Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's been a while...

So I thought I would post an update.

It's been another rough couple of weeks with not a lot of stitching. :(

First, because of the insane heat we've had (though the last two days haven't been too bad) it's been very hard to stitch because we don't have A/C and I have to wash my hands every three minutes. lol I tell you though, the weather network is full of crap. They said the high last Thursday was 37.6 - the thermometer on my porch said 42 and it's in the shade. With the humidity it easily felt like 50. Today is sticky again, the humidity is back, but it looks like we're in for some rain hopefully.

Second, my son moved out. While I'm immensely proud of him and happy that he's found his independence, I miss him terribly. He got a job doing road work, which was supposed to be a couple days a week for the summer, but after his first three days they offered him full time. The money and benefits are good, so he'd have been crazy not to take it. So he's staying at my parents' house (since it's much closer to work) while he saves up for his own place there. He's still planning on going to college next year too - part time - and he's still working on his tattoo apprenticeship, which will take him another year or so. Busy boy, huh? As I said, I'm very proud of him, but the house just feels so empty without him. We must have done something right though, since my mother and father keep telling me what a great kid he's turned out to be, how helpful he is around the house, and that he doesn't seem to mind spending time with grandma and grandpa. I'm getting better with it, the first couple of days I did nothing but cry. The tears have finally stopped for the most part, and they only return once or twice a day for a few minutes. So I'm on an upward climb and plan to continue that trend.

So to fill my time, I've been tearing the house apart, doing a thorough cleaning and re-organizing. I realized long ago that living with two men makes it near impossible to keep the house from being "messy". They both just drop things wherever, and their idea of cleaning is to stick things in whichever drawer or cupboard they can find room in. I do dishes and little things like sweep every day, and vacuum and clean the bathroom every other day, but to keep up with the clutter I'd have to follow them both around 24/7. Now, I only have to battle one of them, so I figured it was a good time to get things back in order, clearing out drawers and cupboards. I'm also pulling out extras (dishes, pots and pans, etc) to give to Nate for when he gets his own place. It's theraputic.

Oooh, and we've been overrun by spiders. I think we've had a couple of nests of them hatch somewhere in the house, because there are tons of these tiny little greyish green ones - smaller than gnats even - all over the place. Plus they're making webs all over the house, which I vacuum up daily only to find them rebuilt the next morning. I kill at least a couple dozen a day and there's always more. I don't particularly like killing spiders, they eat the mosquitoes and flies so I don't mind having a few around for that, but this is getting ridiculous.

On the stitching front, I've been working on Rose as I can. I've got the top half of the outer three bands done, so I'm nearing the halfway point. I'll have to post pictures in a few weeks - mom has the camera again for a couple of trips she's taking. If I can fit it on the scanner, I'll scan the top half when I finish it! I got the threads for MMG2 in the sampler colourway, so I may start working on that between the top half and bottom half of Rose.

I'm getting more and more annoyed with Canada Post by the day. My model stitcher mailed back Tulip almost 2 months ago and still no sign of it. The plan was to send it to JCS when it got here - which should have been about 6 weeks ago - so I may have to submit a different design in it's place. I've also got a parcel coming with fabric for the Antique Lace Band Sampler and threads for my bro's Christmas present, and no sign of that either. It's getting dire, I tell you. I still say that all of us small business people who depend on the mail system to do business should get together and file a class action lawsuit against Canada Post, the Postal Workers Union and Jack Layton for making our businesses (and our livelihood suffer). First we couldn't send or get anything at all, now we have to be "patient" while they sort out the mess. It would seem that they're sorting and delivering new things first, since Jon got several parcels from England last week that had been mailed at the beginning of July, yet my stuff that was mailed at the beginning of June is nowhere to be found. FRUSTRATING!!

Today's goal is to tackle the rest of the kitchen cupboards and the pantry... Jon is back to calling me Monica (from the TV show Friends) because once I get cleaning I get a bit silly about it. I said to him last night that the reason it takes me 3 times longer to clean than it does for them is because I actually do it right! I'm frightened of what I'll find shoved to the back of the pantry... probably boxes of KD from six years ago... I'm going in. If you don't hear from me in the next week, send search and rescue.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roses in bloom...

Well not really - I don't have a yard, so nowhere to plant roses. But they ARE in my stitching!

