Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's a bit blurry, but here's a little project that I stitched last
week. It's from the Big Book of Cross Stitch Designs published
by Readers Digest. There is also a cat, a duck and a rabbit
to be done, and I'll no doubt do the cat soon. But I sort of
liked the design of the dog best and so stitched him first.
Shhhh...don't tell Rupert or Phoebe.

I've started another project, and got a bit done on it
during my holidays, but I don't want to post a picture of
it just yet. I want to get a bit more done on it first.
And I've been working on Cottage Garden again since
returning to work and I'll post a picture of that some
other time as well. Don't want to overwhelm you all
at once with my needle prowess. Lol!

The irises have begun to bloom in the front garden, and
here they are in all their glory. The front garden gets
the afternoon sun, so it's often a bit ahead of the rest of
the yard/garden in developing. We have two clumps of
white irises but only the one has fully opened blooms
so far.

This past weekend was lovely. Warm and sunny weather at
last!! This of course meant that a trip to the garden centre
was in order, and that we did on Saturday morning. It took
me two hours of wandering around before I had all the little
plants that I thought I'd need for my pots. Then it was home
to start planting.

My planting style is simple. I pick up plants in the garden
centre which catch my eye and look pretty. Sometimes I
remember favourite plants from previous years and I get
more of them. Most times I just wing it. Geraniums are
a certainty every year, preferably with variegated leaves,
and so are various types of Petunias, marigolds, strawflowers
(got one white, one yellow and one red strawflower this year)
and heliotrope (one white, one purple).

Above is a picture of some of the newly planted pots.
At the moment all of the pots are huddled up against
the side of the house because the weather report for
tonight is warning of the possibility of frost for this
area. Swell! So DH moved everything near the
house for shelter, just in case. Hopefully this will be
the last hurrah for frost.

The annoying part is that yesterday the temperature
reached around 76 degrees. It was incredible. Of course
it was also yesterday that I returned to work after a weeks
vacation. During my week off it was a little cooler then
normal for this time of year, so I didn't have much of an
opportunity to sit outside and stitch or read. Did go for
some nice walks in the neighbourhood though.

The big event of the week was Saturday night when DH
took me to the pub for dinner to celebrate my 50th
birthday (May 28th) and it turned out to be a surprise
party. Now I have to be one of the most gullible people
ever. Or I'm just plain oblivious to what's going on
around me. Either way I had no idea that this was in
the works so got the shock of my life when I walked
in the door. It was a blast, and so wonderful to get
together with so many friends and family.

My DH, my SIL and my dear friend Darlene were the
main conspirators who arranged everything. My poor
mother knew about it, and spent several anxious weeks
trying desperately not to put her foot in it whenever
she talked to me on the phone by accidentally letting
something slip. Knowing me I probably wouldn't have
caught on anyways.

Yesterday DH and I took the cats to the vets for their
yearly checkups and needles. Although they are not
outdoor cats we always make sure that their shots
are up to date, and we like to get their back claws
trimmed and just have the vet check them over and
make sure everything is okay.

It was a hair raising time trying to get everybody into
their respective carriers to transport them to the
appointment. Rupert was lured into his carrier with
food (works every time for him) but DH made a
strategic error in letting Phoebe see the carriers being
brought up from downstairs.

She took one look and bolted for the upstairs and
under our bed. When DH came close to reaching her
there she shot out of there and took cover under the
heavy, bulky captains bed in the spare room. It took
us five minutes of concerted effort to herd her out
from under there, grab her and pour her into her
carrier, howling all the while. Poor baby. Thank
goodness we only have to do that once a year!!

Thanks to everyone who left nice comments about
Cottage Garden during the past week. And yes,
Phoebe is as cuddly as she looks. She's sleeping
by my elbow here. Apparently all is forgiven.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's been awhile since my last post, and for that I apologize. I've
been stitching instead of posting or commenting, though I have
been reading everyone's blogs regularly because I love seeing
what you're all up to.

I finished Daisy off in the Cottage Garden series and made a good
start on Rose. I think the pale colours used for Daisy caused me
to loose interest in this square for awhile, but when I started in
on the blue house my interest perked up and I was motivated
again. When I got the packet of threads out for Rose and saw
the bright, vibrant colours that this one is stitched with I dove
right in. The border colour is House Wine by Crescent
Colours and it is gorgeous!!!

I'm on vacation this week and of course I'm thrilled about that.
The weekend just passed was a holiday long weekend here as
we celebrated Victoria Day with fireworks, cold temperatures,
strong winds, and rain. We enjoyed the fireworks.

Usually the rule of gardening around here is that you don't
plant your pots and stuff until after the long weekend in May
because that's usually the latest date when we might see a
bit of frost. However, this year the long weekend is a bit
early and so it's still quite cool out, especially at night.

DH was out in the garden before 9:00 am yesterday puttering
around. He's the early riser in this family. But just after I
put the tea kettle on for my breakfast he came back in
declaring it too windy and cold to be able to work in some
degree of comfort. So he waited until after lunch to attempt
to go back out, when it was a wee bit warmer.

Mother's Day was Sunday May 11th, and here's a picture of
my Mom, me and DH in her room at the residence where
she lives. Every Mother's Day they have a magnificent
brunch there, with wonderful food and a great selection
to choose from. It's very popular. We gave my Mom a
couple of Andre Rieu CD's for her Mother's Day gift and
she loves them. She sits and knits along to the music.
Note: the pictures on the wall behind us are two of my
Mom's needlepoint pieces.

That weekend my friend Darlene and I went to our
first summer movie of the season, and of course we
saw Iron Man. It was fabulous!! Wonderful effects
and a great story, but really it's Robert Downey Jr's
movie start to finish. He is a perfect Tony Stark.

