Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thank You!

I want to start off by giving a heartfelt thank you to my followers and the people that leave comments.  This is a brand new blog for me, and every single comment and new follower is noticed and loved.  It means I'm dong something right  I try to answer every comment, and think I've gotten them all, but its not always right away.  Sometimes I'll go a few days, then look at my gmail account and think, omg, how rude, there are people I haven't responded back to.  Well, I guess better late than never.

Reading blogs is also a bit difficult for me.  Well, not reading them, but commenting.  I can read blogs through Google reader, but if I'm at work on my lunch break, the firewall prevents me from going to the blog and commenting.  My method so far has been to mark the post as unread, then then try to get to it when I get home.  However, in the meantime, there's been another 20 new posts.  Some nights I just can't get through all of them.  Hence, people get comments on their posts days, or a week, after it was posted.  Again, I guess better late than never!  Does anyone else have trouble keeping up with it all?

Last week I started on Thomas (or Tom the Turkey as I've been calling him) by Notforgotten Farms.  I blame Kim for this, she posted her start here and I immediately had to pull the pattern.  I'd totally forgotten about this, and with the fall mood I've been in ....  Anyway, here's where I've gotten to in 2 weeks of stitching.  His tail feathers were a lot of fun to stitch.  I'll need to find a good movie to watch while I'm doing his body, lots of monotonous solid stitching.
Notforgotten Farm Thomas, stitched on 35 ct R&R Maria's Breakfast Blend
with assorted overdyed cotton
I also just put the last stitches in Part 2 of Carol's iStitch SAL.  I'm so happy I stitched the whole border earlier, it made this part much less daunting, since I've been short on time.
iStitch Mystery SAL stitched on 35 ct Weeks Grape Ice
with HDF Old Maid of the Vineyard
I also have some bad news about my iStitch piece.  I realized the linen isn't 40 count, but 35.  Obviously its too big to go on the top of the box from Hobby Lobby, so I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it.  Oh well, I'm looking at this as a chance to see how everyone else stitches it, and what colors they use, and I can stitch it a second time, for the box.  I'm thinking in red or black, since I plan on painting the box a dark grey, then a top coat of cream, and slightly distressing the top coat so the grey shows through.

I had another small start, which I really shouldn't have done.  No clue why, I need another start like I need a hole in my head.  Not to mention, I normally dislike Lizzie Kate designs.  Don't get me wrong, they're cute, and fun to stitch, but I get done with it, and think why the hell did I stitch this, I don't want it anywhere in my house, its not my style.  That would be why I gave away Christmas Rules, which I stitched last year.  I even converted it to silks, and muted the colors some.  Oh well, here's an absolutely horrible picture of 6 Fat Men, and yes, I totally changed colors to make it a bit more subdued.
LK 6 Fat Men on 36ct LL Meadow Rue
with assorted overdyed cotton
A lot of people have been posting pictures recently of their Mary Allen (Village Sampler).  I dug mine out, and yes, I mean literally dug, as you can see by the wrinkles.  Its been a year since I worked on her, but she's such a fun stitch, with all the different sayings and the fun colors.
Samplers Remembered Mary Allen on
36/40 unevenweave with HDF silks
I stopped by WalMart yesterday to pick up some milk, after the Bountiful Baskets pickups.  All the school supplies were out, and I found something.  Remember those ugly composition books, with the fake black and white marbling on the cover?  Look what they're doing now!

Stripes!  Checkerboard!  Circles!  Plaid!  Basketweave!  These are awesome, especially since they're still only $.40.  That's right, forty CENTS!

I'm using one as a not-diary.  No clue what to call it, but just a place to write down notes, make lists, and generally try to keep myself organized.

I'm a bit of a procrastinator, and when I use lists, they help me.  Speaking of, one of those items that isn't crossed off is to go finish something, that should have been in the mail a week or 2 ago.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Saturday cooking

I am totally wiped out.  It started with the alarm at 6 am, then it was the green salsa I posted about earlier.

Next it was Mexican style chicken soup (carrots, tomatoes and corn from the 50/50 basket; roasted chilis, onions and garlic from the Mexican pack).

Followed by peach and plum cobber (using super ripe peaches and plums from last week).

I just had to have a little bit of it, and since it was made with some rich (not sweet) ingredients, I just served a small scoop of fat-free Greek yogurt alongside.

I thought I'd finally get a chance to sit down and rest for a bit while my last creation was in the oven, but no, I saw this.
 So I [mostly] cleaned the kitchen (I still need to mop the floor).

Then it was time to take the chocolate chip banana bread out of the oven (had to use up last weeks over-ripe bananas).

I think I've done enough cooking today to last at least a few days.  There isn't any room in the fridge or freezer.  Is it time to finally start working on Part 2 of the iStitch SAL?

