Monday, April 30, 2007

Finish Twenty-One

And it's about darn tootin' time too!

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This is Quilt Time Sampler by Little House Needleworks. It was stitched on 32 count Country French Latte Linen with DMC floss.

I never thought this project would come to an end! You should have seen me last night, I was quite a sight :o) My determination and dislike for this project gave me the strength to stay up late and complete this WIP. It was just under the wire too! At 11:30 pm, I was sitting on the couch in a zombie-like state (from being over tired) with a sense of euphoria (from my new Fibro drug); unable to do a happy dance because of the pre-existing states I was in. LOL! Needless to say, I am one happy camper today though! Getting rid of that project feels so liberating!

So, what's next? I'm not 100% sure. Since I feel off the wagon, my plans have changed somewhat. I have decided to revamp my Marquoir Sampler. Every time I opened that project, it just kept reminding me of Christmas and that was not the effect I wanted. I was originally using DMC 520, 815, 3790 and 3865 but thanks to a member of one of my groups, I will be changing to the colors to DMC 167, 3051, 3858 and Anchor 390. I think this should give me the antique look that I was trying to aim for. The not-so-good part of the revamp means I will be doing some frogging :o( Yuck!

I really do want to get another WIP off my list but we'll see how much of a priority that is by the end of the week ;o) Gathering Eggs has been gathering a lot of dust and I'd say she's about 2/3 of the way done. The same with Giggles but I don't know if I want to stitch a Christmas design right now.

My desire to dive into a huge project is very strong. I have two afghans, one L&L and one Mirabilia that I want to stitch but I can't decide where to start. I think the afghans will be put aside until the fall though. With the warmer weather on the horizon, I really don't need the extra heat. So...that leaves me with two to choose from. Okay, I'm going to ask for your help then. Which project should I pick up next - Lady Of The Thread by L&L or Stargazer by Mirabilia? Leave me your vote in the comment section and later on I'll see who wins out ;o)

Sunday, April 29, 2007


What's that you ask? That's me, officially falling off the wagon. Yes, I can no longer deny it, my will is just too weak and the dark force is just too strong. It has pulled me in with all of those colorful fabrics, twinkling beads, silky threads and must do designs. Let's not leave out all the enablers, whether they realize they are guilty or not ;o)

I have to admit that when I made the decision to do this challenge, I never thought that I would make it almost halfway. I started out pretty focused though but now I can feel it side tracking quite a bit. I'm not sure if it's the warmer weather, the fact that I don't really have a huge project on the go or maybe it's just all the stress that I have been under.

So now I'm officially stepping down from The 50 Project Challenge. My legal department, namely Shannon, can no longer find any extra clauses or exceptions that would still let me qualify for the project. I have strayed quite a ways from the rules and regulations. The Bunny Clause and The Charity/Donations Exception can only go so far ;o)

In the end, I have still saved money and that was one of the main things I was striving for. I also stitched up quite a few charts that I've wanted to do for a while now but just never got around to. Plus the fact that I already have twenty projects under my belt and that definitely helps the year-end total.

My goals for the rest of the year will remain somewhat the same though. I will refrain from spending a lot of money on stash, I will keep working on my WIPs and 2007 Goal List and I will still dig in that bottomless drawer of mine to search out other patterns that are hidden in its depths :o)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wrinkles Aren't Just A Sign Of Aging

As I was putting away two weeks worth of clean clothes this morning, two thoughts came to mind. One, I was glad that they were piled on the spare bed instead of the floor this time and two, how much I hated wrinkles. There is nothing that I detest more than wrinkled clothing or fabric. Yes, I have always been that anal ;o)

Back before the Fibro zapped all of the energy out of me, I used to always iron my clothes before I wore them. Always. Every piece. Okay, not my socks, bra and underwear but you get the picture :o) If my clothes weren't ironed before I wore then, I would feel frumpy and disheveled. Now, I rarely iron my clothes but only because I have found a quicker, less exhaustive way of getting my clothes wrinkle free. Enter the dryer :o)

Clothes aside, I feel the same way about my stitching fabric. I absolutely LOVE when shops keep their fabric as wrinkle free as possible. There used to be a shop in Moncton, that is now closed, and Barb kept her fabrics in such a lovely, organized way. I rarely bought my fabric elsewhere because just looking at those crisp pieces of linen was enough to drive a girl to heaven :o) She even surged around the fabric so that all the ends were nice and neat. Sigh! Barb, I "really" miss you!

