Sunday, January 31, 2010

I am very pleased with my progress on Winter Wind this
week. I have mentioned before that I am not a fast
stitcher and finding time to stitch can be difficult at
times. But this week I took every opportunity, including
a nice chunk of Saturday afternoon and evening, to work
on this piece and the results show it. I am now ready to
stitch the verse in the center of the design.

This week will be more hectic because it's the first of the
month, our most busiest time at work and we're also
very short staffed. So I may have some late nights
that will curtail my stitching and blogging time. But
in one weeks time I'll be on vacation for a week and then
I'll be able to stitch a lot more. Which means that I'll
probably start another project. Maybe. We'll see.
I can't wait!!!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd ordered some new
stash, and to my delight the package arrived from Stitching
Bits and Bobs on Friday. In this order I chose charts from
designers that I don't usually collect, with a couple of

Since being on Weight Watcher's I've found that I've
been drawn to Casey Buonaugurio's sweet designs,
more so then usual though I can't imagine why, and
so I ordered three of them to add to my collection.
The design by Plum Pudding NeedleArt which
celebrates the many varieties of apples also appealed
to me since I've been eating a lot more apples during
the past year. Hmmmm.... Another food related chart.
Then there's The Cafe by CCN. A cafe is where they
serve food. Oh dear!!! Ummm...

Lizzie Kate's Life's a Stitch bucks the trend and deals
with my other obsession. I love this design, but not
in the colors chosen by the designer. I recently saw
a blog post with this piece stitched in colors picked by
the stitcher and loved it. Wish I could remember who
it was now.

The rest of the order. My first designs from My Big Toe,
the four sweet little girls from Imaginating's Joan Elliott,
and the wonderful Midnight Watch from Blackbird Designs.
See. No food connections to these designs whatsoever!!!

And stash of another sort. More books from my ever
growing wish list at Indigo/Chapters. Laurie R. King
writes fabulous mysteries, including her own take on
Sherlock Holmes, although this book is not one of
those. It was on sale when I checked my wish list items
and so I was obliged to pounce on it. Hotel on the
Corner of Bitter and Sweet has been featured on Book
Browse and other book blogs and comes highly
recommended. Hiroshima will be a difficult read
because of the subject matter (survivors of the
bombing of that city tell their stories) but I've read
other books by this author and this is a story that
should never be forgotten. And finally the two
paperbacks are by Karen White and are light reads, one
the sequel to the other, and there are ghosts involved
in each book. Lots of great reading to look forward to.

I finished Girl in a Blue Dress this week. It is the story
of a hugely famous, beloved author from 19th century
England, who wrote about the poverty stricken world
that he grew up in, and his relationship with his wife.
Yes, this book is a fictionalized account of the life of
Charles Dickens, with the names changed but many of
the infamous facts of Dickens life woven into the story.

It begins with the death of the author and is told by his
widow Dorothea, who has not seen her husband for ten
years and is not invited to be a part of his funeral. A
virtual recluse for those ten years, separated from her
children, her place in the home taken over by her own
younger sister, Dorothea takes the reader through the
events leading up to the estrangement from her husband
and follows her as she ventures out into the world and
confronts the sister who took her place, as well as the
mistress who turned her husband from her.

I knew a little about the strange relationship that Charles
Dickens had with one of his wife's younger sisters who
died young, and I knew that he and his wife had parted
after some years of marriage and eight (!!) children, so
I was curious to read this book and see what the author
would have to say about this very well known man who's
books are still read and loved today. It was a well written,
fascinating story which has received a lot of acclaim for
it's first time author. It reveals the era, it's people, it's
principals and it's flaws with well researched precision
and detail. I enjoyed it very much and am now on the
lookout for a Dickens biography to see how much truth
was written into the novel. It'll be interesting to compare.


Weight Watchers this week: I gained 1.4 pounds. My
facilitator was pleased. My DH was pleased. My Mom
was pleased. Me??? The phobia about gaining weight
and falling back into the old me look had me muttering a
halfhearted "Yippee!!". But if I can gain another pound
by this Tuesday I can become Lifetime and that's my goal.
I've not been actively trying to eat more this week though.
I just plan on wearing my jeans and a heavy sweater when
I weigh in. So there!!

The January thaw in this part of Ontario came to a crashing
halt last week as the temperatures plunged and we were
treated to temperatures in the -17 Celsius range. Brrrr!!!
It's going to be warming up to a more clement temperature
of -2 now that the weekend is over which will be much more
bearable. Tuesday is Ground Hog day. If the rapacious
rodent is hauled out of his den on that day and sees his
shadow we're in for six more weeks of winter. Oh fun!!

