Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fashionable? Me?

I can't believe I'm actually going to do a post on fashion.  

Fashionable is not a word that I would use to describe myself.  It occurred to me over the past couple of months at some point over the past few years my "style" of clothing has become anything but fashionable.  I don't tend to wear the latest trends but tend to hang out in the more casual look of jeans and sweaters in the winter and capris and sleeveless tops/t-shirts in the summer.  

My working out and eating "cleaner" has resulted in the loss of inches which in terms of clothing is an entire size.  As I've been replacing my clothes in a smaller size, I have been purchasing things that are -  do I dare say it - a bit more stylish and fashion forward.  

My recent purchases have been for winter coats.  I will admit my first purchase was a practical Columbia coat in black. 

See I told you it was practical.  However, it is more form fitting that it appears on the hanger and not a "puffy" coat which is my norm.  It does have a hood and is great for those cold snowy winter days when shoveling snow.

Next I went in search of a wool coat to replace my maxi length coat.  I like a longer wool coat that is a bit dressier for going out to lunch, date night, etc.  When I went to actually buy, I had my eye on a lavender toggle coat.  You can see I did not come home with that coat.

I ended up with this wool coat (almost feels like felted wool).  I loved that the closure on the coat was off center and it has one showing button at the top and has hidden snaps the rest of the way down behind the flap.  The coat is more form fitting at the top and flairs out a bit at the bottom.  The hanger really doesn't show off the true cut of the coat.  I added one of my vintage brooches to the lapel.

I had also tried on another off center zipper closure coat at the same time as this one.  It was also in black and figured another black coat is not what I needed.  

I was looking at the online selections for this store and low and behold they had the zipper closure coat in a beautiful raspberry color.  It has been ordered and should arrive mid week.  

I wonder if my recent purse purchase will be complimentary to it.  It is hard to tell until you have the items together.

Now I am considering purchasing a pair of fashionable boots (gasp).  What next?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stitching Update!

I just put the last stitch in the 2013 Advent SAL piece from iStitch.  I decided to start on January 1 and finish on January 24.  Who knew that even with specialty stitches I would fly through this one and complete 2 days ahead of schedule.  

It is stitched on a piece of 36 count natural raw linen using DMC Blanc, Cupid (CC) and Balsam Fir (CC).  You can see by the paper and coin money that the finished size is not very big.  It measures       2 1/8" x 11 1/2".  I've been asked how I plan to finish this piece and at this moment I have no idea.  I'd be happy to consider any suggestions you all have.

I mentioned previously that I was considering adding a red border to the 2014 Advent SAL piece from iStitch.  I really felt I needed a color to border the white to pop it off the fabric a bit.  Thanks to Harriet and Teresa for their advice.  I started adding the red border yesterday and I definitely think it will help keep it from blending into the fabric so much.  I must also think about a finish for this one as well.

I am starting to feel a bit like Teresa (Atwillowtreepond) with my pile of things to finish.  At least Teresa does pull her pile out and actual do some finish work.  She is my motivator this year.    I'm thinking I will schedule myself a week of finishing in July as we know my goal list indicated I would do the finish work on Christmas ornaments by July 31.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Christmas Exchange/WIP/Recipe/Mug


My dear friend, Harriet and I finally found some time to get together for our Christmas exchange before she headed off to Arizona.  We had a delightful time drinking chai, exchanging gifts, catching up, laughing and lunching. 

Harriet and I started stitching something for each other somewhere around 2002 or 2003.  This year my stitched gift for Harriet was a design by Abby Rose Designs called Bless this Home.  I stitched it on a piece of 48 count linen using 1 thread over 2.  I used a mix of the overdyed and DMC colors listed in the following combination.

Symbol           Color
#                     Piney Woods (GA)
3                     Avocado (CC)
2                     Shaker White (GA)
/                      DMC 407
6                     Cherry Bark (GA)
0                     DMC 3802
%                    DMC 3021
$                     Antique Rose (GA)
*                     Picnic Basket (GA)
4                     DMC 611
1                     DMC 310
+                     DMC 451

When gathering the colors together, I thought it was an unusual combination of colors.  They look so good stitched together I wanted to be sure and list them for future reference.  I see myself using them on another project.

