Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Official!!!

Guess who arrived in town today?

Can it be??? Has that time of year arrived once
again and caught us all unawares and unprepared??
Why yes, yes it has. So what else is new???

This is the day that Santa Claus arrives in Toronto
for the Christmas season and as is traditional the
city went all out to welcome him by throwing a
parade in his honor with marching bands and magical
floats and upside down clowns and all kinds of
wonderful stuff.

And in keeping with tradition Darlene came here
for the weekend and we spent two days decorating
the Christmas tree and the house. DH got the
multitude of boxes of every shape and size that the
Christmas decorations were packed away in from out
of the basement storage space and then got the tree out
and put together so that we could decorate it. Then he
went out and put the Christmas lights up on the outside
of the house.

Here is the newly decorated tree loaded down with
ornaments and lights and holiday bling. When it
comes to decorating for Christmas I'm as traditional
as you can get. My colors are red, green and gold
and my ornaments sparkle and shine in the glow of
the tree's lights.

It's a lot of work getting everything in place and
looking just right but Darlene and I and DH make
a great team and we manage to get the majority of
the work done in one weekend. We've done it for
so many years that we know where everything
should go and how it should be placed.

Plus I keep pictures of previous years decorating
finishes to help us remember where everything
should go. So every once in awhile one of us
would dash upstairs and check a picture on the
computer to see if we were putting something
in the right place.

Next up on the holiday schedule is writing the letters
and cards for our overseas relatives and friends.
That is going to be occupying me for much of this
week I am sure, and once that's done it'll be time
to work on the rest of the cards.

So stitching time will be non existent next week I'm afraid. And
I have just a small progress photo to show you from last week's
efforts. A couple of cute motifs from Halloween Quaker
that were a delight to stitch. The scaredy cat is finished but the
pumpkin still requires vines and leaves before it'll be done.
Love the stand up fur on the pussy cat's back.

One of the highlights of my four day vacation last
week was when I got to spend Tuesday with
Jennifer of Seasonal Stitches. We had a lovely
visit at her home in the morning and I got to meet
her cat Emmie (sweet little cat). We stitched and
drank tea and ate yummy cinnamon scones, then
we went out to lunch at a crepe restaurant near
where she lives, and then went for a nice drive
afterwords so that Jennifer could show me around
her neighborhood.

Jennifer was kind enough to allow me to jump out of
the car during our drive around town, so that I could
take some pictures of the beautiful neighborhood and
city where she lives.

Her neighborhood is right near Lake Ontario and
in fact she can walk down her street to get to it.
How incredibly lucky to be able to do that, eh?
These pictures were taken in a small park right
on the lake. It was an overcast day but the
pictures turned out pretty good in spite of that.

One of the hospitals in Toronto holds a big lottery
draw every year to raise funds and the grand prize
is a fully furnished, newly built home in the same
neighborhood where Jennifer lives. Here is the
house that was this years prize. Pretty nice little
abode don't you think? Betcha I could have a
library and a craft room in there easily.

I was even lucky enough to have the opportunity
to meet Jennifer's daughter Elisabeth before
Jennifer dropped me off at the train station so
that I could make my way home at the end of
our visit. It was a wonderful visit and we hope
to get together again soon to stitch and visit.


I spent Thursday Christmas shopping with my
friend Charmaine at Yorkdale mall and picked
up a few things on my Christmas shopping list.
Because it was a week day the mall wasn't too
busy or crowded which was nice for us.

I also bought myself a new bathing suit because
of something special coming up real soon ( but
I'm not going to tell you anything about that
until after it's over). Let's just say that it's been
many years since I've had to buy a bathing
suit and it's not the most fun that I've ever had
while out shopping for clothes. Tried on about
seven or eight styles of suits (and often had to
try on two different sizes of the same suit to figure
out which would fit) so that whole process took an
hour out of the day.

