30 September 2011

Just real quick

Hello all!  I've been trying to keep up on my new blog (www.awholelottalatte.typepad.com), but it's been tough since work has been so busy.

However, I seem to have been able to fix a little subscription issue with my typepad blog, so if you've been having trouble viewing my posts in your readers, I hope to have solved the problem.  If you head over to my new blog, and hit the "subscribe" tab up top, and you should be able to subscribe with one of your readers through there.

I hope it works, and I hope you'll all come visit me at typepad!  Now that I have some more free time, I should be able to post over there with more frequency!

13 September 2011

Just a friendly reminder

Hello everyone!  Just a friendly reminder that my newest posts will now be over at my new blog site -- awholelottalatte.typepad.com.

To add my new site to your blogger blog roll using this new interface:
1.  Click the "Add" button at the top of the list of all the blogs you follow in your blog roll.  This should be on the left of your screen.
2.  When you get the pop-up screen, type in my new blog address (www.awholelottalatte.typepad.com) where it says "add blog by URL" into the space provided.
3.  In the pull-down menu, either choose to follow me publicly or anonymously.
4.  Click ok.

You're done!  Now you'll get my new blog in your blog roll!

Thanks everyone!  Hope to see you over at my  new site!!!  I've posted some really cute stuff I've done recently, so I hope you'll hop on over and check everything out!

08 September 2011

New computer, new post

Hey everyone!  Check out my new blog - awholelottalatte.typepad.com - for my latest post!  I finally have a functioning computer, so I'll be able to update you all with more frequency of all the creative things happening in my craft room!

22 August 2011

Let's change it up a bit...

Hello everyone!

As my computer issues continue, so do my blogging issues with Blogger.  So, after much thought, I decided to move my blog to another site.  It's the same name, just a different location -- I'm over at Typepad now.

So, for those of you who have the blogger blog roll, to add my new location, follow these steps:

1) Under your blog roll, there is a button that says "Add".  Click this button.
2) When the pop-up window appears, click the radio button that allows you to add a blog by typing in the http address.
3) In this spot, type http://www.awholelottalatte.typepad.com/
4) Click through, whether you'd like to follow publicly or anonymously.
5) You're done!

I do hope you all will come over to my new site and continue to follow the crazy rantings of this wacky stitcher!!  I love all of your comments, and find so much inspiration through all of your blogs.  I hope this new site allows me to do more things, and I do hope to be able to comment more on all of your sites as soon as I can get my home computer situation resolved.  I don't have much of anything posted over there yet, so  you'll have to bear with me.  I took pictures last night of the Little House ornaments that I finished this weekend, so I hope to have them up asap.

So, come on over to my new site, and let's keep on stitching!!

15 August 2011

Back in the saddle.

Good morning, peeps!  I'm finally back to the grind...my trip was uneventful...unless you count the three (3) hours (yes, hours) I was parked on the runway, engines off, waiting for thunderstorms to pass Philly so I could takeoff for O'Hare airport last Tuesday.  That was less than amusing...especially since someone decided it was appropriate for a small child to possess a harmonica for this claustrophobic wait for storms to pass. 

Parents -- a word to the wise:  there is a time and a place for a harmonica.  It is in a cowboy's pocket, for when he's reminiscing about the days of ol', while he's crowded around a campfire with his cowboy buddies and they're bedding down for the night after rounding up cattle.  The year is also 1875.  Note the time and place is not in a child's hand when you're stuck on a plane parked on the runway for 3 hours with nowhere to go, nor is it present day. 

There were almost casualties.  That's all I'm sayin'....

Onto more fun things :-)

My computer is still being ridiculous, and will now only let me type anything with out the letter "w".  Don't ask.  So, I will sporadically be posting when I can get a free moment at work.

I've had some serious papercrafting fun in my craft room lately (along with stitching...fear not, pics of my latest stitching endeavors will appear soon), and the latest is this little ditty I whipped up this past weekend:

This is for my sister -- she's getting married in June, 2012, and I thought this would be a fun little addition to one of her tables for a picture of her and Sean.

I got an unfinished wood frame from Michael's for $1.00 (yes, $1.00), and painted it black.  Then, I got open stock scrapbook paper, and cut it to fit the frame, then glued it to the frame.  I used a patterned black one for the bottom half, then two separate pinks for the top.  Then...I got out my Cricut Expression machine (yep -- I caved and got one.  I got a refurbed machine which was GOBS AND GOBS cheaper than getting a brand spinkity spankity new machine, and it still came with two cartridges!  All that OT at work paid off!) and cut out the letters for "LOVE" and also the pink flower.  I used flower adornments from K & Company (found at Michael's, Joann, & AC Moore, and I'm sure other places) and a lil' black brad for the top of the pink flower.  Mosaic pieces with adhesive back are the little squares on the pink strip.  Ribbon and satin cording are glued to hide the paper seams.

That's it for today, my friends!  I'll post my stitching accomplishments hopefully by the end of the week.  I'm planning on doing some framing tonight, then some sewing tomorrow night -- I have all the fabric to make a needlebook, and now I just gotta get to it!

Have a fabulous day, and do something creative to brighten up this rainy, dreary day!

08 August 2011

Houston, we have a problem...

