Monday, December 24, 2007

A quick post to wish everyone who visits my blog a very Merry
Christmas. Hope that you have a wonderful holiday.

Above picture is of a small portion of our friend Terry's frosty

DH and I are very, very sick right now. I've been miserable
since Friday night and he's getting steadily worse now too.
We're going to have to post pone our Christmas celebrations
because we can't have my Mom here when we're both so sick.
And neither of us wants to do anything but lay down and die.

I have a ton of stuff to do, wrapping, baking and so on but it'll
have to wait. Don't know when we'll be well enough to do
Christmas, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I'm not able to write anymore now. When my brain is
functioning again I'll be back.

Again, best wishes and much love to all of you out there.

Cheers! Judy

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A bit of progress on LHN Bee pin keep design from A Gift of
Stitching. I've been working on this mostly at work because
time at home is being spent on Christmas preparations. So
much to do and so little time.

I spent much of yesterday in the kitchen doing some of my
baking. I made 3 and a half dozen gingerbread/butterscotch
cookies, 2 dozen small and 1 dozen large raspberry tarts,
and 4 small loaves and 1 large pumpkin loaf. I also had to
walk down to the corner store because, as is traditional
every Christmas season, I started baking and realized that
I was almost out of something vital. Many times it's
raspberry jam, but this year it was eggs. Sorta important,
And the rest of the day Saturday was spent watching the
weather channel and tracking the progress of this lovely
winter storm that we're currently enjoying. In some
areas of southern Ontario they'll be getting about 40
centimeters of snow from this system. I expect we'll see
about 20 - 25 centimeters here. We had 5 cm yesterday
too but that was lake effect, not related to this storm.

The news stations are advising people to stay home
and off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Thank-
fully it's the weekend so going to work vs staying at
home is not an issue. However, this afternoon is the
family Christmas dinner at the residence where my
Mom lives. Every year they go all out, and serve
about 300 people with a full turkey dinner and all the
trimmings. Since we have roast beef for our Christmas
dinner it's our chance to enjoy a wee bit of turkey
without the leftovers. Not that there's anything wrong
with turkey sandwiches....mmmm!

Probably a lot of the people who'd signed up to attend
the dinner will not be able to make it, which will be
a shame because the residence owner and his staff
have been working hard all week to put this event
together. We will probably go, since we just live a
seven minute drive away, but the final decision will
be DH's. He's gone to church, after shoveling the
driveway earlier this morning, so he'll be able to
gage the driving conditions. He picks up a lady from
the residence to drive to church, so he'll be making
a trial run, so to speak.

Our main concern is that the residence is
surrounded by steep hills. Well, this is the region
of Halton Hills after all. So getting down, and most
especially back up these hills can be tricky. DH is
a most skillful driver, so it's not us that I'm
worried about. It's the other ... hmm... less
capable drivers that I'm leery of. Well, we'll just
have to see what happens.

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures taken from our upstairs
windows to show the snowfall so far. These are dedicated to
Karen in Scotland who was wishing for a nice deep snowfall
for her Christmas. Hey Karen, we're willing to share!!

This week's read was back to Kim Harrison and the next
book in her Hallows series. I really loved this one.

Rachel has a problem. She's agreed to become the alpha
in a werewolf pack with David, a were and her insurance
adjuster. David is a loner who doesn't want to be forced
to join a pack or take on the responsibilities of a full pack
of his own. So he asks witch Rachel to be his alpha, on
paper only, to avoid trouble with the other weres. In
exchange Rachel will get a good discount on her insurance

But Rachel finds herself having to defend her roll as an
alpha against a were who wants the position for herself.
After barely managing to walk away from that confront-
ation Rachel realizes that she's got to make plans on how
to handle future challenges and avoid being killed in the

And then things become complicated. A call for help from
the young son of Rachel's pixie business partner Jenks
alerts Rachel to the fate of her former human lover Nick
who'd abandoned and betrayed her.

Nick, along with the young pixie Jax, went up north to
steal a werewolf artifact from a Vampire. And had then
tried to double cross the werewolf faction that had hired
him to steal the artifact. The artifact was hidden, but Nick
had been taken by the werewolves and was being held a
prisoner and being tortured for information to allow them
to find the artifact.

Unable to leave Nick to his fate, and also to retrieve Jax,
Rachel and Jax head north on a rescue run. And then
things really get complicated.

Kim Harrison continues to write books that are fast paced,
humorous, and richly detailed. We learn more about were
wolf society and it's hierarchy and history. The relation-
ships between Rachel and her friends/business partners
Ivy and Jenks continue to develop and evolve, and Rachel
herself must make decisions and choices that affect her life,
her future and her soul.

