Saturday, November 30, 2013

In the early 70's until the early 80's I use to watch 
episodes of Doctor Who on our local Public TV
station.   Hosted by Canadian Sci-Fi author Judith
Merril we had episodes from the time of Jon Pertwee
onwards.   I remember some of the Pertwee years
and I watched some of Peter Davison too ... but the
episodes that I never missed featured the fourth Doctor
... MY Doctor .... Tom Baker.

When the newest incarnations of the Doctor began
with introduction of Christopher Eccleston I watched 
the premier episode but somehow wasn't as enchanted 
with his portrayal of the Doctor and did not continue
with the show.   I would probably have liked
David Tennant's Doctor a lot but never managed
to catch most of his episodes, nor those of his 
successor Matt Smith.

I did make a point to watch the episode during the Tennant 
years featuring the return to the series of my favourite Who 
companion Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen 
and found it to be quite an emotional reunion for me.
As a Buffy fan I was also delighted that the villain for
that episode was played by Anthony Stuart Head.  He
played "nasty" really well in that show.   Oh, and K9
featured in that episode as well.   I was in my happy 

Well, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was 
celebrated last weekend with a special episode
which ran here Saturday afternoon on Space
channel.   DH and I made a point of watching
and we enjoyed it thoroughly.    DH had 
kept up with the new Doctor Who episodes
even though I hadn't so he was familiar with
the 10th and 11th Doctors and their histories.

But the part of the 50th anniversary special 
that had me bouncing up and down on the 
couch ... and in tears of joy... was at the 
very end when Matt Smith had an encounter
with an elderly gentleman with curly white 
hair and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Of the surviving Doctors from the "old"
days the only one the creators chose to 
bring back was my Doctor ... Tom Baker.
Happy, happy, happy.

Then a friend provided me with this link
to a half hour long special made by Peter
Davison featuring the other three surviving
Doctors who were not included in the 50th
anniversary special and it is a wonderful,
affectionate send up of it all.   If you 
are a Who fan and haven't seen this yet
you must watch it!   It's chock full of 
cameos, inside jokes and fun adventure
with Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester
McCoy trying their darnedest to make
some sort of appearance in the special.

What I've been reading lately.

A series that I first began reading
back in 2012 which was my first encounter
with author Jacqueline Carey. This was her very 
first book and it knocked my socks off.    
Epic fantasy at it's most lyrical, enchanting and
mesmerizing with an alternative Earth history 
written in incredible detail.   If you love
the stories of George R.R. Martin then you
might be interested in this very talented female
author's take on epic fantasy ... and Carey
publishes much more frequently then Martin.
I've reread books one and two in this series
and am well into book three right now.
Once of those series you don't want to end.

No stitching, no doodling and no scrap
booking going on right now.  I'm in Christmas
mode which means ticking off my "to do"
list for the season.   Just finished the overseas
letters and cards and will be starting the local
cards after I've finished this post and a short
break for lunch.   My tummy's growling
so I'll wish you a happy weekend and
head for the kitchen!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas ... some of my favourite things ....

Since you've asked to see some of the
final results of our Christmas decorating
I'm quite happy to oblige.   

(Go ahead, twist my arm!!)

Well.   The holiday decorating is about
75 percent completed as of this posting
with the exception of the den where I
still have the small tree to decorate, plus
a bit of tweaking here and there where

Every year I get so excited to open up 
all the boxes and storage bins and start
pulling out the ornaments that I love so
much.   Our tree features ornaments 
from all over the place ... Hallmark 
and Michaels,  Winners and Simpsons
(which no longer exists) and Pier One
... to name a few.    

Here is the tree, all lit up and glowing
with lights and glitter and joy!!   One
thing that I really love when it comes
to choosing an ornament is sparkle!
If it sparkles it's mine!

I'm also a traditionalist when it comes
to Christmas.   My colours are red,
green and gold.    Well, most of the

The odd purple ornament with gold
design is quite acceptable when it's
as beautiful as the one above.   And
when it has a reflector style centre to
catch the christmas lights and shine 
even more, well, I'm okay with that.

The room divider is a great place to go nuts dedicate to
Christmas decorations.   I strip it of the usual
stuff that is there for half the year and pack all
that away where ever I can find a spot.   With
fingers crossed that I'll be able to find it all again
in January.   Ahem.