I ended up finding the perfect fabric and finished it into a small quilt hanging for this table top quilt hanger that I purchased 2 or 3 years ago waiting with the tag still on it for the perfect piece.  It seemed like the moon and stars was meant to hang over the house on this piece.  

You all know how my Christmas tree has a collection of ice skate ornaments and a few ornaments with ice skaters as well.  Imagine my delight that Harriet had stitched a skater from a JCS Ornament Issue (I had been admiring this one).  Lucky for me it doesn't reference Christmas at all so I can display for a bit longer during the winter months.

I thought it was quite a coincidence that I had pulled out my pattern a week ago to make one of these project rolls and to receive one made by Harriet's husband, Dan.  Thankfully I can put that little project on the back burner for me at this time and enjoy using this one.  Blue is my favorite color so having this with some many shades of blues/teals is delightful.


I am making really good progress on the 2013 Advent SAL I purchased in 2013 from iStitch.  I am really hoping to have it completed by January 24 so I will have stitched it in the 24 days like it was intended.  It will be close!  I am so glad that I chose to use the specialty stitches Carol provided with this design.  I've always wanted to try some specialty stitches and as the bands are so small if felt like a good way to initiate myself to them.  It was a goal for 2015 and am pleased to have accomplished one for the year.


I have added the Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe to my cooking blog.  Just click on the recipe to be taken to the blog.


I was out shopping at the the book store the other day and happened upon this mug on the clearance table.  I loved the design on it, the shape and size so purchased it and brought it home.  It is my most favorite mug at the moment.

Sunday, January 11, 2015



I put the finishing stitches in the 2014 Advent SAL (iStitch) or maybe not.  I am so pleased with how it turned out and thoroughly enjoyed being able to complete a block of it on a daily basis.  The best part was 24 days later I had a lovely finished piece.  Well - let's be honest - it took me a bit longer.  I had 3 blocks left to stitch but did not have time to work on it.  I did, however, finish all 3 blocks in one session when I did get back to it.  I've yet to do the finish work on it as I'm still trying to decide if I want to stitch an all red border around the outside to make the white pop a bit more.  I'm thinking yes!

I enjoyed the SAL so much that I decided to start the 2013 Advent SAL that I had purchased from iStitch in 2013 but never got around to stitching.  It is a lovely design and Carol provided the option of stitching all in cross stitch or some specialty stitches she provided.  I'm being adventurous this time around and am using the specialty stitches.  I'm so glad I made that decision as they really add to the design.  I'm stitching on a piece of 36 count natural raw linen using DMC white, Cupid (CC) and Balsam Fir (CC) for my colors.  I'm hoping to finish this one by January 24th.  It is a special day and would like to finish it on that day.  

This is my start of The Little Stitcher's freebie, Miss Mushroom.  She has the most adorable designs available in her Etsy shop.  I'm stitching this on a piece of 28 count Desert Stone using DMC colors 869, 938, 945, 3031, 3371, 3777, 3865.  I'm using 28 count on this piece as it is the piece I'm currently taking while my dad is in his radiation therapy appointment.  

It promotes conversation and I spend a few minutes chatting with a fellow stitcher while she waits to go in for appointment.  In fact, she has recommended a lovely design that would be a good wedding/house warming sampler.

I'm still waiting to exchange Christmas gifts with my dear friend, Harriet so this is all you get of the completed piece for her.  Unfortunately, with it being the time of year for illness we have not yet been able to get together.  We laugh as we may start of new tradition this year of Christmas exchange with our birthdays in June/July.


I pulled out my book in print of my blog for the past year to review where the year had taken me, goals I had set.  It made me smile when I discovered at this exact same time last year I was shoveling/blowing snow in bitterly cold and windy conditions.  I still enjoyed it as it was our first "real" snowstorm of the year and I LOVE THE SNOW!  I just put on my Carhartt bibs and leather mittens in the bitterly cold and go about clearing the walks and driveway with a song in my heart!  Isn't my husband sweet helping get pictures of me for my blog (one of my goals as I'm usually operating the camera) from the warmth of the house.

