Thursday, November 29, 2007

Enter If You Dare!

Awhile back, I was out and about reading Blogs and I saw that a few people were showing pictures of their stitching spot. Lori-Ann even shared a great find as well. So I thought it was about time that I opened the door into 'The Store,' as Katie likes to call it ;o)

When we first bought this house, the room that is now my computer/craft room used to be just a storage room with no window and a hot water tank. Yuck! Over time, DH worked away at it and my little haven was born :o) Now I have a window, laminate flooring and a computer desk -

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You can barely make out what they are but my prized (and signed) pictures are on either side of the window. I have Shawn Mullins, Bon Jovi, Tommy Lee Jones and a letter from the late great Timothy Findley :o)

I also have shelving, storage bins and a work table to the left -

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Yes, those are horses on the shelves and yes that might seem like a lot to you but they are only a 'very' small portion of what my collection used to be. LOL! If you really look, you might even spot Flat Shannon ;o)

To the right I have my sewing table and the great Wall Of Stitch -

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As my stash grew, I had to come up with ways to organize it. In the storage bins, there are four small drawers on the top and they proved to be ideal for keeping my specialty flosses and Q-Snaps -

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The DMC floss was a bit of a challenge because I wanted to get away from winding them on bobbins. Every storage bin that I looked at wasn't deep enough to let a skein of floss lie flat. A few years ago, DH and I were in Freeport, Maine for a weekend and we were looking around the Hunting & Fishing L.L. Bean store. DH came across a Plano fishing tackle box that he thought would work well -

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It was pretty funny because the salesperson asked me if I was a big fisherman. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him what I was really buying it for! LOL! Lori-Ann is right though, these are SUPER for organizing your stash. The one that holds my floss is quite large and measures about 15H x 11D x 16W (in inches). It holds the full line of DMC floss along with the variegated, linen and some rayon.

Now the one I bought for my buttons and embellishments is tiny in comparison -

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This one measures 10H x 7D x 11W. Again, it's from Plano. If you are interested in seeing what they have available, just visit your local Wal-Mart.

If anyone has any great tips on organizing, please lmk or post them on your Blog. I'm always fascinated to see how others have created their own personal space. I hope you have enjoyed your tour of my little sanctuary. Please come again :o)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finish Forty-Six

I'm definitely in the ornament making mode ;o) This is Reindeer by Needle Magic Inc. -

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Last year I bought one of these kits at Wal-Mart in Calais, Maine and I liked stitching it up so much that my MIL picked up four more of them for me :o) They are ideal for stitching in the car and they are perfect for tucking into your purse for those hour long waits at the doctor's office.

I know, I know! Some people don't like the fact that it's plastic canvas and that it's cheap thread. LOL! But I have found a way to tone down the 'chunky' look. I still use the thread that's included with the kit but if you make sure that you have good tension, the effect doesn't look that bad. I also substitute one strand of DMC 310 for all the black backstitching. This really does wonders. When it's complete, I attach the gold cord to the back and lightly glue on (I use the fabric glue that doesn't yellow) green felt to the back and voila!

If anyone has seen these kits this year, plmk :o)

As of right now, I have the next three projects laid out and at this rate; I'll be done by the end of December for sure. I really can't wait because I'm getting that large project feeling tugging at me again and now that things have somewhat stabilized, I think it's about time. So that will give me eight full months to get ready for the 2008 fall fair. That should be enough time to stitch up something that will knock their socks off ;o)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Fresh Start

Finally, I have some good news to share! This past Thursday, DH accepted a job that was offered to him the week before last :o) Did you hear that? That was a HUGE sigh of relief.