Oh, faithful followers....I think that time may have finally arrived.  That time where I have to bite the bullet and get a new computer.  This weekend, after I got home from a week at the shore, I restarted my computer only to find a black screen of death.  Some of you may be familiar with the blue screen of death (this is the story of my life at work -- I'm on a first name basis with the help desk.  They may actually have to draw straws to decide who has to deal with my crazy computer explosions this go-around...but I digress...), but the black screen of death doesn't appear to be as threatening.  All it told me was that my keyboard wasn't connected/attached/recognized/up-to-date with the latest fashions/whatever.  Then it tells me to hit F1 to continue. 

Are you following this??  My black screen of death told me that my keyboard isn't working, yet it instructs me to hit F1.

Figuring I have nothing to lose, I hit F1.  Sure enough, my computer continues starting up.

Freaking technology.

So, my computer starts up, and I start perusing some blog posts, and get ready to post a comment on one of them.  But, alas, my keyboard, just as the black screen of death told me, does not work.  Yet, the function keys work (e.g. F1). 


Needless to say, I'm having a tough time getting new posts onto my site.  I will be away again for the rest of the week, so please bear with me as I try and get new pictures and updates posted.

Also, a very warm welcome to all my new followers!  I hope you can find inspiration in these many crazy rantings that I have here ;-)  I apologize for not acknowledging you all as you become faithful followers, but rest assured I'm truly touched that you all find some inspiration here.  I love being able to share my love of counted cross stitch, and hope that I can share that love and passion through this media outlet.  I know I've found many ideas and inspiration for so many things through crafting/stitching blogs, and I'm thankful for all these fabulously creative people out there who are willing to share their knowledge and inspiration. 

I'm off -- I have a long day in the office ahead of me (I had 200 new emails from being out only a week...), since I have to prepare to head out for work travel tomorrow afternoon.

Do something creative today!

28 July 2011

Pumpkins Three

As you may (or may not) remember, I started "Pumpkins Three", a La-D-Da pattern, way back in May.  I also made a big ol' promise that I'd keep you updated.  That, my friends, I did not do.  I have no excuse...well, that's not true.. I'm full of excuses...but I'll just go with the fact that my computer has been a pain in my BUTTOCKS recently, and I never got the pictures uploaded.

Until last night.

I finished it what feels like decades ago, even though it was only 2 months, so on Tuesday night decided it was high time to do the finish work for it.  I've been on a kick lately to not frame much, but to find different and fun ways to finish these needlework projects so I'm not giving framers my first born and one of my kidneys to have them frame all my pieces.

So, without further ado...here is "Pumpkins Three" ---

Anddd....I just noticed a rogue string on the bottom right.  (sigh)

BUT...isn't this cutie?!?!  I had just enough fabric with the little maple leaves on it to do the borders and the tabs, but had to do the back a light tan.  No matter -- you can't see it when it's hanging, so it's all good.

I even did a top stitch with matching orange all the way around the border ;-)

This was super fun, and very easy.  The finish work only took me about 2 hours, and is simple straight stitches.  I did add a piece of warm & natural cotton quilt batting to give it more weight so it would hang better and stand the test of time, rather than stuff it.

I also want to give a sliver of info about the "16 Men" project I'm working on.  It dawned on me that I never gave you the exact color changes that I made for the piece so far.  For those of you wishing to make the same or similar changes that I've made, here is what I've done so far:

  • The fabric is 32 count "Haunted" from Picture This Plus
  • The fiber changes so far are as follows:  
    • Instead of DMC 310 (black), I'm using Crescent Colors  "Black Crow".  It's an awesome black that has a purpley-blue tint to it, adding variation and a spooky Halloweeny eerie-y feel to it :-)
    • Instead of DMC 333 (I think), I'm using Weeks Dye Works "Purple Majesty".  Again, the variation adds the spook and Halloweeny feel to the piece.
    • Instead of whatever horrific puke green color is used for the moon (gaggggg), I'm using Weeks Dye Works "Chartreuse".  I think it is PERFECT for that night moon...and I'll be using it elsewhere in the piece, so keep an eye out for it.
Hope this helps those of you who are planning to do this project!  

Do something creative today, before that molten hot lava comes flowing back into town tomorrow!!

27 July 2011


I've said it before, I'll say it again...papercrafting is addicting, and it's my new favorite thing to do when I'm not stitching!!

I told you the other day that I had a scrapbooking/papercrafting project I hoped to share with you before 2015...well, Monday night, I took the time to do it!  Since it wasn't hotter than the center of the earth in my craft room (it's on the 3rd floor, and quite frankly, I've been afraid to go up there for the past 2 weeks for fear of heat exhaustion from just opening the stairway door) on Monday night, I decided there was no better time than the present to try this out.

I gathered some of my pre-cut material, including an alphabet, and went to work.  This is the final result:

It's curved, since it's about to head into a travel mug.  Isn't this fun?!  I used some dimension, and added fun brads to attach the flowers and the "laughter" tag.

That is...until I discovered that the opening on the bottom of my mug was not conducive to shoving dimensional pieces inside.


So, I had to go with Plan B:  take off the 3D cube dots (to add height to the "laugh out loud" stamped piece, and the small green tag up top), and take the brads out and exchange them with eyelets.  The result is still cute as ever, but the paper got a little beat up from me trying to shove it into the mug.  Major bummer.  I also did not take into account that the bottom would be covered by the black piece that goes back onto the mug to seal it.  Oh well.

(nevermind my messy craft table...)

Nonetheless, it turned out super cute, and I can't wait to use it :-)

25 July 2011

Enough, Heatmeiser.