I have yet to find a shop that keeps their fabric at this high level of excellence. I've found a few that come close so I guess I will just have to settle for that for now. On the other hand, I have been into shops that have fabric everywhere. And I mean e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! The scene looks like something out of a horror movie. Instead of bodies lying everywhere, it's fabric. I just cringe when I think of how that lovely fabric is treated :o( Two years ago I finally got to visit one of the "very popular and most talked about" cross stitch store and I was horrified to see their fabric literally dumped into plastic bins. I still can't erase the awful pictures in my head.

I store my fabric in drawers and I try to keep them as wrinkle free as possible. Now unless you have huge drawers, there are always going to be some creases and that's understandable. Before I start a project though, I always iron my fabric. Again, anal I know, but if I'm going to spend days looking at this project, I don't want to be seeing a piece of frumpy material in my hands. LOL! Does anyone do this as well? Does anyone share my anal retentive ways?

At least I can say that I haven't reached the level of sorting my fabric by color. Not yet anyway ;o)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Itchin' To Stitch

Whew! I'm still trying to catch my breath from last week! I told the girls they are going to have to wheel me around in a wheelchair the next time we do something like that. Hey, it might be fun! For me anyway ;o)

I was looking at my journal last night and I realized that I haven't stitched for two weeks! Can you imagine? I think the second longest time I have gone without stitching was back in May of last year when I had a real bad case of vertigo for a week :o( It will be nice to get back into the groove of things again.

To be fair though, the reason for the first week off was because I was doing some sewing :o) Do you remember when I said I had a surprise for the girls? Well, I finally put what my MIL taught me to good use and I made them each a reversible bag. Although I'm not gifted for putting two patterned fabrics together, I'm quite impressed with my results. Katie's bag had a scrapbooking theme with a matching dark green interior and buttons with a stitched look -

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For Faith Ann's, I went with a lovely floral pattern that I've had for a while now but didn't know what to do with. Her purse is lined with a lovely lilac color and her buttons are pearly white flowers -

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On the stitching side of things, I have gone back to my Quilt Time Sampler by LHN and I'm determined to get this done and out of the way. I'm not very fond of this piece and if I don't finish it now, I fear I never will. This is my progress to date -

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My goal is to finish this one, work some more on one of my WIP pieces, stitch a few smaller pieces I've been anxious to do and then maybe start a big project again. I've been eyeing a few. Who knew it would be so hard to pick!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Shop 'Till You Drop Or...Puke?

As you may have noticed (and thanks for all the concern from those who did!) I have not posted since I went on my trip to Maine with the girls. It seems there was a bit of a glitch with my awesome plan to use shopping therapy as a way to push aside all the stress that has been overwhelming me at the moment. Even though I had a TERRIFIC weekend, my body thought otherwise and decided to finally surrender :o( I guess things just accumulated enough to drive my immune system down and I caught a bug somewhere. I have to say that I have not puked like that in a long time but the good news is, I think I lost a bit of weight! LOL! Well, at least I lost whatever I put on that weekend ;o)

So I bet you are all wondering how the weekend went! Were you on pins and needles all week? :o) Let's see, where to begin...the weather had us guessing right up until the last minute whether we were going or not. We got a nice (NOT!) snowstorm on Friday and by Saturday morning, everything was white but at least the roads were clear. I, somehow, made it out of the house on time, picked up Katie and got to Faith Ann's shortly after 7 am. We all piled into Faith Ann's car and we hit the new four-lane highway all the way up to the border crossing. The guard must have eaten her Wheaties that morning because she was pretty friendly and soon had us through. I knew my trip was going to be great after finding a Coke slushie at our first stop! Gooooooood slushie!

