Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I WON! (pinch me)

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A few months ago I was browsing through the new Apps in the Apple store and I came across a new app for Blacks Photography and they were having a contest.  It intrigued me so I downloaded it and read all the rules and decided I might like to take part.  This required submitting photos, taken on your iphone, over a three week period and getting your friends to vote for them too.  There were three weeks to the contest – each week there would be a grand prize winner and two runner ups (then some participation prizes as well.  The grand prize for each week was a signed hockey jersey by Sidney Crosby, and being I am NOT a hockey fan in the least I’m actually relieved I did not win this (though I’m sure thousands of others would have) 

blacks app

The contest wrapped up and the winners were to be posted sometime after April 21st – so after that date I just kept checking now and then… checking now and then, checking, checking CHECKING.  I admit I was getting dismayed but just last weekend I looked and saw that the winners had been posted.  The first two weeks go by (and personally, I thought my best photos had been submitted in the first week, particularly the one of my friend Marie with her sweet alpaca friend Frosty…

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I mean who can resist something like THAT? 

Anyways, I kept putting pictures in until week three.  My photo library was getting a bit thin by this time but then it was an abstract theme so I put one in of a leaf texture taken when my Mr. and I visited a botanical gardens at the coast.  And that’s the one that secured a prize for me!

winning photo

When I first read my name there I somehow assumed I was qualified for one of the prizes of free prints – I told it to my Mr. when he came home that day.  He said it was nice.  Later, I got to thinking “I’m a RUNNER UP” and thought to recheck what I’d won and was way beyond delighted to find that I really won a Nikon d3000! 

I cannot say enough about the people and service at Black’s – they have been amazing in getting the camera here in time I will be able to enjoy it for summer photography!  Each person I phoned or emailed got back to me right away and got things rolling and I now have the camera unpacked and snapping photos.  I’m truly impressed. 

Now the funny thing is, and my Mr. made me assure him that I would blog this end of things – is that my good old Sammy the Samsung Pro 815 which I hauled around in my (suitcase of a) purse for 4 years finally suffered a dead flash.  Sure, I could have searched out an external flash and had the joy to put it on and remove it all the time but really that thing was HEAVY, battle worn and weary.  It still took wonderful pics but it was time for me to move on.  So, a few weeks ago we were at the coast and we were in Best Buy and we were… I was drooling over new cameras and trying to engage my Mr. in looking through them and vocalizing the wonders of the new features and batting my eyelashes and all that, but he was not falling for it.  And eventually, when I realized I had no hope of wearing him down I finally resigned myself to waiting (till my birthday in the fall at least, according to him)  It was just not in our summer budget. 

I was fine with it really.  I knew what he said was true.  But he kept apologising to me and assuring me I could use his nice camera in the meantime.  And I let it go in my heart.  I decided to be meek about it even though I knew I could have played it for a bit. 

So, imagine my surprise when less than a week later my dream comes true?  I’m still walking on cloud 9!  THANK YOU to all of you who actually went in and voted for me, I could not have won it without your support. 

And a post here would not be complete without some tatting, of course!  First thing I tatted was a pretty necklace and earrings for my sister in law.  I won’t do a preview here for I am sure she will post a photo or two on her blog and don’t want to spoil it for her! 

But I’ve been gleaning inspiration from Super-Tatter Krystle and I came up with a wonderful idea.  My Mr. approached me TWO DAYS before the graduation at the Learning Centre and asked me to make “a little something” for about six people so I put my thinker on and came up with the following, loosely based off of one of the pretty flower things on Krystle’s blog, but turning them into “Window Charms”

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These hang on invisible thread and have a metal ring at the top.  The beautiful crystals were salvaged from some cosmetic jewellery I bought at yard sales recently.   I’ll just bet Krystle can improve on these – have you SEEN her latest designs?

