More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Well we had about 12 trick-or-treaters tonight. For a small village, that's a lot! I was a nice treat-er and got mini chocolate bars and chips for the kids. No crappy cheap candy from this house!

This past weekend was another lovely weekend on the road. Saturday morning Christin and I drove out to Brighton to meet up with some stitching friends for ornament finishing. I got all my ornaments to the stage of needing cord/trim. I'll have to finish them this weekend as I ran out of glue. I also helped Marj make three cushions, and mounted two pictures for her into the mats I cut.

I also got to give Beth her bellpull. She just loved it and kept trying to give it back! LOL. Now that's giving it back in a good way, she thought it was too nice for me to give it away. But that's just the sort of thing you do for your friends.

The stocking has seen quite a bit of stitching time over the last week! Its slowly coming along.

Here's a photo from our ornament finishing day... Ann, Christine, and I can't remember the third lady's name (left to right) are pouring over Christin's Cross Stitch Bible.

This up coming weekend is a weekend at home. I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Finishing, Ormentifying and SBQ

Hello Blog readers first I'll start with the boring stuff, the Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week.

Q: Have you ever stitched something as a gift and later realized that receiver doesn't respect your stitched gift a bit (for example it's never on show, or you have other reason to suspect that it may even be nonexistent or at least placed in some dark storage room corner)? If so, what have you done? If you've been lucky enough to avoid such people what would you do if it'd happen to you?

A : I'm usually a pretty good judge of who is deserving of needlework and who is not. I'm not too concerned about what happens to small things such as ornaments, most are not a lot of work, nor are they finished to last a couple of hundred years (lots of glue!). As for the large pieces I've only stitched those for special people who would appreciate it. What if a piece wasn't treated appropriately, I'd flat out ask for it back simple as that. I'd right out tell the person that if it was going to hide in a closet I'd rather put it on my wall. What kind of reception that accusation would get I don't know.

Last night I spent my evening getting ready for Ormentification at Ann's on Saturday. I went through my stitched ornaments and quilting fabrics to match things up. Its fun picking just the right fabric for just the right ornament. I also cut my mat board backings for each one.

It also gave me a chance to go through my fabrics and pick a backing fabric for Chatelaine's Mini Mystery J... which I did!

I've been sitting at home today, waiting for Bell Canada to show you (you guys suck!). For the last week and a half I'm intermittently loosing my dial tone. When you live out in the country this is not a good thing! So much is dependent on a land line out here... phone (I get a poor cell signal), internet, even television (satellite). Anyhow this is my third request for repair. The last two calls I've told them they could not access my home until after I got home from work. I figured this time I'll stay home and see if they actually turn up!

Sooo while I've been home waiting I've pulled together everything I need to take to Ann's. I also did the finishing on the bellpull for Mini Mystery J. I'll be able to give that to Beth tomorrow!

While I was at it... I finished a couple of ornaments using the sewing machine...

Now I'm off to work on that stocking!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Love Retreat! And HD!

Well I'm home and for another year the Cross Stitch Cupboard's Fall Retreat is over. I had a fantastic weekend!

I want to start with some of my favorite pictures from this weekend!

This first one gives you an idea of exactly how short I am and how tall Jennifer Aikman-Smith of dragon dreams is! I'm 5ft 2in! Its when you get cozy with The Dragon you realized just how tall she is!

And here Jennifer and I are having some fun!

If you notice on the wall behind us are the models for two of Jennifer's newest designs, Dragon of the Deeps, and To Trim of Tree which I had stitched the model for her. So it was nice to visit one of my old stitched pieces!

Here's me and To Trim A Tree - a model I stitched for Jennifer

And here I am with Magic In My Needle - A model I stitched for Jennifer

Okay, now that I've shared some pictures with you let's go back to Saturday morning. The morning's breakfast was buffet style from scrambled eggs to fruit and cereal! It was a moody morning on the St. Lawrence River.

Fall was certainly in the air...