Ok.  It's hot.  I love summer because of the hot weather, but this past week has just been stupid hot.  One of the guys I work with told me there are two designators for how hot it is: Africa Hot, which is for anything 92-98 degrees (but isn't the majority of Africa hotter than that??  Just sayin'...); and Surface of the Sun Hot, which is for anything above 98 degrees.  I told him this was boring, and we need better descriptive words for how hot it's been, and I decided either Liquid Hot Magma or The 9th Circle of Hell.  They seem to be better at giving you a visual as to how hot it's been on the East Coast...and pretty much all over the country this past week.  I'll let you know if he approves of my new terms, because I think they're way better than his.  But, I may be slightly biased.....

On days like this past week (with the exception of Friday, which was just so hot it actually put me into what I'm referring to as a Heat Coma -- I couldn't move off the couch, even though my AC was on cooling down the 1st floor, so I just stared at the tv.  It was even too hot to turn a page in a book or hit the button on my nook.), there is little to do other than stay inside where it's cool and stitch!!

I've been working on a few things -- my Country Cottage project is coming along nicely, but I had to put it in time-out for a bit, since I have to rip out one of the chairs -- it's too narrow.  I'm a square too short.  (sigh)  So, I picked up my Cricket Collection "16 Men" again, and have been feverishly working on finishing that one.  It's going great, and I'm SO pleased so far with the color changes I've made.  Most of the major changes I made to fiber color won't come into play until I get down to the actual ship, but so far, so good!!  Love that moon and the skull flag!!  LOVE.

I also did a bit of work on my Cricket Collection "Spring".  I made a major fiber color change in this one, too.  The "P" is supposed to be a light yellow, but up against the Buttercream Silkweaver fabric, it was too light.  So, I opted for a light orangy-pinky-salmony-color instead, and I think it turned out faboo!

I bought some great fabric for my Little House "Stitch in Thyme" piece that I'll be turning into a needlebook, but I realized I'm lacking brown thread, so I'll have to hit up Joann's this week so I can get cracking on that project.  So many things to do, so little time.

I also, shockingly enough, decided to do a little gluten-free baking last night.  I know, I know, with Liquid Hot Magma temperatures out there, who could think of turning on an oven??  Well, I saw this recipe over at Blacksheep Bakes, and was inspired to make it gluten free!!  I underestimated how much more of the sour cream I'd need in the recipe, so it came out very crumbly, but very good nonetheless.  I'm sure it would be bangin' on vanilla ice cream!!!!  I plan on perfecting this adaptation, and once I do, I'll post pictures and my changes.  I've also adapted it to be refined-sugar free, too!  Keep an eye out!  I promise to post the changes asap!

That's all I have for this blistering hot weekend!  I wish I had more to post, but this week went by so quickly, and the heat made me drag every day.  I bought some nifty stuff for scrapbooking and papercrafting at Michael's this weekend (I had some great coups!), and I have some cool ideas that I hope I can get to before 2015.  I have one specific project involving a travel coffee mug that I hope to finish and share with you all before the fall arrives!!

Stay cool and do something creative!!!

15 July 2011

I have a slight problem...

Good morning, everyone.  My name is Jacki, and I have a problem.  Welcome to Obsessive Compulsive Stitchers Anonymous.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, and boy, do I ever.

I can never seem to be satisfied with working on just one thing.  No, siree.  Apparently, it's necessary in my house to have 3-4 projects going at the same time.  Why?  For no other reason than I see something in my stash that I have to do, and so I put down whatever I'm doing, and run and get the supplies and cut the fabric for this new thing that I need to be working on.  Now.  Right this minute.  It can't wait any longer.  I have an obsessive compulsive urge to start everything in my stash...

What's my newest OCD project??  It's Country Cottage Needleworks "Simply Vintage".

I hope you can see these pictures ok.  I must've changed some crazy setting on my camera without knowing it, because I've been having a tough time getting my pictures to come out right.

Anyhooter.  This is that lovely Antique Almond fabric by Silkweaver that I used for the Plum Street Samplers freebie a couple months ago.  I picked a section of the sheet (yes, sheet.  I have so much of this fabric, it's unreal) that wasn't quite as dark as the rest, since the DMC colors in this pattern are lighter in color.  This is 40 count, so it will make a nice little addition to one of the rooms, or even the hallway, on my second floor.  I may even put it on the walls on the staircase.  Who knows!  I'll have to see what happens once I finish it and get it framed.

That's all I have for today everyone.  I hope to get some stitching done on "16 Men" this weekend, but we'll see how far I actually get.  I'm seeing Harry Potter on Sunday, and I CANNOT WAIT.  I may actually have to lock myself in the living room and read the book before going so I can remember all the details.  It's been 2 years since the book came out...so my memory is slightly hazy about every little detail.

Enjoy your weekend!  It's supposed to be gorgeous!

14 July 2011

Here goes nothing...

Good morning to you all!  So far, so good...my computer is behaving for the moment, so I'm trying to do this little post as quick as humanly possible in case anything happens.

I've been doing quite a lot around here lately, but you'll have to see it in installments, thanks to my ancient technology.  Bear with me!

Ok.  First up - I fixed the binding on my nook cover.  I got a lil' tip from my mom (thanks, mom!), and it was WAY easier this time around.

Holy guacamole, does this look a million times better or what?!?!  I also think I like the blue I chose this time around better than the yellow I'd originally put on there.

Yep.  This is eleventy billion times better than my first stab at binding.  Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.

