Saturday, October 31, 2009

WIshing You A

Wicked a free chart from Primitive Betty. Quick stitch--it's not finished into anything yet because I couldn't find any trim I liked at JoAnn's. Was searching for a beaded trim and just found tiny pom-poms. Not what I had in mind.
May all your pumpkin patches be sincere and may the Great Pumpkin bless you all with lots of toys(a.k.a. floss, fabric, and charts-STASH!) and candy!
Head over to Missy Ann's for the grand finale to her 13 Days of Halloween Extravaganza!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Package

In today's mail I received a package from Beth Twist of Heartstring Primitives(you can find a link to her Etsy shop at her blog). I won her pin pillow giveaway on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, become a fan of Heartstring Primitives. Beth's designs are very nice, I have With One Accord, Rachel Holmes 1842 and Ann Taylor and I don't know which I'm going to start first but back to the package:

See that strawberry? How sweet is that? I have a jar of these that my Mamaw made. Yep, the ones she made by hand in a Mason jar like a jar of strawberry preserves.
Here's the front of the pin pillow. I think it's a Williamsburg print, is that what those fabrics are, my mind is blanking at the moment. It'll come to me as soon as I hit publish.

Here's the back.

And here's a close up of the strawberry. Sweet! Thank you so much Beth!

And because it's the day before Halloween I thought I'd share my progress on HAED A Night in the Pumpkin Patch based on the art of C.C. Kuik. My goal had been to have her finished by tomorrow but as you can see that ain't happening. I'm glad I pulled her out because I had forgotten how pretty she is and now I want to stitch on her all night. Sorry the picture isn't any better it was cloudy when I did her photo shoot.

Don't forget to check out Missy Ann's 13 Days of Halloween......

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Migas for Brunch

Or the episode where I pretend I'm sitting in a cafe in Austin having brunch with Missy Ann and Michelle. Music, food and friends, Austin is one of my dream of moving to cities and it's in Texas which I think is extra cool because it just is.

I discovered migas via Homesick Texan and whenever I want something extra tasty for breakfast other than oatmeal or skillet potatoes and onions which is then turned into a breakfast burrito, I make a pan of wannabe Migas. Cause I'm not from Texas, never been to Austin and never had the real thing. My Migas are a lot like Homesick Texan's(type in Migas in her search field). Her recipes are my guide for all things TexMex.

First you cut a few corn tortillas in strips and pan fry them in a bit of oil:

I drain my pan, growing up with heart disease in the family you learn the importance of draining off as much grease as you can. I then put the corn tortilla strips back in the pan with a smidge of butter and a bit of chopped onion and fresh jalapeno:

I let the onions and peppers soften up a bit and then pour in my eggs, this is three eggs with a splash of half & half. I let the bottom cook a minute or two then give it a stir, then when the eggs are almost done I top with some cheese, I used four cheese Mexican this morning because it was what was already opened.

Is there any way to make eggs look pretty in a skillet? They really are just a slimy, yellow blob.

I was out of salsa because we had tacos and enchiladas for supper last night so I topped my migas with some Rotel. When we moved from Memphis to Lima, OH back in 1986 I had a meltdown because the grocery store didn't carry Rotel and not only did they not stock Rotel they didn't know what it was. Did these people not know the joy of Rotel cheese dip made with a can of Rotel and a pound of Velveeta? How did they get through Friday nights? The horror!
My mom sent me a case and when anyone would come to visit they would bring a few cans of Rotel and some Pancho's Cheese Dip.
This is an easy filling breakfast and would be really good with refried beans on the side. I wish I had some this morning, actually I just made them so it's practically lunch. I learned to love beans for breakfast when I read Tassajara Cooking years ago. They are an all day food, ok, maybe that's a stretch.
Clutter report:
We can see the top of the coffee table, the three top shelves in one of my bookcases is pretty well organized, the dining table in the family room, great room, space that no one has a clue what it's for since my kitchen is an eat in kitchen, is decluttered enough to see the wood. My sewing machine is still out and will be until I get a fold out table for the bedroom and we paint. No, we haven't painted yet but the room still feels good even with disgusting walls.
I've started putting the granny square afghan together but putting together isn't near as much fun as making the squares, baby steps, baby steps.
I'm really in no hurry to make the two ugliest ripple afghans in the world and I'm not starting them until the granny afghan is complete. Yes, it's a plot to put them off but it's like 80 degrees here so the boy will not freeze in the next few weeks.
I haven't crossed a stitch since Sunday so I plan to stitch this afternoon and watch horror movies on AMC.
Don't forget to head over to Missy Ann's and enter her 13 Days of Halloween giveaway!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Wednesday Already?

