Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting ready for the holidays

We have our Christmas tree up. We put up all of the "nice" ornaments, the collection of Hallmark ornaments that the kids have picked out each year, the hand me down ornaments from our parents, and all of the needlework ornaments. In the picture you can see some cross stitch ornaments, some ornaments made with plastic beads, a flying pig, a wooden rocking horse, a carved cat, a glass basketball, and an oldfashioned radio that can be tuned to a North Pole station. The rest of our ornament collection is equally eclectic.
I gave up on the large shoe box of kid-made ornaments. Some of them were made by my children and some of them were made by me and my brother when we were little. With an 8 ft high tree (with a chunk taken out of the back when my husband forgot it was on top of the van and drove into the garage anyway) there just wasn't enough room for styrofoam balls with colored pins stuck in them, pieces of cardboard with macaroni glued on them, or colored foam core creations. They will have to stay in the box and wait and see if we get a larger tree next year.
As it is, about half of our ornaments are hand made. They reflect memories of the people and places they came from as well as my children's passions as they grow up. Each year we have each of them pick out their own ornament to purchase. We have gone from Thomas the Tank Engine, to the Incredible Hulk, to a snowboarding polar bear with my son. Now he thinks he is too old and cool to pick an ornament. My daughter's choices have included a multicolored bird, an American Girl doll, three dalmation puppies, and this year a basketball.
I have been stitching and finished Scary Scraps. My son reminds me that it is Christmas now, not Halloween but it is not too early to start getting ready for next year. Mosey n' Me's story about Scary Scraps is that he was too poor for white linen so he is wrapped in scraps. Considering that his scraps are made up of needle necessities floss and Rainbow Gallery metallics as well as DMC, I don't think that he is really that poor. He was fun to stitch on 28 count over two threads. The different segments of pattern and color were bite sized segments that were easy to work on in the evening and I can't look at him without smiling.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Slow Craft

Sharon B has a post on her blog today about slow craft. She refers to a new blog called Red Thread Studio that talks about slow craft and sustainable clothing markets. Both started me thinking. I don't make my own clothes anymore because it is cheaper to buy them and my sewing machine is not very portable. This is despite the fact that I do own a sewing machine, am an accomplished seamstress and at one time I made most of my wardrobe. Some of the clothes that I wear the most are things that I made even though I completed my last garment at least 6 years ago.

Instead, I make more things by hand. I like the slow process of knitting my own socks, doing hand embroidery, beading bracelets, or hand appliqueing a quilt top. I have the luxury of not needing to sell my handcrafted items to make a living so I can take all the time I want on them. I love the fact that at the end of the time I spend on embroidery or knitting, I have a finished product. The transformation of a hank of yarn, a collection of fabric scraps, a box of threads, or a jar of beads into something beautiful and perhaps useful is magical in the same way that the transformation of flour, water, salt, and yeast into bread is magical.

I do find that I have to adapt my projects to my lifestyle. Right now, I am better at completing portable projects than ones that require a lot of space, materials, or equipment. I find it easier to follow someone else's pattern or design than to make up my own. I like the challenge of modifying designs and creating my own works but it is comforting after a long day at work and taking children from one place to another to sit down with a pattern someone else developed and reproduce their design. These projects improve my technical skills and often teach me new things about fibers and color giving me tools to use when I have the time to sit down and work on my own designs. I like eating bread that I baked myself and wearing socks that I knit myself.

Note: The two Christmas Stand Ups pictures are Better Not Pout from Shepherd's Bush and Yule Stack by the Trilogy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow (Ice) Day

With ice storms last night and more predicted this afternoon, there is no school and my office is closed. The ice on the trees is very pretty but it is not so pretty on the roads, or on the dogs when they mix it with mud and bring it into the house.

At my house, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas throughout the month of December. We fit in traditional family holiday rituals with basketball games, karate tests, chorus concerts and work related trips out of town. Many of the holiday traditions that have been handed down for generations involve food. Hanukkah is not complete without Neil's Potato Latkes, although in my house we may eat them while we decorate the Christmas tree.

