Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It was with great delight that I opened my mail one day
last week and discovered the latest issue of Victoria.
And it featured an article on one of my favourite
writers, Jan Karon. I've been browsing through this
issue here and there since then, and enjoying every
page. I find it a very relaxing and soothing read.

And here was my progress on my red sampler as of Monday.
I've been working on it a bit since then of course, but not
enough to warrant taking another picture. I have started
stitching the last row of this piece although I have stuff to
put in beyond the small alphabet yet. And there's the
outline of a book to stitch with backstitch in that big empty
space above the key.

And of course theres stash. From Mary Kathryn. Some
32 count fabric in Waterlily and Lambswool, since I'm
more comfortable stitching in that count now then I was
before, so I'm collecting more fabric in that count, as well
as my old favourite 28 count.

And since I want to build up my thread stash I ordered
some Carrie's Creations threads. I just ordered them
by name, without looking at the actual colour, because
I wanted to surprise myself. Lol!! I'm especially
pleased with the red (Ruby) and the blue (Bluebird).
And the Dusty Rose and Rose. Oh heck....they're all

DH and I had a busy weekend, with two major events
on our social calendar. On Saturday afternoon we
went to the 7th birthday celebration for our friends
son Jonah, which was a blast. Jonah's Mom
Charmaine is an amazing talent in the kitchen and
she made some absolutely scrumptious food for the
occasion. And the weather was spectacular on
that day so we were all able to sit outside and enjoy the
most perfect of Spring days.

On Sunday we were up bright and early (groan!!)
to head into Toronto to attend a service at DH's
old church. They were commemorating the 40th
anniversary of the arrival of a minister there who
started up a youth choir called the Chancellors.
DH and a great many of our friends were members
of this choir, which traveled all over Ontario
singing at various churches. They even recorded
four albums of music, and one year they went to
Holland in an exchange with a youth choir from

Sadly Rev. Fields died a number of years
ago, but members of his family attended the
service, which was also attended by many
Chancellors and their families. And needless
to say the sound of all those voices singing during
the service was wonderful. It seems that many
were able to remember the old arrangements
for some of the songs chosen for the service. At
times there wasn't a dry eye in the church I think.
Afterwards there was a luncheon and then a
Hootenanny after that where old favourites were
sung and memories were relived and friends now
gone were remembered.

This week I've been getting ready to close this
old computer down in preparation (I hope) of
getting a new one next weekend. So if you
don't hear from me around the blogging
community for awhile it's just because I'm
getting acquainted with my new Mac. Or
because I've locked myself out of my new Mac.
Or have blown up my new Mac. Whatever.
(a computer geek I am most definitely NOT!!)

Lynn, when I ordered from Barnes and Noble
I paid full shipping costs which would have been
prohibitive perhaps if I'd been paying full price
for all those books. But since each book was
vastly discounted, and one was free, I think
it all worked out pretty good. I wouldn't order
from them all the time necessarily, but once
in a blue moon, for a special deal is okay.

Anybody been naughty with the On Line
Needlework Show???

I finished reading All Together Dead by
Charlaine Harris, and then read The Silver
Bough by Lisa Tuttle and now I'm deep into a
Nora Roberts book called River's End.

Cheers all!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is primarily a book-centric post because I haven't
done any reviewing of my reading finishes lately.
There is an update on my red-work project but that's
further down from here. Hang in there.

I finished Peony In Love a little over a week ago. I'd
had my eye on this book for quite awhile when it came
out and finally grabbed it during a book browsing spree
in a real world bookstore earlier this year.

It takes place in China, about 300 years ago and
is a love story. But it's also a great introduction to the
culture and beliefs and way of life in China back then.

****Peony is from a well to do family. She is about to
celebrate her 16th birthday and her arranged marriage
to a young man whom she has never met is due to take
place within the year. She is expected to be the
dutiful daughter and marry a stranger and leave her
family to live with his family and eventually bear
him a son, which is the duty expected of all women.
But Peony is not without dreams of her own.

Peony has lived all her life within the confines of her
father's estate, never allowed to venture out beyond
it's walls. As the story begins she is very excited to
be attending a performance of the opera The Peony
Pavilion which her father has arranged to take place
in the garden of their home.

Having studied the story of the Peony Pavilion and
relating strongly with it's cloistered heroine who
falls in love with a young man not of her father's
choosing, Peony is eager to see the epic opera
performed live. Against her mother's wishes she
and the other women of the household gather
behind screens to "watch" the performance, safe
from the view of the men also attending the event.

But during the performance Peony peeks between
the screens and spots a young man sitting in the
audience next to her father and she is smitten.
Restless and unnerved by the glimpse of this male
stranger who captures her imagination Peony slips
away from the group of women to roam the garden
and consider the wonder of the handsome young
man and the beauty and tragedy of the opera.

In a pavilion near the lake which her home is situated
on Peony inadvertently meets the young man she
had spotted and they speak. During the next two
nights that the rest of the opera is performed they
meet again and they fall in love. But the young man
does not tell Peony his name, nor does she identify
herself to him. On the third night the opera finishes
and Peony sees her young man for the last time.
But her love for him continues to grow. *******

In many ways Peony's life mirrors that of the heroine
in the opera, and the author Lisa See weaves a tale
both magical and tragic using the complex traditions
and mystical beliefs of the Chinese people, as well as the
history and controversy surrounding the opera to tell
Peony's life story. It is a beautifully written story
with it's roots in Chinese history, and it's heart in
the way the Chinese see the natural world, and what
they believe of the afterlife.

