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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blessed with a Chance of Clouds

Partly Cloudy:

As I have driven around town this week I have been in awe of the clouds and blue skies.  There has been no rain to speak of and with high pressure and low humidity it not only feels amazing here in TN but the skies have been incredible.  I'd have taken some pictures on my way to pick our son up from school, but I've not learned how to safely drive and take pictures at the same time.  Believe me.  The views were beautiful.

Cloudy Vision: 

Wednesday night I thought I'd put in a few stitches on Lori's new freebie (Not Forgotten Farm).  I couldn't understand why my readers weren't doing the job.  Normally, this is an issue on 40 count.  No worries I'll pull out a magnifier.  No, the arm isn't long enough.  I went to replace contacts for glasses and saw the problem.  I've decided it was some sort of infection.  There is a couple of places it could have come from, but no contacts for two days seemed to do the trick.  The eye was pretty red where you could see it, but the area above the iris was much worse.
I'm happy to say I'm feeling much better now and my vision is no longer cloudy.

Soft as Clouds:

My stitching group gathered at our local library yesterday.  I knew this, but didn't make the connection I still needed to make something for the potluck.  I feel like I cheated by making a loaf of bread that morning.  I don't know if anyone but  me had any, but my son was more than thrilled the bread came home nearly intact.  I think there are three slices left, and those may be gone before he goes to school.

Cloud-Nine Date Night:

I left the gathering a bit early.  My husband and I attended a formal work-related event at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center last night.  The gala is always good company with a wonderful meal, fabulous entertainment and an amazing silent auction to benefit TPAC.  There is a little something for everyone at the auction.  The theme each year reflects one of the TPAC performances, and this year it was Motown.  I wish we could have stayed a little longer, but there was a long drive ahead of us and an early morning today for regular church activities.
I dislike shopping and shoe shopping in particular, but I do believe I hit the jackpot here. :-)
DH and I before heading to Nashville.
Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Special Delivery and Specialty Fibers

Grateful, Thankful and Blessed
by Brenda Gervais
I was reading blogs at the beginning of the month and ran across a new design from Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle fame. I barely got through the rest of the post before sprinting past the comments and going directly to Country Stitches to order my pattern.  It arrived recently, and I'm excited to have it in my small stash.  Yes, there really is such a thing.  There is no time to stitch it now, so it will sit for a while.

Why so excited?  First, the name is an expression of how I view life.  I love many of the Halloween designs I see, but I don't celebrate Halloween.  I absolutely love fall and Thanksgiving, but there aren't nearly as many of those designs out there, and most of those designs are not quite my design style.  After a couple of years of searching Brenda created this beauty.  It hits all the design must haves for me and I'm thrilled.

What do y'all listen to while you stitch. Typically, the television is my background. Stitching has allowed me to watch sports with my husband on occasion.  I gotta be honest.  A bunch of athletes running around a field puts me in an agitated catatonic state.  My husband is amazing and doesn't watch sports too often, and when he does it's usually the Bears or Cubs, and most of the time he'll watch it in his office. He's a keeper. :-)

My aunt got me started on Jennifer Chiaverini's quilt series, and I'm totally hooked.  There are around twenty books including a cookbook.  My sweet Aunt sent me the cookbook, so one of these days I'll be making apple strudel the cheater's easy way--with store-bought phyllo.  I listen while I stitch because the story line and writing is so good, but I'm also using these audio books as "quilt washing".  I'm mostly teaching myself to quilt and I'm just a little bit chicken.  The more I listen the more courage I get.  Hopefully soon you will see some progress posted.  I've got the borders cut out (wide enough for modifications), but now is the time to cut out the pieces for the main section of this Double Irish Chain.

I leave you with my favorite source for specialty fibers.  She is rather fastidious, so they are always impeccably clean when they arrive in my work.


 Very little can distract her from her work--unlike me.



 . . . OOH! BUG!?!


Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Showers of Blessing


Last weekend the family gathered in Tennessee to spend a little time together.  Sadly, my family's crazy schedule only allowed for us to spend some time late Saturday afternoon and evening with everyone.  I was able to go back a few hours after church Sunday night before everyone left Monday and Wednesday.

My brother, sister and their families came from opposite ends of the country to spend a few days.  The only one missing was dad who headed to heaven about 4 1/2 years ago, but his presence was definitely felt.  This was the first time our extended family of twelve had all been together due to distance and birth years.  How neat to see all the cousins together, ages 5-15, and watch the interaction.  It was good spend some time with my brother and sister on the part of the family farm that now belongs to my Uncle.  He started a Christian camp on it over thirty years ago, and it has been so amazing to see God bless and grow the camp and it's people.

My out-of-town family stayed at The Potter's House at the camp.  Driving up to it I noticed one cloud formation looked like Snoopy.  My husband thought it looked like Snoopy was riding a camel, but by the time I got the shot the trees covered it.  What do y'all think?  Do you see Snoopy?

driving around the lake to get to the house

Three generations:  my mom, me, my husband, and our son.

This small cabin, Roena's Retreat, was named after my grandmother Roena.  The mist is due to the frigid temperatures of a cold spring fed lake on a hot day.

I looked over my right shoulder and saw this beautiful sight.  So glad I changed lenses.  I can't help but marvel in God's creation.