Bountiful Baskets, week 2

It was still dark out when I was driving out of my garage this morning to go pick up my Bountiful Baskets stash this morning.  Yes, I was thinking I was crazy, but after I picked everything up, it was worth it.  I just need to make sure I get a nap this afternoon.  I also remembered to take pictures this time!

Regular 50% fruit/50% veggie basket:

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 2 tiny Bosc pears
  • 1 bunch of bananas (7) - not as ripe as last week
  • 7 nectarines
  • 1 bag seedless green grapes
  • 2 bags of carrots
  • 6 ears corn
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • approximately 1.5 lb of white potatoes

I also got some extras this week - sourdough bread (5 loaves), and a Mexican Pack:

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 4 poblano chilis
  • 5 jalepenos
  • 10 small limes
  • 11 smallish tomatillos

Right about now you're probably saying to yourself, what the heck are you planning on doing with all that food Miss Mindi?  I have plans!  Some of the bread is getting given to one of the young guys I work with, and maybe some of the other produce if I'm feeling generous.  He and his fiancee are getting married in a couple of months, and their budget is hurting a bit.  Especially since their 7 month old puppy was at the vet all day yesterday and its looking like he might need surgery to remove a blockage.

There's also a BBQ I've been invited to tomorrow, so I'll take a salad, using up a fair amount of the romaine (since I still have some from last week) and carrots.  I'll also throw in the tomatoes and some green peppers, since I really don't like those.  Let the people at the BBQ eat them!  Oh, and I'm also taking banana bread, to use up the super ripe bananas from last week.  And.... I'm making chicken tortilla soup, or I would be if I weren't up here on the computer.  But, the first thing I did was make a batch of fresh tomatilla salsa.

I've never done anything with tomatillas before, but it seemed pretty easy to husk them, chop into quarters, and throw into my Vitamix along with some fresh garlic, lime juice, cilantro, salt, fresh jalapenos, and some fire roasted jalapenos.  I have to say, it turned out pretty tasty.  Not what I usually eat for breakfast at 9am, but what the heck.  Nice and tangy from the lime and tomatillos, with just a bit of kick from the jalapenos, and that special something from fresh cilantro. 

After eating some of last week's produce, and seeing what I got this week, I'm happy with the quality and variety.  I did notice the corn from last week probably wasn't that fresh.  As I was husking the ears to fire roast it for the soup, I noticed that my 2 week old corn from the farmers market was looking much better than the 1 week old corn from BB.  This weeks corn looked like defects (some of the ears had a second immature ear growing on it).  I'm happy there's variety.  While there were some repeats, it wasn't all the same.

Anyway, back down to chop veggies for the soup, and I might wander up to the farmers market to grab a pastry, and look at all the expensive produce, knowing mine is almost as good, but less than half the cost.  Hopefully there will be a stitching post either later today, or tomorrow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer's Bounty

Teresa has been posting pictures of her Bountiful Baskets stash each week, so I finally broke down and got one this week, instead of going to the Farmer's Market.  It hasn't been the fear of the unknown that's kept me from doing this, but the god-awful pick-up times on a Saturday morning.  This week it was 6:45 am.  No joke.  I decided to suck it up this week and I wasn't disappointed.  I totally forgot to take a picture, since I was half asleep and put it all away when I got home, but it really was bountiful.

  • 5 black plums
  • 7 white peaches
  • container of strawberries
  • large bunch of seedless black grapes
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 6 bananas
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 heads of romaine
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 bag of carrots
The black grapes are awesome.  I've never seen seedless black grapes before, and I hate grapes with seeds in them.  These are super sweet, and have some great flavor, and yes, they're almost gone.  I'll be eating a lot of salads this week, since I already had a huge bag of romaine hearts from Costco.

I also have tons of corn, since I had bought corn at last week's farmers market.  What do you do when you have more corn than you know what to do with?  I made Southwestern Corn Chowder, happily everything was from my pantry or fridge.  Super simple, just some sauteed sweet red onions, cubed potatoes, chopped fire roasted chilis (I used jalapenos and anaheims), fresh corn, chicken stock, milk, and a splash of cream at the end.  Oh, and seasoning, can't forget the seasoning.

As for stitching, not much to show this week.  I battled my sewing machine and got a few smalls finished, so I'm happy about that.  I hate sewing, so those type of finishes tend to pile up until I feel guilty and finally work on them.  I had 5 that needed worked on, and got 3 done.  Both of these were part of the Autumn Challenge in the Samplermakers group.  This was one of the main motifs supplied by Jennie Lynn.  I just added a touch of whimsy with the felted wool circles and mother of pearl buttons.  Super simple hanger of some black hemp twine knotted in the corners.

