More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tour, Tour Everywhere!

This weekend I stayed home, I stayed inside, I stayed off of the treadmill, and I stitched!

I managed to finish page 5 and started page 6!

Here are this weekend's photos... taken without leaving the house (yay!)

Saturday January 30 - Hunter and Cuddles trying to lick leftover tuna out of a container. Quite funny since the container isn't big enough for both of them to eat out of it!

Sunday January 31 - Did I ever mention I have a chicken coop? Well I do, it came with the house. We don't use it, would be interesting to see what critters have holed up in there for the winter.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Photo Hunt "Garbage"

Since I'm being greedy and saving my Tour progress until Sunday night I'd like to entertain you with another Photo Hunt (I'm half way through the list from 2009 right now!).

This theme is "Garbage"

This is Mike, the head custodian at work. At any school the custodians play such an important role! Its always advisable to keep your custodians on your good side... for that time you really need a little help in the clean-up department!

Friday, January 29, 2010

For Lack of a Better Title

Lately my focus on life seems to be pretty narrow, making it from Monday to Friday, so that I can relax and stitch on the weekends. Honestly I get up Monday morning and think about how far away Friday 3:30 (quitting time) is! I just want to come home, sit in my chair with one of my Mum's quilts on my lap and stitch... or sleep! We've got a couple of very cold days ahead of us and I'm doubly glad all I'm going to do this weekend is stay home! (you can tell its cold outside, Hunter is spending a lot more time on my lap all of a sudden)
Thursday night I was called in to teach at TKD the first two family classes, I actually ended up teaching all three classes that night, including the black belt/red belt class I had planned on attending. I still feel like I've got my training wheels on when I'm infront of a class at the dojang but I'm sure with some more teaching under my belt that feeling will go away. My family classes, I handled much better than last week. Things went much smoother, I barely had any behaviour issues, and didn't feel like I was floundering around in my teaching. At the moment I'm not scheduled to teach any classes in February but you never know, I might get the call.
My weigh in was not bad this week I'm down another 0.5lbs which made me just legal at my Weight Watchers meeting! Yay I didn't have to pay for January. I've now got four more weeks to work on dropping another 1.5lbs and I'll be back at my goal weight.

Between working, the gym, the dojang, and other things in between I did find some stitching time this week. Of course I'm still single mindedly working on Tour. Wouldn't it be lovely if I could finish this page before the month was up??? Here's my progress through the week before picking Tour up this evening. I'll of course give you another update Sunday night!
I am still being consistent with my photo a day project, each day managing to find something to photograph. This project has certainly opened me up to being more aware of my surroundings and looking for points of interest. You should try going around with your camera if you don't already do!

Monday January 25 - After going to the gym, I treated myself to a pound of strawberries! Yum! Its been so nice to make myself a smoothie in the morning with fresh berries!

Tuesday January 26 - A beacon in a cold Ontario night. In Ontario, beer is only sold in two places, yes "The Beer Store" or the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). The beer store is right across the parking lot from my Weight Watcher's meeting.

Wednesday January 27 - On Wednesday afternoon I went to a book fair for High School libraries. It was organized by the public board in the area I work in. The book fair was held in a high school that was no longer being used as a school but a multi-use facility for that board. It was a pleasant surprise to come across this passage full of plants enjoying the winter sun.

Thursday January 28 - A hockey net at the rink next to my house, off the ice so that the surface can be easily shovelled.

Friday January 29 - I have this fascination with barns, the older the better! I think they just have so much character and I love to photograph them. This one was on my way home from the workshop I attended today.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Weend Ends

I love the weekend, and I hate it ending every Sunday night. Finally, I had a full day at home today, to enjoy my new chair and work on Tour. Here it is as of bed time tonight, and once again I didn't want to put it down!!!!

I saw Avatar in 3D on Saturday with my Mum and Christin. I don't understand how/why so many people are in awe over this movie. Its just Dances With Wolves in the future... really. The head of security fellow reminds me of the character from Apocalypse Now whose line is "I love the smell of napalm in the morning". Yes the 3D was cool, yes the CGI was very impressive and artistically beautiful. But I did not walk away from this movie amazed as so many others say they were.

Here are my weekend pictures :

Saturday January 23 - We had an overnight frost again, I took this picture on the way to pick up my Mum.

