Thursday, November 29, 2007

For Lack of Anything Better to Do/Say

I saw this on Rian's blog and thought I'd give it a go.

1. How old I will be on my next birthday:

2. A place I'd like to visit:
Not sure why, but I've always wanted to visit Austria - in the summer, of course!

3. One of my favourite places to visit:
Antigua - love the beaches, the people, the SUNSHINE.

4. My favourite object:

5. My favourite food:

Lobster - preferably the tails - makes me wish I lived closer to the east coast.

6. My favourite animal:

What a silly question - Ben, of course, but I love all animals.

7. My favourite colour: Blue - and if they are blue shoes - so much the better!

8. Where I live:

On the shore of Lake Ontario.

9. My middle name: Strangely enough, I couldn't find a picture of my name in English, but did manage to find it in Japanese - it's Margaret.

10. A bad habit of mine: What can I say - I'm addicted.

11. My college major: While I vaguely remember taking other subjects, the only thing I really remember learning is how to play euchre.

12. My favourite holiday: I don't really have a favourite holiday - it's certainly not Christmas, so I just picked Easter.

Well, that managed to waste over an hour......

Sandra just called and told me Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy are re-runs. That has ruined my whole evening - it doesn't take much!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Counting Down the Days

It's getting near that time of year again. I'm not a big fan of Christmas as I really think you need little ones around to bring back the sense of wonder to the season. Since my 'little ones' are in their middle and late 20s and with no hope of grandchildren in sight, I have to make the best with what I have. Sandra still has a lot of kid in her as is exhibited by her penguin fettish. Her apartment is full of penguins in all shapes and sizes - glass penguins, ceramic penguins, crystal penguins - you get the picture. So when I saw this Advent Calendar, I just knew I had to make it for her.

The inside section was a panel and I bordered it with some matching penguin fabric. I actually made this earlier in the year which in itself is a miracle, but true to form, when I went to fill the pockets yesterday I realized I'd forgotten to make a label. You can see in the close-up that I actually USED one of the hundreds of decorative stitches on my machine. I was quite proud of that!
I've had fun for the past several months collecting small things to put in all the pockets - a lot of them penguin related. With all the penguin movies in the last couple of years, penguin items are a lot more plentiful than they used to be. Of course, Sandra would be the first to tell you that she has loved penguins long before the current craze.

She got engaged this summer and her darling husband to be arranged the most special engagement ever. They visited the Penguin Connection at the Aviary in Pittsburg where you get to interact with the penguins and they draw a picture for you. Darren arranged for a private session and this is Elivs, an African penguin drawing their picture.

While the painting was drying, they had the opportunity to play with the penguins and one jumped into Sandra's lap which just thrilled her.

Then they went back to retrieve their 'foot' painted picture and Sandra was greeted by this sign alongside Darren, on bended knee, asking for her hand in marriage.

I wish them all the happiness in the world!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Adding Some Bling

I saw a lot of denim jackets in Vegas that were embellished with crystals - some were really gaudy but some were very nice. This got my wheels turning......I already have a hot fix crystal applicator and lots of crystals - I have a denim jacket.....all I need is some imagination and I too can have an embellished jacket.

I've been trying to pluck up the nerve for quite some time to embroider on my jean jacket, so maybe this could be a stepping stone. No guts, no glory - right?

Ben is very happy to have us home. I think a layer of skin has been licked off my face - who needs a facial or exfoliation when you have a dog! He was very well taken care of in our absence by our future son in law and I know he enjoyed all the attention Darren gave him.

As you can see from this, his back is a lot better!

I'm having trouble getting motivated after our trip but I better get out of my lethargy or that C word will be here before I know it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Where was I....

We got home last night and went from a sunny 77 degrees to a freezing 25 with a light dusting of snow. We had a great time but it's nice to be home and breathing smoke free air again. The smoking really got to me in Vegas and I don't see how they can call it a family destination until they change some of their smoking laws. Even non-smoking designated places aren't enforced so there is smoke everywhere. (Stepping down from soapbox now.)

This is one of the windows of Dolce & Gabbana which really took my fancy. All the flowers were real and I found it really eye catching.

