Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pre-warning, a very picture heavy post upcoming.

Thank you EVERYONE for the very kind comments on my last post and welcome to my new followers :)

I didn't hermit much this weekend as I had plans to go to my cabin with the family. What a great weekend it was! The weather co-operated, and has been strangely warm this past week. Generally it's not that warm in April here, but it has just been fantastic lately. So of course I had to take advantage of this luck!

View from my Cabin's Balcony
The trees and shrubs haven't quite come back to life but it's getting there! Saturday the boyfriend and I went for the most fabulous walk to the lighthouse in Ferryland. Honestly, of all the small fishing communities left in the Newfoundland this community is my favourite. The lighthouse stands on a strip of land (and rock) the juts out into the ocean. The views are un-beatable and I love sitting on the barrens and taking it all in. In the summer, if you're lucky, you can even see hump back whales. I once saw one so close to shore here that I could even see the barnacles on the whale's back. CRAZY! Such an awesome sight. Below you'll find some of my pic's from the outing :)

Ferryland Lighthouse

The boyfriend and I admiring the swells

Leia enjoying the barrens, soon she'll be hunting on barrens like this!!!

Fluked into this pic... puppies generally don't stay still for very long.
Found the most adorable lambs and their shaggy looking mama :) Couldn't help myself hehe

Back at the cabin, I got two of my favourite things in... cooking and stitching. 

Newfie chic BBQ

Warmest place in the cabin = the best place to have bread rise!

In terms of stitching, I worked mostly on the small below - so cute! The backstitching was painstaking and it took a whole lot longer than expected but all for a good cause. It's a card for Ellie Dixon - a young girl in Ireland going through something no little girl should have to... 18 months of chemo!!! But she seems so brave about it all! Anyway sending this off tomorrow. Ellie's mom has created the blog site called Cards for Ellie if you're interested in learning more about Ellie and what makes this girl so amazing.

I soooooo needed a break from 'Oh Christmas Tree' so I concentrated my stitching efforts on my Papillon SAL. I am absolutely loving learning the speciality stitches this SAL has introduced so far. Also this represents my first attempt at using evenweave! Likin' it so far. The fabric is a pleasure to work with and is 28ct Irish Linen. 

Finally, I'll leave you with my TUSAL update for April! Love the reds and golds!!!

Happy Stitching my dears!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Friday everyone and thanks so much for the wonderful and kind comments on my last post. Quick update today... well an update on my stash, because I really don't have much done on 'Oh Christmas Tree' since the last time I posted. 

As you may recall, yesterday I commented on how I had some things on their way to me in the mail - well lo and behold - the mail man dropped them off yesterday. YEYEYEYEYEY!!!! Oh the new Patterns, OH the beads, OH the shiny new floss and OHHHHH the pretty fabric!!! Heart failure ensues from over-excitement... haha. 

I have plans for Sweet Pea, but Bluebell will just be for a bit of fun. Well it's all for a bit of fun really, but you know what I mean...

The Mill Hill beads are for "Oh Christmas Tree" only problem is that I don't think I have enough white beads :( First time ordering beads online....

The floss and some of the fabric you see will be for the Papillon SAL I'm now involved in. I had to choose 3 greens of varying shades and 8 FLORAL COLOURS. God was that ever hard. I wanted the final product (will not know what this is for another 23 months...) to have more of an antique/vintage feeling so I tried to go with colours that would suit this and would go along with the evenweave I found (depicted above as the fabric right under the floss). I'm actually sooooo PUMPED for this SAL, outside of the traditional cross stitch we'll learn 3-4 speciality stitches with each section we do. I was taking a look (more like studying) the first part of the pattern today and I think it'll be just the right amount of challenge and fun. So look forward to some progress pics on this as I start to put it together.

Cluing up - it was a beautiful evening here in Paradise. Yes Paradise, you did not misread. It's the town I live in just outside of St. John's which is the capital of the province. In fact, I spend most of my time in St. John's since my boyfriend lives there and I work there as well. But for living Paradise is the best. Lots of space and depending on where you live great views of the bay. As you can see below the babies were out enjoying the warm(ish) weather... Blue appears to be VERY interested in something in the woods - too bad the gate is in the way... darn gate haha. 