But everyone was warm and cozy inside the Ganenoque Inn

Our full day Saturday class was with Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams, she had designed for us a lovely little sampler called "The Time I spend Stitching"

Here's Jennifer teaching us the Crown Stitch - which was a new stitch for me!

Chrisanne and I are madly stitching away seeing who can finish it first (Chrisanne aka : Pennygwen was way a head of me!)

Jennifer was kind enough to sign the mat on my framed Blackwork Princess! She even drew me a little draggie!

Then the charts for sale came out... and it was like vultures descending!!! As you can tell we're all stash-o-holics! I was good, I'm "trying" to stay on The Wagon. The only thing I bought was a box of Girl Guide mint cookies from Maria (foreground of this photo)

Lunch on Saturday was just as excellent as Friday's Dinner

Appetizers : Potato and Leek Soup (yummy!), Mixed Green Salad, Pasta Salad, and Greek Salad
Main Dishes : BLT Wrap and fries (yummy! minus the T of course!), Chicken Stir-Fry with basmati rice, Fish & Chips
Desserts : Chocolate mousse (yummy!), Fresh Fruit, Vanilla and Strawberry Mousse Cake (yummy!)

Our class continued all afternoon then we all went off to our rooms to get ready for Saturday night's formal dinner! Now this is a sight to behold as we rarely get dressed to the nines!

left me, center Christin, right Chrisanne

Of course in the process, the room kinda blew up! (we had a lovely suite)

Dinner was another to die-for menu!

Appetizers : Wild Mushroom Soup, Mixed Green Salad with toasted almonds and citrus dressing (this was the most amazing combination in a salad I had ever tasted!!!)
Main Entrees : Rack of Lamb, Grilled Salmon, Vegetable Lasagna (yum!!!), Prime Rib au Jus or Grilled Chicken Breast with orange champagne sauce
Desserts : Pecan flan, chocolate Cheesecake, Warm Peach Cobbler

Dinner was a long affair with goodie bags and door prizes! We didn't get back to our room until after 10:30pm. So off came the fancy duds, on went the jammies, and out came the stitcing. Chrisanne and I kept working on our class pieces. She kicked my butt and finished hers Saturday night. I kept working until 1:30am but I just couldn't get it finished. I had to go to bed.

Sunday Morning was much the same as Saturday cool and wet. Breakfast was the same buffet we had the day before (still just as tasty!).

Today we had a 1/2 day class, of course I took another of Jennifer's classes! This was one of her illustrated blackwork pieces, a princess, unicorn and a castle. I meant to get a picture of it for you folks, but I forgot. I was so focused on finishing yesterday's class piece (especially since Chrisanne totally beat me!). I sat in Jennifer's class in my little "nest" as I listened to today's class but continued to work on yesterday's piece(the chairs were killing my back by the second day). I was surrounded by everything a girl needs to stitch!

Chrisanne of course was the evil instigator....

Just as this morning's class wrapped up I celebrated my HD with the designer!!!

Then it was time to wrap up the weekend for those of us who can't/don't stay the extra day. Everyone congregated for lunch, Jennifer asked us if she may have lunch with us today. That is so cool! Of course I said yes!

Now I wasn't able to keep my menu from lunch so let's see if I can remember our choices...

Appetizers : Beef and Barley Soup, Cesar Salad, Pasta Salad
Main Entrees : Turkey and pesto on a roll, Bowtie Pasta with Shrimp, Beef Dip Sandwitch with fries (yum!!!)
Dessert : Assorted fruit pies and squares.

After lunch a couple of more prizes were given out, including a free retreat for next year. I sadly didn't win any of them. Next year.... next year....

We met up with Christin's parents for half an hour after lunch, they drove up from Kingston which is nearby and had a nice visit. Then it was time for hugs and goodbyes.

Until next year....

Friday, October 21, 2005

At Retreat!

Well I'm here in Ganenoque at the Ganenoque Inn! My retreat weekend has begun!

