Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Wonderful RAK Arrives from the "Queen Bee" of Our Little Hive. :)

What a miserable day it's been outside! It's just a snowin' and a snowin' out there, but as the weather's been above freezing for several days prior it's doing nothing more than making the most un-picturesque slush imaginable! The report said 18-odd inches, however, so Dear Marc's company shuttered their doors as a preventative measure against stranded office-ites. So, he's been here all day, yet I can't quite "settle in". I wish I were a cat today; they always know how to curl-up and cozy-in, and should the weather spite them they know just the degree of disdain to exhibit so it knows they are unmoved. :D

I've been stalking the post with eager eyes these past couple of days as I was awaiting the delivery of this:

Lizzie Kate Quick It: Sampling Halloween, 30 ct. WDW Havana Linen (as called for), CC Stepping Stone (The one colour neither I nor the LNS had for NIKM ABC's from BBD), PS Santa 2006 (My favorite of their Santas!), and the Kelmscott Tudor Rose Scissors!

The fruits of a RAK gift certificate from Becky! I was on the fence for a long, long time about what to get, but finally had my mind made up for me when Myra, who received a similar gift, posted about getting The Same Item I'd been contemplating getting, which is the LK Halloween Quick-It with a cut of WDW Havana Linen. :D Myra is a great blogger, and I've so enjoyed knowing her since I first found her blog through the original Tiny Treasures Exchange we were both a part of. We were never partners, but I was new to xstitch blogging, and I checked out most all of the other members' blogs trying to get a feel for things. Myra is so talented and funny, and her works are so enjoyable to watch; I feel like she is just really enjoying herself with the things she makes! I'm really hoping that when spring comes, she'll be reinvigorated to tackle Dog's Day Out ;).

So, overall I was able to knock 2 charts off my wish list, try out a new brand (WDW) and count (30) of linen, "fill out my troop roster" for a WiP, and feed my scissors need! :D I feel like all my deliberating paid off in bigtime mileage! :D

More scissors porn! *squee* I've been wanting these puppies since they came out. Next up on my hit list is the Steweb style (also from Kelmscott). I've decided to stop (for today, at least, lol) pining for the Mia from Ginger (which seem to be about as common as a Gryphon) and those $500 Fox 'n Grapes scissors!

And here's another, 'cause it shows the linen color more accurately. (But, I can't say I'd spare you it even if it didn't!)


I'd like to take a moment to thank you all so much for your kind visits and comments! Thanks for your kind words regarding Eileen's Mixer--I'll be doing my best to live up to it! If I could, I'd send every one of you a cookie! If you're *very* (and I do mean exceptionally) lucky you'll get one of the ones that are a full moon rather than a "crescent". ;)

Your Crumby Friend,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Too small to count as another WiP."

...Or at least that's how I rationalized it to myself. ;)

NIKM ABC's Freebie by Blackbird Designs
2/2 on 28 ct. Antique Ivory Linen
Recommended Fibers (GAST and WDW)

Strangely focused, but it shows how pretty the colours are.

My big blog seems to have fallen through, but in case anyone was wondering about my Manjula's Kitchen Experiment, here's the Baingan Bharta I made on that snowy Wednesday.

The end result was really good, and a big hit: Marc liked it, which is more than I can say for the restaurant version that inspired me to learn the dish. He's a "Good Eater", and has enthusiastically eaten everything I've ever made save 2 instances, though I'll spare you those anecdotes for today (at least. ;). It came out really "yellow" which I attribute to either a mistake in the quantity of Turmeric I added, or the fact that I had to make do with corriander powder, rather than the called-for seed format. I've already got 2 fat eggplants awaiting a similar fate in my kitchen. :D

The second "make" of my too-busy snow day was Snickerdoodle cookies! They are quite possibly my favorite cookie ever, and that's saying something. I'll say something else: Creaming Butter, Shortening, and sugar together until they are "fluffy" by hand is not for the faint of heart. "Where are the cookies? This is a lump of dough.", you say? Somehow, they were all eaten before I could get a pic. I won't link you the recipe, though, because I wasted at least half of the batter trying to find the baking Time and Temp. In NJ (or 2 of her ovens, at least) the magic number was 6 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

They were such a hit (the pickiest amongst our set pronounced them to be "perfect".), that I can say my efforts on the behalf of others' taste buds brought me back a *very* nice return in the form of...