Next up - my Cricket Collection "16 Men on a Dead Man's Ship".  I got this a few years ago, and just didn't have the opportunity to work on it.  I don't particularly care for the fabric used in the model (it's a hideous pea green color.  blech.), and was on the hunt last year for the perfect fabric to do this on.  In my mind, this is a ghost ship.  It needs to be SPOOKY, which pea green is not.  That color just makes me ill.

So, I searched and searched and found THIS.  I hope the link works, but if it doesn't, it's called Haunted by Picture this Plus.  It.  Is.  AWESOME.

Now, I had the fabric, but had other projects going on at the same time, and couldn't fit in a giant project since I was already doing "Sabrina" (stay tuned for her story...she's still waiting for a spot on my living room walls...), and couldn't find time to do another big project.  Not to mention the fact that I was not thrilled with some of the floss color choices, but again, had no time to figure out alternatives.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I found that time about a week ago, when I decided it was high time I got the ball rolling on this one.  I headed down to The Strawberry Sampler and picked out some faboo WDW and Crescent Colors as alternatives to some of the DMC that is called for in this graph.

In this section, I've only changed one of the colors.  I'll give all the details when I show you the finished piece, but I had to give you a glimpse of this so far, since it's just SO cool --

To really get the full effect of this fabric, you need to see it close up, but it's really dark grey with PURPLE in it.  Absolutely perfect for your Halloween projects!!!

On a separate note:  this past weekend was my birthday, and to save myself from having to eat an entire gluten free birthday cake, I made these coconut muffins instead.  They are to. die. for.  If you like coconut, then these muffins are for you.  Amy Green over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free is amazing.  If you haven't tried her recipes, you must.  She's extremely talented, and I'm so happy I found her site!

I hope to keep you updated as my computer allows!  I've been keeping the craft room busy lately, and I'm eager to share with you all...it's just that my computer hasn't been friendly.  Thank you all for understanding my plight and being patient!

Do something creative today!  It's supposed to be a gorgeous day!

05 July 2011

Just a heads up.

Good morning, everyone.  I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday weekend with your families. 

I just wanted to let all of you know that I'm having some serious computer problems at home.  I think my 6-year-old computer has finally given up.  It wouldn't even recognize my camera in order to download pictures that I'd recently taken.  So, you'll have to bear with me as I'll be sporadically posting when I get the chance, or get my computer to cooperate for long enough.

I really hope I can be back on track sooner rather than later, so please bear with me!  I hope I don't lose any of my faithful followers in the process!

Stay tuned...

27 June 2011

These days are just flying by.

It's almost not fair how fast these days are going.  Last week is a complete blur.  I didn't do anything out of the ordinary -- I just feel like time is flying entirely too fast recently.

Hence my reason for not posting a goshdarn thing for an entire week.  Again.

There are some exciting things brewing in my craft room, and I hope to be able to share them with you before the week is up.  Until then, enjoy the beautiful summer weather we're going to have this week, and get those creative juices flowing!

21 June 2011

Finally, some finishes.

Ohmigosh.  I can't believe it's been a week already since I last posted about my adventures with my sewing machine.  This month is FLYING by.  Next Friday is 1 July, and I can't believe it.  I just can't.

Anyways.  Now that I have a sewing machine, I decided it was high time I did some finishing work on projects that have been lying around the house.

First up was one of the baby gifts I did for Katie, which I gave you a preview of way back when.  Well, this weekend, I finally did the finish work on it.  Since I'm having Katie and the baby over tomorrow night for a lil' visit, I figured I should mayyyybeeee have at least one of the two things I stitched for the baby ready for her when they come over. (The other one is awaiting a frame.  Stay tuned...)

Ok so here is the "Sleep Tight" Mill Hill Sticks project all done up into a pretty pillow:

Sorry if it's a little dark - I was trying to eliminate glare off of my super shiny freshly semi-glossed bookcase :-)  Didn't it turn out great!?  I love how the small amount of green fabric that I put around the edges just brings out all the colors of the stitched piece.  It really makes the green stitching pop!

Here's the back fabric:

A starry night, perfect for a little one sleeping :-)

Up next is one of the Cricket Collection seasons, each of which I've been showing you my progress in this bliggity blog.  This one is "Summer", which I stitched on 32 count somethingorother.  I can't remember what the name of the color is, since it wasn't labeled on the package when I bought it.

Anyhooter...here is the finished piece:

Sa-weet, right?!  It is a smidggggggggge larger than I anticipated, but I still love the way it turned out.  I used a plain yellow for the border right up against the stitched piece, which was a remnant from Joann's.  The outer border is from a Moda jelly roll that I got from Cloth & Bobbin in Narberth.  I think both complement the stitched piece rather well, if I do say so myself :-)

For the back, I didn't have a piece of fabric quite big enough to cover the entire surface area, so I made panels to cover it.  Voila! -

I thought all three pieces that were in my stash were very summery, and therefore perfect for this project!

For those of you working on the Cricket seasons pieces, the finished stitch size of mine is 17"w x 4.5"h - I stitched all of them on 32 count linen.  Adding the border fabrics to this piece made it closer to 24" long, so it's a daggone good thing I have big bookcases to display these!!

I'm currently working on the final Cricket season - "Spring", and attempted to take pictures of it, but the fabric just isn't picture friendly.  I'm stitching this one on 32 count Silkweaver Buttercream linen, which is a-ma-zing, but again, not very photogenic.  Hopefully as I progress, the stitching fibers will be a little darker and conducive to photographs so I can share it with you all.

