Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dec 28/10

These ornaments were given to the ladies who take my money at the parking garage where I work. The finish job is rather crappy as it was the night before Christmas Eve and I was tired beyond words as well as sick with a migraine. Hope you are having a lovely Holiday season!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dec 21/10

My living room at the moment. I sit nestled in with the black cat on the back of my neck and the white cat snuggled up beside me. Not the most comfortable way to sit and stitch sometimes, but it is hard to convince a madly purring Gabby that being all hunched over is not so comfortable for me. 

 Some more ornaments that have emerged from the mess above!
 If you look closely at the "Santa Claus" ornies, you can see the "Meow" ribbon that I used! My ribbon bucket is filled with random ribbon like that because I just never know when it might come in handy.

Now I am busy adding up exactly how many I need to finish as I may be one or two short. I have not mailed any yet so I may be stitching like a mad person on Boxing Day to get my gifts ready for overseas. Yeah, yeah, most people do that BEFORE Christmas but I am not known for that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dec 19/10

The result of last night's efforts and a gratuitous cat picture all in one! Tree by Charlie Brown, ornaments by Vee and Gabby the cat! I forget the name of the designer, but I do remember that this design is called a postage design and is found in the 2010 JCS ornament edition.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dec 18/10

A week before Christmas and Santa's work shop, stitching and finishing division, has exploded in my living room. These four ornaments were finished last night despite my cats' best efforts to eat ribbon and snuggle in to me in ways that they were comfortable, but I was finding it hard to cut, sew and stuff!
On the other upside of my handiwork, I found the scissors that I lost a week ago while talking on the phone. I had searched all over the house because I had been wandering around with them in my hand. In the end, I found them in the couch when I was looking for a needle that I had dropped in there last night. I also painfully found 4 more needles that had been dropped in there long enough that they had a non-scrape-able layer of gunk on them so they went into the trash.

Next up is my darling Cooper the other day, desperate to get inside because her paws were cold. We have been having crazy weather here with lots of swings in the weather. One day it can be well above zero with several (150 or so) mm of rain and other days we get snow. It was not really cold out this day that the photo was taken. I think she was mad at me because I was laughing so hard at her that it was taking forever to take the photo before I let her in. Penelope is behind her and unfortunately I did not capture the bemused expression on her face as she watched Cooper at the door. The expression definitely said, "Lightweight!".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dec 14/10

Proof that I have not fallen off the planet or stopped stitching:
The Dimension ornament series is complete, in duplicate. My photos of the entire series are not great so here is a little peek. Instead of making my owning cording because that is another thing I dislike doing, I chose to use a holiday themed ribbon that I found at Michael's one of the many times I have been there checking out their bargain bins. I had toyed with attaching snowflake embellishments and bells, but in the end thought that the ornaments were complete on their own.

I usually do not bother with a Christmas tree because I am usually lacking in the Christmas spirit after working amongst Christmas stuff since Hallowe'en and with 3 cats, a tree is a dicey activity. Well, during my vacation, I wandered into an Urban Outfitters in Boston. I was browsing away when I came across a display of Charlie Brown trees. The fact that I burst into laughter told me that I just HAD to buy one.

 So far it has survived, but I have dared to put it on the table that the cats use to access the window sill as you can see by the crazily hanging blinds. I have moved the tree back into the centre of the table a few times already.

Penelope can not bear to be left out of any activity in the house. Here is my house insurance policy that she thought required a little kitty creativity:
I no longer have idea what my policy number might be and I hope that if needed, my broker will be more than understanding when presented with this masterpiece.

Well, back to getting stuff done before heading into retail hell for the evening......

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov 22/10

Wow! It has been a few weeks since I last posted and weeks before that since I posted anything stitchy. My apologies as I have been stitching away during my 3 week vacation that took me to Boston (see the firefighter photo) for a few days.

