Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In the summer I was reading through my favourite blogs, and discovered
the Dani at TKDchick was celebrating her 800th post by having a draw.
The winner of the draw would receive something made by Dani herself.
I left a comment, asking to be included in the draw, and thought nothing
more about it. After all, I never win anything. Well, guess what?????

I won!! Really!! And today, when I got home from work, and the dentist,
I found a package in my mailbox. I could bearly contain myself until I
could get into the house, drop my stuff, and open the package. What
would it be??

I only regret that it was too dark to take a truly decent photo of the
contents of the package, and most especially of the needle book that Dani
stitched for me. It's one of JBW French Country Cat. Somehow
Dani figured out that I love cats. Where on earth she got this idea from
I have no idea (cough...cough) but I figure the girl's just plain psychic.
The cat is about the same size as my thumb and stitched in the most
beautiful of verigated thread colours. The stitches are so tiny. And
of course the cat is made up of tiny motifs featuring cats in various
poses, birds, flowers and hearts. It's exquisite!!

This piece is stitched on 30 count (!!) coconut maccaroon Lakeside
Linen, using Silk n Colours Rusty Amber. Thanks to Dani for the
info. She also sent me a package of Piecemakers Tapestry needles
which I've read other stitchers go into raptures over so I can't wait
to try them for myself. There is a bundle of Autumn hued DMC
threads, a yummy looking piece of chocolate almond candy which
I'll share with DH, and a lovely post card which shows a scene from
the village where Dani lives. I love cards like this, and actually have
collected a few over the years.

These pictures give you a bit of an idea of how this piece looks, since my
own words just couldn't do it justice.

I plan to take this piece into work (carefully) to show it off to all the girls.
I talked to my Mom on the phone tonight, and told her all about this, and
she's anxious to see it too.

Thank you Dani for taking the time to do something nice like this for
someone you've only met on the net. It means so much to me, and I
will treasure it always.

Aren't x-stitch bloggers the greatest folk in the universe???

You betcha!!!! Cheers! Judy

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well, back to a posting dedicated to stitching...mostly. Another weeks
work on Faith and I'm well past the half way stage. I was a bit worried
at the start that some of the thread colours would not show up too well
against the Queen Anne's Lace Jobelan that I chose to stitch this project
on. I did a floss toss, but a full skein of thread will show up better then a
double strand, so I still wasn't sure. In the end I might have wished that
the Magnolia colour, which is what the flower is stitched in, showed up a
bit more, but it's not too bad. I am very glad that I decided to stitch the
boarder in Rosy Glow instead of the Magnolia though. And I am quite
enchanted with the little snail climbing up the stem of the flower on the
left. How cute is that??

I went to Stitching Bits n Bobs website. I wanted to check on an order
that I'd placed for threads and a couple of charts about three weeks
ago. I went through some of the "new" arrivals. Not a good idea.
Before I knew it my finger was clicking on the "order" button, over
and over again. It must have been a muscle spasm. Or a nervous twitch.
Would you believe I was possessed maybe??? Sigh!! I'm so weak!!

My currant read. This would be classified as Epic Fantasy. Book
four in this series. The problem with this series is that the author
tends to release a new book with a wait of about 2-3 years in
between. It's been 10 years since the first book came out. This
one's been out for a year. These books are wonderful reads, but
the author has crammed each book with characters, and with
detail. Lot's and lots of detail. And I'm having trouble remember-
ing everything that's happened in the passed, and also keeping
all the characters and their relationships straight.

You get the complete background of each country involved in the
story. You get it's mythology, it's religion, the history of it's rulers
and it's hero's, it's traditions, it's enemies, and it's allies. As you
can imagine, each book is big. And because of all this, it's hard to
remember from book to book what's happened to each person
featured, as well as to each country, province, city, town, and village.
You've heard the expression "a cast of thousands"?? Well, in each
of these books that is very much the case. And each of these
characters has a history too. This author makes Tolkien look like a

I could read each of the previous books again, and then read this
one, but they are dense reads, small print, and it would take quite
a while. I'd probably forget everything again by the time that I
got to book four. So I'll just keep plugging away. In spite of all this
I'm still loving the book.

