Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Needlework Tuesday - An Advent Calendar for my Godson

 Advent, or count down, calendars were present every December 1 in my house growing up.  I kept up the tradition with my children.  This year I decided to send one to my godson for his daughters.  Sure, the youngest is too small to understand, though I'm sure her big sister will explain it to her.

I found this colourful panel titled "Dear Santa" by Sarah Frederking from Studio E Fabrics.
 My local shop had kits cut and ready to go.  Instead of following the instructions to cut apart all the pockets, I left them intact, layers them right sides together with backing fabric and sewed around three sides, leaving the bottoms open for turning.  I sewed 1/4 inch seams, then cut them apart and sewed more seams until they were all done. It would have been better for the turning, if I had pivoted at each corner instead of sewing straight across.  Oh well, live and learn.
 Twenty-five pockets ready to go.
 I drew a line 1/4 inch away from the bottom of the pocket and lined that up with the bottom of the image on the panel piece, then sewed a seam across, back stitching at the beginning and end.
 All twenty-five pocket flaps attached and ready for the flip up.  I decided to change the thread colours to match the pockets.  A bit more work that using one colour such as beige, but it made more sense to me.  Less change of seeming an mis-placed stitches.
Finally, I added binding and a hanging sleeve and it's ready to go in the mail for my nephew.  It's a wee bit late, but I'm sure they'll forgive me.

For more images of Advent Calendars, visit my post from 2014, The Great Advent Calendar Hunt.

Sorry to have missed you all last week.  My work schedule has gotten more hectic as we move closer to December 25.  I was so exhausted last week that Tuesday slipped right on past me.  Feel free to add links for any needlework posts that you've made in the past two weeks.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you. I hope that you are having fun and making progress on whatever project is dear to your heart at this moment. 

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your needlework post.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester

The premise of a child prodigy chef who solves mysteries in his spare time sounded good and by the time I finished the first chapter I was hooked.  Author Kevin Sylvester has created a complex, yet easily likable character in Neil Flambe. 

From his earliest years, young Neil showed an affinity for food and for it preparations.  Now, at the age of fourteen, he owns a renown restaurant that is in high demand.  On a contingency basis, he also helps the local police to solve various crimes where an acute sense of smell is an asset. 

When someone starts killing the top chefs in Vancouver, Detective Nakamura calls in Neil to sniff out the murderer.  Not only does he sniff out a seemingly new scent at the scenes of the crimes, but the notes left on the victims lead him to research the Italian explorer Marco Polo.

Neil is a complex character.  At times he is definitely a fourteen year old, with limited social skills  and big on self worth.  Admittedly, he is a great chef and he doesn't let anyone forget it. 

I would recommend this book for any young reader who has an interest in food preparation.  It would be a good selection for parents to read with their children.  The author has a good sense of humour and has included lots of details to amuse adults such as the food related names of most of the characters.  Yes, several people are murdered in this book, but the story does not linger on the bodies, rather it moves quickly to the food and spice scents that linger behind.

I listened to the audio book as read by the author.  6 hours 17 minutes.

Also by Kevin Sylvester:

Splinters - a very cool hockey story

Cover image courtesy Simon & Schuster Canada

#IndigoEmployee

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I loved this story from the first page.  It caught my imagination and didn't let go.  At present, the game playing sophistication of the book is fantasy, though it is verging on becoming reality, and before it does we should heed author Ernest Cline's implied warnings. 

By the year 2044, most members of society have become so caught up in the virtual world, that many people never leave their houses, they conduct their day to day life in OASIS, the online world.  When James Halliday,one of the founders of OASIS dies with no heirs, he starts in motion the ultimate game, which will leave the winner wealthy beyond imagination.  Wade Watts, and many others see this as a way out of the grinding poverty that affects far too many.

Wade may still be a student, but he knows OASIS and he understands games.  For years he immerses himself in the genre of the 80's that Mr. Halliday enjoyed.  He hopes that this knowledge will help him solve the clues and win the game.  Also competing to win the prize is a corporate group who with their winnings would turn OASIS from a free access world to one of fees making it inaccessible for many.

It was interesting to see Mr. Cline's view of what life could become as computers and virtual reality  technology advances.  We are already seeing less person to person communication and people use their cell phones to text instead of talk. 

Having lived through the 80's, I enjoyed reminiscing while Wade worked though the clues and followed the leads of Mr. Halliday's life.  Thanks to author Ernest Cline for writing this enjoyable and thought provoking book. 

Also by Ernest Cline:  Armada

Cover image courtesy Penguin RandomHouse Canada


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Win Sock Yarn for Life (or so)

Our stitching friends at Yarn Canada have invited me to extend and invitation to enter their new contest.  You can win sock yarn for life, depending on how fast you knit.  I am pasting in the details that they sent.  Open to entrants from Canada and the United States.  Follow the link to enter.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Win Socks for Life! Well the yarn, you’re on your own after that.
(Vancouver, BC) “To be fair, it’s actually only a 25 year supply, so we can only hope the winner dies early to keep me an honest woman.” - Nikki Smith, VP YarnCanada.ca
After extensive research YarnCanada.ca discovered two key issues which continue to plague the world which we’d like to help bring to an end.
  1. Some people have hobbies other than knitting (idiots)
  2. Other (marginally insane) people buy socks at Costco 
“With one final blow we’ll give someone years of knitting and make it so they never need to succumb to Fruit of the Loom again.” - Robert Matherson, YarnCanada.ca
Don’t want to use all the yarn to make socks? That’s okay, no hard feelings.
Yes, some marriages may end as the winner ignores her husband in a multi-year knitting frenzy. But that’s simply a risk we must take. On the other hand, maybe getting non-terrible socks for Christmas could bring families closer together.
The prize will go to whomever can show how their life will most be changed by winning and what you will do with the prize.
Anything could happen:
“I’ll use the yarn to start a knitting business on Etsy!” - Beth C, Winnipeg
“My friends always get together to watch The Bachelor, but goodness it’s boring, now I’ll have something to do to keep me distracted.” - Janet G, Toronto
“Honestly I have no self control. With all that yarn I’ll knit non-stop, stay up for days and miss work. I’ll get fired, not be able to pay rent and get kicked out of my apartment. But… I’d have so many socks!” - Samantha T, Vancouver
“I’ll knit them all up as fast as I can and give them to charity.” – Nicole