I got out of work at 2:30pm and picked Christin up from the bus stop. We were checked in by 4:30 and heading down to the stitching room, which was packed! We staked out our spots for the weekend while we waited for Chrisanne to arrive.

The St. Lawrence Room, our Stitching Room.

When Chrisanne arrived we all got down to work...

At 5:45 it was time for Wine and Cheese! Its a chance to wander around, chat and meet people!

And here's this weekend's guest instructor Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams! Chirsitin, Chrisanne and I were lucky enough to sit with Jennifer for dinner tonight and had a super-long, lovely chat!

Of course as usual the food was to die for!

Appetizers : Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup or Cesar Salad
Main Course : Pan Fried Catfish, Prime Rib, Roast Chicken, Rack of Lamb, or Pesto Penne.
Desserts : Warm Apple Crumble, Chocolate Mousse Cake, New York Style Cheesecake

So I had the cesar salad, Pesto Penne, a small serving of Apple Crumble and a half a sliced of chocolate mousse cake. A fantastic meal!!!

We then went back to the stitching room and did a little stitching when we decided to retire to our suite and chill, stitch, and watch TV.

Also this evening there was a "show and tell" exhibit where we could show off something(s) we've completed in the last year.

I got to become re-acquainted with an few old stitching friends of mine, a couple of models I stitched for Jennifer!

To Trim a Tree cDragon Dreams

Magic In My Needle cDragon Dreams

I also got to see Jennifer's newest release, I'll Make My Own Happy Ending

I'll Make My Own Happy Ending
cDragon Dreams

Tomorrow we'll be attending Jennifer's Class : The Time I Spend Stitching Sampler!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Last Sleep

My bags are packed... I'm ready to go **Dani sings off key**

Yup! Tonight is my last sleep (are you tired of me blogging about this yet!) then tomorrow after work I get to leave for the Cross Stitich Cupboard's Fall Retreat! I'll be taking my camera... and my laptop so I might be able to blog at the end of each day... we'll see. The Inn advertises wireless internet. So it'll come down to is it free, is there a cost? If so how much? Or will there be an unprotected wireless signal nearby I can pick up? The way I look at it is if you have a wireless signal and you don't password protect it that's not my fault, I'll take advantage of that. Especially because I don't have a high speed connection out here in the boonies where I live so I can do some serious surfing when I get on high speed!

Tonight after work I did my duty and gave blood at the local blood donor clinic. It always amazes me that I can give a pint in under 10 minutes. Today was my 6th time giving blood. I was hoping to get to my packing and organizing earlier tonight, but for the life of me the phone wouldn't stop ringing. I can go weeks, a month, or more without any phone calls! Tonight I'm on the phone for at least two hours! So now I'm all packed, except for the laptop and my stocking which I will be working on Friday evening/night. Once I get my hands on Jennifer Aikman-Smith's class project I'll be working on that for the rest of the weekend!

So have a good weekend if I don't blog while I'm at the retreat! I'll try to have plenty of pictures!

I'm going to *try* to stitch a little before bed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

SBQ... and Two Sleeps!

Let's start with today's Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week!

Q : Do you mark or hi-lite your patterns or can you follow them without any markings? Do you make copies to mark up, or do you mark originals?

A : I almost always make a working copy, very rarely do I work from the original. Unless it is a small design that doesn't need marking up. Also I tend to cart my projects around and the charts tend to get mangled. So I'd rather carry around a copy than the original, that way I don't have a mangled original. Keeping the charts pristine is nice to either trade, share, or sell down the road to someone else who really wants that design.

High-lighting... I'm finding I'm doing that less and less these days. I high-light when I need to, when I find it difficult to keep track of what I'm doing or where I'm going. My best marking suggestion/recommendation for difficult (confetti) projects, for example Teresa Wentzler's Peacock tapestry. To handle the confetti stitching on this design I would use a two high-lighter technique. With the lighter colour (yellow) I would high-light the path I was planning on stitching with a paticular colour. Once I've done those stitches on the fabric I re-high-light over the lighter colour with the darker colour (pink, green, blue).