It'll officially be Autumn when we wake up tomorrow morning, so last
Sunday I pulled out all of my Fall and Halloween decorations. I love
these colours. This is the divider between our front entrance way and
the living room. The weather here has been unseasonably warm, if not
downright hot at times. According to the weather forecasters we're in
for a warmer then normal Fall, and very dry.

It's also election season here. Our provincial election is in about three
weeks. In the States the equivalent would be an election to pick a new
governor for each State...I think. As usual the accusations, and the
denials, the claims and the counterclaims, are all flying fast and furious.
And we're suppose to wade through it all and make sense of it, and
ignore the blarney. All so that we can (hopefully) elect an effective
leader/party who'll run the province, and not ruin it. It's going to be a
long three weeks.

We went shopping for a few things this morning. One of the things that
we needed was cat food. Phoebe will only eat Fancy Feast Turkey.
Rupert is on special food from the vets. When we got home and unloaded
the car we dumped everything in the front hall to get sorted. And
here's Rupert sitting on top of the case of his food. My question is....
how'd he know it was his???

Does anyone know what's happened to Tempest Fugit's blog??? I
believe her name is Ann, and she's in France somewhere. And she
stitches the most amazing samplers. When I try to follow my usual
link to her blog I get a message saying that the requested page
doesn't exist. My Favourite Things' blog is gone too. It's message
says that it's been deleted by the author.

Shannon, the Queen Anne's Lace Jobelan is lovely stuff to stitch on.
A nice hand dyed piece, with the colour nicely layered (if that's the
right word for it). A subtle change in the colour. And I love working
on evenweave. It's a nice soft piece of fabric too. I don't like a stiff
fabric, since I don't stitch in hand.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This blog is really a celebration of books, but first a wee progress photo of
Faith. Stitched on 28 count hand dyed Queen Anne's Lace Jobelan. I
decided to switch the colour on the boarder. It was suppose to be the
magnolia colour, but I decided that I wanted the boarder to have a bit
more of a presence in the piece so I used Rosy Glow instead. Since this
project is for my friend I can always stitch it again for me using the
called for colour on the boarder, if I want to.

And now onto my day yesterday...devoted to books!!! I was unable to
find anyone able to join me for a trip into Toronto to see Diana Gabaldon,
so I was considering not going at all. Then DH asked if I'd go if I didn't
have the almost 4 hour bus ride (total) to contend with. When I said
yes he offered to drive me to Yorkdale mall, and to pick me up from there
at the end of the day. I was so thrilled and touched that he would waste
a couple of hours of his day doing that, and contending with traffic on the
401 highway, just to get me closer to the city, and save me time and
expense. He's a keeper folks!!

So we left here at 9:45 in the morning, and got to Yorkdale mall at 10:30.
From Yorkdale I took the subway down to the Eaton Centre, where the
bookstore was located, arriving there around 11:00. No sign of activity
regarding the signing at that time, so I asked someone what the set up
would be, and where in the store it would take place. Indigo book stores
are usually two story affairs. Once I knew more or less what was going
to be happening I realized that I had time to kill, so began wandering around
the store, browsing.

It was lovely to just walk around, picking up books and reading the sleeves
for descriptions of the story inside. Seeing what was new out, and poking
through the sales tables looking for buried treasures. And finding them.
Indigo also sells book related, and relaxation related home stuff, such as
cozy blankets, lap desks, candles, some scrape book materials, small
storage stuff for desks, and stationary. I kept an eye on the area where
they'd begun to set up for the signing as I wandered.

By 12:30 rows of chairs, in two sections, were set up in front of a small
stage, and people began to sit down. There were chairs five across in
each of the two sections, and maybe six rows down. Once those were
full people who arrived later had to stand. I had a front row seat. Since
the signing wasn't to start until 2:00 there was time to kill, but I'd
bought a magazine, a couple of books, as well as the new Diana Gabaldon
book, so I browsed through the magazine for awhile. Then I began
chatting with my neighbours, discussing books, and then we all got
chatting with the sound man, and a representative from Ms
Gabaldon's publishing house and time just flew by.