In this weeks mail there was a parcel from Portugal.
Inside were a number of small packages wrapped in
Christmas paper, and a Christmas card from Paula
(Cantinho do Ponto Cruz). A dilemma. Do I open
the parcels right away or do I wait until Christmas??

What would you do??

Well, I had every intention of waiting until
Christmas to open those interesting little
parcels, and I did manage to hold out for a
few days. But this weekend, with the tree
up and decorated and Santa coming to town
and Christmas music playing on the sterio,
I'm afraid that I just couldn't help myself.

Paula is a generous and kind Christmas elf.
She sent me some lovely Christmas fabric,
a cute cat button, an Eiffel Tower key ring,
(drat!! Forgot to put that in the picture)
a pretty toile covered note book, aaannnddd....

Isn't he cute??? A wonderful Prairie Schooler
Santa ornament. Oh, I am so very glad that I
decided to open those packages early instead
of waiting. Now I can display this little Santa
during the entire Christmas season and enjoy
it every day.

Thank you Paula for your generous and
delightful gifts, and most especially for
the Santa ornament that you stitched for
me. You're awesome!!

Loreena McKennitt has a new CD out called The
Wind That Shakes the Barley. It's a return to her
roots in that the music is all traditional Celtic songs
which is the sort of music that Loreena made when
she first started her career. I've been enjoying the
new album very much but then for me a new
release from Loreena McKennitt is always a reason
to celebrate, and I've always loved her Celtic
inspired early CDs.

This week's artsy shot is of the dried up buds on
our Rose of Sharon bush in the backyard. DH
has put the heater in the bird bath so the water
doesn't freeze and the birds have somewhere to
drink. He's put suet cakes out for the birds as
well although the squirrels get as much enjoyment
out of those as the birds do. Ditto for the peanut
feeder. Most of the leaves are gone from the trees
in our yard and DH has mulched most of them and
put them in the garden to protect the plants from
Winter's icy bite. During the final pass across the
grass last week before being stored away for the
winter the lawn mower died. Good timing I
suppose but it looks like we'll be investing in a
new lawn mower next Spring.

Thank you to everyone who left comments about
Ian's commercials on the previous posts. Would
you believe that someone (he has no idea who)
has started a Facebook page for "The Flute Guy
From the Burger King Commerical"??? He's
somewhat bemused by this. There are over 300
followers on it so far.

I don't know if I'll have time to leave comments
on blogs this week but I will try to find a few
minutes to visit when I can to keep up with what
you're all up to. I'll be back to commenting once
the cards and letters are in the mail and on their
way to friends and family.

Anyone been to see the new Harry Potter movie

Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a great


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Today my SIL Nora, our friend Nancy and I drove over to
St Jacobs which is a small town near Kitchener which
is well known for it's many small shops and restaurants.
We took the "scenic route" which was my suggestion
and of course since we also followed my directions we
got hopelessly lost. How lost?? The trip to St. Jacobs
started from here at 11:00 am and we got to the town
just before 2:00 pm. The trip home on the highway,
without getting lost, took 70 minutes!! Oh well, it was
a lovely day for a drive.

And the moral of the story is: don't follow my directions
unless I'm holding a very good map book in my hands.
I'm a good navigator as long as I have a map book to
refer to.

Anyways, getting to the point of this whole opening
monologue ....

I love sparkle and glitter. Especially at Christmas time.
Whenever I am out somewhere and come across
Christmas ornaments for sale you can bet that if there
is something that sparkles and especially if it is gold
or red or green (my favorite Christmas colors ~ yes
I am very much a traditionalist when it comes to
Christmas decorating) I am drawn to it.

Many of the shops in St. Jacobs had Christmas stuff
for sale and the picture that I have heading this blog
today was taken in one of those shops. I'm trying to
get a feel for pictures taken indoors that weren't
arranged by Mother Nature specifically for my
benefit, so I was taking photos of some of the things
in the stores that caught my eye.