I'm writing my letter to Santa today asking for a new pair of legs for Christmas. With all the walking we did I really think I deserve new ones that are arthritis free! We walked from The Mirage to Mandalay Bay which according to Mapquest is 1.98 miles, but that doesn't take into account all the casinos you have to walk through to get there or all the up/down escalators and skywalks. We took a cab back which brings me to another rant - don't you think you should have to be able to speak and understand English if you are a cab driver in an English speaking country? Since Sandra doesn't like my references to motion sickness - let's just say the cab ride wasn't very pleasant and leave it at that! I went in here at Mandalay Place and paid an outrageous amount for a Vegas toy for Ben. I had promised him we'd bring him back something special, so what was I to do? Ben only likes toys that squeak or make a noise. If it doesn't, he bites it all over trying to find 'the spot' and if nothing happens, he looks at you like you've given him a defective toy.

This was one of the table decorations in Mandalay Bay - yes, they are all real and just outstanding. I'm beginning to figure out why my stash is full of florals....

This is behind the front desk at Bellagio - I don't remember seeing this before, so I assume they change it seasonally. At least it gives you something nice to look at while lining up to check in.

The name says it all - it's all about the shoes!

While we didn't get to see Elton - at least I did get to see a pair of his shoes!

We did see The Phantom of the Opera and it was very well done. I've seen this at least half a dozen times before when it was in Toronto, but it's one of Leo's favourites so once in a while I have to let him do what he wants - after all, he very patiently stood by while I took pictures of all the amazing shoes! Of all the Phantoms I've seen though, I still think Colm Wilkinson is the best!

I can hear the laundry calling my name so I guess this means I'm back to reality.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Not Sure What Day it Is...

As promised, here is a picture of the inside of the Dome at the Mirage complete with beautiful orchids everywhere.

I also snapped a picture of one of the Christmas arrangements - they all contain dozens of red roses and any wilted blooms are replaced every morning.

We walked the strip yesterday logging at least another 50 miles thereby negating the calories of anything I ate. There are a lot of changes since the last time we were here - 2001 - most notably Caesar's Palace - I swear we walked 20 of the 50 miles in there just trying to find our way out.

We look a gondola ride at the Venetian (wasn't that romantic!) and I also managed to fit in a bit of shopping.

We made it to The Fashion Mall this morning which was a small miracle in itself considering how much Leo likes to shop. I thought their Christmas decorations were worthy of a couple of pictures.

A couple of observations - they have figured out a way of not allowing you to use the fridge in your room to cool beverages other than from the mini bar. In very tiny print at the bottom of the mini bar price list is a notice telling you that it is operated by sensors so if you move anything, you will see it on your bill. So, you can pay $3.75 for a Diet Coke from the mini bar or $2,75 for a bottle from the store downstairs. Either way you are being ripped off.

We noticed the busiest slots are the 1 and 2 cent machines. These are also new since our last trip but I'm quite happy to put my $5 in and play for ages - at least it takes longer to lose your money.

I hope somebody is reading this as it takes forever to rearrange these pictures - there must be an easier way than how I'm doing it, but I'll figure that out another day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vegas Day 1

This is our view from The Mirage - Trump's tower is on the left, TI is in the middle (it used to be Treasure Island, but they now call it TI - maybe they think that sounds more hip - beats me) Wynn and the Venetian on the right. The dome houses an incredible jungle complete with orchids, waterfalls and other tropical foliage (pictures of them later).

We saw Cirque du Soleil's LOVE last night which was their interpretation of the life, times and music of the Beatles. It was outstanding! We've seen O and a couple of other Cirque shows, and I always thought it would take a lot to beat O - this did. The artistry, imagination and talent of these young performers is unbelievable.

I think if I lived here for a month I would become thin. I probably logged 10 miles today and didn't leave the hotel.

Now for the food - neither one of us was up for dinner tonight after our long flight, so we went to a place called the Carnegie Deli. I have never seen such portions in my life - and I'm not exaggerating. I ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup which was good but not worthy of a picture. Leo wasn't very adventurous either but the couple at the table beside us helped me out with blog fodder. He ordered a BLT which could just as easily be called a heart attack waiting to happen. There must have easily been a pound of bacon on his sandwich. His wife was so appalled when it came, she took a picture, and never being one to be left out, I asked if she would mind if I took one too. This is just half the sandwich and we wonder why as a society we are getting bigger. Carnegie Deli might hold the answer.

I wouldn't want to ruin your day and have that be your lasting image, so here are some beautiful blown glass flowers that I suspect are done by the same artist that did the ceiling in the lobby of Bellagio - I'm sorry, his name escapes me and I'm too lazy to look it up. There was also a beautiful ceiling inside the Baccarat Lounge, but since I don't play Baccarat, I didn't think they would appreciate me going in just for a photo op.