After Peony I decided to read something lighter in
nature. I'd gotten behind in my Charlaine Harris
series so I decided to read a few of her books. They
are small books so I figured that I would be able to
read a couple in a week. I'd read the first four books
in the series over a year ago, so had three more to
read to catch up. I've read two and am well into a
third book and then I'll be up to date with these. I
believe that a new one is coming out in May.
(These books in hardcover have wonderful,
sparkly dust covers. Really cool)

Sookie Stackhouse is a delightful character. Sassy and
smart, with a big heart Sookie is also a telepath who can
pick up the thoughts of those around her. In the first
book in the series Sookie meets Bill, a 130 year old
vampire who moves into the old house next door to hers.

Vampires in the world created by Charlaine Harris
revealed their existence to the human world about five
years before the "Dead" series begins. They have been
somewhat integrated into the human world since then
but the arrangement is an uneasy one at best. There
are other supernatural beings existing in the world as
well, all of whom Sookie discovers through her relationship
with Bill. But they continue to hide their existence
from the world while watching to see how the Vampires
fare and how things will ultimately work out for them.

These are not rocket science books by any means, but
they are funny, and sweet, and sexy, and a rollicking good
time. Suspend your beliefs, and go along for the ride.
You'll be glad you did.

Oh lookie....cross stitching! Here we are with my weeks
progress on the red work piece. I love the three fancy
motifs running under the numbers. They are as lovely as
the lettering to stitch, and to look at.

Haven't been able to sit outside and stitch this weekend.
Yesterday it rained off and on for much of the day, and the
temperatures are much cooler then last weekend. Today
isn't suppose to be as rainy, but it'll remain cool and cloudy
so no outdoor stitching today either.

This evening there's a spaghetti supper at church and
DH's choir Kahilla are performing afterwards for a few
songs so I'll be going to that, and don't have to cook dinner.
Last night friend Mary came for tea and we sat chatting
until 1:00 in the morning!! Don't know quite where the
time went but it was lovely.

And there has been some serious book stashing going
on here this week. My order of books on sale came
from Barnes and Noble, and yesterday morning there
was a used book sale at the Georgetown high school
which I always attend. Got some interesting stuff
there too. Click on the picture to see the titles.

Note about the picture in last week's post of the
front of the house. This was taken during the summer.
It doesn't look anything like that right now. Things
are beginning to poke out of the ground, and the
daffodils should be blooming pretty soon but we've
got a few months before things'll look as good as that.
All in good time.

Cheers all and have a great week.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Let it be recorded officially that this was the first weekend
of this year that I was able to sit outside and stitch. We're
lucky enough to have a house with a West facing front, and
we have a knee high stone wall in a half oval under the den
window (see above picture - upper right corner to see
what I'm talking about) which absorbs the heat from the
sun. (as does the driveway around it) So it's always a good
five degrees warmer then it might be in say the backyard.
I put a blanket on the little wall to give me a softer seat,
and I sat there most of the afternoon yesterday, and for
a few hours today and stitched.

And so I've made good progress on my redwork piece
from Cross-Stitch and Needlework magazine. I think that
I'm pretty much half way done at this point. I'm pleased
to be making progress, but sorry to be done with the
wonderful fancy alphabet.

Goodies from Mary Kathryn. The inevitable moment
of weakness when Mary Kathryn has a "free shipping"
announcement on her site, and the resultant delight
when arriving home from a long day at work to find a
parcel or two on the kitchen table from her. The
Milady's Needle chart also came with a little key chain
plastic holder for one of the little designs to go in. If
you click on the picture for a closer look you can see it
on the top right edge of the chart. I also got myself
one of those pretty needleminders, with lily of the
valley on it. Those are the flowers of my birth month,
The Peep chart is a freebie from Prairie Schooler, and
the Lavender and Lace chart Firefly Fairies was actually
a gift from a friend at work who'd bought it years ago
but decided that she'd probably never get around to
stitching it, so gave it to me. Don't know if it's some-
thing I'd be able to stitch with my meager skills, but it
sure is a pretty design. I don't recall seeing it before.

I really love these Lizzie Kate flip-its and I may just
have to get the rest of the series, and of course all
the threads to stitch them with. Took the little charts
to work and used the photocopier to blow up the
designs so they'll be easier to follow when I'm ready to
stitch them.

Signs of Spring in the garden. The crocus is always the
first hearty soul to flower in the garden. Sometimes it's
as early as January when we spot green shoots poking
through the earth. Of course with all the snow we've had
this year there was no chance of that happening. The
snow is just about gone on the grass except where it was
piled high around the driveway and backyard paths.

DH and I stood shoveling snow off of these mini
mountains yesterday and scattering them across the
lawn to get it to melt faster. Right now the grass looks
like shredded wheat with the hot water poured onto it.
It'll be a few more weeks before we might start to see
some greening there.

Heard from my Mom that she and another lady were
out yesterday for a walk in the warm sunshine. Their
place has been in quarantine since Easter because of a
bad cold or virus bug that hit some of the residents
quite hard. Mom didn't catch it, thank goodness.
Quarantine was lifted on Thursday.And finally, here's Rupert enjoying cleaning day and
the blankets from a stripped off bed which had been
tossed on the floor. Rupert's a nester.

Cheers all!