Monday, 29 September 2008

Spooky Time!

Yay, I just love Hallowe'en, and I tell you, these Brits don't really go for it in a big way, so I struggle. I've lived here for 10 years and not once, NOT ONCE, has my bell ever been rung or my door rapped on Hallowe'en to reveal little trick-or-treaters. Can you believe it?? So, when the opportunity came to join a couple of Hallowe'end exchanges, of course I signed up straight away (no no, not regretting it, but truth be told both of them have yet to be posted *grimace*).

But guess what, my HOE Hallowe'en Exchange has arrived! My partner ended up being Paula, and it turns out we've had some eerie pseudo-coincidental happenings in our lives - I live the UK, but I'm not British. Paula has lived in the UK too, and she's not British either! I lived in East Anglia for while - so did Paula (East Anglia - just FYI it's the eastern part of England, just under halfway up). Paula now lives in Washington State - and I'm from British Columbia, only a stone's throw away! Spooky, eh? Okay, admittedly not that spooky, but work with me here I'm trying to get into the Hallowe'en swing of things :)

Paula made up a very cool package for me, and the crowning glory was the pinkeep she stitched for me - she used a Bent Creek freebie called 'Owl on an Egg' which I absoultely love - just check out this masked owl!

And look at the fabric Paula used for the reverse - see, he's in a tree!

I love the ribbon she used to surround the pinkeep - I've tried to take this next shot to make the ribbon more obvious - it's so beautifully vibrant.

But do you think she stopped there, with this wonderfully stitched and expertly finished pinkeep?? No, she did not, she continued to spoil me rotten (it's like a state of grace for me, I never say no to rotten spoilage!)

LOOOOK: 2 charts, a skein of seasonal floss, some Hallowe'en stickers, 3 fat quarters of seasonal fabric, some Hallowe'en treats (hidden away from husband's greedy fingers straight away), and the Hallowe'en issue of JCS (which is difficult to find here, so doubly appreciated!). Thank you so much Paula, I absolutely love it all and I am delighted that you were my partner for this exchange!

Now, in order to avoid the guilt, I must head off and finish these 2 Hallowe'en exchanges that are very soon due - including the HOE one. I will be back in a couple of days to update you on all the secret stitching that I have done in August and September - not a single stitch in anything for myself since the end of July! So lots to share, but time is of the essence - get cracking Stephanie!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A Beauty!

Lucky me, Friday brought an excellent treat for me - I discovered that Rowyn was stitching for me and she sent me a great little pillow, which I adore :) She used the F is for Friendship chart from the PS alphabet series (how appropriate!) and told me this was her first finish using her sewing machine - hopefully the first of many because she's done a stellar job.

Rowyn was kind enough to also add in 2 charts from my wishlist - of course, one was a Prairie Schooler chart! - and also included a beautiful leather bookmark from New Zealand and a beautifully handmade card - she definitely has talent :)

Thank you so much Rowyn, it's a beautiful exchange and I am thorougly delighted :)

Hopefully more news from me tomorrow as I have to update you on a couple of exchanges and gifts that I sent before my holiday and haven't had a chance to post about, and also it looks like my HOE Hallowe'en Exchange has arrived, so I'm going to open that one tonight.

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Return to Blog-land

Well, I’ve been away for quite a while. It’s fair to say I’ve been busy, but it’s also fair to say that I’ve been trying to keep from thinking about blogging because every time I start to think about it, a sense of mild dread sets in because there is so much to update you on! But it can’t be that difficult, so I’ll start from the start, and see where we get to.

I suppose the real beginning was on 24 August 1968, the date my parents got married. But that seems a bit far back to go, so let’s start with something a bit more contemporary, say this Spring?

So early this Spring, my sister and I decided that as it was going to be my parents’ 40th anniversary this summer, we couldn’t really let the occasion pass by without marking it in some way. We decided that the only thing for it was to throw a surprise party for them, and for me and H to secretly travel back to BC to co-host the party with my sister and her boyfriend. Thus began the planning stages – they went on an awfully long time, so I’ll spare you the gory details, but eventually we found a venue, a theme, made some invites, started to track down long-lost friends and relatives (with varying degrees of success) and it all started to take shape.

Along with the party preparations, I decided that it would be a nice idea to commemorate Mum and Dad’s big day with a special anniversary sampler – well, of course I would! I mulled over the choices, and eventually settled on Marriage of Minds by The Drawn Thread, not least because coincidentally Mum had chosen this off my wishlist as a Christmas present for me just a few months earlier. I had to keep my stitching very secret, because both my parents are avid readers of my blog (isn’t that sweet??) and I didn’t want to give the game away. So I stitched diligently and determinedly, and eventually it got done – and even in enough time to get it framed.

Above - unframed, and below - framed and hanging on Mum & Dad's wall

Finally it came time for me and H to get on the plane back to Canada – I was so, so excited! We stayed the first day with my sister and her boyfriend in Vancouver, and then headed over to Vancouver Island to surprise Mum and Dad – we were all giddy and giggly on the ferry over with the excitement of it. And, when we finally got there, their faces! Oh, it was priceless! My sister and her boyfriend were expected, so we waited until they had been welcomed and then rapped at the door – I shocked Mum speechless for the first time in a good number of years :)

And the party? It was a blast – my sister and I spent a whole afternoon blowing up balloons, making table centrepieces, hanging decorations, cutting out photographs, picking up the cake and organising music (yes, and gently panicking that no one would turn up on the night!). And it was all worth it because Mum and Dad had a wonderful time.

And then, the relaxing part of the holiday started! We spent about 10 days altogether in BC, golfing, shopping, eating out, playing bocce, visiting friends and family, spending a day at the PNE and chilling out. It was magic. I’ve posted some photos below for those of you interested (they're small, but clickable).

And then, refreshed and relaxed, we arrived back home. And the best part? We’re heading back for Christmas in just three short months!

I think that’s enough for today, so over the next few days I’ll update you on some other goings on, including a couple of exchanges and gifts that I sent before I left, and bring you up to date with life as it stands. Actually, that wasn’t so bad, I should have blogged days ago :)

Happy stitching!

The signing table at the 40th anniversary party

These centrepieces took T and I several hours to make (all 8 of them)

Happy families! Sister's boyfriend A, Mum, H, sister T, Dad, me

The 'boys' Venture and Pepper

Mum and T walking the boys


Taking a break from bocce to have an impromtu picnic. L-R: A, Mum, H, N, T, J

Dad teeing off at the 10th

Elk Falls in Campbell River, about 3 hours north of Duncan

A tearful goodbye to Mum & Dad on the deck

My favourite ride at the PNE - the Coaster! Me and T in the second row, with her boyfriend A and his brother L practising their pose for the photo which is taken on the second big 'down'

me and T on the midway, the Coaster in the background

T, H, L and A - whose stupid idea was it to go on the log flume????

H and L queued for 15 minutes to ride the bumper cars amidst a score of 10-year olds. Who had the most fun??

T, showing off her fairground prize