Since we had quite a list of places to hit, we decided to forfeit going to the new fiber store in Orono. It wasn't a full-fledged cross-stitch store anyway. We were really liking the idea of getting to Jo-Ann's Fabrics and AC Moore with our 40% off coupons ;o) We graced our presence at Old Navy and Khols before we hit the Olive Garden for lunch. I have never been to an Olive Garden but I'm SO glad (NOT!) that Faith Ann suggested it. Wow! They have some nicely prepared pasta dishes with loads of flavor. I kept wondering why people were leaving with bags full of food and now I know why!

We checked into the hotel and then we decided that the mall was the best place to walk off all of that food. All three of us, finally, found a pair of Mary Jane Crocs and I absolutely LOVE mine! They are soooooo comfortable :o) We also made stops at the Burlington Coat Factory, Wal Mart, Borders and Toys R Us. I was pretty satisfied to find my Mr. Potato Head parts. For supper, it was unanimous that we go to Ruby Tuesdays. Their ribs are delicious but their Strawberry Lemonade was the real winner! Good thing I can't drink alcohol at the moment and therefore mine was a virgin ;o)

A bed never looked so good as it did Saturday night! I think I read for about ten minutes and then it was lights out for me. I was still in the same position when I woke up the next morning, lol! The hotel had a very nice continental breakfast with lots to choose from. We made a few more stops before heading for home. Target and Shaws were great places for me to spend my money at and I pretty much found everything that I was hoping to, along with a few extras :o) I'm still desperately searching for Slice though! Since there are no more Friendly's restaurants in Bangor, I was more than delighted to find their sundays at the grocery store. I had a big grin on my face when I got back to the car with my Peanut Butter Cup Sunday, let me tell you! With three happy but exhausted women in front of him, the cute guard at the border just waved us on by. It pays to be a girl sometimes ;o)

So I bet you are all wondering what I bought! Details, you want details! LOL! I have to admit that I was very good and very restrained. I had a set limit and I ended up coming home with $6.19 US :o) Aside from the items mentioned above, I stocked up on some more DMC floss but didn't really buy my normal bagful. I was extremely happy to find my Alphabet Afghan by Charles Craft and I got it 40% to boot! The doggy steps that I bought for Brie were another bonus. I think she was a little miffed that what I bought her wasn't food although she did try to eat the steps. I'm embarrassed to admit but most of my purchases were food items :o) I got Hershey Cinnamon Baking Chips, Land O Lakes Raspberry & Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix, Country Time Lemonade, Country Time Lemonade Ice Tea, Country Time Lemonade On The Go Packs, IBC Root Beer, Pringles Cinnamon Sweet Potato Crisps, Bakers Dark Dipping Chocolate, Kashi TLC Honey Almond Flax Bars, Del Monte Sun Fresh Citrus Salad and Archer Farms Milk Chocolate Pretzel Clusters.

Whew! I bet you are exhausted just reading this. Well, imagine actually living it ;o) Today has been the first day that I have truly been even remotely interested in the computer so I thought I would update my Blog since this reaches the most people. I will be slowly catching up this coming week so please be patient; I will get back to you! It's good to be back among the living again :o) Seriously!

Friday, April 13, 2007

USA Bound

That's right! In less than 12 hours, the girls and I head for Maine for a weekend of shopping. Woohoo! Little do they know but I have a bit of a surprise for them :o)

See everyone on Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm So Excited...

...and I just can't hide it!

Today I gave an interview. That's right, an interview :o) Not just for a local newspaper this time but for a magazine. Yup, a magazine that is distributed all over North America! How cool is that! Do I have your attention? ;o)

Last September I was in the drug store picking up a prescription when I decided to check out the magazine selection before I left. A bright pink cover caught my eye and when I looked closer, I noticed that it was a magazine solely geared towards breast cancer. The name...Beyond - Live & Thrive After Breast Cancer -

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Seeing that this was a new concept that I had never seen before, it peaked my interest and I bought it. Well, I think it's one of the few magazines that I have actually read from cover to cover and enjoyed every minute doing so. I was so impressed, in fact, that I emailed them and shared my story. Months went by though and I got no response.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was in the same drug store picking up another prescription and what do I see among the magazines but another issue of Beyond! Of course I picked it up immediately and added it to my purchases. Again, it proved itself to be just as well put together as the premier issue. Even DH was reading it!