That's all I have for now!  Do something creative today :-)

13 June 2011

I put down my needle and thread, and picked up...needle and thread...

No, I haven't been drinking.  That was at the work picnic on Thursday...and Saturday night at the bar.

This weekend, I put down that cross stitch needle of mine, and picked up (ok, figuratively picked up) my sewing machine needle.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I finally procured a sewing machine.  I got it a few weeks ago, right before I got really sick, and haven't had the chance to do anything with it.  Well, this weekend I decided to get to it.  I had to break it in sometime, and there's no time like the present.  I figured I'd do a little project I'd been dying to try before finishing Katie's baby gift into a pillow.  Kinda warm up the sewing machine, if you will.

Moda fabrics has some fibbity faboo patterns in their Bake Shop, and that's where I found this little ditty.  It's called the "Bookkeeper", and is a cover for your B&N nook or your Amazon Kindle.  It could also fit a journal or a paperback book for those trips to the beach, or anywhere for that matter!

I already have a leather cover for my nook, but it's boring black.  Bleh.  When I saw this "recipe", I knew I had to try it!

Here's the finished product --

It looks like a lil' clutch, doesn't it??  Now, if any of you are quilters, I am profusely sorry that I cannot, at this time, do proper binding.  This project was VERY easy, especially for someone like me, who is not nearly as proficient with a sewing machine as I am with a cross stitch needle.  The only thing that was difficult for me was the binding.  If any of you are quilters, and have some pointers for me as to how to do that part of this quicker and EASIER, I'm all ears.  I wanted to stab someone with my straight pins by the end of the night.

There are some things that I know I'll do different the next time around, if it's another one for me, or if I do it as a gift, but I think it turned out pretty darn good for a first time pattern-follower!  If I do say so myself!  Ha!

Here's a peek inside --

You can kinda see the leather of my nook cover peeking out overtop the pouch.

Here's my nook outside the "bookkeeper" so you can see it in perspective --

I'm not sure if the iPad would fit in here -- but this pattern is definitely easy enough to alter it to make it wider if need be for a tablet.

The fun thing about this project (besides the fact that I was doing something new!) is that I got to try out the decorative stitches on my machine.  Here's a close-up of the top stitches on the cover --

Fun, huh?!?!  Again -- quilters, turn a blind eye to that binding.  Hooo boy does it need  a helping hand.....

Anyways, that was my creative fun this weekend!  Hope you all were able to get your creative juices flowing, too!!

06 June 2011

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day...

Well, here we are at Monday already.  This weekend went whizzing by without even stopping to have a leisurely cup of coffee!!

I made some bold promises on Friday, which I was unable to keep.  I did not remember to take a picture of "Pumpkins Three".  I almost finished "A Stitch in Thyme", but won't post a pic until it's completely done.  I will do my best to get a pic of "Pumpkins Three" up before the end of the week.  I know there were a few of you interested in seeing that one finished.  It turned out great :-)

Saturday I spent most of the day in my living room painting the trim.  I did the crown molding, the door frame (from the foyer to the living room), and the window frames.  I didn't have enough time to get to the chair rail or baseboarding, so that's a project for after work this week. The previous owners didn't paint correctly (as I'm sure you'll all remember from my previous rantings about the hideous green paint, etc.), so instead of just one coat of semi-gloss on the crown molding, I have to go back and do a third.  I'll do that tonight, and then hopefully be able to get at least one coat on the chair rail.  I would love to be able to get two coats on the chair rail tonight so I can do the base boarding tomorrow night, but we'll see how quickly I move tonight.

One final quick note -- Blogger has been a pain.  I was having a heck of a time posting comments to other people's blogs this past week -- every time I would try to post a comment, it would try to post it as "Anonymous".  That's a bunch of hooey, so I just cancelled my post.  Then, I found out from one of my friends that she couldn't post a comment to my blog, and suggested I change the format for how the comments show up.  I did, and apparently it's working again, so hopefully your comments will post!  I love hearing from you all!  Thanks for the tip, Catherine!! :-)

I'm off -- have a fabulous Monday, everyone!  It's supposed to be hotter than the center of the Earth by the end of the week (yahoo!!!), so enjoy these cool breezes while they're here -- we probably won't have them again until September!!

03 June 2011

So...long time, no post...

I think it's only been a week...but it feels like so much longer than that!

I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing holiday weekend.  We here in Philly had our first heat wave of the season, and it's not officially summer yet.  It was 96 degrees yesterday.  I hate to say it folks, but I think we're in for another scorcher of a summer.  I am totally ok with this, since I will take the heat over snow and ice and cold ANY DAY of the week.  (Although....the unexpected snow day from work still makes me giddy like a school girl...haha!)  Today was MUCH cooler -- topping off at 76 degrees and breezy.  It was absolutely beautiful out!!

Enough of this boring, old lady talk about the weather.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, Paulette of Plum Street Samplers posted a lovely little freebie in remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Visit her post to get your copy!  She always has such lovely graphs :-)

In my week-long absence, I've been working on a few things.  First, I finished the piece that I designed for my friend at work - she had her baby on Friday, and I can't wait to give her the announcement!  I'll post pictures at a later date -- I want her to see it first before I start spreading it all around :-)  I did post a little teeny tiny preview of it way back when -- it's the Irish blessing.  It turned out absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to share it.  I hope you can withstand the anticipation :-)

I showed you last week my finish of "Garden Fresh" by Little House Needleworks.  Well, I couldn't stop there, so I continued right on with the companion piece that comes with the kit -- "A Stitch in Thyme".

