Thursday, 31 July 2008

Brillante Award


I had a delightful surprise yesterday when I received this award from Tracy at Pink Purl. Thank you Tracy ~ it is always nice to receive an award and what girl doesn't enjoy receiving a diamond? (Even if it is only a picture of one!)

I understand that I am supposed to share six random facts about myself. I can't remember what information I have shared in the past, so if I duplicate a previous post; it is unintentional.

1. I am a tea drinker. I always start the day with a freshly brewed pot of tea and whenever I go out to a restaurant, I am very particular about how my tea is made. If it is not made with boiling water, it is quickly sent back! Why is it that those who don't drink tea think that it is fine to make it when there is the slightest hint of heat, rather than waiting for the water to boil?

2. I hate heat and humidity, so I'm not sure why I live in southern Ontario....actually, I can tolerate the higher temperatures provided that there is shade, but I don't like being outdoors when it is humid. This may be partly due to the fact that my hair frizzes at the slightest sign of humidity and I look like Crystal Tipps! For those of you who never saw her on t.v. take a look at this.

3. I am a bit of an insomniac ~ that's an understatement! It is not uncommon for me to be wandering around during the night, although I am better than I used to be. I think that this comes from years of shift work and disturbed sleep patterns.

4. Partly for this reason, I am definitely a morning person. By mid-afternoon, I am happiest at home and it takes a lot to persuade me to go anywhere in the evening. I prefer a quiet night at home and an early night.

5. I am an avid reader, as those of you who frequent my blog probably realize. I read about a book a week and enjoy frequent trips to the library to pick up the latest recommended reads.

6. Although I can drive, I have never owned a car since I have lived in Canada. Living in a big city, it is so much easier to get on the subway (underground) and zip along to my destination than battle through city traffic. When I lived in the U.K. I couldn't have imagined life without a car.

Well, that is my list and now I have to nominate 7 people to share this award:

Fiona at Linen & Roses
Priscilla at Priscilla's Cottage
Beverly at Tea Time & Roses

Some of you ladies may have already received this award, but I would still like to share it with you.

I am taking a blogging break for the next few weeks, so I would like to wish you all an enjoyable summer.

Refreshing

There is nothing quite so refreshing as a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon on a hot summer afternoon. It always tastes better when presented in a pretty glass.

I bought a set of these glasses a few years ago. They are French and feature a delightful dragonfly design. Their green colour is pleasing to the eye and such a refreshing change from the everyday glasses from a certain big box store.

Using them reminds me of our visit to the little town where I bought them on a cold winter's day. I get such pleasure from seeing and using them.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Whitby Kipper

Whitby's world-famous kipper smokehouse has been recreated as this delightful Lilliput Lane model called The Whitby Kipper. For those like me, who dream of a coastal property, it comes complete with deeds.

Fortune's Kippers is based in Henrietta Street in the North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby: birthplace of Captain James Cook and the port of arrival for Bram Stoker's Dracula. The smokery is where the herrings are split and gutted before being soaked in brine and then hung on tenterhooks over a smouldering fire of oak chippings to be slowly smoked in the time-honoured tradition.

For some views of Whitby, visit the tourism website. It is a truly wonderful place to visit and one that I am always happy to return to.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

One Stitch At A Time

I haven't had a lot of time to work on my cross-stitch this week, but this is what I achieved last weekend. As it was wet and rainy (again!), I took the opportunity to spend my time creatively.

As you can see the centre of the design is a lighthouse ~ already guessed by Heidi at Celebrate The Seasons from the last post.

The project is a large one, but there is a real sense of satisfaction seeing the picture emerge as new stitches are added. It is really quite therapeutic, which is just what I need at the moment.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Rainy Days And Sunshine

It really is turning out to be the wettest of summers. I heard on the radio yesterday that we have broken records for the most rain in June and July in almost thirty years. These days, most gardens are flourishing instead of wilting in the summer heat and everything looks verdant and healthy.

Yesterday, we were visiting friends who keep their tugboat on the Island. We managed to arrive just before the latest torrential downpour and took shelter until the worst of the rain passed over. We walked over to the little farm afterwards and the path was covered in mud and large puddles. After feeding apples to the horses and the most enormous pig that I have seen; we headed back to the marina.

