Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Something For Everybody

Here's the current state of Midsummer Night Designs Monkey Sampler: I tried taking the picture from a weird angle, you know to add interest to the shot? I think I really seriously need to read some books on photography because I so keep getting stuff wrong!

Here's one of the over 1 monkeys. How cute is he? The fabrics below are for this quilt-
Just Beachy Karen Stone:

I bought the pattern about 9 yrs ago. I decided to dig through the fabric bin and see if I had any that might work and I think this is a good start. I think I left one out, I had another light blue batik. The fabric to the far left really doesn't work at this time but I'm hoping to find a few fabrics to coordinate with it because I have a lot of it and I like it.

Remember this tree?

Yesterday we said good-bye to it thanks to our friend Steve who offered to take it down for us before it fell on a kid. Is he a good guy or what?

Steve was very patient with us when we asked dumb questions like, "If you have to chop it down from the back why are you notching it on the front?" The answer: So you can control where it falls and it doesn't hit the house. Good thing we didn't try to just figure it out ourselves or we're pretty sure we'd have a tree on our house and the oldest son would now have a skylight.

Yes it was one honkin' big pine tree.

The front yard sure looks empty now doesn't it? We're trying to decide what kind of tree to plant to replace it. Yes, our grass is dead. Two years of drought isn't a good thing for the grass. Our neighbors have been working hard to have a green yard and so far their's still looks a lot like ours. We tried grass seed and it's not growing. The fact our front yard is the neighborhood football field doesn't help.
Sue the Spousal Unit would love to live in No Cal. He's a huge Oakland Raiders fan. We've considered moving out there on several occaisions and then realize that five people living in a car might get kind of crowded! He's been out there several times for games and every time he gets home he starts planning a move.
Head over there and show her the love! Can't wait to get a copy of this.
And yes, Earth Day was a few days ago, but hey, Sheryl Crow has some interesting tips on how to save the earth. Can you spare a square? How about a dinner sleeve instead of a paper napkin or better yet, how about the snot sleeve for the cold season, who needs tissue? I'm not making this up, read it for yourself. I find it interesting she's all about saving the earth but her song is the music on a commercial for a car that I don't believe is a hybrid. I could be wrong about that, need to investigate. I love Sheryl Crow but seriously, one square of toilet paper? No way!

Monday, April 23, 2007


We have this honkin' huge dead tree in our yard. Hurricane Ivan killed him. Yes it needs to be taken down. When it falls it looks like it'll fall straight down and the spousal unit is quite excited about dragging out the chain saw and taking it out, but there's always a possibility it could fall on my neighbor's car or by some weird fluke fall on our house and since our address happens to be in the world of Weird Flukes, we decided someone with more knowledge than he or I needs to take this out. When I let the dogs out this morning I saw this vandalism to the back of the tree. Some neighbor kids must have had a great time while we gone yesterday beating the snot out of this tree. My kids believe it's going to fall at any given moment so the youngest one has better things to do than whack the tree.

Here's a picture of the kid made mulch beneath the tree. I'm so beyond mad about this.
In other news, this weekend I read the first book in a new series, Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur. I loved this book. I liked all the characters, I'm loving the werewolf/vampire story line. Can't wait to track down more books in this series. I found this one at the library and will have to look for the others at the bookstore.
Only a little bit of stitching was done this weekend but I will have an updated picture of The Monkey Sampler tomorrow. I've completed one of the over 1 monkeys. Too cute.

This next section of pictures is for my friend Val in England, for some reason I can't send pictures in email, it's easier to post them here. We've been discussing the housing market in our countries. I was whining because I couldn't buy the house below, it's next door to me, the owners are asking $220,000 and are willing to negotiate, it's 4/2 with the screened in porch(lanai or conservatory to Val) and pool. This is taken from way back in the backyard(garden). Grass is very dead--Val you read the ad, see any lush landscaping? The windows to the right are to the kitchen. The kitchen has a tiled floor.

This is the view of the pool from right outside the screened porch.

This is the porch taken through the screen. This floor is also tiled and the French door there goes into the living room. All this porch needs, other than some comfy furniture, is a ceiling fan. I would never leave this porch.

On a positive note I can't imagine the owners selling this house for their asking price(especially since I know about the leak in the hallway that hasn't been repaired, that it needs new carpeting all through the house and various other nitpicky things) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they might think a 100% profit is being just a little greedy and might take a little less for it. Especially when you can buy a new house in any neighborhood around here for around the same price maybe a little more but it's a new house as opposed to a 12 yr old house.
Val--the home up the road from me is also for sale, it's 3/2 and has some serious lush landscaping, I think the owners put in $10,000 worth of palm trees and stuff this winter, not to mention they told a friend of mine they had $20,000 worth of renovations done to the kitchen and they were asking $240,000 and have come down to $219,000. Those people absolutely loved their house and their yard. It's also all brick and the house above is a mix of brick and siding.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

With This You Get

You get egg rolls.

