Sunday, January 27, 2008

After the trauma of shopping for TV's DH and I required
some relaxing time, and so we went to the big Chapter's
bookstore in Brampton. I had gift cards from Christmas
to spend, and was craving a visit to a bricks and mortar
store, instead of the on line shopping that I usually do. I'm
glad that we went because I found a few books that I would
have likely missed on line. I've read the first two sets of trilogies that Robin Hobb has
written in this series, but the third set I didn't have yet in
my library. I do now. I might just read all three books in a
row, if the mood hits me. These are fantasy, by the way.

The book on the Blitz was on sale. Sarah Ash is another fantasy
author who's Tears of Artamon trilogy was excellent. Tracing the
Shadow is her latest book, which I didn't even know was out.
Peony in Love is a book that I've had my eye on for awhile. I've
noted that other bloggers have read it and enjoyed it, so I grabbed
it yesterday when I had the chance. We've all heard about the
movie Atonement that's out right now. Well, I'd heard that the
book is an excellent read, and the story's ending an unexpected
twist, so I've been wanting to read it.

Now, I've never read anything by Julia Fox before, but I was so
intrigued by this book of hers. I've read a lot about the Tudor era,
and especially about Henry and is multiple wives. So I've met
Jane Boleyn, (SIL to Anne and Mary, wife to George) many times.
In every book she is the outsider. The one who betrays her husband
and SIL's when Henry is looking for an excuse to rid himself of his
second wife. She is portrayed as jealous, petty and prim. An

Now this book was written with much research
(or so claims the cover) into documentation and letters about the
real Jane Boleyn and promises to reveal her in a truthful telling
of what really occurred back then. Not the nasty, jealous and
betraying woman...the villain that we've always been told about.
I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

And this weeks read was Jan Karon's latest book Home to
Holly Springs. A Father Tim novel which does not take place
in the familiar environs of Mitford, as in past books. This one
takes Father Tim back to his own home town of Holly Springs.
A place that he has not visited since the death of his mother
38 years earlier.

Father Tim is retired, and at the age of 70 has settled into
a contented life with his beloved wife Cynthia, dog Barnabas
and adopted son Dooley. Then he receives a cryptic note in
the mail, with only two words written on it. "Come Home".

Home. Father Tim's memories of his life in Holly Springs
are conflicted and tinged in sadness. His mother and her
family were loving, devout and close. His father was cold,
aloof, at times cruel and estranged from his grandfather.
Peggy, their housekeeper, was a second mother to the
young Tim and greatly beloved by him. But she disappeared
suddenly one day when he was in grade 5 and he'd never
been able to find her.

In the previous Mitford books there were hints about
Father Tim's past and his relationship with his parents.
Now we find out the full story of his early years, and
the reasons for his estrangement from his own father.

Compelled to answer the call of the mysterious note,
and to face the past that has haunted him, Father
Tim returns to Holly Springs, seeking long lost
friends, answers to mysteries unresolved, an end to
the conflicted feelings of love and betrayal connected
to his father, and finally to find peace with his past.

The Mitford books are about people and their faith.
But they are not cloying, or preachy. They are
warm and amusing, and full of colourful characters.
You feel a sense of welcome, and comfort when
reading these books. Like coming home. You don't
have to be a deeply religious person to enjoy these
books. You just have to appreciate the importance
of love, family and community.
Blogger is being a royal pain in the you-know-
where this morning. Not allowing me to publish
my post and now not letting me upload pictures.
So I'll answer Jaimie's meme and then we'll see
how we go from there.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I've always had a mental block when it comes to reading books that
were published before the 20th century. I guess that I'm afraid that
I won't be able to relate to them, or get into the flow of the words or
the phraseology. I've got all of Jane Austin's books, but I've yet to
actually pick one up and attempt to read it.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Who would I bring to life from all of the books I've read?? Oh,
where to start??? Jamie and Claire from Diana Gabaldon's
books to start. Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife would be
another. Henry would be for the clubbing, while Jamie and
Claire would be for tea. As for going on a about
Sherlock Holmes?? He'd know everything that there is to
know about any place we went, and probably the language
too. I'm not sure what kind of sociable companion he'd be
but perhaps I could bring Henry along for that too.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