Rupert will join Phoebe and I in the computer/craft
room at night. His preferred place to sleep at the
moment is behind the door of the room. Why??

I can't think of anything else that needs reporting
here at the moment so I'll finish off with a thank
you to all my visitors for dropping by, and I hope
that you all have a wonderful week. Take care!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I thought that I'd check in and show off a weeks worth
of stitching on Winter Wind. Don't know if I have much
else to write about though so we'll just have to see how
we go and I'll try not to prattle on about nothing for too

I've just about finished the main part of the house,
although the window panes have yet to be filled in,
and there's still a bit of roof to stitch in and then the
two chimneys. I couldn't resist stitching in the two
trees this week otherwise I would have probably
finished the house. The more that I add to this
design the more I love it. But that's Prairie
Schooler designs for you.

I ordered a few things from Anita's Little Stitches for the first
time a few weeks ago and was thrilled with her service. I swear
that the day I placed my order was the day that she mailed it
out to me. My main reason for ordering was to get a selection
of mesh bags for kitting up and transporting projects so I ordered
a variety of sizes and colors and am quite pleased with them.

I also ordered a couple of cuts of fabric, just because. The
one on the left is Bone Lugana, which is a favorite color of
mine for fabric, in 28 count and the other piece is Vintage
Marble Lugana in 25 count. This has a really nice marbling
effect on it (hence the name) and I'm eager to try my first
stitching project on it. Wonder what it'll be. Anita threw
in a package of needles with my order which was incredibly
nice of her.


Yesterday I spent practically the entire day at a gathering
to celebrate the birthday of a friend. We do this every
year and it's become something fun to look forward to at the
end of January. There were nine of us gals there for lunch
and it was a great afternoon of good food and talk and catching
up. Lots of talk. It was 9:30 in the evening before I got home.
As I said...lots of talk.

Today I spent the day in my pajamas. Outside it was dreary,
dark and, in the afternoon, it pelted with rain off and on. I
puttered around the house a bit, doing a few necessary chores
and then I sat down and stitched for a couple of hours and
also blogged a bit. It was great fun and so very relaxing.


Weight Watchers update. I dropped another pound as of
last Tuesday. I'm baffled. I'm eating so much and trying
to follow my facilitator's advice to eat lots of protein, but
still I loose. I should have eaten more of those chocolate
biscuits I guess. Note about those biscuits: I went to have
a few tonight and discovered that someone had beaten me
to it and polished them off!!! Now they're all gone until
next Christmas when, hopefully, Loblaws will carry them
again. It's probably for the best, but I wasn't too impressed
at the time I realized that there were none left.

This week is my sixth week on maintenance and I'm
suppose to be within two pounds, below or above, my
goal weight of 146. I was 141.6 last Tuesday. We'll see
if I managed to gain anything this week. I've never
thought to ask what happens if you're not within those
boundaries at the end of the six week period. Do you
start another six week period? Gackkk!!!!

I finished reading The Book of Illumination this week. I
just left it lying on the kitchen table and whenever I had
a few minutes I picked it up and read a few pages, or
chapters. And I loved every page of it. This is a first
time novel for these two writers and I sincerely hope
that there will be lots more to look forward to in this

It's about the theft of a fabled and priceless illuminated
manuscript from the 12th century called The Book of
Kildare, a treasure that many scholars have doubted
ever existed. Helping to search for the manuscript and
the person responsible for it's theft is Anza O'Malley, a
single mother who is a bookbinder by trade, and who
is also able to see and speak to ghosts. The manuscript
has been accompanied over the centuries by the ghosts
of two monks and Anza must deal with them when the
book is stolen. Anza also meets the ghost of a butler in
the home of the owner of the manuscript who also
requires her help to retrieve a missing document from
his past. All this while she must also spend time
looking after the needs and demands of her five year old
son Henry.

Anza is a wonderful heroine with a great
sense of humor and a caring heart who gamely tackles
the problems that she encounters, whether it be the
chauvinistic abbot and his refusal to deal with anyone
other then an Bishop or Cardinal of the church, or her
son's participation in his school play, with compassion,
determination and a great deal of forbearance. I loved

One of the authors of this book is the person upon whom
the Ghost Whisperer series is based and she is a
consultant for that show, which I've never watched I
should add. I really loved this book because of Anza
and I recommend it for anyone who loves a mystery
with great characters and no gore or excessive violence.

I'll end this weeks post with a photo of Phoebe, trying
to take a nap in the bathroom. Hope everyone has a
great week and thanks for visiting.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

I've been working on my latest project for two weeks now
and felt that I had enough done that I could show it off to
you all. The chart is Prairie Schooler's "Winter Wind" and
I've been stitching the bigger design.

