Monday, October 13, 2008

The trials and tribulations of choosing a new project....

Greetings! As you can see from the above photo I finished
off Lizzie Kate's Bippity Boppity Boo. Another cute and
easy design. The best sort for stitching in the uncertain
light of hospital rooms. Today I added the spider button
that I had in my stash, although I decided not to add the
two candy corn buttons that are also suppose to go on
here. I thought it might be a little too much for such a
small design. Someday, if I ever get all the necessary
supplies together (plus some nerve) I might make this
into a pin keep.

After finishing Bippity (etc) I was in need of a new
project to occupy my fingers. With little time to
rummage in my stash I decided to grab my first
Waxing Moon Design and give it a go. I'd just
gotten the necessary threads for it, and I had a cut
of material all set to stitch on. I chose to stitch
Halloween Short Stack. I took it with me to the
hospital and after a bit of catch-up-chat with Mom
I got out my stuff and commenced to stitch. And
then I ran into a problem.

The design is stitched on a dark blue material.
The chart recommends using three strands of floss. I
don't recall the last time that I stitched with three strands,
but I do know that it was on Aida cloth, so we're talking
about 15 or more years ago. After stitching two short lines
of crosses I stopped in disgust. I did not like the look of
my stitches at all.

I don't know if it's just that I need to use my magnifier to
see my stitches properly (and admittedly the light in my
Mom's hospital room isn't the best for fiddly stitching) or
if I need to work on my technique for using three strands
of floss, but either way I ended up putting the project down.

Two days later I was heading to the hospital again, and again
I had a new project in my bag. Got settled in my chair, and
with Mom watching closely I pulled out my new project.
And then the debate began. The design is stitched with a
bright magenta thread and I chose a nice cut of pink even
weave to stitch it on. But then I started second guessing
my fabric colour. Did it really compliment the thread, or
did it turn everything into an ad for Pepto Bismal?

Mom and I dithered back and forth for awhile, and I even
put the whole thing back into my bag intending to rethink
my choice. But after awhile we decided to revisit the
problem, and so out the thread and the fabric came again.
Upon careful reconsideration we decided that maybe the
two colours just might work together okay after all, and
so I started to stitch.

The fabric is 32 count, as recommended on the chart.
After half an hour of stitching I sat looking (peering) at
what I had stitched thus far, and decided that I didn't
like my cross stitches at all!! Again, perhaps the light
is just not good enough for such a small (for me) count.
Perhaps I would need my magnifier to stitch this
design as well. Once again the project got stuffed back
into my bag to be reconsidered at a later date.

So my next visit to Mom at the hospital was Saturday.
I approached my stash with trepidation, and decided
that after two aborted efforts my confidence would not
recover from a third misfire. Therefore I needed to pick
out something that would be a sure fire success. So
what did I choose???

A Little House Needleworks design, of course. Stitched on
28 count Jobelan, using Crescent Colours threads. This is
a chart and thread set and is one of their Saltbox Scriptures
designs. Does anybody know...does Saltbox refer to the
style of house in the design??? Just wondering. As you can
see it's been smooth sailing with this one. I am relieved to
finally have something to stitch, and I'm loving the design
and the thread colours used to stitch this.

Does anyone else out there go through this sort of thing
when choosing a new project???

Since it just wouldn't be a post of mine without some sort
of stash enhancement, here are the latest additions to my
Crescent Colours collection, courtesy of Stitching Bits and
Bobs monthly bits service. Pretties!

This has been a long weekend here in Canada as we
celebrate our version of Thanksgiving. Due to things
being somewhat hectic around here lately (and I'm
not just talking about my frantic attempts to choose
a new cross stitch project) I had pretty much forgotten
all about it and had no plans to cook. Mom would
still be in hospital, and I would be spending my
afternoons visiting her as usual.

Fortunately we are blessed with wonderful friends.
We (DH and I, and my SIL too) were invited to share
Thanksgiving with our friends Pete and Terry, and
Terry's parents. Since they live in Georgetown too
we wouldn't have to travel far, and I could still spend
the afternoon with my Mom.

I baked for the occasion since I didn't want to go
there completely empty handed. I made the traditional
pumpkin pie, and a huge bowl of whipped cream,
plus I made Raspberry tarts with rice flour caps.
See picture above. Fortunately they all turned out

I say fortunately because I also made scones
on Saturday night to serve to some friends who came
for tea and a visit. Somehow I got the sugar bin
and the salt bin mixed up when making up the scone

You can probably imagine the results.

This weeks read was a Jodi Picoult novel, the Tenth
Circle. This was another of her great "social issue"
stories, with an seemingly ordinary family who are
unexpectedly thrown into turmoil when tragedy

Fourteen year old Trixie Stone is an only child, who's
Mother Laura works outside the home as a tenured
professor at the local University, teaching a course on
Dante's Inferno. Her father Daniel is a comic book
artist and stay at home parent who has lovingly raised
Trixie and guided her through her young life.

