Saturday, September 27, 2008

A major happy dance occurred this week as the final stitches
were put into Bluebell, and I completed work on the six
squares that comprise the Cottage Garden series by
Country Cottage Needleworks. So here is Bluebell....

And here is the whole piece. It's a rainy, dull day here today
so this is the best that I can do with the light coming in the
windows, and with the adjustment settings on my i-photo.
Violet and Daisy appear washed out here, and they are
lighter then the others due to the threads used to stitch them,
but they look fine in real life. I'm very pleased that I managed
to stitch this entire project in less then a year.

I needed a new project for this week, but didn't have much
time to fuss and rummage through my stash, so ended up
grabbing my very first Lizzie Kate project. This is "Bone
Appetit" from Halloween Thrillogy. I'm stitching it on
28 count Queen Anne's Lace Jobelan. I've also messed up
stitching the bone (Aaarrrgghhh!!) and will have to take a
closer look at it later and make the necessary repairs.
That's what I get for stitching in the uncertain light at the
hospital. I may have to backstitch the bone too, to make
it stand out more.

I did a bit of exploring on the site for the On Line Needlework
show during the week and have chosen my favourite design.
This is Hitchin' a Ride by Lavender Wings designs and I love
it. Okay, so the sheep is wearing the colours of the American
flag...but maybe I can adjust them to reflect the Canadian flag
colours instead. Wonder if there's somewhere on line where I
can find a Maple Leaf pattern to stitch as well. Oh well, I'd
probably stitch it as is. This is just so cute!!

I was in the bookstore last week. I picked up a couple of books
that were on sale, and a couple that just caught my fancy. The
sale books were the Mary Higgins Clark and the Isabel Allende
book. The books that just happened to jump into my arms (as
books tend to do when I'm browsing around a store) were L.J.
Smith (Vampires again...) and Carolly Erickson.

I started and finished the Carolly Erickson novel The
Tsarina's Daughter during my weekly commute this
week. Carolly Erickson usually writes historically
factual books about the many colourful characters
from the past, but lately it seems she's also been
writing the odd fictional book based on historic figures.
This is one of those books.

It tells of the life of the Tsar's second daughter
Tatiana as she grows up in the Russian court,
experiences the upheaval and turmoil of the
Russian revolution, and falls in love with a
young soldier that she nurses back to health
during the first World War. It's established
right at the beginning of the book that Tatiana
survived the massacre of the Tsar and his
family, and lived a long and full life while
hiding her true identity.

I've been fascinated by Russian history in
general, and by the lives of the Russian
royal family in particular, for many years.
The incredible, colourful history that
Russia has, the quirky and often odd
members of the Russian nobility, the
sadness and tragedy of the last Tsar and
his family, and the mystery regarding the
fate of one of the Grand Duchesses all
combine to make for compelling and
compulsive reading.

Although I did enjoy reading this book,
I would have liked more from the author.
I guess I wanted more history, more
detail and more adherence to the true
history of the main characters, instead
of a romanticised version.

It annoyed me that Erickson made three of
the young duchesses pretty unlikable, while
making Tatiana the one with the best attributes.
Surely all the girls had their good and their
bad points, and should have been written
as such. Then I would have cared more
about their fates, and become more emotionally
involved in the story then I did. And I'd like to
think that they were closer to each other in real
life then they were as written in this book.

I think Erickson did do a good job of writing
about the characters, their phobia's and their
faults, when writing about Nicholas and
Alexandra...the Tsar and Tsarina. Two people
who were entirely unsuited for the roles that
they were born into.

An okay read but not a spectacular one.


Mom was deemed well enough by the Doctor this
week to leave the hospital, but not strong enough
to return to the retirement residence. Since she
disagreed with him on that point the Doctor was
wise enough not to try and argue with her. He
just arranged for the head nurse at the residence
to visit her one day to assess her and make the
decission. As it happened, the owner of the
residence also came along. They both agreed
with the Doctor's assessment. So did I. Mom
isn't happy about it, but deep down I suspect
that she knows we're all right.