The other day on her blog Anna suggested we show what's in our stitching bag. Here's mine:

From left to right: ever present old school iPod(iPhoto, I thought I was so cool at the time, LOL), gum from my trip in July (I only chew gum when I fly, it aggravates my TMJ, TMI?), lipstick, my Moleskine-my constant companion, highlighters, pens, A House by the Sea/Midsummer Night Designs, Monkey Sampler/Midsummer Night Designs, Strawberry Blonde a.k.a. Tomato Blonde. What I didn't show, the overnight Kotex, again TMI?

My question of the day, how do you organize your spices? This is my spice cabinet next to the stove. Spices are just kind of flung in there hit or miss. I tried putting my baking spices on the second shelf with the baking soda and powder but it all gets mixed in together. A spice rack seems a waste of space and I have no where to hang one near where I cook, this is a perfect spot I can stand at the stove and just reach up for what I might need, if I could only find it.

I've thought about getting some of those small plastic baskets, you know like baby doll laundry baskets, I think they are really drawer organizers or something like that, and organize them that way at least they'd be a bit contained, or maybe if they make small wire baskets like that, I don't think a clutz like me needs wicker/bamboo near the stove-I am trying to get away from plastic in the kitchen but I don't think BPAs can leach from the basket through the bottom of the spice bottle and unfortunately many of my spices are in plastic I'm starting to buy the spicesin the glass bottles but seriously the price on spices at Dollar Tree and Dollar General are too good to pass up and I've had no problem with the freshness or quality of them.

I've been looking at spice racks that come with the glass bottles that you fill but seriously wouldn't any BPAs already be in the spice from the previous packaging? Maybe I'm over stressing over this BPA stuff because the damage was probably done with the first microwaveable plastics that my parents brought into the house back in the day.

But any organizational ideas would be appreciated. The basket idea is the best I can come up with at the moment and I'm not even sure how I'd organize them in the baskets.

Don't forget to enter Missy Ann's 13 Days of Halloween extravaganza.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pretty Sure I'm Not Me

The Pod People have taken over my body because first a finished project, then a cleaning frenzy, and now yet another finished project. But the comforting news is that all cleaning ceased as I finished this piece:

There are errors galore in this little piece of needlework, all the fault of the stitcher not Blackbird Designs. I would tell you exactly where they are but since I'm the only one that knows where they are, maybe you won't notice them.

This cross stitch chart appeared in one of the BBD quilt books, Summer Weekend. The quote really moved me when I saw it originally in KwiltyKim's webshot's album.

I can't wait to find the perfect frame and hang it in my soon to be painted bedroom right over my work area because the words are true. If you don't begin you can't succeed or fail. Powerful words they are, at least to me.

Don't forget to check out Missy Ann's 13 Days of Halloween giveaway. She's giving away some pretty awesome prizes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Cleaning is kind of awesome. I can't believe I just wrote those words but under a pile of papers and catalogs and magazines on a shelf I found this:

It's my missing Carolina Handley by CHS. I can't remember when I framed her but it was months and months ago and then I got distracted, must have laid her on the shelf and poof, she disappeared until a pile of crap. I'm working hard to change my evil ways of paper piling, stacking, hoarding. I'm getting better about tossing junkmail the minute it enters the house, but the catalogs and magazines, they are my Achille's heel. I've cut way back on the magazines I buy, and stopped all my subscriptions, except Everyday Food but that was a fundraiser for a friend's son, I mean I had to subscribe to something, and I love me some Everyday Food. Best cooking magazine ever. JMHO of course.

