Sunday, January 28

The past few days have flown by! Last Wednesday was Mason's 6th birthday. He is very specific about what he needs in a birthday cake. This year he came up with a vanilla cake with blueberries mixed into the batter (they sunk to the bottom but were a surprisingly nice addition). He requested cream cheese icing and blueberries around the edges of the cake. And the cake must say, "Mason 6". Which it does. The candles in teepee formation was a last minute idea that Mason came up with. It made for an impressive flame, let me tell ya.

He was also in charge of the dinner menu. He chose fettuccini with a white sauce and shrimp. And cheesy garlic bread.

After dinner Mason opened his presents and got Daddy to help him build a K'nex ferris wheel. I am so glad I went with K'nex instead of Legos as the K'nex set came with a motor. Motors are right up Mason's alley!

I've spent the past few days obsessively working on that sampler. I just had to finish it. The spacing was a bit tricky. Some of it is made up and some of the motifs are from a booklet on borders. And instead of planning the whole thing out beforehand I figured it out bit by bit. Probably not the smartest way to do things but it worked out in the end.

Wednesday, January 24

I decided to cross stitch a sampler to add a bit of variety to my wall of stitching. I'm sort of having a "what was I thinking?!" moment. Embroidery is way faster than cross stitch!

And I made a wee mistake. I guess that's what happens when you make it up as you go rather than having a fully formed plan from the beginning. I'm using designs from booklets on borders so the placement and spacing is a bit of work. The mistake is that the letter A is further from the border than the letter P. I was one stitch off. I can't decide if I need to put a little something in front of the A or if the fact that the numbers start closer to the border (which makes the 1 and the z perfectly evenly spaced) makes up for it.

All this thinking is making my brain hurt. And I woke up this morning with my 5th cold in about 6 week's time. If anyone should see my immune system would you kindly ask it to return home. It's greatly missed.

Back to the sampler... There will be a whole row of houses that will go all the way across. And then I want to stitch a Bible verse below the houses...something related to house/home. I haven't decided on the rest yet. I did see some cute sheep in the border book. There will likely be at least one sheep. :)

Today will be a busy, yet fun, day as we have a birthday child here!

Sunday, January 21

Just a quickie fly-by post as we've been out of the house all day and stitching (in a cross stitch mood) and a movie sounds really nice.

I finished the squirrels and stitched a fairy. I'm not sure how I feel about her. The transfer lines were thick and hard to cover. Because of that her face isn't so pretty. And the colors...I dunno. My plan was to use colors that would make it seem old...vitage-ish. But I can't help but wonder if it just looks weird.

Oh. And I've been switching frames around again. And I painted the blue frame with the squirrels in mind but the birds started tweeting at me. So I gave them the blue and painted a frame green for the squirrels. They're all happy now. Good thing the kitten isn't picky.

All these embroidery pieces in painted frames is turning out exactly how I had imagined though. I can't wait to have them all finished so I can hang them up. My hallway is going to be so cheery now!

I know most people hang family photos in their hallway. I love looking at these collections in other people's homes. Unfortunately I have issues when it comes to hanging family photos that stem from growing up in a dysfunctional family. I'll spare you the details. The bottom line is I don't have even one photo displayed in my home.

Decorating the walls can be a bit of a challenge for me at times. The empty hallway walls have been screaming for something for a long, long time. And I was absolutely giddy when it occurred to me just how inexpensive this project is. I haven't paid more than $1.50 for a frame and muslin/floss are pretty darn cheap too. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner!

On another note, if anyone can easily explain how I can post a pattern to share with everyone, I'd be much appreciative. :-) Thank you!!

Friday, January 19

Over the past year of so I've heard and read reports of the dangers of teflon. This was around the time that my teflon coated set of pots and pan was on its last leg. So when I replaced them I went with stainless steel.

The stainless steel took a bit of getting used to as I grew up using teflon coated cookware. For the most part I adapted. But there were a few things that I couldn't manage to cook in a stainless steel pan. Pancakes and eggs.

I almost never buy cereal for breakfast since it's the most expensive breakast (as per The Tightwad Gazette). We make a lot of eggs and pancakes. When stainless steel proved to be hostile toward eggs and pancakes I went out and bought a cheap teflon coated pan for cooking them. I knew teflon was bad but I didn't think I had another option.

Well, I recently heard that pre-seasoned cast iron is dreamy. So I bought this pre-seasoned cast iron griddle. Y'know what? It is dreamy. It basically requires the same care as my Pampered Chef stoneware (hot water and scraping/ soap) so easy-peasy.

I now have a teflon-free kitchen! YAY!

Speaking of dreamy, have I mentioned that I have the best friends? I don't get to see my friends as often as I'd like. But that's because we are a one-car my own fault. But I have some truly wonderful friends.

I should preface what I'm about to say by mentioning that I am often told it is difficult to pick out a present for me. I am often told I'm too picky. I have been told this since I was a child.

