Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Was on TV Today!

It was very exciting news to find out this past week that our store placed 10th amongst all of the Ontario Canadian Tire stores in sales during the Heart and Stroke fundraising promotion in February! Yay Team!

I was contacted by a representative from our Head Office who wanted to arrange the presentation of a plaque to us by the Heart and Stroke team, in addition to capturing the event with pictures and video.

Wow...the sent a whole crew out...representatives from Rogers TV documented it for local airing. I thought we were all done and proceeded about my duties when one of the crew asked if I could give her a few more minutes to answer some questions about the campaign and our success.

So there I stood listening to the questions and trying to come up with intelligent answers ... trying not to put in too many ummms etc. I detailed how we had a great team with dedication to the effort and that we have done this annually for the past few years.....and that it was really good to see our young people get behind it...showing that they are socially concious in supporting a worthy organization.

While I haven't seen it yet...one of my staff called me later very excited saying it was fabulous! I was so happy to hear that...after all... it's a rare occasion to be recognized with such honour and to be on TV...all in the same day!

The gentleman from Rogers was especially thankful...as he himself is a heart attack survivor who underwent triple by-pass surgery a few years ago...and understood well the cause that our efforts helped support.

That was icing on the cake!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portholes # 11


This Porthole has a decidedly Victorian feel ... as I focused on the lady in the centre patch and extended it outward. I added a bunch of red glass flowers and a piece of pretty lace (which really jumps out contrasted on the dark green) Above her is a bower of LD Bullion Tip flowers. On the left I used Ribbon Floss with a metallic thread to create the fan-type seam...which began with a zig-zag row of chain stitching and filled in from there with LD stitching. At the bottom a row of Chevrons overlayed with a row of Herringbone ... both with the point pieces embellished.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Show and Share - Bluestone # 4 , 5 , 6






I just realized that I still had parts of this project still to show!


Numbers 4 and 5 detail the wrought iron fence that runs along the bottom edge. I added a lot of the flowers in this bed...especially the French Knot rosebush and the Griffin Bud tea roses.


6 shows the embellished applique tree on the left side above the gate. It came complete with the bird house!

Published Again ... CQ Mag Online

Just to let you all know...I have another article published! This one is a creative tutorial for Pin Pals (which is my fancy name for a pin cushion).

Also have one project in the Readers Showcase ... a pillow done as a birthday gift for a niece.

Rissa did a great article about Tiny Tassels that she has made ... and added a link to the tutorial I posted here a while back.

So ... check it out ... there is a link to CQ Mag Online in my list of faves!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Glorious Spring Weather on Earth Day !

I spent Earth Day (yesterday) tackling a big clean-up job here at the co-op...it was the first chance I've had to get busy with pulling off the winter kill from the many garden beds. We have a total of 9 of them...various sizes...two flanking the entrance, a Memorial Garden, and the rest were built up around trees in the "circle".

They are for the most part perennial beds. I've chopped up and moved plants from one to another over the years ... and last fall added about 50 donated spring bulbs for some early colour. I was really thrilled to see that all of them came up and have not been bothered by the population of squirrels...as I made sure to put lots of blood and bone meal around them (they don't like the stuff).

The last beds added were two big ones at the top end of the circle...this is their third season in now so well established...and after cleaning and weeding only require periodical maintenance. The task went a bit faster with an extra pair of hands...as my brother-in-law helped out almost all day...and it was fabulous to see that two beds had already been cleared by ladies who live in close proximity to them.

The Memorial Garden is usually the most work...but is really special and worth the effort. On the highest section of the garden wall we added memorial plaques with the names of residents who passed away....and it had a dedication ceremony attended by local dignitaries a few years back after we finished major renovations and had a grand re-opening event.

The area used to be a kiddy playground at one time...but the equipment there was old and falling apart...and had to be removed...not to mention that stray cats frequented it as a litter box...so not healthy. When we were contemplating what to do with the area...I got a really fabulous idea to turn it into an elevated garden. It has a retaining wall at the back end...and several small trees that bloom in spring...and produce red berries in the fall (I have no idea what they are). We built a wall of pressure treated wood to frame in a triangular shape...then filled it with gravel at the base...and topped it with earth...left beds at the back and put sod down on the front. This elevated garden can be seen above the cars that park there.

