Sunday, December 31, 2006

I got brave

Yep - I got brave - and changed the blog layout.

If you're reading this, and don't really understand what a feat this for me, I've only had one class in HTML, and that was about 12 years ago, when the internet was still in it's infancy, and the instructor told us to "harvest" (his word) or "copy" (my word) code from other web pages on the internet. To put it mildly, I'm totally HTML illiterate. So changing the blog and making sure that things got back to where they were supposed to be was a challenge. I ended up doing it twice before all of the stuff that I have co-operated.

In other news, Happy New Year to everyone who reads. I honestly never thought I'd keep up with this whole blogging thing, but have been pleasantly surprised with the results. I've failed to keep journals in the past - I usually write one entry at a significant point, and then don't write in the journal for months. So actually writing a regular (or semi-regular) blog entry has been a challenge.

I sometimes find it a challenge to be honest when I blog - everytime I write something that I consider really "me", I see one of those career counsellors on TV, and they talk about how blogging can form a negative impression of you to potential employers. I haven't a clue how people would find this blog if they didn't know me before hand, but there are some things I don't write about here to be on the safe side. I'm getting more comfortable with sharing some of myself with the world, so I hope you get a chance to see the real me at some points in time.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Bargain Bin

I was at my local needlwork store today - I needed a few things, and I thought they might have a sale on, so I decided to stop in. They did have a sale, including a bin of charts that obviously weren't selling or they were looking to get rid of. As I was going through the charts, I noticed one by a BB member who used to be quite active on one of the boards I frequent. She's since stopped putting out new charts, and it was sad to see the last remaining stock my LNS had in the bargain bin. She's not the only one I remember who's stopped designing and stopped posting on the boards I read.

I've noticed that many of the boards I read are less active in the past couple of years, and I don't know if it's because people aren't stitching or they aren't posting, or they are posting, but are posting on board that I don't read. Or, it could be that they blog, and don't post as often.

It's sad to see the end of some of their charts and patterns - I do have one or two of hers, and someday I'll get around to stitching them. She was (and is) a lovely designer, and I hope our paths will cross again someday.

A New Years Meme

It's almost the end of 2006, and although I'm not sure how it's possible that a whole year has gone by, I thought I'd post a new year meme:

What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
Visited Morocco & Mexico
Slept in the Sahara
Went on a large cruise ship
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't usually make resolutions - I think I've already started by 2007 one.
Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Karen did - a big welcome to your life to Tasha too...
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
The United States, Mexico, England(in transit) and Morocco
What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
More time to travel and a travelling companion
What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory?
I don't really know if there is one - March 17th and November 10th were the days that I left on vacation, so I don't really know if they count
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Staying in a job for the whole year - last year I had 3 - one until the end of January, one between February and November and a third between November and the end of the year. This year, there's only one, and I really like it
What was your biggest failure?
I don't know if I really had one - 2006 wasn't a year of real highs and lows. It was kind of steady.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had some doozy's of colds. Nasty, nasty things
What was the best thing you bought?
I bought some lovely dishes that I'm so happy with, and an MP3 player, so I can join the rest of the world and a new laptop
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oprah, Bono
Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Belinda Stronich,
Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage (sadly), exercise, travel.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The wedding of two good friends, hockey
What song/album will always remind you of 2006?
Hips Don't Lie - Shakira
Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • happier or sadder? happier, I think
  • thinner or fatter? thinner (yeah!)
  • richer or poorer? richer, I think. And not just in the monetary sense.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Laugh, travel, enjoy good friends
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress, worry, fret
How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas with family, chilling out
Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
The girls out east
Did you fall in love in 2006?
How many one night stands in this last year?
None - perhaps that's a good thing
What was your favourite TV programme?
Grey's Anatomy
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I think hate is a strong word, but there is someone I don't like as much as last year
What was the best book(s) you read?
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
What was your greatest musical discovery?
The MP3 player - I'm so behind in the times
What did you want and get?
New dishes, a big trip somewhere
What did you want and not get?
a promotion
What were your favourite films of this year?
I don't think 2006 was an amazing year for films, but Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Harry Potter 4 were on the list
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 32, and I spent my birthday in Toronto on a business trip
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Winning the lottery!
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
It involved a lot of black, and was kind of yuppie chic
What kept you sane?
Lampworking, stitching, red wine, good friends.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy)
What political issue stirred you the most?
Kyoto / greenhouse gasses - probably because it's so close to home. Everyone wants something done about it, but no one wants to actually pay for it.
Who did you miss?
All of my grandparents and my babysitter
Who was the best new person you met?
My 11 co-travellers in Morocco. They were (and are) some of the smartest, most interesting people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. And they made a good trip that much more memorable.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
I learned that chasing after someone else's idea of perfect or good doesn't get you anywhere.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
" Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why.
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time."
(Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of your life))

