Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Okay, à la Renee and Allena, here is my tree flash. Like theirs, mine is artificial. We bought it on sale two years ago with, as per DH's specification, already wired in lights. It took me 5 minutes to put up this year without DH because, as has happened so many other times this fall, he wasn't home to help. We had an artificial tree about 10 years ago but lost it in a sewage flood in our military quarter (long story) in Cold Lake, AB so it took us all that time to replace it. Artifical works best for me because I like to put up my tree around the 25th of November and leave it up until Old Christmas Day (January 6th - Newfoundland tradition or at least MY family's Newfoundland tradition). Real trees are looking rather, shall we say, naked, by that time?

Yep, I know, there are a LOT of ornaments on this tree. Most are handmade but, not all. I've been creating and collecting for years. And, yes, I could be considered slightly fanatical about this time of the year.

Here is the culmilation of my cake decorating classes - four finished already! I even have a cute little completion certificate with my name on it! Yeah me! This is my first attempt at roses and, although they bear a striking resemblance to 'hen and chicks' I think they also make a mean 'old fashioned rose' look. And, old fashioned roses are my favourites - you can't beat their scent!

And if this isn't cute, I don't know what is! She still gets into moderate trouble (take for instance she is standing right in front of the monitor right now - argh!). Otherwise though, she's a real treat to have around.

I managed to get my Christmas cards FINISHED today. None of them will arrive before Christmas but at least I should get them in the mail before the big day. I've been trying to get cards out for years and this is the first in many. I'm very proud (and apologise in advance for all of the people I forgot to send cards to. Shame me by writing and I'll write back!).

Off to think about supper...

Friday, December 15, 2006


The cleaning is done…for another week. It’s all sparkly for the company (who always says not to even bother but I’m like that. I like the house cleaned once a week whether it needs it or not and it always needs it!). A homemade sauce for chicken and fresh bread (I LOVE my bread making machine! Thanks, In-laws!) are on. I’m just waiting for DH to get home to add the chicken to the sauce and make a salad and some basmati rice. We might be going to a movie tonight with our friends/company, S & ML. Life is good.

‘Casino Royale’ seems to be a popular choice for a movie but I just watched the trailer for ‘Eragon’ and I’m in love! I love science fiction and fantasy and I think I’ve found a new fantasy author – yeah! I checked out the book site and it turns out the author was born on my birthday! Wow! And only a few years younger … (like 13 and, yes, now that you mention it, that does make me feel old!).

The Christmas lights are lit and the only one complaining here today is our doggie Para who has not yet had her walk and is MAD about it. Look at this face! She’s all grumpy! Betcha never thought you’d see a Border Collie pout before!

Here is a ‘before’ picture of the quilt that I mentioned earlier this week. Progress to follow (none made yet. Heck, I was cleaning!). My aim is to get it finished over the holidays.

I started this lovely little quilt in the winter of 2002 when we were still living in Germany (DH is in the Canadian Forces – we’ve lived in some very neat places) and was desperate to start quilting again. I had taken quilting lessons in Cold Lake, Alberta, our posting before Geilenkirchen, Germany, so felt comfortable getting this far. Unfortunately, I had started more quilts than I had finished in Cold Lake so this was as far as I got with this quilt before feeling I needed more education. Since we’ve moved to Ottawa, I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to take many great classes from my LQS (Local Quilt Store which is, incidentally, right next to my LYS!) as well as through the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild. Armed with this knowledge, I know I can finish this quilt. There are two motivations: 1) it will look gorgeous and fit perfectly above our fireplace and 2) it’s a Christmas quilt; it will look its most gorgeous and fit most perfectly above our fireplace at Christmas and not February!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I knew it was a matter of time but this blog managed to last six months before I had to do this. Sorry folks but, all posted comments will now go through me before being published on this blog. I received an anonymous posting this morning that I didn't appreciate (the content could have been much worse but it was not appreciated just the same) so I've has to enable some 'comment control'. Therefore, no more anonymous blogging meaning that you will have to register with blogger to add a comment. My apologies as I realise it was easier the other way but I guess I can blame the 'anonymous' ones out in cyberspace for ruining our fun!

Onto brighter and better things: I'm housecleaning! We have friends coming for the weekend and I want the house to sparkle. Actually, I am trying to make Thursday's a regular cleaning day as I want the house clean for the weekends when we're more likely to have 'drop in' company (love that!) and I HATE cleaning on the weekends! Leftover feelings from when I was working full-time I suppose.

Once the 'have to's' are done (cleaning and dog walking) I intend on moving onto the really fun things: quilting a Christmas quilt! Blogging information on that WIP to follow! Off to clean (can you tell this is a pep post to get me motivated???) :) .

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


You know, I still haven’t gotten back into knitting. It’s sad really as I have so many projects in the living room staring me in the eye and complaining. However, I can have really refined selective hearing and am ignoring the seductive sound of ‘Australian wool and silk mix in a gorgeous green colour combined with an Australian sweater pattern all for me’! I must have nerves of steel.

I will continue with the Aussie trip in my next post. Today, however, I wanted to share an FO with you! At least, I think it should be considered an FO but DH would probably classify it in the ‘make work’ project. Here’s why: this is a photo of a lovely little cross stitched pillow. I finished the cross stitch around 1995, seeing as that’s the date on the cross stitch itself. I seem to remember it took me ages to make the actual pillow as per the pattern in the magazine (say, 1996 or 1997?). I love the cross stitch itself but I have never had much use for the pillow. It was too small.