I began by stitching the alphabet and as always I started in the
bottom, left hand corner. Once the alphabet was done I began
to fill in the white background. I wondered at the time if I
should have done it the other way around, and worried that I
might find the background boring to do. Fortunately I found
that it was actually fun to figure a "path" for myself around
each letter and was eager to get it finished so that the full
impact of the alphabet would be seen against the "snow" white
background. I'm now building the house and loving the DMC
#3777 that the design calls for.

I'm trying to stitch at least three strands of floss per night to
keep this project moving, and I'm also trying to do a couple
of blog visits per night to make some attempt to keep up with
my commenting. Some nights (such as Tuesdays which is
shopping/Weight Watchers night) I have less time at the end
of the day then others to follow this plan exactly, but I do
what I can.

Speaking of Weight Watchers....

Lost over two pounds between the 5th and the 12th of January.
Am currently on maintenance which means that I'm suppose
to be maintaining my goal weight. So my facilitator upped my
daily points to 29 and reminded me to eat more protein. This
Tuesday is my 6th week on maintenance and I'm suppose to be
within two pounds of goal. Um...not so much. We can adjust
my goal somewhat, but I still need to gain two or three pounds
to complete the maintenance program. Ironic, isn't it??

Last night a friend came over for tea and a chat. We were at
it until 1:00 am! We got into the chocolate biscuits that our
friends from Scotland brought me at Christmas. They are
Marks and Spencer's chocolate covered biscuits and I am
crazy about them. I ate quite a few of them. At least six!
DH and I took the rest of them over to my Mom today and
left them with her to be shared and enjoyed with her friends
and to get them the heck away from me!! Perhaps gaining
those two to three pounds won't be too much trouble after all.

I'm still waiting for two stash packages (!!!) to arrive
from different locations. One will be awhile because
of an out of stock leaflet but the other I know is in
the mail somewhere. I did receive my monthly
addition to my Threadworx collection this week,
plus a chart that I scored off of Ebay which happened
to tickle my fancy when I saw it there one day. Love
the colors in these two designs but I had no idea of
how BIG they are when stitched on 28 count fabric.
Oh well.

A book order did arrive in the mail this week as well. I've
got a wish list a mile long on Indigo/Chapters site of all
the lovely, tempting books that I want to add to my
library and these made a wee, tiny dent in that list. I
started "Girl in a Blue Dress" as my travel read and on
Friday night nearly read past my bus stop because I
was so absorbed in the story.

The book on the top of the stack "The Book of
Illumination" I casually picked up just to read the
first couple of pages to see what it was like since I'd
never read anything by these two writers before.
I'm over half way through it and can't help but pick it
up whenever I have a spare second. While waiting for
the dinner to cook, while eating breakfast, while
passing the time on the porcelain throne .... uh .... well,
you get the idea.

Actually, the only writer in this pile that I've read before
is Michelle Moran who focuses on Egyptian history for
her fictional stories. She's a brilliant writer.

I finished Men of the Otherworld this week and it was
fabulous!! I adore Kelley Armstrong. Her sense of
humor, her wonderful, colorful characters and the
mythology that she's created all make her stories irresistible
to me. An author who's books I buy without hesitation or
second thought as soon as they come out. And of course
she's from Ontario so I can take pride in helping to support
a fellow Canuck.

Rupert lazing under the Christmas tree. Dignity, as we all know,
is very important to a cat and must be maintained at all times.
More or less.

DH and I dismantled the Christmas tree and packed away all
the decorations a week ago on the Saturday. It took four and a
half hours to do that. Sunday I vacuumed, dusted and cleaned
the house and returned the every day knickknacks (once I'd
found them again in all the places that I'd stashed them in to
get them out of sight during the holidays) to their proper
places. It's kind of nice to have the house back to normal
again, but I do miss the Christmas tree, which seemed to look
especially nice this season for some reason.

The new Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage
Needleworks designs that are coming out next week have
caught my eye and got me itching to reach for my mouse,
my credit card and my "gotta have" list. "Rose Hill
Plantation" and "Liberty Lane" and perhaps "Mississippi
Riverboat" are the ones I love most.

Thank you everyone who commented on my last post
and were so generous in their compliments on my first
finish of 2010, and for my ongoing weight loss battle.

I'm off to stitch on "Winter Wind" for awhile so thanks
for dropping by. Hope you have a great week.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!!! Here we are at 2:00 am on Friday
morning. The party is about to break up and the weary
celebrators are about to disperse to home and bed after
talking, laughing and eating their way into the New
Year. I'm on the right, seated. DH is in the middle, in
the back row, in the black and white stripped shirt. The
short (!!!) guy on the left (arms crossed) is our little
godson, the actor.