Peel 4 large potatoes. Grate potatoes and onion, if desired, in food processor. Put grated potatoes in cheesecloth and squeeze out liquid in sink. Put grated, dry potatoes back in food processor. Add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix into a smooth batter. Drop batter by serving spoon (1/4 - 1/3 cup) size spoonfuls into pan with very hot oil. Cast iron pan and peanut oil work well. Fry over moderate to high heat until brown on underside. Turn to brown on top. Lift out of oil and drain off excess fat on paper towels. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

Another essential part of the holiday season is Christmas cookies. I made some snickerdoodles and chewy gingerbread which have already disappeared. If I get ambitious this afternoon, I will get out the cookie cutters and rolling pin and make one of Grammy Baugh's cookie recipes. The simplest one is Grammy Baugh's Cinnamon Crackers:

Cream together 3/4 lb butter and 1 lb sugar (2 cups). Add 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix in 1 lb of flour (4 cups). Using more flour, roll out dough and cut out cookies. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until brown. Thinner cookies may bake faster.

If you are an ambitious cookie decorator, you can make royal icing and decorate these in very fanciful ways. If you are not an ambitious cookie decorator, you can sprinkle colored sugar on top of the cookies before putting them in the oven to bake. Even better, you can have a small child sprinkle the sugar on the cookies.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More stitching than finishing

I have been doing some stitching during the past couple of weeks but not very much finishing so this weekend, I picked up materials for some small and quick projects for gifts. I have been knitting hats using patterns from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. So far I have finished two "Elf" Hats using one skein of Mountain Colors 3 ply wool in Alpine. The smaller hat will fit a child. The larger hat fits my son who refused to be photographed in it. I am going to make some more "Elf" Hats out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky in Mixed Berries and then try out the bobble edged Santa hat using Lorna's Laces worsted in Red Rover for the hat and Misti Alpaca's Chunky Baby Alpaca for the trim.

I have been stitching from my stash and have been working on a Mosey 'n Me Pattern called Scary Scraps -- the Mummy. Scraps is stitched on a piece of bright pink linen in anchor floss, needle necessities, and Rainbow Gallery threads. The individual sections of pattern are relaxing to work on and I think that he will be a very fun Halloween decoration when he is done. I also have all the Prairie Moon Halloween ornaments and stand ups to stitch -- if I get them done and finished, I could have a lot of Halloween decorations next year. I tried to concentrate on finishing Christmas decorations last year instead of stitching new ones and have a lot more things to put out. You can see some of my stand ups on the flickr feed on the side of the Blog.

I have also been knitting my second pair of socks. Not much to show so far but I am making progress. These are knit using the first color from the Art Walk Sock Club. I like how the painted colors are coming out in the stitch pattern on the sock so far. I am using the Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks pattern from Cat Bordhi's book.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I am home by myself opening the door for the trick or treaters. My children are out with their friends -- my daughter decided to trick or treat as herself because I failed as a parent and did not order her the whoopee cushion costume in time for Halloween. My son has been trying to think of things to claim to be as he trick or treats in his regular clothes -- I suggested a high school student but he said that was too obvious. He was trying to decide between child molester and serial killer when he left with his friends.
As the evening goes on, the trick or treaters at my door get older and fewer of them show up in costume -- it is a little cold out so in some cases the costumes may be covered up by jackets or sweat shirts. I have succeeded in giving out all of the candy that no one in the house will eat. So I can feel the evening has been a success. I also made popcorn in a pot on the stove for the first time -- I have always used the microwave bags or an air popper before. I managed to only burn a few kernels on the bottom of the pan.
I am also trying to transfer an address list from Palm format from a Treo to Outlook so I can have it on this computer. I am trying to decide how long is a reasonable time to wait before I assume it froze and will never finish.
I have been reading. I finished Crazy Aunt Purl's book Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair over the weekend and have been thinking about the community of needlework bloggers. I have also been looking at the referrers that show up in my site statistics and found out that there are some blogs that link back to this post. The fact that technorati does not pick them up is a technical issue that I will look into later but it is cool to know that my comments have influenced someone else's work or that someone else has found my blog interesting enough to refer someone else. When I decided to start my blog, I wasn't sure anyone would read it. Almost 300 visitors a month seems outstanding.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Creative Embroidery piece

I finished my first piece for Susan Sorrell's Creative Embroidery - Organic Design class. The class is offered through Joggles. Her style of embroidery is very interesting -- much freer than anything that I have done before. This piece is supposed to be a Zen embroidery piece -- an abstract design using different stitches and threads. I used a variety of silks, appleton wools, cotton threads, and some DMC linen in various threads on a piece of hand dyed quilting cotton. Quite a departure from the rest of the charted cross stitch that I have done this month.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stitching for exchanges

I have been stitching for exchanges. I posted my biscornu pictures last week. Here are pictures of my Halloween Treat Bag based on a pattern in a British magazine and of a pincushion from a Halloween Quaker Exchange. The pincushion is based on a motif in the Tsunami Sampler. I used a beaded border inspired by the fringe patterns in the Bead Embroidery book that I recently bought. The beads are brighter in person but I could not get them to show up properly on the photograph.

