Monday, February 15, 2010

Today is the last day of my first week's vacation (insert
dramatic sigh here) of this year. Today is also Family
Day in Ontario, which is a new holiday on the vacation
calender for us. It's only been in existence for two years.
So DH is also home today and right now is downstairs
playing with the document shredder and a pile of paper
which requires disposing of. The hum of the shredder,
and the whir of the dishwasher are the soundtrack of my
morning, along with the muted click of the computer keys.

Of course the past week included stitching time so I have
an update on Winter Wind. I just have one word left in
the verse to add, and the border to extend and this
section of the sampler will be done. I hope to do that
this afternoon after taking care of a few household chores
that need doing.

It's funny how the colors of the threads being used in a
Prairie Schooler project look so uninspiring and dull
when you first pull them. Shaking your head and thinking
"I'm not too sure about this....yawn!!" you put the first few
stitches into the project, work at it for a while and suddenly
start to think "ahhh...this is so pretty!!".

Paid a visit to a local second hand book store the other day
and found a lovely biography of Beatrix Potter in excellent
condition amongst the biographies of movie stars,
politicians and historical figures. Of course I pounced on
it and brought it home, eager to get started reading it.

The book reminded me that I had "Miss Potter" in my DVD
collection which I had never watched so Friday afternoon
I sat down in front of the computer and watched it. What a
lovely movie! And I mean that both story wise and visually.
For you Beatrix Potter fans out there (Hi Sandra!!) this movie
is a must see but it's a wonderful story for anyone who loves
these wonderful little books and the talented artist/writer
who created them.

Valentine's day I spent the afternoon visiting my Mom.
I had lunch with her and we visited and chatted the
afternoon away. DH gave me a lovely bouquet of red
and white carnations and a beautiful card, pictured
above, to celebrate the day. Unfortunately I have to
keep the flowers shut up in the craft/computer room
because both cats would love nothing more then to
get their paws on them and play with them and then
eat them.

A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Mary Kathryn's blog
(caution: visit at your own risk) and discovered that
there were some new Little House and Country Cottage
Needlework charts out. Oh, Oh!!! My fingers seemed
to click on the EHandcrafts logo of their own accord
and the next thing I knew I was ordering these little
beauties. Love 'em!!!

This week I visited Mary Kathryn again (you'd think
I'd know better, but I can't seem to help myself) and
there she was announcing four new Prairie Schooler
charts! Oooooooohhhh!!! Ahhhhhh!! Eeeeee!!!
Sigh!!! I expect they'll be here sometime around the
beginning of March.

Ebay is another place I should really try and avoid. But
you all know that I'm weak and have no self control.
The Prairie Schooler on the left is an oldie that is a
welcome addition to my PS collection, and the Leisure
Arts chart on the right was purchased for a mere pittance
but is full of colorful designs that delighted me when I
first saw them. Even if I don't use the scripture verses
the borders/bands will be great to stitch and adapt to
other projects if I so choose. The book in the middle
I found at the Humane Society thrift store and was
only .50 cents. Lots of cute Christmas motifs to play
with in this one and you can't beat the price.

Our friends Charmaine and Matt's eldest daughter
graduates from University this week (congratulations
Danielle!!!) and was accepted for a five month research
position located in (wait for it...) Switzerland!!! I know,
it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. So on Saturday
we all went to Charmaine and Matt's for a celebration.

Charmaine is a phenomenal cook. She makes meals
that you will be dreaming about for weeks after eating
them. Saturday's feast included little puff pastries
stuffed with creme cheese and bacon, corn chowder,
little corn muffins, various salads and turkey burgers
with all kinds of wonderful toppings.

And dessert?? See the picture above??? Chocolate
brownie pudding, hot from the oven, with a scoop of
vanilla ice cream. I'll pause here for a moment while
you check out the picture. You may wish to move your
keyboard so as not to drool on it.

As you can see DH thoroughly enjoyed the meal and
was quite enthusiastic about the turkey burgers.