In Newfoundland we have a saying "Red sky at night, Sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, Sailors take warning." Essentially this means if there is a red sky in the evening then we are bound for a sunny day and good conditions the next day. If the sky is red in the morning... no so good, usually means there's a storm on the way. Over the years I've actually found this to be a pretty good prediction for the next days weather! Crazy hey? Anyway, if this blazing red sky is any indication we're in for an awesome day tomorrow!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

This week certainly is not flying by like I want it to. Today feels like it should be friday and I've felt like this alllllll week. Why can't everyday be Friday??? I've spent this very long week exploring the world of blogging and the online cross stitch community. I can safely say that I'm officially addicted. I've gone on a cross stitching shopping spree purchasing a lovely friendship sampler from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe with the corresponding hand dyed floss. I cannot contain my excitement about this. It was my first time ever using ebay and paypal and Nancy at the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe made the experience virtually painless! Thanks for the coaching Nancy! On top of this I've purchased 2 Nora Corbett fairies which should arrive any day now. The anticipation is killing me! AHHHHH! 

Another first I have to share is that I've joined the 24month (crazy) SAL by Papillon Creations - see the newsletter section if you're interested in joining or getting to know a bit more about it.

I the mean time I'm trucking along with 'Oh Christmas Tree'. Here's my progress as of Wednesday evening. I can just picture her dress being made of red velvet and oh-so smooth. 

I'm pretty well done with the red in the girl's dress - but I can honestly say I'm dreading starting on the other half of the tree. The top was so tedious that I'm not overly enthused about starting in on the green... ughhhhh. 

You may have noticed by now that these pic's are sooooooooo much better than my previous ones. I'd like to introduce 'Shella' my new camera to facilitate my cross stitching and blog obsession. Of course this is not the only reason I bought the camera... I think haha.

And now for the mandatory cute puppy pic of the day. I snapped this yesterday evening as I was cooking on the BBQ on the deck outside. Leia was quite content to be lazy and regal all at the same time in the doorway, and right under my feet... and enjoying every moment of the breeze. So darn cute! 

(ADDED) I NEARLY FORGOT! I wanted to express my thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post :) For those trying out the biscuits I'd love to know how it went!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Before I get into the meat of this post I just want to welcome all my new followers! My first week blogging has flown by and I've been amazed at the response and interest so far. I've also had a blast starting to get to know the cross stitching community here and I can't wait to participate in some SALs and pump out some RAKs ;)

Now down to business!

I don't know about you guys but I'm feeling the time crunch lately. Not enough time to do what I love and not enough time to do what I HAVE to do. AH WELL. C'est la vie! 

Despite this I found sometime this week to make some progress on my current WIP "Oh Christmas Tree". I have a couple of pictures here, I couldn't resist taking a couple photo's of the shadows in the afternoon light. I actually just meant to take advantage of the light but I LOVE the affect. You'll notice that the darker photo has a bit more progress in the dress as it was taken later this evening. I'm really happy with the progress I made this week especially considering how busy I was. I took every spare opportunity to stitch!!!

I apologize for the poor quality photos but I think I'll be buying a new camera to make better pics.

I also got a bit of time in on Saturday morning to make one of my favourite things - Fluffy Homestyle Biscuits. These are just to die for! I hardly have them out of the oven long enough to hit the cooling rack before they're snatched up by my family. The dough doesn't look all that appetizing but the final product is amazing.

For those who would like to give this recipe a try I've summarized it below:

Fluffy Homestyle Biscuits

2 cups of Flour
4 tbls of Butter (about 1/4 cup of butter chilled and cubed)
4 tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of Baking Soda
1/4 tsp of Salt
1 cup of Milk
1 tsp of Vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add cubed butter and then mix until crumbly (it's best to get your hands dirty for this part and mush it up with your hands until the butter is incorporated). 

Measure out the milk and then add the vinegar and stir. This is considered a buttermilk substitute. I did try buttermilk once in this recipe but I found it made the biscuits heavy and affected the fluffiness. 

Make a well in the flour and then add the milk/vinegar mixture. Stir until fully combined, but do not over work the dough.

On a lightly floured surface dump out the dough and sprinkle a little more flour on that. Fold 4-6 times and then roll it out to the thickness of roughly a 3/4 inch. Use your discretion here - as big or small as you like. Then cut out rounds with a floured drinking glass. Place the rounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then pop them in the oven. 

