Monday, 2 December 2019

December 2, 2019

Hot off the hoop! "Wild Thing Quilt" designed by Julie Dobson Miner for Dimensions. Next step, washing machine to remove the dog hair, the stamped ink and, hopefully, the coffee that got spilled on the bottom left. If not, my friends love our dogs and we spent many hours chatting over coffee in our livingrooms back in Greenwood so the mess kind of sums up our friendship!

My other "craft" efforts this weekend have involved these boxes:
The boxes are going to collection points around CFSU (Ottawa) as part of a Holiday food drive being organized by the Uplands Community Council. Our two rental housing entities and our family centre have agreed to let us place boxes in their reception areas for collection of non-perishable food for the Ottawa Food Bank. I was very quickly reminded why I prefer gift bags over gift wrap as I was folding the paper around the boxes and getting tape stuck every where. Oddly, there are several cat and dog hairs stuck to the boxes as well. *looks around at the guilty parties sleeping innocently beside me* I did have lots of fun digging out the crayons we keep here for the fella's kids and colouring in the colouring contest picture. Sometimes, indulging in one's inner child is the best medicine!

My next step today is to start finishing cross stitch ornaments. I have missed the international mailing dates as usual and we need to deliver a parcel to family on Saturday as that will be the last time we see them before the New Year. The fella' left this morning for a training course this week so I can putter away without tripping over him or him asking me why I am doing whatever it is that I am muddling away with at that moment. He is not a hobbyist or crafter so he does not understand why I collect so many bits and bobs or how I can find anything in the jumble of boxes in the spare room or where the heck the random little doodad appeared from and magically pulls together whatever is in my hand.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 1 December 2019

December 1, 2019

How is it that it is already the first of December? I have no ornaments completed, our decorations are all still in the basement and I have barely started to pull together my Christmas gifts. I feel all out of sorts this year because everything has changed and I am still adjusting. We will have a "real" tree this year with decorations and lights and family here to celebrate instead of us packing up and heading to another province. My job takes up more of my time with hours and travel time and I am still adjusting to living here in Ottawa. The adjustment is all good, don't worry. It is just the usual adjustment of a country kid moving to the city, getting used to the new environment and finding one's place in the community.

As part of finding my place in this community, I am leading a food drive for the Ottawa Food Bank as a way for us to give back to the city that has welcomed us so warmly. My job for today is to decorate three boxes to be left around the base to collect donations from people who may already be headed out on Christmas leave before we go door to door to collect the donations. Our community council here is small, but people jump in to help fill in any gaps in planning and execution so that is most helpful. Many hands make light work!

Crafting-wise, I am determined to finish this quilt today while the fella' packs to go away this week for a course and Christmas Mess dinner with his fellow linemen. This panel was my favourite as the giraffe's face popped up at my while I was doing the backstitching. Giraffes are so beautiful and I fell deeply in love with them after seeing a bub that was hours old at Monarto Zoo wobble around its doting mom. This face was adorable as the backstitching brought it out under my fingers. I have one more panel to backstitch then into the wash it goes before heading out to the intended little guy who is almost 3 months old now!

Happy Sunday and stitching to you!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Nov 11/19

The progress on this baby blanket is slow, at best. Somehow, having both the energy and the inspiration to stitch is a rare combination these days. There is no regularity to my work schedule as I travel around the Ottawa region to cover shifts. Getting up at 5:30am to be in Brockville for an 8am start or working until midnight and then driving an hour back to Ottawa can take its toll. Today was a good stitchy day after we came home from the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Manotick. Snow was threatening all day and finally started late afternoon so it was a lovely day to curl up on the couch with the dogs, sip coffee and stitch.

There is a fair bit of back stitching and satin stitching on this quilt. My satin stitching is super rusty so there will be no close ups of that work. I love how the lettering pops with the back stitching here as I worked with a few shades of orange, my favourite colour. I will get more practise with my satin stitching when my next Amazon order arrives. Recently, I learned of a pattern style known as zenbroidery, a sort of colouring for stitchers. The patterns are stamped and the stitcher can play with colour and embroidery techniques. Before I fell down the rabbit hole of cross stitch, embroidery was a passion of mine and there are a few pieces that I stitched as a kid somewhere in one of my boxes.

The fella' does not know how much yarn I carried back from a recent trip to New Brunswick. My mom is downsizing and moving from a house to an apartment so yours truly brought back part of her yarn collection. He also does not know about the book on making cards and gift tags that I picked up at a used book sale back home or the 2 cross stitch patterns coming in the mail. In fact, he helped me with my luggage and failed to notice that the cloth shopping bag I used as a carry-on bag was stuffed full of yarn. He claims to not understand, but a quick glance at the tools and gadgets in our basement reveals that he so very much does.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Nov 5/19

So, apparently my last blog post was in August, a week or so before I started back to work after taking some time to move and to find a job. My new job is challenging and, at times, draining both mentally and physically. I have been struggling to find a balance between work and home, life and things I love to do and settling into a new city. My previous job was 8am to 6pm from Wednesday to Friday so I had these wonderful four day weekends every week which allowed me time to decompress from work and to do all kinds of fun stuff like stitching and hanging with my dogs. I was so spoiled with the time to recharge and to explore things that caught my interest. It was lovely to make enough money to live comfortably and have the time to putter away at all of my projects.

