Friday, April 26, 2013

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood!

Woke up to an absolutely gorgeous day here in Iowa although blustery.  The temperatures were very warm, the sun was shining, birds singing and flowers blooming.  I can't look at the "hens and chickens" without thinking of this funny story from when my husband and I were dating.  His younger brother was dating a young gal who was a bit - well you'll figure it out when you hear the story.  We were visiting my hubby's grandmother and were out back where she was showing us her hens and chickens.  The young gal thought they were a neat looking plant.  Hubby's grandmother asked if she would like to take some hens and chickens home (can you see where this is going?).  She thought about it for a couple of minutes and responded she better not as she didn't think her mother would let her have any pets.  Thought that might make you smile.

I was pleased to receive a call yesterday from the frame shop that they had finished framing my Isabelle Vautier piece.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  This is such an unusual frame.  They actually have it in several colors and I have been waiting for the right piece to come along to use one of the colors.  The frame color and the dark rose floss are a perfect match.  As the overall size is so small, I think I will display on an easel on a table top.

I've also made some progress on Be Thankful by Country Cottage Needleworks.  I had to do a bit of "frogging" and change a color but am back to making progress.  I'm stitching this on a 25 count over 1 piece of fabric called Dense Fog.  The flower color was an off white and just would not show up on the fabric at all.  I decided I was not going to go down the same path as Beauty in Simplicity where I changed the house color like 16 times before I found one so opted to pick a Fall orange color that would definitely show up.  I actually like it better than the whitish color so it is all good.

Like the rest of you with Google Reader shutting down I've been trying to decide what my solution will be to keep up on everyone's blogs.  I put them all on my Flipboard App and this is working out pretty well but came across this Blogshelf app today I think I might like better.  I've subscribed to a dozen of the blogs I follow to give it a test drive to see what I think  I'll keep you posted.

Made a new recipe this week called Bacon Egg Spaghetti.  You wouldn't think it but it was delicious.  Head on over to my cooking blog to check it out.  A Stitcher's Snippets Cooking.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Finish!

It has been a busy week since I last posted and have accomplished much.  I heard there was colder temperatures in our forecast during the past week so decided to pull out a couple of skeins of yarn in my stash I've been wanting to make into scarves for myself.  I'm always quick to get them done for everyone else but tend to put things for myself on the back burner.

 I pulled out a skein of Circulo Sensual in burgundy which is the softest yarn I've ever had the pleasure to pick up.  Kind of has a feel like chenille.  I knitted this up in an hour on Wednesday and it was cold and blustery on Thursday so was able to wear it this season.

On Thursday I pulled out a skein of Circulo Tecido Trico "yarn" in floral.  You can see by the photo that it is actually fabric with holes punched through it.  The fabric is whisper thin (reminds me of the old headscarves my grandmother used to have) and is super lightweight.  It took a bit longer to knit as there is a whole different skill set for knitting with fabric and getting a rhythm going.  It is a bit awkward at times. It did knit up into a most beautiful scarf and am thinking I will be purchasing another skein in a different pattern JUST FOR FUN!

Hubby was not feeling well on Sunday so it was a quiet day at home.  In between taking care of he and my son's needs I started crocheting a ripple afghan for a baby gift.  I'm starting in plenty of time as the due date is not until September.  I love to knit/crochet baby blankets in white yarn that have confetti of blue, pink, green and yellow in it.  Works for boy or girl quite nicely!

Thanks to Jennifer over at FeathersintheNest sharing her knitting project.  I went online and purchased 2 skeins of Litoral Aslan Trends yarn in Vintage to make the shawl pattern they offer for free online.  The yarn arrived in 2 days time and received it Saturday - YEA!  Unfortunately, I needed size 17 circular needles and my set only goes up to 15.  Never fear I went to a local shop today and purchased the size 17 so will get a start on this sometime this week.

I wouldn't want you to think all I've done over the past week is knit/crochet so I will update you on my stitching projects.  We had movie night on Friday night (Django - a little too gory for me) so I stitched while watching the movie (helps to avoid watching the gore).  I was on such a roll that when hubby and son went to bed I continued working until 12:30 AM when I put the last stitch in my Isabelle Vautier piece.  Remember the stitch count is 244 H by 90 W.  Thought to take a photo with the dollar bills and quarters to give you a visual for size on 25 count over 1.  It is very petite and quite lovely.  Keith and I went to my LNS to see if there was a frame that would be perfect for it.  Big sigh as after an hour and 16 frame combinations it was just not to be.  I like to use them whenever possible as they do such excellent work on mounting.  I then went to another local framer after lunch and I had a frame in mind when I went in and the owner had the same frame in mind when she saw the piece.  It is a frame I've admired for a few years but never had the right piece for it.  Amazingly the dark rose DMC is a perfect match for this frame and can't wait to see it all stretched and mounted.
Now I've moved back to Be Thankful by Country Cottage Needleworks.  I'm hoping to get to spend some quality stitching time on it tonight after chores are done and everyone settles down to their respective evening activities.

