Monday, December 31, 2007
TA DAH! TAST Weeks 51 and 52
Extreme thanks go out to SharonB ( http://sharonb.wordpress.com) for all her hard work finding and photographing stitches for us to play with all year long. It must have been an incredible lot of effort for her and I want her to know how very much I appreciate all she does. I have learned so much since discovering her site and know that I will continue to do so. Thanks Sharon!
Happy 2008 to all!
The past few days I have just vegged out with my nose either in a book (quite literally) or staring vacantly into space, eating the odd bon bon (because we all know they have expiry dates and have to be eaten up, up, up!). Actually have read three books in two days - two by James Patterson and 'For One More Day' by Mitch Albom. As I expected, 'Day' now resides in my top ten list of favourite books. Last night I started 'Bleachers' by John Grisham and expect to finish it sometime today.
January has always been a month of a combination of reading and cleaning for me. I guess I inherited the cleaning urge from my mother, because she always did what she called a 'T-10' (translated to mean THROW IT OUT) in January. There was never a spring or fall housecleaning when I was growing up, but watch out in January.! If you stood still for too long, you were liable to be out with the trash.
I've signed up for two new experiences in 2008 and am really looking forward to them. Arlee is running a round robin entitled 'Exquisite Corpse' which is sounding really fun. SharonB has another fibre challenge running for the year on her blog and, because I had so much fun with TAST I've signed on to do that too. I have plans to do a lot more crazy quilting in 2008 and a lot more in the creative-artsy line too. I hope to continue using up my stash and trying very hard not to buy everything new thing I see, because most of the time it just gets stored somewhere and never used.
As for New Years resolutions...nada. Don't believe in them, at least for me, because I know full well it won't last. The only wish I have for the new year is that all my friends have a happy, healthy and safe year. Thank you for all the lovely comments you've made on my blog over the past year - I treasure all of them and appreciate your interest.
Happy 2008 to you and yours!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Groan, Burp, Gasp...oh WHY?????
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Happy Christmas to all!
Our festivities will be interesting this year. We start by collecting Son#2 on the night of the 21st. His girlfriend and her parents will be arriving on the 23rd. Her parents are from France and speak about as much English as we do French (none!). That should make things fun! Christmas day we will have my DH's brother and son, along with our friends, who originally come from Austria and England. We'll have a league of nations! Then we take Son#2 back on Dec 26th (Carole & her parents will leave then too) and trade him for Son#1- who has to work on Christmas day. We'll have him home until the 28th. His girlfriend will be spending Christmas with her father, so we'll be having another Christmas celebration with her sometime in January. Whew! Lots of festivities (AND food!!) for us.
I sincerely hope you and yours will have a blessed, happy and healthy Christmas. Stay safe.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
TAST - Weeks 49 and 50
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Presents and Slow Crafting
Friday, December 14, 2007
Knitting bag finished
A footnote to yesterday's post - I was totally unaware that white Christmas cactuses (cacti?) were rare. Now I have another reason to appreciate it! Thanks for leaving a comment to let me know.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
That * * * * Plant!!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Christmas decorations and Pillow
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I got a few more parcels wrapped today but won't bother showing you a picture of that! I also have the knitted pillow pretty much done and hopefully will be able to show you the end result in the next couple of days.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I'm definitely going down for the last time.....
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I thought not.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The Letter 'K' - Yet More Knitting Content
Today I'll visit the letter K, which leads me directly into knitting. It's not something I can say I'm good at (yet) but I'm getting better with practice. At least I've reached the point where if I make a mistake the chances are now 50/50 that I'll not have to rip it all out and start again!
Here's a number of good sites for free patterns which you might like to visit if you're not already familiar with them:
- www.knitomatic.com/freebies.html This is a Canadian site and lots of free patterns are available here
- http://oldmillknitting.com/retail.htm This site lists a large number of yarn shops, mainly in Canada with links to those that have web sites.
- http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory.php Lots and lots of free patterns available through this site!
- www.charitablecrafters.org/knitting.htm Again, all sorts of free patterns.
- www.LionBrand.com A wonderful resource with tons of free patterns and really good knitting instructions
- also, if you Google search a particular brand of yarn, the chances are quite good that they have a site and more than likely have free patterns using their yarns
- http://masondixonknitting.com This blog is written by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shaye who are the authors of Mason Dixon Knitting
- http://the-panopticon.blogspot.com This one is written by a male knitter, with a sense of humour
- www.yarnharlot.ca The infamous Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, hilarious author of At Knit's End; Yarn Harlot - The Secret Life of a Knitter; Knitting Rules!; and Stephanie-Pearl McPhee Casts Off. I believe she has a new book due out in the spring with another to follow next fall and, quite possibly, a calendar too.