Also while cleaning I found a much beloved yet forgotten WIP. Picture tomorrow, it's yucky here at the moment so no good light.

Don't forget to head over to Missy Ann's and check out the 13 Days of Halloween.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh No She Didn't

I was so excited, I thought I finished Simply Live on my birthday but yesterday morning while patting myself on the back I noticed that I missed two of these little four diamond thingies that are scattered around the words. So in fact I was 8 stitches shy of a finish but that's ok.
And so that Lisa does not have to take responsibility for my color choices--I'm not thrilled with the blue I chose for the words- here are the colors I used in my conversion:
P8-CC Plum Paisley
P11-CC River Rocks
P10-DMC 316
P2-GAST Dried Thyme
P7-DMC 4240
P5-WDW Schneckley
P6-DMC 433
P12-WDW Chestnutt
P1-CC Just Rust
I really struggled with the DMC 4240. I think if I did it again I would cut away the purple parts of the thread and go with just the blues I just didn't think about it at the time and I really wasn't in the mood to frog and honestly I love this particular DMC Colour Variations thread.
I'm so excited to have a finish, it's been forever!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes.
Don't forget to head over to Missy Ann's for her 13 Days of Halloween giveaway!

Monday, October 19, 2009

On This Day

46 years ago I made my debut. 46. Ouch! I feel sixteen inside, ok 21 since I really don't want to have to sneak around to drink.

Questions I'm pondering today:

If I finish a cross stitch project on this, the first day of my new year, does it mean I'll have many finished projects over the next 365 days? And yes I plan on finishing Simply Live before midnight today. I am going to do it.

If I start a new project on this, the first day of my new year, does it mean I'll be starting many new projects over the course of the next 365 days? I plan on starting Near Halloween by Primitive Needle as soon as the last stitch is in Simply Live.

And lastly, that whole Simply Live philosophy, it in no way relates to stash right? I mean stash is well security for those rainy days, hard times, comfort food for the soul right?

I've been fall cleaning for the last week. We have some painting to do and then other than the disaster that is our carpet I'll be ready for the Wheel of the Year to turn on Halloween. I love that back in days of yore--olden times if I didn't use "yore" correctly--Samhain represented the new year. The hard work of harvesting, food preservation, repairing roofs for the coming snows, all done. Time to settle in for long winter nights. Life slowing down just a little bit.

Autumn arrived on the Gulf Coast this past weekend and it's been glorious, days just warm enough and the night air with a bit of a bite in it(and not of the mosquito kind)--makes a cup of Tazo's Calm very welcome late in the evening. The days are getting just a bit shorter and it's nice to see darkness fall a little earlier.

So here's a toast to my new year(feel free to use this as an excuse to pop a cork in your world and celebrate on Monday night--we all need a reason to just randomly celebrate don't we?) and please can I just finish this one project today? Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn In All Her Glory

Autumn has finally arrived on the Gulf Coast. Warm days, chilly nights. Perfect time of the year. Another sign of Autumn? My first cup of Earl Grey since March. I tend to only drink hot tea when there's a chill in the air. Yep, that's an IngenuiTea tea pot(click on teaware). The only bad thing about it is that it's plastic and unfortunately there is no where on Adagio's site where they state it does not contain BPAs. I'm phasing out plastics but this is an exception. If you aren't familiar with this little teapot, do a youtube search for "ingenuitea" and watch the videos, pretty nifty little device, possible BPAs and all.

And yes, that's knitting you see, maybe I'll finish my Alien Illusion scarf this year, it's only been four years since I cast it on.

I have completed all 80 squares for the 18 yr old's afghan and am in the process of crocheting them together, it's not near as much fun as making the squares but I'm getting there.

The chick cave is coming along nicely. Rearranging the furniture changed the whole feel of the room and I really can't get over how moving some things around can make the air feel so much better. I was so excited about the change of the aura of the bedroom that I started rearranging the living room and even though there's still piles of clutter, some stuff I can't move to the bedroom until we paint, no sense moving it twice, and some stuff needs to be tossed and some stuff just needs a place. I'm working on it and actually feeling good about it.