I also managed a trip out to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale and yes - purchases were made.  I picked up a nice History of Cross Stitch Samplers book, a couple of must have patterns and magazines as well as a few books to read for pleasure.  

Hubby is feeling better today and was already scheduled off work for a golf tournament - lucky for him the rain stopped, temps have warmed to the 60's and the sun has popped out.  Son is at his vocational workshop so I started my week with lunch with my BFF.  We went to our favorite restaurant the Rolling Wok.  They serve Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese food.  My friend had an adventure today when she tried Pho.  It is a Vietnamese soup made with beef stock into which are noodles (rice) and slices of beef or chicken.  Holy cow they bring a plate of things like bean sprouts, fresh basil, parsley, peppers on a plate to put in as well as a 1/2 dozen or so sauces to add to this soup.  You would not believe the size of the bowl it comes in and she got the medium size.  You should have seen the large!  I wished I would have taken a picture.  She did enjoy the soup but decided it was best not to order again - took too long to eat - LOL! 

Tonight on the menu here for supper is Pepsi Pot Roast.  It is a recipe given to me by my husband's Aunt.   Feel free to head over to my cooking blog for the recipe at A Stitcher's Snippets Cooking.  You can also click on the Recipe tab in the header at any time as the link is posted there as well.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This past Sunday night was our date night when we had tickets for the Bon Jovi Concert.  One word sums up the concert and our evening out - AWESOME!  We started the evening at a restaurant called Legends which is by where my husband works.  We parked the car in his work parking spot and left it there for the evening.  We got to the restaurant in the nick of time as 10 minutes after our arrival the line was out the door and people were having to wait for a table.  We both enjoyed tortilla wraps for supper - YUM!  

From there we headed to the skywalk for our 20 minute walk to the arena - unfortunately my walk was in heels.  Did not actually regret that until the hurried walk back to car to get home at appointed time for the respite provider to leave - 3 blisters on bottom of my feet  OUCH!  The plus - we didn't have any traffic to fight after the concert by parking so far away.

We arrived at the gate to find they would be opening doors 30 minutes early - YEA - but that the concert would be starting 30 minutes late - BOO!  Amazing seats and the time passed quite quickly watching the arena fill.  People watching was fun!  The concert was over way too quickly. We are used to concerts where there is an opening act, a break and then the main act who performs for about an hour with a 15 minute encore.  This band played their hearts out.  No opening act and they performed for a solid 2 hours, left for about 5 minutes and came back out for another 30 minutes for encore.  It was worth every penny we paid for our tickets.  I would have to say this was our best "date night" ever.  Will be pretty hard to top.   My pictures are not the best as only had my phone to take photos with - all night long I wished I could have had my Nikon along.
 I did not finish my Isabelle Vautier piece over the weekend as I had hoped but did make some more progress.  Instead hubby, son and I went to the garden center and bought a few Spring flowers for planting.  We do love our flowers at this house and love the little punch of color they added.  Keith and I had a trip to Rich's for chai teas on Saturday and again yesterday.  Knew we would be out late Sunday and Keith would never go to sleep until we were home (a mom knows these things) so had him take Monday off.  I was so right!  It was a really nice and relaxing day together.

I did finish reading Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey.  I believe the genre is considered Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  I really enjoyed the story about King Author and his 3 wives all named Gwen.  I began reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight last night.  I find this book so compelling that I'm already 1/3 of the way through it.  I think it might be my recommend for book club for next years discussion consideration.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wet Wednesday!

 We've gone from this beautiful, warm sunny day on the left to a week of rainy, cool and dreary days.   In the "pro" column we do need the rain and can already see the benefit to my flower beds where the earth is no longer cracked from being so dry.  In the "con" column by the time I had returned home from running errands my jeans were wet 6" up from the bottom.  Just wicking up the water as I walk.
I just had to post this picture of the tree out back.  Each morning when I look this tree has been stripped a bit more of its' bark.  I figure it must be an animal and it seems to only attack it during the overnight hours.  Any ideas!?
I've borrowed my mom's recipe box and recipe binder from my dad.  A few years ago I published a book of mom's recipes and gave them to my sister-in-laws and niece for Christmas.  I knew I should have purchased mine at the same time but figured I would add a few more recipes and pages to it before I did.  Fast forward a software upgrade which deleted the book and now I must start over.  I am now trying to decide if I want to create it through iPhoto again or if I want to just create a new blog of the recipes and print a book like I do with this blog.  In the "pro" column for iPhoto it keeps the recipes in family.  In the "con" column the price will be higher and I can't configure it as easily.  In the "pro" column for the blog it is so much easier to format and add photos and the price is so much less.  In the "con" column the family recipes would become public.  Decisions, decisions.