When I hauled it out of the 17 odd (no, I’m not exaggerating!) Christmas Rubbermaid containers this year, I decided that I needed to do something with it. The poor thing always gets ‘stuck’ somewhere because, as I said, I love the cross stitched picture, but the pillow just wasn’t useful.

So, I decided, ‘self, you’ve got to do something with this – it’s a shame to sigh over it every year and then stick it somewhere for the sake of having it out’. I decided to make a small wall hanging out of it instead. Here are the cute little buttons that I covered for the hanging tabs and here is the completed piece. I will take another picture when I find the perfect little black wrought iron holder to hang it from. Now I should go back to getting those Christmas parcels out…

We’ve been going to Christmas parties galore so I thought I would introduce DH (his blog debut) when he was looking particularly handsome this past weekend. This picture was taken in our living room on Saturday evening before we left for DH’s work Christmas party.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


After getting into our hotel room and having a shower, DH and I went on a 2 hr plus cruise of the harbour. It was very nice. As the weather was so nice, people were out in their boats like crazy! The boat we were on had to keep manoeuvring around the sail powered boats (engine power gives way to wind power on the water). I was amazed by two things – how large Sydney Harbour actually is (over 155 little coves and inlets on the harbour – innumerable beaches) and how water based the city is. You can commute by ferry and many people do. Australians LOVE to be out on the water.

The boat trip ended (I got sick as I always do on any boat bigger than a trawler therefore there are no blog approved Patty pictures from this particular trip as I’m green in all of them!) and we were both pooped. I’m ashamed to say that, rather than more exploring, we went back to the hotel and slept until the next morning.

The next day we went for a walk
around the Opera House.
Here’s a picture of me with the Harbour Bridge in the background. As a tourist thing, you could pay and WALK over the bridge. My fear of heights made me hyperventilate at the thought! The exterior finish material of the Opera House looks like dragon scales!

We then walked along the water and past the Gardens and visited Mrs. MacQuarrie’s seat where this wife of one of Sydney’s first Governor’s sat and waited for her sailor husband to come home. Here’s me on her seat and here’s the view we got from the point just in front of this group of rocks – well worth the little hike!

That afternoon, we flew to Adelaide (about an hour flight from Sydney on Quantas) where we spent the next 9 days. DH went to his meetings every day while I combined sleeping in with touring – a very nice combination!

I really enjoyed my cake decorating class last night. It was night one of Course 1 so it was an information giving and demonstration night. There is only myself and one other person in the class so it’s almost private lessons! Apparently, the class would go ahead even if I was the only one registered. Now I have homework! I have to bake a cake and ice it (using the Wilton ‘secret’ Butter Icing Recipe) as well as mix the icing for the four colours I’m using in a rainbow cake (I think I have an attachment to rainbows…) for class tomorrow night. There are two classes this week because Christmas –eek – is in three weeks. Next week and the week after, I only have class on Monday nights.

Off to bake a cake and more house decorating!

Monday, December 04, 2006


Since I’m not feeling particularly creative these days, I thought I should ‘re-start’ the creative blogging juices by talking a bit about our trip to Australia. I will add some pictures to make this December blog a little more exciting, and hope to blog more frequently than I was able to in November.

First of all, I would not recommend a trip to Australia unless you’ve going for 2 or more weeks. I do not normally mind travelling and am not scared of aeroplane trips (unlike my mother) however, I found the whole down and back travel to Australia awful. The trip itself was fantastic but the travel was very tiring.

From Ottawa, we first flew to Vancouver – a 5 hour flight – not bad. We then waited for SEVEN hours in Vancouver. DH (he’s converted from SD (Sugar Daddy) now that I’m no longer in school) is from B.C. and his parents and sister were going to visit us from the island. Unfortunately, the wind was up and the ferries were cancelled so, instead of a mini reunion, Pete and I hung out at the Fairmont Hotel at the airport. It’s very nice, here’s how to visit in cyberspace.

Being the true designer that I am, I had to take some bathroom pictures as their bathrooms are stunning. Check out these sinks! AND, all motion controlled. You walked in the room, and a fawcett would start! We would have MUCH preferred to spend the day with family, however.

After a fight through US Customs (we had a 1.5 hour stop over in Honolulu and, despite the fact that our luggage wasn’t even hitting the ground, we had to go through Customs) which I won’t go into detail about because it still makes me mad, we settled in for a 6 hour trip to Hawaii. The flight wasn’t bad but having to get off the plane (they were refuelling) and go through security again was a bit of a pain. I can’t say anything about the Hawaiian landscape because both times we were there it was 1:30 AM and dark but nice and humid and warm. They also have many places in the airport that are completely open air with just the roof and the fresh breeze blowing through. Very nice.

The next leg of the trip was 10 hours worth of flying drama and we staggered into Sydney at 7:30 AM South Australia time. It was a beautiful bright sunny day and our shuttle bus driver told us the first nice day of Spring! Australia has had the coldest spring on record for over 100 years and we were there to experience it!

Our hotel room wasn’t ready so early in the morning and, we were told, the view from our allocated room was worth waiting for, so we went exploring the Sunday market in The Rocks area of Circular Quay, a short walk from the hotel.

Here’s Patty after 30 odd hours of flying, no shower and little sleep, in Circular Quay. The gorgeous purple tree just to my left is called a ‘Jacaranda’ and Australia was full of these beautiful blooming trees. They were amazing and my favourite new Aussie word.

And here’s the view from our hotel room. Worth waiting for?

I’m now off to run errands. I’m getting a ‘pre-Christmas’ gift from DH and am starting the first of four cake decorating classes tonight at Michael’s. I can’t wait!