Sunday, June 1, 2008


Oh goodness, it has been a month since I last blogged. I've spent a lot of time at the fitness club and while I'm still enjoying it, the hours are a lot more than I expected. And I don't handle 4 am risings as well as I used to. It kind of blows the whole day, as all I want to do when I finally get home is nap! Ah well, the business has been sold, so I figure by the end of June the new owner will have taken over and will almost certainly hire her own, new staff.

On the positive side, I've gotten quite a lot of stitching done over the past month.

This is a design from a book that is quickly becoming a favourite of mine - Cross Stitch Wit & Wisdom by Joan Elliott. It's full of really clever designs for a wide variety of projects. The following 2 designs come from the same book.

And I've started an interesting project - a Patchwork Sampler SAL (SAL = Stitch-A-Long) that is in 12 parts issued 1 per month. The first one (see below) came out in mid-April, the second (which I'm working on) in mid-May and I hope to be caught up before the third part comes out in mid-June. I know the designer, Catia Dias, and I really like her work. This is something new for her (

Part 1 is in 4 shades of red, Part 2 is 4 shades of blue and the remaining 10 parts will be 4 shades of different colours. I think it's going to be very striking when it's done.
I've also decided to make this blog into a bit of a health diary. I've put on a lot of weight since retiring and, being diabetic, that is not a good thing. And, after all, I AM a member of the fitness club I've been working in, so I might as use it, right? So, I'm going to start looking after me again and use this blog as a place to record my moans & groans, set backs and successes. At some point I may include pictures, but definitely not now!
Enough for today! Thanks for visiting and reading.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catching Up

It's been a busy couple of weeks but not with any single project. Finished my latest stitching project - this little koala bear and am now working on some Christmas ornaments. I work on those all through the year so that when December arrives I have some on hand. They make great tuck-ins for cards and add-ons for gifts. I'm late starting this year though - usually I have 2 or 3 done by now.

I've been reading of course - Louis L'Amour this time - his collected short stories Vol 5. And still dipping into my poetry book from time to time.

I'm still helping my friends at their fitness club and my shifts are starting to feel like working full time again, (it's not, but I spoiled myself by not doing anything extra at all the first year I was retired) but it is interesting getting to know all the clients and it certainly gets me out of the house.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another Off My List

Finished another piece of stitching - this is the last of things promised to other people. It's a repeat of the teddy bear I finished at Christmas time and I didn't really enjoy restitching it so soon after the first time, but it turned out just fine even so. I'm fascinated by the difference a change in fabric makes to the look of a picture. This time it also meant I could skip a bit of stitching as I didn't need the blue half stitches to represent the sky - the fabric did that for me. This was a hand dyed piece of Jobelan from Silkweavers that is called Dreamin' and it was a real pleasure to work with. I just hope the little girl that is going to get this picture enjoys it.
Now I get to stitch stuff either for me or things for others that they don't know about so I don't have to push so hard to complete. Much easier on my elbow and wrist.
I'm reading of course - a collection of short stories "The Best of British Mysteries 2005" edited by Maxim Jakubowski.
I'm still waiting for spring. Friday and yesterday the winds howled and the rain pelted down and the temperatures did NOT go up, so it felt more like we had jumped from winter right back into fall. I think spring is lost! LOL
A friend of mine lost her husband to cancer this past week after a long and valient fight and it brings a lot of musings about the shortness of life, the importance of doing what you feel is most important and making sure that the PEOPLE who are the most important in your life KNOW that they are important and loved and thought about.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Disappearing Time

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks and once again the time has flown. I've been helping friends with reception duties at their PACE fitness club and it's turned into more hours than originally planned. I'm enjoying it immensely, but I'm far too old to be getting up at 0430 in order to have the doors open at 0600 (or at least I FEEL far too old when the alarm goes off!!). Thank goodness I don't get the 0600 to 1000 shift more than a couple of times a week.

Have been busy stitching of course. I just finished a dedication square for a quilt (image on the top). I created the square using an alphabet from a Leisure Arts soft-covered book '120 Alphabets' and the border and trees from another Leisure Arts soft-covered book 'Words To Remember'. The cross stitch egroup I belong to had one of our members pass away unexpectedly last fall and we're stitching squares that will be made into a quilt and given to her husband. We really want him to know how much the group misses her.