This was my own little composition, using the moon, cat and cauldron provided.  Its just finished into a simple little decorative pillow, and backed with felted wool.  You can see my Russian matryoshka dolls behind.  Yes, that is a Gorbachev doll, and the ones inside are other Soviet leaders.  That, and the really big doll, were purchased on a trip to Moscow in 1984.  The doll on the left is from a trip to Votkinsk a few years ago.

Hopefully next week I'll have some more stitching pictures to post.  I actually did get a lot done this week, just it was spread across so many things, it wouldn't look like much.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mary Gibson Sampler

I just saw on the Needleprint blog that the Mary Gibson sampler is charted and being sold directly from the Haslemere Education Museum.

First of all this is a stunning sampler, I love all the reds.  And look at the cute Adam and Even hidden in there under the huge tree.  There's even some blackbirds!  Second, I'm assuming that 100% of the funds from the sale are going directly to the museum, since they're selling it.  I love that.  Hopefully more museums out there chart some of their samplers and sell the patterns, to fund future acquisitions and conservation.  In the day and age of e-mailed PDF files, they don't have to worry about the cost of printing.  I love PDF patterns, I can print them as big as I want.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mystery SAL

Carol over at iStitch was kind enough to not only host a mystery SAL, but to design a special project for it.  Looks like 125 people signed up for it, and more are on the waiting list.  The incentive to keep up with this SAL is you don't get the next part until you send her a photo of the completed previous part.  In general I'm leery of mystery SALs, but I tend to like her designs, and I just finished the With Thy Needle and Thread 3 part mystery project, started it well before I knew what the whole thing was going to look like.  It ended up being gorgeous.  Hopefully I keep up with this and don't become one of the spots for someone on the waiting list!  Anyway, I received Part 1 on Friday, started stitching, and finished Part 1 on Sat.
iStitch 2001 Mystery SAL on 40 ct Weeks Grape Ice linen
with HDF Old Maid of the Vineyard silk

This week I was in Omaha, NE for a business trip.  I didn't get a lot of stitching done, but at least it was some.  I took a couple of Shepherd's Bush kits with me.  They're usually on an easy thread count fabric, and have everything all on one place, so they travel well.  Especially when I can't take my magnifier/work light with me.  As much as I love Teri and Tina, I'm not always a fan of all their designs.  The ones I do stitch, I usually make a few changes to.  With Angel Song I'm reducing some of the pinks and purples, and adding more blue, green and golden-tans (Sheperd's Moon silk by Threadgatherer).  Of course the angel at the top was what I started with, and that pink is really bugging me.  Its going to get ripped out soon and replaced with Shepherd's Moon.
Shepherd's Bush Angel Song on 35ct R&R Dark Cappuccino
with assorted silks
I've also put in some work on part 3 of the BBD 2008 Loose Feathers Mystery project.  Not a lot, but even a few stitches is progress.

Saturday morning is when Ogden has its local Farmer's Market.  I love going to it, since its only 2 blocks up the street.  In the 3 years I've lived here, its really grown a lot.  Its still short on fresh produce, and still has more "junk" than what it should have (at times I think to myself, are you serious, people think I'm actually going to buy this crap?), but there's always entertainment and plenty of food vendors.  This week we had a guy playing a didjeridu, and doing a pretty good job of.  Well, good enough I gave him a couple of bucks.

I picked up some fresh beets, zucchini, green beans, 2 loaves of bread (cranberry walnut and lemon sage), and of course a pastry for breakfast.  This week it was apple strudel from Volker's Bakery, same place I get my bread from (when I'm lazy and buy it instead of making it).  After wandering the market, I usually head back down to my house and sit on the patio with whatever goodie I bought to eat, an iced coffee, and my nook.  In the distance in the photo, you can sorta see the pedestrian gate that does out to 25th Street.

I know I've mentioned before about my finish of With Thy Needle & Thread's mystery project and how I ran it out of the house so my mom couldn't take it back to San Diego with her.  On Friday I stopped by Jill's so I could get a picture of it.  Its been stretched and waiting for the frame for a couple of weeks now.  I can be patient, since for once I picked something out that was actually available.  I have a knack of picking out discontinued moldings or mats.

With Thy Needle & Thread Birds of a Feather, stitched
on 35 ct Weeks Confederate Grey, assorted silks
I might actually have to stitch this again.  Myra turned 2 of her birds into cardinals, and they're absolutely adorable.  We'll see about that.  I have done a repeat stitch, but the first finish and the second were separated by about 13 years.  As you can see, some adjustments were made to the colors.  And I apologize for the crappy picture, I really wasn't trying to take a great one, since I knew I'd get a good one once it was framed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Learn something new everyday

I just figured out I can import the list of blogs I follow from Google Reader!  That part of my new blog had remained blank because I was dreading having to copy/paste each individual url.