At the start of the book Trixie is going through the
motions of her life, attending school, studying,
interacting with her parents, while trying to cope
after her boyfriend Jason suddenly decides that they
should no longer see each other. Trixie is devastated
by this unexpected and unwanted development and
is desperate to do anything to get Jason back, at any

But Trixie's efforts to regain Jason's love have
unforeseen consequences for her and when she
tells her father that Jason drugged and raped
her it sets a chain of events in motion that threaten
to tear their family and lives apart.

It seems that everyone in this family has secrets
which are revealed during the course of the story.
And Trixie's accusations against Jason, a popular
young hockey hero in their town, are not
believed by the majority of the students at her
school, and by the people of the town that they
live in. Her parents choose to support her in
spite of the conflicting evidence and find
themselves barely able to contain their own
anger as they fight to suport and protect their
daughter against the bitter disbelief around

Jodi Picoult writes a good yarn, and often she
excels at taking a black and white issue and
carefully pealing back the layers, revealing all
the grey areas that make the expected and the
accepted beliefs that people hold to be not
quite that clear cut.

I thought that some of the developments in
the story, most often pertaining to Trixie's
parents and especially to her father's past,
were a bit of a distraction from the main
issues in the book, but Picoult is all about
developing her characters and giving her
readers a deep understanding of why they
act the way they do.

This is the third book that I have read by
this author and I highly recommend her.


Mom remains in quarentine in the Georgetown Hospital.
She continues to battle C-Dificile although they seem to have
it more or less under control. It is a difficult infection to get
rid of though, and she must test negative for it in three
consecutive tests before she will be considered clear.
Mom is also having issues with medications and the taking of
pills, which has left her with a tendency to be sick to her
stomach and has put her right off her food. She's on a liquid
diet right now, which includes soups, jello and yogurt. I fear
that she has probably lost a lot more weight since the C-dif
infection began two weeks ago. When will they be able to
move her to a rehab place?? Who knows.

The long weekend is almost over. The weather for the past
four days has been incredible. More like mid August then
mid October. Hot, sunny weather of the kind we most
certainly did not have much of this summer. Weird.
Hope all my Canadian friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving
with their families and friends.

Tomorrow is Election Day and we get to vote for a new
Prime Minister, or vote to keep the old one. With the turmoil
in the world right now regarding the economy the past
weeks with the party leaders on the election trail has been
interesting to say the least. When all is said and done, I
suspect we'll end up with another minority government....
but you never know.

It's time to end this post and get ready for bed. Back to
work tomorrow. Sigh!! Thank you again for all your
words of encouragement and support during the past
month and a half. I can't tell you how much it's helped
to lift my spirits and make me feel a bit better about

Take care and have a great week!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I checked over my stitching last week and discovered that I'd
miscounted on the placement of the bone, and it was off by half
a stitch. I suppose that I could have left it, but it would have
tainted my pleasure in this piece when it was done, so I ripped
it out and re-stitched it. I am satisfied. My first Lizzie Kate
project. Love the colours in this one.

I started another project from the same Lizzie Kate leaflet
as Bone Appetit, this one called Bippity Boppity Boo!! I
only have the lettering and a fancy button to put on this
and it will be done. The same threads used for Bone were
used for this piece as well.

My first time stitching with Weeks Dye Works threads too.
Is it my imagination or do you find that these threads fray
at the ends and split the thread?? Threading the needle
with them is a real pain. I guess if I use them more often
I'll get use to them. But I think that I prefer Crescent

I was naughty, and ventured into the world of Ebay a few
weeks ago. I bid on, and won, a pile of Shepherd's Bush
and Lizzie Kate charts. They arrived this week and I've
been enjoying just looking through them and dreaming.
I only have one other Shepherd's Bush chart, also won
on Ebay some time ago, and I'm looking forward to
stitching something of theirs.

The Lizzie Kate charts in the pictures above and below were
also a part of this Ebay win. Some of them I will keep to
stitch, and others will be passed on. I like that there are
designs here for both Easter and Christmas, as well as for
every day.

I also ordered some threads from Stitching Bits and Bobs
for various projects (not pictured) and I ordered a few
Threadworx threads as well, just because I love them so
much. Just look at these colours!! I think they are just

The Dinky Dyes chart in the above picture was also a
part of this order, and came with the silks needed to
stitch the design. A very pretty design. Just hope I
can stretch the threads provided (not complete skeins)
to last through the whole design.