Unfortunately it's not the job that he ultimately wanted but it's something new that he's never done before so it's hard to say what will happen. He might end up really liking it. We took the better part of a week looking at the pros and cons to this new position and in the end, we think we've made the right choice. Things will still be very tight until we get into the new year but at least DH knows that he has the potential to make more money than before :o)

It's been a VERY stressful two months and we're hoping we can breathe a little easier now. I'm hoping this is the fresh start that we have been looking for. No, we didn't move away from the city but maybe we aren't meant to right now. I do know one thing though, we will be moving out of this house! It holds too many sad memories for me and we think it will be a nice change to live in the city again :o)

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No, that's not Hammy. Might be one of his cousins though ;o) This is a red squirrel on the deck at my parents' house. DH and I were there for the day yesterday and I had fun taking some pictures. The squirrel pictures came out pretty good but the bird ones did not as you can see -

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That's a Nuthatch btw. All the pictures were taken through the patio windows otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get that close. My parents serve a buffet of seeds to the birds and peanuts to the squirrels and then my dad wonders why he's getting so many raccoons ;o)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Donkey

I came across this story and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you :o)

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"One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping. Never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up." ~ Author Unknown

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finish Forty-Five

I'm down to my final five and I still have five weeks left until the end of the year :o) Recently I came upon a new mystery SAL called the Old Sampler. I've never done one of these before so I thought now is as good a time as any! LOL!

This is Old Sampler Part I by Carla C. & Pina C. -

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I'm using 32 count natural linen with DMC 3865. I love the effect of a soft white on beige but I'm a little concerned after finishing the backstitching because I'm not sure if it's going to show up well enough :o( I've customized mine a bit by backstitching a house in her stand, one over one, and adding petite beads in the sampler on the wall. I wanted a bit of texture and I'm happy with the result.

Now I know this may seem like cheating but I'm making the rules ;o) The sampler has nine parts and I do have Part II already. I would like to get it done before December 1 because that's when Part III comes out. Is anyone else stitching this as well?

Btw, I want to thank Yuko for this brilliant signature idea :o)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rubber Ducky You're The One

Look at what I found in my mailbox yesterday -

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LOL! Isn't he just the cutest???? Karen sent him to me and even though it took a 'month' by air, he arrived safely. We have been exchanging breast cancer items and Karen seems to find the most unique things. I know how much she likes pink so I hope she got one for herself ;o) Thank you so much my friend!

Interesting fact ~ did you know that a duck's quack doesn't echo?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finish Forty-Four

Unfortunately it was not a great week of stitching but I had just finished up this little guy right before receiving our depressing news -

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This is Cocoa by San Man Originals. I had this pattern all ready to go but kept pushing it back into the drawer. I think he is just so cute! He was completely stitched with GASTs and I went with 28 count Twilight Blue (I think!) linen. I also adjusted some of the backstitch. I find that sometimes two strands are just too much for some areas -

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Did you know that needlework is truly therapeutic? It's a fact now :o) I received my newsletter from The Cross Stitch Cupboard and this is what it says, "From an interesting article in a health magazine we learned that picking up a needle and thread could be one of the best "exercises" we can do for our health. This information comes as a result of a study which was conducted at the New York University Medical Center. The study revealed that women who stitch experience a significant drop in heart rate and blood pressure, when compared to those who participate in other leisure activities. In fact they discovered that when a woman begins to stitch, her heart rate drops by up to 11 beats per minute. 'The importance of a hobby or creative pursuit cannot be overemphasized' says Robert H. Reiner, PhD. of NYU. 'If we don't allow our bodies to rest from the pressures of everyday life, we are placing ourselves at risk for heart disease or other illnesses.'"

So, I guess the next time I tell a doctor that I stitch to relax and he looks at me like I have ten heads, I can honestly tell him that it's been proven to work. Maybe while I'm at it, I'll ask him if he can prescribe it as a relaxer. Let's say, once every hour of every day ;o)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No One Puts Baby In A Corner

It's been almost a week and I've gradually found my way back to my Blog again :o) While the stresses have not changed, I have. Over the past month, there seems to be another me that has slowly propped itself on my left shoulder along with Happy Cathey and Creative Cathey. It's a self that I'm not really familiar with and I'm not sure if it's ever been let out before.

The new addition is more organized and stronger. It's made me look at our situation in a different light. Yes we are in a bind right now but just think of the stories we'll be able to tell some day :o) DH and I have been on many adventures and they seem to always give way to great writing fodder.