This same group had an Easter Exchange and I showed in an earlier blog the little mini-pillow ornament that I made as my giving part of the exchange. I received the cutest biscornu as my receiving part of the exchange. Isn't it so cute? (Bottom two images.) The odd shape comes because when you sew the front square to the back square, you attach a corner to the centre of a side and join from there. You're supposed to use it for a pin cushion, but I think it's much too pretty to stick pins in.
Also been doing some reading (always) - mostly in "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul" but also found another fun poem - one I remember my dad reading to me when I was little. It's by Eugene Field and it's called
The Duel
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
but the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw --
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate --
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning, where the two had sat
They found to trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Looking for the 'Why'

I had just finished reading Edwin Markham's poem The Man With The Hoe which is a rather dark piece and wondered what had made him write it when I noticed a footnote that said it was inspired by a painting by Millet, also called The Man With The Hoe. I didn't remember ever seeing the painting, so I googled it and the reason behind the gloom of the poem made sense. Both picture and poem can be found here - it's worth a read.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Done On Time

Well, I've spent the last couple of weeks reading and stitching on my Easter exchange item. The exchange item, a mini-pillow ornament is done and will be in the mail tomorrow, a couple of days ahead of the deadline. Now that's a bit of an improvement. As you can see by the pictures though, I'm going to have to do some work on my indoor photography skills. Somehow I've managed to make the blue fabric look white on the finished pillow. The picture of the front and back of the stitching is a scan and that shows the colours of the fabric as they really are. I just hope the receiver of my effort likes it.

Have done a fair bit of reading as well. It's been wet and windy here for almost the entire time between my blogs, which is ideal reading weather. Mind you, I'm not complaining when I see what the centre of Canada and the east coast are having to deal with. A bad rain and wind storm is a piece of cake compared to snow and wind. After all, what's the downside of a good book, curling up under an afghan and a cat at your feet? The books have all been mystery short stories and have carried me through 16th century Scotland, Victorian London and 20th century North America and Europe.

And of course, poetry. Found a couple of A.E. Housman poems that stuck with me.

On Wenlock Edge

On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

Into My Heart An Air That Kills

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sore Fingers!

Well, I pulled a two day stitching marathon and finished the bookmarks I was working on. Gave one away this morning and the recipient was delighted with it. Gunvor is an avid reader of romances, so the roses were the perfect thing for her.

The other friend I want to surprise is a reader of mysteries and I found two designs that I liked and couldn't choose between them, so I stitched them both and I'll let her choose the one she likes the best.

And I'm just going to read for a couple of days until my fingers and wrist don't ache quite so much, then I have to get busy on an Easter cross stitch for an exchange. It needs to be ready to mail on the 14th of March, so I don't want to wait - or it'll be another marathon as the time runs out!

Plus I have to keep working on a square for a quilt. I belong to an egroup of Canadian cross stitchers and one of our members passed away late last year so a group of us are each stitching a square in her memory and the squares will be made into a quilt and sent to her husband.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I've been busy stitching over the last couple of weeks or so - I have some bookmarks that have to be finished by this coming Wednesday night so I can give them away on Thursday. I've completed one - the one in the picture - and sent it off but I have 3 more to go. There are going to be some late nights this week. After all these years that I've been stitching, you would think I would have a better grasp of the time I need for different items, but I'm always pushing it!
This one I created from an alphabet found in a British cross-stitch magazine called The World of Cross Stitching. Sherry loves penguins so it was an easy match up.
Found another poem by W.B. Yeats that caught my eye. Apparently it's based on an ancient Irish story, but I haven't found the original yet to see what it is all about.
The Song of Wandering Aengus
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossoms in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Just a Quiet Day

Well, our rain day has turned into another snow day, so more reading is definitely in the works. Found a poem by William Butler Yeats that caught my eye.

No Second Troy

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple like a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

Wonder who the woman was that got under his skin?

