New post, new stash

Ooh! I am embarrassed to see how long it's been since my last post. Ack! Feels like "forgive me, it's been WAY too long since my last post..."

So much has happened since then! The biggest - that I've completely gone nutso for knitting!

Case in point, today was the annual pre-Boxing Day sale at my fave LYS (even though for me, it's not that local and about 45 min - an hour to get there on transit), the Purple Purl. Yowza! I did well, and so did Miss Ting, who I was happy to shop for since I only introduced her to the store two weeks ago and who was on vacay in Florida when the sale went down today. Here's her stash:


Here's mine:


I'd just like to note that the 5 little balls of mint green cotton in the foreground of my stash pic are actually for my pal Es, who asked me to grab them for her at the last knit night, if they happened to be in the toonie bin (which they were). Unfortunately, that was all they had, so I grabbed it. I'm going to give it to her as a thank you for all the various knit night driving around she does for me - it's very sweet!

And full disclosure, missing in my pic were also two books (Handknit Holidays, and Itty Bitty Toys) as well as a drop spindle kit for learning how to spin your own yarn. I am SO hooped...!

Two Peas in a Pod


It was a productive day today! While Harry played this morning I decided to whip up a Hallowe'en costume for him and Jordan to wear this Friday. I loosely modeled it on the blanket/bunting bag we have for our Baby Bjorn. The bottom bit fastens around the baby carrier with snaps and then just folds over the bib part, and the hood that Jordan is wearing also snaps around the same section. The guys will probably wear green or brown sweaters on Friday so that it looks a little more put together. I think the best part was the ric-rac down the front (and back of the hood too) - it was iron-on and super easy!

September Stitch-a-Thon


Wow - despite my best intentions, it's been ages since I've stitched anything.

So it was good to get back into the swing of things this past weekend, which was the date of the September Stitch-a-Thon. I didn't get a chance to stitch on the Friday, so used Monday instead to finish up the backstitch on this Lickle Ted.

Isn't he cute? This square was stitched for a baby quilt that a bunch of ladies are stitching for a member of the chat board A Crafty Natter who is having a baby soon. One of the ladies will be sewing everything into a quilt, so I've got to post the square to the UK today, ASAP! It was supposed to be finished at the end of August, but you know how it is with "back to school" and so on. In our case, I was finishing some freelance work, then starting my new job, and getting Harry switched to another daycare (he's SO much happier now than where he was!).

Anwyay, I didn't have very much done before the weekend, so it was nice to just push through and get him done. Now that he is, I can get some fabric to start a project that I'd like to get done for a Christmas present! Not long to go now, so I have to get cracking!

Overwhelmed by people's generosity


Wow - it's been a crazy couple of weeks.

And the crazy thing is that it hasn't even been a full two weeks yet. That is, it hasn't even been two weeks since I registered to participate in the Toronto Underwear Affair, a 5K walk and 10K run benefitting the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre and their research into and care for cancers below the waist.

As I've mentioned before in this blog, I was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer earlier this year on February 20th, 2008. It was a whirlwind from diagnosis to surgery to treatment to follow up, and I'm happy to say that in spite of the media reports about wait times and the health care crisis in Canada that in my case the system worked exactly the way it was supposed to. By June 5th my treatment was done and on July 9th I was getting the all-clear from my doc. Or at least, as much of an "all-clear" as they're ever going to give you.

So when I heard about this walk/run to raise money for the cancer centre, and that it was specifically for research into cancers below the waist (ones that often aren't talked about like colorectal, cervical, ovarian, prostate, etc) I decided that by participating that I could bring my treatment full circle by giving back to the place where I had received such excellent care.

My original goal was to raise $500. And I thought, yeah, that's do-able, and I'll probably pass it and then I can up it a bit and we'll see where it goes from there.

Well "from there" was blown out of the water and I had to up my goal to $5,000! And now we're into the snowballing effect. Family and friends have also forwarded my request to their friends and family who know me and asked them for their donations as well. And still they're pouring in! The $5,000 goal has been passed and I think it's just a free for all at this point!

It's a great cause, and I'm so thankful that so many people have been able to show their support, no matter how big or small, it all makes a difference. And what has really made a difference to me, have been all the little personal notes that people have sent showing their support. We chose not to talk about it with too many people when I was going through treatment and to focus instead on getting healthy. The treatment is done now, but the getting healthy part still continues and so to now be ready to talk about it and put that energy into doing something positive and receiving such a positive response and support in return has been overwhelming.

I feel truly blessed. Thank you.