Then it was 2:00 and Diana G. was on stage, greeted by enthusiastic
applause, and she began to talk. She read a couple of excerpts from
book seven in the Claire/Jaime series which she is writing now.
There will definitely be a book seven and a book eight, for those of
you who are wondering. Then she answered a few questions from the

The books have been optioned again for a movie, but things
are still in the early stages there. She's also working on a modern day
murder mystery and that's coming along. Book three in the Lord
John series is coming out in November, which was a surprise since
book two just came out in August. Not that we're complaining.
She's also working with an artist on a graphic novel which will tell a
story that takes place during the time of Outlander, from Jaime and
Murtagh's point of view.

Then, once the questions were done, she settled at a table to sign
books. I had the new Lord John book to be signed, and I'd brought
my treasured hardcover copy of Outlander, first edition, to be signed
as well. I didn't know if she was signing more then one book, but she
did, so I chose to have her sign Outlander for me, and the Lord John
book for my friend Mary.

And here is a picture of the two of us, taken by an obliging store employee
on my camera. As always when meeting a person who's body of work,
either musically or in the written word, I admire I went somewhat
catatonic. I babbled (I think) in answer to her questions. I managed not
to trip going up onto the stage, and getting down again. I may have been
shaking, just a wee bit. She's a lovely lady, with a sparkling personality
and a great stage presence. It was a great pleasure to meet her in person.
I left the store and proceeded to hyperventilate out in the privacy of the
very busy main mall.

With time to kill until I had to return to Yorkdale to meet DH, I then
made my way to the World's Biggest Bookstore, where I browsed and
shopped for over an hour. Then I took the subway back up to Yorkdale,
where I still had time to kill, and did so in the Indigo bookstore there.

When DH picked me up at 5:20 I had the above stash in my bags....
Love Pauline Gedge and her historical fiction. This is her latest. The book
next to it is a first time novel by this author and takes place in Japan. It
has some good reviews by some heavy duty authors, including Elizabeth
George, so I was intrigued and decided to get it. I love books on Japan.

These two hard covers were on sale. I've read Practical Magic by Alice
Hoffman, so was pleased to get another book of hers. The short stories
in the second book include some of my favourite authors, writing about
the mythology of Ireland.

I don't know if anyone remembers the lovely Victoria magazine which was
around for about 15 years or so and abruptly ceased publication about
four years ago. I've been collecting books published by them and now have
around 8 of them. Lovely, well written, exquisitely photographed books on
wide ranging subjects, from exploring Britain or France, to writing letters,
to drinking tea. I found these two books, and they were on sale for really,
really cheap.

I collect Mary Engelbreit related books too. This one was on a sale table.

And finally, this book was on sale, and I love it. There are lots of beautiful
pictures of coach houses around Toronto, both interiors and exteriors. It's
a great book if you like old architecture, gardens, interior design or Toronto
and it's history.

After DH picked me up we drove back to Georgetown, and went to the
Copper Kettle pub where I treated him to dinner and a pint of his favourite
brew, as a small thank you for being such a wonderful DH.

It was a perfect day. And after all that walking, and hauling of heavy books
I slept like a log last night.

Hope I haven't bored you all too much. I'm still walking on air today.

Hi Choko, commenting all the way from Japan. A cross stitcher, and an
incredible sewer. She makes some amazing clothes for herself. I'm just
reading her blog for the first time too.

As always, it's so nice to hear from everyone. Cheers all!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This is as far as I can go on A Spot of Tea with the thread that I have.
Just one more large motif to go, and then it'll be done. This motif will have
space for my initials and the date. I could make a serious start on it, but I
am assuming that the thread that I've ordered will be a different dye lot
and might have a noticeable colour difference. So I'll wait and stitch the
final motif entirely in the new thread so it doesn't look mismatched or

Meanwhile, I'll start on LHN's "Faith" which I want to stitch for our
friend Sue who became a minister last year. Years ago she stitched one
of the samplers for DH and my wedding, so I owe her one. Just have to
go through my stash and choose a fabric to stitch it on.

I'm almost done reading Khaled Hosseini's latest book, A Thousand
Splendid Suns. I am enjoying this book even more then I did The Kite
Runner. I don't know if that's because this book focuses on the lives
of two women, but I'm more emotionally involved in the story. Mr
Hosseini really has a talent for creating strong, three dimensional
characters, and also for drawing vivid pictures of the Afghanistan
countryside and cities with his words. It's a brutal story in many
ways, but it helps explain the situation, past and present, over there.
It's a book that takes you out of your comfort zone and transports
you to another world that seems very alien to ours. And then it
presents characters that we find we can relate to, and understand,
which makes their world far less alien after all.