The holidays for my family were very loving and relaxed.  We really enjoyed each others company.  Although at the end of Christmas day my grand nephew was just about done....

....but my son was full of energy and ready to get on with the taking down of the Christmas decorations.  Sigh!  I did manage to get him to wait until December 26th but it was the first thing we got started on after breakfast.  He was right though - it was lovely having the house back in order.


In reviewing my 2014 goals I have this to say....

1.  I did get many more photos taken of myself to use in my blog and family Christmas card.  A couple of them were even good photos.

2.  I did continue to live a more healthy lifestyle.  I continue to workout at the Y on weekday mornings.  I have continued with my treadmill workouts and the Body Pump Class and have added the Pilates Class to my workouts.  I also continue to try and eat "cleaner".  It seems to be paying off as I realized in December that I've gone down an entire size in clothing.  Yippee!  The best part is that it is a gradual lifestyle change as opposed to a drastic diet and exercise regime all at once.  It is something I know I can continue on a long term basis.

3.  I continued to spend my year stitching quite a bit from my stash although not 100%.  Let's face it who can resist a new pattern every now and again.  I have, however, managed to be able to use fabrics and fibers from my stash which is great.

4.  In the stitching ornaments for my tree goal I'm afraid I did not do very good.  The ornaments I stitched in 2013 are still in my pile to be finished.

5.  I set a goal of reading 36 books during 2014 and I did accomplish this goal.

MY GOALS 2015....

1.  I will continue to ask my family and friends help to get photos of myself to use in my blog and family Christmas card.  Hoping for more than 2 good ones this year!

2.  I am going to continue living a more healthy lifestyle.  I will continue working out at the Y and my goal for this year is to try one or two new classes.  I'm thinking cycling and Pi-Yo if I can find classes in the morning.  I will continue to strive for eating "cleaner" and keeping the processed foods to a minimum.

3.  I am still stitching from my stash and am going to streamline my stitching this year to stitch several of the patterns I purchased from Etsy as they are mostly PDF's.  I am also going to spend some time really sorting and organizing my stash and sell the designs I know I am not going to stitch.  My criteria for this purge will be "am I going to stitch this for my home or will this be the perfect gift for someone".  If it does not meet one of the two, it is gone.  Teresa, I have one box ready for shipping I will be in touch soon!

4.  This is a new goal for me.  I am going to try some other form of needlework this year.  My Aunt Nanc gifted me with the pattern for the needle nook which is all needlework I am unfamiliar.   I ordered the kit that goes with the pattern and it is my goal to make one needle nook before the end of the year.

5.  I don't know why the stitching ornaments for my tree goal seems to evade completion each and every year.  I think I will make this goal a bit more specific for me.  I will stitch two ornaments for myself and I will finish these into ornaments no later than July 31st.

6.  I set a goal to read 50 books this year.  It might be a bit high but I can read/listen to a book while walking on the treadmill so I have hopes to get somewhere close.


I did finally manage to bake a batch of Sour Cream cookies.  I missed the holidays completely this year but they sure were tasty on the snow day.  

I also tried a new recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that was delicious and so easy to make.  I will put it up on the blog as soon as I decide if I'm going to keep my cooking blog or just create a subsection on this blog for recipes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

One Last Post Before the New Year!

I am surprised to find time for one more quick post before we head into 2015. 


I hope everyone's holiday was as peaceful and joyful as it was for my family.  I hosted the family for the gift exchange and dinner on Christmas Day.  The only person missing was my nephew who recently moved out of state but he is in town for the weekend.   We always enjoy the time we get to spend together as a family but with dad's diagnosis of lung cancer and mom's passing a few years ago it just hits the heart just a little bit more.

I want to thank Teresa and Maggee for offering up a prayer for my dad as well as the prayers offered by so many family and friends.  I believe in the power of prayers and positivity.


I did make a few gifts this year.  Right now I can show you the circular placemats I made for family and a friend.  I used a line of French General by Moda fabric.  These placemats are the size of a charger plate.  I'm hoping to make a set soon for my family's use. 