My favourite bloom time is when the Giant Germanic Irises are opening! They have 3 foot stocks with huge deep purple blooms...really awesome! I'll make sure to get pics this year to share. I have several amazing Hosta plants at the corner of the Memorial bed that are also very spectacular...will have to wait a while for those though...they are mere tips right now.

After six hours of work on them...I was downright exhausted...but it was so worth it...as they look all fresh now and ready for summer! I'll be adding a few flats of impatience in late May for some vibrant colour and fullness.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Porthole # 10


Porthole # 10 - This is another of the brighter cheerier pieces. The centre fabric came from a fabulous dress acquired for a whole $7 at a thrift shop. I actually bought it to wear to a wedding...and did...then afterward decided that it was way longer than I liked so I shortened it by about a foot. I can still have the dress and use the extra fabric!

The floral motif ... started out with a silk-covered button...working around the perimeter I added loops of violet - tone beads for the petals.

On either side of it I used Ribbon Floss...Lazy Daisy leaf sprays on the right...and a "stacked" Chevron on the left. The latter is actually a row of Chevron but the top section is a "pseudo"... not a complete pattern...as I had to eliminate the inside bars.

Above that on the yellow patch is a squadron of teeny butterflies in Kreinik # 4 metallic braid.

On the grey satin patch I did a pattern that is remeniscent of those old string art kits...working on a 180 degree grid from bottom to top allowing the thread to overlap...then crowned each with a Colonial knot.

Lastly...just above the floral motif...a row of Cast - on stitches in cotton perle.

Food for Thought - Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

I dragged my tired sorry butt home today...a little worse for all the grief I've had to contend with on the job over the past few days...and decided to drown my sorrows in a few beers.

Had to fire one young girl yesterday...and suspend another...for infractions that cost the company money. I've always hated this aspect of the job...not only because of how it affects the individual...but also because of the waste of time I've invested in each...only to have to flush it all. As a manager it was a call that I had to enforce because it was dictated by my superior...and ultimately I know it had to happen.....but it still sucks to see a young girl in tears as she is being told she's being terminated.

Ah well...life goes on. Many of us have "been there...done that" whether by our own fault or issues beyond our control ( like down-sizing )...and we know how bad it feels.

I had to make it all go away...so turned to the solace of my beads. Lo and behold in the midst of my anguish a new idea emegered...to whit I just had to make it come alive.

Working with a variety of silver and malachite tone beads I created an edging piece that is reminiscent of tatting ... with rings and chains...only in beads!

When it was finished...I had to sit back, admire and actually smiled.

Dark clouds....with a silver lining...literally!

I am off tomorrow.....and just as glad. It's supposed to be another glorious spring day...and I plan to enjoy it! Gardens are calling...tulips are growing...and time is at hand.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Porthole # 9

Porthole # 9 - I decided that I was doing too many deep jewel tones and should do some to brighten up the project. On the bottom right I added a cheery yellow spray of Griffin Buds and trimmed the piece with Bullion Stitch cording (YLI Candlelight Green). It's metallic...but the scanner never quite gets metallics right. Opposite that the yellow stitched seam...is YLI Pearl Crown Rayon (which is fabulous thread to stitch with). I started with a row of Cretan and stitched over with long stitches to alternate points. Above that I added a wee tatted B-fly...and other bits here and ther to fill in.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

99 ..... 100 !

It's hard to believe ... but that was the count mark I hit today on my Deluxe Free Form Embellisments! And I'm not even counting in the various colour variations that I did along the way...these are patterns only.

I have never denied it ... I am obviously obsessed!

I even took a bit of a breather yesterday while I turned six of them into the actual pattern set that I wanted to include as the bonus with the ornament cover set...in addition to some minor changes that I made to the ornament set too (like adding a credit to Robin Cymbaly ... the fabulous photographer who captured the hanging ball images for me!)

The last one (# 100)I was so tickled with...it is a vine of sorts...with a pair of leaves...so much so that I made 2...one to save / scan and one to add immediately to one of my newest Portholes.....because it was just the perfect thing and colour for one particular seam.