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And this is an anklet I designed and made using some more castoff jewellery given me by a friend recently – nice stone beads.  I like the natural colours and also the little metal things that “tinkle”    And I’ve got more ideas brewing all the time!

And also – HAPPY CANADA DAY!  Perhaps I’ll post some photos from the Canada Day parade tomorrow (using my nice new Nikon, of course!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Life in General & My First Tatting Pattern

Ah how the days slip by – like when we were children and something that would make one shudder now – hold mercury in your hand.  Before you could comprehend it was sitting in your hand it would shift and spill off, shattered into so many tiny bits you could never get it all back.  So much has happened since my last post – its set me back in my chair trying to comprehend it all.  And as my friend Gina once told me, only something like 10% ever gets blogged.  Well, without further ado, here is my 10%. 

E-and-D
D & E on a visit here 2008
(Click on photo to visit Cicero’s blog)

Firstly – Just three weeks ago my friend E. of Cicero Sings blog finds herself alone, losing her husband, best friend D. in an instant – taken by a massive heart attack.  He was only 60.  They were SO happy – the sort of couple who ooze completeness.  It just does not make sense.  I’ve been completely broken for E as I feel my Mr. and I are the same sort of happiness and I can’t fathom what it is like.  I won’t share any details – thats for E. to do, if you find time to visit her blog and leave a few words of comfort.  Three weeks and later, well thats when all the “things” are done and real life hits hard I am sure.  Perhaps some encouragement will be a balm for our sister as she walks this hard, hard road.  I am truly GLAD that E. is a believer and KNOWS that this, this difficult time was written, that one day she and D will meet in heaven when the Lord appoints her time to be there with him.  Its this in between time we need to be here for each other – help one another over the bumps in the road.

And the week before this I lost my lovely friend Eileen – she was 90 and had a full and long life, but it still stung.  Life downright smarts sometimes.

So, this has caused me to not blog a bit – I admit that every time I went to write something it all seemed so trivial in light of what my friend is suffering.  But time is moving on and if I don’t kick myself in the pants right now then I may leave this blog to fall into decay.  So, I’ve whipped up a little post to share. 

Its year end for the Learning Centre – which will now be known as youlearn.ca where my sweetie works.  It too is a bittersweet time watching the grads.  I am completely grateful that I am welcomed to help.  This year I assisted as we “gowned” the grads.  In speaking with them their stories were all so encouraging.  There was a range from ages 17 to into the 40’s.  Being as I graduated in my 40’s it recalled a turmoil and I’m afraid I was a bit weepy while helping. 

There was a funny moment when a secretary asked to borrow my iphone to call a grad who had not showed up.  Earlier in the day while we were setting up and decorating and had a couple of quiet moments I was showing her my iphone and all the apps and the power of it. One of the apps I showed her was the Yellow Pages app – how you can search the yellow pages from the palm of your hand, hit a number and make it call within seconds.  Well, it certainly turned out to be useful for the grad ceremony was held in the Mini Theatre and there is no phone there.  So the secretary, remembering that I had that app asked me (during the gowning, so LAST MINUTE) if we might look up this particular student’s phone number and call, which we did.  She got the grad on the phone and asked him what he was up to… he replied “Just sitting here watching tv.”  She then clued him in that it was grad (even though she said she had phoned, sent letters home etc for the previous weeks)  So, she said he better move it down the highway and bring his family for this milestone event.  He was in the neighbouring community  so he was there within 1/2 hour but at least he made it!  There are some useful apps on that there phone!

Also, you most likely might have seen there was a HUGE mudslide in our area just a week or so ago!  You can read more about this HERE – this is not far from where we are! How unfortunate for those affected – especially in light that authorities had been warned by a hiker just a few days before as he had seen the dam above was overflowing with all the recent rains. 