I'm just about to finish the cross stitch piece for a friend.  Again am disguising it somewhat so as not to ruin the surprise.  


I participated in the Advent SAL that Carol (iStitch) designed this year.  It was wonderful to stitch a small section each day and was exciting to see what new design each day revealed.  I will admit to getting a few days behind during the 2nd week but caught back up over the weekend.  The last day of design was revealed was on December 24th.  Will admit again that I have days 22, 23 and 24 yet to stitch but with this next week off am looking forward to finding time to finish this one up.

I did purchase the 2013 Advent SAL in 2013 but never did get around to stitching it.  I will be picking it up very soon now that I see how little time is needed to stitch a finished project.  I'm thinking to start it one January 1 and finish on January 24.  My mom so loved the Christmas holidays and her birthday is January 24 so what a wonderful way to honor her memory by stitching a holiday piece to be finished on her birthday.  Definitely a motivator to get it done!


Rene' is a friend that I met when we started 2nd grade together many many years ago.  The story goes that we were both new to the school and shy so struck up a friendship.  I'm told we two shy girls talked all the time and were always in trouble for it so the teachers put us in desks on opposite sides of the room.  Funny I don't remember this at all - LOL!

When I moved back to Iowa, we started a tradition of getting together for a day of shopping and lunch usually somewhere between the 20th and 23rd of December.  This year's day took us to the Brass Antique Store, to Firecreek for lunch, to Jordan Creek Mall for some more shopping and then a stop by the cemetery to visit my mom's grave and her dad's grave (they are right across the street from one another)   We talked, we laughed, we ate, we shopped - we covered it all.

I had admired this ornament at one of the shops the week before but it was a little too pricey for an ornament.  It was my good fortune to pick this up on our shopping trip at more than 1/2 off the previous price.  Needless to say it came home with me.  As it feels very wintery rather than Christmasy, I'm leaving it up was part of my winter displays.

I bought a few things while at the antique mall.  Most of you know I have a collection of ice skate ornaments for my Christmas tree.  Each year if I find a pair different from what I already have I purchase them.  Walking through the antique store Rene's sharp eyes caught sight of these old rusted ice skates.  The price was excellent so I snapped them up.  I will be using these as part of an outdoor decoration next year.  I'm going to mount them on a swag and then mount onto either a sled or a pair of snow skis for the porch.


While walking through the antique mall I spotted a hatpin holder and commented to Rene' that it would be perfect for holding my counting/marking pins for cross stitch.  The price on it, however, was a bit too much of a splurge in my opinion.  Imagine my surprise a couple of hours after I got home that my doorbell rang and Rene' was standing there with the exact same hatpin holder from the antique mall in perfect condition but she had just been to the neighborhood Sally's (Salvation Army Thrift Store) and picked it up for 99 cents.  It was a savings of $35 over the one at the antique mall.  I think my pins are displayed quite nicely in it!

I received this Needle Nook from Aunt Nanc (hubby's family) for Christmas.  It is perfect for taking on along to classes/stitching get togethers as it has a spot for every size needle you would possible need - except for my petite tapestry needles.  She does amazing work and this is no different.  I love that she uses bits and pieces from the stash that belonged to Bill's mom when making gifts for me.  I also love that she is so confident in my abilities that she gifted me with the pattern to try for myself.  She said she is making another one for herself.  I guess if I get stuck I can always Skype for help - gotta love that!

Wishing you all a 2015 filled with Peace, Joy, and Health!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Merry Christmas!


   I wish all my family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch said, doesn't come from a store - Dr. Seuss.

I know it seems early to be wishing you all holiday greetings through the new year but that ugly "C" word (cancer) has reared its' ugly head in our family and we just never know what each day is going to bring.  I hope you will all join me in my prayers for my father who has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

I want to thank my BFF's (Beautiful Friends Forever) who have been so understanding of late when I don't have time to call, stop by, return letters, or schedule lunches.  I appreciate your love, understanding and support.  You understand in times of family crisis there just isn't always time or energy.  I love you all dearly!

