I've been celebrating for a week and a
half now, since I finished The Bookshelf that long ago. This one means a lot
because it's not just another lovely design, but also because it represents
a love of mine that has existed for as long as I can remember. My love of
books. I'm not sure where I'll hang this once it's been framed. The logical
location would be my library, but the room is wall to wall tall bookcases
so there is no room there, unfortunately.

I've been terribly remiss in keeping my blog up to date, but the weeks
have just flown by and I've never had the time to devote to composing an
entry. Last weekend we had company all weekend. The weekdays have
been filled with work, and when I've been home I've been sitting outside
cross stitching. When I am on the computer I've been reading everybody
else's blogs and stuff.

Darlene was here last weekend for a movie weekend. Betcha can't guess
what we went to see? A little movie called "Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix". We'd planned to go the weekend that it opened here,
but something came up and we had to postpone it a week. No matter,
since it was well worth the wait. DH actually accompanied us to see this
one, since he's also read all the books, and has seen all the movies in the
theatre. We all thought it was an excellent movie, and I think that
Daniel Radcliffe has really evolved into a fine young actor who has made
this role his own in every way. Loved Imelda Staunton as well.

After the movie we headed to the bookstore so that I could pick up a copy
of the last Potter book. Sniff! Can't believe that the last one is here and
we'll have no more to look forward to. At the store I chatted with the
check out clerk, and she said that the store was open until 1:30 am, with
two long lines of people snaking through the store and out the door. All
waiting to either pick up the book that they'd ordered, or just to pick up
the book without ordering it ahead of time. She said that it was a fun and
memorable night, but also exhausting.

I also picked up a few other books and things this week. I added two more
Maeve Binchy books to my collection. I love her! I have about a dozen of
her books now and I just about devour them when I read them. They
are stories that I can really loose myself in.

I also picked up the DVD of The Queen, with Helen Mirran. I've been so
eager to see this movie, but it came and went in the theatres around here
pretty quickly, and we never had the opportunity to go. But I planned to
add it to my DVD collection anyways, and when I saw it in Zeller's I
grabbed it.
Here is my latest project. Samplers and Such - Spot of Tea 1. Oh, this is
going to be a fun stitch. I love all the little motifs and look forward to
creating each one. This is being stitched with the recommended varrigated
thread - Philadelphia Red from Olde Willow Stitchery - on 32 count cream
coloured fabric. I'm not used to stitching on 32 count, and find it a bit
hard to see what I'm doing. And I'm using a smaller needle, instead of my
usual, old favourite needle. The smaller needle has a sharper point to it too
and I keep stabbing myself in the same finger with it. Well, at least it keeps
me alert.

I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words about Peaches in my previous
blog. It's great to share my love of stitching with you all, and your advice
and encouragement is invaluable. Hmmm. It seems that I'm not the only
one with French Knot issues.

Imagine my excitement last weekend when I read Dani's comment on my
last post, advising me that I'd won her draw for her 800th post!!! I was
beyond excited. What a thrill, and honour, to be chosen to receive
something made by her. I'm still dancing around the house because of that

My latest reading finish is by my favourite mystery writer, Elizabeth
George. This one features Deborah and Simon Allcourt-St James and
takes place on the Isle of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. As
always with Elizabeth George, I was immersed in the story from the
get go. Full of wonderful, fully drawn characters, with lots of
interesting history about the time during the second world war when
the Nazi's occupied the Island. If you haven't read Elizabeth George
and love a good mystery I highly recommend her, but I also
strongly suggest that you read her books in order. The back stories
of her main, featured characters (usually featuring Inspector Lynley,
his wife Helen and his partner Barbara Havers as well as the St
James) really need to be followed in order as their relationships
unfold and develop in each book.

I am now reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yum!

Phoebe reserves the final word! Meow!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Well, this afternoon I decided to sit down and see if I might be able to
teach myself how to do colonial knots. I found a likely tutorial site, with
fairly clear diagrams, and step by step explanations and began a few
practice attempts. It didn't go too well at first. And I'm not the greatest
when it comes to perseverance, but I kept going anyways, and finally
had a couple of successes in a row. So I picked up Peaches and started
to work on giving my kitties eyes and, in one case, a nose. The results
you can see above. I'm fairly pleased with how they turned out. Okay,
truthfully? I'm damned proud of myself. Chest puffed out, big grin on
face etc. There's no stopping me now. Whoo Hoo!!!!

Picture is clickable for a closer look, if you'd like.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The joys of having cats who just have to be there, and participate in
everything that you do. Especially Rupert, who tends to like to settle
himself into every nook and cranny he can find. The linen closet again.
Pesky towels getting in his way.