The most boring book on the planet? A school text book. Any one.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

I don't know. The Bible I suppose. Haven't really ever stuck with that.
I've never been able to read the Bronte's stuff. Just know the stories from
movies and tv.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP)

I'd suggest a biography like David Niven's "The Moon is a Balloon".
It is hilariously funny, tells stories about Hollywood movie stars
that most every one's heard of, and tells a bit about Niven's time
serving in the second world war which would provide a bit of historical
interest. Oh, and Niven had Garbo swim naked in his pool, which
would intrigue any red blooded male VIP.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

I think I'd like to be able to read (and speak) either French or
Gaelic. But this is a hard one to chose. French so I could read
Victor Hugo or Alexandre Dumas or Collette. Hmmm all writers
from before the 20th century. Still....

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Oh boy. I've read Marie Killilea's books Karen and With Love From Karen so often they'd qualify for sure. Also The Time Traveler's Wife. I've also read
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn many times. The Lord of the Rings would be
another choice even if there are three of them.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I'm reading more general fiction, and have strayed away from Fantasy
quite a bit in the last few years, although I still read Fantasy. I take note
of books recommended by blog friends such as Barbara's recommending of
The Stolen Child, which I would probably have never heard of if she hadn't
mentioned it. Kerry is also a great help with selecting books thanks to her
reviews and her voracious reading appetite.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Oh boy!!! I'd have a ball with this one. A fireplace!! Definitely. Lot's of
shelves all around the room, probably in a dark wood. Hardwood floors
with a lovely, colourful rug in front of the fireplace. Several tall windows
with window seats. A big round table in the centre of the room. Comfy
wing backed arm chairs. Books in hardcover...even the ones that have
never been published in hardcover. Each and every one signed by the
author. No dust jackets on the books.

I'll just tag anyone who reads this post and loves books. You
know who you are.

I've got lot's of picture stuff today so I'm going to do a post
about my stitching and then another post after it about books.
Jaimie tagged me for a book quiz and so answering that might
take up a bit of space. My postings are not known for their
brevity. My latest project is from the book Sweet and Simple
Country Cross Stitch by Lori Gardner. Very colourful
with lots of quarter stitches and back stitching. But it
is a change from the projects that I've been doing and
I've had my eye on this design for some time now. It
will be just a section of the overall design that's in the
book, plus I'm taking an image from another part of
the design and adding it onto the end of this section.

As mentioned last week I'm still finding the coloured
squares for each thread change a bit hard to tell apart
which can be most frustrating, but I'm managing and
so far I think I've made the right choices. There will
be a lot of colour used by the time this is done. I love
the little blue bird.

This week I got two stash deliveries. One came from
Stitching Bit's n Bobs and the other from MaryKathryn.
Continuing to add to my collection of basic beige/brown
or neutral fabrics are three packages of fabric's that run
from light to dark.
Then we have charts. A few LHN and CCN of course, and
most of the others are all new designers to me. Stitchy
Kitty's Snowman Trio caught my eye as soon as it was
featured on the various stitching store sites and I love it.
I still have to order the special buttons that go on it but
I've ordered the threads and I think that this will be a
fun stitch.
Actually, this is a bit of a winter/Christmas themed order
with snowmen and Santa's and winter scenes. Oh well,
Spring is two months away (insert groans and moans here)
so what can you do but go with the flow.
Many people have stitched the Tea Room and it's such
a pretty design, and since I'm a tea drinker it's quite
appropriate for me. The problem with all these new
charts is that I want to start all of them NOW!!!
Fortunately by going to all your blogs, and seeing you
stitching some of these designs it allows me to live
vicariously and satisfies my need to start 10 projects
at once.

I've been enjoying (insert sarcastic tone here) a bit of
a cold for the past few days. Nothing major. It's
mostly a stuffed nose and a bit of a raspy throat. More
annoying then anything. And my nose is so sore now.
I've been plastering it with creme to try and ease the
soreness but then I sneeze and....

DH and I went out looking at new TV's yesterday.
Our currant TV is almost 20 years old and beginning
to show signs of it's age. We figured it's time to invest
in a new one before the old one craps out for good.
Unfortunately for us we're not much for technology,
and in twenty years TVs have changed....a lot!!