Another shop was selling quilts and I thought
that this one was especially nice and that you
might like to see it since I know some of you
are quilters too.

I love the detail and the colors in this quilt, although
I have to say that I don't remember ever seeing pink
Lily of the Valley. Artistic license??

I did a little stitching on both of my currant projects
this week. I finished the big motif on the bottom of
Halloween Quaker and can now start moving upward
to do a few small motifs which will be lots of fun.

On The Book Store I added curtains to the upstairs
windows even though I haven't put the roof on the
building yet. Hmmm. Hope it doesn't rain (or
snow) before I can get that roof on else my curtains
will be ruined. More leaves and flowers on the
right hand tree and another section of fence under
that tree.

I've got four days off of work this week. I'd like to
think that I'll get lots of stitching done during that
time but I just might jinx myself by stating it as a
definite fact so I'll just keep my fingers crossed
and hope for the best.

I had the day off work on Thursday because it was
Remembrance Day but I didn't take advantage of
the free day to sleep in. No sir. I got up at my
usual time and had breakfast with DH. Then he
drove me to the Go train station and I caught the
7:06 am train into Toronto.

The trip took an hour so by 8:00 or so I was making
my way through Union Station and out onto Bay
Street. I use to work in this neighborhood and so
know it pretty well. I walked from Union Station
down to the shore of Lake Ontario and wandered
along the boardwalk there for a bit.

As you can see from the pictures above and below
the waters of the lake were an incredible dark blue
that day. It was sunny and remarkably warm for
this time of year and the opportunity to just walk
and enjoy the view and the wonderful weather
was a blessing.

The downtown area of the lake shore is lined with condos
and apartment buildings and co-op housing. And all of
this land is landfill and man made. Originally everything
in these pictures was covered by the waters of Lake Ontario.

Tourist season is over so the excursion boats are all docked
and closed down for the winter. Because not everyone here
gets Remembrance Day off (mainly just banks and the
government) it was fairly quiet with none of the summer
time crowds that normally fill the public areas of the
Toronto waterfront.

Once I left the lake shore I walked up through bustling
downtown Toronto until I reached the area where
the New City Hall and the Old City Hall are located.
The picture above is of the Old City Hall, now used
as a court house. This venerable old building was
restored a few years ago revealing details and
ornamentation lost and forgotten for many decades
under grime and pollution.

See the tall clock tower in the above picture??

I walked until I was across the street from the building
and then used the zoom on my camera to take close up
pictures of one of the gargoyles that flank the clock.
Pretty neat huh? I was thrilled that I could get such a
close up shot of these handsome beasties.

Tucked away amongst office buildings, hotels and
the Toronto Eaton Centre (a mall) is the old
Holy Trinity Church, built circa 1846. This church
and a couple of other buildings associated with it
are hidden and dwarfed by the newer, modern
buildings that surround them but when you find
your way to them they offer an opportunity to
spend a few minutes in Toronto's past.

The main reason that I went into Toronto on Thursday
was to spend the day at my friend Linda's doing some
crafty stuff. So this picture is me trying to make some
artsy pages in my so called "art" journal. I am a wanna
be artist. I gather my art stash and other stuff and try
to make something out of them. I have issues with
self confidence and a tendency to dislike anything that
I do like this which is something that I need to work
on and get over so an afternoon creating like this is a
good exercise for me.

I'm in the midst of reading a book right now so
instead of a book recommendation I thought
that I'd do a magazine recommendation instead.

My name is Judy and I'm a magazine addict. If
I really let myself go (and had unlimited funds)
I could easily spend all my precious reading time
with my nose buried in the pages of the magazines
that appeal to me.

Over the years I've loved and bought Country
Living ... Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion ....
the old Victoria magazine ... This England ....
Entertainment Weekly ... People ... the new
Victoria magazine ... Country Sampler
Plus many more. If it appealed to one of my
interests then I couldn't resist it.