I plan on finishing this as a needlebook, just as Diane has the model finished, but mine will be a smidge smaller.  The model was stitched on 32 count linen; I chose 40 count.  My fabric is an overdye from Silkweaver which I absolutely LOVE.  Unfortunately, I cannot give the name of the color, since it was not labeled when I bought it.  I searched the Silkweaver website, but couldn't really find something that resembled it.  I may have missed it.  If any of you can match it, let me know!  It's a really great neutral color, with splotches all over the piece.  (I forgot just how big a fat half is...and of 40 count to boot.  I'll be stitching on this for a looonnnnggggg time.  Be prepared to see this fabric often in my work.  haha!)

I also finished "Pumpkins Three"...but totally forgot to take a picture of it.  It turned out fabulous, and I promise to post a picture of it before the weekend is over.

Just as I was leaving my craft room tonight, I stumbled upon this cute little summer ditty that I did last year --

This one is from Lizzie Kate, and is stitched on 32 count blue overdyed fabric.  Alas, as it's been a year since I finished it, I'm totally cluefree as to what the color name of this fabric is or who makes it.  I believe it's very similar to what I stitched Cricket Collection "Summer" on, but I can't be 100% positive.  I'll be putting some cording around the outer edge and attaching a magnet so I can hang it on my file cabinet at work.  (Yes, I know.  I keep saying I'm going to hang things at my desk at work.  You have NO idea how B-O-R-I-N-G my cube walls are...I have to spice it up with floods of color...and, at the moment, I do that with a myriad of Post-its.  Makes me look like a crazy stationery hoarder.  Wait...)

That's all I have for you today, ladies and gentlemen.  I hope to post again over the weekend -- I'm forcing myself to totally finish the other baby announcement I'm doing, along with maybe some scrapbooking.  Hopefully it'll stay cool enough so I can spend a longer period of time in my craft room than I could when the heat index was that of the surface of the sun.  Fingers crossed.

Do something creative today!

25 May 2011

So...about that progress...

On Friday, I told you that I'd started the Little House "Garden Fresh" instead of plowing through a baby announcement.  I also told you that I'd update you on my progress.  Well.  This is my update.

It's finished!  For those of you going, "Well, goshdarnit.  What did you do, stitch 24/7??"  My answer is nay, I did not.  This is a really quick stitch, I promise!  Not as quick as this was, but still quick!  I love the thread color choices for this pattern.  This particular graph comes as a kit -- you get both the above graph, plus "A stitch in thyme" pattern for a needlebook (you don't get the needlebook -- that was sold separately) and all the threads you'll need for both patterns.  They're all Crescent Colors -- Weeping Willow, English Ivy, Blackbird, Bamboo, and I can't remember the name of the red or yellow in there.  Dang.  I'll post later...if I remember to check the graph...

Aren't the little daisy-like flowers on the sides cute? :-)

Once I was done with that pattern, it was off to the next....

I KNOW, I KNOW, it's a fall pattern, which we should all be running from, since we're finally, FINALLY about to break into summer here, but I had to do it.  This is called "Pumpkins Three" by La-D-Da.  I chose 32 count Desert Sand, which I also used for my Cricket "Autumn".  I do so enjoy the color -- it's perfect for doing fall patterns -- but the texture of it is kinda strange.  It's very stiff...much like a burlap bag.  Oh well.  It looks perfect with the color I chose, which is a rusty orangy reddish DMC color 918.  Love it!

24 May 2011

I'm addicted.

Totally, 100% addicted...to paper crafting.  I mean, I do scrapbooking, but I've only just become adept at using stamps and embossing powder to make it that much more fun.

Last night, I ate a quick dinner, then grabbed my radio (I can't miss the Phils...and boy did they hand it to the Reds!!  Nice work, boys!) and headed up to my craft room.

Remember this awesomely fun stuff??  Well...I had a blasty blast with it all last night!!

I've been meaning to make some cards for a while now, and I figured on this dreary Monday night (yet again...) I would hide away on the third floor and get to it.  I had SO much fun with my new favorite toy -- the heat gun for embossing.  Hooooo boy it is just too cool to watch that powder melt to a glossy finish on your paper :-)

Anyways...I went into my stash of random scrapbook paper, and was able to match a couple with the purple and blue cards I had chosen from Paper Source.  I made 8 cards total, but I'll only show you a few of my personal favs --

I apologize for the glare...but I just LOVE that purple!!!  I think for me, the most fun was doing the envelope inserts, since they were SO easy, and it was instant transformation!!!  It makes each envelope so unique, AND, I was able to coordinate the inside of the envelope with the card!!  Wayyyyy too much fun!!!!

Again - apologies for the glare, but isn't this fun??  :-)  I love that green, and how it works with the patterned paper and the purple card :-)

This is the blue version (obviously)...in my effort to reduce glare, they came out just a smidgen dark, so I hope you're able to view them ok.  I had a ton of fun with these colors, too!

For real...way too exciting to work with stamps and coordinating embossing powder.  I was totally absorbed in all of this, and totally lost track of time!  But, in all honesty...isn't that the best...??  To be totally engrossed in your craft/hobby, and get lost in the creation?!

For the final touch on the envelopes, I took a stamp and the clear pigment ink, and stamped the tip of the envelope flap.  Then, I covered it in purple embossing powder, and...taa daaa!!!

A fun little notey note on the back for the recipient to see just as they're opening the card!!

