Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing one & all a very Merry Christmas ... and All the Best for 2015!

Can't believe how fast this year has flown by ... but now that the rush of the retail season is over (except for the returns) ... I feel a sense of relief.

It's amazing how different this year was compared to last!  The Ice Storm mania ... that was insane!
Glad history did not repeat!  Would have been nice to have a white Christmas ... but whatever!

We had our traditional Christmas Eve buffet with family & friends ... lots of great food & laughs ... and just finished an awesome ham dinner with alll the fixin's ... including fresh baked sourdough bread ... I'm surprised I haven't succumbed to nap yet!

Well ... seeing as DH created it all so marvelously ... guess it'll be my job to get it all put away & the cleanup done!  Better get to it!

Hope you all and a wonderful time with your families! ... and to all a Good Night!

Love & Hugs ... Marie

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Introducing ... My 2014 Collection!

Hello All!
I am pleased to present my 2014 collection of hand knit & crocheted original designs!
I had hoped to have  this up much sooner ... but my photogragher is a busy gal .. and we still need a second session ... as some of the items somehow got missed in the first shoot.
Simply click on the Artfire link in my sidebar ... to see how busy I've been!
Here's a short preview ... some of my personal faves ...

Black Turkish Lace Shoulder Shawl

Camo Cable Cap

Denim Cable Headband

Fucshia Cable Pillbox

Marble Fedora
But wait! .... There's more!
Hugs ... Marie

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Certified ... RMT!

It's official!  Melanie finished college ... graduated with a 93% final average ...
but the final stage of this process is to complete and pass her certification exams ...
and of course she did!

Graduation ceremonies were Oct. 23rd. 
Here we are enjoying the evening ... she was the first to receive her diploma & class pic.
Damn ... closed eyes when the camera flashed ... oh well.

And Mel & Mikey ... who was our DD / chauffer for the evening.
He also helped her study for exams ... and kept her sane through the process.
Cute couple, eh?

And ... just this past week ... this arrived on our doorstep!
State of the art ... ready to go ... massage table!
I sooo wanna test-drive this!


Monday, October 13, 2014

A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

We Canucks celebrate our Thanksgiving today ... and hope each & every one of you had a marvelous day ... surrounded by family & or friends ... enjoying a fabulous feast!

OMG ... think I had just a bit too much of that awesome ham ... stuffing ... yams & carrots!  Just about ready to fall into a digestive coma ... and when I have room ... I must have one of these ...

Spice Muffins with Pumpkin Frosting!
Melanie made these just for us ... and bartered a few with friends ... for some
other homemade treats ... like chocolate chip cookies.
And while that would normally be the "icing" of my day ..... it was something completely different.
My nephew Christopher ... on bended knee ... proposing to Amanda!
Her reaction ... priceless ... a perfectly wonderful moment!
And of course she said ... YES!
It was a Thanksgiving weekend that his parents were married.
Brenda passed away many years ago ... but I'm sure she's squealing with glee up there in Heaven.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Love & Hugs ... Marie

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Checking In ...

Oh my ... seems I've become that tardy blogger ... again!

Seriously???  Almost two months have slipped by since my last post???  OMG!

How is it that the older you get ... the faster time flies?  Older ... yes ... by another year now ... think it's time to stop counting ... and I totally fogged doing a Birthday draw.  Guess it's just another thing to fall by the wayside ... though I had good intentions to make it an annual thing.

A lot of new things & changes have happened of late.

Melanie has finished college and passed her qualification exams ... and is now a Registered Massage Therapist!  I'm so proud of her ... I could just burst!!! Her official graduation will be on October 23rd and can't wait to share in this special day with her ... she will be graduating with honours ... 92 % final average!

On top of this ... she also got her G1 license ... and scored a fabulous deal on her first vehicle.

A dear friend of mine Linda has a younger sister Sandra who was selling her 2002 Jeep Liberty for a meer $2400 ... it was exactly the kind of vehicle Mel was looking for ... because she wants to have something roomy enough to transport her table to clients ,,, going to them instead of them having to come to her.  She's been working full-time over the summer, and had enough saved to buy it outright.  Driving school paid off by reducing the amount of insurance she will pay ... and she is totally enjoying this new freedom of being able to ... just go!

On the work front ... the seasonal change offered up its share of challenges for me ... and has been partially responsible for my absence here.  Between the loss of staff going away to school ... and the change in availability of those who remained ... it became a matter of trying to piece things together to make things work.  With numbers dwindling ... it was necessary to hire on more staff ... three new ones are well into training ... and another three will begin this week.

And ...for the first time in years ... I actually had to take a sick day two weeks back.  Paul came home sick with a stomach virus ... and while I did my best to avoid him ... it got me ... nasty bug ... had me leveled for three days ... and proceeded hit everyone else in the household.  Glad that's over with!

Just before that hit me ... I was hit with the news that a long time fellow manager was going to be leaving.  Jeff hired me ... and was essentially my boss for the past 12 years.  He lives in Bowmanville ... and has been commuting to Pickering for some 20 years.

