Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hello everyone. The first week of the New Year has passed and
the holiday season is now something of a fading memory. We still
have our tree up and our decorations out, but next weekend we'll
be packing those back up for another year. Which makes me feel
a wee bit sad because I do so love my tree, but will admit that it
doesn't have quite the appeal in July that it does in December.
So I'll enjoy it while I can.

I started a new project last week, since it's the New Year and
I was ready for something fresh. So I started the first
Country Cottage Needleworks design in the Cottage
Garden set. I'll be stitching all six of these designs on one piece
of Natural Pearl Linen in 28 count. I'm enjoying this one very
much and look forward to seeing each design come to life.
Pretty designs and gorgeous thread colours.
My Mom use to do needlepoint, back about twenty or thirty
years ago. Due to arthritis in her back she can no longer
manage to do this and/or cross stitch any longer and so is
concentrating on knitting projects. She has her needlepoint
projects framed and hanging in her room at the residence
and I thought I'd take some pictures to show them off.
This one hangs above her bed, and is my personal favourite.
I love the colours in this one, and it's such a pretty scene.
I think this is her favourite too. And I think that it was
the last one that she stitched as well.

This is a seasonal hobby of mine. I make bows for some of
my Christmas presents. I got into this after being inspired
by my friend Tony who made a bow for me one year to put
on the gift that his partner (and my friend) Darlene was
giving me. It was an incredibly beautiful bow, and I was
astounded that he'd made it just for me. After that year I
insisted that Tony make me a bow every year to go on
my present, and I always look forward to seeing each new
bow for the first time. I have about 7 of them now, and
put them out as decorations around the house during the
holidays. I will never part with them.

I wanted to try my hand at bow making as well, since it
looked like a lot of fun. I can't say that I'm quite in Tony's
league, but I've been doing this for about four years now
and I enjoy it. There are so many beautiful ribbons
available, and trims to put on them, so it's pretty easy to
come up with designs that look good. Sadly, with a cat
like Rupert around the house I can't leave the decorated
parcels under the tree because he'd eat them, or tear
them apart, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to
make them.

The past week was a bitterly cold one around here.
The sort of weather that had us putting on layers and
layers and layers of clothing to venture outdoors in.
And still the cold seeped through materials and turned
legs into frosticles. And then the weekend arrived, and
the temperature has been rising. Today is a balmy
5 degrees Celsius and there is a heavy fog covering
everything, as the snow that we got last week melts.
It's going to get even warmer over the next couple of
days, and we may even see some rain. I guess it's a
January thaw. It won't last of course. January and
February are the cold months around here.
My current read. I picked this up after reading about
it on Michelle's blog a month or so ago. She was reading
it for her book club and talked about it on one of her
blog postings. It sounded so good, and the story was
right up my alley, so I got it, and began it just before
Christmas. I'll probably finish it tomorrow on my way
home from work.

Margaret Giggs is a ward of Thomas More, and has
lived as a daughter in his family since the death of her
own parents when she was a young child. Moore has
seen to it that all his daughters are as well educated as
any son of that time period, which was a rare and
almost unheard of practice for that era. Margaret
(Meg) thrives in this rarefied atmosphere, developing
an interest and talent for the healing arts.

It is the years when More has become a courtier in the
court of Henry VIII, and has found himself caught
between the heartfelt beliefs of his religion and the
implacable demands of his monarch to find a way to
dissolve the marriage of Henry to Catherine of
Aragon and pave the way for Anne Boleyn to become
Queen of England.

Two visitors to More's home are drawn to Meg
during this politically charged and dangerous time.
One is the mysterious tutor John Clement, and the
other is the painter Hans Holbein, who has been
commissioned by More to paint the entire More
family. Meg falls in love with the handsome,
enigmatic Clement, and yet is also drawn to the
bluff, enormously talented and intelligent Holbein.

Meg makes her choice, marries and settles into
her new life. But the years pass and secrets are
revealed. Meg fears for More as his position and
his beliefs are conflicted and the consequences of
displeasing and disappointing a demanding monarch
are inescapable and too often fatal.

What I loved about this story, the author going into
detail about the creation of some of Holbein's most
famous works, explaining the symbols painted into
them and their meaning. I loved seeing the life of
More and his family explored and seeing the
colourful, but fear ridden Tudor era brought to life.