My stitching has been focused on the Dimensions bird and postage series that I bought earlier this year. The cross stitching is complete on all 6 of the designs of which I bought two of each. Now I am doing the backstitching and finishing stitches on all them before doing the final finish work. These photos are of the stitched ones so far:

I did make a couple of changes. For instance, in the "Goodwill" one, the ribbon is supposed to have yellow overstitching to add depth, but I disliked the colour combination so I used the main pink colour to make the ribbon look more velvety. The lettering is supposed to be done with the couching stitch and I did do one ornament that way, but the needles and threads get tangled and I get frustrated so the rest are being done in a running stitch instead. The effect of the running stitch is not as pretty, but the stitcher is calmer.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Nov 2/10

There was a false alarm last night at the inn where I am staying in Boston. The firefighters were so nice about getting their photo taken with me especially after I told them that my brother is a firefighter back home. Hopefully this is the craziest thing that will have happened to me on my vacation!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oct 27/10

Postcard from Afghanistan! What a fantastic item to find in my mailbox today after work! Then I turned on the computer to see that my brother will be home in December and posted to CFB Gagetown. CFB Gagetown is about an hour away from where the rest of the family lives so we are very excited considering some of the alternatives like Edmonton.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oct 21/10

There has been some stitching going on here, I promise! Nothing is finished enough to photograph just yet so instead I present my carrot muffins that I made last night. My best friend has a huge vegetable garden and she gave me a big bag of carrots last week to have for Thanksgiving. Several of my co-workers took home some of the carrots while these ones:
 became these last night:
I used a basic muffin recipe from my trusty Fanny Farmer cookbook but added a little more sugar and oil because of the shredded carrots that I added to the recipe. Straight out of the oven with a little butter made a little piece of heaven here last night!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oct 17/10

I have finally been doing some thinking about the house I would like to build on the 10 acre property I have in the country. At the moment, this one is the front runner:
It is a pre-fab cottage built by a local company. There is one bedroom and bathroom at the back with an open kitchen, living room and dining room at the front which you are looking at right now. The view from my lot is a stunning view of the Kennebecasis River. When I was touring this cottage, I could so see myself sitting on the couch on the left side of the house with a fire in the fireplace, taking in the beauty of the sun setting behind the hills that form the valley. My bedroom would be the loft on the second level (you can see the windows of the loft through the upper triangular windows). How lovely it will be to lay in bed and to be able to look out across the valley.

The only problem is as I see it is that there are a few things that I would like that I need to ask the builder about because where it is pre-fab, I do not know how much lee-way I have in getting things like in-floor radiant heat instead of electric baseboard heaters and a on-demand water heater instead of the traditional tank. Oh well, if one does not ask, one will not know!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Oct 9/10

So, the other day I decided to do a little exploring in my own back yard because I am so so so guilty of having travelled far and wide, but not close by. All of my friends and family were at work on Wednesday so I hopped in the car and drove to Alma, NB which is on the edge of Fundy National Park. Here are some photos from my stroll on the beach:
 I was watching my footing because the mud flat/beach varied between muddy and rocky bits as the tide had gone out but the sand was not dry. As I was tripping and squelching along, I spied this little rock. If I had approached it from any other angle, I may never have seen the little face in it.
 This picture was taken from the little boardwalk across the street from where I parked my car. The tide was pretty much at its lowest point. It took me close to 15 minutes to walk from this point to as close as I could get to the water's edge without sinking in the mud.
 The harbour in Alma:
 The view from the restaurant where I had an awesome if somewhat expensive lobster roll:
 Me, thinking "Good Gravy! How far am I from the car?". That is Fundy National Park in the background.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Part 2 Oct 3/10

I was out to my property in the country this afternoon to do some work in and around the apple orchard since it was such a beautiful day here. Most of my time was spent cutting back raspberry canes that were growing around some of the trees. I had just collected up all my bits and pieces when I noticed this little guy scurrying up and down a couple of trees. He stopped to take a long nibble of this apple so I had lots of time to observe and then photograph him while he filled his little belly.