AND - ANOTHER K, but not knitting related is http://kittyandmedesigns.blogspot.com Pam is a prolific embroiderer and does the most beautiful things. Well worth checking her out on a daily basis!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Knitting content? This blog has knitting content?
For those of you who don't have the magazine, the top and bottom of the pillow are done in seed stitch, with St st in the middle - which in turn gets duplicate stitched with his initials. This is for a friend who just got his first lazy boy chair which is crying out for a special pillow.
Monday, December 03, 2007
TAST - Weeks 47 and 48 and 'J'
Week 48 is the Knotted Cable Chain stitch, also new to me. It took a bit of work for me to get into the rhythm of the stitch but once I did, I liked it. Both of these stitches are ones I will do again, with pleasure.
Today I will also visit the letter 'J'. I thought long and hard about what I could talk about that involved that letter and realized the bestest thing is Jack - my husband of 27 years. What can I say, other than he's the most wonderful present I ever got. We actually met around Christmastime about 29 years ago - his sister introduced us. It didn't take me long to realize he was 'the one', but he resisted mightily. He's fourteen years older than I so he had this problem with believing he was too old for me. It took some doing to convince him otherwise!! He treats me like a queen. He cooks, he cleans - what more could I ask for!
Further on the letter 'J' - how about the jobs I've held over the years?
- I began when I was 14 with volunteering at the little local library, doing typing, filing and such. Had to ride my bike about 5 miles to get to the library, so I must have been dedicated.
- in high school I worked for the head of the commercial department doing typing, which led to a few short-term placements throughout grade 12 at various businesses. I actually spent about as much time out of school as I did in.
- I graduated at 16 and immediately got a job as a secretary at a new high school which was opening that September. I worked half days as the person who did most of the printing/duplicating for the school and the other half days as the secretary in the library. It was quite stressful because they really needed a full-time person doing the printing and I ended up working most of my lunch hours and staying late to keep caught up. The day they told me they were planning to add doing the secretarial work for the guidance office was the day I quit. Funny thing, they had to hire two people to do what I was doing before I left!
- from there I worked as a secretary for an insurance adjuster, which was a job I loved. Unfortunately the work load slackened and it came down to the boss keeping his wife on or me. You can guess which one he had to let go.
- then began my work in the CIBC (which was known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce then). First I worked in a tiny little branch in my hometown and then transferred to a much larger branch in the city. That was just about the time that Jack and I were beginning to date and decided to get married. So...I transferred back to the town I live in now and worked there for four and a half years putting all my earnings into our first house. Once the mortgage was paid off, I quit in order to raise our sons.
- once the boys were in school full time I took over an established route with Avon and did that for about eight years building my business up to over a hundred customers. It was exhausting doing all the running and it seemed I spent most of my life in the car. Once the boys left home, I quit and have been enjoying staying home ever since.
There, that probably constitutes too much information about me!!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Random-ness (maybe even some mumbling)
SharonB has announced the challenge for 2008 and the information can be found here: http://sharonb.wordpress.com/take-it-further-challenge/ I won't go into detail here, but if you're interested check out the link and you can read more. I think my personal challenge will be to create a crazy-quilted block of the month and use the wonderful cigarette silks my friend Jan gave me. Maybe 8" squares so they might be do-able in a month. I'll have to give this some more thought before I fully decide.
Lisa Vollrath is doing her Christmas countdown of images on her site at http://countdown.tentwostudios.com starting December 1st and running for the entire month. She is very generous and I think you can count on some pretty cool freebies from her.
Have you ever wondered if you are right or left brained? Can't say as I've stayed up nights thinking about it or anything, but here's a little test you can do... http://tinyurl.com/2zp5rk
Listened to a pod-cast interview of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot) today and it seems she will have a new book out in the spring, with another to follow in the fall. There's also talk of a page-a-day calendar in the works. Her blog is at www.yarnharlot.ca
And a reminder that http://sewmamasew.com/blog has some interesting links to quickie gift ideas which has been going on all of November.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
All about "I"
I will tell you all about the things I like (some of which you might know, some of which you might not).
-Chocolate. Dark, decadent, succulent, top of the food groups, chocolate.
-Books. Craft books, novels, how to's, organizational books, self help books, biographies, even the back of cereal boxes.
- Satsuma bubble bath from The Body Shoppe. Oh to just inhale the scent direct from the bottle. Totally sublime.
- Scalloped potatoes. Actually pretty much any kind of potato is good but I particularly love scalloped. One of the ten best comfort foods (almost as good as chocolate).
- Purple, and blue, and burgundy. Red too. I'm a 'winter' so that probably explains why I really like those colours.
- Dogs and cats, as long as they're kept under control and not running loose
- carnations and orchids. Single old-fashioned roses too.
- The library, because it has such a wonderful selection of books (see above)
- People, because they are so diverse and many of them are so very interesting
- my town and my country. I would not want to live anywhere else in the world.