Two months into the new job and I am finally finding time to stitch and craft again. A batch of castille soap is curing in my kitchen, the back stitching is being done on the baby quilt and I have done some knitting during my recent travels to Toronto and New Brunswick. My university aged seatmate from Ottawa to Toronto did a double take when I pulled out my knitting on the train. What a low tech way to pass the time during a 4 hour train ride! To meet more people, a friend and I are considering starting a stitch and bitch club in our neighbourhood. We founded a book club this summer and we recently organized a haunted house for the neighbourhood on Halloween so we are looking for other ways to meet people because we so want to feel connected to our neighbours during the time that we find ourselves living in Uplands, the military housing in Ottawa.

The fella' just never knows what he will find happening in the house when he comes home from work. Last week, he found himself in the backyard testing fog machines for the haunted house. Another time, he tripped over a bag of yarn for a poncho that I hope to start knitting soon. Yet another time, he found my hand mixer in the freezer after I had burnt out the motor blending olive oil and a lye and water mixture for soap. The motor did not revive and I had to stir the mixture by hand to get it to set. I flew home to New Brunswick on Sunday so of course, I was chunking up jack o'lanterns for dog treats and pumpkin soup on Saturday night instead of packing. Do not tell him that I have been recently intrigued by a thing called zenbroidery which is essentially colouring for stitchers or that I have been browsing through online yarn companies. Creating and working on projects is relaxing and nourishing to me, even if it means having a dining room full of strobe lights and fog machines.

I flew home to NB this week to help my mom with some things around her house which she has up for sale so that she can downsize to a seniors apartment complex that is being built at the end of her street. She sent a table top loom back to Ontario with my brother on Thanksgiving weekend, yet another craft. The fella' just shook his head as he carried the loom into the house after we picked it up from my brother. I get my crafting abilities from my mom so the fella' is doomed to being surrounded by yarn and fabric and materials for as long as he is with me!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

August 18/19

So many things have happened over the past 2.5 months that I barely know where to begin. We packed up and moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario with our critters in tow, I have been looking for a job in Ottawa and we have been busy enjoying time with our families who live in the Ottawa area. We have also been getting to know our neighbours and our neighbourhood, checking out the essentials like the grocery stores, banks and take out food! The dogs and I have been out finding new routes to walk and parks where they can run free with other dogs.

I have been creating lots of stitches, thanks to knitting dish cloths, but no cross stitch until yesterday. Friends of ours are expecting their first baby in September so I pulled out a crib quilt kit that I had in my stash and started stitching away. 

Stamped cross stitch is not really my thing, but these crib quilts look so cute when they are done and they are so well received by the new parents so I keep buying them and stitching them up. Being unemployed at the moment is giving me lots of time to work on projects like this quilt although I now do all the housework since the fella' has started back to work (we came to Ottawa for his job). My library card is also getting a work out now that I have founded a book club here and I am trying to become much better read. A new chapter is being started on so many levels!

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

May 29/19

Wow! It has been ages since I have posted on this blog. My cross stitch bug has been displaced by a knitting bug these days. My partner will kill me if more yarn comes in the door, but knitting has been a good way to keep my hands and mind busy these days as I deal with the details of a move. Yep, that's correct, move. The fella' and I are relocating to Ottawa for his job so our lives have been a whirlwind of me working on getting re-licensed in Ontario, looking for a job, finding a place for us and our critters to live and spending time with our amazing friends here in Nova Scotia.

Stress has been an ever present companion as we only have 3 months total from our notification to the day the moving truck pulls out of our driveway. To deal with the stress, the dogs and I have been taking very long walks around town every evening so that I can concentrate on something else and to work off the body effects of stress.

Anyhoo, once we get settled in Ottawa, hopefully my cross stitch bug will come out of hibernation. All the best to you, dear readers, and happy stitching!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

March 19/19

Well, things have been busy since the last post. My Rotary club donated $3000 to buy medications for the medical mission that I did March 2-9 in the Dominican Republic. I purchased all of the prescription and over the counter medications for the clinics that we ran in villages and in one of the jails. My house was over run with boxes for weeks as I stashed them in every corner of every room until they were packed. As an aside, let me give a big shout out to Air Transat who granted me 3 free pieces of baggage for humanitarian reasons.  Here is a glimpse of my pharmacy!

A wicked head cold that I developed on the day I returned home plus the fella' being away for a week meant that the dogs were not walked much and little crafting happened around here. Tonight was the first time in weeks that I did more than a few minutes of crafting. The snowman ornament now looks more like a snowman than a white and grey blob.

I did finish the back stitching on this bib last week. You must ignore the weird crease marks. I made the mistake of leaving a dog uncrated and she decided to 'inspect' the needle work projects that are piled up beside my spot on the couch. She had been in her kennel all day while I worked on Friday with a couple of visits from one of our neighbours and I felt guilty about leaving for book group that evening so I left her out of the kennel. BIG MISTAKE. I came home to her gnawing on my embroidery hoop and this bib along with several dish cloths strewn across the couch. Grrrrrr!!!

The fella' was visiting one of his sons last week in Ontario and his son's little sister made these book markers for me after careful consultation with the fella' about my favourite colours. Her mom said that she worked hard all week deciding on the designs and colours, putting the beads together and then ironing them together. How sweet is that?

Happy stitching!