We hear advice from friends, and listen to the spiel
from the salesmen at the stores and we feel our
heads start to spin, and our eyes glaze over. It goes
right over our heads. As I told Monique on her blog
a few weeks ago, it's like Fred Flintstone looking for
a new vehicle in a George Jetson dealership.

Enough to post the bookish portion of
my weekly blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We have a finish. Here is Peony all stitched up. I've decided
to work on another project for awhile and so have put this piece
aside. However, while browsing through blogs the other day I
came across Coventry Cottage Home 's blog and Suzanne has
done all six designs in this series on a single piece of fabric. She
features the finish in her post of December 28th, and it looks
fabulous. Something to inspire me when I'm ready to pick this
project up again. By the way, I love the little butterflies in the
Peony design. For some reason the green, pink and brown
colours together put me in mind of mint or pistachio ice cream.

I spent much of Friday night kitting up a new project, and
chasing Rupert who kept getting into my stitching cupboard,
grabbing skeins of thread and running off like a mad cat, with
me in hot pursuit. He did this three times, which proves that
he's a very determined, stubborn cat, and I'm an easily
distracted, over optimistic, short term memoried human.

I'm doing a cute project from a book of cross stitch designs
by Lori Gardner. I'm taking parts of a larger design and
making a long, single line piece. Bright colours, quarter
stitches and back stitching. The problem with stitching from
a book is hauling said book around while working on the
project. The thread grid and the chart are in colour, so
photocopying the page would not be an option I think. Also,
I've found that thread guides using mostly coloured squares
is a pain. Especially when the guide is on one page, and the
chart is on an overleaf page. Telling shades of red and orange
apart is difficult, to say the least. And referring to the picture
of the finished piece doesn't help because the thread colours
look really different in the picture compared to real life.
Still, I soldier on. I'll post a picture of my progress when the
project looks like more then a few blobs of brightly coloured

We're back to winter here in the Great White North. It's minus
fourteen Celsius with a wind chill of double that. Whew!! I
think we're suppose to get some snow too at some point today.
Me? I plan on hibernating for the day. As far as I'm concerned
when it comes to winter, bears have the right idea.

DH has filled the bird feeders, bought and put out cakes of
suet and seed mix, filled the bird bath and made sure the
heater is properly placed, and stocked up on seed for refills
during the week. We have a flock of junco's overwintering
with us, a family of red breasted nuthatches, and assorted
gold finches, house finches, chickadees and mourning doves.
And busily decimating the hard cherries on our three trees
out front is a flock of pine grosbeaks, which are new to us.

Above is a male Pine Grosbeak. It looks a bit like a
House Finch, but is twice the size. The females are a
olive colour, and the juveniles are a rusty brown. These
birds are extremely tame and you can get right up close
to them, and they'll just drop cherry skins on your head
and ignore you.

Usually it's migrating Cedar Waxwings that dine on the
berries in the Spring but this past December, for the first
time, almost a dozen pine grosbeaks appeared and began
attacking the hard skinned cherries with their very strong
beaks. The snow under the trees soon grew to resemble
the aftermath of a massacre, with the bits of smooshed
cherries scattered around. The birds continue to appear
so I guess they're here for the winter.

It's so exciting to see a bird for the first time at our feeders,
and this past year we've had a few newcomers to our yard.
The red breasted nuthatches for one, and the grosbeaks,
and on one memorable day an indigo bunting!! Last year
it was a whole family of Baltimore Orioles who spent an
afternoon in the area and kept appearing in our yard. DH
and I were going nuts trying to keep track of them as they
appeared and then flew off. Such gorgeous birds.

And now for my book of the week. And boy do I recommend
this one to all of you. I loved this book!! The story is fascinating,
the writing sharp, vivid and both emotional and amusing in turns.

Water for Elephants was written by a Canadian, Sara Gruen and
this is her third book. This is the first one of hers that I've read
but I plan on checking out the others now. This one came out in
2006 and was a critically lauded success.

The year is 1931 and Jacob Jankowski is in the last week of
studies before sitting for his final exams to become a veterinarian,
like his father before him. But devastating news rocks Jacob's
world when he learns that both his parents have been killed in an
auto accident, and because of the recession their house, it's
contents and his father's practice have all been seized by the bank.
The realization that his parent's re mortgaged their house to pay
for his education, and his father has been accepting payment for
his services in the form of produce and barter due to the
depression, sends Jacob reeling and in the middle of trying to
write his exams he breaks down and flees the University.