This summer I discovered all the incredible and
wonderful magazines published by Stampington
and Company and went crazy for a month or so
hitting stores whenever I was in Toronto looking
for the many publications that this company puts
out. I think I picked up about six or so different
titles published by them that appealed to me
personally, but there are many more available
then those.

These are more like books then magazines in my
opinion and are just beautiful to look at and to
read. If browsing through one of these beauties
doesn't get your creative juices flowing then I
don't know what will.

If I had to choose just two or three magazines
from this publisher to recommend then I'd have
to suggest "Where Women Create" and " Artful
Blogging". The titles are pretty self descriptive
and either or both of these would appeal to any
one who loves crafting and blogging.

Each artist/crafter/blogger featured in the pages
of these magazines tells a bit about themselves,
their particular style of art, their inspirations and
their advice or encouragement for others who are
intrigued and interested in creating art and or
crafts. In the case of Artful Blogging the wonderful
photos are taken from the featured blogger's own
blog, as are excerpts from posts that they've written
for their blogs.

These magazines are well worth looking for and
checking out if you are like me and can't resist a
great magazine. Just don't blame me if you can't
help buying up more then a few of the different
titles available. At least most of them only come
out four times a year.


Well, it's bed time and I've had a busy day so am
ready to toddle off to sleep. Thanks for visiting
and may I suggest that you check out the two
extra posts following this one that features the
Burger King commercials that my godson appeared
in. As I said in those posts ... I'm a mighty proud


The first Burger King Breakfast March Commercial featuring my godson -

I've never put a Youtube video on my blog before so this is
something of a test post. This Burger King commercial
features my godson Ian as the Flute playin' guy. As a
proud godmother I am posting this here so you can all
watch it. You may have already seen it on TV at some

There is a second commercial which I've also
attached to a post but since I can't figure out how to get
them both on the same post they are separate posts.

The Second Burger King For Breakfast Song Commercial 2010 Epic Flute Solo!!

Here is the second commercial. Please note that the
voice you hear in this one is not Ian's voice. It was
recorded by someone else before the commercial was
even made. Too bad since Ian's voice is much better
then the dubbed one. It's not a good overdub either.
Ah well.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I've been playing around with the gadgets and
tools on my i-photo application to see what I
can do to my pictures to make them more
interesting. One of my favorite tools is the
"antique" application which is what I have
used on the above picture.

This is the door of an old church in Toronto
that I walked passed the day of the Word On
the Street festival. Love the vines growing
over the brick and over the door itself. And
the stained glass window over the door is
wonderful with the framed round center-
piece. A bit of a Gothic look.

This is a Mourning Dove sitting on the railing of
our deck, preening his feathers and basking in
the warm sunlight. I caught him in just the right
moment, with tail feathers spread out and wing
lowered to show off his under feathers. Quite a
common bird around here and easily overlooked
because of it's lack of color but they do have nice
markings on their feathers and have an understated
but elegant look about them.

The pose sort of reminds me of those stuffed birds
that used to be arranged on top of lady's hats back
in the 19th and early 20th century.

I have almost finished a large motif on my Halloween
Quaker. I spent quite a bit of Saturday afternoon just
stitching away on it which was quite enjoyable. A bit
of Stitcher's Numb Butt syndrome never hurt anyone.
And since my weekends for the rest of November are
pretty heavily booked I'm not sure when I'll have
time to spend an afternoon stitching again.

I have a four day holiday during the week of the
16th to the 19th and although two of those days
are booked I do have two free days (so far) which
might be good stitching time, unless something
else gets penciled in.

I do have to take a few hours to pack away the
Fall ornaments and to clear the living room /
dinning room / den and bedrooms to get ready
for Christmas decorating which will be happening
on the weekend of the 20th.

Oh, and Christmas cards will need to be done as
well, once I find ones that I like. Which also means
Christmas letters to overseas friends and family to
write .... Ack!!!

Don'tcha just love the Christmas Season???