The picture at the top of this post was stitched by Shana in Calgary for me when she heard what I was going through and she told me that when she had her own cancer treatment (for lung cancer, a couple of years ago now) that she would envision during chemo all of her bad cancer cells being put into a balloon and then floating away. It was a great image. I had also stitched a "Fuck Cancer" design for Shana back then (designed by Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch, who sells either the kit or the chart for the design and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Lance Armstrong Foundation in the States).

If you'd like to make a donation of support to the Toronto Underwear Affair, please click on this link:

http://to08.uncoverthecure.org/goto/Allison.Decker

Thanks again for your support!

Alli

On a roll!


Wow, the weekend isn't even over yet and I'm happy dancing already!

I picked up my needle on the Lizzie Kate Words to Live By that I started stitching ages ago - well, earlier this year at any rate. Harry was having a lovely nap on Friday afternoon and everything was done around the house so I just thought I'd start giving it a go. I think the font being one stitch wide is part of the reason why it stitched up so quickly, but who am I to complain! It just feels marvelous to be making headway on this project again.

This morning I was up at 4:30am and just couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to use the time putting some more stitches in (after a few more late last night as well!). As you can see, the early morning hours have been put to good use!

Jen and I are getting motivated on the Stashaholics board and with Kathie on the Life's a Stitch board and are committed to getting this SAL back on track starting on August 1st. But hey, I figure if the impulse is there, then I should just go with it! Who knows, maybe I can get another one done before then!

Here is how they are all looking together so far:


Now I just have to catch up that border on the other side. Sigh...I hate borders!

Amazing SAT Weekend for July!

Wow! As if a finish wasn't enough yesterday, today I churned out a super quick stitch from start to finish!


Here is the inside of a sippy cup that I stitched for my son Harrison, using a design by Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch. The "Babies Suck" is from one of her charts as is the pacifier. I pulled the duckie and bunny motifs from elsewhere in her book and I think it looks pretty great!

Unfortunately, I don't think this cup is bisphenol-A free, so chances are Harry won't get many chances to use it. But it was fun to do as a momento for him nonetheless!

Here it is all ready to go on his high chair:


And now, I'm beat. Tomorrow I'll try to get the baby sampler ironed and framed. It's still drying in the laundry room. Sweet dreams!

Best Day Ever! (In a Long Time)...


When I describe it to you it's probably going to seem pretty tame, but today has honestly been one of my favourite, best days in a long time. Most of the housework was already done and so didn't need doing today. Better still, my hubby offered to do the vacuuming and mopping since I mowed the lawns yesterday - he hasn't done it yet, but I'm still hopeful that it will happen before the weekend is out!

Jordan and Harry and I had a nice walk this morning, then while Harry was sleeping, I completely cleaned up my desk (I'm a "piler" and the piles were out of control!), and reorganized my stash shelf to be a little more baby-proofed. After a nap this afternoon, I took a WIP pic of the project that I've been working on for AGES but haven't really had the motivation to finish off. I even managed to get motoring along in terms of putting some stitches in!

Following a break for another walk early this evening, I was able to get back to my stitching with a vengeance while on a long, chatty call with my girlfriend Lisa who is like my sister. Jordan was on the webcam in the basement with Harry talking to his folks so everyone was taken care of. Afterwards, Jordan gave Harry his bath and got him settled off to dreamland and I was able to continue stitching.

Tonight, we've been hanging out in the office, not talking too much, but each of us doing our own thing in companionable silence and it's just been SO nice and relaxing! AND... as was my goal today, I've managed to finish my project!


This is Baby Girl Sampler by The Stitching Shed (www.thestitchingshed.co.uk). I started stitching it in April in anticipation of the birth of a neighbour's new baby girl, but was also undergoing treatment for cervical cancer so I ended up being too tired to get much work on it done. It's obviously going to be a late present, but I think she will like it. And I appreciated having something to work on while I was at the cancer centre. Even if I didn't get a chance to work on it or I was too tired, it was comforting to have that sense of "normal" in that I had a project with me at the ready!

This weekend is the July Stitch-a-Thon weekend so I'm happy to have set a goal for myself, and finished it! If I have a chance to continue stitching tomorrow, my plan is to start on the insert for a sippy cup for Harry. I'm using a design from Subversive Cross Stitch so we'll see how that goes!

March SAT Results


This past Easter weekend was a stitch-a-thon weekend. Check the Stitch-a-thons link to the right if you're interested in more info and to see what other stitchers got up to this weekend.