Ok, so those are just a few things that have been pulling at me – now I’ll dwell on something almost mindless – my tatting.  In between things I’ve continued to tat and have come up with my very first pattern all of my own and I’d like to share it!   You are welcome to use it and copy but I will ask you to credit me with the design if you republish please!  Its my own take on a dragonfly – I saw a few lovely patterns online but I wanted something a bit more delicate and yet sturdy in the body too.  I used Size 50 Mercer Crochet JP Coats thread.  I worked the wings in a different colour than the body.

I’ll walk you through with photos first – explaining as I go along, then will post the actual pattern (illustration")  I am not real sure how to write the pattern out like I see it in books yet but if anyone could do that for me I would put it all together with my illustrations and offer it as a pdf document later? 


Dragonfly 1
Tat the body first – it is seperate

Dragonfly 2
Body done – tying ends off to make bumps on the end of the “feelers”
Next, (step A) hook your shuttle tip through the second to top ring and draw it through. 
Pull shuttle through the loop and anchor for the first (bottom) wing.

Dragonfly 3
First wing done, repeat (step A) then anchor OPPOSITE side for bottom wing left side.

Dragonfly 6Dragonfly 5
Tat second wing.

 Dragonfly 8 Dragonfly 9
And third wing, then fourth. 

Dragonfly 10
All done!

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Each of the little lines on the tips of the wings are, of course, picots. 
Happy Tatting!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Tatting and Baking

My husband came home RAVING about a dish one of the students brought to the last luncheon held at the Learning Centre.  The luncheons are always a huge success and a wonderful opportunity to try new dishes because the students come from many different ethnic backgrounds.  In this case it was a Canadian gal who baked up a batch of Jamaican Patties, funnily enough.  At any rate, when my Mr. kept on about these (I was unable to attend) I decided to take an attempt at them myself.  Now, he DID bring the recipe home for me, however it went somewhere into the depths of my suitcase purse which is like a hole going into the bottom of the earth… So, I went to allrecipes.com and found THIS recipe and I was pleased how they turned out!  My Mr. gave them a 4 out of 5 star rating! 

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The dough has curry in it, giving a nice warm colour!

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Ground beef and bread crumb mixture.

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Put a tablespoon on dough cut from these guys.
Brush with egg.

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Bake in a moderate oven (I reduced mine to 350 f)

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Voila!

And I’ve also been busy thinking up new ideas with tatting.  Taking inspiration from Krystledawn, (Check out Krystle’s Etsy Shop for the most LOVELY items!!! )

I decided to take this plain rhinestone necklace I picked up at a yard sale a few weeks ago when my Mother in Law was visiting, and to embellish it with tatting and added a charm onto it. 


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Plain Black Rhinestone necklace

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Adding tatting around the stones – tricky!

black tatted necklace (3)
Finished! 

I then created a matching pair of earrings.
The “balls” came from a completely separate piece of costume jewellery.
The tatting really does add a “punch” to the rhinestones!

Ok, and I will even confess, I was so excited to wear this set that I put them on to wear  when my Mr. and I were going  to Penticton last night… only I wound up saving it for today.  I was hoping he would think it was nice I wore it during the time we were together.  As he reasoned with me, it was not so special wearing it to my yearly mammogram (yes daughters I listened to you!) and of course my Mr. is right haha.  I had not even thought about that.  Anyways, I will wear it out on a date with him today – a REAL date involving food and everything LOL!

And I’ve been experimenting with tatting small flowers (the reason I started tatting in the first place, for my sister Nina who makes beautiful cards – I wanted to make them for her cards) and so before popping some in an envelope to mail for her I photographed one and then created some pretty elements for YOU to use for your projects!  They measure about 3 inches (though the original flowers were about 1 inch in size)  These may be used in any way you wish, only I ask you credit me by linking to my blog and if you could let me know how you use them I’d love that too!  I desaturated one flower and kept it in psd format with the pearl separate so you can recolor the flower and then pop the pearl on top again. Click the preview to download.  Please DO NOT share the download link directly – please direct your friends to come here to get the link.  Thanks!


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