Got started on Rose this week, and I LOVE these colours, which are Belle Soie Rosebud and Collard Greens. And of course the fabric is my old favourite, 40ct Magnolia from Lakeside. I have to say, after two projects on 32ct, it's soooooo wonderful to stitch on 40ct again. I love the tiny little stitches and the delicacy of the motifs!

I would have more stitched but the darned frogs have been to visit this week. I'm not surprised, we drove the through swarms of them the other night and I think I few hitched a ride home with us! Hopefully they're bored with me now, I KNOW I'm bored of them.

The week has definitely improved, though it kinda had to. Thank you for your good wishes, they worked. :)

We have a Nate free few days, he's off to stay with his new girlfriend for a few days. Her parents are really looking forward to meeting him. I know we really enjoyed having her here a couple weeks ago! While he's only 18 and I don't want him settling down YET, I have to admit I really like this girl and I hope it lasts. For one thing, she actually eats!!! She's very polite, great sense of humour and it's obvious she adores Nate.

As an added bonus, Jon took a few vacation days starting Sunday, no big plans apart from celebrating his birthday, but it'll be nice to spend a few days with him where neither of us has to run off anywhere. :) With the hours he works, we don't get to spend a lot of time together, especially just the two of us. I always look forward to it so much! I'm pleased to say that after almost six years together (in person - 2 more talking online) we're not even close to being tired of each other and still cherish every minute we get. :)

My plan for this week was to get started on the website, but it just hasn't happened. I did get my inital drawings done for an ornament I'm doing for The Gift of Stitching though, and will be getting that all charted out this weekend. As my aunt would say, it's got lots of bling! It'll be a fun one to stitch, AND will be my very first attempt at finishing work. If I can do it, anyone can. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Petal Fairy all done!

I finished her up on the weekend and she turned out beautifully. I made a few changes - I substituted Eterna silks for her wings to make them really sparkle, and I decided I didn't like the backstitched lines around her hair and skirt so I omitted them. I also changed the fabric to Oatmeal Floba as I found the natural a bit too dark. I'd estimate in total she took about 3 weeks of stitching to complete.

I'll do Bliss Fairy at a later date to go along with her, and then get them framed the same. Mom has claimed them for her living room over the sofa. lol I have her all kitted apart from the silks - don't have the right Eternas on hand. I was going to order them and found that the Eterna shop is down. Does anyone know if they have they closed? I may have to go with Pearsall's or Silk Mill instead if that's the case.

I started on Rose on Sunday, but haven't got much to show yet. It's been a nightmare few days. The fridge broke down Sunday (and I've been telling the landlord for ages that it was going). With the high heat and humidity we've had, we lost everything in it. And we can't seem to get hold of the landlord - he seems to be ducking us. Yesterday while in the shower I heard him outside yesterday cutting the hedge so after I got out and dried myself off, I ran out to talk to him about the fridge and he was gone already with the hedge only partly finished. Strange. We ended up having to replace it ourselves and found a second hand one for $100. It's not great, but it works for now. Add to that the hot water tap in the bathroom that is broken, the shower that needs to be fixed (it's currently duct-taped to the wall to hold it in place), the hardwood floors that are so badly in need of refinishing that you run the risk of splinters if you walk barefoot and the rain gutters that are nearly hanging off the house, to say I'm a little pissed would be an understatement. We've offered to do the work ourselves and he can either buy the materials and deduct the labour off the rent, OR we'll buy the materials and deduct both off the rent, but he won't go for it (even though Jon is a bloody carpenter). Yet, he doesn't want us to move out because he knows if we do, he'll HAVE to fix all this stuff before he can rent it again. We're looking for a house to rent now, problem is because this is mostly a "summer rental" town, there isn't a whole lot that is available to rent by the month. Most of it is weekly rentals in the summer so it might take a while to find something.