My vacuum cleaner is gasping for air, it will suck a little but really not so much. It's a year and a half old and has sucked up about 34 dogs worth of dog hair and we can't forget the cats. There is so much hair, I don't think any vacuum could last more than a year or two around here. I'm thinking I might as well just buy the $40 vacuum if I'm going to have to toss it in a year. If this had been the Dyson Animal and it only survived a year, I'd be heartbroken. I don't think even Dyson Animal could handle the animal hair in this house. But hey, Mr. Dyson, if you'd like to send me one to test for a year or a two I'd be glad to. If your appliance can survive this house, it would be a serious testimony to the quality of your product, so I'd be glad to test one. Just sayin' or as Butters would say, "Do you know what I am saying?"

Another sign of Autumn? Pot roast in the crockpot and the first homemade loaf of bread in ages. It's been too hot to bake, so I'm excited to have homemade bread again. Little pleasures, little pleasures.

No Simply Live is not completed yet, but as with the crocheted afghan I'm getting there. I had hoped to have moved on to Halloween stitching at this point but maybe by Monday.

Check out Missy Ann's blog, for her 13 Days of Halloween.

Annette(Annette's Acre)is having three separate giveways, so check them out too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Blocks left to crochet for afghan-1 1/2

Simply Live-need to stitch letters R-Z numbers 1-0, a bit of border and a few minor motifs.

Quilt-squares cut(months ago), still not sewn together. Just do it already. Plan to lame out and tie it instead of quilting it but I need a cover for my bed, period. Tying(tieing?) is just fine with me thank you very much.

Rearrange bedroom, give it a studio apartment feel. Sleep on one side, create on the other. Paint, make it look nice yet functional. Turn it into a chick cave because I need my own space. Spousal unit just sleeps there anyway. He doesn't care what it looks like as long as his side of the bed is sleepable.

Paint chili pepper red dresser white, acquire cubes with baskets to place on top and store various stash related stuff. Find new drawer pulls or knobs-something funky and cool if budget allows.

Move work table from living room to bedroom, look for prettier work table in the future or at least one that might fold out for sewing, fold up desk like for soldering, laptop, other desk related functions--maybe one of those sewing tables at JoAnn's. Hmmmm.....

Clean out closet, find mini dresser to fit inside closet to store underwear, pjs, tshirts.

Get some under the bed boxes for stash. Space that is completely unused and wasted, make it functional.

Find some wood, paint "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" on it(or maybe just order one premade from etsy or ebay), hang above the other closet door, viewable from the new bed position. Maybe crackle it. Try to ignore the fact that penmanship sucks(see "maybe order one").

Going to be busy around here for the next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cross Stitch

Very inspired name for this post huh?

Well I have some cross stitch to show, not finished but oh so close. Below you see a blur of Simply Live, but there, holding it down, keeping the wind from blowing the fabric off the table is my Eldreth Pottery Mermaid. When she was packed in my bag on the trip home the guy working the Xray machine at the airport asked me if I had a vampire in my bag. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about until I remembered she's holding a star. I tried to explain that I had a piece of pottery in there and please do not ask me to unpack my bag because I would never get it back in there safe and sound or be able to zip my bag. But he shook his head and waved me on through. She's a lovely momento of my time with Sharon and Siobhan and boy did I ever fall in love with Pennsylvania.

Here is a close-up of the stitching and of course using my camera skilz super power I chopped off part of the letters I have stitched but you aren't missing much.

I've been thinking a lot recently about the whole "simply live" philosophy and what that means. I've also been thinking about the Slow Year that Riana writes about on her blog.