This weekend one of my favourite authors is appearing at the
Indigo Bookstore in the Eaton Centre, in downtown Toronto.
Diana Gabaldon will be signing copies of her newest book, which
is the second of her "Lord John" series. It's funny that Karen
posted a review of her book "Outlander" (called, for some
unknown reason "CrossStitch" when released in the U.K.) on
her blog a week ago. She said that the story wasn't to her taste.
As for me, I've read all of Diana Gabaldon's books, and I've read
Outlander twice. I have it in hardcover. I'm hoping to go to
the book signing on Saturday, which means traveling for about
two hours by Go bus, and TTC and I'm hoping to get my copy
of Outlander signed as well.

The Toronto Film Festival is in full swing as well, and if my
friend Mary accompanies me to the book signing (she's
another D. Gabaldon fan) she wants to go hunting celeb's
afterwards. Don't know about that, but a trip to the World's
Biggest Bookstore, this time sans DH, will definitely be on
the schedule as well. I'm too much of a babbling nerd around
celeb's to want to go trying to meet them in public.

Dani, yes, on occasion I've been known to pick up the odd Johanna
Lindsay book to read. Actually, some of her books that I've got are
over 20 years old I think. Possibly closer to 30. Eek!! I'm
partial to Bertrice Small, and to Judith McNaughton as well.

Lynn, I read Jodi Picoult too. I read her book My Sister's Keeper
when I was in a book club a few years ago, and started to
collect her stuff after that. She's great.

Lelia, I've read all of Anne Rice's Vampire, and Witch books.
Some I've loved (The Vampire Lestat, The Body Thief, Queen
of the Damned) and some I've been decidedly lukewarm about
(Violin, Memnoch the Devil). Darlene and I went to a book
signing of hers about 10 years ago and so we met her, for five
seconds, and had our books signed. I've not bought her latest
book on a year in the life of Jesus (aged 8). My most favourite
book of hers though has to be The Mummy. A really good story.

Karen, I passed on my small collection of Star Wars books too
when I was weeding my library last winter. I'm more of a
Trekker then a Star Wars fan anyways.

As always, thanks everyone for your kind words about my
library. After all, you can never have too many books.

And Phoebe greatly appreciates every one's kind words as well. Rupert,
well, he just takes it all in stride.

Cheers everyone!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I have some progress on Spot of Tea, but it's just one motif, and a
start on another. I'll save an updated picture for next time. So
instead I'll post some more pictures of my library, and make this
more of a book posting. Above are some of my box sets, at the very
top, romance, bodice rippers, and supernatural romance on the
next two shelves, and on the bottom shelf are my collection of Jean
Plaidy historical fiction books. Many of these I brought back from
my first trip to England, about 30 years ago. All shelves are double

Please note the carton of very rare cow eggs on the one shelf of this
bookcase. I believe these are eggs from the Holstein breed of cows,
hence the black on white markings. Cow eggs are very hard to find.
The females hide them well in fields and under bushes. These are
taking a heck of a long time to hatch, but I'm hoping for some sweet,
mini-holsteins to run around in the back yard and keep the grass
trimmed. I figure the cats will get a kick out of them too.

These shelves hold my Star Trek (classic) and ST-TNG books. I
gave up trying to keep up with these years ago because there were
so many of them coming out at one time, it was impossible to keep
up. But the ones that I have are old favourites that I refer back to
again and again. The bottom shelf is books related to tv series,
such as the original Battlestar Galactica, Beauty and the Beast,
Forever Knight, ST-TNG, and V. The middle shelf is all
classic Trek in paperback, and the top shelf is all Star Trek, in it's
various incarnations, in hardcover.

Hmmm. I guess you could classify this collection of books as reference
books. Bottom shelf are books on everything from fantasy art, to
books on the making of my favourite Sci-Fi shows, to travel books,
a few history books, and cat books. Second shelf is my collection of
Reader's Digest publications, my "Chronicles of..." series, a series on
the kings and queens of England, and a Time/Life series "What Life
Was Like in...". Top shelf is my collection of kids books in hardcover.