And here we have the both of them. In the bathtub. Just as I'm ready
to wash my hair. Phoebe likes to play with the water from the tap,
while Rupert likes me to tease him with my towel, draping it over him
and tickling him. We have fun.

Today we were across the street in the afternoon attending a "somewhat
surprise" party for our friend Amy. Amy and her DH have been our
neighbours for about 12 years now, and we are so lucky to have them as
friends. They have five kids, ranging in age from 13 to 2. Their daughters
have been mentioned in previous posts, and are Laura, Hannah and Naomi.
Amy is a dynamo. She home schools all her kids!

Laura (aged 11) made most of the arrangements for the party, calling people
on Thursday and asking us to bring pot luck, and best wishes. Her DH got
Amy out of the house today by taking her to lunch, and then the guests
were free to arrive and set things up. Amy knew something was up, since
the kids and DH were busy the last few days picking up and cleaning
around the house, and the date was marked on the calender with "Top
Secret - Shhh" on it. But she was thrilled just the same when she walked
in the door and a crowd of friends were waiting to greet her.

The picture above is of me holding Naomi (5), my DH and Amy on the right.

My latest book finish. I don't buy Nora Roberts books until the
hard covers go on sale. I've got about a dozen of her books in
hard cover, and I've never paid full price for any of them. For
me she's the author whose books I read to sort of cleanse my
reading palate after finishing an intense, riveting and absorbing
book that I can't get out of my head. I don't know what I want
to read next, and I just want something to ease me on to my
next heavy read.

Which isn't to say that Nora Roberts doesn't write well. She's
actually very good, and brother is she prolific. I find she's very
good at creating vivid, multi dimensional characters, and
describing them so well that you have a clear picture of them in
your head. Sometimes it's hard to keep a large cast of characters
straight, but I never have that problem with her. Most often
she builds up the story in stages, allowing you time to experience
the lives of the main characters and get to know and care about
them. I like that.

Blue Smoke is a thriller/romance. I'm not going to write a
description of the story, because you can probably get a better
one off of the websites at Amazon or Chapters. I'll just say that
I liked this one very much, and may have to find another "light"
read to distract me from this one.

It's raining here today. It's cool and it began to rain in the early
afternoon, and is suppose to continue for much of the day. The
watering ban ended last week after we had rain last Sunday, and
now we're on odd/even days to water, depending on your house

Thanks to everyone for their comments and compliments on
The Bookshelf. No up date picture today I'm afraid. I'm
stitching away on the last section, but want to get a bit more
done before posting a progress picture. It seems that this
piece has grabbed the imaginations of many of us who are
both rabid stitchers and readers.

And thanks for the comments about DH's car. A little something
for the menfolk to enjoy.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Awhile ago now I mentioned DH's car in my blog and Gina asked for
pictures on behalf of her DH. I promised her that I would dig out some
pictures to show her, and then spent the next two months or more
remembering my promise, and then forgetting it again. Getting old, you
see. Anyways, I finally acted on my promise and got DH to provide me
with the pictures that I am posting here.

My apologies to Gina for taking so long with this. And I apologize for
the questionable quality of these pictures, but we don't own a scanner
so I ended up taking pictures of the pictures and reproducing them here.
They're blurry, but you get the idea anyways.

So here we have DH's baby. A 1955 Buick Special, 4 door hardtop. All
original, interior and exterior. These pictures were taken 20 years ago
at our first house, when DH was still a bachelor.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Bookshelf is now self explanatory. One section left and this project will
be done. I hate to speculate, since it's hard to judge how much stitching
time I'll have in the coming week or two, but it's possible this could be a
finish soon. Hedging my bets, I'd predict that it'll be done by the end of
this month. Hope I haven't jinxed myself now.

The kids across the street (Naomi, Hannah and Laura) all really liked
Peaches a lot, and kept asking for progress reports whenever they saw
me. Well, it's about done except for the eyes and a nose on the little cat.
Thanks to suggestions from both Dani and Shannon I will be researching
how to do colonial knots instead of the recommended french knots.

And now for some stitching stash and equipment news!! To start, behold
my new Ott-Lite for stitching at home!! I am so tickled with this light.
I have terrible eyesight, and none of the lights in this house were any
good for stitching. If in the house stitching, I'd sit in the bay window of
our living room for the daylight coming in. But it wasn't comfortable, or
practical. And the cats have first dibs on it anyways, so I had to share
with them, and Rupert kept stealing my threads. So now I can sit in my
comfy chair and stitch away, and actually see what I'm doing. Huzzah!!

Latest arrival from Stitching Bit's n Bob's....threads to stitch an assortment
of projects, including some Brittercup pieces. Such pretty, pretty colours.