Honestly I'm not a big consumer. I buy clothes only when I need to because it's a traumatic experience. I don't think about being 60 lbs overweight until I need clothes and then it slams me right smack up side the head that you aren't Kat Von D. You are a 45 yr old, 5'2", 60 lb overweight woman.
Damn, that realization hurts every single time.
Which then causes tears and me to leave the store, trying not to snot all over everything. You think I'd eventually get a clue but I don't. So clothes shopping is not in my retail therapy arsenal. I tend to buy groceries(see 60 lbs overweight) and stash. Not even a lot of stash. I've done very well the last few years sticking to stitching from the stash, using what's on hand and over all not helping the economy out too much but it's not with any kind of plan, believe me, if I had the money, I'd spend it all on stash. Seriously.
But as grocery prices continue to rise I find myself pulling out my whole foods cookbooks, Moosewood, I had forgotten how much I love you, and Laurels Kitchen too. Time to once again reclaim my good habits and go back to a more vegetable based diet, not giving up meat entirely like I did when I was pregnant with the 21 yr old but definitely focus on better meal planning. I have done none of that in the last six months. I went on strike because I honestly got tired of all the complaining about how "I don't want to eat this or that" so screw them all, order a $6 Howies pizza every night as far as I'm concerned. The other night I made eggplant/zucchini parmesan using a mix of recipes from the original Moosewood cookbook and Laurel's Kitchen. It was killer. Probably just as high calorie as a burger since the eggplant is fried before being parmesaned but OMG, it was incredible and worth the effort, even in 300% humidity with the stove and oven on, worth the effort, the sweat, the extra heat in the house.
And because we all take our celebrity where we can find it and I'm shameless. Have you all got your Primitive Needle Witches Hollow chart? Have you? Here's the faraway shot with two pots I found in the garage, purchased years ago at the flea market for like a $1 a piece, they were misfires. I think that's the term.

Anyway if you remove your chart from the package and read through it, you might just see this:

Yep that's me! Thanks for the shout out Lisa! I know, obnoxious much? That's me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Obsessed Much?

Here's the current state of my granny squares:

I've been just a little busy. I can't stop crocheting these things.

This is 66 squares of the 80 I need for an afghan. I may be ready to start crocheting them together by the weekend. My hand keeps going to sleep so I'm taking a break and forsaking my hook for the hoop for the rest of the day.
The youngest son has put in a request for two ripple afghans. One is black, white and maroon-the local high school and Youth Sports colors(may throw in a little gray too-silver is another team color) and he also wants--Missy Ann brace yourself -for the second afghan he wants a ripple in orange, white and green stripes. That would be the University of Miami colors if I'm not mistaken. These are sure to be two of the ugliest ripple afghans ever crocheted. I will have to purchase yarn for the black/white/maroon 'ghan, but probably have enough orange/white/green in the stash for the other one, but my green is probably the wrong color so I may have to buy a little new yarn for that afghan. The youngest son also has requested a granny square afghan using black as the main color and any colors I want for the grannys. I see a scrappy bit of fun in my future. Oh and he wants a fleece blanket, one of those no sews one side is tan and covered in a brown football print, for the other side he wants this tropical fish print with a blue background. The fabrics are awful together but he just loved them at the store and said he could flip it to suit his mood. He cracks me up but hey, he wants me to make him things so I'm down with that.
In the mean time I can figure out the layout for the oldest son's afghan which will be another granny square only a bit of a different layout using his main three colors of yellow, blue and green for the borders and then any colors I want for the smaller squares. I think it's possible it could turn out really pretty. Of course that remains to be seen. I need to rootle through the garage and see what I have left in the yarn bucket.
While I've known how to crochet forever I had no idea I enjoyed it as much I seem to enjoy it. Will it ever bump little X from the #1 spot, no way, but it's a different kind of handwork and it's pleasant and since I have the square pattern memorized it's pretty mindless(the same should be true after a few rows of the ripple). At the moment I'm dreaming of Montana and wishing I had a reason to own sheep and spin and knit and crochet my life away in front of a fire while bread rises on the counter and something delicious simmers in the oven. That's an especially sweet fantasy at the moment since I have chicken simmering on top of the stove and it's 300% humidity inside and outside and the air hasn't shut off in the last 24 hours. I'm kind of over the heat right now. It's October, where is my nip in the air in the morning? Where's my pleasant afternoon? Where's the chilly evening? Feels like July 4th out there at the moment and I'm really not feeling the love. I realize that if I was somewhere where I was snowed in for a few months that would probably get old too and I'd be wishing for warm rays from the sun and a beach.