Bake for roughly 10-12mins until the edges begin to become golden brown. 

On final note I've included some cute puppy pics of Blue (black and white) and Leia (red/brown).

 As you can probably tell Blue is a real instigator and Leia follows the leader. They are the true inhibitors when it comes to getting my cross stitching done at times. But I love them sooooooo much :)

Happy Stitching All!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just WOW! I've been trolling many blogs since I began posting here and have spotted this award on several occasions. Never once did I think I would receive it so soon in my blogging career. So a big THANK YOU to Tracey over at More than Just Cross Stitchin'. This is just amazing.

Also I have to note that I've just been blown away with the support and the new followers to my blog. It a big step from what I thought would happen considering I never thought I would have many followers (and so soon!) when I started this blog. I just thought my posts would simply just be 'out-there' and I'd be posting for my own benefit, to see my progress and keep motivated. So the response so far really is amazing to me - thanks soooooo much for welcoming me so warmly to the blogging world and to the online cross stitching community!!!!

Now for the award conditions:

 Liebster is a German word meaning favorite, dearest or beloved. The Liebster is awarded by bloggers to other new bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to help spread the word about their blogs and to help them gain wider recognition.

The Liebster award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:
  1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award the Liebster to.
  2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blog so they know about the award.
  4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don't know about you.

Now to choose 5 more wonderful blogs... Picking from my somewhat limited list here they are:

Margaret - Margaret's Blog
Milly  - Milly's Stitches

Was it ever hard to just choose 5... from what I could tell none of these have received this award yet and are certainly worthy of it. If they have already ... opps ;) Either way, these blogs are just lovely.

5 Random Facts:

1. I stopped cross stitching for about 10 years. SHOCKING I KNOW. I began cross stitching when I was roughly 13 and used to spend many an hour at my grandmother's on the weekends just stitching and watching as many documentaries I could. Being at my Nan's was probably my favourite childhood memory and I had many a sleepover to say the least. I really don't have an explanation for my stitching hiatus, perhaps it was a combination of becoming a teen and being involved in so many other things on the weekends... Getting back into stitching and rediscovering my love for it 6 months or so ago has been great. I now have more time and funds to produce lovely finishes on my works, where they used to just stay rolled up in the bottom of cross stitch bag because my childhood allowance always went toward movies and clothes... 

2. In March 2010 I moved from my beautiful Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada to Bologna, Italy to pursue a Master's in Development, Innovation and Change. I never expected to come back actually despite loving Newfoundland(NL) to the core. Job prospects in NL weren't exactly that great and I though I'd end up getting an internship over Europe somewhere. When an internship opportunity popped up back home I snatched it up in a heart beat! I stayed in Bella Italia for just shy of a year and it remains to this day THE experience of my life and has helped shape who I am today.

3. I would love to eventually own my own business. Not sure what it would be but it appeals to me... except maybe the risk. Risk unfortunately really is a pre-requisite to starting up a business...  ONE OF THESE DAYS :)

4. I LOVE to cook. Actually I'd say I have a passion for it. Anything from cooking up some simple French Toast to making my own pasta from scratch (Italian influence here I think ;) ). If I find myself with nothing to do I generally head to the kitchen and make something. I love trying out new recipes and cultural cuisine from all over the world. One of my favourite things to make however has got to be rustic style bread. Expect to see some of my creations on here at some point!

5. I'm signing up for pottery classes - yes! I have not the first clue about pottery. But, as with just about everything I do, I dive in head first and then see what happens. Oh and my boyfriend and mom are going too! How great is that?!

Whelp! I'm beginning to realize I have a talent for rambling haha.

Not much to update you all on in terms of progress on "Oh Christmas Tree" as my life has been contracted by my brother to help finish off his house. I don't get to do as much stitching as I'd like in the evenings but this is the final push to get my brother into his house. I have however started the sleeve of the arm of the girl... currently a floating head in the pics below. A couple of weeks more and I expect to have significantly more free time. 

Ciao for now!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter weekend came and went so fast! But what a glorious long-long weekend, Friday to Monday off. The weather has finally turned around, albeit it still remains wet to a certain extent. I know spring has arrived on the Island when I wake up and hear the birds chirping outside the door, the lawn starts to brighten ever so slightly and the mighty Ice Bergs begin to make their way into the many inlets and bays that define the Island of Newfoundland.

