Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en or Happy Samhain!

Here's the two DS' with this year's pumpkin carvings - they design their own, Daddy helps carve:

And for the best Hallowe'en treat ever, go here. Isn't he darling?

Off to an emergency bulb planting session! (more on that another time!)


 Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Creativ Festival - Days 1 & 2

I'm back to the land of the living after spending 5 days in my version of stitching heaven. I stitched, I visited, I attempted to walk the show floor..... In short, it was wonderful.

Here's a review (and picture intensive post) of my first two days at the show.

Day 1 - Class: Solitary Flight
Instructor: Anna-Marie Winter

This was a full-day class (6 hours of instruction) and a wonderful way to start the show. I fell in love with this kimono in the show brochure. It's even more lovely in real life. Here's a picture of the cover picture for the graph:

And here's my progress on it when class was over:

It's difficult to get much done on this piece in class since the entire background must be stitched before placing the dragonfly and the grasses can be stitched. The background is stitched in Silk Mori (which I love) and the dragonfly and grasses done in a variety of golds from Kreinik. I can't wait to return to work on this one more. Did I mention I love working with silk?

After class was over I attended a welcome reception put on by the show. It wasn't really great or anything worthy of note, beyond the fact that door prizes were awarded (I didn't win a thing, naturally) and Anna-Marie gave a great (and short) lecture of cyber classes at NeedleArtWorks and awarded some $50 gift certificates for a cyber class (which I also didn't win :-( ).

Day 2 - Class: Triangulations
Instructor: Anna-Marie Winter

This was a half-day class again with Anna-Marie. The model for this class had many of us drooling as it's simply stunning. The fibres are just yummy to play with (again, more silk - did I mention I love silk????) and the overall size of the piece isn't too large. This will likely be one of the first projects I return to once the bleedin' models are finished.

Here's a picture of the graph:

And here's how far I got in class - although I admit to not adding any of the metallics in class because I'd rather save them for the very end. I find the metallics can mess up the silk, so I'd rather wait until I won't be working with the silks any more on the piece.

The dark blue is Silk Mori and the lighter blue is Silk Serica. It's so pretty in real life. It uses silks. I like silks a lot. Did I mention that already?

Day 2 - Class: Jade Dragon
Instructor: Laura from Enchanting Lair

The afternoon of Day 2 brought me to another short class, but this time from Enchanting Lair. I love little dragons and this one is done in some yummier than yummy silks again. I think I'm working up to an obsession with silks. But I digress.....

The piece uses Northern Lights, Caron Waterlilies and a bunch of Kreiniks. We didn't get a whole lot done in class as Laura was giving us great instructions, but I did get to play with the Northern Lights silks which are new to me. They were lovely. I'm still stroking one skein every now and then.

Here's the graph picture:

Sorry the picture isn't great - I'm no photographer! Go check out Enchanting Lair's site for a better shot. Here's all I got stitched in class:

I didn't get much done because I was listening more than stitching. Well, okay, I was playing with the silks a bit too. They're so pretty. And soft. And they glide through fabric like a hot knife through butter. Silk. ahhhhhhhhh............

I enjoyed this class thoroughly and enjoyed sharing ideas with Laura and talking about next year and some potential classes. That's all I'm saying.

The show floor wasn't yet open, so no shopping yet. After my class I went to the chatter about dolls given by Elinor Peace Bailey. It was an interesting chat and her dolls are simply stunning - they're so expressive and so far beyond my skills that it's humbling. Elinor is a very funny lady and although doll making doesn't appeal to me, I enjoyed the lecture.

I think that's all for today - I'm sure I've made a few web browsers weep and I apologise if the pictures were too much.

Just wait until you hear about my other classes, the banquet and the unintentional driving tour I had of Toronto.........


 Monday, October 22, 2007

The excitement is building......

It's only 2 more days until I'm in stitching heaven. That's right folks, it's almost time for my annual 5-day stitch-a-thon - the CreativFestival! I am so looking forward to this event. I'll be taking classes with Anna-Marie Winter and Jennifer Aikman-Smith, to name a couple of people. This show is the highlight of my year - great classes and time with friends I only see once a year.

