Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hello. It's Sunday morning here and the skies are heavy
with grey clouds, and the neighborhood is sodden and
misty with rain. The proverbial April showers are making
the most of the final days of that month here, but hey, at
least it's not snow!!

The weather started out beautiful here yesterday morning,
although strong winds made my plans to have an afternoon
spent sitting in the sun cross stitching a bit of wishful thinking.
Just holding a book to read became a struggle as the wind
snatched at the pages and tried to lift the entire book out
of my hands. So I ended up taking refuge in the house,
sitting in my comfy chair, with my magnifier and Ott Light
for company. And Phoebe of course.

By late afternoon severe weather warnings were being posted
and DH, who'd been sitting in the relative shelter of the back
yard reading a book, came in to start battening down the hatches
(windows) as the dark and threatening edge of a storm approached
from the north. Once the house was secure DH and I sat out
in front of the house and watched that first storm as it swept
north of us without so much as a drop of rain to spare for us.

But not fifteen minutes later another menacing storm front
appeared, and this one headed right for us. We got lots of
heavy rain, which lashed against the house in waves, driven
by strong gusts of wind and there was thunder rumbling and
grumbling over our heads to add to the drama. We'd been
warned that we might get hail but thankfully (here at least)
we didn't see any of that. It rained off and on for the rest of
the day, and during the night as well, though the wind has
finally died down.

Moving on to stitching updates....

Here is my progress on my butterfly project from My Aunt's
Attic. The first of four butterflies is done, and isn't she
lovely?? Stitching time continues to be minimal here, so
I have only been able to work on this piece during the week
end. I have also started my next square on the Prairie Birds
project, but there's not a whole lot to show there yet so I'll
wait until next time to post a picture.

Yesterday there was a book sale held at the local high
school and of course I just had to be there. DH, long
suffering but patient and understanding, drove me
there and chose to remain and help to carry any
treasures that I might find during the course of the
hunt. We got there at 8:30, half an hour before the
doors opened, and I spent the time waiting chatting
with a lovely older gentleman who was there to look
for books both for himself and for his Autistic grand-
daughter. He was from England originally and so
of course we talked about England, as well as about
books. It made the time pass quickly and pleasantly.

In the picture above you can see some of the books
that I came home with. When the doors to the school
auditorium opened the patiently waiting line up of
people filed through the doors like an orderly tidal
wave of humanity, and once in the room we dispersed
down the various aisles of books and began our quest.

I hit the craft section first, looking for books on cross stitching.
The five books pictured above were the result. For $2.00
each I was quite pleased with this haul let me tell you. A
nice, diverse selection of styles and patterns and the one,
Sampler and Antique Needlework, is especially wonderful
as it's full of historical information as well as patterns, and
it was put out by the publishers of Just Cross Stitch magazine.

I picked up a wonderful book on the history of the Royal
Alexandra theatre in Toronto as well and that book is a
real treasure indeed. A beautifully illustrated history of
that magnificent, venerable old building, where I've seen
many a great live show over the years. Les Miz, Mamma
Mia, and Crazy for You, just to name a few. Over a hundred
years of theatrical history. I'm going to enjoy reading this

It was great fun browsing the tables full of books, and the
boxes of books on the floor under the tables as well. You
never know what you'll find, and over the years of going
to this sale I've found some great stuff and since the
money goes to charity it's all good and relatively guilt

I read two books this week during my commute home
from work. The first book was a romance/fantasy by
first time author Lesley Livingston who turned out to
be from Toronto. I didn't realize that until I'd finished
reading the book and was checking out the author's
info on the back cover.

Kelley Winslow is a 17 year old girl who has moved to
New York City to pursue her dream of an acting career..
She is understudying the role of Titania in a production
of A Midsummer Night's Dream when the lead actress
breaks her ankle and Kelley finds herself taking on the

Kelley soon discovers that the magic and wonder of the
play that she has become a part of is by no means a
fantasy. While practicing her lines in Central Park she
meets Sonny Flannery, a handsome young man who is
charmed by her spirit and her beauty, and Kelley soon
discovers through him that the veil between the mortal
and the Fae worlds is a thin one indeed.

Sonny is a Janus, guardian of the Gate between this
world and the world of Oberon and Mahb and Titania
and all the sprites and spirits that are portrayed so
colorfully and brilliantly in Shakespeare's play.
It is his job to keep the often not so pleasant denizens
of the other realm from cross through the gate into the
mortal world during a crucial nine day period at the
end of October.