After getting up for work at 5:30, working all day and
being very, very busy, getting home at 5:40 and making
dinner, heading back out at 7:30 to our friend's home
for our yearly gathering, and staying out way, way, way
past our normal bedtimes, DH and I fell into bed at
2:30 and didn't stir until 8:30 (him) or 9:30 (me) New
Years Day. And then it was only because Phoebe was
demanding breakfast.

I spent all day Friday in my pajamas, stitching and
blogging and listening to music. It was wonderful.
On Saturday I walked down to Curves and worked
out, which was the first time since last Monday that
I'd had a chance to do that. The walk to and from
Curves was a cold, frigid one as the temperatures
dropped considerably from the previous day...and
year. When I got home it was to settle once again
into my stitching chair for more blissful, all the
rest of the day stitching. And the result?? My
first happy dance of the year.

Lizzie Kate
Christmas is Forever
special edition kit for 2008
Stitched with Crescent Colors and a couple of DMC threads.

Loved the wonderful, bright colors that went into this design.
And I love stitching with Crescent Colors threads so much.
I am very happy to have finished this one in such a timely
manner and am thinking that it would make a wonderful
flat fold finish.

I don't usually do the New Years resolution thing, but if
I did I'd want this years to be to try and stitch more. I'm off
to a good start, but it is vacation time so not our normal
routine. I'd also like to attempt my first "finishing" of
some of my stitching and even frame a few more pieces as
well. We'll see how all of that works out.

And yes, I have started a new project. I spent a couple
of hours rummaging through my stash, from charts to
magazines to books, and then back to the charts again.
Finally I settled on something that suits the season, and
that will keep my well occupied for some time I suspect,
slow stitcher that I am. Pictures to come in my next post.

I haven't blogged much about my reading lately, so I'll
do a brief catch up here of the final reads of 2009.

The first was a book that I saw reviewed and recommended
on a couple of book blogs and was intrigued and eager to
read it for myself. So much so that when it arrived here in
the mail from Chapters I started reading the first few pages,
to see what it was like, and ended up temporarily abandoning
the book that I was reading at the time to keep on going with
this one and finishing this story in a week. Keep in mind that
this book is over 500 pages long too.

Categorize this one as Young Adult, supernatural fiction but
know that it's a wonderfully written, enthralling story that is
first and foremost rich in character and visual imagery and
a well imagined history and back story. And no drippy, mournful,
vampires and dreary, obsessed teenage girls. There's wry humor
and a strong feeling for family, and for life in a small town. I
really enjoyed this book and recommend it highly.

I finished off the 2008 reading year and began the 2009
year reading my first trilogy by Robyn Carr, again based
on recommendations from book blogs. I finished off this
year by reading the second trilogy and enjoying each and
every book.

Yes, these are somewhat formulaic, and the heros and
heroines are somewhat too good to be true but on the
other hand these are books to be read for escape and
pleasure, not to experience real life in all its disappoint-
ments and warts and what-have-you.

I enjoyed being sucked into these stories, falling for the
handsome, rugged men and the lovely, strong yet
vulnerable women, and the quirky characters that live
in the small town of Virgin River. So much so that,
like eating peanuts, I couldn't read just one. I have
picked up three more books by this author that also
take place in Virgin River and feature characters
introduced in the first books. If that's not a
recommendation for these novels then I don't know
what is.


Thank you everyone who left comments on my last
post about my weight loss and new look. It's going
to be an interesting year ahead as I work to find
that perfect balance of eating, working out and
relaxing that will allow me to maintain this look.

I've been naughty and ordered some new charts
and fabric and some of those mesh bags from
various places. The charts are mostly from
designers that I don't normally collect because
I wanted to expand my horizons and try new
things. Pictures to come when the stash does.

The end of the Yuletide holidays is always a bit
depressing as we face the rest of the long, cold
winter without the lights, the decorations, the
food, the parties and the time away from work
to enjoy.

Will any of you be watching the Winter Olympics???
The Olympic torch came through Georgetown before
Christmas, but it came through at 7:00 am on a bitterly
cold Saturday morning and I for one was not inclined
to leave my warm bed to stand on the side of the
road to watch it go by. I'm not keen on sports or the
Olympics anyways so I probably won't be watching
any of the coverage while it's on.

I think I'd best finish off today's post since there are
chores to be done, and a new project to stitch on once
those chores are done. Hope you all have a great
week settling back into the normal routines of life
and get lots of time to stitch and read. Thanks for