Step one: the filling--I adapted a recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen--the original Moosewood Cookbook.

Here's the beginning of the envelope roll:

Hard to take a picture and keep the egg roll together:

Here they are all nice and fried up:

And plated with some shrimp fried rice:

What inspired me to make my own egg rolls? This post Posie Gets Cozy: keeping her in eggrolls.
What changes did I make to the original Moosewood recipe? I added some shrimp so they weren't vegetarian. I used soy sauce instead of tamari. I subbed shredded carrots for celery and used canned bean sprouts because I couldn't find fresh and I left out the dried mushrooms because I couldn't find them. These weren't bad. I should have rolled them tighter. I thought I did, next time I will definitely make sure the corners are tucked in extra good.

And since this is a stitching blog and not a cooking blog here's my progress on Midsummer Night Designs, Monkey Sampler.

If you all haven't checked out Kiwi Jo's patchwork bags, head on over there and be ready to be awed. My sewing skills are limited at best but I have to make me one of these. Very cool, Jo.
Check out Jan's latest post, Be*mused. I love the paragraph about preparing yourself for sewing. Uh, nope not around here. Knock on my door, prepare to be frightened when I open it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Weekend Stuff

Here's today's progress pic of CHS Strawberry Blonde. As you can see I still have not completed the large tomatoesque strawberry. Close but not there yet.

I'm trying to understand why some people can take pictures of coffee cups and they look like art and my still lifes(lives?) come out just looking dumb. Not one to be afraid of humiliating herself, I give you "Strawberry Blonde with Strawberries".

Yes, you are correct in assuming the table needs to be painted. The spousal unit does not understand the concept of putting down newspapers before painting anything. You think this is bad? Don't even ask about the kitchen table. I'm just glad there are such things as tablecloths in the world because, our naked dining table, there are no words to describe how ugly it is!

Current picture of the Vintage Vertical Stripe Crocheted Blanket Pattern above, the four or five rows to the right are the most recent additions. Once again, attempting the artsy still life, I present, "Strawberries on Top of Vintage Striped Blanket".

I've managed to finish a couple of books over the last week:
I started Kingdoms: A Love Story, Mary Jane Salk and also started

Been doing some cooking, trying a few new recipes. One night we had Ree's

Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich for dinner. It was a hit with the family, with the exception of the 11 yr old. He won't eat anything that isn't spaghetti or pizza or a chicken nugget. The sandwich is great, requests were made to add it to the dinner rotation.
Last night I made Shrimp Fried Rice, Egg Foo Young, and used Meari's Musings. General Tso's Chicken recipe. When you click on the link scroll down for Meari's Recipe. It was good. I didn't have any rice wine vinegar and just used rice vinegar. I think the sauce would have been a little bit sweeter had I been able to find the rice wine vinegar. I also went a little overboard with the soy sauce. I added a little more than the recipe called for by accident. You know you're pouring the soy sauce into the measuring spoon and it kind of overflows into the bowl because you aren't paying attention? So my sauce was a teeny tiny bit saltier than it probably was supposed to have been.
Hopefully the weekend will be quiet and uneventful. Those are my favorite kind.
Jane has a nice post on a room of one's own, read it here: yarnstorm: a room of one's own
I'm looking forward to her book.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter In Florida

Or instead of waiting on the Easter Bunny, why we were awaiting the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

Those of you farther north of us may recognise these icy particles on top of the car. When we saw this we had an urge to jump in the car and stock up on bread, milk, and toilet paper. Instead of chocolate Easter Bunnies there was an urge to make hot chocolate, snow ice cream. Very disturbing as we are three miles from the Gulf of Mexico, this isn't supposed to happen. We collected ourselves, determined that the bridges were not going to freeze and we were just being freaks, then we look out the back door and see this collecting on the chair cushion:

It's April, it's 40 degrees, it's the Florida Panhandle, Florida's Emerald Coast, there is nothing right about this picture at all. The global warming theory, consider me a believer. The people at Winn Dixie referred to it as hail-yes we went to the grocery, OK?
No I Was NOT Drunk

While stitching Abbey Lane's California Wine Sampler. Here's a finished picture:

Hmmm, something isn't right. There's something missing. What could it be? X, Y and Z.

Doh! Forgot that pesky Y? How'd that happen?

Y is in, it's all good, or is it? NO, the X is a thread off at the top right. Doh! Again. Maybe I shouldn't focus so much on Pacey and pay more attention to what I'm doing!

X is frogged, can I now get this done for cryin' outloud?

