Monday, July 27, 2009

On the road again.....

(sorry for the bad Willie Nelson reference....)

The project has had an exceptionally busy few days, going out and about in society, as it were.

First off, last Thursday (I know, but I was busy getting ready to go!), the project had the chance to go to the drive in movie theater that's about a 1/2 hr. drive away. It really, really, really wanted to see the newest installment in the Harry Potter series, so Thursday evening found us stitching and waiting for the movie to start:

All went well, until the heavens opened and we spent the first 1/2 hour of the movie huddled inside the van with 2 sweaty teenagers (DS#1 and his friend) and DS#2. The fug was enough to make me wish sincerely that I could open windows. Thankfully, the downpour soon eased and we were able to escape to our lawn chairs to watch the rest of the movie. It was an excellent movie and it has set things up perfectly for what should come in the end of this movie series. The movie wasn't entirely true to the 6th book and many things were missing or not handled in quite the way I would have chosen, but if it had been, the movie would have taken about 4 times as long! We all enjoyed ourselves, even though it made for a very late night.

The next day (Friday), we were trying to get up and out early, but we were all tired and we ended up departing home a good hour later than originally intended. Still, once we made it on the highway, we made good time. We stopped in Colborne to visit this landmark for the area:

Still not sure what we stopped to see? Maybe this will help:

We stopped to see The Big Apple. It's big, it's red and it does look like an apple (that's DS#2 standing slightly to the right of the apple - he's 4'3" - the apple is big!). We couldn't go into the apple as it was closed for maintenance (darn it!), but we did enjoy wandering around inside the bakery and gift shop beside the apple. The bakery smelled amazing and left me craving apple pie with surprising ferocity. Being that we weren't going to be near a fridge for 3 days meant there was no point buying a pie, but I sure did want one! :-) I may end up making one later this week.

After our stop at the Big Apple, we were all getting hungry, so we drove on a bit further and stopped at my kids' #1 choice of eating out food:

Greasy pizza consumed, we continued on to our final destination:

If you're wondering, it's pronounced GAN-on-ock-way, more or less. It's a beautiful small town. We checked into our hotel:

We didn't have a room with the Whirlpool tub - it would have cost an extra $120 and we just couldn't justify it, considering how little time we were likely to actually be in the room. Besides, how romantic would it really have been with the two DS' along? :-) Once we checked in and got settled the four of us went swimming at the hotel's pool and had a good time overall. Our stomachs were calling after our swim, so we got dressed and had a little drive around town and tried to decide what to eat for dinner. We ended up at the golden arches. The project wasn't enthused about it, so it declined to have its picture taken.

By the time we finished dinner, the rest of DH's family arrived and all the boys (DH, both my DS' two of my newphews and my BIL) and some of the girls (my SIL and niece) went in for another swim, splash and play around in the pool. We headed off for bed around 9:30 or so, but not before all the kids ended up in our room playing video games (DS#1 brought his Wii for playing in the van on the drive up and we hooked it up in the room too). My niece isn't so into the video game thing, so instead she asked to help me 'sew'. I get my needle through the fabric and in the right place, it's her job to pull the need all the way through. She was also starting to help push the needle into the fabric in the right place. I might have a stitcher on my hands soon. The traveling project really enjoyed having someone new to play with. I forgot to take a picture when she was helping me, but I grabbed this picture the next morning:

She's the first person to willing hold my project and pose for a picture! :-)

Saturday morning found us heading to Fort Henry to step back into the mid-1800s and learn about military life of the time. There were tons of people dressed in appropriate costume and behaving just as expected for the time period. There are tons of interesting displays of all kinds of military arcana, various historical guns and cannons and lots of opportunity to get an idea of what life was like when the fort was an active military post. We all had fun wandering around and looking at everything.