The latest two books that I've read were both lightweight
Supernatural Romances. Both are by authors that
I had never read before and in both cases I picked up
the first two books in each series so that I would be
able to move on to the next book without having to wait
to order them, if I so chose.

Karen White's " The House on Tradd Street" takes place
in Charleston and is about real estate agent Melanie
Middleton who specializes in selling old houses, though
she herself does not share her client's enthusiasm and
fascination with the historic wreaks that require tons of
work, sweat and money to restore and maintain. It
doesn't help that Melanie also has the dubious gift of
being able to see ghosts.

Melanie is shocked and dismayed when she unexpectantly
inherits a run down, historical old house on Tradd Street
from an elderly gentleman she'd only met a few days
previous to his death. The terms of the will require that
she live in the house for a year before being able to sell it,
and the funds attached to the estate be used to restore the
house to it's former glory.

With the assistance of writer Jack Trenholm who offers
his personal expertise to help restore the house in exchange
for being allowed to write about the mysterious disappearance
of a former resident of the house, who happened to be the
mother of the old man who left Melanie the house.

As Melanie and Jack discover unexpected connections between
Melanie's family and the former residents of the Tradd Street
house, and old rumors of diamonds hidden in the house during
the Civil War begin to evolve into something more then fiction,
an evil presence in the house makes itself known and threatens
Melanie's life if she does not abandon the property, it's secrets
and it's ghosts.

I liked this book. I didn't love it. Don't know why for sure.
The character of Melanie for some reason didn't charm me,
and I found the secondary characters more fun then the leads.
The story was predictable in many ways, which usually doesn't
bother me much, but was just one more thing to put me off
in this case. I'll read the next book at some point, since I have
it, and hope that it will hold more interest for me.

This is one of those books centered on a knitting store
and it's proprietress. Not an epic, literary opus but a
charming, magical and very funny story.

Sugar Maple Vermont is a delightful, picture postcard
small town that draws in the tourists. The knitting
store Sticks and String, owned by Chloe Hobbs is a
popular destination for knitters. A place where
"your yarn never tangles, your sleeves always come out
the same length and you always, always get gauge."

But Sugar Maple Vermont has a secret that the
tourists are never allowed to see. For it is home to
witches, vampires, pixies and elves who hide their
otherworldly selves behind mundane facades and
depend on the protection of an ancient spell to
conceal and safeguard their magical town from
threats and exposure to the mortal world.

But the ancient spell is fading, and a suspicious
death has garnered the attention of the authorities
who send a mortal detective Luke MacKenzie to
investigate Sugar Maple's very first murder. Now
the town's residents are scrambling to present a
united, mundane front to the suspicious new
comer until a way is found to bolster the spell of
protection over the town and the mysterious death
is explained to the satisfaction of both the
detective and his superiors.

Chloe is the last descendant of the witch who cast the
protective spell, and is the last in a long line of
powerful sorceresses. But she herself has never
developed any powers and is not likely to do so
unless she falls in love and provides the town with
a daughter of her own to continue her line. Plus
manages to locate the missing book of Spells that
will (hopefully) provide the tools necessary to restore
the spell. The trouble is Chloe finds herself drawn like
a magnet to the very mortal, very human Luke
MacKenzie and that's a mix that can only lead to heartache
and big trouble.

I really enjoyed this one. Again, it's a light read and
fairly predictable, but I loved the heroine and the
detective and their struggle to understand the incendiary
attraction that causes sparks whenever they touch, and
the irresistible urge to fall into each others arms and
make out like bandits. The secondary characters were fun
too. A nice magical love story with a bit of mystery and
menace mixed in for flavoring.

Rupert, who never seems to run out of new places to nap.
In this case underneath the tablecloth covering the TV
tray that holds my printer here in the craft/computer
room. Cave and blanket all in one.

But eventually he has to move to a softer, more
desirable place. And why is this spot desirable??
Why, because Phoebe is laying there already. So
he has to shove his way onto the blanket, and she
has to give way and make due with his backside as
a pillow.

