Friday, May 28, 2010

Surprises in the Mail!

Look at this wonderful package I received from Myra in today's mail!

A wonderful pouch and an autumn/Halloween LK pattern! I was so surprised when I opened the pouch and found the pattern tucked in--I thought it was a piece of cardboard included to keep it nice in the shipping! :o

The back is so nice; it is really beautifully made, and even lined inside!

A close-up of the yellow zipper (!!!) and zipper pull--it's a feather that wonderfully compliments the feathery leaves of the print. :)

Myra, thank you so much--I am just beside myself with excitement! I'm thinking carefully on what to store in it--it's so nice that I almost can't bring myself to use it! :D Maybe a new WiP is in order, lol!

And now back to cleaning and my new project, which you'll recognize from Staci's blog, lol! I'm really enjoying putting the 115 Becky gave me to good use! :)

With best wishes for your weekend,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Cheater Cake" and Stitching

Most stitching lately has been for surprises or exchange, but I have managed some that I can show. Here's a progress pic for PS "When Witches Go Riding":

I like it so much with this open circle 'cause it looks like an old "book illumination" (Imagine the circle being filled with an illuminated letter). If I didn't like the top, also, I'd just leave it. I was so tempted that I already put in the black part of the moon, before stopping due to agonizing over where to put my signature/year.

Now, for Cake! This is my favorite "Cheater Cake" so named because you're cheating not only on your diet but also by using a box cake.

Mix up a yellow box cake (I use Duncan Hines and add a few sloshes of vanilla extract) according to box spec. Then, break up the pieces of a Hershey's semisweet bar and arrange them thus. I poured 25-30% of the batter into the bundt before tiling them down today.

I love how the squares are printed with the company logotype and "1/2" oz. I feel so baker-ish.

Pour in the rest of the batter gently and "drop" the pan a couple of times to level the batter.

35 minutes later (I did over-bake slightly, darnit!)

Let rest for 20 minutes and turn out onto plate. Slice 'n Serve on your favorite mint-green "cat-plate" with total disregard of plate's intended pre-k audience.

Mmnn, Melty-chocolate! This is so good that a friend who Hates Yellow Cake (Who hates a yellow cake? He must be a commie. It's "America's Favorite Cake". That violator on the box can't be wrong, right?) Praised it in the same sentence that he abused yellow cake. I leveled my best "You just sprouted a second head" gaze at him and informed him that it was in fact a yellow cake.

Point: This cake is the perfect "carrier" for delicious chocolate. You could serve it with some whipped cream (add rum when you make it!) or pudding or custard, but that really is gilding the proverbial lily. It was a great way to celebrate Marc's recovery and the advent of a new 'Fridge at Chez Bunny-Bear.

I'd like to add my apology that these photos aren't more appetizing--our little nest's kitchen lacks any window.

In other news, SailBoat Biscornu is ready for finishing!

Photo from last night; not the best lighting.

The light colour of the waves is a Dinky Dye silk on this, the "front". I used the recommended DMC for the back, however. I think I like the slightly greener DMC better, but after ripping out the front's dark wave silk (Belle Soie Peacock) for being too green, I decided to let the slight varigation of the silk stay.

Just now, with plenty of sun. The true colours are somehwhere in-between. I love those bottles from Ikea, and so I wedge them into the photo whenever possible. (You should have seen our Christmas pics--Marc's face got obscured by one of them--but only partially so we could still use it for our cards. lol.) As for the desk-clutter, I must love that, too, 'cause it's always there no matter how many times I clear the desk.

I still haven't heard from the House Biscornu winner, but I'm going to wait it a bit more before re-drawing. I really hope I don't have to--I can't say how disappointed I'd be if I somehow won something and then wasn't able to claim it/didn't realize I needed to do something and it was whisked out from under me! I hope things are okay with her generally, and no major disaster has occurred!

For now, it's back to finishing my Sailboat Biscornu, packaging up some things (between exchanges, a pattern return, RAKS, and my little giveaway I've got quite a pile of things to haul to the post. Ugh--I wish the humidity would give me a break!), stitching on My New Start (Whee!!), and of course Wednesday is Bathroom Cleaning Day.

Happy Midweek, Everyone!

Yours Cheerfully,

EDIT: After so many requests, I'm adding the link to buy the Sailboat Biscornu from The Floss here. The only change I made was subbing 5200 for Blanc DMC.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Lucky Giveaway Winners!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Without further ado, let's announce the lucky winners of last time's giveaway:

House Biscornu Winner: Joan

Redbird Sampler Pattern Winner: Patty C.