Then yesterday, in the midst of my nervous breakdown about the fridge/landlord situation, my internet crapped out. I called Bell to find out what was going on and they had suspended my service for non-payment. HUH? We paid it. What actually happened was that we cancelled the pre-authorized payment in March because their payment date didn't work with our schedule. We wanted to have it come out the following week and they couldn't change it, so we cancelled it altogether and now make our payments manually the second Tuesday every month. However, it's now July and they're still trying to take it out each month. The bank has a stop payment on it, so it doesn't go through. So even though the account is up to date and there is a balance of $0 owed, they turned it off for non-payment because THEY failed to cancel the pre-authorized payment. AND we have called them EVERY month since March, each time they try to take it, to notify them of their error. After 3 hours on the phone with them, they finally admitted that they made a mistake and switched it back on, but it didn't actually come back on until about noon today. Idiots. I swear, if they try to charge me a reconnection fee, my head will explode.

Add to that a collection agency keeps calling me about a debt from 1998. It was nearly paid off in 2003 (I found the last bill I have on hand and the balance was $300) and my ex and I separated at that time. He kept the furniture and said he'd make the last couple of payments. I figured he had since it's now 2011 and I never heard a word about it and I've been at this address since 2004. Apparently he didn't. They insist that they've notified me about this - however the only record I can find is voice mail messages which say something to the effect of "this is Mrs. Johnson calling, please call me back at phone # and quote reference #". Not once did they say the agency name or that it was in regards to an outstanding Leon's account. The first "official" notification I received in writing was in February of this year. I offered to pay the remaining principle on the account to clear it, but I will NOT pay 8 years worth of interest (over $2000) just because they failed to notify me. My address and phone number have been public record and associated with my SIN number for seven years. There is no excuse. I'm guessing it's time to find a lawyer about it because they keep refusing my offer and as far as I know, the statute of limitations on a debt in Ontario is six years which means they waited too long to contact me about it anyway. Hopefully that's correct, because I'm getting sick of the calls. Legally they're allowed to call 3 times per week. They call 3 times per day now.

Hoping that my week picks up soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Barbara got her chart for the Antique Lace Band Sampler yesterday and found a small mistake on page 4 of the chart that I missed. On band #5, the wave filling stitch should join up all the way along, but there's a gap on the chart. Huge thank you to Barbara for letting me know!

It's been fixed now, so anyone ordering from this point forward will get the corrected version. However, Kathy let me know that there were 3 copies shipped - so if you're one of the other two, please email me and I'll send you the corrected page!

Hmmm... apart from that, not much news to report. I'm filling in the last little bit of Petal Fairy and will probably finish her up today, so I may have some pictures to post. Still torn between Rose and Marigold... Rose will probably win.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's July!

Can it really be July? I know at the beginning of every month I post about being surprised that another month has passed already, but it's honest shock and awe at how quickly time flies by these days.

First, a little note that the final part of the mystery sampler, My Mother's Garden II is now available in The Gift of Stitching. Since it's all out in the open now, I can post a picture of the whole thing! I apologize in advance for the terrible picture, and will post better ones when the model is back in my hands. :) I'm gearing up to stitch another model of this one in a more muted colourway and on a smaller count fabric - just cause. I knew when I designed this one that a lot of people would probably prefer more muted, sampler-ish colours, but since this one shall eventually hang next to it's big sister in my mother's living room, I though it best to choose colours that my mom would appreciate most. I will say that even the more muted colourway is still in very rich colours. I just can't bring myself to stitch in dull colours. When will this be re-released as a stand alone design? I'm figuring on the fall Online Needlework show or possibly Nashville for that, but will let you know if that time frame changes.

I'd like to thank everyone for the amazing feedback I've been getting about Antique Lace(s). It's been wonderful hearing from all of you and I can't wait to see some WIP pictures!

I'm getting ready to start stitching the next flower design, but I can't decide which to do first, Rose or Marigold. Marigold would probably be the better choice since I don't yet have an orange one in the set, but I'm so in love with Belle Soie Rosebud I'm using for Rose that I'm torn!! So in the meantime I've been stitching away on Petal Fairy and I'm getting close to finishing. I may just keep at it and finish her up - I've got two colours of yellow left on her skirt and then just her legs and the beading to do. I hate to put her away with so little left to do! At some point I need to get a move on on my brother's Christmas present, but the threads are still in the mail.

I've also been fiddling around on the computer with some new designs. Nothing concrete yet, as I can't seem to translate what's in my head to little x's just yet. You would not believe how frustrating that is!! Eventually it'll just spew out and I'll be on the computer designing non-stop for two weeks. I've learned it's better to wait until it's concrete in my head than trying to force it.

And with that, I'm going to go stitch.