Saturday, March 28, 2009

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...


I got my fabrics (woohoo!) and did some floss tosses which ruled out a few colours. Then did some test stitching, and a couple colours emerged as favourites. So I've placed my final thread order, but while I wait, I can get some stitching done, at least until I run out of the colours I do have! Leave it to me, I tested 4 purples and 4 blues, and the ones I picked were the ones I don't have spools of on hand.

I've started toying with a few other designs as well in the meantime. AND I think I might just have to start Tuscan Rose, because I now have the fabric, floss and chart and I'm in love with it. Thanks Di, I really needed ANOTHER start.

Now I'm just holding off ordering a couple of Needle's Prayse Charts. I know I won't have time to even think about them by the time they get here, so maybe I'll hold off ordering them and get them to celebrate the finish of this one! :)

I gathered up all my DMC, Anchor and Coats threads and am trying to find a home for them. Hopefully nearby. I don't really want to put it on ebay, I'd rather sell/give it to someone I know. Locally if possible, as it would cost $100 to ship all of this. Seriously, there's that much.

And now I shall go stitch. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More than a little bit annoyed

Okay, this is totally off the topic of stitching, but I really need to get this off my chest.

I've lived in lots of places in my life. A couple of medium sized cities (around 100,000 people), one really huge city (millions of people) and now a small town (less than 5000 people). I really love it here, it's a wonderful little town, and when you walk through it, it feels like you've gone back in time a hundred years. It's situated next to a lake, I live on the cliff which overlooks the lake. We usually get a nice cool breeze in summer, so even days that are in the 40s are bearable. I've gotten to know most of my neighbours, and people about town in the shops, bakery, butcher, post office, and I love that. Most small towns you stick out like a sore thumb if you're new, here I never felt that. Probably because most of my family has lived here at one time or another, and everyone knew my grandfather and remembers me as a little girl. Even my DB, who came here less than 4 years ago from England was welcomed by the community. He wasn't looked upon as an oddity, everyone loved the fact that he was different and most loved listening to him speak. In other words, I've found somewhere to live that just fits me and where I fit.

That said, I may have to leave my little town. We got a proposal in the mail the other day, detailing a new project that is being built a couple of kilometres down the lake - a Nuclear Power Plant. I don't argue with the fact that Nuclear Power is cleaner and better for the environment, but I don't want one in my backyard. They say it will create 1000 jobs. Sure, but not for people from the community, you have to have an education in electricity and nuclear studies to hold a job there. They say that it is completely safe to live here still, about the same amount of radiation as a yearly x-ray. Yet they also warn that pregnant women and small children shouldn't live within 5 km of it. So what are all the families in this town, which is a mere 4 km from the proposed site, supposed to do? Anyone with a well will have to have water trucked in, forget using their own ground water. Anyone within 1 km of the plant will have to move. This includes my cousin, who bought her dream house about 10 years ago and has put thousands of dollars, and her own blood sweat and tears into renovating and restoring it. Who cares if they're offering her twice what it's worth, she doesn't want the money, she wants her house!

The county hasn't yet given approval for building to commence. I'll tell you this, not one person in this town supports it. However, they're being clever, they've gone as far as 20 km in all directions around the plant to gain support. Well people that far out don't care, they think it's just wonderful that they'll get discounts on their hydro bills and possibly a well paying job. So here's my proposal. Put it in one of these communties that is currently supporting it! We don't want it. They do! Let them have it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Downtime is nice, but...

I'm really itching to get started on the new piece!! My test threads shipped early last week, my fabric last weekend, so I'm hoping and praying they'll be here today.

I've been having some fun, stitching some things just for me. I worked on Spanish Rouge a little bit (no pic) and Blackstone Fantasy Garden a bit (no pic) and did up two smaller pieces and finished both!

This lovely piece is called I Will Give You Five Hearts and is from A Mon Ami Pierre. One of the things I love about the French designers is their use of swirls and flourishes - they are just so pretty and fun to stitch. The pattern called for five colours I think, but I decided to do it as a monochrome and used the colour Rosebud from Crescent Colours Belle Soie. It came out very lovely and was a really nice choice I think. I used Vikki Clayton's 35ct linen in Haywains for this project.

And this beautiful little heart is from Point Passion and is called Arabesque Coeur. It is a wonderfully quick stitch, it only took me about 3 hours I think. I stitched this on Vikki's 35 ct linen again in the natural undyed colour, and used an old colour, double dusty rose. This is the colour I plan on using for Romy's Austrian Spot Sampler.

