More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dominican Experience 2011 - Day One, Feb 18

After last year's Dominican Experience wrapped up I started the process all over again to take another group of grade 11 & 12 students on the experience again this school year.  It was a lot of work, and I've pretty much been at this for two years now.  I must say I was glad the day was finally here!

I was up bright and early on Friday to be at the airport by 6:45am.  The night before one of my biggest fears started to materialize, I was getting a sore throat!  Luckily there was a 24 hour drug store near the airport so I ran in and picked up 2 packs of 24 hour cough and flu medication and 2 bags of Hall's so that I could "be prepared" if I really was getting a cold!

We got lined up with many other travellers and check-in for myself, 2 other adults, and 10 students went smoothly.  WestJet was fantastic, and let all of our 20 slightly overweight hockey bags full of donations slip through without extra charges or re-shuffling.  Security also went smoothly, I had to go through one of those new finagled body scanners.  I don't see what the big deal is about the body scanners, I'd rather go through the inconvenience of a body scan and know that my trip is one more step to being hopefully safer.

As the "sun" came up it was proving that it was going to be yet another dreary day in Ottawa, I was so glad to be leaving the cold, snow, and dreary, dark days behind!  We weren't the only school group on the plane from Ottawa to Toronto, there was another group from my board heading to the D.R. to take part in a different experience program.  I felt sorry for the other passengers, but the kids were pretty darned good.

We flew into Toronto to switch planes to head to the D.R.  There we were joined up by a third school group who were heading down to take part in the same program we were participating in.  The program is run so well that the only time we bumped into the other group was our day at the beach and then we didn't even interact.

A ice bound lake from the air

First sight of the D.R.

As soon as we landed in La Romana, Dominican Republic a cheer went up in the plane!  We were all so happy to finally be there after the year long journey to get to this point.  The kids were all so excited.  Leaving the airport we did have a slight snag with customs when I told them we had some aspirin that we would be leaving behind as a donation, I now know if I go back again, won't be admitting that.  Or at least I should get in touch with the Embassy to find out what's the best way to go about braining donations into the country.

As I stepped out of the airport I was warmly greeted by Mioced!  She was one of our guides last year, it was so good to see her.  I also got to see Beto another guide from last year and Wally who was our bus driver.  I was a little sad to find out we had a completely new team this year, but I very quickly became fond of them!  This year's guides were :

Patricia - I met her last year as she was/is my host Mother's sister, she had a baby shortly after we left last year

Pedro - So full of life!

Ray - the senior guide, and quite serious

For the first few days our driver was Yumbo, we loaded all our bags and ourselves onto his bus and we started the hour long-ish drive into San Pedro de Macoris.  Just like last year, the music and dancing started on the bus.  The Dominicans have such a joy for life!  Its contagious.  Due to the luggage and all the people on the bus, I had to sit up front this year.  At first it made me feel a little left out of all the "action" going on in the back.  However, it gave me a little "me" time after travelling with the kids all day and I realized I was so truly happy to be back in the D.R.  How much I missed the country, the people.  This time there was no sense of culture shock, no sense of doubt but a sense of welcome and belonging.

The traffic is a little... different (crazy) down there!

A sprinkling of rain on the drive

Once we arrived in our Barrio "neighbourhood" we were greeted by Dora who coordinates the families and kids in the barrio.  Soon musical instruments were pulled out and we were treated to Dominican music and dance.

Pedro getting ready to play the drum.

Domincan Dancers in traditional dress

After the dancers, we were all paired off with our Dominican families for the week.  It just amazes me how week after week these special families welcome us into their homes and truly make us part of their families.  They make sure we eat properly every day, get clean water, and not once have we heard a complaint!  I stayed with the same family as I did last year, which was re-assuring.  When I got to my new home for the week I was soon served a fantastic dinner and had a little time to relax.

In the evening we met up again on the roof top of one of the homes in the area for a brief meeting to review the rules (when is there not rules?) what was expected of us during the next day's visit to NPH (the orphanage Nuestos Pequenos Hermanos).

It was a great day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm Back!

Hi Everyone!

I arrived back in Canada at midnight, technically today from my Dominican Experience.  I've got so much to catch up on and lots of photos to go through.  So, it'll be a little while before I have the time to share this year's trip with you, but it will come.

