Apr 30, 2012

Fleurs and Other Stuff

Does anyone do composting?  I've been wanting to try this for a while.  I bought a compost bin over the weekend.  I just need to figure out a good place to put it and then get started.  I've read a few books, and I wondered if anyone had any tips or tricks.

For the past few weeks, I've been having chronic neck, shoulder, and arm pain.  I've been to the chiro three times with no relief.  It hasn't been this bad in years.  Heat packs, ice packs, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen... nothing has helped.  Six years ago when it first flared up, I even did physcial therapy and that didn't help.  For the past three days, I've had to sleep sitting up in order to relieve some of the achy-pain.  It stinks getting old... (I'm really not that old!)

Since I've been having a lot of pain, my stitching time has been severely curved. Boo.  I did manage a bit of stitching on Fleurs et Papillons. 

More WIP pics can be seen HERE.

I'm almost finished with Part 1.  I should be able to get it done this week.  Then it'll be on to Sampler aux Bouquets.

Until next time,

Ottoman Redux

I'd been kicking around the idea of getting an ottoman for a while now.  The milk crate with a pillow on top wasn't exactly the most chic of furniture ideas.  I couldn't believe the prices of the nicer medium sized storage ottomans... $70+ really?

After looking at them, I said to myself:  "Self, you can make one of those!"  So then I kicked that idea around a while... until I came across this:

I know... not the prettiest thing this side of the Mississippi.  This was one of those moments where I had a vision.  A vision of what it could look like!  For $10, how could I pass it up?!?

I found some fabric and trims.  I set to work.

A day and a half later, my creation came to life:

Ottoman: $10
Fabric: $18
More Storage Space: Priceless!
Place to Rest Tired Footsies:  Awesome!

I'm thinking about taking the bun feet off and replacing them with wheels so it's easier to move around.  This thing is 22x25" and heavy!  Much better, don't ya think?

Linked to:

Apr 25, 2012

TUSAL 4/25/12

OK, yes I'm a bit late on posting my TUSAL.  Don't whip me with a piece of wet floss...

See that big pile of white?  That's the frogging I did on Fleurs et Papillons!  I'm really glad I changed the color, though. (More on that in the previous post)  The rest of the colors in that pile are from JG and Forgive Quickly.

Apr 24, 2012

Things That Make You Go Hmmm!

When I went home for lunch the other day, I opened the garage door to throw some stuff in the recycling bin. In the middle of the floor I saw a huge amount of gravel (my garage is concrete!) surrounding a 1” hole (the hole was already there) in the concrete. 

Originally, I thought the circumference of the gravel was about 15”.  It actually more like 20"!  The BF stopped over to look at it. He thinks I have a gopher using that hole.  This weekend, I’ll be mixing up some hydraulic cement and pouring it down the hole.  Bye bye, critter!

Last weekend, the BF and I went to the Classics & Chrome Car Show which is a fundraiser for a (college)prep school. The school's website says they "nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth and encourage critical thinking and innovation" for students ages 3 through grade 12. There were over 100 vehicles on display, ranging from motorcycles to hotrods to classics.

Same model car in the original movie, Christine

Detailed paint job on a classic 'wagon

There were even mini rods

More photos of the car show can be seen HERE.

Several people have asked about the SAL for Fleurs et Papillons. A German Yahoo group called Sticklounge is hosting the SAL. The group is limited to 50 English speaking members. Each SAL chart is given to participants one section at a time. When you stitch the section and post it to the group, you get the next section. There's also a time frame to get the stitching done, otherwise you don't get the entire chart. Angie SB also sells the chart on her blog found HERE. The chart actually calls for 4 colors, but I've changed the colors to suit my taste.

I worked on Fleurs et Papillons last week and until last night, this is what it looked like:

The photo is a bit dark so you can see the white lace. In normal light, it's very hard to see. I frogged it all last night and stitched it with a champaign-gray color (not sure why it looks brown!) which shows up much better. What do you think?

Until next time,

Apr 16, 2012

Marvelous Monday Update 4/16/12

How about those storms that just ripped across the country? Luckily, my area has only experienced rain and wind. Looks like I'll be picking up sticks off my backyard. Temps this week are supposed to be in the mid 50's. Spring weather... ya gotta love it.

I just love trying new recipes! Over the weekend, I decided to make homemade bread bowls and cheesy broccoli-barley soup. It was yum-yum in the tum-tum! I was surprised that bread bowls really aren't that difficult to make. I combined two different broccoli soup recipes to come up with a scrumptious comfort-food meal.

September of last year, I tried my hand at making homemade laundry soap. I've washed my clothes with it all this time, and give it a thumbs up. My clothes look and smell clean. They actually smell CLEAN... no perfume-y smell.

I stitched on almost all of my WIPs last week. I think that's what has aggravated my neck problems! In any case, here's my progress:

Japanese Garden

Forgive Quickly

Fleurs et Papillons

Until next time,

Apr 9, 2012

Just Like Christmas (Almost)!

Last week was almost as good as being a kid on Christmas Day.

My new laptop arrived on Thursday. I had it shipped to work so it was like getting a new toy at Christmas and not being able to play with it! I spent most of Friday making the recovery disks (took hours!), re-installing software and getting my printer set up.

I was never able to get my Graphire graphics pad to work with my other laptop so I haven't used it in about 4 years. I bought it back when I used Win98 or XP. A search on the internet brought me to a guy who had a driver for Win7 and I was so excited when I installed it and it worked with my new laptop!

If you've read my blog, you'd know I bought a cooling pad for the laptop... the CP works awesome. I was on the computer practically all day and the bottom of the laptop didn't even get warm. I highly recommend the Rosewill RNA-7600W. Unlike some other CP's, it has an AC power source as well as USB and a 4-port USB hub. I was able to use the hub with no problems.