I'm sure there is a lot more, but that's all I can come up with for now.
On another note, thanks Arlee for the suggestion in the comments yesterday that I consider making bags for the homeless shelter in order to use up my denim. Great idea!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I promised a picture of some of the ornaments I've given over the years. Here are some of them (there's more, but I didn't want to totally bore you!). One of them is from my 'ceramics' phase (the santa at the bottom of the picture). The round ball and the pine cone were another phase I went through (thankfully I got over that one). The three little wooden snowmen were mini-swags I made one year. The santa to the right of the swag is made from paper using an image from Dover Publications. If I remember rightly I printed him off on the computer, antiqued him, stuffed him lightly and stitched around the outside.
The final picture shows three cross-stitched santas (which I think was originally a kit, but can't remember for sure). The santa with the rabbit in the basket was one of the hand painted on wood ones which were just too time-consuming for words. Finally the felt snowman, which is pretty self-explanatory from the picture.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In which Magpie shall mumble...again
So....guess what? I shall mumble!
I just finished catching up on SharonB's site (http://sharonb.wordpress.com) and have discovered a few interesting topics, which I will pass along. Firstly, she has pointed us to a rather fun blog about to-do lists (we all have them, right?). Anyway, check out http://www.todolistblog.com for some fun reading.
Sharon has had some very interesting discussion about blogs themselves lately and her most recent post concerns comments and why people do/don't use them. I found her unofficial survey results to be very interesting and think you might too. Check out her site (listed above) and scroll down for the Nov. 21 entry titled "Response to Comments".
She has also been discussing what sort of challenge will replace our Take A Stitch Tuesdays we've been doing all year. If you're interested in voting on what we might be doing, scroll down further on her site to the post titled 'Take A Stitch Tuesday - Week 47".
Another site I've stumbled on is at http://sewmamasew.com/blog where you can find all sorts of patterns for all sorts of areas of crafting...a different 'topic' each day this month.
I guess winter must be here because when we came home late this afternoon it was attempting to sleet. Yuck, yuck, and yuck. The weather report is calling for some heavy snow tonight so I would just like to curl up with a good book and stay in. However, that's not to be because we are headed out again tonight. Sigh. I wish I was a bear and could just hibernate and sleep through the entire thing. Zzzzzzz.....
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Birds of a feather!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
And another one bites the dust!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
And the stockings were hung....
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
TAST - Weeks 45 & 46
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The Letter 'H'
H is for house and here's the picture of the front of ours. The two blobs in the front of it are NO (ahem) relation!!
H is for helmet liners. And why, you ask, would I be interested in helmet liners? One of the mailing lists I belong to (knitting content) was talking about the need for warm knitted liners for the soldiers to wear under their helmets. It gets very cold and they need the small comfort of something they can wear underneath. I'm sure the comfort also comes from the thought that someone cared enough to make them something. Right now I'm trying to find a place in Canada that gets them to where they're needed. I know I can send them to the US, but I think our soldiers must need them too. If you're interested in the pattern and in finding out more check out: http://www.geocities.com/helmetliner/
H is for Huh! What's with this weather we're having right now? It's NOVEMBER for cryin out loud. It's CANADA. We're supposed to be cold. We're supposed to have snow by now. These double-digit temps are just not right. I'm not a fan of winter, but even I know that this isn't healthy. Global warming...bah!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Oh Futz! That's an F word, right?
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The best laid plans...
Can someone explain to me how one person could manage to get herself bogged down in knitting projects when that person had been heard to say in no uncertain terms that she would NEVER have more than one project on the needles? And why would that person think (in her wildest fantasies) that she could possibly knit all these projects up in time for Christmas when she knits the speed of a turtle? No, don't bother telling me that the tortoise won the race!
Can that same someone come up with any ideas as to why that same one person could manage to futz so much time on a ridiculous box that has no bearing on anything needing to be done in the near future. Better yet, can someone suggest anything to remove too much gold leafing from said box?
Any someones out there want to come and help that one person knit??
Monday, November 05, 2007
Of snakes, and suppers, and kids
We had the greatest supper too (it pays to have a son who's a good chef!). Rack of lamb, fingerling potatoes, a wonderful leek soup, mushrooms in sauce, a homemade mint sauce, and a purely decadent chocolate banana crepe for dessert. Yum!! It was even nicer because #2 son was there too, so we got to see them both. All in all, a great evening!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
TAST - Weeks 43 & 44
Thursday, November 01, 2007
The letter E
Sorry to say, there are no pictures today because the box pretty much looks the same in a picture as it did yesterday. I've dry-brushed it with purple and am now ready for the gold leaf which I hope to get done tomorrow.