Running without thought or destination Jacob ends up hopping
a train and finds it to be a circus train. Taken in by an
elderly circus worker named Camel, Jacob finds himself in
desperate need of a place to stay and work to feed himself in
a depression weary country where jobs are few and far between.

Taken on as vet to the circus Jacob meets Marlene, star equestrian
rider and wife of August, an animal trainer. Marlene is beautiful
and enchanting, August is in turns charming and bombastic,
suddenly changing to a dark, sullen and suspicious man with
a cruel temper. Jacob falls for Marlene and as the week pass and
August's actions reveal more and more of his dark nature Marlene
is drawn to Jacob.

The circus world is revealed to the reader in fascinating detail.
We meet the workers, who are strictly segregated from the
performers, and find a world both magical and brutal. Jacob
finds a refuge with the animals he tends and comes to care for
them with a dedication reminiscent of his father's to his domestic

As the circus owner Big Al herds his big top show from town
to town, imperious and obsessed with building his circus into
a success to rival that of the Ringling Bros. and uncaring of
the people and animals he uses to achieve that end, tensions

Jacob must find a way to save Marlene from her increasingly
unstable and eventually abusive husband, as well as the
animals in his care, on whom August vents his temper without
mercy. But Big Al values his animal trainer August, and
performer Marlene, who is the big draw to his circus, and the
keys to his dreams of success, and he will sacrifice animals and
humans of lesser value to keep them in his circus.

I think we're all drawn to the world of the circus, especially
the circus's of 30 to 60 years ago when the magic and laughter
that enchanted the audience often hid a dark and hollow
world of brutality, discrimination and desperation. This book
shows us that world, warts and all, but also allows us to see
the camaraderie of the circus people who work together to
bring the big top alive, and support each other in a world who
views them with suspicion and distrust.

I really loved Jacob and his determination not to abandon
his friends, the animals who depend on him, and the woman
he loves, in spite of his own grief, loss and his youth. And
you'll loose your heart to the animals in the menagerie, who
are as brilliantly portrayed and brought to life, as the human
characters are in this book.

Guess that's it for now. Time to go do some chores and earn
my keep. Hope that you all have a great week. Cheers!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello everyone. I've been tagged by Lynn of Kearnal's Korner
and thought I'd post my answers to this list of questions now,
before I have to go make dinner. Warning: the following
post may put you to sleep if read while sitting down in a
comfortable chair.

Four jobs that I've had:

Stock taker at Canadian Tire
Cashier at Beaver Lumber
Bank teller at Bank of Montreal
Multiple positions at CIBC

Amendment: Very first job I had was year end stock
taking at a Canadian Tire. A friend who already worked
there got me the day long job. I was 15. We worked for 12 hours
straight...counting everything from nails and screws
to lengths of piping and all manner of hardware
in between. Finally, filthy and exhausted we finished off
and headed home.

Two hours later my friend phoned me at home and
told me the store was on fire!! It was gutted.
All that work for nothing!!! My first job. I really
set the place on fire.....ouch!! Sorry. Moving on....

Four movies that I watch over and over:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Independence Day

Four places that I've been:

British Columbia

Four places I have lived:

that's it.....

Four tv shows that I watch:

I love and adore home improvement
and decorating shows.
Ummmm.....Don't watch much tv now.

How about four shows that I'll always love but
aren't on anymore:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Four people who email me regularly:

Bobbie at Stitching Bit's n Bobs (What can I say?
I order from them a lot.....sheepish grin)

Four favourite foods:

Chinese food

Four places I would rather be:

England or anywhere in Great Britain
British Columbia
The East Coast - Newfoundland or Nova Scotia

Four things I look forward to:

The next Harry Potter movie
The new releases from Nashville
Retiring - preferably after winning the lottery....soon!

Four people to tag....Um, let's see.....