Sunday January 24 - Since I wasn't going anywhere today my subjects were limited. But then Hunter was so cute, sitting there in my bathtub (ignore the soap scum!) he wanted me to turn on the tap just a tiny bit so he could have a drink.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Weekend Begins

This week for me was one of those weeks where every morning you fight with yourself to get out of bed and go to work. Then once you're at work you're watching the clock so you can leave. It wasn't a bad week, there was no reason... I just would of rather of been at home sleeping I suppose. I also had to fight with myself to go to the gym like I promised and go to Taekwon-Do, I did make it to both.

I had some success at the scale this week! I'm down 1.5 lbs, just 2 lbs left to go to get back to my goal weight. I hope this week I'm down enough to make weigh in. According to my scale I'm just barely legal (for Weight Watchers you have to be within 2 lbs of your goal weight or you pay), but that's my scale not theirs. So I'd like to drop a little more for this week's weigh in.

I'm still plugging away at Tour and loving every moment of it.

Are you ready for this week's pictures? There's nothing artsy or inspirational here... probably due to my desire to do nothing and go nowhere. Its also hard to find things to shoot when by the time you get home its dark outside, and when you leave in the morning, its dark outside! The days are getting longer but not soon enough for me!

Monday January 18 - "My favourite box of crayons!" What stitcher doesn't drool over a beautiful box full of floss. I was playing with the macro lens again, intentionally making one section of the floss box in full focus and the rest start to blur out.

Tuesday January 19 - This is Pete my Mum's Parrot. He hates cameras so I had to do this quickly, thus it needed quite a bit of attention in Elements just to make it look okay. I used the burn and dodge techniques (not the burn and dodge button as it doesn't do as nice of a job) I learnt in my photography course two years ago.

Wednesday January 20 - "My Needle and Thread They Comfort Me" I had a pretty crappy evening Tuesday I spent every free moment that night fighting with my cellular company. As usual they won and I'm paying more. I wasn't going to stitch that night but I grudgingly pulled Tour out and I realized just how much my stitching calmed me and comforted me.

Thursday January 21 - Heading off into the sunset. I pass this snowmobile trail on my way home almost every evening (depending on which way I go). The sun is just starting its trip down to the horizon. You may see this path again in the near future when there's a fresh dusting of snow on the trees, its so pretty!

Firday January 22 - Ahhhhh the end of a week at work, time to take my shoes off, put on my boots, and go home! I did this by creating hue/saturation layer and level layers in Elements and playing with the sliders on the histogram. This took a pretty insignificant picture and made it a little more interesting.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Update

I've had a busy weekend, I was involved in more fundraising events which for some reason really tired me out. In seven weeks I'm going to the Dominican Republic with 10 students, we're participating in a Social Justice Awareness project, living with Dominican families for a week and being exposed to the developing nation side of the D.R., not the resort side. This project has been a lot of work, and has been in progress since about May/June 2009. Finally were down to the final days. In my running around for this weekend's fundraising efforts I've put over 200KMs on my car! I lost a lot of my precious stitching time this afternoon/evening taking a nap! I was just exhausted! I hope after this weekend we are very close to our fundraising goal!

When I've had the energy to this weekend I've been working on Tour Des Marques and the project is coming right along nicely!

I am still keeping up with the Photo A Day project. One of them, Saturday's photo I can't wait to share with you... its totally stitching related!

Thursday January 14 - We have had more freezing drizzle and fog, which can make nature look beautiful! I pulled out my macro lens for this one again. The a closeup of the ice crystals on one of the evergreens in my yard.

Thursday January 14 BONUS! - I thought this was just too cute! Hunter was watching me through the window while I was traipsing around in the snow in my yard taking my pictures. Sometimes I wonder what's going through my cat's head.

Friday January 15 - Gassing up! Filling up the tank for running the roads this weekend.

Saturday January 16 - My new stitching chair! I've always wanted a recliner and while I was in Costco on Friday night, I spotted this baby and the price was too good to be true. When I got home from the grocery run I told Todd all about it. Saturday morning, Todd headed out with his truck and trailer to be at Costco for when it opened and picked it up for me. A very early birthday present (combined with some Christmas/Bday money from my Mum too), which isn't until the end of March. But if you shop in Costco you know that one day they have lots and two days later they're all out and they never get anymore in. I love my new stitching chair!
Sunday January 17 - This is something I've spotted from time to time, running shoes that have been thrown onto power lines. Is this a form of teenage cruelty/bullying? Is there's a reason/ritual, just for fun? Has anyone ever seen this in their area? I spotted these shoes while driving home from our fundraising event and just had to photograph the shoes!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo Hunt "Pink"

Just a drive by posting... I'm heading out for work in just a few minutes. Thank you all of you for your wishes that my migraine would go away, it did! I didn't have to take anything yesterday, a good day!