Decided it was time to give a more thorough update on my Isabella Vautier piece called Il'etait une Fe'e.  I'm using a dollar bill to give you a visual reference for the stitched size.  The stitch count on this piece is 90 Wide by 244 Height.  I have currently stitched 3/4 of the way through the design.  I am stitching this design on 25 count Spun Silver fabric and believe it is Jobelan.  It only takes 2 colors of floss and I am using the called for DMC 3733 and 150.  I do have a frame in mind for the piece that I think would be perfect but in order to use this frame I think it would need a wood fillet in a color of one of the flosses.  My framer has never used fillets so don't know if they would be willing to order for this piece or not.  Mmmmm!  I think I will email and ask the question and if not maybe I can order from somewhere and they would install.  I would use one of the other framers in town but I will admit to being somewhat picky about my pieces being mounted straight (I enter in the State Fair competition) and this is the only place I get this 100% of the time.

I shouldn't admit this but started book number 5 yesterday.  I'm actually making rapid progress through them all.  I will say they must all have a very different topic in order to keep them all straight which these all do.  If not, having 5 books going at the same time with the same topic would be just asking for trouble.

Tonights supper - a pot of white chili.   Perfect for a cold rainy day!  You will find this recipe along with a Chicken Pot Pie recipe I tried on Sunday and the family adored under the Recipe tab.   

UPDATE:  I started a cooking blog for recipes and my adventures in the kitchen.  It is A Stitcher's Snippets Cooking.   I decided I would collect my favorite recipes from mom here to make into a book.  After I get those finished I will continue adding my own.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Just a Quick Bit!

We are enjoying a beautiful day here today in Iowa.  My front flower bed is springing to life and am looking forward to my colorful tulips and bleeding hearts blooming in the next few weeks.  The green is there but still some growing to do before we are at bloom stage.  Hubby put out the water fountains in front and back and on these warmer days we've had it is so relaxing when the window is open listing to the water in them.

Today is the start of my hubby's golfing season as his home course is having their first tournament today.  It started a bit foggy this morning but the sun appeared as he was leaving for the course with the neighbor who is part of his team so am anticipating they will have a wonderful afternoon.

Keith has decided to play his Wii golf game and watch a bit of baseball so he is loud and boisterous and I wouldn't want it any other way.
I did get some stitching time in last night and as soon as I finish this post will be picking up my Isabelle Vautier piece while doing laundry.  What a relaxing way to spend my Sunday afternoon.  After all ...after six days of work Sunday should be a day of worship, rest and rejuvenation.

I've noticed with the announcement of Google Reader closing many of you have decided to use Bloglovin as their place to keep up to date on the blogs you follow.  FYI: For those of you who are users of iPads and iPhones (like I am) and if you have the  app Flipboard (as I do) to follow my newsfeeds, Etsy, Facebook, NPR Books, etc.  You can also subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and view them on your Flipboard.  For those blogs listed in your blogroll it is as simple as logging into your flipboard account and signing into your Google Reader.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Trip to LNS!

This Saturday morning's usual trip to Rich's Brew for chai teas was especially nice as hubby did not have to work for a change and joined my son and I.  What a treat it was not to have to get up at 5:30 AM on a Saturday.  We did take the Camaro but is still a bit too chilly to put the top down much to my son and hubby's disappointment.  Me - it just gives a bad hair day - LOL!

We then headed to the local LNS to pick up my Jardine Prive' Ronde de Fleurs which was being mounted into their one and only cheese tray (they've had this one for several years and it cannot be reordered).  It really turned out quite lovely and am so happy Vicki pulled the cheese tray out of the cupboard to show me several weeks ago!
I'm continuing to make progress on my Isabelle Vautier piece.  Amazing what the backstitching of the wings does for this piece. I'm hoping to have it done by next weekend so it can go off for framing.  I do have a frame in mind but what I have in mind is not always what I end up with.  
 I started a new piece by Country Cottage Needleworks called Be Thankful.  I am stitching it on a 25 count fabric called Dense Fog.  I have changed some of the colors to what you see on the fabric as I don't like the white pumpkins.  There is a frame I've been wanting to use for a couple of years and it will be perfect for this piece.
I also have three new overdyed fabrics.  They don't have color names as yet as they may or may not be part of my friend's permanent line.  It works either way for me as she always lets me buy her first test pieces if I want them.  I wanted them!  

