Friday, February 28, 2014

Afghan is on the Needles!

I did not get a chance to share last post that I have started knitting my afghan on the only set of circular needles I could find in my house.  I have an entire set that my mother bought for me years ago (I mean like 28 to 30 years ago) and do you think I could find them to start an afghan for myself?!  Absolutely not.  As stated before, it really is time to reorganize and destash all of my crafting supplies not just my cross stitch supplies.

I saw a pattern for an afghan knitted in all garter stitch using 7 skeins of yarn.  Of course, you could use a different color for each and every skein but I chose these 4 colors and will repeat them.  It is such a simple pattern as you just knit until you use up the entire skein and then move on to the next skein.  Easy peasy!  This is a machine washable wool (no dryer).  My colors are from L to R Biscuit, Brindle, Umber and Cocoa.  It really is the perfect project to work on while watching television as there is absolutely no counting. 

I did get to my local needlework shop yesterday long enough to pick up some 25 count fabric (along with an OOPS fabric) for Hip Hop Easter by Nathalie - The Blue Attic.    This will be such a quick stitch that I think I will start it this evening and see how far I can get in one night.

Moving right along with my SAL La Pensee' Positive by Les Marottes de Nathalie.  It is a free chart and quite lovely.  I put my 6" inch ruler along the side to give you some idea of the size on 25 count 1 over 1.  It looks so dainty and sweet that I can't wait to finish, frame and hang in my home.  Working my way through Part 3 right now.
I made a quick stop at my local quilt shop today to look at sewing machines.  I'm thinking it is about time to upgrade my sewing machine to something that can better handle my quilting.  I'm not yet anywhere close to the "decision of which machine to purchase" but am in the "get serious research" mode.  I did, however, walk out with these Springy Riley Blake fabrics along with these adorable cat faces (thinking Halloween project). 

It has been extremely cold here the past few days but I dress appropriately and don't even notice it.  Expecting snow over the next 4 days but totals only in the 4" to 5" range which over 4 days is easy shoveling - especially because I bought myself a new shovel Wednesday.  I know I know why don't I use the snow blower.  In all honesty my workouts have put me in tip top shape for shoveling snow and actually can shovel about as fast as I snow blow.  I then get an extra workout in.

Going to try a new recipe this weekend for a low carb enchilada bake.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quick Update!

Picked up my new ride this past Friday.  I just love it!  I was going to try and select the DMC color that closely matched the color but in the sun it looks coppery (due to metallic flecks) and in the shade it looks chocolate brown.  The gearshift is a new type that is spring loaded so it stays in the exact same spot all the time.  Even after several days it feels really strange to use.  Everything is controlled by a touch screen which takes some getting used to but I've figured it out for the most part.  I went online and downloaded a PDF of the entire owner's manual and started reading it which helps a lot.   

 Keith is absolutely in love with the fact that the back of each seat has a DVD player to watch.  I wish you all could have experienced seeing his absolute delight when we arrived at the car dealership to pick it up and he spotted it.  It was priceless!

He also enjoys that it has double sunroof so he can sit and watch the clouds in the sky while driving down the road.

Bill already put on my new vinyl cross stitch decal really making it my own!

I'm moving right along on the SAL by Nathalie called Le Pensee' Positive.  I am just about to finish Part 2 of 5.  I'm really happy that I pulled the thread colors I used in Sampler aux Bouquet as I really do like the darker pinks and blues.  I'm just not a pastel kind of gal.

 Lastly as I've run out of time for today I've pulled the colors for Hip Hop Easter by Nathalie of The Blue Attic.    I will be stopping in at my local needlework shop tomorrow for a visit so think I will be picking out my fabric for it at that time.

Oh, oh one more thing.  Have you all seen the new magazine (BLOCK)  to be published by the Missouri Star Quilt Co. on a bimonthly basis?!  I have subscribed already.  The price is very reasonable and I love their tutorials so thinking a magazine full of patterns from them will be absolute bliss!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This and That!

Today seemed like a good day to stick close to home and get a few things caught up.  We have had beautiful Spring like weather the past couple of days but today we are expecting everything from a severe thunderstorm with hail which just arrived.
In a couple hours the snow is supposed to commence (including thunder snow) with winds creating blizzard conditions.  This should come as no surprise to anyone living in Iowa as we always get this crazy weather during the High School State wrestling (which is this week) and basketball tournaments.  They are already breaking into television programming with warnings.  I see many of the schools have decided to let out early (smart).