The project stopped near the entrance for this shot:

We met up with a guard on our way in, but he's not permitted to acknowledge anyone, so he couldn't hold the project. He did stand still for a photograph though:

I don't doubt for a minute that he was wondering what the heck we were doing, but he was unable to ask. I did tell him. Maybe it was a good thing that he couldn't respond to the crazy lady and her husband. :-)

The project insisted on having its picture taken with one of the cannons:

We stayed for dinner at the Fort and then watched their annual military Tattoo. Unfortunately, the Tattoo was rained out part way through, so we didn't get to see everything that they had planned but what we did see was excellent. I give tons of credit to the pipe band that played in a torrential downpour for at least 15 minutes while the finale's fireworks went off overhead. We had a sheltered spot to sit in, so we weren't soaked, just a bit damp about the edges. When the rain let up a bit we headed back to the hotel.

Sunday found us heading out for a boat tour around the 1,000 Islands. The project agreed to let me take a picture of it before we boarded the boat:

The tour was excellent - well narrated and interesting. The kids had a blast running around the boat - with 3 floors of boat to run around on, they didn't get bored. Funnily enough, we ran into a family that lives near us and whose kids go to the same school as DS#2. What are the chances of that?

One of my favourite pictures from the boat tour:

After yet another meal at the golden arches (one of my nephews is severely allergic to peanuts, so the only 'safe' place he could eat was McDonald's), we all headed back to our respective homes.

We all had a great weekend and the project had lots of fun seeing all the things we did. The project is going to have a couple of weeks off now, as we're not going anywhere for the next bit (probably a good thing - I've got a model to stitch!). Camping is next on our agenda, but not until after DS#1's 13th birthday!


 Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's me, I'm sure it's me.....

The traveling project had a little adventure last weekend. We headed down to my in-laws house to go the rodeo:

Because we went to the Saturday night show, the light went early, so the project chose to stay in the van rather than come up to the grandstand. The rodeo was lots of fun though. Well run and things moved quickly. Much fun was had all around. I didn't enjoy the calf-roping at all though, it looked painful in the extreme. Everything else looked like fun and it was clear to see how well cared for and how well trained the animals were.

The next day was DH's family's annual golf tournament. My FIL has 5 brothers, all of whom are married with assorted children and grandchildren. About 26 years ago they started having an annual family golf tournament - the younger kids would play mini-golf while the adults would play 9 holes of golf. They even have trophies..... The project arrived a little early (DH and both DS' wanted to hit a bucket of balls on the driving range before playing....):

In an attempt to get *someone* to hold the darned thing, I did ask the nice people that own the golf course if they would let me take their picture with the project, but they declined. Maybe I have a habit of always picking folks who don't want their picture taken????

There was so much family around and we were so busy catching up that the project got put back in its bag for the rest of the day. I admit to forgetting about it in all the enjoyment....

The project did have another mini-adventure on Tuesday when we took DS#2 to Sick Kids to see his endocrinologist for another checkup. I didn't take any pictures, however. I stress out just enough when at Sick Kids that photographs really aren't high on my list of to-dos. DS#2 did have a good check-up though and it looks like a treatment we were hoping to avoid (it involved needles daily for 4 years!), we are going to be able to skip it. Good news there! We return in September to meet with DS#2's urology team to schedule what we hope will be his last surgery.

This weekend has us taking off to Gananoque for the weekend with all of DH's immediate family (my MIL, FIL, all my BILs and SILs, and all my nieces and nephews - we'll total 16!). Hopefully the project won't get into too much mischief! (and if you see me wielding my project, won't you let me take your picture with it? Please???? It won't hurt, I promise!)


 Friday, July 17, 2009

The Traveling Project's First Adventure...

We got kind of a late start heading to the cottage as it seemed to just take us *forever* to get packed and loaded. You'd think we were going away for years instead of just 1 week.... But anyway, we were finally off around 10:30 in the morning and I pulled out the Traveling Project. I got lots of curious looks from other drivers as we wove our way along the highway.

We were all hungry by noon, so the project made it's first pit stop:

We did, however, elect to go in and sit down. The project chose to remain in the van whilst we ate as it was concerned about getting dirty. :-)

Much refreshed, we continued northwards and stopped here:

Despite having driven past this conservation area for the last 13 years, we've never stopped before. The project's appearance caused a large dump truck to stop and look at what the crazy lady with the camera was doing. He declined to have his picture taken with the project. You'd think it was poisoned or something....