Weight Watchers update. A week ago my friend
Darlene came for a movie weekend. She, DH and
I all went to see Avatar in 3D and it was fabulous!!
For dinner that night we ordered in pizza. Two
medium sizes, one Hawaiian style and one with
lots of meat and cheese and stuff. The Hawaiian
had lots of cheese too actually. Anyways, it's been
almost a year since we'd last ordered in pizza and
I thoroughly enjoyed scarfing down five slices (!!).
For dessert I bought a Mississippi Mud Pie and
had a big hunk of that. So I figured Tuesday's
weigh in would be a breeze for making goal by
gaining a couple of pounds. Ha! I was the
same weight as the week before.

So this week I've been very, very bad. (Did I
mention the Chocolate Brownie Pudding???)
I won't go into all the gory details (lemon loaf,
pumpkin spice loaf, crusty bread etc) but I
weighed myself at Curves on Saturday and
their scale has me up about three pounds.
We'll see if it sticks around until Tuesday.

This post has turned into quite the epic but I've finally
run out of things to say so will close off for now. Thanks
for dropping by and sticking with this rambling, never
ending narrative. Take care and happy reading and
stitching until next time.



Dani - tkdchick said...

Judy, you've certainly gotten a lot of stitching done during your holidays!

I hope your weight is still up for Tuesday! I'm hoping mine will stay the same I haven't exercised in over a week now! I'm starting again tomorrow!

staci said...

I know exactly what you mean about PS's colors...and their leaflet pics don't do that much for the projects either. The colors are so captivating IRL!

Looks like you got some terrific new stash. And I was just on ebay this past weekend (can we say scissors???) And I don't blame your DH, that burger looks delish :)

JOLENE said...

I love PS patterns, too!!! You have added some new goodies to your stitching stash, love ebay, too!! Sounds like you had an enjoyable week off. Awesome!

Vonna said...

Oh heaven's your stitching is so lovely :)
And I must say on my WW journey, I've been the same now for nearly 6 weeks. I've just hit a blip in my downward trend. I'm still holding out for a loss soon...I hope. I keep counting my points, drinking my water and working out every day except Sunday's so here's hoping something breaks loose soon.

Carolien said...

Hello Judy,

That was a pleasant entry to read! Glad you are having some days off (I wish I had that ;)

Your 'Winter Wind' looks lovely, I like these warm colours. Oh and your new kits are so nice, happy stitching!!!

I do recognize this behaviour: a cat who never seems to run out of new places to nap ... Fietje is a professor in this art too. Always lovely to see and discover, though ...

Miss Potter is a very nice movie, we prefer to watch it together on dark, rainy days, you know ... hot chocolate, cookies ... That book looks interesting too!

It's the same in Holland, by the way: we can put out the tender plants in May as well, after the days of 'IJsheiligen', the saints of ice as we call them. Their name days are on May 11-15 and after the 15th you can plant your seedlings outdoors.

Well, have a nice day & greetings from a snowy Holland,


Maggie said...

Judy, i just love your chatty posts!

Glad you had a good break with lots of stitchy time :-)
Your PS is coming along a treat, i adore the autumn colours, the new stash looks inviting too, i never think to check out ebay, although i've probably got enough to keep me going for a while!

The Miss Potter book looks interesting, and i love the film, i've watched it twice now and enjoyed it just as much the second time. Thanks for the link to the historical book web site i enjoyed browsing that. I am still making my way through the Philippa Gregory Tudor series and really enjoying them! and i have added a couple of Alison Weir books to my collection too for when i've finished PG.

I hope you manage to keep hold of your extra 3lb's for your weigh in ;-) I have lost a total of
10lb now so making good progress towards my target:-)

Have a great week x

Siobhan said...

Lovely stitching, Judy! Great stash enhancement, too. I felt the same about The House At Tradd Street. I did enjoy it very much, but I found Melanie to be a bit annoying and the banter between her & Jack reminds me of the characters on the tv show "Bones". I just want to yell, "Enough already!". I was anxious to read the second installment in the series, though the story was even more predictable. Still enjoyable, though!