As is so often the case in Shakespeare's plays, all is not
often what it seems in this story, and that certainly
pertains to both Kelley and to Sonny, as well as to those
they work with or serve. They find themselves drawn
to each other other, while dangerously powerful elements
manipulate and deceive to achieve their own ends.

This was another light, cute read. Easily picked up and
read, fairly enjoyable but not outstanding, and then put
away and forgotten. I imagine that there will be sequels,
if good sales of this first book warrant them, and I may or
may not pick them up.

The next book that I read this week was one that I'd
seen mentioned in various blogs and was curious to
check it out for myself.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society turned
out to be a wonderful, charming and totaling absorbing
read, start to finish. I loved this book!!! It is a story
told through the letters written between the residents
of the Channel Island of Guernsey to a young woman
living in London who is herself an author.

The letters in this book begin in 1946 as a correspond-
ence between Juliet Ashton, writer and author living in
post WWII London, and Dawsey Adams, pig farmer
and founding member of the Guernsey Literary and
Potato Peel Pie Society. Adams finds Juliet's name on
the inside of a book by Charles Lamb that was once
owned by her and writes to her in hopes of gaining her
assistance in finding more books by that author.

Intrigued by the letter, and delighted to connect with
another lover of books Juliet writes back, and so begins
a correspondence that soon expands to include other
residents of the island (members of the Society and
others) as well as friends of Juliet's. When she learns
the story behind the forming of the Literary Society
during the years that the island was occupied by the
Germans Juliet is fascinated and curious to find out
more about that time and the experiences of the people
who lived through it.

I was enthralled by this book after just a few pages,
and couldn't put it down until it was done. Full of
dry wit and charm, it is also a poignant telling of a
terrible time during the war and how the Islanders
lived through it and endured the privations, and the

Juliet herself is a firecracker. Bored and drained by
post war life in London and from traveling through
the country promoting her first book Juliet does
not suffer fools (and irritating newspaper reporters)
gladly. She is not adverse to the occasional throwing
of a tea pot when provoked enough, and she is
passionate about books, loving and loyal to her
friends and she finds herself falling in love with the
people and the lives that she reads about through
the letters from Guernsey. So much so that she
eventually packs her bags and travels there to
meet her new friends and to take a break from her
life and from a persistent suitor determined to wed

This is a story that will have you laughing out loud
often, but will cause you to shed a tear to two as
well. It is a short read and you'll wish it were twice
as long by the time it's done, if not longer. I count
this as a book that I'll read again and again, and it'll
be one of my "treasured books" that I cherish always.

Do read this one!!

The next bunch of daffodils to open in the front garden
were these sweet little beauties with their bright orange
egg yolk centers. I've heard several people in the neighbor-
hood say that this has been an exceptionally good year for
daffodils, with lots of blooms. Don't know why this should
be so, but it is. The grass is almost totally green and
buds are appearing on bushes and trees. Spring is most
definitely on a roll now.

I'm keeping up with my walking faithfully, and adding
a little bit to the route each week to make it last longer.
I still hate exercise and would far rather plant my ample
butt in a comfy chair then take it for a brisk march through
suburbia, but sacrifices must be made I suppose. It's all
toward the greater good. Monday night it was raining
steadily when I headed out and since I can't walk without
swinging my arms, and carrying umbrellas impedes that
motion, I went without. I was pretty much drenched when
I got home but felt pretty proud of myself for having the
fortitude to get out there and make the effort in such
inhospitable conditions. I suspect that walking in heat
and humidity during the coming months will be more of
a challenge for me then soggy feet and dripping noses.

Congratulations to Lynn at Kearnals Corner who had a
fantastic, gorgeous finish this week of Cirque de Cercles.
Go see it as soon as you can because it looks amazing!!

Time to finish this off and get on with the days chores.
Hope you have a wonderful week everyone and thanks
for stopping by!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hey there!! It's been two long weeks since last I posted
a blog update and as usual I'm also sorely behind in my
commenting on all my favourite blogs (which includes
yours!). Time is a valuable and rare commodity for me
these days, and it runs away from me quick as lightning.
I feel bad about that, and very frustrated too. But we
can only do what we can do, and I can only promise to
try and arrange my free time better in the future. And
hope to win a lottery soon so I can quite work and
devote more time to the important things in life...
you reading, stitching and blogging and
even (eeeewww...) housework.