My new Jeep has arrived and we went out to have a look at it.  I love the new color and my son can't wait to get to watch the DVD player they now put in the back of the seat.  They are currently running the new vehicle inspections and adding my husband's "must have" list of accessories.  I will finally get to drive it off the lot on Saturday.  I can't wait!

I found a few minutes to stitch the other night but got involved in watching the movie Ender's Game so didn't accomplish much as I put it down.  I'm thinking I should start knitting my new afghan because it is something I can work on even when I am really involved in what I am watching on t.v.

I'm hoping to get a couple of hours of stitching time sometime today.  I ended up ripping out and changing the color for the flower stems.  It just wasn't the right color family to go with the leaves.  The leaves were a yellow green but the stems were a blue green.  Much happier with my color choice.   
I bought a couple of books recently to add to my collection.  In all honesty I like the A Schoolroom Alphabet much better than the Sonoran Borders.  It has patterns I would stitch along with the historical information.  The Sonoran Borders has patterns as well but they are just not my style.  The historical information is enjoyable to read.  Still I probably will do a giveaway or gift the Sonoran Borders.
I finished the book Allegiant (3rd book in trilogy) last night by Veronica Roth.  I really enjoyed this book as it told the story you got the background for in the first two books.  I am now going to start next month's book club selection which is Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen.  I also started another of our book club selections which is Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.  It is a pretty long book and is more technical than pleasure reading so know it will take me longer to get through.

I stopped at the grocery store this morning and bought the ingredients for a cake I haven't made in a very long time (probably 20 years).  This is a shame as it is the most decadent make you swoon cake I've ever eaten.  I picked this recipe up in a magazine somewhere back in the 80's and it was the most requested birthday cake where I worked at that time.  It is called moist n' creamy coconut cake.  I can't wait for that first bite!  I will put the recipe on my cooking blog once I have made the cake and have a picture to share.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow, Sweet Surprises, SAL, Scroll Bars, Speedy Stitching, Stunning Framing, Snapperland, Super Date Night, Secret!

When trying to decide what title to use for this post, as it was Sunday I decided the letter "S" seemed a good way to go.  I don't know about the rest of you bloggers but a title is one of the hardest things for me to write sometimes.


It seems like every 2 or 3 days we get hit with a couple of inches of snow and this week has been no exception.  I will say my drive to book club on Friday was a challenge.  It is normally a pleasant 30 minute drive but on Friday it took me double the time.  I go through 4 what I will call townships to get to this particular residence and only one of the 4 had done any pre-treating for the snow.  Thankfully after a couple of hours at book club the snow had stopped, sun was trying to peek through the clouds and snow removal had commenced.  The drive home was so much better.  Headed out early Saturday morning for haircuts and a trip to coffee shop only to get caught out in it again before we got home.  Another 2 inches.  We are not done yet - expecting freezing drizzle/sleet and YES another 2 inches of snow over the next 24 hours.


It was a delight this week to receive a couple of surprises in the mail.  On the left my very clever and creative friend, Lois sent this adorable pin keep.  She used vintage dominos and wool felt to create this little treasure.  

On the right my dear friend, Belinda whose creativity seems to know no limits machine embroidered this little heart.  I have been gifted ones over the years in pinks and whites as well and added to the 2 large hearts I bought from her Etsy shop it made for a delightful Valentine's display this year.

Thank you ladies for brightening my days this week!


I finally got around to starting the La Pensee' Positive (the positive thought) designed by Nathalie (Jardine Prive').  It uses several of the same colors from the design by Nathalie that I stitched a few years ago (Sampler Aux Bouquet Trilogy) so I have pulled out the colors I used in that design and substituted some into this design.  It will make a nice complimentary piece.  I am stitching it on the same 25 count fabric (Floba) 1 thread over 1 thread and I plan on framing in the same frame as the previous one.  It is coming along quite quickly for only one evening of stitching (equates to about 2 hours).  


This brings me to my new set of scroll bars.  I don't know about the rest of you but most of the scroll bars on the market I have not liked as they don't seem to hold my fabric taut enough for my liking.  I have had one set of scroll bars that I found at my LNS that had been sitting in there for years that have the fabric attached that you baste the cross stitch fabric to.  I bought them a couple of years ago and absolutely love them and wanted to have a set of them in several sizes.  My searches had not resulted in any success.  Vicki (owner of my LNS) knew of my desire and went on the "hunt" and she found a company that makes them to order.  You place your order and they are then made specifically based on your order.  I ended up with 5 different lengths of the rods and have 2 sets of the ends (each in a different size).  I can have 5 projects in all on the rods and then just have to share the ends amongst them.  THIS MAKES ME A HAPPY STITCHER!  