It must have been fate because this past Monday I received a response from the magazine :o) Michele Meyer is a freelance writer for Beyond and she is doing an article called Dancing With The Fear. She wanted to talk to me about my experience so today we talked on the phone and I shared my most intimate worries and fears with her. What a wonderful person she is too. She must have a very good sense of humor because while talking to me, she got a taste of my twisted funny side :o)

So, the article is going to appear in the fall issue of Beyond. Woohoo! As much as I hate this winter weather that WE ARE HAVING IN SPRING (anyone listening!), I almost want to will the summer away so I can read the finished product. From what I have learned, the magazine is being published twice a year. I don't see an actual website for the magazine but they do have one where you can order the back issue.

Now to start counting down the months ;o)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On This Day Three Years Ago...

A little bundle of joy was born :o)

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This was Brie the day we arrived home with her. She was SO tiny! Resilient though! DH and I kept stepping on her and jamming her in doors. We weren't used to having something that small following us everywhere :o)

To this day I still say that she is smarter than DH and I combined. While she was in her puppy stage and still being housebroken, we gated off the small hallway off the kitchen and placed her kennel under the set tub, because both of us where working at the time. One day I came home and Brie wasn't in her kennel area. The baby gate was still up and there was no way she could have gotten under, over or around it. I eventually found her curled up in my pile of clothes in the bedroom :o) It took some time but we finally found that she had chewed through the thick plastic mesh of the baby gate. If not inspected closely, the baby gate still looked intact. Well, this was quickly remedied. DH replaced the plastic mesh with a metal mesh. We figured that would stop any further escapes. Or so we thought...

I got home from work one night and DH was waiting there for me, looking quite sternly. He asked me why I didn't put Brie into her kennel area before I left for work. He stated that when he got home, she was out and about and there was good evidence of this. I was shocked because putting her away before I left was surely something I would remember to do. So again, we found ourselves wondering how she escaped this time. The gate was intact. She couldn't fit under or around the gate. There was no bloody way she had jumped over the gate! We sat perplexed.

Finally, DH suggested that we put her in the kennel area and see if she would repeat the act. She just sat there behind the gate looking at us. So we started calling her name. She would just up against the gate but there was no way she would have been able to jump clearly over it. Then we tried toys. Again, she did the same thing. Then, as DH and I sat in the kitchen with complete blank looks on our faces, we watched as our brainchild hopped onto her kennel and then over the gate. We were dumbfounded! I'm a little biased but I think she got her intelligence from my side of the family ;o)

So Brie...Happy Birthday my little hot dog!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To Retreat Or Not To Retreat

Yes, that is the question…

Every year, for the past seven years, I have attended a stitching retreat at Camp Wildwood. It’s only about a two and a half hour drive from home so I consider it pretty local. The weekend consists of two nights and three days of stitching, shopping, eating and catching up with friends :o) It’s not The Ritz mind you but that’s fine with me because as long as I have a bed to sleep on, a chair so I can sit and stitch and a table that will hold my food, I’m a happy camper. LOL! The camp provides two or three meals a day plus two or three snacks in between. We even have the LNS set up there so we can indulge without even having to leave the lodge :o)

There are two retreats a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Women come from all over and on average there can be anywhere from 65 to 80 women. Yes, that’s a lot of female hormones in one place at the same time ;o) You should see the look on a husband’s face when one dares to come and pick up his wife! There are chairs, Ott-Lites, tables, totes, foot stools and extension cords e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! It really is quite a site. Many ladies have been coming there for far longer that I have but each year there are always a few newbies that are welcomed into the family.

At fall retreat we have an ornament exchange. It’s a wonderful way to start off the holiday season. A Christmas tree is put up and during the weekend, more and more stitched ornaments adorn the tree until the last day, when they come off and are presented to their new owners :o) In the spring we do another exchange but this can be anything that is stitched. It’s amazing the creativity of some of these ladies.