An Artisan Stand Mixer from Kitchen Aid! I was admonishing the boys (Marc's college set; though they graduated one and all nearly 10 years ago, they are still friends who have a monthly "party". One year ago 4 of them established a bachelor pad together, and we often pass the evening there. They have three Playstation 3's, and a pool table in the basement--the draw reveals iself! Fortunately for my stitching eyes, a sister also recently gave them a lamp!) that they should be grateful for these hand-mixed home-made cookies--I suppose I was in a particularly shrewish frame of mind--when one of them pipes up that his family's got a stand mixer moldering unused and would I like it. I made all the proper protests due to the value of the object, and the fact that they not only have disused stand mixer, but within the last year or so also acquired a Dead Mother...Yep, this would be her stand mixer. Without going into the personal details of other people's lives, it is such a sad thing: Her son is only one year my senior, and she was a lovely woman. Though I never met her in person, I know her son well, and he is full of praise for her: A whip-smart (Yet retiring and sometimes uncertain of herself) gynecological nurse, she was the first in the state to earn special qualifications which allowed her unrestricted prescriptive permission. Dad was quite powerless against her knack for adding cats to the household. :)
The trompe-l'œil she muraled in her kitchen (with more enthusiasm than skill, admittedly) featured a stone hutch filled with cheese, grapes, and a garnet-filled glass. Hanging alongside, her favorite cheeky quote:

"I enjoy cooking with wine; sometimes I even put it in the food."

I've been charged with the proper use and good care of Eileen's Mixer. So, I tried making more Snickerdoodles (as you see above) they came out perfectly; now if only I'd remembered that I cut the sugar to 2/3 on my first run-through!)

Those of you who do own stand mixers: Any ideas for what I could/should make? Hints, secrets, dish on dishes?

Yours Somewhat Reflectively,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Red & Green and Redbird Sampler(s)

Here's an update on Redbird (Thanks to Jolene :). At some point, a Red Bird (It's a cardinal, right?) will appear. This is on the same piece of linen as Fox Forest, BTW. When unfolded, it's like they are opposing armies lining up for battle. I completely love stitching with the Juniper (is it CC or WDW; can't recall, sorry!) on this Meadowlark. It's pictured in a crocheted basket from Ikea, one of my 3 or 4 "Happy Places". Annemarie ID'ed it last time as being from their Hallowed Halls Showroom, and it is only my desire to finish Redbird this year that is restraining me from waxing long on their wonderfulness. :)

Meanwhile, my enormous blog hasn't made it off the presses, but I want to go ahead and share my joy at the wonderful surprise I received late last week in the mail! Feast your eyes, Dear Reader, upon

Rosewood Manor's Quaker Diamonds

BeckySC hosted a GENEROUS giveaway of this amazing piece, I think, because she is enjoying her work on their Quakers and Quilts pattern (which is a "sister piece" to QD and uses the same Valdani Floss. Now, if you followed that giveaway (who didn't?) you'll know that I didn't win. Yet, Here it is with me. I COMPLETELY wanted to win (how greedy, having won from Vonna in December) and must have been too open in my admiration of the piece! In truth, I feel a little guilty--but only a little. ;)

These Valdani perle cotton balls are one of my favorite things about this piece--I've never done x stitch in perle and so wanted to try it! I never expected, however, that Becky would send them too along with the chart--I've been SPOILED! I love-love-love them! They are so tiny and perfect; brings out my cat nature and makes me want to pop one out and bat it around with my paw!

Oop! There goes one! I quickly put it away before I succumbed and batted it all around the room. Wouldn't want it to get dirty! (=^.^=)

I'd LOVE to start it right away, but I have to finish my Arbor Day exchange (loving it; hope my partner does, too!) and do the finishing on my Easter Exchange. I picked up the materials for that this weekend, so all should go well. Also, I don't have a suitable cut of 28 count linen. The chart calls for 28 ct Cashel in Mello from PTP, and after seeing a piece of it in 32 at the LNS which had come in on special order, I've pretty much decided to stick to it--pretty! For those of you who use PTP, where do you like to/is the best place to get it? I'd love to get some without having to wait for them to dye it, but I think that may be a pipe dream!

So, where's this Red & Green Sampler?

BlackBird Designs has seen fit, in their infinite wisdom, to release this little gem as a freebie!

I am head-over-heels for the colours, and have been since they blogged a sneak peek a while back. It is a reproduction of the antique sampler that Barb fell in love with which inspired their creations for Market this year, and I think Market-Exhaustion has overtaken these poor ladies because they've titled it "Now I Know My ABC's". I don't know about you, but that title goes over with me like a lead balloon! I sure am desperate to have this beauty, though! Wonder how I should finish it. What's that? Finish A WiP first?