So nothing touches me more than someone says, "I saw this and knew you had to have it". Things that were gifted to me this way mean so much to me. I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. {sniff}

The other day I recieved a box in the mail from my friend, Melissa. The box contained these little jars. She saw them and knew I needed them. Aren't they just the cutest thing all filled with button!?! I just love them! Thank you, Melissa!!!

The winter quilt top is coming along nicely. I had planned to do the border yesterday but it didn't happen. Yesterday went too fast. Today seems to be following suit so it will probably be finished over the weekend.

I did finish the squirrel embroidery. It needs to be framed though.

Isn't this the funniest picture!? I found Mason sleeping in this box the other night. I tried to pry him out of it but he was too heavy for me to lift. He was out of the box when I woke up in the morning though. I've asked a few times but he hasn't shared just why he went to bed in a box. :-)

And, finally, I snapped this picture of myself the other day. I thought I'd share it here since it seems I got lucky and found a flattering angle. I really enjoy it when people post a picture of themself of their blog. I like seeing who's world I'm reading about. So, here's me.

I usually wear glasses but mine are falling apart and need to be replaced desperately. Lately I haven't been wearing them much around the house. So they are missing in the picture. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll leave you with this version. :-)

Thursday, January 18

Tag, you're it!

Ok, first off I need to tag 6 people for the meme. So,Renee, Becka, Angela Jenny, Bettsi, and Melissa...TAG! You're IT!

The rules:

The rules: People who get tagged need to write a blog post of 6 weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

(My responses are in the post below this one.)

Blogger isn't letting me upload pictures at the moment (grrr!) but suffice it to say, the winter quilt top is almost finished. I've got the outside border left to finish. It's on today's list. I've got several pictures to share so I'll be back later when blogger gets its act together.

Since I can't show you my pictures, I'll send you to look at someone else's amazing artwork!

Tuesday, January 16

Playing tag and today's whims

I've been tagged for a meme! I love reading these and am excited as this is the first time I've been tagged (Thanks, Simmy!)

The rules: People who get tagged need to write a blog post of 6 weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

Ok, here goes...

1. I was born in a car. A green Dodge Dart, to be precise. In the front seat. I also inherited the "this doesn't hurt enough to be real"/"shoot those babies out at lightening speed" gene.

2. I hate the cold feeling of bed sheets and I don't use them on my bed. I make up my bed with a feather bed on top of the mattress. I put a quilt over the feather bed and tuck it in between the mattress and boxspring. That is essentially my fitted sheet. I top my bed with a quilt or two. In cold weather I use a down comforter on the very top.

3. I am overweight yet I do not like doughnuts, chips (just about all kinds), or french fries. Weird but true.

4. I am a hair-twister. I often twist little braids in my hair using just my thumb and forefinger (I can do it with only one finger but that requires conscious thought). I've been known to tangle all my hair into tiny dreadlock-ish braids which stick out in all directions.

5. A couple years ago I had a toothache that hurt so much that I pulled the tooth myself with pliers. I didn't do a very good job as the tooth broke off. I still had to have the dentist get the roots out.

6. When I was a teen I used to look up the obituaries in the newspaper. Then I'd pull out the phone book and cross out the people who had died.

Now I need to think of some people to tag!

Ok, onto things that are slightly less weird...

I'm making good progress on the squirrel embroidery. However I think I must not have enough projects in the works as I feel compelled to put together a winter quilt top. The squares are cut for all but the sashing. The design is planned. I'm itching to start stitching!

Sunday, January 14

A cozy pot of tea

Only a small bit of crafting to show for today. Most of today was spent tidying up, cooking (pancakes for breakfast and soup for dinner), and napping (ahhh....bliss!).

I did squeeze in a bit of knitted while my husband and I watched "The Celestine Prophecy". That is when this tea cozy (or "cosy" for you people on the other side of the world) was born. I have a warmer than holds a tealight candle for keeping my tea warm but it's not often I have my nightstand cleared off enough to feel safe with even a small flame.

This will get plenty of use as I tend to bring a pot of tea with me when my husband and I watch tv in the evening. Truth be told, he watches tv. I listen to tv and do crafty things. Speaking of... I think I'll be heading back in there. I just hooped up a new bit of embroidery (cutie little squirrels). I think I'll get started on it. :-)

I've been framed, I tell ya!

Thank you, all, for your opinions on which frame to use for the kitten embroidery. The opinions were pretty much split down the middle so there wasn't a clear winner. The dilemma is, however, solved. I was looking through embroidery patterns to find my next few projects. In doing so, I came upon something that seemed perfect for the red polka dot frame. So the kitten is in the yellow frame.

Due to the ice storm that came through here we were without power all day yesterday. It got pretty chilly inside the house so we filled our day with shopping. Since JoAnn's (fabric store) was having a sale on embroidery floss (6 skeins for 96cents) I stopped by. I got a good load of floss (no such things as too much floss!) and also found this 8"x10" frame for $1.66. So I bought 4. I'm sure I'll sand and paint a couple for variety's sake. But that was too good a deal to pass up! It won't be long before I have enough to start hanging things up on my hallway wall!!

Thursday, January 11

Lovin' from the oven...