I consider myself pretty lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Sure the weather sucks most of the time - to see the sun can seem like a miracle at times... no joke - but where else in the world can I experience things like Ice Bergs, Whales, Loons, and god knows what else??? This was the case just yesterday! On the way back from the cabin my boyfriend spotted an ice berg hanging out in the bay of a tiny community on the Irish Loop called Tors Cove - he has quite the eye because I was blindly whizzing by and didn't even see it. The picture doesn't quite do justice to the size of the berg but here it is anyway...

Note the blue sky... hehe. Mother Nature was very kind to us yesterday :) On the beach there were all kinds of bergy bits as well. That's me sitting on one - very cold on the arse...

This next pic is probably my favourite - I just LOVE the whirls and waves that are engrained in this bergy bit. Something mystical about it I think.

When we finally finished up admiring/gawking at the ice bergs we went for a little adventure over the rocks trying to find an alternate path back to my vehicle. As a result we came upon this little treasure...

If I could paint I would paint this in a heart beat. Actually - I have a program (never used...) that helps me to create cross stitching patterns on my iPad. I have no idea how to use it but I can certainly learn. The thought of re-creating this scene as a cross stitch is so exciting. Creative juices are now flowing!!!! In fact I have tons of Newfoundland/St.John's themed cross stitches that my mother once had. Have I stitched them yet you ask??? No... but I plan on it as I want to
frame them for my "future" currently non-existent house. One day!

Between cabin and ice berg adventures and giving my brother a hand on his house there wasn't a whole lot of time to get some stitching in. But, I did do a bit last night. Also I thought it'd be cute to show where I now store my cross stitching gear. A lovely little side-table/box that my parents gave me for this past Christmas. I'm pretty sure the table can be considered a piece of artwork itself it's so pretty.

Anyway, that's it for me for the moment! Happy stitching!!!

- Melissa

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Welcome to my Blog!!! First post - WOW. I can't believe I'm doing this actually, but I love the idea of chronicling my progress on my cross stitching efforts as well as anything else that may pop up along the way. So here I am - now let's dive in!

It's another grey foggy day here in Newfoundland... which makes it the perfect day to do nothing. Laze around - cook the turkey for Easter Dinner (thankfully pre-stuffed... thank you Butterball for making my life easier :) ), do a bit of stitching, do some laundry. My two pups don't feel that way that's for sure. Meet Leia an Irish Setter and Blue and English Setter - they have got to be two of the most rambunctious pups on the face of the Earth and being only 4 months old respectively certainly does nothing if not make them more energetic. Quiet moments since welcoming them into the house have been few and far between, and nap time has got to be my favourite time of day. Being so young means puppy proofing just about everything, which I've been pretty successful at so far having only lost one pair of shoes and a belt to the critters. My current cross stitching effort has also (thus far) escaped the wandering noses and worse more the jaws of these two devils in disguise. Despite my nagging fear that one day I'll wake to a destroyed house, I am absolutely in love with these two dogs. LOVE. So playful and the unconditional love is so rewarding. The puppy stage is certainly not easy but the companionship far out-weights the negative - most of the time ;) Thankfully I care share the pup-sitting duties with the rest of my family. Being 26 and living at home does have it's perks at times...

Soon this will change with any luck and I'll be off on my own. In fact I'm considering building a house the old fashioned way - with my own two hands. No I'm not kidding. My Dad actually built all the houses we've lived in so far and we're putting the finishing touches on my brother's house now. I'm sure I may be getting in over my head but again this is a case were the positives out-weight the negatives and the short term pain I'll being through. I've got roughly 6 months to start getting my ducks in order, house plans, lot clearing, etc etc etc. Lots of decisions to be made from now and plenty of 'wait-and-see'ing to the start of MY house (god that sounds sooo good) so I'll be keeping ya posted!!!!

Now onto my current cross stitching project! This is my first project in quite sometime and I'm eager to see the final product. I'm planning on this being a Christmas Gift for my brother and girlfriend to go on the bare wall of their new house. I LOVE the designs of Lavender and Lace, there's something so elegant about them and the colours are so rich. In particular the boarder of 'Oh Christmas Tree' is simply gorgeous - but the gold floss I've been working with has been difficult to say the least. Enjoy the pic's!!!

Happy Easter - 'til next week!

- Melissa

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