I also finished my first pair of knitted socks. I now have two rainbow ripple socks. I have started my second pair of socks using yarn from the Art Walk Sock Club and the Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks from Cat Bordhi's book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. The socks look good so far -- I will post pictures soon. I will have a lot of opportunities to work on my knitting this year since
we have added indoor Lacrosse to our winter sports schedule.
I have even done some reading this week -- I finished Small Island and am now reading the latest Thursday Next mystery, First Among Sequels.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Biscornu exchange

I made a biscornu using Chatelaine's free pattern Manuela's Sunflowers stitched on 32 count Silkweaver Forest Haven Belfast Linen. This biscornu will be heading out in the mail soon to its new home.

In return, I got this biscornu from Clare. She did a beautiful job picking out wonderful fall colors. She included some thread, needles, a tape measure, straight pins, a Whitman sampler tin and a chocolate bar.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mom's Macrame Necklace . . .

After sharing my discovery of my mother's macrame book on the used book shelf at the public library for $1. I thought I would share a picture of my mother's macrame necklace. My mother got the pattern for this necklace from Dona Meilach's Macrame book. She wore it quite a bit at one time and made a number of other pieces of macrame. This is the only one that I currently have. It was last worn by a friend of mine at a 1970's party.

I have purchased some more embroidery books recently including The Encyclopedia of Embroidery Techniques by Pauline Brown, The Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques by Sally Saunders, and A Maryland Sampling by Gloria Seaman Allen.

I also received my autumn exchange package with a needle roll, fabric, various fibers and an weighted bag for the arm of a chair. I will have to check and see if my exchange made it to its new home. I love all of the fall colors and signed up for some other Halloween and Fall themed exchanges. Pictures will be coming soon. The leaves are even starting to change color but the temperatures are more like summer than fall.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

September Flowers

I thought I would share some pictures of the flowers in my garden at the end of the season. The bees and other insects are quite happy that we have so many flowers. This bright green insect shown on the yellow chrysanthemum is harmless, but one of the furry bumble bees bit me on my leg while I was clearing weeds out of the garden. The swelling around the bite took a week to come down. The Firecracker climbing rose is one of the prettier end of season blooms.

I have been stitching too but I don't have any finished things to share right now. I am knitting my second sock, working on parts 5 and 6 of Chatelaine's Elizabethan Sweet Bag and I finished another row of over one stitching on Anne Depauw. I should have some things to share later in the week.

Recently, I purchased some new books. I found a copy of Macrame: Creative Design in Knotting by Dona Meilach on the Friends of the Library used book shelf for $1.00. It has the Berry Knot necklace my mother made in the 1970s on page 150. I still have my mother's necklace. I also bought Bead Embroidery: The Complete Guide by Jane Davis at JoAnn's fabrics. It contains different methods of attaching beads to fabric, beaded fringe patterns and beads incorporated into surface embroidery and pulled thread embroidery stitches.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2000 visits and pictures of stitching . . .

Some time this week the stat counter registered visit number 2000 to my blog. It is fun to know that I have readers and that some of you come back more than once. I also think it is interesting to see where my visitors are from, the map shows visitor locations from the end of June on.

A stitching blog should sometimes have pictures of stitching. Here is the front and back of a pincushion that I made for an exchange. It is a Whimsey & Wit design from their Charming Elegance Series. I planned to make a biscornu but quickly realized that it would be enormous so I made a stuffed square instead. It is stitched on tobacco linen with chestnut weeks dye works.

I am reading People of the Abyss by Jack London. I am familiar with his animal and adventure stories but I did not realize that he was a socialist or that he wrote social history. His descriptions of life on the East End of London at the beginning of the 20th Century are chilling. I enjoyed his description of the Coronation Parade -- all of the military and ethnic groups that were part of the British Empire at that time are represented.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

News . . .