Barn easily seen from the lake.  This one wasn't smoking tobacco like others in the area.

family walk around the lake

It never fails.  When I go out the farm I find myself in one of the most peaceful place on earth.

I dug deep and decided to finish off my pear freebie from Marly's pear link.  I think this will make the fifth pear, and each one is stitched a little differently than charted.  This pear is no different.  My home is red's and yellows downstairs, so the beautiful lavender she chose seemed better when switched out to reds.  I free handed the initials and date.  I remember not long ago I used to chart them on graft paper.  I hated the process and still do.  I'm willing to put up with wonky if I don't have to chart. :-)  I've come a LONG way in getting past perfectionism.

I did find the easiest way for me to cut the pear pattern.  Whahoo!  I'll save that for a later post when I actually have some pictures.

What do you do when you have six egg yolks left over from a white cake?  I suppose most people would make lemon or lime curd.  This morning I had a dozen since I had to make the recipe twice last weekend (sigh).  I had to use them up before they spoiled, so I turned six of them into an omelette mixed with an extra whole egg.  Not bad.  Actually, it had a creamier texture and seemed to brown less in the pan which was a good thing.  The specks are dried basil which went very well with the leftover garden tomato.  There is something blissful about eating simple food.



Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's a Wonderful World

This week has seen cooler temperatures and lower humidity--at least for a few days.  My two pot container garden has seen better days, but the zinnias show great promise as a container entertainer for Abigail.  Its original place was on top of mulch on the other side of the patio.  The back of the house faces west, so the concrete gets incredibly hot requiring more watering.  After shewing her out of the pot during nap time a couple of times and scolding her for swatting the stems I chose to move it.  I can't blame her for wanting the visitors that arrive at 1 Zinnia Place, but I'd like to keep my blooms around for a bit longer.
Making Plans

Stalking

Attack Cat

 Prepping for a family gathering meant I was bringing the desserts.  My brother and sister live way across the country in different directions, so to have them and their families all in one place at one time is monumental.  Family picture for sure.

Amanda Rettke of I am Baker fame is a rock star in my book.  She has an amazing recipe for white cake that enabled me to no longer buy white cake in a box.  It was the only cake I couldn't make as good or better than a box.  She recently posted a carrot cake recipe.  Why did I think I could do the two simultaneously?   WHYYYYYYYY?  Okay, moment of grief over. :-)

Things that can go wrong:

  • Place the right amount of flour for the white cake in the carrot (about 1/2 c. short).  I realized this once it had been in the oven about halfway through.
  • Use baking soda in the white cake instead of baking powder.
  • Oh, I can fix that!  Baking soda needs an acid to activate, so I'll just add the right amounts of cream of tarter since the batter is still in the bowl.  I'm awesome!

My friends, I've learned the baking soda must be thoroughly mixed with the cream of tarter BEFORE adding it to the wet ingredients.  If you don't, lots of fun bubbles form in the batter and the batter over raises and caves.  These went into the trash.  Mostly because they tasted of baking soda--eiuw, yuck.


Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Butter Cream
All was not lost.  The carrot cake had enough structure to not fall apart.  I made a maple cinnamon butter cream for it.  The flavor was a very pleasant and yummy surprise.



I wanted to share this shot with you.  This shrub lives in front of my favorite parking spot at our local Greenway.  It reminds me of a a vase with a beautiful arrangement.  My running schedule resumes in a week or two on the Mountain Goat Trail.  That's what I call it anyway with inclines of around 20-30 degrees.  The plan is to begin my Couch to 5K program from the beginning when I begin that route.

 I'm nearly finished with another of Marly's fabulous pears.  I stalled out a few days ago while beginning my initials and date.  The floss knotted in a really bad place and broke as I tried to unknot it.  There will be a frog party as I rip, but I'm not looking forward to it on 40 count.  I'm so glad I hadn't gotten very far.  Huge blessing.

The week, warts and all, was a huge blessing.  The craziness of beginning school was balanced by seeing teacher friends and staff again, some for the first time since May.

Leave me a comment or two.  I'd love to hear from you.  Until next time enjoy the blessings God gifts you in life.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Beginnings

I've felt I would write a blog for the last five or six years, but the time was never right.  Today I tip toe walk boldly into the world of blogging and share my blessed life with you.

One of the things that brings me joy is cross stitching.  A few years ago money was tight, so I began searching the web for finishing ideas for small projects.  In this search I found horn book finishing which led me to an amazing woodcarver who makes wooden butter and cookie molds.  You can be sure there will be a post on these molds as cooler weather arrives.  

These beautiful stockings designed by Kathy Barrick of Carriage House Samplings captured my heart when I saw them.  I began with Sampler Stocking and then moved onto Noah's Stocking.  Do any of you have fear of cutting into linen?  I am so grateful I got past that.  My heart still palpitates when I have to cut into linen using something other than a square or rectangular cut.







Over the last 30 years my stitching has changed from Aida to evenweave to linen to scary (for me) 40 ct. linen.  I'm in my 40s but my eyes aren't, so when I began stitching on these projects I exchanged contacts for glasses and donned my readers.  I still stitch 40 count this way.

Speaking of 40 ct. I should be finishing up a small piece in the next couple of days I will share with you.  Until then, I am grateful for stitching.