 I finally managed last Saturday to quickly put up our Christmas tree and I do mean quickly.  I was finished in a couple of hours this year as opposed to the usual 6.  This year I didn't have to string the tree with lights which shaved hours off the decorating process.  I also did not put all the ornaments on  this year.
This is my favorite ornament I own.  It was purchased on a trip to the Tacoma Dome many years ago with my dear friend, Wendie.  It was the biggest holiday bazaar I had ever been too and it was overwhelming to say the least.  I chose one special ornament to purchase and it was quite a splurge for just the one.  It is a day I treasure the memory of with my friend who lives so very far away.

These are just a few of many of the other ornaments that I love to put on our tree.

Yes - I still seem to be able to add an ice skate ornament each year that is different from any I currently own.

The angel wings are in memory of my mom.

I am still working on Christmas gifts and am plodding along fairly well.  I managed to take all of this fabric.

Pieced it together into 14 projects.

Added batting and a backing and quilted them all.  Now I am ready to start my binding on them all.  I must work quickly in order to make shipping deadlines. 

I signed up for the Christmas SAL with Carol at iStitch and up until last night I had managed to stitch each day's design on the day.  An unexpected and particularly long day at the hospital with my dad left me too exhausted both emotionally and physically to pick up the needle.  Tonight I hope to stitch days 12 and 13.  Wish me luck!  It has been nice to have a surprise waiting in my email in the morning when I get up and to complete stitching it by the end of the day.  Looking forward to getting caught up tonight.

I was doing some Christmas shopping the other day and happened upon this adorable bird sitting on spool with needle and thread.  Well at 50% off I just couldn't leave it on the shelf so home it came.

I've been wanting this book for quite some time and it finally popped up on Amazon in the United States at a reasonable price a couple of months ago.  I received it very quickly even coming from overseas and have enjoyed a very quick look through it.  I am looking forward to when I have a bit more time to really check out the projects and how they are constructed.  I get to use my crochet hooks on some of the projects.

I will try my best to post again before the end of the year with some completed projects but if I don't make it back before 2015 -

I wish you all Peace and Joy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh What A Week!

I took a moment tonight as I arrived home to snap a couple shots of the amazingly bright moon with wispy clouds floating by.  Honestly the pictures don't do justice to how beautiful it is out tonight.  I could sit on the porch and just look at if only I had the time.


I signed up for Carol's ( Christmas SAL.  Starting on December 1 and going through December 24 you will receive a piece of the sampler and at the end of the 24 days you will have a completed sampler.  This year she is stitching along with us so the design is a complete surprise.  I know the end of November she had a few slots left open so there still might be time to participate if you have an interest.

   I've managed to stitch days 1 and 2 on time which with daily trips to the hospital is surprising.  I anticipate a late evening to get day 3's stitching done.  It is really relaxing to sit down and stitch such a small design and have a finish with things being so hectic.

I'm still plugging away on Christmas gift for a friend.  Again disguising the photo so it will still be a surprise for the friend who will receive it.  It is actually stitching up quickly when I do get time to work on it.

These beautiful fabrics will hopefully very soon become some Christmas presents for family and friends.  Thinking a weekend cutting session.

I had a spare 45 minutes yesterday so I did a quick little bit of Christmas decorating.  I put up the little white tree with pink lights that I do in my mom's memory who passed from breast cancer.  She loved the Christmas holidays and her decorations were truly magical.  It is where I acquired my great love of decorating for the Christmas holiday.  I decorated it with things she would have loved and topped it with an Angel.

This little Santa's workshop and white ceramic trees with red lights (my mom's favorites) were made by her.  They are truly treasured pieces for the entire family.
Bill managed to get the outside lights up but I'm not sure when the Christmas tree will make an appearance - maybe over the weekend.

I did manage to finish reading a book.  Yes, I managed to squeeze in my morning workout at the Y and Festive in Death by J.D. Robb was my treadmill book.  I love her series of mysteries with Eve.  

I wish I had time for more but have much more work to do before my day ends.

Happy Stitching!