Ladies, I need your street addresses so I can get your prizes mailed out to you. :) I'm sending an email request for it to Patty via the email addy from her profile, but I don't see one on your profile, Joan, so please email it to me at the link in my profile. :D

Thanks for playing, everyone!

We've had a few bumps in the road this week, too. Most significantly, Dear Marc ate a solid helping of an unfortunate broccoli salad at the salad bar on Saturday from which he gained a robust case of food poisoning that just won't quit! Later in the week, I was a bit under the weather myself, but thankfully it was a more garden-variety ailment of the monthly persuasion, and no cause for alarm. We both seem to be perking up with today's sunshine. It's the first in a while, so maybe I can do some finishing and get some pictures taken. Speaking of those little devils, while my own little nest is approaching sparkly my desk's clutter condition has taken a nosedive, and I can't at all find my card reader, so no pics today! I think it reached the tipping point after I spent yesterday helping my friend edit his graduate thesis--all that printing, ugh! I'll clear her out today, if all goes as planned.

Mostly, things are good, however. :D I'm all-but-finished with my summer exchange (need only to "cinch" a biscornu–AND I already made the extras), I'm ready to stuff a beaded-edge RAK (It's so cute I'm bonding with it, which means it's definitely good enough to gift away!), and I'm having fun customizing a design for a new start. :D

Yours with wishes you'll have a great, stitchy week-end,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Double Giveaway Time!

Hello, Everyone! We've been having a bit of a week here so far: Our 'Fridge decided that it had fought enough of the good fight and all at once destroyed all the food inside. I really couldn't say what happened--it always seemed cold enough, but suddenly the freezer downright reeked of, well, carrion. Yup. It was so strong that when Marc opened it I smelled it from the other room! So, all (and I do mean all) of the provisions in the freezer and 'fridge had to be discarded on Monday night. :( The bad news is that since changing out eating habits last September, we don't really eat much packaged, shelf-kept food anymore. SO, on Tuesday I spent the day contemplating the possibilites of Spiced Jello Soup (why do we "own" 15 boxes of lime jello? Do you think Marc wants me to make some for him, perhaps? ;) with Navy Beans. I also had 2 cans of peaches, and 2 boxes of tomato puree. lol!

Parting was difficult--especially with the artisan cheeses (this time Spring Onion Jack and Havarti). I buy them in double-sized blocks from Sam's and cut 'em up for use (lately omelettes!). We're bigtime cheese lovers, so it was, "Well...maybe I could eat it! Yeah, sure, if we eat it all now it'd be fine! Probably..." Now, Stitchers, even if it had escaped the Evil Influence--eating all that cheese alone would have made us sick, lol!! :D :D :D

The good news is that our Penny-wise Landlord instantly agreed to replace it (not technically legally required by the state), and so a new one is on order as it's a special size (24"w x 58"h). The other good news is that I get to eat the pumpernickle bread (with peanut butter!) we picked up at the store last night--a definite Off-The-Wagon Treat!

This morning, I woke up to find that the chilly weather turned to rain, so I decided it's the perfect time to shake off these doldrums and get on with the Giveaway I've been planning for some time!

A month or two ago, while pining for spring simplicity, I stitched up this biscornu freebie from The Floss Box! I had such a great time that I made two--would you like to add one to your collection?

Just to be clear, this is an "Heir and a Spare" situation--one for me, one for you. So, only one will be sent out. I'll be picking the winner from the comments section, so just mention you'd like to join. :D (No hoops to jump through :)

There is one condition, however: I don't like the idea of the labor of my snail-speed stitching going to someone I've never heard from before and won't hear from again after, so I must recoginze you in order for you to win.

You don't have to be a regular commenter or my close pal--If you're not *sure* I know you, well, enter anyway. If you're drawn, and I can't recall you by name right off I'll have a look at your blog. If I've seen it before even in my wanderings, You Win! :D If not, I'll quietly draw another name. :D

And, because it's just too sad for new-comers to the party to be left out in the cold, I'm also giving away a second prize that Absolutely Anyone is Eligible to Win:

The Chart-only for Bent Creek's Redbird Sampler! I actually won this for the New Year Start giveaway hosted by the Generous Jolene--my first win ever! Oh, I was so thrilled--made my Christmas! This is a FUN stitch, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

The Fine Print:

• Comment on this post for entry through Midnight on Tuesday, 18 May 2010.
• Winners will be drawn and announced sometime Wednesday (Yay for Midweek Cheer!)
• PLEASE Do Not type your email addy out in the comments as it's a GREAT way for SpamBots to acquire it. If I don't know the winner's contact info and it's not on their blog page, I'll ask for it at that point.