So tonight I've stayed home and just relaxed (Chillax as I like to say!). I've taken a nap, I've stitched and watched TV. How fantastic!!!

Just two more sleeps until I get to go to the Retreat!!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Three Sleeps

Yay three sleeps until I'm off for my retreat in Ganenoquay.

I can't wait!

Monday, October 17, 2005

October Ornament

Yay I've finally finished my October ornament! You know you don't have a lot of stitching time when it takes you over a week to stitch an ornament. A Bent Creek design at that!

So here's Bent Creek's Joy c1998 from the 1998 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Edition.

Hmmm things look more blue than green here... could be my laptop.

Soooo for the rest of this week I can move onto my Nephew's Stocking again!

Oh yeah... I played soccer Sunday night, my team won 4-1. I had three shots on goal but didn't get any in. Oh well, but it sure was fun!!!

another countdown this week... 4 sleeps until the Cross Stitch Cupboard Retreat!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Creative Sewing And Needlework Festival 2005

Today was the day! I've been waiting for months for the CSNF (Creative Sewing And Needlework Festival) in Toronto.

Last night after work I didn't get out of work until almost 4PM. Needless to say I was not impressed! I had imagined myself being on the road at 3:30. I was happy with the time I made on the road though, I was buzzing in at Marj's apartment at 8PM, 4 hours exactly. That's including two stops! Marj and I had a nice long visit before going to bed after midnight.

This morning I was up at 8AM and by 10AM we were on the road to take the GO Train downtown. That was nice, I don't think I've been on a train since 1997, during my trip to London, England.

Alright I'm sure you're dying to hear about my impressions of this year's show. Well there was a number of empty booths this year. A sign that the show may be in decline? In terms of needlework the show is definitely on the decline. The number of needlework booths from when I first went in 2001 to this year in 2005 has dropped drastically. There was only five needlework booths, pitiful isn't it? Let's see who was there...

Gitta's, one of Toronto's biggest needlework shops. Gitta was hosting Jeannette Douglas one of my favorite Canadian Designers! I bought Jeannette's Class kit from the CSNF Crystal Winter Sampler, fourth in a series (which I have all of them now!). I've heard that Gitta's will not be attending next year's CSNF which is a total shame... yet another sign that the show is in decline???

It was great to see Jeannette again! Jeannette, Marj and I had a great long natter about stitching and the show of course! While we were visiting with Jeannette Yolanda stopped by. It was nice to see her again, we met for the first time at the show a couple of years ago.

Jeannette and I at Gitta's booth

Then we walked over to see a designer we did not expect to be there but had heard from Marj's friend that she had seen him the day before....
TERRANCE NOLAN was there! Oh My Gosh! Oh My Gosh! I was so excited to hear he had decided to come up to the show. I had talked to him about the show years ago when I met him at CATS (Creative Arts and Textile Showcase). So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that he was there. Terrance was sharing a booth with Maureen Applegate of The Heart's Content. Marj and I must of talked with Terrance for about 30 minutes about the show and how it was not as well populated by needlework as it used to be. He and Maureen have already put in a deposit for next year and will be teaching as well (yay!). Terrance says that he has already gotten in touch with a group of American designers and are hoping to bring up at least 10 of them. Terrance would like to see all the needlework vendors/designers together in one area. He made it one of the conditions of agreeing to come to the show next year that they all be grouped. I think its an excellent idea because its a pain in the a$$ wading through all the quilting and scrapbooking booths to find the odd needlework booth. Did you know that one quilting booth to the next just becomes one big blur! They all start to look the same.

It was also nice to make the acquaintance of
Maureen Applegate, I was very impressed with her designs. More impressed by the fact that so many of them are stitch over one on small counts!!! Wow! I was running low on cash by the time we got there so I'll have to look into buying some of her designs at a later date.

