Jan 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Since my birthday fell on a weekend this year, I thought: "Great! I can sleep in." Nope. Didn't happen. I woke up at 4:30am and the little dog was all over that. Hopping and dancing around as if to say, "C'mon! I know you're up. Take me out! Take me out!"

The upside to getting up that early is that I had time to get some stitching in.... AND... I have a finish:

Melvin and His Pal

Don't they make the most adorable buddies? It's a Wizzers kit by Janlynn/Sugarplum Express. I've had it for quite a while and think it's OOP since I've yet to find it online. It's stitched on 14ct white plastic canvas with unknown cotton threads. This year I participated in a birthday card and floss exchange on Facebook. I was a bit apprehensive since I'm fairly new to FB. As with any exchange, there are those who don't send on time. However, I received from most everyone.

I started a new project for Valentine's Day. The design looked easy-peasy. Was it? Oh noooo... I've spent just as much time frogging the darn thing as I have stitching it. How is it that I can do a big, complicated project with relatively little frogging but the small ones I have trouble with? *sigh*
Hoping to finish it this week!
ENABLING ALERT! Keepsake Needlearts has a clearance page with some really good deals. Plus, if you do a google search for online coupons, there's one for 25% off clearance items at KN.

Birthday gift to myself

This is a kit designed from artwork by Haruyo Morita and manufactured in Hungary.  Isn't it beautiful?  I found out Artecy has some charts by the same artist. 

Until next time,

Jan 19, 2015

Marvelous Monday Update 1/19/15

Over the weekend, I was on a quest to find photos of how stitchers store their hand-dyed, over-dyed, and/or silk threads. You know what? There is NOT much out there. I guess I was expecting to find something and think, "Oh! That would work great for me."

I did a post a while back that shows I how store all my floss: HERE. As you can see, my hand-dyed floss is stored in ziploc bags. It works okay, but doesn't make it easy if I'm looking for a particular color by name.

How do you store your hand-dyed floss?

The moon is shining and the cat is on the roof singing!

I was able to get a big chunk of stitching out of the way this week.  I'm hoping the rest of it... the border, alphabet and flowers on the left side... goes quickly.

Again, I swapped colors... This time for the moon. I didn't have the called for GAST that contained hues of yellow and orange. I didn't really care for the orange streaks through the moon, anyway. For my moon, I used Six Strand Sweets Toffee, a DMC brown, and a DMC pale yellow. What do you think?

Two weeks ago, I was on a mission to score some balls of yarn to try my hand at some cute crocheted owls. I didn't find yard, but did come home with those awesome spice carousels! I digress. Last week, I stopped by a thrift store in another city to see if they had yarn. I hit a mother lode! I'm gonna have to go back because I didn't get white and I need white.

I hope mine turn out as cute as these!

My yarn haul... only $8 for it all!

Until Next Time,

Jan 14, 2015

Crockpot Lasagna

I've had a few requests for the recipe I made last weekend, so here goes...

1 lb. Italian sausage or ground beef
48 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 oz. ricotta cheese

Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Brown the sausage or ground beef frying pan. Add spaghetti sauce. Combine cheeses in bowl, setting 1 c. aside. Spread ¼ of meat mixture in bottom of crockpot. Layer 4-5 noodles on top (depending on how big your crockpot is), breaking into pieces to fit. It’s okay if they overlap a bit. Spread 1/3 of cheese mixture over noodles. Repeat layers twice more with the last layer being the meat mixture on top. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. In last 15 minutes of cooking time, sprinkle the top with 1 c. cheese. Let lasagna stand in crockpot with the lid off for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

• Add chopped onion and garlic to ground beef while browning
• Add ½ c. parmesan cheese to mixture
• Substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese
• Some recipes call for adding one egg to the cheese mixture. I didn't do that, but may try it in the future.