Next step is to come up with a nice photo header.  Beth shared with me how she makes collages out of photos using Picasa, so I'll have to try that.  For years I've used WebShots to load all my photos, but maybe its time for a change.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Visiting Parents

My parents were supposed to go on a trip to Alaska this summer, but unfortunately it had to be postponed.  To make up for that, I invited them to come up and visit me during Pioneer Days.  For those people not from Utah (I had to learn this 3 years ago when I moved here), its a state-specific holiday celebrating the settlement of the Salt Lake Valley.  I'm sure there's a more correct definition, but that's good enough.  Terri and Tina talk about it on their blog (just look at the July posts from past years).  Anyway, I live right on Historic 25th Street in Ogden, so a lot of the activities take place either within a block or 2 of my house.  My dad always seems to find endless things to amuse himself with, and he and Annie (their dog) have fun exploring the old trains across the street at Union Station.  That is, when Annie isn't claiming her spot on the sofa.  She's very proud to be a cocker-poodle mix, 100% spoiled princess, and her current favorite toy is "rat."
On Sunday we went up to Park City for brunch at the Waldorf Astoria and to experience Park Silly Days.  I thought it would be a farmers market with a few crafts vendors.  Its actually the opposite, along with a lot of food and drink stands, and entertainment throughout the day.  In Utah its rare to find "happenings" on a Sunday, so this is a huge bonus.  I'll have to go back again.

The Horse and Hitch Parade (back up in Ogden) was interesting.  I think this was on the Tuesday night.  We just ambled out of my house and up 2 blocks to claim a nice shady spot under a tree.

I guess by the photos I took I was much more impressed with the wagons and carts than by the riders on horseback.

I also found some time to indulge in culinary adventures since I had guests.  Since its usually just myself, I don't do gourmet cooking every day.  Actually, its a lot of leftovers since when I do cook, I make sure to fix extras.  The day they arrived I'd been cooking pulled pork all day long (this was after to pork sat in the fridge with a dry rub for 24 hours).  This was something I'd been wanting to try for a long time.  True BBQ people will cringe since I didn't smoke my boston butt, but I don't have a smoker.  This just sat in the crock pot for 8 hours on low, and made its own sauce with the meat juices, spices, and some beer.  We also had some cedar planked salmon, with a bourbon-chipotle-maple glaze.

And I made a lemon-blueberry tart.
Of course a visit during Pioneer Days wouldn't be complete without a night at the rodeo.  I'm not a huge rodeo fan, but a night every few years won't hurt me.  Two years ago I actually volunteered at the rodeo and had fun, despite the heat wave we had (it was over 100 every day).  The last rodeo I went to as an actual observer was Cheyenne Frontier Days, when I lived there over 10 years ago.  This is just a tiny bit smaller than that, but very scenic.  My photos of the actual events didn't turn out so great.
On Friday we went back up to Park City to experience some summertime alpine fun.  I've done the zipline, toboggan and alpine slide at Olympic Park, so this time I wanted to try the rides at Park City Resort.  Mom just had full knee replacement surgery less than 2 months ago, so she didn't join us.  Dad and I had a blast, and we both agreed that the roller coaster was the best.  The zipline was a bit disappointing, I'd suggest you just go to Olympic Park if you want a zipline, or skip them and just spend all day on the roller coaster!  The ride up the mountain on the coaster was almost as good as the ride down.  Very relaxing, and time to take some pictures.

One thing I have to say is they make you work for your rides!  Or at least for the slide.  You have to haul your own cart from the chair lift down to the slide start.  The look of shock and disgust on my dad's face below is because I somehow managed to beat him (we were racing on side-by-side tracks).

On Saturday, after the Ogden Farmer's market, mom and I went down to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.  I'll save those pictures for another post, since there's a lot of them.

I managed to get some stitching done, and even a finish or 2.  With Thy Needle and Thread's Mystery Sampler was my first finish, but I don't have a picture of it.  I was so anxious to get it out of my mom's hot hands (she's been known to abscond with my stitching) that I rushed it over to Jill's for framing.  Yes, I'm incredibly lucky to not only live 2 blocks from Shepherd's Bush, but 3 blocks from Jill Rensel.  I've also been working on the 2008 Loose Feathers bonus patterns from Blackbird Designs.  I have the first 2 (of 5) completed.
I'll be doing each part on its own piece of fabric, then joining them together for framing.  I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count each part as its own finish, or if I have to wait until I have all 5 done.Technically I should probably wait until I have all 5 pieces done before I count the project as a finish, but I like the sense of accomplishment, so I'll have 5 "finishes" with this.

Just to add some more stitching content to this post, I also dusted off my design software and started playing around with it.  Hopefully in the future I'll start adding some "freebie" charts to my posts.