Anyhow, here I am stitching in the La Romana airport yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PhotoHunt - February 12, 2011

I haven't really had the time to pick up my stitching, I'm getting everything ready to hop on a plane Friday morning!

So here's another PhotoHunt!  The theme on February 12th was "Education"
I work in Education so it wasn't hard to find something.  Here's a resource teacher hard at work prepping work for his students.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PhotoHunt - February 5, 2011

Once again I'm behind in my PhotoHunts, what's new?

So the PhotoHunt topic was "Fashion" does this photo not scream fashion... and fun!

Happy Valentines Day

I hope everyone managed to mark the day in some way and have a nice Valentine's Day.  A few weeks ago Todd asked me about what I wanted to do for Valentine's Day this year, I think he was covering his behind because in quite a few years he's just dropped the ball.  I'm sure many of you out there have had years like that.
So I thought about it for a moment, and realized how busy and crazy my life was going to be this week and I told him quite simply I would just like for you to acknowledge the day.  I knew there would be no time to go out for dinner as I had a Taekwon-Do seminar to be at this past Saturday and tonight, I was teaching the whole night at Taekwon-Do.  Also I'm heading back to the Dominican Republic on Friday for a week.  For those who aren't long-time readers of mine, last year in March I went to the DR with 10 students from the school I work at for a Third World Experience.  If I've peaked your interest go back in my archives to March of 2010 and read/see all about it.  I'll be sure to have a full report for you in the weeks following the trip (its a lot of work!).  Then, three weeks following this trip I'll be boarding a plane again this time to visit with Kathy in SW Arizona.

Back to Valentine's Day, Todd did pull through this year and when I came home Saturday evening he had a lovely bouquet of flowers and a card waiting for me.  I returned the favour with a card and his favourite box of chocolates (Ferrero Rocher).  It was nice, it was simple, it was perfect for this very busy time.

This will probably be my last stitching update for at least a week and a half maybe two so enjoy!  I was reading another blog and the writer mentioned she loved seeing previous and current progress pictures so I'm going to do the same for you, let me know what you think.

The Accolade - Before

The Accolade  - Today

Enchantment of Winter - Before

Enchantment of Winter - Today

Monday, February 14, 2011

Taking Care of Number One

Sometimes we just have to put ourselves first, its a really hard thing to do, especially if you have a family to take care of (which I don't but I still spread myself thin sometimes).

As many of you know I've been down in the dumps lately, its probably winter, and a little bit of myself feeling sorry for myself.

One of the things I was going to work on this past week was something for myself, and I did! Back in November I got my hair cut by a new hairdresser and well I hated it... really, I did. I pretty much have had my hair pulled back since then. I finally bit the bullet, picked up the phone and called my hairdresser got an appointment for this week. Why did I not see her in the first place back in the fall? Well her salon is downtown and I live outside of the city so its a considerable drive to go see her. But I sucked it up, drove downtown and circled the block to find some parking!

A different kind of WIP

I really splurged and got my eyebrows waxed (something I normally do but kept putting off), my hair highlighted and cut. I was there for HOURS!

I'm very happy with the results! Why do I do this every few years go and try someone else when I know Azra is the only one who can cut my hair just right!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thank You Kathy!

Mysteriously lately my circle of stitching friends have been receiving scissors in the mail!  Kathy did tell me recently that a little parcel was heading my way!

Earlier this week I received a new pair of fun scissors!  Thank you so much Kathy!  Just a few short weeks until I see you and I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

February Ornament

This is just a quick drive by posting... I really should be going to bed!  My stitching group was cancelled tonight because there was no heat in the church and well its too cold to do without!  My hair wasn't completely dry when I left the gym and in the short walk to the car my wet hair was frozen!  Not as cold as it has been, but cold enough.  Now I did take advantage of the evening and when I got home I stitched my little heart out!

I was lucky enough to get the last backstitches and beads into my ornament and happy danced tonight!

Byzantine Ornament #3
cTeresa Wentzler
Stitched on 32ct Antique White Lugana
Stitched with DMC, Kreink Cord and Mill Hill Beads

I then put quite a bit of work into The Accolade, I actually did 3 10x10 blocks tonight, making up for those last days where I ignored everything except Art Deco Spirits.  After that I pulled out Enchantment of Winter and quite enjoyed putting some stitches into that tonight!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

February Stitching Goals

Well, we're almost a week into February, so its about time I figured out my stitching goals for this month and review what I wanted to get done in January.