The final push came today when I started reading a book that Katie lent to me. It's called One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. The main character in the novel is named Stephanie Plum and she has just lost her job and is in search of a new career. She's pretty much hawked all her possessions to pay her bills and she buys a $500 Nova that eventually drops its muffler. Case in point...things could be worse ;o)

After the initial shock of losing our only income, then DH not behind offered the job of his dreams and a few of my panic attacks later, I am in better control again. I can't go into details of what we have found out but I'll just say that DH was SO close in getting one of those positions. So close that it's no wonder we could just taste it.

Now we're back to pounding the pavement in search of something new. DH has applied to two more Federal Government jobs and with our last inside contact with the Provincial Government, DH's resume is now circulating :o)

I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have left me comments or emails. They are all truly appreciated! I'm sorry I have not responded to any of them but I have read them all. It feels wonderful knowing that there are so many of you out there that are thinking of us :o) It will take me a bit but I will answer each one.

So what should I call the new little me? LOL! Any ideas? I think I'm going to love keeping it around ;o)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And The Other Shoe Fell

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will not be blogging for awhile. DH just got the news today that he did not get the job that he was really hoping for :o( It was something that he wanted very badly and I'm very upset at seeing him so disappointed. I have no idea what we are going to do or where we're going to go. I'd say it's all a big adventure but it's more like defeat at the moment :o(

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Finish Forty-Three

I didn't leave you waiting long for this one ;o) Here is Pine Tree Hill by Little House Needleworks -

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This design was featured in the 2006 JCS Ornament Preview Issue. I made a few changes to this one. The materials list calls for 28 count Summer Khaki linen but looking at the model, there is no way that can be right. When I saw the picture, 28 count Waterlily linen came to mind so that's what I went with :o) I did use the Crescent Colors but I substituted two of the three used. I replaced Ruby Slippers with Cupid and Roasted Chestnut with Bramble Bush. Those two colors looked much richer to me.

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I want to take a minute to thank those who have honoured me with the Smiley Award :o) I truly do appreciate it. I've always wanted to be a writer and just knowing that my silliness puts a smile on someone's face makes me feel really good. I love reading the comments that you leave and I do read each and every one. To narrow that down to ten people is just too hard. Each and every Blog gives me a smile for different reasons :o)

This has been a hard weekend for me and I'm glad I had the distractions I did to keep my mind off of things. On Friday morning, I should have been on my way to fall retreat :o( Today I would be packing up to come home but after a wonderful weekend full of laughter, eating, shopping, stitching, talking and just downright craziness. Some of the gals there, I only see once or twice a year, but when we get back together, it's like no time has passed.

So instead, I put on my favourite fleece pyjamas, arranged my stitching spot on the couch, dug out a few little treats to snack on and had DH and my FIL cook up the most delicious turkey dinner with homemade apple pie for dessert :o) The plus side, I still got to sleep in my warm, comfortable bed. But I really don't mind giving that up for a few nights, even if it does mean sleeping on a brick of a mattress surrounded by those that snore the night away ;o)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hammy's Death Wish

Our little friend is still around but today he thought it would be fun to play chicken with oncoming traffic and that included our car! How he managed to save his butt, we'll never know. When we pulled into the yard, I asked DH to look in the wheel wells to make sure he wasn't plastered in one :oP Silly thing!

Believe it or not, he is STILL packing the pine cones into the birdhouse. I have no idea how he's doing it because it was pretty full when I took this picture. DH says that he must be living in behind the barn. That's good because after he's done all his shopping, I don't think any living space will be available :o)

I was reading some Blogs last night and Ranae gave me an excellent idea. She had posted on what to do about a project she had started but never finished because she didn't like it. So, I went in search of my notorious disliked UFO. I know you're going to groan when you see this ;o) This was my 'first' attempt at In The Arms Of An Angel by L&L -

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Do you think I miscalculated the fabric?

GOTCHA! LOL! I'll explain that in a minute ;o) I don't think it was so much the stitching on it but it was the color of the fabric that turned me off. That was in the day when I had never laid eyes on hand dyed fabric!