We're off to explore the sights...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Happens in Vegas....Stays in Vegas...Except

What I decide to blog about - and we all know I have a big mouth!

We're leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow for Las Vegas. I hate flying (and yes, Dorothy hate is a strong word, but I hate it). I'm just not a good traveller. I have suffered from motion sickness all my life - I can't even be a passenger in a car - I have to drive. This affliction has had a huge impact on our vacation plans. I'm always concerned about how far a resort is from the airport - whether or not the roads are straight or curvy. It is not only embarrassing but it rules me to a large extent.

It's not quite as bad when I travel with Leo as I can medicate myself into oblivion and rely on him to take care of me, but when I travel by myself I usually have to be capable of driving at my destination, therefore Gravol isn't an option.

I remember when I was a child (back in the dark ages) and flights to Britain took approximately 12 hours. My poor Mum would sit with a bag in front of me for 90% of the flight. Yes, I think I've thrown up on just about every mode of transportation available.

Well, enough about that - we've got tickets for shows and Leo has every meal planned - did I tell you Leo loves to eat? Sandra once said to me if we went to the moon and came back, the first thing Daddy would ask is what did we have to eat!!!! She was right.

Tomorrow night I hope to be standing in front of those fountains at Bellagio - they are one of my favourite attractions!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dog Cabin - The Quilt from Hell

I started this quilt over a year ago to donate to our local Humane Society. The top went together beautifully even if it did take me forever to make those paws around the border.

The problems all started when I began to quilt it. I purchased a cute panto Puppy Playground and away I went. I think my first mistake was my choice of thread colour. I went with a red, but to me it just looked like someone had scribbled all over the dog block - you couldn't really read the writing. Of course, I did a couple of passes before I decided I couldn't live with it and started to rip it out. You can imagine how long that took me......

Not to be beaten, I then decided I would just stitch in the ditch around the logs and stipple around the dogs. Well......while I'm happily stitching away on the front, the tension demons are busy on the back and what a mess it was. I decided I WAS beaten and I was ready to throw the whole thing out.

In steps my Mum who offered to rip out my latest effort. She had it done in days (of course she did, the tension was so off you just looked at it and it came out). I told her I didn't want to see it again for a good long while as I was sick to death of it. Now my Mum, who is 85, and has trouble remembering a great deal of things, has never forgotten that top and asks me at least once a week when I'm going to finish that flipping quilt!

I hauled it out the other day to ease my guilt, and it needs some reinforcing before I can load it on the longarm again. All the outside seams are coming apart with all the frogging that has been done to it so I've started to tackle that. I'm not promising the Humane Society will get it this Christmas, but at least it's 'in my face' again so I can't ignore it any longer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Longarm Retreat in the Woods

Last month I attended a longarm retreat held by Deloa Jones in a beautiful facility tucked into the woods in Mansfield, Ohio. We saw wild turkeys outside those beautiful windows every day. Along with Deloa, Jamie Wallen, Jodi Robinson and Sue Patten taught classes. I learned so much but I have still to find the time to practice everything I learned.

One of the hits of the retreat were Deloa's 'chickens'. As the story goes, she looked at one of Jamie's feathers, saw a chicken and took it from there. At the end of the retreat, somebody cut all Deloa's chickens off the frame and I was lucky enough to win one.

Deloa's 'Chicken Quilt' was spectacular as was so much of the Show & Tell.

This is a satin sampler quilt Jodi did to demonstrate her "Quilt to Fill Method".

This is another of Jodi's pieces that was absolutely stunning.

The teachers and campers were so willing to share their time, knowledge and expertise with us all. I wish I was back there right now......

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sign of Our Times

I use MSN as my home page and when I just opened it, one of the main headlines read "How to date while pregnant". Boy, times sure have changed or maybe my age is just showing.

I've accomplished a whole lot of nothing on the quilt front this week. The Jewel Box is still partially assembled on my design wall and is crying out to be finished. Maybe this weekend.......

My week has been consumed with medical appointments (another sign of age, I'm sure) and this thing I do called 'work' in order to support my quilting addiction and a few other addictions, like shoes and handbags and - well, you get the jist.

Speaking of shoes - aren't these just the cutest ever!