This is the view looking from the dock where our friends keep their boat across towards the city. As you can see, the sky was black and threatening again during the course of the evening, but we managed to enjoy our barbecue outdoors without getting wet.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Paris Moment



Canadian author Gordon Cope moves to Paris when his wife is offered a one-year posting. They rent an apartment in Le Marais, which is a neighbourhood on the Right Bank of the Seine. Gordon documents their adventures in his book, A Paris Moment.

Gordon writes about the people they meet and the places they visit, as well as his experience of trying to communicate in French. At times, I was laughing out loud at his exploits ~ how I long to visit Paris and experience this city for myself.

If you are a lover of France or just interested in learning more about Paris, I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The House At Riverton


'I take a breath. You once told me, Marcus, that there is a point in most stories from which there is no return. When all the central characters have made their way onstage and the scene is set for the drama to unfold. The storyteller relinquishes control and the characters begin to move of their own accord...I smile, for I am no more able to stop this story than I am to halt the march of time. I am not romantic enough to imagine it wants to be told, but I am honest enough to acknowledge that I want to tell it.'

The House At Riverton is set in England opening before the days of the First World War and continuing into the 1920s. The story is told from the perspective of Grace Bradley, who goes to work as a maid in the home of the aristocratic Hartford family. It is told in flashback, which as a rule I detest because it is often badly done, but Kate Morton handles it skilfully; and the story flows through Grace in the present day to her memories more than 60 years earlier.

It also touches on the events of the First World War and those whose lives were changed forever. One paragraph that seemed particularly poignant was:

'Wars make history seem deceptively simple. They provide clear turning points, easy distinctions: before and after, winner and loser, right and wrong. True history, the past, is not like that. It isn't flat or linear. It has no outline. It is slippery, like liquid; infinite and unknowable, like space. And it is changeable: just when you think you see a pattern, perspective shifts, an alternative version is proffered, a long-forgotten memory resurfaces.'

The story is told so well and Kate Morton weaves a web that draws the reader in. It touches the heart and remains in the memory long after the final page has been turned. It is a truly outstanding debut novel.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Sweet Little Sweater For Katy

After a busy week, I managed to return to my knitting this weekend and completed this little sweater for my new niece Katy Victoria.

This is a pattern that I have knitted before, although I usually make the jacket version, complete with hood. I decided that as it is summer, she doesn't really need the hooded version.

The pattern is a double moss stitch with pretty cable detailing. I found a couple of cute buttons for the back, but I was unable to get a good photo of them ~ either invisible or blurred!

Now I need to get it packaged up and post it before she grows out of this size!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

In The Frame

Quite some time ago, I came across a coastal cross-stitch sampler on eBay. I didn't win it, but after some investigating; I did manage to buy a copy of the chart from someone else. After I discovered Willow Fabrics in the U.K. I was able to buy the bits that make up the rest of the kit and last week; I got my (belated) birthday present of the frame and stand.

Due to the fact that I was busy doing a show in Cobourg the packages remained unopened until this weekend, when I finally got it all assembled and ready to start. I did enjoy playing with the colours of the various stranded cottons ~ as you can see, there are rather a lot of colours in this design.

I must confess to a little nervousness about making the first stitches and progressed little beyond marking the centre of the fabric with a pin and spending a considerable amount of time studying the chart.

On Sunday I finally made the first tentative stitches and the efforts above took about two and a half hours. To say that this is going to be a long project is an understatement!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Fireworks

*Photo Microsoft Clip Art

Isn't it interesting how we celebrate with fireworks? On 1st July we celebrated Canada Day and there were fireworks displays across the country to mark Canada's birthday.

Today is the turn of our neighbours in the United States as they celebrate the 4th of July.

Growing up in the U.K. I always associate fireworks with Guy Fawkes' Night. This annual celebration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot on 5th November 1605; when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators attempted to blow up the British Houses of Parliament.

Personally, I always liked going out on a cold November night to view the fireworks. Many years it rained, but that couldn't dampen our spirits as we trudged through the fallen leaves to get a good view of the bonfire topped with an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

Somehow, having fireworks on a light summer evening does not hold the same appeal for me: it just isn't dark enough for one thing. One day, I hope to have the space to hold my own Guy Fawkes' celebration and I will relish that crisp, cold night air and the thrill of fireworks again.