He recently was approached by the dealer of the Bowmanville store to join their team ... so how could he resist?  The store is within walking distance of where he lives ... so makes total sense that he would jump at this opportunity.  Great for him ... not so great for us.

Of course his departure mandated the creation of the traditional Big Card that I have been creating for such occaisions ... so I started making it on the sick day I took ... and had it ready by the time I went back to work.

The finished signed card was presented to him last night at a "Farewell" dinner at our local Kelsey's.

And while I wasn't there to see it ... apparently it reduced this big guy to tears.

After work ... there were a few of them still there ... so I was able to join them for a last toast.

Bittersweet ... but a moment to cherish.

Who would have thought
We’d see the day . . .
That we’d bid Farewell
To our Jeff Gray!

 You’ve anchored this store
Right from the start
Your guidance & knowledge
An integral part.

 From season to season,
From changeover to reno
You managed to maintain
That steady flow.

 For you this change
Has a fabulous perk;
No more commuting!
You could walk to work!

 The time you’ll save
And the cash you’ll bank  . . .
‘Cause you won’t have to put
So much gas in the tank!

 We thank you for all
That you have done
For your dedication
That was second to none!

One thing’s for sure . . .
Wherever you are
You’ll always be
A shining star!

 Wishing you All the Best!
Good Luck & Happiness
In your new endeavor!

From All of Us
@ C T C 324

Jeff has always been amazed at my ability to capture the express in a simple poem the appreciation of an employee's contribution to our store ... little did he consider his own ... but I made sure he did.  He deserved it ... and he appreciated it.  Enough said.  The effort was totally worth it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Northern Lights

So ... you may remember last post how I scored all this cool new yarn for a great deal at Michaels ... well I just had to get playing with one of them ... and the first one I chose to go with was a Loops & Threads Charisma ... the colour is called Northern Lights.

It's a bulky weight acrylic ... and works up really fast & solid.  My first project on target was a  crocheted Fedora.

I had made myself one of these years & years ago using the same weight in real wool ... and loved it.
Acrylic is as warm ... but much more "user friendly".  Throw it in the washer & dryer without worry of shrinkage.

I bought two balls ... the Fedora took only one and a bit to complete ... so found myself with almost 3/4 iof the second ball left.  Hmmm ... what to do with the rest.  Figured I had about enough left for a headband.

So ... decided to knit one ... a simple moss stitch edge with a single cable in the centre ... on 7mm needles.  it worked up really fast ... and had it done in a little over an hour & a half.

Sadly the colours did not scan true.  On the top picture ... the centre is black ... and the green is a rich moss.  On the bottom picture ... the two large segments on each side are actually Peacock Blue ... and will show this again when Melanie gets some actual photos of it for me.

I was glad that the colour segments worked out so symetrically.  I had just enough to finish it ... with a mere 4" to cut off at the end! Whew! Cutting it close ... but it worked!

The Fedora is simply too 3D to scan ... but will share when I can get a really decent pic to show.

It turned out really cool!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Best of Both Worlds

So ... I checked out my weekly flyer from Michaels ... and OMG ...they had a fabulous half-price deal going on ... just had to go see!  They had a great selection of their "Loops & Threads" ... and my mind was virtually racing with ideas as to what I could/would create with these beauties.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I had the notion to pick up another pair of needles ... to use to play with the new Zig Zag stitch ... welll ... lo & behold ... I spied the very size I did not have & wanted to get ... 6.50 mms ... and huh??? ... they're $2.99???  All the other sizes were 2 or 3 bucks more.  Double checked the price at the cash ... no mistake ... it was right!  Sold!

Coincidentally ... they are exactly a size between the other two I was contemplating trying for this stitch.  When I did a test swatch with them ... the result was exactly what I wanted.

Oh ... I also clipped out the flyer coupon for 40% off one regular priced item ... but wasn't quite sure what I'd use it for ... until I found a lovely 300g ball of Phentex yarn ... perfect for a baby blanket ... called "Sweet Summer" ... it has pastel shades of white, yellow, green, blue, pink & purple.

It all came together ... the yarn & the needles & the stitch ... another project will soon be on the go.

Somewhere in between the other projects on the go ... I threw in a crochet project for another shawl using another Loops & Threads yarn that has a multi-coloured metallic thread through it in jewel tones.  Have since completed it ... so feel no guilty about starting another creation.

I'm such a yarn junkie!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Something New?

You know me ... the consumate designer ... never satisfied with doing the "same old same old".

I may start with a basic concept ... then think ... "what if I did this instead of that?"

I've been playing with some ideas in just this manner ... and while I'm not absolutely certain this has never been done before ... I don't recall seeing it in any of my stitch dictionaries.

I worked this on larger needles to show the detail ... 8.00 mms ...  but also tried it on 5.50 mms which gave it a tighter look.  Like Turkish Lace ... the pattern is the same on both right & wrong sides ... but this is even faster in working up! 