I've never introduced you to this little darling
who followed me home from Black Creek Pioneer
Village back in September. A lady was selling
some of her crafty stuff in one of the buildings
and she had a couple of these bunnies on
display. I thought that this one was especially
adorable and couldn't leave her behind. I love
the fabric that she's made with and she is
beautifully crafted.

And since we're speaking of Black Creek Pioneer
Village I should add a couple of more pictures
of the samplers that I found there during our
visit. This is one of a pair of matching samplers
which were stitched in memory of Thomas and
Ann Newman.

A close up of Thomas's sampler. The verse is
made up of such tiny stitches it's hard to read
in the pictures that I took and the glass covering
both samplers made it difficult to get really
close because of the camera flash.

I'd really love to know the history behind these
two samplers. It appears that Thomas and Ann
died within two days of each other. Were they
husband and wife?? Siblings??? Who stitched
these two samplers in remembrance of Thomas
and Ann?? I'm nosy that way.

My book finish this week was another fabulous
read that I had trouble putting down and got
totally lost in when I was reading it. Part
historical fiction and part young adult story
it is a rich, engrossing and often times emotional
read that keeps you hooked every step of the

Andi is a young musical genius who is caught
up in the guilt and grief relating to the death
of her younger brother Truman. Depressed
and suicidal Andi is going through the motions
of her life at an exclusive school in Manhattan,
while caring for her mother who is herself
immersed and lost in grief for her son.

When Andi's father, a Nobel Prize winning
genetic scientist who is physically and emotionally
separated from his family, discovers his ex-wife's
mental state and is informed about Andi's failing
grades at school he insists that Andi join him in
Paris where he's involved in a project requiring his

Once in Paris Andi discovers a diary hidden
inside the case of an old guitar which belonged
to Alexandrine Paradis (Alex), a girl who lived
during the French Revolution and who became
involved with the french royal family and in
particular the young Dauphin Louis-Charles.
As Andi reads the diary she becomes caught up
in Alex's story and the events during this turbulent
and violent time in Paris's history.

Donnelly deftly weaves the many strands of story line
that include Andi's work on her senior thesis about
the mysterious composer Amade Malherbeau who
also lived during the revolution, the budding
relationship between Andi and a young rapper
musician and taxi driver named Virgil, and Alex's
struggle to save the doomed Louis-Charles and
herself from falling victim to the horrors of the
French Revolution.

This is one of those books where you become so
emotionally attached to the characters you find
it very hard to let them go when the story ends.
And although you can't put the book down and
are eager to find out what happens next at the
same time you are sorry to have it end.

I've read two other books by Jennifer Donnelly
(The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose) and loved
them too but this one has more of an emotional
connection then those two which were more
"fun" reads. Check out this book for yourself
and see if it doesn't draw you in as well.

One of the best books that I've read in ages!

It's been ages since I've featured a picture of one of
the cats for you so here's Phoebe in all her furry
sweetness to say hello.

Halloween last weekend was cold and windy and
as a result we had fewer trick or treaters then we
did last year. We even had snow ... sort of ...
during the day. It was probably more like tiny ice
pellets then snow, but it gave us pause to see it
coming down in brief blizzard style spurts.

Oh, yes ... winter's coming ....

We had a cauldron full of mini chocolate bars
left over at the end of the night which I insisted
DH take to work with him the very next day.
I'd been picking my favorite mini bars (mmm...
Kit Kat ... mmmm ... Aero .... mmmm ... Coffee
Crisp ... mmmm ... Smarties etc) out of the cauldron
and wolfing them down between shelling out to the
kids Halloween night and didn't trust myself to have
them in the house any longer then could be helped.

I'm glad you all managed to survive the previous
"foodie" post. It seemed to have many of you
scrambling for the kitchen once you'd read it and
seen the pictures and for that I apologize ... with
a wicked grin on my face. :)

Hope you all have a fabulous week and thanks
as always for dropping by.