I did finally manage to finish the third square on my
Prairie Schooler project Prairie Birds. I love this one
best of the three even though it also gave me the most
headaches to stitch. A plague of frogs don'tcha know.
I think I've settled on the next three that I'll stitch for
the upper row, and decided what order I'll stitch them
in, so I'll be starting that project tomorrow.

Meanwhile, at home, I had a few hours yesterday
afternoon to sit down and stitch and since I am
definitely off my rocker I decided to start a new
project. Do you recognize it?? It's one of those
amazing free designs from My Aunt's Attic and
I'm stitching it with Needleworx thread, which
I have been collecting for awhile now but have
never used before. It's lovely stuff. This will be
strictly a home project because I'm stitching it
on 32 count fabric and I really need my magnifier
to see this clearly enough to do a good job.

The lovely model in the picture who is helping
to show off my little start was a gift from my
Mom and was made by one of the ladies at the
residence where she lives. Cute, isn't she??

I had a little win on Ebay a few weeks ago and it
arrived the other day. Two older charts that
caught my fancy and that I'm terribly pleased
to have. Another seasons chart for my collection
and a chart with adorable bunnies in it.

Spring has been making tentative steps forward in
the past few weeks and we've had some lovely days
(usually on a workday of course) to enjoy. The
crocuses are done and we're now in the Daffodil
phase of the season. These are growing in our
front garden, which gets the warm afternoon sun,
and I'm surprised and delighted that this year I'm
getting a whole slew of Daffodils blooming. Usually
I get four or six flowers, but this year I'm getting
twice that number. It's very exciting.

DH has been home on vacation this past week, and
is off next week too, and he's been working in the
yard and garden whenever the weather allows. He's
cleared the leaves from the back gardens and now
we can see all the new growth coming up there, and
the spring flowers are starting to bloom. It's so nice
to see green growing things again. The grass is just
starting to change from it's drab brown winter
colour and patches of green are slowly spreading
across the yard. One day we'll look out the back
door and the yard will be uniformly green and we'll
wonder ... when did that happen???

Lots of reading news to tell you about. Here we have a
wonderful historical fiction by Anne Easter Smith. It's
her second book and was every bit as enjoyable as her
first which was A Rose For The Crown. She writes
about the time before Henry VIII, when Edward IV
was king.

The first book told the story of a young woman who
fell in love with (and was loved by) young Richard,
Duke of York who would become the infamous
Richard III.

In this book the story centers on Edward's
younger sister Margaret, and tells of her life and her
eventual marriage to Charles, son of the Duke of
Burgundy. In this story the author chooses to have
Margaret fall in love with Anthony Woodville, brother
of Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville. An
intelligent and devout young woman, Margaret is
devoted to her family and loyal to England but her
marriage is not a happy one, her husband being a
brutal and autocratic ruler who sees himself as a
Caesar, intent on conquering and expanding his
holdings regardless of the cost to his people and
his homelands.

Anne Easter Smith writes with care to detail and
obviously does her research well before writing
each of her books. She brings that era of history
alive and paints her characters with attention to
accuracy, and with honesty and fairness. She has
become a favourite writer of mine now and I look
forward to reading her newest book The King's

A light read came next after the hefty (though riveting)
work of Anne Easter Smith. I picked up Debbie
Macomber's latest book which continues the stories of
the folks working and living around the shops on
Blossom street.

Anne Marie Roche is a young widow who owns a book
shop on Blossom Street. She and three other widows
get together on Valentine's Day to celebrate the day
together and during the course of the evening comes
up with the idea of each one of them making a list of
twenty wishes that they would like to have come true.

Although the other three ladies take to Anne Marie's
idea with enthusiasm Anne Marie herself is reluctant
and finds it difficult to come up with even just a few
wishes of her own. Still grieving over the death of
her husband Anne Marie's world is rocked by the
revelation that her husband may have had an affair
and a child with another woman.

But when she fulfills one of her wishes, as a volunteer
at a local public school as a lunch buddy to a young
girl named Ellen, Anne Marie slowly begins to over
come her grief and despair as she comes to care for
Ellen and opens her heart and her home to the lonely
young child.

The book also follows the stories of the other three
widows who make up their own twenty wishes, and
characters from previous Blossom Street books make
appearances along the way too.

These are pleasant, easy to read books, with somewhat
predictable stories. But they make a nice light read
and you can't help but get caught up in the lives of
each of these women as they begin to rebuild their
lives and find love again.