Many of the crystaline pieces ... trees, sleigh and
the one Santa to be specific .... all light up which
makes it easier to see everything at night and makes
it all quite festive without trying to jury rig strings
of lights ... trying to hide the cords and find a 
way of plugging them in without having extension
cords covering the floor and going in every 

I also use those little battery operated tea lights
for added light instead of real candles .... which
make me nervous.

The book case has some favourite ornaments
including my Rudolph pieces and my favourite
snowmen pieces.

I picked these guys up one winter season from a 
local drug store and they were on sale for a ridiculous
cheap price.   

I love these guys!!   This one has a place in the
back for tea lights ... and again I use the battery
operated kind.

Rudolph and friends.   These were Hallmark
ornaments from quite a few years ago.

In the kitchen I've decorated the hutch shelf with
my favourite angels and Santa.    

In the living room I put bows on each of the
lampshades.   Some of the bows I have made
myself ... such as this one.

Many of my bows were made for me by my
friend Tony.   He makes me one every year.
We have an agreement you see.   Each year
I send him a box of my Christmas baking,
including a batch of scones which are his
particular favourites.   And in return he sends
me a hand made bow.   

These bows I put out wherever I can find
a spot that will show them off to their best
advantage ... and wherever the cats can't
get their paws on them.


Decorating went well for the most part this year
with one or two exceptions that did delay us a bit.
Unfortunately our Christmas star for the top of the
tree conked out and in spite of our best
efforts to resuscitate it it was quite dead.   I've been
looking for a replacement but can't find anything
that appeals to me.    I'll keep looking but if I don't
find anything suitable I'm not going to worry about

Then there were the fancy little hooks that we use 
to hang ornaments on the tree.   Much to our 
annoyance and dismay we could not find them 
anywhere!!!   I use to keep them in one of those 
plastic margarine containers but we couldn't find it 
this year.   

We opened all of the many, many (many)  boxes 
and dug through mounds of tissue paper and 
piles of Christmas lights, stuffed toys and whatnot ... 
without success.   Frustration was setting in. 
Precious time was wasting.  

Then I glanced at a foot stool where
small boxes of ornaments were already 
unpacked and waiting to be hung on the tree ... 
and remarked to my helper Darlene  (who was 
digging in yet another large box nearby) ... 
"If we can't find the margarine container of small hooks 
perhaps we'll have better luck looking in this little box 
marked SMALL HOOKS!!!"

A short break for egg nog was in order after that.

After a long, exhausting day of Christmas decorating
we were sorely in need of sustenance and relaxation 
(and in some cases liquid refreshment of the alcoholic 
variety)  so we headed off to the Copper Kettle pub 
in Glen Williams for a nice dinner with friends.
I had Steak and Guinness Pie for dinner, with
hand cut fries and steamed veggies and for
desert Chocolate Guinness cake.   Yum!!

Above is a photo of the usual suspects.   Me on the 
left .... Darlene third from the left .... DH standing
tall on the right behind everyone ... and Brenda
(seated in front) owner of the pub and dear friend 
... and our friends Pete and Terry. 
You should see Terry's tree.   Her tree makes mine
look like Charlie Brown's tree in comparison.  


So, that's what I've been up to this week.
Next on the to do list is the overseas
letter and cards and then the regular

Hope you're not bored to tears.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

This week I had Monday off for Remembrance Day
and after watching the memorial service from Ottawa
on TV I spent part of the afternoon packing up all of
the Fall decorations plus stowing away the rest of the
nick knacks that are usually out throughout most of the
year, all to make room for the Christmas decorations
that we're putting out this weekend.

Every year my friend Darlene comes for the weekend
that we consider the official beginning of the Christmas
season.    You see this is the weekend that Santa comes
to town.   He arrives in Georgetown tonight in a night
time parade and he arrives in Toronto tomorrow in the
109th annual Toronto Santa Claus parade.

We'll make busy like Santa's elves decorating the 
trees and the house while Christmas music plays
on the stereo and egg nog cools in the fridge.  DH's role
is to haul the boxes of decorations out of storage and
bring them upstairs for us.  He'll also brings the tree
up and sets it up for us.   Then he leaves us to get
to work.

It'll take Darlene and I all afternoon to decorate the
main tree and put most of the decorations around
the house.   On Sunday we'll be decorating the
small tree and putting the finishing touches all over.

Tonight we'll head to the pub for dinner and some
Christmas cheer.   