Whatever the reason, let us know why knitting is important to you and how a lifetime supply of sock yarn would change your life.

Enter to Win a Lifetime Supply of Socks

Good luck to all who enter, both male and female and I hope the winner lives a long and happy life and out lives his or her stash. Contest closes December 7, 2016.

I don't have much to share this week, between extra work hours and working on a secret project, my time is pretty much consumed.  I do have a few pics of the secret project that don't give anything away.
 A large quilt requires lots of bobbins to be wound, this is just a few.  I like to use the same thread both in the top and in the bobbin, seems to work out better.  I am using King Tut because that's what my local shop carries.
 All layered up, this quilt is a bit of a monster to keep moving around.  It's 80x100 inches I need a new machine with a much bigger opening (it's on my wish list).
 This shows the layout of the quilt and the sashing.  I drew this up so i could plan out the stitch in the ditch for the sashing and keep the bulk of the fabrics to the left of the machine.  the blue lines show what was already stitched at that point, and for the final passes, I started at the dots in the upper left and stitched in a continuous line to the end near the 4 in the bottom left.

I'll try to have more photos next week, though my work schedule is getting crazy with extra hours due to Christmas shopping.  To all who have shopping yet to complete, please remain calm and peaceful when you are out and remember that the store clerks are human and deserve to be treated with respect.To enhance your shopping experience where ever you may be, please leave your children at home, they will be much happier and so will you and every one else.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you. I hope that you are having fun and making progress on whatever project is dear to your heart at this moment. 

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your needlework post.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Finished Aghan

 Finally, I have finished the giant granny square afghan.  Well, it was supposed to be giant, but my crochet tension is off and it was getting a bit too wonky. it just won't lay flat without a lot of manipulation so there was no chance I could make it larger.  Lots good when it is all push and prodded to look flat.  Daughter says it is comfy regardless of shaping.
 It is certainly bright and cheerful and the black adds some definition.

 All twelve squares are complete for the BOM that my guild is following.  Now each month I will be ready and will just have to grab the appropriate blocks off the wall.  Not sure about the sashing, though I have metre of strip fabric that matches perfectly.  I will have to play with it and see if it will work.
 This is the block that I substituted for the cake stand one that was part of the pattern.

The pattern is by Jill Majers of Apple Avenue Quilts.
Seeing some good progress on the socks. Still a bit of a struggle with the colour changes.  It's hard to keep the tension nice in the join area, not that my sister will ever see that when she is walking around while wearing the socks, but it still bothers me.  The top of the sock turned out nice.  not sure if it was worth the extra effort, but I won't really know until my sister puts them on and wears them for a while.

In case you missed my earlier posts about the socks, my sister gave me the wool for them, that's why I will be giving them back to her.  I had started this class and didn't want to shop for the wool for this pair.  Knowing that she has a far too healthy wool stash, I shopped in it instead of a store.  Kind sister that she is, she put a large basket of sock yarn on her bed and let me take my choice.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you. I hope that you are having fun and making progress on whatever project is dear to your heart at this moment. 

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your needlework post.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

A Sunday Walk


 I was out walking today in Waterloo Park, collecting Pokeballs, and saw some lovely sites that I wanted to share.

There aren't peacocks roaming around here freely, so this would be unusual if it weren't for the zoo enclosure (which isn't visible).
 This handsome llama would not put his ears back up.  Seemed as though he realized I was waiting for the perfect photo op.
 There are brass plaques near several trees and I like the inscription on this one the best.
 Obviously this has been here for many years, but honestly, it's the first year I have ventured to this particular area of the park and I have found this.

This is the oldest school house in Waterloo Region . It was built in 1820 and is also the oldest log school house in the province of Ontario.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Darning in those yarn ends

I made some progress on the socks.  Before I can go any further, I have to bury all those ends.  Arg, I hate patterns that continually instruct you to cut the yarn when you pick up the new colour.  Then I realized that i started with the wrong side facing, so when I try to unzip the provisional cast on, that starts from the end of the row.  A second arg.  Once I get through these annoyances, I know that I'll breeze on down to the heel, which uses a new-to-me technique.

Keeping my head to the grindstone, i managed to finish four more blocks for my quilt.  That's eight if you are keeping track.  I have the next three blocks cut and read to stitch.  The twelfth I have to select a different pattern.

All the individual cutting for this quilt is driving me crazy.  I am so done with traditional sampler quilts.   Prior to this week's stitching,  I decided to cut all the pieces I would need to the back ground of all the blocks.  That worked well.  Then I did the same for all the brown.  That left only cutting the various blues/teals for each block as it was started.  So much less frustrating.

now to start thinking about fabric for the sashing and the borders.


Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you. I hope that you are having fun and making progress on whatever project is dear to your heart at this moment. 

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your needlework post.