Good Luck! :D


Stitchers are the kindest people; you hear it again and again, and I really owe so many of you so much! Much more than my stitchy fingers could ever produce, more than even a pocket deeper than mine could hold, so since there's no way I can keep up with paying it back, I'm paying it forward in my own small way. Especially, this biscornu is made and given in honor of those who've been kind to me and extended their friendship even as a Nobody when I was first starting out--Myra, Edgar, BeckySC, Terri (of Raised by Poodles), Nicole, Annemarie, Sharon (of X-stitch Happy), Deb (Thread Gatherer), and so many others! Everyone, Thank you! I'm having such a good time making things, and enjoying your handworks as well through your blogs!

Yours in Thankfulness and Fun,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Two Plugs" or "Here I am!"

I just noticed in checking Edgar's Giveaway Post that I'd promised to mention it here. I was checking to be certain that I'd entered. Let's just say that the fact that I already entered wasn't the only thing I forgot! :P So, because I want to keep my word I decided to post "Now" rather than "Tomorrow, Maybe". At any rate, Check out Edgar's Giveaway: He's celebrating 3 Years and 700 posts--wow! You have until Tomorrow at 3 P.M. PST to enter!

Here's the second plug: Erynne, a blogger I only just got to know when she had to stop (aww)--but the good news is that she's back and publishing designs under the name Red House! Here's her newest, "Love Lives Here" and I think you'll LOVE IT as much as I do! Her official website also has some freebies, and if they are any of the ones from her blogging days then they're also keepers. :D


"Where have you been?" Asked a few comments and emails I've gotten. Everyone, thanks for thinking of me! I've been working hard trying to get some things in order (mostly the house), and so have been limiting my computer time. (Chiefly, I haven't been stumbling out of bed and logging on half-asleep then staying on for most of the morning!) I'm making good progress establishing workable routines, and soon I'll get to the point where I can schedule in blogging. They say everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but not everyone has the same time-mgmnt skills! Whew!

But, on to the stitchies! I've been working on exchanges, so that means lots of stuff I can't show yet, so Boo!! Lately, I really hate doing things that I can't show here on my blog--maybe I'm an exhibitionist at heart!

I couldn't really get any acceptable pictures (overcast) and I know I'm forgetting more stuff, but we're going to proceed with the mottos of "You're not behind; Jump in where you are!" and "Progress, Not Perfection".

Here's Ferdinand (You may remember him; isn't he prim?) with an absolute PILE of DMC 115 that Becky SC sent me. I'd made an offhand comment that I couldn't find any in local stores and wondered if it was disco. I really like 4210, and have been curious about the "Legendary" 115. I was so amazed when I got a heaping pawful of them in the mail from her (with a few 4210's for good measure. I was down to one skein, so thank you!)! Stitchers, you are the Nicest People! Becky, I am so glad to call you "Friend". :) :) :)

Do you remember when I was working on that BBD freebie NIKM ABC's? Well, I finished it, but as for the finishing had about 3 things I wanted to do with it. I was so keen on all of them that I'd almost decided to stitch it 3 times. I still think I might! One of them was to add it to a liner for this scissors case I picked up on a tip from Deb. I was planning to make the "wood" white, but now I don't know. it does look good this way, eh?

Open that reflective glass door! I was also thinking of trying some of that chemical etcher for the glass...

A batman snap showing the colours a little better. :D I know it's lousy photography, but I have a soft spot in my heart for them.

My stitching station right now--at the couch-end opposite Ferdie, and Today's Target. I put a few stitches in last night; the letters are fun to stitch.

Just in case you were curious about what that was on my "companion shelf" A closer, also murky, view of the Sailboat Biscornu I'm stitching for myself! I love the floss toss for this one, and am almost ready to begin the waves. The fabric is an evenweave (the one that has no stretch--is it Lugana?) in a newish colour called "Cobblestone". I'm thinking of a stormy sea. I do love gray. The other floss ring peeking out is for my summer exchange. I'm glad to say I'm done with the stitching and in the middle of "finishing" it. :D

Just realized that "vial" full of white and wet stuff looks so discomfiting that I'll explain it--it's a photographer's loupe for viewing slides and negatives and the like. The white stuff is a cotton round I put into the "protective" vial after I discovered it was scratching up the loupe. Sigh. One of these days I'll shell out for another, unscratched one. It's from my art school days for viewing slides shot of pieces. Yes, when I was in HS ten years ago slides were THE thing for admission submissions, competitions, and shows. Can the 1999-2000 school year (My Junior year) really be ten years ago!? It CAN. :P

Finally realized that the bowl that came free with the liqueur chocolates we bought at duty free the last time we went to Toronto is Perfect for the glass stones I use (with haphazard regularity) to track my water drinking for the day. (And just about useless for anything else). Eight Glasses!? Remembering to drink is enough without keeping track of numbers!