So here's a quick Photo Hunt, the theme is "Pink"

I took this, playing with my macro lens, my bleeding hearts... I need a little colour and beauty at this stage in the winter when everything is grey/brown/white!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stitching, Pictures n' Stuff

I had a rough day yesterday with a bad migraine, which meant time in bed and no stitching, Taekwon-Do, etc. I hate migraine days, it started to creep back today but I took meds instead of bed, I didn't want it to knock me down again.

I did get to stitch today, and of course Tour came back out again. Finally, I am in love with this piece! I was recently asked via my blog comments, how many pages is this chart, it has a total of 8 pages, but pages 7/8 don't have a lot of stitching to them. If you'd like to see the full design, go here.

Now I've got a couple of more pictures a day for you.

Tuesday January 12 - A view into the village from my driveway. Across the park's parking lot there is a small and seldom used graveyard with this beautiful stone building. I don't know the history of this building if its the original church or its purpose, the Anglican church has been around since 1845. I think I should ask some of the good ole' boys who hang out at the General Store, they know everything!

Wednesday January 13 - My Christmas cactus has gifted me with a second bloom this winter season... for some reason I get just one or two blooms a year. Probably not caring for it properly. I pulled out my macro lens for this one.
Tonight I recommitted myself to going to the gym... yup a paid membership going unused. Well, only unused since October when I started focusing on my 3rd Degree Black Belt testing. Its been a battle get get myself back in there, but today I finally did and it felt great! So I'm hoping going to the gym two times a week and Taekwon-Do two times a week will be the right combination to beat my weight back down again.

I haven't really talked about my weight loss battle in a long time. Though I am a Lifetime Member at Weight Watchers (via Doctor's note), it really is a lifetime battle! It has been just as much of a fight to keep my weight down/off. When I last weighed in at the beginning of December I was JUST within my 2lbs limit before you have to pay for your meeting (it creeped up a bit that week before I was off for holidays). I'm half way through January and I'm working really hard to get back down within my 2lbs limit... now don't get me wrong I didn't pig out over the holidays (though I did enjoy it), I worked really hard to loose 1lb over the two week Christmas/New Years season. This week I was back up just a little bit (half a pound I don't know why), which was rather deflating but I've picked myself back up and I'm working at it again. So let me share with any of you out there who is in the weight loss battle, its not an easy road, and its not a short road... but its worth the effort.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finished a Page and Moving On

I took it pretty easy this weekend, after I took care of my one commitment on Saturday morning. The rest of my weekend was spent stitching and napping, and I really needed it!

Saturday I finished up page 4 of Tour des Marques and started page 5, its moving along nicely and all I want to do is work on this piece.

I have managed to keep taking a picture a day... 11 days strong and still going!

Friday January 8 -Public transport, I'm so glad I don't have to take the bus anymore!

Saturday January 9 - Tracks in the snow

Sunday January 10 - Keeping warm, Hunter waiting for the heat to kick in

Monday January 11 - Happy Birthday Mum! Mum's birthday flowers.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Almost Finished A Page

Thanks to all of you for your tips about my tired eyes. They are still bothering me, burning a little, I've picked up some drops so hopefully that will help. I must not be looking too great lately, today two co-workers asked me if I was feeling well, one said she could tell my eyes were really bothering me. Guess I looked like crap when I left the house this morning! But on the up side a fellow asked me when he had to see some paperwork with my date of birth on it if I was often told I looked much younger than my age. That was a good boost to the ole' morale!

The first week back to work is always a long and tiring one! What stitching time I've managed to get in so far this week (1-2 hours an evening) I've spent working on Tour des Marques. Tonight I finished all the over one on page 4 and have gotten a start on the backstitching and with luck I'll have time to wrap it up tomorrow evening.

I have been faithful at taking a picture a day ... so far. Here's Monday-Thursday in pictures.

Monday January 4th - In honour of my first day back at work, the view from my workstation!

Tuesday January 5th - The woodpile at my parents place with a fresh dusting of snow

Wednesday January 6th - Picking up the mail

Thursday January 7th - Downtown Ottawa, pigeons cuddled up against the cold on a grate. I had to drop some paper work downtown today, and I had planned to walk up to Parliament Hill, which I've photographed several times now, and thought these guys were more interesting... and they were just outside the door of the building I had to visit. Much more convenient!
Here's a bonus for you, a PhotoHunt! The theme is "Flags"
This is form my trip to Montreal with my Mum this summer, international flags on the grounds of the "Big O" in Montreal where the 1976 Olympics were held.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Urgh, My Eyes Hurt!