I then started a new piece, a butterfly, but I really had to question my sanity starting it on 48 ct linen from Legacy. It's not that I can't see the holes, I can see them just fine, but I can't get even a 28 needle through them without force and my poor fingers ache from the effort. So I scrapped it and decided to start Tuscany Hearts by Needlemania. I'm a little way into it and enjoying it immensely. I love the colours so much that I'm using them as charted - something almost unheard of for me!

So what else is new... well I treated myself, after the thrill of being signed by a distributor, and the release of two designs, I thought I deserved a little bit of a present. :) So I picked up a few charts, and some fabric. And I've been investigating picking up full sets of threads for use in colour selection. I've decided, even though it might be a bit of overkill, that I will pick up all of my favourite silks. I already have a complete set of HDF on tags, but the others I just have bits here and there, so I'll be picking up one new set each time I can afford to do so. I'm so excited!!

With that in mind I decided this week that it is time for me to say goodbye to my DMC hoard. I say hoard because there are several thousand skeins of it. Why get rid of it? Because I haven't used even one strand of DMC in over a year. Yes I have projects started with it, but I don't enjoy working on them so will likely never finish them. I will keep one complete set for comparisons and conversions and the rest are going to be sent to a new home. I've got a couple of places I can send them to so I know they will be well cared for. lol

And now I'm off to stitch and do laundry, and enjoy another day off. At least until the mail arrives!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Done, dusted and off to the distributor is Easter Flowers. I'm so happy! This is all so much fun, and each new release is a new wave of excitement. I'm sure after a few more this will become old hat and I'll be less enthusiastic about it, but for now it's a huge thrill.

This is my newest baby, stitched on 40 count Hay Fields linen from Sassy's Fabrics using Gloriana Silk threads.

So with that finished, I now have a week or two to relax and stitch whatever I want while I await test threads and my fabric for Celtic Wings. :) On one hand, it's nice not to have to worry about being perfect and just stitching for fun. On the other hand, I'm at the computer constantly, toying with colour samples and fiddling in Patternmaker with different little things floating around in my head. As I was saying to Sassy the other day, I'm ten steps ahead of myself. I haven't even started model stitching Celtic Wings yet, but I already have 1 more designed and have chosen the fabric for it, another two in my head but not quite clear enough to design yet, and ideas for a couple of others that are just starting to form in my mind. While it's nice to have lots of ideas, I want to take things one step at a time. I don't want to burn out and not know what to do next!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Is technology destroying "the hobby"?

When I say "the hobby", I don't necessarily mean one in particular, but any hobby that isn't focused on technology. The reason I ask? Facebook. In the interests an hobbies sections, I find less and less hobbies listed by people that aren't technological.

I suppose I should clarify. As a kid, I remember a lot of my friends used to have all sorts of hobbies. Some liked to read, some liked to do scale models, some liked to paint and/or sketch, some liked to do embroidery or sew. I'm sure you get what I mean and probably had a hobby of your own.

Now what do I see listed more often than not as hobbies? Watching television and movies and playing video games. Okay, so reading is still a big one, but what happened to crafts? Do kids just not do crafts anymore?

Having a teenager at home, and knowing all of his friends I can tell you that most of them don't. Their lives are focused either around the computer or around the television. Instead of showing up at each others' houses to hangout, they'll talk about hanging out on MSN. Often for hours. And guess what? They don't actually end up hanging out, because by the time they've discussed the idea with everyone on their buddy list, there isn't any time left to actually do anything.

I CAN tell you for a fact that technology has destroyed two things in our youth. The ability to spell, and the ability to do simple math. My son leaves me notes, written down on paper, and actually writes things like LOL and BRB. And in school projects, his spelling and grammar are atrocious. He will either use internet shortforms or common misspellings that you find in text messages, or he uses the spellchecker instead of actually proofreading and lets it autocorrect. Well in Canada, we have different spellings of words than in US. However, our Wordprocessor is in US English, so it will often correct things that don't need correcting. What I find terribly distressing is that I find teacher comments on his work in American spelling as well. As far as math goes, and I see this almost everyday, ask a teenager to figure out the sales tax on a simple purchase, and then watch their face take on a seriously puzzled look. Oh dear, how can one figure these things out without a calculator?? I can, and I could by the time I was about ten, probably earlier. I wasn't allowed a calculator in math or science class until high school, by which point the basics were pretty well engraved in my skull. My son was allowed a calculator by grade 3. Why? Because with this new curriculum, there is too much to learn to spend time reviewing the basics, like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. That's what his teachers tell me. This is a load of crap. The teachers end up spending more time than they should on things which 90% of kids will never use after they leave school, and not enough time on things that they will use everyday. But I digress...

So, with all of these wonderful technological inventions, do kids actually spend time creating anything other than logfiles and saved games? Not many from what I've seen. They talk at great length about the things they're going to do, but not many actually get around to doing them.