I had recently started the second word on the Lizzie Kate project that I'm working on (there are 12 words) so it seemed like a nice project to work on this weekend. As I'm also at home recovering after recent surgery, there didn't seem to be much else to do but stitch anyway!


A huge shout-out and thank you as well to Lara who kept me company with a lovely afternoon of stitching - here's hoping we can do it again soon!

Dream a little dream


Surprisingly, I am WAY behind on the SAL that I am in for the Lizzie * Kate Living With Charm series. Personally, I'm not sure why they called it Living With Charm, so I've renamed it the Words To Live By series as I think it's much more appropriate.

In any event, I'm behind. The SAL started February 1st and here it is March 8th that I'm finishing the first word. Not sure that we had set a time limit on these, but considering how quick a stitch it was, I find it a bit embarrassing that it has taken me this long to get Dream finished.

Nevermind. Love is next and I'm hoping to start that as soon as possible. I've got some down time coming up in the next few weeks so I'm sure a lot of stitching will get done then. My friend Jen who I'm doing the SAL with, is an incredibly speedy stitcher and hasn't been able to start yet because her threads haven't arrived. I figure I need all the headstart I can get as she'll be passing me as soon as her threads arrive and her needle gets smoking!

'Til my next post - happy stitching!

Christmas in February?


I had time for another wee finish while in Vernon. This time it's an ornament from the Textile Heritage collection. As you can see from the pic I've only managed to do one of the two in the package, and I haven't had a chance to do the finishing yet, but the stitching is all done. Once I'm finished, the ornaments get filled with a cinnamon/citrus-y potpourri so they'll smell delicious when they're hanging on the tree!

The ornament only took me two days to do, which I did as part of a new site that I belong to called Stitch-a-Thons (see the links to the right if you want to check it out). The February stitch-a-thon was Feb 15-17 so I thought this little ornament was the perfect thing since I just wanted to work on something small. I was originally planning on working on my new L*K for the SAL that I'm in, but we ended up staying a few extra days in Vernon and I didn't have that project with me as it's on scroll bars on my frame.

The next SAT is March 21-23 if you're interested!

A very stitchy vacation

We have been in Vernon, BC this past week, visiting with my husband's family and just enjoying the scenery and downtime that this lovely little community has. There are lots of retirees and the pace is so much slower than Toronto life that it's been incredibly relaxing, and the perfect environment for getting some stitching done!


This first finish is called Early Shift and is by Heritage Stitchcraft. I really like the sepia colours that make it look almost like a photograph. As its a bunch of guys walking into a mine, it will make the perfect birthday gift for my Dad, who is a mining engineer. It was supposed to be done for last year's birthday but the arrival of Harrison put a crimp in my getting it finished on time. So he got a grandson for his birthday instead!


Speaking of the little devil, I finally finished his birth sampler as well after getting bogged down on some of the backstitching. This first shot is of the birth details...


The next shot shows my "signature", which I often forget on important projects...


This shot shows the special sentiment I stitched in...


And here is the final finished piece. I will have to take another couple of pics of everything once I've got it home and washed and pressed. I'm going to serge the edges as well before I wash them and take them in to be framed. I'm really looking forward to choosing the frames, although I have no idea how I want them finished. I'm sure I'll be inspired though when I go into the frame shop!

Home Stretch


Well I don't ever relish having to stitch that border again. Phew! Talk about boring! Monotonous! Tedious even! Needless to say, I didn't enjoy it very much, but I have to give props to my stitching pal Karen who kept me company online via MSN while I finished stitching the outer border last night. Now at least there is just the personalization and the backstitching to do and then it can be washed and framed for Master Harry's room!

While we were online, Karen called me on my stuff for starting a new SAL - the Lizzie*Kate double flip-its for 2008 that I'm scheduled to be starting February 1st. She very astutely pointed out that I was supposed to be doing the Victoria Sampler Heirloom Christmas as a SAL with her (which come to think of it started June 1 or something last year - oops) and that she's now on band 24 (while I'm still languishing on band number 1 - doh!). Ah Karen my friend, it's a good thing you decided not to wait for me. I think I hit my hiccup when I decided to change fabrics, and then I lost my motivation by getting sidetracked with the baby samplers for Harrison. But as you see, the Heirloom Christmas is still on my list of things to finish this year so we'll just see how it goes. I'm pretty sure there's at least another person on the Stashaholics board who was on the SAL as well who isn't near done either, so maybe we'll both get it done this year!

Which reminds me - I should go add Heirloom Christmas to my list of Christmas stitching that I want to accomplish this year...