All pictures are clickable for closeup inspection of titles, if you so wish.

It was the family barbecue at my Mom's residence yesterday. We were
over there by 11:00 so that we could get a good parking spot before the
crowds started really gathering and parking a problem. There was a
lovely selection of food (as always) and we ate well. Here's my Mom
enjoying her lunch. (She's going to kill me when she sees this picture...
This is the outdoor patio, where the food was prepared and plates filled.
You could sit outside to eat, or eat in the dinning room if you preferred.
We ate in because of the pesky bees (sorry Becky) flitting around outside.
After lunch we visited for awhile in Mom's room, then DH went home to
mow the lawn, and Mom and I settled in a sun room at the end of the hall
in her section of the residence to cross stitch (me) and knit (Mom). It
was lovely with the sun streaming in, which also made for good stitching
light. We chatted, stitched and snoozed (Mom) until DH came to pick me
up around 5:00.

Michelle and Linda, the thread that I am using for Spot of Tea is Olde
Willow Stitchery-Quaker Colours, Philadelphia Red. But you should know
that the colour (to me) is more of a dark rose to a light rose, then actual
red. The most recent progress picture is very dark and not a true represent-
ation of the colour.

I'm reading Kathy Reichs newest book Bones to Ashes at the moment and
it's a fast read so will probably be done by tomorrow. It's sitting on the
kitchen table, and every time that I pass by I pick it up and read a few
more pages.

Cheers all!!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Update. I love the medallion, second from the left, at the top. I've
stitched a variation of this design before and it's quite neat when done. I
can see a finish on this piece within the next couple of weeks, although I
won't have much time to stitch for the next few days. It's first of the month
at work, which will take up most of my time, and leave me too tired at the
end of the day to risk stitching. I've placed an order at Stitching Bit's n
Bobs because of their labour day sale, and I've ordered two more skeins
of thread for this piece. I'll probably only need one more, but I'm not
taking a chance. Hope there won't be much of a difference between the
colour of these threads and the new ones, but there's not much that I can
do about it anyways.

Wildlife in my garden. Bunny is not a regular visitor, but he does appear
a couple of times a month to graze under the bird feeders, and when he
does I run out with a few carrots and my camera. As you can see he's
not too bothered by my presence, and I can get quite close. On this day
it was a good thing that I went out to greet him too because there was
a cat (not ours) lurking in the bushes next to the feeder watching him.
I scared her away before she could get up to any mischief. She shows
up in our yard during the summer months and we have to chase her off
because she's stalking the birds, and leaving little presents in the garden
for my DH to find. I love cats but I don't appreciate having to clean up
the messes for cats that aren't mine.

I finished reading C.J. Sansom's book Dark Fire last week, and loved it so
much that I just had to check on line to see what other books might be
available in this series, or by this author in general. It turns out that
Dark Fire is the second book in the series. So I ordered the first book
featuring Matthew Shardlake, which is Dissolution, and the third book
Sovereign. Historical mysteries, with political overtones, and lots of
period colour to make these stories a rich and riveting read. Delicious!!

And the latest Kathy Reichs mystery/thriller. It bugs me that the tv
series Bones, which is suppose to be based on these books, has virtually
nothing in common with the books, except for using the name of the main
character. I watched the pilot for the series, all excited because one of
my favourite literary characters was being brought to life, and was
hugely disappointed with the results. I love David Boreanaz, but the
chick who plays Tempe Brennan is in no way close to being the person
who speaks so clearly in Reichs's novels. I'm trying to get over this, and
watch the series as if it's just another mystery series, but it's dang

My SIL came through her surgery with flying colours, came here for a
few days to recover, and has now gone home to finish her recovery.
She's got to watch that she doesn't do any bending or lifting for awhile,
and she'll need to rest up and get back into the swing of things
gradually, but she'll manage. She has neighbours who are willing to go
in and help with some things, such as tending to the needs of her cats.
She was quite happy to be going home.

Well, the kids are back to school, and summer is dwindling away. Did
anyone see where it went?? There's not much one can do about it, except
relax, stretch out on the floor, and enjoy the sun patches where ever they
may fall. As always, Phoebe leads the way. Cheers all!