Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Stitching

Oh dear, winter's here. It has suddenly turned cold and there is a strong wind blowing. This afternoon it felt so chilly inside that I finally turned on the heat. Ah, this is much better -- now we can forget about the temperature outside and enjoy the coziness indoors.

Friday DH & I trimmed the trees and decorated the house. DH collects nutcrackers which we display around our home each Christmas. Every year it's a joy to see all their faces again and they give the house such a festive air. There's still baking to be done and gifts to be purchased but the holiday feeling has started.

With the Christmas season comes Christmas stitching.

Here is the right half of 'Winter Row' which is now finished and ready to be framed. I'm sorry I can't show it in its entirety but the scanner just isn't that big. This was such a fun and easy project to stitch. Now I'm just not sure if I will leave it as is or add embellishments. Somewhere (can't remember where of course) I saw a completed piece which had two of the snowmen wearing hats (one with a top hat and one with a stocking cap). It looked really cute and it's something I must consider before framing. However, like Karen and her gorgeous ' Jingle Bells Christmas Tree Farm' I'm not going to worry about framing until after New Year. That was an excellent idea Karen.

When I started 'Winter Row" I also started stitching the 'Las Vegas Tree Ornament' by M Designs. This is being stitched one over on 28 ct Glacier Lugana with DMC 4030. Although the design is very simple I have spent just as much time frogging as I have stitching. The letter 'G' was one of those times when I wondered why I had ever started this tree. Actually it got to me so badly that I felt like quitting completely. Of course a day later I was at it again as I refuse to let it get the better of me. I'm not quite sure how I will finish this once the stitching is done. Perhaps a needle roll.

This is 'Kisses From Heaven' by San-Man Originals, another fun project to work on when 'Las Vegas' gets to me. It is being stitched two over on 32 ct Twilight Blue Linen and when finished will only be 2.25" x 2.50". Isn't this the sweetest little project? My friend 'B' just finished it and I've already seen it framed. It is simply adorable.

Hope everyone is having a good week & enjoying their Christmas stitching.

1/5 "Winterdance" Gary Paulsen

Let me begin by telling you how happy I am that I joined Michelle's 'Overdue Books Reading Challenge' Taking part in this makes me realize how many wonderful books I own which are calling out to be read. Why do I see new titles in bookstores which I just have to have when my own library is so full of wonderful reads? So thank you Michelle, I'm loving it.

If someone who is neither a big fan of dogs nor snow buys a book like this it is probably doomed to sit on the bookshelf for years. When the Santa Rosa PW Bookclub chose this as their book of the month I was no longer living in SR and even though I bought the book I was in no hurry to read it. What a mistake as this book truly has everything one can want in a good read - a warmhearted hero, his true blue friends (animal & human), nasty villains (also animal & human), natural beauty, hardship, heart-stopping adventure and a gigantic dose of humor.

Although it will be difficult to see in the above image 'Winterdance" has a sub-title 'The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod'. It is the combination of these two which truly describes the premise of this amazing book. You can't just love dogs, snow & adventure and then think you can run the 1,180 race across Alaska. You have to be a little mad to attempt this grueling task. Yet as with anything in life we strive for and ultimately achieve, the result leaves us filled with joy and ready to dance in celebration.

Although I considered writing an entire book review I finally decided against it as others have said it so much better than I ever could.

"A breathtaking, heart-stopping, roller coaster ride that depicts the brutal reality of the Iditarod, the magnificent beauty of Alaska, and the unique, if not surreal, relationship that develops between man and dog." - Nevada Weekly

"Fueled by a passion for running dogs, Gary Paulsen entered the Iditarod - the 1,180 mile sled-dog race through the Alaskan wilderness - in dangerous ignorance and with a fierce determination. For 17 days, he and his team of dogs endured blinding wind, snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, hallucinations - and the relentless push to go on. Winterdance is the enthralling account of a "stunning wilderness journey of discovery and transformation."" - Chicago Tribune

At the end of the race Gary Paulsen says: "I didn't want to go in". I can truthfully say I felt the same way. I wanted him to just make a short stop in Nome to feed & take care of the dogs and then continue on our (yes by now it had become our not only his) adventure.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving 2006

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain.
So open wide the doorway-
Thanksgiving comes again!
- author unknown -

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas Tea Towel Exchange

Yesterday I finally found out who my partner in Namuelle's Christmas Tea Towel Exchange on San's forum is. It was Namu herself who stitched this delicious looking cake for me.