January Stitching Goals

Work on Art Deco Spirits - Lots and lots!
Work on The Accolade - Almost daily!
Stitch 1 Ornament - Stitched a bunch of snowflakes!

February Stitching Goals
Finish Art Deco Spirits
Work on The Accolade
Work on Enchantment of Winter
Stitch 1 Ornament
Stitch Petit Chat

In the end I have to say that January was VERY productive for me stitching wise, I'm not expecting February to be as productive as life is getting busy!

How about a PhotoHunt?  I'm getting behind again!  This is the PhotoHunt from January 29th the theme was "standing"

This is my friend Lynn's cat, Clariesse.  She will stand up and beg for a treat!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

First Big Happy Dance of 2011!!! & TUSAL

Yes, I know, I know I've been silent for days and days haven't I?  I've been quiet for two reasons, first of all I've been furiously stitching and second, I've been feeling meh again and haven't felt like doing anything!  Getting out of bed in the morning has been very difficult, I've had to really make myself go to work, I've not been motivated to exercise, and I have to admit I don't want to go anywhere lately.

Art Deco Spirits
c1996 Nora Corbett - Mirabilia
Stitched on 32ct Jazlyn with DMC, Kreinik #4, Rainbow Galleries Pettite Treasure Braid

I started Art Deco Spirits on January 1st of 2009 as a part of a Stitch-A-Long with my friends Kathy, Beatrice, and Christin.  Kathy and Beatrice were great to get their Mirabilias done that year, Christin and I ... well we took a little longer.  Other projects just kept grabbing my attention.  In 2010 instead of joining my friends in a New Year's Day start/SAL I decided it was the year I would start getting projects out of my stitching basket!  Art Deco Spirits was one of the projects that had been left unloved in my basket for far too long (but not as long as other projects).

Last year after finishing Celestial Dragon, it was Art Deco's turn to come out and play!  I have been plugging away at this beauty for some months now and I'm proud to say "Its Done!"

People are surprised to find out that  yes, this piece is a Miriabilia an early one, number 19 to be exact.  I bought the chart during my first trip to the Creativ Festival in Toronto back in 2001 where I saw it on display as a model.  It took far too many years to come to the top of the must stitch pile and I spent far too long working ignoring it once started.  Despite all the metallics it was a joy to stitch!

I am so happy with this piece.

I did make some slight changes with the metallic threads.  The model which is stitched on 32ct is stitched with #8 braid.  Right away, I changed that to #4 braid.  Also the gold metallic is supposed to be DMC 284Z which is the worst stuff on earth!  I used Rainbow Galleries Pettite Treasure Braid PB01 instead, lovely to work with.

So what's next on the horizon you may ask?  I have a bunch of quilt blocks to stitch up, for a quilt my dear friend Marie-Paule is helping me with.  She had this completed back in August and I fell in love with it!  Marie-Paule offered to hook me up to copy what she created.  I've also got some stitching friends lined up to help me out.  These will also be my travel stitching in two weeks when I head down to the Dominican Republic on a third world experience for one week.  There is also my upcoming March Break trip to Arizona, I'll be travelling and sitting in airports for 11-12 hours there and back, lots of stitching time!!!

My Focus project is going to be Enchantment Of Winter by Dimples Designs (Terrance Nolan), which I made a small start on in the fall.  This piece is going to be a challenge for sure!  I'm stitching it on the recommended 32ct linen and the whole center of the design is stitched over one!  My friend Ann, owner of Knowledge and Needles sells these great LED light/magnifiers and I'll be buying one soon for sure!  This piece will be a labour of love for sure!

Of course I'm going to continue my 10x10 daily blocks on the Accolade, which I'm ashamed to say I haven't touched since I could see Art Deco's finish line so close!

Thursday was the New Moon so time for the TUSAL!  Here is my jar looking quite prettyful filled with lots of threads from Art Deco Spirits.  I love watching the layers of my projects develop.  Now the colours will change to purple and gold as I work on Enchantment!