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. :-)

Hold onto your hats...

...it's gonna be a bumpy ride...

I'm finally back online at home...which means more blogging...and more stitching...and more papercrafting...and more pictures...

Be ready...

03 May 2011

I really need a new router...

I can't stand not being able to take pictures and upload them to share with you all. I love and hate technology at the same time.  Ha!

I was bored out of my mind earlier today while waiting for something from one of my customers, so I was flipping through the pictures on my phone and found two worthy of posting here on my bliggity blog, because I just think they're so daggone cool.

This picture is of the Wanamaker Building in Center City Philadelphia.  This building hosts the largest playing pipe organ in the world!  Wanamaker's has changed hands a few times over the past 10 years or so, and is now Macy*s.  The ladies in my family go down every Christmas to see the light show -- we all know it by heart :-) -- and to do a little shopping while we're there.  During the Christmas season, the organ's pipes are covered by the Christmas Light Show Spectacular (I think that's what they call it) during the season, and when it's all taken down, this is the view you get while inside the center of the store.  (I will most definitely post pictures of the Christmas show when it's that most wonderful time of the year :-))

How amazing is this?!  And to think it's inside one of the buildings downtown.  Incredible.  If you click here, you can see information about Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, and even purchase CDs if you like orchestral pieces written around organs. (I am in no way affiliated with the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, I just figured I'd post their site in case any of you are interested in learning more about this incredible instrument.)

There is so much incredible architecture in Philly, it's hard to capture it all while you're strolling the streets.  I particularly love Old City, so next time I'll have to remember to bring my trusty camera and take shots for all of you to see.  I actually took this picture when I was in the city for the grand opening of Paper Source's Walnut Street store, at which I won one of the hourly drawings!

This next picture was taken in Durango, Colorado.  I went on a trip to take a ride on the narrow gauge railway which runs from Durango to Silverton in Colorado.  It was AWESOME.  I did it in the winter, so they only do half the trip (which still takes around 6 hours round trip) since the fear of avalanche is too great.  I'll pass on avalanches, thankyouverymuch, so I was appreciative of their cautionary measures.  Apparently, the summer tour which goes all the way up to Silverton before it turns around, is equally as amazing.  The views are absolutely breathtaking as you go along the Animas River.  One of the conductors pointed out the old telegraph wires which still run along the mountains alongside the train tracks.  I guess it's too remote to even bother taking down the wires!!

I took this picture when the train was stopped to turn us around to head back to Durango.  How cool is this!!!  I highly recommend taking this train ride, and if you'd like more info about it, click here.  (Again, I have no affiliation with Durango Train, I just had such a great experience, I want you all to experience it, too!)

That's all I have for today.  I'm hoping I can either get some stitching in or a few thank you cards made. 

Oh!!  Before I forget!!  Today is "Slightly Indulgent Tuesday" over at one of my favorite foodie blogs, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, so hop on over there and download some super tasty recipes!

Do something creative today!!!

02 May 2011

Happy Monday!

First of all, God Bless America and our troops.  Hats off to the Navy SEALs for performing what no other special ops group could do.  They're elite for a reason.  We will never know their names, so the best I can do is pray for each and every one of them, and thank them in my own way.  I was up late last night watching the live footage from Ground Zero and The White House.  Incredible.

Second of all, thank you to all of my new followers!!  I'm still trying to get Internet access in my house, so I'm unable to do any blogging of any kind while I'm home (I'm again doing this on my lunch break at work).  Actually, I have Internet access, I just can't get my computer to recognize the wireless network setup by the previous owner.  I may have to just go out and get a new router.  Ugh.  At least I have cable so I can watch tv and so the house isn't so quiet.  The emptiness was echoing off of the hardwood floors and curtainless windows...

At least having cable allows me to watch awesome shows like "Game of Thrones" on HBO to fill up the time I'm unable to spend on the Internet.  It's filling the void I'm missing until "Boardwalk Empire" comes back on.  "Game of Thrones" is very much like "Lord of the Rings", which I LOVE, so this series is right up my ally.  So far, so good.  I actually put my needle down during these shows so I can pay full attention.  Ha! 

Side note:  I just found out that FOX finally has their shows available on demand.  I was able to catch up on one of the two episodes of glee I missed due to this cable/Internet debacle.  Yes, I'm a "gleek".  Don't judge me.  Haha.

I wish I could say I've completed a million and one projects since being in my new house with my spiffy new craft room, but alas, I have not.  I did finish a Cricket Mitten, which I'll be turning into a Baby's First Christmas ornament, but I neglected to take pictures of it to share.  This whole not having Internet at home is starting to cramp my style.  Can you tell I'm slightly annoyed???

Moving on...

I'm still working on one of the baby gifts for my friend, Katie.  I'm so close, yet so far...I still have to complete the border and stitch dear Tessa's name into the piece.  I haven't had much time to just sit and stitch for a while, so I might just have to force myself to plow through it and get it done.

I stopped at my new favorite store, Paper Source, over the weekend, and got some cute stamps and a sweet pen to do embossing with.  I cannot wait to break this out and do some awesome paper crafting!!  Stay tuned for what I'm about to create with that stuff!!

Happy Monday!  Do something creative.  Hang your American flag high and with pride today!  God Bless America and our troops.