This is the first book that I've read by Kate Atkinson.
I'd read excellent, enthusiastic reviews of her books
in magazines and on line and was curious to find out
for myself what she was all about.

This book features a reoccurring character by the
name of Jackson Brodie who accompanies his girl-
friend Julia to the Edinburgh Festival where she is
appearing in a play. Brodie witnesses a road rage
incident that almost sees a man killed by the base-
ball bat wielding driver who rear ends him, and
from there the story evolves in a series of coincidences
and connections that weave together to bring the book to
a satisfying conclusion.

The journey to reach that conclusion however did
give me cause to consider ditching the book,
unfinished, on several occasions. I very, very
rarely leave a book unfinished once I've started it
and since I'd committed myself to the time (and
money) to get this book and start reading it I
kept on at it. And in spite of myself my curiosity
was piqued.

The story is told from the view points of a half
dozen of the characters, including Brodie's, and
what a miserable bunch they all were. Everyone
was depressed about their lives, everyone hated
their jobs or felt them to be superficial or inadequate,
their spouses or partners unloving and distant, and
so on. I found myself getting depressed just reading
about them and I found it very hard to care what
happened to them. And as the coincidences and
connections built up, and the sometimes illogical
actions of some of the characters (Brodie) came
into play I got frustrated and annoyed.

But I wanted to know what would happen next.

Well written? Absolutely. Sneakily addictive?
Apparently. Satisfying conclusion? Yup!!! Dark,
dry humor as well. This is a book that would be
worth checking out and sticking with but it might
not suit everyone's taste or style. I have a second
book by this author to read, and I will read it...
someday, but right now I want to get another
Debbie Macomber, or perhaps a Nora Roberts
book to pick me up and lighten my mood.


Easter was spent with my Mom who arrived here
early on Sunday afternoon for lunch and then we sat
and watched Mamma Mia, which Mom thoroughly
enjoyed. My SIL joined us for a roast beef dinner
with all the trimmings later on that afternoon.

Saturday of last week we were at a birthday
party for the 8 year old son of friends and had
a great time with good people and incredible

Somehow, during the entire 3 day long Easter
weekend I never had the time or opportunity
to put needle to thread. Very frustrating.

Along with a number of you folks out there I've
started to make a few lifestyle changes to try and
get my health and weight into more acceptable
lines. Inspired by Dani I joined Weight Watchers
and am making slow but steady progress, although
it's early days yet.

I have also started walking after dinner
every night and have been doing that for about a
month now. At first I was a panting, wheezing, leg
benumbed mess at the end of each walk, but after a
week or so my stamina began to improve and the
dizziness (!!) went away. Now I'm starting to add
more steps to the route I walk to make it longer and
more of a challenge.

I have a long road to follow (no pun intended)
before I reach my target weight, but I keep
reading Dani's blog for further inspiration, as
well as the blogs of others also making these
changes and goals in their own lives, and I hope
to actually see some changes in my appearance
someday soon.

To those of you who are making these changes
and following this path as well... my heartfelt
best wishes and deepest admiration go out to

I guess it's time to finish off this post for another
week and get on with the day. Hope you are well
and have a great week with time to do all the
things that make you feel good and lovely Spring
weather to do them in.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hello. How are you??? So nice of you to stop in and visit
for a little while. Please make yourself at home, and watch
out for crazy cats and tumbling piles of books. Can I make
you some tea???

I was dreading this post today because I didn't have all that
much to talk about. It was one of those weeks that flies by
and you don't know where it went, and what you did during
that time, but it's gone and you've nothing to show for it.
Well, except for a small bit of stitching, most of which was
done during breaks at work.

I'd say I'm at the half way point of the Cardinals square
on Prairie Schooler's Prairie Birds. The frogs have been
gleefully hopping around this one ever since I started it
and it's driving me batty!!! It's the dang branches of the
pine tree. I keep stitching blithely away on them and then
realizing after I've done a section that I've made them too
long. GRrrrrr!!

But I'm still enjoying this project, in spite of the #@%*$
frogs (and my own limited powers of observation). The
pine cones are so sweet and the whole design is quite, I
dunno, nicely laid out, and conceived. It's got a lightness
to it. Oh, you know what I mean. I will finish this square
next week and then move up to the second row and stitch
three more squares from the chart before I call this done.

Since I haven't much to write about in my life this week
I thought I'd show off some of the wonderful things that
were made for me over the years by my dear and very
awesomely talented friend Linda. Linda is the person
who introduced me to cross stitching (and should
therefore be responsible for the large stash charges on my
Visa bill.... but I digress) and who's mentored me through
the learning experience and beyond.