We decided to go spelunking for a bit. The project took one look at the dirt, grime, mud and mess in the caves and elected to stay in the van while the rest of us wriggled, crawled and duck-walked through the caves. They were super cool and very interesting to poke around in.

The project was getting bored and wanted to move again, so after a few hours we finally gave into its incessant pleading (I've never had such a vocal project before!), and continued on to:

This is the marina where we park our van and hop into the boat for the ride to the cottage. The project was happy to have its picture taken again, although it knew it wouldn't come out again since we'd arrived at our destination. Another person stopped to watch the crazy lady with her camera, but again declined to hold it and be photographed. Is it me?

The Project spent a relaxing week at the cottage, but did keep asking if we were going anywhere so it could come out and play..... I had to remind it that we weren't traveling while at the cottage, but rather enjoying being in one place.

We finally headed for home, but I wasn't quite feeling up to snuff, so I had to ask the Traveling Project for a reprieve on the way home - I didn't think I could manage stitching and the motion of the van at the same time. It agreed as long as I promised that it could come out to play again on our next adventure.

So, we are off again on the weekend - heading to a rodeo and the annual family golf tournament. With a bit of luck I'll be able to get *someone* to hold the darned thing and let me take a picture!

As for the project itself, for those that have asked, it's a freebie from gazette94. I'm stitching it with plain old DMC (550 & 3821) on a hand-dyed fabric from Enchanting Lair called Passion Myst.


 Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jog....

Well, we made it home late last night after a relatively nice week at the cottage. The weather wasn't the greatest - I think there's something horribly wrong with wearing jeans and sweaters in the middle of July! - but we did manage to enjoy ourselves nonetheless.

I noticed that Silverlotus received the blog giveaway prize that I sent her just before we headed north. I still can't believe how long it took me to get my act together - I did the drawing way back in February! Thankfully Heather has some serious patience!

You see, I have had the good fortune to have met Silverlotus a few times over the years and while I fully admit that I don't know her well, I felt a real urge to attempt to make something personal and not just stitch any old thing. That's where all the problems started. :-) It was hard to decide on a project and then even harder to get the thing stitched and finished. Then I half changed my mind and stitched something else entirely and attempted to finish that. Then I couldn't decide, so I sent both things. I wanted to include some other fun things too, so I did some serious snooping around Silverlotus' blog and tried hard to come up with a few things that would make her happy. The end result took far too long, but I think the end product was worth it. Here's some pictures (there's more on Silverlotus' blog too - go look!):

This is only the second tape measure cover I've ever made and while it's not perfect, I'm relatively happy with the end product. This is the over-one project that I was working on some time ago that was giving me fits! I think I started and re-started the darned thing at least 3 or 4 times before I finally got it to work. I found the pattern in a stash dive and thought Heather would like it.

Here's the back of the tape measure:

Then came the second project:

I found this freebie on-line somewhere, but darned if I can find it now. I played with some Dinky-dyes that I had in my stash (I know, hardly a surprise, right?). The finishing on this gave me fits to no end - I've never attempted something heart-shaped before. I did discover the merits of photocopying though - I copied the finished piece and then drew a heart shape around it that was slightly larger and used that as a template to cut out the mat board I used to mount everything. Sounds simple, right? Well, it was downhill all the way from there though. :-) I stupidly cut the stitched heart too small (I have a math degree, but apparently don't have any ability to actually *use* those skills.... *sigh*), so I had to fiddle with the heart shape and it's smaller than I originally intended. However, it did come together for me in the end. Naturally, I'm not entirely happy with the finished piece, but then I rarely am. I'm probably being too critical, particularly because this was a gift. Anyway, it's done now and in Heather's hands....

Here's the back of the heart:

And the rest of the toys I sent:

Just a few things from her wish list and some cute little finger puppets that I had put away for just the right little person.

I'm very happy she seems to like what I've done.

I have an update on the Traveling project's adventures from last week, but that will have to wait for another post - the laundry pile is threatening to overwhelm the house and I'd better attend to that right away!


 Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's ready...

It's on the Q-snap, it got a brand new pretty bag to carry it around, methinks my travelling project is ready for action!


 Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In which much is accomplished in a short time....

Since my last post, I really got down to business and I'm happily surprised at just how much I have managed to accomplish in the last week...