Here's Me and Terrance

And here's Marj and Terrance

Here's me and Maureen

Since it was getting close to 2:30 I wanted to hit the Camus booth to say hi to Jennifer Aikman-Smith of
Dragon Dreams before she was off to teach a class. We didn't have too long of a visit with Jennifer, and I won't bore you with pictures (didn't take any) since you're going to get to see enough after the Cross Stitch Cupboard's Retreat where Jennifer is the guest instructor. Also I was starving and starting to get the shakes. I bought two charts from that booth, Jennifer's Dragon of the Deeps and her new one I'll Make My Own Happy Ending. I think I'm going to try to get that one stitched up for the retreat next week! Teee Heee! I don't have as busy of a week coming up as this past week.

After lunch Marj and I wandered around making sure we didn't miss anything good. I picked up some Swarovski Crystals and Pearls for my Mum. I also picked up some jump rings to make a bracelet for Marj and I picked up the pattern for the Empressa Chain.

Oh yes, all you Canuck stitchers out there! I wanted to give you a heads up about a new needlework magazine that is purely Canadian its called A Needle Pulling Thread. They were giving away copies for free at the show. Its quite a nice magazine, from the quick look I had and it covers all kinds of needlearts. So keep an eye out for it at your favorite magazine shop, its a quarterly publication.

And now for something completely different...

These moose are all over downtown Toronto, each painted in a different way.

And that was my day!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Glutton For Punishment? Or Can't Say No?


Yesterday at work we got the sudden announement that a staff member was leaving. This was good news for her! That afternoon I was asked ... "Can you frame a school letter?" My reply was well ummm... I can try but no guarantees. Now I'm thinking couldn't I have said no, give me a couple of days???

Last night being Wednesday I had absolutely no time to work on it as it was my teaching night at Taekwon-Do. Boy that's a long night! I teach from 5:15 to 9:30pm that's 5 classes!!! Argh! Starting with little tigers ages 4-6 up to advanced adults. I didn't get home until 10pm. I was given the time to run to the engraver and get the plate done at the end of the work day.

Sooo today after work I ran and picked up the glass for the piece. Zipped up to the Hyundai Dealer and got the replacement mirror for my car, just in time for my drive to Toronto tomorrow. By the time I got home it was almost 5pm. Its essentially taken me until after 11pm tonight to get this one piece done! That's mats cut, letter mounted, and so on. The molding proved to be a little tricky and the glue didn't seem to want to dry. I was just so frustrated by 9pm. I didn't even start making dinner until after 8pm!

Grrrrr... why do I say yes?

I get to go to Toronto after work tomorrow! Yay!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Okay right to the point today!

Q : How do you `non-hoopists' who use a rotation system handle it (as it seems to be lot easier if you are in good terms with hoop)? Do you have several scroll frames? Do you use Q-snaps or maybe something completely different? Or do you just have one or two big projects and others are small enough to be kept in hand while stitching?

A : I have a simple answer to this question... stitch in hand there's no dilemma!!

Two more sleeps until I go to TO!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Countdown To The Weekend

Its Tuesday and I'm already counting down the days to Le Weekend! This is my month of awesome stitching weekends! This weekend heralds the first!

On Friday after work I'll be heading for Toronto to stay with my friend Marj. On Saturday we'll be heading downtown to attend the Creative Sewing And Needlework Festival (CSNF). I'm hoping not to spend much. I'm going because its been a couple of years. Also I'm hoping to see Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams, Jeannette Douglas of Jeannette Douglas Designs, and Mindy of Sugar Maple Fabrics. Hopefully I'll run into some other stitching personalities I know and other stitching friends! That's the best thing about these shows, making contacts, making friends and meeting old friends.

So 3 days until I leave for TO!!!

Stitching wise, I've been a good girl and focusing on Anu's ornament.

Monday, October 10, 2005

HD and Soccer!

Finally! Finally, finally, finally! I've finished Fire & Ice from Black Swan! This has been my travel project for quite a long while so I'm happy to see it completed. Its stitched on Lavender Sunset 28ct Joblean using DMC and Kreinik threads.