Summer memories.

We've had some fairly chilly weather at times this
week ... cold enough to force me to dig out my 
long johns and my warmer scarf and mitts.  I walk
a lot around town and getting from point A to point
B can be unpleasant when your legs are freezing.

It's times like that (Tuesday night -  walking home from
Loblaws - freezing) that inspires memories of the past 
summer and some of the fun things that we did ... in 
the warm weather.  Sigh. Such as when we went on a 
dinner cruise around Toronto Island and Toronto 
harbour in August.  The cruise was arranged by DH's 
work and we had a fabulous time.  The above picture 
is of the boat that we sailed on.

And here is DH and I on board the ship as it made
it's way around the Toronto Islands.   The cruise
ship left the dock around 6:30 and we got back to
our starting point at 10:30.   

This picture was taken at Crawford Lake
Conservation area ... also in August.
I am missing green, growing things
already.   But soon Christmas lights
and decorations will be popping up,
and some can even be seen in some store
front windows right now, and that will 
help a bit.

This is a short post this week because of
time constraints due to the start of all of the 
traditional Christmas decorating which 
will be followed by the traditional vacuuming 
of all of the Christmas glitter and dust coming off 
of the ornaments and the boxes that they've 
been stored in all year.   

Let the season begin!!!!


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Do you find that although you've lived
in a place for a very long time, if not 
your entire life, you've rarely taken the
time to visit the beautiful places that may
exist within an hours drive from your 
front door step??   

DH and I have lived in our house for
22 years now but in all that time we
have never visited any of the 
beautiful conservation areas that
are within an hour's drive of us.

Until this summer.

In August we visited no fewer then
three conservation areas because I
wanted to explore the greenbelt of
the Niagara Escarpment which 
surrounds our region of Halton
Hills.   Walking the trails and
making a visual record with my
camera of the natural beauty that
we're so lucky to have on offer.

These two photos were taken at the Hilton
Falls conservation area which is a half
hours car drive from us.   My DH, our
friend Darlene and I packed up the car 
with picnic supplies and water and headed
out for a day of hiking and site seeing.

Hilton Falls conservation area has not only
the falls .... seen in the very first picture ....
but also a reservoir which can be glimpsed
in the second picture.   We're standing on 
top of the escarpment and that stream is
heading to a precipice from which it 
drops to the reservoir below.   

We walked for hours through the forest,
following trails and taking pictures.  Some
of the trails were easy to walk being level
and well maintained but we also followed
a portion of the Bruce Trail which required
some climbing skills and some care in how
you moved.  

This picture illustrates my point.

Another view of the reservoir from the Bruce

The only thing that marred this day was when
Darlene and I were walking through a picnic
area looking all around us and chatting and
not watching where we were putting our feet.
I managed to put one foot into a slight indentation
in the ground and got it caught there while the
rest of me kept going.

I ended up on hands and knees and wondering
how I got there.   I got up carefully and there
didn't seem to be any obvious damage except
to my dignity .... (waves at the picnickers who
watched my pratfall with interest) so we kept
on walking .... for another three hours.

Well, all was fine until we loaded up the car
to head for home and I sat down for the first
time since my "trip".  Within ten minutes my
left leg was stiffening up and swelling and,
well, it wasn't pleasant.   A trip to the 
emergency room for a check over was 
deemed prudent that evening but thankfully
there was not any serious harm.  Probably
shouldn't have kept hiking for three more
hours and the leg needed to rest for a few
days etc etc.   A few Ibuprofen for the
soreness and the swelling and things 
improved drastically.

No lasting damage.

Another project on the go at the moment in my
renewed enthusiasm for stitching.  LHN Snow
White stitched in red.    Not really much left
to do on this one but I'm sort of concentrating
my time and efforts on the Lizzie Kate project
this week.    

Received the Just Cross Stitch Halloween and
Christmas ornaments issues from Stitching
Bits and Bobs this week and have been 
happily going through them and picking
out favourites.   The Halloween issue is 
especially rich in fun stuff.

Another of my mandalas to show off.

And this design which uses patterns that are ment
for Henna drawn designs for hands, arms and

And since one can't have too many hobbies ....
can one?? .... Here are the K&Co. Smash books that
I've been making this year.

These books can be used for so many things but
I'm using them as a combination of journal,
scrapbook and an introduction to scrapbooking.