Isabella at Primitive Hare posted on her Facebook Page (Primitive Hare Stitching Group) that we had until Sunday to stitch her freebie Love Never Fails and send her a picture of the finish to be entered to win one of her designs.  Well, that is all I needed to pick up my needle and thread and get started on it Friday night.  I started, finished and had it on display in a record setting 19 hours.  

I used a scrap piece of 25 count floba and stitched it 1 over 1 using my favorite red DMC color which is 498.  When I went to finish it, I found this piece of striped piping that looked so good with the fabric and thread I decided to add a bit to the top and bottom.  

It also begged me to change the "1881" of the design to "1981" which is the year my husband and I were married.  I am very pleased with how it turned out. 


My framer called on Thursday afternoon to let me know that Fond Hearts by Blackbird Designs was ready for pick up.  What a lovely thing to pick up on Valentine's Day.  I could not be happier with how it turned out.  The frame is a perfect match to the darker red in the piece.  That is not a flaw in the bottom right hand corner of the frame - the frame has such a hi gloss finish that is the fabric reflection you are seeing.  


I also picked up a WIP that I had started probably 4 years ago and considering it is almost half done I'm not sure why it was put aside.  This is Winter Snapperland by Bent Creek.  I think the fabric I'm using is called Quaker.  It shouldn't take long to finish it up and am looking forward to adding another to my finished pile.


To end off the week hubby and I had our "date night" out.  We enjoyed a relaxing and delicious supper at our favorite restaurant for mexican food and then went to see Monument Men.  We both really enjoyed the movie.  It plays a bit like a documentary but was a very enjoyable and informative movie.


Did you know that those of you who receive the printed version of Just Cross Stitch magazine can download it digitally onto your computer by logging into your account?!  I recently saw that you could now subscribe to the magazine digitally and when I contacted customer service about whether my printed version (which has almost a year left in the subscription ) could be changed to digital I was informed that it is part of my subscription with the printed version.  This was news to me so thought I would share the SECRET with the rest of you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Finally Some Finish Work!

I've accomplished much since last Sunday's post.  For starters I finished stitching Fond Hearts by Blackbird Designs on that very evening.  It is stitched on a piece of 28 count OOPS fabric (meaning the dyer didn't get the color she wanted so didn't write down the formula so this color won't be recreated).  This photo I took at the frame shop when "trying on" frames is the one that really comes closest to the true color of the fabric.

I also changed the colors for this design.  I found the designer choices for the reds ran a bit more purple than I liked and the colors for the stems a bit drab for my taste.  I am very happy with the results. 

      Designer's Choice                                                  Lorrie's Choice
     WDW Palomino                                                     WDW Lucky   
     WDW Red Pear                                                       GA Raspberry Parfait
     WDW Havana                                                         CC Spinach
     WDW Williamsburg Red                                        CC Razzleberry

I will also point out that I moved the words on the right side of the heart down by 4 stitches.  The design did not have the words reading smoothly from the left side of the heart to the right and dropping the words by 4 stitches does make it flow more smoothly when reading.                                    

 I chose the frame from the bottom in the above photo.  It is a perfect match in color to the CC Razzleberry.
Monday night I sat down and in 2 hours stitched part of Give Love by The Little Stitcher.  I stitched it on 28 count 1 over 1.  I did change the called for DMC 355 (the dress) to DMC 498.  I'm really into the reds right now for some reason.  Threads, fabric, cars, clothes, kitchen towels - really into the red.  I've been wanting to make one of those pocket watches with a small stitched piece for it and this is the one I chose.  I wanted to make it as a birthday gift for my friend, Belinda.  I chose to keep the design in the pocket watch simple and just used a couple of my vintage buttons.  Sometimes less is more.

It would also seem that a 6" snow day results in some very productive time at my sewing machine.  I was commissioned by my sister-in-law's sister to make two zippered sofa pillows.  A few weeks ago the three of us sat down to do some fabric and pillow shopping online and she found some gorgeous fabric.  It arrived a couple of weeks ago and as of Wednesday I had not yet found the nerve to cut into her beautiful fabric.  I woke up Wednesday with all that snow and decided THE DAY HAD ARRIVED!  Armed with my iPad which had the video tutorial I had watched at least a dozen times I headed off to my sewing corner and commenced cutting, pressing, sewing, turning and stuffing the pillows. 