One of my son's best friends is female. They've been friends since they were about 7, and even though they've both moved far from where they met, they still keep in touch and still visit each other a couple of times a year. A few years ago, on one of her visits, this young lady showed a keen interest in my needlework and asked me to teach her how to do it. I spent the better part of the weekend working with her on how to make her basic stitches, made up a care package for her of some patterns, fabric, and floss and off she went. For a few months I would get updates from her in my email, with pictures of what she had accomplished. This last year or two, I ask her what she's working on and suddenly she doesn't have time. She has a part time job which she works at 1 night a week and Saturdays. Most nights she is logged into MSN and chatting with my son, so I know it's not that she really doesn't have time, it's that she chooses to use her time on other things.

Here's another little rant, perhaps a little off topic, but I feel it's still connected in some way. I'll use my son as an example, but I KNOW that this is not just something that I've had to deal with and is something that most parents have heard. To what am I referring? Two words. "I'm bored." Sure, as kids we were all bored at some point or another, but we most often found something to do. However, I hear these words from my son almost every day. He has lots of friends to do things with. He has several guitars to play. He has an enormous library of music - hundreds of CDs worth of every kind of music you can think of. He has a hundreds of DVDs at his disposal, as I'm quite a movie buff and enjoying watching them while I stitch. He has an Xbox 360, a PS3 and a computer of his own, all with several games. He has ten times more to do than I ever did at his age, yet he's always bored, and I never was. Why???? I'll tell you what I think, and I may be wrong, I often am, but here goes. Why is he bored? Because he never really does anything. He'll fiddle on the guitar - while logged onto MSN. He'll play a video game, while either logged onto MSN, or, chatting with his online buddies (most of whom he sees every day at school). He'll listen to music - while logged onto MSN. He'll talk on the phone - while logged onto MSN. My solution? GET RID OF MSN!!! Talk to your friends face to face!! Do something instead of typing about it!!! Do you know when he's NOT bored? When one of his friends comes over or he goes to their house. When MSN is not involved. MSN, text messaging, Facebook... they totally kill real life, because it's too easy to get caught up in drama online that in real life would seem pretty trivial. They've destroyed our social graces. Who the heck has a party on Facebook???? Stop talking about life and start living it!

Okay so back to my original thought. Has technology destroyed hobbies? Maybe. At least it has changed what is considered a hobby. I suppose that playing video games could be considered a hobby, it requires hand-eye co-ordination and mental agility. On the other hand, it produces nothing tangible.

On the flipside, the internet has also boosted hobbies among the older generations. I speak from experience when I say that if not for the internet, I would surely not still be stitching, let alone designing. There's a wealth of information to be found about so many different things, and people of my generation and those before me are re-discovering things they enjoyed years ago because of it. My fear is this: what happens when these generations are gone?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Almost done... here's a peek!

I thought I would post a sneak peek of my newest project. :) I'm a few short hours from completing the stitching and will hopefully (barring any unforseen issues) have this one ready for release next week!

I'm very excited, and am stitching up a storm trying to get it finished this weekend. It's been a fun one to stitch, the soft pastels have given me hope in the midst of this dreary winter weather.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


That was exactly what I said when I opened the envelope I received from Gloriana Threads yesterday. WOW!! Very pretty colours, perfect to finish my model of Easter Flowers. I'm just a few days from finishing it! Just to tease you, it's a spring design in soft pastels with lots of satin and specialty stitches to show off the pretty shine of these oh so soft silks.

Unfortunately, timing is always bad with these things, I had to work yesterday, and then again today and tomorrow, so serious stitching time won't come until Friday. Hopefully between that and the next couple of evenings, I can put a real dent into the stitching!! I'm almost there!!

After I finish, I get a week or so to relax while I wait for fabric to start testing colours for Celtic Wings - I can't wait!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

All Excited Again

Well, I worked all day yesterday and all morning this morning, and I'm finally satisfied with the layout for Celtic Wings, my fourth piece and the second in the celtic series. I've even almost decided on colours! I'll have to do some testing when I get my fabric, which I haven't even ordered yet, but I've definitely narrowed it down a great deal.

I'm ten steps ahead of myself, mind you, I won't be ready to start model stitching for at least 2-4 weeks, but it's nice to have the next one ready to go!

I'm kind of torn now... do I relax and work on personal stitching or do I keep up with the roll I'm on and get some work done on the third celtic design - which I started ages ago and put aside because I wasn't happy with it. That one I already know the colours I'm using - floss and fabric - but the design is stuck in my head and hasn't quite cleared into stitches yet. Maybe I should wait and not overload myself? I should probably just relax and celebrate the accomplishment of today and give my brain a rest.