So the paperwork is being finalized to transfer
her next week to a Rehabilitation facility, where
she'll stay for about a month. They'll get her
back on her feet and gradually build up her
strength and stamina so that she can return
to the residence and resume her life there without
concerns about the potential of her not being
able to look after herself, or of falling.

The downside is that any of the Rehab centres
that she might go to are not close by. So I won't
be able to visit her every night, as I've been
doing during the month that she's been in
hospital. She isn't going to like that.

And to add to the fun is the fact that DH has
come down with a cold, which means he has
to stay away from her until he's well again.
And I think that I'm coming down with it now
too. Oh joy!

We want to take her to whichever Rehab centre
she'll be moved to ourselves, to help settle her in
and make the transition more acceptable to her.
It'll be next Wednesday that she goes, so hopefully
we'll both be healthy by that time.

Dani, I'd love to go to the Creative Sewing show
in October, but since Mom will probably still be in
the Rehab place at that time I doubt that I'll be
able to go. But I'll make note of the date and
stuff, and who knows. I'll keep you posted.

I'm going for my first mammogram on Monday,
so have the day off of work for that. Hope it'll
be okay to go even if I'm sick. Guess I'll have to
play it by ear.

Well, I'm going to go have some lunch, and then get
ready to head over to the hospital. I'll leave you
with a picture of Rupert giving Phoebe a wash,
which was taken last week.

Thanks for stopping by. Take care all and have
a great stitching week.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Saturday morning and I've been up since just after 7:00 am,
which is kind of early for me. But DH was up to feed the cats
before leaving for the monthly mens breakfast at church and I
woke up when his radio alarm came on. I've had breakfast,
made the bed, coaxed Phoebe into eating her breakfast, showered
and dressed, and walked to the hairdressers where I got my hair
chopped off. Boy, does that feels good!! Now I'm updating my blog.

And to start, here is this weeks progress on Cottage Garden.
The final square is probably two thirds done, and I am
loving it. I thought that this one would be using paler
coloured threads for some reason and so wasn't looking
forward to stitching it. But as it turns out the threads
are much darker then I remembered them to be and
they look great. Perhaps I'll finish this square, and this
project next week, and then it'll be on to something else.

I've been poking through my stash and come up with a
few choices for my next project. One is an older Leisure
Arts pamphlet from around 1991 called Wreaths for All
Seasons. I think I'd like to stitch the Fall wreath. I've
also thought of starting a Bent Creek design, Blue Bird
Sampler. Decisions, decisions....


My Mom is still in hospital and so is now into her fourth
week there. She has had set backs and small improvements,
been sent for tests and scans, and had a blood transfusion.
She is stable and the tests have shown that the various
infections and complications seem to have been cleared up.
Knock on wood that this is true, and nothing else occurs to
complicate things again.

But she is weak, and food continues to be an issue. As many
of you have noted in your comments, hospital food is
infamous pretty much around the world for being something
less then appetizing. She's been moved from isolation to a
ward, and has been sitting up in a chair for some time during
the day, and has walked from her bed to the door of the room
and back.

But she needs to be much stronger, and dependable on her feet
before she can go home. So she may have to be moved to a rehab
facility for a time, which she is not happy about. We just hope
that if the doctor does send her to a rehab place that it's some-
where close to us so we can continue to visit as often as
possible, if not every day, as I've been doing so far.

I want to thank all of you who have left encouraging and
supportive comments here during the past week. I've
passed them on to my Mom and it makes her feel good to
know that so many people are thinking of her and wishing
her well. And it's helping me to keep my spirits up too.


And another boost to my moral came this week in the mail.
An interesting little package that arrived on Thursday. I
wasn't expecting anything and so was quite intrigued. I
tore open the outer envelope and found the above
beautifully wrapped package. Something from Staci,
(Snippets and Stash) stitcher and finisher extraordinaire.
Oh Boy!!