This is the finished product and I have to say I'm very proud of my work on them.  I think they look as good as anything I've seen for sell in the stores for a much larger price.  The tutorial was absolutely amazing and the zippers were a cinch breeze delight to do.  I know zippers are NEVER a delight!  I could not believe how fast they were to make from the first cut to the zipping them closed.  I have in mind a way I can apply this technique to making my lined zippered projects bags that will make them look so much more professional and faster to make.  I'm hoping to carve out a bit of time this weekend to give this theory of mine a try.  
 I was so enamored with my new technique that I decided to finish One Soul One Earth and Valentine by Primitive Hare into zippered pillows.  The fabrics are Midwinter Reds by Minnick & Simpson.  Again the reds - I love them!

 This is a Lizzie Kate Winter Fab Fob Limited Edition Kit.  I stitched it up last year and it was hanging on my magnetic project board in my sewing corner waiting for finishing.  It only took a couple of minutes to get it to the "just need to slip stitch it closed" point.  It will be done before the weekend is over.

 I tried a new recipe this week as well and it was a keeper.  This is beef and snow peas - well actually it is snap peas as could not get snow peas here.  I got the original recipe off of Pioneer Woman.  As always, I changed the recipe for a couple of reasons.  One I could not get all the ingredients at my store which is surprising and secondly and most importantly I changed it to suit my family's taste.  I added some mushrooms to my version and used balsamic vinegar (I had it on hand) instead of cooking sherry (I would have had to buy).  I also added a bit more brown sugar to the sauce as it was a bit too tart for my taste.  Served over rice it was just delicious!

 Off to run a few errands and then lunch to celebrate Belinda's birthday!  I'm also going to start a new stitching project tonight!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where Has My Weekend Gone?!

I have absolutely no photos I'm ashamed to say.  I can't believe how fast my weekend has passed.  I have not picked up my stitching since Thursday evening and will have to hurry if I am going to get any stitching in tonight.  I'm so close to finishing and just couldn't find any time to work on it.  Always the way it goes.

Date night last night was quite enjoyable.  We ended up at a restaurant that we had quit going to as we could never both get a good meal on the same night along with good service.  We received 2 gift cards to this restaurant at Christmas and so decided to take a chance.  It was a night for miracles as not only did both dishes come out hot they were delicious.  We also had a waiter who knew how to take care of his tables.  Woohoo!

We then proceeded to do a bit of shopping before seeing our movie of choice for last night - Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit.  We both enjoyed the movie so would say it is about as good as a date night can get.

I spent my afternoon giving my blog a facelift.  I've been talking about doing this for awhile and decided Super Bowl Sunday would be a good time to tackle the project.  I'm always surprised at how much time it takes as I go in with one idea of what I want to do and it never ends up in that vision.  I'm happy with it for this evening.  I need a couple of days to let it "settle" before I decide if it is a keeper or not.

Off to stitch!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Hockey Game!

As I suspected, no stitching was accomplished at all yesterday.  Hubby had a day off from work which always means a lot of extra stops on my errand list.  Then we spent the evening at the Iowa Wild Hockey game.  Using my new app I made a picture collage of the evening.  If you look closely, I think we have an alien on the Zamboni clearing the ice during a break in play.  You will notice the photo of my guys in the upper right corner, they are on their feet clapping and have a good time!  We are so lucky to live in an area where so many fun activities are available just a short 10 to 15 minute drive away.

If you are looking for a quick to table meal, check out my One Pot Pasta recipe on my cooking blog.  I made this last night and went from start to finish in 25 minutes - and 20 minutes of that was leave it alone cooking time.

We had just enough snow last night - a couple of inches - to make the roads a challenge when Keith and I headed out to get our Saturday morning chai at Rich's.  As we go through four different suburbs (cities) to get there, some roads are better or worse than others.  Today Johnston wins the award for the best roads.  They were actually just wet pavement.

Date night is on the agenda for tonight and Super Bowl tomorrow.  GO BRONCOS!  I'm not a fan of watching football so maybe tomorrow would be a good time to give my blog that facelift I've been talking about.

This weekend so far is shaping up to be a relaxing and fun one!  Hope yours is too.