More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Saturday, March 26, 2011


1,501 yup! This is post 1,501!!!!  I didn't realize that yesterday's post was 1,500.  I think this is a cause for celebration!  Also tomorrow is my 35th Birthday, a double reason to celebrate!  There's not better way to celebrate than with a draw!  Seeing as I have two reasons to celebrate I will pick two winners!!!  What will you win?  Who knows, at least something stitched by me. 

Can you tell this isn't well thought out but has kinda come out as I'm typing.  So if you want to enter my 1,501/Birthday draw please leave a comment.  If you don't have an e-mail address attached to your blogger profile or not a blogger member please be sure to leave me your e-mail address on your comment.

Thursday night I got myself an early Birthday present

Isn't he adorable!  Todd and I agreed right away that when Cuddles was no longer with us that when we were ready we'd get a new kitten.  I met this adorable little guy (I hope its hard to tell he's so small!) on Thursday night and fell in love, aren't his markings gorgeous?  He still doesn't have a name yet, we've thrown a few around but nothing has stuck yet.

Now as for Hunter, I think he's sulking a bit.  There's been posturing, hissing, growling, and a few clawless swats at the kitten.  He is still talking to me and Todd, so that's good.  We've been giving him lots of love an attention.

How about a little stitching finally?  I bet you've all been dying to see Enchantment of Winter!  I'm just absolutely loving this piece and its a joy to stitch.  The purple silks are just so vibrant.

While flying to and from the DR and Arizona I worked on my Quilt Blocks on aida.  There's over 40 of these buggers to do, but I do have some stitching friends lined up to help me out a few blocks at a time!!

I'm looking forward to a pretty quiet Birthday weekend.  The girls at work had a cake and card for me yesterday.  Tonight its dinner with the family, and tomorrow the big day itself nothing is happening.  I'm looking forward to settling in the new kitten and stitching.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Knowledge & Needles March Timberhouse Retreat 2011

After my  adventures in Arizona, I arrived home on Thursday night of the March Break week.  I unpacked my suitcase, did my laundry, and started packing my duffel bag and stitching bag!  I was hitting the road at 9am on Friday to go to the Timberhouse for our 2011 March Retreat!  I love these retreats so much that's it worth heading home a few days early from March Break.

So Friday afternoon 18 of us crazy stitchers descended upon the Timberhouse stitching and food in hand!  As usual I had a fantastic time.  Since loosing Cuddles I've not been in a picture taking mood so I have just a few shots from the weekend.

This is what greeted us when we went to Ann's for our lunch (made by Dan)

Chef Butthead, I mean Dan telling us about the day's menu

Chicken in wine sauce, spatzel, carrots and bruchetta

Ymmy red velvet cake (made by Ann)

Everyone enjoying lunch



Fabric was bought

Charts were bought too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Break 2011 -- Arizona With a Side of Mexico

March Break is done and dusted for yet another year.... sigh!  I started planning this year's Mach Break last August when I asked Kathy if I could come and visit her in SW Arizona this year, I made my first trip there March Break of 2007 and you can read about it here.  When I got the word that I could go ahead and book my flight in August, I did it just days later because I got an AMAZING price out of Ottawa which if you live in this area you know never happens!!  So I had been waiting for this  trip for months.  I was so glad that Kathy and her husband were willing to open up their home to me, this past summer I barely saw Kathy becuase she was getting her new hom ready.

On Saturday March 12th, the day was finally here!  I got up super early that morning to be welcomed by a dreary, snowy day.  Thank goodness I was going south!  Todd dutifully drove me to the airport so that I could beat the March Break rush to check in, get through security, and customs.  Well I was shocked to find the airport pretty quiet.

Which meant there was definately time to get a tea from Timmies (my last real cup of tea for almost a week), put on some tunes and stitch!  I ran into two teacher from work, one of them Jay whose fairly new on staff, it turned out he was on my first flight to Chicago.  We made arrangements to sit together, it was a neat chance to get to know the new guy better!  It was funny, I was on my way to Yuma, he was on his way to Pheonix.  However our paths did seperate in Chicago as I was going onto LA and he was going via Denver.  I think this must of been the longest day of my life!  About half way through my leg to LA I wanted the HELL off of that plane!  I think I had enough of sitting sttill and stitching... can you beleive it?  I arrived at the Yuma airport at dinner time, it was a long day!

Going throug the mountain on our way to see Judie

A quick stop at Dateland for my Date Shake!  That  was sooo tasty!

Read closely!

See the lobby of the inn... yup its a UFO the "Space Lodge" in Gila Bend

Miles and miles of road and arid landscape

Sunday morning Kathy and I were up early, my alarm went off at 6am instead of 7am due to that iPhone glitch that happened due to daylight savings time.  So I got myself out of bed and went for my first outdoor run since probably November.  Boy that was GREAT!  We hit the road for Miracopia Springs to go visit with Judie also from up here who was in the area for a two week vacation.  When she found out when I was going to be down there she was kind enough to make sure her trip overlapped mine.  By lunchtime Kathy, Judie and I were sitting outside by the pool stitching our little hearts out!  We did stop for lunch and dinner out but we stitched until bedtime.  I hadn't had a nice long stretch like that in weeks!