Okay, I'm off to ferret around in my stash to see if I can find the fibers for NIKM ABC's work on Redbird and prepare for dinner.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snowy Stitching

Gosh, but I have a beast of a blog in the works. Updates on all that cooking. Answers, answers, answers. Awesome stitching, and even more awesome SURPRISES in the MAIL.

But I've only a moment, and so here's how I'm ringing in tonight's Snowfall.

Red Bird Sampler
Bent Creek Designs
Recommended Fibers (CC & WDW)
36 count Meadowlark (1/2)
Start Date: 10 February 2010

Other SnoozeNews:

• Have you seen the Steweb scissors from Kelmscott? I wants them! :)
• Patience 1898 from Hands to Work <--Also want. lol

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seven O'Clock Snow

Because the Weather Report said that the accumulation of Snow at daybreak would be 2-4 inches (and because they were dead wrong on Friday: I saw about 2 flakes in the city), continuing ALL DAY, I went out to take "progress pics" just before 7 AM today.

Approaching the wooded area behind our building.

Getting Closer. :)

Deep into the Woods(y Area).

A Neighboring "Pink Lady"

Recently-Awakened Me. :) (Can you tell I'm approaching that age where Makeup ought to be a necessity rather than a luxury?:P Well, really it's more like my eyebrows are stark blonde and without the aid of a darkening powder disappear altogether.) On Friday I got a haircut, and I'm still getting over my separation anxiety: It was long enough to sit on. I wanted it trimmed, taken up, shortened. I felt like it was eliminated. But...It looks fine...probably...

From the Balcony, Whee!


What's Next?

Snickerdoodle Cookies

• Some Veggie Recipes from Manjula's Kitchen (finally stocked my Indian spice arsenal last night.) I'm trying Aloo Gobi first. My friend and I have long been laughing (not always kindly) at Auntie Manjula's videos because they are nearly 10 minutes long each and consist primarily of her listing off all the spice components first in the intro and then as she cooks with them. "Halba Teaspoon of ____" times about 20. :D But we've been getting so into the Indian restaurant around the corner lately, and I'm excited to have her as a reference to try my own hand. :)

• Try's (Jazz at Lincoln Center) Archives. In particular I really like the recent Danilo Perez installment
It's all good, of course, but start with "Ask Me Now". The music show is all one file, so you'll have to advance it to 20:15 on the progress bar to be selective. (The whole "Song" is a little under 8 1/2 minutes long.

• Red. Bird. Sampler. Jolene gifted me with this snowy sampler, and I really want to make a start (My first non-exchange start of the year! :D :D :D) today.

• Want to walk to the LNS, because it is only a third of a mile away. Before you expire of envy you should know that it's a Needlepoint shop, and so they only have about 50 x-stitch charts (lol) but the proprietess is a Lovely lady, and I can see all the floss I want there. :)

• I also owe a tonne of replies to comments. Thank you everyone for stopping in; I will endeavor to somehow be organized enough to answer questions and properly reciprocate. If I manage to miss you, PLEASE have pity on me and give me a gentle nudge (or swift kick) by way of a reminder.

Yours Snowfully,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Witches...And Black Cats To Be Seen

I was so encouraged by those comparison photos I took and all of your kind comments (Thank you so much, everyone!) that I kept working on WWGR. Because I'm getting addicted to seeing it magically progress flipbook style in my album, and also because I now like taking photos thanks to my cell phone (of all things), here are even more progress pics.

I so love this acorn needle minder. I should take this opportunity to throw out my hoard of acorns from this Autumn. Yes, the ones I spent 5 hours drying out in the oven.

Marc was in a Clash of the Titans mood last night and he kept making jokes about "Bubo the Owl" and answering in robotic-owl tongue when I spoke to him. Bubo looks really scary here as a Zomb-Owl with no eyes or beak.


Here's Ferdinand (Cousin to Felix). I've had him so long that he's picked up a touch of "real-boy" magic. Isn't he so prim? What's that? "No, he's just dirty!", you say? Well, Ferdie (a diminutive Marc's given him which I'm not quite sure he likes) takes exception to that. Ah, isn't that just like a cat--often one isn't sure if he likes you or hates you body and soul. :) (I love cats, jic you somehow missed my obsession, Dear Reader.)