This Annie is all finished now. She has a little basket (crocheted from fabric strips) of vanilla-cinnamon salt dough "cookies" and, of course, a chef's hat for her to wear while baking. The embroidered tag that hangs from her basket says "Lovin' from the Oven".

I added some more linkie-poos to my sidebar. I have more in my bookmarks to sort through still so keep your eye out for more! I think I've double checked all the new ones to make sure they work. Please give me a holler if you catch any I missed. :) And, of course, if I've linked your blog and you'd prefer I didn't, just let me know. There are so many wonderful blogs out there I just can't help but share!

Wednesday, January 10

Opinions, please...

Which frame is better with the kitten stitchery? This yellow frame or the red one I posted earlier? Or something else entirely?

Isn't it ironic?!

I have been on the prowl for a thimble I can actually use for the longest time. My preferred needles are fairly thin so I often end up with the eye of the needle stabbing into my middle finger. In my opinion, being stabbed by the blunt end of the needle hurts much more than being stabbed by the sharp end. I try to wear that clunky metal thimble but it's just so cumbersome.

Well, I finally found a thimble that I ~*LOVE*~. And, go figure!, it's called the Nimble Thimble I should have know it was made for me! ;-)

Crafting at a feverish pace

It seems yet another round of sickness has come to visit. Isabelle came down with it Tuesday and she has shared with me. I'm still in the early stages so I'm on a mission to wrap up a few projects before I lose my momentum.

The Annie is nearing completion. I've made up a couple bows for her hair but they're still in my workbasket. I haven't quite decided if she needs one or two.

I still need to embroider and sew her collar (it's drawn out on that bit of muslin in the front of the picture). She is also waiting on her chef's hat. I need to whip up some cinnamon dough and make her a basket of cookies. And her clothing is way too pristine. Some walnut ink is called for, I think.

I painted a frame for the kitten embroidery I did the other day. I need to assemble it all still. I've finally decided what I'm going to do with the blank wall in my hallway. I'm going to fill it with bits of stitchery and such in funky, fun frames.

Now that I'm seeing them together, I think that this red frame will be put aside for something else. It's just *too* red, dontcha think? I'm thinking perhaps yellow would be better for the kitten. Yellow with white daisies, maybe...

I've been trying to come up with a plan for this wall for the longest time. The hallway leads from the main areas of the house to the bedrooms...with a stop at the bathroom on the way. The in-progress embroidery in the first picture is intended for this wall as well. Except it keeps whispering to me that it would like to be a tea cozy. I haven't decided whether I'll listen to it or not. ;-)

Oh! Today was another good mail day! Six new (to me, at least) crafty books and a JoAnn ad. It doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, January 8

A sauna for dolls

Well, more accurately, a sauna for doll parts. I've got an Annie-in-progress baking in the oven at the moment. She's already stitched and stuffed. And she's been painted with a walnut ink solution. Baking her in the oven (at the lowest temperature my oven will go...170 degrees F)will cause the ink to dry with interesting stain patterns. Air drying just isn't the same. And the bonus is that she'll be ready to finish fairly soon.

I'm trying to resume our normal routine today, including homeschooling. We're getting a late start on schoolwork (about to start now) but at least we're fitting it back in. Hopefully we'll get an earlier start tomorrow.

Gotta run...later, gators!

Sunday, January 7

Wow! I can't believe I went 6 whole days without blogging! I've been busy with fun stuff like organizing closets (to find homes for new Christmas toys) and crafty supplies.

I also had friends over a couple days this week. On Thursday my friend, Melissa, came over with her sewing machine so she could get started learning to sew. We both made table runners using the winter quilt squares I received in a swap. My table runner is shown here, sharing space with Mason's "moon sand".

Melissa did an amazing job with her first sewing projects. I can tell that before long her skills will far surpass mine. I'm a total rule breaker and already I can see that she's going to be a stickler for rules.

I stitched up this little kitten the other day. I've totally got embroidery on the brain lately. And I'm loving redwork. Embroidery goes soooo fast when I'm not constantly changing colors.

I got this design at
Needlecrafter (click library, then designs). I print them out and trace the design directly onto my fabric with a water soluble marker.

Since I've admitted to my book hoarding tendencies, I suppose I'll share my latest acquisitions. I just love paging through a good crafty book. I've been accumulating this pile of books over the past 6 weeks or so. But I've been so busy with holiday orders that I haven't done much more than peek at them.

I still haven't gotten to making any little sparkly winter houses or paperclay snowmen. Soon, though...very soon. :-)

Monday, January 1

The penny rug is finished. I thought this day might never arrive. Yet, here it is.

I actually finished it last night so it's the final project of 2006. I know it's silly of me, but that somehow makes it seem more important. ;-)

I've started de-Christmassing the house. It's funny how I can't wait to decorate. And then a few weeks later (it wasn't even that long, I don't think!) I feel claustrophobic and can't wait to put it all away. I made some good progress toward getting the house back in order. I'll finish up tomorrow. Hopefully.

I can't believe it's only nearing 6pm. I'm absolutely tuckered out. I think some tea, knitting, and veggin' in front of the television are in order.