As you can see, I had quite the night last night, and can't wait to do it all again!  Now, imagine all the fun I could have if I had a Cricut Expressions machine........

20 May 2011

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row!  I had to look up one of the words in the lyrics to that nursery rhyme, and I had forgotten that it was based on Mary Tudor's reign in England after her father, King Henry VIII, passed away.  Finally.  Her reign was for a mere 5 years before her sister, Elizabeth I, came to the throne, but she managed to execute approximately 300 people during that time.

I digress.  European history just fascinates me...

As of yesterday, I have finally reemerged into the land of the living.  I have been SO SICK it's not even funny.  This z-pack is barely making a dent, although if I hadn't called the doc for it on Monday, I'd be in much worse shape.  Tuesday and Wednesday I couldn't even get out of bed, I was that sick.  Yesterday, I was finally able to sit upright and move around the house a bit, so I got up, and sat myself in the den for some bad daytime tv, and began to stitch.

I'm still working on Katie's baby gift.  I know, I know...I should be done this already!  I feel terrible, but I just can't bring myself to finish it.  I think because I'm so sick of all the pastel colors, it's deterring me from completing it.  I did work on it, but not as much as I probably should have.

Instead, I ran upstairs to my craft room to see what other project I could work on to decorate my house.  I had two finalists (I have an entire hanging file storage full of patterns...I'm sure most of you are in the same boat...), and I ended up choosing "Fresh Garden" from Little House Needleworks.  It was a release at the Nashville Market this past year, and I fell in love with it.  I did not get the pin cushion or needlebook -- I plan on making my own needlebook :-)  I'll post pictures, not to worry, but I have to assemble my sewing machine accouterments and get some threads before I can get started on that project...and many other actual sewing projects that I have lined up...

Anyhooter, since I was able to sit upright yesterday, I was able to stitch after catching up on 3 weeks of glee (yes, I'm a gleek, and I can't believe I missed 3 straight weeks!  Thank you, FOX, for FINALLY putting your shows on demand!!!!), and this is what I was able to accomplish --

Now, the graph calls for Light Mocha linen which is straight up B-O-R-I-N-G.  I am so sick of these designers having a love affair with mocha linen for fun pieces like this.  Spice up your stitching life, for crying outloud!!  Live a little!! I chose 32 count Mello from Picture this Plus fabrics.  I love it.  It's neutral enough, yet it has some streaks of a greenish hint to it. I thought this went well with the greens and other earthy tones for this piece.  Cool, huh?!  I think it kinda looks like a seed sack, which is perfect :-)  I'll keep you updated on my progress...

Next stop -- the rose bushes on the side of my house.  It was raining when I went to take the trash out tonight (as it has been almost every night this week), but I couldn't resist taking pictures of the roses that have started to bloom on the side of my house.  For those of you who don't know, I have huge azalea bushes and rose bushes all along the side of my house, but I didn't know what color they all were until they bloomed, since I moved in before blooming time.  Well, the azaleas have all bloomed (I have gorgeous pinks and a really vibrant coral, but alas, no purple), and now the roses have finally started opening their buds.

This is what greets you on the driveway between my house and my neighbor's --

How gorgeous are these?!?!  These are both from different bushes -- the one on top is a brighter pink than the one on the bottom -- and the one on the bottom appears almost velvety.  Beautiful.

Just stunning.  I'm glad my camera was able to pick up on the light interior of these petals, despite the dark and rain in the atmosphere.  So, so pretty.

 This one, however, is my FAVVVVVV.  It's peach tipped in pink!!!  How awesome is THAT?!?!!!  I can't wait to see this bush in full bloom!!!

That's it for now -- I need to go keep getting healthy.  I forgot how horrible it is to be this sick...ugh....

Do something creative today!! :-)

15 May 2011

Rain, rain, do NOT go away!!!

I have never been so happy to see steady rain in my life!!  My allergies don't normally bother me until the fall with the leaves and mold, but this year, the spring allergies hit me like a brick wall.  I've been laid up all weekend fighting hideous allergies which have turned into a cold.  No infection (yet), so here's hoping I don't need to take a trip down Antibiotic Alley, which is usually where I end up.  I can never have "just" a cold.

Whilst being laid up on the couch, I haven't felt so bad that I can't multi-task while watching some of my favorite shows (The Golden Girls and Frasier reruns have kept me going.  Hello hilarity!!).  I decided to work on something for me, so this is what I was able to accomplish this weekend --

It's called "Coffin Buzz" and it's a freebie from Paulette Stewart, designer of Plum Street Samplers. I'm a coffee fiend (if you couldn't already tell...), so this is just perfect.  I stitched it on 40 count Antique Almond by Silkweaver.  I plan on finishing it in a rustic frame and hanging it at work to add a little character to those battleship grey walls that surround me for 9 hours a day.

My house is coming along, slow but steady.  Most of the painting is done on the first floor, with the exception of the woodwork in the den and dining room.  I started painting the trim in the living room this past week with the most important part -- the bookshelves.  I can finally put all of my books on the shelves, and I interspersed some pictures and fun knick knacks up there, too.  I haven't gotten to any of the molding yet, though, thanks to this hideous cold.

Now, before I bring you along to what is now my beautiful living room, I must remind you of what it was.