I've ordered the next book in this series, but will
probably choose another book to read in the meanwhile.
Something light, since this isn't the time of year I can afford
to focus my attention or time to a more intense book.

Thanks for all the kind words regarding the mittens that
I stitched for Dani, and also for the stash that I received
last week. I'm thinking of emailing Bobbie at Stitching
Bits n Bobs about those two skeins of peachy thread that,
to me, look identical even though the names on tags are
different. I've checked online to see pictures of how
each of those colours is suppose to look and I suspect
that a goof has been made somewhere. Don't want to
mess up a project with the wrong colour.

It's been awhile since I posted a picture of the fur babies.
Here they are, under the lamp and on the desk next to
my computer. We're a little cramped for space, and
someone is laying on my mouse pad, but somehow we

Hope everyone who's receiving attention from this storm
is home safe and is warm and snug and stitching. Take
care all. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A rare mid-week posting because I've received word that my
surprise parcel was received safe and sound by it's intended
recipient yesterday, which surprised me since it was only
mailed on Saturday. Above are the two mittens that I stitched
for Dani as a little thank you for the incredibly lovely needle
book that she made for me in the summer.

These are stitched on perforated paper, using DMC threads
and Mill Hill beads. The designs are from an old (1996) issue
of Cross Stitch Ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens.
There are four designs in total and they are really fun to
stitch. The two that I stitched for Dani are my favourites.

I'm so glad that you liked them Dani. Merry Christmas!

And my order from Stitching Bits n Bobs arrived yesterday.
Three Debbie Draper charts, with the ones on either end
also including the floss to stitch the designs with.

A pile of threads, mostly Crescent Colours, to use with various
charts in my stash someday. Is it me or does the two strands
of peach or orange in the centre look the same?? I really can't
tell the difference between them. One is Copper Penny and the
other is Pumpkin Harvest.

And then I ordered some fabric. The pieces above are 28 count
Jobelan in Raspberry Lite and African Daisy and Clay.

And some fabric in Linen and Cappuccino.

Tonight is the Senior's tour of the town to see the Christmas
lights and DH has gone to the senior's centre to join some
fellow choir members to sing carols for the seniors when they
return after the tour for refreshments.

Hope that you're all having a great week. Cheers.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Spot of Tea 1 - has been sadly neglected in the past month and a
half while I concentrated on other projects. And in the rush and
bustle of Christmas preparations I haven't had time to do a lot of
stitching. But this week I finished the final small motif and the
last big one just needs the date and initials filled in to be done.
Surely I'll be able to manage that small amount of stitching in the
coming week?

I mailed off my secret project to ???? yesterday. I've got
pictures but won't post them until it reaches it's destination. And
then I suspect that the recipient might well be able to take a
better picture then I have. We'll see. Stay tuned.

I'm expecting a shipment from Stitching Bits n Bobs this week and
am tingling with anticipation. This one will be mostly fabric and
thread, with just a few charts. I see that the website has another
sale going on now. Oh boy!! I'll wait a short while until all my
Christmas shopping is done, and then we'll see.

Meanwhile, I ordered some books from the Folio Society a while ago,
and most of them arrived this week.

1) The big one on the bottom is a replication of The First Folio of
Shakespeare, and is just that. All his works in one very, very large
book, reprinted exactly as it was first published hundreds of years ago.

2) The second book is Andrew Lang's The Pink Fairy Book. I'm sure many of you will have read these books at one time or another.

3) After that is Josephine Tey's A Daughter of Time, which is the book
which introduced me to the Richard III controversy. Do you believe
that he was the twisted, power mad monster of Shakespearean and
Tudor propaganda or did he get a bum rap??

4) A sweet children's tale is next. Frances Hodgson Burnett's
A Little Princess. I've never read this one before, but I've seen the
movie starring Shirley Temple many times and am curious to see
how they compare.
My book read of the week was Camilla Gibb's Sweetness in the
Belly. I absolutely loved this story. I found myself totally
immersed in it, and at times lost touch with my surroundings
as I followed the narrative. Which was a problem since I read on
the buses going home from work mostly. Have to remember
to get off at the right stop or I'm liable to end up visiting
Guelph and calling DH for a rescue.

Lily's parents left the security of 1950's England to travel the
world. Lily was born during their travels and for a time the
family moved from place to place without setting down roots.
Their nomadic existence ends in Tangier when Lily's parents
are killed in a drug deal gone wrong, leaving a young Lily to
be raised by a sufi sheikh who teaches her the Qur'an. Lily
grows up a devout Muslim who accompanies a male
companion to the city of Harar in Ethiopia at the age of 16,
to escape the political unrest in her adopted city.