My 'second' attempt was worse though. I stared on a piece of Waterlily Jobelan but was quickly frustrated so out came the stitches so I have nothing to show for that one. Is there a third attempt? Not yet but I do have a gorgeous piece of hand dyed fabric just waiting ;o)

So, I guess my question is...what do you do with a project you have started but don't like anymore? In my case, I just cut around the stitching and salvaged the material. There were just too many stitches to take out, plus the red would probably leave a mark on the fabric. Have any of you done this?

Would you throw the whole thing in the garbage? If there was no excess fabric that is ;o)

What about giving the UFO to someone else to complete? For some reason, I just can't will myself to do this. Each project is my baby, from beginning to end. If it doesn't get completed, I still know it's there and that I can always try it again. Hey, greater miracles have happened! LOL!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Finish Forty-Two

I'm a stitching machine! LOL! When I'm stressed, I stitch and most of you know I AM STRESSED ;o)

Today I completed another ornie from the 2007 JCS Ornament Issue. This is Peace by Country Cottage Needleworks -

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I love, love, love this design! The colors are just gorgeous and they're just DMC too :o) I do like how the ornament was finished with the wool so I'll have to see about tracking some down. The fabric I used reminds me of Waterlily by Wichelt but it's Patina by Lakeside Linens.

I've already got the next project kitted up and it will get started today :o) I can't remember if I shared this already or not but my goal is to reach 50 projects for 2007. Until that is done, I've put aside any larger projects. Hopefully by that time things here will have settled down a bit and that way I'll be able to direct my concentration to just one or two larger pieces.

To answer Christine's question, the buttons I used on Winter Joy and Winter Love are from Just Another Button Company. Most ONS carry them but might not list them on their website because there are so many. I hope this helps you :o)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Don't Quit

Today DH and I decided to sort out the Tickle Trunk. That's right, Mr. Dressup wasn't the only person to have one ;o) DH brought it into the marriage and now it contains all our memories from childhood to present day. As we were going through the items, DH handed me a poem that Grandma had given him years ago -

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So, stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things go wrong that you mustn't quit
~ Author Unknown

It really struck a chord in me and I plan on keeping it with me as a reminder that even though things may be bad at the moment, they will eventually get better. Plus, I'll always have a part of Grandma with me! She could find the best in anyone or anything :o)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Finish Forty-One

Another finish and the fifty project goal is in sight :o) This is Winter Love by Sam Sarah Designs -

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This cute ornament is in this year's JCS Ornament Issue. As I did with Winter Joy, I went with the suggested fabric but stitched the whole thing in DMC.

I gave it a thought and I think I have the perfect way to finish these matching ornaments :o) Instead of another tree ornament, I want to combine them together, one over top of the other, and make a bell pull! I've taken a picture of both Winter Love and Winter Joy along with the fabric that I would like to use -

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Unfortunately I'm out of that particular fabric but as long as I find something similar in the dark cranberry, I'll be happy :o) I even have a wire snowman hanger to hang it from!

Things are still up in the air here and DH is still not working yet :o( The payment schedule is back on for November so this will definitely test whether we can do it or not. As much as I hate to admit it, my fall stitching retreat will be a no-go for this year :o( I'm really going to miss going but that expense cannot be justified right now.

The medical insurance fiasco continues but we 'think' we have things in order again. On Friday, DH and I just about fainted when we opened a letter from the Blue Cross notifying us that a payment of over one thousand dollars was going to be taken out of our banking account! We arranged to have it stopped so hopefully that happened. We have now signed up with a program by Manulife (rotten, stinking buggers) but it seems to be the best one so far.

This policy is designed for people who loose their medical insurance through an employer. It will cover pre-existing health conditions and dental! And it's much cheaper! The down side, they only cover up to $1200 a year for prescriptions but DH and I are hoping we'll have new insurance by then. Unfortunately we didn't get things in on time so we have no coverage for the month of November and we also have to wait to see if we are accepted by the company. Sigh.

So, keep your fingers and toes crossed. Something good has got to come our way ;o)