Three more days of progress


It's been a busy three days here for stitching. I'm so pleased with the progress that I've been able to make on Harry's sampler. I finished page three tonight and am on to page four, which involves very little stitching. Once that is done, the home stretch is in sight with just the border, backstitching and personalization to finish off.

I've realized that as Harrison's name is quite long (it's Harrison Arthur), I'll likely have to do his name on two lines. As soon as I can print some cross stitch graph paper out, the spacing/placement of the name and date will be what I will be working on next. Fingers crossed it all works out!

Finished page 2!


Not much progress since my last post, but progress nonetheless. Here is Harrison's birth sampler with page 2 of 4 of the stitching done. Once I've finished all 4 pages I'll still need to do the backstitch and personalize it with Harry's birth info. A few people have commented on what an unusual design it is so I've posted a pic of what it will look like when it's done, below:


It's from the Anchor "Born to Shop" series - they're super cute but generally only available in the UK. I however, got a great deal on mine in US dollars from Despina at Daisy Stitches. Check out her site as she has some wonderful charts and things!

And in other news - my stash arrived from The Silver Needle! Too bad I had to pay duty on it. Kind of took away the savings that I made by getting everything on sale. Oh well. Apparently Canadian customs are really cracking down because so many people are cross-border shopping online. The threads I need for the L*K project are coming from Down Sunshine Lane, so I'll be interested to see if I get charged any duty on those. Fingers crossed that I don't!

Time to show some work in progress


It's a new year, and time to tackle a few projects, wips, ufos, etc. My goal for the month of January is to try and finish the birth sampler that I started for Harry before his arrival. It's been languishing the last couple of days, but I seem to make good progress at the weekends when my hubby is here to help out with the baby, so here's hoping that trend continues! The pic above shows my progress on the two largest pages (of four - the last two pages are quite tiny stitching-wise). Before I started at the beginning of the month I had mostly done only the sun in the top left corner, and a tiny bit of the giraffe.

One of the chat boards that I belong to called A Crafty Natter has people posting their stitchy goals for 2008. I'd like to work through a bunch of UFOs and WIPs and concentrate on some things for me and my family. In no particular order (and I'm pretty sure this isn't the full list) are:

- Baby Born to Shop birth sampler for Harry
- Tatty Teddy RR and finish into a blankie for Harry (this is an ancient UFO, almost done - just need to do two squares)
- Margaret Sherry 12 Days of Christmas RR (almost done, I think it needs two squares stitched)
- Bethlehem table runner for my Mom (ancient UFO from my hoard)
- Early Shift for my Dad (I started this last spring)
- Victoria Sampler Heirloom Christmas (was originally a SAL on a chat board but I think everyone finished it already - gulp!)
- Victoria Sampler G is for Grandparents for my folks (started last year sometime)
- Jeannette Douglas' Sunshine State Sampler for my parent's house in Florida (I have a couple of bands done)

New things I plan on stitching are:
- L*K 2008 Double Flips Its (SAL on another board)
- RICO Christmas table cloth

There, now that they're all written down here, I can refer back to this post and evaluate my progress throughout the year!

Smoking needles, here I come...

End of year finishes!


Woo! I've had a smoking needle this month! I raced to finish stockings for Jordan, myself and Harrison, and at the last minute remembered that I had promised to do a baby sampler for some dear friends. Literally at the 11th hour (yesterday morning when I woke up!) I remembered and started ransacking my stash to find materials and began stitching for dear life. I've just finished this morning, and think it's lovely. I'm a bit annoyed that I miscounted one stitch on the date so it's shifted over by one, but you can't tell too much. By the time I realized it, I was almost finished and unpicking over 1 on 32 count isn't my idea of fun when I'm rushing, so I elected to leave it.


Here are the stockings in all their glory! Next year my plan is to add one thing to them, and the next year after that, and so on and so on. I figure in 20 years with gradual adding on of stuff to the stockings, they'll be quite laden down with embellishments and applique and who knows what! And when Harry is a little older he can work on his own - it's our new Thistlewood tradition!


And here is the wee man himself - who I realized on Christmas morning was almost as big as his stocking, so of course it called for a special photo! I think he's quite pleased with his momma's stitching!

I hope everyone has had a marvelous holiday and wish each and every one of you the very best for the coming year.

Hugs!
Alli

Time flies when you're having fun!


Woo! It's been SUCH a long time since my last post - I'm so sorry my friends!

As most of you know, I've been away for a good reason as my husband and I had our first baby, a boy named Harrison, on Labour Day of this year (ironic, we know!). It's taken a while to get into the swing of things with a routine and everything, but we're so thrilled with out little guy, who is just a dreamboat and a wonderful, super, good baby! We love him to bits, can you tell?!