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How do I lose a crazy person?

I just got a Christmas card from a real-estate agent. I'd call her my real estate agent, but she never really was, so I guess she's just "a" real-estate agent for the moment.

I was out in the neighbourhood for a walk about 2 years ago, and wandered into an open house. It was a gorgeous house, but was about twice as big as I needed and twice as expensive as I could afford. So the real estate agent that was there offered to show me a few houses in the areas I was looking, at a price range that was more in my budget. Wonderful - I thought.

We went out one night to look at houses. I'd had a nasty day at work - I was in the process of switching employers, and things were going rather badly in the middle of it. But, since I'd made the appointment, I thought I should keep it. We looked at the houses, and then she asked me if I'd like to stop for a drink. I was kinda thinking a glass of wine / cocktail at a lounge so we could chat about what I'd like in a house. (And trust me, as an extremely picky person who's in full control of what is purchased or not purchased, there's a lot a real estate agent should know about what I will be buying, or more precisely, not buying)

We didn't go for a quiet drink... we went to a live music place where I had a drink, and she had many. So many we ended up calling a driving service to get the two of us home. On one hand, I commend her for being responsible and realizing she'd had too much to drink and not driving home, but on the other hand, I'm a bit stunned as to the logic behind getting plastered while your client drinks something not containing alcohol. At least she paid the tab.

She some how hasn't managed to figure out that 2 years later, I don't really want anything to do with her. But today, I got a seasonal card in the mail, with "Hope 2007 Rocks!" written in it in metallic silver pen. I was stunned. I think her chances of getting a commission out of me ended with the last episode. But 2 years later, I still get strange Christmas cards from her.

I'd love to end the relationship completely, but I think I'd have to move or piss her off to do that, but I don't have the energy for either at the moment.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How cute is this......

I know... three cat pictures within a week. Not good. But they're so sweet. Especially when they've discovered the unmade bed with a nice soft quilt on it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Alhambra and Buttons

I finally have an Alhambra update - I've actually worked on this quite a bit over the last couple of days, and have made a little bit of progress on it. It's looking more and more like a half square instead of the one-sided thing it looked like for a long time.

I was up at the glass studio on Saturday, and while I was playing around, I figured I'd try a button or two. I'm in a biscornu exchange early next year, and wanted something cool to put in the middle of the biscornu. I tried a few with flowers on them, but those buttons don't really look like anything at the moment (I need more practice). But the frit covered ones are looking pretty good, so I thought I'd share. You can see the top of the middle buttons and the shanks of the buttons on the side. These have all been annealed - I'd be afraid to make buttons without annealing them, as annealing slowly cools the glass and makes the glass less likely to break.

Christmas Eve Dinner went well - this was my first attempt at turkey and all of the sides. (To be fair, my Mom brought a veggie, so it wasn't *all* of the sides, but it was pretty close).