Oct 3/10

My ort jar is about to over flow so I captured its image for posterity before I wander over to the garbage can to empty it out. The reds that you can see are the result of the many Christmas ornaments that I have been working on! Orts have long been a fascination for me. I like to collect them and used to keep them in a large once-was-a-fish-bowl jar that took years to fill. Then, the decluttering inspiration hit so now I use a smaller jar and take photos before chucking out the contents. I mean really, what was the point of keeping all of those clippings except as a reminder of how much stitching I had been doing?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Oct 2/10

Some of my co-workers are entered in the Walk for The Cure this weekend so I did this up for them to raffle off:
The pattern comes from the Oct 2009 The Cross Stitcher and I found the frame at Michaels for a sweet 40% off! No mystery threads this time; I actually used the published floss list to stitch this one. I am tempted to go back and pick up a few more frames because I really like the look of this one even if the fancy matte is actually plastic. For $17.99 less 40%, it more than did the trick!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sept 28/10

Well, what else to do on a wet and rainy morning besides pay bills and finish several little projects (submitting continuing education tests and fixing my bird feeder)? Oh yes! Update my blog. My needle has been going fast and furious in the evenings these past few weeks:

These first three ornaments are the almost finished versions of the bird stamp Dimension series that I purchased earlier this year. I am doing two at a time because I bought two of each, but have only taken a picture of one of each pair as an example of what I have been up to. The back stitching still needs to be done on all of them so they are far from complete although it is a nice feeling to at least have the main body completed.

 I am fascinated with cardinals these days after seeing a couple of them two years ago. They are making an appearance in our region of the country and I was lucky enough to have some of them in my yard. Birds are such amazing creatures and I am also very surprised that any survive in my yard because, yes, I am one of those cat owners who lets her cats out without bells. Before anyone yells at me, no one in my immediate neighbourhood has problems with mice so there are trade-offs. I used to put bells on my cats until the little beggars figured out how to adjust their collars on their necks so the bells did not ring.
 And who can resist Lizzie Kate? Not me! I have also been playing around with floss and fabric colours, using whatever I have on hand to stitch up these ornaments. I always keep the pattern photos close by while selecting the floss and stitching so that I remain true to the designer's original ideas in terms of colour and constantly refer back to the photos. These ornaments come from L*K's Tiny Tidings VII and XV.

 Last but certainly not least came this beautiful post card from my brother. At first I thought that it was a photo and then I looked at the caption on the back. This picture is titled "A Long Halt" and was painted by Silvia Pecota. You know that our soldiers have been there more than long enough when there are postcards of their missions.......

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept 17/10

Stash picure for Christine (and others!). Here is what I managed to limit myself to last weekend when I was at the cross stitch shop, Because You Count, in Moncton. The fabric is even weave odds and ends. The rolls of linen were tempting, but my hands break out after handling linen any length of time.

And here is the result of using one of my new patterns and a piece of the odds and ends:
The threads were taken out of my trusty mystery thread box, of course. I have a couple of co-workers who are as cat-mad as I am so I am thinking about doing this one again, but maybe with a dark grey cat this time.

Well, off to workity work I go so that I can continue to feed both my stitching habit and my cats!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept 12/10

I realized as I was uploading pictures that I have yet to post a picture of Cooper, the most recent feline addition to my house. This picture is one that I took the other night while she was sleeping on the couch beside me as I stitched. It took her at least a month to feel comfortable here, the cool reception by the other 2 cats was part of the issue as was me going away for two weeks shortly after she joined us, but by the way that she is sleeping with a fully exposed belly, I would say that she is comfortable now!
And then there is darling Penelope who makes herself comfortable in the funniest of places:
Apparently, the kids in El Salvador need white cat hair on their school supplies. The hair must make learning easier or more fun or something! When she is not sleeping there, she hides out in the paper recycling basket which is where she just went to because I am not paying enough attention to her.

The 4 zucchini plants in my back yard are still being uber productive. So far this week, I have made a stirfry and spaghetti sauce with zucchini. Here are the muffins I made the other day:
3 cups grated zucchini unpeeled (I put mine in the blender)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
Mix in large bowl and set aside.

Sift together:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to zucchini mix and blend. Then stir in 2 cups of whole wheat flour (I used all purpose because it was too late to run to the grocery store).
Drop into muffin tins and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

I should post some pictures of the ornaments I am working on and of the stash I bought yesterday. Since I had to drive to Moncton yesterday to get something from my brother's house to mail to him in Afghanistan, I figured that a stop at Because You Count was a just reward for driving 150km to find a SCUBA license. I came away with a couple of Lizzie Kate Christmas ornament patterns and three rolls of odds and ends fabric left over from the cutting table. Again, if I ever stop blogging, just assume that the pile of stash that I have toppled over and that I am buried underneath it! :-)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sept 6/10

Another postcard from Afghanistan:
The funny part was that my brother was actually home on leave when it arrived! Both postcards have taken almost 30 days to get here which is not bad considering there is no regular mail bag service out of KAF (they throw a bag on the plane if there is room). On the back he laments the soccer fever that gripped the base during the World Cup, probably amplified somewhat for him as his roommate at the time was from Holland!