Some of the pages.   

I've had so much fun working on these books and it's 
encouraged me to always take my camera with me 
and to take lots of pictures of any event or
occasion or happy day that we have had.

I've stuffed these books so much with all kinds
of stuff they don't lay flat any more.   These 
books come filled with fancy or quirky papers
but when those pages don't suit my taste I 
just stick my own choices over top and keep

Collecting wise my scrapbooking supplies are 
giving my stitching supplies a run for their money
.... God help me. 

Ah well, you know what they say ...

The one who dies with the most stash wins!!!

We won't talk about the book stash.
Thank you.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

The first weekend of November 2013 ... does
anyone know what happened to October???
It seems to have passed by in a flash which is
frustrating to me because it's my favourite 
month. The fact that  there are two major 
holidays in October probably has something 
to do with it.    Thanksgiving and 

November came in like a lion with strong
winds and heavy rain although the temperatures
were quite mild, thank goodness.   There
was concern that Halloween would be 
spoiled by the weather and indeed it wasn't
the most pleasant of nights out but the 
heaviest rain and the strongest winds did not
occur until much later in the night so the
kids were able to get out and do their 
trick or treating without too much hardship.

Whether the parents who accompanied them
would agree to that observation or not I can't 
say.   Many of them stood on the sidewalk 
in front of our house huddled under an 
umbrella, sometimes clutching a cup of 
some sort of hot beverage and trying to
be patient as their offspring went from
door to door.   

We had about 50 kids come to our door
between 6:30 and 8:00 which is about
normal for us.    We handed out the
mini chocolate bars by the hand full
and I'm very proud of the fact that I
did not eat a single one (or multiples)
of those delicious morsels.   We had
lots left over because I tend to err on
the side of caution when it comes to
preparing for special occasions such
as this so on Friday morning the 
caldron went to work with DH and 
it returned home that night empty!!!!

Thank you for the kind words about
my zentangles Rowyn and Vonna.
I've been filling small sketch books
with my practice pages as well as 
 finished pages such as these here.

I do use a protractor .... is that the
right term? ... a compass?? ... for
the mandala designs since I cannot
draw a decent circle to save my life.

Here is a great site for finding zentangle
patterns and instructions on how to
make them. 

And needless to say I have a few (cough,
cough) books on the subjects too.   These
are some of my favourites.   I love the Designs
Originals publications.  

These three books are smallish in size but are
jam packed with instructions and ideas.  I refer
to them all the time. 

Just a warning .... these things are crazy addictive.
Once you start, you might not be able to stop.
You've been warned!

And since one cannot indulge in too many
hobbies here is another of my (our) favourites.
I began a Lizzie Kate Christmas design this
week and am enjoying it so much. 

Whenever I have some spare time I sit at my
desk stitching and listening to talk radio on
my computer.   I'm stitching this one in 
hand ... without use of any kind of frame ...
which is something that I haven't done for a
long time.   For these smaller projects at least
it works just fine.  I have to use a table magnifier
and an Ott-Lite as well to see properly.

This is being stitched on 32 count Lugana in 
Light Taupe ... which doesn't translate well
in either of these pictures.  


Toronto has been in a tizzy for the past
few days thanks to some unexpected and 
astonishing revelations about the city's
mayor Rob Ford.   Allegations of the mayor's 
drug and alcohol abuse, rumoured and hinted 
about for months, plus reports of a video 
showing the mayor posing with suspected 
drug dealers whilst smoking from a crack pipe
have been rampant for half the year but
the mayor has strenuously denied everything
and angrily heaped abuse and scorn at anyone 
(newspaper reporters) who claimed any of it 
was true.  

On Thursday Toronto's police chief 
announced that the alleged video had
been found in the deleted files of a 
computer and the police had a copy of
it.   Oops!

Cries for the mayor to step down and get
help for his problems are coming loudly
from all quarters but he is still denying
all of it and refusing to quit.   

So it's been an interesting time for sitting
and stitching and listening to talk radio.

Note:    I am not at all fond of the mayor
in any case.   Although he does seem to
have done some good work in the early
part of his term in office he is also - to me -
an obnoxious, overbearing bully who 
has been systematically alienating both
allies and opponents in his push to 
implement all his plans for the city and 
he is definitely not a suitable representative
of the city to the rest of Canada and the


Time to get back to the stitching and the
talk radio.   Have a great week all.