Linda doesn't sew as much as she use to, so I cherish
the pieces that I have all the more for that. So here are
some of the things she's made, many of which are in
the library. This is appropriate since Linda also shares
my passion for books and has been my inspiration for
pursuing my dreams for my library and collecting of books.

The blue bear is one of my most favourite things that she's
made for me. The fabric design is just lovely, and the
little touches that she's added to him are wonderful.

He's got a sweet face, with a tiny smile and a cute nose,
and the buttons for his eyes are perfect. Perfect seams,
stuffed firmly and put together to accent facial features
and the fabric's floral designs, this guy is just the best.

One Christmas Linda made me a bear pair, Mr and Mrs,
that I have displayed in my dinning room ever since.
This is Mr Bear, resplendent in his cap and vest and velvet
pants. He's very furry so you can't make out the eyes on his
face in this picture, but they are bright and cheeky.

I love the heart shaped buttons on his vest (yes, Linda
made the clothes too) and the tie around his neck.
Linda's always been about the details when she creates.
He's quite the sartorially well dressed bear. Perfect for
supervising and observing fancy meals in the dinning

Mrs Bear has quite a long skirt on but I pulled it up
just a bit so you can see her feet. More gorgeous
fabric for her skirt and jacket, and a jaunty hat
perched on her head allow Mrs Bear to compliment
her debonair husband perfectly.

When I saw a rocking horse that Linda had made for
herself I loved it so much that I asked her to make me
one too. And she did. The legs are hinged so that I can
adjust them and set them to allow the horse to stand
just so. Shiny threads are woven through mane and
tail for added elegance.

Mr Humpty Dumpty is another that I fell in love
with when I saw Linda's own. I love the fabric
that she used to make his clothes and he is a bit
floppy which allows me to prop him and pose him
anywhere in the library that I want to.

I have several variations of this doll, which are patterns
designed by Alma Lynn (I think). Linda took the basic
design and went to town creating clothes and trims and
other details to give each doll her own personality and
style. Trimmed with lace around her shoulder cape, and
with a band featuring sweet bunnies around the hem of
her dress, this little lady is all ready for Easter.

There's more to show you but I think they will have to
wait for another day since this post is becoming quite
picture heavy. But I'm glad to have the opportunity
to show you my wonderful treasures that my dear friend
has made for me over the years.

Added a few more books to the library this week, including
The Lace Reader, which has been featured on many a book
blogger's site during the past several months. Quite a
popular book, generally well reviewed, which I am looking
forward to reading. In fact most of these books have been
mentioned on book blogs, or have been review on them, and
have caught my interest.

I'm reading a book by Anne Easter Smith right now, the
second book of hers that I've read. I'm about half way through.
So review will have to wait until it's done, probably next week.


DH and I drove down to London again yesterday to see our
Godson Ian who was taking part in the graduating class play at
the Galleria Mall location of Fanshaw College. They did their
own version of A Three Penny Opera, which was a modern
take that they not only performed but also wrote parts for.
The main focus of the play was poverty in the London area
and the students researched various aspects of the problem
and wrote those observations into the play. This research
included visits to homeless shelters and food banks as well as
other services, and on line and in-library visits.

The performance was about two and a half hours long but
the time flew by. Some parts of the play were a bit abstract
and the set design was quite minimal but the performances
were outstanding and often very intense and powerful. I
never found my attention wandering, or the time dragging
at all during the performance. Such a wildly talented bunch
of young people. DH and I are so very proud of Ian and what
he's accomplished in his two years of study at Fanshaw, and
we know he's relished every minute of it.


It's hard to believe that Easter is next weekend. I'm looking
forward to having Friday off work and hope to get some
premium stitching time in. We've already got plans for both
Saturday and Sunday so Friday is our only free day.

The crocuses are in full bloom now, and the daffodils are
probably going to be in bloom in time for Easter, which will
be nice. Tulips are just starting to make significant headway
now but are still probably several weeks away from blooming.

We had a ton of rain on Friday, which broke records and
caused some flooding in areas. The sun came out yesterday
afternoon though and it's a beautifully sunny day today,
although a bit cooler then the average temperature for this year.

So now it's time to move on to the usual Sunday chores and
stuff, so I'll wrap this up and bid you all a good day. Hope
you have a great week and get lots of time to stitch, with
minimal intervention from the frogs. Take care and thanks
for visiting.