Gina E. said...

That post certainly was an epic, Judy! I kept wanting to respond to bits, but you kept on talking - lol! I've only done one Praire School project, and that was for someone else. I had the same reaction as you and others - dull colours, but when it was finished, it looked perfect.
I no longer visit eBay. I have spent thousands of dollars over the past five years, and that is unsustainable on a pension, so I don't even go there now.
I recognised the Christmas book you found for 50c - I found it on eBay some years ago, and it has been well used.
Cute photos of Phoebe and Rupert! Topsy actually manages to push Ken and I to the edge of our bed, when she gets in between us. For such a small animal, cats can really spread themselves around!
We loved Avatar too - 3D is such fun!

BrendaS said...

Your PS piece is coming along beautifully.

I LOVED the movie MISS POTTER and watch it quite frequently. It takes place in beautiful surroundings and is just delightful to watch.

Love your new stash acquisitions. I got them too!

Have a good week.

Brigitte said...

Your PS piece looks gorgeous. And I know what you mean about their colours. When I stitch one of their pieces and pull the threads I always think 'this will never look good' but when using the threads everything falls in place perfectly and in the end it looks completely harmonious. That's why I never change one of the colours they suggest. And the second thing I love about their charts is that everything is charted for DMC. So I can pull out a chart and start stitching without ordering fancy threads and having to wait two weeks for them to arrive here.
Oh Betarix potter. I can't tell you how often I watched Miss Potter while stitching on the BP sampler. I just have to order that biography that I want to read one day.
You've made some great purchases both at Mary Kathryn's and on ebay. The PS chart you found on ebay is a real old one and sometimes hard to fins. And it's no wonder as it has really great samplers.
I can take it from the picture of your husband that you must have had a great evening at your friends' house, with some great food, too, lol.

Judy S. said...

Winter Wind is so pretty! You are really coming along on it. BTW, how do you get your cats to get along so well? Mocha puts on her street-fighter act whenever Ginger gets too close, and then of course, Ginger eggs her on.....

Suzanne said...

Winter Wind looks so lovely. I love the charts you picked up. I was able to get the same PS chart on eBay as well, for an excellent bargain.

That burger looks good!

Jennifer said...

Hi Judy,Love how your winter wind is coming along. Your new stash is great too. I actually have the garden sampler leaflet in my stash and have been wanting to start it but must get a lot of WIPs done first. I also visited the ehandicrafts website and ordered all 4 of the new PS charts!!! Then I read that you had visited it too! I have never ordered from her before so looking forward to the order. Sounds like you had a great holiday so that is wonderful in this month. We haven't had too bad a winter in this part of Ontario.That is so funny about your weight. A lot of people would be thrilled to not have gained an ounce!! Anyhow great to read your blog as usual and I hope you had a good week back at work.

Lynn said...

Winter Wind looks incredible! I love her use of colours in these pieces too.
Isn't it amazing how our fingers seem to have a mind of their own!
Mine got busy on the keyboard and before you knew it, I had orders of the new PS pieces coming to me as well. I keep telling my DH that I'm ordering for my retirement to keep me busy. Don't know what excuse I'll use when I'm finally retired, lol!
I'm sure it won't take you long to get rid of those few extra pounds.
I'll bet that pizza tasted fantastic!

stitcherw said...

Wow you've gotten some lovely stash lately (yup I'm behind in my reading again). Hot Cocoa and Midnight Watch are my favorites (I have those in my stash as well). Thanks for the heads up on the books you've been reading too. Casting Spells sounds perfect for me. I've put it on my list to pick up the next time I'm out. The book on Beatrix Potter sounds interesting as well. I still haven't seen the movie, keep meaning too but somehow I keep forgetting.

Winter Wind is looking lovely, the colors are turning out so pretty in it. It's always fun watching a piece come to life as it progresses. Glad you had a good time with your friends and for Valentines day.