And a little produce from my garden. Tomatoes and zucchinis are in abundance in my little garden this year. I am thinking that pasta and some kind of tomato and zucchini dish are in order for supper tonight. The grocery store here in town has some awesome local corn that I have now had 2 nights in a row for supper. Fresh corn, lots of butter, good friends, what more can one ask for?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sept 3/10

Yikes! Where did the summer go? Mind you, this heat wave we are in at the moment is making us feel like summer is hanging on even though we are on the cusp of the Labour Day Weekend. I need to make a final inspection of my yard this afternoon to make sure that everything is secured or put away as Hurricane Earl is still expected to be classified as a hurricane when he passes over this region tomorrow. When I was out last night putting away my lawn chairs, I stopped to look at my brook which is really more of a series of stagnant puddles at the moment. I have lived here for over 10 years and have never seen that brook stop moving. The forecast is for several inches of rain tomorrow and we need it! This region is usually so lush and it still is compared to truly dry areas like Adelaide, Australia, but we need rain!

Despite the heat, I have managed to get some stitching done, mostly because it requires so little movement on my part so it was something I could do without sweating up a storm. I have also been on eBay and bought some more patterns because I needed them. If you are a Teresa Wentzler fan like me, a pattern like Diamond in Squares is absolutely irresistible!

Well, I should get going! I have to stop in to the post office to mail off a parcel for a friend in Mongolia and go for a 90 minute deep tissue massage (a treat to myself for all of the extra hours I have been working recently!). Then, who knows what I will get up to!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aug 24/10

In my last entry I mentioned that I found some finished pieces so I thought I might post them. This one was done probably about 7 years ago as I stitched the matching quilt for my nephew when he was born:

Then, there was this piece that is reminiscent of what goes on in my house all of the time:

Just exchange the window and cushion for the floor mat in front of the patio door and you get the idea! Recently one poor little songbird was sacrificed to the feline hunting instinct but I did see some more little brave birds eating the berries off of my honeysuckle bush since then.

My current WIPs are the series of Dimension ornaments that feature birds, inspirational words and postmarks. These ones are the second one in a series of six that I have purchased:

And a wee warning before you scroll down further..................................................There are pictures of animal skulls, not something one would normally associate with cross stitching!

I was out clearing brush at the old apple orchard the other day when I almost stepped on this little skull. I found it so fascinating because it was so intact except for a few missing teeth. My lack of wildlife knowledge has me guessing as to what animal it may have been, but I am guessing that it may have been a fox or a similar animal. There was some fresh deer poop in and around the orchard as well, but I did not find that fascinating enough to photograph!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aug 23/10

Hint hint hint that I may need to de-clutter this place----last night I found two completely stitched pieces that I had forgotten all about. I was moving some unopened kits around in an attempt to arrange them after some of them had fallen over because I was moving some paperwork that is stacked beside the kits and presto! a mystery bag. I opened the bag and there they were! On the big downside, I was finally getting my mystery thread box under control and now I have a big handful of left over threads to add to it from those two projects.

Clutter is a theme all over my house. I recently reclaimed a corner of my basement after giving away an old microwave that had been sitting in that corner for 2 years and getting rid of a bag of Christmas decorations to the Rotary Club table at the townwide yardsale. This weekend, I tackled my old car and found a bag of mittens that went to the Diabetes donation box and almost $6 in change which came in handy for coffee money today! Honestly! How does the clutter get so far ahead of me?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aug 16/10

Not all of my artistic talents are stitching related:

I also do a great camouflage design, but I do not know how to obscure faces nor am I great at editing so I can not show you the sign my nephew and I made for his daddy.
A two week leave is just not long enough. How much longer will this insanity continue? I understand that the Afghan people want peace and stability just as much as anyone else in the world, but what about this little boy who fiercely misses his daddy? Why does he have to pay the price for the decisions made by the politicians and warlords?