My model is almost done but the DMC metallic is giving me major fits. If this keeps up, I'll likely beg to use a different fibre for the next one. I may even get on my hands and knees (if you could see the state of my knee and ankle, you'd know what an accomplishment *that* would be!).... Hopefully it'll be finished before Hallowe'en, although I admit to hoping it would be finished for the festival so I could return it to the magazine. I'm rapidly realizing that's just not realistic, unless I'd prefer no sleep between now and the festival.

This past weekend was amazing weather-wise - it was in the mid 70s the whole weekend which is extraordinary for October. DS#2 went to school in shorts today. I spent yesterday hanging up my Hallowe'en decorations and finishing off a little tuck-pillow:

This is only my second attempt at a tuck-away pillow and I have to admit to being quite pleased with it. It's not perfect by any means of the imagination, but I'm happy enough. It's just for me, so it doesn't really matter too much how it looks. It's hanging in my hallway for all to see. Hopefully no one will comment on the somewhat obvious fighting match I had with my sewing machine. Luckily it doesn't show in the photograph. Hmmmmm - maybe I should hang the photograph instead................

Off to fight my way through some more DMC metallic. *bleck*


 Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tis the season....

To change blogger templates. Or at least it seems that way. I think I've caught the change-template-itis that seems to be going about at the moment. I've been eyeing a 3-bar template for some time now and finally found one I like. I'll miss my big blue rose though. Maybe it'll visit again sometime...

My ankle is getting better although more slowly than I'd like. I'm off the crutches now as the swelling has gone down to the point where I can do two important things:

  1. Wear shoes
  2. Bend at the ankle

I'm still sore and limping heavily, but life is much easier when you've got two working feet. I saw the dr. on Monday and she had more blood work done. I feel like a pincushion but hopefully all this poking and prodding will tell us what is going on. I go back to the dr. on Monday.

In other news, I'm still working on my current model, but am seriously dreading having to use DMC metallic. If it weren't a model I'd replace it with some Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid, but sadly the choice isn't mine. If you hear any swearing, it's just me.

I'm so far behind on SBQs that it's almost laughable. Here's a few for catch-up:

July (gasp!) 19, 2007:

Which project (finished or in progress) are you most proud of? Explain why.

This is a difficult one to answer because I'm proud of every project and it's hard to select just one as the one I'm most proud of. They've all been challenges either for their sheer size or the complexity of stitches. I'm proud of all of them.

And yes, that's a wimpy answer.

July 28, 2007:

Have you ever thought of getting a rider on your household insurance to properly cover your stash (some of us have quite an extensive stash that an average household policy wouldn't fully cover) in the case of some sort of damage to your house that would destroy/ruin charts, fabrics, floss, etc?

Um, well, I think I've gone beyond the thinking about it stage. I actually have one. It's rather embarassing but I have numerous OOP patterns and an astonishing quantity of fabrics and fibres. DH has been told that if something were to happen to me that he needs to get someone from the LNS to come here and evaluate it all before selling it. I'm a dreadful collector of stitching stuff.

September 6, 2007:

Would you ever stitch one of your BAPs a second time? (This does not include starting over because of mistakes, bad fabric, etc., rather stitching something from the first stitch for a second time.)

Maybe, maybe not. I know I will likely stitch Celtic Christmas again for myself because I like it so darn much. I doubt that there are any other BAPs I'd ever stitch again. I can say with some assurance that there isn't a model BAP that I'd ever stitch twice. Once is more than enough for those! (some of the smaller model pieces I've done I would do again for myself, but the big ones - no way!)

I'll catch up on more SBQs later. Don't want to bore anyone to tears here......


 Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy belated Thanksgiving and what the heck have I done now?

Thanksgiving was this past weekend and I was this year's host. Boy, did I make food! Buns and squash and sweet potatoes, stuffing and turkey and cranberries. I'm still full, two days later.