Sandra - Sampler Lover's Blog
Michelle - Cozy Egg
Shannon - This, that, the other
Dani - TKDchick

Okay everybody, that's it....wake up!!
We're done here. You can go now.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good day everyone. Another week, another posting. And
another progress report on my current WIP Cottage Garden.
Crescent Colours really knows their shades of pink, don't they?
Every time I get an order of thread from them which includes
yet another shade/variation of pink I think it's the most
beautiful shade of pink ever....until the next order comes in.
And I'm amazed how variegation can turn ordinary brown
thread into a rich and lustrous colour.

Lynn asked how big the piece of material is that I'm
stitching all of these designs on together. This is a cut
20 1/2 inches by 15 inches. It is plenty of material for the
designs and a healthy boarder. I ordered this from
MaryKathryn's online store. She's offered this material
specifically for this project since the designs were first
released and it comes surged around the edges, which
is a nice touch.

And speaking of Marykathryn's online store....I took advantage
of her free shipping over the holidays to order some stuff. The
first delivery arrived this week and included the final design for
Country Garden. Check out these thread colours!!! Lousy
lighting does not allow the full punch of brilliant colour to show
in my picture but take my word for it, in real life you need sun
glasses to view these threads safely. And, oh look....another
shade of pink!!!!

And these two charts were also included in the package.
I don't have many Country Cottage Needlework designs
in my stash yet, but I'm trying to remedy that situation.
The same goes for Blue Ribbon Designs. I like the layout
and the design of this piece, but I may change the colours
to something a bit more vivid. We'll see.

This weekend DH and I have been packing up all the
Christmas decorations for another year. What a chore!!
We spent nearly five hours yesterday afternoon just
packing all the decorations in boxes. Which first
required hauling said boxes from the basement, and
collecting all the decorations from around the house.
This is when I tend to regret buying a four level house.
Up and down the three sets of stairs, multiple times,
during the course of the day. And although I only
bought one large decoration this year (see December
9th post for picture) and it has it's own box for
storage, finding boxes for everything turned out to
be a bit of a struggle.

Then we had to watch out for Rupert, who had to
get into every box before it was packed, and sometimes
afterwards too. We kept finding him asleep inside a
box that we were preparing to pack. Or just sitting
in a box, watching us work and looking very pleased
with himself. We were afraid he'd get shut into a
box and packed away for the year. Especially towards
the end of the day when we were both too tired to
pay sufficient enough attention to what we were doing.
After we'd called it a day we put on our coats and
headed to the pub for dinner. We deserved a treat
after all our hard work, and I wasn't inclined to start
cooking a meal anyways. Today, we clean and put
the all season decorations and stuff back in place.

Another of my Mom's needlepoint pieces. This is one of
a pair, and is another favourite of mine. I love the fine
detail in the design, and the realistic expression that
shows on the old man's face. Thank you all for the
lovely comments on the first piece that I featured.
Yes Carla, these needlepoint designs are a good size
and much bigger then most of our cross stitch pieces.

This week's read was a recommendation from Barbara
of Mainly Stitching. Thank you Barbara. I really enjoyed
this one.

Seven year old Henry Day runs away from home and into
the woods. He hides in a hallow at the base of an old
tree, away from the searchers out looking for him. But
Henry is being watched, and has been for some time
before he decides to run away. A band of changelings
has targeted Henry to be replaced by one of their own.
They spring upon him in his hiding place and bind him
up and carry him away, while the leader of their band
stays behind. He alters his appearance to match Henry's
exactly and when the searchers find him he goes home
to Henry's family and takes his place.

Thus Henry becomes a changeling, a hobgoblin, an
eternal wild child, with fading memory of his former
life, but a constant yearning for what he has lost. He
is renamed Aniday by his captors turned companions
and as the years pass must learn to survive in the
woods while avoiding human detection. Which becomes
increasingly difficult as the modern world encroaches
on the fairies territory.

Meanwhile, the changeling who has taken Henry's
place in the Day family, must learn to fit in and pass
for the boy, for detection could spell disaster. But
the new Henry is plagued with guilt. And scattered
memories of his own life of a 100 years earlier,
when he too was a boy, named Gustav, stolen from
his family. As Henry grows up, loosing his changeling
abilities and becoming more and more human, Gustav's
musical talent's emerge, causing suspicion and
unease in one parent who finds it hard to accept
the boy returned from the woods as his own.