I had a wonderfully relaxing day Friday as my friends, Mary and Belinda wanted to get together for some retail therapy and lunch.  It was my turn to choose so we met in Historic Valley Junction at the quilt shop.  After purchasing a few wants we then walked down to the Tavern - a pizza place that has been there as long as I can remember - for a lovely lunch.  Of course, we then needed to walk off our lunch by walking through several more lovely shops and yes purchases were made!

Last night was movie night at home for us.  Our movie pick last night was Lincoln.  It was 2 hr 29 min long.  I can see why Daniel Day Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Lincoln.  You know he did excellent work when you actually see Lincoln and not the actor playing Lincoln.  Overall we felt the movie was just okay.  I think this was one of those instances where we had heard so much about it and the movie itself just didn't live up to all we had heard.  It is not a date night tonight so maybe we'll have to see if there is another movie for another movie night.

It appears I not only have start-itis with my cross stitch but with my books as well.  Now that I finally finished my book club selection for April I am currently reading 3 books at once.  Whoops - make that 4!  Shoemaker's Wife by AdrianaTrigiani; Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain; The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do by Charles Duhigg; and Gwenhwyfar The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey.  Quiet and The Power of Habit are both Psychology books and of the two I am finding the book about habits more interesting.

Recently I found out a lovely woman I met through her business is experiencing some medical challenges.  It reminds how much we friends lift one another during challenges with our prayers, kind words and deeds.  When I started blogging, I used to include a quote/inspiration at the end of each blog post and I came across this one and decided to share.

Anonymous Encouragement Poem:

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns, 
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

House is De-Bunnied!

It has been a busy week since last post and finally today am getting around to playing catch up on a few things as well as taking time to de-bunny the house from Easter.  I pretty much put my coffee table vignette as it was except I added a different cross stitch piece I stitched years ago.  Just like when I take down all the Christmas, things look a little bare at the moment.  It won't take long through before it will look normal again.
I saw this little spool magnetic needle minder somewhere a couple of weeks ago and decided to order one for myself.  I think it is just adorable and a girl just can't have too many - need one by every chair that you might stitch in. 
Making great progress on the Isabelle Vautier piece.  I've been avoiding the backstitching in the wings of the fairies thinking it would take forever.  Imagine my surprise at how quickly it went and now can't wait to get back to backstitching this evening.

Enjoyed a wonderful "date night" on Saturday evening.  Went to see Olympus Has Fallen.  Granted it is a little farfetched that it could actually happen but nonetheless was a good action flick.  Hubby and I both enjoyed it.  Next date night BON JOVI CONCERT!  They are coming to town on the 14th and on a whim hubby asked what I thought about going.  Didn't think we could but checked with respite provider to see if she could do a Sunday night instead of our usual Saturday and she said no problem.  Sent hubby a text and by lunchtime we had tickets and lucky us they had a couple of very good seats open up so we are in a good spot.  I've always wanted to go see Bon Jovi in concert and can't believe I actually get to go.

We've both been taking turns on work done to the cars.  I still have one more appointment (at least I hope) as the bezel arrived today.  Hopefully this fixes the problem and we don't have to get into the bumper.
Yesterday after I dropped my dad off at his house I was driving by the house of my mom's best friend who also still lives in the neighborhood I grew up in and as her hubby was out I decided to stop in to say hello and I am SO GLAD I did.  What a welcome to have him announce you as "one of your kids has stopped by".  I've known them since I was 7 years old and they truly are family.  The first thing she says to me is that she is so happy I stopped by as she had something for me.  She was in a cupboard and came across the Nancy Drew book and Bobbsey Twins book and knew they were mine as my name, address and phone number were written in the cover.  It appears the books I loaned to her daughter didn't make it back until yesterday.  It only took 40 years.  We chatted - we caught up - we reminisced - we laughed - we cried.  I left with my tank filled with love and joy and was so happy I took the time to stop.

On Sunday night I finished the last page of In The Garden of the Beast by Erik Larson.  I usually love his books but felt this one was not as good as his others.  Really struggled to get through it.  It read to me more like a text book rather than a fiction book.  

I also just finished A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay.  I really enjoyed this book.  It surprised me with the unexpected a couple of times in the book and that is pretty hard to do which is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.  I am now going to finish the Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani and pick up something else to start.