The menu ended up being:
Ruby Slippers (Champagne and Cranberry Cocktail)
Apple/Cranberry/Walnut Brie Melt
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry/Orange Relish
Mashed Potato
Herbed Sweet Potato
Green Beans
Plum Pudding

It was all yummy!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday - however you are spending it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The phone company

I read Michelle's post with interest this week, as my phone company has been exceptionally nice to me. Exceptionally.

I don't know if it's some sort of end of year promotion, or after strike deal or an attempt to fight other service providers, but this is the list of stuff that has been sent or been given to me from the phone company this week:

1) Magnetic Gund stuffed animal in the shape of a monkey, via registered mail, last Saturday. This came with a 2007 calendar and a thank you note for being a good customer.
2) Chocolate bar - Tuesday morning, handed to me on my way into work after getting off the train. Outside wrapper and logo imprinted on the bar were both of the phone company.
3) Plastic lawn flamingo, handed to me on the way home from work on Wednesday afternoon. Pink, plastic and came with 2 free metal legs.

I have no idea what's up with the phone company.

Oh - and for those who are interested, the kitty pic was taken when the kitties just woke up from a nap. They aren't really that amazing that I can stick stuff on their head and they just don't notice. They noticed, but were too sleepy to complain much.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do we look happy?

A couple of people mentioned the kitties in the tree photo below - I thought I'd share a couple of photos that I took last year. And no, the kitties aren't happy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The tree!!

I love stitching Christmas ornaments - they're small, let you be creative with colours and fibres and they give you a sense of accomplishment. So it's no wonder that my tree is filled with cross-stitched Christmas ornaments. Many of the ornaments have been exchanges on various BB's - TWBB or Needle and Thread. Hopefully you can spot something you made !

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Night

I went to a pot-luck tonight with some friends - I decided to be brave and try something that I hadn't tried before. These are from the latest issue of "Cusine at Home", which I adore! They are chipotle chicken with guacamole underneath, and boy were they good!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Great Frit Question

Michelle asked yesterday what "frit" was - frit is little pieces of glass that are melted onto a larger molten piece of glass. They're kind of like sprinkles for glass. The unmelted frit that I used to make yesterdays bead looks like this -it's filled with all of the greens, browns and whites that are incorporated into the bead. The bead started out as a base of turquoise, was rolled in the frit above, was covered in clear glass and then had swirls of sparkly gold attached. It's good stuff!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New bead.....

It's late but I had to's made with a frit called "Casablanca", which I think suits the bead perfectly.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mail Call

I received this *gorgeous* package today from Su who was my exchange partner in the Robin's Nest Stocking Stuffer Exchange. She figured I liked sparkly things from the title of the blog, and stitched me an ornament to match! What a sweetie!

And Michelle, you can definitley be in my PIF - just send me an email with your address and I'll get something in the mail to you shortly. I just got new glass frit in the mail today, and I'm dying to make something with it. (Frit is little bits of coloured glass, and you roll molten glass in it to make it pretty.) The colours I purchased were from Bead Goodies and the sample beads are drool-worthy, so I'm hoping that mine turn out well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Meme stolen from Kati

This is a closeup of the lampwork from the last post - I keep trying to get my camera to take better pictures of things, and maybe this is one.

This one looked like fun, so I thought I would give it a go. I stole this from Kati.

If you like then go ahead and copy, bold the things you’ve done, and post.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (I think it was somewhere in New Zealand, and everyone was on our group tour
02. Swam with wild dolphins (It was actually a dolphin, singluar, but I still did it)
03. Climbed a mountain - a couple actually - Gros Morne in Newfoundland
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid - well.... I was next to the Great Pyramid, but I think it still counts
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried "one"/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Saturday, December 09, 2006

New Bead Happy Dance

I finished this today - I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, even though I had to restring it to get it to look the way I wanted it to. The two larger beads at the bottom are my lampwork beads, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out. I had been wanting to use that particular colour for a while - it's a very, very pale blue, but I think it looks nice when there's quite a lot of it.