And here is what she sent me. A gorgeous floss tag in
the most yummy variegated red thread colour and
meticulously finished. Staci keeps insisting on her
blog that she's just learning how to do all this finishing
stuff. Well, if this is just learning then I'm really looking
forward to what she does in the future. And in the
meanwhile I have a wonderful new treasure to add to
my small but growing collection of stitched pieces.

Here is a view of the back of the floss tag. Staci's
stitches are so neat and tiny. I can't keep from
looking at the tag and delighting in her talent.
She also sent along a lovely pair of embroidery
scissors, and a fob with my first initial stamped
on it. Looks like old fashioned typeset, doesn't

Thank you Staci for thinking of me, and for
being such a wonderful and thoughtful blogging
friend. Your gift has given me a lift and I really
appreciate that so much.

This week's package from Stitching Bits and Bobs was my
monthly collection of Crescent Colours threads. Just when
you think that they couldn't possibly have any more colours
that would make you smile and sigh.... I really love the
colours available from Threadworx too, and have ordered a
few of those to add to my stash. I can see some of the Tante
Solders designs being stitched with those beauties!!

I've been reading Girls Like Us for a week and a half
now, and am almost finished it. I wanted a complete
change from the fantasy trilogy that I'd just finished
and since I've been eager to read this book ever since
I got it a few months ago I picked it up and dove in.

As you can clearly see by the cover this is a book about
Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. It also
documents the transformation and evolution of the
roles and life choices and expectations of women during
the time period that these incredibly gifted women were
dominating and changing the music scene. Basically the
late 1950's until the 1980's. And how the lives, and the
music of these three singer/songwriters reflected those
changes. And influenced them.

It is mind boggling to contemplate the catalog of music
that these three woman have created during their
careers, often in spite of the male dominated world that
they were living in, and while juggling children, husbands
and lovers, demanding careers, and their own self doubts
and regrets. I'll bet many of you consider at least one song
by any one of these women to be a personal favourite. And
I also bet if you read this book you'd be caught thinking...
"she wrote that???? I had no idea."

This can be an intense book at times, but it's a fascinating
read and is well worth the effort. And these three ladies
deserve to be recognized for their hard work, their vision
and their spirit.


Sandra, the Magic trilogy is probably more suitable for
a reader older then thirteen, and it may appeal more to
a female reader then a male.

And speaking of Sandra....go check out her latest finish
(Sampler Lovers Blog) which is just spectacular!!
Sandra stitches exquisite historic samplers, but
replaces the original stitcher's name and birth dates with
the names and birth dates of members of her own
female ancestors. A wonderful idea that makes the
sampler even more of a family treasure then it already
is. And she stitches some incredibly complex and time
consuming projects that make my hair curl when I see
them!! And she is a super nice person too!!

And have you seen that Rebecca (Rebel in Ontario)
has finished Lizzie Kate's Living with Charms flip-it
and she stitched hers on black 28 count Jubilee!! It
looks fantastic!!

And a big Hello and welcome to Lucy from Folk n
Fancy who left a comment on my post from last week.
I've been visiting and reading your blog Lucy, but
haven't yet been able to leave a comment. I'll try to
rectify that soon.

I guess that I should bring this weeks epic post to a close.
It's getting close to lunch time now and I'm feeling peckish.
Hope you all have a wonderful week and get lots of time to
stitch and read and spend time with your loved ones, both
human and furry.

Thanks for being out there, and for stopping in here.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's been a while since my last post and I apologize for that,
but the past two weeks have been hectic with family matters
that required me to focus my time and attentions elsewhere.
I decided to take a bit of time today to update my blog and
let everyone know that I'm still around, even if I haven't
been able to comment on your blogs much.