We plan to see two movies during our next movie
weekend, which will be the new Indy movie (of
course) and the new Narnia movie. That'll be the
final weekend of this month if all goes according
to plan. Looking forward to seeing both movies.

Two book finishes to mention here. Above is Julie Andrews
autobiography which came out earlier this year and for a
lover of musicals such as I am it was a must have for sure. I
enjoyed reading this very much and loved learning about Ms
Andrews early life, and how she started her career. And I
especially loved reading the chapters telling about her first
three major musical theater triumphs....The Boyfriend, My
Fair Lady and Camelot. This book ends just after Ms
Andrews gives birth to her daughter Emma, and when she's
been signed to star in Mary Poppins. I look forward to the
next book which will no doubt cover the years when she
filmed Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music.

For those of you who listen to audio books I see that
Ms Andrews has recorded her book, which will make it
an extra special treat to listen to.

And this is my most favourite of mystery writers.....
the incredible Elizabeth George. I'm a bit behind in
reading her books, which meant that when the next
installment in this series (the one after this book)
came out a year ago I inadvertently learned of a
shocking development in the series, which occurs
in this book.

As you might imagine this was a bit annoying for
me, but there was nothing to be done about it, and I
have to say that it really didn't spoil the reading of
this book for me at all. In fact, it may have heightened
the suspense and the anticipation for me even more.

These books are enthralling, sometimes unnerving
reads, with the endings not always being neat and
tidy, happy ever after conclusions. But they are
so very well written, and plotted, and the characters
are so three dimensional and believable. I can't get
enough of this author and highly recommend that
you check her out. But read the books in order, to
get the most out of them.

I don't have any major plans for this week, except to
enjoy each day, do a few chores (to sooth my
conscience) go for walks in the neighbourhood,
listen to music, watch some DVD's (if I can figure
out how to run the new tv and it's half dozen
remotes by myself), and of course stitch!! Heaven!!

So I'll leave you with a picture of my Phee, who's also
quite delighted to have me home for the week. There's
going to be a lot of cuddling and loving for her as well.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hello, I'm back!! Using my new computer and making my
first blog entry with it. So far.....so good.

And with a finish to show off too. Here is the red sampler all
finished, as of last night. Mostly done at work during my lunch
breaks and in the bus depot on my way home from work at night.
Sadly the true colour of the material I stitched it on does not
show up in the picture. It really sets off the red thread colour
beautifully. But at least you get an idea of what it looks like.
This I will eventually frame for our bedroom I think.

I have arranged to start collecting Crescent Colours threads
through a monthly delivery from Stitching Bit's n Bobs, and
today received the first set of 11, plus two free charts. Aren't
the colours gorgeous??? I have to keep them hidden from
Rupert until I can add them to my thread list and then put
them safely away in my stash cupboard. He likes to steal
them and run away.

And I've been oh so bad with the online bookstore this past
few weeks. Actually, the lot in the picture above were ordered
way back at the end of March, but just arrived last week. I think
they were waiting for the one book to become available before
they shipped the whole order. A long wait, but well worth
waiting for in the end.

The majority of this order is the fault of Jaimie (Lavender and
Lace Stitches/Bell Literary Reflections) and her book blog. I
saw most of these books reviewed on her blog and had to get
them. The only exceptions being Chosen, which is book three
in the YA series that I discovered and started reading earlier
this year, Daughter of York which is the second book by Anne
Easter Smith, and The Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket.

Jane Brocket's blog Yarnstorm is a feast for the eye and
a delight to read. I've been a fan for well over a year now.
She was approached to write this book based at least in
part on the success of her blog and it was released late last
year. I don't know if it's available in the States yet, and I
think this is the one that held up my order for so long, but
it's a wonderful book. If you love to cook, knit, read, garden,
sew, or simply delight in the simple pleasures of home
and hearth (and appreciate the odd reference to Cary
Grant) then this book is definitely for you. If you don't
know Jane yet, follow the link in my sidebar to her blog
and enjoy!

And Jaimie??? Thank you!

This smaller order arrived today. Nothing gets my heart
pounding like a new book from Elizabeth George. As a
matter of fact I'm reading one of hers right now. British
crime/mystery featuring Lord Thomas Lynley, well
written, eloquent and riveting. Kelley Armstrong is top
of my list of favourite authors too and I always keep an
eye out for her next book. And Julie Andrews auto-
biography covering the early years of her life and career.
Can't wait to read this one too. I've loved Ms Andrews
since forever!! She's an incredible lady.

Poison Study is a reorder actually. I ordered the entire
trilogy in one go back in March, but the first book in the
series arrived in appalling shape. It had obviously been
printed in a bad batch and arrived with half the pages not
separated, the printing on the pages inside misaligned and
falling off of the page, and the top end of the book narrower
then the bottom of the book. Really weird. I sent it back
for a refund, and had to reorder it again. I've never gotten
a book like that before.

Kathy A. : The Carries Creations threads came from
Mary Kathryn's on line store. I always get wonderful
service whenever I order something from her.

The iMac has been a great experience so far. I've only
ever had a PC before, a Dell machine, and it gave me
pretty good service for 7 years. But this one is truly an
eye opener. The graphics....the speed.....the sound.....
and so easy to use. I also got myself an ipod, in red,
and have been enjoying that. I'm really getting into
the 21st century at last.....well, except that we still
don't own a cell phone. Baby steps....

Spring continues to bless us with her prescience and
the garden is looking good. DH mowed for the first
time on Sunday, which is his most favourite passtime.
It can still get quite cool at night though so planting of
pots and stuff will wait until the Victoria Day long
weekend just in case there's a last touch of frost.

That's it for now I think. Thanks for dropping by.