First off, I finished the model I was doing for X's and Oh's. While this piece is not to my personal taste, I did find the fabric choice wonderful and it certainly stitched up quickly. I accepted this project after the original model stitcher was unable to complete it due to a family crisis. Luckily we stitch in the same direction (I had visions of my having to rotate the project 90 degrees and stitch sideways, but thankfully that didn't happen!). I'd share a picture, but the piece hasn't been released yet. I think it's scheduled for September, but maybe since I finished it a good month ahead of schedule it'll get released sooner. Either way, it's done and back in the designer's hands, safe and sound. Yipee!!!

In celebration of finishing the model, I immediately stitched up two small things since I was in a 'get-it-finished' mood:

Princess of Perpetual Projects by Cross Stitch Happy
Stitched on random hand-dyed from Enchanting Lair with Dinky-Dyes Moonie Ponds

I have no idea what the thread count is on the fabric - I found it in a stash dive and it was unlabelled. I know I got it from Laura at Enchanting Lair though (as an aside, is there anyone but me buying Laura's fabrics? They're stunning!!!!!). It's really pretty. I hope to turn this into a little pillow of some kind and hang it by my stitching spot. It suits me to a 'T'. It just needs a little sparkly tiara or something that will glitter to really finish it off.

Next up:

Link from Legend of Zelda
Designed by DS#1 (stitched by Mom)

On 14-ct perforated paper with DMC

This little piece was drawn out, coloured and floss chosen by my oldest DS. It occurred to him recently that cross stitch charts kinda look like 8-bit pictures that he's seen on the 'net of various Nintendo characters. He then asked if I would stitch him something if he drew it out. So, a little time with his coloured pencils, some graph paper and my DMC colour card and voila! Link in all his glory. I think DS did a great job. Maybe I've got my own little designer on my hands.... :-)

My urge to finish things had me rummaging in the stitched-but-not-finished pile and I dragged out 3 things. Here's what I've been doing with them:

This is Here Be Dragons by Dragon Dreams. I stitched this piece many years ago when it was offered as a class at the CreativFestival (although it was called the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival back then....). It has sat in my pile of projects since then and I had a sudden urge to *do* something with it. So, I made it into a flat fold. Here's some pictures of the side and back:

I had found the dragon fabric ages ago and easily put it together with Here Be Dragons. I didn't have enough of it to do the inside of the flat fold with it, so the insides are just a simple dark blue fabric. I'm quite happy with how this turned out.

Then I tripped over these two pieces:

Now these two pieces aren't completely finished as I didn't have the right kind of ribbon or fibre to make cording in my stash. I'll rectify that later today. These two pieces are old as the hills though - they're my first pieces on an evenweave as opposed to Aida. I don't remember precisely where the designs came from, but I think they're from a book. I'll need to do a little rummage and see what I find. I could also tell the age of this piece simply from the new-stitcher mistake I made on them - they edges of the fabric were masking taped! They've left a few yellow marks on the fabric, but I cut that off before I made these up.

I'm going to add ribbon and a hanger to these and give them to my mother. She loves these pieces and has done for years. I don't know why I've waited so long to do something with them and give them to her.

Finally, something Silverlotus said in her blog not long ago has inspired me a bit. She's right in that we, as stitchers, do need some kind of Public Awareness League. Our craft is declining in popularity and I really this it's up to us, as stitchers to try and do something about it. It needs to be visible or folks just won't catch on to what an awesome thing needlework is. I've no desire to become a needlework celebrity(!?!), but I do have a desire to share my passion. To that end, I'm going to start this:

What's so special about starting another project, you might ask? Well, this isn't just going to be any old project pulled from my rather embarassingly large stash. It's going to be my travelling project. For however long this might take (it's not exactly a *small* project), this project is going to travel with me when I leave home. It'll be stitched on while I'm away from home and I'm going to try to document it's travels (something akin to the Yarn Harlot's travelling sock).

Tomorrow we leave for the cottage for a week so my project will have it's first adventure in the 'real' world. I will put in a few stitches today whilst at home, just so I don't waste time figuring out where to start.

This could be interesting....


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