I think I've been stitching wayyy too much since Tuesday! Today my eyes hurt! Not my hands or wrists but eyes! I tried to work on Tour but my eyes wouldn't let me, then I tried to work on Art Deco Spirits and had to give up. I spent a few hours on the computer visiting blogs, and tagging my pictures in Photoshop Elements.

This evening I was able to pull Art Deco Spirits back out and I've got all the white done on the Earth block and moved onto some more purple/blue.

Seeing as this is the start of a new month, I suppose I should set out my goals for January!
January Goals
Stitch 1 ornament
Finish Lettres A Mon Chat
Work on Tour des Marques
Work on Art Deco Spirits
Blogiversary Gift (very overdue!)

I've gotten a few PhotoHunts (still haven't completed last year's list) ready so here's the next one "Creamy"

These were dessert and one of the retreats I went to a few years ago, yummy and creamy!

I also took my daily picture, since it was cold, windy, and snowy today we didn't go anywhere so here's a Hunter shot!

Ends and New Beginnings

Happy New Year to all my friends and family!

I'm looking to at 2010 with lots of optimism, I think there is a good year ahead of me, but then a year can only be as good as we make it. I intend to have a great year! I've already got a few things lined up that I'm looking forward to this year. First is my trip to the Dominican Republic at the beginning of March. I won't be staying at a resort, but going with students from work, where we'll be participating in the Dominican Experience, billeted with families and seeing the 3rd world country side of the D.R. About a week after my return from the D.R. is the March Timberhouse retreat. Followed by the Billy Talent concert near the end of March and Nicleback in April. Much to look forward to already!

I've started off the New Year the same way as many other years... here was the ort jar at the end of 2009....

Here it is at the start of 2010... the ceremonial emptying of the ort jar!

I'd like to do a quick review of my highlights of 2009, from this standpoint I know I had a good year.
- Right Foot is now pain free
- Saw Claire 3 times
- Saw my first Space Shuttle launch
- Stitching Get Togehters and Retreats
- Great Concerts
- Lifetime at Weight Watchers achieved
- Raised over $900 for Breast Cancer Research
- Completed Run For The Cure 5K in under 30min.
- Ran 10K
- Helicopter ride
- Received 3rd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-Do

My favourite stitched project of 2009 was Blackstone Fantasy Garden by Ink Circles

My last project for 2009 was not Lettres A Mon Chat as I had hoped, but an ornament instead.
c2009 Alchemy Stitchcraft
Stitched on : 32ct Natural linen
Stitched with : GAST and Mill Hill Beads
My first finish for 2010 is Lettres A Mon Chat

Lettres A Mon Chat (clickable)
c2006 Isabelle Vauthier
Stitched on : 28ct Vintage Red Linen
Stitched with : DMC & Silk n' Colors
My second (yes you read it right!) finish and first ornament for 2010 is

Celtic Ice (kit)
c2008 Ink Circles
Stitched on : 28ct Windowpane Linen
Stithced with : Carrie's Threads
You could almost count the above project as my new start for 2010, I started it this morning before Todd and I left Rebbecca's after I finished Lettres a Mon Chat. We rung in the New Year the same way for the last three years, with a visit to Rebbecca and her family's home. Its a low key New Year, with a great meal, stitching, and movies! This year we were having such an enjoyable time we stayed two days!
This year instead of starting a new big project on New Year's Day, I have decided to finish what I've got on the go in my stitching basket (but I reserve the right to change my mind and start a new project at any time). I've even taken pictures... admitting to everything that's lurking in there! I dare you to admit to your started and yet not finished projects!

Tour Des Marques by The Silver Lining

Art Deco Spirits by Mirabilia

Celestial Dragon by Teresa Wentzler

The Accolade by Gitta's

Various class pieces from past Creativ Festivals and odd small projects

Something I'm going to try this year which appealed to me is to take a photo a day. Heidi mentioned this on her blog and the idea sounds cool. I don't know if I'm going to actually be able to do this but I'd like to. Above is my photo for January 1st, Rebecca's boys being silly (a little young for gang signs don't you think) for the camera. My picture for January 2nd could be any of the above stitching pictures or my ort jar!

In my mind I had originally planned a deeper and more eloquent New Year post, but its late and I wanted to get something up here before another day went by, so this will have to do!