Horrifying.  That green is just...ugh.  Initially it didn't seem so bad, but once I got a really good look at it...bleh.  Also, what we realized (we meaning my family and I -- I had a lot of help with all the painting on the first floor) is that the paint above the chair rail all throughout the house isn't just a pale blue...it's a pale bluish-purple.  In addition, the former owners must've painted in the middle of the night with sunglasses on, since they made a MESS with the paint.  MESS.  Not to mention the fact that they painted over wallpaper, and the trim has never been painted white.  Ever.  UGGGGGHHHHH.  Anyway.

THIS is what my living room looks like NOW --

Isn't it SO much better and way more amazing?!?!!!  It took 3 coats of primer to get rid of that horrific green, but it's gone!  The handles on the cabinets under the bookshelves got thrown out, so I'll be on the hunt for something to replace them.  I did deviate from my original painting plan -- the color I ended up choosing for the living room is lighter and has a little more peach in it than the color I had originally wanted in there.  I think this is much better and lightens up the space more so than the other darker color I'd initially chosen. (And yes, that is my crazy black panther on the hearth.  Apparently she wanted in on this photo op, so she coyly entered from the bottom left, pretending she'd never sniffed this area of the living room before.  She's lucky she's cute.)

Here's a close-up of my bookshelves --

To die for, right?!?!  Especially after what they once were!!  OMG.  My vase (which is handmade from Spain - my professor got it for me while I studied abroad during the summer of 2001, since I celebrated my 21st while we were over there) looks so small on top of the mantle!  I guess I'll have to move it into the bookshelf so it doesn't get dwarfed by its surroundings.  

Anyhooter, that's all I have at the moment.  Time to take more cold & sinus medicine and make either tea or coffee...something hot to break up this gunk in my head.  Yuck.

07 May 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day!  It got a little overcast and a smidge chilly by around 5p, but other than that, it was a gorgeous day!  The azaleas in my neighborhood are in full bloom and absolutely gorgeous.  I think spring may actually FINALLY be here!!

I had a Groupon for Cloth and Bobbin, a fabulous fabric shop over in Narberth, which is small town not far from where I live.  Turns out, my cousin had one, too, so we decided today was the day to head on over and pick out some fabrics!  We spent almost an hour perusing all the different patterns, and had to stop ourselves from buying fabric "just because"!  They had so many fun patterns and bright colors to choose from, we finally had to buckle down and decide what we should buy based on what we would be using it for.

I have two patterns which I'm eager to work on, which I will share with you along the way, but for now, here's a shot of the fun fabric I purchased today --

Aren't those colors just so fun?!?!  With the cut pieces, I'll be making something for my sister for her birthday (I hope she isn't reading this right now, or I guess I just spoiled the surprise!)  With the jellyroll (from Moda fabric collection Modern Workshop), I'll be making a cover for my nook.  I already have a case for my nook, but it's boring black leather. Blah.  I want something with a little more pizazz, and what better way to do that than to make it myself!!

After our Cloth and Bobbin fabric extravaganza was over, we headed out on the streets of downtown Narberth, which is about 2 blocks long, since they were having a sidewalk sale.  There wasn't much going on at the sale, which was a little disappointing, but we did find a vendor on one of the corners selling potted flowers and vegetables.

I've been wanting a hanging plant for my shepherd's hook since I moved into my new house, but haven't had the chance to get out and see what's out there this year.  So, this was the perfect opportunity to pick something that would be great in my new backyard!  I knew as soon as I saw it, I had to have this plant --

It's a fuchsia plant!!  HOW COOL IS THIS!!!  I am in love with this flower!!!  I saw one last year when I was looking for a hanging plant for outside my apartment, but learned that they need mostly shade to survive.  Sadly, the front of my apartment got nothing but sun all day long, so I had to go with something else. This year, however, since my backyard has a lot of shade (as evidenced by the moss covering the one side of my garden), I was able to get one of these fantastic plants and I can't wait to have it hanging outside in all its glory!  There was a sign at the vendor that said that the frost date is 15 May, so I'm not risking anything -- as you can tell, I currently have it hanging indoors in my spare bedroom.

I mean, look at these flowers!!!  I love how they're all kinda folded over and just bursting from the bud!!

And there are two different colors -- the purple, which you can see on the left pretty clearly, and the light purpley-pink, as you can see in the picture on the right.  I cannot wait for this to just take over the pot and explode with even more luscious color!!!

The last thing I will share with you all tonight is a quick and easy gluten-free vegetarian dish that I whipped up in my fantabulous kitchen last night.  Being gluten-free sometimes makes it difficult to whip up dinners when I'm somewhat short on time.  My go-to quick dinners usually involve eggs or tuna, since I almost always have both on hand.

Last night, I remembered that I'd gotten tofu at Trader Joe's, and decided to make something with it.  I'll admit, I was never one to go for tofu in the past, but I've come to enjoy it.  Tofu takes on whatever flavors you're cooking with, and is an excellent source of protein.  I also remembered that I'd gotten leeks the last time I was at the grocery store, but wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them, since I'd intended to get kale (don't ask.).  I also had a red pepper which was looking particularly delicious sitting in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator, so I decided he needed to join in the fun on my pan, too.

I cut up the leeks and pepper and threw them onto the pan with some olive oil from DiBruno Brothers, while I was trying to squeeze out the last drops of water from the tofu.  I cut up the tofu into cubes, and added that to the pan.  Then, I took two cloves of garlic and threw that into the pan.  I sauteed it all up until the tofu was browned and the leeks were transparent.  I threw it all onto a small bed of rice and, taadaa!!!!

Doesn't this look yummy?!  It was quite tasty, so easy, and I highly recommend it. :-)