My preparations were somewhat hindered by this new problem that started on Friday night and just kept getting worse. By Monday I was in the ER having a doctor look at me strangely. Here's why:

That distended thing on the left is my ankle. I included my right ankle just to show just how bad it is. I can't walk and I'm now on crutches and some really good anti-inflammatories. I won't be winning any skinny ankle awards any time in the near future.
What caused this? Well, we're not really sure. It might be rheumatoid arthritis, it might be plain old arthritis, it might be a viral infection, it might be just about anything.....
I'll be off to see my family dr. to get a referral to a specialist. Yes, this will be specialist #2 for me this year. Specialist #1 (for my knee problem) finally gave me an appointment for November. I think I'm falling apart. I told DH he should have purchased the extended warranty on me, but it'll be okay as long as he doesn't trade me in for a younger model! :-)
I may not be around much for the next while as stairs are difficult (computer lives in basement office) and I've got a model with a tight deadline to work on.
Hobbling off to stitch......


 Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A little bit of finish-itis and a little bit of start-itis....

Okay - here's some pictures of a little bit of finish-itis I had.....

Summer Island Sampler
Copyright © Jeannette Douglas Designs
Kit from a class with Jeanette

I took this as a class at CSNF a couple of years ago. I changed the wording from Summer Island to Paudash Lake as that is the name of the lake where my parents have a cottage. At some point I'll make it into a bellpull or something for them. I really like how this piece turned out.


Tooth Fairy Landing Pad
Design Copyright © Dragon Dreams

I worked on this over the summer, but wasn't happy with the dude's wings - so I frogged and re-stitched and now I'm much happier. Now I need to get this made up into a pillow, complete with pocket for those missing teeth. :-)

As for the startitis.....

I've had this piece kitted up for months and it's been calling to me softly, but persistently since then. I finally gave in and started it. It's the Bouquet for Cheryl freebie from Ink Circles. I'm stitching it on a really sparkly Silkweaver fabric whose name has escaped me with the varigated DMC whose number also escapes me. It's all upstairs, I'm in the basement and my knee is bothering me too much to dash up and down the stairs to get the right info! Suffice it to say it looks beautiful so far (at least to *me* it does) and I'm really enjoying just threading up a needle and stitching until I get to the end of the strand. Hence why the first quarter has been finished in record time. :-)

Sorry for the dim and dreary photos - it was a dreary day today and I had to photograph indoors.....

And in more exciting news - I finally got my hands on the latest JCS ornie issue today. I admit to having read a few review of this issue in various blogs and I was worried I was setting myself up for a let down. However, I'm happy to say that I've already made a list of over a dozen ornaments I really want to stitch. I can understand some folks viewpoints on some of the ornaments, but I've found plenty to stitch and am having trouble deciding what to stitch first. I'm glad to say that I'm not disappointed in this issue at all and I think it's another great issue in a collection of issues.

Well, it's late and I'm tired. I did my grocery run tonight for Thanksgiving (we Canucks celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Monday, Oct. 8). I'm hosting this year and have the big bird to prove it. Thank heavens for my convection oven!


Long time, no blog....

Life sometimes just gets in the way, doesn't it? I've managed to get myself thoroughly tied up with DS#2's school fundraiser this year and I've practically been living at school for the last few weeks. My house is a mess, the cat's litterbox needs attention and the hamster needs fresh water. Ain't fundraising grand?

I probably shouldn't have gotten so involved with this project, but I couldn't help myself - this fundraiser really caught my eye because it isn't the school doing fundraising or parents doing fundraising. This is a totally student-driven initiative. Our school doesn't have any outdoor play structures at all. All we have is a big grassy field. No soccer posts even. Nothing.

So, the kids decided they wanted to raise money for 2 new play structures - one for the Grade 1 - 5 students and another (smaller) one for the Kindergarteners. It's going to take 3 years (at least) and about $45,000 but they're determined. How could I not be a part of that?

I have been stitching too and I have some finishes to post, but haven't got time to get them uploaded right this minute. I'll try and add those later today. Stitching is my winddown time after spending the day surrounded by choclates and money! :-)

Off to visit the local back-cracker (i.e. Chiropractor!)


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