Let me share what she wrote in the Christmas card she included in the package. "I stitched a cake that we eat for Xmas Eve. It's a 'RELIGIEUSE'. A cake perfect for your hips! A lot of soft cream, some are pink or green." Namu also enclosed some cute Christmas stickers & decorative buttons. Thank you Namuelle, this is a sweet treat.

My exchange was sent to Heather (Bookworm) in Ohio. She has received her package so I can share a picture of the Christmas ornament tea towel I stitched for her.
Now on to one of my other hobbies. Yesterday I discovered that an "Overdue Books Reading Challenge" is being started on The rules are very simple. You have to choose five books which you presently own and which you will read by January 30, 2007. Your book titles are then posted in the comments section of the challenge. It's so much fun to see what everyone is reading and great to dream about what to buy once you've finished your own five.

This is the challenge for me!! The books I've chosen should give me enough variety in themes to actually accomplish what I set out to do. They are:

"Flying South" Barbara Cushman Rowell

"Winterdance" Gary Paulsen

"The Furies" John Jakes

"The Last Camel Died At Noon" Elizabeth Peters

"Blonde Martijn" Olaf J. De Landell

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Short But Sweet

Here we are, home again after a whirlwind trip. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes for our journey. Barbara did you order the lovely mild fall weather we enjoyed both in Holland & Germany? Thank you - it was great!!

After arriving in Holland Sunday morning we drove straight to Leiden & spent the day with DD & her DBF. Monday we drove to Hamburg, Germany where we spent the remainder of the day and the following morning visiting with DS. After that it was time for the business portion of the trip. Late Wednesday afternoon we returned to The Netherlands and spent an evening with our favorite Dutch cousins. Thursday we were able spend the entire day with DD and in the afternoon the three of us visited the exhibition of Rembrandt Landscapes at De Lakenhal. Of course we also had to shop for Sinterklaas goodies - YUM!! Friday morning it was back to the airport and the trip home.

It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with our children. Being with them in person is so much better than talking via telephone or e-mail. We were so very happy that both DS & DD were able to take time off work on such short notice and seeing them made this short trip VERY SWEET.

No stitching during the flights. Of course I should have known that would be almost impossible considering the crowded planes these days. Thank goodness I had brought along 975 pages of 'escape' in the form of Rosamunde Pilcher's "Coming Home". Her books are just like a huge plate of comfort food, something which is most welcome when you have four long flights.

While waiting for flights and during the time DH was taking care of business I did manage to get 'Winter Row' about half done. For those of you who know this pattern you will see that I've made a few color changes to brighten the piece up a bit. I'm stitching with DMC on 14 ct Mystical Midnight Aida by Heaven Lee Creations. Although Aida is not my fabric of choice at the moment this was such a pretty piece that I couldn't resist it. B5200 has been subsituted for whitewash, brighter orange 740 and brown 838 for the carrot noses and branches and for the lettering I've completely wandered from the path by substituting 3838 blue for the brownish 3021. I like it!!

Now I'm off to visit all of you and see what I've been missing out on this past week.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thanks Karen

Working on the computer has been a trial all day long. Our provider seems to be having some problems which of course become our problems. Hopefully we'll be in the air long enough for me to write & post a short message.

Yesterday I received a lovely thick envelope from Karen I had admired Karen's 'The Tea Room' when she was stitching it and when she noticed the pattern on my wish list she offered to send me hers. But not only did she send me the pattern, the envelope was filled with all kinds of goodies - a hand towel for me to embroider, banding to stitch bookmarks, an adorable tape measure with the cutest scissor charm, bordeaux fabric and a pretty card. Thank you so much Karen - it felt like Christmas.

Tomorrow DH & I are leaving for a short trip to Europe. He has to go there on business and we are very fortunate to be able to combine it with short visits to our DS & DD. The last time we were there was February so you can imagine how excited I am. We'll be flying home again next Friday which hopefully means the trip is too short for jet lag. As well as a good book I'll be taking some Christmas stitching along to keep me occupied during the flight - 'Winter Row"

Time to sign off before the provider does. Have a wonderful weekend & a good week everyone.