Fire & Ice c2004 Karen Weaver

Today I'm gong to work on my Ornament RR, Anu's selection

Last night Indoor Soccer started! Yay! I had been "kicking around" the idea of joining an indoor team after playing outdoor this summer and really enjoying it. Then I saw an e-mail at work of a team playing at the Oz Dome that was looking for players on Sunday night. Perfect! I didn't have to drive downtown, and it wouldn't get in the way of Taekwon-Do or Guild. It felt great last night to play. We didn't win but we made a lot of great attempts on net, I think this team will be promising this season.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Stitching Week In Review

I know, I know. I said I'd be doing my updates on Friday nights. But... I had to get part 4 of Midi Mystery 1 finished! It took until 2:30 am but its done!!!

The other project this week that got a little of my time was Black Swan's Fire and Ice.

Nither my stocking or Noah's Sub got to see the light of day this past week. This weekend is a long weekend for us Canadians (Thanksgiving), between visiting and soccer I'm hoping to get in lots of stitching. My first goal for the weekend will be to finish Fire & Ice, the next Anu's ornament selection for the JCS Retro RR. If I get both of those done and there's plenty of weekend left I'll be pulling out the stocking.

Two weeks ago if you recall I had a lovely evening out with Zoe from the UK. She sent me the file of the pic her hubby took of us and I finally scanned her present!

So here's Zoe and I at The Newport, home of the Elvis Sighting Society

And here's the lovely pressie Zoe stitched for me!

Friday, October 07, 2005

September Review and October Goals.

Gosh I'm way behind in my blogging I should of done this about a week ago. Update you on how I did with my September goals and what I've got planned for October.

Alrighty Then...

September Goals :
Stitch part 3 of Midi Mystery 1 Yes! Happy Dance
Stitch and finish part 3 of Mini Mystery J Yes!
Work on Noah's Sub Yes!
Start Dragon By The Fireside Stocking Yes!
Stitch one ornament Yes!
DD SAL No -- Didn't have the time
Freebie SAL No -- Didn't have the time

I'm trying to keep things simple this month.

October Goals
Stitch Midi Mystery part 4
Work on Stocking
Work on Noah's Sub
Stitch One ornament

Chillaxin' In Le Long Weekend!

Ahhhh a great way to start the weekend! I worked through my lunch so I could leave an hour early today. It was a great day seeing as the kids weren't there, it was a PD day in my board.

I did the groceries.

I picked up a Gabriel's Deluxe Pizza

I've had a slice and a rum and coke!

What better way to start Thanksgiving!!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Alrighty yes I've not been around much lately! Life has been busy! To give you an idea of how busy, its Thursday and I've put over 350 KMs on my car so far this week! I'm quite run down at the moment and I fell like I'm fighting something.

But, a long weekend is on its way so I can catch some ZZZZZZZZZZZ's!!!

So how has my week shaped up so far :

Monday : Work, Chiropractor, home, build a frame, TKD
Tuesday : Work, Hang out at Chapters (no point in going home), Guild Executive Meeting
Wednesday : Work, Teach TKD
Thursday : Work, Hyundai Dealer... I should go to TKD but I'm beat

I've not really stitched much this week.

I had a close call last night while driving on one of the back roads. There was an oncoming car, and as usual (this is backroad etiquette) I slowed down and got as far over to the right as possible. Well he did neither. Lucky for me, he only took out my driver's side mirror and my window was up so I didn't get cut by flying glass. But it could of been worse.

So onto the fun stuff... the SBQ

Q: When you have almost finished a pattern and start thinking about the next one to stitch, how do you select it? (a list, most recent purchase, etc.)

A: Well if I have another project on the go I move onto finishing that. If not it depends on if I've decided tgo stitch something specific as a gift for someone. When I'm not stitching something for others, its whatever design I own that screams the loudest!!!!

That's it for tonight! I'm so tired, I hope that what I've typed makes sense and isn't all over the place!