Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hi there!! Well, here we are again. This is most
definitely not going to be anther epic post this week
(okay, who just let out a sigh of relief out there????)
but there is stitching progress, a few new stash goodies,
and feline cuteness, so stick around and we'll get started.

Not a huge amount of stitching going on this week, but
some basic stuff was done that will allow me to concentrate
on the prettier colors and parts of the design this week.

I finished the verse and extended the border to enclose
that area of the sampler. At the bottom of the third
line of the verse is the halfway point for this design. At
this point I had to adjust the fabric on my Q-snaps to
allow me to continue with the stitching comfortably so
the bottom of the design will not be visible in future
progress photos.

This is the rest of the weeks progress, mostly done this
weekend. That wavy border gave me some grief as the
frogs came home to roost, and I had to pick out several
mistakes made when I either miscounted or just ignored
the chart altogether and stitched the pattern as it was
imagined in my brain. The scene inside the square will
be solid stitching so I'm thinking that it's going to take a
bit of time to accomplish. We'll see how much time I
have to stitch this week.

I don't usually collect the pretty little accessories that
can be a fun sideline for stitchers. I have a couple of
magnetic needle minders, a lovely scissor fob made
and given to me by Kathy last summer (my camera
steadfastly refuses to take any kind of a half way
decent picture of it, unfortunately) and a couple of
pairs of scissors. The scissors are one pair in the shape
of a rooster and a pair of the ubiquitous stork scissors
that everyone in the world has.

Then I saw the Kelmscott Designs Tudor Rose
scissors when they came out last year. Oh Boy!!!
I loved them the moment that I laid eyes on them.
When I placed my order with Mary Kathryn at
EHandcrafts for the newest LHN designs I also
ordered those gorgeous scissors, and they arrived
this week. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em!!!

The chart is another Ebay win and I love this so
much. A wonderful Quaker design, in beautiful
colors, with a verse taken from the bible that was
also used in that classic song from the 60's sung
by The Byrds and written by Pete Seeger called
Turn Turn Turn. Come on now... you all know it
I'm sure. You're probably humming it to yourself
right now.


Weigh in at Weight Watchers this week had me
caught in a dilemma as I worried that I'd put on
too much weight because of my indulgences of
my holiday week, and then fretted that I'd not
put on enough to finally get off of maintenance
and on lifetime.

I'm relieved and delighted to tell you that I
was only up by one pound, and that was enough
to allow me to become a lifetime member of
Weight Watchers!!! Woo Hoo!!!

What a relief, let me tell you. So now I only have
to go in to meeting once a month for weighing in,
and as long as I stay within two pounds of my
goal (above) I don't have to pay any more money
to Weight Watchers. I plan to attend two meetings
a month, to keep up with the friends that I've made
there, to continue to learn how to handle my food
issues, and to pick up the boxes of snacks and things
that are only available at the meetings here.


Yesterday I was at the hairdressers by eight thirty
in the morning for a trim and a color/rinse. This
is the third time I've been in to have my hair colored
and each time I go I have it darkened a bit more
to see how I'll like it. I've always wanted brown or
auburn colored hair with red highlights so that is
what we're striving for. I've also invested in a hair
straightening thingy to use at home to help smooth
my uneven, frizzy hair. I'm getting quite fashionable
these days with new clothes and new hair style and
color. I hardly recognize myself. :)

We have had some nice, warmer weather in the past
week, with temperatures around +1 or +2 Celsius, which
is all the encouragement we need to have us dreaming
of Spring and shedding a few layers of Winter wear.
Unfortunately tomorrow we're suppose to get about
10 cm of snow and it looks like the weatherfolks are
calling for snow all week long. Nuts!!!

No book review this week I'm afraid. I've been
reading the biography of Beatrix Potter and it's quite
interesting, but it's also a slow read for me. Lots of
information and lots of names to process and remember.
And it's one heck of a big book.

It always seems like I'm featuring funny or cute pictures
of Rupert here, and if I do have a picture of Phoebe she's
usually with Rupert and not solo. So today I'm posting
two pictures that feature Phoebe alone! Above shows
her sitting, with one paw daintily raised, on ... er .... the
kitchen counter. Um... No, we do not encourage this
behavior in our cats. I guess there were birds on the deck
and she was looking out the back door from the higher
vantage point of the counter. She got down as soon as
the photo shoot was over.

And this picture does show Phoebe and Rupert but
since all you can see of Rupert is his back legs and
feet Phoebe is the queen of the shot. They're sleeping
in a spot of sun light in the living room, side by side
but with heads at opposite ends.

I'm thinking that I've covered all the topics that I had
to write about this week so we'll finish off this weekend's
blog post by wishing you all a wonderful work week,
with lots of time to stitch and read. Take care and
thanks for visiting.


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.