So...we will visit the letter E today:
1. 'E'mbroidery! My absolute favourite. My library sports lots of books on the subject, a few of which I will list here.....two books by Judith Baker Montano - 'Elegant Stitches' and 'Floral Stitches'; 'Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches' by Carole Samples; 'Quilt Savvy - Embroidery Stitches' by Joan Waldman; 'Stumpwork Embroidery' by Jane Nicholas; and 'Embroidery Illusions' by Gary Clarke. I love them all! And, of course, I can't discuss embroidery without re-mentioning the wonderful Sharon Boggins and her site http://sharonb.wordpress.com/ She has what has to be THE most thorough how-to's on stitching on the internet (or anywhere, for that matter). Another free source for some interesting embroidery (leaning toward crazy quilting) is the on-line magazine at http://cqmagonline.com/
2. Further on embroidery (notice my obsession?) - I collect patterns and stitches (and combinations) and have quite an extensive file. Someday I might even be able to use a small portion of it (should I live that long!).
3. 'E' is for empty, which is what my head is at the moment. Surely there must be other 'e' words, but for the life of me I can't come up with any. I may have to re-visit the letter later on!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Halloween, Black Blobs, and Progress (maybe?)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Box Progress, Plant, and 'D'
Monday, October 29, 2007
"C"onscience!! That's a C word.
Yep, CONSCIENCE. That's what I'm suffering from at the moment. Everybody knows there's a 'date' coming in December when things need to be completed by. I know this. It happens every single year. So why on earth am I spending my time working on a box that has absolutely nothing to do with the deadline staring me in the face? And why am I enjoying it so much, despite that pesky little voice in my head telling me I'm sure to regret this waste of time - big time. Picture of progress is included.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Box progress and 'B'
Yesterday I got my 'invitation' to join Ravelry, which I am given to understand is THE invitation of the year. I hopped on over there, and have to admit that I am disappointed. All the hype led me to expect marvels and so far I have yet to find any. Sure, there are free patterns, but there are far more on the Lion Brand website. I'm not a huge lover of forums, so can't really see much value in those - at least for me. I will continue to check it out and may have to revise my opinion, but for now, I'm not blown away. OK, world, go ahead and shoot me!
Today, I will visit the letter 'B'....
1. Books!! Of course. What else would I put at the top of my list? I have a love/hate relationship with them; I love reading them and looking at them, and hate the fact that there is never enough time to read all of them that are out there. I have a insatiable curiosity I guess!
2. An author I particularly like is David Baldacci (note the 'B' in his name). He writes really good mysteries and I have yet to read one that doesn't keep me guessing. Some of my other favourites include Mitch Albom (who wrote 'The Five People You Meet In Heaven' and 'Tuesdays With Morrie' - two books that top my all-time top 10 of books I've ever read); James Patterson; Stuart Woods; Nora Roberts; Kathy Reichs; JRR Tolkein; James Clavell; Jean Auel; and many, many more. I could go on listing names forever, but I will spare you that.
3. http://www.bookcrossing.com/ I know I've mentioned this site before but it deserves another mention. This site promotes literacy in a fun way. The premise is that once you've read a book you register it with the site and then 'release it into the wild' (ie. leave it in a public place). Inside the book you must write a tracking number, which is assigned by the site. The finder of the book (hopefully) will read it, report to the site, and then re-release it for someone else to enjoy. Some books have been totally around the world, which I find amazing. What a fun way to encourage reading - and it's free too!
4. http://sharonb.wordpress.com/ I know that I keep telling you about this blog, but it's one you really need to visit if you are the least bit interested in the world of needlearts. Sharon B is one of the most knowledgeable people about the subject and very generously shares what she knows.
5. http://beadjournalproject.blogspot.com/ Again, I know I've mentioned this one before too. If you are interested in beading, check it out for a year-long project involving beaded journaling.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Brown Paper Packages NOT (quite) tied up in String
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Notes & Mumbles
1. I will be starting a 'series' of posts on my blog concerning the 'A-Z of Me' for those days when I have nothing in particular of interest to natter on about. The idea came to me from the following blog site: http://belladia.typepad.com/ Be sure to check her out, because she makes some pretty cool things! She has very nicely given me permission to use her idea on my blog too. Thank you Cassi!
2. Another site of interest: http://www.bloomingthreads.info/embroidery.htm
3. I can't remember if I mentioned this site before, however... http://philinthecircle.com/art.html His art is out of this world!
4. Anyone interested in the current scumbling craze, check out http://www.crochet.nu/scjwc/workshops/index.html
5. http://birdloversonly.blogspot.com/2007/09/may-i-have-this-dance.html for something funny
6. Went to a new dentist today. Never had a more thorough cleaning of my teeth in my life..and they're still not done! I couldn't believe it. Of course now that we have to pay for it (and not get it 'free' through a medical plan) might be making a difference. Certainly has eaten a rather largish hole in our meagre coffers and more to come, but at least not until after Christmas. I guess I should be happy about that.