The story portrays the magical world of the
changelings as less the idyll of pixie dust and
magical courts under mounds of earth, then
of scrabbling to find sufficient food, shelter
and safety while battling hunger and cold,
and the elements, and the dangers of the wild.
For while the changelings never physically
grow old, they can still be killed as easily as
any human child.

The story builds in suspense, desperation,
despair and paranoia as time passes, and
Henry/Gustav seeks to find out about his
real past, and worries about his own young
son. And Aniday tries to hold on to memories
of his family and former life while the other
hobgoblins are increasingly desperate to find
another child to switch with.

For me part of the charm of reading this book
was that it was based in part on a poem by W.
B. Yeats. This poem was set to music by
Loreena Mckennitt for one of her earliest CD's,
and so while reading the book the music and
the words of the poem kept running through my
head. I was on the edge of my seat by the end
of this book, anxious to know how it all would
work out. A very well written, well thought out
and well told story.

The weather has been quite warm this week as
we enjoy our annual January thaw. Temperatures
as high as 13 degrees Celsius meant that all the
lovely snow we received in December and on
New Years day is all but gone. Strong winds have
been the main concern this week, causing power
outages and damaging trees and roofs. The
regular, colder temperatures should be slowly
returning this coming week.

So cuddle up with someone you love, and keep warm
and cozy. Have a great week every one.

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.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Okay, after several attempts I've finally gotten Blogger to accept
some pictures....and we're off to the races!!!

Hello! Happy New Year to one and all!! Hope that everyone
has had a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday. Don't
know where the time has gone. As always the season has
just flown by.

Of course the fact that we spent the majority
of the time wrapped in pj's and blankets, plastered with
Vick's and dosed with assorted cold remedies meant that
the days passed in a medicated haze. We appreciate all
the wonderful good wishes that you all sent our way and
I like to think that they helped as much as the drugs to
chase the nasty germs away at last.

Some stitching did get done during the week, although I really had
to watch what I was doing at times, and a wee bit of frogging was
necessary before the job was done. This is such a pretty pattern.
I do so love the bees. From A Gift of Stitching on line magazine, a
collaboration of LHN and CCN, which can only result in magic.

A bit of stash enhancement, with more to come. Thanks to Sandra
at Sampler Lover's Blog I remembered what a beauty the Token
was and ordered it. It'll be a lovely partner for A Spot of Tea 1
someday. These Quaker designs are so much fun to stitch
because it's so exciting to see each small motif develop.

I'll be stitching the Cottage Garden designs by CCN as one piece,
having ordered the material to stitch them on from MaryKathryn
at Handcrafts Online. I've just ordered the last design from her.
The colours that each of these little designs uses are gorgeous!!

A lovely card, and some gorgeous thread from Dani made a
sick day a bit more bearable. So I dubbed this picture "Treasures
from Dani" and included the needle book that she
stitched for me in the summer. This thread colour is so rich and
I love looking at the variegation, one shade into another. Thank
you Dani!!!

We celebrated Christmas on December 30th, with my Mom
and SIL here. We retrieved the roast beef that had been
put into the freezer for safe keeping during the plague and
thawed it out and cooked it, with yorkshire pudding, mashed
potato's, turnip casserole (which DH hates, but the rest of us
love) and corn. Dessert was pumpkin pie made by SIL. It
was the first full meal that DH and I had eaten in over a week
and it was so good!! Mind you, we were both so stuffed after
wards, but it was worth it!!

And another winter storm came in early this morning and dumped
a pile of snow for the New Year. DH and I went out and shoveled
the stuff and dug out the car, although we have no plans to go
anywhere today. This is the heavy stuff, which required a bit of
work to clear, but it clung to the branches of the trees, as well as
just about everything else, and it looked so pretty. It wasn't too
cold out either, but that is suppose to change this afternoon, with
a sharp drop in temperature and strong winds.

And as has been something of a trend this winter, after a pile of snow
and cold temperatures, by the end of the week it's suppose to get
much warmer (double digit temperatures apparently) and a good
portion of this white stuff will disappear. We actually had some
heavy rain one night last week. It's been a wild winter so far.

Now I must go and visit blogs and catch up on what all of you
have been doing during the holidays. Once again, many thanks
for your visits, and your good wishes during this past week. I
enjoy hearing from you all so much. Cheers!!