Lily becomes a helper to a widow in Harar with four small
children and eventual becomes a teacher to the impoverished
children of the neighbourhood, teaching them to read and
understand the Qur'an. She becomes a member of the
community, learning their customs and their beliefs and
finding a home in that rich, colourful culture. She meets a
young Doctor named Aziz and they fall in love. But
Ethiopia in the 70's is in turmoil as the aged monarch
Haile Selassie is deposed and a military dictatorship
takes over. Famine and persecution spread and Lily, as
a white woman, is in danger and forced to flee the country
for an England she has never known, leaving Aziz behind.

Trained as a nurse Lily makes a life for herself in England
living with the community of Ethiopian refugees and helping
to run a charitable organization to help reunite scattered
Ethiopian families who have fled the horrors of that
country to all corners of the world. And always looking
for word of Aziz's fate.

The narrative of the book switches from the 70's and Lily's
time living in Harar, to the 90's and her life in England. I
loved reading this book and learning about life in Ethiopia
and seeing that world from a different perspective. I highly
recommend this one. Camilla Gibb has a strong empathy
for her subject, and knowledge of the religion and culture
of the region. She was born in England but grew up here
in Ontario. This is her third book and she is a well
reviewed, award nominated author.

Some more Christmas decorations from around the house. Above
is a new setting, the main village piece being from Avon. It lights
up, which didn't show up in the photograph unfortunately, and
the lights change colour. The lights on the trees also light up, and
the whole thing is very sparkley. Of course it eats batteries like
candy, so I only turn it on once in awhile, but who cares.

This is the den again. The flower arrangement and the potpourri in
the round metal container are both from the craft show that my SIL
and I attended in November. The flower petals are apple slices.
Neat, huh?? And you should smell the aroma coming from both. Ah,
heaven. The enclosed container for the potpourri is great because it
keeps the cats from playing with the stuff. I'm sure that it wouldn't
be good for them to ingest. The little building lights up and is a
library. Well, what else would it be???

My Mom's birthday was great. We had a nice meal thanks to the
food put out for the wine and cheese party, although DH was the
only one who had wine. We gave her some sweaters from Northern
Reflections for her gift and she was so happy. My Mom loves
clothes and dressing up. And we had a nice visit. Since the residence
is only a seven minute drive from here we just kept an eye on
the weather to make sure that the roads weren't getting too bad.
We have to navigate a few steep hills between here and there
and didn't want to get stuck at the bottom of one. This isn't called
the region of Halton Hills for nothing.

Today DH is taking Mom's Christmas tree over for her and
setting it up. It's a table top, fiber-optic tree which just requires
plugging in and fluffing out and it's good to go. He's also having lunch
with her and taking her some things that we picked up for her at the
store yesterday. She loves having her SIL to show off to the other

Meanwhile, once I've finished this post I'll be doing some cleaning
chores and then I have to make a start on my baking. We picked
up supplies yesterday so I have no excuses now. Is it possible to
slow down the clock for a while?? Time is flying by too fast and I
still have a lot that I want to do. It's the same every year.

Work was exhausting last week, being first of the month and all.
I'm hoping that this week will be calmer so that I can do some
baking, wrapping and bow making in the evenings. I'm off over
Christmas, as is DH and we're both so looking forward to it. I'm
planning another Christmas party this year, but forgot to buy
invitations while we were out yesterday. Drat!!

Have a good week everyone. Cheers!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Continuing the refrain of ... "it's beginning to look a lot like..." The
view from our front window this morning. This happened last night
while we slept. Fortunately for us, since we were out for the annual
Christmas dinner put on by DH's place of work for their employees
earlier in the evening. It was a 45 minute drive from here to the
restaurant where we were dinning and the roads were clear then,
and also for the return home about four hours later. It was just
beginning to snow when we hit the final leg of our trip, about 15
minutes from home.

Unfortunately later this morning we're expecting freezing rain to
start, and then it'll turn to rain later in the day. Nice. The snow
looks so pretty, it'll be a shame to see it ruined by ice and rain. We
are going to my Mom's residence this afternoon for their annual
wine and cheese party, which happens to coincide with my Mom's
birthday. My SIL is suppose to be driving here from Toronto to
join us but I think perhaps she'll reconsider because the radio
is saying that it's one of those "if you don't have to be somewhere
don't go out" days.