So...I'm thinking this might be a good time to put the brakes on (if I can). While not all of the pieces will end up being parts of pattern sets.....my next objective will be to select ones that I do want to offer in collections and then get to it!

My time off is almost at an end...back to the grind on Monday...and will have to resume squeezing things I want to do in around my day job and other home duties...which will be harder to manage now heading into Garden Centre season! ( Why couldn't I have been born rich instead of beautiful?)

Okay well...life goes on! Funny though...how the busier I get...the more I seem to get accomplished! Not sure exactly how that happens! Maybe I'm that kind of person who functions best under stress. Whatever! Like I said ... life goes on!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Show and Share - Bluestone # 3


The gate ... I must say that I was very pleased with how it turned out and delighted with the floral additions on the pillars. To create the ball finials at the top of the pillars, I cut small circles out of quilters template, added a thin layer of batting and cinched a piece of moire over it then appliqued in place.
If you look at the bottom left corner you can see where I started enhancing the blocks. That's why I ended up stopping work on the project....I wasn't happy with how it was turning out. I had been planning to rip it all out and redo it with finer floss...but just didn't get back to it.

Food For Thought - Comfortable in My Skin

This down time from the day job seems to have my brain out of sorts. I have a whole list of things that I wanted to accomplish this week...but can't seem to get in gear! Spent much of the day "playing" ... which I guess is okay on holiday time ... and I did create four new Portholes!

Whilst checking e-mail today ... I had an update from Classmates.com letting me know that this year my graduating class from Applewood Heights Secondary School is arranging a 35th Year Reunion! HUH??? OMG...it has been that long??!!! Yup! Class of '73...the math is right!

I started thinking about "those good ol' days" ... the ones when we never realized how easy we had it...the ones before we all turned into adults...and started to live "respectable lives".

I have found and hooked up with a few friends from that era...but often wonder about a lot of others whose names I see listed....and what life's path has dealt them over such a long time. I am seriously considering attending this reunion...even though I have not been to any before...just to see who shows up...and to catch up. I think it'd be a blast!

We were all such victims of peer pressure back then...and am sure that now that we're all grown up with families of our own ... that we'd see the whole deal in different light. I'd sure have a lot to tell...as I'm sure they have too...and that alone would be worth going for.

I know that I'd feel comfortable...not only with these old friends...but in knowing where I've been and what I've done ... accomplished ... created ... and in general...the self-satisfaction that my life has turned out pretty good....and yes....that I am comfortable in my skin.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Show and Share - Bluestone # 2


This section is counter clockwise from the house. It is the creative work of Trisha Gray. The Magnolia in bloom set the tone...as you see lots of spring flowers...but she also added lavender ('cause she knows it's one of my faves). Someone decided such an estate needed protection and added Fido on the walk!

Show and Share - Bluestone Close-up # 1


I finally located the Bluestone piece and scanned in the various sections. The first is the Bluestone itself. Some of the flora had been stitched by others, but I did much more on it...the vine travelling up the house and all the tiny pink ones (reminiscent of impatients...my fave summer plant) and the yellow carnations.
The incredible fountain at the bottom left was created by Jakkie Lease...(and the bench too I think). I could not find the journal booklet that travelled with the project...which details exactly what each person stitched.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Porthole # 8


Porthole # 8 - Two of the fabrics on this were finds at second - hand stores. They must have been all the vogue at some time. They are silk and both have that "running colours" effect which I found intriguing. Though I've lightened this picture a bit...it's a bit difficult to see some of the darker metallic work. The white lace motif was cut from a larger piece which I found at the dollar store (and was used on several pieces). Have been playing more and more with chain stitch on these with different threads...as it "travels" nicely.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Time to Chill

I finally made it through this last week and can now enjoy a whole week off from my day job.

Haven't had a breather since Christmas (only 3 days) so am long overdue! Figured I better do this before we get the garden season happening...'cause then it's like being on a high-speed roller coaster...that doesn't slow down until July!

Need to get some spring cleaning done and will plan a few day trip visits here and there. I want to spend some quality stitching time...to make a bunch more portholes to stitch on.