In any event, with all the goings on, I've finally been able to pick up my needle again and I decided that one of the first things I would have to do would be to stitch a present for one of his sets of grandparents for the upcoming holiday season. The pic above is the finished result, after about two weeks of sporadic stitching. It's a piece by Heart in Hand called Wee Grandparents. The designer was Cecilia Turner and I've stitched it on 32ct clay lugana with the WDW and GAST threads that it called for. A lovely, uncomplicated stitch with some easy smyrna crosses as well to add some variety.

Next project, which I hope to post soon, is to put our names onto our Christmas stockings with some waste canvas. Wish me luck!

Birthday Happy Dance

It wasn't my birthday, but I did a happy dance for the project that I finished for Karen's! Rather belatedly, I might add. The baby-brain wasn't terribly helpful when I realized I was a month late with Karen's birthday present! Oops!

My stitching buddy Karen has recently hung out her own shingle as a consultant and her first contract is for a client in Florida. Congrats Karen! The contract is for six months, and Karen will be down there 2 weeks at a time and then back for 4-day weekends.


Of course, to me this seems like the perfect excuse for fabulous, uninterrupted stitching time! Karen's an avid reader, so I'm sure she's doing lots of that too. But all that extra stitching time was the inspiration for Karen's birthday present - a portable stash room!


Here's the kit in all it's glory - a plastic craft box filled with stitching goodies. Detailed pics are below.


I stitched "Life's a Stitch" by Lizzie*Kate and framed it with some cool, paisley scrapbooking paper from the local craft store. It's mounted inside the lid of the clear craft box by clear glue dots.


The back of the "framed" lid artwork.


Included were the latest issue of Needle Pulling Thread with a new Jeannette Douglas sampler, as well as a HAED that Karen has been coveting, and a couple of other charts for inspiration if she feels like she wants to start any new projects.


Stitchy goodies that were also included were needles, bobbins for organizing threads, project rings, and a storage container for thread bobbins. I knew that Karen was planning on taking a few of her projects with her, so hopefully this will help her keep everything together with all of her projects!


Finally, I included some peach-flavoured black tea from the Tea Emporium. It was the closest they had to a very rich, flavourful peach-flavoured tea that Karen introduced me to from Tokyo called momo (which means peach in Japanese).

The present was a big hit, and Karen was able to get all of her projects into it that she was taking, along with a few books besides! We haven't had a chance yet to have an online S&B session via our webcams, but give it time!

WTP - wip


I feel like so much has happened since my last post...

I finished work yesterday (technically last Friday, but I was finishing off a project yesterday at the office for a few hours) and am now officially on vacation this week before I start my sick leave next week. It feels weird to be done (see my post on my family blog - Decker Thistlewood), but also good. I'm not sure where the time is going to go, but I'm sure it will disappear nonetheless!

Today I did some organizing in what will become the baby's room, and then I sat down to finish some stitching. I had done most of this last night but I had to do the bees today. This is the first panel of a baby afghan that I am stitching. The other panel will be in the bottom, right, and has WTP with his head stuck in a pot of hunny. The bees are stitched in other panels around the edges and there is a dotted line to follow them around the afghan - cute eh?

I'm really glad that I'm about 1/3 of the way done, as this has been a challenging project. It's a kit, which I don't normally do, but I thought it was cute. Then, the instructions are really weird! and I started it when I was a less experienced stitcher, so I was kind of making up some fractionals rules. Oh well. I think it looks pretty good now that the backstitch is in. I'll be happy though when it's done, as this has been a WIP, then a UFO, then a WIP again for the longest time. Since I am trying to finish off my UFOs and WIPs though, it has to be done!

One of these days, if I don't think I'll die from the shame, I'll list all of my UFOs and WIPs on this blog... yeah right!

Quickie RR Finish


My friend Jen sent me her RR a little over a week ago before she went to France on holiday. I need to figure out a holiday like this - go on vacation where you can stitching something you WANT, and send your unfinished stitching to a friend to do so that it gets done while you're away. Then come home to waiting stash, and a note on your friend's blog that the stitching is done!

LOL - I'm just kidding - this was a lovely, quick stitch and fun to do. It arrived on June 8th and I finished it yesterday on the 16th - not bad all things considered! In fact, it was a lovely distraction from a piece of stitching that I'm not terribly interested in stitching on at the moment, but there you are. The whole piece is shown below:


It's scheduled to be another scorcher today so I'm off to get my day (and stitching!) organized. Welcome back Jen!