Two weeks ago on Thursday my Mom was taken to hospital,
and she's still there at this time. At first they thought she might
be suffering from pneumonia. When she was
admitted to hospital she was put in a room by herself,
effectively in quarantine. Eventually it was decided that
she did not have pneumonia, but rather had suffered a
severe reaction to some medication that she'd been
prescribed to help her with water retention in her legs and
feet. She became severely dehydrated.

She's been having ups and downs since then in her
recovery, although I suppose none of it has been terribly
drastic. Thankfully. She's not too happy with the hospital
food (not surprisingly) but she's got to eat and build up
her strength before she can go home. She has been on
her feet, sitting in a chair, and walking to the door of her
room and back, which is good. She's fretting because she
hasn't been able to put on her makeup, which is also a
good sign. And she would probably do just about anything
for an hour with a hairdresser.

We're hoping that she'll be able to return to the retirement
residence within a few weeks, assuming that she's able to
get back on her feet and safely mobile. But we'll just have
to wait and see how things go.

So I've been spending evenings and weekend afternoons
at the hospital with her. Fortunately the Georgetown
hospital is just a five minute drive from where we live,
and I can walk home from there in under half an hour if
I have to. Thank goodness it's still summer here so it's
not a problem if I do have to walk. I've also been spending
a great deal of time on the phone when I'm home keeping
friends and family up to date on things.

I've been stitching on my lunch breaks at work as usual, and
I've been taking my stitching in to work on while visiting Mom.
So I've finished off Violet, and the title square in my Cottage
Garden piece, and made a small start on the final square, which
is Bluebell. I changed the thread colour that was supposed to
be used for the wording of Cottage Garden. It was suppose to
be a pale mauve, the same as was used to stitch the tiny flowers
at the bottom of the square. But I didn't think that the colour
showed up well enough on this material to do that, so I chose
to use the yellow instead.

Now I'd like to start a new main project, but I have to take
some time (!!!) to sort through my stash and see what jumps
out at me. I feel like starting something from Waxing Moon
Designs but then again I may just latch onto something else
when all is said and done.

I've been able to finish the second and third books in the
Magic trilogy by Maria Snyder, and they were every bit as
enjoyable as the first book was.

I loved that I had the three books to pick up, one right
after the other, instead of having to wait a year or more
for the next book to come out. But at the same time I
find that I then get so engrossed in the world, and the
events and so attached to the characters, that it's hard
to move on to something else afterwards. I am reading
a biography now, as a drastic change to snap me out of
the "magic" mind set.


Barbara, my DH is 6 feet 5 inches tall. Our friend Sue
is just about 5 feet tall, give or take an inch. Thus you
have the height difference that you see in the picture of
the two of them together. Sue is a minister, so when
she's preaching on Sundays she has to stand on
something so that she can be seen behind the lectern
I'm around 5 feet 6 inches by the way.


We're in the throes of election fever (??) here as the
sitting Prime Minister has called an election for October
14th in hopes of trading in his minority government for
a majority. Here we go again!!

What with the American election, which receives as much
attention as our own election does in the media and
around the water cooler, and all the hoopla and sniping
between the candidates here, we're pretty much inundated
with political news and views at the moment. It's
fascinating stuff, except when it's annoying and frustrating.

And in the end, we're most likely going to have another
minority government with the same leader (conservative)
as we have now.


I would like to take a moment to thank Kathy A. and
Dani and Beatrice and Lynn and Sandra for your kind
thoughts and comments regarding my Mom. And Kathy
and Dani especially for being so gracious and understanding
when at the last minute I had to cancel a long anticipated
visit to Kathy's home for a stitchers gathering because of
my Mom's illness. It looks as though you had a wonderful
weekend ladies. I was so looking forward to meeting all
of you in person at last, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

I will be visiting blogs as time allows, and I hope to
make the occasional comments when my brain is
functioning enough to allow for reasonably
intelligent posts. In the meanwhile I send my
best wishes, and deepest appreciation to all of you
who comment and who blog. Visiting you helps me
to relax, smile and keep my spirits up.

Take care everyone.....