Monday morning we all packed up our stuff, and headed into Pheonix (Mesa to be exact) to check out the LNS, The Attic.  We were meeting there with Angie who like Kathy is a snow bird from Brighton, also meeting us there were Annette and Bette, bloggers I have known for years.

Bette (L) & Kathy (R) having a bit of a chat (sorry its backlit)

I have to say The Attic was overwhelming!!!  There was just sooo much there to look at it was hard to figure out where to start.  We spent about an hour there, I think it would of taken me days to properly go through it all!  They also had an astronomical number of fantastic models on the wall.  If you're a sampler fan, this is your vision of Heaven!

Angie getting ready to pay

Judie, just thrilled by the day's purchases

Desptie giving myself permission to drop a bomb at the Attic my stash haul was a little on the disappointing  side.  I think the reasons are becuase there was just SO MUCH and also if you've read this blog for any amount of time you know I'm not exactly a sampler type girl.  Not in the picture are a beautiful pair of scissors I got, I don't know the brand but their feel is just devine!

L to R back : Annette, Bette, Judie & Angie
front : Me & Kathy

Shopping burns a fair amount of calories, I can assure you so we needed to go re-fuel and chat over a nice meal!  I was so glad that Bette and Annette were able to join us!  It was great to meet and talk to Bette in person and it was good to see Annette again (she had come up to Toronto for the Creativ Festival a few years ago).  The resturant we were at was accompanied by a fantastic mall but Kathy and I decided to head back to Yuma after a quick stop at Bass Pro Shops for Kathy's son.  During the morning the van's radiator had sprung a leak.  Thank goodness, over the years Todd has taught me how to take care of a vehicle's vital fluids.  We managed to get the van back a little later than palnned, and 3 bottles of antifreeze later!  Kathy's husband now says I'm welcome anytime :-)

The Attic may have been my idea of heaven, but this sure is Todd's idea of heaven!!!

On Tuesday the van went into the shop so what do resourceful stitchers do?  Well we stitch our hearts out!  The weather was gorgeous so we sat outside until lunchtime, when it became too hot at 93 F!  Kathy is determined to get her lighthouse round robin finished up and I am just enthralled by Enchantment of Winter (progress pictures soon).  That night we went to the Casino with two other couples from Canada for the wonderful $7.99 steak and shrimp... and well who couldn't resist the one armed bandits?  I was lucky and broke even for the night.  Kathy and her husband have made some wonderful friends on their travels, everyone has been so nice to me!
About to walk into Mexico... my 4th country in 4 weeks!

Sadly Wednesday was my last day with Kathy in Arizona.  We were up early since it was promising to be a hot day (94F) and we wanted to go shopping in Mexico!  Well, I wanted to go shopping in Mexico.  It amazes me how we could just walk right into Mexico, no customs, no one checking passports, I can assure you its another story getting back out.

Here are some of the colourful sights from our morning trip to Mexico.

Kathy wants this, so do I -- neither of us bought it home

I was sad that my trip was over all so soon, but it was time to head back home so I could be back in time for retreat!

I had some time to waste so here are the sights that caught my interest at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

Kathy, thanks for a wonderful vacation!  I loved every minute of it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jetsetting Again!

The rest of my week has been okay, but I still miss Cuddles.

I'm doing it again, hopping on a plane tomorrow morning to go and visit Kathy in Arizona!!!  After the week I had,I need a vacation and some SUN!  I'm looking forward to seeing Kathy, heading up to Phoenix(ish) to see my good friend Judie who is down there on vacation right now.  There's a little trip to The Attic planned as well!  Can't wait for some retail therapy!

Don't worry, there will be lots of pictures when I get back!

Oh yeah did I mention that next weekend is the annual Knowledge and Needles March retreat!  So I'll be coming home on Thursday and hopping in the car Friday to go stitch with my friends!  What a whirlwind!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dominican Experinece - Day Eight February 25th

Myself, Dulce Maria (our mother) and the other staff member on the trip

Our final day in the Dominican Republic was a busy one, after breakfast with our families we met up as a group one last time.  We had an evaluation form to fill out followed by final reflection.  The guides then had a bit of a closing ceremony for us where we were all presented with a wooden cross necklace and a small bag of sugar from the D.R.  There was enough time for us to all go back to our families to have lunch, and collect our luggage.  It was time to say goodbye to our families for the week.  When we met back up with the students, I could see some of them had been crying or were crying.  I was amazed to see just how attached they had become to their new parents and siblings (you literally do become part of the family).  It was very touching.

Prayer of safe travel

They had a brief ceremony to say goodbye and said a special prayer of safe travel.  Sadly it was time to get on the bus and back to the airport in La Romana.  On the way to the airport we had the time to stop for one last ice cream.  Ice cream certainly tastes the best on a hot sunny day!

My tradition - to have a picture with all the Dominicans before checking in at the airport.
Back row L to R : Wally, Juan, Me, Ray, Juan Gabrielle
Front row L to R : Pedro, Patricia

Stitching in the La Romana airport waiting for our gate to be called

Boarding the plane

The ground crew lined up and danced for us as we got ready to taxi!

And they waved us off!  Have you ever seen that before??

Goodbye Dominican Republic

Sunset over somewhere???

Almost home -- landing in Toronto to catch a transfer to Ottawa

We laded back in Ottawa at midnight, I was very happy to get home.  I missed Todd and I missed my cats!