I have been in Florida for two weeks at a training class for work. I visited St. Augustine while I was there and visited the Fort Matanzas National Monument and the Garden of the Oldest House. The Chapel door at the Fort is shown in the picture, it has an interesting pattern on it.

While there I did some reading and some stitching and a little bit of knitting. I have been back since Thursday night and have gone through all of the mail, celebrated my daughter's birthday, attempted to get caught up at work, and in the yard work. I plan on doing some stitching tonight and may have some results to share tomorrow or the day after.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My first sock and my second Sumptuous Surfaces piece

I caught up with reading all of the Sumptuous Surfaces lessons this weekend and stitched my second piece. This one is more colorful and is an abstract design. It represents a lightening bolt in a rain storm. I have had lots of opportunities to watch both lightening and rain recently and I thought that it would be good way to experiment with layered stitching and beading. I used some shiny pearlized stone beads, silver bugle beads, and two sizes of seed beads. Some of the pearlized beads reflected the flash when I took the picture.

I finished my first knitted sock. I used the Rainbow Ripple pattern that is available free from Opal Yarns. The sock fits my size 8.5 (US) foot perfectly. Now I just need to knit the other sock so that I can wear them.

I also finished my first knitted dish cloth. It is really a lace sample knitted in Bernat's organic cotton but you can't tell. If I look very closely, I can see the strawberry pattern but it does not photograph well. I think I will try one more with a different lace pattern and if that one is still too hard to see, I will try larger needles.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Playing with threads

I am not the only one at my house who is working with threads. We have a very industrious spider who has taken up residence outside the sliding glass door. I took this photograph of the spider and her web this morning -- she is getting fat eating all of the bugs that are attracted to the lights in our house. Every evening she makes a new web making the spider the most ambitious stitcher in the house.

I have been doing some needlework. I have made progress on my rainbow ripple sock and finished part 4 of Chatelaine's Elizabethan Sweetbag but I have made the most progress on my monochrome piece for the sumptuous surfaces class. I used some agate chip beads to cover the book with and combined them with bullion stitches in one of the variegated colors of DMC pearl cotton. I also used the same pearl cotton in seed stitch on the inside of the coffee cup. I like the texture from the stones. It contrasts well with the pulled stitches. Right now the border is empty, I have not decided whether I should leave it that way or not. Now that it is covered with the stones, the book is a much less defined object. It could be a treasure chest or just a pile of things sitting near the coffee cup.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Heirloom tomatoes and more socks

Today's CSA share included heirloom tomatoes -- they look interesting and taste very good. All of the tomatoes from the grocery store taste the same but each one of these has its own unique look, texture and taste. The Tomato Jubilee is in a couple of weeks -- then I can go and pick all the tomatoes I want.

I have been experimenting some more with combinations of the Take a Stitch Tuesday stitches. My cast on stitches are improving but I do not think it will ever become a favorite stitch. I used crested chain, scroll stitch, french knots, straight stitch, wagon wheel and detached chain or lazy daisy stitch on this piece.

I have been doing more knitting than stitching and have been busy for the past week. Friday, I went to Stitches Midwest and took a class in lace knitting. I learned about Orenburg Lace and how it is made. I also did some shopping and bought a ball of Opal sock yarn and have been knitting the rainbow ripple sock in the picture. I also went to the family night for the football program. Saturday I spent at a Church Leadership Retreat and at the Chicago Sky Game. Sunday, I went to the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild Meeting and saw Margriet Hogue's slides of antique samplers in European museum collections. This weekend is not going to be as busy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I embroidered this owl tonight using some of the recent Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge stitches. I sketched it ahead of time but the stitching is free hand using pieces of thread from my stash. I need to finish my monochrome piece for the Sumptuous Surfaces class but I needed a break. I will post a photo update sometime over the weekend.
I am accumulating enough of these small embroidered pieces that I am thinking about what to do with them -- maybe I will start putting together some crazy quilt blocks that can be used in larger pieces or as pillows.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday

I have been trying to catch up on the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. Here is a stitching sample that contains buttonhole wheel, cast on stitch, and crested chain. I need more practice with the cast on stitch but I think that the rest came out reasonably well. I sketched an owl this morning that I also plan to stitch using these same stitches -- I will post my progess later.