YES! We have an X, we have a Y. Everything lines up, or does it? I will never tell. Just as I now believe in Global Warming, I also believe in the Amish mistake. There is one in this piece. If you look real close you might be able to find it. Me, I'm going for a glass of wine and some quality Pacey time.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my dye job. Comments are always appreciated around here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


This post comes with a disclaimer at the beginning, I absolutely do not know anything about fabric dyeing. I don't know anything about the preservation of fabric for future generations. For this project I absolutely do not care about any of that. I did this to see what would happen. I did this because I couldn't get to my LNS to purchase a really cool piece of fabric so I used basic, inexpensive 28ct white Monaco. This is fun for me, this is not about creating an heirloom, it's playing around. So please don' t feel the need to educate me about fabrics, the dangers of dyes and why this piece won't last 100 years. I DON'T CARE. Now with that out of the way--let me state please don't try this on anything you really would like to pass down to the heirs OK? Before dyeing your own fabric for an heirloom project do some research.

The picture above is Blackbird Designs First Offerings. It's a complimentary design from 2002. You can't tell but the fabric is white, it looks kind of blue on my monitor so I'm not sure what you might be seeing but it's white. 28ct white Monaco by Charles Craft to be exact. The thread is DMC 310. I decided early on to coffee stain this piece.

Here it is crammed in a small bowl. I was hoping to create some puddles in the folds to make the fabric blotchy.

Since I'm not a fabric dyeing expert, I was disappointed. It just looks light brown. Which is fine but I wanted an old, been in a leaky attic kind of effect.

I pull out a bottle of RIT Dye in Tan. I open it, pour drops, ok a bit of a puddle, directly on to the fabric. I then smoosh it in to the fabric, smearing it, spreading the dye around, decided I needed a little more, poured more on, shook it out, did a little more smooshing....

And this is the finished project. It's still a little damp and I didn't rinse it because I really love the way it looks and I didn't want to wash out any of my wonderful blotches.
The sky would not cooperate while I was taking pictures, cloudy, not cloudy, no consistency, but the beginning fabric was white, we all know white right? The finished product is above and the colors are pretty accurate.

Over the last week I read a few books:
At Home with Kate by Eileen Considine-Meara
Nice quick read by the daughter of Katherine Hepburns former maid. Sweet look into her private life.
Bare Bones and Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
Both good, quick reads. I'm kind of over everyone doing the DaVinci Code knock off books, but Cross Bones wasn't bad.
The Last Jihad by ________ Rosenberg. I can't remember his first name.
This book could have been edited down by a 100 pages and read like, how to put this? There was a lot of product placement going on or so I felt. You know I don't mind knowing that someone ate at Burger King or sipped on some Constant Comment tea but for some reason I felt, I don't know, like I was reading a very long commercial. I did finish it, the story wasn't bad.
In the World of Blog
Recently while catching up on some blogs I started reading about some nastiness going on in the cross stitch blogworld-I don't know exactly what happened. I do know that it's a shame. It's so high school and you know people really need to get over themselves and be good to each other. For bloggers who may decide to stop blogging, please don't. I realize this nastiness leaves a bad taste in your mouth and seriously why put yourself out there if some people are going to try to tear you down? You know why? Because in general the cross stitch blogging community is a pretty happy place. I find so much inspiration from all of you. Don't let the bullies win. Keep stitching, keep taking pictures and for those of you who stitch an amazing amount of projects so fast, you know you start the piece when the chart comes out and finish it in a week? I think you are fabulous! Keep stitching and please keep writing about it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Finding My Way Back

To the part of my life devoted to my passion for the X. Not a lot of stitching has been accomplished lately. I've been so overwhelmed with all the projects I'd love to start, all the ones I have started that I want to complete, that the thought of picking up a needle and making virtually no progress made my stomach hurt. Maybe I take this a little to seriously? My mojo is back and I have been working on the little BBD freebie, no picture today, the sky looks pretty stormy so I'll tempt you with the following:

Mermaid's Folly by Courtney Glau.

Next is Adam & Eve-Permin .
I saw this stitched in red and now I'm obsessing over it.

Another obsession is thanks to Carol, check the Garden of Stitches link in the sidebar, she mentioned a new Long Dog, St. Reatham-longdog-/LD32.jpg on her blog. MUST STITCH THIS! Check out her and Kiwi Jo's progress on Paradigm Lost too. I really want to be their BFF. They both manage to get so much stitching accomplished, always gorgeous projects.

The Home Front

Sick and tired of my usual lasagna, I gave Pioneer Woman's Best Lasagna. Ever. a try. Below you can see my sauce simmering. Excuse the ugly pot, the good one was boiling noodles.

Here's the lasagne before baking:

And here's the first slice-no I will never win an award for food presentation. Top Chef participants need not fear me. It was plate licking good and that is what's important. The family said this was way better than the usual crap I serve. So that's a four star rating! Hard to get around here.

The youngest DS looked out the back door yesterday afternoon and said, "Mom, look how green the backyard is!" So I snapped the two shots below:

These trees were glowing around all the dead leaves.

Warning for Pink Monkeys:
If you are anywhere near our house, you must die. Trust me it's better than a live kitten!