Each retreat, for as long as I can remember, we have joined together and held raffles and auctions. Most of the time the funds raised have been going towards breast cancer research but there have been other causes as well. The generosity of these ladies is amazing as we can usually bring in around $600 in one weekend! There have been a lot of tragedies and sad stories shared there but on the other hand, there are a lot of hugs available and shoulders to cry on.

Last week I received the email announcing our upcoming spring retreat and I have to be honest, it did not fill me with the usual excitement :o( The past few letters have gradually become colder but this one was completely void of warmth. New rules are being implemented and the price has increased again. This has not gone over well with me or some of the other gals that go. Two retreats a year has now become only one as some of us cannot afford to go to both now. And while I do understand why prices have to increase, there are other issues. Maybe it’s time for a change of hands.

So my answer is…no, I will not be attending spring retreat this year. Instead, Katie, Faith Ann, Flat Shannon and I are going on a trip! We are heading to Bangor, Maine for the weekend to do a little shopping, and more shopping and more shopping ;o) I’m sure we’ll fit food and sleep in there somewhere. LOL! As much as I shouldn’t be going, I really do need this time to unwind and forget about things, even if it’s only for a few days. I’m hoping that maybe we are starting our own spring tradition, something new to spruce up the old. Don’t worry though; the Ta-Ta Twins will still exist! We might even morph into the Ta-Ta Quadruplets ;o)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hippity Hop


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I hope the Easter Bunny finds everyone and spreads the joy of chocolate everywhere :o)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Twenty Down...30 More To Go!


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Woohoo! It's finally done! My completed Spring Snapperland by Bent Creek.

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One more pattern checked off of my 2007 list :o) As mentioned before, the original design called for brown flowers. This did not call out as spring to me so I made some changes to the border. I pulled the two lilac colors out of the individual boxes and used those as substitutions for the flowers. I'm quite happy with the effect it gives. Like the Winter Snapperland, I have developed a dislike for this project and I have no idea why. Maybe it's just too busy. I don't know. LOL!

DH and I just got back from a nice walk along the beach. The snow is still here but it's starting to melt. It's still cool out there too. I'm not feeling the best this weekend. As hard as I try to relax here, I'm still worrying about work and LTD. DH talked to our lawyer on Thursday and we were told that my file was going to be looked at by LTD at the end of next week or the first of the following week. Hopefully this whole thing is coming to an end because I am SO tired of it. The energy and anger I had that kept the fight in me going is no longer there and I'm ready to admit defeat if this is not the end :o(

I forgot to mention that DH and I celebrated Easter on Thursday morning. A little early, I know, but the Easter Bunny thinks I'm special ;o) I woke up to an Easter egg hunt and I collected a bowl full of mini Cadbury Cream Eggs and dark chocolate Lindt eggs. There was a hollow chocolate bunny waiting for me as well. The Easter Bunny has continued this tradition for many years :o) I hope he finds everyone else too! As a child, this was my favorite holiday and it still is. Did I mention that I LOVE BUNNIES???? It's plain to see in old pictures why this is because I've had stuffed rabbits for as long as I can remember :o) One year I entered a coloring contest at the local drug store and I won first place! The prize...a four foot stuffed rabbit!!!! In the picture that my Dad took, its ear tips are just above my head :o)

On Thursday night, DH made a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixings! It was yummy! We had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, turnip and cranberries to go along with the delicious turkey. It was around a twelve pounder too so we are set for turkey for the next month ;o) For dessert we bought some of Mary's Carrot Cake. This is the most delicious carrot cake I have ever had. It's so moist and the frosting is to drool over! Sooooo good!

Has anyone figured out how to stop time yet????

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is it Christmas Again?

This is what DH and I woke up to this morning -

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That's right! About six inches to be exact. Poor Brie could hardly plough through it. She had to do bunny hops just to get around. Maybe I should invent stilts for Dachshunds :o)

DH and I went for breakfast over in Calais, Maine this morning and we overheard people saying we were supposed to get 14 inches when all was said and done. ACK! I have to wonder if this is some cruel, twisted joke by the Easter Bunny. If so, it's not funny! Green grass, gone. Bare roads, gone.