I am continuing to read books by Chicago or Illinois authors. I finished Driving Blind by Ray Bradbury. I read many of his books and stories when I was younger. I still remember one story that I believe he wrote -- in it men are living on the moon. They have found life there in the form of some kind of animal and have the ability to turn into the animals and go out on the moon surface. One man makes the transformation and discovers how marvelous it feels to be free on the surface in the animal's body. He never returns to the space station. My next Chicago book is Because of the Rain by Daniel Buckman.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pinkeep Exchanges

I came back from Texas to find my lovely pinkeep exchange waiting for me on the dining room table along with the package that I should have sent before I left. Here are pictures of both of them. The lovely purple heart and the brittercup designs pattern came to me, the Ewe and Eye and Friends flower basket and the JBW designs heart are on their way to their new owner.
A stitching update will be coming. I have been reading more -- I finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy and have been reading Women in Love by DH Lawrence. In a last attempt to finish reading 5 books by Illinois authors or about Illinois by the end of the week for the library summer book club I picked up some books that looked short and interesting yesterday. I am 2/3 of the way done with a book of short stories by Ray Bradbury. I will see how far I get by Friday.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Everyone is reading Harry Potter

Everyone at my house is reading Harry Potter right now. We are sharing the new book while my daughter reads her way through the series from the beginning. As you can see from the photo, the humans are not the only ones who are interested in what happens in the book. Holly is very intently staring at the book over my daughter's shoulder. Maybe she knows that there are cats in the story.

I did some stitching last week but not very much. I worked on my monochrome piece for the Sumptuous Stitches class. It is coming along fairly well -- I like the pulled satin stitch but I am not sure about the random stitches in the top section of the background and need to work on the center more. I will see if I can make more progress this week. Lesson 3 deals with embellishment -- I will have to see what I can come up with.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Flower, Fruit and Vegetable share

I bought a copy of Photoshop Elements the other day to play with. Above you can see the results applied to a photo of my latest flower, fruit and vegetable share. There are pie cherries, blueberries, peaches, yellow beats, green peppers, dill, cucumber, basil, spring onions, zucchini, eggplant and lettuce.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. My husband is on a business trip to California. He has a late flight back so I hope he beats the thunder storms. It rained on our wedding day too -- we got married in southern Virginia at the Chamberlain Hotel on Fort Monroe. We had everything planned to be married in the gazebo with the reception in the hotel. We ended up getting married on the porch and the USS Enterprise came into port with all of the sailors in their dress whites on deck, saluting the flag at Fort Monroe during the ceremony.

I bought him a digital camcorder as an anniversary present -- now he can be a true karate Dad and videotape the kids fights and kata. I tried installing video editing software on my laptop and found out that I need to upgrade to Vista to make it work. I got the upgrade but decided that tonight is not the night to upgrade my operating system.

I did find a cool link on another blog you can create your own name or phrase at spell with flickr.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Catching up

I am caught up with my Take a Stitch Samples -- Sheaf stitch variations and Arrowhead in scraps of metallic ribbon and perle cotton left over from previous projects. I think that the small experiments came out pretty well and the metallic colors really jazz up the stitching.
I have also been working on concepts for Sumptuous Surfaces. I tried to follow Sharon's advice and develop the sketch of the book and coffee cup but I have not come up with satisfactory sketch. If I am still not there tomorrow night, I will start stitching the plain one. This one includes a stitching map. There is more movement in it but I am not satisfied with the size or the shape of the coffee cup. I drew another one that is 4 x 6 but I am not happy with the use of space. I posted the other one on the Flikr group.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bobbin Lace Book Worm

Yesterday I went to a bobbin lace class at the Fiber and Folk Festival in Crysal Lake. Sylvie Nugyen is a very good teacher. We made bookworms and I came home and finished mine. You can see it in the picture. I am not sure if I will start another lace project very soon but I enjoyed learning how to make bobbin lace and the bookworm is cute. I looked at all of the vendor booths and did a little bit of shopping but not too much.
On the way home I bought the new Harry Potter book for my son. He is busy reading. My daughter decided to start reading the books from the beginning. She is more than half way through the first one.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces

I have been thinking about a design for the first piece in the Sumptuous Surfaces class. I have brainstormed ideas, looked at pictures, studied the landscape and thought about different things that have meaning to me. Since I signed up for this course to experiment with using different fibers, objects and stitches to develop complex textures and surfaces, I finally decided that I needed to find a fairly simple design. My favorite is based on my favorite coffee cup

I developed 3 sketches:

I think that I like this one the best. I have ideas for stitches and threads to u
se on
it as well. The monochrome, neutral colors that I pulled from my stash should work well.
Before I started sketching, I brainstormed a mind map with cup of coffee at the center and came up with quite a few words and associations:
Cup of Coffee:
Morning -- wake up! rise and shine! fresh start, peaceful moment on my own, start the day with a cup; friendship -- neighborhood coffee, church coffee hour, lets get together for coffee; warm/comforting -- wrap my hands around cup when cold, comforting smell, soothing taste, Mike making me coffee makes me feel cared for; many types of cups -- delicate porcelain, Grammy Baugh's demitasse cups, substantial mug; Percolator/drip coffee maker -- grumbles and gurgles; Grinder -- whirr/whirr; Diner waitress -- "can I refill your cup, hon?"; coffee with newspaper or crossword puzzle on Sunday morning; coffee in the car on the way to work; Mom and Dad drinking coffee; Starbucks everywhere

Monday, July 16, 2007


We were on vacation this past week so there have been no posts and not much stitching or reading but there has been some knitting. Here is my progress on m first sock. I used a koigu yarn and am using a pattern from one of Sally Mellville's books. I am ready to turn the heel and start on the foot.

Also, after much ripping out and starting over, I got my sea cell shawl started. I am adapting a scarf pattern from Interweave Knitter's magazine. When I counted correctly doubling the width of the scarf worked and you can see the lace effect and some of the color changes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ready for class

After participating in Sharon B's Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge, I decided to sign up for her on-line class Sumptuous Surfaces offered through Joggles. I have been collecting materials for the past week. You can see them in the picture.

I have collected different neutral colors in threads and ribbons made of cotton, linen, rayon, and silk. There are some seed beads, bugles and some natural stone beads. I think that they will be fun to play with. I should get the first class lesson tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bullion Stitch - Take a Stitch Tuesday

I experimented with the bullion stitch this week making a conventional picture with different flowers and a flying insect. Before I started the picture on the right, I looked through back issues of Inspirations magazine to get ideas. Most of the flowers are stitched using gumnuts petals, the bug has rayon wings and a purple cotton overdyed body. After some practice, my skill with the bullions improved and I think that most of them look pretty good. My son pointed out that although the flowers are fairly realistic, he has never seen a purple bee. It is stitched on a piece of overdyed cotton -- I bought a bag of pieces packaged for crazy quilters and then forgot about it. I will probably use them for finishing cross stitch pieces but I could use them to make crazy quilt blocks using some of my TAST experiments with flowers as focal points.

I also experimented with adding bullions to the free embroidery piece that I started last week. The cream is silk and the green is a DMC linen thread. The additional stitches add some textural interest and more color to the piece. I am starting to like it a bit more than I did before. It is interesting -- I described this piece last week as a mess but someone saw it in the TAST Flikr group and added a comment to indicate that they really liked it.
In addition to stitching, I finished reading The Peoples Act of Love by James Meek and started reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I also watched The Big Sleep this afternoon -- I love watching Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together. I have been entertaining the cats by winding yarn into balls and I successfully started my first sock. Maybe later this week, I will be able to post a progress picture.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fruit and Flower Shares start . . .

I finished a 4th of July project today it is a Silver Needle Secret Needle Night kit. Yesterday, we had a fairly quiet, family oriented day. We had 4th of July food -- hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad and strawberries. Then we went and joined the neighbors to watch the fireworks. Our dogs stayed home and protected the house.

Today the fruit and flower shares started so in addition to vegetables, I picked up a bouquet of flowers and fruit. The vegetables selections included beets, Japanese turnips, cippoline onions, garlic, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, arugula and broccoli. The fruit includes organic blueberries, sweet cherries and black raspberries. I cheated and didn't keep the beet and turnip greens because I still have kale from last week and we will be on vacation part of next week but the newsletter had a delicious recipe for beet greens in a coconut curry sauce with pasta that I may have to try next time.

The flowers, as always, are beautiful and I enjoy having them in the house. We have flowers in our garden, but we grow random perennials and do not have much of a cutting garden. I love all the different colors of sunflowers that we get throughout the summer, you can see a deep red one on the right side of the arrangement.

As I have been shuttling kids to karate and back, I have been reading. I finished Sara Gruen's book Water for Elephants yesterday. It was very good -- she presents the main character in his 20s and 90s and presents both well.