The table runner with the Blanket Stitching (=Yes) came from Ikea (also = Yes).

My coziest book nook (aka My Bed). I usually read in here when it's warm and sunny, which it wasn't yet when this photo was taken. Overall, it's a very cheerful room. Rita Mae Brown's newest "Cat Mystery", Cat of the Century is new out now (today)! Thanks to Amazon for emailing me an ad to buy it for my kindle. Thanks to NJPL for letting me reserve it online, and then emailing me when it was a mile's walk away from me at the local branch. I LOVE books. I love to buy books. Just not this month. If you've ever wondered what was up with all those Cat Cozys--try one of Brown's. I tried 'em out about 5 years ago, and IMHO she writes the best. Crozet, Virginia--Here I come!

Just realized there's some crafting here, too! I made the "length" of white crochet 7 or 8 years ago, when I was first learning. The flower doily is more recent; perhaps a year or 18 months, when I tried it again. I realize that I love creamy yellows, pastel yellows (really all pastel save baby blue and baby pink), and eyelet lace!

And, there's a "Handkerchief" from when I first started stitching. I made it by hand using a barely-mastered blanket stitch for the edging and added Pikachu (yes, he's the little pocket monster) using 14ct. waste fabric and 3 strands of DMC. Needless to say, he was too difficult and cute to use to really wipe my nose. I still harbor ambitions for making my own handkerchiefs, though...:D

While working on my big cleanup/self discipline, I stitched something I'd seen on Staci's blog and loved absolutely. I'd have never though of stitching this freebie all in black, but I love the way it looks--simple and just the thing. I admire her taste so much; I think she's a fine and discerning eye for matching materials to pattern. It's my policy that Imitation (with credit) is the sincerest form of flattery, and I hope she agrees! I'm copying the way she rendered it to a high degree--I even bought the black mill hills for the edging. I am, however, leaving off the initials lol!

I liked it so much, and was thinking of it so much as a great addition to a Halloween display (it is my "2nd Most Enjoyable Stitch Ever"--Fox Forest holding the #1 spot), that I decided to stitch it again in refreshing white for the spring time! Also, as I was using up some linen that I "didn't like" I decided to try overdyeing it with tan rit after I finished the black. I liked the black so much that I dyed the other cut, then stitched the white one!


Whew, all along I'd meant to make this a QUICK blog, and pics only and leave the talking for the end here and for the purpose of thanking all of my kind readers for their encouragement about things like Laundry Disgruntlement but most especially for those who included me in their prayers or quiet time per my request last time.

I'm the type to get quiet when I have troubles--if I can't think of anything uplifting to say I'll just keep my own counsel (this is only partly true; I've been told I'm quite "Snarky". I'm not sure about that, but I'll own that I'm a "Harsh Judge", but I aspire to be an encouraging one. I might "Give it to You Straight" but that's only because I think "You Can Take It." "I Believe In You." but this is a bunny trail--).

Like so many of you, we have many things going on right now--the good and the bad are all coming at us tumultuously to the point that it can be hard to discern the one from the other!

But I want to share with you all one good report that happened since my request. One of the things weighing most on my mind at the time was this: In brief, the biggest effect of The Economy on our little household was that on April Fool's Day 2009 Dear Marc was called into the Home Office of his company. Dear Marc is a computer programmer, and at that point he was a Laid-Off Computer Programmer. He'd been pulling for the company for over 5 years at that point, and had stayed with them even when given rotten assignments with the view of loyalty and a possible transfer as it's a world-wide concern that supplies pinch-hitter programmers to mostly major corporations. So, following that the best/only opportunities for him were all "Freelance". Long story short, we've been blessed with work since then, but the current position keeps a 35 hour work week for freelancers with No Overtime Ever. On Thursday, April Fool's Day 2010, Marc's super 'phoned him after 7pm. Oh, how anxious I was! Can it be--two years running!? Is it any wonder Marc has No Sense of Humor for this silly Holiday? Well, it was not as bad as that, but they called to arrange it that he would take that friday, the next day, off due to a lack of projects that had made it out of planning and budget stages. And every subsequent Friday until further notice. Oy. What a worry! Sometimes even on the days he did go in he wasn't able to bill more than a few hours, and now only 4 possible days a week!?

The Good Report: that Friday, April 2nd was the ONLY one since that he hasn't been needed for work at the office! :D Thank you so much, everyone--I feel like this is due in large part to your kind inclusion of us in your prayers and thoughts! It's not like all things are resolved, but this is a definite Light!

Everyone, I hope you are well and you are often in my thoughts. With a wish that all good things come to you and lots of "X's", too, I remain