I had a some trouble accepting the story of John
Clement's life, which I won't go into here because
I don't want to spoil the surprise/story line. I
realized where the author was going with his
identity and was shaking my head and thinking
that I just didn't buy it. However that's just my
own reaction, based on what I've read over the
years and come to believe of the history of the
Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties.

This book is well written, and well researched
and if you've read anything by Philippa Gregory
which deals with this era in British history then
you'll want to read this book and will probably
enjoy it too.

Well, it's getting on and I've got to go see about some dinner. I'll
leave you with a picture of Rupert who insisted on helping me to
wrap presents during the holiday season. What a guy.

Hope you're all well and have a great week.



Vonna said...

I've got all the CCN cottages too and am hopeful that I'll get those squeezed in sometime this year :)
Your start is great!
Your mother's needlework is gorgeous!

Lynn said...

I love those CCN cottages. How big a piece of material are you using for all of them? I'll really enjoy watching the progress of these!
Your mother's needlepoint is beautiful! Now we know where your love of cross stitch comes from.
Your bows are lovely too. Isn't it nice when someone takes the time to personalize a gift in this manner?
I enjoy reading your book synopsis. I love to read but it's all or nothing,either reading or cross stitch. I don't seem to have the time to do both. I occasionally sneak in some reading at bedtime.

Nelapx said...

huuuuu lo que mas me gusta es el gato.... es igual a la mia

Pumpkin said...

I've seen a lot of people doing this with the LHN patterns and I just LOVE it. I can't wait to watch you progress with this :o)

Your mom did some lovely work. I hope my projects will still be hanging on a wall when I'm older.

I've never mastered bow making. Now DH, he can make a bow! LOL!

Lizzyblack said...

Rupert is lovely :) I couldn't put my parcels down the tree as well, I have 3 cast 2 of whom would eat the paper!!
I am glad you passed from my blog, and you can be sure I will be visiting you often, as I love your writing an your works :) And you're right, it's nice to be so "close" thanx to tne net.

We haven't had much snow, just a little bit that melted in a short while.. in the late years, it's easier to have snow in february, so maybe we just have to wait a bit :)

Have a nice day :D

Carla said...

Great start on's a lovely design!
Your mom's framed needlepoint piece is beautiful and it looks big!
Your bows are lovely too, I love when people wrap their gifts with fancy bows :)

Beatrice said...

What a great start on the CCN cottage.
I love the piece of your Mothers. It is a beautiful piece. Lovely detail.
The Bows are incredible...Boy such talent. I'm glad Rupert could help.
The wrapped parcel seems to be a dying art since the bags came out. I still wrap mine when I can. Nothing like a pretty bow.

Kathy A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy A. said...

I deleted my own post - can't spell or put a sentence together today.
You mentioned that there were a lot of Ontario bloggers in your post on Wendy's blog
Ann (Knowledge and Needles) has a get together in August that we all try to get to. You would meet a lot of us - Beatrice, Ann, Dani, Lynn, Wendy, Christin and moi. We would love to see you and I even have a spot for you to rest your head if you would like to make a weekend of it.
I can be reached at at any time

Wendy said...

Great new start on your LHN project! They are going to be gorgeous stitched on one piece of linen.

And I enjoyed reading the book review. I'll have to look for this one as I recently finished reading The Other Boleyn Girl and I love stories in this time period.

stitcherw said...

Great Start on Peony. The colors in this are so pretty, I like the soft design style. I'm going to do four of them as a set on one piece of fabric, Daisy, Violet, Rose and Bluebell.

Your mother's piece is lovely, and would be a beautiful piece to have on the wall to look at. It's so nice that she has her finished pieces to be able to hang, they must make a nice discussion point with other people there.

Your Bows look wonderful, they would be so festive to put out at the holidays. The book sounds interesting too. I enjoy reading your reviews of the different ones you've read.

Barbara said...

Love your CCN start - such lovely, gentle colors! And those bows are incredible! I can tie a bow for my shoelaces, but that's about where my abilities end. I would love to learn how to make these beauties, though. I enjoy creating nicely-wrapped Christmas gifts, all the more so if they are a bit different.

Your mom's needlepoint is incredible! I think it's super that you're showing it off, and I'll look forward to future pictures of her past projects. Glad to hear she can still enjoy knitting. I think it's cruel that older age can steal away our beloved hobbies.

Take care, and enjoy a lovely weekend!

Deborah/LavenderRose said...

Thanks for the book review...may have to get it on Books to Go if they decide to have it.

tkdchick said...

Don't they always want to help???