I used to take a stitching box to work for those hour lunches and want to start doing so again. It never takes me an hour to eat...and could do some seamwork on these small portable pieces.

This will be a great opportunity to get some patterns transferred from notes to computer too.

Lots to keep me busy....and a while a week seems like a long time...I know it'll be gone in a flash...so need to put my "time management" skills into high gear. Make a plan and "get 'er done"!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Show and Share - My Peak


Could it be true??? Is it really gonna be spring now??? I hope so! That'd mean I can start some gardening! Lots of perennials that need some clean-up. So glad to see the tulips growing!

This is my fave gardening attire...keeps the sun out of my eyes! Those are Melanie Roses in Nectarine and Green with #12 Silk Perle from Vikki Clayton.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Show and Share - The Bluestone




I was cleaning out some old files yesterday (amazing how much stuff you save over the years) and came across the original pictures that inspired a Round Robin piece done back in 2001.

This particular project was a real challenge for me. I prefer small, quick pieces...this one measures in at 18 x 24". I called it "The Bluestone". I found a picture of this century house in a book at the library. It is located in a small town east of here...Port Hope....which incidentally is one of my husband's fave fishing spots and home of his friend and long-time fishing buddy Chris. He has passed this house on many occasions and was intrigued that I used it as a stitching theme.

It took quite a while to compose the background...to get the perspective right and I think it came out quite as planned. I had a fascination with wrought iron going on back then and wanted to incorporate some into the project. I found a fabulous site with tons of pics showing the work of one company.....and was quite taken with one set of gates. I used some moire to create the pillars and then used Kreinik metallic threads to work the wrought iron gate and front fence.

The driveway was a bit of work...I used wax crayons to detail the stonework, then pressed it between sheets of craft paper...which removes the wax and leaves the colour. The trees were appliqued. The house was done with blue fabric and the trim / front porch worked in white ribbon. The shutters were cut from black felt and embroidery floss marked out the cross panes of the windows.

When it was done I sent it off. I think there were about 8 participants...all really accomplished stitchers...and there were some incredible additions made to it. I've since added more of my own , and still have some to do on it...some day.

Out of the whole group...I was the only Canadian. The thing I recall most vividly....is that it returned to my mailbox on September 11th....the day that shook the world! I had cried several times that day watching the horrific events unfold...and cried again when I opened the mailbox...as I felt a little closer to my American friends....especially my wee friend Trisha Gray who was one contributor and lives right in NYC.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Porthole # 7

Porthole # 7 - The centre fabric set the mood and theme ... butterflies. Used beads to do kind of an abstract one and added a fleet on one seam. I liked the gold "lace" at the bottom. It's a compilation of stitches...herring bone over herring bone and bullions. Took a few hours and I don't think the scanner did it justice.

April Fools on Me!

I got to work this morning as usual with my head full of all the things that I had to attend to, punched in, dumped my gear and coat and was about to head out to the floor ... when my Cash Office gal handed me a letter. Dread entered my heart.....letters nearly always mean bad things....so I unfolded it and yup...proceeded to read "Due to personal reasons and with much regret I must resign my position ... " .

This from the gal who started back in the fall and was my saving grace...my Christmas gift from above! My heart sank. "When does this take effect?" I asked....nearly in tears. Well...the joke stopped there...she hugged me and said "April Fools!" WHEW....so she said "You can rip it up now!" So I did...into little bitty pieces. She got me!....but I will get her back...she won't know when .... and revenge will be sweet...can't believe I fell for it!

Don't know how March flew by so fast...April is already here.....but spring seems long in coming. Mid April last year we had staff in the Garden Centre on weekends...that will not be until May this year for sure....but at least allows me time to take a mental breather next week.....a bit of time off is just what I need right now.

I've hit the "spent" point again with my new beading frenzy...have hit the 75 mark on these li'l add-ons....and while a short breather is in order...am sure it will be short....I can feel a new wave about to hit.

Decided tonight to divert....actually stitched one of the edging pieces on to Porthole #29 (looks as cool as planned).... and finished the last two seams I had to do on it. I will get a few more pieced next week and add more on the new ones.

So.....day off tomorrow...and enjoying a bit of wine tonight to chill.....and glad that all's well at the end of this day.

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