*yo, K2 tog tbl* .... and that's it!  I'm calling this Zig Zag Mesh.  the "tbl" translates to "through back loops".  It's easier to work the stitch this way instead of knitting two together in the normal way & I was quite thrilled with how it looked ... the elasticity is lovely ... and boy is it fast!

Still want to experiment with other needle sizes & this stitch ... my 7.00 mms are currently in use on another project ... as are my 6.00 mms ... so will avoid beginning a piece with this for now until I can do that.  That will be my incentive to complete the other two first!

Hugs ...Marie

Monday, June 16, 2014

Just Breathe.

I have actually been on vacation this past week ... but had such a long list of things to do ... that am just now finding time to socialize.

Most people when they have time off from work actually go somewhere ... I personally need time to just stop ... breathe ...catch up on stuff that requires time & effort ... and did accomplish quite a lot ...
even though  the entire list was not completed.  Oh well!

I did manage to get some badly needed gardening done.  At the Co-op my prime areas of focus are two specific beds ... the one at the entrance ... and one by the Office. 

The entrance garden ... that first impression ... suffered greatly due to the nasty winter ice storm.  The Bush Pines were so weighted down from the heavy ice & following snows ... that they have bent & stayed horizontal ... effectively coveringI those awesome Variegated Hostas and three lovely Yellow Lilies.  Throw into the mix the proliferation of my nemisis ... a form of milkweed ... I forget the name of it right now ... it grows on a straight stalk with alternating pairs of leaves an has fragrant purplish flowers at the top ... and once it digs in ... is nearly impossible to irradicate ... especially when it gets under those bushes.

I did my best.  Filled up three large blue recycle bins with weeds & pine boughs & my nemisis ... then called it a day.  Weighing on me was the rescue of those lilies ... they need sun ... and had to relocate them.

The bed by the office does get a lot of sun ... so decided this would be their new home.  In previous years I had planted a Wisteria ... in hopes of adding some spectacular colour there ... but it didn't make it this the lilies would move.  Done.  Hope they like it there.

Added some Cosmos for height & colour ... Praying.

Then ... my own backyard.  We back onto a hydro-cut that is overrun with weeds ... it's all I can do to keep them at bay ... more weeds than grass ... again ... seem a losing battle.

Mow it down ... keep it low ... and plant some stuff in containers ... tomatoes!

Done ... back to the grind tomorrow.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

*yo, sl 1, k 1, psso*

And that's it!  On both sides!  It's called the Turkish stitch ... and here's what it looks like:

This is my latest favourite stitch.  I'm using it to make a Shoulder Shawl.  It works up really fast and has beautiful elasticity ... I'm  thinking it'll be the perfect thing to wear on a cool summer's eve ... but would be equally suited to wrap around you on a chilly winter day ... curled up in front of the TV watching a great movie ... or on the couch reading a good book.

When finished ... will measure about 15 x 50 inches ... with a narrow Moss stitch border. Cool!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

OMG...Has it Been THAT Long???

Hi kids ... did ya miss me?

Seems like just yesterday I was wishing you all a Happy New Year ... and now it's May!

I had some computer issues for a while ... my entire log in thing just dissappeared one day, and had to get DH to work his magic to get me going again.  Lost all my faves that normally pop up on the side bar ... so slowly but surely I've been rebuilding.

Thought it was time for a blog makeover too ... just didn't look right to have awesome fall colours as a background now that it's spring.  Usually I spend time pouring through graphics to set the image..but this time opted for a quick fix.

I haven't done any stitching or beading for quite some time ... which is a shame considering the stash I have amassed ... might do a sell-off of bits on Artfire when I can find some time ...because now I've seemingly fallen back in love with knitting!

This was the first form of stitching where I seriously began designing!

Over the years I made all sorts of things for myself & family ... hats, sweaters, afghans ... all from patterns of my own creation.

I had a fair stash of yarns saved up over the years ... and thought I'd dig them out & whip up some stuff to put up on my studio ... however ... my timing was off.  No point offering hats & mitts & such when it's time to put them away for the season!

But ... at the pace this year is going ... will have them ready for the season ahead.  In the mean time ... creating other things that are not seasonally specific ... to broaden my product base.

Before I decided to go full tilt on creating ... I spent some time checking out what my competition had to offer ... and was somewhat surprised to find that except for one or two individuals ... most of what I saw was mundane & boring ... so ... odds are in my favour!

Knitting to me is all about texture!  I've always been fascinated at how many different effects can be achieved on the base if two stitches.  Granted ... it is very time-consuming ... but it will be what sets me apart ... taking the time to create pieces that will knock their socks off!  I aim at heirloom quality and nothing less.

Will leave you with a wee sampling ... a head band that I recently completed.

Hugs ... Marie

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

. . . And A Happy New Year!

Well ... another year is behind us ... and we anticipate the new one with optomism ... the chance to begin again ... change things for the better ... in whatever way we choose.  Wishing all of you All the Best for 2014!  Be healthy ... and happy ... and prosperous!  Hugs & Love  ... Marie

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