I rented a Blue-Ray DVD and tried the BR player that came as a "free" upgrade to the laptop. I also tried out Hulu. Both gave me a chance to try the HDMI cable in order to watch them on my 1080p TV. The cable was easy-peasy... all I did was plug it in and change the TV setting to HDMI. The DVD player automatically started, I clicked the on screen remote, and the viewing experience started.

I upgraded from a regular 6-cell battery to a 9-cell battery. Once the battery is charged 100% it will run my laptop for a good 8 hours. I'm loving that!

Overall, I like the new laptop. The coolest thing is that it has a fingerprint reader that can be used to logon to the computer and login to whatever websites I set up. It won't work with fingers not scanned (I tried, LOL). One thing I'm still getting the hang of is the two-finger scrolling. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm sure it's user error. I have a keypad on this laptop. Being in the accounting field... I missed having one on my other laptop.

I stitched Flower & Bee back in 2009. I finished it into a box last week. It was the first time I tried to do an octagon shape. I'm happy with how it turned out!

Flower & Bee
Designer: Annalee Wait Designs
Fabric: 28ct Buttermilk Linen
Fibers: DMC, GAST
Embellishments: White Trim

I also received Part One of Fleurs et Papillons SAL on Thursday. So, I started another new project! Now I have 3 projects going and they're all BAPS. The original design called for three colors: 2 shades of pink and white. I changed the colors to my liking. Here's the floss toss:

I made a good bit of progress on it using Qsnaps and the Elan lap stand:

I didn't realize the photo was so dark.
The fabric color is more accurate in the floss toss pic.

I also worked on JG, and ended up frogging a small section because I stitched one of the bonsai trees ONE stitch too tall and it threw the bottom corner of the corner ornament off. Since everything on JG is so close together and contains specialty stitches, there was no way I could leave it and stitch around it.

Other WIP photos can be seen HERE.

Earlier this year, I finished stitching Blossom Splendor. It's about 18x20 in size. I want to store it until I can get two other companion pieces stitched, and then frame them all the same. To those of you who stitch and store your pieces, how do you store them longterm? My pieces may be in storage for a couple years before I get around to framing them.

Until next time,

Apr 4, 2012

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

½ c. butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ c. dry bread crumbs
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ c. shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin

Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, cheeses, and seasonings. Dip each chicken breast in garlic butter to coat, then press into bread crumb mixture. Arrange chicken breasts in 9x13” baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

• I used margarine and minced garlic from a jar.
• I also used Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
• I only had ¼ c. Parmesan cheese so I used what I had.
• I also only baked 3 chicken breasts, but didn’t adjust the recipe. I forgot to pound them thin and they turned out just fine.
• The bread crumb mixture won’t stick to the chicken very well after dipping in butter so you’ll have to hold it on there until you put it in the baking dish.
• Since I only cooked 3 breasts, there was a lot of butter and bread crumb mix left over. I drizzled all the butter over the chicken and sprinkled with the bread crumbs. The bread crumbs will soak it all up.
• At the end of the baking time, I turned on the broiler for about 5 minutes (my baking dish was about 10” below the broiler) to give the chicken a nice golden color. The result is very moist chicken breasts with a tasty, crispy crust.

Apr 2, 2012

Biting The Bullet

It's been close to a month since my laptop decided it didn't love me anymore to take a permanent rest. I finally bit the bullet and ordered a customized HP dv6t Quad Edition laptop. The best part? By using promo codes, coupons, and financing incentives I saved 65% off the original upgrade price! I have to say the "dino" is really, really, really (Did I say REALLY?) getting on my nerves, LOL.

While I was on my shopping spree, I bought a cooling mat as well. I decided on a Rosewill mat that is made of aluminum (Great heat sink, I'm told) not plastic. It offers the flexibility of using an AC power cord or USB power from the laptop. It also has a 4-port USB hub. Newegg had an instant rebate of $20 with free shipping. Can't beat that!

Since I plan on watching Hulu with my laptop, I also splurged on a 15ft HDMI cable for less than $12 with free shipping, too. I should be set for computer related purchases for a while.

The cooling mat and HDMI cable have already arrived. If the notification from Fed Ex is correct, I should have the laptop in my hot little (OK, maybe not so little) hands on Thursday. Once I get it set up, the "Dino" is going bye-bye.

I tried a new recipe last week: Garlic Cheddar Chicken. It was soooo good. The outside had a crispy goodness and the inside was the moistest chicken ever! I served it with steamed broccoli and mashed red potatoes with the skins left on. The BF made a yummy wine brown gravy.

Remember how I said I was going to start a new project? Well, I did! I started the first in the series of Sampler aux Bouquets by Jardin Prive. Photos of what the projects will look like can be seen HERE.

I had forgotten that I had a small, portable lap stand: the Elan by Artisan Designs. I had the brainstorm idea that it might be easier to learn how to stitch two-handed on it before using the 33" wide K's Creations lap stand. Hmmm... 17" vs. 33", what do you think? I do have to say that the Elan is a beautifully crafted and well thought out piece of equipment.

I tried to stitch two-handed on JG once before (without a lap stand) and couldn't get the hang of it. Now that I've used a lap stand, I think the issue was not having JG on a lapstand. Trying to balance a 26" scroll frame and stitching two-handed is not the easiest thing! In stitching on Sampler aux Bouquets, it only took me a day to get the hang of two-handed stitching. I worked on SaB all last week and am almost 3/4 done with the first chart:

This week, I will be stitching on JG with the K's Creations lap stand. So, stop back next week for its update!

Until next time,