Ferdinand recently took his almost-annual "spin" at the laundry. I put him in one of those commercial front-loading washers (cells) with the glass door (bars). Occasionally, through the sea of white suds there flashed a dingy grey paw--swabbing desperately at the glass in a heart-wrenching plea. It was with great difficulty that I resisted springing him, as it had been considerably more than a year since his last "bath" this time; in truth I feared that extreme old age (He won't see his 10th birthday again.) coupled with the fact that I'd just fished him out from the Abyss of the Underbed had conspired to somehow tip the scales of his plushcat to swoot ratio--would anything remain when the cycle was complete? It was with great joy that I at last transferred him from the washer to the largest of the dryers, where he proceeded to amuse all present with his "hamster wheel" antics. Two pertinent facts: He generally led with his face. And Marc took video. :P


Yours Cat-fully,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Riding With Witches

You may recall that I was working on When Witches Go Riding by PS, and I've done some here and there between exchanges and my monthly HalloSAL. Today, I decided to take a progress pic, and I was shocked by how much I'd actually gotten done since last time just by doggedly sewing in black, black, and more black.


And Now:

This one does the best job of showing the colours on this grey day.

But this one is clearer, and un-cropped. You can see where a I had to take out some black border at the corner due to a knot-loop. Sigh. If you're looking for the "ruffle" at the bottom of the frame as charted, never fear. I am quite in love with it, yet contemplating inserting some sort of signature-date-etc at the bottom in a box before that fancy trim. I actually have--somewhere--about a million thumbnails sketched for personal logos that would be, in my recollection at least, very suitable for adaptation to the medium of needle and thread. Now all I have to do is stop stitching (or rather starting) new projects long enough to find it and knuckle down to the conversion!! This is what's preventing me from showing a finish on about 3 projects, Beneath the Sunlit Sky included!

Have a great one everybody--stay warm for this last push of winter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Open Season on Kathy Barrick. ^_^

Just in case you hadn't heard, Kathy Barrick of Carriage House Samplings has put a bounty on her own head:

"Oh! I had an idea.....the more comments you guys post (positive OR negative), the quicker I'll load the images! Work for you??"
--Ms. Barrick, via her blog along with a pic of A@HRH Block 1

Autumn + Cat + Porch Swing = Yes.

You heard the woman--Now, take your torch in hand and let's all storm over and form a mob outside her blog's virtual gate until she releases the next eleven blocks! :D

(For my part I'll be taking along my Easter exchange for the Holiday Exchange Group, and after that either the Arbor Day one or my HalloSAL to occupy myself during the mob's "Quiet Time." ;D)

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Valentine Arrives!

How thrilled I was to find Edgar's handwork on my doorstep:


So many items were fished out of the packing peanuts! The lolly is a truffle chocolate! (I'm pretty sure it is from Walgreens, if anyone wants one. I worked there during my High School days and I can spot their packaging from a mile. Also, I studied Graphic Design post-secondary, so that might also be why. They have really great seasonal items; just a couple of aisles, but it's pretty unique stuff for good prices. It's my favorite place to buy Christmas Tree stuff. Just don't buy Ritz crackers, unless you're comfortable paying $7 for a box of 'em, lol. Okay, back to the action!)

Did you want to see the card? No? Well, I did. :D It's a darling Wizard of Oz colourplate crop from one of the original Frank L. Baum books. I'm honestly not too much of a fan of the famous musical, but I DO sure like Return to OZ, with its Jim Henson puppetry and Drew Struzan poster.


The wrapped stuff: Candies, a bejeweled heart frame, Prairie Schooler's Santa Rides (Yay, now I can scratch that one off the ol' wish list. I'm deciding if I should do the ship first--most Norwegian--or the baloon--most wacky.) And, also a wonderful packet of California Poppy seeds. I LOVE poppies 'cause they are so pretty, and I was inordinately thrilled to receive some! I'm not sure if Edgar included them because he read me gushing about them, or because (as I noticed) they are a favorite exchange inclusion of his, but I am so excited to see if I can get 'em growing! I'm not much of a green thumb, but this is worth a go! :D Also, they are singularly appropriate to the Oz Theme. ;)

V is for Valentine from the CHS Alphabet
36 ct. Purely Primitive from Silkweaver
Recommended Fibers
Stitched by Edgar

Okay, it's off to see what's for dinner and to start work on the upcoming Easter exchange! I'm feeling good about it because now that the partners have been assigned I find that the design I was mulling over in my head should be JUST right. :D

Yours as long as I don't have to come out from under the Sunbeam Blanket,