"Little Snowflake Quilt"
By: Linda Myers
From the leaflet: Favourite Quilt Blocks
Leaflet #80

Looky what I finished!! Finally!! I persevered, and put the last
hour into this project and got it done. What a relief to have this
one done and off the Q snaps. Now I'm concentrating on a finish
of Spot of Tea 1, with one large motif and one small one left to do.
Oh, and I finished the secret stitching that I was doing, and am
getting ready to mail that out. But no pictures of that yet.

I don't like having more then two projects on the go at once. I
realized that when I had the above projects going, plus one other.
I start to feel overwhelmed, and guilty and I loose the pleasure
of stitching.

Books. I did some on line Christmas shopping a week ago and also
ordered a few books for myself, most of which were in their sales
bin, so to speak. The only one not on sale was "Portrait of an
Unknown Woman" which I read about on Michelle's blog. She
was reading it for her book club group and I loved the description
of it that she put on her blog. I knew that it was a must have for

I'm slowly collecting the Alexander McCall Smith books
(both series) on sale from various locations. I've heard good things
about these books, but I refuse to pay full price for such small
reads. I'll keep picking these up as I find them and will read them
when I have a consecutive number, from the first book onwards.

These two books were also on sale. I enjoy stories about Robin
Hood and have several books by various authors, giving each
writer's own vision of the famous legends. So here's book one in
a series by Stephen Lawhead which looks interesting. DH might
read this one too. He was looking through it the other night and
asking me about it.

The last book "Sweetness In the Belly" sounded really fascinating,
and is one of those books that will take me away from the familiarity
and comforts of western life to experience the life of a young white
woman raised in northern Africa as a Muslim, who is forced to flee
to England as a refuge from Ethiopia in the 1970's. I've just begun to
read it, and am enjoying it so far. I finished book three in Kim Harrison's series about Rachel
Morgan, witch and bounty hunter. I enjoyed this one too and
found that it explained a few more things about some of the
species living in this world. We learn more about the elves
and also about the demon world (called "the ever-after" in
the books).

Rachel is a busy gal. Thanks to events in the previous book
she had to make a bargain with the demon Al (don't ask me
to keep spelling his full name). In exchange for his testimony
in court against the Master Vampire Piscary, Rachel has
agreed to act as Al's familiar, although still keeping possession
of her soul. She rescues Al's previous familiar, an Elf woman
named Ceri, who'd held the position for a thousand years,
and she's found a loophole in her contract with Al that keeps
him from dragging her into the Ever-After and using her
as a conduit to store magic for his own nefarious use. Not
that he doesn't keep trying to catch Rachel off guard and
force her physically into the Ever-After.

Meanwhile, Rachel's human lover Nick has fled town and
abandoned Rachel after events in the previous book altered
their relationship and made Nick an unwilling and unintentional
participant in her magical workings. And Rachel finds herself
drawn to Kisten, a living vamp and employee of Piscary, the
Master Vamp that she's put behind bars. Her business
partner Ivy, also a living vamp, is Piscary's unwilling scion,
and back on the hemoglobin, after three years of abstinence
and is jealous of Rachel and Kisten.

I am enjoying this series very much and plan to keep reading
although I am taking a break at this point.

I've pretty much finished my Christmas cards and sent most
of them off. Had to buy another box of cards though because
I just about ran out and I like to have a few handy for people
I've forgotten, or didn't know I knew, who sent us a card.
Next on my to do list is making Christmas bows, more
shopping, and baking. And time keeps slipping away.

And there's the holiday tv specials to watch when I can.
Did anyone see the newest Shrek Christmas special?? It
was pretty good. What's your most favourite holiday
tv special?? Mine is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Love Burl Ives singing those wonderful songs.

Movies in theatres that I want to see soon include
Enchanted, which has received rave reviews and looked so
good in the previews we saw in the theatres during the
summer. And the Golden Compass, which also looks
amazing in the previews.

I read the Golden Compass series this year in anticipation
of the release of the movie. Read in our local paper last
week that the Catholic High School here in Georgetown
has taken the books off of their library shelves because
of one complaint that they received about the author.
That annoys the heck out of me. If you don't like what's
in the books, or what the author believes in his own
private life then you don't have to read them. But you
shouldn't have the right to order that no one else reads
them either.

Still no sign of Victoria magazine. Have emailed them again.
This is ridiculous. I am so unimpressed.

Barbara, I've put The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue on my
to get list. Since you recommended it I checked it out on
Indigo/Chapters book site, read a description of the story
and it sounds really good.

Finally, a picture of a gathering of snowfolk in our den. Taking
pictures like this will remind me next year of how I like to
arrange my stuff. That is, assuming I remember that I took the
pictures in the first place.

Have a good week everyone.