And these threads are to be used to stitch "A Spot of Tea 1" by Samplers
and Such. I think that this will be my next project after "The Bookshelf"
is done.

And of course, a couple of charts. I really love the "Home" chart on the
right, and I suspect I'll choose to stitch the top right pictured piece sooner
rather then later.

I have had some new visitors to my blog in the past week, which had me
all excited! Welcome Ladies.

Dani...I've been reading her blog for quite some time now, and she is one
amazing stitcher. You should see her Noah's Sub that she's been working
on for awhile now. I've seen that piece finished and hanging in my LNS
(The Needle Gnome) and it's jaw dropping awesome! Dani also does
model stitching on occasion, especially for Dragon Dreams.

Michelle....wonderful stitcher, as you might expect, but she has been
putting together the most beautiful Kimono quilt and I love it!! She's
been collecting the materials for this quilt from all over, and she has
a keen eye for colour and patterns on fabric that compliment and enhance
one another. She also ends each of her blog posts with a "what I'm
grateful for.." sentiment, which is so sweet.

StitcherW....A new blog to explore and stitcher to get to know. Has
many furbabies. Well, consider me happily at home in her world. Her
daughter just ran off to join the circus! Lol! Truly! I'll be exploring
this blog further.

The drought continues around here, and so does the watering ban. DH
has mowed the backyard this afternoon because it's shaded by trees
and manages to stay mostly green and growing. The front yard however
looks like Death Valley on a bad day. Tiny wisps of straw. And the
filthy, rotten squirrels are continuing to dig in my flower pots, picking
the flower heads off of my straw flowers and throwing them around the
deck, and eating the leaves off of my geraniums. My neighbour hangs
baskets on our mutual fence, and the squirrels have picked all the
geranium flower heads off of the plants in them. We've never had
them behaving so badly before, but this year they're going nuts!

I've almost finished reading "Belladonna" by Anne Bishop (hi Kerry).
Its the sequel to "Sebastian" which I read last month.

This is getting a bit long, and I've got to go make some salads for
tomorrows dinner because we're having company. Cheers all.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Two posts in one weekend. Well, long weekend. But this week at work
will be impossible because it's first of the month again, so I thought that
I'd better get another post in while I can. And I have made some nice
progress on my LHN project. My Mom came here yesterday for a visit
and dinner, and while she was here she knitted and I stitched. So I got a
fair amount of stitching done in that time. It might be possible for me to
finish this piece today, but I'm not going to push it. There are french
knots that have to be done for eyes and noses on the cats, which I hate
doing. I might browse the net and see if there are any "idiot proof"
instructions for people like me with ten thumbs and no patience.

Things in the garden are growing fairly nicely, but since we haven't had
any significant rain in the past weeks we now have a watering ban in the
Halton Hills/Georgetown area. No watering of grass allowed. You can
water your gardens, and your pots but that's it. And there is an allowance
made for people like us with a lawn care service who comes a few times
over the summer to fertilize and to spray the lawn for pests, as needed.
Our lawn was sprayed on Friday for grubs, and we're allowed to water
up to three days after that to soak the stuff into the ground to get rid of
those pesky grubs. Fortunately, it's been quite cool here, with
temperatures in the low 70's, so that is making things easier on the garden
in spite of the lack of rain. The pot in the above picture is full of double
petunias, which are so pretty. Just like those flowers we use to make out
of Kleenex for weddings and stuff. I have them in pink too.

As has been noted previously in this blog....I love books. I crave books.
I collect and fawn over books. I really, really, really like books. Okay.
I have many contemporary books, but my selection of classics was quite
limited. A number of years ago I discovered England's Folio Society,
which publishes limited editions of classic books of all types, and I began
to build a collection of their titles. This year I took advantage of one of
their sales to add a few more books to my treasury. So, to the left is
a selection of Beatrix Potter books (these were free), The English
Language (free), The Secret Garden, Little Women, My Family and
Other Animals, and Who's Who In Shakespeare (also free).
Here are The Secret Garden, and Little Women showing the full covers.
Funnily enough, both these titles appear on the LHN The Bookcase
sampler that I'm stitching at the moment. I have the other two books
featured on the sampler, but I didn't have these. Each Folio book has
illustrations, and comes in a matching box/sleeve to keep them safe and
well preserved.

This picture shows the knitting group at my Mom's retirement residence.
They knit caps, mittens and booties for new born's, scarves and hats in
the winter for Christmas, to donate to local charities, and they knit squares,
which are passed on to someone to be sewn together to make blankets,
which I believe are used in our local hospital. Here the ladies are posing
with one of the blankets which has been put together and is ready for
it's new home/owner. My Mom is the lady on the couch in the red pants.

All pictures are clickable.