• I used an oval 7qt crockpot to make my lasagna, but I'm sure any size will be fine.
• I have a great turkey sausage recipe if you'd like to substitute ground turkey for the meat.
• I used Italian sausage and added onion to the meat while it was browning.
• I used an Italian blend shredded cheese and there was only 3 c. in the package. I added some parmesan cheese to it along with the ricotta. I set aside about 1 c. for the topping. It turned out yummy. Next time, I think I will use more shredded cheese in the mixture... more cheesy goodness, ya know!
• Don't forget to let the lasagna rest with the lid off. I missed that part and the lasagna was a bit runny. But, by the time I went for seconds it had set up like it was supposed to.
• I bet one could use those crockpot liners for easy clean up. I've never used them, but hey... who am I to judge. ;-)

Jan 12, 2015

Marvelous Monday Update 1/11/2015

The BF took me to the thrift store in search of yarn. Didn't find yarn, but did come across two Kitchen Art Spice Carousels.  Neither carousel looked like they had been used.  They retail for $20-24 each.  I had a 10% off coupon and ended up paying less than $5 for both of them!  Each one holds 12 spice containers and they rotate so you can find the spice you're looking for pretty easily.  I ended up filling 21 of the 24 spice containers... all different spices... even different than the 12 you see in the chrome and black carousel in the background.

There are three ways to get the spices out: There's two flip tops... a large one in front so you can use a measuring spoon and a smaller one in back with shaker holes. There's also a flip door on the bottom. See the knobs on the front? They can be turned and each click dispenses 1/4 tsp. of spice out the bottom door.

The funny thing is that I saw these a couple weeks ago at the thrift store.  At that time, they were separated and marked $4.99 each.  Someone must've thought they were supposed to be one unit and put them together.  They are stackable, but sold separately in stores.

See the little labels?  I made those with my Brother label maker.

I've made different recipes in the crockpot over the years, but never lasagna. Until now.  The recipe is very similar to my no-cook lasagna oven recipe.

It was scrumptious!
I kept reading about how easy it is to make homemade tomato soup.  I finally decided to try it.  It definitely is easy and tastes good.  Plus, it doesn't contain all the additives and sodium in canned tomato soup.

I think I may have mentioned stitching on a Wizzer during my lunch hour at work.  It's about 2/3 done and I remembered to bring it home for a photo op.  I think this may be an OOP kit as I've not seen it online anywhere.
Melvin and His Pal

My plan was to get the cat stitched and at least the outline of the moon done over the weekend. However, it didn't happen.  Here's my latest progress:

Other progress photos can be seen HERE.
 A few years ago, I created an online class to teach fellow stitchers how to make a needlebook.  The weekly lessons gave students a chance to ask questions as they created their projects.  After class was completed, I put the tutorial on my blog (see left sidebar).  Recently, Patricia, a stitcher from Facebook, contacted me and shared the needlebook she created using my tutorial.  With her permission, I'd like to share with you:

Isn't it adorable?
Kudos to Patricia for creating a beautiful needlebook!
Photos from the needlebook class can be seen HERE.

Jan 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Let's all raise our needles and thread... Here's to a new year, and hoping it's a good one!

Stitcher's Village hosted a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.  I was a winner on one of the days.  Here's the goodies that arrived in the mail:
Home of a Needleworker
A Stitcher's Prayer
Little Sheep Virtues - Simplicity
Little Sheep Virtues - Joyfulness
Little Sheep Virtues - Courage
What a nice early Christmas gift, eh?  Thank you Stitcher's Village!

Haven't had much time to stitch lately... Time and inclination, that is.  However, I've been inching my way along on Midnight Watch.

Progress as of 12/18/14: 

Progress at the end of today:

I started a new project to do on my lunch hour at work. It's a Sugarplum Express snowman ornament called Marvin and Pal.  I think this one is an OOP kit because I can't find it anywhere online. Those Sugarplum Express characters are so adorable!

My last finish of 2014 is Merry Christmas Grumpy Kitty.  I plan on making it into an ornament.

Designer: Brookes Books Publishing
Fabric: 18ct Red Aida
Fibers: Unknown Cotton, DMC
Embellishments: Snowflake Button

In yesterday's mail, I received a small Christmas present.  It's so adorable.  Debbie B in Canada stitched it for me.  I've really appreciated her reaching out to me throughout this year.

Thank you, Debbie!

Once a year, I empty out my Ort Bag and start anew.  These are the snippets of my 2014 projects: