Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random Wednesday

Should really title this baking Wednesday but there ya go:

Homemade bagels above
Homemade bagel loving on the cream cheese.

Pita dough balls

Flattened pita patty

Baked pita pocket, only about half actually became pocketed but that's ok. They were might tasty.

Your action shot for the day a butterfly sharing the love with my pot of vincas. I should have had the camera on the sports setting and I would have gotten a better picture, maybe, but since I'm behind the lense that is very debatable.
I have unfinished summer blog stuff and hope to catch up tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting the Crafty Mojo

So I've been on blog silence for the better part of the summer, not a lot to say, not a lot to write about, and all kinds of self indulgent stuff going on but now, I'm back in my creative zone, I think.

I've been dreaming about all kinds of things crafty and I use the term crafty to mean things made with needles or hooks, not necessarily glue or stickers or paper, not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm more of a needle girl than a glue girl. You would be correct in assuming that scrapbooking is at the bottom of my hobby list, and if my pages are any indication, I'm sure your kindergartener or niece or nephew in first grade could create more artful scrapbook pages than moi. But I'm ok with that. I determined this summer that my pages will never, ever be Creating Keepsakes worthy so I'm more about putting the pictures on the pages and writing things down. I used to obsess over my hideous handwriting but now I "get" it. It's not about your writing being neat or perfect it's about it being your handwriting.

So what am I dreaming of crafting these days, I want to make the afghan picture at the top of this post(picture courtesy of the Caron website). I'm trying to decide if it's a lack of imagination that makes me want to use the exact colors the Caron people use because I like those colors a lot, even the way they have them laid out in the afghan.
Is it the cross stitcher in me that isn't bugged by using just what the pattern calls for? Is that what sets us cross stitchers apart from other crafters? The fact that we follow patterns? Yes there are those cross stitchers that take a chart and take it apart, change threads, fabric, everything, but there are many more that stitch patterns as charted, never questioning the process, the designer, just gathering supplies like the chart instructs them to and then we, meaning me, stitch away.
Anyway, I'm definitely wanting to crochet the Tucson Throw this winter, using the recommended color combinations, maybe a different yarn but I have decided yet.
Anna has made it a point to make sure that all us cross stitchers see how the media or marketplace portrays cross stitchers. We are all grannies. It's definitely a hole we need to dig ourselves out of. I'm not a granny and I was no where near being a granny when I started seriously cross stitching in my teens. I'm not sure why we are targeted as being "old" or maybe more "mature" than others in the crafty world but it's starting to bug me.
How do we break out of this mold? What do we have to do as cross stitchers to show the crafting world at large that we are hip, that we are the same age as the knitters who are seen as happening and cool? Ponder this and let me know what you think. Subversive Cross Stitch is "now" but unfortunately because I have a big old potty mouth, dropping an F bomb even with needle and thread doesn't really scream youthful to me. Fun, different, just screams rebel, but it doesn't necessarily mean you are young.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making Whoopie

Whoopie Pies for cryin' outloud, get your minds out of the gutter!

The Spousal Unit commented last night that I never bought anything containing chocolate any more and the fact is the kids don't really eat that junk food stuff these days. I mean the last few boxes of Little Debbies or Hostess Snacks I bought went uneaten. I know, shocker that. So today I decided I wanted to make some good old Amish Whoopie Pies. Well truthfully I bought this book:

Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Shar

Which reminded me that I had this cookbook, my all time favorite by the way:

Cooking from Quilt Country : Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennoni

So I combined both recipes and then screwed up the filling. I made a deal with my friend Pam, "these cookies were supposed to be a surprise but do you think you can make the filling because I've already wasted three cups of milk trying to do the one in the Quilt Country cookbook". She reminded me that all my surprise gifts ended up having a string attached(like the bag I made her but she had to do her own lining--) but thankfully the awesomeness that is the Whoopie Pie made up for my lack of skilz.

This recipe is similar to the one I used: - Recipe - Chocolate Whoopie Pies

My filling though is a basic vanilla buttercream frosting--thanks again PAM!

I have just noticed that I have yet to blog on this season's Project Runway, my favorite was auf'd last week. I loved Kellie--hope I got her name right. I thought she was creative and was a solid designer. I'm enjoying this season when I remember to watch it. The whole Olympic thing has thrown off all regularly scheduled tv viewing, like I keep forgetting The Closer on Monday nights. What is wrong with me?

The spousal unit and I started watching Season 1 of Weeds. I see that I must subscribe to Showtime because we are digging this show. I've also heard good things about Californication too.

I'm trying to get some order back in my life since the kids are back in school but I seem to be failing but hopefully I'll get it all figured out soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things I've Learned This Summer

This summer has been bittersweet for me. I lost my dad. I didn't get home before he passed away but I talked to him every day and not about being sick, or dying, but about the silly things I called him frequently about. Like, didn't we used to have one of those coffee pots that plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car?

Knitting Iris: Ford Treasury of Station Wagon Living(I want this set of books so bad)

The conversations were normal, not sad, just father and daughter discussing everyday things, every single day. I learned that despite what I thought my dad and I were close. We spent years learning to accept each other's flaws and shortcomings and realizing that they didn't matter. We were able to get past all the crap of the growing up years and just love each other.

I cried listening to Jackson Browne's Daddy's Tune. Those lyrics always touched me, especially the line about "unkind things I said to you" and "I guess my anger pulled me through" but the words had more power now, a deeper meaning. I connected with them like never before. Fortunately I have no regrets, my dad and me, we were friends when he died.

The biggest shock this summer was learning that between my uncle and myself we know very little family history. After my grandmother died, I was going through an envelope that she shoved in my hand one day when I was heading home, I never really looked at the contents too closely. There was a picture of my Aunt Marie, my Papaw's sister, there was a picture of Mamaw and Papaw and my dad as a three yr old, and then there was this bundle of yellowed paper, that I couldn't make out one word on. I put them away in my picture bucket to explore at a later time. What I didn't know was that bundle of yellowed pages was a love letter from my great grandfather, Mr. Gibson as my dad and uncle called him, never grandpa, never gramps, or papaw, just Mr Gibson, he wasn't big on personality from what I understand so I guess they called him what my Mamaw called him. Anyway he wrote a twelve page love letter to Mary Lee. These words couldn't have come from a mean man, he adored her, he loved her beyond life itself. He referenced maybe dying before seeing her. I thought he wrote it from some war zone in WWI but apparently it was because of something else, something I may never be able to figure out. I know that there are those people in my family that ran moonshine back in the day. I remember those stories, vaguely. Was he concerned about the government showing up, looking for him, as far as we can tell he was a farmer or farm hand. It's vexing to say the least.

When I went home for my dad's memorial service I showed my uncle the letter and he wanted to know why Mamaw gave something like this to me. I said, "You know, I thought about that and then I remembered, she said Mrs. Gibson and I would have loved each other because we both loved embroidery, handwork, pretty stuff, not necessarily functional embroidery but stitching the stuff that served no more purpose than adding a little beauty to the world. I guess she wanted me to have it because maybe Mrs. Gibson and I were soul sisters over all these many years."

It breaks my heart that I didn't discuss the letter with Mamaw. That I didn't read it immediately, but I had no clue at the time what it was.

I learned this summer that I'm ok with the boys being almost grown. I spent so much of the last five years being upset that I wasn't getting pregnant, that I was missing something, that my family wasn't complete but it's ok. I have had my kids and sometimes you have to turn the page and move on to the next chapter.

I learned that artistically, I can take rejection, and that I have to write. I learned that it is ok to put the words out there, let them go, face the music and start over again. It's all good. I just can't not write. I tried to ignore the stories running around my brain, I quit blogging for a while, but one day sitting in Panera, waiting, and waiting, the endless waiting on other people that my summer and life had become, I couldn't read, I couldn't stitch, I pulled out a bill, took the mailing envelope and started writing a novel. It felt right. It was me coming back home. Pen, paper, sitting somewhere writing. It was the most right I have felt in three months. As selfish as it sounds I'm looking forward to days spent alone, just me and the computer or me, pen and paper. Hours and hours to write the stories I need to tell, that have been burning through my heart, my soul. Maybe no one will ever see them but me, but I have to write, and so I learned this summer, that I am a writer. I've always said to myself, "You are a writer" but I never believed it, now I know it.

My grandmother's oldest sister died only a few days after my dad's memorial service. Talk about broken hearted. My Aunt Lila was one of those really great women, she embraced life with all it had to offer. I don't think she ever let anything get her down and really lived. I understood how very lucky I was that growing up I was surrounded by family. We lived next door to my mamaw's middle sister for years and her son and DIL and my cousin lived up the road and next door to them was my papaw's sister Marie and her husband and then when we moved out to the county, I lived across the road from my mamaw and Aunt Lila lived next door to her. I grew up knowing cousins, not just seeing them in passing but going to school with them, babysitting them, I grew up knowing amazing women, women who made a difference in people's lives.

A week or so ago my best friend's mother passed away. Mrs. Hubbard was one of the most creative people I have ever known. She was always making something, learning something new. High school was great, she took up baking. Every day we'd come home from school and have petit fours or birthday cake or even wedding cake because she was just learning how to make this or that. Her bread baking period was a lot of fun, she made stuffed animals, teddy bears, she did cross stitch, crewel and all kinds of needlework. She sketched, she painted, she was always inspiring and I was lucky to call her my friend and my second mom.

This is the summer that I accepted that every time you see someone it might be the last time. It's the summer that I learned you have to let people know you love them, every single time you see them, talk to them, write them. It's the summer that I learned that even if you live to be 80, time here on earth is short and we have to make these moments, this time here matter.

This summer has been one of reflection, sadness, and yeah, some joy. I have learned that as much as I loathe football, I can sit at my youngest son's practices and support him and his goals and dreams and maybe even like it, a little.

This past week some of the best family moments were spent when watching the Olympics at 2 a.m. because the youngest son is addicted to Club Penguin and awake, and my insomnia has made tv watching in the wee hours of the morning a very common occurance, and the spousal unit couldn't sleep for whatever reason, so here we are, 2 a.m. watching swimming and gymnastics and discussing these great athletes and how they got where they are now. Good times.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Summer Olympic Challenge

And other things----

I finally got around to creating a blog for the Summer Olympic Stitching challenge. If you posted a comment that you were interested, I'll try to get an invite out to you today. My computer access this summer has been hit or miss. Every computer in the house decided not to work all summer except mine. That is why blogging has been so sparse this summer.

Here's a link to the blog itself- Summer Olympic Stitching Challenge

Feel free to leave a comment in this post or email me at gulfskye at aol dot com and I'll send your invite ASAP. 13th Colony Bay is coming out of the baggie today, YEA!!!!

Things I've been enjoying this summer:

This is Ree's Veggie and Cheese Bagel. It's been my lunch of choice for the last two weeks.

Below you see my breakfast of choice:

I know, the picture isn't appetizing but there is nothing I love more than eggs scrambled with zuccuini and onion. Yum! I saute the zukes and onion in butter, a little garlic, salt and pepper, then move them to the side of the pan, add in my eggs, start scrambling then as they get a little more done I start mixing in the vegetables. Zucchini was born for eggs. I like my zucchini to stay crisp so I don't saute it for very long.

And now for the Puppy Monster:

This is Sidney-licious(it was Sid Vicious until we had nothing to fit his neck but this pink collar)my oldest son brought him home for us to dog sit for "two weeks" while his friend relocated. Uh, she relocated, lost her phone, slipped through some vortex or worm hole, I don't know. When he came to live with us his name was "Killer" I changed it to Sid. He looks like a Sid to me and I absolutely refused to call him Killer. Anyway he's a pit bull, we can't keep him and are looking for a responsible home for him. He's only about four months old and is already really rough with my Polly and I can't have him hurting her even if only in play. I knew saying yes to dog sitting was a huge mistake, but I'm a sucker and his friend is pregnant, her apartment was broken into and I didn't feel she needed any more stress so I said yes. A 12 week old pit bull isn't scary like a one year old pit bull, I expected him to be gone by now and now we've gotten a little attached, he's a good dog, smart and sweet and DESTRUCTIVE! But I can't keep him so the search begins for Sid a new home.