Mom is still in the hospital, and has been diagnosed with
C-Defacile (pardon spelling) which is an infection that
causes diarrhea and can be quite serious. She's responding
well to treatment, but will probably not be allowed to
move to the rehab centre until she is clear of the infection.
Since entering hospital at the end of August she has lost
14 pounds. The nurses have her out of bed for little
walks around her room (she's quarantined because of
the infection) and she sits up in a wheelchair for
awhile each day.

I've gotten very behind in my blog visits and commenting
this week because life has been getting in the way, as it
tends to do. I developed the cold that my DH passed on to
me, and although it hasn't been as bad as some I've had, it
has left me feeling very drained and tired when combined
with work and trips to the hospital.

And after five weeks of going to visit Mom at the hospital
every night, or day in the case of weekends, my DH has
suggested that it's time to cut back a bit, before I end up
in hospital with her. So reluctantly I've agreed to start
going every other night during the week. We'll have to
start doing that anyways when she's moved to Rehab
because it'll be too far to go to every night.

This is the draw back of being an only child....or one of
them. There is no one else to share the visiting with. I
feel sick about Mom not having someone visiting her
every day, knowing how long and tedious those days
can be. And being sick I'm taking a chance visiting her
as it is, although I don't go near her, keep my face
covered, and use the hand sanitizer religiously.

Adding to the stress, I've applied for a job opening at
work which would make me officially full time. Right
now I'm working full time hours while being seconded
to a position while someone is on maternity leave. I
had an over the phone interview today. Was my
brain functioning enough to handle something like
that?? Ha! Do I really care?? Not so much.

Last week I chose to read a book based on Egyptian
history which was a wonderful, well written, well
researched read. I saw Michelle Moran's book Nefertiti
mentioned on several blogs this summer and it sounded
good, and received good reviews, so I added it to my
TBR pile. And it lived up to expectations.

Many of us know about Nefertiti because of the magnificent
bust that was found many years ago of her. She was the
consort of, and may have been crowned Pharaoh alongside
her husband Amunhotep. She was greatly beloved of the
Egyptian people and adored by her husband.

The book tells of the lives of both Nefertiti, and of her
younger half sister Mutnodjmet who are the daughters
of Ay, a powerful vizier in service to Pharaoh. Nefertiti
is married to the young, arrogant Amunhotep and soon
becomes adored by the Egyptian people for her beauty
and her charismatic style. As ambitious for power as
she is beautiful Nefertiti strives to hold her husbands
affection and his favour, while diverting his attention
from any and all rivals.

Mutnodjmet, by comparison, is not the great beauty
that her sister is, but is keenly observant and intelligent.
She does not desire power or wealth, but wishes only to
find a home and a life of her own, preferably away from
the increasingly dangerous and unstable rule of

Mutnodjmet falls in love with a general in Pharaoh's
army, but their union is opposed by Amunhotep who
fears and hates the army, and by Nefertiti who wishes
to keep her sister close by her side to help her stablize
and bolster her position. Torn, Mutnodjmet must
choose between the expectations and responsibilites
of loyalty to her family, or to fight for the life that she
desires and the man that she loves.

This is one juicy read. A fascinating time in Egypt's
history, when the obsessive dreams of one man
threatened to destroy a nation, and the intrigues and
power struggles within the court were as complex as
the moves in a deadly game of chess.

Michelle Moran has filled her book with richly
detailed descriptions of life during that time period,
which adds greatly to the narritive and she brings
that world to life on every page. I enjoyed this one
very much and look forward to reading her next book
which is called The Heritic Queen. Oh boy!!

My first mammogram experience turned out to be a positive
one. I had a great technition who explained everything to me
before we got started and who was thorough but quick as
possible during the procedure. I got a clean bill of health as
a result of the test, and don't have to go back for two years.

As Cathey might say, the girls got a bit of a workout, and there
were a few moments of discomfort but I gritted my teeth and
got through it. And the piece of mind is worth the price.

A shout out to Dani who did the Run for the Cure on
Sunday. She RAN the entire race and raised over $700.00
for Breast Cancer research. Congratulations Dani!!

Deb, L.J. Smith has written many books for Young Adults
and about 10 years ago I read a series that she wrote
about Vampires. I enjoyed them but they were fairly
light reading. The stories in the book that I just got
appear to be better written, judging by the quick flick
that I did through the book before putting it in the
TBR pile downstairs. We'll see if they live up to
first impressions when I do read them.

As you can see I've decorated for Autumn. These are
pictures from the livingroom. It's been cool around here
during the past few weeks, and we may see frost tonight.
But by the weekend it may warm up to almost 70 degrees.
That would be so nice. A bit of Indian Summer.

Thank you everyone for your kind remarks about
Cottage Garden. They are very much appreciated.

Hope you all have a wonderful week. Thanks for
stopping by. Take care.