In case you haven't guessed, DH and I are spending Easter weekend down at the ocean :o) My in-laws are on a trip so we have another wonderful, peaceful weekend of pure silence and bliss. Ahhhh! We arrived last night and when we parked the car, I noticed the outline of a deer in our headlights. It was on the hill behind the house and it wasn't too afraid of us. When it started to walk away, the poor thing was limping. I guess it has been spotted before and it has a mangled back leg :o( DH thinks it was coyotes.

While across the lines, we dropped into a favorite place of mine that carries bolts upon bolts of fabric and at "really" good prices. Their motto is "I should have bought it, when I saw it, at Marden's!" This is very true. Sometimes you go in and there is absolutely nothing. Other times, like today, I was lucky and this is the fabric I picked up -

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Believe it or not, but since we arrived last night, I have hardly put a stitch in my Spring Snapperland. I hope to have it completely done so I can move on to something else. It seems I have enough here to keep me relaxed that I don't need my stitching. I know! Hard to believe ;o)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Reign Over Me

After a terrible, terrible, terrible day on Thursday, DH surprised me and asked me if I wanted to go to the movies that night. At first I didn't think it was a very good idea, considering the mood I was in. Then I took a minute to think about whether I wanted to sit at home and mull over what a rotten day I had or go somewhere that was going to take my mind off the crappy news I had received. Hence...the movie idea won out. Plus, I couldn't pass up the chance to get a Coke slushie and some popcorn ;o)

DH and I had seen the trailer for Reign Over Me many times on television and that was our choice on Thursday night. I probably should have gone with a comedy but I figured I was already wallowing so I might as well be even more depressed. We were not disappointed with our choice though. What a powerful movie it was. If you are looking for action or a real thrill, this is not the movie for you. It did have its comedic moments but they were well placed within the movie. DH and I like Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler but both gave such tremendous performances that we love them all the more! You definitely walk out of this movie thinking...

...and thinking I did. The movie touched on how we deal with loss. What, we as a society, think is appropriate behavior when we loose something or someone that we love. The proper response, as dictated by society, is to grieve, lean on those around us for support and start living a normal life within an appropriate amount of time. Basically, we are supposed to go through the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But what happens when someone chooses to grieve outside of this box or they become hung up on one of the five steps? They will be judged by those around them. The foreign behavior startles people and drives them even further away. They have no idea how to deal with it and in turn, alienation occurs.

But is it appropriate to grieve in our own way? I believe it is. Grieving is a process in itself. Do you scream and yell? Do you cry until you can't cry anymore? Do you just sweep your emotions under the carpet and try to forget about them? Some people take longer to get over a loss than others. There may be some that love so deeply that they literally think their heart will break. Then there are others that cannot seem to climb out of the depression that washes over them. Everyone deals with loss in a different way and to me that is acceptable. To me that is normal. That is part of what makes us unique :o)

How do I deal with loss? Not very good. I never have. I've had many losses in my life. I've had family, friends and animals pass away. I've lost jobs. I've lost control over aspects of my life. I've lost a breast. I've lost hopes and dreams. Some losses I have gotten over faster than others. Some losses I am still dealing with. Some, I have not dealt with at all. Is it healthy? Maybe not but it's the best way that I know how to deal with things. It's the best way that I know how to protect myself.

I think it all comes down to time. Time is the key factor. Take the time to grieve. Take the time to heal. Take your own time, not someone else's.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Nineteen Down...31 More To Go!

BAM! BAM! BAM! The fourth and final square...Hutch by Bent Creek -

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Again, more French knots but I'm quite pleased with myself as I think I have finally mastered them! I love the effect the knots give the bunny's tail :o)

Here are the four squares together -

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The next step is the border. After a friend of mine raised the question of the colors in the border, I finally took a look at what colors the pattern actually called for. I was not impressed. Brown flowers for spring? I think not! I have since changed the colors and I'll keep things secret until I unveil the finished project :o)