There's still room in the pay-it-forward, so leave me a comment if you're interested. It's doesn't really matter if you're a regular blog reader, as long as you can (or are currently) trying to pay others forward.

Back to Stitching (and a Pay it Forward)

I have been neglectful in posting a piccie of the gorgeous ornaments I received from my exchange partners! I participate in the TWBB ornament exchange each year, and I sent three ornaments out this year. The three ornaments I got back are gorgeous, so I thought I'd share a picture here.

Thanks to Terry, Anu and Amanda for stitching these.

I'm also starting a pay it forward, after seeing similar ones on several blogs. For the first 5 people who want to participate, I'll hand make something for them of my choice. To participate, leave me a comment and send an email to caycay at shaw dot ca letting me know that you'd like to be in the pay it forward. There is a catch of course, you must continue the gift by blogging this challenge yourself!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The coast and Marrakech (Morocco Post 5 of 5)

After coming out of the desert, we headed to Essaouira, a seaside town. The fresh sea air and relaxed attitude were completely wonderful, and of all the places in Morocco, Essaouira is the one place that I would most like to return.

Most of our group endulged (or endured, depending on how you looked at it), in a traditional Turkish bath called a hammam. The bath involves being thoroughly scrubbed down, and after spending a week in the desert, I needed it! I felt much cleaner after having been through the experience.

Essaouira offered great markets, and I bought a few things, including some scarves and a small painting. The range of spices, leathers and other goods was fun to browse in. After a couple of days in the town, we were able to negotiate most of the labyrynth of streets in the souk, as the town really isn't that big.

After Essaouira, we headed back to Marrakech. We had a full day in Marrakech, so the morning was spent negotating and purchasing heavier objects that wouldn't have travelled well during the previous two weeks. I bought a small tagine here, which is a traditional Moroccan cooking dish. The tagine is also the name of the food that is cooked inside the dish, and tagines are similar to stews.

Marrakech was also the day of our great adventure to visit a local Koranic school. The school had been abandoned, but was supposed to be a good example of art work in Morocco. We headed out on what we thought was the best path, and an hour later, discovered that we were totally lost. We paid a couple of local boys to find the school for us, and still were walking for another half hour, twisting and turning through the souks and medinas as we went. It was a fantastic spot though, and it was one of the highlights of Marrakech.

Most of the group departed the next day, but I still had an extra day before I headed out. I spent a bit of time exploring the city, visiting a set of tombs and an abandoned palace in the city. The tombs were not that interesting, but the palace was fairly interesting, if only because of the huge number of cranes that had made nests on top of the palace walls.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mountains and Movies (Morocco post 4 of 5)

I've been busy over the last few days - a hockey game and my first day back at work seemed to take up most of my free time. I've managed to come down with something stomach related, so I fell asleep early last night and slept right through until this morning. Hopefully a good 12 hours rest will cure whatever is going on.

At any rate, from the desert, our group headed out into Ait Benhaddou and the spectacular kasbah there. This location is just outside of Ouarzazate, which was featured on last week's episode of the Amazing Race. It's a region that has been featured in a ton of movies, including Gladiator and Jesus of Nazareth. The Kasbah here is still lived in by a couple of families, although most of the residents have moved into town.

We had dinner that night in the home of a local resident. His other profession is being an extra in all of the movies that take place accross the road, so he wanted to tell us about his movie roles. He was rather shocked that myself and the girl I was rooming with had never been married, and he offered us 10,000 camels in exchange for our hands. (Although part of the bargain was to come and help him make couscous, which I don't think is my idea of fun)

We then travelled into the High Atlas Mountains. Morocco is definitley a country of contrasts, and while the weather was very temperate in the cities, it was downright chilly in the mountains. I was glad I brought a fleece and warm clothes for this portion of the trip. We had spectacular weather for this period - the fall colours were beginning to appear, and we had a clear dry day to enjoy them with.