There was another reason for reading today - I had to pull out 2 day's worth of stitching on my latest project because I had miscounted and I was off by too much to work around. AAARRRGGG! That's what I get for starting a new project immediately after finishing an old one and I'm tired. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Passing Time

Well, it was a winter weekend - wind, snow, below zero temperatures. Great weather for snuggling with the cat, homemade soup & stew and, of course, stitching. Finished a bookmark and got started on a second one. I really like these bookmark blanks, but I'm getting low on my supply and haven't seen them in any of the on-line LNS's I've been looking at. Oh well, I'm going to try a new finishing technique with the next one and see what it looks like.

Also a good time for reading, so I've started on a book of short stories called "Murderer's Row" - all the stories have some connection to baseball.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Busy Fingers

Well, it's more snow outside, so I decided to pull out the needles and work on a couple of unfinished stitching pieces and completed another ornament.
It's a design called Christmas Joy Bellpull by The Sweetheart Tree from the magazine Just Cross Stitch 2006 Ornament Issue. There are actually sparkling threads in the fabric, but they are not showing up in the scan. Too bad, because you don't get the full effect, but it should really catch the light when hanging on a tree.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Definitely Winter

Well, winter has settled in for a long stay it seems. Several days in a row of snow and now it's been below zero for several nights. It warms up just enough every day to soften things, then freezes at night, so driving is bad and walking is worse! I live on a bluff so there is no front access to my house - you have to come in via a back alley that is STEEP. I love the view and the quiet but in winter I find getting access rather daunting at times like this. Thanks goodness we don't usually have a lot of this weather, but this winter has been bad.However, I really shouldn't moan. The coldest we've been is -12 C and in some parts of the prairies they're getting -52 C because of the wind chill.

It's been good weather for reading (I'm revisiting 1930's London with Lord Peter Wimsey at the moment) and for stitching. Just have to finish attaching some beads and I should have another ornament front finished soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quiet Days

It's been cold here the last couple of days - blue skies but minus temperatures. It's great to look at from inside - the harbour is a gorgeous shade of blue.

Didn't find the poem I was looking for, but came across one that caught my attention while I was looking. Poet is Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869 - 1935

Luke Havergal
Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal,
There where the vines cling crimson on the wall,
And in the twilight wait for what will come.
The leaves will whisper there of her, and some,
Like flying words, will strike you as they fall;
But go, and if you listen she will call.
Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal--
Luke Havergal
No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies
To rift the fiery night that's in your eyes;
But there, where western glooms are gathering,
The dark will end the dark, if anything:
God slays Himself with every leaf that flies,
And hell is more than half of paradise.
No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies--
In eastern skies.
Out of a grave I come to tell you this,
Out of a grave I come to quench the kiss
That flames unpon your forehad with a glow
That blinds you to the way that you must go.
Yes, there is yet one way to where she is,
Bitter, but one that faith may never miss.
Out of a grave I come to tell you this--
To tell you this.
There is the western gate, Luke Havergal,
There are the crimson leaves upon the wall.
Go, for the winds are tearing them away,--
Nor think to riddle the dead words they say,
Nor any more to feel them as they fall;
But go, and if you trust her she will call.
There is the western gate, Luke Havergal--
Luke Havergal.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where Has The Time Gone?

Goodness, it's been almost 3 months since I last posted and I have no idea where the time has gone. Mind you, December was pretty much taken up by preparing for, enjoying and recovering from Christmas and the start of 2008 has been used up trying to recover from a cold. Don't know if it's because I'm getting older or because cold bugs are getting stronger, but they sure seem to last a whole lot longer than they used to.

Was busy stitching until the cold struck and got a few more ornaments stitched and ready to be finished off so they can be hung. Most of them can be seen at

This picture I turned into a pillow for a good friend - finished sewing the pillow the night of the 23rd and mailed it on the 24th!! Not what I had planned at all, but she got it by the end of Christmas week, so it didn't turn out so bad. If I decide to stitch gifts again this year, I MUST start earlier! Famous last words . . . . .

I'm off on a poem hunt again - a conversation with a friend about people caring about/for other people got this one started. I'll post it if I ever find it!